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Displaying items by tag: Optimist

#youthsailing – ISAF youth silver medallist Seafra Guilfoyle is a wild card entry into this weekend's All Ireland youth sailing event at Kinsale Yacht Club this Saturday. Crosshaven based Guilfoyle, who won world silver in Portugal in July, is slated against 19 other top Irish youth sailors who will compete in the double–handed Topaz dinghy fleet. 

Over 30 sailors from 11 classes were considered and the Irish Sailing Association organisers say their selection process allocated places based on the numbers of boats declared by the classes attending their national championships. The full list on invitees for the weekend fixture is published below (with some crew names missing).

The host Topaz dinghy has two nominees from its own national championships held in Dingle and the RS Feva also has two sailors attending. The Optimist class has three sailors slated including top European championships perfomers, Clare Gorman of the National Yacht Club and James McCann of Royal Cork420 dinghy youths are represented by national champion Peter McCann and girls champion Cliodhna NiShuillebhain of the host club.

The Mirror dinghy is also included with teams coming from Lough Ree  YC and Sutton Dinghy Club.





RS Feva

Alison Dolan

Blessington SC

Grainne Young

RS Feva

Triona Hinkson

Royal St.George YC

Catherine Kelly

RS200 - Youth

Stephen Craig

Royal St.George YC



James McCann

Royal Cork YC

Michael Carroll


Gemma McDowell

Malahide YC



Clare Gorman

National YC



Shane McLoughlin

Sutton DC

Oscar Langan


Tiarnan Dickson

Lough Ree YC

Rory MacAllister


Hugh Perette

National YC



Ros Morgan

Skerries SC



Adam D'Arcy

Royal Cork YC

James Hassett

Laser 4-7

Johnny Durcan

Royal Cork YC

Florence Lyden

Laser 4-7

Rory Caslin

National YC

Scott Levie


Jack Kiely

Dungarvan HSC



Paddy Cunnane

Dingle SC


International 420

Peter McCann

Royal Cork YC

Micheal O'Suileabhain

International 420

Cliodhna NiShuillebhain

Kinsale YC


GP14 - Youth

David Johnston

Sutton DC


Wild Card

Harry Durcan

Royal Cork YC

Harry Whittaker

Wild Card

Séafra Guilfoyle

Royal Cork YC

Published in Youth Sailing

#oppie – For the first time since 1983, the National Yacht Club (NYC) won the best senior team award at the Optimist National Championships held at the Royal Cork Yacht Club last weekend.

The award is presented to the club whose three highest ranked sailors (boy or girl) have the lowest cumulative score.

The team of Dara Donnelly (7th overall) Ella Hemeryck (6th overall) and Clare Gorman (2nd overall) were presented with the hard won trophy by Admiral Pat Lyons at the CH Marine sponsored event.

Published in Optimist

#optimist – Royal Cork's James McCann built on his fine European Optimist performance in Dun Laoghaire a month ago by winning the Irish Optimist dinghy class title on his home waters of Cork Harbour yesterday writes Claire Bateman.

Scroll down for photo gallery of the event below by Bob Bateman.

The wind gods left the best wine for last and it certainly tasted good on the last day of racing at the CH Marine Irish Optimist National and Open Championships wirtes Claire Bateman. The wind was up to about 15 knots most of the time and the sun was shining most of the time. What more could anyone ask! PRO David O'Brien again set the course for the Senior and Junior Fleets on the Eastern Bank and to cater for the north west wind set the committee boat close to the Aghada shore. Two races were sailed for both Senior and Junior fleets and it was all over by 14.30hrs to allow competitors make their way home. However a number of protests were received and the Protest Committee was convened for hearings.

Meanwhile , PRO Eddie Rice's Regatta Fleet again sailed on the Curlane Bank. Not all of the 52 competitors in this fleet sailed today as the conditions were a bit trying for the inexperienced.

