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Paris 2024 Olympic campaigner Finn Lynch has won the 'Champions' Cup' at Foynes Yacht Club and sailed this year in the 17-foot Mermaid class.

Tricky light winds saw the schedule of races for the annual event cut short on the Shannon Estuary.

After just three races sailed in two days, the National Yacht Club's Lynch lifted the trophy with brother Rory and Carol Martin in the single-race final round.

The result denied Ger Owens of the GP14 class his chance of a three-peat, with the defending champion finishing seventh. 

Second overall was the GP14s Ruan O'Tiarnaigh, Ross Nolan and Kate O Regan.

Third was J24 Euro Champion Cillian Dickson, Louis Mulloy and Packer Thorne.

In a racing series that was planned for two days, the first day saw no racing due to almost no wind. Despite concerns over the forecast for Sunday, all skippers decided to go ahead with a shortened series. After one quick race each, the top nine boats from both flights were chosen.

Owens, a triple Olympian, secured his place in the final quite easily, raising hopes of a three-in-a-row win. However, Lynch, with his skills in downwind sailing, won the race in the short final race, which was held just minutes before the deadline to start the last race expired.

The very light winds started to drop as the eastbound tide began to rise, which threatened to abandon the race.

However, since all nine boats were similarly impacted by the change in wind, the race continued. Lynch, with crew members Rory Lynch and Carol Martin, finished first with just seconds to go.

Next year's event will live up to its earlier 'All Ireland' moniker and is likely to head north to Belfast Lough, where the event may be raced in RS400 dinghies, according to Afloat sources.

Full results below

Published in All Irelands
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Finn Lynch can add nation qualifying for the Paris Olympics 2024 to his many ILCA 7 achievements to date, including a world silver medal from 2021.

In a nerve-jangling conclusion to the Gold fleet series in the Men's single-handed event at the Allianz Sailing World Championships in The Hague on 19th August 2023, the National Yacht Club ace secured one of the last Paris 2024 Olympics places for Ireland available in The Netherlands. 

Lynch sailed out into the final two races for his event, needing only to deliver two safe results to maintain or improve on 14th place by nation. A total of 16 countries have qualified for the Men single-handed events, including Ireland.

After crossing the finishing line, he sailed ashore under the impression that he had missed qualification when he had actually managed to place 15th by nation and 23rd overall.

Elated with the outcome, he described qualifying Ireland for Paris 2024 as a "monkey off my back" and will now focus fully on preparations for the Olympics and selection for the national squad.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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Finn Lynch secured Ireland's berth at the Paris Olympics in the ILCA 7 class this afternoon when he claimed the 15th of 16 nation places on offer at the Sailing World Championships in The Hague.

The world championship silver medalist who represented Ireland in Rio 2016 but failed to qualify for Tokyo 2020, will be relieved to get Paris 2024 qualification in the men's dinghy behind him after a week of drama on the North Sea that saw 27-year-old Carlow sailor end the competition in 23rd overall when had been as high as eighth at one point. A delighted Lynch described the result as "a monkey off my back".

In a mixed final day, he placed 19th in the first race but was unable to break into the leading group and placed 38th in the last of the ten-race series.

After crossing the finishing line, he sailed ashore believing he had missed qualification when he had actually managed to place 15th by nation and 23rd overall.

Ireland sought three such qualifications at The Hague, but Lynch was the only sailor to make the Paris 2024 cut, a much-needed consolation after missing out on the World Championship medal race.

Now that Ireland is qualified in the men's dinghy, Lynch will contest the Paris 2024 place with Howth's Ewan McMahon in an Olympic trial series to be announced.

Meanwhile, Matt Wearn (AUS) is on the brink of adding a first world title to his Olympic gold medal after navigating his way into a comfortable lead in the ILCA 7. 
Going into the day trailing Micky Beckett (GBR), Wearn knew that a previous black flag disqualification for the Brit meant he was much more vulnerable to a bad score. 
So even though Beckett came second in the opening race of the day, stretching his lead further, Wearn was able to match-race his opponent – effectively delaying Beckett – with the pair finishing 65th and 66th, respectively. 
That allowed Wearn to move into top spot, with a 20-point lead over George Gautrey (NZL), while Beckett is a point further back. Wearn will therefore need to get around the course in the medal race with no penalties to take gold. 

Results here.

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Irish sailors are waiting for the wind to win a Paris 2024 Olympic berth after racing was cancelled at the Allianz Sailing World Championships in The Hague today. 

