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Displaying items by tag: Laser

The inaugural Kindergarten Laser Race Series was run for the Dun Laoghaire Harbour 'Kindergarten' fleet by the Royal St George Yacht Club over three Friday evening in June.

Attracting a total entry of 13 boats the fleet largely is comprised of beginner/improving sailors looking to learn more about sailing and improve their skills.

There were six races in total for the two desperate rigs (full and radial) on triangular courses inside the harbour. Safety and comfort were paramount with no racing attempted in wind over 15kts.

As Afloat reported in February, the whole idea was to give less experienced dinghy sailors a fun but competitive environment. The sailors also received some on-course coaching from some of the clubs 4.7 and Radial sailors who were in the patrol boats on the water.

The RSTGYC Laser 'Kindergarten'The RSTGYC Laser 'Kindergarten'

They also received really valuable feedback from the race management team which included Sean Craig, newly crowned Irish Radial Masters Champion, Judy O'Beirne newly crowned Irish Ladies Radial Champion and Shirley Gilmore one of Ireland's most successful Masters sailors in recent years.

Laser Kindergarten Series at Royal St. George Yacht Club

Laser Kindergarten Series at Royal St. George Yacht ClubLaser Kindergarten Series at Royal St. George Yacht Club

The video (below) by Darina Loakman also shows the competitors had a great dinner after the event where the Kindergaten groups driving force Rachel Crowley thanked all the competitors, helpers, organisers and club staff.

Also pictured is Commodore Richard O'Connor maintaining social distancing requirements with everyone except his wife Lorraine who finished in third place behind David Bolger and Heather Craig in the Radial while George Misstear won the full rig fleet.

Published in RStGYC

In spite of two days of incredibly varying conditions, there were no major surprises at the winners' enclosure in this year’s MGM Boats Irish Laser Masters Nationals hosted by the Royal St. George Yacht Club.

Dublin Bay served up its usual blend of light winds, sea breezes and 15 knots, all in one race. While the conditions challenged race officer Harry Gallagher and his team, they led to dramatic results in some races.

However, across two days and six races, there were no upsets in this year’s event. First place in the Standard fleet was taken by Howth’s Paul McMahon with a first and three-second places his best results. Royal Cork’s Nick Walsh came in a very close second trailing by just 2.5 points. Meanwhile, Darragh Kelleher of Skerries Sailing Club came in a close third having one in the last race of the event.

Irish Laser Master Champion (standard rig) Paul McMahon of Howth is congratulated by Royal St. George Yacht Club Commodore Richard O'ConnorIrish Laser Master Champion (standard rig) Paul McMahon of Howth is congratulated by Royal St. George Yacht Club Commodore Richard O'Connor

In the larger Radial fleet, Dun Laoghaire dominated the leader board. Sean Craig and Conor Clancy led the tussle for first and second place over the weekend, with Craig eventually arriving on top. He was glad to be able to discard the ninth place from the first race on Sunday, which he had been leading until the wind dropped to zero before the last mark. There’s a new challenger in town in the form of the George’s Marc Coakley who finished in third just one point behind Clancy.

2021 Radial Champion Sean Craig2021 Radial Champion Sean Craig

In the Ladies fleet, as was predicted Judy O’Beirne and Shirley Gilmore fought it out for the title. O’Beirne proved more consistent across the two days and varying conditions to take first place. Alison Pigot of the National Yacht Club came in third behind Gilmore in second.

Ladies Champion Judy O’BeirneLadies Champion Judy O’Beirne

This year saw the introduction of a Novice format for those who had not previously taken part in a national Laser event. The best scores from two races were accumulated across 17 participants in this category with joint first place going to Michael Norman of Wicklow Sailing Club and Hugh Cahill of DBSC. This format proved popular with participants noting how friendly and supportive the rest of the fleet and support crew were across the two days.

The event was operated under Covid-19 guidelines and could provide a template for the efficient running of future events. All communication in advance and during the event was managed through email and a dedicated WhatsApp group. Registration took place online, the race officer’s briefing and protest committee were convened via Zoom. The final socially distanced prize ceremony was live-streamed via Instagram. Competitors were able to dine outdoors at their respective clubs, so the social side of the event did not suffer greatly. Overall this approach led to a very efficiently run event with lots of paperwork and time delays eliminated.

Full results from the event are available on the Royal Saint George Yacht Club website here

Published in Laser

The MGM Boats Laser Master Championships kicks off Saturday morning at the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour and was setting a number of precedents before sailors even took to the water.

This year’s event has seen record entries with a total of 63 boats registered from Laser sailors aged 35 and upwards. For the first time since this competition format was introduced in 2009, with 35 entries there are more Radial rigs competing than the original Standard rig, with 28 entered.

An unprecedented total of nine ladies are competing for the new Ladies Radial Trophy. With the upsurge in interest in the Laser class over the past couple of years, it is perhaps no surprise to see a total of 17 adults in the new Novice Cup format.

With such a large fleet and a range of formats, it is expected that the competition will be intense right through the fleet. In the Standard rig, previous winner Nick Walsh from RCYC and Howth’s young gun Paul McMahon are hotly tipped, with the forecast favouring McMahon.

Dun Laoghaire expects to control the Radial fleet with Sean Craig and Conor Clancy expected to dominate over the two day event. In the ladies category, Shirley Gilmore and Judy O’Beirne are considered to be the ones to beat this weekend.

In keeping with Irish Sailing’s guidelines for events, the event organisers have confirmed that the event is going virtual. Race officer, Harry Gallagher will be delivering a virtual briefing to all competitors via Zoom. Arbitrations and protests will also be facilitated via Zoom by the Protest Committee, lead by Cxema Pico.

Prize-giving on Sunday will be live streamed on the Dun Laoghaire Laser Instagram page and presumably there will be plenty of virtual cheers for the winners. All in all, it looks like that aside from sailing and socially-distanced outdoor dining on Saturday evening, this will be a truly virtual event.

Full details of the event including results are available at the Virtual Race Office on the RSGYC website.

Published in Laser
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Two tough days of light, fickle breeze were replaced with 9-11 knots of breeze in Medemblik, The Netherlands as Irish interest in the Allianz Regatta's ILCA 6 fleet includes this weekend.

Howth Yacht Club teenager Eve McMahon dropped back from 11th to 23rd overnight with Tokyo bound Annalise Murphy moving up four places from 32nd to 28th overall. McMahon's club mate Aoife Hopkins is 43rd in the 58-boat fleet.

Every sailor in the ILCA 6 fleet has a high score that they are using as their discard and this has led to high-pressure situations on the racecourse, as sailors avoid making the same mistakes that could severely punish them and see them drop.

Consistency is really at a premium in the ILCA 6 fleet, but Marie Barrue of France has been doing enough all week to cling on to her lead. She is eight points clear of Dutch favourite and Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallist Marit Bouwmeester (NED).

Bouwmeester had the best day on the water with a 2-4 scoreline, and the next best performer was Hungary’s Maria Erdi who moves into contention for the medals, sitting just six points off third-placed Agata Barwinska (POL).

After racing, Erdi commented, “We finally had some more breeze so we got some hiking in. It was still pretty tricky. The startline was crazy with a lot of general recalls. I was just trying to get off the line. I got in really risky spots, and I just took it from there with good starts and good speed.

“I was always rounding the top mark in the top ten. I was able to make up a few places in the first race but lost some in the second but today was a good day and I’m happy with it.”

Hempel World Cup Series – Allianz Regatta is an important event for the athletes targeting Tokyo 2020 as it’s their final opportunity to test themselves before they head to Enoshima.

Erdi knows a good performance here can set the tone come Games time. She continued, “This is our last regatta before the Games, so we really want to put things together. We’re trying to improve and see how it goes.

“We decided pretty early we were going to come here because there was not much racing anywhere. We didn’t want to arrive at the Games and think ‘ahh, so this is the startline!’ We wanted to get racing and we’re happy that everyone else followed and is here.

“I have a camp with my group at the end of this month and then we fly out to Japan on the 12th for the Games.”

The ILCA 6 fleet will sail two races on Saturday before the deciding race on Sunday.

Racing continues on Saturday 5 June from 10:30 local time.

Full results here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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After months of doubt as to whether Covid related travel restrictions would prevent the Laser ( now known as the 'ILCA' 4.7) World Championships from going ahead in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, the organisers have confirmed the August event is proceeding.

The event is being co-hosted by the National Yacht Club and Royal St. George Yacht Club from August 7th to 14th.

Entry offers will be limited to 240 total (140 boys / 100 girls) to maintain a single course with four starts.  Current applications are running at 135 boys / 90 girls.

"The final piece of the jigsaw that allows us to proceed is the announcement that from July 19th travellers from the EU and the US will be able to enter Ireland without any quarantine or self-isolation requirements provided they are vaccinated or have a negative PCR test", event chairman Ian Simington told competitors by email.

As it was with the 301-boat Laser Masters Worlds in Dun Laoghaire in September 2018, the huge administrative challenge ashore and afloat is being undertaken in full partnership by the Royal St. George Yacht Club and National Yacht Club. In fact, with boat numbers this size, it becomes a true Dun Laoghaire Harbour communal effort in order to keep everything on track, with Ian Simington heading a central committee which in turn is supported by several specialist sub-groups. 

More from Winkie Nixon who wrote about the event planning back in January here

Published in Laser
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The Irish Laser Association's Masters Championship is for the first time introducing an innovative Novice Cup to encourage newer adult sailors to participate.

This year's Irish Laser Association's Masters Championship, sponsored by MGM Boats and taking place in Royal St. George Yacht Club is introducing a new format specifically for first-time adult competitors.

Less experienced sailors who enter the two-day event taking place on June 12th and 13th can elect to participate in the Novice Cup format. Only those who have not competed in a regional or national Laser event in the past 5 years can participate.

Participants will race in the same races as all other sailors but will only have the scores from their two best race results across both days counted. Participants can therefore choose to race on just one or both days and can decide to join in on however many races they wish.

Laser Masters Nationals Introduces Novice Cup

Explaining the rationale behind the concept, local event chairperson Brendan Hughes said, "We've identified that some of our newer adult sailors in the Laser fleet across the country are somewhat intimidated by the thoughts of two full days on the water but would really love to participate in such a fun championship event. Therefore, we feel that this approach offers the flexibility to sail on one or two days and to sail as many races as people feel comfortable with."

The so-called Master's category of Laser sailing is for sailors aged 35 and over. While traditionally, the Masters is a smaller proportion of the overall fleet, there has been a massive upsurge in adults sailing Lasers across the country over the past 12 months.

Rachel Crowley who organises the Dun Laoghaire 'Laser Kindergarten' group for adults said; "The concept of the Novice Cup is brilliant. We are already planning a buddy system for newer sailors at this event; pairing them up with more experienced sailors who can give them support on and off the water. The Novice Cup means that everyone can compete at their own level and have lots of fun along the way!"

The early bird entry for the event closes this Sunday, May 30th. Anyone who enters before that date can benefit from a reduced fee plus entry into a raffle for a £100 voucher from Lennon Racewear.

Full event details are available here

Published in Laser
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The Irish Laser Association’s Masters Championships, sponsored by MGM Boats and taking place in Royal St. George Yacht Club on June 12-13 looks set to be the first national sailing competition of 2021.

Taking place just days after the Government restrictions are lifted on sports competitions at regional and national level, the organisers of this year’s event in Dun Laoghaire are expecting a lot of interest from both local and travelling sailors.

Ed Rice, event coordinator for the Irish Laser Association says that “We’re expecting upwards of 50-60 local boats to take part and probably another 20-30 boat travelling from outside of Dublin.”

This year’s event will be run in strict compliance with Irish Sailing’s recommendations for covid-safe event planning. In essence, this means that much of the on-site activities that normally take place at the club will be virtual. “We’ll be running a virtual race office and protest committee. Furthermore, all participants will be reminded to maintain social distancing ashore and we will encourage everyone to wear face coverings before and after sailing” says Rice.

Irish Laser Masters

Rice also announced that Dun Laoghaire’s MGM Boats will be the main sponsor for the 2021 event. “We’re delighted to have MGM Boats on board this year. They are an integral part of the sailing landscape in Dun Laoghaire and have been very supportive of us over the years.”

Ross O’Leary of MGM Boats, himself a Laser sailor, said “Single-handed sailing, in particular the Laser, has provided an opportunity during the pandemic for sailors who wouldn’t normally sail a dinghy to get out on the water. This is great for dinghy sailing and also for sailing in general. We’re proud to be associated with the activities of the Irish Laser Association locally and nationally”.

The so-called Masters category of Laser sailing is for sailors aged 35 and over. While traditionally, the Masters is a smaller proportion of the fleet, it seems that this year the event will draw record numbers of both male and female Masters sailors.

Event chairperson, Brendan Hughes who is captain of the class locally, outlined how prizes will be allocated. “There will be placing in both the Standard and Radial rig, plus there will be prizes in each of the 5 different Masters age categories, ranging from Apprentice Masters (35-45-year-olds), right up to Legends, aged 75+. We’re also delighted to announce that for the first time, there will be a dedicated trophy for the top female sailor in the Radial class, the MGM Boats Ladies Champion Trophy.”

Early bird entry for the Masters event is open from Monday 17th to Sunday 30th May. Event entries close on Friday 4th June. More here

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full results here

Published in Tokyo 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Irish results today:

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

Silver fleet results not available at time of report.

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

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

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

Country Qualification After Day 5

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


Racing continues tomorrow. Full results here

Published in Tokyo 2020
Tagged under

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Full results are here

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

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

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

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Page 7 of 61

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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