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Lough heads Irish challenge at World championships

26th July 1997
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East Antrim's Colin Lough (15) heads Ireland's five-boat team into next week's Optimist single-handed world championships at Carrickfergus Sailing Club. The Northern Ireland club and adjoining marina complex are on target to set a new world record when they welcome 42 nations to contest one of the biggest prizes in world youth sailing. Irish National champion, Lough, who is at the maximum age limit for the competition, flew home to Northern Ireland this week directly from the European Youth Olympic Games in Lisbon where he placed 10th in a fleet of 26 boats. The games formed part of his build-up to the world championships. His ambition next week is to better the 62nd placing he achieved at the 1996 event in South Africa and this can only be enhanced by the fact he is sailing on his own home waters of Belfast lough.
The official record for the highest number of countries competing in a world's was previously held by Finland two years ago when 41 countries participated. At home, Lough's four teammates completed their own preparations at the inland Munster championships on Lough Derg last weekend where coincidentally the biggest ever domestic fleet of 129 Optimists started a six-race series in extremely light airs. Dylan Gannon produced a string of consistent results to win on 13.75 points eclipsing the world championship team. The squad placed as follows: second, Stefan Hyde (Royal Cork YC); third, Daire O'Reilly (Howth YC); seventh, Jonathan Coate (National YC) and 24th, Colm Galvin (Royal Cork YC). Stefan Hyde's training has included an international regatta circuit. The Crosshaven based Hyde won the Welsh Open Schools event at Fishguard while Royal Cork club mate Colm Galvin was snapping at his heels in second. Hyde also placed second in a 100-strong Optimist fleet at the Neupoort Regatta in Belgium also last month. The Irish team members are all now training on the championship course. Substantial investment has been made at Carrickfergus marina to facilitate the championships which run under the co-ordination of the marina manager John McCormick. A purpose built bridge and platform for the launching and retrieval of the eight-foot boats has been constructed in the harbour specifically for the event with the support of the UK Sports lottery fund. Designed 50 years ago by American Clark Mills and from modest beginnings, the Oppy, as it is known, has grown to the point where boats currently in use around the world number 150,000, a figure that includes some 700 boats which have passed through the Irish register alone. Running until August 8th the championships will be raced over specially devised 90 minute port hand courses. For the world title and Beacon Challenge Cup the entire fleet will be broken up into six divisions. Every division will sail at least once, and if conditions permit two or three times, with the other divisions up to a maximum 15 races. The overall world champion will be the sailor who scores the lowest points at the end of the series with up to two discards allowable if the full quota of races are sailed. The first race begins next Thursday (July 31st) and is preceded by measurement and registration. Elsewhere but staying with singlehanders, University of Limerick will play host to 100 Lasers today (Saturday, July 26th) at the class Connacht championships in Killaloe. The University sailing club expect 100 entries that will include the 1996 Atlanta Laser representative Mark Lyttle of the National YC. The first gun will be fired tomorrow at 11.30 a.m. by Race officer John Le Froy. Howth Yacht Club (Club Racing) CRUISER 1 CHS 1. Equinox J McDonald (1=, 4.00) 2. Saxon Girl A Knowles (1=,4.00) 3. Trinculo of Howth M Fleming (7, 17.00). CRUISER 1 ECHO 1. Equinox J McDonald (2=, 7.00) 2. Saxon Girl A Knowles (1, 4.00) 3. Genises D Gray (2=,7.00). CRUISER 1 CHS CLASSIC 1. Tiara J R Derham (2=, 6.00) 2. Tough Nut D Skehan (1, 5.00) 3. Changeling J Jameson/A McManus (6, 14.00). CRUISER 2 CHS 1. Trudi E Kay (1, 3.00) 2. Crazy Jane B Murphy (2, 5.00) 3. Fastbuck M Guinan (9, 22.00). CRUISER 2 ECHO 1. Bonanza A GoreGrimes (1, 9.00) 2. Tantrum Two R Klimcke (4, 14.00) 3. Marie Claire 11 S McCormack (7=, 19.00). CRUISER 3 CHS 1. Pathfinder G & P Watson (1=, 5.00) 2. Gung-Ho I Switzer (1=, 5.00) 3. Two Step C Nolan (7, 21.00). CRUISER 3 ECHO 1. Golondrina T Kiernan (3=, 14.00) 2. Fallout N O'Reilly/C Lawlor (8, 20.00) 3. Drumbeat F Magann (6, 16.00). 1720 SCRATCH 1. Yon-Ka L'Experience T & M Evans (1=, 4.00) 2. Ballistic P Gilmour/D Faherty (1=, 4.00) 3. www.1720.com Cagney/Clery/Murnane (1=, 4.00).
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