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Displaying items by tag: Eve McMahon

So many 50th Anniversaries in international sailing are being celebrated these days that you could be forgiven for thinking that all these major events - such as next week’s opening of the event’s Golden Jubilee celebration, and the staging of the Youth Sailing Worlds 2021 in Oman - are marking the successful 50 years of an event which came into being in a vacuum. And certainly, the inauguration of the annual Youth Worlds in Sweden way back in 1971 was a major development that has resulted in a globally-recognised supreme peak – a Junior Sailing Olympiad.

Thus the team of four travelling to Oman – Eve McMahon (Howth YC) in the ILCA6, Jonathan O’Shaughnessy (Royal Cork YC) ILCA6, and Ben O’Shaughnessy & James Dwyer (RCYC) in the 29er - are well aware of the weight of expectation on their young shoulders, though all are at the peak of impressive year-long achievements.

But nevertheless, in looking back over the 50 years of the Youth Worlds, the most vividly remembered will be the 2012 event which was of course staged in Dublin Bay, with Finn Lynch leaping into the limelight with a Silver Medal in the Lasers. However, others with a broader view will also remember that the challenge of staging an event of this scale and scope, with Ireland still staggering out of the financial crash of 2008, involved heroic sacrifice and the giving over of their entire summer by folk of the calibre of Brian Craig, while the defining image may well be the remembered vision of on-water organizer Don O’Dowd of the Royal St George YC looking as though he is being fuelled entirely by adrenaline through each frantic day.

Running on adrenaline…..Don O’Dowd in the thick of the 2012 Youth Worlds in Dublin BayRunning on adrenaline…..Don O’Dowd in the thick of the 2012 Youth Worlds in Dublin Bay

The financial constraints of 2012 Ireland are not thought to be a problem in 2021 Oman, even if the Sultanate has cheerfully taken on the running of just about every one of 2021’s global sailing championships which had been COVID-shunted out of other countries, and despite the business of overseas teams getting there through the maze of international pandemic prevention providing an added challenge in getting to Oman, arguably the most maritime of all the Gulf States.

But nevertheless, Irish involvement has been a tradition since the event’s inception, and we’ve seen the metal to prove it, the last one in the 20th Century being Laura Dillon & Ciara Peelo’s Bronze in the Laser 2 in 1996 - a busy year for Laura, as she also won the All-Irelands.

As for the 21st Century, in 2014 in Tavira, Seafra Guilfoyle repeated Finn Lynch’s 2012 Silver win, and then in 2016 Doug Elmes of Kilkenny and Colin O’Sullivan of Malahide, sailing jointly under the HYC colours, won Bronze in the 420s in Malaysia.

But is it strictly true to say that it all started in 1971 in Sweden? That it should be Sweden is all of a piece, as the Scandinavian influence in international sailing was formidable at the time. So much so, in fact, that many thought the Optimist dinghy – which was starting to spread at lightning speed – was a Swedish invention, whereas the original narrative is rather more endearing.

Oman with its spectacular coastline is perhaps the most maritime of all the Gulf States – this is Shabab Oman II, the Omani Sail Training Tall Ship.Oman with its spectacular coastline is perhaps the most maritime of all the Gulf States – this is Shabab Oman II, the Omani Sail Training Tall Ship.

It seems a Swedish ship was taking on cargo in Florida around 1960 in the Port of Clearwater, where the local kids were sailing a little plywood box-boat, invented in 1947 and called the Optimist. The Swedish captain was impressed, and bought up two or three to take home as his own kids were keen on sailing. Thus the Optimist as an international phenomenon was launched, spreading out from Scandinavia.

So when the Swedes hosted the inaugural World Youth Sailing Championship in 1971, it was already a solidly-founded gold-plated event, and it blew away any other established but more modest championships with similar aims. One of these was something called the International Junior Regatta, which claimed world status, but whose heartlands were in mainland Northwest Europe and Scandinavia, and it was basically an inter-club event for national teams selected by the premier clubs (ie the poshest) in each country.

