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Two seconds for a delighted Finn Lynch puts the Laser sailor second overall in the 187-boat fleet in the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma this morning. It's an explosive start as the Dublin Bay sailor goes in search of Olympic qualification for Tokyo this season and, what's more, it follows on from impressive results obtained at the first round of the World Cup Miami in January too.

"I'm delighted with the results today and keen to push on tomorrow" Lynch declared. 

The performance was all the more impressive for the 22-year-old, who acts as a Viking Marine Ambassador, as he led for most of the opening race only to suffer a yellow flag penalty from an on-the-water race judge.

Scoreboard Finn lynchThe scoreboard of the Palma regatta represents a dream start for the National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch

A long opening day of the 50th anniversary edition of the regatta was more frustrating for the classes which were sent out to race earlier in the day, the Nacra 17, Lasers and Laser Radials racing out from Ca’n Pastilla had to contend with an unsettled, very light offshore wind before the afternoon sea breeze which took time to fill.

Howth Yacht Club's Ewan McMahon (Under 21) is 40th and Ballyholme's Liam Glynn is 130th having not competed in the first race.

Results are here. Read more about Irish hopes for Tokyo 2020 here.

Published in Viking Marine
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Rio Laser sailor Finn Lynch who is campaigning for a place in Tokyo 2020 and who is a Viking Marine Brand Ambassador has endorsed the opening of the new Irish Sailing High-Performance centre (pictured above) for the Olympic Sailing team at Dun Laoghaire. 

According to Lynch, the HQ is a 'huge milestone for Irish sailing and a legacy that came from the great results at the Rio Olympics'.

'When we stepped over the line into the HQ last week we were buying into a set of standards that we as a group of sailors had developed'. The HQ has given us all the facilities we need to succeed and now it is up to us as the sailors to make it happen. And so, 'If it is to be - it's up to me', the National Yacht Club sailor declared.

Finn lynch viking marine

Published in Viking Marine
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Tokyo 2020 trialist Finn Lynch who has returned home to Dublin just home is telling of one of the highs from his week Laser training in Palma de Mallorca.

Lynch, a Viking Marine ambassador told Afloat.ie 'When nine-time Laser world champion Robert Scheidt asks to join your training, you know you are doing something right! When my coach Vasilij Zbogar won his first medal (bronze in Athens) Scheidt won Gold. Pretty cool!'

Lynch is back on Dublin Bay for next week's opening of the Irish Sailing Performance HQ in Dun Laoghaire.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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In a busy week in Mallorca, Olympian Finn Lynch, a Brand Ambassador to Viking Marine, shares his weekly tips.

This week Lynch focuses on the merit of setting personal performance goals and the motivational advantage of some early personal wins.

'We all know my dream goal is to win an Olympic gold medal for Ireland! But having smaller process goals are a great way to keep you focussed on what you should be doing right now and not thinking too far ahead.

This winter I wanted to improve my fitness and strong wind sailing. Yesterday on our Irish Sailing Group bike ride I hit a personal goal that I know puts me right up there within the laser fleet in bike fitness!  Happy days!

Finn lynch cycling

Published in Viking Marine
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“I have some hefty goals for 2019 and being top 10 in the Miami World Cup was my first goal of the year,” says Viking Marine’s new brand ambassador Finn Lynch.

“I’m delighted to say that I can confirm that training does pay off!”

The Laser contender for a spot in Tokyo 2020 has a mentally taxing week in Florida last month, but all was worth it to become the first men’s Laser sailor to qualify for a World Cup medal race.

That alone would have been something to celebrate, if not for Finn pulling out all the stops in that final race to make the top 10.

“Who would have thought it? Miami was a breakthrough regatta in that I bridged the gap from my World Cup performances last year,” he says.

“My previous best regattas were 16 and 17 in a World Cup. After training very hard all winter, I managed to jump to top 10. Now let’s try to keep form until Palma in April — my next big regatta.”

And that is precisely what he’s been doing. More recently, and across the Atlantic, Finn followed up his superlative performance in Miami with fourth place overall at round 2 of the Villamoura Coach Regatta in Portugal.

This past week he resumed training in Dublin with just a few weeks to go before the opening of the Laser team’s purpose-built Irish Sailing performance HQ in Dun Laoghaire.

Published in ISA
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After a mentally testing week in Florida, Ireland's Finn Lynch becomes Ireland's first men's Laser sailor to ever qualify for a World Cup medal race. The race is broadcast live below from Miami at 3 30 pm (or Irish time 20.30).

Lynch looked like he could have blown his chances when he was black flagged yesterday in the penultimate race but an eighth in the final race left him tenth overall to take the last medal race place.

