Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: youth sailing

Over the weekend, the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Sailing Championships took place at Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough, attracting over 130 sailors from throughout Northern Ireland and beyond. The sailing event marked the start of the competitive season for some, and the end for others.

While the first day had favourable weather conditions, shift light winds conditions throughout the event posed a challenge to both the race committee and competitors. Some courses had to be modified, and some fleets could only completed one race throughout the weekend.

Despite the conditions, a 20-boat Optimist regatta fleet, led by club coaches, enjoyed favourable weather throughout and participated in a training session and several short races.

However, on the second day, the racecourse was shrouded in thick fog, resulting in no races being completed.


Race 1 on Saturday saw a shortened course ending at the windward mark and BYC sailor Charlie O'Malley taking the win from CAYC's Rory Pollard, with Daniel Palmer in 3rd. Race 2 was a duel between BYC's Lewis Thompson and Daniel Palmer, with Thompson taking the win from Palmer, EABC's Zoe Whitford taking 3rd. Only two races were completed for the 6s.


3 Races for the ILCA 4's saw Oleksandr Bezpalyi of MYC take the opening win; however, consistency was rewarded for Freddie Doig of EABC with a 3,2,2, leaving him top of the fleet on Saturday. CAYC's Luke Simpson finished day one strongly with two wins.

A combination of low wind and mist on Sunday morning meant no further races were completed, leaving the ILCA 6 Fleet in Saturday Order: 1st Daniel Palmer, 2nd Lewis Thompson, 3rd Charlie O'Malley (all BYC). 1st Girl was Zoe Whitford from EABC in 7th.

The ILCA 4 final standings were 1st Freddie Doig, 2nd Luke Simpson & 3rd Oleksandr Bezpalyi. 1st Girl was Annika Hunter of BYC.

The celebratory prize-giving ceremony saw commendations given to sailors of all levels, from first-time medal winners and junior champions to the top youth sailors.

 RYA NI's Peter Kennedy with Daniel Palmer, the Overall Youth Champion and Male Youth Champion at the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Sailing Championships at Ballyholme Yacht Club RYA NI's Peter Kennedy with Daniel Palmer, the Overall Youth Champion and Male Youth Champion at the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Sailing Championships at Ballyholme Yacht Club

Daniel Palmer from Ballyholme Yacht Club was named the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Champion Overall.

Andrew Baker, the RYA Northern Ireland’s High Performance Manager, praised the event, stating that "the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Championships has always been fantastic. With the ILCA 6 Europeans to be held in Ballyholme YC next season, it was a great trial run for sailors and the club alike. The RYA Northern Ireland staff team are grateful to everyone involved."

 RYA NI's Peter Kennedy  with Annika Hunter, the 2023 Female Youth Champion at the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Sailing Championships at Ballyholme Yacht ClubRYA NI's Peter Kennedy  with Annika Hunter, the 2023 Female Youth Champion at the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Sailing Championships at Ballyholme Yacht Club

Junior OPI
3rd (First Girl) Penny Doig EABC
2nd Alex Butcher Malahide YC
1st George Doig EABC

Topper 4.2
3rd Girl: Alex Eadie, BYC 3rd: Boy: Tom Denning, Skerries SC
2nd Girl: Chloe Walls, Skerries YC 2nd Boy: Ben Brownlees, EABC
1st Girl: Polly Robinson, BYC 1st Boy: & 1st Overall: Adam Green LEYC (support by John Merricks)

Topper Full Rig
3rd Girl: Kate Kenny, Wexford Harbour BTC 3rd Boy: Tom Driscoll, Ballyholme YC
2nd Girl: Siun Ni Choistealbha, Malahide YC 2nd Boy: Leo Doherty, Sligo YC
1st girl: Iseult Spiers, Ballyholme YC 1st Boy: 1st Overall: Rory Brennan Hobbs, National Yacht Club

RS Feva
3rd overall and 1st All Girl: Emily & Annabel Rideout, Ballyholme YC
2nd: Felix Dion & Lucas Browne, National YC
1st : Matthew Holden & Peter Rideout, Ballyholme YC

29er Fleet
3rd overall & 1st all girl: Ella Fitzgerald & Lisa Flynn, National YC
2nd overall: Katie Brown & Hunter Reddy, Balyholme YC
1st: Oisin Pierce & Fion Daly, Royal Cork YC

