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#teamrace – The Schull Alumni team showed themselves to be the 'in form' team, confirming their ITRA Irish team racing Champion status.

The ISAF Team Racing World Championship is the ultimate test of the three boat versus three boat format. The Irish Team Racing Association ran trials on 14th February to select the Irish representatives. The event was sailed in light airs within Dun Laoghaire Harbour with five teams competing in the double round robin. Royal St George Yacht Club's excellent Fireflies provided the ideal platform, as identical boats will be used in the Worlds on Rutland Water, UK.
In the first match Alumni were drawn against rivals George Knights as youth and speed took on the experience and cunning of the Knights. It was cut and thrust from the warning signal with no quarter asked for or given. The umpires were kept busy answering protests. Schull got the upper hand and retained control sailing faster to take the first match in the rubber. The second match saw the George Knights start strongly but were reeled in by Schull's superior speed. It was all to play for down the run but Knights held onto the lead with a 1,4-5. Mark 4 saw 4 boats frenetically tacking and gybing as Schull tried to get into a winning combination. The George held the combination with last place swapping between the teams but a misjudgement by Knights on the finish line saw Schull sneak the win. The George didn't drop another match (6 wins) and Schull (7 wins) fell only to Aidan McLaverty's Hoop Dream, who took third place with 4 wins.
ITRA will recommend to the ISA that Alumni and Knights be selected as IRL1 and IRL2 for the ISAF Team Racing World Championships and if a third place is offered to Ireland Hoops will be selected as IRL3.
Thanks to Gordon Davies for organising the event, the RStGYC for providing the facilities and the race and umpire teams for supporting an enjoyable event.
Schull Alumni:
Mark Hassett, Fionn Lyden, Oisin O'Driscoll, Liam Manning, Ellen O'Regan, Katie Moynihan
George Knights:
John Sheehy, Rebecca Killian, Nick Smyth, Rachel Guy, Ger Owens, Maeve Judge
Hoops:
Aidan McLaverty, Sonia Minihane, William Clarke, Madoline O' Connell, Ross Murray, Niamh Connoly
For more information contact Gordon Davies (Hon Sec ITRA) 086 150 1220

Published in Team Racing
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#isaf – The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) is seeking a Chief Executive Officer.

Working closely with the President, Executive Committee and Council, the CEO will provide strategic leadership to ISAF and its staff and ensure the provision of a timely, first class service to the ISAF membership to ensure the needs of its members are treated as paramount.

This is an exciting time to join the world governing body for the sport of sailing, as 2015 sees the launch of our ISAF Sailing World Cup Series, with events in Australia, USA, France, UK and China, culminating in the Final in Abu Dhabi.

More information about the job and the application process can be found here 

Applicants are asked to provide a covering letter highlighting their motivation for the role, relevant experience and details of current remuneration. Additionally, please submit a curriculum vitae (CV) showing a full and continuous employment history and formal education qualifications.

All applications should be sent to [email protected] by Monday 23 February, 2015.

Published in Jobs
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#isaf – The ISAF World Sailing Rankings for 2 February 2015 have been released. Irish Laser radial sailor Annalise Murphy, who placed seventh overall in Miami last week, is ranked 15th, Belfast's lough's Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern are world ranked 16th in the 49er skiff and club mate James Espey is 45th in the mens Laser division.  Full rankings in all classes are here

Laser

By his own standards, Tom Burton (AUS) was off the pace at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Presented by Sunbrella, finishing down in 18th. However with a number of medal winning performances already behind him, he holds on to World #1.

Philipp Buhl (GER) claimed the World Cup Miami title but only after his nearest rival Nick Thompson (GBR) suffered an equipment malfunction that allowed the German to pass in the Medal Race. Buhl's victory gave him the full 200-points and he leapfrogs up from World #30 to World #7.

Thompson meanwhile moves up to World #2 as Robert Scheidt (BRA) slips to World #3.

Miami was a vital regatta for all of the competitors with valuable ranking points up for grabs. A top performance would prove significant and that was certainly the case for the 14th placed Jesper Stalheim (SWE) and the eighth placed Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED).

Stalheim picked up 175 points whilst van Schaardenburg received 186. They move back into the top 30 at World #20 and #21 respectively, securing an invitation to ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères.

Alex Mills Barton (GBR) and Kristian Ruth (NOR) also sneak into the top 30 at World #29 and World #30.

Several 50-point regattas across the world also see chops and changes in the middle of the rankings.

Laser Radial

There is no change to the leading Laser Radial trio with the Miami podium finishers all solidifying their top position. Bronze medallist Marit Bouwmeester (NED) sits at World #1, silver medallist Evi Van Acker (BEL) is at World #2 and Anne Marie Rindom (DEN), Miami gold medallist, completes the top three.

There are plenty of movers and shakers below them with the 200-point ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami and several 50-point regattas ensuring so. With the top 30 receiving invitations to ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères, the fight for position in Miami was fierce.

Alison Young (GBR) moves back into the top 30 after a busy period of racing. Wins at ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne and Sail Sydney combined with a ninth at the ISAF Worlds and a fourth at the Sailing World Cup Final had left her at World #38. A hard fought fifth in Miami pushes her back into the top places and she sits at World #18.

At the cut off point for Hyères invitations, Joyce Floridia (ITA) and Fernanda Decnop (BRA) both move into the top 30, counting the key points they secured at World Cup Miami. For Paloma Schmidt (PER), a 45th in Miami was not enough to solidify her position in the top 30 and she misses out by four points.

