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Displaying items by tag: Laser

Michael Beckett has become the third Brit in as many years to claim the ILCA 7/Laser class European title.

Beckett, who has twice come runner up at the Euros, in 2018 and 2020, led the week-long regatta in Varna, Bulgaria, from the opening day and sealed victory with a race to spare.

It was turned out to be a top venue for Irish campaigner Finn Lynch of Dun Laoghaire who earned a top ten result, his best so far, as Afloat reported here. And for Howth youth sensation Eve McMahon who took a race win and finished 15th overall.

As well as being Beckett’s first European Championships title, it’s the third successive win for Brits in the ILCA 7 class (formerly the Laser), and the fourth in five years.

Rio 2016 Olympian Nick Thompson was the European champion in 2017 and 2019, while his Tokyo 2020 successor Elliot Hanson was top in 2020.

Beckett said he’d been spurred on after relinquishing the lead at a regatta earlier in the year in the final race.

“The last event I did I lost the event lead in the final race after leading all week, and I found it a very tough experience,” said Beckett, 26, from Solva in Pembrokeshire.

“Over the summer I’ve really pulled apart a lot about my technique, fitness and general approach to try and make myself better and more consistent in regattas like this.

“I couldn’t be happier with how this event has gone. It feels like a huge amount of vindication for those changes I decided to make.

“It’s always difficult to back myself to make changes without knowing exactly if it’s a good idea or not, but the way I sailed this week I never panicked despite some really loose conditions, I stayed calm and enjoyed it.”

Beckett paid tribute to long-serving coach Chris Gowers for developing a powerful squad that consistently performs at the highest level, as well as his British Sailing Team colleagues.

“Chris is a very discreet guy but he’s been fantastic this week helping me in the right ways – and now he can say he has coached four of his sailors to four European titles in just five years, which I think is an incredible thing,” he added.

“We have a fantastic squad culture, winning the Europeans this week is a great reflection of the work that everyone in the squad has done. Without the guys pushing me all the time I would never be able to develop the skills to pull off something like this so I’m also really grateful to them.”

2020 bronze medallist Lorenzo Chiavarini was seventh, while teammates Daniel Whiteley and Sam Whaley came home 13th and 22nd respectively, both posting their best ever results at a European championships.

In the ILCA 6 fleet, Daisy Collingridge scored a personal best finishing seventh and top Brit. Hannah Snellgrove was 16th and Matilda Nicholls 20th.

“I feel like I’ve been on the brink of putting in a good performance for a while and I’m so happy to see it all come together,” said Collingridge, 22, from Waldringfield, Suffolk. “It was a really tough week conditions-wise but I managed to stay relatively consistent throughout. I’m massively looking forward to seeing what the future holds.”

The focus now turns to the world championships, taking place in Barcelona in early November for the men’s fleet and in Oman in early December for the women’s fleet.

Full results from the regatta can be found here.

Published in Laser
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Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Laser dinghy class ended their summer season with a bang, hosting over 80-boats in a five-race one-day regatta where some exciting new talent emerged.

80 Lasers racing in Dublin Bay on a sunny Saturday afternoon in October is an unusual sight in a normal year. These past two seasons have been far from normal for most sailors, but the Laser dinghy class has gone from strength to strength nationally.

At times during lockdown in 2020, single-handed dinghies were the only access for sailors to local waters. The fifty-year-old Laser class benefited greatly from this and has continued to attract and retain new sailors throughout 2021. The Irish Laser Masters championship hosted by the Royal St. George Yacht Club in June broke records with the highest attendance in the event’s history. Other regional and national events throughout the season were also seeing record attendances.

The final event of the season in Dun Laoghaire was this weekend’s Grant Thornton Sprint Regatta hosted by the Royal St. George Yacht Club. This novel regatta format saw race officer Richard Kissane serve up five races in quick succession for each of the three Laser fleets. Light and shifty wind conditions made his job particularly challenging as his team set down a trapezoid course. Ever-calm, Kissane was not phased and he delivered 15 race starts in just over three hours.

