Displaying items by tag: Laser
For the first time during the series, the 18 boat turnout for the penultimate race of Howth Yacht Club Laser Frostbite event found themselves having to contend with fog. Adding to the challenge conditions were a strong tide and wind ranging in direction from 140 to 170 and from the 4 knots the fleet found in the Sound when they left the Harbour to a brisk 21 knots in the occasional gusts.
In both races Darragh Kelleher and Ronan Wallace battled it out at the front of the fleet all the way around the lap, sausage, lap course. In race 1 they swapped the lead three times before Ronan took the gun. In the second, Ronan grabbed the lead early on and used his off-wind speed advantage to build a comfortable lead before again crossing first. Behind them there was close racing all the way through the fleet. Conor Murphy took third place from Stephen Quinn in race 1. In race 2, Stephen's individual recall damaged his chance of a repeat and Mike Evans took third from Conor Murphy. Tom Fox took first place in the Radial fleet in both races.
Next Sunday sees the final two races being sailed, leading to the season climax, the Round the Island race, on Saturday, March 9th
It might be Mid-term holidays for some but sailors in the Irish Laser Radial Academy still have classroom work!
Pictured above is a rules session led by International judge and race officer Bill O'Hara, a 1984 Olympian in the Finn class.
The week-long camp in Cadiz, Spain includes the National Yacht Club's Carmel Winkelmann Cup winner Clare Gorman, Jamie McMahon, Eve McMahon, Tom Higgins and Micheal O'Sullivan.
The Academy is Joined by Tokyo Olympic trialist, Aoife Hopkins who competes in Andalusia Olympic Week next week.
What a change a week makes! There was a certain sceptical air in the Howth Yacht Club Laser dinghy pen as sailors took off coats and searched their bags for baseball caps in very mild and sunny conditions. The breeze was perfect, with a steady 16kts, gusting in the mid-20s. However, with the gusty breeze coming from the South West and a residual swell rolling in from the East, it was tricky to keep a consistent level of heel and good boatspeed. There were plenty of 20-degree shifts, which meant a conservative and flexible strategy up the middle generally paid off.
Start line videos shows Ronan Wallace and Dan O’Connell both timed their starts to perfection to lead off the line. Dan lead at the first mark but had a couple of incidents, letting Ronan Wallace and Daragh Kelleher through. They had space to extend their lead, especially on the fast second reach. Kelleher overtook Wallace on this reach, but was passed again downwind by Wallace to take the race. Dan O’Connell finished third, with Dave Quinn in fourth and Mike Evans in fifth. The second race saw a significant lull and shift just at the gun which made for a confused start.
The breeze quickly settled back into the steady shifting pattern though. The race played out in a smilar fashion to the first, with Ronan Wallace taking the gun, from Daragh Kelleher and Dan O’Connell. Mike Evans passed Dave Quinn at the last gybe mark to reverse their positions from the first race.
The morning began with a mixed sky over the bay. Patches of blue were seen in amongst ominous-looking clouds. A fresh breeze blew from the south, whistling through shrouds on the Sandquay. The bay looked inviting; a dark blue in colour and a slight chop disturbing the water.
The sailors arrived in Monkstown as early as ever. Sails were heard before they were seen, flogging in the strong wind. Without delay, Race Officer Alan Fehily set a windward/leeward course at the entrance to Monkstown Creek. Raring to go, the competitors took to the waters in record time.
The sequence began for race one at 10:15am, the exact scheduled time. Ten sailors worked hard to hold their positions on the line until the gun went. It was a clean start and the dinghies were seen battling their way up the course. The breeze was shifty, threatening to knock the sailors over with every gust. It was all they could do to stay upright and they had to sail carefully for three rounds. Sundays Well sailor Paul O’Sullivan stayed ahead of the fleet for the majority of the race, holding off MBSC sailors Rob Howe and Ronan Kenneally. O’ Sullivan took first place, with Howe close behind in second. Kenneally followed up in third place.
In the radial category, MBSC’s Harry Pritchard was the only one to test the conditions. He sailed fast, mixing it in with the bigger standard rig sailors.
The second race was challenging, with gusts of 25 knots hitting the water. The conditions were typical for Monkstown Bay; holes in the wind and a strong flood tide dominated the course. Paths were picked carefully and it was all but decided at the finish line. Kenneally sailed well and took first place, just in front of Howe who finished second. MBSC’s William O’Brien finished close behind in third place.
The third and final race of the league began in a more constant wind, averaging roughly 15 knots down the course. It was close racing off the start line and all the sailors tussled up to the windward mark. Kenneally took the lead early and fought to hold his position. O’Brien was in hot pursuit, contesting the laser ace. Howe sailed close behind, carefully covering the fleet.
