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Displaying items by tag: Laser

At the age of 48 and with five Olympic medals and nine Laser World Championship titles, Brazil's Robert Scheidt leads the European Olympic Qualifier for the men's single-handed dinghy being competed for in Vilamoura, Portugal. Schiedt scored seconds in both of today's races to lead by a point.

Finn Lynch (NYC) leads the Irish contingent with a 28th and 5th to lie 27th overall, while Ewan McMahon (HYC) is in 50th place after race scores of 28 and 25. Liam Glynn of Ballyholme is a further seven places back (11th, 49th) while Tom Higgins (RSGYC) is 100th (49, 47) and his clubmate Hugo Kennedy is in 124th after two 59s.

ILCA 7 Country Olympic Qualification Position

In the all-important battle for country selection, where the top two of those not yet qualified will book tickets to Tokyo, the situation after day one is best expressed by the table below where lower points are better.

So five countries between Ireland and that all-important second place but it's early days and there are plenty of races left to sail till Saturday.

CountryPoints
ESP 14
BEL 15
SUI 17
NED 21
POR 26
GRE 29
IRL 33
ITA 36
TUR 37
MNE 39
POL 43
UKR 73
DEN 74
ISR 77
LTU 84
CZE 84


Full results are here

After a long period without major regattas due to the pandemic situation, many of the top sailors, even from qualified countries, are competing at this event.

Organised by Vilamoura Sailing, this qualifier event is held for European countries to claim their remaining four slots for the Tokyo Olympic Games: two in the women's ILCA 6 fleet and two in the men's ILCA 7 fleet. There are seven countries competing for the two ILCA 6 Olympic tickets, and 17 countries vying for the two ILCA 7 slots.

150 sailors from 34 countries were able to come together for this event, as Vilamoura continues to be one of the few places in the world right now where sailing competitions are open. 

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Day one of the 2021 ILCA Vilamoura European Continental qualifier for the Olympic single-handed dinghy (M&W) was sailed in a six to 15 knot southwesterly, backing during the day.

The women's ILCA 6, formerly known as the Radial dinghy, got their two races in first, Rio Bronze medallist and 2019 World Champion Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) taking two wins to tie the overall lead with Vasileia Karachaliou (GRE).

Annalise Murphy of the National Yacht Club (already nominated for Tokyo) and who has described this regatta as 'just a training event' scored 29,8 to lie 34th overall, while Aoife Hopkins of Howth Yacht Club is 38th (15,23) and Eve McMahon, also HYC is 77th (39,33) in the 89-boat fleet. 

Racing continues tomorrow. Full results here

Published in Annalise Murphy

As Ireland embarks on its last chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic regatta today, there is a new lexicon when it comes to talking about Lasers - the full rig is now known as the ILCA 7, the Radial as the ILCA 6 and the 4.7 is oddly called the ILCA 4.

See here for a reason why 5 has been left off the list for now and information on why the changes were necessary.

Anyway, when looking for results from the final European selection event for the one-person dinghy men, to give its official Olympic name, then "ILCA 7" is what you're looking for.

Two country tickets to Tokyo are on offer in Villamoura this week and a fierce battle is expected as 16 European nations are in competition for those two places.

While lack of competition over the last year makes it hard to assess form, the winners could well come from the group that includes Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, Ireland, Spain and Italy.

Blindfold pin-sticking

That's not to say that Portugal won't benefit from home advantage but without a recent event that included all the contenders, its blindfold pin-sticking.

That said, what to watch for:

Unqualified competing countries (number of boats entered): BEL(2), CZE(2), DEN(4), ESP(13), GRE(5), IRL(5), ISR(3), ITA(8), LTU(3), MNE(2), NED(9), POL(3), POR(8), SUI(5), TUR(1), UKR(5).

Afloat will report and comment on each day's racing.  The competition begins today (Monday 19 April) and concludes on Saturday 24 April 2021.

More details on the regatta website here

A  Practice Race for the 2021 ILCA Vilamoura European Continental Qualification was held yesterday. See vid below.

Published in Laser
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Ireland is hoping a five-man team in Portugal can take one of two final nation places in the final men's Laser Olympic qualifier in Vilamoura starting on Monday.

Vilamoura International Regatta is the last chance for the Laser sailors to secure a place for Ireland in Tokyo and will see a fleet of 120 boats all looking for a last-minute speed edge, just 100 days out from the Olympic Regatta itself.

