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Irish Olympic class sailors did not make it to Saturday's medal race final at French Olympic Week in Hyères, France on April 26th, 2024. This week's regatta saw all events conclude their series despite moderate winds and torrential rain on Friday.

Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan from Royal Cork Yacht ClubSéafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan from Royal Cork Yacht Club Photo: Sailing Energy

49er Trial to be Decided in A Fortnight

The Men's skiff event saw a two-boat selection trial building towards an epic conclusion after two inconclusive regattas, with only five points separating the two crews. Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove from Dublin's Howth Yacht Club dropped back five places to 16th after a lacklustre four-race final day. Crosshaven's Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan from Royal Cork Yacht Club ended the series in 21st overall after a final day that included a disqualification for early starting.

The third and final event in their trials series, the 49er European Championships at La Grand Motté, France, begins in less than two weeks. Dickson and Waddilove hold a tiny five-point advantage, meaning the Cork crew must beat them by five places and finish within the top 20 at the Europeans to win a place with Team Ireland for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Details of the scoring for the Irish trials series process are:

4. Scoring
4.1 Points shall be awarded to the Athlete in each Trial Regatta exactly corresponding to that Athlete’s final overall placing in that Trial Regatta as shown on the official final results sheet published by the regatta organisers. For example, an overall first place shall score one point; a second place shall score two points and so on. The maximum points an Athlete will be awarded in a Trial Regatta is 25 points for double handed events and 30 points for single handed events. This score will be awarded to an Athlete either where they do not compete at the Trial Regatta or where they finish with a higher score then indicated above, other than where an Athlete’s overall score is higher than indicated above as a result of a breach of RRS 2 Fair Sailing for illegally hindering an opponent (Case 78), in which case the points as shown on the official results sheet shall apply.

4.2 In the event of a double handed team not continuing together and where both seek qualification for the Games the minimum standard to be included in a Trial Series or points accrued from the Trial Regattas may, by agreement between the parties and the OSG, be awarded to either the helm or the crew. If the parties cannot agree the Performance Director will decide which, if any of them, benefits from their past performances together.

4.3 Points for the Trials Series for each Event shall include the points from each Trial Regatta.

4.4 If there is a tied score between two or more Athletes in any Trials Series, each Athlete’s Trial Regatta scores shall be listed in order of best (lowest) to worst (highest) and at the first point where there is a difference the tie shall be broken in favour of the Athlete with the best score. If a tie still remains between two or more Athletes, the Athlete with the best final overall placing in the last Trial Regatta shall be recommended.

4.5 If no Athlete scores better than 25th place overall (for double handers) or 30th place overall (for single handers) in the Trial Series for an Event, the Trial Series results shall not apply and the OSG will recommend the Athlete who they feel shall best represent Ireland at the Games.

4.6 Subject to Section 4.4 & 4.5 above, the Athlete with the lowest number of points at the conclusion of the Trials Series shall be recommended by the OSG to the Board.

Amendments

No amendment to these procedures shall be made in respect of any Event without the prior written consent of each Athlete for that Event. However the OSG reserves the right to amend the procedures unilaterally if agreement cannot be reached between the Athletes.

Eve McMahon from Howth Yacht ClubEve McMahon from Howth Yacht Club Photo: Sailing Energy

ILCA 6

Eve McMahon from Howth Yacht Club needed a big jump to reach the top ten for a place in the medal race on Saturday in the women's one-person dinghy (ILCA6 class). She scored a creditable ninth in the morning but was unable to secure her spot in the medal race.

ILCA 7 campaigner Ewan McMahon of Howth at full speed at French Olympic Week  Photo: Sailing EnergyILCA 7 campaigner Ewan McMahon of Howth at full speed at French Olympic Week  Photo: Sailing Energy

ILCA 7

In the men's counterpart event (ILCA7 class), Finn Lynch from Carlow's National Yacht Club dropped from 23rd to 31st for the regatta after a disappointing run. Ewan McMahon from Howth Yacht Club held his overnight 22nd place after a 14th place in the morning, followed by his worst score of the regatta, a 38th, which he was then able to discard.

