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Irish Masters ILCA/Laser champion Sean Craig of the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour shot straight to the top of the ILCA 6 Masters World Championship with two fourth places scored in breezy conditions in the opening races of the Adelaide, Australia-based regatta. 

Craig, on eight points, leads Australian Colin Beashel by one in the Grand Master division after two races sailed back to back.  Lying third is American Andrew Holdsworth on 10 points. 

The competition continues until next Saturday, February 10th. 

The event follows last week's exploits at the same venue, where Finn Lynch and Ewan McMahon competed in the first of three trials at the 2024 ILCA 7 World Championships.

ILCA Grand Master Sean Craig competing on his home waters of Dublin Bay Photo: AfloatILCA Grand Master Sean Craig competing on his home waters of Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

As regular Afloat readers know, Craig earned his first Grand Master title last May when he finished top of the Barcelona Masters Championships in Spain.

Spain proved a successful hunting ground for the 59-year-old Dun Laoghaire ace, who won a Bronze Medal at the EurILCA Masters Europeans at L’Escala in Spain in October 2022.

Scroll down the results sheet (below) to read the latest ILCA 6 (Radial) Grand Master scores.

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Howth Yacht Club's heavy weather specialist Eve McMahon conquered strong Moroccan wind and waves to win the single race of day three and move into the overall lead of the ILCA U21 World Championships in Tangier.

The Paris 2024 campaigner is one of five Irish sailors competing. 

Trademark Atlantic waves and Mediterranean winds over 25 knots produced exciting conditions for the Mens ILCA 7 and ILCA 6 Women U21 racing.

The ILCA 6 fleet had two starts, the first being called back on a general recall, and the second good start was held under a black flag.

As the race progressed, the wind was gusty at the top mark, giving momentary respite before a tough downwind leg.

In first position at mark 1 was McMahon (IRL 216111), who was also today’s winner, closely followed by SUI 220286.

The situation in the ILCA 7 yellow fleet was similar as the first sailor to round mark 1, UKR 222721, was also the winner of race 1. In the ILCA 7 blue fleet, the top position went to ITA 221725.

Results are here

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Howth Yacht Club's Eve McMahon is lying second overall after four races sailed at the 2023 ILCA U21 World Championships in Tangier, Morocco.

The Paris 2024 campaigner is one of five Irish sailors competing. 

Wednesday started cloudy, with rain showers coming and going over the racecourse and the city of Tangier.

The sea conditions were slightly different today as there was a swell from the northwest and the wind from the southwest. The wind conditions were quite unstable across the racecourse, as the wind at the start line was more substantial than at mark 1, which was significantly weaker. The wind intensity ranged from 6 knots at the top marks and up to 12 knots at the start line, with gusts up to 15 knots.

In the first race of the day, the ILCA 6 fleet had three starting procedures, starting with a general recall, followed by a cancelled start due to a wind shift, and a final good start under a black flag. The ILCA 6 first race was the outer course, with Josephine Heegaard from Denmark arriving first to mark one. The race was very close until the last moment when the race was won by Italian Emma Mattivi. In the second race, the winner was again Emma Mattivi; nonetheless, with one discard after four races, the top female sailor was Josephine Heegaard.

In the male ILCA 7 yellow fleet, the racing was tight, and each sailor demonstrated their skill and expertise in the very technical swell and shifty conditions. In race one, the first place went to Italian Attilio Borio, and in race 2 Haruto Kuroda from Japan took the top spot. In the blue fleet, Finley Dickinson of United Kingdom won both races of the day. The top Irish sailor is Royal St. George's Ficachra McDonnell in 66th.

Results are here

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Royal Cork ILCA (Lasers) hosted the grand finale of the ILCA summer sprint series on Sunday 17th. The series, including ILCA racing across five venues throughout the summer, saw twenty-seven ILCAs compete in three different classes from five clubs on the Curlane Bank in Cork Harbour.

The favourable weather throughout the day from the east held well, allowing the sailors to complete four races on the day. There was some very tight racing in a strong ILCA 4 fleet, making for an exciting competition.

