The historic 70th Anniversary staging of the All Ireland Sailing Championship has seen the famous silver salver depart for a long journey to its new home in Baltimore, as the winner is Baltimore SC’s Fionn Lyden, who was crewed to the win – raced in GP 14s – by Liam Manning.
Although Lyden is currently best known as the 2017 Under 23 Bronze Medallist in the Olympic Finn, he was racing at Mullingar as the nominee of the Irish Team Racing Association, for it was through inter-University team racing that his name first registered nationally as a sailor to watch.
He and Liam Manning had their work cut out against a formidable field in the final, with defending champion Alex Barry of Monkstown Bay and the RS400 class, and GP14 World Champion Shane McCarthy of Greystones, both on top form.
But Lyden kept his cool and finished the series with 16 points to the 18 of Alex Barry and the 19 of Shane MacCarthy, who came through to third overall in a tie-break with Laser sailor Sean Craig (Royal St George) also on 19.
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Irish Sailng adds (on Monday, October 9 at 1300): Fresh from winning bronze at the U23 Finn World Championships earlier this summer, Baltimore’s Fionn Lyden has won the All Ireland Sailing Championships at Mullingar Sailing Club today.
The series was decided on a knife-edge finale that saw Lyden match-race to the finishing-line with GP14 World Champion Shane McCarthy from Greystones who was denied victory by the tie-break in the series.
Lyden’s crew was fellow West Cork sailor Liam Manning from Schull and the pair represented the Irish Team Racing Association who were Wild Card entries in the championship that is celebrating 70 years.
Two very different days of racing tested the sailors: Saturday was a typical autumnal afternoon on Lough Owel – strong and quite blustery but manageable conditions apart from a few capsizes.
Sunday morning saw the repechage races to decide the last two places in the final, but then the wind dropped and the lake turned into a mirror. Patience from Jack Roy’s Race Management team was rewarded in the late afternoon when a light breeze picked up enough to allow three races in quick succession.
The going was slow, but in the final race a strategic decision by Lyden resulted in a two-boat match race between him and Shane McCarthy that took place at one side of the race area, while the rest of the fleet including last year’s winner Alex Barry battled it out for a podium place.
The final results were Fionn Lyden with crew Liam Manning of Baltimore SC; in second place were Alex Barry with crew Richard Leonard of Monkstown Bay SC , and in third was Shane McCarthy and crew Andy Davis of Greystones SC.