Finn

Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) retained World #1 in the Finn following a silver medal performance at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami. The Croatian has three consecutive second place finishes to his name, ensuring a sublime haul of points.

Giles Scott (GBR) holds a perfect ranking score of 800 points after he extended his winning streak in Miami. However, the Briton only counts five regattas to his ranking whilst those around him count six. Scott is positioned at World #7.

Zsombor Berecz (HUN) moves back into the top 30 after he won gold at the 50-point Palamos Christmas Race at the back end of 2014. The current World #30 takes the final Hyères invitation. Palamos silver medallist Milan Vujasinovic (CRO) also moves into the top 30. He is at World #20.

49erFX

Having dominated the 49erFX over the last 12 months, Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) comfortably sit atop of the rankings on 988 points.

North American gold and a World Cup Miami bronze ensured their position was solidified and they are 69 points clear of World #2 Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN).

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) finished second at the Midwinters before sealing World Cup Miami gold with a day to spare. With the full 200 World Cup points coming their way they move up to World #3.

Interestingly, since the 49erFX's first ranking release on 12 December 2012, there have only been two World #1s, the Brazilians and Kiwis. But as crews continue to master the equipment, they'll look to spring some surprises on the road to Rio.

Tess Lloyd and Caitlin Elks (AUS) took the honours at the Oceanic Championship and continue to march up the rankings. They move up four places to World #14.

49er

ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami bronze was enough for Jonas Warrer and Anders Thomsen (DEN) to retain World #1 in the 49er. Joel Turner, sailing with Iain Jensen, picked up silver in Miami and as a result Turner moves from World #40 to World #18 and will receive a Hyères invitation for himself and usual crew Lewis Brake.

Turner came in for Nathan Outteridge who missed out on Miami competition for personal reasons. Jensen will revert back to sailing with his usual helm. Outteridge and Jensen sit at World #24 but only count four regattas to their point's total.

Nico Delle Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) put together a steady string of Miami results that ultimately handed them the title. They did not win a race across the series of 13 but 11 top ten performances gave them the edge. They remain at World #3.

A 23rd in Miami was enough for Federico and Arturo Alonso (ESP) to re-enter the top 30 at World #27. Jacapo Plazzi and Umberto Molineris (ITA) move to World #30 after a 31st in Miami. Both crews will receive invitations to ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères.

Men's 470

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) retain World #1 in the Men's 470 after two medal winning performances in Miami, USA. They claimed the North American title in advance of ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami but were made to settle for silver at the main event. They sit 25 points clear of World #2 Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE).

Luke Patience and Elliot Willis (GBR) finished behind the Australians at the 100-point North American regatta but had their revenge by securing a seven point victory at World Cup Miami. As a result they shift up to World #3.

Japan's Tetsuya Matsunago and Yugo Yoshida are the big movers this month. The Japanese pair picked up bronze at the 470 North Americans before sealing a tenth at World Cup Miami. As a result, they have moved up to a personal best of World #5 from World #19.

Palamos Christmas Race silver medallists Guillaume Pirouelle and Valentin Sipan (FRA) sneak into World #30, thus securing an invitation to World Cup Hyères. At World #31 Antonio and Joao Rosa miss out on an automatic invitation by 24 points. Their chance to qualify will come at Princess Sofia Trophy regatta in Palma, Mallorca, Spain.

Women's 470

New Zealand's Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie move back to World #1 in the Women's 470 having dominated ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Presented by Sunbrella. Taking the full 200-points the Kiwis are 99 points clear of Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan (BRA).

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) finished 27 points off the Kiwis in Miami, however with a silver medal coming their way they move up to World #7 from World #21.

Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) took the gold at the 100-point North American Championship in advance of their ninth at the World Cup. They sit at World #11.

France's Maelenn Lemaitre and Aloise Retornaz took 50-points away from the Palamos Christmas Race regatta at the end of 2014 and remain at World #24.

There are no shock entries into the top 30 after many of the leading teams used Miami to solidify their spot top 30 status.

Men's RS:X

It was an up and down week in the Men's RS:X, with consistency a rarity on Miami's challenging track. Nonetheless, the form racers came to the forefront.

Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) claimed gold which promotes him up to World #13 from World #29. Silver for Thomas Goyard (FRA) moves him up to World #3 a personal best and bronze medallist Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) retains World #1.

Sebastian Fleischer (DEN), Joan Cardona Bocarando (ESP) and Ivan Pastor (ESP) all move into the top 30 after solid Miami performances and subsequently qualify for ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères.

The 100-point RS:X African Championship title went the way of Algeria's Hamza Bouras. The Algerian moves up to World #105, a personal best.

Women's RS:X

Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) holds on to World #1 in the Women's RS:X in spite of a disappointing final day in Miami. The Italian was on the course side in the Medal Race and dropped out of the honours. Nonetheless her fourth place was enough for her to retain her position at the top of the rankings.

The Netherlands' Lilian de Geus and Russia's Olga Maslivets were major benefactors of Tartaglini's downfall. De Geus took silver which pushes her up to World #4, a personal best, and Maslivets' bronze sees her climb up to World #25 from World #38 to secure a Hyères invitation.

Bryony Shaw (GBR) claimed a comprehensive Miami victory, solidifying her spot at World #2.

Nacra 17

Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) successfully defended their ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami title with a day to spare. By taking maximum points at the 200-point regatta they hold on to World #1.

Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves (GBR) took silver in Miami and remain at World #6. Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) sneaked onto the Miami podium and sit at World #2.

Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED) finished fourth, moving them back into the top 30.

Published in Olympic

#annalisemurphy – No sooner had she returned to Dublin from last week's Moth Worlds in Australia than Laser Radial ace Annalise Murphy was on her way to Florida yesterday for the second regatta of the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup series this Saturday. In a pre–Olympic year, the stakes are high for Rio as the Olympic circuit moves up a gear.

Ireland is sending a very full squad to Florida if Miami registrations are anything to go by. 13 Irish sailors are signed up across five key Olympic sailing classes, including four in the mens Laser, two in the women's radial, a mens 49er, a women's 49erfx plus a paralympic Sonar keelboat. Expectations are running high for Olympic places but although Ireland secured three Olympic berths for Rio in Santander last September, the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) has yet to publish its own selection criteria on how Irish sailors might contest these slots.

It had been suggested the criteria would be published last October but there is still no official publication of same. Last September, David O'Brien wrote in the Irish Times that sailing places for Rio could come down to 'gut feeling', saying selectors must have as primary guiding factor the maximisation of Irish medal performances in 2016 and subsequent games. It prompted Afloat's Water Rat to draw up a Different Approach to Olympic Sailing Nominations: No Trials, Just Pure Selection?

Meanwhile, as sailors continue to train, this week Biscayne Bay will come alive with the sails of 651 boats, featuring 848 sailors from 63 nations and Ireland is taking its place on five start lines.

In the mens Laser there will be Chris Russell from Belfast, Finn Lynch from Blessington, James Espey from Bangor and Darragh O'Sullivan from Cork Harbour. Annalise is joined by Erica Ruigrok of Skerries in the Radial. Also slated is Belfast pair Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern in the 49er skiff, Dublin's Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey in the 49erfx and Kinsale's John Twomey, Ian Costelloe and Austin O'Carroll in the Sonar. 

The 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami marks the second anniversary of competition for the Nacra 17.

Beijing 2008 Tornado Olympic gold medallist Fernando Echavarri (ESP) will take to Nacra 17 racing for the first time in Miami. Echavarri has paired up with 2011 470 World Champion Tara Pacheco who formerly sailed with Iker Martinez. Pacheco and Martinez, who were coached by Echavarri, split up towards the end of 2014 with Martinez teaming up with Marina Lopez.

Echavarri joins a list of highly experienced competitors in the Miami Nacra 17 fleet. Two time Nacra 17 World Champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA), Sofia Bekatorou and Konstantinos Trigonis (GRE), Franck Cammas and Sophie de Turckheim (FRA) and Puerto Rico's Enrique Figueroa, sailing with Franchesca Valdes Ortega, all have vast experience that they'll put into practice in Miami.

Great Britain's Giles Scott will spearhead the Finn fleet, aiming to defend his title and continue his unbeaten run of six ranked regattas and the Aquece Rio - International Sailing Regatta 2014 (Olympic Test Event).

The racing will be available to watch in 2D and 3D via the live tracking. HERE.

Published in Annalise Murphy
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#matchracing – Ireland's hosting of International Match racing events is set to to continue in 2015 with Howth Yacht Club's annuoncement that it will host the 2015 Nations Cup European Final on 7-10th May 2015. It follows the acclaimed 2014 staging of the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship at Royal Cork Yacht Club

The Howth result follows a recent decent decision by ISAF to award the worldwide regional finals to Buenos Aires (South America), Brisbane (Oceania), San Diego (North America), Tunis (Africa), Bahrain (Asia) and Howth (Europe). The Grand Final will be held in Vladivostok on 14-19th July.

As per the Notice of Race, the ISAF host member national authority may nominate an entry in each of the Open and Women's Division.

The event will be run in the ISA Sailfleet J80s and the full schedule will be announced in due course.

The ISAF Nations Cup was first introduced to the world in 1991. Open and Women's contests are run and it is based on a series of Regional Finals with the top crews meeting at the Grand Final.

Racing at the Regional Finals is preceded by an ISAF Match Racing Clinic, aimed to help develop match racing skills and officiating in that region. The winners of each Regional Final progress to the Grand Final, where they are joined by the defending nation and the host nation.

All relevant information will be published and available on the ISAF website - sailing.org

The aim of the event is to broaden the availability of match racing and provide international match racing competition for national authorities and sailors at a reasonable cost, whilst acting as an incentive for national match racing programmes.

Published in Match Racing

#laser – It will be a final day shootout in the Laser and Laser Radial fleets at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

There is minimal separation in both fleets ahead of Sunday's double points do or die Medal Races following a thrilling penultimate day of racing. With the Medal Race places decided the competitors will be fighting it out for ISAF Sailing World Cup Final glory as well as a share of the USD$200,000 prize money.

Abu Dhabi treated the sailors to another glamorous day with a north westerly wind coming in around 10-13 knots which made for some exciting action.

Laser Radial

Just one point separates Belgium's Evi Van Acker and Denmark's Anne-Marie Rindom in the Laser Radial heading into the final day.

The Belgian, a London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, and Danish racers traded blows on the penultimate day taking a win and a second apiece with minimal separation on the race track. Rindom came out flying in the opening race and took the lead from the start and she never looked back, sealing the deal by over 30 seconds over Van Acker.

Van Acker was dominant in the second race of the day, demonstrating exceptional downwind speed throughout to pull away from the pack.

As it stands Van Acker holds the lead on 11 points with Rindom on 12. Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) and Alison Young (GBR) are in the hunt behind the leading pair on 22 points but will likely fight their own battle on the final day.