Performance Director with Irish Sailing, James O'Callaghan, said, "For sure, there are a lot of positives after a week with the outcome we've had. We got to do the dry-run for the games which was the intention for this event."

The coming three months will see the full squad based in Marseille for fine-tuning and re-familiarisation with the Olympic sailing venue where the Irish Sailing Foundation has provided a training base for the past three years.

French Olympic Week kicked off on Monday, 22nd April 2024, at Hyères (Cote D'Azur). More than 800 sailors from 90 nations competed, including a full Irish squad just months before the Olympic regatta.

The week-long event is the last major competition before the Paris 2024 Games. At this 'Last Chance Regatta', 50 places for the Games across all ten Olympic events will be decided.

Ninth for Ewan McMahon in ILCA 7

While the top Olympic athletes are racing this week, the Irish team is competing in the ‘Qualified Nations’ series as all three Irish events have already qualified. Day 1 saw some impressive performances, with Ewan McMahon from Howth Yacht Club topping the Irish results with a ninth place in the men's single-handed event (ILCA7 class).

Finn Lynch from National Yacht Club took 20th place in the single race of the day, but this year's regatta has 70 contenders in its event with no qualification round for the Gold fleet. "It wasn't a disaster, but I would've preferred to have had a better race," Lynch said after racing. We have 70 boats, so strategy becomes very important—you can't be in the middle because you'll have 30 boats either side of you."

No racing for ILCA 6

Unfortunately, the women's single-handed event ended the day without a race due to "cold conditions", which means Ireland's Eve McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) will have to wait until Tuesday for her first race as she plans her debut Olympic appearance in July.

Irish 49ers in action

The Irish men's skiff entry, secured last Autumn by Robert Dickson (Howth YC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club), is also competing in the French Olympic Week. The Dublin pair had a mixed day from their two races and lie 14th overall in their 30-boat event. Their rival contenders, Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club), also had mixed fortunes and ended the opening day in 20th place.

"It was a long day with big (wind) shifts and big wind range - it was very cold," commented Guilfoyle after racing. "We got caught out with the wrong set-up for the first race as we had 10 knots before the race started, but by the time we got into the race, it was over 20, so we just managed around the course. It was a bit unfortunate, but we've learned for the future. It’s going to be a long week, so no point focusing on results."

Racing will continue daily until Friday, with the top ten boats in each event advancing to a medal race final on Saturday. However, with the Last Chance regatta taking priority, racing for the 'Qualified Nations' sailors is likely to be delayed until the end of each day. The intention is to complete a minimum of six races for their respective series.

Full results from the Last Chance Regatta are available via the Semaine Olympique Française website.  

The Irish Laser Class Association (ILCA) has announced that its annual general meeting (AGM) will be held virtually on April 17th at 6:30 pm. The meeting will be followed by a live Q&A session with the ILCA representatives who will be competing at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.

The ILCA is the national governing body for Laser sailing in Ireland, and the AGM is an opportunity for members to discuss the association's progress and plans for the future. The meeting will cover a range of topics, including reports from the committee, financial updates, and proposed changes to the association's constitution.

After the AGM, Brendan Hughes, an experienced sailor and member of the ILCA, will host a live Q&A session with Finn Lynch and Eve McMahon, the two Irish Laser sailors who will be representing the country at the Paris Olympics.

Register in advance for this webinar below 

Click Here to Register

ILCA AGM Agenda 17th April 2024

More on the Irish efforts for the Paris Olympic sailing regatta here

Published in Laser
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On light-wind day four of the World Cup Series event at the 53 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mallorca, Irish competitors maintained their overall positions, with one day left to sail before the medal races on Saturday.

The light sea-breeze condition on the Bay Of Palma today proved especially testing for the giant fleet, and even many of the event leaders struggled to record consistently top finishes as the winds moved around in direction and pressure.

