Displaying items by tag: Oisin McClelland
The athletes, who have been training for over four years, as part of their Olympic campaigns, will take to the waters on 11 April to battle it out at the nine-day qualifying competition in Genoa.
In the running is two-time Olympian and World Cup silver medallist Ryan Seaton, from Carrickfergus. Seaton paired up with new crew Seafra Guilfoyle from Cork in the 49er class, following his 10th place finish with Matt McGovern at Rio in 2016.
McGovern is now coach to the Irish 49er teams, all vying for an Olympic place.
Ryan and Seafra finished 10th at the Olympic Test event in Enoshima and recently finished 30th at the 2020 World Championships. They are embarking on a critical training phase in the lead up to the Olympic qualifier and subsequent European Championships in May.
Seaton comments: “Seafra and I have been training well and putting critical elements of speed and boat handling together over this winter period. Our focus has been to get more race practice and working under pressure to refine our performances and add consistency to a regatta week.”
Campaigning in the men’s heavyweight Finn class since 2015, McClelland has secured several top 32 World and European finishes. In January he finished fourth in the Miami World Cup Series event, just narrowly missing out on a bronze medal.
He says: “Really nailing down all elements that make up a successful Olympic campaign was definitely difficult at the start but over time I have been able to get consistent and make big improvements.”
Ballyholme’s Liam Glynn is also gearing up for the challenge in Genoa. Rising through the youth and U21 ranks, he has secured a world junior title and U21 bronze along the way and recently achieved a personal best finish in the Laser at the recent World Championships in Australia.
As part of the Irish Performance Laser squad, the Bangor sailor has been training hard, with a typical day including up to six hours of training, looking at racing skills and focusing on nutrition and recovery.
Commenting on his Olympic campaign so far, Glynn says: “I am motivated by my love of the sport, the feeling when you are in the zone and perfecting your technique and strategy amongst the best sailors in the world.”
All three sailors graduated through the RYA Northern Ireland’s Performance Pathway and are funded through Sport Northern Ireland. Seaton and Glynn are members of the Irish Performance Team.
In sailing, nations can qualify in 10 Olympic disciplines but just one boat is eventually selected to represent each nation in each discipline.
For the NI athletes, their last chance for a European place in the Finn, Laser and 49er fleets is up for grabs at the Sailing World Cup next month.
RYA Northern Ireland’s chief operating officer Richard Honeyford, is looking forward to supporting the sailors as they make their final preparations.
“For all three boats the focus is now on one event in April and for the final chance to secure their place at Tokyo 2020,” he says. “All three have worked extremely hard during this Olympic cycle, with vast amounts of training, competing and travel to achieve their goal.
“At RYA Northern Ireland we are proud of how well they have applied themselves and their inspirational role as ambassadors for sailing in Northern Ireland.
“We look forward to the sailing community supporting them as they undertake this final challenge for Olympic qualification.”
RYANI chief operating officer Richard Honeyford said: “Oisin sailed well throughout the week in Miami. He secured three top three finishes in the 10-race series and really showed his skill in the stronger breeze.
“While he narrowly missed out on the bronze and a podium place in the end, Oisin’s hard work and training throughout the year really paid off.
“He is a fantastic role model for our young sailors and at RYANI we look forward to supporting Oisin as he continues in his campaign for the Tokyo Olympics.”
McClelland will have one more last chance to claim a spot in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics at the final European qualifier, the Hempel World Cup series event in Genoa, Italy from 11 April.
Northern Ireland’s Oisin McClelland was resurgent on the waters of Biscayne Bay yesterday (Saturday 25 January) but finished just shy of the podium after the Finn medal race at the Hempel World Cup Series Miami.
The Donaghadee Sailing Club stalwart finished fifth in the final, ahead of Luke Muller of the USA whose points total over the week was enough to secure the bronze for himself.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, American Caleb Paine had already won Finn gold ahead of the weekend with his unassailable lead over Canada’s Kyle Martin, who took the silver medal and finished second in yesterday’s race.
