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Early Leaders Emerge in Radial, 420 & Optimist Fleets at Youth Sailing Nationals

5th April 2018
Jamie McMahon of Howth Yacht Club leads the Radials after two races sailed Jamie McMahon of Howth Yacht Club leads the Radials after two races sailed Credit:

There were some predictable names at the top of the three competing fleets after the opening day of the Irish Sailing Volvo Youth Pathway National Sailing Championships on Dublin Bay.

Jamie McMahon of Howth Yacht Club leads the Laser Radials, Malahide’s Gemma McDowell and Emma Gallagher lead the 420s and Tralee Bay's Justin Lucas leads the Optimists.

A further three classes are due to join the event on day two, bringing the turnout to 196 boats and 213 competitors but gale force winds may delay the schedule.

Laser dinghy Big seas 1581Big seas – there were pretty challenging conditions with good size waves and a really cold start to the Youth Natonals. Photo:

Laser 1663Solo run – In some great surfing conditions, Jamie McMahon leads Peter Fagan down the final leg of the second Radial race Photo:

Three straights wins saw Justin Lucas of Tralee Bay and Royal Cork Yacht Club take a commanding lead in the Optimist trials event where 69 boats are competing. His nearest challengers were Moss Simington of the Royal St. George YC tied with Rian Geraghty-McDonnell on 14 points apiece, some eleven points behind the leader.

Laser radials downwind 1705Full concentration – tight racing downwind in the Laser Radials Photo:

"Three straights wins saw Justin Lucas of Tralee Bay take a commanding lead in the Optimist trials event"

In the Laser Radial event sailed in the centre of the bay, Howth Yacht Club's Jamie McMahon also had a good start to his series with two wins but with pressure from Peter Fagan from the Royal St. George YC with two seconds. McMahon had been taking a break from Sailing to focus on Junior Cup Rugby since Christmas and this event marks his return to competition - and form.

420 1766Hangin' in – Malahide’s Gemma McDowell and Emma Gallagher lead the 420s Photo:

Amongst the 420 double-handers, also sailing on the centre-course, Malahide’s Gemma McDowell and Emma Gallagher had a consistent opening day with a second and first place in their 16-strong class. 

420 spinnaker 1416Girl power – White–sailing Nicola and Fiona Ferguson to windward of second overall Morgan Lyttle and Patrick Whyte under spinnaker in the 420 class Photo:

420 gybe 1471Ready to gybe – 420 pair Ben Graf and Alexander Farrell catch a wave Photo:

The midday start for both courses saw brilliant sunshine but a cold south-easterly breeze that gradually built to over 20 knots with accompanying sea state.

The forecast for day two of near gale conditions may mean waiting until Saturday for the next race pending a decision by race management teams early on Friday.

dinghy towed RIB 1617Not plain sailing – there were plenty of retirals across the three fleets after a blustery day one. Photo:

Full results are here

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Irish Sailing

The Irish Sailing Association, also known as Irish Sailing, is the national governing body for sailing, powerboating and windsurfing in Ireland.

Founded in 1945 as the Irish Dinghy Racing Association, it became the Irish Yachting Association in 1964 and the Irish Sailing Association in 1992.

Irish Sailing is a Member National Authority (MNA) of World Sailing and a member of the Olympic Federation of Ireland.

The Association is governed by a volunteer board, elected by the member clubs. Policy Groups provide the link with members and stakeholders while advising the Board on specialist areas. There is a professional administration and performance staff, based at the headquarters in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.

Core functions include the regulation of sailing education, administering racing and selection of Irish sailors for international competition. It is the body recognised by the Olympic Federation of Ireland for nominating Irish qualified sailors to be considered for selection to represent Ireland at the Olympic Games. Irish sailors have medalled twice at the Olympics – David Wilkins and Jamie Wikinson at the 1980 games, and Annalise Murphy at the 2016 games.

The Association, through its network of clubs and centres, offers curriculum-based training in the various sailing, windsurfing and powerboating disciplines. Irish Sailing qualifications are recognised by Irish and European Authorities. Most prominent of these are the Yachtmaster and the International Certificate of Competency.

It runs the annual All-Ireland Championships (formerly the Helmsman’s Championship) for senior and junior sailors.

The Association has been led by leading lights in the sailing and business communities. These include Douglas Heard, Clayton Love Junior, John Burke and Robert Dix.

Close to 100 sailors have represented Ireland at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Membership of Irish Sailing is either by direct application or through membership of an affiliated organisation. The annual membership fee ranges from €75 for families, down to €20 for Seniors and Juniors.