In the ILCA 7 men’s dinghy, after two general recalls, Britain’s Micky Beckett pushed too hard on the first start and landed a BFD [black flag disqualification]. However, his overall margin at the top of the Gold fleet is a very tidy 14 points over Germany’s past world champion Philipp Buhl.

Poised behind Buhl is Australian Olympic and world champion Matt Wearn, who is now 14 points behind the German. Buhl commented: "The winds were light and quite shifty, the wind strength pulsating, sometimes more, sometimes less, not rhythmic, difficult to predict. That's why I'm very happy with my results. On a day like today, there is about 30 to 40 per cent unpredictability. On normal days, it's more like 10 per cent. If you then manage to be alert and very focused you can determine the other 60 to 70 per cent."

The National Yacht Club's Paris-qualified Finn Lynch dropped moved up one to 14th after scoring a 21 and 26 in gold fleet races seven and eight.

Howth Yacht Club rival Ewan McMahon, who moved up from 40th to 26th on Wednesday, has dropped back to 38th.

ILCA 6

Australian Mara Stransky maintained her lead in the ILCA 6 women’s dinghy event, counting a 16th from the second race as Hungary’s European champion Maria Erdi proved the most consistent of the title contenders in another fleet which again saw many land one good result and one bad.

Ireland's Paris-qualified Eve McMahon of Howth Yacht Club has moved up two places overall to 20th.

49er

Poland’s Lukasz Przybytek and Jacek Piasecki made a vital move to the top of the 49er Skiff leaderboard. 

This regatta is a selection event for Poland’s Olympic team and Przybytek and Piasecki are strengthening their claim to the coveted Olympic ticket for Paris 2024 this summer. Ninth at Tokyo 2020, the duo are tied with Spain’s Diego Botín and Florian Trittel who were fourth at the last Games.

“Our race course was close to the shore and the left side paid all the time,” said Piasecki. “We got good starts and made four solid races. Last time here we just missed the Medal Race so this time we are aiming to make it, and then who knows? This and Hyères [Semaine Olympique Francaise] are our final trial events. We got a seventh at the Worlds but when it’s not based on points then it is always hard to say who will be selected.”

17, 20 scored by Royal Cork duo Seafra Guilfyole and Johnny Durcan moved them down one place to 25th overall. 

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Great Britain’s Olympic hopeful Micky Beckett took advantage of a dramatic change of conditions at the 53 Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca on the second day of the World Cup Series event.

Ireland's Finn Lynch also made good on a lighter Tuesday in the Bay of Palma and moved up nine places to 11th in the ILCA 7 class.

Day 2 produced such different conditions on the Bay of Palma, the sailors could have been forgiven for thinking they were racing at a different venue.

After winds gusting close to 30 knots and monster waves kicking up to three metres. the Bay of Palma dawned to light winds and flat water. Somehow the best Olympic sailors managed to make sense of all manner of wind and wave conditions, such as Beckett in the ILCA 7 men’s dinghy.

Looking to win overall for a third consecutive time, Beckett seized the lead after wins in both his heats today. This puts the Briton four points ahead of Germany's 2020 world champion Philipp Buhl.

“It is such a big change to go from the massive waves of yesterday to the light and tight stuff of today,” said Beckett.

“I was pleased to be able to do so today, leading round both windward marks. I didn’t actually extend much but I did enough to stay ahead both times.”

Beckett led Cyprus’ 2012 London silver-medallist Pavlos Kontides across the line in the first race and Ireland’s Lynch in the second.

Howth's Ewan McMahon lies 40th.

ILCA 6

Things have not gone so well so far for last year’s ILCA 6 women’s dinghy winner Marit Bouwmeester, the Netherlands sailor who already holds a full set of gold, silver and bronze medals from 2016, 2012 and 2021 respectively. The Dutch star was third in the first race yesterday after breaking a vang which she replaced only for the new one to go again forcing her to abandon the second race. Second and 10th today Bouwmeester is up to eighth whilst Belgium’s Emma Plasschaert tops the fleet.

