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The Dún Laoghaire ILCA Laser fleet has announced a bumper 2022 season for local sailors.

With over 150 regular sailors, the ILCA/Laser fleet in Dun Laoghaire is the largest one-design senior dinghy fleet in the country. Sailors launch from all of the local clubs, including the Coal Harbour, with 120 launching from the Royal St. George Yacht Club alone in 2021. Local organisers are expecting the fleet to continue to grow in 2022 given the flexibility of this particular dinghy.

This year’s plans see the local class continuing with the sprint regatta format which they trialled last year. This regatta format, sponsored once again by Grant Thornton, offers five races back to back in quick succession. Both of last year’s sprint events were sold out within days of being announced and so it is no surprise that the class intends to host five regattas with this format in 2022. The first regatta takes place on Saturday, April 02.

Grant Thornton Laser Sprint

To facilitate weekly full-fleet racing in the bay a new “Friday Nights R&R” (Race & Relax) series is being introduced this season, running from April through to September. Sponsored by MGM Boats, this will consist of up to three races in the bay back to back on Friday evenings. The format is open to all ages and fleets, with series prizes awarded across the fleets in both male and female categories. The series kicks off on Friday, April 29.

MGM Laser racing

The Irish Laser Association, recently renamed ILCA Ireland, is hosting two events in Dublin Bay this summer. On May 28-29, the National Yacht Club will be organising the Masters National Championships. Then on July 23-24 the Royal St. George Yacht Club will be hosting the Leinster Championships which is open to all fleets. Given the size of the fleet locally, it is expected that both events will achieve record turnouts.

In addition to the regional events, the local Laser fleet will be organising its own mini-series on the basis of Laser results from the four local club regattas hosted by DMYC, NYC, RIYC and RSGYC each weekend from June 11 to July 02. Entrants to the regattas will be eligible to win prizes at each individual regatta plus overall prizes across the four-regatta mini-series.

The local fleet is well known for the high level of open coaching that it organises at both junior and adult levels. This year will see the introduction of new coaching formats for both beginners and advanced sailors. A new “strength and conditioning” coaching format, launched in January, which focuses on on-the-water fitness and resilience is already proving very popular. The fleet plans to introduce mid-week free sailing which will be a mix of racing and fun in Dublin Bay.

When asked about the rationale behind the plans for 2022, local class captain Brendan Hughes said, “The ILCA Laser fleet locally is unique in that it caters for the broadest range of skills and ages; from novices through to Olympic campaigners, from teens to sailors in their seventies. Existing local structures are currently unable to meet the needs of the largest fleet in Dublin Bay, so we needed to create our own agile approach to ensuring that sailors of all ages and abilities can have a challenging, fun and safe place to sail. We are not a club, but operate as a group of around 30 volunteers who work within the club structures to make things happen.”

Full details of the 2022 schedule are downloadable below as a PDF

Published in Laser
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Despite the massive upsurge in Laser sailing in the capital's waters over the last few seasons, it was Cork Harbour helmsman that topped the 2021 Irish Laser rankings in all three rig divisions.

In the Standard rig (ILCA 7) rankings, Royal Cork Yacht Club's Ed Rice finished 2021 in first place, just .5 of a point over Royal St. George's Ross O'Leary. 

In the ILCA 6 rankings, the latest Crosshaven wunderkind, Jonathan O'Shaughnessy finished top of the Radials. As regular Afloat readers know, O'Shaughnessy had a standout season for which he was rewarded in January with RCYC's Pyewacket Trophy.

O'Shaughnessy's clubmate Dara Collins led the 2021 rankings in the ILCA 4 or 4.7 rig.

 Download the full Irish Laser rankings for 2021 below.

Published in Laser
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Racing continued on Sunday in the Royal Cork Yacht Club Laser (ILCA) and Topper Frostbite leagues with races 10,11 and 12 in bright but cold 16 knot winds under race officer Barry Rose.

In the ILCA 4 division, all three races were won by Oisín MacSweeney. In the Toppers, Liam Duggan won race 10 and Rowan MacSweeney won races 11 and 12.

The overall leader in ILCA 4 is Isabel Mc Carthy with Mauro G Regueral Noguerol in second and Max Tolan in third.