3rd Girl: Isabel Nixon, Ballyholme YC 3rd Boy: Oleksandr Bezpalyi, Malahide YC
2nd Girl: Abbie Stocking, East Down YC 2nd Boy: Luke Simpson, CAYC
1st Girl: Annika Hunter, Ballyholme YC 1st Boy & 1st overall: Freddie Doig, EABC

3rd Girl: Autumn Halliday, SLYC 3rd Boy: Charlie O’Mallie, Ballyholme YC
2nd Girl: Charlotte Eadie, Ballyholme YC 2nd: Lewis Thompson, BYC
1st Girl: Zoe Whitford, EABC 1st Boy & 1st Overall: Daniel Palmer, BYC

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
Tagged under

Any sailing competition for young people that began in 2008 and is still going strong must have an attractive format. The Strangford Lough Youth Series is still drawing sizeable turnouts, and maybe it’s because the timing, on the day after, and at the location of five of the Lough Regattas, suits well.

This is a club team race series organised by a cooperative of clubs on the lough and is designed to encourage young people to progress into racing. The SLYS allows junior sailors to develop their sailing and racing skills in a competitive but fun environment.

This season, the winning club was the Whiterock-based Strangford Lough YC. Killyleagh, Quoile, East Down and Strangford were all involved.

Toppers at Strangford Sailing Club at the Strangford Lough Youth SeriesToppers at Strangford Sailing Club at the Strangford Lough Youth Series

The initiative for this series came from Davy Young from Killyleagh YC and Roger Chamberlain from SLYC. Gerry Reilly and Jane McMeekin, who had coached Strangford Sailing Club youngsters for years, got involved later. They realised that after initial instruction and Championship racing, there was nothing much in between, and the Lough series adequately filled that gap.

 A dinghy capsize during the Strangford Lough Youth Series  A dinghy capsize during the Strangford Lough Youth Series 

Over 50 young people between 8 and 18 have taken part over the years, and many have progressed to National and International competitions, and indeed, their children are now sailing. This season, over 20 took part in three classes of dinghies – Lasers, Fevas and Toppers.

The format also acts as informal training, and although scoring isn’t easy, a system was satisfactorily devised.

Strangford Lough Youth SeriesStrangford Lough Youth Series

Published in Youth Sailing

Whether it be football or sailing, the people of Larne in County Antrim have plenty to celebrate, for the football club won the Irish League Cup on 15th April and East Antrim Boat Club’s ILCA 6 sailor, Tom Coulter began his Irish Youth Nationals competition by winning the opening ILCA 6 race at Howth Yacht Club’s four-day jamboree Investwise Youth Sailing Nationals for nearly 200 young sailors from all over Ireland. Tom went on to take third overall and his clubmate Zoe Whitford clocked an excellent 7th to take first the first girl place in the same class.

Zoe Whitford  - in the ILCA 6 fleetZoe Whitford - in the ILCA 6 fleet

And on the County Down coast, Ballyholme is celebrating a decisive win by Tom Driscoll in the 40-strong Topper class and a close second by two points was his clubmate, Cormac Byrne. 

Tom Coulter was one of the 30 competitors from Northern Ireland making the shorter trip (compared to the long drive to Baltimore for the Munster ILCAs the week before) to the Howth club, north of Dublin. In a class in which the Howth sailor and ILCA 6 Bronze European champion, Rocco Wright continues to shine, it was always going to be a fight for Tom, but he did start with a win and just before being black flagged in the last race, clocked up another, having taken three runner up slots and never falling below sixth, Tom (and EABC) will be encouraged by his performance.

Bobby Driscoll in the TopperTom Driscoll in the Topper

In the top ten ILCA 6s also were Lewis Thompson (BYC) at fifth, Zoe Whitford, also from the Larne club was 7th and first girl, and Bobby Driscoll, representing Royal North on Belfast Lough was 8th. Tom, Zoe and another BYC competitor, Charlotte Eadie, had trained in Schull from 1st April, before racing at Baltimore and then going on to Howth. As Zoe’s Mother, Lucy confessed, “it has been a busy Easter”.

Although Ballyholme’s Charlie O’Malley’s score of 22nd in ILCA 6 wasn’t outstanding, what was pleasing was that his daily efforts to help competitors haul their boats up the slip was noticed, and he was given a Spirit of the Event award.

A consistent set of results in the Toppers assured Tom Driscoll of 1st overall, but only two points behind was the Strangford Sailing Club/Ballyholme sailor, Cormac Byrne. In this class too, Emily McAfee at 5th was second girl and another BYC sailor, Katie Brow was 7th and third girl.

