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130 young sailors aged between 8-15 years from across Ireland competed in the late Summer Optimist Championships in Dun Laoghaire Harbour sponsored by Citroen South at the weekend (4-5 September 2021). 

Clubs from Kinsale to Lough Ree and Antrim took part but most notably, 17 boats travelled to the event from Waterford Harbour Sailing Club (WHSC) in Dunmore East – many to their very first event.

Following a revival, the Optimist (Oppy) Class in Ireland is rebounding from the impact of lockdown with representation at all levels and great progress across the fleets from the first event in July to this event at the RStGYC.

Over 11 sailors earned a fleet upgrade from this event representing eight different clubs, while the 38-boat Regatta Fleet sailors enjoyed coaching from the RSGYC Instructor Team.

Optimist sailors in the Junior fleet reach a windward mark at the Royal St. George Late Summer Championships at Dun LaoghaireOptimist sailors in the Junior fleet reach a windward mark at the Royal St. George Late Summer Championships at Dun Laoghaire

As Afloat reported earlier, event winners in each category were:

Senior Fleet Gold - Caoilinn Geraghty-McDonnell (RSGYC), William Walsh (Tralee Bay SC), Cillian Twomey (Howth YC), Des Turvey (Howth YC) and Thea Daly (RSGYC)

Silver – Ellen Bruen (RCYC), Mia-Mai Hooper (Royal Irish YC), Jack Hanna (RSGYC), Hannah Scott (Howth YC) and Hannah Walsh (Tralee Bay SC)

Bronze – Suin N  Choistealbha (Malahide YC), Rory White (Waterford Harbour YC), Zita Tempany (RSGYC), Dylan Keane (Malahide YC) and Stan O’Rourke (Malahide YC)

Junior Fleet Gold - Carolina Carra (RSGYC), Abigail Murphy (RSGYC), Conor Cronin (Malahide YC), Olin Bateman (RCYC) and Lucy Moynan (RCYC)

Silver - Sarah Scott (Howth YC) (2nd junior overall!), Dougie Venner (RCYC), Andrew Mannion (Lough Ree YC), Rian O’Neill (RCYC) and Matt Mapplebeck (Kinsale YC)

Bronze - Max O’Hare (RSGYC), Mae Byrne (Lough Ree YC), Louise Hanley (NYC), Marcus Shelley (RSGYC) and Patrick Fegan (Malahide YC).

The next IODAI event is to be held at East Antrim BC on 18-19 September 2021.

Looking to next year, the RStGYC are looking forward to welcoming Oppy sailors back for the IODAI Irish Nationals Championships from 18-21 August 2022

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The host club's 13-year-old Caoilinn Geraghty-McDonnell continues her winning run in the Optimist dinghy class and added a victory in the Royal St. George Yacht Club's Summer Optimist Championship yesterday in Dun Laoghaire to her National Championships success on Lough Derg last month. Geraghty-McDonnell finished the six-race series (with three race wins) on 11 points. Second in the 41-boat Senior fleet was Tralee Bay Sailing Club's William Walsh on 13, with third going to Howth Yacht Club's Cillian Twomey on 20 points.

Geraghty-McDonnell's clubmate Carolina Carra (12) won the 48-boat junior fleet on 14 points, just one point ahead of Sarah Scott of Howth Yacht Club. Third was Abigail Murphy, also of the host club on 17.

Thomas Judge of Sutton Dinghy Club stole a march in the 40 boat Regatta fleet that raced inside the harbour. Judge had a seven-point margin over Corey Browne from Royal Cork Yacht Club on 14. Third was Elizabeth Lyster of the Royal St. George Yacht Club on 17.0.

Full results are here

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Sailed over four days, the Irish Optimist Nationals 2021 for youth sailors had a fleet of 133 boats representing over 13 different clubs, competing across the Regatta Fleet and Main, Senior and Junior fleets on Lough Derg Yacht Club.

The host club provided an outdoor venue for the travelling families with many having more than one sailor in the various fleets. 

PRO John Leech delivered 11 races, south of the Corrakeens Islands throughout the championships in typically shifting winds.

With the Regatta fleet sailing close to shore in Dromineer Bay, with Liam Maloney as Race Officer, which for many was their first regatta experience.

The organisers introduced a new format to the regatta fleet with 50% of their time provided as coaching, fun and games. 

Prize giving led by Joe Gilmartin, LDYC Commodore, outside in beautiful sunshine, crowned a new national champion in each fleet,

Caoilinn Geraghty McDonnell of RStGYC first in the Senior Fleet, Andrew O’Neill of RCYC first in the Junior Fleet and Patrick Fegan of MYC first Regatta.

Optimists go afloat at Lough Derg for the 2021 National ChampionshipsOptimists go afloat at Lough Derg for the 2021 National Championships

Racing was very tight over the 4 days with the leading changing each day. Two points separated first from second-placed Des Turvey, HYC in the Senior fleet, and Two points in the Junior fleet from Conor Cronin of MYC.

Royal Cork YC were the team prize winners in both Senior and Junior fleets.

Full results can be found here 

IODAI President Alexander Walsh said, "feedback from both competitors and parents was very positive and look forward to returning to Lough Derg Yacht Club for great racing afloat, great hospitality ashore and lots of activities for the children to enjoy ashore". 