"I'm incredibly proud to be the first Irish man to make a Laser Medal Race in a World Cup Series!" he told Afloat.ie 

Lynch's achievement in making the medal race is all the more impressive given the Rio rep has been nursing a neck injury.

Tune in at 20.30 below to watch the race live as per schedule (but please note light winds have caused postponements on Biscayne Bay).  UPDATE: To replay the race scroll to 3:21:57 on the timeline below

Go Finn!

Published in National YC
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Ireland's top Laser sailor Finn Lynch bounced back into medal race contention at the Miami World Sailing Cup and lies eighth overall after nine races sailed.

After a tough day on Thursday, as reported by Lynch on Afloat.ie here, the National Yacht Club single hander turned his fortunes around by scoring a sixth and an eighth on Friday.

"I'm really happy I managed to battle back after a bad day yesterday. I had a really good grasp of the conditions. There were much more chances because the wind was oscillating more and it was less of a one way track!", Lynch told Afloat.ie

The result is all the more impressive given the Rio Olympian went into this week's regatta nursing a neck injury.

With two more days of racing left to sail in what is forecast to be more light and shifty conditions on Biscayne Bay, Lynch, who now counts four top ten results in his scoresheet has the chance to really boost his Tokyo qualification prospects with a solid result in the second round of the World Cup. 

"There is no point looking backwards to try hold my position"

"I haven't been top 10 going into the last day of a World Cup before. Which is great! I'm going to try take a page out of Irish Rugby's book and try use attack as defence. There is no point looking backwards to try hold my position", Lynch says.

Ballyholme's Liam Glynn lies 40th in the 101-boat fleet. Overall results are here.

A key component of Laser overall leader Hermann Tomasgaard's (NOR) preparation for the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Miami involved a week at the Laser Training Center in Cabarete, Dominican Republic. Aside from the obvious-tropical mid-winter weather-Tomasgaard went there for the consistently strong winds.

"We had a good group with the British and the Swedish and a lot of hiking, a lot of strong winds," he said. "That's maybe the problem you can have in Europe this time of year, you can have a lot of light winds, You get some strong-wind days, but never really for one and a half weeks."

This regatta, however, has been anything but windy, with just one race that tested the sailors' abdominal muscles. Nonetheless, Tomasgaard clearly found something in the azure Caribbean waters because he has been phenomenally fast and unbelievably consistent in some of the most mentally demanding conditions in a fleet where top-half finishes in the gold fleet are often considered keepers.

With two full-fleet races remaining and then Sunday's Medal Race, Tomasgaard has established a 44-point lead over second place. His worst finish is a sixth. One decent race tomorrow and he will have clinched the gold with two races to spare, a virtually unheard-of feat in the modern Medal-Race format.

"It's been very good," he said. "Sailing is a little up and down all the time, and this week I've had quite a lot of up. I'm just enjoying it right now. I've had moments [like this before], but maybe not for as long as now. Now it's been every race. It's been good."

The conditions today were similar to the previous three days, light and shifty.

"It was difficult, very, very shifty," he said. "Big shifts from both sides. Quite light and big pressure differences as well with the shifts. [Success required managing a] little bit of both. We had a left pressure that was really stationary, that you really had to go into. It was in all the upwinds, almost, that you gained a little bit on that left shift, but it was difficult to know how far into it you had to go."

He also credited a lot of his success to his ability to get off the starting line cleanly.

"I've had good starts, really good starts and I've tried to keep an open mind," he said. "I tried to start where I think it's going to be the best and keep an open mind and change my plan if I see something new coming."

Should his final few races follow this pattern, Tomasgaard will have put together one of the more remarkable scorelines in recent memory. With 18 months until the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, is he peaking too early? Tomasgaard doesn't see it that way.

"I've been climbing the last few years in the results, and it's nice to see that the winter trainings are working well," he said. "So I kind of take that, like 'OK, we're on the right track.' Still, it's early in the season, and a lot can change from Miami."

Sam Meech (NZL) is second in the class with 65 points while Rio 2016 gold medalist Tom Burton (AUS) is third and Charlie Buckingham (USA) is fourth.

Published in National YC
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Irish Tokyo Olympic trialist Finn Lynch admits that after a tough day in gold fleet racing, Miami's World Cup medal race may now be out of reach for the Irish Laser sailor.

We had three races today and I scored a 22,30,38. It was a strange day with much lighter wind than forecast and a front passing through.

I had 3 good starts but put my boat in the wrong place on the upwinds. Strangely enough, I actually sailed just as well as the first two days. I had some bad luck with very unpredictable winds and the distances at mark 1 were already very big due to big wind shifts so it was hard to catch up.

