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As The Hague is ready to host the world's best youth sailors, Ireland's Eve McMahon arrives as a pre-championship favourite being both World and Europan youth titleholder in the ILCA 6/Laser Radial class.

Over 450 of the world’s best youth sailors from 69 countries are getting ready to compete at the Allianz Youth Sailing World Championships 2022.

Taking place off the coast of Scheveningen in The Hague, The Netherlands, from 8-15 July 2022, the Championships are open to young sailing stars up to the age of 19.

As regular Afloat readers will know, Howth Yacht Club's McMahon lifted the Euro Youth title in Greece earlier this week by a massive 36-point margin.

This elite gathering of international sailors will compete across 11 youth events including the Male and Female divisions of the 29er Skiff, 420 Two Person Dinghy, ILCA 6 One Person Dinghy along with the Mixed Two Person Multihull, the Nacra 15. Last year saw the introduction of Male and Female categories in Kiteboarding Formula Kite, and this year for the first time we will see Male and Female competitors flying above the water in Windsurfing Youth iQFOiL. The move to more foil-borne events mirrors the developments seen in Olympic competition over the past year since the Tokyo 2020 Games.

The 11 events will test different aspects of the sport. From the highly tactical, boat-on-boat contest that we will see in the traditional dinghy classes, through to the ‘apparent wind’ driven multihull and skiffs which test balance and agility. The foiling windsurfers require high levels of balance and aerobic fitness, while the fastest competitors on the water will be the kitefoilers, capable of peak speeds over 30 knots.

Taking place off the coast of Scheveningen in The Hague, The Netherlands, from 8-15 July 2022, the Championships are open to young sailing stars up to the age of 19Taking place off the coast of Scheveningen in The Hague, The Netherlands, from 8-15 July 2022, the Championships are open to young sailing stars up to the age of 19

Having already proven themselves at the front of the senior fleet, the battle for supremacy in the brand new kitefoiling contest will be world class by any measure. Singapore’s 15-year-old Max Maeder, winner of the Youth Worlds last year in Oman, has been winning events against all the senior riders on the Kitefoil World Series. “I’m so happy to have the privilege to compete with all of the best youth riders around the world and wish them the best of luck,” said Maeder. “It feels like a great honour to represent your nation at such a big event, and I think the atmosphere on and off the water will be incredible.”

Last year’s silver medallist in the female kitefoiling division, Julia Damasiewicz (POL) is back to see if she can get to the top of the podium in The Hague. Having won the most recent Kitefoiling World Series event in Traunsee, Austria, the 18-year-old Polish rider broke the incredible winning streak of 32 consecutive international regatta wins over the last six years by five-time Formula Kite World Champion Daniela Moroz (USA). Damasiewicz will surely be hard to beat in Scheveningen, although last year’s youth bronze medallist from France, Héloise Pegourié, has also displayed world-beating form at times this year.

In just over a year’s time, The Hague will host the Sailing World Championships for the Olympic classes over two weeks in August 2023, also from the port of Scheveningen. The event is expected to see 1,400 sailors from 90 countries compete for the world titles in the 10 Olympic and three Paralympic sailing classes, so the Youth Worlds will serve as a useful build-up to the senior competition for race officials, organisers and the local community of Scheveningen.

Many of this year’s youth competitors will compete at next year’s Olympic class event, including a growing number of sailors who have graduated from World Sailing’s Emerging Nations Programme (ENP). World Sailing's Training and Development Executive Cat Duncan and Training Delivery Manager Rob Holden have been running a clinic for ENP athletes at Scheveningen over a number of days before the regatta begins. Former Olympic representative for Mexico in the ILCA 6 singlehander, Tania Elias Calles has been leading the coaching and will be working with the ENP sailors throughout the regatta. “We’re committed to closing the knowledge and skills gap between the top sailing nations and the Emerging Nations,” said Holden. “Last year’s gold medal won by Florencia Chiarella from Peru shows what’s possible if you really dedicate yourself to succeeding at the top level of sailing. It has been great to work with this group of keen ENP sailors this week and I wish them all the best and hope they enjoy the experience of competing at the Youth Worlds.”

The Hague looks set to deliver stunning weather with temperatures forecast for the mid-20s Celsius. A range of wind and wave conditions also look likely for the five days of competition, including the prospect of three-metre swell. It should make for a thrilling contest.

