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Displaying items by tag: Tokyo 2020

Ireland's Olympic Silver medalist Annalise Murphy (28) will not contest August's World Sailing Championships in Denmark where 40% of Tokyo Olympic places are up for grabs.

Howth Yacht Club's Aoife Hopkins (19) will now automatically be offered Ireland's first Laser Radial place at the Danish event in Aarhus.

According to the Olympic Team Manager James O'Callaghan, the National Yacht Club ace has opted not to take the place as she decided she would not have enough time between finishing her Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) commitments and delivering 'a result she would be proud of'.

Last August, Murphy put her Tokyo plans on hold with the original intention of making the 2018 World Championships following the conclusion of the Volvo Ocean Race in June.

Murphy withdrew from the 2017 Radial World championships citing a knee injury sustained while sailing in Italy. She also withdrew from the Test Event in Aarhus in 2017 as a result of the same injury.

The Irish team for Aarhus is Finn Lynch in the Laser Standard, Hopkins in the Radial, and Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle in the 49er. O'Callaghan expects Ireland could secure at least two Tokyo berths. 

Subsequent to World Sailing's original allocation of nation places, Ireland applied for and has received extra places based on World Ranking points. Three further 49er skiff places have been granted and now there are places too both for Aisling Keller and Liam Glynn in the Laser classes.

Details of Ireland's Tokyo 2020 prospects are discussed in an Afloat.ie podcast with the team manager here.

Published in Tokyo 2020

Irish Olympic Laser campaigners Finn Lynch of the National Yacht Club and Liam Glynn of Ballyholme Yacht Club will face a fleet of 183 and all three Rio medallists when they start racing at a bumper 49th Trofeo Princesa Sofía Iberostar in Palma today, the first test of new Laser coach for Ireland, Vasilij Žbogar.

In a large turnout across the Olympic sailing classes for Ireland, previewed in full here, Aisling Keller in the Laser Radial will also meet Dutch 2016 gold medallist Marit Bouwmeester who took silver in London racing her first major regatta of this year.

'Racing kicks off at 11.00 today. 180 lasers entered! It should be a great week! says Lynch on the eve of the regatta while Glynn admits it's likely to be 'a tough week ahead racing 180 of the world's top sailors, but determined to start the racing season on a high'.

Following last year's post-Olympic entry of 634 boats and 842 sailors the expected spike in numbers continues an underlying upward trend. Entries last year were 10% ahead of where they were in 2013, that was immediately post London, and in 2017 were more than 20% ahead of 2009, post Beijing.

"The regatta this year is bigger than four years ago and so from the sports point of view is in a good position." highlights the event's manager Ferran Muniesa, "But the most important thing is what the sailors say to us all the time, that feel really comfortable at this event and that is important. They are our clients and we are seeking to give the best possible service to them."

The direct effects for the local economy are significant during tourism's realtively low season. A recent impact survey accounted for a income of around €4.5m to the local economy spread over the month prior to the event and during competition week.

Muniesa adds, " Long term locally what we really want is to show to the people of Mallorca and to the government of the Balearic Islands that this is an event which does a great promotion around the world for Mallorca and creates a significant impact - not only in terms of image but the economic impact is important because of course this happens low season. "

He adds,  " From today we start the campaign to reduce the plastics and to educate and engage the sailors to tell them that they are the first ones that can set an example to everyone. That is why with our sponsors Iberostar and Marinepool and the Foundation One Earth One Ocean we are trying to see how we can help. This is a long term vision and this year we get started."

To sailors on all stages of their Olympic journey the lure of these Balearic waters remains as strong as ever. The event is renowned for pleasant sunshine, consistent, reliable spring breezes, excellent race management and it also holds the opportunity to put in several weeks of pre-regatta training in - usually - sunshine and a variety of winds.

With two years now until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics the 49th Trofeo Princesa Sofía Iberostar regatta is an almost essential fixture. No fewer than 17 sailing medallists who stood on the Olympic podium in Rio in 2016 will compete against dozens of previous Olympic medallists and World and European Champions. But the event is a fascinating melting pot where young talent can emerge and impress at one of their first big stage Olympic multi class events.