In the ILCA 6 class, three sailors finished on the same points tally, making it even more exciting to decide the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place. The tri-series trophies were presented based on the best three results from the five regattas.

ILCA Summer Sprint Series racingILCA Summer Sprint Series racing

The series started in June at Glandore Harbour Sailing Club and was followed by Kinsale Yacht Club in July, Bantry Bay Sailing Club in August, Iniscarra Sailing and Kayaking Club, and the finale in Royal Cork. It allowed local sailors to explore some of Cork's great sailing venues throughout the summer.

Each regatta used the sprint format with five quick 20-25-minute races with a single discard on the day. A social barbeque was then hosted at each club for sailors, parents, and helpers. Over fifty ILCA sailors raced in at least one of the regattas throughout the summer.

Special appreciation was given to Harriet Emerson in Glandore, John O'Sullivan in Kinsale, Kathryn Kingston in Bantry, and Aoife O'Herlihy in Iniscarra for hosting the previous events in the series. 

Royal Cork's Rear Admiral Dinghies, Maurice Collins expressed his joy for the successful conclusion of the series, as he was pictured with tri-series winners Eolann Miles (ILCA 4), Jonathan O'Shaughnessy (ILCA 7), Andrew Kingston (ILCA 6), and class captain Eddie Kingston at the Triseries prizegivingRoyal Cork's Rear Admiral Dinghies, Maurice Collins expressed his joy for the successful conclusion of the series, as he was pictured with tri-series winners Eolann Miles (ILCA 4), Jonathan O'Shaughnessy (ILCA 7), Andrew Kingston (ILCA 6), and class captain Eddie Kingston at the Triseries prizegiving

For those who missed the summer sprint series, more ILCA sailing is coming up at the RCYC Frostbite League in November.

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Three sailors from the Dun Laoghaire Harbour ILCA fleet recently competed in Douarnenez, France, showcasing their skills against a formidable field of over 270 competitors across 31 countries at the 2023 ILCA European Championships, with all three Irish sailors achieving at least one top-20 result.

Despite the Breton coast typically experiencing a steady 15-17kts sea breeze, the sailors faced challenging conditions due to the unprecedented hot and humid weather, which produced a combination of light and shifty conditions along with heavier sea breezes and 1.5m swells.

Hugh Delap, Brendan Hughes, and Ali Robinson began their campaign last October at the start of the local DMYC Frostbite series. They competed in provincial events and ultimately ended up in Howth at the end of August, where they raced in 30 knots of wind. 

This proved hugely beneficial to all three in terms of strength and conditioning ahead of the Europeans.

Brendan Hughes rounding the windward mark at the ILCA European Championships in FrancBrendan Hughes rounding the windward mark at the ILCA European Championships in France

The Irish sailors competed in the Apprentice and Masters fleet, which included John Emett, coach of Lijia Xu, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist. Also in this fleet were the current female European champion, a number of previous Olympic sailors, and national and ex-world champion ILCA sailors.

Ali Robinson defending on the downwind at the ILCA European Championships in FranceAli Robinson defending on the downwind at the ILCA European Championships in France

All three sailors spoke about their incredible learnings from the event and emphasised the intense but physically and mentally enhancing experience of having six days of racing in a row. The sailors plan to build on their learnings and continue to develop physically, technically, and mentally, with their sights set on the 2024 Europeans in Portugal and the 2025 Worlds to be held in Hayling Island, UK.

The beauty of the ILCA Masters sailing format is that anyone over the age of 35 can compete against gold medallists, and World and European champions, and continue to compete for as long as they can get into the boat.

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The Howth Yacht Club (HYC) hosted International Laser Class Association (ILCA) National Championships and saw sailors from three different clubs take the top spots across the three fleets.

Despite losing a day of racing due to strong winds and rough seas, the remaining two days provided plenty of action.

On Saturday, the start of the races was delayed due to the remnants of Friday's storm, but the wind eventually moderated to 15-23 knots, allowing the ILCA 7s to complete four races and the ILCA 6 and 4 fleets to complete three races each. The choppy conditions from the south-easterly breeze made it a challenging race course.

Sunday saw more manageable conditions, with a 12-20 knot breeze welcoming the sailors to the race course. Scorie Walls and her team completed four races for each of the fleets.