"Wow, what a really nice day," beamed Van Acker after racing. "I really wasn't expecting this when coming to Abu Dhabi so yea, wow. It was a really nice day, really fun sailing with really big waves, nice breeze and how it should be every day.

"For me it was a good day. I was second in the first race but it didn't go so well. I was lucky to be really fast on the downwind so that made me some gains. In the second race I was good from the beginning and got the lead and kept on extending it. I am really happy."

Rindom was quick to echo her rivals thoughts on the days racing, "I like the weather, it's so much better than Denmark at this time of year," smiled Rindom, "I actually thought there was going to be no wind here but the conditions are so good.

"It was a brilliant day, I love the conditions and we had two good races which were done really fast by the Race Committee and the wind was perfect."

The level of competition in the Laser Radial fleet has been exceptional. World Champions in their numbers have battled it out over three days and now it all comes down to Sunday's Medal Race.

With double points on offer the game is wide open and Van Acker knows it's going to be tough, "I think I will just sail my own race. It's one point so you can't really do a lot. It's also quite close behind us so it's not like we have a 20 point lead over the rest. It will be really tricky and on the inside course [just off the Corniche] it will be really hard but I'm happy with my day and hoping to continue that tomorrow."

Rindom also remains wary, playing down her chances, "I don't know how I'll go into tomorrow yet, I have to go home and figure out what the points are. I can imagine there are some girls behind going for the win so we will just have to see."

Laser

World #1 Tom Burton and Matt Wearn are flying the Australian flag high in the Laser fleet at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, UAE, occupying the top two spots in the ultra-competitive fleet.

Burton has been the standout performer of the week, recording three victories from six races. He leads on 11 points but his young compatriot, training partner, room-mate and rival Wearn piled on the pressure with an outstanding day on the water to pull within nine points.

Burton secured the opening race victory over Wearn by the narrowest of margins. Although Burton's lead seemed comfortable at the midway point of the race Wearn pushed hard to reduce the margin to two seconds at the final mark. Burton managed to hold on, narrowly, to take a slender victory.

Wearn ramped things up in the final race ahead of Sunday's deciding Medal Race and picked up an emphatic race win, finishing 60 seconds ahead of Jesper Stalheim (SWE). The result pulled the young Australian within reach of Burton and he was a happy sailor at the close of play, "I finally found some form," smiled Wearn. "I definitely needed it to get into that area to try and push for the top three. It's a bit of a shock to be up in second to be honest as the racing has just been so close in the Laser.

"With just 20 boats and one dropped score after six races anything can happen. But that's the way it is."

Burton and Wearn are sharing a room in Abu Dhabi and it will be a case of 'what goes on, on the race track, stays on the race track' on the final day. "I'm sure we'll have a good time tonight," joked Burton. "There will be a bit of banter and stuff like that but it's good to see an Australian one two."

"Matt and I train together a lot. I competed against [Tom] Slingsby in the regatta before he won the Olympic gold and I know how good a feeling it was for me to be just behind him. We train together so this will make for some good memories when we train this Australian summer."

Medal racing in a highlight competitive fleet is nothing new to Burton who has made the cut in all events he's competed at throughout 2014, picking up an abundance of medals along the way. For Wearn he has not faced off against all of the best Laser sailors in the world but goes in with no fear, "Tom's got a bit more experience than me in Medal Race situations but I think I'll go out there and just go for it. If I can win the race then anything can happen.

"It would be pretty big to finish on the podium. I had a bad regatta at the worlds so to get the confidence back up and get back into the groove of the Laser class would be really good."

An Australian one two is certainly on the cards but Tonci Stipanovic (CRO), Francesco Marrai (ITA) and Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) are all within touching distance. Nonetheless the ever confident Burton remains upbeat, "Depending on what the conditions are we will see what we can do. I'll see what the conditions are like tomorrow. I think that maybe there will be some more breeze and inside here [just off of the Corniche] it should be interesting."

Racing is scheduled to commence at 10:00 local time on Sunday 30 November.

Published in Olympic
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The opening day of racing at the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates has been described as spectacular, fantastic and perfect.

Smiles were present before racing at the Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club, on the waters off of the Corniche and around Lulu Island and back ashore upon the conclusion of racing.

Although three Irish sailors were invited to the Cup they are not competing due to budget and time constraints.

A north westerly breeze that ranged between 9-14 knots greeted the sailors across the four race tracks. The outside courses saw big waves to add some spice to the sailors lives whilst the flat water on the inside Corniche course tested the sailors all round abilities.

Racing for the 270 sailors from 38 nations across the ten Olympic and open kiteboarding fleet commenced at 12:00 local time and wrapped up with a full complement of races in the Olympic events.

Finn

Slovenia's Vasilij Zbogar was dominant in Abu Dhabi's conditions, picking up a pair of race wins in the 19-boat Finn fleet.

After racing, ashore at the Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht, the Slovenian was visibly pleased yet shocked with his regatta opening, "I am a bit surprised with the two first places. It's much better than I thought I would start. The conditions were perfect for my technique and weight and my boat speed was extremely good. The main issue was that I got a yellow flag in the first race which was a bit annoying but I still finished first."

Zbogar's victories came by different margins. A close encounter with Jake Lilley (AUS) in the opening race saw him take the victory by a narrow two seconds. He ramped it up in the second race, taking the gun by 30 seconds over Pieter Jan Postma (NED) and Zbogar wants to continue in the same way on the second day, "I hope we will have the same conditions. I will try to keep this first place until the end but I know it is going to be very hard. Today it was really nice sailing conditions and I'm looking forward to the next few days."

