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The Irish Laser 4.7 ISA squad have arrived home from the World Championships in Belgium.

It proved to be a great learning experience for the Irish team many of whom were competing in their first international Laser event.

The wind conditions ranged from light to windy and the sailors had to contend with large sea's and strong tidal flows. Both girls qualified for the Gold fleet and produced strong overall results with Clare Gorman 16th overall and Eve McMahon 19th (8th under 16) in the fleet of 115 Girls.

Two of the boys, Tom Higgins and Michael O'Suilleabhain qualified for the gold fleet and both recorded top three individual race finishes, the highlight of which was Tom's win in race six.

Published in Laser

With a first overall for Aoife Hopkins of Howth, a second overall for Aisling Keller of Lough Derg, and a seventh overall for Sally Bell from Belfast Lough, Ireland has made pretty much of a clean sweep of the Laser Radial Under-21 Women’s Euros in Douarnenez writes W M Nixon.

Hopkins won it, with a trio of wins in yesterday’s packed schedule, and she comes home with just 10 points against her, having discarded a 3rd and a 4th to give her a scoreline of seven wins and a third.

Keller had a second and two thirds today, while Bell had a BFD, a sixth and eighth. With all of yesterday’s racing lost in a damp calm, it was a tense final day. But in a series which has seen everything from no wind at all up to the very edge of sailability with people racing among Atlantic breakers, it has ended on a real high for the Irish squad.

Published in Laser

Aoife Hopkins and Aisling Keller have strengthened Ireland’s dominance of the U21 Women’s Laser Radial Europeans at Douarnenez in Brittany today writes W M Nixon. With one race still to sail in the ten-race series, Hopkins has taken two more firsts to put her clear ahead on only 12 points (she discarded a 4th), while Keller logged a second and third and sits second overall on 21pts, with her discard being an 8th.

Third placed Clementine Thompson of GB is back on 32 points, so the two Irish sailors really have worked out a substantial breathing space. As for the rest of the Irish squad, Sally Bell has had best places of a 3rd and a 4th, and lies 7th overall on 48pts.

Published in Laser

Ireland’s Aoife Hopkins of Howth and Aisling Keller of Lough Derg hold the lead going into today’s final racing in the Laser U21 European Championship at Dournenez in Western Brittany writes W M Nixon.

The French race officers are hoping to squeeze in three races, as all of yesterday’s programme was lost to calm. This was in marked contrast to conditions earlier in the series, when the big southwest to west winds on Thursday - which caused the giant catamaran Spindrift 2 to call off her round Ireland challenge a hundred miles to the north as she approached Land’s End – were providing just-about-sailable conditions of 25 knots-plus-plus in Brittany, with a huge sea sweeping into the Baie de Douarnenez.

The Irish girls revelled in the conditions, with Hopkins in particular providing some great photo-ops in sailing which she said reminded her of what it’s like in a strong easterly back home at Howth. Not everyone else enjoyed it so much, but it gave Hopkins a lead of 10 points to the 14 of Keller, with the next-in-line, Clementina Thompson (GB) on 20 while Russia’s Marita Kislukhina is fourth on 23 with todays racing getting under way.

Conditions in Douarnenez are currently recorded as a moderate nor’wester, and the pressure is on at the front of the fleet.

howth seventeen breaker2A brisk easterly at Howth. The 1898-vintage Howth 17 Aura can’t quite fly like a Laser, but Aoife Hopkins says that sailing in conditions like this helped her to deal with the big seas off Douarnenez. Photo: Jaimie Blandford

Published in Laser

Just like their junior Laser counterparts at the 4.7 Worlds in Belgium this week, Irish girls are off to a flying start at the Laser Radial Under–21 Women European Championships in Douarnenez, France. Ireland holds the top three places after the first two races in the 17–boat affair.

Howth Yacht Club's Olympic trialist Aoife Hopkins is a single point off the lead on four points. She leads Royal North's Sally Bell who readers will recall posted a top ten result last week at the Radial Youth Euros in Poland. Bell is on ten points in third place with Lough Derg's Aisling Keller fourth on 12–points. 

