Although December's youth sailing world championships did not deliver the result Johnny Durcan had hoped for, the young Crosshaven Laser Radial helmsman went on to race at the Australian National Championships in Adelaide last week. The Royal Cork and National Yacht Club sailor was competitive again and finished 19th overall despite two Yellow flags and a UFD which he says, 'really cost'.
Making the most of his trip down under, Durcan competes tomorrow at his third Australian event, the Radial youth national championships at the same venue, before returning home to studies in Ireland. It's an event, he says, where he aims to 'keep the scorecard clean'.
Tralee Bay Maritime Centre have over 50 boats on the water this week at Fenit in County Kerry. Brian O'Sullivan, Centre Principal, told Afloat.ie he is delighted with the response to the performance coaching clinic, led by Thomas Chaix, with some of the best junior sailors in the country coming together in three different dinghy sailing classes - Lasers, Toppers and Optimists.
Coaches from Greece, Portugal, France, Poland and Ireland have their hands full with a massive turnout for the inaugural clinic at Europe's most westerly port.
It was ice on the rigging which put me off sailing in November and December. That was quite a few years ago, but as climate change has had its effects, those months have had different weather patterns and this year the November/December Cruiser League in Cork Harbour was well supported.
But racing in a cruiser is different to having your rear end very close to the water … as it can be in a Laser dinghy …So as the cold of January made itself known in a few bitter mornings this week across Cork Harbour, when frost glistened on cars and roads and patterned the covers of dinghies on the Sand Quay in my local village of Monkstown I admit to marvelling at the determination of those Laser sailors who have entered for the second year of the Winter League at Monkstown Bay Sailing Club.
What is the attraction of sailing at this time of year? Listen to the podcast with Charles Dwyer below:
That’s the Laser League organiser, Charles Dwyer at Monkstown Bay and he has an entry of 15 already which, he says “is getting close to the numbers they achieve in Howth’s Frostbites, surely we can beat the Dubs….!”
Saturday will tell, when the League starts and runs until the first of February…. First gun is definitely at 10,15 a.m. at a boat start close to the Sand Quay… and sailors will be back ashore by noon…. And Charles wants more boats…. €20 entry fee …..Showers and soup provided. “Just rock up on Saturday morning and join us at the Sand Quay in Monkstown…... “… That’s what he says…. As I said,….. I stopped frostbite sailing…. I’m prepared to leave it to the Lasers…. And I’m sure they’ll do it well..
Last weekend Sutton Dinghy Club ran their Inter-Schools Sailing event. The event in its 41st year attracted 32 schools with 107 boats and 144 youth sailors making the start line last Saturday morning. Well 2 start lines actually with 38 boats in the Optimist Fleet and 69 boats in the Mixed Fleet racing under PY. For each Fleet there is an Individual and Team prize sailed for. The event has been graced by many of Irelands rising stars over the years including Dan O'Grady, Ger Owens, David Burrows, Scott Flanigan, Dougie Elmes and Robert Dickson. Indeed last year's Mixed Fleet winner was none other than Blackrock College's Ewan McMahon World Radial Silver medallist in 2016 and the Optimist winner in 2015 was Tom Higgins who went on to win both the British and Irish Optimist Nationals in 206. A unique event that enables Club sailors team up with future rising stars of Irish sailing.
Day 1 - Optimist – With poor weather forecast for Sunday, PRO Paul ‘PK’ Kavanagh was considering 3 races for the day. Was there even enough wind to get 2 races in? Racing commenced on time at 12.00 in a generally southerly breeze. In the light shifty wind the left side of the beat on an ebb tide was favoured with the fleet favoring a pin-end start. The leading group of 4 or 5 boats took control of the race and put clear air between them and the chasing pack. The race was shortened to two rounds with lightening winds and increasing tides. To ensure interest in the Team event is maintained boats outside the 15 minutes time limit were given a count back based on there position on the water rather than a DNF.
Race 2 was abandoned due to a major wind shift on the first beat and a postponement flag was hoisted while the course was re-configured. Again the conditions were not ideal but the PRO managed to get the fleet away on a shorter course with lightening winds and a strong ebb tide. The race was completed only just following a major wind shift which did not effect the leaders who rounded final leeward mark in a tight bunch with a following wind.
After 2 races St Fintans NS were making the running from Belvedere College and Schoil Mhuire teams with Johnny Flynn, Hugh & Luke Turvey, Luke Groarke Donagh and Leah Rickard all well placed in the Individual event. Young Abby Kinsella was best of the Sutton Dinghy Club sailors in 14th.