Rocco Wright (right) with Royal St. George Commodore Richard O'ConnorHowth's Rocco Wright (right) with Royal St. George Commodore Richard O'Connor

The event saw some new talent emerge into the Laser fleet, most notably in the junior section. Howth’s Rocco Wright who raced for the first time this season in a 4.7, sat into the larger Radial rig for this event. The lighter airs clearly suited him and he took home Gold against a strong fleet including national champion Jonathan O'Shaughnessy from Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Royal St. George’s Matteo CiagliaRoyal St. George’s Matteo Ciaglia

Meanwhile, in the 4.7 fleet, the Royal St. George’s Matteo Ciaglia who also competed for the first time in this fleet took home Gold for the Dun Laoghaire club. Christian Ennis from the National Yacht Club took Silver, while the George’s Jessica Riordan took third overall and first female.

Peter FaganRoyal St George's Peter Fagan

The Standard fleet served up a real treat with local sailors Tom Higgins and Peter Fagan going head to head for the entire event. Higgins took first blood, winning the opening race with Fagan then taking the second race. By race three, it had become a spectacle in match racing between the pair. Ultimately, two third place finishes killed off Higgins’ chances. Fagan took Gold with Higgins in second and Tralee Bay Sailing Club’s Paddy Cunnane taking bronze.

Event organiser, Brendan Hughes of the Royal St. George Yacht Club suggested that the interest in Saturday’s event was as much to do with format as the overall growth of Lasers. “Sailors are really enjoying the sprint format and also having the opportunity to participate in a competitive fleet on a single day. Each race was between 25 and 30 minutes in duration which on a trapezoid course means there is intense competition and opportunity to win or lose places.” said Hughes. “Clearly the format is worth repeating with fleets travelling for this event from as far and wide as Tralee, Cork and Sligo. We’ll definitely be doing more of these in future.”

Full results available here.

Published in RStGYC

The National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch got his Laser/ILCA 7 campaign for Paris 2024 off to a flying start in Bulgaria this week by taking seventh overall – a personal best – at the European Championships in Varna today.

Lynch's rivals for the single Irish Olympic spot in three years time were also competing. Ewan McMahon of Howth finished in 21st and Liam Glynn of Ballyholme in 44th.

Lynch's result eclipses his owner personal best performance at a Euros. That, as Afloat reported here, is the 13th scored in Poland last year. 

Ewan McMahonEwan McMahon

Jamie McMahon competing in his first senior event in the Standard rig raced in the Silver fleet in VarnaJamie McMahon competing in his first senior event in the Standard rig raced in the Silver fleet in Varna

Jamie McMahon finished in 17th place in the Men's Silver Fleet.

It was the third Gold medal in a row for the British team at the Senior Europeans, with Michael Beckett GBR becoming the new 2021 champion. It’s the third medal for him at the Senior Europeans after winning Silver in 2018 in La Rochelle and also Silver the last year in Gdansk, where the Brits conquered the podium.

Silver this time was for Croatian Filip Jurisic CRO, winning a Senior European medal for the first time.

Jonatan Vadnai HUN completed the podium, taking the Bronze medal also the first one for him at the Senior Europeans.

Just 1.8 points far from the podium was Russian Maxim Nikolaev RUS on fourth. 2018 Senior European champion Pavlos Kontides CYP was fifth.

Lorenzo Chiavarini GBR, Lynch IRL, Duko Bos, Wannes Van Laer BEL and William De Smet BEL completed the 2021 EurILCA Senior Europeans Top 10.

Results are here 

Tagged under

The National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch moved up to eighth overall at the 2021 Laser European Championships in Bulgaria today, having scored two vital fifth places in final races three and four.

After six races sailed in the gold fleet and one discard, Lynch, a veteran of Rio 2016, was lying in 14th position last night but today's two top-five finishes in strong winds at the Port of Varna put Lynch firmly inside the coveted top ten. (Download results sheet below). 

Ewan McMahon of Howth lies 25th and Liam Glynn 44th in the 49 boat gold fleet. McMahon's brother Jamie is competing in the silver fleet.

After a bad first race today, the overnight ILCA 7 leader Michael Beckett GBR (11-2-1) finally took two great results on the last races and secured the provisional first position with 30 points.

Pavlos Kontides CYP (8-1-12), Filip Jurisic CRO (1-11-3) and Jonatan Vadnai HUN (3-6-4) are close with 34, 39 and 43 points, respectively, so nothing is finalised yet. 

Maxim Nikolaev RUS and Lorenzo Chiavarini GBR are fifth and sixth with 52 and 54.

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Irish youth sailor Eve McMahon from Howth took a well-earned win in a breezy race eight of the 2021 Women's ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) Senior European Championships & Open European Trophy in Varna, Bulgaria today.