For twenty years from the 50s and 60s onwards, ace Dun Laoghaire helm Terry Roche of the Royal St George YC cruised the coasts of Europe in his 19-ton Hillyard cutter Neon Tetra (crazy name, crazy boat), and built up an unrivalled contact list with these top clubs and the key people in them. Thus the RStGYC became the organising club for Ireland, and staged the International Junior Regatta when it was hosted here.

George Henry (RStGYC) and Douglas Deane (Royal Munster YC) hoisting sail on their allocated Mermaid in the International Junior Regatta in Dun Laoghaire in 1955.George Henry (RStGYC) and Douglas Deane (Royal Munster YC) hoisting sail on their allocated Mermaid in the International Junior Regatta in Dun Laoghaire in 1955.

The late Dougie Deane of Cork remembered being sent up to Dun Laoghaire in 1955 to be part of the Irish squad, but as the racing was staged in Mermaids – at that time the only class in sufficient numbers of matched boats in Dun Laoghaire to stage an international invitational regatta of this sort - it wasn’t his happiest experience, as he was to become more accustomed to sailing to success in his own IDRA 14 Dusk with Donal McClement as crew.

However, as the 1960s gathered pace, the rapid development of Malahide as a powerhouse of rising talent began to show through in Irish participation in the International Junior Regatta, particularly when the Malahide effect began to be felt in Howth and brought forth the remarkable sailing talents of the “two sisters crew”, Margaret and Lee Cuffe-Smith, daughters of future HYC Commodore Bill Cuffe-Smith, who was no slouch himself when it came to inshore and offshore racing success.

The Irish Team at the 1965 International Junior Regatta in Denmark were (left to right) Robin Hennessy, Margaret Cuffe-Smith, Robert Michael, Lee Cuffe-Smith and Manager Terry RocheThe Irish Team at the 1965 International Junior Regatta in Denmark were (left to right) Robin Hennessy, Margaret Cuffe-Smith, Robert Michael, Lee Cuffe-Smith and Manager Terry Roche

The Irish team first leapt to fame in 1965 when the International Junior Regatta was staged at Skovshoved in Denmark, raced in International Snipes powered by as-equal-as-possible new Elvstrom sailed. The Cuffe-Smiths won the Girls Division, while the boys crew of Malahide’s Robin Hennessy and Robert Michael (a combination that later went on to win the coveted Endeavour Trophy in Enterprises in England) placed fourth to make Ireland second overall.

While Margaret and Lee Cuffe-Smith continued as the Irish girls representatives for much of the rest of the 1960s, Malahide furnished a changing lineup of top boy sailors, and in 1967 at Loosdrecht in the Netherlands, it was future Olympic Silver Medallist David Wilkins crewed by Philip Watson (yes, that Philip Watson), who provided the winning male ingredients for Ireland to win the International Junior Regatta Gold Cup for the first time, the podium points being Ireland 3415, Denmark 2973, and Finland 2747.

World Champions. The all-conquering 1967 Irish Team in the International Junior Regatta in The Netherlands were (left to right) Philip Watson, Lee Cuffe-Smith, manager Terry Roche, David Wilkins (Olympic Silver Medallist 1980) and Margaret Cuffe-Smith.World Champions. The all-conquering 1967 Irish Team in the International Junior Regatta in The Netherlands were (left to right) Philip Watson, Lee Cuffe-Smith, manager Terry Roche, David Wilkins (Olympic Silver Medallist 1980) and Margaret Cuffe-Smith.

The Irish team then repeated this performance in 1968 racing Flying Juniors at Alghero Bay in Sardinia. Thereafter, our top junior talents were moving into more senior racing, and sailing was opening up to a more democratic system, even if the new World Youth Championship in 1971 continued to manifest the all-powerful Scandinavian influence, but in time its worldwide locations reflected the new reality.