Abu Dhabi is a new venue for the Slovenian and he has taken to it well, not only the sailing side but offshore as well, "Until now, Abu Dhabi has been a big surprise for me. Everybody was a bit sceptical at first, maybe the venue and the sailing conditions weren't right but here we are and people are extremely helpful, everything is extremely well organised and the sailing is spectacular.

"I think all the sailors are really happy and they all see it's a big step forward in Olympic classes."

Lilley trails the Slovenia by five points in second place whilst Croatia's Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic occupies third overall, a point behind Lilley.

49erFX

New Zealand's Alex Maloney and Molly Meech started the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final with a bang by taking the opening race victory in the 17-boat 49erFX fleet.

The pair picked up a second victory in the third race of the day but a sandwiched tenth tarnishes their good start. Nonetheless the Kiwis had some great racing as Maloney explained, "It was beautiful conditions out there with a nice Abu Dhabi breeze and really nice waves. We were on Course C in front of the Emirates Palace and it was pretty nice out there. The first and last race we had 8-10 knots and it dropped down and got a bit interesting, it's really nice racing out there.

"We were pretty disappointing with our performance at the Worlds but we had a good break and have had some good preparation for Abu Dhabi. We were in Rio for three weeks and we're feeling a lot more confident again and a lot more focused."

Whilst the Kiwis lead, it's the Italian pairing of Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich who were the masters of consistency as they notched up a race win and a pair of seconds. They sit second overall by nature of the Kiwis discarding their tenth and Conti's face was full of smiles after racing, "It was perfect, perfect conditions. There were 10-14 knots with good waves and we enjoyed it a lot. We had good results and that's why we enjoyed it a lot.

"We felt very comfortable with the boat. It's good to have a brand new boat as we used to sail with a pretty old one so there are a lot of differences in performance. It's just perfect to escape from winter and to be here, we love it."

Conti was also full of praise for everything she has seen thus far at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, "We are staying in such a beautiful hotel and the people here are just so gentle and kind. They're so curious about sailing as well. The venue is just perfect. There is plenty of space so we can move around without having the problem of touching other boats. The weather is warm and there is a huge mall right here, it has everything. I would stay here the whole winter."

Sweden's Lisa Ericson and Hanna Klinga complete the podium after the opening day but it's still early stages in the competition with six fleet races to follow ahead of the Medal Race.

49er

Captain America and Superman's Polish alias' Tomasz Januszewski and Jacek Nowak have swooped in to Abu Dhabi to take the 49er lead on the opening day of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final.

The pair picked up two races wins and a 13th, discarding the latter to top the bill in the 18-boat 49er fleet. They lead Great Britain's Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign by a single point, "It's great to be here and race here with the best of the best," commented Nowak. "We were on Course D so we were inside the bay and the wind was inshore so there was a lot of shifts and gusts. It was good to have great speed and to be able to read the shifty conditions. All the teams were very close to each other throughout the races."

The Polish competitors are instantly recognisable on the race track with their superhero outfits and Januszewski explained the origin of their tops, "We are co-operating with under armour, so when the t-shirts went on sale our friend gave us a couple of them.

"He asked who we would like to be and I was just like, stop there, 'I want to be Captain America', because I love that superhero and Jack loves Superman.

"After we first wore them everybody has called us Superman and Captain America," continued Januszewski with a beaming smile, "They're defending someone's honour and ambitions so we like those and they're really friendly, they're not bad guys.

"It's a good way to show potential sponsors what we can do and how many opportunities we can give them."

The racing on the 49er race course was exceptionally close with little separation of the fleet across three races. Fletcher and Sign picked up the first race victory before finishing second behind the Polish sailors in the second. The Brits did not sail the third race due to an equipment issue as the Polish sailors swooped through to take their second race win and the lead.

Januszewski and Nowak are in a good spot to progress with six fleet races and a Medal Race remaining and will be looking to draw on their super strength from within, "With any power you can achieve anything," said Januszewski, "but if we were to have a power I think we'll take super speed."

Women's RS:X

Great Britain's Bryony Shaw stole the show in the Women's RS:X taking three consecutive race victories to hold a steady lead over her rivals at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The British racer, who won bronze at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, was in exceptional form, mastering the conditions and ruling the waves on one of the outside course areas.

"We were out on Course C today so we had quite a bit of swell and waves," said Shaw. "The wind was between 10 and 13 knots and I was pleased to be sailing fast."

Shaw proved to be a class above the rest as she read the conditions perfectly to lead at the first mark in all of the races as she explained, "I got a good start in the first race but not such a good start in the second race. The wind had just started flicking to the right so I made a gain from going to the right in that race. The first two races I rounded first and was able to extend my lead.

"In the last race we had lighter winds. I had a great start by the committee boat and really good height and speed and managed to round first again. It was quite a physical race that one. I kept it quite simple and stayed between my competitors and the mark and managed to win that third race. It was a really good day."

With 270 sailors from 38 nations competing in Abu Dhabi, the British sailor is just one of many competitors who are revelling in the Emirati capital. With a blend of old traditions in a modern metropolis there is plenty for the sailors to learn and enjoy, both on and off the water, "I've tried to immerse myself in the culture and we've been going out for dinners and the people here seem really friendly," added Shaw. "The conditions today were fantastic. To be sailing out there in board shorts and for it to be warm, sunny and to be sailing in planing conditions is the best for windsurfing. I've had a great time here so far. It's been a short regatta for them to try and set up but it's going well."

