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Irish Sailing’s annual Youth National Championships will include skiff racing for the first time when they take place next year on 16-19 April at Howth Yacht Club, Dublin.

This year for the first time Irish Sailing has invited the 29er class to take part in the Youth Nationals. Irish Sailing has been working closely with the class over the past year and seen their numbers grow, reflecting the interest young Irish sailors have in this particular boat.

Jarlath O’Leary, Chair of IRL 29er Class said ‘’We are delighted at this recognition by Irish Sailing of Ireland’s fastest-growing dinghy class. It serves to reward and encourage the efforts of all our dedicated sailors, coaches and supportive parents who have done so much to put our class to the forefront of competitive youth sailing’’.

The 29ers will be joined by the five regular classes seen at the Youth Nationals: the Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, 420, Topper and Optimist.

The Youth National Championships were started first as a means for Irish Sailing coaches to spot burgeoning young talent, and pick members for the Pathway Teams and further coaching. The event has now grown in size and purpose to be Ireland’s largest youth regatta with over 200 young sailors and their families attending each year. As well as racing, the programme will include expert speakers who represent different aspects of the sport, the opportunity to learn more about the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway, meet the coaches, as well as gather in one place to have fun and socialise.

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What’s with today’s teenagers? Time was when your average teen aspired to sleep for 24 hours every day. The reason they slept for 24 hours every day was there were only 24 hours in the day. Move the dial-up to have a 28-hour day, then they’d pile on the zzzzs through that as well. As for sustenance, any brief moments of wakefulness would be used to consume the meatiest greasiest burgers that could be easily procured…..

Yet in sailing today, the young folk in Ireland who are filled with enthusiasm and seemingly endless vitality as they buzz around afloat and ashore with Optimists, Toppers, 420s, Lasers, 29ers, RS 200s and whatever – well, they simply knock the old-fashioned caricatures of teenagers for six.

Maybe those teenagers in the traditional mould were us. For the present wave of young pace-setters don’t just represent a step change, they seem to embody a total generational turnabout which makes today’s “adults” look like a self-indulgent planet-wrecking bunch of slobs. In fact, some of today’s most globally-prominent adults seem to be the kids chucking the toys out of the pram, while the leading young people appear to be the only adults in the room.

laura dekker sailing2Laura Dekker of The Netherlands during her round the world voyage, which she completed while still 16 in 2011.

laura dekker boat3Laura Dekker’s boat was the Jeanneau Gin Fizz 40 Guppy

Such thoughts will emanate from many contemporary situations, but they particularly struck home from the recent World Sailing annual gathering in the appropriately exotic and geographically isolated setting of Bermuda. From this high-powered gathering – in which Ireland is well-represented in several groups, for dedicated committee work is in our genes – there emerged many decisions and several probable lines of progress.

But most conspicuously of all, they produced the names of the female and male Rolex World Sailors of the Year, and the latter was just 15 years old. That is certainly making the oldies wonder a bit, and then some. But deciding on the winners of such almost impossibly august titles in what aspires to be accepted as a generally equitable method is a mighty task in itself, and World Sailing’s technique is to rely 50% on public voting and 50% decision by the administrators.

Cynics will observed that the two winners come from two of the world’s most numerically large classes, the Lasers and the Optimists. Someone working on your behalf - for you should never do such things personally - will simply have to get your class mates to vote in droves in your favour. Except that it’s usually not actually simple at all - many sorts of stratagems may need to be deployed – but we can imagine that when massively large numbers of votes arrive to boost the chances of a very specific candidate, the final decision-makers are pushed towards their choice in a narrowing channel.

rindom gradoni4 Anne-Marie Rindom and Marco Gradoni with their World Sailing awards in Bermuda

And who could possibly disagree with their selection of Denmark’s Anne-Marie Rindom (28) as the female Sailor of the Year? Her sailing of a Laser Radial to the World Championship and other major titles is done in so utterly natural a way that you get the impression you’re watching a single unified living creature finding the optimum route through the weaving wind and wave-textured sea. Woman and boat become one.

Yet her route to the top wasn’t exactly meteoric. She may have been 21 – at the time thought relatively young – when she first sailed in the Olympics at Weymouth in 2012, but her 13th overall could best be described as “so-so”.

However, by the 2016 Olympics at Rio, she was more into her stride, and she and Ireland’s Annalise Murphy made for a formidable pairing of competitive mates out on the race course, with Murphy getting the Silver while Rindom took the Bronze. The entire final race was edge-of-the-seat stuff for spectators and participants alike, though some top sailors tell us that when you’re actually in the midst of it all, it’s like a sort of out-of-body experience in which you too are a spectator.

