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With a final day turn of speed, the National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch won the bronze medal at the ILCA 7 European Championships in Athens today (Friday, 23rd February 2024) after a three-race final day that ended the weather-hit event.

The Carlow sailor had a consistent day of top-ten results to end the eight-race regatta on equal points with Hungary’s Jonatan Vadnai, who took the silver on a tie-break.

This marks Vadnai’s second Senior Europeans medal, following his Bronze win in 2021, while it’s Lynch’s first Senior European prize in his career.

Finn Lynch turned on the speed in the final three races at the 2024 European Championships in Greece to come from 14th place to third overall to win his first Senior European prize of ILCA 7 in his career. Photo: Matias CapizannoFinn Lynch turned on the speed in the final three races at the 2024 European Championships in Greece to come from 14th place to third overall to win his first Senior European prize of ILCA 7 in his career. Photo: Matias Capizanno

Both boats were just four points off Gold, where Valterri Uusiltalo topped the 141-boat fleet for Finland.

Lynch now adds a Bronze to his world championship silver at Barcelona in 2021 as he aims to secure the Irish place for the Men's single-handed event at the Paris 2024 Olympics this Summer.

Green Rebel McMahon

The Rio 2016 Olympic veteran was in the second round of a selection trials series with Ewan McMahon (Howth YC), who ended this week's event in 17th place and, at times, was leading Lynch.

While a third regatta was included in the Irish selection trials series, Lynch cannot be beaten and is set to be nominated for Paris.

There were plaudits in Athens for McMahon's independent Green Rebel campaign, too. The recently graduated UCD Engineering student rose to the challenge this week and regained Sport Ireland funding status for any future campaign for LA2028.

A race start on the final day of racing at the ILCA 7 European Championships in Athens Photo: Matias CapizzanoA race start on the final day of racing at the ILCA 7 European Championships in Athens Photo: Matias Capizzano

"It was very tricky, very up and down for the three races of mostly six knots, maximum eleven," commented  Lynch's Laser Coach Vasilij Zbogar. "We were hoping for a little more wind, preferably over 10 knots, where Finn definitely has an edge. But we wanted a medal here, we got a medal here, so we're happy."

Finnish sailor Valtteri Uusitalo made an impressive debut as a Senior European medalist, clinching the Gold prize by finishing atop the fleet after eight races with a total of 42 points.

"Very difficult day for me. I mean, super tricky conditions but I guess I managed to do quite well. I am very pleased with myself," Uusitalo said.

In terms of the Olympic spots at stake, Omer Vered Vilenchik and Zan Luka Zelko emerged as the winners, securing the ILCA 7 tickets for Israel and Slovenia in Paris 2024.

Top 10 ILCA 7 Senior Europeans:

Valtteri Uusitalo FIN 42 pt
Jonatan Vadnai HUN 46 pt
Finn Lynch IRL 46 pt
Finley Dickinson GBR 49 pt
Benjamin Vadnai HUN 53 pt
Dimitri Peroni ITA 59 pt
Eduardo Marques POR 61 pt
Omer Vered Vilenchik ISR 65 pt
Tonci Stipanovic CRO 73 pt
Alexandre Boite FRA 74 pt

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Paris 2024 Irish Olympic trialists, in their second of three trials, posted close results after the first races sailed at the ILCA 7 European Championships in Athens today.

Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) and Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) had almost matching scores in their respective qualifying fleets, with Lynch scoring 22nd followed by a fourth; McMahon had a 23rd, then a fourth also.

Two races were completed in between spells of near-calm conditions. The 140-boat fleet was only at sea for a few hours when they were recalled to shore as the wind died.

"It's up to the sailor at the moment to choose which way to sail, but the conditions are so hard to manage that I expected from before the event started that it would be a high-scoring event," commented Irish Coach Vasilij Zbogar.

Irish Olympic trials leader Finn Lynch completes a tack in the light winds at the ILCA 7 European Championships in Athens Photo: Matias CapizzanoIrish Olympic trials leader Finn Lynch completes a tack in the light winds at the ILCA 7 European Championships in Athens Photo: Matias Capizzano

With more light winds expected for Day 4 on Wednesday, organisers will again try for three races, although once four have been completed, the minimum standard for a championship event will have been reached.