Vilamoura is itself a hastily rescheduled qualifier due to COVID as the earlier venue at Hyeres Regatta in France was cancelled over pandemic fears.

If the Irish can find the pace it will bring the Tokyo Olympic Sailing team up to three boats with the earlier qualification of the Irish Women's Laser Radial in 2019 and the men's 49er skiff a month ago.

Finn Lynch 

Despite some strong individual performances across his four-year campaign, inconsistency has prevented next week's main Irish hope, Finn Lynch, from taking a nation place so far.

Lynch's big chance came in 2018 when 40% of all Tokyo places went up for grabs at the World Championships in Aarhus. Despite the fact, he had three top ten results in his score sheet that week he still failed to qualify.

That miss now looks very expensive for the Rio representative as he enters the last chance saloon with up to 17 other countries also looking for elusive Tokyo tickets.

Countries still seeking nation qualification are: Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Switzerland and Ukraine but these can be boiled down to five or six main rivals who are capable of medal race finishes in Vilamoura.

To compound difficulties, nation spots for the Laser Men discipline have been reduced for Tokyo, 11 fewer than at the Rio Games in 2016. 

Irish Laser rivals for Tokyo

Lynch also has some strong domestic rivals to contend with in Portugal because whichever Irish sailor qualifies the country next week will get the Olympic nomination.

Liam Glynn (Ballyholme Yacht Club) and Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) and Tom Higgins and Hugo Kennedy (both of the Royal St. George Yacht Club) are all racing next week.

County Down's Liam Glynn (21) was the Bronze medallist at U21 World Championships in 2018 and the Topper World Champion in 2013   County Down's Liam Glynn (21) was the Bronze medallist at U21 World Championships in 2018 and the Topper World Champion in 2013 Photo: Tom Thouw

Team management is saying it's a 'tough task' but of all of them, Lynch has shown he is capable of grinding out the required result. 

Personal best is a boost

Coming off the back of the European Championships in Poland last October, Lynch showed the depth of his Olympic ambition and secured a personal best of 13th from a fleet of 126. It's a highly creditable result that will boost the 24-year-old's confidence next week.

Ewan McMahon (20) from Howth was the Silver medallist at the Laser Radial Youth World Championships in 2016Ewan McMahon (20) from Howth was the Silver medallist at the Laser Radial Youth World Championships in 2016

"There’s a bunch of good people who still haven’t qualified. There are five or six nations with guys who can have regattas in the top ten but I’m not really focusing on that. I’m focussing on trying to improve on the things that held me back on the last two qualification regattas. And If I can do that, there’s no reason that I cannot get a spot", Lynch told the Irish Laser Class AGM last November. See the full interview here.

Royal St. George Yacht Club youth sailors Tom Higgins (pictured above) and Hugo Kennedy are both competing at Vilamoura International RegattaRoyal St. George Yacht Club youth sailors Tom Higgins (pictured above) and Hugo Kennedy are both competing at Vilamoura International Regatta

Lynch and the rest of the team have benefitted from the exclusive services of Slovenian Vasilij Zbogar, a three-time Olympic medallist, so there is much to say that Lynch -  if not one of the five competing - can produce another sensational result, just as the Howth 49er skiff crew did in Lanzarote last month.

The competition begins on Monday 19 April and concludes on Saturday 24 April 2021. More details on the regatta website here

Published in National YC
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The Irish Laser Association’s 2021 pre-season virtual training programme kicks off this Tuesday, April 6th with what the organisers promise to be a fun and informative session geared at new and recent converts to the Laser class in Ireland.

As Afloat previously reported, this first session in the 6-week series will address the many questions from both junior and adult sailors considering jumping into this boat for the first time.

Topics covered in the session include:

  • Adult Pathway
  • Junior Pathway
  • Starting a Laser Class in Your Club
  • Laser Rigs Explained
  • Where to Buy a Laser
  • Laser v ILCA
  • Basic Laser Fitness
  • Laser Competitions & Events
  • Insuring You Laser
  • Top Tips from Laser Sailors

In this 60-minute interactive session, attendees can have their questions answered by a panel of adult and junior laser sailors, which includes:

  • Rachel Crowley (class captain of Dun Laoghaire’s adult Kindergarten)
  • Finn Walker (Ranked 5th in Ireland in Radial and recently transitioned to Standard)
  • Ali Robinson (recently started adult Radial sailor)
  • Brendan Hughes (class captain of Dublin Bay Laser fleet)
  • Rob Cage (chair of the UK Laser Association)

Irish Laser Association’s training co-ordinator Aisling Keller is encouraging anyone who is new to the Laser fleet to attend. “This is a not-to-be missed event for anyone thinking of getting involved with the Laser this season. It is a unique opportunity to have your questions answered by junior and adult Laser sailors from across Ireland,” says Keller.