Once it was over, any remaining reality disappeared, and Murphy and Rindom abandoned their boats for a while as they jumped into the waters of Rio - not recommended at all by the public health authorities, but then all rules go by the wayside when a couple of Olympic medals are claimed.

olympic jump5Ireland’s Silver Medallist Annalise Murphy and Demark’s Bronze winner Anne-Marie Rindom take a leap into the murky waters of Rio after their successful conclusion to the Olympic Regatta of 2016.

Since then, Annalise has been testing a couple of alternative possible sailing career routes before returning to the familiar embrace of the Laser Radial challenge of taking Ireland’s already-secured place in the class in the 2020 Olympics. But - by and large - Anne-Marie has stuck to the knitting, and her Laser Radial sailing has been elevated to a new level, putting her in the unenviable position of being a hot favourite for the Gold at Enoshima, which has something of the poisoned chalice about it.

Yet for now, she’s the Women’s World Sailor for 2019, and that’s enough to be going along with for the time being, even if those addicted to the numbers game cannot help but notice that the Laser has been in the career path for World Sailors three years in a row, with 2018’s Carolijn Brouwer and Marie Roux including the legendary Kirby design in their extensive sailing CVs, while in 2017 it was Marit Bouwmeester of the Netherlands for straightforward overall victory in the Laser Radial Worlds.

rindom sailing6Anne-Marie Rindom in her element – she and her Laser seem blended like a single unit when sailing, and she is the first Dane to become a World Sailor of the Year.
One of the most surprising aspects of the Rindom award is that it’s the first time any Danish sailor has won the top title, but it’s a surprise which pales in significance when set against the fact that the new Men’s World Sailor of the Year is just 15 years old.

We’re well aware this fact is old news for those for those whose primary interest in sailing is the global sport at its top level. But for the rest of us, bumbling around out local classes and club events and regional championships and all the other niche interests which sailing brings, it’s a relatively new fact that really needs to be taken out and set up on a pedestal and contemplated in detail.

For what sort of a world is it when an admittedly hugely-talented sailor like Italy’s Marco Gradoni becomes the global Sailor of the Year at the age of 15?

It’s not so very long ago – indeed, it’s still the situation in significant parts of the media – that editors were reluctant to publish anything in detail about the sporting activity of people under the age of 17. You could get high-flown reasons such as the fact that you were depriving them of their childhood by doing such a thing, and at a more hard-nosed level, you’d get the blunt response that most readers simply weren’t interested in the sport of other people’s kids. They wanted to read about adults facing distinctly adult challenges in which they were ultimately responsible, whereas with reporting your junior sport, there’s always the parent factor. That’s something which you disregard at your peril, making it an area where old-fashioned journos don’t wish to go at all.

It was a viewpoint which seemed to be supported - to take just one example - by the rules of the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race, which set the lower age limit for participants at 18, despite the fact that several young people have been well into global solo circumnavigations by the time they’re 18, while the Dutch schoolgirl Laura Dekker had completed it by 16.

The reality is that chronological age is an extremely crude instrument with which to measure any individual’s maturity or abilities, and in an ideal world, it would be just one of a whole battery of assessment tools used to provide the complete picture. But we live in a very far from ideal world where such measurement luxuries aren’t widely available, and when the public hear that a 15-year-old has been crowned as the World Sailor of the Year, they immediately summon up their own cliched vision of a “typical” 15-year-old, and respond accordingly – frequently with derision.

Happily, in the more focused world of Irish sailing, we’ve become accustomed to the shifting and rapidly developing focus of the new wave – after all, this is the Greta Thunberg generation – and before the news was announced that Marco Gradoni had been judged top of the tops, we’d lived for a while with knowing that Eve McMahon - aged just 15 yet long since moved on from Optimist sailing – is one of four women sailors looking to take Ireland’s Laser Radial place in Japan next year.

eve mcmahon7 Eve McMahon – changed attitudes towards the maturity of today’s young sailors means that her nomination at age 15 to challenge for an Olympic place is seen in a positive light.