The scene after racing had finished was a veritable hive of activity as the competitors, their families and helpers rushed to get away after the prize giving. However, it soon became apparent this was not to be as a protest was going ahead and meant a delay was unavoidable. As many people had ferries to catch and long journeys this meant they could not wait for the prize giving and among these was the new Open Senior Champion Vita Heathcote RIYMYC.

The array of prizes handed out was huge and as the prizes for today were also sponsored by CH Marine Nicholas Bendon MD of the company was there to do the honours in presenting these prizes.

In the Regatta Fleet the overall champion is Moss Simmington RStGYC .

1st Junior Silver Rory O'Sullivan RCYC. 2nd Junior Silver Conor Gorman NYC. 3rd Junior Silver James Hassett RCYC. Best Local Sailor Silver Fleet Sophia McKeown RCYC. Junior Silver First Girl Kate Fahy LDYC/RStGYC.

1stJunior Gold, National and Open Champion.Michael ÓShuilleabháin KYC. Best under 11 and Best Local Sailor Junior Gold Fleet Robert Keal RCYC. Best under 10 Eve McMahon. Best under 9 Trevor Bolger.\


Iriah Senior National Champion James McCann receiving his award from Admiral Pat Lyons

It was then the turn of the Senior Fleet to receive their prizes:
1st Senior Silver Jack Fahy LDYC/RStGYC. 2nd Silver James Spillane RCYC. 3rd Senior Silver Emily Whitaker RCYC.

Vita Heathcote First Senior Gold and Open Champion. Pic Robert Bateman
1st Senior Gold and Open Senior Champion Vita Heathcote RIYMYC. 2nd Senior Gold Emilia BoyleRIYC, 3rd Senior Gold, Irish Senior National Champion and Best Irish sailor at Optimist European Championships James McCann. Senior Gold First Girl and best under 13 Irish Clare Gorman NYC.


Rear Admiral Dinghies Celine McGrath, making a presentation to Adam D'Arcy in recognition of his Silver Medal win at the International Topper Class World Championships, Pic Robert Bateman

The 2015 Irish Optimist National and Open Championships will take place at Skerries Sailing Club

See Irish Optimist Sailing Gallery by Bob Bateman below. Full Results HERE


Published in Optimist

#optimist – There's an Interesting scenario emerging for today's finale of the CH Marine Irish Optimist National Championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club writes Claire Bateman.

After eight races and one discard Peter Fegan SSC leads the Senior Gold Fleet on 46 points. Solid consistency appears to have paid off well for Peter up to now. He is currently 3 points ahead of Vita Heathcote RIYMYC, who took the Volvo Gill Optimist National Champion title in the Senior Fleet (Main) in early August this season at Weymouth. Lying third is Clare Gorman NYC.

The Junior Gold Fleet is led by William Heathcote, having overtaken the overnight leader, Micheál Ó Suillebháin KYC followed by Tom Higgins RStGYC.

Currently leading the Regatta Fleet is Moss Simington RStGYC with Ben McMullin LRYC second and Ben Graf LRYC in third place.

Racing today for Senior and Junior fleets took place on the Eastern Bank off Aghada. The wind was due west and it varied from 5 to 6 knots but could rise to 10 to 12 knots but with an ebb from a 3.8m tide pushing the fleets out towards the windward mark it was very difficult particularly for the younger competitors to stay behind the start line. This resulted in general recalls and subsequent starts under black flags. This resulted in many competitors, particularly in the Junior fleet, being penalised under this rule. However, all in all it was a very good day of racing with the wind being stronger than it had been for the first two days of the event. The Regatta fleet again sailed on the Curlane Bank where they had a good breeze as well.

The onshore crews were in their best form ensuring the smooth running of the event and there was an excellent almost carnival atmosphere about the club when the fleets were returning to shore to enjoy hot soup and to make sure all would be in readiness with their boats for the final races of the event.

Tomorrow should make for a very exciting finale to the Championships. Very few points are separating the leaders in all divisions and who can say what may happen. It would be a foolish person indeed who would make any predictions about tomorrow with any certainty.