"It is wonderfully organised with a great atmosphere ashore but on the water there is a nice air of, well, anarchy. Here you often find loads of young guys and girls here to prove themselves and really push everything hard. And so for us, and others like us, this is always a chance to try new things, different equipment or tecniques, to work on things as for us the outcome is not critical." summarises the 2012 470 Olympic silver medallist Luke Patience with a trademark grin.

That said the 49th Trofeo Princesa Sofía Iberostar regatta marks the start of the journey for country qualification for Japan leading up to this season's World Championships of Aarhus.

The all time participation record sees eight regatta courses due to be operated across the Bay of Palma with starts and finishes almost continuously through each day. Target schedule for the Laser, RS: X and Finn is 10 races over in five days, while the Nacra 17, 49er and 49er FX have 15 races scheduled. Then, next Saturday, April 7, the decisive Medal Races for each classes should determine the overall podiums.

Who's Who? More than 20 Rio Medallists.....

In the Men's 470 Class Miami winners Patience and Chris Grube will be up against Australia's 2017 world champions and 2016 Olympic silver medallists Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan who won here two years ago and Rio bronze medallists Greece's Mantis Panagiotis and Pavlos Kagialis.

Rio gold medal winning helm in the 470 fleet Hannah Mills competes with Eilidh McIntyre with whom she finished runner up at the World Championship. Similarly France's Camille Lecointre who sails now with Aloise Retornaz won Olympic bronze in Rio.

British crews have achieved something of a domination in the 49er class even if medals have proven elusive at recent Olympics. Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Olympic 470 silver medal winning crew Stu Bithell are current world champions and won gold at the Sailing World Cup Miami in January. Germany's Olympic bronze medal winner Thomas Ploessel now races in a new partnership with Justus Schmidt. The young Spanish duo Diego Botin and Iago L. Marra finished runners up in Miami and were second here last year behind the British winners James Peters and Fynn Sterrit who sadly miss the chance to repeat their success because of a last minute injury to crew Sterrit.

In 49er FX the New Zealanders Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech and the Danish duo Jena Mai Hansen and Katja Steen Salskov-Iversen start among the favourites. Maloney and Meech won Olympic silver in Rio while Hansen and Salskov-Iverson hold Olympic bronze from 2016 and lifted the world champions title in 2017.

The Finn class is perhaps one of the hardest to call. GBR's recently crowned European Champion Ed Wright is up against Rio gold and silver medal winners Giles Scott (GBR) and Caleb Paine (USA) along with the Swede Max Salminen who is world champion.

The Laser fleet is the biggest at the regatta with 183 registered boats and all three Rio medallists are racing here. Outstanding favourite appears to be Tom Burton, gold winner in Rio 2016, world championship runner up and the class winner at the Sailing World Cup Miami. Croatia's Tonci Stipanovic took silver in Rio and New Zealand's 2016 bronze medallist Sam Meech won the first of the 2018 Sailing World Cup events in Japan.

The Laser Radial class is 117 strong with the Dutch 2016 gold medallist Marit Bouwmeester who took silver in London racing her first major regatta of this year. She holds the aces as World and European Champion. Denmark's Anne Marie Rindom is the bronze medallist in Rio, winner of the first regatta of the 2018 Sailing World Cup and finished third here when she last raced in 2016. Great Britain's Alison Young, the 2016 world champion, comfortably triumphed at the Sailing World Cup regatta in January.

In the Nacra 17 the introduction of foils has opened up the class again forcing a new style of sailing to be learned. Argentines Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza, the Olympic champions in Rio 2016 are on that learning curve and have yet to replicate their Rio success on foils. World Champions are GBR's Ben Saxton and Nicola Boniface, the first world title winners on foils, who were sixth here last year. The Nacra 17 also features Austria's bronze medallists Thomas Zajac and Barbara Matz while Spain's Fernando Fernando Echávarri and Tara Pacheco are 2017 world championship runners up.