Mixed Fleet – PRO Jim Lambkin got Race 1 for both Flight A and Flight B away first time. Flight A included both Laser Radial & 4.7's, GP14, 420 and RS Fevas and started on the same course 5 mins in front of Flight B which included Mirrors, Topper and Topaz. The 30+ boats in either fleet made for a very busy line. However the well behaved sailors ensured a single individual recall in each fleet was as bad as it got .The event is run on Portsmouth Yardstick with each boat timed and recorded for each lap of the course completed. The PY handicap system enables the Schools have teams race each other despite the teams being made up of mixed Classes. Race 1 saw the fleets well spaced along the line. In the light shifty wind the 420's looked like the early pace setters with McDowell/Dix (Loretto College) combination along with a with a few Radials including Olympic Laser aspirant Aoife Hopkins (Santa Sabina). The GP14 of Boyle/Coyne (Belvedere) after a slow start began to make an impression. A number of boats infringed by not coming through their start-finish time for time recording and paid the penalty. Meanwhile a number of the top Mirrors were travelling well and had opened considerable gap on the Topper and other Mirrors. As the wind lightened there was a little concern that the fleets may struggle to get round the last lap. But just when it was needed a short puff of breeze helped many home with some unfortunately time-out.
Race 2 saw a general recall for Flight A while Flight B showed them the way by getting away first time. Under Black flag Flight A got underway with pin end favored this time and an ebb tide adding its own challenge. For most of the first lap the wind was steady with the GP14 well up with the Radials and 420 from the start. As the race progressed the GP14 eked out an on the water lead but the Radials, 4.7 including Rickard (Gonzaga), Hopkins (Santa Sabina), Higgins (Gonzaga) and Hopkins (Mount Temple) and the Mirrors of Croasdel/Harrington (St Alyosius, Athlone) & Graf/Croasdel (Athlone Community College) in Flight B were also going well. However on the start of the second lap the wind became decidedly light. The PRO made a call to shorten the course for the Radials, 420’s and GP14 which meant everybody was finishing on end of lap 2. It was a good job the Committee boat was well stocked with sail number callers and recorders as Flight A and Flight B converged on the finish together. Race 2 was concluded again with a few boats timed out. The PRO went into sequence for a 3rd race, but quickly went to AP as the wind lightened. However with tide now an issue for getting ribs, committee boat and indeed some of the fleet back the PRO abandoned racing for the day to the delighted cheers of the by now tired crews. The fleet of 69 boats sailing back to the Club made for a spectacular sight.
After 2 races, Gonzaga hold a short lead over Belvedere College and Sligo Grammar with the furthest travelers the McCallister brothers from Bandon Grammar holding a small lead over the Athlone boats of Ben Graf and Caolann Croasdel with 4.7 of Tom Higgins and Dan Hopkins next followed by Aoife Hopkins and then Sutton Dinghy Club sailors Peter Boyle & Tim Coyne in the GP14.
Day 2 - Optimist Fleet – Day 2 arrived with great expectations of a little more breeze for the fleet than Saturday. The Fleets took to the water about 10:30 in 10-12 knots but that was really as good as it got. The clouds arrived with persistent mist rain and with it the wind dropped also.
PRO Paul ‘PK’ Kavanagh’s first start was abandoned due to a wind shift and then rain and then no wind. An AP was hoisted and after a lengthy delay the PRO and his team managed to get the Race underway in a light wind. 2 boats were over at the start with both boats returning to start line following individual recall. However in a dying wind PRO made the decision to shorten the race at the leeward mark following round 2. A number of boats did not make the finish due to the time limit, however they were all placed following a count-back to end of Lap 1.
The Opi sailors showed great patience having been on the water a long time with the light wind resulting in a single race for the day. The results were delayed as a Protest was heard that could have had a profound impact on the overall results. In the end the overnight leader Johnny Flynn retained his top position following consistent sailing with the Turvey brothers left to share the 2nd and 3rd spot. With 2 sailors in the top 3 the Team event was retained by St Fintan NS from Belvedere College A with Schoil Mhuire A taking 3rd.
Mixed Fleet – The PRO on the outer fleet, our Commodore Jim Lambkin struggled to get a steady breeze for race 1. Eventually after about 40 minutes both Flights were away but very quickly it became obvious that lightening breeze allied to a flood tide meant half the fleet had difficulties making the weather mark. Race abandoned and the Fleet waited patiently. Eventually around 1:45pm breeze picked having swung to the west and now from the Pigeon House direction. With marks relaid both flights were underway and with a Black Flag in operation 2 boats fell foul. The Radial of Aoife Hopkins and GP14 of local sailors Boyle/Coyne and 420 of McDowell/Dix lead from the front but again with a lightening breeze the PRO had no options but to utilize the times at end of the first lap to ensure a race results for as many of the fleet.