That said, it’s a cherishable thought that somewhere in the world in some fusty ancient clubs where the wearing of white-topped yachting caps and the onset of premature middle age is the norm, there are old buffers still discussing the need to provide some special sport in an International Junior Regatta for the young people, even as we see in Oman the glorifying of international sport as a tool of international commerce and a weapon of global politics, with fashionable clothing styles and accessories to match.

A timely reminder of the joys of sailing – Jonathan O’Shaughnessy in action on Lake GardaA timely reminder of the joys of sailing – Jonathan O’Shaughnessy in action on Lake Garda

She’s struck gold! Jonathan O’Shaughnessy and Eve McMahon at Lake Garda after the Worlds in JulyShe’s struck gold! Jonathan O’Shaughnessy and Eve McMahon at Lake Garda after the Worlds in July

The Irish team fly out next Wednesday (December 8th), and as the main event officially opens on Saturday, December 11th, they’ve little enough time to acclimatize. Jonathan O’Shaughnessy has the advantage of a recent intensive training session in Valencia (Spain, not Kerry), but Eve McMahon has been much involved with school exams, making her probably the only World Champion in Ireland to have been in this past week’s exam cohort.

As for the younger pair of Ben – who is Jonathan’s cousin - and James in the 29er, they’ve been first out of the school gates down Cork Harbour way each afternoon in recent weeks for an intensive two-hour session on the boat at Crosshaven. You could call it a One-Boat Twilight Regatta, but with November slithering darkly into December, the Miner’s Lamp Challenge might be a more appropriate title.

Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer in the 29er – they have been getting in some intensive post-school training at Crosshaven in the last of the daylight in recent weeksBen O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer in the 29er – they have been getting in some intensive post-school training at Crosshaven in the last of the daylight in recent weeks

In Oman, the Team Leader and Head Coach will be three times Olympic sailing medallist Vasilij Zbogar, who has been involved with the Irish international sailing effort since 2018. Most recently last month, his supportive work in helping Finn Lynch out of a performance slump to take Silver at the Laser Worlds in Barcelona led everyone to conclude that though he may be from Slovenia, his home is clearly the Slovenian Gaeltacht. And if he and Support Coach Thomas Chaix of Tralee Bay can produce something similar to the Barcelona Breakthrough in Oman, Vasilij will be perceived as the Jurgen Klopp of sailing in Ireland.

Vasilij Zbogar racing an Olympic Finn – he retired from Olympic sailing after the 2016 Games in Rio, having sailed five Olympiads and winning Silver and Bronze in the Laser, and Silver in the Finn in their final appearance as an Olympic Class in 2016Vasilij Zbogar racing an Olympic Finn – he retired from Olympic sailing after the 2016 Games in Rio, having sailed five Olympiads and winning Silver and Bronze in the Laser, and Silver in the Finn in their penultimate appearance as an Olympic Class in 2016

Published in W M Nixon

The cut short Investwise Irish Youth Sailing National Championships on Cork Harbour had produced some clear winners in five classes regardless of today's Yellow Alert weather warning at Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Five titles were divided between Dublin and Cork sailors with the host club taking two crowns, the biggest haul of any single club with the 29er and Topper titles won by local sailors.

Both Laser titles go to Dublin, with Howth Yacht Club taking the ILCA 6 and the National Yacht Club winning in the ILCA 4.

The 420 title is shared by a combined Malahide and Wexford duo.

McMahon wins ILCA 6 but Crosbie's Reinstatement Makes it Close

ILCA 6 Champion - Eve McMahon of Howth

As Afloat reported earlier, the final results from Saturday’s long day afloat weren’t initially confirmed as two titles were eventually settled ashore in the protest room this morning.

On Saturday evening, a protest by ILCA6 (Laser Radial) overall leader Eve McMahon saw the Howth Yacht Club sailor extend her lead over Michael Crosbie of the Royal Cork YC when he was disqualified from Race 10 due to a port and starboard incident.

However, the Crosshaven sailor returned to the protest room on Sunday morning to have his result reinstated as McMahon had not informed the race committee of her protest on Saturday.