Lynch and McMahon are competing in the six-day series that also serves as part of the selection trials for the single national place already secured for the Men's single-handed event at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

A young sailor named Omer Vered from Israel is currently leading in the ILCA 7 European Championship with a total of 7 points after the first two races.  He managed to secure a fifth and a second place, which puts him in the running for one of the two Olympic spots offered by the event for Paris 2024.

Close contenders include Benjamin Vadnai from Hungary with 8 points and Pietro Giacomoni from Italy with 9 points after finishing 7th and 1st and 4th and 5th, respectively.

Zan Luka Zelko from Slovenia (6th and 5th) and Bruno Gaspic from Croatia (5th and 6th) are tied in the provisional Top 5 with 11 points each. If the race ended now, Zan Luka Zelko would secure the second Olympic berth for his country.

As the second trial for the Irish Paris 2024 nomination was becalmed in Greece today at the ILCA7 European Championships, the February World Rankings reveal both Irish trialists are in the top 25.

Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club), who finished ninth at January's World Championships, is ranked 15th, while Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) reaches a new high at 25 in his independent 'Green Rebel' campaign.

High pressure over Athens left competitors without racing on the opening day of the Championships (Sunday, 18th February).

Lynch and McMahon were amongst the 141-boat ILCA7 class left waiting for the breeze to arrive. Although the fleet eventually went afloat, no racing was possible.

Top class sailing from Finn Lynch put the National Yacht Club sailor into the medal race of the ILCA 7 World Championships in Adelaide, Australia in January and puts him 15th in the world rankings Photo: Jack FletcherTop class sailing from Finn Lynch put the National Yacht Club sailor into the medal race of the ILCA 7 World Championships in Adelaide, Australia in January and puts him 15th in the world rankings Photo: Jack Fletcher

A similar forecast is predicted for Monday, though there are indications of wind for Tuesday.

Lynch has the upper hand on McMahon after the first of three trials at the Australian World Championships, but with a light wind forecast and some significant absences in Athens this week, there is an opportunity for McMahon.

As Afloat reported last November, despite achieving the necessary published criteria at a recent World Cup, the McMahon campaign says that his application for Sport Ireland funding for 2024 was "disallowed following a decision by Irish Sailing (IS) to invalidate the event’s qualification status".

The ISA then determined that the World Cup event in Almere did not meet the “minimum standard of fleet” to qualify as a carding event under the 2024 Carding Scheme rules.

Whatever the criteria may be, with only two sailors campaigning, February 2024's world rankings represent a standard McMahon's campaign will no doubt say merits his inclusion on the national team, which currently has only one ILCA 7 member.

Irish sailors Finn Lynch and Ewan McMahon are battling it out for a spot in the Men's ILCA 7 single-handed event at the Paris 2024 Olympic regatta. With just five months to go before the event begins in Marseilles, the two are gearing up for the second of three regattas at the ILCA 7 European Championships in Athens next week.

It'll be an interesting week if Carlow's Lynch – after finishing ninth overall in last month's ILCA 7 class world championships in Adelaide, Australia – can hold form. He could arguably expect a top-five finish as the Athens fleet does not appear to be as high quality as Adelaide. Only three of the World Championship medal race competitors are entered (Lynch, Kontides and Jurassic), with a host of World and European athletes marked absent, such as British ace Micky Beckett from Wales, his training partner Sam Whaley of GBR, Tomassgard of Norway, Bernaz of FRA, Bos of NED and Buhl of GER.

Lynch hailing from the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay holds the edge in the Irish trials but 'Green Rebel' independent campaigner McMahon, from Howth Yacht Club, is not too far behind and is expected to put up a stiff challenge at the upcoming event in Greece.

'Green Rebel' independent campaigner Ewan McMahon of Howth 'Green Rebel' independent campaigner Ewan McMahon of Howth 

With a total of 141 boats participating in the event, the competition is sure to be intense. A strong showing by McMahon could leave the pair needing the French Olympic Week event in April to decide the Irish Sailing nomination to the Olympic Federation of Ireland.

