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Displaying items by tag: Laser

Although Ireland's Finn Lynch and Ewan McMahon have both made it into the top third of the Laser World Championship 158-boat fleet in Sakaiminato today, the main aim of this week's Japanese venture was always to secure one of five country berths on offer for next year's Tokyo Olympic Games because, if unsuccessful, Ireland will have to wait until Olympic year itself for the last and the slimmest chance to make the Tokyo startline.

It's very early days in the Championships, but in the overall standings after six races sailed, (results here) the last of those five-nation slots is currently occupied by Guatemala's Maegli Juan Ignacio in 21st place with 42 nett points. The first of the five nation places is held by Sweden in tenth overall.

As Afloat reported earlier, Ireland's top sailor in these championships is Ewan McMahon currently in 41st on 69 nett points, a score that represents the tenth unqualified country.

In an example of what needs to be achieved by Tuesday, the 20-year-old from Howth (competing at his first senior worlds) would need to move up 20 places in order to take the last qualification berth as things currently stand. That's a tall order by any yardstick especially given the quality of this fleet that, for example, includes the defending World Champion and 2012 Olympic silver medalist, Kontides Pavlos currently in 22nd place.

Scoreboard JapanAll eyes are on the scoreboard in the closing stages of the Laser Worlds in Japan

But in such situations, anything can and regularly does happen and there are still eight races to be sailed. McMahon took silver at the Laser Radial Youth World Championships in 2016 and has been on an upward trajectory ever since but there's no hotter fleet than this one assembled in Sakaiminato so leapfrogging five nations into a Tokyo berth will be tough. What's more, there's a queue of unqualified countries biting at McMahon's heels. The Netherlands, Slovenia, Poland and Portugal, for example, are all within six points of the HYC man.

It has prompted Irish coach, Croatian Vasilij Zbogar, to bet heavily on the elements for Irish success; “It definitely depends on the wind; with lighter wind, anything is possible as the (overall) points are actually quite close. Many good sailors didn’t make the Gold fleet and now we have nothing to lose. For now, it’s not about the (final) result, it’s about sailing freely and having fun.”

Ireland Missed Out in 2018

Unfortunately, Ireland missed out last year when the first 14 nation places were allocated at the 2018 World Championships in Aarhus. This represented 40% of the 35 boat Olympic Laser fleet.

The Laser Men’s European sailing teams who qualified in Aarhus are;

  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Great Britain
  • Norway

Six non-European countries also qualified for Tokyo in Aarhus. Those were;

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • New Zealand
  • Peru
  • South Korea
  • United States

In addition, Japan as a host nation automatically qualifies for the Games meaning 15 of 35 places were already booked coming into the pre-Olympic season.

Last Chance

After a further five berths are decided between the 44 nations from 58 competing this weekend, it will leave 15 places to complete the Olympic fleet.

These will be available at Continental Qualification events throughout the remainder of 2019 and moving into 2020. Full details of how these places will be distributed are in the Tokyo Qualification System document that is downloadable below. However, from an Irish perspective, if a qualification is not triggered this weekend then only two European berths are still open for Ireland.

These will be decided at Genoa Regatta in Olympic year itself but neither Lynch or McMahon will want to be waiting in the last chance saloon.

Trials

If Irish qualification is achieved, the focus then shifts to a trial series to decide whether the rookie McMahon or Rio veteran Lynch will be Ireland's rep in Tokyo. Details of the Qualification System is available to download here.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Ireland’s Ewan McMahon (Howth, Co. Dublin) and Finn Lynch (Bennekerry Co. Carlow) made the Gold fleet for the top 52 competitors at the Laser World Championship in Japan that is an important qualification event for next year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Six races over the coming three days will decide the finals standings and the next five nations to be included on the Laser Olympic start line next year.

Out of the 44 countries seeking a Tokyo berth this week, Ireland is currently ranked in ninth country position (moving up from 11th after four races). However, five other nations also seeking a Tokyo place are within ten points of McMahon, who counts a Black Flag Disqualification from race two as his discard, so the stakes are high.

