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Displaying items by tag: Laser

Finn Lynch will seek to repeat or better his 2021 World Championships silver medal in Monday's first races of the ILCA7/Laser World Championships at Riviera Nayarit, Mexico, in a fleet of 125 sailors from 45 nations.

Lynch (26) and second Irish Paris 2024 campaigner Ewan McMahon (21), along with Irish coach Vasilij Žbogar arrived in Mexico a week ago.

As regular Afloat readers will know, last November's silver medal was a career-high for Lynch and Ireland's best-ever men's Laser result. The result also provided the Carlow man with much-needed funding. On Monday, he embarks on his silver medal defence with Sport Ireland podium funding of €40k per annum in his hip pocket.

The National Yacht Club ace is also boosted by some promising early season results that saw him take fourth in Palma in April (while nursing an arm injury). Admittedly Lynch did not make the medal race in Hyeres later in April but still managed a top 15 finish, both high-quality results setting him up well for this week's successful world championship defence. 

Two Irish ILCA 7 campaigners, one Olympic place

Overall, It's an optimistic scenario at this stage in the Paris 2024 triennial. What's more, Ireland has the added spice of up and coming talent in Howth's McMahon.

McMahon has rapidly become Ireland's second most successful men's Laser sailor after Mark Lyttle, the Dun Laoghaire solo ace who sailed first for Ireland in the Laser in the 1996 Olympics.

Howth Yacht Club campaigner Ewan McMahonHowth Yacht Club campaigner Ewan McMahon

Lynch v McMahon

As with all venues, each race track has its own characteristics. In Riviera Nayarit, the intriguing question – in an Irish context – is, with solid and steady breezes the norm, will these conditions suit Lynch or McMahon best over a 12-race series?

Lynch tends to put together an incredibly consistent series, and recently he has been coming through as the week progresses, ticking off one rival after another as they knock up a big score.

It's a winning formula, and the trickier the conditions, the more the talented Carlow man seems to thrive.

This week's challenge for Ireland's number one might be that steady sea breezes could be a leveller.

Could the regatta be more of a speed test than regattas in European or venues with more unstable conditions?

Indeed, the younger MacMahon is a tall athlete with excellent boat speed (especially downwind). In this regatta, any tactical or experience deficits (expected at his age) might not be such an issue.

From various reports (including comments from his coach), McMahon still has to improve his upwind tactics and position on first beats, convert good speed, and get into top-10 windward mark rounding.

After Palma's April regatta, Zbogar said, "The results don't show it, but it's only some small mistakes keeping him out of the top 20," said Zbogar. "He isn't losing any places on the downwind, but we need to work on executing the upwind legs better."

The Hague 2023 and Paris 2024

It sets up an increasingly competitive scenario where the two Irish sailors will attempt to qualify Ireland for the single place in Paris 2024 at the first opportunity in The Hague in August 2023. It's still not popular in some circles to mention that it is a qualification standard Ireland failed to make for Tokyo.

From this tiny Irish squad of just two, what happens if we have two sailors right on top of their game in the World's top 20?

Does the dynamic change? Does Lynch have to start considering his Irish competition in earnest, possibly negatively impacting his own programme?

Early answers to these questions probably lie on the Vallarta race track and the defence of Ireland's best-ever men's Laser result starting this Monday.

With winds between 8 and 20+ knots and plenty of squalls predicted, racing took place for the DBSC Lasers inside Dun Laoghaire harbour on Tuesday, May 10th. Staying in your boat with the mast pointing at the sky was the best tactic. In the Radials, with huge wind shifts allowing for big gains upwind, the never say die attitude of Michael Norman and Hugh Cahill allowed them to share the honours with one win each.

In the standard rig Gary O’Hare and Conor O’Leary, standing in for Theo Lyttle, battled it out. Both had capsizes and the 2nd race was particularly close after a well-fought battle for the favoured pin end at the start.

All sailors were delighted when the DBSC race committee posted a X2 course rather than X3, there were some tired sailors nursing their boats ashore afterwards.

