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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 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 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
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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

Sunny Palma laid on some of its best conditions for the third day of the 47th Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR today but it all started with a lengthy delay as a weak south-westerly eventually gave way to a moderate southerly with winds from 10-16 knots and great sailing conditions.

Dublin's Finn Lynch posted a marginally better overall score for the day over London 2012 rep James Espey as the pair fight it out to decide the Rio 2016 nomination.

With the three Irish Lasers racing in the Silver fleet, Lynch had a consistent sixth and a fifth. Espey had a ninth and a third to finish the day six points behind his rival for the sole Rio place. A reminder that the contest could yet be a three-way affair came from Baltimore's Fionn Lyden who won the first race of the day but followed this with a 32nd place and trails Lynch and Espey by almost 20 places.

Kinsale’s Darragh O’Sullivan had a fifth and a second place in the Laser class Bronze fleet where he is a single point off the podium with two days of racing left.

The morning’s calm conditions delayed the skiff classes racing until even later in the day but the opening race for the women’s 49erFX saw Providence Team IRL's Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey suffer their worst result of the series so far with a back of the fleet 30th place. However, as the breeze freshened for the second race the pair recovered form to place 14th and they lie 19th overall. Two days of racing remain to make up the 20-point difference for a place in the medal race final on Saturday.

The men’s skiff event had an even longer wait ashore as the wind barely reached the minimum strength for racing conditions. Ireland’s Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern placed eighth in the only race of the day and lie fourth overall in the 49er class to look good for the medal race on Saturday.

After two days of light winds, tomorrow’s forecast is for fresh to strong gusty winds on the Bay of Palma for the penultimate day of fleet racing at the regatta.

Leading Results:
470 Men: 1.- Mathew Belcher/ Will Ryan (AUS): 5pts, 2.-Stu McNay/Dave Hughes (USA): 19, 3.-Jordi Xammar/Joan Herp (ESP): 20; 470 W: 1.- Fernanda Oliveira/Ana Barbachan (BRA): 7pts 2.-Afrodite Kyranakou/Anneloes Van Veen (NED): 16 3.- Anne Haeger/Briana Provancha (USA) : 20'

49er M: 1.- Diego Botín/Iago López (ESP):15pts, 2.- Nico Delle/Nikolaus Resch (AUT): 18, 3.- Erik Heil /Thomas Plossel (ESP): 20; 49er FX W: 1.-Annemiek Bekkering/Annerre Duetz (NED): 25pts, 2.- Jena Mai Hansen/Katja Steen (DEN): 27, 3.-Charlotte Dobson/Sophie Ainsworth (GBR): 47.

FINN: 1.- Josh Junior (NZL): 15pts, 2.-Giles Scott (GBR): 19, 3.- Pieterjan Postma (NED):24pts:

LASER STANDARD: 1.- Andrew Maloney (NZL): 18pts, 2.- Tonci Stipanovic (CRO): 25, 3.- Kristian Ruth (NOR): 25pts. LASER RADIAL: 1.- Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN): 16pts 2.-Evi Van Acker (BEL):18, 3.- Tuula Tenkanen (FIN):20.

NACRA 17, 1.-Billy Besson/Marie Riou (FRA): 23 2.- Vittorio Bissaro/Silvia Sicouri (ITA): 55, 3.- Paul Kohlhoff/Carolina Werner (GER): 56.

RS: X M: 1.- Tom Squires (GBR): 7pts 2.-Vyron Kokkalanis ((GRE): 10, 3.- Pawel Tarnowski(POL): 13. RS:X W: 1.- Olga Maslivets (RUS): 8pts, 2.- Charline Picon (FRA):): 17, 3.- Marina Alabau (ESP): 17.

Invited Classes: 2.4M: 1.- Helena Lucas (GBR): 3pts, 2.- Bjornar Erikstad (NOR): 7, 3.- Lasse Klotzing (GER): 8. Dragon: 1.-Lady Tati (POR): 3 2.-Convergens (RUS): 7 3.- Young Tigger (ESP): 10

Published in Olympic

None of the Irish contenders for the mens Laser berth slot have made the gold fleet cut today at the important Trofeo Princesa Sofia Regatta in Palma. The result, however disappointing in the build up to Rio, intensifies the three way Irish Olympic test underway in Palma Bay where there has been a change in the trials lead. 

If day one of the regatta yesterday proved a straighforward boatspeed day in moderately brisk breezes, Tuesday's races today were much more about being in the right place, in the best pressure as much as possible. 800 boats are competing and 13 Irish sailors are in Palma but the Irish mens Laser trial is the focus of attention. The three contenders, from Dublin, Cork and Belfast, remain neck and neck.