McMahon still emerged as ILCA6 Youth National Champion after the tie-break with Crosbie.

O'Shaughnessy & Dwyer Lift 29er Skiff Title 

29er Champions Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer (Royal Cork YC) Photo: Bob Bateman29er Champions - Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer (Royal Cork YC) Photo: Bob Bateman

Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer (Royal Cork YC) won the 29er skiff national title by a single point as Afloat reported here after a close contest with Tim Norwood and Nathan Van Steenberge from the Royal Irish YC and National YC respectively in their eleven strong demonstration class that immediately followed a European Championships campaign on Lake Garda last week.

The runners-up were also in the protest room on Sunday morning seeking redress for equipment failure in their second race of the series on Friday but their submission was ruled out of time.

Collins top Toppers, Newcomer Ledoux Wins 4.7s

Rian CollinsTopper Champion - Rian Collins of Royal Cork Photo: Bob Bateman

As Afloat reported earlier, Crosshaven’s Rian Collins won the 38-boat Topper class with a 12-point lead over his clubmate Dan O’Leary taking the runner-up place in their seven-race series. Bobby Driscoll's third overall kept the Belfast Lough Topper flag flying.

Sam Ledoux of the National YCILCA 4 Champion - Sam Ledoux of the National YC Photo: Bob Bateman

The Topper fleet shared the same course as the ILCA4 (Laser 4.7) class, the second largest of the event with 31 boats where a newcomer to the class, Sam Ledoux of the National YC, emerged youth national champion. 

Five wins Give McDowell & Thompson the 420 Title

420  champions - Jack McDowell and Henry Thompson Photo: Bob Bateman420 champions - Jack McDowell and Henry Thompson Photo: Bob Bateman

The Malahide and Wexford Harbour pairing of Jack McDowell and Henry Thompson continued their three-day lead of the 420 class to win comfortably as Afloat reports here over Eoghan Duffy with Conor Paul of Lough Ree YC in a disappointingly small nine boat class.

Published in Youth Sailing

Not even a race disqualification can stop the march of Youth World Radial champion Eve McMahon at Royal Cork Yacht Club

The Under 18 star from Howth Yacht Club heads a mixed fleet of 30 boys and girls racing for youth national honours in Cork Harbour, where a place at the Oman World Sailing Championships this December is at stake.

After losing her overnight lead due to an opening day race disqualification, McMahon regained her overall lead of the ILCA6 (Laser Radial) division but only after a tiebreak from the chasing Michael Crosbie of the host club.

As well as an impressive scoreline that includes four strikes from ten races, McMahon has also found herself involved in three protests (either as an initiator or respondent) in the championships so far. Details here

Conor Galligan of the NYC rasing at the Youth Nationals Conor Galligan of the NYC rasing at the Youth Nationals

Crosbie was disqualified from the last race of the day, returning McMahon to a comfortable seven-point cushion at the top of the 30-boat fleet. 

Meanwhile, Jonathan O'Shaughnessy, the 2021 Radial National Champion who impressed at October's Eurocup, but got off to a poor star on Friday has moved up the rankings to third overall but still eight points behind Crosbie. Results below.

The fleet spent at least six hours on the water with racing delayed waiting for breeze to arrive, plus an extra race was added to the daily schedule.

The extra race was added in anticipation of strong winds on Sunday and fears of a blowout.

 ILCA 6/Radial Sailed: 10, Discards: 1, To count: 9, Entries: 30 ILCA 6/Radial Sailed: 10, Discards: 1, To count: 9, Entries: 30 

National's Ledoux Still leads 4.7s 

Sam Ledoux of the National YC leads the ILCA4 (Laser 4.7) fleet with 31 boats. After seven races sailed, the Dun Laoghaire Harbour campaigner has extended his lead on Royal St. George rival Matteo Ciaglia and now has a six-point margin. Royal Cork's Mauro G Regueral Nogguerol scoresheet has been updated to remove an earlier DNF from race two, a decision that puts the Spaniard into third overall. 

