#YOUTH NATIONALS –The GBR Youth Sailing team is showing the depth of its ambition by arriving in Dun Laoghaire a full week ahead of the Irish Mitsubishi Youth National Championships this weekend. They are part of an influx of foreign crews all intent on sampling Dublin Bay conditions before the big event, the ISAF Youth World Championships to be staged in Dun Laoghaire in July. As many as six overseas squads are expected for the Easter Week championship.
Conditions on the bay are exepcted to feature moderate to strong northerly winds and there's a chill in the air!
Preparations for the massive youth event, one of the biggest events on the Irish sailing calendar, are already in situ with the entire forecourts of the Royal St. George Yacht Club and the Irish Yacht Club of the Year, the National Yacht Club cleared to make way for up to 400 youths sailors many of whom have an eye on Irish team selection to be decided at the weekend. Up to a dozen GBR camper vans are in located on the Carlisle Pier in the centre of the venue this morning. The fleet has come directly from Wales where last week the British youth team was selected to make it the hottest ever Mitsubishi Irish Youth event.
The Dun Laoghairte event serves as part of the Irish team selection process for the world championships with just one boat per class selected.
It won't be the first time propspective Irish crews have come up against the might of the RYA team either. Some of the Irish sailors who are keen on securing their place on the Irish team were in Wales too and most of those who travelled found the going tough. There were 268 entries, six nations and 388 sailors in Wales. Other Irish sailors were in Italy recently and have reported back with good results.
Competition among the Irish crews is likely to be closest in the single-handed Laser Radial Boys, where Robbie Gilmore (Strangford Lough YC), Finn Lynch (National YC/Blessington SC) and Fionn Lyden (Baltimore SC) are in the hunt.
Lynch won the Laser Radial U17 prize recent Europa Cup held in Lake Garda, Italy including two race wins in his score. He also came fiffh overall in a fleet of 180 youth boys Radials. This qualifies Finn for the upcoming ISAFs in the overseas category but he still needs to finish top in the youth nationals.
Royal Cork's Cian Byrne also achieved an outstanding result on Lake Garda, Italy when he came second overall and second in the U16 section sailing the Laser 4.7 Rig. Travelling with the ISA national squad, Cian finished with a final race first to cap off a remarkable performance. The Europa Cup represents top class European competition and the Garda event had 160 competitors in the 4.7 class alone.
The Italian event was attended by Thomas Chaix’s Academy competing in the Laser Radial fleet. Baltimore's Fionn Lyden finished 15th.
Among the Laser Radial girls, Sophie Murphy (Quoile YC and Royal St.Georg YC) and Sian Kneafsey (National YC) seek the single place. Kneafsey also achieved her goal of part qualifying for the upcoming ISAFs in the overseas event by coming in the top 50% of eligible female Radials but no one in is in any doubt about the potency of Murphy, last year's ISAF youth rep in Croatia who inlcuded a rce win in her tally.
In the double-handed classes, Patrick Crosbie and Grattan Roberts (Royal Cork YC), Aodh Kennedy and Peter Stokes (Royal Cork YC) will be contenders for the 420 boys class. Adam Hyland and Bill Staunton travelled to Pwhelli for the GBR trial and fnished 17th from a fleet of 36.
Seán and Tadgh Donnelly from the National Yacht Club are competing for the 29er place.They placed 17th from 72 in Pwhelli.
Alex Rumball and Rory McStay (Royal St George YC/Royal Irish YC) are competing for the SL 16 catamaran selection skiff spot and finished seventh from nine in Wales.
Ireland will not be seeking slots in the available RSx windsurfer classes.
The normal selection qualification criteria has been relaxed – slightly – this year by the Olympic Steering Group, who require a top-two placing in the Irish championships plus a top 50-per-cent result at designated international events.
Meanwhile Sophie Browne of Tralee has been on top form in the international Optimist racing for the Consulate Cup in Denmark, finding an extra gear as the series progressed to emerge as overall winner. It's a signficant boost for the home team as the world squads start heading for Dublin Bay and the Mitsubishi Motors Irish Youth Nationals in a week's time, which in its turn will lead to the big one, the Worlds at the same venue.