China's Qiaoshan Weng is second overall following a third, second and a discarded 14th. Charline Picon (FRA), 2014 Women's RS:X World Champion, is third overall after an up and down day that included a second, a fourth and a discarded 14th place finish.

Men's RS:X

Youngsters Pawel Tarnowski (POL) and Louis Giard (FRA) are showing their experienced counterparts how to race in Abu Dhabi as they top the bill in the Men's RS:X fleet.

Tarnowski, 20-years-old, stormed into the lead following an exceptional day on the water. He amassed two race wins and a third and holds a two point advantage over Giard, 21-years-old, who took a pair of seconds and a third.

The youngsters lead their more experienced rivals but only time will tell if they are able to continue it through for a podium finish on Sunday 30 November.

Laser Radial

Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) is in control in the 18-boat Laser Radial pack. She picked up a fourth and a first to hold a five point advantage over Alison Young (GBR) going into the second day of competition.

Young has had some time away from the boat throughout 2014 and is happy to be back, competing against the best Laser Radial sailors in Abu Dhabi, "It's been great fun racing against all the great sailors that are here this week. I'm here this week to learn as much as possible. There are 18 great sailors here so every race is really tight and every point counts.

"It was such tight racing today out on the water with boats crossing the line in packs and I expect that will be a similar story for the rest of the regatta."

London 2012 bronze medallist Evi Van Acker (BEL) completes the podium at the early stage of the event.

Laser

World #1 Tom Burton (AUS) showed his worth in Abu Dhabi by grasping the Laser lead after the opening day of racing. Burton was strong on the race track and took a fifth and a bullet and was pleased after racing, "It was pretty solid day all around," commented Burton, "The top guys are all here and with the 20 boat fleet you can't afford to have a bad race because the guys that will win this regatta, won't do that so you won't have a chance to catch up."

Pavlos Kontides (CYP) took the first race win but an 11th in the second race relegated him down to fifth overall.

ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao gold medallist Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) is tied on points with Burton in second whilst Nick Thompson (GBR) occupies third.

Men's and Women's 470

It was business as usual for World Champions Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) in the Men's 470. The pair strolled into pole position following a 2-4 scoreline. Greece's Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis are second on eight points with Austria's David Bargehr and Lukas Mahr in third on ten points.

The day's race wins went the way of Stu McNay and David Hughes (USA) who are sixth overall and fifth placed Matthias Schmid and Florian Florian Reichsteaedter (AUT).

China's Shasha Chen and Haiyan Gao and Austria's Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar shared places one and two in the Women's 470 and are tied atop of the 11-boat fleet on three points.

Very little separated the two teams on the opening day and they will do battle once again on the second day with two more races scheduled.

America's Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha are third overall on 10 points, seven off the leading duo but there is plenty of time for change.

Nacra 17

It's an all French top three in the Nacra 17 with World Champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou leading the way. Besson and Riou are seemingly unstoppable in the Nacra 17 and amassed a steady scoreline that featured two seconds and a race win.

Their compatriots Audrey Ogereau and Matthieu Vandame follow in second with Moana Vaireaux and Manon Audinet in third.

Matias Buhler and Nathalie Brugger (SUI), Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) and Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank (AUT) are hot on the French teams heals, tied on nine points.

Open Kiteboarding

Riccardo Leccese (ITA) came out on top on the opening day of kiteboarding after he picked up a pair of bullets. He heads into the next stage as top seed. 2014 World Champion Maxime Nocher (FRA), European and Open Asian Champion Oliver Bridge (GBR) and 2013 World Champion Florian Gruber (GER) follow in places 2-4.

The 20 competitors will be divided up for Stage 2 heats on Friday and Saturday based on their seeding from Stage 1. The top ten boats will then progress to the medal stage.

Two semi-finals will be held with five racers in each. Places 1 and 2 will carry forward ten points, 3 and 4 seven points, 5 and 6 five points, 7 and 8 four points and 9 and 10 three points. Two races in each semi-final will follow with the top two placed sailors in each heading to the final.

From there, it's a four way single race shoot out for the podium spots.

Racing across the fleets is scheduled to commence at 12:00 local time on Friday 28 November.

Results are available here

Published in Olympic
Tagged under

#roadtorio – ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year, Olympic medallists, world champions and a Volvo Ocean Race superstar are on their way to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates for the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup Final but two Irish Olympic sailors turned down invitations to attend due to there being 'no money in the budget' and the lateness of the ISAF decision in announcing the regatta. Neither Annalise Murphy or Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern will compete in the UAE despite receiving invitations it was confirmed today by team manager James O'Callaghan. The Irish team is currently training in Rio.

From 26-30 November 2014 283 sailors from 39 nations with proven track records of excellence will fight it out in the Emirati capital for the right to become an ISAF Sailing World Cup Champion.

The sailors to secure their place were confirmed at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander where the top ten in each event were offered a place.

'I wouldn't read too much into the Irish not going to UAE', one team insider told Afloat.ie this afternoon. 'Lots of sailors are avoiding Abu Dhabi for various reasons – while plane tickets are supplied, it will cost the technical classes money to get ancillary equipment there. Also season plans were made long ago and Abu Dhabi is too late to fit in with these', the source said.

Download the full entry list below as PDF file.