Five years ago we might have said she’s far too young to think of such a thing. But we live in time of unprecedentedly rapid change in attitudes, and in this weird year of 2019, many of us found ourselves thinking: “Fair play to her”. In fact, the Eve McMahon story is at the more interesting stage, while Gradoni’s title marks a conclusion, albeit a great one. He’s at the upper limit age-wise for Optimist sailing, and his victory at the Worlds in Antigua in July – his third in a row – benefited from the good breezes of the venue to off-set his increasing size challenge.

marco gradoni antigua8In 2019, at age 15 Marco Gradoni was veering towards the hefty size for competitive Optimist campaigns, but the brisk winds of Antigua worked in his favour at the Worlds, and after winning his third Worlds in a row, he celebrated in classic style. Photo: Optimist Class/Matias Cappizano

Three Optimist World titles in a row is unprecedented, and in Gradoni’s case they mark the peak of a wide range of achievement, as he has won just about every major Optimist event in which he has competed since he took his first Worlds at the age of 13 in Thailand in 2017 in a fleet drawn from 65 nations, his successes including emerging first out of 940 boats in the Garda Meeting in 2018.

He’s both a successful solo sailor and a good team player, and while the images show that – like Anne Marie Rindom – he’s at his best when in a boat, he’s comfortable with himself ashore, and mature beyond his years, as is seen in this vid of him receiving the award in Bermuda:

Inevitably there were those present – and commentators subsequently – who have said someone so young should not get such a title, the responses including queries like what on earth young Marco will be able to do with the rest of his sailing life, which will now have to be in other boats.

Certainly, a very reliable source who was in Bermuda tells us that the idea of a lower age limit in future for the title was certainly in the air. But it seems to many that all his stars were in conjunction, that vital little bit of luck was on his side, and it would have been grossly unfair if Marco Gradoni had not become the World Sailor of the Year 2019.

And of course, it means that both titles have gone to European sailors, one from Scandinavia and the other from a Mediterranean country. Our battered old Continent deserves a bit of encouragement right now, for while the focus will swing to Japan for the Olympics next year and the America’s Cup in New Zealand in February 2021, the inexorable countdown to the 2024 Olympics in France will be living with the absence of the European-conceived Finn, once seen as the very essence of the European Olympic sailing spirit.

The Finn has been part of the Olympics since 1952. A mighty animal of a single-hander, racing a Finn is the apotheosis of athletic strength in sailing, providing a marked contrast with the gymnastics of the 49er. But with the final Olympic appearance at Enoshima next July (notwithstanding a last-ditch series of heartfelt appeals by Finn fans in Bermuda), the Finn is now on her way into history, while the future is focusing on the new mixed two-person offshore racer making its debut in France’s Olympics in 2024.

2024 may seem remote future for many, but in terms of putting a new fully-tested offshore racer together and in commission, it’s just around the corner, and in Bermuda, the timeline outlined towards selecting the preferred “equipment” (that’s what boats become in Olympic-speak) is tight enough. The official statement said:

“The criteria for suitable Equipment for the Mixed Offshore qualification events will be published no later than 31 December 2020. At the same time, an additional set of criteria will be published for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games Equipment. The recommendation also stated that the Equipment for Paris 2024 will be selected no later than 31 December 2023”.

The dream showbiz scenario would be to have six or so boats contending for the Olympic position as we near 2024, and then have all six on show at the Paris Boat Show in December 2023, with the announcement of the selected boat being made at the Show. Stranger things have happened in the Olympic circus……

wizard sailing9 David & Peter Askew’s comprehensively successful Volvo 70 Wizard was voted the World Sailing Hempel “Team of the Year” 2019 in Bermuda.

Meanwhile, Denmark has its first World Sailor of the Year to celebrate, and we can also take time out to think that the new World Men’s Sailor of the year is too young to have a driving licence or vote in local and national elections, yet in sailing today it seems right and proper that he’s top of the tops.

But then we can make that assertion safe in the knowledge that our favourite boat and crew in 2019, David & Peter Askew’s re-vamped Volvo 70 Wizard from the US, was confirmed as the World Sailing Hempel Team of the Year 2019 at the Bermuda gathering. She’d a dream of a year to win overall in the RORC Caribbean 600, the Transatlantic Race, and the Rolex Fastnet Race - an un-matched trio of classic successes in the space of just six months.

Published in Youth Sailing
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Adverse weather with strong gusts in the lead up to this week’s racing threatened to spoil the day again for this week’s Charles Hurst Jaguar Land Rover sponsored Junior Icebreaker at Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough. Saturday morning however brought warm weather and light winds and a fleet of 18 junior sailors in their Topper dinghies were able to take to the water for their first training session followed by racing. 

The course was set close to the clubhouse, which lead to tricky conditions in the light and shifty winds that were blowing from the shore. Race 1 saw Daniel Palmer lead from start to finish with Katie Brow in second and last year’s overall winner Faye McCartan rounding off the podium.