Standard Rig

Race 1, 1: Gary O’Hare 2: Theo Lyttle

Race 2, 1: Gary O’Hare 2: Theo Lyttle

Radial rig

Race 1, 1: Hugh Cahill 2: Michael Norman 3: Judy O’Beirne

Race 2, 1: Michael Norman 2: Alison Pigot 3: Judy O’Beirne

Published in DBSC
Tagged under

Eighty Laser/ILCA dinghies from twenty clubs around Ireland returned to the sunny South East venue of Dunmore East this past weekend for the 'Connaught' Championships at Waterford Harbour Sailing Club.

Although the wind God didn’t deliver the usual breezy/wavy conditions that is standard to this region, the sun shone on this glorious venue for the entire weekend providing for a beautiful setting. Waterford Harbour Sailing Club put on a first class performance of volunteer coordination and support ashore making it a truly magical weekend of sailing and socializing for all, topped off with a barbeque on the Clubhouse balcony on Saturday night as the sun set.

Race Officer, Con Murphy, and his very able team of hard-working support crew aboard the flagship and ribs had their work cut out for them in a strong ebb side and light unstable breeze for the duration of the weekend. Not ones to be put off by a challenge, however, they managed to get the full complement of six races in over the entire weekend.

ILCA 4

In the ILCA 4’s, Daniel O’Connor of the RStGYC continued his rich run of form and took home first prize with Daniel Palmer of BYC and Krzysztof Ciborowski of RStGYC in close second and third respectively with a point between them. True to recent form, Ava Ennis of RStGYC was the first girl, followed by Megan O’Sullivan of RCYC and Lucy Ives of CSC. Lucy just pipping Isabel McCarty of RCYC for third-placed girl on count-back. Four of the top ten places consisted of girls, a testament to the sailors, their club programmes and fun competitive draw of the ILCA class to all, no matter their gender.

ILCA 6

In the considerable and ever-competitive ILCA 6 fleet, the usual suspects of Rocco Wright and Luke Turvey of HYC took home first and second, while Sam Ledoux of NYC took third, with just four points separating the three of them showing just how tight the margins were. Becky Lowney of RSGYC/WHBTC was the first girl in tenth overall, with Sophie Kilmartin of RSGYC/MYC second and Anna O’Connor of RIYC/RSGYC third. Sean Craig, Marco Sorgassi and Hugh Delap, all of RStGYC, were first, second and third placed Masters.

ILCA 7

In the ILCA 7’s, Rory Lynch (BSC) and Chris Bateman (PWWC) battled it out for the entire weekend, ending with an equal share of points and Lynch winning it out on count-back. Nick Walsh (RCYC) was third and first placed Master with Darragh Kelleher (SSC) second placed Master and Dan O’Connell (ISA) third.

Results here

Published in Laser

A fleet of more than 70 Lasers (ILCA class) from 20 clubs around the country will be arriving in Dunmore East this weekend to compete in the two-day Port of Waterford Laser Connaught Championships, which is taking place on May 7 and 8.

Expected to compete are a number of the Dun Laoghaire sailors that featured recently at the Masters' Championships in Spain

Racing starts at 12 midday on Saturday and 10 am on Sunday, with three races planned per day.

Waterford Harbour Sailing Club itself is home to a growing Laser fleet at all levels, and sailors at the club recently had a highly successful training weekend with Tokyo campaigner Aisling Keller.

Seven local sailors will be taking part this weekend.

There are historical links between the popular single-handed dinghy and Waterford, as the city was one of the global manufacturing bases for the boat. The Laser was manufactured at the Performance Sailcraft plant in the industrial estate for a period during the 1970s and early 1980s.

WHSC Commodore Roy Power said he was delighted to welcome the ILCA event back to Dunmore East. “We’re always thrilled to host visiting sailors at Dunmore East and show off the spectacular sailing this part of the country has to offer. We’d like to thank Port of Waterford for their generosity in sponsoring the Championships.”

Published in Laser

Twelve Dun Laoghaire Harbour Laser/ILCA sailors competed last weekend at the XIV edition of the Spanish ILCA Masters, at picturesque Calella de Palafrugell on the Costa Brava coast.