David Graham, CEO, World Sailing, said, “The Allianz Youth Sailing World Championships is a prestigious event in the World Sailing calendar and we are looking forward to the event in The Hague. The combination of a natural beach and the North Sea winds will make for an exciting competition, and a true test of sailing skills for the world’s brightest prospects.”

Tournament Director, Dorian van Rijsselberghe, two-time RS:X Windsurfing Olympic champion from the Netherlands, is particularly excited to see the iQFOiL windsurfers competing at youth level. However, for him the most important aspect of the Youth Worlds is enjoying the experience more than whether or not you win for lose. “I’m not talking about the medals, but the fun, the camaraderie, the road to get there and the enjoyment to be had. We will make sure that all participants will not forget The Hague and that the whole sports-loving Netherlands can watch and enjoy the action from close by. Fun and performance go hand in hand, and where better for that to happen than in Scheveningen.”

The Opening Ceremony officially welcomes the sailors on Saturday 9 July. Racing will commence on Sunday 10 July and runs through to Thursday 14 July when 11 new Youth World Champions will be crowned.

11 Events at the Youth Worlds

Female Windsurfer - Youth iQFOiL (with 8.0m rig)
Male Windsurfer - Youth iQFOiL (with 8.0m rig)

Male Kiteboarding - FormulaKite
Female Kiteboarding - FormulaKite

Female Two Person Dinghy - 420
Male/Mixed Two Person Dinghy - 420

Female One Person Dinghy - ILCA 6
Male One Person Dinghy - ILCA 6

Male Skiff - 29er
Female Skiff - 29er

Mixed Two Person Multihull - Nacra 15

The Youth Worlds

First held in Sweden in 1971, the Youth Sailing World Championships are World Sailing’s flagship event for youth sailors.

Past notable winners include America's Cup skippers Chris Dickson (NZL), Russell Coutts (NZL) and Dean Barker (NZL); Olympic medallists Nathan Outteridge (AUS), Iain Jensen (AUS), Robert Scheidt (BRA), Amelie Lux (GER), Ben Ainslie (GBR), Iain Percy (GBR), Alessandra Sensini (ITA), Elise Rechichi (AUS) and Tessa Parkinson (AUS); and The Ocean Race sailors Stuart Bannatyne (NZL) and Richard Clarke (CAN). The most successful Youth World Champions are Sally Cuthbert (GBR) and Zofia Klepacka (POL), having won four successive titles in the Laser II and Mistral respectively.

Following the success of their athletes at the 2021 edition in Oman, France is the current holder of the Nations Trophy, awarded annually to the top-performing nation at the Youth Worlds.

Published in Youth Sailing
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Paris 2024 Campaigner Eve McMahon from Howth Yacht Club has won the ILCA6/Laser Radial European Youth championship in impressive fashion at Thessaloniki, Greece, this afternoon (Wednesday 6th July 2022)

The 17-year-old Dubliner adds the Greek result to her 2021 Youth World Championship win on Lake Garda, Italy, last August.

As Afloat reported yesterday, McMahon moved into the overall lead on the penultimate day and had a cushion of six points going into today's final rounds.

Two race wins for Howth's McMahon on the final day in Greece stole the show for Ireland Two race wins for Howth's Eve McMahon on the final day in Greece stole the show for Ireland Photo: Thom Tow

"Originally, I was using this regatta as a warm-up event as I hadn't sailed for a long time while sitting my Leaving Cert," said McMahon after coming ashore. "I was really pleased with my final day; I finished with two bullets, so you couldn't really get better than that."

Scroll to 36 seconds on the vid below to see Eve's short winners interview in Thessaloniki. 

The event concluded with all 12 scheduled races complete but the final day got off to a slow start before racing got underway in a timid 10-11 knots and dropped back to 6-7 knots for the last race. Those light conditons are evident in the Instagram vid of McMahon's winning moves in the last race.

McMahon wrapped up the event in the best shape by winning both races and counting only 35 points and having a whopping 36 point lead.

Golden girl - Eve McMahon wins gold for Ireland, silver went to Italy's Emma Mattivi and bronze for Croatia's Petra Marendic.Golden girl - Eve McMahon wins gold for Ireland, silver went to Italy's Emma Mattivi (left) and bronze for Croatia's Petra Marendic Photo: Thom Tow

The second place overall was for Emma Mattivi ITA (24-5) with 71. Third place overall for Petra Marendic CRO (4-33) with 86, tied on points with Claudia Adan Lledo ESP (3-54UFD), who was ultimately fourth.

The girl’s Under 17 championship was for Adriana Castro Nuñez ESP (32-8), who dominated the fleet during the whole week and finished 8th overall with 117 points.