The second race saw a big shift on the left side of the course favour all those who had ventured in that direction seeing Daniel Palmer once again take line honours from Charlie O’Malley with Hannah Archer in third and Katie Brow staying in contention overall in fourth.

The third and final race was started in lighter winds but this time both sides of the course were even. Daniel Palmer made it a hat trick of first places but had to work this time to overtake Katie Brow who led at the first mark. Charlie O’Malley was third in this breakaway group and these three now lead the series overall.

Tight racing in the chasing pack was led by Romy Maguire ahead of Rex Claney in fifth place and Isobel Nixon in sixth.

Three of the entries were using the smaller 4.2 sail. This group is led by Hannah Bell with Charlotte Cairns second and Desi Gillespie in third. Even with the smaller sails this group were in the mix beating some of the sailors with full rigs.

The Junior Icebreaker takes place on Saturdays in October and November. Young sailors take to the water for training from a group of dedicated coaches. Training is followed by racing which is taken by these sailors as seriously as the adults in the main series on Sunday.

The 29er Northerns was raced in Strangford Lough Yacht Club last weekend as part of the 30th RYA NI Youth Sailing Championships as Afloat reported earlier. It was the final event of the '29er triple crowns'. Nine teams competed: 3 all boys, 5 mixed and an all girls crew. The standard of the fleet has progressed at a stellar pace allowing a competitive regatta with many changes of leads.

Saturday started with a lot of wind which rapidly decreased to deliver 3 races in medium conditions. The high number of laps on offer allowed many close battles at marks and the sailors had to be solid on their boat handling to maintain or gain positions.

Elysia O'Leary and Chris Bateman showed skills and speed taking the first race win ahead of Triple crowns leaders Lola and Atlee Kohl. The second race saw the return of ISAFs YW Rian McDonnell-Geraghty and Nathan Van Steenberge to winning affairs with O'Leary-Bateman hot on their heels. The final race of the day saw an increase in wind strength and provided some drama.

"The standard of the fleet has progressed at a stellar pace allowing a competitive regatta with many changes of leads"

The leaders of the fleet did not see a lap had been added on the Race committee boat. The Kohl's siblings, on the other hand, had no hesitation and went on for the extra lap with McDonnell-Van Steenberge right on their transom... Realising their error, 4 boats restarted in hot pursuit. The battle at the front became a 3 way gybing battle with Charlie Cullen and Ben Hogan managing to make the junction with the two leaders. McDonnell-Van Steenberge managed to jump the Kohl's to take the win whilst Cullen-Hogan final attempt to get back to the lead ended up in a capsize just boat lengths from the finish allowing Kohl-Crosbie, the McIlwain siblings and Rickard-Goodbody to slip pass.

29er fleetA tight battle at the leeward mark in the 29er fleet Photo: Thomas Chaix

Day 2's forecast was good with a southerly due to head west by midday. The proceedings were a bit slow but the fleet eventually started race 4 in a medium southerly. Early leaders Cullen-Hogan were overtaken by McDonnell-Van Steenberge. The two boys were not seen again scoring their third race win of the event. The Kohl's siblings had to work their way up the fleet and secured yet another 2nd. The next race started in a dropping breeze and the expected right shift came mid race.

The race officer decided it was just that bit too much and the race was abandoned, which set the scene for a final race drama. The equation was simple enough yet required good sailing skills and clear knowledge of the rules. Having added the points, the Kohl's sibling were starting the final race with a guaranteed 2nd overall and a low discard. On the other hand, McDonnell-Van Steenberge were clear leaders yet discarding a high points first race. The Kohl's made their intentions clear in the first beat taking control of the boys windward side and started to sail them off the course in a very skilled and determined fashion. When the pair eventually made it to the windward, The boys had been put into last position with a monumental task in hand to save their event win.

The opportunity came to overtake their tormentor at the leeward of the initial lap when a 420 allowed a split between the two boats. They certainly took their chance and started to look at the fleet ahead with 3 boats still within reach. At the end of the second lap, they managed to overtake 2 boats which was just about enough to reclaim their lead. It was very tense as they held 6th to the finish which meant the countback went to their favour for the Northerns title. Lola and Atlee Kohl settle for 2nd but secured
the Triple crowns overalls. Completing the podium were Elysia O'Leary and Chris Bateman.

The second year of existence of the 29er class in Ireland has seen major progress in the level of skills and the next challenge is now to grow the numbers of partnerships attending open events... In the mean time, everyone is preparing a solid winter of training to develop further their skills... Bring on 2020!

