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The opening race of the women's Laser Radial (ILCA6) World Championships in Mussanah, Oman has been postponed due to lack of wind at the venue.

A fresh attempt to start the series will be made on Thursday to begin the qualification rounds for Gold and Silver fleets.

Ireland is represented by Aoife Hopkins and Sienna Wright of Howth Yacht Club. As Afloat reported earlier, Wright's older brother Rocco is competing in the men's division.

Hopkins will be aiming for a strong result to follow on Finn Lynch’s (National YC) silver medal at the Laser Men’s (ILCA7) World Championship and Sean Craig's World Masters fourth, both secured in Barcelona last month.

Up to 12 races can be scheduled with the provision to sail extra races daily when weather impacts the programme.

The final result is expected by lunchtime (Irish time) on Monday 6th December.

Published in Laser

As 2021 draws to a close, the Irish sailing community has learned yet again that there’s nothing like a major international success by one of our own to brighten the dark days of November. And when that success comes to a popular sailor who has been enduring the seemingly endless frustration of a performance drought, it’s like the sun has come out with mid-summer vigour.

Olympian Finn Lynch of the National YC brightened all our days by getting on the podium with a solid second overall at the big-fleet ILCA Worlds in Barcelona in the depths of November. His resilience in doing so was fulsomely praised by a panel of experienced sailors, who know only too well the depths of solitary despair which can be experienced by formerly successful solo campaigners who seem to have become lost in a wasteland of setbacks. With a mighty leap, our hero had freed himself. And November was transformed.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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Racing concluded on Sunday in the Royal Cork Yacht Club Laser and Topper Frostbite leagues with races 13,14 and 15 in bright but cold light winds under race officer Maurice Collins. Previous races in the series were overseen by Barry Rose and Rob Foster.

The league started this year with a six-race sprint event on Sunday the 7th which served as both a stand-alone event and the first 6 races in the Frostbite League.

Traditionally the prize-giving would be held at the junior laying up supper however as that has been postponed this year, Rear Admiral Dinghies Annamarie Fagan conducted the prize giving on the club lawn following racing.

Rear Admiral Dinghies Annamarie Fagan, ILCA 4 Winner Mauro G Regueral Noguerol, Laser class Captain Tim Mc CarthyRear Admiral Dinghies Annamarie Fagan, ILCA 4 Winner Mauro G Regueral Noguerol, Laser class Captain Tim Mc Carthy

Sailing in both ILCA 4 and Toppers went right down to the wire with final places changing in both on the last day.

Runner up Isabel Mc CarthyILCA 4 Runner up Isabel Mc Carthy

The overall winner in ILCA 4 was Mauro G Regueral Noguerol with Isabel Mc Carthy in second and Max Tolan third.

3rd Ilca 4 Max Tolan3rd ILCA 4 Max Tolan

Overall Topper gold fleet winner and recipient of the Bill Jones trophy presented by Brian Jones was Rowan MacSweeney with Liam Duggan second and Julie O Neill third. Andrew O'Neill won the silver fleet with Ellen Mc Donagh second and Sean Holmes third.

Royal Cork Topper Frostbite racingRoyal Cork Topper Frostbite racing

Class captains Maurice Collins (Toppers) and Tim Mc Carthy (Lasers) would like to thank all those that volunteered over the month and during the year in helping both fleets to go racing and most of all to the sailors for such a spirited series.

Published in Royal Cork YC

As Afloat reported earlier, Ireland has two entries at the 2021 ILCA 6/Laser Radial World Championship while the British Sailing Team is fielding three – Hannah Snellgrove, Daisy Collingridge and Matilda Nicholls - supported by British Sailing Team lead pathway coach James Gray (pictured above). The trio will be joined by young Brits Molly Sacker and Anya Haji-Michael. Notably absent from the line-up is three-time Olympian Ali Young, who has decided to retire from Olympic campaigning.

It’s been almost two years since the last ILCA 6 World Championship was held in Melbourne, Australia. Ok, there’s been the small matter of the Olympics, but for the majority of ILCA 6 athletes this will be the first global event for a while. In fact, Young was the only Brit in the field at the 2020 event. In 2019 Snellgrove placed seventh, and you’ve got to go back to 2018 to find Collingridge’s last world championship result, an 83rd at the Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark. That was a long time ago, and all three Brits have proven themselves forces to be reckoned with since then. Collingridge, in particular, posted a seventh at the 2021 ILCA 6 European Championship with Snellgrove and Nicholls not far behind in 17th and 20th respectively.

