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Displaying items by tag: youth sailing

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 Afloat.ie, 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. 

STAR SHOWINGS NOWADAYS WILL BURST OUT ON SOCIAL MEDIA, NO MATTER HOW YOUNG THE PERFORMER

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. 

CLUB SAILORS THE BACKBONE OF OUR SPORT

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 ACTIVE AREA BETWEEN BASIC CLUB SAILING AND TOP-LEVEL COMPETITION

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.

J/24 U25 SCHEME HAS HAD VARIED LEVELS OF SUCCESS

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”.

THE NAME “KINSAILOR” IS A STROKE OF GENIUS

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.

FINDING TURBO POWER

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 Afloat.ie. 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.

TEAM RACING PROGRAMME FOR TOWN’S TEENAGERS

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
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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

The Irish Sailing Association and Ballyholme Yacht Club have thanked the RNLI and HM Coastguard for their assistance at the Youth Sailing Championships on Belfast Lough on Saturday.

In a statement, the organisers said a 'small number' of competitors had minor injuries. One person was taken to hospital for observation following a concussion.

No serious injuries occurred and all competitors are fully accounted for, the organisers said.

A number of competitors also retired from racing and sailed ashore without incident when wind against tide created difficult conditions at the under 18-championships.

Six sailors were brought ashore on safety ribs. An official rigid inflatable (RIB) also capsized in shallow water.

"We are grateful to the RNLI and HM Coastguard for their response and support when they were alerted as part of the event safety protocols," Harry Hermon, CEO of Irish Sailing said.

On the third day of racing at the Irish Sailing Youth National Championships in Bangor, Co. Down (Saturday 23rd April 2022) a number of minor incidents are being managed by the contingency arrangements agreed with Ballyholme Yacht Club.

The event with over 200 young sailors competing concludes today.

Published in Youth Sailing
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Challenging conditions on Belfast Lough were to the liking of Howth's Rocco Wright on the second day of racing at the Irish Youth Sailing National Championships at Ballyholme Yacht Club in Northern Ireland.

The Howth teen has moved into the overall lead of the ILCA 6/Radial fleet after four races sailed. The former Optimist ace has a two-point margin over day one leader Jonathan O'Shaughnessy of Royal Cork Yacht Club. Third is Howth YC's Luke Turvey on the same 17 points as the Crosshaven youth. 

At least four races have been completed in the series so far but in spite of a promising start and the hoped for four-race day, the wind quickly died and just two races were sailed.

The steep rolling swell made for difficult launching at Ballyholme but all sailors managed to avoid the heavy surf before reaching the open course areaThe steep rolling swell made for difficult launching at Ballyholme but all sailors managed to avoid the heavy surf before reaching the open course area.  

Ava Ennis (Royal St. George Yacht Club) narrowly leads the 28-boat ILCA4 event with a one-point advantage over Ballyholme's Daniel Palmer.

Ballyholme sailor, Bobby Driscoll leads the 48-boat Topper 5.3 event ahead of a string of local rivals.

Crosshaven's Oisin Pearce of Royal Cork Yacht Club has established an 18-point lead after five races in the 49-strong Optimist fleet.

Ben O' Shaughnessy and Eimer McMorrow Moriarty of RCYC lead the eight boat 29er skiffs by five points from clubmates James Dwyer and Andrew Conan. Lying third after four races sailed is Lucia Cullen and Alana Twomey of the RStGYC. 

Jack McDowell and Henry Thompson of Malahide Yacht Club continue to lead the 420 fleet on 15 points after four races sailed. Clubmates Imogen Hauer and Hugo Micka are second on 24 points. Waterford Harbour's Max Sweetman and Robert Jephson from Waterford Harbour are third on 25 points.

Published in Youth Sailing
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On the first day of racing at the 2022 Irish Youth Sailing National Championships at Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough on Thursday, the event got off to a staggered start with four of the six classes racing. 

A 50-strong Optimist contingent had, what organisers termed 'a false start of sorts' when the fleet sailed to the wrong first mark and the first race had to be abandoned.

In the following two races, Caoilinn Geraghty-McDonnell of the Royal St. George YC emerged as overnight leader from Royal Cork's Oisin Pearse with a slim two boat lead.