ILCA 4 Sailed: 7, Discards: 1, To count: 6, Entries: 32ILCA 4 Sailed: 7, Discards: 1, To count: 6, Entries: 32

Racing is scheduled for Sunday, but a forecast for strong winds looks set to cut the championships short.

Update Sunday 09.24: Due to current wind conditions and forecast, the race committee has decided to cancel sailing for the day. Prizegiving at 10 am in the marquee

ILCA 4 & 6 Day Three Youth Nationals Photo Gallery By Bob Bateman 

Published in Laser

Howth Yacht Club Laser Radial sailors share the top two places overall at the Investwise Youth Sailing Championships in Cork Harbour after six races sailed. 

There was no surprise yesterday when the World Radial Youth Female champion Eve McMahon leapt to the front of the fleet, almost unchallenged in yesterday's opening three races. 

The U18 champion continued her form to have a winning margin after today's race of seven points after six races sailed.

She proved consistent even in the tricky conditions and has a clean scoresheet except for two-second places scored in races three and four.

McMahon's clubmate Rocco Wright counted a race win, as did Michael Crosbie of the RCYC, level on points.

Good fleet awareness in variable conditions was a key to success in the ILCA classes where there are 30 boats plus fleetsGood fleet awareness in variable conditions was the key to success in the ILCA divisions, where there are 30 boat fleets in both classes. Photo: Bob Bateman.

Racing on the Curlane Bank race area, close to Crosshaven, shifting winds eventually permitted three races to be completed.

ILCA 6: Sailed: 6, Discards: 1, To count: 5, Entries: 30ILCA 6: Sailed: 6, Discards: 1, To count: 5, Entries: 30

National Yacht Club's Ledoux Leads ILCA 4s

Sam Ledoux of the National YC leads the ILCA4 (Laser 4.7) Class. The Dun Laoghaire Harbour ace has a two-point lead over neighbour Matteo Ciaglia of the Royal St. George. Local helm Max Tolan is lying third in the 32-boat fleet after three races sailed. Results below.

Racing continues tomorrow.

ILCA 4: Sailed: 3, Discards: 0, To count: 3, Entries: 32ILCA 4: Sailed: 3, Discards: 0, To count: 3, Entries: 32

ILCA 4 & 6 Day Two Youth Nationals Photo Gallery by Bob Bateman

Published in Laser

No surprise that Howth Yacht Club’s Eve McMahon established an early overall lead in the ILCA 6/Radial class at the Investwise Irish Youth Sailing National Championships on Cork Harbour today. 

The 2021 Radial Youth World Champion took two first places and a second in the opening three races of the event that sees a fleet of 30 assembled at Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Winds ranged from light to medium on the Curlane Bank course on the opening day.

McMahon's clubmate Rocco Wright took the other race win though had a mixed set of results to lie seventh overall. 

Michael Crosbie of the host club leads the chasing pack in second place but still some ten points behind McMahon.

Irish Radial national champion Jonathan O'Shaughnessy sits in ninth place after counting a 19th in race three.

Racing continues tomorrow.

ILCA 6 Sailed: 3, Discards: 0, To count: 3, Entries: 30ILCA 6 Sailed: 3, Discards: 0, To count: 3, Entries: 30

Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under

Youth World ILCA 6/Laser Radial Champion Eve McMahon from Howth Yacht Club is a clear favourite for success at this Thursday's youth sailing championships hosted by Royal Cork Yacht Club and sponsored by Investwise.

Former Irish youth champion McMahon, who earned more international stripes this month with a senior world championship race win in Bulgaria, is embarked on a campaign to represent Ireland at Paris 2024, so there's no doubt the U18 sailor will be putting her impressive boat speed on show in Cork Harbour

This month, laser sailors have been training on the Royal Cork race track with Tokyo trialist Aisling Keller as a coach in advance of the championships.