"I had 3 good starts but put my boat in the wrong place on the upwinds"

Tomorrow is forecasted the same wind direction as today but no fronts. So hopefully I can read the race course better and get rewards for my good starts and speed. Staying positive. Medal race sailing is looking a bit out of reach now, I just want to go out sail like I know I can!

Thanks for the support,

Finn

Overall results are here. Lynch is 19th overall and Ballyholme's Liam Glynn 29th in the 100-boat fleet. 

Published in Tokyo 2020
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After two days of shifty qualifying rounds and dealing with a neck injury, the National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch is through to gold fleet racing in the Laser class at the Miami World Sailing Cup as he describes here

Day two in Miami had similar conditions again with 5-11 knots and shifty offshore sailing. It was important to get a good start so that you could sail the shifts you wanted! We spent 6 hours on the water.

I got a 2,19.

First race I was around 15 at mark one and passed boats on each leg to finish an inch behind first. Feels good to sail through the fleet - it shows my speed has improved over the winter.

In the second race, I was pretty bad at the first mark and caught up some boats to get a 19. I'm discarding that now but there is only one discard in the regatta so it would have been nice to get a lower discard out of the qualifying series.

Tomorrow starts a whole different race - World Cup gold fleet racing. It is forecasted 15 knots from the land. So it will be very physical with the Miami choppy waters but also shifty.

You can follow my results on my instagram stories @finnlynchsailing

Results here.

Published in National YC
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There was a solid start for both Irish Lasers competing in the first two races of the World Sailing Cup in Miami yesterday. Finn Lynch is sitting in 16th overall and teammate (and rival for the single Tokyo berth) Liam Glynn is lying 23rd. 

In fact, Lynch and Glynn managed to sail round the course in both races together.  "It was strange to travel to Miami to still be racing beside my team-mate!" Lynch told Afloat.ie

Lynch, who made the top half of the fleet in Miami in 2018, is aiming for improvement this week albeit with a neck injury.

Both races were sailed in 7-12 knots and Lynch caught about 15 places from mark 1 in each race. 

The qualifying series concludes today and the forecast is light and shifty again on Biscayne Bay.

After nearly a month of training and competition on the Bay, many of the top sailors competing in the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Miami have seen just about every wind condition Miami has to offer.

But that doesn't make it any easier to race when the breeze is out of the west, a direction notorious for lower velocity and little consistency when it comes to the wind direction.

"The wind was constantly shifting to the right [side of the course]," says 49er skipper Sime Fantela (CRO), "but the pressure was staying left, so it was not an easy decision where to sail. The ones who managed to tack when they wanted and have their line, they were winning."

Fantela speaks from first-hand experience. With a 3-13-2, Fantela, who sails with his younger brother Mihovil as a crew, emerged relatively unscathed from the opening day of the regatta and will carry a three-point lead over Diego Botín le Chever and Iago López Marra (ESP) in second and a seven-point advantage over James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR) in third.

Of the three races today, Sime Fantela was most pleased with the second one. The short course format used by the 49er class made passing a challenge.

"The start was not that great, and we managed to come back," he says. "We rounded [the first mark] I think in 23rd and managed to finish around 12 to 15. It's quite tough with 40 boats on the start and the racecourse was a short course so not so many clear lanes. You have to dig your way through."

Like the Fantela brothers, the team of Botín le Chever and López Marra also struggled in the second race, finishing 16th. But a win in the first race and a fourth in the final one more than balanced that one hiccup.

"Try to make a good start and then see what's going on and try to catch the best shift," said López Marra when asked about the key to a strong race today. "The seabreeze and the gradient wind [were fighting one another] and that's why it was so shifty."

As Spain was unable to qualify for a country berth in the 49er class at last summer's Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, the top priority for Botín le Chever and López Marra is to earn that berth this year at the world championships in New Zealand at the end of the year.

That's one box that has been ticked by Sime and Mihovil Fantela. They are the defending world champions after a breakout performance in Aarhus and have punched their ticket to Tokyo. However, as they are relatively new to the class-Sime won a gold medal in the 470 in Rio 2016 while Mihovil sailed in the RS:X class until 2016-they are not letting that success go to their heads.

"We still have the same goal, the same focus, the same will to train and improve," said Sime Fantela. "We missed some strong wind training [last year] so we're trying to look this season for the strong wind places to go and train. Lots of training, lots of days out of home and looking forward to Tokyo."

The 30-boat 49erFX fleet followed the 49ers later on in the afternoon and in a shifting and variable breeze, just one race could be completed.

Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) found some form and led the race from the top mark through to the finish. Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) and Germany's defending champions Victoria Jurczok and Anika Lorenz (GER) followed.