“I liked the conditions yesterday, strong winds and big waves,” said Bouwmeester.

Ireland's Paris qualified Eve McMahon lies 23rd at the Trofeo Princesa Sofía Trophy in Mallorca Photo: Sailing EnergyIreland's Paris qualified Eve McMahon lies 23rd at the Trofeo Princesa Sofía Trophy in Mallorca Photo: Sailing Energy

“I think sailing is about consistency and doing it well in every condition so it's nice to get different conditions. Today, the first race I didn't get it quite right, and the second race was a good one.” By which she meant a second place in her qualifying group. Bouwmeester admitted that, compared with bringing up a young toddler not yet two years old, the white heat of Olympic competition can actually feel like a holiday.

Another new parent, Poland’s vice world champion Pavel Tarnowski conclusively dominated the iQFOiL men’s windsurfing fleet winning all four races whilst in the women’s fleet Norway’s Mina Mobekk leads after three.

Ireland's Paris qualified Eve McMahon lies 23rd

Formula Kite

Just over a week ago in Mar Menor, Spain, Max Maeder dominated the Formula Kite European Championship to add the title to the world title he took in The Hague last summer. Today the unstoppable 17-year-old from Singapore delivered two first places and a second. Last year’s overall Trofeo Princesa Sofia regatta winner is seven points up on Austria’s Valentin Bontus who was fourth at last year’s worlds and seventh at the Marseille test event. Bontus admits that Maeder is in a class of his own.

“I think most of us have accepted that we are in a race for second because Max has a different gear,” said Bontus. “The riders who don’t want to say it is because of pride, but at the moment Max is just unbeatable. It’s clear to see.”

That reputation of invincibility used to be part of Daniela Moroz’s story until the end of 2022. Since then the six-time women’s Formula Kite world champion has struggled to maintain that world-beating form, but the American is going well this week. Moroz won three of her four races today, to extend her lead over Australia’s Breiana Whitehead.

470 mixed dinghy

Other Olympic events have already contested their 2024 world championships, like the 470 mixed dinghy, ILCAs and the 49er skiffs. Not so the Nacra 17 mixed multihull fleet which has not raced since the Europeans in early November. They must wait until early May for their Worlds in La Grande Motte. So after a period of winter training there is some curiosity to see who has made the biggest advances.

Germany’s 2020 Olympic bronze medallists Paul Kohlhoff and Alica Stulhemmer have had to recruit a new coach in that intervening period and now have Australian double Olympian Andrew Palfrey in their corner in Palma. Counting two second places and a third, the Kiel duo lead European champions John Gimson and Anna Burnet (GBR), last year’s Sofía winners.

“Consistent starting and going the right way were key and we did that quite well,” said Kohlhoff. “It is tough to know what to expect here because we have not seen most of the fleet since the Europeans. It’s always exciting to come back together after a big winter training block. We were in Lanzarote and did a lot of racing in light and windy conditions, so it’s nice to be back racing in a big fleet like this here. And working with our new coach is inspirational who brings new ideas, new ways and a lot of experience.”

Nacra 17

While their compatriots in the 470s, ILCA 6 and 7s and 49ers have all now booked their selection for France’s home Olympic Games, Nacra 17 pair Tim Mourniac and Lou Berthomieu believe they are ahead of their rivals - although France’s process is believed to be subjective and ongoing. They know this will be a key, observed regatta whereas the Worlds on their home waters will not. They lie fourth after today with four-time world champion Billy Besson, who represented France in the class in Rio 2016, now sailing with Noa Ancian, lying in eighth.

“We were looking to not start with too many points on the board from the first day and we achieved that,” smiled Mourniac, past youth world champion.

“Our selection process has been going on since we were here last year and Hyères [Semaine Olympique Francaise] we know will be important. Nothing is mathematical so we don’t really know where we are, all we know is every regatta is super important. We keep pushing all the time trying to stay in the top five, top ten all the time. But we think the best French crew will be selected before the Worlds.”