Maria Vittoria Arseni ITA and Eva Wiese GER completed the U17 girl’s podium on places 17th and 31st respectively.

Roos Wind NED, Tea Peteh CRO, Pia Conradi GER, Thea Lubac FRA and Laura Szulc POL completed the overall Top 10 among 106 competitors.

McMahon now heads to The Netherlands for the Sailing Youth World Championships, in which she represents Ireland next week, followed by Texas, the USA, for the defence of her world youth title.

Results here

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Laser dinghy sailor Eve McMahon of Howth Yacht Club now leads at the Youth ILCA 6/Laser European Championships going into the last day of racing in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Ten races have been sailed with significant changes in the top of the rankings on the penultimate day.

The current Irish ILCA6 youth world champion is now on the cusp of a Youth ILCA6 Europeans title with a six-point advantage going into Wednesday's fifth day and final two races to decide the new 2022 EurILCA 6 Youth European champions.

McMahon scored a 3, 3 to become the new women’s overall leader with 33 points, followed by Emma Mattivi ITA (21-1) and Petra Marendic CRO (1-9) with 45 and 49 points respectively.

The overnight leader Roos Wind NED (14-36) is ranked now fourth overall with 50.

Claudia Adan Lledo ESP (4-5) is fifth with 63.

Conditions were once again sunny and hot, with the winds varying from 8-10 knots.

Luke Turvey

McMahon's clubmate Luke Turvey dropped from tenth to 14th place in the Boys event but could still regain places in today's final rounds.

Results here

Months of study for June's Leaving Certificate examination have not blunted Howth's Eve McMahon's ambition on the International ILCA/Laser race track. 

The Paris 2024 hopeful is back on the circuit and lying second overall at the ILCA6/Radial Youth European Championships in Greece.

The 2022 World Youth world champion in the class had a race win and also scored a fourth place on Monday with two more days of racing remaining.

The Final series started on Monday. Two new races were held for all six fleets in the regatta, being eight now in total as per scheduled.

A new sunny day with 10-14 knots of wind and choppy sea conditions prevailed this afternoon on water.

The overnight leader Roos Wind NED (6-7) continues to lead the Girl’s overall championship with 23 points, but is now closely followed by McMahon IRL (1-4) and Emma Mattivi ITA (2-2) with 27. Petra Marendic CRO (3-5) is fourth with 39.

Klara Sobczak POL and Claudia Adan Lledo ESP are 5th and 6th overall with 54. Thea Lubac FRA (10-1) won the last race today and climbed to the 7th place with 63 units.

Adriana Castro Nuñez ESP (29-25) is still on top of the girl’s Under 17 championship and ranked 13th overall, followed 30 points behind by Maria Vittoria Arseni ITA with 103. The third girl’s U17 place is now for Signe Brinkert NED with 139.

Also racing in Thessaloniki, in the Boys event is HYC clubmate Luke Turvey in tenth overall.

Results here

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Two Howth Yacht Club Olympic campaigners will share in The Olympic Federation of Ireland Paris Scholarships fund, as preparations are already underway for the Summer Olympic Games in Paris 2024.

Dublin's ILCA 6/Laser Radial campaigners Aoife Hopkins and Irish Sailor of the Year Eve McMahon - who begins her Leaving Certificate examinations this morning - will receive $15,000 each from the Federation.

A total pot of $350,000 will be distributed to Olympic hopefuls with the Women’s Hockey team awarded the team grant of $100,000. The fifteen individual grants to a total of $250,000 were awarded to athletes from twelve sports.

The funding for the grants is primarily provided through a combination of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Olympic Solidarity programme funding and OFI funding, split $250,000 from the IOC and the remaining $100,000 from the OFI to allow for a greater number of scholarship awards in Ireland.

Aoife HopkinsAoife Hopkins

The scholarships aim to support the athletes in their preparation for Paris, and to assist on the qualification journey. Athletes were nominated by the national federations and are representative of a mix of Olympians targeting a second Games, and athletes targeting an Olympic debut.

Making the announcement, Team Ireland Chef de Mission for the Paris Olympic Games, Gavin Noble, said,

“Thirty-five individual nominations were received from nineteen member sports for the Paris Scholarship fund, and today we are delighted to formally announce our Paris scholars and of course our support of the women’s hockey team. In the Tokyo cycle, twelve scholarships were awarded, and from those nine athletes qualified for the Games, with two finalists in the Tokyo Olympics. Naturally, we are aiming to build on those results. Through the support of the International Olympic Committee Solidarity Fund, and with the additional backing of Permanent TSB, Allianz and Deloitte, we are able to fund more athletes, to a higher level than ever before, and it is very much part of our performance and commercial strategy that we continue to move in this direction.”