Overall, the Topper gold fleet is led by Rowan MacSweeney with Liam Duggan second and Julie O'Neill third. Andrew O'Neill is leading the silver fleet with Sean Holmes second and Ellen Mc Donagh third.

The league started this year with a six-race sprint event on Sunday the seventh which served as both a stand-alone event and the first 6 races in the Frostbite League.

A number of the Laser and Topper sailors were sailing in the team racing nationals held in the club on Saturday and Sunday but will be back for next week when the league will conclude on Saturday the 27th of November with 3 more races and prizegiving on the club lawn afterwards.

Published in Royal Cork YC

Ireland is close to the top of the leaderboards in both the ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) Apprentice and ILCA 6 (Radial) Grand Master 2021 World Championships thanks to the efforts of two Irish sailors competing in Barcelona

Royal St. George's Sean Craig is lying fifth overall in a 47-boat ILCA 6 (Radial) Grand Master fleet while George Kingston is fourth overall in the 13-boat  ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) Apprentice division. Roger O'Gorman is lying 11th in the same fleet.

Two races were completed yesterday. After three grey days with unstable and light wind, the fourth day finally brought sun and stable wind.

Once again, the sailors had an early start today with the first warning signal at 9:00. The ILCA 6 fleets enjoyed an average northwesterly wind of 12–16 knots while the ILCA 7 had an average of 10–12 knots, and both were able to complete their races without a hitch, to be back on shore by 11:30.

After adding two races to all the scoreboards, the ILCA 7 divisions have completed a total of six races. In the ILCA 6 fleets, the Apprentices, the Great Grand Masters, and the Legends have completed seven races and the Masters and Grand Masters finished six.

The leaders in ILCA 7 are Poland’s Maciej Grabowski, tied with Belgian Wannes Van Laer, in the Apprentice division; American Ernesto Rodriguez added two more firsts to hold his lead in the Masters division while fellow countryman Robert Hallawell also maintained his lead over the Grand Masters, and Spain’s Josele Doreste is still leading the Great Grand Masters.

In the ILCA 6 fleets, Great Britain’s Jon Emmett added two more firsts to his picket fence in the Apprentice fleet; Sweden’s Stefan Eriksson is first of the Masters; Spain’s Miguel Noguer rose to the top of the Grand Master division; American Bill Symes also has a straight picket fence in the Great Grand Masters division while fellow countryman Peter Seidenberg sits in first place over the Legends.

Steady conditions are forecasted for Day 5 in the morning, so the first warning signal will be at 9:00 again with two races scheduled.

See event website here for full results.

Published in Laser
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Finn Lynch's silver medal last week in the ILCA 7 World Championships is an inspiration for anyone embarking on a Laser campaign but could there be more silver - or even gold - in Barcelona waters for Irish sailors this month?

As the ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) and ILCA 6 (Radial) Apprentice Master 2021 World Championships began at the Barcelona Sailing Centre on Sunday, three Irish sailors are hoping for a repeat performance.

One race was completed in each fleet at the 2021 Laser Masters World Championships, except for the ILCA 6 Masters and Grand Masters due to unstable and lack of wind. The sailors went out on schedule for the first warning signal at 12:00, with sunshine and good wind. But as the wind began to die, the two ILCA 6 divisions could not complete their first race, and the ILCA 7 fleet started their second race only to then abandon it.

In the ILCA 7 fleets, Maciej Grabowski of Poland is leading the Apprentices, ahead of Belgium’s Wannes Van Laser and Italian Lorenzo Cerretelli.

Ireland's George Kingston is ninth and Roger O'Gorman 13th in the 14-boat fleet.

Peter Hurley of the United States finished first in the Masters division, with fellow countryman Ernesto Rodriguez in second, and Australia’s Chris Caldecoat in third.The Grand Masters are lead by another American, Robert Hallawell, with Swiss Ferruccio Arvedi in second and Ron Lenson of the Netherlands in third. Finally, in the Great Grand Masters division, Great Britain’s Michael Hicks took the lead, with Jose Luis Doreste of Spain behind in second, and Germany’s Wolfgang Herz in third.