Daisy Collingridge, 22, Waldringfield, Suffolk: “We’ve done a good training block the last two months leading up to this event, really focusing on the main progress points which came out of Europeans. It’s definitely a lot warmer out here than Weymouth (thankfully!) but I feel super prepared for racing next week. Again it’s another great opportunity to line up against the best in the world and I can’t wait to get onto the start line.”

Hannah Snellgrove, 31, Lymington, Hants: “2021 has been a long season for us and I’m looking forward to rounding it out with my first World Championships since 2019. There’s something quite special about sailing up to the start line of the Worlds and I’m looking forward to trying to capitalise on some of my good performances this year and also progress some areas of my racing that need improvements. Oman seems like a really interesting venue with quite light and patchy winds so I’m sure there will be lots of learning!”

Published in Laser
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Ireland took two top five overall results at the Laser (ILCA) World Championship results yesterday in the 'Master' categories at Barcelona, Spain.

Royal St. George's Sean Craig moved up to fourth overall in the 47-boat ILCA 6 (Radial) Grand Master fleet while George Kingston moved up to fifth in the 13-boat ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) Apprentice division. 

While the Irish sailors narrowly missed the podium both were presented with coveted top five Laser 'Cube' awards at the Barcelona Sailing Centre.

George Kingston moved up to fifth in the 13-boat ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) Apprentice division. George Kingston moved up to fifth in the 13-boat ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) Apprentice division. 

The strong Irish international performance in the class follows Finn Lynch's runner up place at the Laser Worlds at the same venue earlier this month, when the Rio Olympian secured Ireland's best ever result in the Olympic dinghy.

Two races were completed for all the ILCA 7 divisions and the ILCA 6 Masters and Grand Masters, while the one remaining race was completed for the other ILCA 6 divisions.

Sailors went out again for a 9:00 first warning signal in about 6–10 knots, enough wind to complete the championship.

ILCA 7

In the Apprentice division, Belgium’s Wannes Van Laer secured gold, with only 14 points, over Polish Maciej Graboswki and Italian Lorenzo Cerretelli.

In the Masters division, American Ernesto Rodriguez was named champion, 27 points ahead of fellow countryman Peter Hurley, and France’s Bertrand Blanchet rounded out the podium with bronze.

In the Grand Masters division, American Robert Hallawell finished first overall, with a comfortable lead over Argentina’s Alejandro Cloosand and Spain’s Jose Maria Van Der Ploeg Garcia.

In the Great Grand Masters division, Spain’s Jose Luis Doreste claimed gold, German Wolfgang Gerz won silver, and Great Britain’s Tim Law finished with bronze. 

ILCA 6

In the Apprentice division, Jon Emmett was named champion after finishing with only 12 points overall. Spain’s Arturo Reina and David Gonzalez secured silver and bronze, respectively. 

In the Masters division, Sweden’s Stefan Eriksson finished first overall ahead of France’s Jean-Christophe Leydet and Spanish Monica Azon. 

In the Grand Masters division, Gilles Coadou championed the fleet by 39 points, Spain’s Miquel Noguer won silver, and Belgian Pieter Van Laer finished with bronze.

In the Great Grand Masters division, American Bill Symes also ran away with gold, finishing the event with only 13 points. Canada’s Paul Clifford sailed into second place overall and Great Britain’s John Reay rounded out the podium in third.

In the Legend’s division, Americans Peter Seidenberg and Jaques Kerrest secured gold and silver, and Henk Wittenberg of the Netherlands won bronze.

The awards ceremony was presided over by Sergi Cadenas, vice president of the Catalan Sailing Federation, and Andrus Poski, ILCA representative. The championship was held at the facilities of the Barcelona International Sailing Center (BISC) and organized by the Catalan Sailing Federation, the Real Club Náutico de Barcelona, and the Real Club Marítimo de Barcelona, with the collaboration of World Sailing, ILCA, the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation, the Government of Catalonia, the Barcelona City Council, and the Barcelona Provincial Council.

Seethe event website here for full results.

Published in Laser
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Ireland is on the cusp of further top international Laser (ILCA) World Championship results today, this time in the 'Master' categories at Barcelona with two races left to sail.

Royal St. George's Sean Craig is lying fifth overall - and just one point off fourth place - in the 47-boat ILCA 6 (Radial) Grand Master fleet while George Kingston is sixth in the 13-boat ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) Apprentice division. Roger O'Gorman is lying 10th in the same fleet.