The Carlingford SC sailor, Lucy Ives, took 10th overall in the ILCA 4 class despite a DSQ and a DNE and the only northern entries in the 29ers, Hannah Dadley-Young, Toby Huges, Joseph Robinson and Henry Nelson from BYC in the 29er Class made credible efforts in challenging breezes for their first event in a boat requiring a steep learning curve.

RYANI was very pleased with the contingent’s performance. “All our sailors did us proud in a range of challenging conditions, including drifting with many course changes, right up to 20 knots in bitter cold wet breeze”.

Read more of Afloat's coverage of the Youth Sailing nationals at Howth here

Published in Youth Sailing

Some placings waxed and waned, occasionally quite spectacularly, in Day 2's racing in the Investwise Youth Sailing Nationals at Howth, as wind and weather struggled to stabilise themselves after the theatrically unsettled conditions experienced earlier in the week.

Nevertheless, in a testing time for Race Officer teams, the more senior classes, which had already notched two races on the opening afternoon on Thursday (Day 1), got themselves three further completed contests, while the newbies in the Toppers and ILCA 4s stepped up to the plate to start their championships with two races logged.

Already there'll be competitors who will be hoping for a full slate of finishes by the time racing concludes on Sunday, as two of the overnight leaders may be looking for everything that further discards have to offer. In the substantial Optimist fleet (43 boats racing), overnight clear leader Caoilinn McDonnell (Royal St George Yacht Club) scaled the extremes of experience with a UFD, a first, and a retiral to put her back to 15th overall despite having a neat lineup of three bullets for her three fully finished races.

An Optimist competitor sails past the Martello Tower on Ireland's Eye at Howth Yacht Club Photo: HYCAn Optimist dinghy competitor sails past the Martello Tower on Ireland's Eye at Howth Yacht Club Photo: HYC

There was excitement for the home Optimist fleet when local rising star Harry Dunne won the day's first race, and then a fifth in the second kept him up in lights, but a DNF in the third dropped him back to 7th OA at the end of the day.

Meanwhile, the Young Crusaders of Royal St George kept up their assault across a broad front, as Jules Start moved into first OA with a 13,3,1 while clubmate Conor Cronin took up second OA ahead of Andrew O'Neill of Royal Cork Yacht Club.

At the other end of the five-class regatta fleet, the ILCA 6s saw local stars Rocco Wright and Luke Turvey find their mojo with persistent performances in the frame, but Rocco was glad to have the first discard kick in as he was disqualified in the day's first race, but then made amends with two clear wins. Luke meanwhile had a first and two seconds, so it needed a tie-break to put Rocco ahead, as both are on 7 points total. Overnight leader Tom Coulter of East Antrim went back to 12 points total, as he'd to make do with a discarded 8th, and a retained 3rd and 6th.

World youth sailing gold medalist Rocco Wright leads the ILCA 6 division in his home waters at Howth Photo: World SailingWorld youth sailing gold medalist Rocco Wright leads the ILCA 6 division in his home waters at Howth Photo: World Sailing

It looks as though we're going to have to get used to spelling Krzysztof Ciborowski's name properly, as the young Royal St George YC helm ended the day on tops in the ILCA 4s after logging a 4th and 1st to put him ahead of Royal Cork's Oisin Pierse in another tie break, as both are on a total of 5, with another gong for Royal St George with Seth Walker third OA on a 5th and 2nd in a class of 34 boats.

The Toppers put out a fleet of 40 to see Tom Driscoll of Ballyholme become a clear overnight leader with two firsts to the 6th and 2nd of Cormac Byrne (SSC & BYC), with Lucy Moynan of Royal Cork keeping it cross country on third from a 4th and 5th.


Ben O'Shaughnessy of Crosshaven's Royal Cork YC and Ethan Spain of the National YC continued on form in the 29ers with a 2,1,2. When you're discarding a second, the smart money bets you're overall leaders, and so they are, yet it's only on a tie-break against the Van Steenberges (Clementine & Nathan) from Dun Laoghaire, while Lucia Cullen (Royal St George) and Alana Twomey (Royal Cork) are third on 11 to the leaders' 6.