49er 

In the 49er skiffs, being able to risk on the busy start line and get to the left was the key ingredient. Not easy to execute in such a tough fleet, but somehow it worked for Aussies Jack Ferguson and Max Paul who landed three wins and an eighth in the Yellow fleet to take the overall lead in the men’s skiff. Paul was second last year at this regatta crewing for Laser Olympic champion from Rio 2016, Tom Burton.

Ireland's Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan lie 25th.Ireland's Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan lie 25th after day two of Trofeo Princesa Sofía Trophy in Mallorca Photo: Sailing Energy

Having recently lost the trials for Paris 2024 to Jim Colley and Shaun Connor, Paul got back into the 49er with his previous helmsman Ferguson, who was delighted to be racing again, never mind dominating the day. “It was a left-hand track for us all day and the key focus was to get off the start line quick and get left. We executed that more times than we didn’t ,and so it is a good outcome right now. This is my first time back in the 49er since the Worlds last year and I used to sail with Max, so we are pretty happy with the first day. I am just here because I missed 49er sailing.”

49er FX fleet

The 49er FX fleet launched later in the afternoon as did the 470s. The women’s skiffs only managed two races before the thermal wind got too light. Norway’s Helen Naess and Marie Ronnigen won both heats to take the 49erFX lead. In the 470s, Germany’s husband-and-wife duo Malte and Anastasiya Winkel are still top, ahead of Britain’s Vita Heathcote and Chris Grube, recently selected for the Games.

Qualifying races continue for all 10 events on Wednesday morning, with first races scheduled to start at 1100 hours.

Over 1,100 sailors from 75 countries have arrived in the Bay of Palma, Mallorca, Spain for the 53rd edition of the Trofeo Princess Sofia, which is set to run from April 1 until April 6. Among the participants are Irish sailors aiming for the Paris Olympic Games later this year.

In the ILCA 7 class, the National Yacht Club’s Finn Lynch, who is selected for Paris, and Howth’s Ewan McMahon (no longer an 'independent' campaigner but back on the national squad) will be competing against the top sailors in their class, striving for a podium place and testing their skills ahead of the summer’s major regattas.

Meanwhile, recently crowned Afloat Irish Sailor of the Year 2023, Eve McMahon, will represent Ireland in the ILCA 6 class. McMahon, who finished fourth at the U21 ILCA European Championships in Pollensa, Spain, last week, will be up against a strong fleet that includes current world champion Anne Marie Rindom from Denmark.

The Royal Cork duo of Seáfra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan, who are still in the running for the Irish berth in the 49er class for the Paris 2024 games, will be the only Irish 49er attending this event.

After spending their entire winter season training in Lanzarote, which has similar conditions to Palma, this regatta will serve as a good test for the pair. However, it is important to note that this World Cup will not stand as a test event for the Irish Olympic boat selection, led by Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove.

Both the men's and women's dinghies will have 10 races plus a medal race, while the men’s skiff will have 15 races plus a medal race.

With a final day turn of speed, the National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch won the bronze medal at the ILCA 7 European Championships in Athens today (Friday, 23rd February 2024) after a three-race final day that ended the weather-hit event.

The Carlow sailor had a consistent day of top-ten results to end the eight-race regatta on equal points with Hungary’s Jonatan Vadnai, who took the silver on a tie-break.

This marks Vadnai’s second Senior Europeans medal, following his Bronze win in 2021, while it’s Lynch’s first Senior European prize in his career.

Finn Lynch turned on the speed in the final three races at the 2024 European Championships in Greece to come from 14th place to third overall to win his first Senior European prize of ILCA 7 in his career. Photo: Matias CapizannoFinn Lynch turned on the speed in the final three races at the 2024 European Championships in Greece to come from 14th place to third overall to win his first Senior European prize of ILCA 7 in his career. Photo: Matias Capizanno

Both boats were just four points off Gold, where Valterri Uusiltalo topped the 141-boat fleet for Finland.

Lynch now adds a Bronze to his world championship silver at Barcelona in 2021 as he aims to secure the Irish place for the Men's single-handed event at the Paris 2024 Olympics this Summer.