The men's boards are the only class in which none of the medallists of the last Olympic Games are present at the 49th Trofeo Princesa Sofía Iberostar. Poland completed the double last year when Pawel Tarnowski won the Men's RS:X, following up from his second in 2016. World Champion Bing Le leads a strong Chinese contingent as does Women's World Champion Pei Na Chen in the female fleet. Spain's London 2012 gold medallist Marina Alabau has finished fourth twice here.

The Trofeo Princesa Sofía Iberostar has signed a collaboration agreement with the One Earth - One Ocean foundation to help protect the oceans and coastal waters. The initiatives begin at this edition, by reducing the use of plastics and by collecting waste from the sea and the beach. In addition, the organization has distributed to all the on the water personnel and participating coaches a device to prevent of fuel and oil going in the sea from the RIB’s engine.

Published in Tokyo 2020

A recurring case of tonsillitis rules out Howth Yacht Club  Laser ace Aoife Hopkins from this week's Princess Sofia regatta in Palma. 

"I'm really gutted to have to announce that I will not be competing", Hopkins told Afloat. 

Over the last three weeks Hopkins says she hasn't been able to recover in time to either train or race.

"This has been incredibly frustrating as Palma was where I was looking forward to putting winter training to the test and applying the lessons learned in Miami".

Hopkins expects to contest the Senior Europeans in May.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Ireland's Olympic Laser sailing team has a new multi–medal winning Slovenian coach but will he boost Finn Lynch's upwind speed in a breeze? Is Annalise Murphy going to swap her world–girdling adventures for a chance of Tokyo gold anytime soon? The answer to these questions and the prospects of Irish Olympic Sailing campaigns are discussed by High Performance Director James O'Callaghan in the Afloat.ie podcast below.

In ten Olympic sailing disciplines, Ireland will contest four at the World Sailing Championships in Aarhaus this August where over 100 nations are racing for 40% of Tokyo Olympic Games berths.

With five months to go to that big event, O'Callaghan gives an overview of just what is required to win an Olympic berth at the first opportunity and concludes he'd be 'happy' to see Ireland secure two Olympic spots in Denmark. 

Listen in to the podcast below.

Laser – Finn Lynch | Liam Glynn | Ewan McMahon | Johnny Durcan

Liam glynnFormer Topper World Champion Liam Glynn is chasing Olympic nomination in the Laser. A top 25 of the Mens Laser fleet will be required for Olympic Qualification in Aarhaus Photo: Facebook

In something of a 'coup' for team Ireland, Irish Sailing has appointed a new Olympic medal winning Slovenian coach to assist Finn Lynch's quest for improved heavy weather upwind speed. After this Summer's Leaving Certificate, the Rio Laser helmsman will have more Irish company on the circuit too. Howth's Ewan McMahon, Royal Cork's Johnny Durcan are scheduled to join Lynch and Belfast's Liam Glynn in a new Irish mens Laser training group under star coach, Vasilij Žbogar.

Radial – Annalise Murphy | Aoife Hopkins | Aisling Keller

Annalise murphy sailing VORAfter sailing round the world in the Volvo Ocean Race, Annalise Murphy's stated return to the Radial is much anticipated. Photos: Facebook

Aoife HopkinsAoife Hopkins during fitness testing at the Sport Ireland Institute. Photo: Facebook

Is it certain Olympic Silver medalist Annalise Murphy will be back to campaign for Tokyo? Murphy is currently sailing in the 'life changing' Volvo Ocean Race but O'Callaghan says the National Yacht Club star is expected to return Radial duty this Summer. The Rio star can expect some home competition this quadrennial from recently carded sailors Aoife Hopkins and Aisling Keller, both embarking on brand new campaigns post Leaving Cert.

Ryan seaton Seafra guilfoyleRyan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle training in Palma this week. Photo: Facebook

49er – Ryan Seaton & Seafra Guilfoyle

There have been setbacks for the 49er pairing of Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle – including a cycling accident but the expectation is that 2018 can produce results under a new coach. A top ten overall to qualify in Aarhaus will be a tough prospect but it's nothing Belfast's Seaton hasn't done before in his build–up to London and Rio. Meanwhile, Irish Sailing's 49er Development team have all been training in Palma in advance of the Princesca Sofia Regatta there this week. 