All ten Olympic events will be contested in Abu Dhabi along with an open kiteboarding event joining the fray around Lulu Island off the UAE capital's stunning Corniche. The ten Olympic events will contest an opening series and a Medal Race with the kiteboard fleet using a short track format. Prize money will be in awarded to the top three overall finishers in each of the Olympic events from a total prize purse of US$200,000.

With a maximum of just 20 boats present across the 11 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final events, the list of achievements across the board is outstanding.

Female 2014 ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) are just two star studded names to confirm their attendance. The Brazilians won the coveted ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award just one week ago thanks to their sublime performances across the latter part of 2013 and 2014. Over the last 18 months the Brazilians have only finished off of the 49erFX podium once and they'll be aiming to extend their run of top finishes in Abu Dhabi.

They will have their work cut out to add gold to their 2014 World and ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca & Hyeres titles with 2013 World Champions Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) and 2014 European Champions Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN) within the pack.

London 2012 Women's Match Racing Olympic gold medallist Tamara Echegoyen and 2011 470 World Champion Berta Betanzos (ESP) will also compete within the 19-boat 49erFX fleet in Abu Dhabi.

2014 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year nominee Charline Picon (FRA) will be a force to be reckoned with once again in the Women's RS:X as she looks to make it five regatta victories in a row. Picon blitzed the pack at the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships and will be up for the Abu Dhabi challenge. The pack of 20 Women's RS:X racers is full of talent and Picon will certainly be hard pressed. London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Marina Alabau (ESP), silver medallist Tuuli Petaja and bronze medallist Zofia Klepacka (POL) will all be gunning for the World Cup Final title.

Volvo Ocean Race winner Franck Cammas (FRA) will sail in the Nacra 17 fleet and he'll be out to stop his compatriots Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) who have dominated the class. Besson and Riou took the 2013 and 2014 Nacra 17 world titles and have eyes on the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup Final title. World #1 Nacra 17 pair Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) will also be within the 17-boat fleet.

Twenty 49er teams will be gunning for gold in Abu Dhabi. ISAF Sailing World Cup Abu Dhabi will allow the teams an opportunity to race officially within a fleet of 20 boats, the size that will be present at the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition. Strong contenders in the 49er are in the shape of Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT), Manu Dyen and Stephane Christidis (FRA) and a trio of British racers.

Seven of the world's top ten Finn racers will be competing in Abu Dhabi. World #1 Bjorn Allansson (SWE) will be joined by World #2 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) and World #3 Jake Lilley (AUS). Laser Olympic bronze medallist at Athens 2004 and Olympic silver medallist at Beijing 2008 Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) will firmly be in contention for Abu Dhabi gold after a solid 18 months of Finn racing.

In the IKA Formula Kite 2014 World Champions Maxime Nocher (FRA) and Steph Bridge (GBR) will be among the racers as well as Bridge's son and 2014 European Champion Oliver Bridge (GBR).

Published in Olympic

#youthsailing – Corpus Christi, Texas in the USA will host the 2018 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship subject to a successful site visit and satisfactory contractual agreements last week's ISAF conference heard. Ireland won its third ever medal at last year's championships in Tavira Portugal but unfortunately silver medal winner Seafra Guilfoyle is just out of age limit for the American event so the Cork star cannot qualify for the Texas event next season.

The following events and equipment for the 2017 ISAF Youth Worlds were also agreed by the Council:

Boy's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Girl's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Boy's Two Person Dinghy - 420
Girl's Two Person Dinghy - 420
Boy's Windsurfer - RS:X with 8.5 sail
Girl's Windsurfer - RS:X with 8.5 sail
Open multihull - Sirena SL16
Boy's Skiff - 29er
Girl's Skiff - 29er

The Equipment Committee recommended the new Nacra15 for the Open Multihull event and this will be discussed at the 2015 ISAF Mid-Year Meeting in the Netherlands with the earliest possible introduction of the new equipment being 2018.

Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under

#isafconference – The annual bunfight that is the conference of the world governing body for sailing, the International Sailing Federation(ISAF) gets under way at the start of next month in Palma, Majorca.
Over 400 blazers (including a 13–strong delegation from the Irish Sailing Association) will gather to discuss the burning and not so burning issues of the day, with a system developed in Ireland looking set to be the hottest topic on the agenda. Back in the days when Cork Week grew to be the most popular (if not the most populous) major keelboat regatta of its type in the world, it became clear that there was a demand to distinguish between those who sailed for fun and those who did so for a living. At the heart of the issue were the shouts of "unfair" from the largely amateur crews who saw a creeping influence of contracted-in sailors with a background in sailmaking, high performance events and marine industry related professions. Responding to this unrest, the Royal Cork Yacht Club, led by Donal McClement, developed a system for excluding such "pros" from certain classes of racing. The result was the increasing adoption of the system by race organisers until ISAF decided to call it the "Classification Code" and enshrine it in their regulations where it has been ever since, updated to reflect trends in yacht racing. While it is not perfect, it does have widespread acceptance, so it was quite a shock to ISAF members to discover that submission 025-14 proposes to remove it altogether as an ISAF regulation. It is believed that this is being championed by ISAF President Carlo Croce, under pressure from elements within Italian sailing, where the use of the code is less popular.
ISAF, formerly the International Yacht Racing Union, has a governing process more akin to an old style Soviet politburo than to modern democracy. An executive committee implements the policy decisions of a 40 member Council, which are subject to review at the Annual General Meeting, where the voting body is the member national authorities (MNAs) of each ISAF country. It was this little know wrinkle in the ISAF constitution that allowed the MNAs to overturn Council's decision to include kitesurfing in the 2016 Olympics the 2012 AGM in Dun Laoghaire. Confused? Well you should be, because simple it ain't.
ISAF has layers of governance, but the key policy making body is the ISAF Council, which is made up of representatives from groups of MNAs determined mostly by geography, with a bit of political expediency thrown in. Ireland, for example, in the pre-apartheid era, was in Group A with the UK and South Africa. Now Group A is just UK and Ireland, with South Africa moved to Group Q representing Africa. Group A, with a population of 68 million gets two seats on Council, while Africa, with a population of close to a billion, gets I seat. And therein lies the core of the problem. ISAF is still very much a white, first world, wealthy organisation, with little outreach to the developing world. The Council system perpetuates this by excluding many smaller countries from active participation in policy making. For example, how likely is it that Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan or Kyrgyzstan will ever get to sit on Council when they are in Group H with Russia and there is only one seat for their group? Or Paraguay, in group N with Brazil, where there is one seat for two countries. Group E combines the Iberian countries, but if Portugal has an outside chance of sitting on Council then Andorra has none. Furthermore, where is the sense in linking Italy and France with Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Turkey? How do they decide who gets the two Council seats there?
The very populous area of South and Central Asia with developing sailing activity gets only one seat, forcing India, Singapore, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and others to work out who gets to go.
The kite-surfing debacle shows how the smaller countries have fought back against un-mandated Council decisions. In May 2012, at the ISAF mid-year meeting in St Petersburg, the ISAF Council, somewhat inspired by a passionate appeal from Ireland's John Crebbin, voted to introduce kitesurfing into the 2016 Olympics at the expense of windsurfing. He was supported by Gerardo Seeliger representing the Iberian Group. However, at the General Meeting of MNAs in Dun Laoghaire later that year, the individual members voted, under the review clause, to overturn the Council decision. Incidentally, the numbers of MNAs in attendance was considerably swollen by the desire of ISAF Presidential Candidates to get delegates favourable to their cause to the ballot box for the quadrennial Presidential and Executive Committee elections.
Pouring oil on the flames is the fact that once appointed there is no procedure for removing a Council member until the beginning of the next quad. As seen in the kitesurfing debate, where Seeliger, voted in favour of kitesurfing, alledgedly contrary to the wishes of his nominating countries, many Council members not only believe in their independence from national and regional issues, but pride themselves on making decision in the "best interests of the sport." Seeliger's stance on kitesurfing created an uproar in Spanish sailing circles and forced an embarrassing apology from the Spanish Federation to its sailors. Not surprisingly, a submission from Portugal and Spain proposes to amend the regulation to allow for removal of a Council member during term.
That there is unrest amongst the under-represented nations is clear from the source and number of submissions proposing changes to the governance structure. One of these comes from the Executive Committee itself, proposing that a Continental structure be established where each Continental Association would act as the "agent of ISAF in the management and delivery of programs" and be charged with promoting "brand awareness and brand image of ISAF and sailing within each continent." This proposal, which supports the principal of continentalisation, does not propose real change for 12 months, suggesting that Continental Associations first put their own house in order.
There are three submissions supported by a group of 15 MNAs, suggesting that ISAF go further, sooner, in devolving some form of autonomy to the Continental Associations, while two others, from the Cook Islands, Papua NE Guinea and Singapore have the temerity to suggest that ISAF use some of its Olympic revenue to support administration at a more local level.
That there is no call for change from the represented MNAs is not surprising. A seat on Council is highly valued, and, in any case, change would reduce the considerable European influence. Currently, Europe holds 47% of the seats on Council (excluding representative members), while Asia has 17%, North America and the Caribbean 14%, while all of Africa has only one seat (under 3%)
Supporters of the system will argue that representation on Council mirrors the sailing activity around the world. That may be so, but why should we here in Ireland have the same presence as all of Africa? And in a good democracy, shouldn't minority interests have at least the right to be heard?
And the money maybe a thorn in the side for many smaller MNAs as they don't see a huge commitment from ISAF to the development of sailing regionally. There appears to be greater appetite at the Executive Committee for high performance activity than for true development of the sport worldwide. ISAFs championing of the World Cup final in Abu Dhabi is not widely supported by the MNAs, who consider this an unwelcome diversion for sailors on the Olympic trail. Sailors too are split, with support from classes who can easily avail of the supplied boats – Laser, Laser Radial and RS:X – but not from those whose equipment is more sophisticated – Finn, 470, 49er and 49er Fx. ISAF has had to go further down the rankings then intended to fill the limited spots available, negating the claim that the worlds 20 best sailors in each class will be participating.

So where now for ISAF?

Continentalisation may work well for Europe and parts of Asia, where communications and geography are not the barriers they are elsewhere in the world. It can cause local problems – the Americas is a case in point, where Venezuela, geographically part of South America, sails in the Caribbean and would prefer to be grouped with those nations it interacts with regularly.
Some believe that the only way forward is to do away with Council altogether and establish a one country, one seat form of governance that gives everyone a say. However, it is thought that this change is unlikely to come from within, but will require a revolution of sorts, if not through the submission proves then by the elective method. While Council may control policy, it is the MNAs that elect the President and the Executive and growing unrest might well see a reform platform winning the day next time round in 2016. The windsurfing/kitesurfing overturn in Dun Laoghaire in 2012 may have been a landmark decision in more ways than one.

Published in Water Rat
Page 4 of 16

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