American favourites Stu McNay and Dave Hughes avoided any major pitfalls on the water and stand in third place, of 37 boats, after two races in the Men's 470.

"We rolled a third and a fifth today," says McNay. "We did the big picture things right, but made a couple small errors. We did lose a couple of points. Dave and I have been sailing for a long time, we've raced in Miami for years. It's a challenging venue, so we're always glad when we walk away from a shifty day like this with scores we can carry forward."

For Hughes, this regatta as close to a home event as he'll ever get, something he tries not to take for granted.

"This is always a lovely event and always kind of the way to start the year for us," he says. "I live in Miami, so it's got a special meaning for that. It's a bit of an added stress because it is a home event and we are always looking to be proper hosts to everybody who comes here, off the water, at least. But it's wonderful because all of our international friends come to our home. It's a treat and for us this is just a staple of our sailing and our Olympic careers."

With a seventh at last summer's Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, McNay and Hughes qualified for the United States for the berth in the Men's 470 class at the Tokyo 2020 regatta. Now they are focused on making sure they are the team to claim that berth. They've been down this road before, having sailed together in the Rio 2016 regatta - McNay sailed with a different partner in Beijing 2008 and London 2012 - but that doesn't make it easy.

"We're trying not to be distracted, trying to keep our priorities in line," says McNay. "Not let one piece of equipment become distracting, not let one detail of a skill become distracting. Give our prioritization to each item, as it deserves, as it will help us most, which is a challenge because perspective is the easiest thing to lose when your head is this deep in something."

Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström (SWE) hold the early advantage in the Men's 470 on five points. They are two points clear of Italy's Giacomo Ferrari and Giulio Calabrò and a further point ahead of the Americans.

The Italians took the first race win of the day and Japan's fifth-placed team of Tetsuya Isozaki and Akira Takayanagi sealed the second.

Among the fleets that got in two or more races, only the Women's 470 duo of Agnieszka Skrzypulec and Jolanta Zohar (POL) had a perfect day, winning both races. They trailed around just two of 12 marks and currently have a six-point lead over Fabienne Oster and Anastasiya Winkel (GER) and a nine-point advantage over Benedetta di Salle and Alessandra Dubbini (ITA).

Spain's Angel Granda-Roque and China's Bing Ye are tied on nine points apiece in the Men's RS:X after a tough day on the water. In light winds the sailors had to pump their sails hard to take the initiative. Granda-Roque took an eighth and a first with Ye securing a fifth and a fourth. The first victory of the event went to France's Thomas Goyard but a blackflag in the second pushed him down to 29th overall.

Just one race was possible in the Women's RS:X and China's Yunxiu Lu took the win. She was followed by Italy's Flavia Tartaglini and Israel's Yarden Isaak.

Brazil's Samuel Albrecht and Gabriela Nicolino de Sa shone in the Nacra 17, snapping up two out of three victories. The pair thrived in the 7-9 knot breeze on the Echo racing area and discard the seventh they picked up in race two.

2018 Miami gold medallists Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) took the day's other race win and are tied with Spain's Iker Martinez and Olga Maslivets (ESP) for second on five points.

London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Jonathan Lobert (FRA) picked up the single race win in the 25-boat Finn fleet. The towering Frenchman fought hard against Croatia's Josip Olujic throughout the race and the momentum swung back and forth. Lobert held the lead early on in the race but the Croatian hit back to claim it at the midway point. Lobert advanced on the final run and took the race win by just two seconds.

The Laser fleet is the largest in Miami with 101 boats registered to race. As a result, the first two days of competition are qualifying races before the top sailors move into the gold fleet to decide who qualifies for Sunday's Medal Race.

The top-ranked sailors were all aiming to get off to good starts and they did exactly that. In the yellow fleet, Rio 2016 bronze medallist Sam Meech (NZL) and World Cup Final medallist Hermann Tomasgaard (NOR) took a race win apiece with another single-digit finish. Meech leads on three points with the Norwegian second on four. Matt Wearn (AUS) posted a 5-4 in the yellow fleet and is third.

In the blue fleet, consistency was at a premium. Joaquin Blanco (ESP) and Elliot Merceron (GBR) were the top performers and are fourth and fifth overall. Blue fleet victories went to William de Smet (BEL) who is 22nd and the 18th placed Yuri Hummel (NED).

The Laser Radial class was able to get in just a single race, which was won by Dongshuang Zhang (CHN) with Zoe Thomson (AUS) in second and Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) in third.

Racing resumes on Wednesday 30 January at 10:30 local time. The fleets who were unable to complete a full schedule of racing on Tuesday will sail an additional race, minus the Men's and Women's RS:X.

Results are here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Page 3 of 14

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

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