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Howth Yacht Club’s Eve McMahon is UCD’s 2024 Sportsperson of the Year, as announced at the UCD Athletic Union Council Sports Awards last Thursday (16 May).

The BComm International student and ILCA 6 sailor receives the award for her phenomenal success in 2023 which included winning the U21 World Championships and securing a place at the 2024 Paris Olympics this summer.

McMahon, who was recently honoured as Irish Sailor of the Year and shortlisted for 2023 RTÉ Sport Young Sportsperson of the Year, was one of over 400 students from 28 different sports clubs that had their outstanding achievements recognised in the AUC awards.

The UCD Athletic Union Council Sports Awards were presented at the UCD Student Centre on Thursday 16 MayThe UCD Athletic Union Council Sports Awards were presented at the UCD Student Centre on Thursday 16 May

Among them were the UCD Ladies & Men’s Boat Clubs who received the Elite Club of the Year award in recognition of their equally outstanding achievements in rowing. The UCD Men’s Boat Senior 8+ Crew were singled out as Elite Team of the Year.

In other watersport-related awards, the Club Event of the Year gong went to the Sailing Intervarsities, Graduate of the Year is Barry O’Connor of UCD Boat Clubs, and UCD Canoe Club was named as Varsity Club of the Year.

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Celebrations are about to get underway in Marseille, France today (8 May) as the city prepares for the arrival of the Olympic flame to French soil. Irish Sailor of the Year and Team Ireland Paris Scholar Eve McMahon has been selected by the French Embassy in Ireland as the Irish representative to participate in the Olympic Torch Relay as the flame embarks on a tour of France before arriving in Paris for the Opening Ceremony.

The Olympic flame is one of the most recognisable traditions of the Olympic Games and represents a link between the Modern and Ancient Olympics. Throughout the torch relay, the flame announces the Olympic Games and spreads a message of peace and friendship between people.

This year the flame was lit in Olympia, Greece, on the 16 April and following a tour of the home of the Olympics, made its way on board the Belem to Marseille. The Belem is Europe’s oldest three-masted barque, and today it finishes its 12-day voyage from Piraeus to Marseille.

Interestingly, from an Irish perspective, the Belem was owned for thirty years by Ireland’s Sir Ernest Guinness of the Guinness family, who was the Rear Commodore of the Royal St. George Yacht Club in what is now known as Dun Laoghaire, the base of Ireland’s High-Performance Sailing team.

Marseille will host the Olympic sailing events this summer, and Team Ireland’s sailing squad has based themselves there for the past few years, familiarising themselves with the location and conditions. Howth’s McMahon will be one of the youngest members of the Irish Olympic team this summer, as she embarks on her first Olympic Games.

Eve McMahon in action in her ILCA 6 dinghy at the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Test Event in Marseille, France. Day 1 in July 2023 Photo: Sander van der BorchEve McMahon in action in her ILCA 6 dinghy at the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Test Event in Marseille, France. Day 1 in July 2023 Photo: Sander van der Borch

Speaking ahead of the Olympic Torch Relay, McMahon said, “I’m really excited and honoured to be invited to be the Irish representative in the Olympic Torch Relay as it arrives in France. The atmosphere in Marseille this week is incredible, and it really gives a taste of what to expect this summer. Being part of the Olympic torch relay is special, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and is even more significant as it is taking place where I have been based with training over the past number of years.”

Ambassador of France in Ireland, Vincent Guérend said, “I am delighted to see Ireland represented by Eve McMahon in this wonderful event. The Olympic torch is arriving in Marseille, the French gate to the Mediterranean. Excitement is truly building for Paris 2024 and it promises to be an iconic edition of the Olympic and Paralympic games; 100 years after the previous edition held in Paris and 100 years after the first participation of Ireland in the games. The Franco-Irish friendship is no better symbolised than on the sports field and I am sure both counties will do our nations proud this summer. Vive le sport! Vive l’amitié franco-irlandaise!”