Finn – Oisin McClelland | Fionn Lyden

Oisinisin McClelland

A question mark may hang over its future Olympic status but that's not stopping two Irish campaigns from securing a mens heavyweight berth in Tokyo. Oisin McClelland from Donaghdee is currently racing for European Honours in Cadiz while illness rules out Baltimore's Fionn Lyden this week.  As the only Olympic class that is not mixed-gender, the heavyweight Finn dinghy is looking most likely for the chop when World Sailing decides on its Paris 2024 fleets later this year. The response at this week’s Finn Euros has been the launch of the #myfutureisinyourhands campaign, with Ireland’s now sole entry, Oisín McClelland, posting on Facebook: “The future of Olympic sailing looks set to eliminate anyone over 6ft and 85kgs. Plenty of Finn sailors are upset about it.” Not that the Donaghdee star is leaving his Tokyo 2020 fate in the hands of others — as his bright start on Day 1 of the Cadiz regatta proved. 

Published in Tokyo 2020

The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) has announced Peter Sherrard as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective May 2018.

Sherrard joins the OCI from the Football Association of Ireland where he is Operations Director with responsibility for International Team Operations and Match Operations.

Sherrard has held a number of management positions during his career including Market Manager for Ryanair in Italy, Head of Communications at Ryanair, Director of Communications at the FAI, Interim Commercial Director at the FAI, and his current position, Operations Director at the FAI, which he has held since 2014. In this role he is responsible for International Team Operations and Match Operations and was responsible for team preparations at UEFA EURO 2016. Originally from Newcastle Co Down and a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, he is a fluent French and Italian speaker having lived and worked in both countries and he has ten years of experience within Irish Sport.

Commenting on Mr Sherrard’s appointment, the President of the OCI Ms Sarah Keane said:

“We are very pleased that we have been successful in attracting a person of the calibre and experience of Peter to the Olympic Council of Ireland. His hands on experience and leadership skills will be of great value to us as we continue to pursue our athlete centred programme of reform. With the recent launch of our new strategy Peter is starting at a time of real growth and development for the Olympic movement in Ireland. He will lead our journey towards making a real difference and adding significant value to Irish Olympic sport. Irish Olympians inspire the Nation and we want to enhance and support our athletes, coaches, and Federations to deliver on their Olympic goals, dreams and ambitions. On behalf of the Board and staff of the OCI we look forward to working with Peter to deliver for our athletes, Member Federations and the Irish sporting public into the future.”

Speaking on the announcement of his appointment today Peter Sherrard said;

“I am delighted to have been appointed CEO at this exciting time of growth and change at the OCI. I look forward to working with the Board and staff of the OCI to build on the good work of the past 12 months. I share the Board’s commitment to placing athletes and Federations at the centre of everything we do at the OCI. With the Winter Games currently underway in Pyeongchang and the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo fast approaching I am committed to working with Team Ireland and our partners to help deliver world class support for our athletes.”

Published in Tokyo 2020

Some decisions and the sentiment expressed at World Sailing’s 2017 Conference recently suggest that the door might be opening for offshore sailing to become an Olympic sailing event.

Submission 108 presented by the World Sailing Board, and passed by the Council, greenlights the establishment of an Offshore World Championship in one-design boats. The submission gives credence to the proposal made to the International Olympic Committee to hold an Offshore “Showcase” event at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Noboru Kobayashi of the Japanese Sailing Federation, speaking to the submission, suggested a 300 mile offshore course starting close to the Olympic Marina in Tokyo Bay and finishing in Enoshima just west of Tokyo.

While there is much detail to be discussed, it is believed that the format will allow for a two-handed, mixed gender crew sailing in supplied one-designs with the Figaro Beneteau 3 being mentioned as a potential class.

If given the go-ahead, the showcase event would likely take place immediately prior to the Games themselves, and, if deemed successful, could become a full medal event in 2024.

Published in Offshore

The racing format for Annalise Murphy's bid for an Olympic Gold medal has been settled at last week's World Sailing Conference in Mexico.