International 29er performers Lucia Cullen (Royal St George) and Alana Twomey (Royal Cork) are lying third in Howth at the Youth Sailing Nationals International 29er performers Lucia Cullen (Royal St George) and Alana Twomey (Royal Cork) are lying third in Howth at the Youth Sailing Nationals 

The 420s saw Jack McDowell of Malahide and Henry Thompson of Wicklow have a great day on the water - with third and two firsts; they shot into the overall lead one point overall ahead of Malahide's Kate Campion and Amelie Soffe, while the cross-country mix of Max Sweetman of WHSC (Dunmore East) and Roisin Mitchell Ward of Galway Bay stayed in the frame on third overall.

When seen in the context of the week's earlier weather, it wasn't a bad day at all, but the promises of significantly warmer conditions have generally held back to Saturday (Day 3) when we hope to see a more steady southerly keeping this stylish and entertaining regatta on track.

Published in Youth Sailing

The first day of racing in the big-fleet Investwise Youth Sailing Nationals at Howth Yacht Club saw the Race Team get in two good races in the sweet spot between the morning's near gale that was the last of Storm Antonio blustering his way eastward, and the evening's calm which - after a cold night - hopefully, anticipates warmer weather and enough breeze for decent sport for the remaining three days.

It was a blast from the past when the biggest class - the Optimists - saw a girl helm dominating the fleet in the style of Denise Lyttle of the National Yacht Club at the Optimist Worlds at the same venue back in 1981. This time round, it was Royal St George Yacht Club's Caoilinn McDonnell who notched two bullets to lead overall from Tralee Bay's Jude Hynes Knight and another RStGYC sailor, Conor Cronin. With their patron's day just ten days away, evidently the Young Crusaders of the George are already on manoeuvres.

The outcome for the 33-boat fleet in the ILCA 6s may well have resulted in dancing in the streets back in Larne in County Antrim, as East Antrim BC's Tom Coulter logged a 1,2 to lead overall from local stars Rocco Wright (4,1) and Luke Turvey (2,4), with Royal St George's Fiachra McDonnell in the hunt at fourth overall with two thirds, making for a very crowded top layer on the leaderboard.

Howth is the venue for the Investwise Youth Sailing National ChampionshipsHowth is the venue for the Investwise Youth Sailing National Championships this weekend Photo: Afloat

For the 29ers, the remarkable inter-club mix of the fleet, in general, was reflected within boats, as Royal Cork's Ben O'Shaughnessy with the National's Ethan Spain topped the table, followed by Clementine and Nathan van Steenberge - they may be in the same boat, but they register as one with the National and the other with the Royal Irish, while club points tabulators are further confused by the third-placed boat being sailed by Lauren O'Callaghan (National YC) and James Dwyer (Royal Cork).

The 420s likewise saw club differences within the in-crew department, as the day's leaders were Max Sweetman from Dunmore East crewed by Roisin Mitchell Ward from Galway Bay - they got a fourth and first - but at least second slot was under the same umbrella of Malahide Yacht Club for both Kate Campion and Amalie Soffe, although we're mixing again in the third placed team, as helm Cora McNaughton is from mountainy stock up in Blessington, but crew Sean Cronin is very much at sea level in Malahide.

Just how the Race Officers managed to find a very useful westerly wind on this first day is a matter of wonder, as the spectacularly changing afternoon sky looked as if it had been painted by Paul Henry on a potent mixture of steroids and hallucinogenics. Be that as it may, David Lovegrove and his team did it, and two race results are already in the bag.

Result details below

Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under

The British Sailing Team has launched its new development academy, 'the British Sailing Squad', aimed at developing Olympic stars of the future.

The British Sailing Squad will act as an apprenticeship to the senior British Sailing Team, giving talented young sailors a taste of Olympic campaigning and the opportunity to perform on the international stage.

Sailors will get to train alongside British Sailing Team athletes, as well as access the team’s world-class performance services at its base in Portland, Dorset.

The British Sailing Squad will form a key part of the RYA performance pathway, which aims to nurture, develop and retain talented young racing sailors from Junior level with Regional Training Groups to squads at Youth level.

The British Sailing Squad is the next step towards fully-funded Olympic campaigning following the Transition phase of the pathway.

To earn a spot in the British Sailing Squad young sailors need to achieve performances close to or within the top 50 per cent of an international senior fleet. Podium performances at age level may also be considered.

RYA Performance Pathway Manager Jack Grundy, who heads up the British Sailing Squad, said: “For any young sailor with dreams of competing at the Olympics, the British Sailing Squad is an exciting new addition to our performance pathway.

“Sailors will get to train alongside – and learn from – the senior British Sailing Team, and benefit from dedicated coaching on and off the water from the BST’s support team.