In the ILCA 6 fleets, Great Britain’s Jon Emmett is leading the Apprentices, ahead of Arturo Reina of Spain and Italian Roberto Giacalone.

In the Great Grand Master division, Americans Bill Symes and Bruce Martinson sit in first and third, respectively, with Canada’s Paul Clifford in second. Last but not least, Henk Wittenberg of the Netherlands is leading the Legends, with French Pierre Roche in second, and American Jacques Kerrest in third.

Royal St George's Sean Craig is yet to start in the ILCA 6 Grand Master division.

Forecasted wind for the week is light, but everyone is planning on and hoping for enough wind to complete some successful races.

See event website here for full results.

Apprentice age division change

In other Laser news, beginning in 2022, the Apprentice age division for ILCA Masters World Championships will include sailors ages 30 to 44. ILCA says it is excited about this change, which for the first time gives sailors under the age of 35 the opportunity to join the ILCA Masters World Championships and to enjoy the unique atmosphere of that fleet. All other Masters age categories will remain unchanged.

Published in Laser
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The British Sailing Team have a strong Laser/ILCA 7 squad and have the last three European champions competing at the 2021 Laser /ILCA Standard Men's World Championship (ILCA 7)at the Barcelona International Sailing Centre starting on Friday.

Micky Beckett is racing fresh from his Euros win in Bulgaria in October and is joined by teammate and 2019 Euros winner Lorenzo Chiavarini. Team GB’s Tokyo 2020 sailor and 2020 European champion, Elliot Hanson, is also making his return to action following the Games. BST members Sam Whaley and Dan Whiteley are among five other Brits joining the start line.

The ILCA 7 fleet always boasts a stellar lineup from across the globe. The Brits will be looking to build on their phenomenal recent European Championships success and translate that on to the world stage coming up against a host of world and Olympic champions like Cypriot Pavlos Kontides and Germany’s Philip Buhl. The class has the strength and depth to put together a very strong start list for this event, and with mandatory chartered boats, the racing will be just as strong.

“I enjoyed a few days off after the Euros, the recovery time was really nice. This is the first World championships since Covid, so it's an exciting opportunity that I've been thinking about for a while. The ILCA Worlds are a 'mandatory charter' event so every competitor is provided a brand-new boat for the week, making it the levelest playing field you could imagine, the racing is really tough and unforgiving. Given the event is so late in the year and on the Mediterranean I think we're expecting lighter breezes, so the job for me is to try and get to the halfway point of the regatta in good shape and push from there.” – Micky Beckett.

“I'm excited to get back racing in Barcelona. I've only done one day in the boat since the Olympics a little under three months ago, so I have no expectations going in. For me, it's about hatching a plan from the ashes of my Tokyo campaign to try and win the Worlds next May. The fire inside is starting to burn again which is important before getting back in the boat, unfortunately, I suspect my legs will be burning more.” – Elliot Hanson

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Ireland can only look to the future and Paris 2024 - just three years away - for its next chance to compete in the men's singlehanded Laser class following Finn Lynch's failure to qualify Ireland in the Laser event for Tokyo 2020 this week at the Vilamoura International Championships.

Spain and The Netherlands won the two Olympic nation places for Tokyo, with Ireland finishing ninth in the country qualification stakes.

Lynch completed the event in 33rd place overall following a 14th and 42nd places for the day. 

Germany’s Philipp Buhl as reigning world champion delivered a thrilling finish to the series, beating Brazil’s five-times Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt by a single point in the final race.

Ewan McMahon from Howth YC improved to 48th overall with a 23rd and 55th for the day. Liam McGlynn of Ballyholme YC also picked up places to 56th in the 70-boat Gold fleet.

In the Men’s event Silver fleet, newcomers to Senior level racing Tom Higgins and Hugo Kennedy, both of the Royal St. George YC in Dun Laoghaire placed 46th and 62nd respectively.

Full results here

Published in Tokyo 2020

The battle for country qualification at the ILCA Vilamoura European Continental qualifier for the Olympic single-handed dinghy will enter the final day tomorrow without any Irish sailors in contention.

Irish hopes of securing a third boat for Tokyo ended this afternoon after two breezy races in the Gold fleet.