Tralee Bay's Ellie CunnaneTralee Bay's Ellie Cunnane (right) Photo: Bob Bateman

The closest guide to form is the 2021 Laser National Championships held in Royal Cork back in August. At that event – in which McMahon did not compete – Tralee Bay's Ellie Cunnane was third overall and top Girl in the 46-boat national championship fleet.

Cunnane will be racing on Cork waters again next week, but there will be no doubting McMahon's speed advantage, especially in breeze. The sixth-year student demonstrated that with a consistent scoreline on Lake Garda in August to take the Girl's worlds crown, as Afloat reported here.

Laser 4.7 sailing in Cork HarbourLaser 4.7 sailing in Cork Harbour

Next week, four-course areas will operate for the youth championships in Cork Habour; Aghada, Curlane Bank, Cuskinny and Roches Point with an 11-race schedule for the ILCA 6/Laser class.

Racing begins on Thursday, October 28th, and as well as deciding national honours, the event serves as the second part of a qualifications system to determine Ireland's representative at the Youth World Sailing Championships in Oman this December.

Published in Youth Sailing

With seven results from ten races sailed in the top third of her 66-boat fleet – including a race win – Radial youth sailor Eve McMahon of Howth Yacht Club launched her campaign for Paris 2024 in style today finishing in fifteenth overall at the ILCA6/Radial Europeans in Varna, Bulgaria.

McMahon's clubmate and rival for Paris, Aoife Hopkins was 25th.

Agata Barwinska of Poland was the overall winner. 

Results are here 

Aoife HopkinsAoife Hopkins

Tagged under

Irish youth sailor Eve McMahon from Howth took a well-earned win in a breezy race eight of the 2021 Women's ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) Senior European Championships & Open European Trophy in Varna, Bulgaria today.

After nine races sailed, McMahon, who won the Radial Youth world title in August, stays 15th overall, but within eight points of 11th overall on 136 points in the 66-boat fleet.

McMahon's clubmate Aoife Hopkins is in 25th place on 220 points.

Strong wind and a big swell (plus cold and rain) made the Irish girls feel right at home on the Bulgarian Black Sea.

The Women’s championship changed hands for a second consecutive day today, with the Polish sailor Agata Barwinska POL (3-1) heading the competition on 38 points.

22 points behind is now the overnight first Basileia Carahaliou GRE (18-15) with 60. Third place for the previous days leader Line Flem Host NOR (27-4) with 70.

Maxime Jonker NED (13-2) is fourth, only one point behind Line. French sailor Louise Cervera FRA (5-14) is fifth with 81. Ascending Hannah Anderssohn GER (6-3) is sixth with 98.

Daisy Collingridge GBR, Elena Borobeva CRO, Anna Munch DEN and Marie Barrue FRA complete the provisional European Top 10.

Two last races are planned for tomorrow.

After missing out on Tokyo 2020, Ireland's three male Laser campaigners from that quadrennial are back on the water for the Paris 2024 Olympics at the Laser (ILCA 7) European Championships & Open European Trophy 2021 at Varna, Bulgaria this week. 

A white-out and another six-hour day on the Black Sea meant race officials were only able to squeeze in one race each for the Laser and Radial classes yesterday.

After six races sailed in the gold fleet and one discard, Lynch, a veteran of Rio 2016, is lying 14th. The National Yacht Club sailor is five points off the top ten (download results sheet below). 

If the Carlow native can maintain current form he's in with a chance of a top ten finish and eclipsing his owner personal best performance at a Euros. That, as Afloat reported here, is the 13th scored in Poland last year. 

The fleet spent hours out on the water in rain-driven shifts, but after that lone race, the race committee were forced to abandon the day after one last strong squall passed through the course.

Howth's Ewan McMahon is 39th and Finn Lynch is 42nd in the 58-boat fleet. The trio are joined this week by Ewan's brother Jamie. This is his first senior event in a Standard rig and he is racing in the Silver fleet.