Green Rebel McMahon

The Rio 2016 Olympic veteran was in the second round of a selection trials series with Ewan McMahon (Howth YC), who ended this week's event in 17th place and, at times, was leading Lynch.

While a third regatta was included in the Irish selection trials series, Lynch cannot be beaten and is set to be nominated for Paris.

There were plaudits in Athens for McMahon's independent Green Rebel campaign, too. The recently graduated UCD Engineering student rose to the challenge this week and regained Sport Ireland funding status for any future campaign for LA2028.

A race start on the final day of racing at the ILCA 7 European Championships in Athens Photo: Matias CapizzanoA race start on the final day of racing at the ILCA 7 European Championships in Athens Photo: Matias Capizzano

"It was very tricky, very up and down for the three races of mostly six knots, maximum eleven," commented  Lynch's Laser Coach Vasilij Zbogar. "We were hoping for a little more wind, preferably over 10 knots, where Finn definitely has an edge. But we wanted a medal here, we got a medal here, so we're happy."

Finnish sailor Valtteri Uusitalo made an impressive debut as a Senior European medalist, clinching the Gold prize by finishing atop the fleet after eight races with a total of 42 points.

"Very difficult day for me. I mean, super tricky conditions but I guess I managed to do quite well. I am very pleased with myself," Uusitalo said.

In terms of the Olympic spots at stake, Omer Vered Vilenchik and Zan Luka Zelko emerged as the winners, securing the ILCA 7 tickets for Israel and Slovenia in Paris 2024.

Top 10 ILCA 7 Senior Europeans:

Valtteri Uusitalo FIN 42 pt
Jonatan Vadnai HUN 46 pt
Finn Lynch IRL 46 pt
Finley Dickinson GBR 49 pt
Benjamin Vadnai HUN 53 pt
Dimitri Peroni ITA 59 pt
Eduardo Marques POR 61 pt
Omer Vered Vilenchik ISR 65 pt
Tonci Stipanovic CRO 73 pt
Alexandre Boite FRA 74 pt

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Paris 2024 Irish Olympic trialists, in their second of three trials, posted close results after the first races sailed at the ILCA 7 European Championships in Athens today.

Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) and Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) had almost matching scores in their respective qualifying fleets, with Lynch scoring 22nd followed by a fourth; McMahon had a 23rd, then a fourth also.

Two races were completed in between spells of near-calm conditions. The 140-boat fleet was only at sea for a few hours when they were recalled to shore as the wind died.

"It's up to the sailor at the moment to choose which way to sail, but the conditions are so hard to manage that I expected from before the event started that it would be a high-scoring event," commented Irish Coach Vasilij Zbogar.

Irish Olympic trials leader Finn Lynch completes a tack in the light winds at the ILCA 7 European Championships in Athens Photo: Matias CapizzanoIrish Olympic trials leader Finn Lynch completes a tack in the light winds at the ILCA 7 European Championships in Athens Photo: Matias Capizzano

With more light winds expected for Day 4 on Wednesday, organisers will again try for three races, although once four have been completed, the minimum standard for a championship event will have been reached.

Lynch and McMahon are competing in the six-day series that also serves as part of the selection trials for the single national place already secured for the Men's single-handed event at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

A young sailor named Omer Vered from Israel is currently leading in the ILCA 7 European Championship with a total of 7 points after the first two races.  He managed to secure a fifth and a second place, which puts him in the running for one of the two Olympic spots offered by the event for Paris 2024.

Close contenders include Benjamin Vadnai from Hungary with 8 points and Pietro Giacomoni from Italy with 9 points after finishing 7th and 1st and 4th and 5th, respectively.

Zan Luka Zelko from Slovenia (6th and 5th) and Bruno Gaspic from Croatia (5th and 6th) are tied in the provisional Top 5 with 11 points each. If the race ended now, Zan Luka Zelko would secure the second Olympic berth for his country.

