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Displaying items by tag: 29er

Following a very successful 29er event at the Lough Ree Double Ree Championships, the newly established 29er fleet had three days in which to prepare for their next event, the inaugural Deutsche Leasing IRL 29er Nationals at Royal St George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. A schedule of five races per day on a windward-leeward course saw 9 sailors gearing up for an early first gun on Thursday morning.

With the forecast proving to be ‘unpredictable’ at best, the competitors were greeted by a firm southerly breeze, which, if following the same pattern from previous days, would increase throughout the day’s racing. From the outset, it was hard sailing into an ever-increasing swell and by the time the first few boats had crossed the finishing line, plans had already been made to call it a day, with hopes of friendlier weather to follow. The first-day of racing left the previous weeks winners, Atlee Kohl and Chris Bateman, in pole position with Erin and Luke McIlwaine following up in second, and Dawson Kohl and David Jones in third.

29 er batemanOverall honours went to Atlee Kohl and Chris Bateman Photo: Simon McIlwaine

Friday morning greeted the sailors with an overcast lacklustre awakening, offering meagre wind conditions but as the sailors made it out to the start line, the breeze filled in sufficiently to enable a course to be set. With light and somewhat shifty conditions continuing throughout the first two races, the wind started to increase and by the end of the fourth race, with the inevitable increase in swell, it was decided to head for home and abandon any hope of having a fifth and final race.

Overall, honours again went to Atlee Kohl and Chris Bateman, with Dawson Kohl and David Jones in second place and Lola Kohl and Sophie Crosbie following up in third.

Thank you to the Race Officer, Pat Donnelly and Safety Officer, Richard Cullen, for running a superb event in quite challenging conditions; to Jarlath O’Leary for pulling the whole event together and to Royal St George Yacht Club members for support and help throughout the event. Finally, sincere thanks must be given to Deutsche Leasing for their generous sponsorship.

With more boats being delivered to waiting for sailors in September, and those absent from recent events due to holiday commitments now returning, the class moves forward to the last few events of the season with a rapidly growing fleet and even more exciting times ahead.

Published in Youth Sailing
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Youth sailors were on the water for a breezy set of 29er skiff 'try–out sessions' in Dun Laoghaire Harbour today.

The initiative, by the Royal St. George Yacht Club (RStGYC), is to help 'keep sailors in the sport at a time when all clubs are challenged to keep their youths’, explains sailing manager, Ronan Adams.

As reported previously, one hour try–out slots were available with experienced 29er sailors on hand to assist. There was also land based information along with coaching and rigging sessions.

Three 29ers went afloat and sensibly the high-speed craft carried mast head floats because not all the try-outs went according to plan! 

29er capsize 3680A 29er capsized during today's try–out sessions Photo:

Published in RStGYC

The Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire will host try-out sessions in the 29er youth skiff class this coming weekend.

There'll be one hour try–out slots available with experienced 29er sailors on hand to assist. There will also be land based information along with coaching and rigging sessions.

As previously reported, the Royal St. George YC has been touting the idea of a new challenge for youth sailors for some time.

Ireland has some success in the 29er, most recently thanks to the exploits of Harry Durcan and Harry Crosbie of Royal Cork Yacht Club who became bronze medalists at the British UK youth sailing championships last April. Durcan has now teamed up with Royal St. George's own Tom Higgins to continue the campaign.

'There seems to be a lot of interest and we are hoping that building the class will help keep sailors in the sport at a time when all clubs are challenged to keep their ‘youths’, explains Royal St.George Yacht Club sailing manager, Ronan Adams.

This weekend's sailing sessions are from 10am to 4pm. If you want to get a spin, sign-up here is required.

Former Irish Sailing President Roger Bannon believes the class has a lot of potential previously posting the following comment of's Facebook page: 'The 29er is a perfect youth sailors boat which regardless of the development path opportunities can provide the fun factor so deperately missing in Ireland for aspiring young sailors. The ISA has a poor track record in identifying and supporting development boats for young people so let the youngsters and the market make the real decision'.