Finn Lynch, the young National Yacht Club sailor who has made no secret of his cash–strapped campaign has emerged as the leading Irish boat overall after a lighter winds this afternoon. Lynch had a fifth in the opening race followed by a 23rd to leave him 52nd overall in the 152-strong fleet. Just two points stood between him and the cut for the Gold fleet that starts racing tomorrow.

Now in the Silver fleet, Lynch will keep a keen eye on Northern Ireland's James Espey who had a 20th and a 22nd yesterday and he dropped to 62nd overall, crucially five points behind Lynch. A 13th yesterday for Fionn Lyden of Baltimore was enough to get him into the Silver fleet so it is still anyone's guess who will be Ireland's rep in Rio, a race that looks set to go right down to the wire. The third and final selection trial is in Mexico in May.

Finn Lynch campaign video

Northern Ireland 49er Loses Overall Lead

In the 49er Skiff, although Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern have lost their overall lead from day one they are joint second. A second and a third keep the Belfast pair on course for Saturday’s medal race final.

It was a different story unfortunately, for Rio qualified Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey in the 49erFX skiff. After a consistent top ten opening day, the Dun Laoghaire pair had a more challenging day and results in the 20s leave them in 15th overal from 27.

DSC 1515

Darragh O’Sullivan Photo: Bob Bateman

Other Irish boats competing amongst the 800–plus fleet on the Bay of Palma, Kinsale's Daragh O’Sullivan is racing in the Laser Standard class and lies 117th overall.

In the 49er class, Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove completed all three races yesterday in their debut at Palma and are 63rd overall. Mark Hassett and Oisin O Driscoll are close behind in 65th place.

Finn sailor Oisin McClelland from Donaghdee in County Down is racing in the Finn single-handed dinghy and lies 39th overall in his 74-boat class.

The result table toppers in the Men's 470 and the Laser Radial classes both count all first places - though both Olympic medallists Mat Belcher, and crew Will Ryan of Australia and Evi Van Acker discard their one bigger score, albeit a third and sixth respectively.

New Zealand's singlehanders are showing well so far. Josh Junior and Andrew Maloney now lead the Finn and Laser classes respectively after today and Sarah Winter, counting 2,2,7 to date, is fourth in the Laser Radials.

In the Laser Men's fleet Andy Maloney leads Norway's Kristian Ruth and the USA's Charlie Buckingham. Ruth is part of a strong Norwegian squad who have trained this winter on the Bay of Cadiz with 1996 Olympian Anton Garrote.

Despite the short postponement this morning the regatta schedule is pretty much on course. Three races were sailed for the 49ers, RS:X and Nacra 17s while the other classes completed two.

1. Mathew Belcher/ Will Rya, AUS, 3 points
2. Stu Mcnay/Dave Hughes, USA, 5
3. Anton Dahlberg/ Fredik Bergstrom, SWE, 6

470 Women
1. Amy Seabright/Anna Carpenter, GBR, 4
2. Fernanda Oliveira/Ana Barbachan, BRA, 4
3. Annika Bochmann/Marlene Steinherr, GER, 8

1. Nico Delle/Nikolaus Resch, AUT, 11
2. Diego Botín/Iago Lopez, ESP, 14
3. Ryan Seaton/Matt Mcgovern, IRL, 14

49 FX
1. Jena Mai Hansen/Katja Steen, DEN,10
2. Annemiek Bekkering/Annerre Duetz, NED, 16
3. Martine Grael/Kahena Kunze, BRA, 17

1. Josh Junior, NZL, 9
2. Giles Scott, GBR, 15
3. Pieterjan Postma, NED, 15

1. Andrew Maloney, NZL, 5
2. Kristian Ruth, NOR, 7
3. Charlie Buckingham, USA, 8

Laser Radial
1. Evi Van Acker, BEL, 3
2. Alison Young, GBR, 8
3. Tuula Tenkanen, FIN, 10

1. Billy Besson/Marie Riou, FRA, 11
2. Paul Kohlhoff/Carolina Werner, GER, 25
3. Thomas Zajac/Tanja Frank, AUT, 26

RS: X Men
1. Tom Squires, GBR, 4
2. Vyron Kokkakanis, GER, 5
3. Andreas Cariolou, CYP, 8

RS:X Women
1. Olga Maslivets, RUS, 4
2. Lilian De Geus, ISR, 7
3. Charline Picon, FRA, 7

Published in Olympic

The crucial Trofeo Princesa Sofia Olympic classes regatta at Palma got underway in perfect conditions today and Irish skiff crews were to the fore for a perfect start in a 12–17 knot breeze providing great racing conditions and great competition. The regatta is also the second round of the mens Laser trial with three Irish sailors vying for the single berth. 

13 Irish sailors are taking part in the event including some young crews in their first major event. Over 800 boats and one thousand sailors representing 68 nations from around the world are racing.