Published in Youth Sailing
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Dubliners Rian McDonnell Geraghty and Nathan Van Steenberge from the National Yacht Club were the nine-boat 29er class winners at the 2019 RYA Northern Ireland Youth Sailing Championships at Strangford Lough Yacht Club at the weekend.

Over 140 boats overcame some challenging wind conditions on both days to enjoy some great end of season racing on the Lough for the 30th edition of the RYA event.

In the 420 class, East Antrim and Malahide duo of Lucy Kane and Emma Gallagher were winners of the ten boat fleet. 

County Antrim's Ellen Barbour was the 15-boat Laser 4.7 winner with Royal St. George's Tom Higgins from Dublin Bay the winner of the 27-boat Radial fleet. 

The Topper 5.3 fleet, the biggest of the regatta with 35 entries, was won by Ballyholme's Hannah Dadley-Young.

Download full results below

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Royal Cork's Atlee Kohl (18) and Chris Bateman (18) sailing for the US Virgin Islands are seventh overall after the second day of the 29er European Championship on Lake Garda, Italy with winds at 9 to 12 knots, a bit lighter than Monday.

Kohl and Bateman who won the RS200 Nationals in Galway Bay ten days ago have switched roles for the Italian event. 

The top Irish duo of nine competing crews is Charlie Cullen (17) and Ben Hogan (17) of the Royal St George Yacht Club.

Seven of the scheduled 9 races have now been completed for the 210 crews competing.

Eight different nations are in the top 10 so far and the gold fleet will see the top 50 crews compete starting today.

Final top ten after 7 races, 1 discard
1. Mathias Berthet / Alexander Franks Penty, NOR, 7 net points
2. Aristide Girou / Noah Chauvin, FRA, 14
3. Ville Korhonen / Edvard Bremer, FIN, 17
4. Marius Westerlind / Olle Aronsson, SWE, 17
5. Finn Walter / Marcus Borlinghaus, GER, 19
6. Ewan Wilson / Finley Armstrong, GBR, 22
7. Zeno Biagio Santini / Marco Misseroni , ITA, 23
8. Jens-ChristianDehn-Toftehoj / Mads Fuglbjerg, DEN, 25
9. Oliver Evans / Will Jarman, GBR, 27
10. Freya Black / James Grummet, GBR, 28

Full Results are downloadable below

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Youth sailors from the Irish 29er fleet travelled to Gdynia, Poland to compete in the Zhik 29er World championships held last week, from Friday 26th to Saturday 3rd August writes Chris Bateman (17), a member of the Irish contingent that teamed up with the US Virgin Islands.

Two years ago, three Irish sailors competed in the 2017 29er World Championships in California. Since then our 29er fleet has grown steadily and to demonstrate that growth eight Irish sailors competed in this year's Worlds in Gdynia.

Charlie Cullen and Ben HoganCharlie Cullen and Ben Hogan

This year Ireland had great representation, with three full Irish teams competing. These teams were Harry Twomey and Harry Durcan (RCYC), Charlie Cullen and Ben Hogan (RStGYC), and Lola Kohl with Johnny Durcan (RCYC). Also competing, and sailing on a mixed Irish/US Virgin Island team were RCYC 29er sailors Sophie Crosbie, Dawson Kohl, Jonathan O’Shaughnessy, and Chris Bateman.

Lola Kohl Johnny DurcanLola Kohl and Johnny Durcan

Gdynia is a beautiful place at this time of year, and the Irish competitors took no time in rigging their 29ers on the white sand beach opposite the city. With the event due to commence Saturday morning, boat preparation was finished a few days prior.

A light forecast was in store for the week, which held true for the first day of racing. The first gun was due for all fleets at 11 am but winds under five knots forced the sailors to stay ashore. A fickle breeze came in the afternoon, enough to send out the competitors. The light breeze suited the Irish, with every team doing well in their respective fleets. The race of the day went to Harry Twomey and Harry Durcan, scoring a sixth in race one.

Harry Twomey DurcanHarry Twomey and Harry Durcan

Day two proved the forecast to be wrong, with grey clouds and 15 to 20-knot winds blowing across the beach. But warm water awaited and all 178 competitors launched in good time for the traditional 11 am start. There were thrills and spills, with a big chop and strong winds making the racing tough. The Irish sailors had two bullets, with Lola Kohl and Johnny Durcan winning the first race. Harry Twomey and Harry Durcan won the last race of the day.