While many had hoped for a bit more breeze, the event had 3 races which of course meant there could be no discards in the Individual event meaning consistency was going to be the key to making the podium. The Individual event saw overnight leaders McAllisters (Rory & Oisin) slip to second place with Ben Graf & Lugaidh Croasdel take 1st. Caolann Croasdell and Dermot Harrington took 3rd a clean sweep for the Mirror. Well handicapped on PY they still need to be sailed well in these difficult conditions to stay ahead of some well sailed Lasers, GP14 and 420. In the Team event the Gonzaga team of Loghlen Rickard and Tom Higgins, both incidentally former winners of the Optimist event here, took 1st place ahead of Sligo Grammar's Mirror team (White/Wray, Wray/VanderGrijn, White/Bamber) with in 3rd Belvedere A (Peter Boyle/Tim Coyne, S Crawford, D O’Grady).
With sailors and parents well fed and watered, the packed Clubhouse watched the Croke Park Football final as they waited for the Prize-giving. Club Commodore and main-fleet PRO Jim Lambkin thanked the sailors, their parents and all the volunteers and Club members for making it another superb event. With 107 boats and over 140 sailors from 32 schools it was a tremendous effort. He particularly thanked the help from local Clubs around the bay for providing Ribs and crews to facilitate rescue and mark laying. Here is to next year!
Great entry of 25 Lasers, average turnout around 15, two shortish races every Tuesday night for 5 months with only 2 cancellations. Great DBSC race management with good courses in gorgeous Scotsman’s Bay or inside our historic old harbour when the wind was too light or too strong. What’s not to like? So it was that DBSC Lasers concluded another great 2017 season of midweek racing. Eoin De Lap from DMYC was our most consistent performer winning both Series 2 and 3, while Paul Keane from RIYC took Series 1. We had a huge spread of race winners, growing interest from a small but keen number of Radial sailors (though we still don’t understand why youth Radial sailors won’t grab the chance of real race practice on their doorstep) and very encouragingly a whole new bunch of new faces. Racing was highly competitive, but always friendly and sporting with people doing their penalty turns and bantering incessantly around the race course, in the bar afterwards and through the fleet WhatsApp group the next day! Many sailors improved fairly radically over the series, most notably Conor O’Leary, Gavin Murphy, Marco Sorgassi, Luke Dillon and Shirley Gilmore.
Apart from Tuesday nights, local sailors supported National circuit events, went Masters (Over 35) training in Malta and travelled to events like the Italian Masters Championships. Indeed at the Irish Masters Championships and the normal Laser Leinster Championships, in each case 60-70% of the total entry comprised of DBSC entries. We stand over the decision taken in 2015 to only race on Tuesday nights precisely so sailors have flexibility at the weekends, either for other laser stuff, sailing other classes or for family pursuits. In fact, Sunday mornings would see many DBSC Laser sailors out in a small pod for a casual sail, always exchanging tips and ideas on how to make sailing these boats a bit easier. Just last Sunday we then had an excellent, more formal training day for 10 boats with Claudine Murphy.
Highlight for 2016 ? Well that’s an easy one. Tuesday August 16th was of course a night none of us will ever forget. We rigged the boats, we gathered (nervously, let’s face it!) in the NYC to watch Annalise’s incredible Medal race just after 5 pm, we cried, we hugged…but then we lashed out for brilliant DBSC Tuesday racing in the Harbour in 20 knots and hot sunshine. Boats de-rigged, we again lashed over to the NYC to catch the Medal presentation ceremony at 8.30 pm, cue more watery eyes and quite a few pints. It’s a simple formula this Laser, but it works for all levels, whether Olympic or Dublin Bay local racing!
Frostbites up next and in 2017 we hope to build our DBSC entry up towards 35 or 40, giving regular turnouts well in excess of 20. If you have a Laser think seriously about it. If you don’t, pick one up (2 grand or less will easily get you a really good, modern example with all the new control lines). Also, with DBSC Laser entry fees of just €163 for adults and €107 for Under-25s, none of this will burn too big a hole in your pocket.
Report by Class Captain, Sean Craig
From August 23rd through August 27th Laser Performance held their second annual Collegiate Cup Clinic and Regatta. The event was hosted by Circolo Vela Torbole in Torbole, Italy. Teams from Austria, Australia, France, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands and the United States participated in the five-day event at one of the most beautiful sailing venues in the world.