The strong Irish international performance in the class follows Finn Lynch's runner up place at the Laser Worlds at the same venue earlier this month, when the Rio Olympian secured Ireland's best ever result in the Olympic dinghy.

Two races were completed yesterday on the penultimate day of the ILCA Masters World Championships. With another 9:00 first warning signal and a light northwest wind, the races went off without a hitch and the sailors were back on shore by 12:00. After today’s racing, two champions were predetermined in the ILCA 6 fleet: Great Britain’s Jon Emmett in the Apprentice division and American Bill Symes in the Great Grand Master division.

With one day to go, the ILCA 7 fleet has sailed 10 of the 12 championship races, as have the ILCA 6 Masters and Grand Masters. The ILCA 6 Apprentices, Great Grand Masters, and the Legends divisions, however, have completed 11 of the 12.

Belgium’s Wannes Van Laer is still defending first place in the ILCA 7 Apprentice division, just three points ahead of Polish Maciej Grabowski; both Americans Ernesto Rodriguez and Robert Hallawell hold significant leads in the ILCA 7 Masters and Grand Masters divisions, respectively, heading into the final day; and Spain’s Josele Doreste is also sitting far ahead in first in the Great Grand Masters division.

In ILCA 6 fleet, Emmett and Symes have secured their leads in the Apprentice and Great Grand Master divisions. Sweden’s Stefan Eriksson reclaimed his lead over France’s Jean-Christophe Leydet in the Masters division, France’s Gilles Coadou has a 29-point lead in the Grand Master division, and American Peter Seidenberg has maintained his first-place position in the Legend division.

The first warning signal is scheduled for the final day at 09:00, and the race committee will try to complete all 12 races of the championship today.

Published in Laser
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Ireland stays close to the top of the leaderboards in both the ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) Apprentice and ILCA 6 (Radial) Grand Master 2021 World Championships at Barcelona with four races left to sail by Saturday.

Royal St. George's Sean Craig dropped one place to sixth overall in a 47-boat ILCA 6 (Radial) Grand Master fleet while George Kingston stays fourth overall after two third scored in races seven and eight, in the 13-boat  ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) Apprentice division. Roger O'Gorman is lying 11th in the same fleet.

Two races were completed on Thursday at the ILCA Masters World Championships. Another early start paid off, with the first warning signal at 9:00 and sailors were back on shore and finished for the day by 12:00. For the second day in a row, there’s been sunshine and stable wind, which has been ideal for racing. It was blowing about 8–10 knots this morning with gusts up to 14 knots, but the wind began to die right as the second races were wrapped up.

With two more races in all divisions, the ILCA 7 fleet has a total of eight races locked in. In the ILCA 6 fleet, the Apprentices, Great Grand Masters, and Legends have nine races and the Masters and Grand Masters have eight.

Belgium’s Wannes Van Laer secured his lead ahead of Polish Maciej Grabowski in the ILCA 7 Apprentice division, with two first-place finishes today. Americans Ernesto Rodriguez and Robert Hallawell maintained their lead in the ILCA 7 Masters and Grand Masters divisions, respectively. Spain’s Josele Doreste also held tight to his lead today in the ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters division.

In the ILCA 6 fleet, Great Britain’s Jon Emmett remains unstoppable in the Apprentice division with all nine first-place finishes. French Jean-Christophe Leydet slid ahead to lead the Masters division with first- and second-place finishes today, while fellow countryman Gilles Coadou returned to first place in the Grand Masters division. American Bill Symes also has nine firsts under his belt and leads the Great Grand Masters, while fellow American Peter Seidenberg continues to hold first in the Legends, just one point ahead of their compatriot Jacques Kerrest.

Two races are scheduled for Day 6 with the first warning signal at 9:00. Friday’s weather conditions are forecasted to be similar to those of Thursday, and just two days remaining to determine world champions.

See event website here for full results.

Published in Laser
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Ireland is close to the top of the leaderboards in both the ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) Apprentice and ILCA 6 (Radial) Grand Master 2021 World Championships thanks to the efforts of two Irish sailors competing in Barcelona

Royal St. George's Sean Craig is lying fifth overall in a 47-boat ILCA 6 (Radial) Grand Master fleet while George Kingston is fourth overall in the 13-boat  ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) Apprentice division. Roger O'Gorman is lying 11th in the same fleet.

Two races were completed yesterday. After three grey days with unstable and light wind, the fourth day finally brought sun and stable wind.

