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At the Laser class world championships in Mexico last night, 20–year–old Finn Lynch's Olympic dream came true when he won his place at the Rio games. The Carlow man becomes the youngest ever Irish sailing helmsman to qualify for the Olympic Games.

The event was the third and final trial in the selection series for three contenders including London 2012 veteran James Espey along with up and coming Baltimore sailor Fionn Lyden. James Espey led by 6 points going into the final trial but finished 24 places behind Finn. Fionn Lyden narrowed the gap on James by finishing 11 places ahead of him at the Worlds but still finished the trial third.

“This is a particularly welcome result for Finn who has been on a promising trajectory since he first won silver for Ireland at Topper Worlds seven years ago,” commented James O’Callaghan, ISA Performance Director. "Winning the place for Rio is massive and the experience should serve to propel his career even further" The result moves Lynch overnight from ISA Development sailor to full senior Providence Team Ireland status.

Sailing for the National Yacht Club, Lynch emerged from the four day preliminary round of the world championship as the only Irish sailor to reach the Gold fleet for the top 56 competitors in the 112-strong event. That result helped secure an advantage over Espey and Lyden who sailed the finals in the separate Silver fleet, overall they finished 67th and 78th respectively. Lynch placed 54th in the Gold and overall.

Nick Thompson from Great Britain successfully defended his world title in a top ten line-up that included multiple Olympic medallists and world champions.

Competing in the Men’s single-handed event, Lynch will now join newcomers Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey (Women’s skiff) along with London 2012 veteran Annalise Murphy (Women’s single-handed) and Ryan Seaton with Matt McGovern (Men’s skiff) to be nominated by the board of the Irish Sailing Association to the Olympic Council of Ireland for inclusion in the Irish team at Rio 2016.

Published in Olympic
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A globe trotting Irish Olympic mens Laser trial comes to a conclusion in Mexico today with Finn Lynch leading the three boat contest for the single Rio berth. Lynch is 50 out of 56 in the gold fleet of the Laser World Championships that form the third Irish trial. Both the other trialists, Fionn Lyden and James Espey, are racing in silver fleet. All eyes are on Lynch for the Olympic nod later today after the last two races of the 112-boat championships are sailed.

 

Published in Olympic

After five days of competition at the 112-boat Laser World Championships in Mexico, the National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch has built a lead of 45–points over James Espey in the race for the final Irish Olympic sailing berth in Rio. The big points cushion of Lynch's 187 versus Espey's 232 is important because this week's championships – that concludes tomorrow – is the final selection trial for the Irish Olympic mens Laser berth in Rio.

Going into the event last Thursday, (the last of three Irish trials since December), Belfast's Espey had earned a slender six point lead over the Carlow debutante but after ten races at Riviera Nayarit, the regatta has tipped in Lynch's favour. On Monday, Lynch was the only one of three Irish competing (Fionn Lyden of Baltimore is the third) to make the gold fleet cut. Yesterday, a black flag disqualification for Espey in the silver fleet has made things more difficult for the Ulster sailor to regain lost ground. Still, while the gap has widened, Lynch, currently lying 48th from 56 in gold, will be well aware four races remain to be sailed, making it arguably possible for Espey, (Ireland's London 2012 rep) to make a come back at the notoriously fickle venue.

Results are here

Published in Olympic

The National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch made the gold fleet cut at the Laser Worlds in Mexico yesterday by finishing the qualifying rounds in 56th place in the 112–boat fleet, taking the last place for today's gold fleet finals. Not only is it a significant achievement for the former youth medalist at this level in an Olympic year, but much more importantly it moves the Carlow youth a step closer to winning Olympic selection by Wednesday. Both rivals Fionn Lyden and James Espey will complete the championships in silver fleet position where they are in five places apart in 65th and 70th place respectively. The final series starts to day and although the trials advantage is now with Lynch there are still six races left to sail. 