The sun shone down on Gdynia beach for day three of racing. A cloudless sky allowed for a thermal wind to fill in, which gave the sailors a light wind day of racing. Steep chop made the races very tough. Massive wind shifts caused chaos on the course. Luckily the Irish sailors stayed fully focused, and remained conservative to hold high positions.

Launching on day four (Wednesday) was a quick process, but a lack of wind forced the race committee to send the sailors ashore to wait for wind. This meant that the main aim of the day was to search for shade and have some fun. Unfortunately, the wind level stayed too low and racing was abandoned for the day.

Lucy Klempen Chris BatemanLucy Klempen and Chris Bateman on the wire

Day five dawned with the sun splitting the stones and a gentle 10-knot breeze blowing. Four races were scheduled, with the usual first gun at 11 am. The wind increased dramatically as the day went on, and by the last race of the day, a steady 18- 24-knot breeze was blowing. These heavy winds tested the Irish sailors to their limits. The races of the day went to two teams, Charlie Cullen and Ben Hogan, with a fifth and a third in the bronze fleet, and Lucy Klempen with Chris Bateman, scoring fifth in the final windy race in the silver fleet.

Day 5 strong windsDay 5 - strong winds

Day six, the final day of racing rolled around. Sunny conditions brightened the atmosphere on the beach. The points were still very close, and there was a lot to be lost and gained. A very light five-knot breeze blew on the course, making perfect sailing the only option for success. Two Irish teams sat in contention for a top 20 finish. Four difficult races were held, with both teams holding up well in the conditions.

Racing over, the closing ceremony officially ended the event on Saturday 3rd August. RCYC sailors Harry Twomey and Harry Durcan had a top-class performance, finishing in an astonishing ninth place out of 178 boats as Afloat previously reported here. Fellow Cork sailors Lola Kohl and Johnny Durcan finished in 16th place, having held on to a great top 20 result.

All of the team did great, proving that not only can you race competitively, but you can also have fun and make lifelong friends from other parts of the world. And with the rapid growth of the Irish 29er fleet, the fun will continue not just abroad, but on our home waters too.

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Howth Yacht Club's Eve McMahon lies second overall – and first in the under 17 category – going into the final days racing of the ILCA Laser Radial Youth World Championships currently underway in Kingston, Canada.

The 2019 edition of the championships sees 208 competitors from 32 countries competing for World titles in both boys and girls divisions.

Six Irish sailors, four boys and two girls, have made the journey to the 1976 Olympic sailing venue.

McMahon went straight from this month's Youth World Sailing Championships in Poland for the Canadian event.

After 10 races with the final two on Wednesday, some of the Irish sailors are featuring strongly.

A great start for Irish sailors saw both Tom Higgins and Eve McMahon (HYC) top their respective leaderboards after day one.

Subsequent results have seen Higgins drop back to 8th, while McMahon has continued good form and now lies 2nd overall and 1st in the under 17 category.

Clare Gorman (NYC) is in 5th place in the Girls division, while Michéal O’Suilleabhain lies 12th and Eve’s brother Jamie McMahon is in 34th place in the Boys gold fleet.

Full Irish results (after 10 Races)(12 races to complete the regatta)

Girls Gold Fleet:

2. Eve McMahon

5. Clare Gorman (NYC)

Boys Gold Fleet:

8. Tom Higgins

12. Michéal O’Suilleabhain

34. Jamie McMahon (HYC)

Silver Fleet:

51. James Delaney (NYC)

Bronze Fleet:

49. Sam Rutherford

Full results here

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The penultimate day of the 2019 Youth Sailing World Championships in Gdynia, Poland saw three gold medals decided ahead of today’s final races.

Ireland is competing in the boys and girls divisions of both the Laser Radial and the 29er dinghy.

Singlehanded Sibling's Jamie and Eve McMahon from Howth are in the Radial while Leah Rickard and Eimer McMorrow Moriarty and Rian Geraghty McDonnell and Nathan van Steenberge compete in the doublehanded skiff.

It's been a mixed week for this debutante Irish team with some fine individual performances (including a race win for Geraghty McDonnell van Steenberge) but all four found it tough to string a consistent series together. Overall results are here.

There are double celebrations in the 420 fleets tonight after Seb Menzies and Blake McGlashan (NZL) and Madeline Hawkins and Yumi Yoshiyasu (USA) sealed the deal in the Boy’s and Girl’s division with just one race remaining. The Mixed Nacra 15 gold medal was also decided as Will Cooley and Rebecca Hancock (AUS) have an unassailable nine point lead.