No racing was possible due to light winds, the opposite conditions of what caused the cancellation of the first day's racing at the Irish ILCA Nationals at Howth Yacht Club

Saturday's forecast for the Dutch coast is more promising as organisers try to complete the Gold fleet racing in the ILCA7 men's single-handed class.

Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) is on track for Paris 2024 Olympics and hopes to improve his standing in the upcoming races. Lynch is joined by Howth's Ewan McMahon.

Results here.

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Ireland's Finn Lynch of the National Yacht Club is lying within the Olympic nation qualifying criteria for Paris 2024 in 14th place out of 16 nations going into the final two races of the Sailing World Championships in The Hague.

The Rio 2016 ILCA 7 representative –  who failed to qualify for Tokyo 2020 – moved up 11 places in the overall standings from 33 to 22 on Thursday to be within the first Paris berth allocations.

A strong tidal current and fresh winds meant a physical and tactical day for the ILCA7 class single-handers.

In the opening race, Lynch placed second at the first mark but hit it in the strong tide, and after taking his penalty turn, he went on to finish in eighth place.

Tide again played a pivotal role in the second race that saw the former world championship silver medalist finish 17th in the 80-strong fleet.

With two races remaining, on the overnight standings, he is 22nd overall and is unlikely to make the medal race but within the Olympic qualifying criteria in 14th out of 16 nations, so a repeat performance or better is required on Friday.

Ireland's second boat racing in Gold fleet for the ILCA7 event saw Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) avoid multiple collisions at the first mark and place 23rd in the opening race.  He then discarded a 50th in the next race to hold 43rd overall and aims to deliver a top-half overall result.

A top two is starting to emerge in the ILCA 7 with Micky Beckett (GBR) and Matt Wearn (AUS) starting to move clear of the field. 
Beckett recovered from a difficult position in the second race of the day to finish eighth, and still holds an 11-point lead over Wearn. 
The bigger gap comes after the Australian however, with George Gautrey (NZL) 21 points back in third, followed closely by Pavlos Kontides (CYP) and Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA). 

Friday's forecast is for light winds in the morning, when the final two races are currently scheduled for.  With Spring tide conditions reaching their fastest flow of the week, Saturday's reserve day may yet be needed to complete the fleet series.

Results here.

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In 33rd position, Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) has four ILCA 7 races left on Thursday at the Sailing World Championships in The Hague to make the medal race top ten plus a top 16 overall position to qualify Ireland for the Paris 2024 Olympics. 

After a 15th place and a 58th scored in Wednesday's wind against strong tide conditions, the Carlow sailor has it all to do on Thursday with countryman and rival for the single Irish berth, Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club), just nine places behind in 42nd overall in the 69-strong division.

At the front of the fleet, Micky Beckett (GBR) overcame a black flag disqualification in the first race to extend his lead in the ILCA 7, thanks to a second in the day's final race.

However, Olympic champion Matt Wearn (AUS) was the big mover, with a first and a third to move into second overall, albeit still 15 points behind Beckett.

However, a strong start to competition in the gold fleet, Wearn will hope to match his exploits at the Paris Test Event when a strong finish saw him overhaul Beckett for victory.

Results here

It's the red-hot gold fleet for Finn Lynch in the ILCA 7 class of the Allianz Sailing World Championships, but not without drama in The Hague today as the Rio 2016 rep was disqualified for a premature start under the black flag rule after winning the day's second race.

The National Yacht Club ace must improve his overall score in the strong tidal waters off Scheveningen to be in the top 16 nations by Friday to win a place at Paris 2024.

"Lynch must be in the top 16 nations by Friday to win a place at Paris 2024"

The Men's ILCA 7 fleet departed the slipway before 9 am for a scheduled earlier start to complete the qualification round with a minimum of four and preferably a fifth race.

However, while races three and four were completed, attempts to get the fifth race away failed into the building flood tide.  The sailors headed ashore after seven hours on the water, so the stakes are high, with lots of points still to be won - or lost - by Friday.

The Sailing World Championships race schedule has been rearranged to use Wednesday's rest day for racing, so the ILCA 7 will - subject to weather - have two races daily for the coming three days to decide Sunday's medal race final and the top 16 nations to win a place at Paris 2024.

On a day where the conditions made it tricky for the ILCA 7 sailors to race, Micky Bennett (GBR) took the limited opportunities that came his way and now sits on top of the leaderboard after four races.