It will almost certainly see Ireland's Olympic Slver Medalist from the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire break from her Volvo Ocean Race campaign next May to win a place for Ireland on the Laser Radial Tokyo startline at the 2018 Sailing World Championships, the principal Olympic Sailing qualification event.

The Men's and Women's 470, Finn, Laser and Laser Radial will all sail an opening series which will be followed by a double point Medal Race.

As well as Murphy, at least three other Irish Radial Sailors will seek Tokyo selection, including top performing Aoife Hopkins of Howth Yacht Club. Also campaigning is Aisling Keller of Lough Derg and Sally Bell of Belfast Lough. In the Mens Laser division, Rio rep Finn Lynch is likely to face a challenge for the single Tokyo berth by Belfast's Liam Glynn, Howth's Ewan McMahon and Royal Cork's Johnny Durcan. 

Flashes facing StarboardAnnalise Murphy training on her beloved Dublin Bay Photo: Terry McDonagh

Men's and Women's RS:X sailors will also sail an opening series and a double point Medal Race, however when the wind conditions suit planing, they will have a reaching start and finish.

World Sailing's Council had a discussion and debate on the 49er and 49erFX Medal Race format. The Events Committee proposed that three single point races on the final day shall be sailed with the use of boundaries at the discretion of the Race Committee. Ireland currently has up to five 49er campaigns vying for a single Tokyo slot.

Council voted against the proposal and the 49er and 49erFX fleets will now sail an opening series and a single double points Medal Race.

The Council also noted that the Nacra 17 format had not been fully tested but it's expected they will retain their current opening series and a single double points Medal Race.

Olympic Qualification System for the Tokyo 2020 Sailing Regatta

The qualification system for Tokyo 2020 was also approved by World Sailing's Council. The Aarhus 2018 Sailing World Championships will be the principal qualification event.

Places will be available at the 2018 Asian Games, 2019 Pan-Am Games and 2019 World Championships. Further places will be available at continental events.

The qualification system will now be reviewed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and all International Federation qualification systems will be approved by the IOC Executive Board in February 2018.

Published in Tokyo 2020

In the first Irish Finn battle on the road to Tokyo 2020, Donaghdee's Oisin McClelland lead race one to the first mark of the Finn Gold Cup in Hungary yesterday. The sensational Irish start marks the start of a three year race between Northern Ireland's McClelland and Afloat's Sailor of the Month Fionn Lyden of Baltimore in West Cork, who won bronze at the U–23 World Finn Championships at the same Lake Balaton venue last week.

After two races sailed, Lyden lies 30th and McClleland 49th. Download results below.

As Robert Deaves of the Finn class writes Nenad Bugarin, from Croatia, is the early leader at Balatonföldvár. Two very tricky races in shifty and patchy conditions left much of the fleet with at least one high score, but home favourite, Zsombor Berecz is second, with Piotr Kula, from Poland, in third. Ed Wright, from Britain, won the first race, while Bugarin won the second.

The time for preparation had ended and it was time to race. In the end 113 Finns made it to the start line for some tight and tricky racing with the wind shifting hugely and varying from 10-16 knots.

Jonathan Lobert, from France, was second at the top and briefly took the lead downwind, before the right side came past in more pressure. But it was Wright, who led through the gate and extended up the second beat with a nice lead.

The right side came in strong on the second beat with Anders Pedersen, from Norway, coming through into second. The fleet closed up on Wright on the final downwind as the search for pressure became paramount. Lobert came through for second at the finish, while Berecz passed some boats to cross third.

There were huge pressure changes across the course, as well as wind shifts to cope with, and with such a large fleet the leverage from left to right was massive. If Race 1 was hard enough race 2, was about to get a whole lot harder.

Race 2 was started without Oscar, though it was raised at the top mark as the wind passed 10 knots. The corners were strong with those who bailed out of the left early struggling at the top. Facundo Olezza, from Argentina, rounded first from Deniss Karpak, from Estonia and Bugarin.