McClelland will have his last chance to claim a spot in this summer's Tokyo Olympics at the Hempel World Cup series event in Genoa, Italy from 11 April.
Yesterday's Finn medal race can be watched back in full below:
Northern Ireland’s Oisin McClelland was off form on Friday (24 January) on Biscayne Bay as two seventh-place finishes saw him slip from the third place he’d held in recent days to fourth overall, heading into the Finn medal race at the Hempel World Cup Series event today (Saturday 25 January).
The fifth and final day of fleet racing wrapped up with the light breeze posing more challenges for the 182 sailors from 45 nations across the 470, RS:X, Laser, Laser Radial and Finn fleets — and testing the nerves of those with so much at stake.
Friday’s weather forecast was mostly sunny with temperatures in the mid-20s C. The breeze was on the low end throughout the day in the 5-6 knot range, and prompted a lengthy postponement in the afternoon, following which only the Finns were able to complete their racing schedule.
However, Caleb Paine of the United States has already won Finn gold ahead of the medal race as he has an unassailable lead over Canada’s Kyle Martin.
Across the 10-race series, Paine has taken five race wins and four seconds. An 11th in Race 9 yesterday was his worst score of the week. Martin of Canada won Race 10 and now stands in second place. while Luke Muller (USA), who is even on points with Martin, is in third.
McClelland of Donaghadee Sailing Club now stands in fourth, three points behind Muller in the overall Finn standings, following his worst performance of the week after Race 1, since which he’d consistently finished in the top five (excepting a discarded eighth in Race 8) and even scored a first place in Race 6.
But overall his week in south Florida is sure to boost his confidence going into the Genoa World Cup and the European continental spot for the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
“I’m 100% focused on that and this event is a good warm-up,” he said earlier this week.
Today’s medal races will be available to watch live on YouTube starting just after 9am in Miami (2pm in Ireland), with the Finns currently scheduled to start at 11.24am local time (4.24pm Irish time).
Northern Ireland’s Oisin McClelland maintains third place in the Finn class at the Hempel World Cup Series in Miami as cold temperatures, wind chill, rain, strong breeze, and more typical South Florida conditions challenged the 182 sailors from 45 nations yesterday (Thursday 23 January).
The challenge has been real on Biscayne Bay and this has created exciting racing and a level of unpredictability adding more intrigue to the annual Olympic class regatta.
Heading into Day 4’s racing yesterday, the Finn, Laser, Laser Radial and Men’s and Women’s 470 had completed six races, while the Men’s and Women’s RS:X finished nine.
However, the breeze failed to co-operate for most of Thursday, as rain showers sporadically dampened the sailing venue, and racing was limited after lengthy postponements.
American Caleb Paine won his fourth race of the regatta in Race 7 of the Finn class. He was third in Race 8 and leads by 17 points over Luke Muller (USA). Oisin McClelland of Donaghadee Sailing Club holds on to third, just two points behind Muller.
Meanwhile, the RS:X women and men managed just one race each, as did the Laser class. There was no racing in the Laser Radial or the 470 fleets.
Additional races are scheduled for the 470, Laser Radial and Laser today, Friday 24 January, with an earlier start time of 10.30am local (3.30pm Irish time).
The 182 sailors embraced the challenge of the uncharacteristically cold and blustery conditions in Biscayne Bay on Day 3 of the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Miami yesterday (Wednesday 22 January).
The athletes were faced with similar conditions on Tuesday, but Wednesday's overall shifty conditions and wind chill presented an even greater test of their physical and tactical skills.
“I managed to come out with a fourth and a first. A few people tipped it in, but I managed to stay upright and took the win,” said the Donaghadee Sailing Club stalwart.
Miami is the final opportunity for North Americans to qualify for Tokyo 2020, but the final stop of the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series in Genoa is the last shot for Europeans — McClelland included.
“The major goal for me is the Genoa World Cup and the European continental spot. The only one left for Europe. I’m 100% focused on that and this event is a good warm-up. There’s a couple of us here who are going for the spot — Ukraine and Russia. It’s a good early test to see how we’re going.