Three races had been planned originally for all four classes but the fresh breeze dropped off mid-afternoon.

Nevertheless, two races were enough for Jonathan O'Shaughnessy (Royal Cork YC) to establish a six-point lead over no fewer than five Dublin boats tied for second place amongst the 38 Laser/ILCA6 single-handers.

The group includes Howth's Eve McMahon, the Under 17 World ILCA6 World Champion who was beaten into third place in the opening race right at the finish by O'Shaughnessy and would otherwise have edged ahead in the standings.

"We got two races, it didn't rain so I think everyone's pretty happy," said Olympian and International Umpire Bill O'Hara who is on the race management team this week. "When we went out we were expecting it to be full-on with 15-16 knots and some gusts to 20 and we didn't have any reason to think it wouldn't drop til five o'clock. But the forecast is brilliant (for the next few days) with wind from the northeast and nice, big rolling waves."

In the eight boat 29er skiff event, the lead is tied between Ben O'Shaughnessy with Eimer McMorrow Moriarty and James Dwyer with Andrew Conan both from the Royal Cork YC in Crosshaven.

Jack McDowell with Henry Thompson (Malahide Yacht Club) proved most consistent for the day in the 420 event with two race wins in the eleven-boat class. Racing continues on Friday with all classes due on the water from 11 am. 

Published in Youth Sailing

The RYA Youth Sailing National Championships returned to Pwllheli, North Wales, over the Easter break as the 2022 champions were crowned across seven youth fleets.

Last hosting the premier youth sailing regatta in 2016, Plas Heli welcomed 280 youngsters from all over the country (and from across the Irish Sea) for five days of racing from 9-15 April.

As Afloat reported earlier, there was a fine showing from Northern Ireland female sailors and there was a Republic of Ireland wild card presence in Wales too (See the full results link below)

With the 2021 Youth Nationals spread across two weekends and two venues, the 2022 edition saw all the youth fleets together in one place for the first time as the kite foilers joined the iQFOiL, 420, Nacra 15, 29er and ILCA6 in competition.

Despite contending with unstable wind and weather conditions throughout the week, everyone but the kite and board fleets came very close to completing their full schedules in tough race conditions that varied from sunny to foggy.

Although enduring a tougher week onshore, the iQFOiL and kite sailors still completed enough races to confirm their national champions.

Mark Nicholls, the RYA’s Youth Racing Manager, said: “Year after year at the Youth Nationals I am amazed by the strength and resilience of our nation's young sailors.

“They have had a few tough years, as has everyone, and the start of the regatta was no different. But, yet again, they dealt with everything thrown at them with fortitude.

“There was some great racing as always and congratulations to all the winners, but as well as medals we also give out spot prizes for British Youth Sailing values and behaviours, and this was the hardest job for us.

“As regatta organisers it is fantastic to see these young sailors coming together to help each other and support each other. It’s so heartening to know the future of our sport is in such good hands.”

The Youth National Championships is the flagship event of British Youth Sailing, which aims to develop and retain the world's best young dinghy racers, windsurfers and kitefoilers.

British Youth Sailing also sets young people up for a lifetime in sailing, whether in Olympic classes, club dinghy racing or yachts, or as coaches and race officials and teaches them valuable skills and behaviours to take into their adult lives.

kite foilers joined the iQFOiL

BYS Behaviours and Values Award winners:

‘Courage and Determination’
George and Tom Blunt – 420 (male) - Whitstable YC

Endeavour Award
George Creasy – 420 (male) - West Kirby SC

Warsash Plate – Youngest Helm
Joseph Jones – 420 (male) - Burghfield SC

Harken Competition winner
Toby Smith – 29er (male) - Royal Hospital School

The winners in each class were:

420 (female)
Megan FARRER (Emsworth SC) and Ellie RUSH (Nottinghamshire County SC)

420 (male)
Henry HEATHCOTE and Hector BENNETT (both Royal Lymington YC)

420 mixed
Alice DAVIS (Draycote Water SC) and Oliver RAYNER (Yorkshire Dales SC)

29er (female)
Ellen MORLEY and Hazel MCDONNELL (both Hollowell SC)

29er (male)
Santiago SESTO-COSBY (Royal Lymington YC) and Leo WILKINSON (Maidenhead SC)

29er mixed
Annabelle VINES (Royal Lymington YC) and Raulf BERRY (Hayling Island SC)

Nacra 15
Sam STEWARD (Brading Haven YC) and Isobel SMITH (Starcross YC)

Kite foiling (female)
Francesca MAINI (BKA)

Kite foiling (male)
Adam FARRINGTON

ILCA6 (female)
Honor PROCTER

ILCA6 (male)
Tommie GRITT (Royal Hospital School)

iQFOiL (female)
Lucy KENYON (Parkstone YC)

iQFOiL (male)
Charlie DIXON (Blackwater YC)

Full results from the regatta can be found here.