The trials will be decided on a high-points scoring basis that incentivizes both sailors to concentrate on their best regatta score rather than winning the place for Paris 2024. Lynch, who previously won Silver at the 2021 World Championship in Barcelona, is keen to secure his spot in the Olympics after missing qualification for the Tokyo Games.

Despite the notoriously demanding nature of the Men's single-handed event, Lynch is raring to go and has his sights firmly set on Olympic glory. If he can hold off McMahon and secure his place in the Irish team, he'll be one step closer to achieving his dream.

When Finn Lynch of the National Yacht Club finally secured Ireland's Olympic 2024 ILCA 7 place last August when qualifying opportunities seemed to be rapidly evaporating, he said it was “like getting a monkey off my back”. Since then, he has been sailing in a flourishing style and was visibly revelling in the final week of January with the challengingly breezy 2024 ILCA 7 Men’s Worlds on Adelaide’s renowned open waters.

In a truly global fleet of 153 boats, getting into the top 50 was a highly competitive challenge. But the Carlow sailor ripped round the long courses in real style and then some, and at one stage was looking at sixth. He stayed in single figures to come in ninth at the end, with the long list astern reading like a Who’s Who of top ILCA 7 sailing

Published in Sailor of the Month
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Ireland's Finn Lynch will take a coveted place in the medal race final of the ILCA 7 Mens World Championships on Wednesday after finishing eighth overall after four gold fleet races in Adelaide, Australia.

Racing in strong wind conditions, the National Yacht Club sailor recovered from a black flag disqualification score on Monday in the single discard regatta to post a 9 and 21 to move up from ninth to eighth overall on 79 points in the 153-boat fleet.

Big breeze and steep swells have been on the menu most of the week as Adelaide provided testing championship essentials for the world's hottest dinghy fleet. Conditions on the final day were the most spectacular of the week with winds gusting to 30 knots.

In the first race of the day, Lynch made a promising start but unfortunately capsized midway through the race. Despite the setback, he managed to recover quickly but found himself trailing by over 30 places behind the race leaders. In a commendable effort, Lynch managed to regain some ground and finished the race in 21st position, minimizing the damage to his overall standing.

In the second race, with the wind at its strongest, the Rio 2016 veteran returned to his more usual form, serving up a ninth place, his seventh top ten result of the ten races sailed since last Friday.

Lynch is on course to secure his third top ten result at world championship level in four years (including a silver medal in 2021). The best outcome he can aim for in the event is sixth overall, as the top three boats are already certain of podium places after the single-medal race final.

The regatta concludes with a top 10 medal race on Wednesday, with that race score worth double points and cannot be discarded.

Ireland's second sailor in Adelaide, Ewan McMahon, scored 36.0 and (41.0) to lie 41st overall in the first of three Irish Olympic Trials for the Paris 2024 Regatta in the men's singlehanded class.

Reigning champion Matt Wearn of Australia leads into the medal race with 22 points from Normway's Hermann Tomasgaard on 30 with Britain's Michael Beckett on 31.

Results below

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Consistent sailing by Ireland's Finn Lynch at the ILCA 7 World Championships in Adelaide, Australia, this week shows the depth of the Rio Olympian's ambition to make the Marseille Olympic start line this summer. 

According to provisional results (see below), the National Yacht Club ace qualified for the gold fleet on Saturday in 11th place in the 153-boat fleet. Also through to a top-50 coveted gold fleet position is Lynch's Paris 2024 rival, Ewan McMahon of Howth Yacht Club, in 38th place.

An impressive scoresheet of all top ten results thus far of  (8.0). 4.0, 6.0, 8.0, 5.0 and 6.0 put Lynch on 29.0 points, just one point off the top ten and 15 off the podium.

"Finn had a really good day again with two solid races and in a good position going into the finals," commented Lynch's coach Vasilij Zbogar. "Even for the best sailors, a small mistake can be really painful, but even when he slips back, he's recovering well".

Ewan McMahon of Howth Yacht Club racing in he final qualification rounds of the  ILCA 7 World Championships in Adelaide, Australia Photo: Jack FletcherEwan McMahon of Howth Yacht Club racing in he final qualification rounds of the  ILCA 7 World Championships in Adelaide, Australia Photo: Jack Fletcher

It's an even performance that makes good on Lynch's pre-event strategy in this single discard championship to take a set of solid results into the finals series.