In the boys Laser division at Douarnenez, Liam Glynn from Ballyholme Yacht Club is 39th from 70.

Find the overall results here.

Published in Laser

The National Yacht Club's Clare Gorman is off to a great start having posted a ten and a four to be tenth overall in the Ladies division of the Laser 4.7 team sailing in the World Championships which began yesterday in Nieuwpoort, Belgium.

The week–long event will consist of 12–races with 350 sailors from around the world.

In another top performance for the Irish girls, Gorman's team–mate Eve McMahon of Howth Yacht Club is just four places behind her in the 114-boat fleet. Sophie Crosbie is 77th. 

In the boys division, HYC's Daniel Hopkins is 66th, Tom Higgins of the Royal St. George Yacht Club is 77th. Other Irish results are posted on the disappointing event website for a world championships here.

Published in Youth Sailing

The next wave of Irish Laser Olympic prospects were out in force at the Radial Youth Sailing European Championships from 6th–13th July in Gdynia Poland.

Conditions were light for most of the event with strong winds on the last day.

In the boys fleet, Irish youth champion Ewan McMahon of Howth Yacht Club showed a consistent performance to finish eighth in the Gold fleet. Royal Cork's Johnny Durcan was 17th with the National Yacht Club's Loghlen Rikard 24th. Conor Quinn of Rush SC was an individual race winner and finished 31st. MacMahon's younger brother Jamie was 41st and seventh in the U17 category.

radial youth Laser IRLIreland's next generation of Olympic sailors were out in force in Poland. Ewan McMahon and Sally Bell finished 8th and 10th in boys and girls respectively at the Laser Radial Youth Europeans in Poland. Photo: ISA

Fionn Conway and Peter Fagan were 50th & 51st and Henry Higgins was 60th in Gold fleet.

Peter Gilmore, Andrew Mitchel and Hugo Moran were Silver and Bronze fleet finishers.

Three Irish girls competed at the event for the first time. Sally Bell of the Royal North Ireland YC was a top finisher in tenth overall in the girls division.

Nell Staunton of the National YC, who has just returned to sailing after a foot injury,  finished 16th.

Tara Coveney RCYC/RSt George put in a really strong challenge but was unfortunate to break her tiller extension on one day finished 46th and 10th in the U17 division.

A link to the event website results section is here

Additional report from Irish coach Russell McGovern:

The Irish Laser youth academy travelled out to Poland at the start of July for final preparations for competing at the Youth European Championships.

The team was Sally Bell, Nell Staunton, Tara Coveney, Ewan McMahon, Jamie McMahon, Johnny Durcan, Loghlen Rickard.

The squad had been sailing full time from the end of May and were in good spirits. We had been using the Royal Irish Yacht Club as our base and sailing 5 to 6 days a week with a tough physical program too.

They had done a warm up regatta in early June in Hoorn and had won that but also high lighted some areas to work on which was the reason for attending, so going to Gdynia they knew they in good shape.

The venue was always going to be difficult to get consistent racing in due to the synoptic situation that is common in that part of the Baltic in the summer, and to Quote the RO
“this place in bonkers”. However, he did manage to get 10 races in over the 6 days of racing.

The first day was a 10 hour day on the water with 2 races cancelled and re run, and some awesome thunder storms and this was to be the trend until the last day. It was a difficult race course to manage with 70 degree wind shifts, light breeze and 4 fleets of 60 boats, however the team put in some solid results and sailed with a very positive and level approach just as they would in training.

After the 3rd day the Girls where in a strong position sitting just outside the the top 10 and the boys where now to be split into finals which they all made gold fleet, Ewan and Loghlen in the top 10 and Jamie and Johnny with in touch of top 20.

The first day of Finals saw the boys and Girls have there toughest day of the entire regatta where they were in the top group and in both races saw the fleet change on the 2nd upwind with a 90 degree wind change, and with such slow boat speeds it was nearly impossible to chase over to catch the change once spotted.

