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Irish Youth Sailors Medal at RYA Youth Nationals 2019

23rd April 2019
Rian Geraghty-McDonnell and crew Nathan Van Steenberge were top U17 team in the 29er Rian Geraghty-McDonnell and crew Nathan Van Steenberge were top U17 team in the 29er Credit: Simon McIlwaine

The RYA were issuing invitations to visiting sailors for the 2019 event in Weymouth so it gave the opportunity for a few Irish boats to compete at the premier British Youth Sailing event of the year writes Thomas Chaix

The RYA Youth Nationals 2019 produced seven days of great competition on the water of Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour.

The Irish contingent was composed by eight 29er partnerships (showing once more that the fastest growing class in Ireland is also keen to show its competitiveness against the well established UK class), two 420 partnerships, three Laser radials and two laser 4.7s. For the 29ers and the 420s, the event was also part of the trials process to earn selection into the Youth Worlds 2019 Irish team.

podium laser 4.7The Laser 4.7 podium with Michael Crosbie taking bronze

Laser 4.7

The Laser 4.7 class competed over a 4-day event and after 7 races, Michael Crosbie secured a bronze medal with a solid series including a race win and a 2nd. His teammate from Cork, Jonathan O’Shaughnessy, completed his challenge in 17th in the 45 boat fleet.

The youth classes competed over 5 days. It was certainly a challenging week with wind in excess of 25 kts on the first day followed by light and shifty conditions on day two, a long waiting day with fog midweek, a marathon fourth day with the 29ers on deck for over 10 hours, and finally glorious sunshine with dying wind on the final day.


The Laser radials completed 9 races. Dan McGaughey (Ballyholme) was top of the Irish in 13th overall with a series including three top 10 finishes. Moss Simmington concluded his event 24th and 6th U17 a few places ahead of Joseph Karauzum who was very happy with a 6th on his final race in the 50 boat fleet.


The 30 entry 420 fleet completed 8 races. Morgan Lyttle and crew Patrick Whyte (RStGYC) completed the event in 13th position overall to top the Irish hopes.

Irish 29er Class

The Irish 29er class is not short of enthusiasm and progress is stellar in a class that is only in its second year of existence in Ireland. Eight partnerships travelled to Weymouth and competed in the 11 race series in the largest fleet of the event with 61 boats racing.

Harry T Harry DHarry Twomey and Harry Durcan

As Afloat previously reported, the Irish raced well to collect several honours. Harry Twomey with class veteran Harry Durcan on the wire secured 3rd overall and silver medal in the boys after a strong series including 2 race wins. Not far behind, Rian Geraghty-McDonnell and crew Nathan Van Steenberge (NYC), also scoring 2 race wins, took 6th overall and top U17. It was no small achievement as the boys have now secured a “hat trick” having won the U17 category in all 3 events they attended in the UK since November! Also in the top 10 were Leah Rickard (NYC) and Eimer McMorrow Moriarty (TBSC) in 9th overall, bronze medal amongst the girls, and best U17 girls. Their impressive series included three 2nds.

Leah eimer(Above and below) Leah Rickard (NYC) and Eimer McMorrow Moriarty (TBSC) were 29er bronze medal amongst the girls and best U17 girls Photo: Simon McIlwaine

The remaining Irish had their ups and down with Emily Riordan (RStGYC) and crew Max Goodbody (RIYC) winning silver fleet a couple places ahead of Charlie Cullen and Ben Hogan (NYC & RStGYC) who took the bullet in the final silver fleet race.

podium 29er

best U17 29erRian Geraghty-McDonnell and crew Nathan Van Steenberge were top U17 team in the 29er

Sailing Youth Worlds Selection

The event was also the final leg of the Irish Sailing trials for selection into the Sailing Youth Worlds in Poland (Gydnia) in July. For the boys, Rian Geraghty-McDonnell and Nathan Van Steenberge's commanding performance secured their selection. Leah Rickard and Eimer McMorrow Moriarty also secured their ticket to Poland, becoming the first female Irish team to represent Ireland in the 29er in the Youth Worlds.

As usual, the British produced a very well run regatta under the leadership of event PRO Peter Saxton and we can only hope they will continue to issue invitations to Irish sailors and give us the opportunity to compete against the best Youth sailors from Britain.

Thomas Chaix

About The Author

Thomas Chaix

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Tralee–based Thomas Chaix (41) is a full-time freelance sailing coach. He currently sails the 49er dinghy (for fun) but raced the Laser for 25 years and has been a member of French and Irish teams


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About the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Northern Ireland 

  • The RYA is the national body for dinghy, yacht and motor cruising, all forms of sail racing, RIBs and sports boats, windsurfing and personal watercraft and a leading representative for inland waterways cruising.
  • The RYA is recognised by Government, the media and opinion formers as the representative body and voice for the activities that it represents. It continually fights for the rights and freedoms of its 112,000 personal members.
  • The RYA has more than 1,500 affiliated clubs and classes, which represent some 350,000 boaters throughout the UK. It is estimated that 4 million people in the UK take part in boating activity annually.
  • The RYA also sets and maintains recognised standards for training for both leisure and commercial boating through a network of more than 2,400 RYA Recognised Training Centres across 58 countries. More than 250,000 people per year complete RYA training courses.
  • The RYA is responsible for one of the UK’s most successful Olympic medal-winning sports. Our coaching and development schemes actively support 800 of our country’s top sailors, from talented juniors to Olympic and World champions.
  • The RYA is committed to promoting all forms of boating and making them accessible to everyone. For more information please visit
  • The Royal Yachting Association Northern Ireland (RYA NI) acts for the RYA in Northern Ireland (NI) and the Chairman of RYA NI is invited to join the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) Policy Review Committee.
  • You can find the RYA Northern Ireland at Sketrick House, GE8, Jubilee Road, Newtownards, BT23 4YH.
  • RYA NI is a company limited by guarantee – Registration number NI 51945
  • Contact RYA NI: Tel: 02891 827154 email: [email protected]



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