Local sailor Jamie McMahon, who had just returned from a summer in the USA, took the crown in the ILCA 7s, narrowly beating Australian Isaac Schotte by one point.

Jonathan O'Shaughnessy from the Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC) had remarkably consistent results and came in third, while Ballyholme's Colin Leonard was the first master and came in fourth.

In the ILCA 6s, East Antrim's Tom Coulter won by one point from RStGYC's Fiachra McDonnell, despite McDonnell's storming day two with three of four race wins. HYC's Sienna Wright was first lady and secured her spot to represent Ireland at the World Sailing Youth Championships.

Carlingford Sailing Club's Lucy Ives showed the rest how it's done in the ILCA 4s, winning the fleet, followed by Liam Duggan (RCYC) and Patrick Foley (RStGYC).

The team trophy was awarded to the club with the best result across the three fleets, which went to RCYC for the second year in a row. HYC and RStGYC were also contenders, but RCYC was the strongest across the fleets.

The event was sponsored by Rooster, who provided prizes for the event, as well as bibs for competitors. HYC played host well, providing food and entertainment ashore for all sailors, with photos from the day's racing displayed on a big screen and music playing, creating a great atmosphere for all involved.

Results here

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Hungary's Maria Erdi won the final gold medal at the 2023 Allianz Sailing World Championships in The Hague in a tight medal race.

The 25-year-old moved up from third place to claim her first world title in the ILCA 6 medal race.

Australian sailor Matt Wearn confirmed his own world title in the ILCA 7, adding to his Olympic gold won in Tokyo 2020.

The Netherlands finished as the most successful nation, with gold medals for Luuc van Opzeeland in the iQFOiL and Bart Lambriex and Floris van de Werken in the 49er, retaining the IOC President's Trophy for the best nation.

Australian sailor Matt Wearn is carried ashore after winning the ILCA 7 division at the Allianz Sailing World Championships in The Hague Photo: Sailing EnergyAustralian sailor Matt Wearn is carried ashore after winning the ILCA 7 division at the Allianz Sailing World Championships in The Hague Photo: Sailing Energy

As Afloat readers know, Ireland's Finn Lynch from the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire won Ireland a place at the Paris 2024 Games at The Hague in the ILCA 7 class.  

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Big breeze and sea state in Howth Sound were too much for the first day of racing at the Irish ILCA/Laser National Championships hosted by Howth Yacht Club today (Friday, August 18th).

"We're hoping this storm passes through quickly and we get a full day of sailing tomorrow (Saturday)", organiser Conor Murphy told Afloat.

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In 33rd position, Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) has four ILCA 7 races left on Thursday at the Sailing World Championships in The Hague to make the medal race top ten plus a top 16 overall position to qualify Ireland for the Paris 2024 Olympics. 

After a 15th place and a 58th scored in Wednesday's wind against strong tide conditions, the Carlow sailor has it all to do on Thursday with countryman and rival for the single Irish berth, Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club), just nine places behind in 42nd overall in the 69-strong division.

At the front of the fleet, Micky Beckett (GBR) overcame a black flag disqualification in the first race to extend his lead in the ILCA 7, thanks to a second in the day's final race.

However, Olympic champion Matt Wearn (AUS) was the big mover, with a first and a third to move into second overall, albeit still 15 points behind Beckett.

However, a strong start to competition in the gold fleet, Wearn will hope to match his exploits at the Paris Test Event when a strong finish saw him overhaul Beckett for victory.

Results here

The U21 ILCA ILCA Europeans sailing competition has kicked off in Stavanger, Norway, with 230 sailors from over 36 nations competing for top honours.

155 ILCA 7 sailors and 75 ILCA 6 female sailors will participate in the event, with 59 of them vying for U21 and U19 prizes.

Irish youth sailors Sophie Kilmartin, Oisin Hughes from the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire and Royal Cork's Jonathan O'Shaughnessy represent their country in the competition, having recently completed their state exams.

The event, which began last week, is scheduled to run until August 13th, and strong winds are expected to give way to more moderate conditions as the week progresses.

Results can be found here

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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