These sessions are free to attend but registration is essential.  To register for this session click here.

Published in Laser
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The Irish Laser Association is launching a comprehensive virtual training programme geared towards new and regular fleet sailors across the island.

While the Laser one-design dinghy is officially 50 this year, in Ireland the fleet has probably never been stronger.

Much of the current popularity of the Laser can be attributed to it being one of the few classes which can be safely sailed in most levels of Covid-19 restrictions. The national Laser class is certainly not missing the opportunity to encourage new sailors to get on board with the launch of a 6-week programme of virtual events. 

Commencing on April 6th and running until May 13th, the Irish Laser Association supported has put together a comprehensive programme of ten live virtual training sessions for sailors of all ages and abilities. The programme kicks-off with a session entitled “Getting Started in a Laser” and is intended to provide any sailors who haven’t previously sailed this dinghy with the answers to all of their questions. The session is geared towards younger sailors and their parents who might be curious about the pathway to competitive sailing in a Laser. It will also address the many questions from adult sailors considering jumping into this boat for the first time.

Other sessions will focus on different aspects of race strategy and tactics, race fitness and the rules of racing as they apply to the Laser class. One of the highlights of the series is surely a session focused on preparation for the upcoming 4.7 Laser World Championships taking place in Dun Laoghaire this summer. We’re told to expect some exclusive insights from our current Olympic campaigners at this session.

Speaking at the launch of the programme, Irish Laser Association’s Head of Training, Aisling Keller said “We’re seeing unprecedented interest in the Laser class right now and we really want to support anyone with a desire to get started and all those who are looking to take their skills to the next level. We have always had really strong international participation from within the Irish fleet and one of our objectives is to encourage younger sailors to understand the opportunities that exist if they get involved early.”

While the Laser one-design dinghy is officially 50 this year, in Ireland the fleet has probably never been stronger.While the Laser one-design dinghy is officially 50 this year, in Ireland the fleet has probably never been stronger.

Getting Started in a Laser (Tuesday, April 6th, 7.30pm)

An interactive and fun session featuring junior and adult sailors from across Ireland sharing how to get started individually or starting a Laser fleet in your club plus the pathway to competitive racing both nationally and internationally. 

Racing Strategy & Tactics with Toby Hudson-Fowler (Thursday, April 8th, 7.30pm)

Dun Laoghaire sailor and top coach, Toby, will deliver a high-tech and engaging training programme on race strategy and tactics applied specifically to Lasers.

Laser Fitness with Aisling Keller (Tuesday, April 13th, 7.30pm)

There’s still plenty of time to get that core and those quads in shape for the upcoming season. Aisling will take you through your paces, so come prepared! 

Gybes and Tacks with Jack Fahy (Thursday, April 15th, 7.30pm)

Learn how to avoid unnecessary capsizes and even go faster coming out of key manoeuvres with unique insights from Dun Laoghaire's Jack Fahy.

Preparing for the 4.7 Laser World Championships (Tuesday, April 20th, 7.30pm)

The biggest sailing event of the year is taking place in Dun Laoghaire with (fingers-crossed) hundreds of international competitors. Aisling Keller will share top tips on getting ready.

Transitioning to a Full Rig with Johnny Durcan (Thursday, April 22nd, 7.30pm)

Cork’s Johnny Durcan talks to those considering switching to the full rig and takes you through the ins and outs of the switch and what lies ahead. 

Advanced Laser Sailing with Aisling Keller (Tuesday, April 27th, 7.30pm)

Not for the faint-hearted, Aisling explains what it takes to compete at the highest levels and will answer questions from all sailors looking to compete nationally and internationally.

Racing Rules I - The Basics and More with Cxema Pico (Thursday, April 29th, 7.30pm)

World Sailing International Judge and Umpire, Cxema Pico launches a three-part racing rules series with a much-needed refresher after a long winter of individual training. This session will be a good overall refresher on the basic racing rules of sailing. 

Racing Rules II - Windward & Leeward Marks (Thursday, May 6th, 7.30pm)

All rules are important, but mark roundings represent the biggest opportunity to make gains or lose big. So, know your rights! And wrongs! In this advanced session, Cxema dives into the specific rules regarding approaches to the windward and leeward marks.