See overall results here

While Lynch scored two top 20 places earlier today to stand 50th overall in the 156-strong fleet, it is McMahon who has the best overall Irish placing in 41st place following a 14th and 13th for the day in his first senior World Championship in the class. The 20-year-old rookie has already given notice of his intent this season with a stand out European performance in May, as Afloat reported here

If McMahon can maintain such form and qualify the nation this weekend, it sets the stage for a trial between him and Lynch for the single Tokyo 2020 berth

Liam Glynn from Bangor was unable to find his opening day form and lies mid-fleet in 77th overall.

“It definitely depends on the wind; with lighter wind, anything is possible as the (overall) points are actually quite close,” commented Vasilij Zbogar, Irish Sailing’s head Laser coach. “Many good sailors didn’t make the Gold fleet and now we have nothing to lose. For now, it’s not about the (final) result, it’s about sailing freely and having fun.”

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Rio Olympian Finn Lynch did not get the start he had hoped for at the Laser World Championships in Japan earlier today.

Lynch is lying 78th, Liam Glynn is 35th and Ewan McMahon is 81st from 158 boats. Results are here.

The event is the second qualification opportunity for the Tokyo Olympics next year where five places are on offer among 44 countries.

The Carlow sailor has been in exceptional form at most of his major events this year but was cautious on the starting line for both races today and ended up finishing outside the top 20 for the first day.

Ewan McMahon Laser Worlds 2019 JapanHowth's Ewan McMahon takes a third place at the Laser Worlds 2019 in Japan

However, Howth's (Co. Dublin) Ewan McMahon placed third in his first race of the series that is also his first senior world championship. But he was disqualified in the second race for early starting and will endeavour to drop that score under the discard system later in the regatta.

Liam Glynn of Bangor, Co. Down made good on his pre-event training form by placing in the top ten leading boats in both of his races at the first mark before slipping down the ranks by the finish.

The championship series comprises qualification races until Saturday when the 150+ fleet is split into Gold, Silver and Bronze divisions. Ireland needs a finisher in the top five unqualified nations that will certainly be drawn from the upper ranks of the Gold fleet.

"Finn has everything he needs to perform but must look beyond the pressure of the event for the remaining races," commented Vasilij Zgobar, the Slovenian triple Olympic medallist who is the Irish squad head Laser coach. "But I am very pleased with how the younger sailors did on their first day competing at this level." 

Racing continues at Sakaiminato-City, Japan on Friday starting at 0300 (Irish Time). The women's Olympic qualifier/Laser Radial World Championship begins in two weeks time at the same venue.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Rio Olympic solo sailor Finn Lynch leads Irish hopes at the start of the Laser World Championship that begins in Sakaiminato, Japan this morning (0800 - Irish time) with the stakes running high ahead of Tokyo 2020.

Ireland is seeking one of five Olympic berths up for grabs among 44 countries from 58 competing in the 160-boat fleet in Sakaiminato. 14 countries previously qualified at the first attempt in Aarhus in Denmark last year. 

The regatta marks the start of an extended run of events in the 2020 Olympics host nation which also includes the official Olympic test event and the World Cup Series Enoshima, both in August.

As Afloat previously reported, the three-boat Irish squad this week was the first overseas team to become established at the venue and the trio have fully adjusted to the conditions, afloat and ashore.

“It's been much smoother than I expected,” commented Vasilij Zbogar, the Slovenian triple Olympic medallist who is the Irish Sailing head Laser coach. “We now have good knowledge of the local wind and currents in the race area."

Along with Lynch from Carlow, Liam Glynn from Bangor, Co Down and Ewan McMahon from Howth, Co. Dublin will be seeking to show their best performances of the year.

In terms of qualification for Tokyo 2020, the attention will be on Lynch who has had an exceptionally strong year to date apart from out of form result.

Lynch delivered top ten results at three consecutive regattas in Miami, Palma and Marseilles before slipping to 18th overall at the Laser European championships at Porto in late May.

"It was a little bit expected after four regattas in a row with not much chance to recover from the stress of previous events," said Zbogar. "We were also late getting set-up in Porto and the conditions were very strong so adapting took longer."

The late arrival for the Europeans partly explains the early arrival in Japan to ensure best preparation at the venue.

"Finn is ready, his boat-speed upwind and downwind is excellent," said Zbogar. "But the feeling of stress for the worlds is way more than normal. He has to understand and learn from it and then use it as a weapon."

Meanwhile, the Laser coach is pleased with the progress of the two younger sailors preparing for their first senior worlds.