“We’re really excited to launch the British Sailing Squad, and follow the development of these talented young racers.”

To find out more about the British Sailing Squad and the RYA’s performance pathway click here.

The British Sailing Squad athlete list will be released in January 2023.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland

Where other Irish harbours face the sea, Kinsale embraces it. And this generous geographical reality helps to provide a genuine sense of community interaction when any initiative at the hospitable south Cork port is put together to help get young people enthusiastically interested in boats and sailing.

But it’s a complex challenge. At a national level, this mixed though largely successful sailing year of 2022 has been remarkable for the emergence and rise of youthful Irish sailing talent, a situation which is as problematic as it is encouraging. It’s encouraging because in addition to enlivening the current scene, it bodes well for the future of our sport. But it is problematic in being a matter of continual judgment as to when an individual young sailor, or team of young sailors, should be highlighted – and to what level - in their growing achievements and potential.

It’s very easy to say that any publicity, if at all, should be kept very low-key until age 17. The simple ranking of ability, potential and maturity by something as narrowly-focused as the particular individual’s chronological age is now seen as almost embarrassingly unsophisticated, in an era when so many other measurable factors can be taken into account in a meaningful way.

 Reports and images of sailing children – however mature they may personally be – has always been problematic, yet this photo of Ireland’s Rocco Wright aged 12 has long since gone global. Photo: North Sails  Reports and images of sailing children – however mature they may personally be – has always been problematic, yet this photo of Ireland’s Rocco Wright aged 12 has long since gone global. Photo: North Sails 

Yet those who are trying to grapple with the big picture will inevitably find the number of statistics they deploy needs to get reduced to the basics, and in reporting and applauding junior achievement in, we try to be restrained until the young star reaches the age of 17, and even then it is hoped to be moderate with publicity until they’re in their early 20s and evidently maturing well. 


But there are some young sailors who manifest their talent at international level at such a young age that the good news keeps bursting out, however much the well-intentioned authorities, managers, coaches, parents and responsible communicators try to keep it under control. In the age of social media, rising stars not even into their teens are widely acknowledged in sailing as in other sports, becoming sources of too much interest before reaching the difficult years between 13 and 17 – and beyond – when so many factors for adult success and fulfilment are being set in place.

 The International 420 is internationally significant as a youth class, yet it often presents problems for reporters as the young sailors will be at their most formative and malleable stage The International 420 is internationally significant as a youth class, yet it often presents problems for reporters as the young sailors will be at their most formative and malleable stage

We all know of cases where the bright early light of potential talent has been allowed to burn so strongly that it soon burns itself out. But equally, we can all remember nascent but initially, low-wattage talents which might – just might – have burned increasingly brightly over time to reach their full potential, had there been the right environment of the optimal amounts of publicity, practical encouragement, and tangible support.

But all this is in the assumption that a significant proportion of up-and-coming young sailors – and their parents - aspire to a career ladder which will take them onwards and upwards to the demands of top-level international competition and the concentrated effort of high-performance training, thereby satisfying national sporting authorities, for whom a steady stream of successful international headline-grabbing talent is essential for their added income from public funds.

For in the final analysis, all that decision-making politicos with budgets to spend will really understand in sporting achievement is a gold, silver or bronze medal, and preferably in the Olympics, though a razzmatazz-filled World Championship title will do in the interim. 


Facing this noisy reality, we must remember that, increasingly, people are inclining to life at a more civilised level, with several sporting and recreational interests. And the backbone of Irish sailing is the club sailor who may aim at the occasional regional and national championship, but does not wish to sign up to a total all-consuming commitment on course to the highest level. They aspire instead to have sailing as part of a balanced and sensible lifestyle, ultimately with family at the heart of it.

 Squib Class action at Kinsale. The family-friendly Squib successfully lends itself to worthwhile club racing and major championships without straying into the demanding realms of extreme commitment and total dedication Squib Class action at Kinsale. The family-friendly Squib successfully lends itself to worthwhile club racing and major championships without straying into the demanding realms of extreme commitment and total dedication

But nevertheless, there is a substantial area of interest and activity between the quietly routine life of club sailing and the all-absorbing demands of Olympian and other high-level life-consuming international ambitions. And we’ve been seeing much of that in Ireland this year with the National, Continental and World championships of classes which have managed to avoid the Olympic stranglehold, yet can still offer their members a complete suite of competition levels, from club racing to quite intense international contests, while keeping publicity and demanding expectations of the national squad’s performance within reasonable limits. 