Kenneally crossed the finish line in first, winning the last race of the league. O’Brien followed in second, with Howe close behind in third place.
The final race concluded and the sailors went ashore. A prizegiving was scheduled for 12:30pm and all the competitors looked forward to the warmth of the Bosun. Eighteen races had not been sailed for nothing; all of the sailors had raced in earnest for the prestigious Yard of Ale trophy, over six cold Saturdays. In the end, MBSC sailors dominated the top four positions. Former UK Laser Olympic squad member Rob Howe finished in fourth position. In third position was the well-known avid National 18 sailor Charles Dwyer. In second place was the two-time Monkstown laser frostbite league winner Ronan Kenneally. The winner of the Yard of Ale trophy was your correspondent, who finished just a point ahead of Kenneally.
In the radial category, Harry Pritchard from MBSC finished in first position; he was also the first person to win in this category. He sailed well and by the end of the league he had lots of race wins under his belt.
All scheduled races had been sailed and it was in high spirits the competitors left the Bosun, ready to enjoy another season of laser sailing. Rest assured they will be the first to start next year’s season, at the next Monkstown Laser frostbite league.
Photos below by Bob Bateman
We had westerly winds against a flooding tide, which generated a small but steep chop. Absolutely brilliant for reaching, but somewhat tougher upwind.
It was probably the fastest your correspondent has ever gone in a Laser. Winds were averaging 20 knots and gusting to 28.
The first race was sailed over a lap-sausage-lap of a triangular course with the run and the gybe marks being where most capsizes occurred.
The race management team took pity on the fleet and changed to triangles without a run for the second race and, in recognition of the number of competitors who were swimming rather than sailing during that race, the course was shortened after just two laps.
The fleet was still left with a broad reach back to the sanctuary of the harbour, which gave further opportunity for some more Sunday morning swimming but all survived and there were plenty of tall tails to be told in the bar afterwards.
Daragh Kelleher won both races in the Standard Rig, and Tom Fox showed some impressive speed to beat most of the standard rigs on his way to winning the Radial fleet. Sophie Kilmartin continued her winning ways also with two wins in the 4.7 fleet.
The impressive speeds on the reaches were vouched for by the Sailracer GPS trackers fitted to the boats for the event, confirming that over 14 knots can readily be achieved in a Laser, albeit not a comfortable situation to be in with the gybe mark approaching fast.
Cork Laser sailors converged in Monkstown on Saturday, February 9th for the fifth day of the Monkstown Laser Frostbite league sponsored by CH Marine.
A cold morning dawned with cloudless blue skies and a light breeze blowing down the bay from the south-west. As motivated as ever, the competitors eagerly took to the Cork Harbour water in their dinghies.
There was commotion on the Sandquay as early as 9:00 am as the sailors prepared their boats for the mornings racing. The forecast of 20 knots was not enough to put off the weather hardened Laser sailors. A beautiful blue sea awaited and in the blink of an eye, all of the competitors had launched their boats.
Race Officer Alan Fehily cast off from Monkstown marina in time for the 10:15 start. A windward/leeward course was set at the entrance to the creek and a start line was set opposite the houses of Alta Terrace.
With no time lost, the start went into sequence. A strong ebb tide swept through the course and the sailors had to work hard to stay behind the line. The gun went and for the first time in the series, the majority of competitors were over the line, forcing a general recall. The second start attempt was successful and the sailors began the first upwind leg. Each competitor picked a path up the course, using the tide and shifty wind to their advantage. It was close racing at the windward mark with MBSC sailors Charles Dwyer, Ronan Kenneally and your correspondent fighting for the top spot. Bateman held his lead over Dwyer and took first place. Dwyer finished in second place, in front of Innascarra sailor James Long who took third.
In the radial fleet, MBSC’s Harry Pritchard finished in first place after holding a comfortable lead for the majority of the race.
The second race was another tough race with the tide getting close to full strength and the wind increased slightly. Dwyer took the lead from the start and stayed just ahead of Kenneally and Long. First, second and third looked secure, but all was not what it seemed. Kenneally capsized in front of the windward mark and Long got stuck on the same mark. This allowed MBSC’s William O’Brien and your correspondent to sail through. Meanwhile, Dwyer extended his lead to take first place. Bateman took second, with O’Brien just behind in third.
In the Radial fleet, Pritchard sailed well to secure first place with another comfortable lead.
Race three saw the wind and tide increase in strength. The sailors struggled to stay behind the line and after two attempts, a black flag was raised. The third attempt was successful and the competitors got away cleanly. Dwyer rounded in first with radial sailor Harry Pritchard just behind. Over the course of the race, Long, Kenneally and your correspondent sailed through. The finish line saw Bateman in first, with Long in second and Kenneally in third.
