Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Irish 29er Crews Start as Favourites in EuroCup Final, Italy

22nd October 2023
Top Irish crews are among 170 29er teams across Europe on Lake Garda for the EuroCup competition
Top Irish crews are among 170 29er teams across Europe on Lake Garda for the EuroCup competition

Two Irish crews who led the international fleet this summer are among the favourites of the top 29er teams across Europe that have made their way to Lake Garda to contest for the coveted overall EuroCup title 2023 on Sunday.

The first is a new comnibation, made up of Dun Laoghaire Harbour sailors Clementine Van Steenberge from the National Yacht Club and Jessica Riordan of the Royal St. George Yacht Club.

With Clementine fresh from winning the Overall and Open World Championship title in August in Great Britain, where she raced with her brother Nathan, this team will certainly be one to watch, according to class pundits.

The second, composed of the Cork-Dublin combination of Ben O'Shaughnessy and Ethan Spain, who dominated the European Championship held in Stockholm in mid-August and will be looking to find their form again and finish the season with a win.

170 of the top 29er teams across Europe are on Lake Garda for the competition.

Fraglia Vela Riva, in the north of the stunning Lake Garda, once again hosts the hotly contested Ovington 29er Eurocup Final in collaboration with the International 29er Class Association.

The eleventh and final event of the 2023 29er EuroCup series, it is now considered an end-of-season classic by the specialists of this dynamic double-handed dinghy, who are accustomed to racing on these Italian waters for the seasonal finale.

Appreciated among many youth sailors who choose to step into this boat after various junior classes, the 29er Class is extremely widespread at the international level. With more than fifteen nations represented in Riva del Garda, competition begins on Sunday 22nd, until Wednesday, the 25th of October and sailors hope to complete 14 races in spectacular conditions, after which the season's EuroCup Champions will be crowned.

Also faniced are the home team, Italians Alex Demurtas and Giovanni Santi, who have been at the front of the fleet for a couple of years, winning third in the 2023 World Championships and sit in sixth in the 29er EuroCup overall ranking. Czech team Lukas Kraus and Ondrej Bastar, currently lead the overall series on the eve of this regatta, and with the 2023 Youth Worlds scheduled to take place in December, many of the top teams will be using this event as part of their final preparations.

"The 29er class always brings with it important numbers, a particularly competitive climate and a heterogeneous fleet from the point of view of origin. Hosting the last event of the season, the one that decides the fate of the circuit, now represents a long-standing tradition for the Fraglia Vela Riva, where this youth, double-handed, high-performance skiff is has reached a standard which is impossible to ignore," declared Mauro Berteotti, Sports Director of Fraglia Vela Riva.

Racing begins at midday.

Published in 29er Team

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About the 29er Skiff Dinghy

The 29er is a one-design double-handed, single trapeze skiff for youth sailors.

There is an active class in Ireland, just one of the 38-countries from across all continents now racing the high-performance skiff.

The 29er is one of the latest dinghy classes to arrive in Ireland and has a 50/50 split between boys and girls.

The class like to describe the boat as "The most popular skiff for sailors who want to go fast!".

Derived from the Olympic class 49er class and designed by Julian Bethwaite the 29er was first produced in 1998.

Two sailors sail the 29er, one on trapeze.

The class is targeted at youth sailors aiming at sailing the larger 49er which is an Olympic class.

The 6.25-metre high rig features a fractional asymmetrical spinnaker; a self-tacking jib decreases the workload of the crew, making manoeuvres more efficient and freeing the crew to take the mainsheet upwind and on two-sail reaches.

The 15.00 m2 spinnaker rigging set-up challenges crews to be fit and coordinated, and manoeuvres in the boat require athleticism due to its lack of inherent stability and the high speed with which the fully battened mainsail and jib power up.

The 74kg weight hull is constructed of fibreglass-reinforced polyester in a foam sandwich layout.

The fully battened mainsail and jib are made from a transparent Mylar laminate with orange or red Dacron trimming, while the spinnaker is manufactured from ripstop Nylon.

The mast is in three parts - an aluminium bottom and middle section, with a polyester-fibreglass composite tip to increase mast bend and decrease both overall weights, and the capsizing moment a heavy mast tip can generate. Foils are aluminium or fibreglass.

About the ILCA/Laser Dinghy

The ILCA, formerly known as the Laser, is the most produced boat in the world, with 220,000 units built since 1971.

It's easy to see why the single-handed dinghy has won the title of the most widely distributed boat of all time.

The Laser is a one-design dinghy, the hulls being identical but three rigs that can be used according to the size and weight of the sailor.

The class is international, with sailors from 120 countries. The boat has also been an Olympic class since 1996, being both the men's and women's singlehanded dinghy.

Three rigs are recognised by the International Laser Class Association (ILCA):

  • ILCA 4: sail of 4.70m2
  • ILCA 6: sail of 5.76 m2
  • ILCA 7: sail of 7.06 m2

29er skiff technical specs

  • Hull weight 74kg (163lb)
  • LOA 4.45m (14.4ft)
  • Beam 1.77m (5ft 7in)
  • Crew 2 (single trapeze) 
  • Spinnaker area 15.00 m2 (181.2sq.ft)
  • Upwind sail area 12.5 m2 (142.0 sq.ft)
  • Mast length 6.25m (20.5ft)

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