Published in Youth Sailing
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In the 21 years since the “Sailor of the Month” awards were first introduced, we had always dutifully waited until the end of the month before allocating the plaudits, even when it had been clear for days or even weeks where the honours were going to be placed.

But special situations deserve special treatment, and 17–year–old Cork Harbour sailor Johnny Durcan’s heartfelt thanks to fellow 29er sailors Simon Hoffman of Australia and Santiago Alegre of Spain for saving his life in the Worlds at Los Angeles had served as a very timely reminder of the dangers of our sport at its most intense and competitive levels.

So a fortnight ago was the right time to first honour what they did. And what they did was so special that we regard it as a privilege to re-state it all after the end of the month has duly passed.

Even though capsizes are part and parcel of dinghy racing, in a complex trapeze boat like the 29er, an ordinary capsize can sometimes escalate into a rapidly deteriorating situation in which sailors are trapped in ropes, lines and sails, with the very lifejackets which are supposed to help them actually jamming them in situations where drowning becomes all too possible.

This is what happened with Johnny Durcan. But in the hectic rush of the fleet, other competitors scarcely noticed that this was something much worse than an ordinary capsize. Yet Simon Hoffman, who had recently received intensive first-aid training as part of his bid to become a fully-fledged sailing coach, sensed that this was a total emergency. He simply abandoned his own boat, tore off his lifejacket, and dived underneath the capsized boat to save Durcan in what was now a full-scale emergency.

durcan alegre2Johnny Durcan (left) is visited by Santiago Alegre
He was soon joined by Santiago Alegre, and between them they released Durcan and dragged him up through a mesh of ropes and sails to the surface. He had been immersed for maybe three minutes, and was in a very bad way. But he revived after CPR by Hoffman and Alegre, and fully recovered in hospital.

Just a few seconds more, or with less decisive action by Hoffman and Alegre, and this would not have been a story with a happy ending. We can all only hope that, faced with such a situation, our own instincts of humanity would guide us in the right way too. Yet that is something for which most of the rest of us can only hope. But Simon Hoffman and Santiago Alegre showed us what true instincts of humanity can achieve, and they deserve heartfelt gratitude from the entire world of sailing.

Published in Sailor of the Month
Tagged under

The Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin is seeking youth sailors 'looking for a new challenge'.

RStGYC Sailing Manager Ronan Adams says a group of sailors are looking to form a 29'er fleet in Dun Laoghaire. The RStGYC has put a shout out to to see 'if anyone else might be open to a discussion as to the merits of this double hander class'

While Adams acknowledges 'the 29er is not supported/ recognised by the ISA as a pathway class', he says 'it most certainly does have its merits internationally' and also is a draw as ‘cool’ and fast/ fun boat for the age group mid-teens/ youths who sail it.

The Royal St. George's Tom Higgins has launched a new 29er campaign with Royal Cork's Harry Durcan as reported previously.

One possible draw back is that the learning curve is very steep, vertical nearly but those that stick with it will be rewarded. Good second hand boats are in the region of €5k and are available in the UK, according to Adams. 

RStGYC currently has two interested families and at least one in another waterfront Club in Dun Laoghaire who would like to meet other interested parties to discuss. 

Expressions of interest or suggestions on whom to pass on the information are encouraged. The plan is to put all interested parties in touch with one another through email and see what happens.

email: [email protected] who are aiming to hold a meeting on Sept 10th or 17th. and have your say on Afloat's Facebook page. Here's what others have been saying: 

Published in RStGYC

This month's Californian 29–er skiff Worlds was youth sailors Harry Durcan and Harry Whitaker's last regatta together as the pair embark on different sailing and study plans.

Durcan will swap to crewing the 29er dinghy. His new helmsman is 2016 Irish and British Optimist national champion Tom Higgins of Dun Laoghaire's Royal St. George Yacht Club.

tom higginsDun Laoghaire's Tom Higgins who has moved from Optimist to Laser 4.7 and now to 29er skiff. Photo: Bob Bateman

The pair have already started training and although the early goal back in April was to contest the Europeans this month in France they have not entered that regatta that began at the weekend. The campaign will last until next June 2018 and the end of sixth year studies. 'Once that is over I'll be heading into the Olympic 49er class, the young Cork Harbour sailor told

Harry Whitaker, it is understood, will take a step back from competitive sailing but will continue to participate in team racing and yacht racing while going through college.