MBSC’s Harry Pritchard not only took first place in the Radial category, but he also sailed exceptionally well and finished second overall, in front of the majority of the standard fleet.
The Laser sailors returned to shore after having endured tough conditions. The trusty rescue/mark boat returned home, its berth kindly sponsored by Monkstown marina for the duration of the series. The boats were put away, ready to race for next weeks final races.
January was very disappointing with Howth Yacht Club racing held on only one weekend out of four during the month. Hopefully, February will be different as yesterday gave us excellent conditions for Laser racing. 19 boats competed in breeze that varied from 10 to 19 knots, generally from 230. I’m not sure whether it was the match the previous evening, or the break in sailing in January, but there were definitely some rusty sailors this Sunday morning. Tide was a key factor yet again, with a strong ebb pushing boats fast towards the pin end of the starting line. Anyone more than halfway down the line with a minute to go found it hard not to be swept by the pin end. Dan O’Connell sailed an excellent first beat to lead at the top mark, followed very closely by Ronan Wallace and a big group including Daragh Kelleher, Mike Evans, Simon Reville, Conor Costello, Stephen Quinn and Dave Kirwan. The tide was proving tricky with a number of sailors hitting marks, including Kelleher at the first windward. Dan showed impressive speed on the first 2 reaches to extend his lead. Wallace finally got past him though at the bottom of the first run, with Dan hitting the leeward mark. Wallace went on to win, from O’Connell in second and Mike Evans in third. Peter Hassett curtailed Tom Fox’s dominance in the Radial Fleet by taking the first race of the day, but Sophie Kilmartin continued her winning ways in the 4.7.
Two boats were OCS at the start of the second race, Dave Kirwan and Dave Quinn, both of whom were spotted drowning their sorrows in the Aviva stadium the previous evening, so may not have been at their best. Ronan Wallace started conservatively mid-line and tacked off whereas the rest of the fleet went hard left to get out of the tide. This proved to be decisive as most of the leaders significantly overstood the port layline and left Wallace with a big lead at the first mark, which he held to the finish. Dan O’Connell finished second and Daragh Kelleher third, with very little place changing. Tom Fox won the second radial race, with Sophie Kilmartin winning again in the 4.7.
The morning began with a golden sunrise overlooking the eastern end of the bay. Beautiful beams of light reflected on the glassy water but alas not a breath of wind was in the air. A canvas of cloudless blue sky gave no signs of breeze.
Sub Zero temperatures were in store for the competitors. Regardless of the cold, twelve enthusiastic sailors arrived at the Sand quay bright and early to prepare for the mornings racing. Ice ridden covers were separated from the decks and ropes were unstuck from cockpit floors.
One by one the sailors launched into the glassy waters. As the hustle and bustle of rigging diminished, a light breeze filled in from the north-west. Race officer Alan Fehily sprung into action, setting a windward/leeward course off Blackpoint.
The start sequence for the first race began right on time at 10:15 am. The competitors lined up, holding their positions until the gun went. The race began and it was an immediate search for clear breeze. The wind was uncertain, shifting through 30 degrees and occasionally easing away to nothing. The sailors persevered, suffering big gains and losses. MBSC sailors Charles Dwyer and Rob Howe led the race from the windward mark. However, on the first downwind leg the boats behind got hit by a gust of wind and overtook the leaders. For the rest of the race, MBSC’s Ronan Kenneally led the pack, with Paul O’Sullivan and William O’Brien in close pursuit. Local Monkstown sailors William O’Brien and your correspondent overtook Kenneally on the last downwind leg. Bateman finished in first with O’Brien close behind in second. Kenneally finished in third place right behind O’Brien.
In the Radial fleet, MBSC’s Harry Pritchard sailed fast and was heavily contesting the standard fleet. He finished in first place, staying ahead of RCYC’s Sophie Crosbie and Innascarra’s Robert McGarvey.
The competitors had every confidence in the wind for the second race of the day. A settled eight-knot breeze blew down the course. A strong flood tide swept up the bay, giving the sailors cause for concern as they made their way to the windward mark. The competitors were careful to avoid two sizeable container ships passing through the course on each downwind leg. Howe and Bateman led the fleet, holding their positions for the majority of the race. Bateman finished in first, with Howe right behind in second. Sundays Well SC sailor Paul O’Sullivan crossed the line in a close third place.
In the Radial fleet, Harry Pritchard held his lead to finish in first position.
"In a nail-biting finish, your correspondent took first place"
The last race of the day began in a solid ten knots with gusts of up to fifteen. Kenneally led the race from the start and rounded the mark in front of O’Brien and Howe. Kenneally held his lead until the last downwind leg, where he battled it out with Bateman. In a nail-biting finish, your correspondent took first place with Kenneally finishing no less than a metre away. Howe sailed across the finish line to secure third position.
