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The National Yacht Club's Mark Lyttle took second overall at the 2022 ILCA 7/Laser Masters World Championships in Mexico on Tuesday.

The 24-boat championships took place in Puerto Valletta on the Pacific Coast of Mexico in the same venue as the Senior Worlds where Lyttle's clubmate Finn Lynch came sixth at the ILCA7 World's last month.

The Dun Laoghaire sailor, who is based in the UK, took the Grand Master World title in 2018 on home waters, but all-around Masters legend Brett Beyer of Australia had just moved up to the Grand Master Category (55-64 upwards) and proved an unstoppable opponent.

With only one discard out of 12 races, consistency was key but not easy as you had to pick a side to hook into the strengthening breeze. The middle of the line starts and shifts up the middle never seemed to work. Downwind speed was also key, especially in marginal surfing conditions. 

Mark Lyttle surfing to silver in MexicoMark Lyttle surfing to silver in Mexico Photo: John Pounder

"We expected similar conditions with the sea breeze developing from noon each day but a slightly early start time for the masters meant the first race was invariably sailed in less than 10 knots but often building to 12 to 15 knots with beautiful surfing waves and 30 degrees temperature - champagne conditions", Lyttle told Afloat.

"I had put together a good series by the start of the last day with two races to be sailed in the lightest winds of the week with 10 and 14 points ahead of 3rd and 4th", he said.

Mark Lyttle clung on to second overall despite a strong challenge from Canada and Spain in the last of 12 races Photo: John Pounder/ILCAMark Lyttle clung on to second overall despite a strong challenge from Canada and Spain in the last of 12 races Photo: John Pounder/ILCA

Having rounded in third at the first mark and in good shape to secure second overall (leader Bayer was on course to win his 14th World masters title) I promptly dropped to 10th at the end in very tricky conditions. That meant a final race showdown with Andy Roy of Canada and Jose Van Der Ploeg of Spain. Each one of us was ahead at one stage but I managed a nice last beat with some tactical covering and hung on", Lyttle told Afloat.

Top three

  1. Brett Beyer AUS 15
  2. Mark Lyttle GBR/IRL 44
  3. Andrew Roy CAN 48

Full results are here

Published in Laser
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18 Ukrainian ILCA/Laser sailors were outside of Ukraine, training or racing when the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine started at the end of February.

The sailors are mostly from Odesa and Kyiv and have been unable to return to their homes.

These sailors continue to train and compete internationally thanks to generous donations from the sailing community. The Irish Laser class association, ILCA Ireland, were quick to respond to the call for help and raised €1,500 in donations to support Ukrainian ILCA sailors.

Irish Laser sailors collected €700 which ILCA topped up to €1,500.

To assist this group, EurILCA (the European governing body for ILCA/ Laser dinghy) launched a crowdfunding campaign and requested assistance from the 42 district members across Europe; one of them being ILCA Ireland.

Donations are being managed by EurILCA with all collections going solely to support the ILCA Ukrainian team to travel, train and race. More information and link to make further donations HERE

Sofiia Naumenko, the 23-year-old ILCA 6 sailor from Dnipro, has coordinated the efforts.

In an interview on 21st May, she said; "When the war started, I was in Spain. I had no idea where to stay and so I was put in contact with a former windsurfer from my country who has lived in Spain for ten years. Her name is Olga Maslivets. She hosted me in her apartment and then helped me find a place to sleep both at the Europa Cup, held in Port de Pollenca, and at the Princesa Sofia Trophy, in Palma de Mallorca."