Published in Youth Sailing

Royal Cork's top youth sailor Johnny Durcan has been involved in a serious incident competing at the 29er world championships where he was trapped under his skiff dinghy during a capsize. The top Laser sailor is recovering in hospital in Los Angeles after he ended up 'getting stuck beneath the water'. 

Durcan has described the 'hectic end' to the championships on social media and relates how, after his '[trapeze] harness was caught, it led to 'drowning and total respiratory failure i.e. 'I stopped breathing and passed out'.

The Cork Harbour ace was one of two Irish 29ers competing at Long Beach, California, the other boat sailed by his twin brother Harry and Harry Whitaker, also of Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Durcan admits 'things were looking quite bad because I was under the water, unconscious for a while but thanks to the many sailors on the course who jumped out to help, I'm still here and kicking'.

It is understood, his 11–year–old helm Lola Kohl, from Christiansted, St Croix in the USA, raised the alarm and fellow competitors and coaches rushed to Durcan's assistance.

CPR was performed on the Irish youth champion. He was rushed ashore from the race course and an ambulance brought him to hospital immediately.

'My fellow competitors helped save me. And that's something that makes sailing the sport it is.' the Cork youth declared on Facebook, posting this photograph below from his hospital bed.

Parent's Yvonne and Tom Durcan were one of the first to post a comment online in response: 'One seriously relieved Mom and Dad xxxxxx'

29er USA Durcan hospitalJohnny Durcan surrounded by well–wishers is recovering in an LA Hospital after a serious capsize incident at the 29er Worlds at Long Beach, California Photo: Facebook

We wish Johnny a speedy recovery and the Irish 29er team a safe trip home – Ed.

Published in Youth Sailing

Royal Cork Yacht Club pairing Harry Durcan and Harry Whitaker last were bronze medalists in the 29er class at the British Youth Sailing National championships sailed last week on the Solent. In a fleet of 70 boats the Royal Cork duo sailed 18 races in five days to give themselves a boost before the World Championships in America later this Summer.

The RYA youth nationals for under –19s (totalling a massive fleet of 450 boats and boards) was held in Hayling island sailing club, the British version of the current ISA regatta being sailed in Ballyholme YC.

Sailing in a wide range of conditions, the 29er fleet was split into two flights. Each day consisted of three to four races with each lasting 30 minutes for the lead boat. The Cork Harbour teens finished eighth place in the qualifying series and then slowly climbed up to third place overall in the Gold fleet series after sailing very consistently. 

'We are the current 29er British national champions and while we can't complain about a medal, we would have liked to have won but we hadn't raced in seven months', helmsman Durcan told

Durcan Whitaker 29erDurcan and Whitaker (green kite on right) surf over the top of 29er competitors at the RYA Youth Nationals in Hayling Island. Photo: RYA

Next up for the pair is the USA national championship and then the following week the 29er World Championship in Long Beach, California in July where a top 10 finish is the aim after last year's 23rd.

'Until then it's working on the last few pieces of the puzzle and spending time in the gym to be fully prepared. We are the only Irish boat in Ireland and the only Irish boat heading to the Worlds'.

Results are here

Published in Royal Cork YC

Royal Cork's Harry Durcan was back on the water in Crosshaven, County Cork at the weekend with crew Harry Whitaker in advance of their first 29er skiff event of the year in Spain in February.

The first Eurocup of 2017 marks a new chapter for the youth sailing pair who have already notched up an overall win at the UK 29er British Nationals last August.

Meanwhile, Harry's twin brother Johnny returns from Australia today having finished fifth overall at the Australian Laser Youth Nationals in Adelaide on Friday.

Published in Youth Sailing

Royal Cork's Harry Durcan and Harry Whittaker have won the UK 29er National Championship in Torbay. After six days racing and 19 races in all, it all came down to the final race which they secured with a bullet giving them a two point lead over the rest of the fleet. Full results here. Conditions today were shifty at best and the Race Officer did well to get four races in to finish the final series.

Published in Youth Sailing
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