“We had some goals in mind for what I wanted to get out of this regatta — technique wise — but if the week goes well then I'd be really be pleased with a podium.”
Racing resumes at 11am EST (4pm Irish time) today, Thursday 23 January.
Josh Junior has become the first Kiwi to ever win the Finn Gold Cup after an epic medal race in Melbourne, Australia. Nick Heiner, from The Netherlands, took silver while 2018 world champion, Zsombor Berecz took bronze. Ireland was represented by Tokyo Olympic campaigner Oisin McClelland from Dongaghdee who has been seeking a Tokyo berth since 2016. He finished 32nd from 60 in Melbourne.
Earlier in the day, Ed Wright, from Britain, won the final race for the rest of the fleet, from Oskari Muhonen, from Finland and Jonathan Lobert, from France.
Even though he went into the medal race with a 16-point advantage over Heiner, Junior kept everyone guessing until the later stages of the race. He made hard work of the start, engaging with Heiner with a minute to go, but then allowing him to escape and control the start to lead up the first beat.
Starting in 20-22 knots, the wind gradually increased, as did the sea state, producing some epic racing conditions and supreme boat control. Heiner made the best of the first beat to round with a nice lead with Junior about sixth. Nothing much changed downwind, but a big shift to the left on the second upwind left Australia’s Jake Lilley in the lead followed by Berecz and Heiner. Junior was still back in seventh after losing out on the right.
While Lilley got away to win the race and move up to fifth overall, Berecz and Heiner battled downwind for silver and bronze. Berecz picked up a monster wave just short of the line and surged ahead, but Lilley was too far ahead to catch.
A mistake by Junior at this stage would have cost him the title, but he maintained control down on the final hairy downwind, to cross the line to whoops of joy. He had rewritten the history books, and despite a long line of celebrated Kiwi Finn sailors, he had become the first one ever to win the Finn Gold Cup.
Apart from Friday’s tricky races Junior was never out of the top five, leading from Day 2 all the way to the nail-biting finale. He entered the class in 2013 and has threatened brilliance ever since. But the years of hard work with Andy Maloney and coach Andrew Murdoch has finally paid off. It is an understatement to say he was pretty pleased with himself.
"I had a big lead but, to be fair, Heiner did a really good job at the start and on the first beat and he sort of got away on me. I was a bit worried I was in trouble of losing the whole regatta but I managed to hold it together and get the result I needed and I'm absolutely over the moon.”
"I have never won a world championships or even a medal so I'm stoked. There have been a lot of successful sailors in the Finn for New Zealand in the past and to be one of those is a great honour."
"It's been an outstanding week. I seem to have put pretty consistent results together and that's seen me near the front and took a bit of pressure off. But it's certainly a bit nerve racking. I have never been leading a world championship before, especially for so many days.”
His win makes the job of the Kiwi selectors much harder. Maloney had a better 2019 season and was selected for the test event, but a world champion is a world champion.
"Obviously Andy and I are really good mates and really good training partners and I was a bit gutted to see him not get on the podium today. But I think he still ended up with a good result. We will have another few regattas and, whoever ends up doing the best out of us will go to the Games and hopefully win a gold medal there.”
Another sailor hoping for a possible Tokyo selection now is Lilley, who has clearly had an amazing week with the medal race win and fifth overall.
“This week I tried to start slowly and consistently to not put any big points on the board and slowly built throughout the week and climb. I sort of clicked it up one gear each day as the regatta went and climaxed with the medal race win. I’m very happy with that and it’s a solid result in the lead up to Tokyo 2020.”
“It was important to go out and have a strong race today and set a mark so that everyone understands that we are coming for Tokyo 2020. I’ve had wins before or another good event, but I think this right now is the highest quality Finn fleet we have ever seen and it’s really tight at the top so anytime you finish top five or top ten is a great result.”
“To have the best fleet ever on Australian waters was really something special and Melbourne highlighted the fact that you have to be good in every aspect of this sport and the weather proved that here and I think the best guy came out on top. It was a fantastic event put on by Royal Brighton Yacht Club.”