The regatta also serves as the first round of an Irish Olympic trial for Paris 2024 in the men's singlehanded class.

Reigning Olympic and World champion Matt Wearn is back on top of the leaderboard with a 1,3  to lead the final series on nine points.

Norwegian Hermann Tomasgaard, who was atop the rankings, is now third on 13 points, with Welsh sailor Michael Beckett second on 12.

Conditions are placing considerable demands on all the athletes, and the coming days will also be a fitness test, especially on Monday when the forecast suggests the strongest wind of the week.

There was a hint of this on Sunday as the competition started off with light winds but steadily increased in strength. The afternoon wore on, though, with plenty of shifting directions in a classic sea breeze versus gradient wind.

The event schedule has two races each on Monday and Tuesday for the final round, with the top ten boats in the Gold fleet, then going into a short, high-scoring Olympic-style medal race final on Wednesday while the remaining competitors battle to decide the other overall standings.

Results below.

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Both Irish sailors competing in the 153-boat ILCA7 class world championships in Adelaide, Australia, had a stand-out day on Saturday, as they counted top ten results in tricky conditions. The event is preparing to end its qualification phase, and both Finn Lynch from the National Yacht Club and Ewan McMahon from Howth Yacht Club are hoping to secure a place in the men’s single-handed event at the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Regatta.

Lynch took a 6 and 8 in his qualification fleet to lie 14th overall after two days while McMahon posted a 9,6 in his fleet to lie 25th.

See results below

Lynch and McMahon are part of a trials series of three regattas over the coming months, where they only need to focus on achieving the best possible results, rather than racing specifically against each other. 

Saturday’s weather off the South Australian coast proved tricky for race organisers, who first sent the fleet to sea expecting wind to build, then returned to shore when the sea breeze failed to materialize. After a delay of three hours, racing gradually got underway, though it was close to sunset when the sailors eventually finished for the day, but with the event still on schedule.

Just Sunday's programme of a further two races - weather permitting - will decide how the full fleet of 153 entries are split into the Gold, Silver, and Bronze divisions, with both Irish sailors currently well-placed to achieve the top tier series that begins on Monday.

"Both sailors had a really good day, and Ewan managed to have a good average, which is what we want, definitely, and Finn also had two top tens, which is also what we want at this stage," commented Ireland's coach Vasilij Zbogar. "What we want are low scores and no bad results in the qualifying round because there is only one discard in the whole regatta."

For both sailors, their event goal means at least Gold fleet, but ideally, they want to finish in the top ten by the end of the finals round to contest the Medal Race on Wednesday to decide the podium.

Across both qualification and final rounds, each sailor will compete in at least ten races, which has been estimated to equate to a week of back-to-back daily half-marathons in physical performance terms. Racing is scheduled to continue in the early hours of Sunday 28th, with the conclusion of the qualification series.

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The National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch scored two top-ten results in the opening races of the ILCA7 world championships in Adelaide, Australia, today to take an early lead in the Irish Olympic selection trial for Paris 2024 against rival Ewan McMahon of Howth Yacht Club. The Rio Olympian is lying tenth overall in the 153-strong fleet.

McEwan opened his championship account with 24th place before earning a strong ninth place in race two to lie in 40th place.

See results sheet below

"Finn had a decent day, and the goal is to have top tens in the qualifying races, especially as there's just one discard for the whole event," commented coach Vasilij Zbogar. "Ewan had one good race and one average but proved that he can be in front - he just needs a little more consistency in the coming races."

'Green Rebel' campaigner Ewan McMahon of Howth took a well earned ninth in race two of the ILCA 7 World Championships in Adelaide Photo: Jack Fletcher'Green Rebel' campaigner Ewan McMahon of Howth took a well earned ninth in race two of the ILCA 7 World Championships in Adelaide Photo: Jack Fletcher

Maximising points at this early stage of the regatta is essential as the 153 competitors are split across three qualifying fleets to determine the Gold fleet line-up for the finals series that begins on Monday.

"We had beautiful wind for the first day but very challenging and physically demanding long races - hard for the sailors," said Zbogar. "Definitely, everyone is taking as little risk as possible, as the first three days are the most important for qualifying."