The classic case in point is the J/24, which you realize really is a unique proposition when one of their major championships comes to town. They don’t fit comfortably into any category, and they need a committed crew of five. Yet they have a devoted following worldwide, typified at the recent Euros in Howth by Germany’s Stefan Karsunke, who placed fifth overall with a crew of friends who have been happily sailing together for more than twenty years.

A boat and a sports level for all ages – the first race of the J/24 Euros 2022 at Howth is led by Seattle’s Admiral Denny Vaughan (USN, Retd), aged 83. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyA boat and a sports level for all ages – the first race of the J/24 Euros 2022 at Howth is led by Seattle’s Admiral Denny Vaughan (USN, Retd), aged 83. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

In Ireland, it’s some years now since the then ICRA Commodore Nobby Reilly proposed the establishment of a programme to encourage and support Under 25s into J/24 racing as an identifiable group. At the time, some thought that pitching the upper age limit at 25 was putting it a bit high – surely any real talent would have clearly manifested itself long before that? But as it happens, the peculiarities of economic realities in recent years have put young people at a disadvantage in hoping to mount their own campaigns, and that U25 ceiling seems more appropriate than ever.


The idea has been successful in several clubs, albeit somewhat unevenly, and for the last three years an outstanding product of the scheme has been the Headcase campaigns, where a crew – some now past 25 - from four different clubs in three Provinces have stayed together to campaign in Karsunke style.

It’s a setup which can only work with a high level of commitment from at least five young sailors. But last October a group was inaugurated in Kinsale, with Mikey Carroll as Team Captain, and former KYC Commodore Dave Sullivan as Mentor was inaugurated, though it was February 2022 by the time they’d secured a boat and had it all up and running.

The dream comes true – the “Kids from Kinsale” (right) successfully playing the Big Boys Game in some perfect racing weather at Howth. Photo: Christopher HowellThe dream comes true – the “Kids from Kinsale” (right) successfully playing the Big Boys Game in some perfect racing weather at Howth. Photo: Christopher Howell

But they were playing their cards very well indeed. For a start, they’d got themselves a gold standard boat. She may have been 31 years old, but she was the last J24 to be built by the great Jeremy Rogers of Lymington. As those of us who have had one will tell you, there are Jeremy Rogers boats. And there are “others”.


A further stroke of genius was the choice of name. Failure is an orphan while success has many fathers, so it’s a moot point whom to praise. But whoever thought of calling the boat Kinsailor was a genius. For sure, if you’re naming a private boat for personal use, you can choose whichever whimsical name takes your fancy. But if you’re campaigning a community and club-supported boat with national and international effects in mind, a simple name which says everything in just one word is a pearl beyond price, and they have it here in spades.

The re-born Jeremy Rogers-built masterpiece is unleashed on the world in February 2022 with a real stroke of genius in the name.The re-born Jeremy Rogers-built masterpiece is unleashed on the world in February 2022 with a real stroke of genius in the name.

Certainly it hit the spot in Kinsale, and they soon had a strong crew panel in place to get training under way. But while there were some regional contests to start testing their mettle, Headcase was away on a trail of success through regattas in Germany and the UK, and it was the Nationals at Foynes at the end of July before the lines of battle were clearly drawn.

The Kinsailor crew of Mikey Carroll, Leslie Collins. Rachel Akerlind, Michael O’Suilleabhain and Jack O’Sullivan put in a solid performance, winning the U25 section and placing eighth overall in a star-studded fleet. But it still looked as if the Headcase team were in a world of their own.

However, that special Headcase world seemed a little less elevated in the Easterns at Howth in the weekend preceding the Worlds at the end of August. Headcase was right there nearly all the way with 1,1,(8.0),2,1 but Kinsailor dealt deftly with the strong opposition with a 2,(13),4.1,2.


Then they seemed to find an extra gear with additional turbo-charging in the Euros themselves, and it all came right down to the wire last Saturday. Kinsailor’s final scoreline of 21,2,6,(27), 5,11,3,12,4,2 says a lot. With ten races possible though with only one discard even with total completion, a 21st in the first race usefully took the focus off them. It meant some further races with much better scores had to be sailed before they were in the area of being a marked boat.

Nevertheless despite that real upset of a 27th in Race 4, they were still in the hunt for a podium place, but the permutations were so abstruse that we thought it would be tempting fate even to mention any distinct possibility of such a thing in For Headcase was right back in the hunt with two bullets on the Friday.