Team Ireland Chef de Mission for Paris 2024, Gavin Noble, added, “The Olympic torch relay is an important element of the Games. Most people are familiar with the lighting of the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony, and the torch relay as it leads to that moment. We are delighted for Eve to be included in the relay as it makes its way around France and signifies the beginning of the Olympic celebrations in France.”

The first torch for Paris 2024 Olympic Torch Relay was lit by the sun’s rays on the 16 April 2024 during a ceremony in the sanctuary of Olympia, Greece, where the ancient Olympics were once held. The Olympic flame then headed to Athens to board the Belem and cross the Mediterranean Sea to Marseille.

On the 8 May 2024, the Olympic flame embarks on its epic journey across France, visiting 66 celebration sites, and more than 400 towns. Ireland’s Eve McMahon will be one of the torchbearers bestowed with the honour of carrying the flame to its end destination on the 26 July at the Opening Ceremony in Paris, and will join fellow international athletes from across Europe in taking part in tomorrow’s relay as the flame leaves Marseille.

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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.

There were testing conditions on the third day of French Olympic Week at Hyères on the Cote D'Azur, France but Irish Sailor of the Year Eve McMahon of Howth Yacht Club managed to stay in the top ten, now lying eighth overall after five races sailed in the ILCA 6 class. 

ILCA 7

Ewan McMahon is lying 15th in the men's single-person dinghy (ILCA7 class) dropping back from eight overall on Tuesday. Rio 2016 veteran Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club), who is confirmed as the Irish Paris 2024 rep, is lying 34th.

 Howth's Eve McMahon lies eighth overall at French Olympic Week in Hyères after five races sailed Photo: Sailing EnergyHowth's Eve McMahon lies eighth overall at French Olympic Week in Hyères after five races sailed Photo: Sailing Energy

49er Trial

In the second of the Irish selection trials for Paris 2024, Robert Dickson (Howth YC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) have dropped back from eighth to 13th after seven races sailed.  The rival Irish crew of Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club) are 23rd.

Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club) are lying 23rd at French Olympic Week at Hyères Photo: Sailing EnergySéafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club) (IRL 11) are lying 23rd at French Olympic Week at Hyères Photo: Sailing Energy

Organisers of the annual French Olympic Week (SOF) are running two regattas concurrently, double the usual number of events with the 'Last Chance Regatta' to decide the 50 remaining nation places for Paris 2024 alongside the usual World Cup of Sailing series.

Results here

Howth Yacht Club boats have moved into the top ten of their respective events on the second day of French Olympic Week at Hyères on the Cote D'Azur, France, one of the last big regattas before the Olympic Games itself.

Eve McMahon Fifth

Both McMahon siblings from Howth Yacht Club fared well with Irish Sailor of the Year Eve McMahon now in fifth overall after her three opening races - Monday's racing for her women's single-person dinghy event (ILCA6 class) was cancelled due to difficult wind conditions.

"It's only the first day, but so far, it's very good, though it was very tricky - there's some wild results on the sheet, so I'm happy to keep my results low," said Eve McMahon. "I've done my time fighting at the back of the fleet and now I feel it's my time to be fighting at the front of the fleet - and I'm enjoying every single minute of it!"

Ewan McMahon Eighth

Her older brother Ewan had a mixed day in the men's single-person dinghy (ILCA7 class) with a 26th, which he was able to use the event discard to drop, so he counts Monday's ninth place, followed by a 13th for the second race of today.

Howth's Ewan McMahon lies eighth overall at French Olympic Week in Hyères with six more races scheduled Photo: Sailing EnergyHowth's Ewan McMahon lies eighth overall at French Olympic Week in Hyères with six more races scheduled Photo: Sailing Energy

"It's going well. I'm just keeping everything really simple, especially as it's so shifty out there with the breeze coming off the land," said Ewan McMahon. In a 70-boat fleet with a lot of guys to consider, executing the start is about 70 percent of the race, and then you switch your focus to the next leg ahead of you."

He now lies eighth overall in his event with six more races scheduled for the coming days.

