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The ILCA Masters National Championships proved that the ILCA is a boat for all ages. The masters travelled to Howth Yacht Club to race in the sunshine and a steady south-easterly breeze ranging from 8 to 14 knots. Under the watchful eye of Race Officer Neil Murphy and his team, six races took place over two days in the ILCA 6 and ILCA 7 fleets.

Masters sailors are split into five categories: Apprentices aged 30 to 45, Masters aged 45 to 54, Grand Masters 55 – 64, Great Grand Masters 65 – 74, and Legends 75+. Within each fleet, multiple contests take place, and prizes are awarded in each category and for overall winners.

2024 ILCA Masters National Championship Masters Championships competitors post racing on Sunday at Howth Yacht Club2024 ILCA Masters National Championship Masters Championships competitors post racing on Sunday at Howth Yacht Club

In the 24-boat ILCA 7 fleet, Dan O’Connell and Rory Lynch, both regular Howth winter sailors, battled hard for the top spot, while Conor Byrne, last year's winner, was not far behind. After two wins in race 4 and 6, Rory Lynch topped the fleet and Apprentice category. Dan O’Connell, was second overall and first Master. while Conor Byrne last year 39s Masters Champion had to settle for third overall and second Apprentice. The top Grand Master was Nick Walshe, starting and finishing strong with a third in race one and a second in race six.

Baltimore Sailing Club's Rory Lynch - ILCA 7 Masters National ChampionBaltimore Sailing Club's Rory Lynch - ILCA 7 Masters National Champion

In the ILCA 6 fleet, Conor Clancy and Sean Craig were well-matched rivals, both finishing all races in the top four. Sean Craig showed his experience with three race wins, discarding a fourth to take first overall and top Grand Master. Conor Clancy was just three points behind and finished second overall and top Apprentice. Conor Barry sailed a very consistent series, winning race six to take third place and top Master.

Royal St. George Yacht Club's Shirley Gilmore, the Women's Irish Masters ILCA 6 National Champion Royal St. George Yacht Club's Shirley Gilmore, the Women's Irish Masters ILCA 6 National Champion 

In the ILCA 6 Women's category Shirley Gilmore, Judy O’Byrne, Mary Chambers, Alison Pigot and Carla Fagan were racing hard. Shirley Gilmore inched ahead after day one and, with a fourth in race six, did enough to retain her Women’s Masters title, with Judy O’Beirne finishing second and Mary Chambers third overall. Alison Pigot was second in the Grand Master category, while Carla Fagan was the top Apprentice.

As always, Howth Yacht Club ran a top-class event. Jill Sommerville and Conor Murphy did an exceptional job organising it.

ILCA Ireland’s next event is the Ulster Championships which takes place in County Antrim Yacht Club on the 22 and 23 of June.

Full results below

Published in Laser
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Olympians and former champions are set to compete in this year's ILCA Masters Championships at Howth Yacht Club. The event comes just nine months after the North Dublin club hosted the national championships for the 2023 class last August.

One of the main attractions of the event will be the ILCA 7 fleet, where defending champion Conor Byrne of the RStGYC is expected to face stiff competition from the likes of 1984 and 1988 Olympian Bill O'Hara. Byrne, who has taken fourth and second place in the regional ILCA events so far this year, is set to put up a strong defence of his title.

Nick Walsh of RCYC, winner of the 2022 Masters Championships and second place in 2021, will also be competing, along with Dan O'Connell of Cobh SC, who was second in the 2022 Masters Championships.

Royal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour competing in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters World Championships in Adelaide, Australia Credit: Jack FletcherRoyal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour competing in the 2023 ILCA 6 Grand Masters World Championships in Adelaide, Australia Photo: Jack Fletcher

In the smaller rig ILCA 6s, a strong Royal St. George Yacht Club turnout is expected, led by Sean Craig, who won the event in 2022 and 2021. Craig's clubmate Darren Griffin has also taken podium places in the past two years, while Hugh Delap, who was the first master at the recent Munster Championships, narrowly missed out on a podium place last year.

Shirley Gilmore is defending her Ladies Masters National Title and will be up against Mary Chambers, Great Grand Master who took line honours last week in DBSC. Also competing is Carla Fagan of the host club, Ali Pigott of the National Yacht Club and Judy O'Beirne, Dun Laoghaire ILCA Class Captain from the Royal St George Yacht Club.

The event will be overseen by Race Officer Neil Murphy, along with the rest of the race committee from the recent HYC Dinghy Frostbites. 

Published in Laser
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Light winds in Lough Ree did not stop the ILCA fleet from completing two days of very tight racing in 5 to 10 knots. In stereotypical lake sailing weather, the light northerly breeze kept all three fleets with their heads out of the boat, trying to anticipate the next shift or gust of wind. Race Officer Alan Algeo and his team had their work cut out for them as nearly 100 ILCAs played snakes and ladders in the beautiful surroundings of Lough Ree.

The ILCA 4 fleet had much at stake this weekend. In the aftermath of Storm Kathleen, the ILCA 4 Class was left without any competitive sailing at the Irish Sailing Youth Nationals held at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in early April. However, ILCA Ireland has stepped up to the plate and agreed to allow the ILCA Connachts to be used as a trophy event for the ILCA 4 category for the Irish Sailing Youth Nationals. After 6 races Conor Cronin led the way on 12 points. Second went to Caoilinn McDonnell on 16 point and third to Andrew O’Neill on 17 points.

Racing for the Junior National Championship title in ILCA 4s on Lough ReeRacing for the Junior National Championship title in ILCA 4s on Lough Ree Photo: Clive Long

The ILCA 6 fleet, as usual, was looking for every possible advantage and pushed the line to general recall on a number of occasions over the weekend. After five races, Andrew Kingston led the fleet on 6 points, with Daniel Palmer in second on 13 points and Dan O’Connor in third, also on 13 points. Sean Craig led the ILCA 6 masters, finishing 4th overall on 15 points, with Gavin Doig 5th overall and second master.

In the ILCA 7, Tom Coulter won convincingly, discarding a second to finish on 5 points. Conor Byrne finished second and was the first master on 14 points, while Rory Lynch, also on 14 points, finished 3rd.

As always, Lough Ree Yacht Club were exceptional hosts, providing ample space and facilities for camping and a catered dinner on Saturday evening.

The ILCA dinghies sailing in Lough Ree at the Connaught Championships 2024 Photo: Clive LongThe ILCA dinghies sailing in Lough Ree at the Connaught Championships 2024 Photo: Clive Long

The next ILCA event is the Masters Championship, which will take place at Howth Yacht Club on May 11th and 12th. It is open to all ILCA sailors 30+ years of age.

Full Results are available here

Published in Laser
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In the aftermath of Storm Kathleen, the ILCA 4 Class was left without any competitive sailing at the Irish Sailing Youth Nationals held at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in early April. However, ILCA Ireland has stepped up to the plate and agreed to allow the ILCA Connachts to be used as a trophy event for the ILCA 4 category for the Irish Sailing Youth Nationals.

Irish Sailing will award prizes to the top three sailors, all under 17 on 31/12/24. The event is scheduled to take place on the 27th and 28th of April in Lough Ree Yacht Club. Full details of the event can be found on the ILCA Ireland website.

ILCA Ireland has made it clear that the awarding of prizes to the top three U17 ILCA 4 sailors is solely at the discretion of Irish Sailing, and ILCA Ireland will not be involved in any way with the awarding of the prizes.

In related news, Topper Ireland is also planning to leverage an upcoming Topper event during the month of June to award their Irish Sailing Youth National prizes. More details regarding this event are expected to be announced over the coming weeks.

Published in Laser
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The Irish Laser Class Association (ILCA) has announced that its annual general meeting (AGM) will be held virtually on April 17th at 6:30 pm. The meeting will be followed by a live Q&A session with the ILCA representatives who will be competing at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.

The ILCA is the national governing body for Laser sailing in Ireland, and the AGM is an opportunity for members to discuss the association's progress and plans for the future. The meeting will cover a range of topics, including reports from the committee, financial updates, and proposed changes to the association's constitution.

After the AGM, Brendan Hughes, an experienced sailor and member of the ILCA, will host a live Q&A session with Finn Lynch and Eve McMahon, the two Irish Laser sailors who will be representing the country at the Paris Olympics.

Register in advance for this webinar below 

Click Here to Register

ILCA AGM Agenda 17th April 2024

More on the Irish efforts for the Paris Olympic sailing regatta here

Published in Laser
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For ILCA sailors Easter always means the Munster Championships in Baltimore Sailing Club in West Cork. Despite the early Easter this year the Munster Championships lived up to all expectations, with nearly a hundred boats travelling from around the country, all three ILCA fleets were very well represented.