 Job done. The Kinnsailor team at Howth after sweeping to success in the final race in the Euros 2022 are (left to right) Mikey Carroll, Jack O’Sullivan, Leslie Collins, Francesca Lewis, Rory Carroll and Micheal O’Suilleabhain Job done. The Kinnsailor team at Howth after sweeping to success in the final race in the Euros 2022 are (left to right) Mikey Carroll, Jack O’Sullivan, Leslie Collins, Francesca Lewis, Rory Carroll and Micheal O’Suilleabhain

But last weekend was a magic time for Kinsale up in Dublin. Off Howth, Kinsailor rocketed through to take a second and leap into third overall just one point behind the tied first and second boats. And across in Dun Laoghaire, Cameron Good of Kinsale Dragon Class fame finally broke a club drought of many years to win the Dragon Nationals.


Flushed with success at these double achievements firmly based in healthy club sailing, Kinsale Yacht Club is examining an initiative by Vice Commodore Anthony Scannell, together with Kinsale Outdoor Education Centre and Kinsale Community School, to develop a Team Racing Programme for Teenagers.

It is envisaged that up to six boats will be made available by KOEC who will provide training and safety boat cover. The boats will be stored in the dinghy park of KYC, and all participants will be students of KCS. It is the intention that training sessions would take place on Wednesday afternoons and some Saturdays.

Ultimately the success of such a worthwhile and genuinely community-based sailing project will be dependent on the goodwill and tangible support of ordinary Kinsale YC members. But the remarkable success of the Kinsailor campaign has amply demonstrated that as a group and a community within the Kinsale community, Kinsale’s club sailors really are the backbone of much good work. They’re an example to us all.

Published in W M Nixon

Despite the gathering record-breaking heatwave over Europe as July progressed, Ireland’s Eve McMahon (17) won Gold at both the ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) European Youth Championship in Greece, and then Gold again at the 2022 World Sailing Youth World Championship in The Netherlands, where her Howth YC clubmate Rocco Wright (15) also collected Gold after a masterful final race.

But as world climate observers never tire of telling us, what is currently regarded as extreme heat in mid-Europe is simply thought of as fairly normal summer in places like southern Texas.

Yet a six-strong Irish ILCA team is now bound for the ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) Youth World Championships at Houston in Texas (starting Monday, July 25th) where the typical forecast for the city this afternoon (Thursday) predicts a temperature of 37C. However, it will feel like 41C owing to an underlying high level of humidity (86% at night) which does admittedly fall to 42% when the afternoon’s 15 kmh southerly breeze sets in.

Double Gold – Eve McMahon & Rocco Wright after total success in The HagueDouble Gold – Eve McMahon & Rocco Wright after total success in The Hague

But whether it’s a case of out of the frying pan into the fire or not remains to be seen. In the stellar Netherlands championship, their coach Vasilij Zbogar commented on how cool the two young stars stayed throughout. And though that was about their general state of mind, it’s a very useful foundation to have in place when you’re dealing with the added challenge of searing heat.

Also racing for Ireland is Sophie Kilmartin. Fiachra McDonnell, Luke Turvey and Oisin Hughes, with Liam Glynn as coach. 

Next week’s hot spot for world youth sailing. The Houston Yacht Club is – meteorologically speaking - the coolest place in townNext week’s hot spot for world youth sailing. The Houston Yacht Club is – meteorologically speaking - the coolest place in town

In Texas, the Irish team will face a wide field of 212 sailors from 35 countries. All sailors are under 18. The regatta is held over a week from Monday 25 July to Saturday 30th July. There are two races scheduled per day, each lasting approximately 50 minutes. Hosting the event is the Houston Yacht Club, based in Shoreacres, Texas, USA and the International Laser Class Association (ILCA).

Published in Youth Sailing

Sixteen of the UK’s most promising young sailors have been selected to represent Great Britain at the Youth Sailing World Championships.

The talented youngsters, all aged 18 or under, will represent the British Youth Sailing (BYS) Team in eight classes at the 51st edition of the prestigious youth event at The Hague, Netherlands, from 8-15 July 2022.

The sailors gained selection to the team for their performances in the 29er, 420, Nacra 15, ILCA 6, iQFOiL and kiteboarding at the recent RYA Youth National Championships.

Previous Youth Worlds participants include some of today's best-known sailors including the world's most decorated Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie and 2008 Beijing gold medallist Pippa Wilson.