After nine races sailed, McMahon, who won the Radial Youth world title in August, stays 15th overall, but within eight points of 11th overall on 136 points in the 66-boat fleet.

McMahon's clubmate Aoife Hopkins is in 25th place on 220 points.

Strong wind and a big swell (plus cold and rain) made the Irish girls feel right at home on the Bulgarian Black Sea.

The Women’s championship changed hands for a second consecutive day today, with the Polish sailor Agata Barwinska POL (3-1) heading the competition on 38 points.

22 points behind is now the overnight first Basileia Carahaliou GRE (18-15) with 60. Third place for the previous days leader Line Flem Host NOR (27-4) with 70.

Maxime Jonker NED (13-2) is fourth, only one point behind Line. French sailor Louise Cervera FRA (5-14) is fifth with 81. Ascending Hannah Anderssohn GER (6-3) is sixth with 98.

Daisy Collingridge GBR, Elena Borobeva CRO, Anna Munch DEN and Marie Barrue FRA complete the provisional European Top 10.

Two last races are planned for tomorrow.

After missing out on Tokyo 2020, Ireland's three male Laser campaigners from that quadrennial are back on the water for the Paris 2024 Olympics at the Laser (ILCA 7) European Championships & Open European Trophy 2021 at Varna, Bulgaria this week. 

A white-out and another six-hour day on the Black Sea meant race officials were only able to squeeze in one race each for the Laser and Radial classes yesterday.

After six races sailed in the gold fleet and one discard, Lynch, a veteran of Rio 2016, is lying 14th. The National Yacht Club sailor is five points off the top ten (download results sheet below). 

If the Carlow native can maintain current form he's in with a chance of a top ten finish and eclipsing his owner personal best performance at a Euros. That, as Afloat reported here, is the 13th scored in Poland last year. 

The fleet spent hours out on the water in rain-driven shifts, but after that lone race, the race committee were forced to abandon the day after one last strong squall passed through the course.

Howth's Ewan McMahon is 39th and Finn Lynch is 42nd in the 58-boat fleet. The trio are joined this week by Ewan's brother Jamie. This is his first senior event in a Standard rig and he is racing in the Silver fleet.

The contracted coach to the Irish sailors, Vasilji Zbogar said on social media "Finn has had a solid qualifying series. Ewan hasn’t performed as well as expected but has plenty of time to turn this around in the finals and move his ranking up overall, and Liam is improving race by race”.

Two more days of racing remain. As only six races have been completed for the Laser men and seven for the Radial fleet the race committee will be under pressure to fire off the three races scheduled today.

Eve McMahon 15th

In the 66-boat Women's Radial division, Eve McMahon is 15th (moving up from 22nd) and Aoife Hopkins is 27th. Both are from Howth Yacht Club.

The Laser End of Season regatta sponsored by Matthews of Cork concluded at Kinsale Yacht Club yesterday with Munster sailors taking the prizes in each of the three rig divisions after four races sailed in the 63-boat fleet. 

The PRO, John Stallard, who successfully complete the Saturday schedule cancelled Sunday racing due to weather forecasts.

Kinsale Yacht Club's own Micheal O'Suilleabhain was the winner of the 11-boat standard division. O'Suilleabhain was two points clear of Paddy Cunnane from Tralee Bay. Kinsale's George Kingston was third, four points behind Cunnane.

In the 24-boat Radial fleet, Royal Cork's Michael Crosbie was four points clear at the top from Royal St George YC's Fiachra McDonnell. RCYC's Jonathan O'Shaughnessy was third.

In the biggest fleet of the end of season regatta, 4.7 Youth helmswoman Eimer McMorrow Moriarty of Tralee Bay Sailing Club beat Christian Ennis of the National YC. Mauro Noguerol of RCYC was third. 

The results are here

Published in Kinsale
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As many other fleets have put their boats to bed for the winter, Kinsale Yacht Club is gearing up to host the Laser Class for an end of season event this coming weekend.

The event is proudly sponsored by James Matthews of Matthews of Cork

This event follows on from the hugely successful staging of one of the few sailing events that took place last year again, under the stewardship of Principle Race Officer, John Stallard.