The Royal Cork hosted their first Oppy Nationals in 1994 some twenty years ago, their club fleet having grown to fifty four and a major reason for this growth had been a structured training programme encompassing absolute beginners, improvers and those with some skills. At this week's event, the standard is so high that any one of thirty competitors could win a race in the National Championships. 

Published in Optimist

#optimist – Day 2 of the CH Marine Irish Optimist National Championships saw a great buzz with competitors arriving at Royal Cork Yacht Club for today's racing in the CH Marine Irish Optimist National Championships in Crosshaven writes Claire Bateman.

Today was very much down to business with the sailors feeling more familiar with their surroundings and having had the experience of the first day of racing over them. Today the racing for the Senior and Junior fleets was to the east of Roches Point and the Regatta fleet once again raced on the Curlane Bank.

Off Roches Point the racing commenced in a northerly breeze gusting at irregular intervals between 5-6 knots with stronger puffs of some 10-12 knots. These would last for a few minutes and then ease off. Direction remained steady enough given the pulsing pattern of the breeze.

As usual, Main Fleet Juniors started racing first. The Senior Fleet started their first race after a short postponement and, after a general recall, the next start took place under a black flag. The breeze, previously steady in it's pattern started to shift and die. As the race got away a new breeze clicked into place with a greater westerly component. This was to set the pattern for most of the day. The Seniors played a game of snakes and ladders with the new breeze with some of the sailors not finding the dramatic shifts very favourable to them.

The second race had darkening skies with the breeze having solidified into a good range for racing. It was still gusty but there was a bit more bite for the experienced sailors to work with. This start was also difficult with a general recall and the resultant black flag appearing for the next start. Tide and line bias conspired against the sailors and many fell foul of the black flag at the pin end. This was somewhat frustrating for the affected sailors as this was the first good breeze they had seen during the championship so far.

The third race started with all the sailors more cautious approaching the line. Well into the first beat the wind dropped and shifted leaving many boats trickling very slowly into the windward mark with another opportunity lost to the variable conditions. This set the tone for the remainder of the race with the sky brightening but the wind staying light. The Race Officer then took the decision to shorten the race and the sailors commenced their long haul back to the club house.

In the Main Fleet Junior Division Michéal O'Suilléabháin leads on 13 points while in second place is UK visitor William Heathcotte one point behind, next is Spanish visitor Arnau Gelpi on 15 points and in fourth place is Tom Higgins of RStGYC on 19 points. These results are after five races with one discard.

Meanwhile, the Regatta Fleet had been enjoying excellent racing with Race Officer Eddie Rice on the Curlane Bank. They were sailing in a light breeze that occasionally surprised the young sailors by gusting to about 12 knots. It must be said, though, it is very easy to see that the future of Optimist sailing looks very bright indeed having watched some of these young competitors at the start and the competence shown when the breeze strengthened and some capsizes occurred. Some were a little nervous of course but everyone coped very well and they are a credit to their trainers and coaches. They really enjoyed themselves and even managed a smile for the camera!

They came ashore in fine form and once they had their boats safely and neatly tucked away were preparing for a special visit to the Crosshaven RNLI station.

Forecast for today (Sat) is similar with perhaps a stronger looking wind profile as the day progresses.

Published in Optimist

#optimist – The scene was set at Royal Cork Yacht Club this morning when some 190 competitors took to the water for the first day of racing at the CH Marine Irish Optimist National Championships writes Claire Bateman. The adrenaline fueled young sailors were champing at the bit in their eagerness to get to sea to commence battle. At the launch scene with all the volunteer helpers involved and with the different accents and the varying languages resounding in the morning air, it could have been likened to the tower of babel. The slick preparations and procedures put into place by the host club were well evident and the large number of optimist dinghies took smoothly to the water and on their way to the race area. The Senior and Junior fleets headed to Ringabella with the Regatta fleet younger sailors remaining comfortably closer to home on the Curlane Bank. The beauty of Cork harbour for sailing in any type of weather conditions is well known and the variety of courses available to choose to suit such conditions is second to none.