Norwegian Hermann Tomasgaard won his two opening races giving himself the perfect start to his 2024 campaign.

"There's just one discard for the whole event"

With the 153-strong entry list split between three qualifying fleets, Tomasgaard drew first blood in the red fleet with two race wins, while Australian hopefuls Matt Wearn and Luke Elliott took a race win each in the yellow fleet, and Philipp Buhl (GER) and Mickey Beckett (GBR) each took a win in blue fleet.

It sets the scene for an exciting battle at the front of the fleet with Tomasgaard a point clear in first, Elliott second on three points, and Buhl third on four points, however it remains far too early to identify any key favourites for the title.

German Philipp Buhl, a world champion from the last time the ILCA 7 Worlds were in Australia, said the first day of the Worlds was always an important one to ensure you got away to a good start.

“The first day today was pretty solid and I’m quite happy with the result even though I didn’t manage to get off the start line too well in the first race,” he said.

“In the beginning of an event, basically it is all about not having a big score, so I managed to do this and came through the day quite cleanly in amazing conditions.

 A fleet start on the first day of the ILCA7 World Championships in Adelaide with Ireland's Finn Lynch pictured left Photo: Jack Fletcher A fleet start on the first day of the ILCA7 World Championships in Adelaide with Ireland's Finn Lynch pictured left Photo: Jack Fletcher

“This World Championships means quite a lot to me personally, because it’s part of my Olympic selection that is not done yet for us in Germany, and it’s a World Championships where you always want to do well.”

The top Aussie sailors are all in good shape as well, which was to be expected on home waters, with the five Australian Sailing Team and Australian Sailing Squad members all inside the top 20 after the first day.

Australian Sailing Squad member Finn Alexander finished the first day with a 9,7 scorecard and said the team was in good shape to perform well over the next week.

“We’ve spent a bit of time here in Adelaide and it’s a beautiful place, the weather absolutely turned it on today, we had a really nice gradient breeze of about 10-20 knots, you can’t really ask for much more on day one of a Worlds,” he said.

“We’ve got a really strong contingent, we’ve got five really good guys (in the squad) and we’ve all been pushing hard, backed up with a really solid futures group, so the future of Australian sailing is looking pretty good.”

Tomorrow’s forecast is looking like it will offer more glamour Adelaide conditions with variable morning weather shifting into a late afternoon sea breeze of up to 15 knots.

If all goes to plan, the race committee is expected to run two races per day, giving them a 10-race series up until the end of 30 January followed by the exciting 10-boat medal race on 31 January to close out the series.

Paris 2024 Olympic campaigner Finn Lynch has won the 'Champions' Cup' at Foynes Yacht Club and sailed this year in the 17-foot Mermaid class.

Tricky light winds saw the schedule of races for the annual event cut short on the Shannon Estuary.

After just three races sailed in two days, the National Yacht Club's Lynch lifted the trophy with brother Rory and Carol Martin in the single-race final round.

The result denied Ger Owens of the GP14 class his chance of a three-peat, with the defending champion finishing seventh. 

Second overall was the GP14s Ruan O'Tiarnaigh, Ross Nolan and Kate O Regan.

Third was J24 Euro Champion Cillian Dickson, Louis Mulloy and Packer Thorne.

In a racing series that was planned for two days, the first day saw no racing due to almost no wind. Despite concerns over the forecast for Sunday, all skippers decided to go ahead with a shortened series. After one quick race each, the top nine boats from both flights were chosen.

Owens, a triple Olympian, secured his place in the final quite easily, raising hopes of a three-in-a-row win. However, Lynch, with his skills in downwind sailing, won the race in the short final race, which was held just minutes before the deadline to start the last race expired.

The very light winds started to drop as the eastbound tide began to rise, which threatened to abandon the race.

However, since all nine boats were similarly impacted by the change in wind, the race continued. Lynch, with crew members Rory Lynch and Carol Martin, finished first with just seconds to go.

Next year's event will live up to its earlier 'All Ireland' moniker and is likely to head north to Belfast Lough, where the event may be raced in RS400 dinghies, according to Afloat sources.

Full results below

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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!