Karpak had been third for a while in the first race but had got lost on the second beat and dropped 20 places. In the second race he was good enough to hold his position and the top three boats separated from the fleet. Bugarin sailed well to take the lead on the second upwind and then sailed away from the fleet for a comfortable win, from Olezza and Karpak.

Lobert, the current European Champion, ended the day in fifth overall, and was happy with his day, despite a 15th in the second race.

“It’s hard to say what to do today. It was just ‘where is the wind’? I was just trying to use what I had and make the best of it.”

“In the first race we didn’t tack so much as they were quite big gusts and big shifts, but in the second race it was very tricky. I think there were two winds, one from the right and sometimes one was coming from the left so you had to be at the right place when the wind was coming in. I was a bit unlucky at the beginning but at the end the left came back and it was a good call.”

Fourth placed Max Salminen, from Sweden, said, “I think the fleet was really keen to get racing, and we saw that at the start of the first race, but once we got away we had a really good race. It was shifty as we expected and back and forth and you had to be on your toes all the time – but that's lake sailing.”

“I think in this big fleet and in these conditions you have to be happy with what you get.”

The pressure on the race area is matched by the local pressure placed on the shoulders of Berecz, who delighted local supporters to end the day in second overnight.

“In the first race I was always in the front. The second was a bit tougher for me as I missed one shift at the very last quarter of the first upwind and I put myself back into about 40th. But on the second upwind I gained it all back and managed to finish sixth, so a good day for me.”

Asked whether local knowledge gave him an advantage, “I don’t know this water at all. I know the other side much more. I was only sailing here when I was in Optimists, but actually around the lake it’s all the same in this wind direction. It’s very tricky, changing every two minutes or so, so let’s say I am quite used to it.”

Any secrets? “We can say there is a tendency in the wind and if you can find it and you can use it your way, then you can succeed.”

But the undisputed star of the first day was Bugarin. A fourth and a first is a great performance on a challenging day.

“I managed to have two good races. I did well all the time. It was tricky outside and my strategy was just to stay in clear air all the time and have the freedom to tack. That’s pretty much it.”

“Before the starts I didn’t have a vision of what to do and the strategy was just to sail fast in clear air and I managed to do that two times and had really good speed upwind and downwind, so I am pretty happy after the first day.”

As one old and wise coach offered today, that in conditions like these, you are either very good or very unlucky. The good and the unlucky enjoyed a pizza party after racing and can look forward to two more races on Tuesday in slightly less wind but probably at least the same amount of trickiness.

Racing continues Tuesday at 10.00.

Results after two races
1 CRO 52 Nenad Bugarin 5
2 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz 9
3 POL 17 Piotr Kula 12
4 SWE 33 Max Salminen 13
5 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 16
6 EST 2 Deniss Karpak 21
7 CZE 5 Ondrej Teply 21
8 GRE 77 Ioannis Mitakis 25
9 NED 89 Nicholas Heiner 29
10 ARG 48 Facundo Olezza 30

Published in Tokyo 2020
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It's bronze for Ireland at the U23 Finn Worlds following an auspicious debut performance from Baltimore Sailing Club's Fionn Lyden this week in the mens Olympic heavyweight dinghy in Hungary.

The 2017 U23 Finn World Championship for the Finn Silver Cup in Balatonfüred draws to a close after another windless day and with Finn, Oskari Muhonen, as the new World Champion. Facundo Olezza, from Argentina, wins the silver and Fionn Lyden, from Ireland, the bronze.

Sailors gathered at the club from 0700 in the morning hoping against hope that the previous night’s forecast of some wind was correct, but it wasn’t to be and AP was soon raised for another day sitting round in the blazing sunshine beside an unblemished lake.

The plug was pulled shortly after 13.00 with no wind expected all day and a cutoff time of 14.30. Even by 17.00 the lake remained motionless with the only movement that of ducks, swimmers and chains of Finns being towed to Balatonföldvár ready for the Opel Finn Gold Cup, which starts on Friday.

Olezza takes silver after a bronze in 2016 and left with a lot of ‘what ifs’ after losing the overall lead on Friday. Lyden, sailing in his first Finn regatta is clearly going to make a name for himself if he keeps up this kind of performance.