Racing Rules III - Rules 15, 16, 17, 42  (Thursday, May 13th, 7.30pm)

In this final interactive session, participants will take an opportunity to refine their understanding of some of the most important rules that can help you win or lose at the top end of the fleet.

This ten-part programme, sponsored by CraftInsure,  is completely free to all Irish Laser sailors and those interested in getting involved, however, places are limited and everyone is encouraged to register early to avoid disappointment.  

The full programme and registration details are available on the Irish Laser Association website here

Published in Laser
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Marine insurer Craftinsure has renewed its partnership arrangement with the Irish Laser dinghy class Association for 2021.

"Ireland has produced some great Laser sailors in recent years, and we're proud to have been able to help a little in supporting them," says Craftinsure's Rod Daniel. "Hopefully, we will see them in action at events again soon". ILA Treasurer, Nick Walsh said 'Craftinsure has been a 'friend' to the class for a number of years'.

2021 Irish Laser Dinghy Calendar

Subject to COVID guidelines, the Laser class eight event calendar for 2021, published on its website, is scheduled to begin at Baltimore Sailing Club, West Cork on April 3rd with the next confirmed event, the Master Championships at the Royal St. George Yacht Club on June 12th. 

The 2021 Irish Laser Dinghy calendarThe 2021 Laser Fixtures list

The single-handed Olympic class moves to County Antrim Yacht Club at Whitehead for its Ulster Championships on June 26th. The 'Connaughts' are scheduled for Wexford on July 18 and the National Championships are at the Royal Cork in Crosshaven on 19th August.

A new end of season event is scheduled for October 2nd in Kinsale.

Published in Laser
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After so much doubt over its final Olympic qualifying event, the men's Laser class has been confirmed for the 17-24th April in Vilamoura, Portugal.

As Afloat previously reported, this is the last chance for the Irish Laser Men to qualify with two nation places up for grabs.

Representing Ireland will be Rio rep Finn Lynch of the National Yacht Club, Liam Glynn of Ballyholme in Northern Ireland and Ewan McMahon of Howth Yacht Club.

For Ireland to qualify, an Irish sailor has to finish in the top two of those European countries that have yet to qualify.

The main contenders for these slots are Italy, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Barton Marine’s Laser dinghy kits have now been approved as class legal for the Laser class, providing an option for sailors looking for lightweight, free-running gear to upgrade their one-design Laser. Extensively tested, sailors across the globe can train and race with confidence given Barton’s proven quality and durability in the dinghy classes.

The Barton Laser range consists of three complete kits for the Outhaul, Downhaul and Kicker as well as Mini K-Cams, Size 0 Blocks and Ratchet Blocks. All of these products are class legal and provide great value after-market upgrades.

Barton’s Kicker Kit’s powerful 15:1 purchase is achieved through clever design of the base plate, fitted with the unique Barton fully swivelling triple cam block. The Outhaul Kit is strong and lightweight, with a simple toggle release for the mainsail clew. The Barton Downhaul Kit comes with 8:1 purchase for those who find the standard system a struggle. The whole kit range is easy to fit and includes high-performance line.

Barton’s Kicker Kit’s powerful 15:1 purchase is achieved through clever design of the base plateBarton’s Kicker Kit’s powerful 15:1 purchase is achieved through clever design of the base plate

Christian Brewer, Barton Marine Global Sales Manager said,“ It’s fantastic that our Kicker, Downhaul and Outhaul kits are now officially approved by The Laser Class. We have been manufacturing replica kits to the class for years and these can now be used at Laser class events. Our Rising Star, Harry Newton is also on board to help us with R&D as we look to further improve our Laser kits.”

Barton is available from CH Marine

Published in CH Marine Chandlery
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With the continued interest in Laser dinghy sailing among adults, the Dún Laoghaire harbour Laser fleet has announced the launch of an adult pathway that supports adults from beginner level right up to elite racing.

The Laser with all its variants has long been considered one of the most versatile single-handed dinghies for both adults and juniors. The boat was originally designed with what is now known as the Standard rig as a “car-topper” with the intention that it would be easy to transport on the roof-rack of a car. Today in Dún Laoghaire, adults continue to sail the Standard rig, plus the smaller Radial and 4.7 rigs, depending on the individual sailor’s weight and ability. “The Laser can be a challenging boat to sail and what’s remarkable is that many of these adults never sailed before or if they did, never sailed a Laser,” says local Laser sailor Rachel Crowley.