Heiner was happy to consolidate his second place and secure the silver.
“It was an awesome medal race today. Breeze and nice waves and especially with the points from second to fifth, it was all to play for and with JJ well ahead, it was a bit of a hard one. He’s a match racer so I knew what was coming and I think I did a really good job of beating him off the line and had a good first beat and good first downwind and tacked on a nice lefty. The wind kept going left and made it a bit more exciting but luckily I still had Giles behind me and managed to chip away a little bit, and finished second overall, which I think is the best I could do today.”
“I’m pretty happy with the week. Looking back at the medal race at the Europeans in Cadiz where I lost the week on the medal race, we have come a long way since then and the training in Holland has paid off, and I felt pretty comfortable day today and I think that showed especially in upwind speed and sailing away on the downwind. So I think I definitely stepped up my game in the big breeze, so happy where we are going.”
“I think today everyone enjoyed the sailing. We loved it. I thought I would have the toughest job in the fleet, but I was pretty fast upwind and I didn’t make any mistakes, and it was not easy, but it was easier than I expected. There was a lot to gain or lose but I decided to save the bronze so I didn’t push too hard and risk a capsize and lose it all.”
“Before I came here my goal was to get a medal and I managed it so I am pretty happy. On the other had it was a magical week for Josh. He didn’t make mistakes, so there was noting we could do to beat him. I am happy that he managed to win the Gold Cup. Next time he meets Russell Coutts he has say’ I have something you don’t have.’ So I am really happy for Josh and thrilled to get third after a bad start to the week.”
While most of the places for Tokyo have been decided, one of the remaining places will generate a lot of interest. Many sailors are vying to win the remaining European place at the Genoa World Cup in April next year, where the the competition will be really tough. Several sailors have excelled this week including Croatia’s Nenad Bugarin, who has clearly benefitted from training with Berecz, and with coaching from three-time Olympian Pieter-Jan Postma. Bugarin finished in seventh.
Two places further back was Joan Cardona, from Spain, who also took the U23 prize ahead of Nils Theuninck, from Switzerland, and Luke Muller, from the USA.
“It’s been a great week for me. I had some ups and down at the beginning but I managed to finish top 10 and first U23 so I am really happy with my result and it just motivates me more to train as hard as I can to achieve the Olympic spot for Spain in Genoa next year.”
The 2019 Finn Gold Cup is in the books, and it will go down as one of the most competitive world championships for a while, with the first ever Kiwi winner. It also sets the scene for the coming eight months with everyone trying to find form or consolidate their performance ahead of the Olympics. After finishing in fourth, Olympic champion Giles Scott, from Britain said, “This week will serve as a bit of a wake-up call.” After some of the performances this week, that thought will be shared by many heading of those to Tokyo.
Results after medal race (medal race results in brackets)
1 NZL24 Josh JUNIOR 44 (7)
2 NED89 Nicholas HEINER 52 (3)
3 HUN40 Zsombor BERECZ 53 (2)
4 GBR41 Giles SCOTT 67 (8)
5 AUS1 Jake LILLEY 72 (1)
6 NZL61 Andy MALONEY 79 (9)
7 CRO10 Nenad BUGARIN 92 (5)
8 CAN18 Tom RAMSHAW 95 (10)
9 ESP26 Joan CARDONA ÉNDEZ 98 (6)
10 TUR21 Alican KAYNAR 100 (4)
Full results here
Christmas only comes once a year, but for one Finn sailor Christmas will come early this year, with one of the most prestigious and famous trophies in sailing there for the taking over the next six days at the 2019 Finn Gold Cup, sailed from the Royal Brighton Yacht Club, in Melbourne, Australia.
Ireland is represented by Tokyo Olympic campaigner Oisin McClelland from Dongaghdee who has been seeking a Tokyo berth since 2016.
After weeks of preparation and training on Port Philip, the 62-strong fleet from 23 nations is ready for action. The training conditions have been awesome so far but are predicted to get even better as the event begins with a change to warmer and sunnier weather and reliable sea breezes. But it never pays to predict to far ahead in Melbourne.