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After eight races sailed and with two discards applied, Oisin Pierse is the leader of Royal Cork Yacht Club's Optimist dinghy July Main fleet Series. 

With for race wins on his scorecard, Pierse has a six-point margin over Isha Duggan on 16 points. In thid place is Dougie Venner.

Provisional results are here

Royal Cork Yacht Club's Optimist Photo Gallery By Bob Bateman

Published in Optimist

Howth Yacht Club's Cillian Twomey won the 49-boat senior fleet after five races sailed at the Irish Optimist Connaught Championships at Lough Ree Yacht Club.

Just two points behind on nine points was Royal St. George Yacht Club's Caoilinn Geraghty-McDonnell in second place with Howth's Des Turvey third on 15 points.

In the junior fleet, Conor Cronin of Malahide Yacht Club took the top prize. Second was Lucy Moynan of Royal Cork with clubmate Andree O’Neill in third

In the regatta fleet, it was a clean sweep for the Royal St. George Yacht Club with Max O'Hare winning from Ella Rock and Finn Foley in third.

Full results here

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Howth Yacht Club's Cillian Twomey leads the 49-boat senior fleet after the first two races sailed of the Irish Optimist Connaught Championships at Lough Ree Yacht Club.

Two points behind is Royal St. George Yacht Club's Caoilinn Geraghty-McDonnell in second place with club mate Ethan Hunt third on 14 points.

In the junior fleet, another Royal St. George Yacht Club sailor Abigail Murphy leads from Conor Cronin of Malahide Yacht Club with Royal Cork's Daniel Copithorne in third place.

Full results are here

Racing continues today

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Rocco Wright of Howth started the 9-day 2021 Optimist Worlds on Lake Garda with a race win. And he finished with another really stylish race win, as captured in this vid  

In between, things didn’t go quite so smoothly, and two days of being seriously off form resulted in him finishing 20th overall out of 259 boats. Be that as it may, his final race was class. And it reminds us of what an extraordinary place Lake Garda manages to be. Anywhere else in the world, and those exceptionally vertiginous mountains and cliffs would be providing williwaws and wayward squalls which would make serious racing impossible. But by some freak of nature, Garda is one of the world’s top sailing venues, and deservedly so.

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While Brazil’s Alex Di Francesco Kuhl continued his improving performance today on Lake Garda to topple the USA’s Gil Hackel from the overall lead to become the new Optimist World Champion, Ireland’s top helm Rocco Wright of Howth concluded with a roller-coaster performance in the final two days which saw him record three placing in the 50s in the 259-strong fleet before he exited the gruelling competition in style by winning the concluding race this evening (Friday).

By so doing he hauled himself up from being in the 30s to finish on 20th overall, a placing which would have been much improved had a second discard been allocated - see full results here. But scorings of 51, 55, and 52 in Races 7F, 8F, and 9F proved too punishing to offset his otherwise consistent scoreline, which had started as it was to finish - with a race win.

Ireland’s best scorings in the Optimist Worlds go back to 1981 when Denise Lyttle (National YC) was 13th and top girl. In 1992, Nicky Smyth (Howth & Clontarf) was 12th, and then in 2019 Rocco Wright recorded the best placing to date, 10th overall won in Antigua.

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It had been hoped to provide three races today (Thursday) at the Optimist Worlds 2021, but increasingly unstable weather over Lake Garda saw only one completed. In flukey conditions, with the wind drawing from the north for the first time in the 9-day championship - and ominously doing so against a storm approaching from the south - Ireland’s Rocco Wright was one of many in the 289-strong fleet whose overall placing suffered, and his overnight overall ranking of 9th has become 20th with a 55th recorded by the time the one race today finished.

Overnight leader Gil Hackel (USA) also suffered, but not to the same extent, and his 25th of today becomes his discard in an otherwise formidable scoreline of one first, four seconds, a fourth and a ninth. This gives him all the makings of a consistent well-assembled series provided he can keep it steady throughout tomorrow (Friday) - quite a challenge, as the Race Officers hope to put through three more races to complete the championship, a tough proposition for these young and very young sailors.

Brazil’s Alex di Francesco Kuhl was today’s star to take the bullet, confirming him in second slot overall behind Hackel, with overnight second-placed Weka Bhandubandh of Thailand going down to third, as he was with Rocco in the crab grass to slide across in 45fth place, providing an unusually harsh blast of a different reality for someone whose scoreline includes three firsts.

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A slowly fading southerly breeze on Lake Garda today - declining from an initial 10 knots - favoured early fleet leaders in the three day finals of the Optimist Worlds 2021, and the USA’s Gil Hackel found extra speed to log an impressive first and second to put him ahead of the winner of the qualifying championship, Thailand’s Weka Bhanubandh, who posted 17-11 but holds on to second overall.

Continuing in third is Brazil’s Alex Di Francesco Kuhl with a 12-12. while Ireland’s Rocco Wright of Howth Yacht Club - lying fifth overall going into the finals - had to re-include his previously-discarded 19th from the qualifying series, for although he took a 10th in today’s first race, he was one of the victims of the fading breeze in the second, and notched a now-discarded 51st. However, currently on 40 points, he stays in the top ten at 9th overall in a total fleet of 259 boats.

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