The largest fleet of the event is the ILCA 4 with 26 entered, followed by 24 ILCA 6 and 11 ILCA 7

Local sailors Micheal O'Suilleabhain will be hoping to go one better than last year where is he won the ILCA 6 but this year has entered the ILCA 7 fleet; last year ILCA 7 winner Paddy Cunnane will do his best to maintain his crown.

Jonathan O'Shaughnessy, following on from his Nationals win, will hope to maintain his form in the ILCA 6 fleet but there will be stiff competition from the master section of the fleet and local sailor Dorothy Matthews.

The ILCA 4 fleet has a number of new sailors moving up from other fleets but maintains loads of experience within the ranks with Luke Turvey from Howth, Eimer McMorrow Moriarty from TBSC expected to battle against local sailors Darragh Collins, Isabel McCarthy and Daniel Mallon

Full details along with NOR and Sailing Instructions can be found here

Published in Kinsale
Tagged under

Some of the 'old hands' mixed it with the Laser sailors who had come on the scene since the birth of the Laser class at Ballyholme in 1974. The 39-strong fleet on Saturday (18th September) had a memorable day's racing the club in Ballyholme Bay in Belfast Lough.

The first of the four races began in calm, shifty conditions resulting in a second race recall due to flukey winds. The southerly came through for the rest of the four-race programme. And race officer Aidan Pounder delivered the complete programme by mid-afternoon.

Charlie Taylor (213539) one of the early BYC Laser sailors Charlie Taylor (213539) one of the early BYC Laser sailors

The ILCA 4 (4.7) fleet had just two contenders, who tied on four points - 14-year-old Toby Hughes of Royal North at Cultra and Ballyholme and Finn Neely (15) also of the host club, with the tie split in Toby's favour.

 

In the ILCA 6 (Radial) fleet, local 17-year-old Lucas Nixon topped the scoresheet in the 11 strong fleet after close racing and the same points (4) as the County Antrim YC sailor, Daniel Corbett, with Nixon taking first place. Jess Winton (BYC), on nine points was third.

Lucas NixonLucas Nixon

The largest fleet at 26 was the ILCA 7 and was won by a stalwart of the BYC Laser fleet, Gareth Flannigan, who counted three bullets and a second which he discarded. Flannigan has also made his mark as an SB3 sailor, previously winning Afloat's Sailor of the Month award. Runner up here was another BYC helm, Richard McCullough, two points behind. In third was the Carrickfergus SC sailor, Stephen McLernon, whose best result was second.

Gareth Flannigan (right) winner of the Laser Standard division with Ron HutchiesonGareth Flannigan (right) winner of the Laser Standard division with Ron Hutchieson

The prizes were presented by Ron Hutchieson, who was the first Laser sailor at Ballyholme and a driving force for Laser sailing across Ireland.

Speaking on behalf of the members of BYC, Rear Commodore Sailing Des Magee said," A great day out on the water was had by all for the Laser 50th Anniversary event. We would like to thank all the participants who travelled from near and far, the rescue team (including the Safe Waters crew) and the Committee boat team, who all ensured a great event on the water to celebrate the Laser 50th Anniversary. And to the large number of people who made this happen from the shore side, namely the BYC office team and the BYC Shore Committee. I hope you all enjoyed the racing and the celebrations after, and we look forward to hosting you all at BYC again at some point in the future".

Jess Winton - 1st Female Radial Jess Winton - 1st Female Radial

Joni Rock, second female in the Radial rigJoni Rock, second female in the Radial rig

Toby Hughes winner of the ILCA4 class with Ron HutchiesonToby Hughes winner of the ILCA4 class

Published in Belfast Lough

Their names will be forever associated with Ballyholme Yacht Club's Laser class. Instrumental in getting the class going in 1974 were Ron Hutchieson and Trevor Millar. Ron persuaded Trevor to leave Newtownards SC and come to Ballyholme. And Ron bought the first BYC Laser, for, brand new, the princely sum of £263! His interest in switching from motorsport to sailing could be attributed to his wife Doris who suggested that; "I should join the local yacht club as this would take up less time and mean that I could go sailing and yet be back home in time for my meals" Little did she know!

Trevor was a motivator and his and Ron's tireless work in the Seventies shows today with the fleet at Ballyholme numbering over 80. Ron says some of the highlights are "Seeing the children of the Laser sailors that I knew in the '70s and '80s now coming into the Laser Class and I am delighted that so many of the sailors on the larger boats nowadays either used to be, or still are Laser sailors". The big attraction in the 70s was that the Laser was virtually maintenance-free.