All the teams have to do on Friday in their final race is stay out of trouble and avoid a non-discardable disqualification or penalty. The way all three teams have been sailing this week, it’s unlikely any will faulter at the final hurdle and make such a mistake.

The points are significantly closer heading into the final day for the remaining six events with plenty up and downs shaking up the leaderboards.

The Girl’s 420 perpetual RYA Trophy will head to the USA for the third consecutive year after Hawkins and Yoshiyasu picked up from where Carmen and Emma Cowles left off.

Consistency was king for the Americas and going into Friday their lead stands at 22-points. As their highest score is a seventh, they cannot be caught so will walk away as champions.

“We were crying on the way in,” the pair said enthusiastically, “We’re really happy. We’re just going to go out tomorrow and have a solid race but it doesn’t matter because gold is wrapped up.”

They recorded a fourth and a fifth from their two races which was in their game plan. Hawkins commented, “Honestly we were going out there with a mindset to get top seven finishes. That’s all we really needed. We just made sure we could chip off boats and weren’t getting stressed about not being in first or being in 15th. We wanted to be as consistent as possible.”

That steadiness paid off as their rivals had up and down days. The race for silver and bronze will be fierce on Friday as teams from Spain, Germany, Portugal and Argentina are all in contention.

As one of the leading returning teams from the 2018 edition of the Championships, Menzies and McGlashan were touted as potential gold medallists in the Boy’s 420 and they lived up to the billing.

Sitting on 26 points, their discard is a ninth which means that Martin Wizner and Pedro Ameneiro (ESP) cannot catch them on the race course. Only a non-discardable scoreline would see gold slip away.

From the day’s two races, the Kiwis sailed their worst day of the event with a 7-4 but those around them also had mixed days. A fight is on for the remaining podium positions. Teams from Spain, Israel, Italy, Great Britain, Portugal, Poland, Switzerland, USA and Chile all have a chance to claim a medal.

The word consistency is one that is used often in sailing but is an apt word as keeping a consistent scoreline can reap rewards.

Across the week in the Mixed Nacra 15, Australia’s Cooley and Hancock have not won one race but their consistency is unrivalled and they have not finished outside of the top eight once. With one race remaining, they have clinched gold as they hold enough of a points buffer over the French team to confirm the title.

The lead has changed on a daily basis in the Nacra 15 but the Australians prevailed.

Two points separate Titouan Petard and Marion Declef (FRA) and Silas Mühle and Levke Möller (GER) in second and third. It’s not out of the realms of possibility for the chasing teams to overhaul the French and Germans but they would need results to go their way.

Americans Berta Puig and Isabella Casaretto are racing in their second Hempel Youth Worlds in the Girl’s 29er. The pair won silver at the 2018 edition on their home waters and are within touching distance of gold this time round.

They posted a 1-2-1 on Thursday which gives them a 16-point lead over Maltese sisters Antonia and Victoria Schultheis. Two races will follow on Friday and one top eight result will confirm gold.

When asked if their 2018 experience helped them to be in this position, Puig was quick to acknowledge the benefits of going to two in a row, “We already knew what to expect,” she expressed. “This regatta is pretty different and sailing in an all-girls fleet is a different experience. Especially in the US as there aren’t as many girls as we would like but getting the experience last year was very beneficial.”

Their two races wins and a second on Thursday was their most impressive performance of the week and has put them in pole position. On how they sailed so well, Puig said, “It was pretty light at the beginning with about 8 knots out there. It was about staying consistent and making sure that we were on the right shift most of the time, especially on the downwinds. We kept it simple as much as possible.”

Just three points separate the Schultheis sisters and Sweden’s Martina Carlsson and Amanda Ljunggren in second and third.

Much like the Americans, Norway’s Mathias Berthet and Alexander Franks-Penty are well positioned to take Boy’s 29er gold. Two races remain and the Norwegians have an 18-point lead over Ville Korhonen and Edvard Bremer (FIN).

The race for gold will go down to the wire in the Boy’s Laser Radial fleet on Friday. Zac Littlewood (AUS) claimed two seconds on Thursday to remove local hopeful Tytus Butowski (POL) from top spot but just one point splits the pair.

Their discards aren’t comfortable enough for them to match race on the water but fireworks are expected and Butowski will look to draw upon his experience of his home waters to claim a historic gold for Poland.

Italy’s Chiara Benini Floriani has led the Girl’s Laser Radial fleet from start to finish. However, she has not been a runaway leader and it was only after Thursday’s action that she has put some daylight in-between herself and the chasing pack.