Details of all recipients are below:

TEAM GRANT - $100,000

Women’s Hockey Team

The Women’s Hockey Team were awarded the team grant of $100,000 to assist with their preparations towards Paris 2024. The team consists of both experienced players who competed in the Tokyo Olympics, and emerging talent looking to make their Olympic debut in Paris.


The transition from junior to senior sailing is difficult at the best of times, and the Irish “Sailor of the Year 2021Eve McMahon of Howth has found that the arbitrary dictates of personal birth dates means that she has been dealing with the demands of the Leaving Cert in her education, while at the same time taking her departure from the junior scene to move towards the challenges of the bigger world.

Yet she did it in considerable style in April’s Youth Nationals at Ballyholme, where the 38-strong ILCA 6/Radial fleet from all over Ireland may not have been the most numerous class, but there’s no doubting that it was the sharp end of the entire regatta. And even with some days providing strong onshore winds with waves of such size that they had to be handled individually rather than as a sequence, she finished in style with two wins on the final day, and the title with it.

Published in Sailor of the Month

Howth teen Eve McMahon booked her place to the Youth World Sailing Championships in The Hague in July when she sailed to success at the Irish Youth Sailing Championships on Belfast Lough today. 

The reigning World Youth Champion in the single-handed ILCA6 (formerly the Laser Radial) won her 38-strong event in convincing fashion by winning both final races on Sunday to bring her tally to five race wins on Belfast Lough.

Clubmate Rocco Wright who had been leading the class and a group of six challengers since racing began on Thursday finished second overall.

Rocco WrightRocco Wright Photo: Simon McIlwaine/Wavelength Images

In so doing, both McMahon and Wright reached the standard to be nominated to represent Ireland in The Hague in the girls and boys divisions respectively of the World Sailing event.

Sienna Wright of Howth Yacht Club Photo: Simon McIlwaine/Wavelength ImagesSienna Wright of Howth Yacht Club Photo: Simon McIlwaine/Wavelength Images

There were further celebrations in the Howth YC camp when Sienna Wright, Rocco's younger sister won the ILCA 4 (formerly Laser 4.7) class by a comfortable 13-point margin.

Published in Eve McMahon

Ballyholme is famous for the big rolling seas with a northeast breeze of strength and on Super Saturday at the Youth Sailing Championships, the ILCA6 Under 17 world champion Eve McMahon showed her strength with a dominant display in strong winds and big seas on Belfast Lough.

The Howth teen sailor won three out of four races sailed in her 38-boat fleet to move ahead of clubmate Rocco Wright and Cork's Jonathan O'Shaughnessy (Royal Cork Yacht Club), both one time leaders at the event.

Overall victory is now to be decided in Sunday's final two races.

Johnny Flynn and Ethan Spain in the 29er, Sienna Wright in the ILCA 4, and Bobby Driscoll in the Topper 5.3 won all of their races in their respective divisions.

Published in Youth Sailing
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Ballyholme Yacht Club in Bangor on Belfast Lough is the host club for this year’s Irish National Youth Sailing Championships from 21st until 24th April.

The cream of youth and junior sailors from across Ireland will compete in the Laser/ILCA 6, 29er, 420, Topper 5.3 and ILCA 4 classes and making a welcome return for 2022, the Optimist class.

The four days of racing will be on the virtually tide and hazard free Belfast Lough, organised by a club with many years of experience of hosting world, international and national events. There are four days of racing for the ILCA 6, 29er, 420 and Optimist classes, from Thursday 21st April – Sunday 24th and three days of racing starting on Friday 22nd for Topper 5.3 and ILCA 4.

Eleven races are scheduled for the Optimist, ILCA 6, 420 and 29er classes. Eight races are scheduled for the ILCA 4 and Topper 5.3 classes.

One of the standout competitors travelling to Bangor is 18-year-old Eve McMahon, who is Irish Sailor of the Year 2021. The Howth ILCA 6 sailor won the Gold Medal at the Laser Youth Worlds on Lake Garda in July last year.

The entry list stands currently at 57 and with the early bird entry closing in less than a week on 1st March, and the Optimist entry not yet open, it is expected that there will be many more entries.