"Warriors About to Go into Battle". This properly serious-looking foursome from the cream of the 1982 Irish Laser Class, with their mentor Ron Huthcieson on right, are (left to right) Simon Brien (later multiple Edinburgh Cup winner and other majors), multiple champion Charlie Taylor (still at it in the Laser Masters), Olympian Bill O'Hara, and Dave Cummins, All-Ireland Helmsmans Champion 1981 and 1982 Credit: courtesy Bill O'Hara"Warriors About to Go into Battle". This properly serious-looking foursome from the cream of the 1982 Irish Laser Class, with their mentor Ron Huthcieson on right, are (left to right) Simon Brien (later multiple Edinburgh Cup winner and other majors), multiple champion Charlie Taylor (still at it in the Laser Masters), Olympian Bill O'Hara, and Dave Cummins, All-Ireland Helmsmans Champion 1981 and 1982 Credit: courtesy Bill O'Hara

Also, there in the first few years were Willie Forsythe, Charlie Taylor, John Stewart, Mike Kinnear and in case you think it was an all-male preserve, Elaine Taylor, who joined in 1977, as did Bill O'Hara who is among the 'old hands' planning to turn out on Saturday 25th September for the Anniversary open event. John Simms started in 1978.

The event will feature ILCA 7 (Standards), ILCA 6 (Radials) and ILCA 4 (4.7s). The warning gun is at 10.25 am with racing over Windward-Leeward and Trapezoid courses.

Maeve Donnelly (McNally) and Trevor Millar courtesy Elaine TaylorMaeve Donnelly (McNally) and Trevor Millar courtesy Elaine Taylor

Ron was Hon Secretary of the Irish Laser Class was from 1974 – when the Laser made its debut in this country – until 2017. Last year he retired as Chairman of Irish Sailing's Racing Rules & Appeals Board 

Bill reached the top of international sailing at Olympic level and ultimately held the three positions in the world of sailing competition as Judge, Umpire and Race Officer. Earlier this year he was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to sailing. 

Olympian Bill O'HaraOlympian Bill O'Hara

Just as well neither Ron nor Bill was judging in the early days at a Royal North Regatta at Cultra on Belfast Lough when Charlie Taylor got somewhat annoyed and (I saw this happening) drew alongside Trevor Miller and jumped aboard – let's say it was surprising they stayed upright! But two in a Laser was small fry compared to when Elaine set what she says was a "World Record" with 42 people on board! She does admit they were mostly young Cadet members.

Those were the days when sailors named their boats. Trevor's was Maggie Mae after the Rod Stewart song; John Simms's was Strawberry Streak; Bill O'Hara called his The Flying Fenian and he says, "I redressed the balance with my next Laser which was called King Billy". Ms Elaineous is self-explanatory, and Mike Kinnear's was Ruth.

Gillian Guinness and Elaine TaylorGillian Guinness and Elaine Taylor

Trevor Millar went on to form SailCoach in the Newtownards Business Centre and worked for the RYA. And long before the RYANI had 'Squads', Trevor started Ross's Water Sailing Squad. Elaine reminisces " Those were the days when we travelled the length and breadth of Ireland going to Laser events - Trevor towed us with his Dad's old Marina Estate, then his builder's van. Everyone camped before racing all weekend!". She continued "They were halcyon days with no cares, mortgages or pressure to perform, and lots and lots of laughs. We all made lifelong friends through Lasers, and some are still my best friends today - Gillian Guinness and Maeve McNally. I raced against Annalise Murphy's Mum over the years, Cathy MacAleavey".

Irish Ladies Laser and Masters Championships circa 1975 courtesy Elaine TaylorIrish Ladies Laser and Masters Championships circa 1975 courtesy Elaine Taylor

BYC's Rear Commodore Sailing Des Magee says that "With one of the largest Laser club fleets in Ireland, Ballyholme Yacht Club is pleased to welcome all Laser sailors to its celebration 50th Laser Anniversary Open Event on Saturday 25th September. BYC has a long association with the Laser class and a wealth of talent from ex Olympians, top Laser sailors and less experienced recent additions to the fleet. We are excited to be offering Laser sailors of all abilities the opportunity to spend a day of sailing celebration at BYC sailing amongst the greats - and the rest of us".

Laser racing today at Ballyholme Laser racing today at Ballyholme

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