Sofiia is now training at lake Garda in Italy and commented; "Here in Italy the Ukrainian team is much bigger and therefore we all live in different places. After this regatta, I will go to France, to the Hyères Olympic Week, where I believe the organizing committee will help me find a cheap accommodation. After all, I expect to have to stay in Europe for a while longer. "

The 18 sailors from the Ukrainian ILCA team are:

1. Sofiia Naumenko (ILCA 6)
2. Devid Izmailovsky (ILCA 6/7)
3. Oskar Madonich (ILCA 7)
4. Andrii Verdysh (ILCA 6/7)
5. Danylo Raichuk (ILCA 6)
6. Ivan Zhukalin (ILCA 7)
7. Valeriy Kudryashov (ILCA 7)
8. Stanislav Mulko (ILCA 7)
9. Semen Khashchyna (ILCA 6)
10. Nazar Artiukh (ILCA 6)
11. Roman Akopov (ILCA 6)
12. Andrii Lipchenko (ILCA 6)
13. Yelyzaveta Vynohradova (ILCA 6)
14. Anna Dehasiuk (ILCA 6)
15. Ivan Pylypchii (ILCA 4)
16. Ivan Antipin (ILCA 4)
17. Varvara Postrelko (ILCA 4)
18. Denys Saidukov (ILCA 7)

Published in Laser
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The National Yacht Club's Mark Lyttle is going well at the 2022 ILCA 7 Masters World Championships in Mexico this weekend.

After six races sailed and one discard to count, the 1996 Atlanta Olympian is two points off the lead in a 24-boat fleet. 

The venue is the same as where Lyttle's clubmate Finn Lynch sailed to his second top ten at the ILCA Worlds late last month.

If the Dun Laoghaire sailor, who is based in the UK, is to reclaim his Grand Master World title in 2018 on home waters, he will need to dislodge all-around Masters legend Brett Beyer of Australia.

Beyer has just graduated from the 45-55 category and has four race wins in his score tally at the halfway point. He previously won seven Laser Apprentice Masters World Championships between 2001 and 2010.

Saturday was a reserve day at Vallarta Yacht Club, with racing scheduled to resume on Sunday running until Tuesday.

Results are here

Published in Laser
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British sailor Sam Whaley described the 2022 ILCA 7/Laser World Championships as the hardest six days of his life – as he notched up a personal best 11th-place finish.

From 64th in 2020 to 15th in the 2021 event, Whaley was within touching distance of the top ten at this year’s regatta in Vallarta, Mexico.

All four of the British Sailing team athletes came inside the top 20 of the 126-boat fleet for the second year in a row.

Whaley, 25, from Swanage, Dorset, said: “It’s been a really tough week out here in Mexico, but I’m over the moon with the result.

“The heat combined with some illness made the event the hardest six days of my entire life. However, I’m really happy with how I’ve been sailing and it’s great to knock in another solid result in such a high-profile fleet.”

Whaley moved in to the top ten with two second-place finishes of the six-race qualifying series. He remained there through the six-race finals before eventually dropping a spot on the final day.

Whaley added: “It was great to also knock in another solid worlds performance with Dan [Whiteley], together with Micky [Beckett] and Elliot [Hanson] - we’ve got a really good squad going at the moment.”

The top Brit was Tokyo 2020 Olympian Elliot Hanson who was knocking on the door of a podium finish right until the final day of the competition.

Hanson, who had two race wins in qualifying, had put himself in contention for a medal, but a final day 9th and DNC eventually meant a seventh-place finish.

Dan Whiteley put in another strong performance, which included a race win, to back up his top ten finish in 2021. He sat just behind teammate Whaley in 12th.

Micky Beckett rued his mistakes throughout the week to come home in 18th, but finishing on the high of a race win, the Pembrokeshire sailor aims to take the positives forward.

Beckett, 27, said: “I just made far too many mistakes. It’s been a tough week where I kept trying to get it right, but ultimately never did. I'm looking forwards to a break and figuring out how best to learn from this.”

Full results can be found here

Published in Laser
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The well supported 2022 ILCA/Laser Master Championship 2022 at the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire Harbour saw a combined fleet of 56 boats - including UK visitors - for the weekend championship in the south of Dublin Bay.

Six races were sailed in light to medium winds in both the ILCA 6 (Radial) and ILCA 7 (Standard rig) rigs over trapezoid courses.

There was a combined fleet of 56 boats for the ILCA Masters Championships made up of 32 ILCA 6 rigs and 24 ILCA 7sThere was a combined fleet of 56 boats for the ILCA Masters Championships made up of 32 ILCA 6 rigs and 24 ILCA 7s Photo: Afloat

Prizes were awarded for age categories in each rig type; 30 years to 44 – Apprentice, 45 to 54 – Master, 55 to 64 – Grand Master and 65 to 74 – Great Grand Master.