Finn Lynch looking forward to Mistral conditions

Although Eve McMahon is confirmed as the nominee for Team Ireland at the Paris 2024 Olympics, Ewan McMahon lost out in the selection trials to Rio 2016 veteran Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club).

However, the Carlow sailor has been unable to find form so far this week after 55th and 46th places today saw him drop to 49th place overall in the 69-boat men's single-person dinghy event (ILCA7 class).

"I had a bad day on the water but I think we'll have three races tomorrow," said Lynch after racing ended. "We're expecting strong Mistral (wind) conditions so I'm looking forward to that.

"My speed is okay but with 70 boats on the starting line it’s all about strategy."

49er Trial

Meanwhile, Ireland has two boats contesting a selection trials to decide on the Team Ireland place for the Men's skiff event (49er class) with French Olympic Week the second of three events.

Robert Dickson (Howth YC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) competing at French Olympic Week at Hyères Photo: Sailing EnergyRobert Dickson (Howth YC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) competing at French Olympic Week at Hyères Photo: Sailing Energy

Robert Dickson (Howth YC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) had a solid day, with two top-ten places moving them into eighth overall in their event. Having held second place for most of the second race of the day, the Dublin pair were unlucky to miss a windshift and dropped back to eighth place.

"With two top tens from two races we're pretty happy," said Dickson after racing. "Some of the (training) work since Lanzarote (world championships) has paid off."

However, their rival Irish crew of Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club) were unlucky in their second race of the day when the mainsail halyard broke and they scored maximum points.

The Cork pair have dropped to 24th place in the 30-boat fleet, though with potentially nine more races before Saturday's medal race final, they have scope to regain a foothold in the series.

Organisers of the annual French Olympic Week (SOF) are running two regattas concurrently, double the usual number of events with the 'Last Chance Regatta' to decide the 50 remaining nation places for Paris 2024 alongside the usual World Cup of Sailing series.

Results here

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

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Olympic ILCA 6 qualified Eve McMahon (Howth Yacht Club), the 2023 Irish Sailor of the Year, had the best result of the Irish Team at the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma, finishing 14th overall out of 114 boats after a 5th place finish on her final day of racing.

This marks significant progress for the 20-year-old Dublin sailor in her first full year of senior fleet sailing after qualifying for the Paris Olympics earlier this year at the ILCA 6 World Championships in Brazil.

Following some tricky conditions, Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club) earned their first Gold Fleet position of the season in the 49er fleet. They went on to finish the event in 23rd in what turned out to be one of the better performances of their campaign so far.

The National Yacht Club’s Finn Lynch completed the regatta in 21st after a testing final day with his highest score of the regatta. Fellow ILCA 7 sailor Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) concluded his regatta by gaining nine places on his final day of sailing, jumping from 38th to 29th overnight.

Read more from the 2024 Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma here and more on Eve McMahon here

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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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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.

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Eve McMahon's 2021 sailing achievements

  • Irish Sailor of the Year 2021
  • Gold Medallist Youth World Championships Italy Highest Ranked Irish Female 
  • Star Sailors league Silver medal at the Youth European Championships Croatia Gold medallist U19,
  • Silver medallist U21 Senior European Championships Bulgaria Race win Senior European Championships Bulgaria
  • Selected Paris 2024 Olympic Solidarity Scholarship Sport Ireland
  • 15th Senior European Championships Bulgaria, 1st Irish Female, securing Sport Ireland Carding.
  • Youth ISAF World Representative Oman, equivalent to Youth Olympic in sailing,
  • 4th overall Guinness World Record Participant Beach Clean up -
  • Oman Gold medallist U19 Allianz World Cup Netherlands
  • Gold medallist U23 Lanzarote International Regatta 4th
  • U21 European Championships Montenegro
  • Nominated for Irish Sailor of The Year
  • Bronze medallist Connaught's Wexford
  • 9th Silver Fleet European Continental Qualification
  • 5th Pre-Qualifciation regatta Lanzarote