The practice race on Sunday afternoon was sailed in a shifty 5 to 12 knots and as usual no one took it particularly seriously, but it marked the end of training and the start of the competition. While race leaders Nils Theuninck, from Switzerland and Markus Whitley, from Australia pulled out at the gate, Jesse Kylänpää, from Finland took the win from Mark Jackson, of Australia.
One of the favourites next week is Nicholas Heiner, from the Netherlands. He won the last major regatta, the Sailing World Cup in Enoshima, in August. A Dutch sailor has never won the Finn Gold Cup, but after a very close third in 2017 and a sixth in 2018, Heiner has got closer than most. Despite winning in Enoshima in 2017 and 2018, a major win still eludes him, though he has been threatening to take one for the last two years.
He has been enjoying the Port Philip conditions in the run up to the Finn Gold Cup. “We’ve done about 15 days training in total this year, plus time at the end of last year, so we’ve been here plenty over the years. It’s always been good. It’s a real treat to come here, with pretty efficient training and always a nice breeze.”
“The last two weeks have been glamour, not much light wind but everything between 6 and almost 30 knots, so it’s been good, and the last few days with an amazing thermally enhanced gradient breeze and nice waves, so definitely a good place for the Finn.”
“It’s a bit cooler than usual though. We had one day with 42 degrees and 40 knots out of the north, and it did a big switch to the south-west and within half an hour was 18 degrees and 52 knots, so definitely a place of extremes. This week has been cold and next week will be will be nice and warm for us.”
He said the training had gone well with many sailors taking part. “It’s actually quite nice to see a lot of different guys at the front and I think Nils made a good step up. He has been training with us and we taught him one or two things. But I would say everyone has been up there. No one has been dominating in training.”
One of the teams using the event for Olympic selection is the USA. The team here includes the 2016 bronze medallist Caleb Paine and young hopeful Luke Muller.
Muller said, “I came pretty early last month and just wanted to get comfortable here and I am glad I did. The first two weeks I was pretty useless because of the time change. But it’s been really great to line up against everyone who has shown up, and just trying to really get comfortable in the conditions. It was a big priority for me to be prepared here and feel good and just feel at home.”
As is usual in the Finn class, the sailors have been training together on the water, but over the last few weeks the group has been growing, with practice starts organised most days. “It’s been really collaborative with everyone organising together the night before. We’ve had between 15 and 30 guys on the start line at once in training so it’s really been good to simulate what kind of starts we’re going to have and you get to line up alongside everyone you want to. It’s been great.”
“Rafa [Trujillo, the Australian coach] has been starting practice races and everyone has joined in. I think everyone has quite liked it.”
“When I first came it was 12-13 degrees and raining and really windy. But Melbourne has been treating us well since and hopefully it will continue. It looks like the forecast will be great.”
A Kiwi sailor has also never won the Finn Gold Cup in the 64-year history of the event. Two sailors who could well change that next week are Andy Maloney and Josh Junior, who have both been on top form all year. Earlier in 2019, Maloney won the Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Palma and the World Cup Final in Marseille and is relishing the chance to challenge for the Finn world title.
Maloney has not competed in the Finn since the test event in August but says they are prepared.
“We had a good break after Japan and we’ve been back in the boat a month or so now, so I guess it’s the start of another season for us and it’s the world championship. The Finn Gold Cup is a pretty special trophy and I think for me that’s a great incentive, so to try and win that trophy is a pretty cool opportunity.”
The pair have just finished a second week of training, with a week in between back in Auckland for “work”.
“We’ve done quite a bit of practice racing here now and it’s been pretty nice conditions so far. Usually some pretty good chop and waves and really close acing. And pretty decent shifts no matter what the breeze is, so definitely a fun race course trying to sniff out the shifts, and trying to do it better than everyone else.”
“All the usual names have had their moments, but generally it’s been the same guys out front as always the last year or two. Everyone has been pushing hard and everyone has had their moments.”
