With 47 sailors on the water in Tralee Bay in County Kerry in the first week of January, 2017 started on a very positive note for Junior sailing in Ireland. The 17 Optimist fleet included some of the most promising juniors in the country along with a small local contingent and were coached by Portuguese coach Fred Coutinho Rato, Greek coach John Kavarlikgos assisted by local former ISA squad sailor Donagh Buckley.
A mix in the drills afloat, the precision of the tuition and video analysis made it for an excellent 4 days of learning and progress. The 10 boats topper fleet was very feminine with a 7 girls line up. Clinic Manager and coach Thomas Chaix kept the group on its toes mixing close quarter drills with longer speed and technical exercises.
The 20 boats Laser fleet was split into two groups. Former academy sailor Cian Byrne challenged the laser 4.7 sailors whilst Polish ace Michal Grybselski assisted by former academy sailor Conor O’Beirne minded the larger radial fleet. The clinic concluded with a coached regatta. 5 races were sailed for all fleets and the young sailors battled for the various trophies giving some very close racing and even closer finishes. Cillian Foster from Cork clinched the optimist title. Kinsale sailor Michael Carroll took the laser 4.7 whilst his brother David just about secured the Toppers. The radials gave some very exciting racing and it was finally Dublin Sailor Peter Fagan who came on top.
The most coveted trophy, “the coaches award” went to Sophie Crosbie (Laser 4.7 from Cork). Nominees for the award were Killian Reidy (Optimist from Foynes), Rory O’Sullivan (Optimist from Cork), Amy Carroll (Radial from Kinsale) and Kate Fahy (Topper from Dublin).
The southerly winds and the relatively mild conditions allowed many hours on the water and centre principle Brian O’Sullivan could not have asked for more for the first Performance clinic organized by Tralee Bay Maritime Centre. No doubt it is just the start of its path towards becoming a valuable centre of excellence providing quality training to Performance sailors on the south West coast.