Finishing third and then second in the blue fleet, Bennett has a one-point lead over Pavlos Kontides (CYP) at this early stage, while Philipp Buhl (GER) is third after winning the second race of the day in the yellow fleet.

Results here

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Rio 2016 Olympian Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) in the Men's ILCA7 event had a 12th and a fourth place on the opening day to end a solid eighth overall at the Sailing World Championships at The Hague. 

The championships are the first opportunity to qualify for the Paris Olympics, a step Lynch failed to make for Tokyo four years ago. 

Lynch's solid start today is typical of some recent form, including a well-earned sixth at last month's Olympic Test event, so hopes are high a nation place will be secured this week. 

A second Irish ILCA 7 sailor, Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club), recovered from a 40th in the opening race to place 17th.

Ewan McMahon of Howth Yacht Club is competing at the Sailing World Championships in The Hague Photo: Sailing EnergyEwan McMahon of Howth Yacht Club is competing at the Sailing World Championships in The Hague Photo: Sailing Energy

Champion Australian Wearn was far from his fluent best on the ICLA 7 class's opening day as two-time Olympic silver medallist Stipanovic stole the show.

The experienced Croatian grabbed two blue fleet victories as Beckett, who had gold snatched away from him by Wearn at last month’s Test Event in Marseille, finished third and first in the yellow fleet.

Wearn could only muster two 11th-place finishes in the blue fleet as Cypriot Pavlos Kontides finished fourth and second in those races to lie third in the overall standings ahead of Hermann Tomasgaard (NOR).

Wearn, 27, recovered from a similarly slow start to grab Olympic gold in Tokyo two summers ago and says channelling memories of that fightback can fuel a rousing Dutch turnaround.

He said: “[Tokyo] definitely does cross the mind – even though things might not be great now, there’s still a lot of racing ahead.

“I always knew it was going to be a long and tough week – I definitely think about it every now and then, and I’ve just got to keep pushing.”

Beckett trails Stipanovic by two points heading into the second day of racing, adding: “You can’t win anything on day one, but you can lose a lot, and I haven’t lost it.”

Results are here

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An ultra-consistent Finn Lynch (IRL) is lurking in the hunt for a podium finish at the Paris 2024 Test Event in Marseilles on Saturday after a string of top-ten results in a 42-boat ILCA 7 fleet.

The National Yacht Club's Lynch was as high as third on Wednesday evening, the second time in the series he's been in a podium position, but dropped back to fifth overall on Thursday after scoring an 11th in race nine.

Michael Beckett (GBR) has moved into a commanding position for the title. He suffered his first off day of the competition on Thursday, but the Irish sea sailor bounced back in style to put himself into a strong position ahead of the medal race.

Finishing second and then third, Beckett moved back ahead of Olympic champion Matt Wearn (AUS) in the standings.

Beckett currently sits on 30 points, nine clear of Wearn, meaning that even with double points in the medal race on Saturday, he has a comfortable buffer.

New Zealander George Gautrey won the second race of the day to move up to third on 45 points with Pavlos Kontides (CYP) and Finn Lynch (IRL) lurking in the hunt for a podium finish on 48 and 49 respectively.

Results here

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Marseille's mistral breeze swept Ireland's Finn Lynch into third overall after eight races sailed today in the  ILCA 7 at the Paris 2024 Test Event

Lynch has had a consistent regatta with seven top eight results and bounced back from his 15th in race six with a 6,1 in today's breezy races to be six points off the lead.

The Olympic champion Matt Wearn (AUS) jumped ahead of Michael Beckett (GBR) at the top of the ILCA 7 standings after a fine showing, finishing third and then first in the day’s two races.

That was enough to take the top spot from Beckett, who could only finish 14th in the first race and now sits on 26 points, two behind Wearn and within four points of Lynch on 30.

And as in the ILCA 6, Ireland had another success as the National Yacht Club's Lynch won the first race of the day, enough to move into third overall, one point clear of Pavlos Kontides (CYP).

Results here

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Irish Olympic Sailing Team

Ireland has a proud representation in sailing at the Olympics dating back to 1948. Today there is a modern governing structure surrounding the selection of sailors the Olympic Regatta

Irish Olympic Sailing FAQs

Ireland’s representation in sailing at the Olympics dates back to 1948, when a team consisting of Jimmy Mooney (Firefly), Alf Delany and Hugh Allen (Swallow) competed in that year’s Summer Games in London (sailing off Torquay). Except for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Ireland has sent at least one sailor to every Summer Games since then.