Nick Thompson of Great Britain had another good day at the races to close out the qualifying series in first place overall in the Laser Standard Men’s World Championship in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico. Thompson’s 2nd and 4th place allowed him to increase his advantage over Jean-Baptiste Bernaz of France to five points, a margin by which Laser Championships can be won or lost. Tomorrow the sailors will be split into gold and silver fleets to begin three days of finals series racing.

Celebrated Laser World Champion and Olympic medalist, Robert Scheidt, moved into third place with two more top-ten results while the previous third place holder, Croatia’s Tonci Stipanovic, scored an 8th and 25th. Stipanovic now has to count a 14th (his previous discard race) but holds on to fourth place overall.
The top-3 sailors at the end of qualification have all, so far, maintained single figure results excluding their discard races. However, a close look at the score cards reveals that several sailors are starting to find the consistency that was missing at the beginning of the championship. These include the best sailor of the day, Wannes Van Laar of Belgium, who posted two second place finishes today to jump five places into fifth overall.
Today’s slightly lighter winds from a more southerly direction provided another mix in the results on this final qualification day. Changes in the wind strength and direction were minimal, between 215 and 230 degrees and 9 to 12 knots during the three hours of racing. However, these variations were enough to keep things interesting for the sailors and proved sufficient to provide significant changes in positions from one race to the next.
With three days of Finals Series racing to come, the sailors are certainly aware that the coming days of will be long and twice as hard, as the world’s top sailors now go head-to-head. Sailing skills need to be at a sailor’s best. Places will be won and lost by a meter or a second. A cool head under the hot sun and maximum concentration will be needed to stay consistent over the upcoming six scheduled races – even more so if the weather changes.

Overall Results after 8 races with 1 discard
Nick Thompson GBR 16pts
Jean-Baptiste Bernaz FRA 21pts
Robert Scheidt BRA 33pts
Tonci Stipanovic CRO 37pts
Wannes van Laer BEL 39pts
Matthew Wearn AUS 41pts.
Tom Burton 42pts
Marco Gallo ITA 46pts
Philipp Buhl GER 46pts
Sam Meech NZL 50pts

Published in Olympic
Tagged under

In the Irish Olympic selection trial being sailed as part of the Laser World championships in Mexico, the rising star of Irish sailing Finn Lynch continues to build a points cushion over James Espey and Fionn Lyden for the single berth in Rio. The Irish Olympic spot will be decided when this championships concludes on Wednesday. A top class eighth placing in race five yesterday saw the National Yacht Club debutante move up to 58th overall. He is now 20–points clear of Lyden in 63rd and 46 points clear of Espey who is 78th in the 112–boat fleet.

Lynch has a final race of qualifying today and, significantly, stands on the cusp of a gold fleet place for the top 56–sailors in the fleet. Defending champion, Nick Thompson of Britain, regained his lead on Day 3. Full results here

The 2016 Laser Standard Championship at Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit was always expected to be one of the highlights of the sailing year as the world’s top Laser sailors make their final preparations for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Winning a stand-alone world championship in an Olympic class is the ultimate goal for every sailor, apart from a coveted Olympic medal, and is certainly contributing to the pressure before the Games. A good result is not only a morale boosting personal achievement but also a message to your opposition in Rio to beware!

Defending a world championship title is a challenge only a few top sailors ever face, so for Great Britain’s Nick Thompson, returning to the top of the leader board after 6 races and a difficult day on the water is surely extra satisfying. Thompson finished first in today’s first race in the Blue Fleet to draw level on points with the overnight leader, Tonci Stipanovic of Croatia sailing in the Yellow Fleet. At the first mark the Croatian looked as if he would match Thompson race-for-race as he led New Zealand’s Sam Meech until the beginning of the second downwind leg when they split tacks. When they next met Meech had the advantage, which he held to the finish.

