The answer was written in the weekend's weather forecast: whoever could master the vagaries of Dublin Bay's light winds could count on victory at this year's Irish Sailing Youth National Championships at Dun Laoghaire Harbour.
After three days of racing, only one of the early leaders from Thursday's races in a near gale had held on to their overall lead by Sunday's windless conclusion.
As Afloat.ie reported earlier, 213 competitors from 26 clubs around Ireland competed in a series that, although it had breeze throughout the wind range, will be remembered as a light air test, and a severe one at that, with some serious wind shifts in the tentative south–easterlies.
"the weekend winners also earned a nomination to represent Ireland at this July's World Youth Sailing Championships in the USA, subject to international standards being met"
Five titles were decided with selection for squads and Irish Sailing Academy places also at stake for the under–18 sailors. And, as an added bonus, the weekend winners also earned a nomination to represent Ireland at this July's World Youth Sailing Championships in the USA subject to meeting the required international standards. Winners have the chance to make that top 20% standard required in both Laser and 420 classes, at selected events later this month.
Justin Lucas Wins Optimist Battle of the Bay
Royal Cork and Tralee Bay Optimist sailor Justin Lucas led his 78–boat fleet from start to finish. Although his lead was narrowed overnight by national champion Rian Geraghty-McDonnell of the National Yacht Club, Lucas proved a true champion again this year by finishing race ten of the series this afternoon with another win, his fourth of the weekend.
Lucas defeated Johnny Flynn from Howth Yacht Club by a single point. Lucas was one of three Royal Cork Yacht Club competitors in the top six and the club had largest representation at the event.
Jack Fahy on Top in Laser Radial
The Laser Radial class had incredibly close racing and any one of four or five top sailors could have won overall in the final two nail biting races. In the end, after some clever sailing, Jack Fahy emerged on top after a fourth place and a win swept him into the overall lead by two points. Royal St. George Yacht Club club–mate Tom Higgins took second while series leader Jamie McMahon of Howth Yacht Club, who had lead the competition since winning both of Thursday’s races, finished third overall, three points behind Fahy.
Top Radial girl, in seventh place, was Nell Staunton of the National Yacht Club.
National's Ferguson Sisters Win 420 Title
In the 16-strong International 420 class, girl crews ruled the podium in a close contest that saw hard–working sisters Nicola Ferguson and Fiona Ferguson of the National Yacht Club count all races in the top three to win overall by three points ahead of early leaders Gemma McDowell and Emma Gallagher of Malahide Yacht Club in second and Grace O'Beirne with Kathy Kelly of the Royal St George Yacht Club in third.
Strong Performance by Royal Cork
In a strong showing for Cork Harbour, Royal Cork Yacht Club can make a claim to have won three of the five titles even though, admittedly, some winners are sailing under the burgees of several clubs. For example, Radial winner Jack Fahy entered under three clubs: Royal St George Yacht Club, Royal Cork Yacht Club and Lough Derg Yacht Club. Likewise Justin Lucas hails from Royal Cork and Tralee.
The Irish Sailing event was co-hosted by Dun Laoghaire neighbours National YC and Royal St. George YC.
Topper Titles Goes to Kohl and Jones
Three classes started racing on Saturday and completed a six-race series that saw Atlee Kohl of the Royal Cork Yacht Club win the Laser 4.7 class while club-mate David Jones took the Topper 5.3 fleet. Blessington Sailing Club’s Christian Houlihan won the Topper 4.2 class.
Overall results are here
Link to all Afloat.ie's Youth Sailing Nationals coverage here