Racing in nine ILCA 6’s (Radials) and three ILCA 7’s (Full rigs), the sailors came from RStGYC, NYC and the Coal Harbour.

Ireland was also represented on the water by our International Judge/Umpire Michael O’Connor, from Kinsale.

This is one of the most popular regattas on the popular EuroMasters circuit which attracts over 700 ILCA sailors to various wonderful venues each year. For this regatta, hosted by the hospitable Club Vela Calella, there were 64 ILCA 6s and 34 ILCA 7s.

The Spanish ILCA Masters at picturesque Calella de Palafrugell on the Costa Brava coast(Above and below) The Spanish ILCA Masters at picturesque Calella de Palafrugell on the Costa Brava coast

Sailed in glorious sunshine throughout and very pleasant temperatures, the regatta began on Thursday, April 28 with an epic practice race in 15-20 knots, followed by Day 1 proper with 3 races in 10-14 knots but, by the weekend, competing weather systems left the venue windless and only one more race was possible on the Sunday. So Friday was key and, despite a very one-sided first beat, results were very up and down as starts were congested (especially with the 6’s) and finding lanes on the favoured port lay line was absolutely treacherous.

The Spanish ILCA Masters at picturesque Calella de Palafrugell on the Costa Brava coast

The Irish squad proved that the vibrant local Masters' scene means our sailors are very competitive and all acquitted themselves well. Off the water too, where the team represented the second-largest contingent after the hosts, among the 13 countries represented!

In the ILCA 6’s, Monica Azon claimed first overall for Spain, proving her pedigree as a dual Olympian from 2004 and 2008. She was pushed hard by Max Hunt (GBR), very well known for his specialist ILCA parts business. Next were Dutch and Mexican competitors (the latter preparing for the Master Worlds in Mexico in June) and the top 5 was rounded off by Sean Craig (RStGYC), a result which also gave him a podium 2nd in the 28-boat Grand Master category. The next best of the Irish was Judy O’Beirne in 28th overall (and 6th lady overall), followed by Sean Flanagan in 32nd, Shirley Gilmore in 34th and Michael Norman in 37th.

In the ILCA 7’s, the Spanish dominated, taking the top 6 overall and the great Jose Luis Doreste (470 Gold in 1984 Games and Flying Dutchman Gold in 1996 Games) didn’t actually make top three. Best of the Irish was Theo Lyttle in 17th overall who had the satisfaction of a win in the Practice race.

The Irish competitors were ; Alison Pigot (NYC), Ali Robinson (RStGYC), Judy O’Beirne (RStGYC), Shirley Gilmore (RStGYC), Michael Norman (Coal Harbour/Wicklow SC), Hugh Cahill (Coal Harbour/DBSC), Sean Flanagan (RStGYC), David Cahill (NYC), Sean Craig (RStGYC), Theo Lyttle (RStGYC), Conor O’Leary (RStGYC), Chris Arrowsmith (RStGYC)

The 2022 ILCA Master European Championships will take place not far up the coast from Calella de Palafrugell, in October, at L’Escala. A strong Irish team is expected to compete.

Results of the 2022 Spanish Masters are downloadable below

Published in Laser

The transition from junior to senior sailing is difficult at the best of times, and the Irish “Sailor of the Year 2021Eve McMahon of Howth has found that the arbitrary dictates of personal birth dates means that she has been dealing with the demands of the Leaving Cert in her education, while at the same time taking her departure from the junior scene to move towards the challenges of the bigger world.

Yet she did it in considerable style in April’s Youth Nationals at Ballyholme, where the 38-strong ILCA 6/Radial fleet from all over Ireland may not have been the most numerous class, but there’s no doubting that it was the sharp end of the entire regatta. And even with some days providing strong onshore winds with waves of such size that they had to be handled individually rather than as a sequence, she finished in style with two wins on the final day, and the title with it.

Published in Sailor of the Month

Baltimore Sailing Club welcomed over 80 ILCA/Lasers for the Munster Championship this Easter bank holiday weekend.

The magnificent West Cork setting that is Baltimore delivered superb sailing conditions with South/South Westerly winds averaging between 15-18 knots over the course of the weekend. Expert Race Officer, Kieran McSweeney and his team, set a trapezoid course format for the six-race event series with three races on a Saturday and three on the Sunday.

True to form in the ultra-competitive ILCA 7 (Standard Fleet), Paris 2024 campaigner Ewan McMahon of HYC took first place overall with a flawless six first place results. 

A startline view of the Laser Munster Championships at Baltimore in West CorkA startline view of the Laser Munster Championships at Baltimore in West Cork

Hot on his heels in second place overall was Micheal O’Suilleabhain of KYC. Darragh Kelleher of SSC took third overall and was first placed Master.

Second placed Master in fourth overall was Dan O’Connell, while Nick Walsh of RCYC was third-placed Master and fifth overall. The ILCA 7 fleet has seen huge growth this season thanks to the Irish ILCA Association promotional offer of free annual membership and event entry to the 18-30-year-old age group. This has proven to be a great initiative in attracting this cohort back to the association and taking part in regional events once again.

In the considerably sized and super-competitive ILCA 6 (Radial) fleet, Rocco Wright and Eve McMahon (both of HYC) shared equal net points with the former taking first place overall on count-back.

Chris Bateman of PWWC took third overall and just one nett point behind first and second, showing there was little or nothing between the top three. Sean Craig, Marco Sorgassi and Brendan Hughes (all RSGYC) took first, second and third-placed Masters in eighth, tenth and fifteenth place overall.

In the ILCA 4 (4.7 fleet) Daniel O’Connor of RSGYC took first place overall, very close behind was Sienna Wright of HYC while Daniel Palmer of BYC was third overall. A large cohort of this group used the event as practice for the upcoming Irish Youth Sailing Nationals in Ballyholme this coming weekend as did their friends in the ILCA 6 fleet.

The first female Master in the ILCA 6 was Judy O’Beirne of RSGYC

Full results can be found here

Next up is the ILCA/Laser Connaught Championship in Waterford Harbour Sailing Club, Dunmore East from 07 – 08 May.

The magnificent setting that is Baltimore delivered superb sailing conditionsThe magnificent setting that is Baltimore delivered superb sailing conditions

Published in Laser
Tagged under

The Laser (ILCA) Munster Championship at Baltimore Sailing Club in West Cork, ever a class favorite event, has not failed again this season with 80 boats currently entered including Olympians and top youth sailors. 

Entries continue to pour in from all four corners of the country, with 26 individual clubs now represented.

Amongst those entering are brothers and fellow Olympic campaigners, Ewan and Jamie McMahon and sister Eve, 2021 Irish Sailor of the Year and 2021 Youth World Champion.

Ewan McMahonEwan McMahon

They will be joined by top youth sailors Jonathan O’Shaughnessy, Oisin Hughes, Luke Turvey, Sophie Kilmartin, Fiachra McDonnell and hot off his Sprint Series Regatta win in Dun Laoghaire last week in the ILCA 6, Rocco Wright. Rocco and Co will undoubtedly be using the five-race Sprint Series which attracted 65 ILCAs to Dublin Bay last weekend to get a jump on their closest competitors.

Olympian Finn Lynch who had success at the Princess Sofia Regatta last week with a fourth place finish was understood to be heading for Baltimore but will not now be travelling.

Investing in training

As announced at the recent Irish ILCA AGM, the class is investing heavily in training, development, events and social, the four pillars which make the ILCA class the most successful and arguably, most fun, dinghy class in Ireland today.

The fruits of this effort can be seen in the sheer number of entries from Rush Sailing Club, where, Tokyo campaigner Aisling Keller, has been recently spending time with members there to hone their racing skills.

Tokyo campaigner Aisling KellerTokyo campaigner Aisling Keller

Aisling is actively engaged with several other Clubs throughout the country to help develop their youth squads. Another initiative the class are investing in is the concept of chartering, where boats that aren’t being used by local club members for an event can be rented to competitors. This may help those that don’t want the hassle of towing/roof-racking to events or simply don’t have the means to do so.

Racing is just part of what makes the ILCA such a fun, competitive class. The Munster’s and all ILCA events are also heavily focused on the social side, with entertainment and activities for all ages.

This can be seen in the large contingent of families that travel to events and the resulting slagging that inevitably arises both on and off the water between competing mums, dads, sons and daughters….invariably youth wins out in the end!

Remaining ILCA 2022 Event Calendar

  • Connaught Championships – WHSC, Dunmore East, Co. Waterford - 07/08 May
  • Master Championships – NYC, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin – 28/29 May
  • Leinster Championships – RStGYC, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin – 23/24 July
  • Ulster Championships – SLYC, Newtownards, Co. Down – 02/03 July
  • National Championships – TBSC, Fenit, Co. Kerry – 18/21 Aug

This article was updated on April 13 to reflect the fact Finn Lynch is not competing in Baltimore

Published in Laser
Tagged under

On painkillers and sailing with a swollen arm, Ireland's Finn Lynch secured his medal race place when he moved up to fifth place overall at the end of Gold fleet racing in the ILCA7/Laser single-handed fleet today at the Princesa Sofia regatta.

After another breezy day on the Bay of Palma The National Yacht Club sailor had a fifth place in the opening race of the day and followed with his worst result of the week, a 22nd which then became his discard.

The result marks the end of 10 races for the 163-boat class with the top ten placed boats going forward for a brief race on Saturday to decide the podium places.

The best place that Lynch can achieve is fourth to match his previous best at this regatta in 2019.

"Finn has put together a really solid event this week," said Lynch's coach Vasilij Zbogar. "He's had an issue with a swollen arm so it’s hard to sail but all credit to him, he didn't want to give up even on painkillers for two days."

"The upside is that we'll get some medal race practice after a long gap but the downside is that a medal isn't an option so fourth is the target."

British sailor Michael Beckett is  guaranteed a medal and hilled about carrying an 11 points lead into his medal race, ahead of Germany’s 2020 world champion Philipp Buhl and Australia’s Tokyo gold medallist Matt Wearn:

Beckett said, “I love the medal races. It is good to have a points gap. Last time I did this regatta I was 21st and this is a great regatta and everyone is back after the Games. I have done a lot of work with the squad and this week I have been fast and it has just felt as good as I have felt in training.”

Ireland's other sailor in the ILCA7 event is Ewan McMahon Howth YC) who placed 32nd overall after the ten race fleet series ended and who is going to work on executing the upwind legs better.

McMahon's younger brother Jamie placed 25th in the Silver fleet after a promising start to the series on Monday when he scored top 20 results in his qualification flight.

The medal race final for the ILCA7 class takes place at 10 30 (Irish Summer time) on Saturday 9th April.

Full results here

Tagged under

Some clever sailing through minimising race course errors has put Finn Lynch into sixth place overall in the Laser/ILCA 7 class at the Princess Sofia Regatta in Mallorca today.

The National Yacht Club ace scored eighth and 14th in fresh winds today on the Bay of Palma, scores that give him a highly prized sixth place with just two races remaining in the Gold fleet series.

With the possibility of further improvement tomorrow, Lynch has the prospect of a medal race finish in his first event towards Paris 2024. 

Howth's Ewan McMahon slipped to 30th overall after placing 39th and 21st, his brother Jamie lies in  80th place in the 160-boat fleet.

Best of the Laser Men today was Olympic Champion Matt Wearn who continues his comeback from 32nd overall on the opening day of the competition. 

The Australian was third in the first race when it paid to go left and struggled a bit more in the next when it paid to go right, still scoring a reasonable 12th. Michael Beckett (GBR) was only a point less consistent than Wearn with 14th in the first race and narrowly missing out on a race win against Filip Jurišić (CRO) to finish second. “I got the day half right,” said Beckett, “which was probably about all that anyone managed today. It was hard to read the pattern of the breeze so that was a pretty good day out, really.”

A race win for Philipp Buhl (GER) puts the 2020 World Champion just two points behind Beckett’s lead, with Wearn now 15 points off the top. France’s Jean-Baptiste Bernaz, the overnight leader did not race today.

Results here

Tagged under
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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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