The weather proved to be in a slightly disobliging mood only providing 6 to 8 knots of a north westerly wind, other times rising to 12 knots and then dying away to 2 or 3. However, Race Officer David O'Brien got the Junior fleet underway followed by the Seniors and Race 1 was duly completed with the shock result of an OCS for Harry Durcan RCYC . However, whilst waiting for Race 2 to follow, the weather mood suddenly changed and the heavens opened with an almost biblical like deluge. This duly passed over and then a change of wind direction forced a relaying of some marks with ensuing delays due to the changeable breeze. Patience persevered and Race 2 finally got under way with an excellent win for Durcan who had suffered an OCS in Race 1. Harry will be our sole Irish Optimist at the forthcoming World Optimist Championship in Buenos Aires.

The Regatta fleet in the safe hands of Race Officer Eddie Rice, sailed on the Curlane Bank and experienced the same deluge before it arrived with the Junior and senior fleets. Racing went very smoothly and it was good to see the smiling faces of the sailors arriving back at the club delighted they had been able to sail two races in spite of the light winds. A tribute indeed to David O'Brien and Eddie Rice with their race teams.

Racing continues tomorrow and hopefully we will see a little more of a steady breeze.

Results here

Published in Optimist

#optimists – 200 Optimist sailors gathered at Royal Cork Yacht Club for the Opening Ceremony of the CH Marine Irish Optimist National Championships to be raced in Cork Harbour this weekend writes Claire Bateman.

The ceremony was preceded by a parade of competitors with flags from the dinghy park to the club house. The atmosphere was electric with the excited young competitors milling around on a glorious sunny evening. The flags were flying, Crosshaven was looking at its best, registration and checking of certificates and sail measurement was attracting long queues. The competitors and their families were welcomed by MC for the evening, Optimist Class Captain Rob Foster. Admiral Pat Lyons then spoke and also welcomed the competitors many of whom had come from the four corners of Ireland. A large contingent travelled from the U.K. and competitors also came from Spain, Italy and Bermuda, as well as a squad from India.

The Admiral then turned to a particularly significant part of the evening which was the Royal Cork Yacht Club recognition of the outstanding achievement of well known and very popular club member Séafra Guilfoyle who recently represented the club with honour at the highest level in international dinghy sailing. In July Séafra took silver in the Laser Radial Class at the ISAF Youth Worlds in Tavira, Portugal. This was only the third time an Irish sailor had achieved a podium position at an ISAF Youth World Championship and a first for a Royal Cork sailor. Seafra won Afloat's Sailor of the Month for July for his endeavours.


(From L. to R) Nick Bendon, CH Marine, Doug Howlett, Admiral Pat Lyons, Optimist Class Captain Rob Foster. Aidan Staunton, President IODAI and Martin O'Donovan CH Marine. Photo: Robert Bateman

It is worth noting that it was only a short six years since Séafra was competing in the Oppie Nationals having come up through the ranks before moving on to the Laser Radial. The Admiral then made a presentation to Séafra on behalf of the club and this was greeted with rousing applause from the assembled gathering.


Rear Admiral Dinghies, Celine Mc Grath, Séafra Guilfoyle and Admiral Pat Lyons Photo: Robert Bateman

The IODAI President, Aidan Staunton also spoke and wished the competitors the very best of competition for the event. Also present in the official welcoming party were principal sponsor for the event Nick Bendon of CH Marine and his CH Marine colleague Martin O'Donavan.

Then came the moment of the evening all the youngsters and rugby fans had been awaiting, the legendary Doug Howlett addressed the gathering to a rapturous reception and then declared the CH Marine Irish Optimist National Championship to be officially open. He proved to be a huge hit with the gathering and was a very popular choice to perform the official opening. When he had finished speaking he was surrounded by young sailors who were very proud to be seen walking around the club with the backs of their t-shirts bearing the signature of the rugby ace.

All in all a very successful and enjoyable evening.