Saturday brought a fresh Southerly 18 to 22 knots, with a rolling swell entering the harbour from below the beacon. Race Officer Ciaran McSweeney laid a trapezoid course with ILCA 4 and 6 racing on the inner loop and ILCA 7 on the outer loop. Three races were planned for each day, with an option of a fourth on day one. For once, all fleets got off the line without a general recall, which is a testament to an excellent course and line set by McSweeney’s team.

In the ILCA 4, Patrick Foley got off to a great start with 1, 1, 5. Riona McMorrow Moriarty was not far behind with a consistent 3,3,3 and Caoilinn McDonnell was in the mix with 4, 6, 1.

In the ILCA 6 Bobby Driscoll was untouchable with three bullets, close behind was Lewis Thompson 5,2,2 and Sam LeDoux 3,4,3. Hugh Delap led the Masters division with 11,10,11 and Philip Doherty lay second with14,13,13.

Royal St. George sailors from Dublin Bay preparing for day two of the ILCA Munster Championships in Baltimore, West CorkRoyal St. George sailors from Dublin Bay preparing for day two of the ILCA Munster Championships in Baltimore, West Cork

Tom Coulter and Fiachra McDonell were battling it out at the front of the ILCA 7 fleet after their recent return from the U21 European Championships. Tom scored a 2,1,1. Fiachra was not far behind with 1,4,2, followed by Jonathan O’Shaughnessy with 4,2,4. Conor Byrne 5,6,3 and Colin Leonard 6,3,5 led the Masters.

Day 2 brought very different conditions with a shifty North Easterly breeze ranging from 15 to 8 knots. The Race Officer’s team set the course through the harbour and kept races to an ideal 45 to 50 minutes. With big shifts hitting either side of the course and the lousy rocks in the middle, it paid to pick a side, but whether to go left or right was anyone’s guess.

ILCA 4 overall winner Riona McMorrow Moriarty showed consistency across conditions with a 3,1,1 on day two, scoring top three results in all six races. Caoilinn McDonnell finished second with 7,5,3 and Patrick Foley third with 8,9,10.

In the ILCA 6, Bobby Driscoll started well with another bullet but scored a 15 in race two, which he was able to discard with a 3 in race six. Sam LeDoux had an excellent second day with 2,4,1 taking second place overall and Lewis Thompson finished in third with a 7,1,21. Hugh Delap led the Masters with 12,7,6 and Conor Barry finished as second master with 2,12,17. Special mention to Masters sailor Brendan Hughes who led the fleet in race 6 for the first two laps, the youth sailors were never far behind but it shows the quality throughout the fleet and the fact the ILCA is a boat for all age groups.

With tensions high and a slight current pushing the fleets over the line the ILCA 7’s were called for a general recall in race 4, but got away on the second attempt. Tom Coulter had an outstanding day two with a 1,1,9. Fiachra McDonnell finished second overall with a 7,2,6 and Fionn Lyden took third with 5,6,2. Conor Byrne 2,5,7 finished as the top Master on joint points with Lyden after six races. After a black flag in race 6, Colin Leonard finished as second Master with 3,10, BFD.

ILCA Ireland’s next event is the Connaught Championships taking Place in Lough Ree Yacht Club on the 27th and 28th of April. Registration and the ILCA event calendar is here

Published in Laser

The best laid plans often go awry - despite what was set to be a great turnout for the annual Howth Yacht Club Round the Island Race last Saturday at Howth, the weather gods didn't play ball, and a decision was taken 48 hours before the event in the face of an expected easterly gale to cancel the day's sailing (it was a very accurate call – on the day, the waves were sweeping the Howth East Pier almost as if it wasn’t there – Ed.). It meant great disappointment, not only for the series regulars who have been racing in HYC nearly every Sunday since November, but also for the strong visitor turnout. The event was due to see a variety of boats from all over the country, including Fireballs from Cork, RS Aeros from the North and Mermaids from North Dublin.