"Liam has been sailing really well over the last ten days; I am super happy with him and it will be very interesting to see his results," said Zbogar.

"Ewan is quite solid. He’s still quite young and needs experience but he’s a big talent. The good thing here is that there’s no pressure so he can sail freely."

The series begins with two races daily in a qualification round to determine Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets before final rounds next Monday and Tuesday.

Ireland needs to be in the top five of unqualified nations to secure a berth for Tokyo 2020. Once qualified, a trials series will follow to select the best sailor.

Later this month, Ireland's Aoife Hopkins and Aisling Keller will commence their Laser Radial class World Championships, also in Sakaiminato-City aiming to secure a place in their event for the Olympics next year.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Last weekend, 57 Laser dinghies arrived at East Antrim Boat Club in Larne for the Ulster Championships writes Ed Rice. Glorious sunshine and a light breeze had competitors and parents in good spirits.

PRO Richard Doig and his very well organised team had set a great course in a 5/7 Knot breeze. The standard fleet started clean and headed off followed by the Radial and 4.7 fleets, alas the wind Changed direction and died completely. Race abandoned. we waited with optimism but at 15.00 cancelled for the day.

A club BBQ and a good evening followed.

Sunday arrived with a promise of 15-25 Knots and did not disappoint. Richard and his team again set a good race course and we got 4 races completed in a shifty 15-25 knot breeze.

16 boats competed in the standard fleet with the lead changing regularly. With a protest hearing deciding the overall result and 1st master.

Laser Ulsters11st Standard Rig: Colin LEONARD. BYC

Colin Leonard BallyholmeYC (not involved in the protest) was the winner, Ronan Wallace WHBTC 2nd and Conor Simms BYC 3rd. 1st master was Nick Walsh RCYC.

Laser Ulsters11st Master Standard Rig: Nick WALSH. RCYC

Laser Ulsters11st Radial Rig: Jamie McMAHON. HYC

25 Radials competed in a very competitive fleet with Jamie McMahon HYC coming out the winner ahead of current National Champion Aisling Keller LDYC and Tom Higgins 3rd.
1st master was Sean Flanagan RSGYC.

Laser Ulsters1 1st Lady Radial Aisling KELLER LDYC

17 4.7`s had great racing with Michael Crosbie RCYC winning followed by Tim Norwood RIYC 2nd and Hugh O`Connor 3rd.1st lady was Iseult Hogan RSGYC and 1st master was Mary Chambers RSGYC.

A big thank you EABC for a great weekend fun and sailing and particular thanks to Steven Kirby, Gordon Kane and the on the water team of Richard Doig.

Laser Ulsters1Laser Ulsters1Laser Ulsters1Laser Ulsters1Laser Ulsters1Laser Ulsters1Laser Ulsters1Laser Ulsters1

Published in Laser
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It was always the plan to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Regatta at the first attempt but in the absence of any such result last year at the World Sailing Championships in Aarhus, Irish Olympic Laser campaigners face their penultimate opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 next week.

After an extremely promising start to 2019 with some fine top ten results at World Cup level, Rio Olympian Finn Lynch remains Ireland’s top hope for qualification success in the men's Laser class.

The National Yacht Club sailor will be competing at the World Championships and Olympic qualifying event in Sakaiminato, Japan and is joined by rivals for the single Irish Tokyo berth, Liam Glynn of Bangor in County Down and Ewan McMahon of Howth Yacht Club, in what is McMahon's first season as a senior.

There are only five Olympic qualifying places available at the competition, which sees 159 competitors from 58 countries.

The men’s competition in Japan will be followed by the Laser Radial Women’s World Championships on 19 July, when Ireland’s Aoife Hopkins and Aisling Keller compete for their qualifying places.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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The first big international Laser Masters Championships since the Dublin 2019 Worlds took place in Roses, Spain between June 14th and June 20th. In afternoon sea breezes of 8-20 knots and constant sunshine, 151 Radials and 117 Full rigs competed in the European Laser Master Championships, sailing out of the Grup d’Esports Nautic Roses. Launching from a beautiful Costa Brava beach, the racing was tactically challenging, as the upwind legs were heavily left-side favoured.