Published in Optimist

#optimist – Royal Cork's Harry Durcan leads the Irish charge in 22nd place at the halfway mark of a massive 173–boat Optimist British & Open National Championships.

There were strong winds with gusts up to 23 knots created challenging condition for Optimist sailors today off Weymouth.

A grey, overcast morning gave way to sunshine in the afternoon along with a minor decrease in wind strength, however despite a slightly calmer afternoon, day three of racing proved to be the toughest yet for all fleets.

It was a great day for the Senior Fleet (Main), all of whom were challenged by big swells in Weymouth Bay. There was one general recall across three races and overall slow progress to the windward mark due to the choppy waves, however once the sailors rounded the top mark they took off on the reach and flew downwind very quickly. The leaders were the more experienced sailors in the fleet, and they managed to put a good distance between themselves and the rest of the pack.

While the international competition is doing very well, Vita Heathcote, 13 (Royal Lymington Yacht Club) who had a strong day, is sitting in third place and is the top British sailor sailor in the Senior Fleet. Also in the top ten are Arthur Fry, 13 (Royal Lymington Yacht Club) and Hatty Morsley, 15 (Port Dinorwic Sailing Club).

Arthur described the day, "It was pretty windy out in the bay and quite shifty, but it was a great day sailing and I'm pretty pleased to have moved into 8th overall."

Hattie continued, "The strong winds today made it very hard work, but it was also rewarding and there is good competition in the fleet. I managed to get my tactics right and finished with a 5, 15 and 10."

The Junior Fleet (Main) had similar conditions with slightly less chop inside the harbor. They completed three good races with no general recalls. The first race proved to be the toughest with the most wind, favoring the heavier sailors. Between 10 to 12 boats retired from the first race, however there were no major incidents aside from a few capsizes.

A British sailor has moved into first place for the first time in this event in the main – fleet, Alexandra Schonrock, 12 (Parkstone Yacht Club) leads before both the Senior and Junior fleets split into gold and silver tomorrow.

Regatta Fleet racing was especially challenging for the young sailors. The race committee managed two races in the morning and three in the afternoon. The first race of the day took a toll on the fleet and there were a number of capsizes and non-finishers. Slightly less wind in the afternoon meant more sailors were able to get around the course.

The Regatta Coached Fleet had two races in top end of conditions. There was determination among the regatta fleet sailors to get around the course and finish and everyone came back to shore with accomplished smiles on their faces.

The forecast for tomorrow is for lighter winds, between 11 to 13 knots with racing scheduled to resume tomorrow [Wednesday 6 August] at 11.00 AM.

For full results and more information, here

Published in Optimist
Tagged under

#optimist – Anyone looking at the 254 young sailors – mostly thirteen to fifteen year olds – milling around at the closing ceremony of the recent Optimist European Championships in Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay last weekend might wonder what future participation in sailing holds for them writes David O'Brien.

No crystal ball is available but it is possible to research with the help of Google what has happened to their opposite numbers of ten years ago, the participants in the championship of 2004 held in Sandhamn in Sweden. What follows is the result of such research seen by into a random 20% sample of those sailors.

From the start it must be said that these 2004 sailors were already an 'elite'. They had qualified at national level on the basis of trials almost always involving over a hundred contemporaries and in larger countries far more. They are the equivalent in sailing of the young athletes from all the other Olympic sports who will be participating in the Youth Olympic Games in China this August. Indeed around 60% of the sailors who will be competing in dinghies in those Youth Olympics will be graduates of IODA championships (the Optimist worlds and the five continental championships of which the European Championship is one).

Mention was made at the Dun Laoghaire closing ceremony of the link to the real Olympics and that 60% of participants in 2012 had sailed in IODA events. However with just 318 dinghy places in Rio 2016 the chances to qualify of any one of the 800 sailors a year participating in IODA championships are limited. To date only six of the 268 in Sandhamn have become Olympians. Unlike some other sports such as tennis sailing is not in general a professional sport and very few of the sailors of 2004 have even received expenses to continue to compete.