  • 1948 – London (Torquay) — Firefly: Jimmy Mooney; Swallow: Alf Delany, Hugh Allen
  • 1952 – Helsinki — Finn: Alf Delany * 1956 – Melbourne — Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1960 – Rome — Flying Dutchman: Johnny Hooper, Peter Gray; Dragon: Jimmy Mooney, David Ryder, Robin Benson; Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1964 – Tokyo — Dragon: Eddie Kelliher, Harry Maguire, Rob Dalton; Finn: Johnny Hooper 
  • 1972 – Munich (Kiel) — Tempest: David Wilkins, Sean Whitaker; Dragon: Robin Hennessy, Harry Byrne, Owen Delany; Finn: Kevin McLaverty; Flying Dutchman: Harold Cudmore, Richard O’Shea
  • 1976 – Montreal (Kingston) — 470: Robert Dix, Peter Dix; Flying Dutchman: Barry O’Neill, Jamie Wilkinson; Tempest: David Wilkins, Derek Jago
  • 1980 – Moscow (Tallinn) — Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson (Silver medalists) * 1984 – Los Angeles — Finn: Bill O’Hara
  • 1988 – Seoul (Pusan) — Finn: Bill O’Hara; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; 470 (Women): Cathy MacAleavy, Aisling Byrne
  • 1992 – Barcelona — Europe: Denise Lyttle; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; Star: Mark Mansfield, Tom McWilliam
  • 1996 – Atlanta (Savannah) — Laser: Mark Lyttle; Europe: Aisling Bowman (Byrne); Finn: John Driscoll; Star: Mark Mansfield, David Burrows; 470 (Women): Denise Lyttle, Louise Cole; Soling: Marshall King, Dan O’Grady, Garrett Connolly
  • 2000 – Sydney — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, David O'Brien
  • 2004 – Athens — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, Killian Collins; 49er: Tom Fitzpatrick, Fraser Brown; 470: Gerald Owens, Ross Killian; Laser: Rory Fitzpatrick
  • 2008 – Beijing (Qingdao) — Star: Peter O’Leary, Stephen Milne; Finn: Tim Goodbody; Laser Radial: Ciara Peelo; 470: Gerald Owens, Phil Lawton
  • 2012 – London (Weymouth) — Star: Peter O’Leary, David Burrows; 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; Laser Radial: Annalise Murphy; Laser: James Espey; 470: Gerald Owens, Scott Flanigan
  • 2016 – Rio — Laser Radial (Women): Annalise Murphy (Silver medalist); 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; 49erFX: Andrea Brewster, Saskia Tidey; Laser: Finn Lynch; Paralympic Sonar: John Twomey, Ian Costello & Austin O’Carroll

Ireland has won two Olympics medals in sailing events, both silver: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson in the Flying Dutchman at Moscow 1980, and Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial at Rio 2016.

The current team, as of December 2020, consists of Laser sailors Finn Lynch, Liam Glynn and Ewan McMahon, 49er pairs Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle, and Sean Waddilove and Robert Dickson, as well as Laser Radial sailors Annalise Murphy and Aoife Hopkins.

Irish Sailing is the National Governing Body for sailing in Ireland.

Irish Sailing’s Performance division is responsible for selecting and nurturing Olympic contenders as part of its Performance Pathway.

The Performance Pathway is Irish Sailing’s Olympic talent pipeline. The Performance Pathway counts over 70 sailors from 11 years up in its programme.The Performance Pathway is made up of Junior, Youth, Academy, Development and Olympic squads. It provides young, talented and ambitious Irish sailors with opportunities to move up through the ranks from an early age. With up to 100 young athletes training with the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway, every aspect of their performance is planned and closely monitored while strong relationships are simultaneously built with the sailors and their families

Rory Fitzpatrick is the head coach of Irish Sailing Performance. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and was an Athens 2004 Olympian in the Laser class.

The Performance Director of Irish Sailing is James O’Callaghan. Since 2006 James has been responsible for the development and delivery of athlete-focused, coach-led, performance-measured programmes across the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway. A Business & Economics graduate of Trinity College Dublin, he is a Level 3 Qualified Coach and Level 2 Coach Tutor. He has coached at five Olympic Games and numerous European and World Championship events across multiple Olympic classes. He is also a member of the Irish Sailing Foundation board.

Annalise Murphy is by far and away the biggest Irish sailing star. Her fourth in London 2012 when she came so agonisingly close to a bronze medal followed by her superb silver medal performance four years later at Rio won the hearts of Ireland. Murphy is aiming to go one better in Tokyo 2021. 