The two Irish teams were IRL 1 Lindsey Watters, Dan Gill, Scott Flanigan, Lucy Bolger, Mark Bolger, Maeve Lavelle, Dan O'Beirne, Charlotte Bowen. IRL 2: Sarah Cooney, Stephen Craig, Glb Romantchik, Emma Reidy, Clara Grace Hynes, and Roisin Ryan. (Team information from Collegiate Cup website)
The first two days of the event provided the sailors with a team racing clinic coached by American team racing star and coach, Karl Zeigler, and his assistant, Olivia Crane. The coaches worked on shore and on the water to reinforce the sailors team racing skills, tactics, and strategies, as well as providing them with an understanding of how to get the most out of the 18 matched collegiate Z420’s provided by LaserPerformance.
The opening ceremony was held on Wednesday at the club, where a wonderful meal was provided for the sailors, coaches, race committee and umpires.
Following two days of the clinic, team racing for the championship began on Thursday. Torbole is well known for its favorable wind conditions. Almost every day the breeze comes in at around noon and builds to about 15kts. Racing commenced at 13:00hrs, and the wind was exactly as predicted. The professional race committee, headed by Carmelo Paroli, planned and completed one full round robin of 28 races.
After the first day of racing Italy had run the table going 7-0, followed by the US women’s team with a 6-1 record and Netherlands with a 5-2 record. The sailing was closer than the results would have someone believe and almost any of the teams could have been in the top three.
Following the day’s racing a post mortem discussion between many of the teams and the umpires further defined the parameters around how calls would be made and how issues should be resolved. Although some of the teams agreed to disagree in regard to what actually occurred on the water, they agreed further discussion should be taken while sharing a cold beverage or two.
Day two of racing started off exactly like the first day, beautiful sunshine, 12kts of breeze and a very light chop. Another complete round robin was completed in breezes from 12-15 kts. Once everyone was back on shore the results board showed some shifting in the ranks: ITA still held the lead with a score of 12-2, followed by Netherlands, and USA Women at 11-3. Austria moved to fourth with a record of 8-6. The racing was infinitely tighter on day two, and the competitors stepped it up as they progressed.
Our ambassador, Karl Zeigler delivered a wonderful talk over dinner at Circole Vela Torbole that Friday. He focused on the virtues of team racing, the lifelong friendships it creates, the friendly rivalry between teams, and how people from different cultures all come together in the spirit of this great game.
Following Karl’s presentation, the umpires and the race committee gathered the sailors to explain the final format. The fleet would be split into Gold and silver Fleets: the 4 boat Gold fleet would sail a double round robin and the 4 boat Silver fleet would sail a single round robin. Because the teams had worked so hard in the previous 2 round robins, those scores were carried into the final. Racing would commence an hour earlier on Saturday to insure competitors could make their way home in time to return to school.
On Saturday morning Circolo Vela Torbole was buzzing. All of the teams arrived early and headed out onto the water to prepare. Austria would have to run the table to win, but they had a chance. Italy and the USA looked good; they had speed, but the Dutch had continuously improved all week – so the stage was set.
The breeze came in on time at about 12kts, but continued to build as the racing continued into the day. Austria started out hot, but it wasn’t meant to be. Italy who led through the first two round robins seemed to be off their game, so it came down to the final race between USA and the Netherlands. Team USA had to beat the Netherlands to tie and force a sail off…though that wasn’t meant to be, and the Netherlands were crowned the Champions.
The Netherlands won the Zachary Leonard Trophy for the LaserPerformance Collegiate Cup with a 16-4 record, followed by the USA Women with a 14-6 record. Italy was third with a 13-7 record, and Austria rounded out the Gold Fleet with a record of 11-9.
Ireland 1 won the Silver Fleet with a 9-8 record followed by Australia with a 7-10 record. Third was Ireland 2 followed by Team France.
The “all volunteer”, but professional in action, Race Committee from Circolo Vela Torbole completed 70 races over three days in perfect team race conditions providing the sailors with a wonderful racing experience. The three umpires kept the racing fair and focused, allowing the sailors to work it out on the water. The rotation boats manned by volunteers from the club moved seamlessly between races transferring sailors back and forth without breaking stride. The Z420s were the perfect vehicle for the event having no breakdowns and requiring little to no maintenance. All in all, this event could not have been better!
CRUISERS 1 - 1. Powder Monkey (C Moore), 2. D-Tox (P McSwiney et al)
FIREBALL Race 2- 1. No Name (S Oram), 2. Goodness Gracious (Louise McKenna), 3. Clandog Millionaire (C Clancy)
IDRA 14 FOOT Race 2- 1. Doody (J.Fitzgerald/J.Byrne), 2. Dunmoanin (Frank Hamilton), 3. Spray (C & O Corrigan)
Laser Race 2- 1. Paul Keane, 2. Sean Craig, 3. John Marmelsten
PY CLASS Race 1 - 1. Ophelia, 2. H Murphy (Vago)
Laser Race 1- 1. Sean Craig, 2. Theo Lyttle, 3. Paul Keane
IDRA 14 FOOT Race - 1. Slipstream (Julie Ascoop), 2. Dunmoanin (Frank Hamilton), 3. Doody (J.Fitzgerald/J.Byrne)
FIREBALL Race 2- 1. No Name (S Oram), 2. Clandog Millionaire (C Clancy) 3. Goodness Gracious (Louise McKenna).
#Rio2016 - The mother of Irish Laser Olympian Finn Lynch nearly missed seeing him in Rio after failing to secure tickets through the official Irish supplier that's become embroiled in controversy in recent days.
The Irish Times reports on Grainne Adams' interview with Newstalk Breakfast, in which she explained how after great difficulty in contacting Pro10 Sports Management in the run-up to the event, she resorted to a Norwegian ticket resale website in order to attend the opening ceremony earlier this month.
Adams also said that despite the special ticket scheme for friends and family of Olympic athletes, Pro10 told her they did not have tickets for any events in the Olympic sailing regatta, in which Lynch finished a respectable 32nd as he preps for a stronger challenge in Tokyo in four years' time.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, an allocation of unused official tickets for athletes' families and friends was seized from the Olympic Council of Ireland's (OCI) offices at the Olympic Village in the ongoing Brazilian police investigation into alleged ticket touting.
OCI president Pat Hickey was arrested in his hotel last week on a number of charges related to the illicit resale of Olympic tickets, while other OCI members have have their passports, phones and computers seized pending questioning.
Hickey is reportedly sharing a cell in Rio's Bangu Prison with THG Sports director Kevin Mallon, who was arrested on Friday 5 August in possession of hundreds of tickets for high-profile Olympic events.
Following on from their success at the Laser Radial Worlds in Dublin this July, where they finished seventh in their respective fleets, Royal Cork Yacht Club's Johnny Durcan and Nicole Hemeryck of the National Yacht Club will now represent Ireland at the 2016 World Sailing Youth Worlds in New Zealand in December.
This highly contested honour came down to the last race, with everything to play for, at the Laser Nationals at Galway Bay Sailing Club this weekend.
With only four races being sailed over four days all the competitors were very close on points leading to some very tense racing.
Only one race was completed in light winds on the first day, and then the second and third of four days were cancelled due to high winds and poor race conditions.
Day four brought all the action with everything to play for in the last race, with conditions on the last day ranging from 12 to 18 knots.
Johnny Durcan took the overall National Championship title, winning two of the event’s four races, and Nicole Hemeryck is First Lady, in the Laser Radial fleet.
This year’s National Championship was the home qualifier in the selection process for the ISAF Youth Worlds, with both sailor’s 7th overall result in the Laser Worlds easily securing their international qualification requirement. Since the Worlds, both sailors have continued with their training and competition, with Durcan taking second overall place at the recent UK Laser Nationals, while Hemeryck came 13th at the Under 21 Worlds in Kiel earlier this week.
In the 4.7 fleet the winner was Jamie Mc Mahon (HYC), upcoming younger brother of Ewan MacMahon (silver medallist at this year’s Laser Youth Worlds), who sailed a consistent series. First Lady and second overall was NYC’s Clare Gorman, a former national champion in the Optimist fleet.
Writing in his Sailing on Saturday blog, W M Nixon said how about bringing Annalise’s Rio Laser home for permanent display in the National Maritime Museum? It could usefully show visitors one of the greatest sailing dinghy designs of all time, and it would commemorate a great Irish sailing success.
Then too, it would be very useful to have that little boat around the place when the National Yacht Club (founded 1870) celebrates its Sesquicentennial in 2020, when we can only hope that Irish sailing will be having as good a time at the Tokyo Olympics, seeking fair play for a minority sport from a small country, as they did in Rio.
Writing in the Irish Independent this morning, Jim Cusack takes up the idea as he unveils National Yacht Club plans to welcome home Annalise with an NYC flotilla.