Here’s success for Ukraine – Oleksandr Bezpalyi of the Obolon SC in Kiev is in the frame at HowthHere’s success for Ukraine – Oleksandr Bezpalyi of the Obolon SC in Kiev is in the frame at Howth

This one’s for West Cork – Rory Lynch of Baltimore SC made good on the East CoastThis one’s for West Cork – Rory Lynch of Baltimore SC made good on the East Coast

However, all was not lost, as the shore-side of the day's agenda could still proceed uninterrupted. The prizegiving for the both Frostbite series and the New Year's Day Race, followed by a lunch and the 6 Nations rugby matches on the big screen gave everyone plenty to look forward to on the day, but we’ll put the rugby down to experience

MANY VOLUNTEERS

Commodore Neil Murphy said a few words to welcome everyone. The main thanks of the event go to the volunteer race officer team, who share weekly duties among themselves and have done so for many years. Harry Gallagher, Jim Lambkin, Liam Dineen, Dave Jones, Richard Kissane, Ronan MacDonell and Neil Murphy as race officers, along with many more volunteers who manage the results, and the RIB crews all do a great job of ensuring that everyone gets great, safe racing done all winter long.

Rising star. Andrei Samoilov collected the trophy for most improved sailorRising star. Andrei Samoilov collected the trophy for most improved sailor

Special mentions were also given to the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the Frostbite series and Laser/ILCA racing in HYC next Autumn, where there will be a number of on and off the water events to mark the special milestone. Winter sailing in HYC has lots to look forward to - a growing PY fleet including GP14s, B14s and RS Aeros out every week set to be joined next year by a fleet of Melges 15s.

“Gee thanks Dad!” Series organiser and prize winner Conor Murphy with Mr Big“Gee thanks Dad!” Series organiser and prize winner Conor Murphy with Mr Big

New talent - Charlie Robertson and crew took the Junior Title in PY.New talent - Charlie Robertson and crew took the Junior Title in PY

As the prizes were given out, great enjoyment was taken in identifying past winners of each of the trophies and reminiscing on years gone by, while also looking forward to the coming years. Most trophies saw new names being added to them this year, and there were many new visitors to the podium places in each class. While most of the prizes are given out for podium finishes in the series, one prize is given each year to recognise the most improved sailor among the participants. This year, Malahide's Andrej Samoilov won this prize in his second season at the HYC Frostbites, as this year he obtained podium results and led the fleet on occasion.

Ciara McMahon is yet another branch of the top sailing clanCiara McMahon is yet another branch of the top sailing clan

The tops! Daragh Sheridan led a successful solo charge with the RS Aero.The tops! Daragh Sheridan led a successful solo charge with the RS Aero.

All prizes awarded and photos are below.

2023 HYC Pre-Christmas Series

• ILCA 7 (Courtney Cup): Rory Lynch (Baltimore SC), Daragh Kelleher (SSC), Dave Kirwan (MYC)
• ILCA 6 (Stafford Trophy): Tom Fox (Rush SC), Darragh Peelo (Malahide YC), Peter Hassett
• ILCA 4 (Frazer Casey Firefly Cup): Oleksandr Bezpalyi (Obolon SC), Harry Dunne (Howth YC), Stan O'Rourke (MYC/HYC)
• PY: Daragh Sheridan (RS Aero, Howth YC), John Phelan (RS Aero, Howth YC), Jeremy Beshoff & Declan McManus (B14, Howth YC)
• PY2: Charlie Robertson

2024 New Year's Day Race

• ILCA 7 (New Year's Day Mug): Colm Cunningham (Malahide YC)
• ILCA 6: Peter Hassett
• PY: Daragh Sheridan

2024 Post-Christmas Series

• ILCA 7 (Rowan Trophy): Conor Murphy (Howth YC), Dan O'Connell (Cobh SC), Rory Lynch (Baltimore SC)
• ILCA 6 (Elliot Cup): Tom Fox (Rush SC), Vikor Samoilov (MYC/HYC), Ciara McMahon (Howth YC)
• ILCA 4 (Fitzpatrick Cup): Stan O'Rourke (MYC/HYC), Oleksandr Bezpalyi (Obolon SC), Charlie Power (Howth YC)
• PY: Daragh Sheridan (RS Aero, Howth YC), Alan Blay & Hugh McNally (GP14, Howth YC), Sam Street & Josh Lloyd (GP14, Blessington LSC)

Peter Hassett was in the frame in ILCA 6sPeter Hassett was in the frame in ILCA 6s

All welcome. Commodore with Daragh Peelo of MalahideAll welcome. Commodore with Daragh Peelo of Malahide

Dave Kirwan was another of the Estuary Invaders from MalahideDave Kirwan was another of the Estuary Invaders from Malahide

Young Stan O’Rourke successfully carried the banner for a renowned Dublin sailing nameYoung Stan O’Rourke successfully carried the banner for a renowned Dublin sailing name

Commodore with John Phelan, whose successes come inshore and offshore, winter and summer.Commodore with John Phelan, whose successes come inshore and offshore, winter and summer

Published in Howth YC
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Eve McMahon (Howth YC) improved her overall position in the Women's ILCA 6 European championships in Athens, Greece where she lies 14th overall going into the final day of racing.