Speaking after the racing was abandoned, Muhonen said, “I expected we were going to sail today but the weather is what it is. It’s a lake so I expected it to be pretty tricky, so it’s as I expected.”

Earlier in the week he said his goal for the event was gold, but did he really expect to win? “Nah, hmm, maybe… I knew I was fast in the light but it’s always pretty good and surprising to win. My downwind in the light is pretty good but also on the upwind I felt I had really good height.”

He is coached by former Olympian Paul McKenzie, and Muhonen places some credit on him. “Paul is a pretty good coach and had a lot of influence on this.”

The Gold Cup is next up for the new World Champion.

“Of course it’s good to have a successful regatta before the Gold Cup, but it’s not the same race area but at least I know I am pretty fast.”

“If we have a northern wind it will be like the other side of the lake so not that shifty. Otherwise, maybe some light and fluky stuff. But we can have harder winds as well. Just before this regatta we had a few days of better breeze and that would be great.”

He feels it is a crucial step on his dream of competing at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.

“It feels good for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic dream, wining now and I think gives me a lot of confidence for that dream. I think I will work on the harder winds especially on upwind speed and tactics.”

On his chances, “I think it’s pretty good. If I can improve in harder in the hard wind I will stand a pretty good chance.”

To get there he has to overcome several obstacle, and the Finnish team is now as strong as it has been for a generation.

At the very first Silver Cup in 2004, Tapio Nirkko from Finland lifted the trophy in Rio de Janeiro. Fourteen years later, Finland has another Finn youth World Champion in Oskari Muhonen. Nirkko went on to represent Finland in three Olympic Games and is campaigning for a fourth Olympics in Tokyo. His biggest opposition to do that could now come from the young Muhonen.

On being World Champion. “It feels good to win and it’s great. My first world championship title. Pretty amazing.”

Despite the unhelpful weather the MVM SE sailing cub has done an exceptional job looking after everyone. Great food has been laid on every night and the staff has worked tirelessly to keep everyone fed and watered.

The lounge tent on the lawn has been active all day and while the sailors may not have improved their sailing skills as much as they would have liked, their table tennis, volleyball and fuseball skills have improved beyond measure.

The sailors now move across the lake to Balatonföldvár where the Opel Finn Gold Cup, the class world championship will begin next Friday with 124 entries.

Final Results
1 FIN 8 Oskari Muhonen 20
2 ARG 48 Facundo Olezza 25
3 IRL 22 Fionn Lyden 27
4 GBR 71 Henry Wetherell 30
5 NOR 9 Lars Johan Brodtkorb 41
6 USA 91 Luke Muller 46
7 CZE 5 Ondrej Teply 48
8 SWE 11 Johannes Pettersson 50
9 GBR 96 Hector Simpson 52
10 FRA 9 Guillaume Boisard 52

Published in Tokyo 2020
Tagged under

Fionn Lyden holds fourth overall after light airs continued to dominate the Finn Silver Cup in Hungary. As Afloat.ie reported yesterday, Baltimore's latest additon to the roll of sailors seeking a place on the Tokyo 2020 start line has got his campaign off to a positive start against some of the top youth sailors in the world. Lyden's move to the heavyweight Finn dinghy makes the headlines in the Irish Times Sailing Column here this morning. 

Sebastian Kalafarski of Poland confidently won the only race possible on the third day of racing at the 2017 U23 Finn World Championship for the Silver Cup. However Facundo Olezza of Argentina still holds a 13-point advantage at the top. Luke Muller from USA moves up three places to second while Brit, Henry Wetherell drops one to third.

After a day of waiting around on shore for breeze the fleet was finally sent out mid-afternoon as a light southerly slowly developed. After one false start, the fleet got away in 4-6 knots, but it was relatively steady in direction for a change.