After three races, Rio qualified Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern from Northern Ireland lead the 49er skiff class in a major boost to their preparations for next month's European Championships. Although Palma is missing some key top contenders today's results are a strong follow–on from their tenth place overall at the 2015 World Championships. Their eighth place in the opening race today was followed by second and first places.


#justsendit ⛵️?Solid start to the Princess Sophia Regatta for us boys, had some really good fun back racing in the big waves and breeze.

Posted by Team Seaton & McGovern on Monday, 28 March 2016

Also Rio qualifed following Friday's release of the African berth by ISAF, Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey from Dun Laoghaire were also on form in today's early stages and lie in ninth overall after scoring 8.9.8 in the 27–boat fleet.

In the Irish Laser trial, London 2012 veteran James Espey from Belfast had a 28th and a tenth to lie 50th overall which is the cut-off for deciding the Gold fleet standard and continues to lead the Laser men trials. Dun Laoghaire's Finn Lynch had a 19th and 28th and lies in 69th place in the 152–boat event. Two 29th places for Baltimore's Fionn Lyden puts him 87th overall after day one.

There are no Irish radial sailors in Palma which is unusual given many of Annalise Murphy's predicted 'top eight' are in attendance.

The Princess Sofia regatta also marked the first major international regatta for up and coming sailors in the 49er skiff event. Mark Hassett and Oisin O'Driscoll from Schull and former 420 champions Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove are both racing.

Published in Olympic

Finn Lynch’s European Championships 28th overall result in Gran Canaria earlier this month means he will be eligible for International Carding and direct state funding of €12,000 next January 2017. 

Finn was the only Irish Laser senior sailor to qualify for the gold fleet (top half of fleet) the other three Irish trialists raced in the silver fleet.

The two top five race results he scored will also give the 19–year–old a great lift but unfortunately it is money – or for the lack of it – that is most needed now. 

This event was not a trial for Olympic nomination. Palma is the next event to count and racing starts there on March 28th. According to a National Yacht Club statement, Finn’s financial situation is now critical as a fundraiser did not reach its target.

Published in Olympic

With big winds up to 20–knots and large waves Annalise Murphy from the National Yacht Club was very much at home and off to a flying start at the in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria  at the European Laser Senior Championship 2016 yesterday where she is ranked seventh after the first day's racing. 14 out of the World's top 20 female Laser Radial sailors are competing. The Irish sailing star recently offered a prediction that she is one of eight girls who can medal in Rio in August. Results for all three divisions are downloadable below.

11 male and female Laser sailors from around the Irish coast are competing in the important regatta. In the women's division Annalise is well ahead of Irish rivals so far. Aoife Hopkins from Howth Yacht Club is 57th, Nicole Hemeryck from the National Yacht Club is 61st and Aisling Keller 68th in a fleet of 88.

The Laser Radial female competition is very tight, the two leaders in their own groups are tied, as well as the girls in third position (with a 2nd and two 4ths), Finish Tuula Tenkanen and Chinese Xu Lijia -Gold medalist in London 2012. The female leader board is headed by Dutch girl Marit Bouwmeester and Swedish Josefin Olsson, both with three wins in their resepctive groups.

With winds gusting to over 30 knots, the fleet was kept ashore for the opening day, but racing has got underway yesterday.

267 sailors from 47 countries participate in this Championship, organised by the Real Club Nautico de Gran Canaria, the European Laser Association (Eurilca) and the Real Federacion Española de Vela (RFEV).

Although sailors with Rio Sailing Olympic ambitions are competing in Gran Canaria Ireland is also represented in the mens radial where Ewan McMahon from Howth Yacht Club posted fifth yesterday. Conor O'Beirne from the Royal St. George YC is eighth and former Topper World Champion Liam Glynn from Ballyholme Yacht Club is 19th.

Nick Thompson leads the Laser Standard class in the European Senior Championship. Three wins in the first three races gives the current World Champion the leading position in a demanding day. Finn Lynch of the National Yacht Club in 54th leads Fionn Lyden of Baltimore Sailing Club in 73rd. Ballyholme's James Espey (leader of the Irish Olympic trial) is 77th and Darragh O’ Sullivan from Kinsale Yacht Club is 100th. Seafra Guilfolye of Royal Cork is listed as entered by not competing.

Published in Olympic

The National Yacht Club has renewed its appeal for club sailor Finn Lynch who is part of a three way mens Laser dinghy trial for Irish Olympic qualification in Palma in March and Mexico in May.

The Dun Laoghaire club says it is looking to raise €25,000 to cover the final qualification trips and the purchase of a new boat for the solo star, a silver medal winner at the 2012 Youth World Championships.

Published in Olympic
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Page 9 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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