Once again, the sailors had an early start today with the first warning signal at 9:00. The ILCA 6 fleets enjoyed an average northwesterly wind of 12–16 knots while the ILCA 7 had an average of 10–12 knots, and both were able to complete their races without a hitch, to be back on shore by 11:30.

After adding two races to all the scoreboards, the ILCA 7 divisions have completed a total of six races. In the ILCA 6 fleets, the Apprentices, the Great Grand Masters, and the Legends have completed seven races and the Masters and Grand Masters finished six.

The leaders in ILCA 7 are Poland’s Maciej Grabowski, tied with Belgian Wannes Van Laer, in the Apprentice division; American Ernesto Rodriguez added two more firsts to hold his lead in the Masters division while fellow countryman Robert Hallawell also maintained his lead over the Grand Masters, and Spain’s Josele Doreste is still leading the Great Grand Masters.

In the ILCA 6 fleets, Great Britain’s Jon Emmett added two more firsts to his picket fence in the Apprentice fleet; Sweden’s Stefan Eriksson is first of the Masters; Spain’s Miguel Noguer rose to the top of the Grand Master division; American Bill Symes also has a straight picket fence in the Great Grand Masters division while fellow countryman Peter Seidenberg sits in first place over the Legends.

Steady conditions are forecasted for Day 5 in the morning, so the first warning signal will be at 9:00 again with two races scheduled.

See event website here for full results.

Published in Laser
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Finn Lynch's silver medal last week in the ILCA 7 World Championships is an inspiration for anyone embarking on a Laser campaign but could there be more silver - or even gold - in Barcelona waters for Irish sailors this month?

As the ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) and ILCA 6 (Radial) Apprentice Master 2021 World Championships began at the Barcelona Sailing Centre on Sunday, three Irish sailors are hoping for a repeat performance.

One race was completed in each fleet at the 2021 Laser Masters World Championships, except for the ILCA 6 Masters and Grand Masters due to unstable and lack of wind. The sailors went out on schedule for the first warning signal at 12:00, with sunshine and good wind. But as the wind began to die, the two ILCA 6 divisions could not complete their first race, and the ILCA 7 fleet started their second race only to then abandon it.

In the ILCA 7 fleets, Maciej Grabowski of Poland is leading the Apprentices, ahead of Belgium’s Wannes Van Laser and Italian Lorenzo Cerretelli.

Ireland's George Kingston is ninth and Roger O'Gorman 13th in the 14-boat fleet.

Peter Hurley of the United States finished first in the Masters division, with fellow countryman Ernesto Rodriguez in second, and Australia’s Chris Caldecoat in third.The Grand Masters are lead by another American, Robert Hallawell, with Swiss Ferruccio Arvedi in second and Ron Lenson of the Netherlands in third. Finally, in the Great Grand Masters division, Great Britain’s Michael Hicks took the lead, with Jose Luis Doreste of Spain behind in second, and Germany’s Wolfgang Herz in third.

In the ILCA 6 fleets, Great Britain’s Jon Emmett is leading the Apprentices, ahead of Arturo Reina of Spain and Italian Roberto Giacalone.

In the Great Grand Master division, Americans Bill Symes and Bruce Martinson sit in first and third, respectively, with Canada’s Paul Clifford in second. Last but not least, Henk Wittenberg of the Netherlands is leading the Legends, with French Pierre Roche in second, and American Jacques Kerrest in third.

Royal St George's Sean Craig is yet to start in the ILCA 6 Grand Master division.

Forecasted wind for the week is light, but everyone is planning on and hoping for enough wind to complete some successful races.

See event website here for full results.

Apprentice age division change

In other Laser news, beginning in 2022, the Apprentice age division for ILCA Masters World Championships will include sailors ages 30 to 44. ILCA says it is excited about this change, which for the first time gives sailors under the age of 35 the opportunity to join the ILCA Masters World Championships and to enjoy the unique atmosphere of that fleet. All other Masters age categories will remain unchanged.

Published in Laser
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While everyone in Irish sailing and beyond shares in the joy of seeing Finn Lynch emerge so spectacularly from a performance drought to take Silver at this week’s Laser Worlds in Barcelona, it is really only those who have fully experienced the extremes of competition at this level of solo sailing – from the grim depths of isolated frustration to the exhilarated heights of shared achievement – who can most deeply appreciate the quality of what he has done.

Make no mistake about it, this was a very special regatta for a large and extremely competitive fleet. Some reports may have suggested a preponderance of flukey conditions, but one seasoned observer – often noted for his acerbic comments – bluntly stated that it was “magnificent” with its energetic variety of conditions, and racing at the highest level.

Out of this, with one race still to sail and a great first place out of what should have been the penultimate contest, Finn emerged with a scoreline of 3,6,8,10, 16,7, 2,1. Clearly, having already been good, he was onto a real roll towards the end. And with one race still to sail, he actually had the lowest gross points total in the entire fleet, but as he was discarding a 16th to the 37th of nett leader Tom Saunders of New Zealand, it was Saunders’ title to lose.

Keeping his cool and stacking up on the carbs – Finn in championship preparationKeeping his cool and stacking up on the carbs – Finn in championship preparation

It was not to be - the planned last race could not be sailed because of calm, and the final points were T.Saunders NZL 1st (23 pts); F.Lynch IRL 2nd 37pts; and T. Stipanovic CRO 3rd (65 pts..) at the head of a notably international fleet of 135 boats in which the Laser Standard (or the ILCA 7 if you prefer) demonstrated yet again that with 50 years and more of successful competition now logged, she really does do the business very well, and then some.

And for Ireland, the special nature of this result simply cannot be over-estimated. While it may be that during the Olympics the Lasers now get their greatest level of general global attention, the fact is that it was the Olympics that clambered aboard the Laser bandwagon back in 1996, rather than the other way round. And that was long after the Laser Class’s World Championship had already become firmly established as one of the planet’s truly great regattas.

Thus there are many for whom the Laser Worlds continue to be of greater importance than the four-yearly Olympic pressure cooker experience. Yet until now, Ireland has barely been at the races in this great event – it’s thought that a 19th back in pre-1996 days might have been our best showing.

But now, suddenly and gloriously, we have the Worlds Silver Medal for an Olympic sailor whose experiences have been decidedly mixed since he was – at 20 – the youngest helmsman in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Bill O’Hara in one of his many international roles, as Principal Race Officer for the Volvo Ocean RaceBill O’Hara in one of his many international roles, as Principal Race Officer for the Volvo Ocean Race

That sage observer Bill O’Hara OBE OLY of Ballyholme, a man of unrivalled experience in every aspect and form of international sailing, has put it crisply into perspective for us:

BILL O’HARA’S OPINION

Finn Lynch's result is the best Irish result ever at an Olympic Class Event World Championship. Mark Mansfield & David O'Brien were third in the Star Class in 2000, and David Burrows was third in the Finn Class Worlds in 2004. They were the previous contenders, but I think they would all agree that Finn's result is incredibly impressive.

What's even more impressive was his strength of character to recover from missing out on qualifying for the Olympic Games in April. He took stock, worked hard with his coach Vasilij Zbogar and produced a seventh in the Europeans last month, and now a second in the Worlds.

Finn’s coach, Vasilij Zbogar of Slovenia, has won two Olympic Silver and one Olympic Bronze in sailingFinn’s coach, Vasilij Zbogar of Slovenia, has won two Olympic Silver and one Olympic Bronze in sailing

Missing the cut for the Tokyo Olympics had been a savage blow for Finn Lynch after a long period of steady training and competition since he went into the Olympics at the deep end in 2016, but it is something which is well understood by Mark Lyttle who – in 1996 – was Ireland’s Laser sailor at the class’s first appearance, at the Atlanta Olympics, when he recorded a race win.

In order to reach the level required, he was the first Irish Laser sailor to take up campaigning full time, supported by a discreetly assembled team of backers who were keen to see Irish Olympic sailing move onto a proper professional basis with the resources to concentrate full time on one class.

Thus Mark Lyttle was very much in a pioneering role a quarter of a century and more ago, but despite it being a challenging experience, it has not dented his love of Laser racing, his most recent major achievement being winning the Lasers Masters Worlds in Dublin Bay in 2018. Nevertheless he can remember the down times in the long countdown to Atlanta, and particularly a six month period when nothing was going right, and he had to step back and – successfully as it emerged – re-dial the whole business.