The methodology of the study was to Google the names of every fifth sailor and note the latest year in which he or she could be found on the results sheet of any sailing competition. The sample size is thus 34 boys and 20 girls. Admittedly, this study is not perfect since the names of the sailors crewing on bigger boats are rarely shown in the results, and secondly transliteration of names especially in languages such as Greek can vary.

As a result the following figures are probably an under-estimate especially as the sailors get older and are more likely to be crewing on bigger boats.

The percentages found to be competing are as follows:

Year 2006 2008 2010 2012
Average age 16 18 20 22
Boys 85% 79% 74% 62%
Girls 90% 80% 55% 35%

This study throws no light on why the percentage of females declines so sharply at 18+. It is notable that four of the seven girls in the sample known to be still sailing at age 22 were sailing Olympic Class boats whereas only six of the 21 boys were doing so, but this sample may be statistically too small for such detailed analysis to be valid.

The future sailing of the 2004 Irish team is not statistically significant (one country in one year) but similar Google research showed that more of the 2004 Irish girls continued to sail than the global figures above, the Irish boys rather fewer.

While it is relatively easy to study, as above, the future sailing of a small elite, similar research for larger numbers presents problems. In France, the meticulous documentation kept by the French Federation suggests that around 50% of those who race at any level in the 10-14 age brackets continue to do so, mostly in keelboats, past eighteen. Worldwide any data about those who sail but do not race appear to be totally unreliable.

What does the future hold for our children? No one knows for sure but, thanks to Google, at least we can start to sketch a picture of sailing's class of 2004.

Published in Youth Sailing

#optimist – Conor Gorman of the National Yacht Club won the Optimist Class's Crosbie Cup (limited to Silver Fleet competitors only) hosted for IODAI by Malahide Yacht Club and sponsored by TGI Fridays.

Over the six-race series on the Broadmeadows, young Gorman was a model of consistency, recording three second places and one first to finish comfortably ahead of runner-up Sam Crawford (Howth YC) and the first girl Leah Rickard (National YC) in third.

Conor is the younger brother of Clare Gorman, the top Irish girl at the weekend's Optimist Europeans.

The 28-boat fleet experienced light easterly winds on the Saturday but conditions improved significantly on the second day, giving PRO Derek Bothwell the opportunity to provide three longer races in fresher westerlies.

Running in tandem with the Silver Fleet on a separate course was the Regatta Fleet, which mixed racing with coaching, as usual in the Optimist Class. It attracted an entry of 33 boats from seven clubs.

Published in Optimist
Tagged under
Page 13 of 25

The Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) Information

The creation of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) began in a very low key way in the autumn of 2002 with an exploratory meeting between Denis Kiely, Jim Donegan and Fintan Cairns in the Granville Hotel in Waterford, and the first conference was held in February 2003 in Kilkenny.

While numbers of cruiser-racers were large, their specific locations were widespread, but there was simply no denying the numerical strength and majority power of the Cork-Dublin axis. To get what was then a very novel concept up and running, this strength of numbers had to be acknowledged, and the first National Championship in 2003 reflected this, as it was staged in Howth.

ICRA was run by a dedicated group of volunteers each of whom brought their special talents to the organisation. Jim Donegan, the elder statesman, was so much more interested in the wellbeing of the new organisation than in personal advancement that he insisted on Fintan Cairns being the first Commodore, while the distinguished Cork sailor was more than content to be Vice Commodore.

ICRA National Championships

Initially, the highlight of the ICRA season was the National Championship, which is essentially self-limiting, as it is restricted to boats which have or would be eligible for an IRC Rating. Boats not actually rated but eligible were catered for by ICRA’s ace number-cruncher Denis Kiely, who took Ireland’s long-established native rating system ECHO to new heights, thereby providing for extra entries which brought fleet numbers at most annual national championships to comfortably above the hundred mark, particularly at the height of the boom years. 

ICRA Boat of the Year (Winners 2004-2019)


ICRA Nationals 2021

The date for the 2021 edition of the ICRA National Championships is 3-5 September at the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay.

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