Tied overnight on 17-points with Ana Moncada Sanchez (ESP), the Italian finished 12th and second from two races. The Spanish racer could not find her form and was black flagged in the first race before coming through in 12th.

Benini Floriani leads on 31-points followed by the Spaniard on 46, Shai Kakon (ISR) on 47 and Matilda Nicholls (GBR) on 49.

Three races will be sailed in the Boy’s and Girl’s RS:X on Friday. As it stands, Linoy Geva (ISR) is on top of the girl’s division on 29-points followed by Holoise Macquaert (FRA) on 33, Yana Reznikova (RUS) on 34, Natasa Lappa (CYP) on 36 and Julia Matveenko (BLR) on 29.

France’s Fabien Pianazza took three straight race wins on Thursday and has moved two points clear of Nicolo Renna (ITA). The French and Italian sailors have shared nine of ten race victories and will likely fight it out for gold in Friday’s three races.

Leonidas Tsortanidis (GRE) occupies the final podium spot but has Liam Segev (ISR) and Finn Hawkins (GBR) in close company.

Racing is scheduled to commence at the earlier time of 10:40 on Friday 19 July as the 2019 Youth Sailing World Championships concludes.

Published in Youth Sailing
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In the Girls 29er fleet, at the Hempel Youth Sailing World Championships, Ireland's Leah Rickard (National YC) and Eimer McMorrow Moriarty (from Kerry’s Tralee Bay Sailing Club) scored (26.0 UFD), 6.0, 15.0, 22.0 and 43.0 to be 18th from 25 after four races sailed at Gdynia, Poland. 

The Irish boys Rian Geraghty McDonnell and Nathan van Steenberge, who won the second race of the championships on Monday, are 16th from 28 with a scoreline of 12.0, 1.0 16.0, 15.0, (28.0) and 22.0.

Maltese sisters Antonia and Victoria Schultheis found the right note at the Hempel Youth Sailing World Championships as the Girl’s 29er fleet commenced their competition.

Having sat ashore waiting to race and subsequently unable to because of minimal breeze on Monday, the Girl’s 29er and 420 fleets, as well as the Boy’s and Girl’s RS:X, finally hit the water for racing and the Maltese sisters shone in the 29er.

Gdansk Bay, just off Gdynia in Poland, was full of the sights and sounds of the 2019 Hempel Youth Worlds, the 49th edition of the prestigious event, and a more stable breeze enabled each fleet to complete a good number of races.

More than 400 sailors from 66 nations are racing on boats supplied by Ovington Boats (Boy’s and Girl’s 29er), Nautivela (Boy’s and Girl’s 420), Laser Performance / Maclaren (Boy’s and Girl’s Laser Radial) and Nacra Sailing (Mixed Nacra 15). The RS:X racers are sailing on their own equipment for 2019. Even to make it to the Youth Worlds is an achievement in itself with only one nation represented in each fleet.

The Schultheis sisters, racing at their second Hempel Youth Worlds together, were models of consistency in the Girl’s 29er. Four races were completed on Tuesday and the pair recorded a (5)-2-3-3 scoreline which positions them at the top of the leaderboard, a point clear of Berta Puig and Isabella Casaretto (USA).

On their day, the sisters commented, almost in unison, “It was super shifty today but the wind increased. We sailed constant and well and are happy with our result.

“It was quite choppy. It was difficult to keep the speed up because sometimes the boat just stopped. We are quite light so it’s a bit easier for us to get over the waves. We’re satisfied with our performance. We were consistent.”

At the 2018 edition of the Youth Worlds in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA, the pair finished a creditable tenth and have understanding of the event and its prestige. They concluded, “We’re really happy but we’re not getting over excited. We’re just going to keep our cool. Our aim was a top five and we’d be happy with that. We just want to have fun.”

Great Britain’s Freya Black and Millie Aldridge are also racing at their second Championships and occupy third place after the opening day. After racing, Black commented, “There’s a lot of good girls here. The Americans, Maltese and Swedish are going to be the ones to watch. There’s more variety here and it’s all to play for. We’re really happy with today.”

The Boy’s 29er added another three races to their overall total. The defending champions Mathias Berthet and Alexander Franks-Penty (NOR) moved up to first overall after a consistent day. They notched up a 3-1-3 scoreline and have moved ten points clear of overnight Ville Korhonen and Edvard Bremer (FIN) who had a mixed day. British racers, Ewan Wilson and Finley Armstrong, occupy third overall.

Published in Youth Sailing
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