The last day we woke to an 18-22 kt northerly breeze with short steep waves, and this saw the team dominate the day and to open things saw Sally score a 1 and 5.
Nell who has just come back from injury scored a 5 and 8 and Tara who is the newest member of the squad lead the first race of the day and went on to score a 14 and 7.

While on the gold fleet boys it was something similar with Ewan scoring a 1-6 and Johnny scoring 2-1 with the other lads right up there but having a few spills pushing it hard down wind.

All in all it was a great event and highlighted some areas to work on in prep for the worlds in August in the Netherlands.

If these young sailors stay in the sport and keep progressing at the current rate of knots the future will surely be bright for Irish Sailing.

Published in Laser

North Dublin sailors were top of the fleet at the Irish Laser Youth Radial Championships at Wexford Boat Club last weekend, a fixture that clashed with the second Dinghy Fest at Royal Cork Yacht Club. The event was sailed as part of the Irish Laser Connaught Championships and it also incorporated the Irish Ladies Laser Championships. Results are downloadable below as PDF files.

In the Radial division, Conor Quinn of Rush Sailing Club beat Ewan McMahon of Howth Yacht Club by three points for the Craft Insure title. Third in the 27–boat fleet was the National Yacht Club's Loghlen Rickard.

In the 4.7 division, Dun Laoghaire under 18–sailors shared the spoils with Royal St. George Yacht Club mates Jack Fahy winning by five points from Tom Higgins. The National Yacht Club's Clare Gorman was third in a 19–boat fleet.

In the Ladies Championships, Tokyo campaigner Aoife Hopkins of Howth Yacht Club beat a nine boat fleet by 17–points to lift the title. Second was Sally Bell of Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club.

The Connaught Laser title (standard rig) was taken by Kinsale Yacht Club's Darragh O'Sullivan with Thomas Chaix of Tralee Bay Sailing Club second in the 12–boat fleet. Radial was won by Wexford's own Ronan Wallace.

Results are downloadable below as PDF files.


Published in Laser

Sole Irish Laser sailor Liam Glynn of Ballyholme Yacht Club in Northern Ireland raced four races in 20–25 knots at Kiel Week, Germany. By his own account, the former Topper World Champion said he had some 'good sailing' but also made some 'costly mistakes', including a yellow flag penalty in 25–knots.

'I had great starts' but, Glynn says, he needs to work on 'better concentration to suceed in some very tricky conditions'. 

Although he was close to gold fleet standard, early mistakes left him in silver.  'Onwards and upwards!', concludes the Tokyo campaigner.

Published in Laser

DBSC Laser fleet, the fastest growing fleet on Dublin Bay welcomed new sailors Judy O'Beirne and Theo Lyttle to the fleet yesterday evening for two races in testing conditions writes Ross O'Leary.

17 boats turned up on the start line from an updated entry of 30 – with a couple of laser sailors on committee boat duty.

The glorious mid-summer conditions placed emphasis on boat handling, mark rounding and speed in the light conditions. Sean Craig, on committee boat duty got shot for calling some of his fellow laser sailors over the line – no doubt retribution will be enforced when he gets back out on the water!

Darach Dineen revealed in the conditions and used his speed to recover from poor starts to get 2 bullets. Benefiting from the DBSC Laser Coaching program, the most improved Laser Sailor Marco Sorgassi posted 2 seconds. Our soon to be Great Grandmaster – Chris Arrowsmith – showed his quality placing third in both races.

In the Radial fleet the ladies, Shirley Gilmore and Judy O’Beirne enjoyed great competition and are benefiting from having Radial ace Ronan Wallace on the race course. It has been noted that Judy O’ Beirne has been enjoying the competitive advantage of having her kids rig and derig her Laser – Full investigation to follow!

You can still enter Tuesday evening Laser racing at

Dublin Bay Lasers will have a Full rig and Radial Rig fleet at the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 7th to 9th July – entries are already in the double digits and growing. 

Laser Connaught Championships take place in Wexford in the 1st & 2nd July – early bird entry closes this Friday.

Published in Laser
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