Racing is scheduled to being at 13.00 on Monday 16 December
Fionn Lyden and Oisin McClelland — who are currently competing at the Finn Europeans in Athens — are among dozens of concerned Finn sailors who have put their names to an open letter to sailing chiefs over the removal of their class from the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
The letter’s release coincides with the start of World Sailing’s Mid-Year Meeting in London today (Friday 17 May), and follows a similar appeal by the International Finn Association ahead of the AGM for sailing’s world governing body last November.
That was prompted by an 11th-hour move by World Sailing decision makers to replace the Mixed One Person Dinghy event (in which men sail the Finn class) with a two-person keelboat class to be determined, overturning a previous decision in May 2018.
In its statement at the time, the Finn class body said the decision “is further driving our sport into expensive elitist Olympic events which will result in the decrease of universality and participation in Olympic sailing”.
The latest letter, from a group providing the email address [email protected], is attached below, and the text can be read here:
To whom it may concern,
We are writing to express our deep concern regarding the removal of the Finn class from the 2024 Olympic Games by World Sailing and to request the reinstatement of a class suited to male athletes over 85 kilograms.
While we understand that the main reason behind this decision was to give preference to mixed event categories, removing the Finn class eliminates a massive Olympic sailing group which includes every single male athlete over 85 kilograms. Historically, athletes of this category have significantly contributed to the sport and this category’s popularity continues today. At the recent Aarhus Sailing World Championships in Denmark, 42 nations gathered and participated with athletes in the Finn class, making the Finn the third largest class at the competition.
Not only is the Finn class’s popularity undeniable and the removal of this class a detriment to the Olympic Games, but it also discriminates against many sailors. Despite the initial working party and the World Sailing Events Committee Chairman’s expressed respect for World Sailing’s Regulation 23 and the ‘all physique’s’ policy 70/17, the category of men over 85 kilograms has been discriminated against and effectively barred from competition due to the equipment specifications. For further evidence of this detrimental phenomenon, please see page 17 of the attached document, which illustrates that all male sailors fall into the 70-85 kilogram bracket.
The removal of the Finn class from the Olympic Games breaches World Sailing rules and policies and disregards the principles of the Olympic Charter with respect to non-discrimination of physiques, and limits access to many sailors. Therefore, we urge you to reinstate a class, like the Finn, suited to male athletes over 85 kilograms in order to guarantee the fair access to all sailors and in order to avoid the implementation of discriminatory decision from World Sailing.
In the hope that a correction will be provided without the need for further action, we remain at your disposal for a constructive dialogue on this matter at the address shown in the header of this letter.
Nicholas Heiner, from The Netherlands, won the only race possible on the opening day. Caleb Paine, from the USA, and Facundo Olezza, from Argentina are joint second.
With 30 U23 sailors, it is the largest youth fleet at the Europeans for some time. 2015 Junior World Champion, Ondrej Teply, from Czech Republic leads from Joan Cardona Mendez, of Spain and Guillaume Boissard, of France.
A three metre swell, left over from the storm that caused Sunday's practice race to be abandoned, made for an interesting day in the Bay of Cadiz, but the light and patchy winds meant that only one race was completed, with the second race abandoned near the end of the first upwind.
Defending champion Jonathan Lobert said, "It was a tricky day with big waves and light winds. The waves were much bigger then the wind. I had a wonderful start and was leading by miles on the left side of the course and I don't know what happened but fifty metres before the top mark I suddenly lost all my lead, but then I managed to survive to finish fourth, so not too bad for a day like today."
Three races are scheduled for Tuesday, with the forecast showing stronger winds and rain. The first warning signal is scheduled for 11.00
Results after one race:
1. Nicholas Heiner, NED
2. Caleb Paine, USA
3. Facundo Olezza, ARG
4. Jonathan Lobert, FRA
5. Oliver Tweddell, AUS
6. Josh Junior, NZL
7. Alican Kaynar, TUR
8. Piotr Kula, POL
9. Edward Wright, GBR
10. Ondrej Teply, CZE
Full results here.