The second race for both fleets saw the usual southwesterly wind catch out a number of sailors as they expected the right side of the first windward leg to pay as it had in the previous race. The 11 knot wind increased to 13 knots and swung 10 degrees to the left soon after the start. Unfortunately for some the wind stayed left, stranding those who placed their faith in finding a right shift. Amongst these was Stipanovic, who suffered most in the Yellow Fleet rounding the first mark in 21st position, five places behind overnight 5thoverall Robert Scheidt. By the finish, Scheidt had made a good recovery to 8thand Stipanovic mirrored his gain to 14th, which became his discard. Slowly the first leg mix sorted itself out with Kristian Ruth from Norway improving his fourth place rounding at the top mark to take the winning gun ahead of his fellow countryman Hermann Tomasgaard and Philipp Buhl of Germany.

In the Blue Fleet it took three recalls to get the fleet away in a building breeze. The course was more balanced although the fleet still favored the right. Belgium’s Wannes van Laer did the best job of picking his way through the shifts in the center right to lead at the first mark ahead of Julio Alsogaray from Argentina and Australia’s Tom Burton. Meanwhile, Thompson protected the right to round in 7th. Van Laer swapped places with Alsogary on the first downwind as Thompson gained three places. By the end of the race Burton had taken first place, which with a 4th in the previous race made him the second most improved sailor of the day jumping 11 places up the leaderboard to 8th compared to best of the day, New Zealand’s Sam Meech, who climbed 13 places to 11thoverall.

Thompson now has a three-point cushion over new number two, Jean-Baptiste Bernaz of France, going into the final day of qualifiers before the real excitement begins in the finals series when the world’s top 56 Laser sailors race head-to-head.

Overall Results after 6 races with 1 discard

Nick Thompson GBR 10pts
Jean-Baptiste Bernaz FRA 13pts
Tonci Stipanovic CRO 15pts
Matthew Wearn AUS 18pts
Robert Scheidt BRA 21pts
Philipp Buhl GER 25pts
KacperZieminski POL 29pts
Tom Burton 32pts
Marco Gallo ITA 33pts
Wannes van Laer BEL 35pts

Published in Olympic

In the Irish selection trial being sailed as part of the Laser World championships in Mexico, Finn Lynch has extended his lead over James Espey and Fionn Lyden for the single berth in Rio. While there is only one point between the leaders at the top of the fleet only 19 points separate the Irish trio. Lynch is 64th, Lyden 71st and Espey 83rd in the 112–boat fleet.

The Dun Laoghaire sailing star, who is a Youth World Championship silver medallist and U–19 Laser World champion, trailed Espey by six points going into this week's Laser Worlds so must maintain his current advantage to be sure of his Rio berth. Read more about the Irish trialists final battle here.

Tonci Stipanovic from Croatia heads the leader board with a well deserved win in the first race of Day 2. In a 10–knot south westerly breeze Matthew Wearn from Australia led the blue fleet round the first mark ahead of Wannes van Laer BEL and Julio Alsogaray ARG. Stipanovic took the lead ahead of Wearn after a good second windward leg when both pulled clear of Alsogaray and the chasing pack to then lead the fleet home. Germany’s Olympic representative, Philipp Buhl, was a major casualty at the start of the blue fleet race when he had to retire after being given a second yellow flag penalty on the start line.

In the yellow fleet, sailing on the outer loop, overnight leader Nick Thompson GBR, could only manage a 5th behind Jean-Bapiste Bernaz and the first three Marco Gallo ITA, Kacper Zieminski POL and Franccesco Marrai ITA who traded places in front of him.

The wind increased for the second races of the day bringing larger waves enabling sailors to catch some good downwind rides and, for a few, also the attention of the on-water jury.

The previously favoured right right-hand of the course was not so dominant although most of the favourites scored well. In the yellow fleet, Olympic silver medalist, Pavlos Kontides CYP won the port end pin position at the start and tacked to cross the fleet early to lead all the way home ahead of Bernaz. 5 places back from the pin Thompson got trapped at the port end and had to take a two turn penalty after he inadvertently impeded another boat whilst trying to clear his wind. Thompson did well to round the first mark in 20th and then recover to 13th which is currently his discard race.

Luke Elliot AUS also led from start to finish in the blue fleet with Alsogaray and Scheidt again in single figures after both climbing through the fleet.

5 points separate the first 7 places in the overall results after 2 more races at the Laser World Championships at Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico.

Top Ten Overall Results after 4 races with 1 discard

Tonci Stipanovic CRO 6pts
Nick Thompson GBR 7 pts
Jean-Baptiste Bernaz FRA 8pts
Matthew Wearn AUS 9pts
Robert Scheidt BRA 10pts
Julio Alsogary ARG 10 pts
Francesco Marrai ITA 11pts
KacperZieminski POL 14pts
Philipp Buhl GER 18pts
Marco Gallo ITA 20pts

Published in Olympic

Just fifteen places in a fleet of 112 sailors from 44 countries separated the three Irish sailors competing at the 2016 Laser Standard Men’s World Championship in Mexico yesterday.

Britain's Nick Thompson has opened his Laser title defence with a perfect 1,1 score and in the final Irish selection trial being sailed as part of the championships, Finn Lynch leads James Espey and Fionn Lyden, although results in the 60s and 70s will not be the kind of performance Ireland is hoping for in Rio in August. Lynch is 62nd, Lyden 73rd and Espey 77th. Read more about the Irish trialists final battle here.

laser worlds results mexico

Competitors enjoyed sparkling conditions of 12 to 15 knots in the waters off Nayarit on the west coast of Mexico. The total fleet is sailing in two groups during the qualifying series to determine the gold and silver fleets.

The first fleet was a little jumpy in the lighter conditions at the beginning of the day and needed 3 attempts to start before getting away on fourth start. In the process, 7 boats were taken out by the black flag for breaking the start line, including 9 times world champion, Robert Scheidt from Brazil.

On the final start in a building breeze Croatia’s Tonci Stipanovic tacked quickly on to port off the start line and headed for the starboard side of the course on a two-tack first beat. His tactic helped him to round the first mark in the lead, a position he held to the finish ahead of Milivoj Dukic from Montenegro. Behind him Philipp Buhl from Germany pulled through from 9th to 4th and then to 3rd by the finish.

The blue fleet started on the first attempt with Mark Spearman (AUS) rounding the first mark in the lead but was soon overtaken by Nick Thompson (GBR). “I had a good start and protected the right-hand side and rounded in fifth behind the guys who went further right” said Thompson. “I managed to gain places on the downwind second leg to get the lead at the bottom of the run and then hold on to the finish”.

In spite of a large swarm of bees landing on the Race Committee signal boat and pin boat, both fleets got away first time with clean starts for the day’s second race. In the yellow fleet race Scheidt made up for his previous black flag start to lead the fleet to a comfortable win ahead of Jean-Baptiste Bernaz of France and Andy Maloney from New Zealand.

In the blue fleet, Thompson got another good start from a slightly favoured pin and was able to cross over to the right side of the course to round the first mark just behind Julio Alsogarey ARG and ahead of Matthew Wearn AUS. Thompson pulled through to first on the second windward leg to take the gun ahead of Alsogarey and Wearn.

Qualifying racing continues today with two more races scheduled in the 14 race series. Overall results after 2 races without discard.

Nick Thompson GBR 2 pts
Tonci Stipanovic CRO 5 pts
Matthew Wearn AUS 7 pts
Jean- BaptisteBernaz FRA 9 pts
Millivoj Dukic MNE 13 pts
Andy Maloney NZL 14 pts
Philipp Buhl GER 15 pts
Kacper ZieminskiPOL 16 pts
Jesper Stalheim SWE 17 pts
Lorenzo Brando Chiavarini GBR 17 pts

 

 

Published in Olympic

As Afloat.ie previously reported, the final selection event to decide the Irish laser sailor for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games begins in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico today, where three Irish contenders will be in action. RESULTS AFTER DAY ONE ARE HERE.

The Men’s single-handed event in the Laser Standard class is being closely contested with the outcome hanging by a thread as London 2012 veteran and Providence Team IRL member James Espey from Ballyholme comes under pressure from ISA Development sailor Finn Lynch of the National YC.

Baltimore’s Fionn Lyden has demonstrated future potential in the trials that started over five months ago at the Olympic venue in a test event but will need a significant jump in form to win the nomination.