420 dinghy

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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Northern girls shone at the RYA Youth Nationals last week with Ellen Barbour of County Antrim Yacht Club at Whitehead and East Antrim BC at Larne making her mark in the Women’s ILCA/Laser 6 fleet with a convincing third overall.

There was a huge fleet of around 300 competitors across seven classes in this big event in Pwllheli, North Wales.

Ellen’s scores were never lower than 10 except for a UFD (a premature start) in the first race which was one of her discards, but with five first places she proved a force to be reckoned with in the 13-race event.

Ellen Barbour - 3rd in the ILCA 6 fleetEllen Barbour - 3rd in the ILCA 6 fleet

Also, up there in the top half of the 23 strong fleet was Zoe Whitford from East Antrim who had impressive scores in the top dozen except Race 7 for which she had to count 24 for a DNE (disqualification) – and she actually was the first finisher in that race.

Zoe Whitford  - 7th in the ILCA 6 fleetZoe Whitford - 7th in the ILCA 6 fleet

Eleventh in the 39 strong 29er fleet was the Royal North/Newcastle duo, Lauren McDowell and Erin McIlwaine whose best races were two fifths.

Erin McIlwaine and Lauren McDowell (pictured centre) in the 29er fleetErin McIlwaine and Lauren McDowell (pictured centre) in the 29er fleet

Tom Coulter of East Antrim finished 17th in the ILCA (Men) with a varied set of results, his best performances being a seventh, eighth and ninth in the 61-boat fleet.

Tom Coulter of East Antrim finished 17th in the ILCA (Men)Tom Coulter of East Antrim finished 17th in the ILCA (Men)

The next big event for some of the Pwllheli competitors will be the Irish Youth Sailing Nationals at Ballyholme on Belfast Lough for which Olympian Finn Lynch's top tip to competitors is to "not focus on the result but to try learn as much as possible!" And local sailor Liam Glynn who has recently retired adds that as having grown up sailing in Ballyholme, warns that the wind can often be very shifty and gusty and since it’s close to the land, it’s hard to see what’s coming down towards you. Therefore, sailors will need to react quickly and sail their own race with whatever they’ve got in front of them, not what somebody else has on the other side of the racecourse!

Published in Youth Sailing
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The 190-strong fleet at the RYA Youth Nationals hosted by Pwllheli Sailing Club in North Wales this week should be a good run-up to the Irish Youth Sailing Nationals next week at Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough where around 200 competitors are expected.

So far, the best performances have been delivered by Zoe Whitford of East Antrim BC in the ILCA 6 Women’s class and Ellen Barbour of County Antrim YC/EABC in the same fleet.

Lying fourth in the 23 strong fleet after six races and scoring two first places, Barbour is just one point better than Whitford at fifth so with two more days to go the contest between them is hotting up.

Sailors from East Antrim, County Antrim and Carrickfergus at the RYA Youth NationalsSailors from East Antrim, County Antrim and Carrickfergus at the RYA Youth Nationals

Making their mark in the 29er fleet are Erin McIlwaine and Lauren McDowell from Royal North and Newcastle Yacht Clubs who are seventh overall after today’s racing.

Tom Coulter (213562) at the RYA Youth Nationals in WalesTom Coulter (213562) at the RYA Youth Nationals in Wales

The best placing in the ILCA 6 (Men’s) is Tom Coulter from East Antrim BC at 14th.

Other NI competitors are Lucas Nixon (Ballyholme), Matthew McClernon (East Antrim and Carrickfergus) and Daniel Corbett (County Antrim YC). Another East Antrim competitor, Kelly Patterson had entered under GBR.

Published in Youth Sailing
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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

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