Crowley was nominated in the Volunteer of the Year category in this year’s Irish Sailing Awards for her work with the affectionately named Dún Laoghaire Adult Kindergarten for Lasers. A member of the Royal St. George Yacht Club, she only started sailing cruisers as an adult, never having sailed before. She crewed for a few years in Cruisers 3 in Dublin Bay Sailing Club and recalls how one “evangelical Laser sailor” encouraged her to try Laser sailing after racing one evening.

Lasers launchingDue to the popularity of the Kindergarten, the coaching squad has divided the group into two levels. Absolute beginners can join the Basic Skills sessions while the more confident beginners join in with the Start Racing sessions Photo: Rachel Crowley

Rachel approached the Sailing Manager in her club who provided her with access to a club boat and found a coach who was willing to take her out the first time. “Ronan [Adams] was really helpful in making it easy for me to try the boat as I was a bit nervous. When I came in after that first day, he said to me that there were a lot of other adults expressing interest in trying out the Laser.” says Crowley. And thus the Kindergarten started to take shape.

That was September 2018, just after the Laser Masters World Championships came to Dún Laoghaire. Today there are 49 adults in the Kindergarten group with more waiting to join once Government restrictions allow. The group is organised out of the RSGYC club, but sailors participate from right across the Dún Laoghaire clubs and from the Coal Harbour. Due to the popularity of the Kindergarten, the coaching squad has divided the group into two levels. Absolute beginners can join the Basic Skills sessions while the more confident beginners join in with the Start Racing sessions.

Crowley outlines how a typical coaching session in the group starts with an onshore briefing at the club followed by some on-the-water warm-up exercises. “These are followed by specific skills instruction and practice. The session usually finishes some fun activities and a debrief onshore again.” Richard O’Rahilly who leads the coaching team describes how coaching adults can be different to coaching juniors. “Adults are usually looking for more specific skills training. They’re less competitive than juniors typically and ask for lots of feedback on how they can improve. We spend as much time as possible on the water as adults are looking for hands-on experience” says O’Rahilly.

Mick Shelley who joined the Kindergarten group in 2019 highlights how the support received from more experienced Laser sailors has impressed him greatly. “I hadn’t sailed a Laser before, and the support and encouragement I received from people up the fleet was great. There were days when I was nervous about heading out in heavier conditions and some tips or advice that someone would give me on the forecourt gave me the confidence to push myself a little more.” says Shelley. He went on to say “getting out on the water after many years out of the sport has given me a new lease of life”

Crowley agrees that the support from the experienced sailors has been “phenomenal”. “We have experienced Laser sailors who not only support us ashore, but have helped us organising fun racing for our group and even finding second-hand boats to buy.” Crowley also acknowledges the continued support provided by the local clubs, encouraging adults to try Laser sailing specifically and also facilitating access to boats, coaches and safety ribs.

Crowley intends to tap into the willingness of the more experienced sailors at this year’s Irish Laser Association Masters National Championship event which is slated to be hosted by RSGYC on the weekend of June 12/13. “We’re launching a buddy system at the Masters Nationals where a more experienced sailor will be paired off with a beginner sailor and support them over the two days of the event. It will be simple things like offering advice and encouragement before racing and checking in at the end of the day to see how they got on.”

Laser training at the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour Photo: Rachel CrowleyLaser training at the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour Photo: Rachel Crowley

The Dún Laoghaire adult pathway doesn’t stop with the Kindergarten. While many sailors are happy to remain within the Kindergarten group for the fun and camaraderie, the coaches encourage those who are ready to get involved with the Masters Race Training sessions that take place right throughout the year. These sessions are focused on adult sailors who aspire to compete at the top end of the fleet nationally. Here the coaches, who are all top Laser sailors, focus on fine-tuning race strategy and boat handling skills.

In addition, a number of elite racing clinics are held each year with top Irish and international coaches drawn in. Irish and Olympic athletes such as Finn Lynch and Aisling Keller have run weekend-long clinics over the past couple of years. The fleet also has connections with the high-performance Laser training centres in Malta and Viana, Portugal. In 2020, the fleet intends to send a delegation to the Europa Cup regatta taking place in Malta in November.

The message from the Dún Laoghaire Laser fleet is that no matter what level you are at, there’s a support framework in place from local sailors, coaches and clubs to help you access and enjoy this boat. Anyone looking to find out more about sailing Lasers in Dún Laoghaire is encouraged to contact the class directly via email: [email protected]

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