McMahon – already selected for the Paris 2024 Olympics – will likely end up outside the top ten with one race on Friday but can still move up further in the rankings.

The championship has a new leader, and it’s none other than Maria Erdi from Hungary, the reigning 2023 World champion. Following six consistently strong performances, she now leads the fleet with 19 points, edging ahead of the overnight leader Viktorija Andrulyte from Lithuania, who sits at 21 points. Louise Cervera, the next French Olympic representative, holds third place with 25 points.

"It was a wonderful day. The first race was just amazing. I had a good start and good tactic, and then I did good stuff at the speed. I was really first from far away, so I was happy. On the second race the same, I finished fifth, so it was really cool. The last one I did a bit of a shitty start, so it was difficult for me but, it’s ok, I’m really happy about the day," Cervera told reporters.

Top 5 – Senior Europeans:

Maria Erdi HUN 19 pt
Viktorija Andrulyte LTU 21 pt
Louise Cervera FRA 25 pt
Elena Vorobeva CRO 29 pt
Anne Marie Rindom DEN 33 pt

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The ILCA European Championships in Athens has experienced another day without racing due to light winds.

The event, which began on Sunday, has completed just three out of the planned eight races for the women's ILCA 6 class, while the men in the ILCA 7 have had two races so far.

Three Irish sailors, Finn Lynch of the National Yacht Club and Ewan and Eve McMahon of Howth Yacht Club, were among the 300 sailors hoping for wind but were left disappointed.

Lynch and McMahon posted nearly matching scores in the only races so far. Eve McMahon has had a consistent showing in the ILCA 6 division.

Due to the calm weather, organisers have cancelled the Olympic format medal race final on Friday instead of focusing on the fleet races. The championship requires four completed races to determine a winner, but the hope is that the qualification round will be completed on Thursday, allowing for Gold fleet racing on Friday to decide the event.

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Irish sailors held their nerve over the final two back-to-back races on Saturday to win ILCA 7 silver and bronze at the World Masters Championships in Adelaide, Australia.

Irish champion Colin Leonard of Ballyholme Yacht Club in Northern Ireland won silver in the ILCA 7 Apprentice fleet (age 30 to 44) after a consistent series saw the Belfast Lough sailor finish the 12 race series with a string of second place scores ((2.0 [6.0] 2.0 2.0 1.0 6.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 6.0 2.0) against overall winner Luke Deegan of New Zealand in a 12 boat fleet.

In the ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters division (age 55 to 64), 1996 Olympian Mark Lyttle of the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay won bronze in his 35-boat fleet.

The National Yacht Club's Mark Lyttle won bronze at the ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters World Championship fleet in Adelaide, Australia Photo: Jack FletcherThe National Yacht Club's Mark Lyttle won bronze at the ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters World Championship fleet in Adelaide, Australia Photo: Jack Fletcher 

The 1996 Atlanta Olympian, who won the Grand Master title in 2018 on home waters, finished on 46 points and third overall, six points off silver won by New Zealand's Andrew Dellabarca.

With an incredible 11 race wins from 12 starts, Australia's Brett Beyer proved unstoppable in this fleet.

Belfast Lough's Conrad Simpson, competing in the same division, finished 29th but withdrew after race seven due to injury.

Royal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour competing in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters World Championships in Adelaide, Australia Credit: Jack FletcherRoyal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour competing on day five in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters World Championships in Adelaide, Australia Credit: Jack Fletcher

Royal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour finished sixth overall in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters category.

Scroll down the results sheet (below) to read the final scores.

Published in Laser
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Robert Dickson & Sean Waddilove, Tokyo Olympic 49er Sailors 

Dublin dinghy sailors Robert Dickson of Howth Yacht Club and Sean Waddilove of Skerries Sailing Club achieved their goal of representing Ireland in the 49er class, almost six years to the day after first setting foot in a 49er skiff at their home club of Howth Yacht Club in County Dublin in 2015.

The voyage was a magnificent one becoming U23 World champions in 2018 before out sailing rivals double Olympian Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle in some style for selection in Lanzarote in March 2021 to win the last European Olympic place for Tokyo.

Follow their progress here.