Racing begins in the world championships today at 1pm (6pm Irish Time) and continues for the coming seven days concluding on Wednesday18th. The first four days of racing will be qualification rounds that decide the fleet splits into Gold and Silver groupings. Unlike the Olympic Regatta format, there is no medal race final for the top ten boats.

On the trials standings after two previous events, Espey holds a narrow six-point lead over Lynch. Lyden trails by 20 points. In the large fleets competing in the worlds, finishing places between the Irish boats are likely to be spread out so the overall lead for the trials could easily change in the course of one or two races.

Although Espey has the upper hand in terms of experience and the overall lead, Lynch is a rising star of Irish sailing. As a Youth World Championship silver medallist and U19 Laser World champion, he is a clear threat to the incumbent having recently beat Espey to win the Ulster Laser Championships.

“While all three boats will be aiming for a Gold fleet result in this event, they will inevitably be aware of one another’s placing as the trials standings are so close,” commented James O’Callaghan, ISA Performance Director. "It has been a nail biting trials so far and that trend is likely to continue in Mexico"

As Afloat.ie reported previously, Last month saw Annalise Murphy from the National YC win the trials for the sole Irish slot at Rio 2016 for the Women’s Laser Radial event. In the 49er skiff event, Ryan Seaton with Matt McGovern and 49erFX sailors Andrea Brewster with Saskia Tidey also await a decision by the board of the ISA to be nominated to the Olympic Council of Ireland for inclusion in the national team for Brazil.

Published in Olympic
Tagged under

The Irish Olympic Laser trials looked like they were being sailed on home waters a week ago when the two protagonists for the single mens Laser berth in Rio this summer contested the Ulster Championships at County Antrim Yacht Club at Whitehead. Significantly, perhaps, in advance of the final trial later this month, it was the young Leinster helmsman who was celebrrating his birthday that weekend had the edge over trials leader James Espey from Belfast.

A combined fleet of nearly 100 boats in 4.7, radial and full rigs witnessed the Olympic class dog fight in a windy and cold championships. 'It was superb to see Lynch, Espey plus O’Sullivan on the local circuit', said one seasoned Laser campaigner.

Lynch's NYC  team-mates enjoyed the Antrim challenge too and posted results at or close to the top of all of the fleets. Heather Spain topped the Laser 4.7 fleet winning both first place overall and the girl’s first spot. Also achieving podium places were Hugh Perrette second place in the Laser 4.7 fleet, Evie Byrne, second girl and Clare Gorman third girl in only her second Laser event. Jenny Fekkes was third girl in the Laser Radial fleet. 

Full results downloadable below.

Published in Laser

Belfast's James Espey had an eighth and a tenth in the silver fleet of the Trofeo Princesa Sofia today to regain the lead in the Irish trial for the mens Laser berth in Rio. His main rival Finn Lynch suffered a 37th place in the morning race after a difficult first leg. He went on to place 14th this afternoon but not before the Royal Ulster sailor had edged ahead once more, this time with an 18-point lead.  

Northern Ireland sailors also performed well in the 49er skiff, Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern moved back up the standings in the 49er skiff class to hold joint first place overall.

Although the pair had a shaky start to the four-race day with a 15th place, they went on to deliver a 5-3-8 score. The Belfast lough pair have another four races to maintain their standing for what could be a well–earned podium on Saturday afternoon.

The moderate to fresh winds that were initially accompanied by a thick fog bank that delayed racing and saw another move in the snakes and ladders game for the Irish selection trials in the Laser class.

In the 49erFX skiff event, Providence Team IRL's Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey rounded off a difficult day with a solid fifth place, their best of a week that marks their return to competition after an injury enforced break.

Tomorrow (Friday) is the last day of racing in the finals round and the top ten boats in each of the 10 Olympic classes racing will qualify for the medal races on Saturday. As 49er class front-runners for most of the week, Seaton and McGovern will be the only Irish crew interest on Saturday.

Published in Olympic
Page 8 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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