Irish sailor Sean Craig (Royal St George Yacht Club) competed in the largest 54 boat Grand Master Radial division, travelling to Roses after a good podium finish at the Barcelona Masters a week previously as Afloat reported here. It wasn’t all plain sailing in Roses for Craig however, with an OCS after his best finish, a 720 penalty in another race and then a nasty incident with a French competitor.

Some better consistency in the latter stages left him 10th overall and 8th European (two Canadians were ahead of him in the Open rankings).

Niall peeloNiall Peelo

There was other Irish interest too, with strong performances by two UK-based Radial sailors, both sailing under GBR. In the Masters division, Niall Peelo, originally from Malahide Yacht Club and brother of 2008 Olympian Ciara, placed 12th overall of 35 competitors. Peelo’s results improved consistently as the week progressed. Also in the eight-boat Legends (over 75 division) the winner was Mike Kinnear who started his Laser career many years ago at Ballyholme Yacht Club in Co. Down. This was Kinnear’s first year as a Legend and he claimed the scalp of celebrated octogenarian Peter Seidenberg from the USA, who placed third and has dominated this category in recent years.

European Laser Master sailors will look forward to more great competition at the Worlds in Holland in September, with the 2020 edition following not long after, in Melbourne next March.

Results are downloadable below

Published in RStGYC
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The next few weeks will be the busiest of the year for the Irish Laser fleet with three big events coming in quick succession writes Dave Quinn. The first of these is the Ulster Championships, being held in East Antrim Boat Club, Larne. The event is being held on 29th and 30th June, and East Antrim is a fantastic venue. There is a strong northern entry as you would expect but Royal Cork’s Nick Walsh is favoured for the Standard Rig event. The Radial and 4.7 Fleet look competitive, both with some top 10 ranked sailors racing. We suspect there may be some very strong late entries due before the discounted entry deadline this Friday who may put it up to these. Those who enter online before this Friday (21st June) avail of a heavily discounted entry fee.

The Laser caravan moves quickly to Rush Sailing Club in North County Dublin for the Leinster Championships on 6th and 7th July. The Leinsters is always well supported, and Rush has been going above and beyond with an excellent 5-day coaching clinic planned for the days before the event itself. The coaching clinic is partly supported by the central Irish Laser Class Training Fund. For more information on the Training Clinic, contact [email protected]

Finally, we have the Dun Laoghaire Regatta on 11th to 14th July. The very strong and vibrant Dun Laoghaire Laser Fleet almost guarantees this will be a great event for the class, with racing on Thursday afternoon, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Entries are still open, and it promises to give Laser sailors access to great racing while also participating in a big multi-fleet event and all the additional fun social elements that come with a big regatta.

Published in Laser
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Royal St. George's Sean Craig has finished third at the BDO Barcelona Masters Laser Radial Regatta today, a warm-up event for the European Masters in Roses, Spain next weekend.

The 60-boat event began with a windy and wavy first day, a tricky second day with very confused seas in 8-10 knots and finished with no wind today and no racing.

Sean Craig prizegivingDublin's Sean Craig on the Laser podium in Barcelona

The winner was Ian Jones, who was second in the Masters Division at the Dun Laoghaire World Championships last September.

The Spaniard in second is also in the Grand Master Division like Craig. Next weekend's Roses event has 120 Radials entered and is expected to be a much more competitive affair.

Published in RStGYC
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Going into tomorrow's final day of competition Finn Lynch (23) is now 16th overall at the 2019 Laser Senior Europeans Championships & Open European Trophy in Porto, Portugal. Ten races have been sailed and two discards applied in the 105-boat fleet.

As much as Lynch's performance is an important top 20 result for the Tokyo campaigner, the National Yacht Club ace will have noticed the growing presence of a Howth Yacht Club rookie climbing the leaderboard behind him. In a stand out performance, Ewan McMahon (20), in his first senior European championships, is now only eight places behind the Rio veteran in 24th overall. If McMahon can maintain such form, it sets the stage for some keener competition between the two for the single Tokyo 2020 berth later this summer at the World Championships in Japan.

Meanwhile, In the women's Laser Radial division, after ten races sailed, Aisling Keller (Lough Derg Yacht Club) and Aoife Hopkins (also of Howth YC) are lying 42nd and 44th respectively out of a fleet of 91 competitors.

Racing continues until Saturday 25 May. Results are here.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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