As the second trial for the Irish Paris 2024 nomination was becalmed in Greece today at the ILCA7 European Championships, the February World Rankings reveal both Irish trialists are in the top 25.

Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club), who finished ninth at January's World Championships, is ranked 15th, while Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) reaches a new high at 25 in his independent 'Green Rebel' campaign.

High pressure over Athens left competitors without racing on the opening day of the Championships (Sunday, 18th February).

Lynch and McMahon were amongst the 141-boat ILCA7 class left waiting for the breeze to arrive. Although the fleet eventually went afloat, no racing was possible.

Top class sailing from Finn Lynch put the National Yacht Club sailor into the medal race of the ILCA 7 World Championships in Adelaide, Australia in January and puts him 15th in the world rankings Photo: Jack FletcherTop class sailing from Finn Lynch put the National Yacht Club sailor into the medal race of the ILCA 7 World Championships in Adelaide, Australia in January and puts him 15th in the world rankings Photo: Jack Fletcher

A similar forecast is predicted for Monday, though there are indications of wind for Tuesday.

Lynch has the upper hand on McMahon after the first of three trials at the Australian World Championships, but with a light wind forecast and some significant absences in Athens this week, there is an opportunity for McMahon.

As Afloat reported last November, despite achieving the necessary published criteria at a recent World Cup, the McMahon campaign says that his application for Sport Ireland funding for 2024 was "disallowed following a decision by Irish Sailing (IS) to invalidate the event’s qualification status".

The ISA then determined that the World Cup event in Almere did not meet the “minimum standard of fleet” to qualify as a carding event under the 2024 Carding Scheme rules.

Whatever the criteria may be, with only two sailors campaigning, February 2024's world rankings represent a standard McMahon's campaign will no doubt say merits his inclusion on the national team, which currently has only one ILCA 7 member.

Irish sailors Finn Lynch and Ewan McMahon are battling it out for a spot in the Men's ILCA 7 single-handed event at the Paris 2024 Olympic regatta. With just five months to go before the event begins in Marseilles, the two are gearing up for the second of three regattas at the ILCA 7 European Championships in Athens next week.

It'll be an interesting week if Carlow's Lynch – after finishing ninth overall in last month's ILCA 7 class world championships in Adelaide, Australia – can hold form. He could arguably expect a top-five finish as the Athens fleet does not appear to be as high quality as Adelaide. Only three of the World Championship medal race competitors are entered (Lynch, Kontides and Jurassic), with a host of World and European athletes marked absent, such as British ace Micky Beckett from Wales, his training partner Sam Whaley of GBR, Tomassgard of Norway, Bernaz of FRA, Bos of NED and Buhl of GER.

Lynch hailing from the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay holds the edge in the Irish trials but 'Green Rebel' independent campaigner McMahon, from Howth Yacht Club, is not too far behind and is expected to put up a stiff challenge at the upcoming event in Greece.

'Green Rebel' independent campaigner Ewan McMahon of Howth 'Green Rebel' independent campaigner Ewan McMahon of Howth 

With a total of 141 boats participating in the event, the competition is sure to be intense. A strong showing by McMahon could leave the pair needing the French Olympic Week event in April to decide the Irish Sailing nomination to the Olympic Federation of Ireland.

The trials will be decided on a high-points scoring basis that incentivizes both sailors to concentrate on their best regatta score rather than winning the place for Paris 2024. Lynch, who previously won Silver at the 2021 World Championship in Barcelona, is keen to secure his spot in the Olympics after missing qualification for the Tokyo Games.

Despite the notoriously demanding nature of the Men's single-handed event, Lynch is raring to go and has his sights firmly set on Olympic glory. If he can hold off McMahon and secure his place in the Irish team, he'll be one step closer to achieving his dream.

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J Cup Ireland

The inaugural 2023 J Cup Ireland will take place from 26th to the 27th of August at the Royal Irish Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire, on Dublin Bay.

At a Glance - J-Cup Ireland 2024

The Key Yachting J-Cup Ireland 2024 will take place on September 7th-8th at the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

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