Highlights from Day 3 of the 2017 U23 Finn World Championships below: 

The left side paid with those starting at the pin in the leading group. Joan Cardona Mendez, from Spain, rounded first from Muller and Kalafarski, who started at the boat end. The main group went right on the run, which allowed Kalafarski to sneak through to leeward and round the gate ahead. He locked into the lifting shift up the second beat and was untouchable from then on, holding a nice lead at the top and down to the finish in the gradually fading wind.

Lars Johan Brodtkorb, from Norway, who had made a great start at the pin, rounded fifth and then caught the leaders on the second upwind to round second, which he just held to the finish from a fast chasing pack. Cardona Mendez crossed in third.

By this point the wind had evaporated in the hot Balaton air, but the race committee persevered and 40 minutes later a new breeze arrived. However it didn’t last long and after one false start, the fleet was sent home soon after.

The single race though meant that the championship is now valid one with four races completed and looking at the forecast for the next few days, that is a relief for the organisers.

Muller commented, “It was a bit tricky. I tried to get off the line clean and the guys who turned out best tacked right off the line and held on port for a long time and from there it was really just staying in pressure and keeping the boat speed up.”

“We finished in quite light breeze and then the wind died off. We had surges of pressure come down and the PRO was really trying to gun for another one.”

“I am really happy how I am sailing and working with Luther [Carpenter, his coach] is fantastic and a really big privilege.”

Kalafarski was clearly pleased with the race win. “I started near to the race committee and going to the right side and later I tacked and went with the front group. I was fourth at the top.”

“I like the light wind, and the weather from today is very good for me. I want tomorrow to be the same. I feel very good, it’s fantastic to win the race.”

One of the new sailors here this week is Guillaume Boisard, from France, now in ninth overall after a 14th today.

“Sailing the Finn was for me one of my biggest ambitions. This boat is technically demanding and I really like its physical dimension. I consider the Finn as one of most interesting boat to sail. A lot of settings and adjustments exist on this boat, and all these little details can make, at the end, a huge difference between good and very good Finn sailors.”

Boisard, now 20 years old, started sailing in Optmist at Aged 7 before moving through the Europe and Laser classes. His best results were runner-up in the Europe Europeans and a fifth in French Laser Nationals.

He now trains with the group at French National Center in La Rochelle. “My last good results will probably help me to get an athlete high level status for the next season, and in this way I could get some financial help.”

He says he really benefits from the very dynamic La Rochelle dynamic Finn fleet and especially the new French training camp called ‘Master Academy’.

“I sail two to four times a week with very good sailors. I want to mention Laurent Hay, recently second at the World Masters in Barbados, I'm very thankful to him because of all the advice he gave me this season.”

“Sometimes Jonathan Lobert and Fabian Pic sail with us, which is very interesting for me. I had a training session with all of them before coming to Balaton. It makes me feel completely confident for this Silver Cup.”

“Light wind is my specialty, and I would like to benefit from the Balaton Lake to make a good performance.” His goal for the week is top 10 overall. “My strategy and tactics bring me to good positions most of the time and further up in the light wind, where I'm often pretty fast. My technique on the downwind is also one of my main strengths.”

He says he is really enjoying the Finn challenge. “The technical dimension of this boat and all these unique feelings we can only get in this boat. For example, I love free pumping, and you can't really find it sailing on other boats, except the Europe class.”

There seems little chance at the moment of any free pumping soon. The championship may be valid, but only four races have been sailed from seven scheduled so far out of a total of 13.

Expectations for a sailable wind on Friday are small. Already the start time has been delayed until 12.00. There is a chance some breeze could develop during the afternoon, but it depends who you listen to and for how long.

Results after 4 races
1 ARG 48 Facundo Olezza 14
2 USA 91 Luke Muller 27
3 GBR 71 Henry Wetherell 29
4 IRL 22 Fionn Lyden 34
5 CZE 5 Ondrej Teply 38
6 FIN 8 Oskari Muhonen 39
7 SWE 11 Johannes Pettersson 42
8 NOR 9 Lars Johan Brodtkorb 43
9 FRA 9 Guillaume Boisard 44
10 ESP 235 Joan Cardona Mendez 50

Full results here

Published in Tokyo 2020
Tagged under
Page 9 of 11

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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