#sailorofthemonth – Fionn Lyden (19) of Baltimore is the new Afloat.ie "Sailor of the Month" for March. He ushered in the new month by playing a stellar role in bringing University College Cork's First Team to overall victory in the decidedly breezy Intervarsity Team Racing Nationals at Schull from February 27th to March 1st.
Of all forms of sailing, this is of course the most group-oriented. But Lyden's achievement emerged above the efforts of his team mates with his additional acclamation as First Year Sailor of the Year from among the large turnout at the championship. Indeed, everyone – both participants and organisers alike – deserved an award at a series in which the highly-regarded Fastnet Marine Outdoor Education Centre and a large team of volunteers skillfully dealt with deteriorating conditions to get a worthwhile result.
Fionn Lyden is no stranger to sailing at Schull, for although he hails from Baltimore, he is one of a group of childhood friends who journeyed daily to Schull to hone their sailing skills under the tuition of David Harte. From this there emerged the Schull Sharks Team of 2013 and 2014 which won the Irish Schools Nationals, the British Schools Opens, and 90% of their contests during an American tour of the top US School teams.
This resulted in the Schull Sharks being declared the top Schools Team Racing squad worldwide in 2014. Meanwhile, at a personal level, young Lyden had been making history by becoming the first helm to win all races (9) in the Irish Youth Helmsmans Championship, which then entitled him to race in the Seniors, in which he duly won the Silver Medal.
Although clearly one of the most remarkable talents to emerge in Irish sailing in recent years, he has chosen the Corinthian path. Thus most of his efforts and energy are now devoted to study in University College Cork. But when he does find time to go sailing, the world certainly takes notice of Fionn Lyden, Afloat.ie Sailor of the Month for March 2015.