Apart from the sailing, there will be speakers each evening giving inspiring and informative talks to the sailors, family, and friends. All young sailors are encouraged to attend these talks (within COVID guidelines), even if not competing.

This is a Clean Regattas event registered with Sailors for the Sea. The event has a set of environmental standards to follow throughout the event, to help reduce the impact on the environment and keep the sea a cleaner place to sail.

Ballyholme is lucky to have copious dinghy and car parking and is within walking distance of the town centre.

Eve McMahon of Howth Yacht Club, the Golden Girl of the international ILCA Classes, is “Irish Sailor of the Year” for 2021, deservedly following an honoured track set over many years by Ireland’s legends in the sport.

Such elevation inevitably results in the top sailor seeming to function on a different level to the rest of us. And certainly, the 18-year-old’s international programme through 2021 was mind-boggling, made even more challenging by the frustrations of complying with pandemic regulations and restrictions in a situation made yet more demanding by the fact that some events were cancelled with relatively little notice, while others were put in place with only the briefest of run-in times.

Ten years hence, in looking back at her achievements through 2021, most of us will have long since forgotten that what looks like a smooth progression was at the time a potentially stressful process of constantly dealing with unexpected international travel and training problems. Problems of logistics and long delays and other hassle, problems where in times past a smooth travel transit was considered essential to approaching a major event in the right frame of mind.

The tension lifts at last… champion Eve McMahon (left) celebrates with team mate Ellie Cunnane on Lake Garda. Photo: Vasilij ZbogarThe tension lifts at last… champion Eve McMahon (left) celebrates with team mate Ellie Cunnane on Lake Garda. Photo: Vasilij Zbogar

Yet throughout it all Eve stayed the course and faced the competition with such composure that even in the darkest hours, there might be flashes of gallant humour. And her already substantial fan-base was enlarged even further by the fact that she seems to enjoy her sailing more than ever.

She showed herself to be both a stellar sailor and yet still one of us - as freshly keen as any tyro club sailor - by turning out for the first post-Christmas major of the approaching new year, the DMYC Viking Marine Christmas Cracker race in Dun Laoghaire on December 27th. Needless to say, she won, her last victory in 2021 to round out an impressive litany of success. But the fact that she wanted some sports fun afloat in the depths of winter was what most impressed.

At its peak, 2021 was winning the Gold Medal at the Laser Youth Worlds on Lake Garda on July, which made her clearly our July “Sailor of the Month”. As European sailing learned to live with the pandemic, Lake Garda emerged as a central location where restriction-compliant events could be staged with a minimum of fuss.

Nevertheless its situation makes for an extra challenge for sailors from more distant locations like Ireland, for despite its international status, Garda is very much at the heart of Italian sailing. Thus the more astute visiting sailors quickly realize that they’re – how shall we say? - playing a double game, a game which becomes even more complex as the conclusion approaches, and very challenging indeed if you’re within sight of a Golden Medal against local competition.

When it all became official – winner Eve McMahon at centre with runner-up Anja Von Allmen of Switzerland and third-placed Sara Savelli of Italy.When it all became official – winner Eve McMahon at centre with runner-up Anja Von Allmen of Switzerland and third-placed Sara Savelli of Italy.

Thus an amiable person such as Eve McMahon has to be one very street-smart sailor. Yet she realises that it is dogged application as much as sailing skills and strategic thinking at genius level which brings success, and with it there’s a demanding training programme into which she has somehow had to fit a continuing virtual series of courses with the Institute of Education in Dublin, in order to keep her life progress in contact with more mundane everyday realities.

While the Lake Garda Gold was the highlight of her 2021 season, there were many other international successes achieved to ensure that she is now the highest-ranked Irish female in the Star Sailors League, she has, of course, secured Sport Ireland Carding, and has been awarded a Paris 2024 Olympic Solidarity Scholarship from Sport Ireland.

So it’s onwards and upwards for Eve McMahon, sustained and supported in her efforts by one of Ireland's most remarkable sailing families. It’s highly likely that the best is yet to come. But for now, managing to achieve a sailing year of this standard through the pandemic problems of 2021 was truly exceptional, providing Ireland with an outstanding new Sailor of the Year.

Irish Sailor of the Year Award: Created in 1996 by Afloat, the awards represent all that is praiseworthy, innovative and groundbreaking in the Irish sailing scene. The national awards have recognised over 500 monthly award winners in the pages of Ireland's sailing magazine Afloat and these have been made to both amateur and professional sailors. 

Published in W M Nixon
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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago