Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Olympics boost for skiff crews

15th November 1996
A RECORD turnout to compete in the 26th DMYC Frostbite series and the announcement of a new high performance Olympic dinghy provided a shot in the arm for Irish dinghy racers this week. There were few more pleased than Howth's pioneering skiff crews at the ISAF announcement of Olympic classes for Sydney 2000. The decision, made at the Brighton conference, disposed of the Star keelboat and introduced the radical Australian designed 49-er skiff as the new, much talked about, high performance dinghy. The decision, witnessed by Ireland's Helen Mary Wilkes and Ken Ryan, moves world sailing into the next century. There are already plans in Ireland among fledgling skiff racers to acquire one of the new Olympic hi tech machines.
Mike Evans, second place overall in Howth YC's Electrolux skiff league, said yesterday: "The 49-er is the right choice for Sydney, she's tricky to sail but her upwind, and downwind performance is incredible and I'd love to get one." The deselection of the Star, an Olympic class since 1928, may have put a swift end to the Olympic career of the Royal Cork's Mark Mansfield who competed as the Irish Star Helmsman in both the 1992 and 1996 Olympic regattas. Mansfield said: "It's a sad time. The Star is a classic boat and given that it provided the most competitive racing, it's a disappointing decision from the ISAF." Evans, who introduced the circuit into Ireland in 1995 now proudly lays claim to an active 14 boat fleet, 10 of which are B14 designs that are providing exhilarating racing and, according to Evans the B14 will be an ideal step up class to feed in to the Olympic 49-er. Exhilaration, however, has its price and last weekend four of the Howth hot shots lost their masts capsizing in low water at the back of Howth pier. Overall after three races, Olympic Soling crew man Dan O'Grady who has swapped crews between Laura Dillon and Conor Barry has the narrowest of leads with Mike Evans and Conor Roche sailing A wear in second. Darragh Sheridan and Shane Murphy in Dinghy Supplies are third but trail the leaders by only 1.25 points. Meanwhile, Mansfield, who has sold his Star, has been discussing his options and while the domestic 1720 circuit, has its attractions, he won last week's 19 boat south coast championships, the prospect of Olympic glory still hankers. Switching classes of course is an option but his size and weight wilt restrict his movement to all but two of the 10 Olympic boats. Unless he can shed about three stone or more he could never be competitive as a Skiff helmsman and, this is an ongoing gripe among sailors who weigh in above the optimum 10 to 12 stone mark. In Mansfield's case, because he weighs 14 stone plus he would only be competitive in the single handed Finn or the matchracing Soling, both very distinct disciplines. Mansfield's crew, David Burrows, a helmsman in his own right, is now also boatless but after fitness work to increase his weight for the Star he may now, ironically, be looking to lose weight in order to change classes and pursue his olympic ambition. Despite the diminution of the traditional frostbite course caused by the movement of the HSS car ferry in Dun Laoghaire, organiser Valerie Kinnear has been forced to cap entries for this year's 20 race harbour Frostbite because of lack of space. The smaller course has meant more congestion and in the second race last weekend it appeared that the entire fleet' reached the weather Wark together. An American designed dinghy, the JY15, sailed by Neil Colin and Michael Keatinge of the host club leads the 52 boat Portsmouth Yardstick fleet. In a fleet of 27 Mirror dinghies Andre and Ben Greer are leading while Frank Cronin heads the 31 Lasers in to race three on Sunday at 2 p.m. of the country's longest running Frostbite series. Team

About The Author Team

Email The Author is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open. is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button
Who is Your Sailor of the Year 2020?
Total Votes:
First Vote:
Last Vote:

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating