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Baltimore Sailing Club welcomed over 80 ILCA/Lasers for the Munster Championship this Easter bank holiday weekend.

The magnificent West Cork setting that is Baltimore delivered superb sailing conditions with South/South Westerly winds averaging between 15-18 knots over the course of the weekend. Expert Race Officer, Kieran McSweeney and his team, set a trapezoid course format for the six-race event series with three races on a Saturday and three on the Sunday.

True to form in the ultra-competitive ILCA 7 (Standard Fleet), Paris 2024 campaigner Ewan McMahon of HYC took first place overall with a flawless six first place results. 

A startline view of the Laser Munster Championships at Baltimore in West CorkA startline view of the Laser Munster Championships at Baltimore in West Cork

Hot on his heels in second place overall was Micheal O’Suilleabhain of KYC. Darragh Kelleher of SSC took third overall and was first placed Master.

Second placed Master in fourth overall was Dan O’Connell, while Nick Walsh of RCYC was third-placed Master and fifth overall. The ILCA 7 fleet has seen huge growth this season thanks to the Irish ILCA Association promotional offer of free annual membership and event entry to the 18-30-year-old age group. This has proven to be a great initiative in attracting this cohort back to the association and taking part in regional events once again.

In the considerably sized and super-competitive ILCA 6 (Radial) fleet, Rocco Wright and Eve McMahon (both of HYC) shared equal net points with the former taking first place overall on count-back.

Chris Bateman of PWWC took third overall and just one nett point behind first and second, showing there was little or nothing between the top three. Sean Craig, Marco Sorgassi and Brendan Hughes (all RSGYC) took first, second and third-placed Masters in eighth, tenth and fifteenth place overall.

In the ILCA 4 (4.7 fleet) Daniel O’Connor of RSGYC took first place overall, very close behind was Sienna Wright of HYC while Daniel Palmer of BYC was third overall. A large cohort of this group used the event as practice for the upcoming Irish Youth Sailing Nationals in Ballyholme this coming weekend as did their friends in the ILCA 6 fleet.

The first female Master in the ILCA 6 was Judy O’Beirne of RSGYC

Full results can be found here

Next up is the ILCA/Laser Connaught Championship in Waterford Harbour Sailing Club, Dunmore East from 07 – 08 May.

The magnificent setting that is Baltimore delivered superb sailing conditionsThe magnificent setting that is Baltimore delivered superb sailing conditions

Published in Laser
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The Laser (ILCA) Munster Championship at Baltimore Sailing Club in West Cork, ever a class favorite event, has not failed again this season with 80 boats currently entered including Olympians and top youth sailors. 

Entries continue to pour in from all four corners of the country, with 26 individual clubs now represented.

Amongst those entering are brothers and fellow Olympic campaigners, Ewan and Jamie McMahon and sister Eve, 2021 Irish Sailor of the Year and 2021 Youth World Champion.

Ewan McMahonEwan McMahon

They will be joined by top youth sailors Jonathan O’Shaughnessy, Oisin Hughes, Luke Turvey, Sophie Kilmartin, Fiachra McDonnell and hot off his Sprint Series Regatta win in Dun Laoghaire last week in the ILCA 6, Rocco Wright. Rocco and Co will undoubtedly be using the five-race Sprint Series which attracted 65 ILCAs to Dublin Bay last weekend to get a jump on their closest competitors.

Olympian Finn Lynch who had success at the Princess Sofia Regatta last week with a fourth place finish was understood to be heading for Baltimore but will not now be travelling.

Investing in training

As announced at the recent Irish ILCA AGM, the class is investing heavily in training, development, events and social, the four pillars which make the ILCA class the most successful and arguably, most fun, dinghy class in Ireland today.

The fruits of this effort can be seen in the sheer number of entries from Rush Sailing Club, where, Tokyo campaigner Aisling Keller, has been recently spending time with members there to hone their racing skills.

Tokyo campaigner Aisling KellerTokyo campaigner Aisling Keller

Aisling is actively engaged with several other Clubs throughout the country to help develop their youth squads. Another initiative the class are investing in is the concept of chartering, where boats that aren’t being used by local club members for an event can be rented to competitors. This may help those that don’t want the hassle of towing/roof-racking to events or simply don’t have the means to do so.

Racing is just part of what makes the ILCA such a fun, competitive class. The Munster’s and all ILCA events are also heavily focused on the social side, with entertainment and activities for all ages.

This can be seen in the large contingent of families that travel to events and the resulting slagging that inevitably arises both on and off the water between competing mums, dads, sons and daughters….invariably youth wins out in the end!

Remaining ILCA 2022 Event Calendar

  • Connaught Championships – WHSC, Dunmore East, Co. Waterford - 07/08 May
  • Master Championships – NYC, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin – 28/29 May
  • Leinster Championships – RStGYC, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin – 23/24 July
  • Ulster Championships – SLYC, Newtownards, Co. Down – 02/03 July
  • National Championships – TBSC, Fenit, Co. Kerry – 18/21 Aug

This article was updated on April 13 to reflect the fact Finn Lynch is not competing in Baltimore

Published in Laser
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On painkillers and sailing with a swollen arm, Ireland's Finn Lynch secured his medal race place when he moved up to fifth place overall at the end of Gold fleet racing in the ILCA7/Laser single-handed fleet today at the Princesa Sofia regatta.

After another breezy day on the Bay of Palma The National Yacht Club sailor had a fifth place in the opening race of the day and followed with his worst result of the week, a 22nd which then became his discard.

The result marks the end of 10 races for the 163-boat class with the top ten placed boats going forward for a brief race on Saturday to decide the podium places.

The best place that Lynch can achieve is fourth to match his previous best at this regatta in 2019.

"Finn has put together a really solid event this week," said Lynch's coach Vasilij Zbogar. "He's had an issue with a swollen arm so it’s hard to sail but all credit to him, he didn't want to give up even on painkillers for two days."

"The upside is that we'll get some medal race practice after a long gap but the downside is that a medal isn't an option so fourth is the target."

British sailor Michael Beckett is  guaranteed a medal and hilled about carrying an 11 points lead into his medal race, ahead of Germany’s 2020 world champion Philipp Buhl and Australia’s Tokyo gold medallist Matt Wearn:

Beckett said, “I love the medal races. It is good to have a points gap. Last time I did this regatta I was 21st and this is a great regatta and everyone is back after the Games. I have done a lot of work with the squad and this week I have been fast and it has just felt as good as I have felt in training.”

Ireland's other sailor in the ILCA7 event is Ewan McMahon Howth YC) who placed 32nd overall after the ten race fleet series ended and who is going to work on executing the upwind legs better.

McMahon's younger brother Jamie placed 25th in the Silver fleet after a promising start to the series on Monday when he scored top 20 results in his qualification flight.

The medal race final for the ILCA7 class takes place at 10 30 (Irish Summer time) on Saturday 9th April.

Full results here

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Some clever sailing through minimising race course errors has put Finn Lynch into sixth place overall in the Laser/ILCA 7 class at the Princess Sofia Regatta in Mallorca today.

The National Yacht Club ace scored eighth and 14th in fresh winds today on the Bay of Palma, scores that give him a highly prized sixth place with just two races remaining in the Gold fleet series.

With the possibility of further improvement tomorrow, Lynch has the prospect of a medal race finish in his first event towards Paris 2024. 

Howth's Ewan McMahon slipped to 30th overall after placing 39th and 21st, his brother Jamie lies in  80th place in the 160-boat fleet.

Best of the Laser Men today was Olympic Champion Matt Wearn who continues his comeback from 32nd overall on the opening day of the competition. 

The Australian was third in the first race when it paid to go left and struggled a bit more in the next when it paid to go right, still scoring a reasonable 12th. Michael Beckett (GBR) was only a point less consistent than Wearn with 14th in the first race and narrowly missing out on a race win against Filip Jurišić (CRO) to finish second. “I got the day half right,” said Beckett, “which was probably about all that anyone managed today. It was hard to read the pattern of the breeze so that was a pretty good day out, really.”

A race win for Philipp Buhl (GER) puts the 2020 World Champion just two points behind Beckett’s lead, with Wearn now 15 points off the top. France’s Jean-Baptiste Bernaz, the overnight leader did not race today.

Results here

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A most consistent performance from Irish Laser sailor Finn Lynch on the Bay of Palma shows the depth of the Rio Olympian's ambition for Paris 2024 as the National Yacht Club ace broke into the top ten overall of the 162-boat fleet.

Gold fleet racing started for the ILCA7 class today with Lynch taking an eighth place that matches his top ten scores of the qualification series.

A 15th place in the next race is his discard so far with four races remaining in the Gold fleet to decide the top ten boats that will sail Saturday's medal race final.

"I feel good after a tricky day with lots of shifty winds," said Lynch after racing. "I'm happy with my position after four days of racing to have not used my discard - 15th is still a good result in Gold fleet."

Ireland's other ILCA7 Gold fleet sailor Ewan McMahon had a mixed day, discarding a weighty 49th place but staying calm to deliver a third place straight after. The Howth sailor lies 23rd overnight.

Younger brother Jamie McMahon lies eleventh overall in the Silver fleet after a 14th and a discarded 47th place.

Racing continues for all fleets on Thursday and Friday to decide the top ten in each event for Saturday's medal race final.

French veteran campaigner Jean Baptiste Bernaz, who is setting out on his fifth consecutive Olympic journey looking to represent France at their home games holds the overall lead in the ILCA 7 class just one point ahead of his German training partner Philipp Buhl who won the second race for gold fleet.

“The first race was not easy there was one big wind shift and if you were not there you were finished. I lost about ten boats and finished 18th but the second race was better. It was that kind of day.” Said Buhl, the 2020 world champion who is looking to get to his third Olympics “This feels different this time because it is a much shorter lead in. It is not always enjoyable. When you are sitting around in the rain waiting it is not so nice but when you are leading a gold fleet race in the sunshine in good conditions this evening, that is good fun and keeps you motivated.”

Results here

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The Royal Malta Yacht Club hosted the first-ever Malta ILCA/Laser Masters regatta, part of the extremely popular EuroMasters Circuit. The regatta took place from March 18-20.

As a first-ever edition, slightly off the beaten track, the very small turnout of 12 ILCA 6/Laser Radials and just three ILCA 7/Laser Standards was to be expected. However, it is expected that word will quickly spread for next year following the show of hospitality and organisation by the hosts.

Owing to something of a storm for the three days and the worst weather in Malta since 2019, racing was confined to Valetta Harbour, with the middle day cancelled due to 40-knot winds and enormous waves at the harbour-mouth. Competitors and their supporters enjoyed a regatta reception, a closing night dinner and excellent shoreside support, featuring Irish transition-year students on a TY sailing programme. These guys risked life and limb to get the Master sailors launched out and back again, in a very tricky onshore wind and swell!

The small fleet of twelve ILCA 6’s from seven nations had really good racing, as the race-course had an amphitheatre feel in the close confines and there was plenty of place changing, with massive wind shifts. Gusts of 25-30 knots were swooping in on both the Friday and Sunday too, and absolutely every single boat in the fleet had a capsize (or a few) on Friday! The enforced rest-day was announced at the reception on Friday night, to enthusiastic applause.

Despite the size, the ILCA 6 fleet had good depth with 4th, 5th and 8th from the recent 60-boat GrandMaster Worlds in Barcelona present; Sean Craig (IRL), Myrin (Swe) and Hunt (GBR), respectively. Myrin sailed best, virtually error-free, and comfortably took the win from Craig in 2nd and Walt Spevak (USA) from San Francisco in 3rd. Three seasoned GBR Master competitors may have been surprised to be all outside the top three, though all had some very good races and moments. In the Ladies, Ireland’s Shirley Gilmore, seen in the attached photo heading upwind under the fabulous Basilica of Our lady, defied her smallish stature and competed really strongly in all 5 races to edge out her Lady rival from Sweden, Ann Loren, who has been competing at the Master Worlds on a regular basis for the last 10 years.

This event, to include the training clinic in the days beforehand is on the calendar again for 2023. Generally, racing will take place outside Valetta Harbour, in superb, rolling waves.

Download results below

Published in Laser
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Royal St. George's Tom Higgins might be focused on his preparations for the upcoming ILCA/Laser U21 Europeans, but local rivalries are still on his mind as he looks forward to the first Grant Thornton Sprint Regatta of 2022.

The Dún Laoghaire Harbour ILCA/Laser fleet in conjunction with the Royal St. George Yacht Club piloted a one-day sprint regatta format in 2021. The first sprint regatta in July which consisted of five short trapezoid races back to back proved so popular that the organisers hosted a second event in October which was sold out within days.

The organisers, buoyed by the success of the format in 2021, have announced that there will be five sprint regattas throughout 2022 once again supported by Grant Thornton Ireland.

As Afloat reported previously, the first event takes place on Saturday, April 02 marking the official end of the winter season following the end of the local DMYC Frostbite series.

At the first Grant Thornton Sprint Regatta held in July last year, local favourite and Ireland team member Tom Higgins took home the gold medal in the Standard fleet. The October event, titled the Race of Champions saw Higgins pipped on the line on three out of five races by fellow RStGYC sailor Peter Fagan.

The Royal St. George Yacht Club piloted a one-day sprint regatta format in 2021 that returns in 2022The Royal St. George Yacht Club piloted a one-day sprint regatta format in 2021 that is expanded in 2022

With the standings at one all to the pair, both Higgins and Fagan have announced that the first sprint of 2022 is in their sights and both seem out to prove a point. Higgins, who will be representing Ireland at the 2022 EurILCA Under 21 European Championships from April 14-21 2022 in France, is looking to demonstrate who is the more consistent performer. Meanwhile, Fagan is looking to serve another Verstappen-like upset on the dominant Higgins.

The one-day regatta is open to Laser sailors both junior and adult and in all rigs; 4.7, Radial and Standard. There is particular emphasis from Race Officer, Richard Kissane of Howth Yacht Club on ensuring a fast-paced and fun event for competitors of all ages and abilities. Novice sailors are welcome as this provides a unique format to be involved in racing at the highest level across the local fleet.

Commencing at 2 pm, there will be a minimum of 5 races in quick succession for each fleet, with each race lasting between 20-30 minutes. Prizes are awarded for the top three positions in each fleet with separate prize categories for male/female, under 30s and Masters. The entry fee for the event is €20 with entry limited to 80 boats.

The event is open to all ILCA Lasers based in Dún Laoghaire. Travelling boats are welcome to enter, however, due to the ongoing space pressures across the local clubs, visiting boats are invited to launch from the public slip in the Coal Harbour.

Speaking at the launch of the 2022 series, Mick Shelley, Audit Partner at Grant Thornton Ireland and himself a local ILCA sailor said that; “We're delighted to put our name to this format once again in 2022. The ILCA Laser is the largest fleet locally and is accessible to the widest range of sailors. We're happy to support such a fleet that makes the sport of sailing more accessible to a wider group of people.”

Full details of the event and registration is open on rsgyc.ie.

Published in RStGYC

After a week of intimidating forecasts threatened the hosting of the annual Howth YC Round the Island race sponsored by Key Capital, writes Neil Murphy, Saturday, March 12th delivered a welcome morning weather window of warm sunlight and a nice sailing breeze, although the big winds promised for the afternoon were indicated by a clear blue sky to the east contrasting with increasing greyness overhead to the west. The 43 boats entered, with a Portsmouth Yardstick fleet competing for the first time, took to the water to enjoy a ‘warm-up’ race before the main event produced a high speed spin around the Island under still-blue skies.

The clear blue sky to the eastward beyond Ian & Judith Malcolm’s 1915-vintage Water Wag Barbara………..The clear blue sky to the eastward beyond Ian & Judith Malcolm’s 1915-vintage Water Wag Barbara………..

……..contrasted with the ominously greying sky to the west.……..contrasted with the ominously greying sky to the west.

The Round Ireland’s Eye Race is the traditional conclusion to the HYC Laser Frostbite Series, now closing in on its 50th anniversary this Autumn. Over that time, the names of the sailors have changed and Lasers are now titled ILCAs, but the racers’ enthusiasm for the challenges of winter dinghy sailing remains a constant. For the first time, 2022 saw an invite being issued to the broader dinghy sailing fraternity to compete in a PY handicap event and not alone test their racing skills but their ability to assess the likely wind and tide implications of a clockwise or anti-clockwise rounding of the island.

“We’ve been at it all winter” - ILCAs going about their business. Photo: Harry Gallagher“We’ve been at it all winter” - ILCAs going about their business. Photo: Harry Gallagher

Despite the weather threat in the lead-up, 16 boats of various types took up the PY offer to provide a Boat Show Afloat with the Class entry list including some high tech modern racing dinghies such as RS Aeros (both 5 and 7 rigs), RS 600 and RS 800, the 1950s and ’60s era GP14, and 420 Classes along with a Water Wag and six IDRA 14s representing the more traditional clinker-built (or lapstrake-moulded) end of the dinghy racing spectrum.

A wide range of Clubs in PY was represented with Greystones, National YC, RStGYC, Skerries SC and Malahide YC figuring, while Clontarf’s six strong IDRA 14 fleet, along with their Laser entries, provided the biggest representation from a visiting Club. The Laser fleet also saw a turnout from around the country with boats from Monkstown Bay, Royal Cork, Rush, Lough Ree, Wexford Harbour and Blessington joining the home fleet.

“A Boat Show Afloat” – it’s not often that you’ll see a Water Wag and IDRA 14s sharing a starting line with an RS Aero. Photo: Harry Gallagher“A Boat Show Afloat” – it’s not often that you’ll see a Water Wag and IDRA 14s sharing a starting line with an RS Aero. Photo: Harry Gallagher

The event format is simple - a short Windward Leeward Race to get the competitors afloat and finalising their race strategy for the ‘big one’, followed by the RTI itself. The 6 – 8 knot breeze that welcomed the fleet to Howth Sound belied the 18 - 23 knot southerly on the forecasts but, with the opening act completed and the wind starting to prove the forecast correct, the Round the Island was ready for the off by 11.45. The course layout sees the boats race to a windward mark and then back downwind to a turning mark that this year, given the wind direction, had to be left to starboard. Arrival at the turning mark is final decision time for skippers – am I committed to the direction I decided on earlier, is there someone I want to follow or have I made a mess of the race so far and it’s time to do something different from the majority?

Another decision….D.Kirwan of Malahide choosing the offshore route as he rounds the island’s northeast corner at The Stack. Photo: Paddy JudgeAnother decision….D.Kirwan of Malahide choosing the offshore route as he rounds the island’s northeast corner at The Stack. Photo: Paddy Judge

The 15 boat PY Class was first away, followed by the 14 ILCA 7s (formerly Standard) rigs, while the ILCA 5s and 4s shared the third start. By now the breeze was hovering in the high teens and gusty and, despite Low Water not being for another 75 minutes, the tide had already started to flood north, upsetting some of the strategic decisions. Only four boats decided to chance a clockwise rounding and before they had even reached the Stack at the north east corner of the Island, less than half-way around, they were already resigned to 2023 being their next chance of success.

Close under the cliffs the Water Wag and an IDRA 14 find williwaws every which way………….Photo: Paddy JudgeClose under the cliffs the Water Wag and an IDRA 14 find williwaws every which way………….Photo: Paddy Judge

……while the newest IDRA 14 – communally built in CY & BC – seems to find the island’s cliffs overbearing after the wide open spaces of her home waters. Photo: Paddy Judge……while the newest IDRA 14 – communally built in CY & BC – seems to find the island’s cliffs overbearing after the wide open spaces of her home waters. Photo: Paddy Judge

In the anti-clockwise fleet, the RS800 of Mike Evans and Shane Hughes (HYC) streaked away but the broad reach up the east of the Island in the left-over sea from the week’s gales saw them horizontal a few times - not a good move for the scratch boat in a handicap fleet. Capsizes were frequent along the east side of the Island as the fleet broad reached on the gusty breeze, now occasionally hitting 23 knots, but the support craft were on standby to assist and only one boat needed help to return to the harbour. The Water Wag of Ian and Judith Malcolm (NYC/HYC), built in 1915 and sailing in its now-unaccustomed environment of the open sea and sizeable waves, was going well amongst its more youthful timber and GRP opposition.

Veteran Water Wag Barbara among some ILCAs in a real hint of SpringVeteran Water Wag Barbara among some ILCAs in a real hint of Spring.

The ILCA 7s saw a ding-dong battle along the north side of the island as the pathfinder group in the Class, Ronan Wallace (WHBTC), Ronan Kenneally (MBSC), Dan O’Connell (ISA) and Conor Murphy (HYC), tested their decisions on how close to go the lee of the cliffs, the best course to allow the shortest distance to be sailed and how to maximise the advantage from the tide.

After a relatively quick race, helped by the freshening southerly breeze and the flooding tide, the first boat to finish was the twin-trapeze RS 800, which completed the course in 30 minutes and 18 seconds. However, with a PY number of 820 and racing against boats with as high a number as 1281, it would need a big winning margin to get to the top of the list of corrected times.

The Line Honours winning RS 800 (Mike Evans & Shane Hughes). Photo: Paddy JudgeThe Line Honours winning RS 800 (Mike Evans & Shane Hughes). Photo: Paddy Judge

After a great day of sailing providing the top quality racing around the beautiful coast of a spectacular island that the sailors came to enjoy, they came ashore for lunch in HYC followed by the Ireland England rugby match and the prizegiving – happy faces all round. The winners in the ILCA Classes were ILCA 7 – Conor Murphy (HYC), ILCA 5 – Peter Hassett (DBSC) and ILCA 4 – Fiachra Farrelly (HYC).

After the computer had done its stuff, the winner of the PY Class on corrected time saw the Aeros take the top three spots, Roy van Maanen (Greystones SC) first in a 5 rig, just ahead of Daragh Sheridan (HYC) in a 7 with Sarah Dwyer (RStGYC) third in her 5 and pipping the Malcolm’s Water Wag by just 2 seconds. First of the IDRA 14s in the PY Class was Finlay McDonald of Clontarf Y&BC.

Daragh Sheridan’s Aero 7 took second in the PY Class. Photo: Harry GallagherDaragh Sheridan’s Aero 7 took second in the PY Class. Photo: Harry Gallagher

With winter sailing for the HYC dinghy fleet now completed, the next HYC Open Dinghy Event is the long-running Brassed Off Cup on Good Friday, so named because the young participants were originally those peeved at not being invited onto the team for the Easter Optimist Regatta on Lake Braassermeer in the Netherlands many years ago. Nowadays the Brassed Off Cup is the early season ‘must-do’ for juniors in the Dublin area and will be held this year on April 15th, and meanwhile, in the Fingal area on St Patrick’s Day, Malahide YC is hosting an all-comers dinghy regatta, so the new season is properly upon us.

Published in Howth YC
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Malahide Yacht Club are kicking off their sailing season in style with the launch of an inaugural open Dinghy Regatta on the waters of Broadmeadows Estuary on Friday 18th March 2022.

The Regatta is open to entries in PY Single and Doublehanded classes, ILCA/ Laser all rigs and Optimist class with an early bird entry fee available for entries received before 13th March 2022.

There will be a competitor briefing at 10.40, and the first gun at 11.20 with individual starts for Optimist, ILCA and PY Fleet.

Prize giving and complimentary food will take place later that day in the Broadmeadows Clubhouse.

Online entry is now open here, and the NOR is downloadable below.

Published in Malahide YC
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The Dún Laoghaire ILCA Laser fleet has announced a bumper 2022 season for local sailors.

With over 150 regular sailors, the ILCA/Laser fleet in Dun Laoghaire is the largest one-design senior dinghy fleet in the country. Sailors launch from all of the local clubs, including the Coal Harbour, with 120 launching from the Royal St. George Yacht Club alone in 2021. Local organisers are expecting the fleet to continue to grow in 2022 given the flexibility of this particular dinghy.

This year’s plans see the local class continuing with the sprint regatta format which they trialled last year. This regatta format, sponsored once again by Grant Thornton, offers five races back to back in quick succession. Both of last year’s sprint events were sold out within days of being announced and so it is no surprise that the class intends to host five regattas with this format in 2022. The first regatta takes place on Saturday, April 02.

Grant Thornton Laser Sprint

To facilitate weekly full-fleet racing in the bay a new “Friday Nights R&R” (Race & Relax) series is being introduced this season, running from April through to September. Sponsored by MGM Boats, this will consist of up to three races in the bay back to back on Friday evenings. The format is open to all ages and fleets, with series prizes awarded across the fleets in both male and female categories. The series kicks off on Friday, April 29.

MGM Laser racing

The Irish Laser Association, recently renamed ILCA Ireland, is hosting two events in Dublin Bay this summer. On May 28-29, the National Yacht Club will be organising the Masters National Championships. Then on July 23-24 the Royal St. George Yacht Club will be hosting the Leinster Championships which is open to all fleets. Given the size of the fleet locally, it is expected that both events will achieve record turnouts.

In addition to the regional events, the local Laser fleet will be organising its own mini-series on the basis of Laser results from the four local club regattas hosted by DMYC, NYC, RIYC and RSGYC each weekend from June 11 to July 02. Entrants to the regattas will be eligible to win prizes at each individual regatta plus overall prizes across the four-regatta mini-series.

The local fleet is well known for the high level of open coaching that it organises at both junior and adult levels. This year will see the introduction of new coaching formats for both beginners and advanced sailors. A new “strength and conditioning” coaching format, launched in January, which focuses on on-the-water fitness and resilience is already proving very popular. The fleet plans to introduce mid-week free sailing which will be a mix of racing and fun in Dublin Bay.

When asked about the rationale behind the plans for 2022, local class captain Brendan Hughes said, “The ILCA Laser fleet locally is unique in that it caters for the broadest range of skills and ages; from novices through to Olympic campaigners, from teens to sailors in their seventies. Existing local structures are currently unable to meet the needs of the largest fleet in Dublin Bay, so we needed to create our own agile approach to ensuring that sailors of all ages and abilities can have a challenging, fun and safe place to sail. We are not a club, but operate as a group of around 30 volunteers who work within the club structures to make things happen.”

Full details of the 2022 schedule are downloadable below as a PDF

Published in Laser
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Page 6 of 68

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.

©Afloat 2020

Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition

Where is the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition being held? Sailing at Paris 2024 will take place in Marseille on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea between 28 July and 8 August, and will feature Kiteboarding for the first time, following a successful Olympic debut in 2018 at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. The sailing event is over 700 km from the main Olympic Games venue in Paris.

What are the events? The Olympic Sailing Competition at Paris 2024 will feature ten Events:

  • Women’s: Windsurfing, Kite, Dinghy, Skiff
  • Men’s: Windsurfing, Kite, Dinghy, Skiff
  • Mixed: Dinghy, Multihull

How do you qualify for Paris 2024?  The first opportunity for athletes to qualify for Paris 2024 will be the Sailing World Championships, The Hague 2023, followed by the Men’s and Women’s Dinghy 2024 World Championships and then a qualifier on each of World Sailing’s six continents in each of the ten Events. The final opportunity is a last chance regatta to be held in 2024, just a few months before the Games begin.

50-50 split between male and female athletes: The Paris 2024 Games is set to be the first to achieve a 50-50 split between male and female athletes, building on the progress made at both Rio 2016 (47.5%) and Tokyo 2020 (48.8%). It will also be the first Olympic Games where two of the three Chief roles in the sailing event will be held by female officials,

At A Glance - Irish Olympic Sailing Team 2022 Events

  • Laser World Championships 21-28 May, Mexico
  • 49er European Championships, 4 – 10 July, Denmark
  • Olympic Test Event, 1- 14 Aug, Marseille, France
  • 49er World Championships ... 31 Aug – 6 Sep, Canada
  • Hague Youth World Championships, 7 Sept – 2 Oct, The Hague
  • Laser Radial World Championships, 10 – 17 Oct, Qingdao, China
  • Laser European Championships, 14 – 21 Nov, Hyeres, France

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