The contracted coach to the Irish sailors, Vasilji Zbogar said on social media "Finn has had a solid qualifying series. Ewan hasn’t performed as well as expected but has plenty of time to turn this around in the finals and move his ranking up overall, and Liam is improving race by race”.

Two more days of racing remain. As only six races have been completed for the Laser men and seven for the Radial fleet the race committee will be under pressure to fire off the three races scheduled today.

Eve McMahon 15th

In the 66-boat Women's Radial division, Eve McMahon is 15th (moving up from 22nd) and Aoife Hopkins is 27th. Both are from Howth Yacht Club.

It's almost a month since the last sailing race of the Tokyo Olympics. In most sports, the end of each Olympic Quad (in this case a Quinq) is the traditional time for reflection on the previous campaign and consideration of the one (or more) ahead. It is also, traditionally, a time of changing personnel, both ashore and afloat. 

Deep thought is given by sports National Governing Bodies to current and future resources, both human and otherwise. This time around, the changes to the Olympic Sailing programme must be taken into the mix. During the Tokyo competition itself, Irish team management was acknowledging the need for a full debrief in order to"strengthen processes" in "every aspect of its preparations".

A key factor in the consideration is that, typically, not many of the Olympic Classes, have ever developed fleets with meaningful depth in Ireland, or, for that matter, in the UK. Think, Flying Dutchman, Soling, Star, Tempest, Europe, even 470. Except for the ILCA (Laser) fleets, aspiring Olympians in Ireland have to travel to get the competitive experience necessary to advance along the Olympic pathway.

Sailing talent

This raises the question of how to identify the talent worthy of support if they are not currently sailing the boat that they might aspire to.

The (hopefully temporary) rejection of an Offshore event in Paris in favour of kites, means that only three of the ten Olympic disciplines have Irish sailors anywhere on the world ranking lists.

As regular Afloat readers will know, Ireland targeted qualification in four Olympic classes for Tokyo but despite full-on campaigns ended up qualifying in only two.

While Annalise Murphy uses well-earned downtime to contemplate the future, Ireland's pool of sailors with proven talent is perhaps limited to Rob Dickson and Sean Waddilove in the 49er, Aisling Keller, Aoife Hopkins and Eve McMahon in the ILCA 6, and perhaps Finn Lynch in the ILCA7. Of course, there could be, and probably are, many others out there, but which of these would make it to the start line in Marseille in under three years time?

Annalise Murphy – well-earned downtime to contemplate the future Photo: Sailing EnergyAnnalise Murphy – well-earned downtime to contemplate the future Photo: Sailing Energy

Parsi prospects  - Rob Dickson and Sean Waddilove in the 49er Photo: Sailing EnergyParis prospects - Rob Dickson and Sean Waddilove in the 49er Photo: Sailing Energy

Another uncertainty is the investment Sport Ireland are prepared to put into Irish High-Performance Sailing over the next three years.

No medal race finish

On average, just over €750,000 was granted to Irish Sailing every year since 2017. Will Sport Ireland be prepared to cough up the same, given the fairly meagre return of two classes qualified with results in the mid-teens and no medal race result?

Paris 2024

And how are we preparing for beyond Paris? Observers of this month's Laser 4.7 Youth Worlds on Dublin Bay pointed in frustration to the nationally supported squads of European sailors, where the Dutch, Italian, Spanish and Greek fleets seemed particularly well-organised and featured many sailors in the gold fleet. By contrast, the largest country by fleet numbers, Ireland, could only manage to get four out of 35 boys into the gold fleet and two of the 35 girls. If this is a pointer to future Olympic results, then Ireland will struggle to qualify.

Bold decisions

Irish Sailing should and probably will use the post-Olympic period to study clinically the quad just passed, apply the lessons learned to the next cycle, but perhaps most of all, consider a longer-term approach to developing talent considering ways to balance the investment in current and future talent. It may be time for bold decisions that may favour a bigger input of resources into youth sailing that may not pay off until Los Angeles 2028 or Brisbane 2032.

Page 1 of 3

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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