Under head coach Rory Fitzpatrick, the coaching staff consists of Laser Radial Academy coach Sean Evans, Olympic Laser coach Vasilij Zbogar and 49er team coach Matt McGovern.

The Irish Government provides funding to Irish Sailing. These funds are exclusively for the benefit of the Performance Pathway. However, this falls short of the amount required to fund the Performance Pathway in order to allow Ireland compete at the highest level. As a result the Performance Pathway programme currently receives around €850,000 per annum from Sport Ireland and €150,000 from sponsorship. A further €2 million per annum is needed to have a major impact at the highest level. The Irish Sailing Foundation was established to bridge the financial gap through securing philanthropic donations, corporate giving and sponsorship.

The vision of the Irish Sailing Foundation is to generate the required financial resources for Ireland to scale-up and execute its world-class sailing programme. Irish Sailing works tirelessly to promote sailing in Ireland and abroad and has been successful in securing funding of 1 million euro from Sport Ireland. However, to compete on a par with other nations, a further €2 million is required annually to realise the ambitions of our talented sailors. For this reason, the Irish Sailing Foundation was formed to seek philanthropic donations. Led by a Board of Directors and Head of Development Kathryn Grace, the foundation lads a campaign to bridge the financial gap to provide the Performance Pathway with the funds necessary to increase coaching hours, upgrade equipment and provide world class sport science support to a greater number of high-potential Irish sailors.

The Senior and Academy teams of the Performance Pathway are supported with the provision of a coach, vehicle, coach boat and boats. Even with this level of subsidy there is still a large financial burden on individual families due to travel costs, entry fees and accommodation. There are often compromises made on the amount of days a coach can be hired for and on many occasions it is necessary to opt out of major competitions outside Europe due to cost. Money raised by the Irish Sailing Foundation will go towards increased quality coaching time, world-class equipment, and subsiding entry fees and travel-related costs. It also goes towards broadening the base of talented sailors that can consider campaigning by removing financial hurdles, and the Performance HQ in Dublin to increase efficiency and reduce logistical issues.

The ethos of the Performance Pathway is progression. At each stage international performance benchmarks are utilised to ensure the sailors are meeting expectations set. The size of a sailor will generally dictate which boat they sail. The classes selected on the pathway have been identified as the best feeder classes for progression. Currently the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway consists of the following groups: * Pathway (U15) Optimist and Topper * Youth Academy (U19) Laser 4.7, Laser Radial and 420 * Development Academy (U23) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX * Team IRL (direct-funded athletes) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX

The Irish Sailing performance director produces a detailed annual budget for the programme which is presented to Sport Ireland, Irish Sailing and the Foundation for detailed discussion and analysis of the programme, where each item of expenditure is reviewed and approved. Each year, the performance director drafts a Performance Plan and Budget designed to meet the objectives of Irish Performance Sailing based on an annual review of the Pathway Programmes from Junior to Olympic level. The plan is then presented to the Olympic Steering Group (OSG) where it is independently assessed and the budget is agreed. The OSG closely monitors the delivery of the plan ensuring it meets the agreed strategy, is within budget and in line with operational plans. The performance director communicates on an ongoing basis with the OSG throughout the year, reporting formally on a quarterly basis.

Due to the specialised nature of Performance Sport, Irish Sailing established an expert sub-committee which is referred to as the Olympic Steering Group (OSG). The OSG is chaired by Patrick Coveney and its objective is centred around winning Olympic medals so it oversees the delivery of the Irish Sailing’s Performance plan.

At Junior level (U15) sailors learn not only to be a sailor but also an athlete. They develop the discipline required to keep a training log while undertaking fitness programmes, attending coaching sessions and travelling to competitions. During the winter Regional Squads take place and then in spring the National Squads are selected for Summer Competitions. As sailors move into Youth level (U19) there is an exhaustive selection matrix used when considering a sailor for entry into the Performance Academy. Completion of club training programmes, attendance at the performance seminars, physical suitability and also progress at Junior and Youth competitions are assessed and reviewed. Once invited in to the Performance Academy, sailors are given a six-month trial before a final decision is made on their selection. Sailors in the Academy are very closely monitored and engage in a very well planned out sailing, training and competition programme. There are also defined international benchmarks which these sailors are required to meet by a certain age. Biannual reviews are conducted transparently with the sailors so they know exactly where they are performing well and they are made aware of where they may need to improve before the next review.

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