Among those selected and making a first appearance at the Youth Worlds, Santiago Sesto-Cosby (Royal Lymington YC - pictured above) is looking to draw upon venue knowledge and home similarities as the secret to success in the 29er alongside returning crew, Leo Wilkinson (Maidenhead SC).

“Qualifying for the youth world championships is an all-time dream for me,” said Sesto-Cosby. “Now is the time to build up towards it to be the best we can be to represent Great Britain.

Lucy Kenyon (Parkstone YCLucy Kenyon of Parkstone YC

“I have sailed in the venue when I qualified for my first Optimist European Championship in 2018 and I loved it. I did well there because it’s a tidal venue, very similar to Lymington. It can be very wavy too. I’m really looking forward to going back there. It will be fun in the 29er!” Lucy Kenyon (Parkstone YC - pictured above), who returns to the BYS team for a second Youth Worlds appearance, is also looking to call on previous knowledge to go one step further in 2022.

“I’m mega excited to be selected for the girls iQFOiL place for the youth worlds in The Hague. It looks like it’s going to be a great event and I’m looking forward to working hard over the next few months trying to beat last year’s fourth place.

It’ll be an awesome start to this year’s international racing season and I’m excited to kick it off with a bang.”

Making a third appearance at the Youth Worlds will be Nacra 15 helm Jasmine Williams, this time sailing with crew Sam Cox (both Restronguet SC). Charlie Dixon (Blackwater YC) takes on the boy’s iQFOiL fleet with Ellen Morley and Hazel McDonnell (both Hollowell SC) contesting the 29er girls.

Honor Proctor of Cardiff Bay YCHonor Proctor of Cardiff Bay YC

Thommie Grit (Royal Hospital School) was picked in the boy’s ILCA6 with Wales’ Honor Proctor (Cardiff Bay YC - pictured above) taking on the girls.

Proctor said: “I’m so thrilled to be selected for the Youth Worlds, it’s been a long and hard winter of training and now I’m looking forward to competing against some of the best ILCA6 youth sailors in the world.”

Megan Farrer (Emsworth SC) and Ellie Rush (Nottinghamshire County SC) were picked in the girls’ 420 class with Henry Heathcote and Hector Bennett (both Royal Lymington YC) in the boys.

Returning to take on the kite fleet is Ella Geiger, who is looking to improve on her debut sixth position last year, and Mattia Maini who make up the final spots on the BYS squad.

The squad will be coached and supported by the returning team of Olympian Kate Macgregor, current British Sailing Team iQFOiL women’s coach Sam Ross and BYS squad coach James Hadden.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
Tagged under

Nine young sailors from Northern Ireland travelled to England last weekend to compete in the Eric Twiname 2022 Championships at Rutland Sailing Club in the East Midlands.

The first Eric Twiname event took place in 1986 and has seen thousands of young sailors, including Olympians past and present take part. Sailing stars Ben Ainslie and Iain Percy were among the early winners of the regatta before going on to Olympic greatness.

The regatta took place on the 3000-acre Rutland Water and is named in memory of legendary sailor, author and journalist Eric Twiname. It is regarded by many young racers as a rite of passage as they continue their journey to become top-level competitors.

Twiname made his name in sailing, winning numerous national titles in a range of dinghy classes, as well as in team racing where he captained the British Universities Sailing Association.

Daniel Palmer of Ballyholme YC - 4th overall in the ILCA 4

Northern Ireland had six compete in the huge 110 strong Topper 5.3 fleet over five races and best performer was Bobby Driscoll of Royal North and Ballyholme Yacht Clubs on Belfast Lough. He came fifth overall with results never above ninth. His best placing was a third.

Autumn Halliday of Strangford Lough YC and Ballyholme clocked a seventh as her best result finishing in 27th place. She was closely followed by Cormac Byrne from Strangford Sailing Club and Ballyholme whose best placings were two ninths. Also competing were Emily McAfee, Isabelle Nixon, and Hugo Boyd also of Ballyholme

In the ILCA4 fifty-five strong fleet were Daniel Palmer of Royal North and BYC who finished in an excellent fourth slot with a third in the last race. In that fleet also was Callum Jackson from Coleraine and Portrush on the North Coast and Lucy Ives from the opposite end of the region, Carlingford Lough Yacht Club on the South Down coast.

RYA Northern Ireland posted on Facebook “ Some great results and lessons learned by all. No time to rest though as we are back training next weekend with our Youth Performance Topper Sailors”.

Published in Youth Sailing
Page 1 of 23

Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.