The result is a disappointment for team Ireland who will not have a male Laser sailor at the Olympics, the first time since 2008 and the third absence since the boat was introduced to the Olympics at Atlanta in 1996.

Ewan McMahon (HYC)Ewan McMahon (HYC) Photo: Joao Costa Ferreira

Spain is the leading contender some 33 points ahead of Netherlands with Belgium, Switzerland and Italy within shouting distance.

Liam Glynn (Ballyholme YC)Liam Glynn (Ballyholme YC) Photo: Joao Costa Ferreira

A second black flag of the regatta in race 9 today scuppered Finn Lynch's chances in the fresh south-south easterly breezes. He followed it up with a 26th to lie 38th overall.

Other Irish results today:

  • Ewan McMahon (HYC) 37, 47 to lie 51st overall
  • Liam Glynn (Ballyholme YC) 47, 50 - 59th overall

Silver fleet results not available at time of report.

  • Tom Higgins (RSGYC)
  • Hugo Kennedy (RSGYC)

Robert Scheidt from Brazil is back in contention in VilamouraRobert Scheidt from Brazil is back in contention in Vilamoura

Robert Scheidt (BRA) bounced back into 2nd place - he now lies just 14 points behind regatta leader Britain's Michael Beckett.

Country Qualification After Day 5

Country Pts Day 5 Pos after Day 5
ESP 76 1  
NED 109 2  
BEL 125 3  
SUI 127 4  
ITA 127 5  
MNE 141 6  
POR 142 7  
GRE 199 8  
IRL 220 9  
POL 258 10  
TUR 261 11  


Racing continues tomorrow. Full results here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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There were mixed fortunes on day two for the Irish Women at the 2021 ILCA Vilamoura European Continental qualifier for the Olympic single-handed dinghy (M&W).

Aoife Hopkins of Howth Yacht Club climbed five places to 33rd posting a 6th and a 35th in today's two races.

Tokyo bound Annalise Murphy of the National Yacht Club scored 41st and 7th to lie 35th while Eve McMahon, HYC, is 79th after a 37th and 27th today.

The women enjoyed the better breeze in the later afternoon, but will probably have to put up with lighter breezes tomorrow as they go out ahead of the men.

Full results are here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Day two of the 2021 ILCA Vilamoura European Continental qualifier for the Olympic single-handed dinghy men was sailed in 12 to 15-knot south-westerlies and proved to be somewhat challenging for the Irish contingent. Leading contender Finn Lynch (NYC) was a premature starter in race 1 but recovered to record a 6th in race 2 to lie 28th overall with the drop race excluded.

Ewan McMahon (HYC) improved slightly to 48th place after race scores of 29 and 12. Liam Glynn of Ballyholme is four places back in 52nd, but it was a tough day for Royal St George teammates Tom Higgins (45, 62) and Hugo Kennedy (47, 65) who now lie in 105th and 124th respectively.

In the all-important battle for country selection for Tokyo 2020 (final two places are available), Ireland remains in 7th place, with a slightly increased deficit on points relative to second place non-qualified country.

If the organisers continue the trend of alternating the start times, the men, who started first today, will likely enjoy stronger breezes later in the afternoon tomorrow.

Wednesday marks the halfway stage of the regatta and Ireland now has little room for error in the remaining eight races to come.

The country qualification position after day two is expressed in the table below where lower points are better.

Country Points
ESP 16
BEL 18
NED 18
ITA 21
SUI 27
POR 38
IRL 39
GRE 40
MNE 43
POL 51
TUR 60
LTU 93
DEN 95
UKR 112
CZE 115
ISR 126


Full results are here

After a long period without major regattas due to the pandemic situation, many of the top sailors, even from qualified countries, are competing at this event.

Organised by Vilamoura Sailing, this qualifier event is held for European countries to claim their remaining four slots for the Tokyo Olympic Games: two in the women's ILCA 6 fleet and two in the men's ILCA 7 fleet. There are seven countries competing for the two ILCA 6 Olympic tickets, and 17 countries vying for the two ILCA 7 slots.

150 sailors from 34 countries were able to come together for this event, as Vilamoura continues to be one of the few places in the world right now where sailing competitions are open. 

Published in Tokyo 2020
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