In the Radial fleet, RCYC’s Sophie Crosbie finished in first place, holding off Pritchard and McGarvey for the majority of the race.
Despite the difficult conditions, three successful races were completed. All of the sailors had braved the cold. Arriving ashore, the sailors put their boats to bed and tucked them away on the Sand quay, where they would be taken out once again for next weekend's racing.
"I'm really happy I managed to battle back after a bad day yesterday. I had a really good grasp of the conditions. There were much more chances because the wind was oscillating more and it was less of a one way track!", Lynch told Afloat.ie
The result is all the more impressive given the Rio Olympian went into this week's regatta nursing a neck injury.
With two more days of racing left to sail in what is forecast to be more light and shifty conditions on Biscayne Bay, Lynch, who now counts four top ten results in his scoresheet has the chance to really boost his Tokyo qualification prospects with a solid result in the second round of the World Cup.
"There is no point looking backwards to try hold my position"
"I haven't been top 10 going into the last day of a World Cup before. Which is great! I'm going to try take a page out of Irish Rugby's book and try use attack as defence. There is no point looking backwards to try hold my position", Lynch says.
Ballyholme's Liam Glynn lies 40th in the 101-boat fleet. Overall results are here.
A key component of Laser overall leader Hermann Tomasgaard's (NOR) preparation for the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Miami involved a week at the Laser Training Center in Cabarete, Dominican Republic. Aside from the obvious-tropical mid-winter weather-Tomasgaard went there for the consistently strong winds.
"We had a good group with the British and the Swedish and a lot of hiking, a lot of strong winds," he said. "That's maybe the problem you can have in Europe this time of year, you can have a lot of light winds, You get some strong-wind days, but never really for one and a half weeks."
This regatta, however, has been anything but windy, with just one race that tested the sailors' abdominal muscles. Nonetheless, Tomasgaard clearly found something in the azure Caribbean waters because he has been phenomenally fast and unbelievably consistent in some of the most mentally demanding conditions in a fleet where top-half finishes in the gold fleet are often considered keepers.
With two full-fleet races remaining and then Sunday's Medal Race, Tomasgaard has established a 44-point lead over second place. His worst finish is a sixth. One decent race tomorrow and he will have clinched the gold with two races to spare, a virtually unheard-of feat in the modern Medal-Race format.
"It's been very good," he said. "Sailing is a little up and down all the time, and this week I've had quite a lot of up. I'm just enjoying it right now. I've had moments [like this before], but maybe not for as long as now. Now it's been every race. It's been good."
The conditions today were similar to the previous three days, light and shifty.
"It was difficult, very, very shifty," he said. "Big shifts from both sides. Quite light and big pressure differences as well with the shifts. [Success required managing a] little bit of both. We had a left pressure that was really stationary, that you really had to go into. It was in all the upwinds, almost, that you gained a little bit on that left shift, but it was difficult to know how far into it you had to go."
He also credited a lot of his success to his ability to get off the starting line cleanly.
"I've had good starts, really good starts and I've tried to keep an open mind," he said. "I tried to start where I think it's going to be the best and keep an open mind and change my plan if I see something new coming."
Should his final few races follow this pattern, Tomasgaard will have put together one of the more remarkable scorelines in recent memory. With 18 months until the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, is he peaking too early? Tomasgaard doesn't see it that way.
"I've been climbing the last few years in the results, and it's nice to see that the winter trainings are working well," he said. "So I kind of take that, like 'OK, we're on the right track.' Still, it's early in the season, and a lot can change from Miami."
Sam Meech (NZL) is second in the class with 65 points while Rio 2016 gold medalist Tom Burton (AUS) is third and Charlie Buckingham (USA) is fourth.
After two days of shifty qualifying rounds and dealing with a neck injury, the National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch is through to gold fleet racing in the Laser class at the Miami World Sailing Cup as he describes here
Day two in Miami had similar conditions again with 5-11 knots and shifty offshore sailing. It was important to get a good start so that you could sail the shifts you wanted! We spent 6 hours on the water.
I got a 2,19.
First race I was around 15 at mark one and passed boats on each leg to finish an inch behind first. Feels good to sail through the fleet - it shows my speed has improved over the winter.
In the second race, I was pretty bad at the first mark and caught up some boats to get a 19. I'm discarding that now but there is only one discard in the regatta so it would have been nice to get a lower discard out of the qualifying series.
Tomorrow starts a whole different race - World Cup gold fleet racing. It is forecasted 15 knots from the land. So it will be very physical with the Miami choppy waters but also shifty.
You can follow my results on my instagram stories @finnlynchsailing