Mark Lyttle, Ireland’s first Olympic sailor in the Lasers in 1996, is seen here as winner of the Laser World Masters in Dublin Bay in 2018. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’BrienMark Lyttle, Ireland’s first Olympic sailor in the Lasers in 1996, is seen here as winner of the Laser World Masters in Dublin Bay in 2018. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’Brien

It was an experience which gives him a special insight into Finn Lynch’s extended period of disappointing results. In a class as numerous and globally popular as the Laser, inevitably it’s something many talented helms will share – the new World Champion Tom Saunders, for instance, has been banging at the door of a major podium place for ten years. But in Mark Lyttle’s case, those six months of frustration and disappointment in the 1990s have a greater relevance, as he knows only too well how such things play out within the Irish sailing context, so his thoughtful comments this week carry extra weight:

MARK LYTTLE’S THOUGHTS

It's a tremendous result and a great platform on which to go forward.

The real benefit of a super result like this is around the building of confidence. ILCA boats provide no technical advantage no matter how much money you spend, and boat speed starts to equalise when everyone is sailing full-time, so psychology becomes more and more important. It is about confidence that has been backed up by results, and has real foundation. Knowing you can do it because you have done it.

And it is not just about confidence, it is about dealing with stress and tension when the pressure is on, and also building resilience to deal with the ups and downs, not just in a regatta, but around the campaign as a whole. These experiences are the foundation of getting top results at the Olympics. And of course in the short term, it provides motivation for a hard winter of training.

ANNALISE MURPHY & CATHY MAC ALEAVEY’S THOUGHTS

However, while Bill O’Hara and Mark Lyttle know Finn Lynch primarily as a sailor, 2016 Olympic Silver Medallist Annalise Murphy and her mother Cathy Mac Aleavey – an Olympian in the 470 Class in 1988 – know him as sailor, friend and shipmate, something which was well demonstrated in the summer of 2020 as sailing began to emerge from the first pandemic lockdown, when Finn was invited to race with Annalise in the family’s Water Wag in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, the friendship being strengthened by a handy win.

Finn Lynch and Annalise Murphy winning a Water Wag Race in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, July 2020. Photo: Con MurphyFinn Lynch and Annalise Murphy winning a Water Wag Race in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, July 2020. Photo: Con Murphy

That Water Wag race seen again in this week’s congratulatory Tweet from Annalise.That Water Wag race seen again in this week’s congratulatory Tweet from Annalise.

Both Cathy and Annalise are now very much in post-Olympic mode, with the latter immersed in an MBA at Trinity College Dublin, while Cathy – having excelled in classic boat-building under the tutelage of the late great Jimmy Furey of Lecarrow – has been somewhat taken up with dog breeding. Yet here again she has been blessed with success, and Mac Aleavey Kennels are showing splendid new sibling pups, one golden and the other black.

Olympic sailor and classic boat-builder Cathy Mac Aleavey’s latest venture. Photo: Cathy Mac AelaveyOlympic sailor and classic boat-builder Cathy Mac Aleavey’s latest venture. Photo: Cathy Mac Aelavey

Despite all this, they have been following Finn Lynch’s progress with sympathetic understanding, and some celebration in the Kennels this week produced the following statement:

Sailing is such a difficult sport, especially the Laser Standard Fleet where the depth of talent is so high.

To keep on trying after the disappointment of not making the Tokyo Olympics shows his strength of character.

We think Carmel Winkelmann must be thrilled wherever she is. She never lost her faith in Finn.

Roll on Paris 2024!

CARMEL WINKELMANN’S CONTRIBUTION

That reference to the late Carmel Winkelmann will have immediately rung a bell with many who monitor Irish sailing, and particularly Dublin Bay racing. Through her fifty years and more of junior training and general encouragement for promise shown in the National Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire harbour generally, Carmel had become a formidable talent scout, so much so that when the news broke of Finn’s Silver Medal on Wednesday, Afloat.ie immediately had one-liners with “That’s one for Carmel” as their brief but clear theme. Perhaps this can best be explained by our Sailing on Saturday for July 23rd 2016

The late Carmel Winkelmann and the young Finn Lynch at the National Yacht Club in July 2016. Photo: W M NixonThe late Carmel Winkelmann and the young Finn Lynch at the National Yacht Club in July 2016. Photo: W M Nixon

The story of how a boy from Benekerry in the lovely depths of County Carlow came to frontline international sailing by way of Blessington Sailing Club in the Wicklow Hills and the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire now has a profound added resonance. And while we can’t properly publish some of the private emails we’ve received from the trans-national coaching brotherhood about their genuine and unfeigned delight in Finn Lynch’s success, let’s just say that for an extremely special select international group, this is seen as very good news indeed. Nevertheless, they’re concerned that the powers-that-be truly realise that right now is the time that Finn Lynch will need a new level of psychological and organisational support. Time will tell.

Published in W M Nixon
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