Wicklow helmsman Michael Norman is the 2022 Great Grandmaster ILCA 6 championWicklow helmsman Michael Norman is the 2022 Great Grandmaster ILCA 6 champion

Wicklow helmsman Michael Norman is the 2022 Great Grandmaster champion in the 32-boat ILCA 6 class. The Grandmaster titleholder is Sean Craig of the Royal St. George Yacht Club and his Dun Laoghaire clubmate Brendan Hughes is the Master champion.

Brendan Hughes is the Master championBrendan Hughes is the ILCA 6 Master champion Photo: Afloat

The ILCA 6 Apprentice title was won by Malahide's Darren Griffin. 

In the ILCA 6 Female fleet, a closely fought battle for national champion saw Judy O'Beirne of the Royal St George Yacht Club win over her clubmate Shirley Gilmore. Alison Pigot of the National Yacht Club was third female. 

Royal Cork's Nick Walsh is the Grandmaster championRoyal Cork's Nick Walsh is the Grandmaster champion (above) Photo: Afloat

Royal Cork's Nick Walsh wins the pin end in a start at the ILCA Masters on Dublin BayRoyal Cork's Nick Walsh wins the pin end in a start at the ILCA Masters on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

In the ILCA 7, Charlie Taylor from Balyholme Yacht Club takes the Great Grandmaster title while Cork sailors took the rest of the silverware. Royal Cork's Nick Walsh is the Grandmaster champion. Dan O'Connell is the Master Champion and Apprentice champion is Kieran Dorgan of Cove Sailing Club

Results are here

Published in Laser

Finn Lynch's defence of his ILCA 7/Laser World Championships silver medal suffered a gear failure setback yesterday at Vallarta, Mexico when the National Yacht Club ace posted a 'Did not Compete' (DNC) in his final qualification race.

Until yesterday, the consistent performance of the 26-year-old Carlow sailor kept him inside the top ten with an impressive scoresheet of 10, 2, 4, 13 and 10 in the 126-boat fleet.

With such scores, Lynch eased into the Gold fleet finals after three days of competition but will, however, rue the missed final qualification race.

It was a day of drama for Lynch who was lying eighth in the first race of the day but 'made contact' with another boat and ended tenth. In the second race, in ideal 12-18 knots winds, his downhaul rope broke ruling him out of the race.

Coach Vasilij Zbogar said "his downhaul rope broke but fortunately it was the last race and it is discarded so it's acceptable - the points are close and there's a lot in play in the finals."

Downhaul ropes have huge loads in Laser rigs and are fitted as a double block 8:1 purchase requiring replacement every four-to-five events, according to top campaigners.

Now at the halfway stage of the regatta and in 11th place going into the final six races, Lynch will be aiming to make up the 27 point gap between leader Jean-Baptiste Bernaz of France on 12 points and his own 39-point tally.

One race discard applies after the qualification round while a second discard will be available in the final round.

Bernaz with (19, 3, 2, 3, 2, 2 places) has maintained his overall lead in the regatta, with former World Champion Kontides moving up several places to fifth with a strong performance on Wednesday.

The championships continue with the final series where a maximum of six races will be sailed over the next three days. The top half of the fleet will sail in the Gold fleet while the balance, including injury-hit Ewan McMahon of Howth, are in the Silver fleet.

Howth's Ewan McMahon completed the qualification races of the Laser World Championships with painful ankle injuries Photo: John Pounder/ILCAHowth's Ewan McMahon completed the qualification races of the Laser World Championships with painful ankle injuries Photo: John Pounder/ILCA

McMahon, who has battled his ankle problems since last week's pre-worlds training, has decided not to continue.  Zbogar said "Ewan isn't able to perform because of his injury, it doesn't make any sense to continue to sail and make things worse," said Zbogar.  "There's too much pain and too many anti-inflammatories and painkillers needed."

The top 5 starting their Final series:

1. Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) - 12 points
2. Elliot Hanson (GBR) - 15
3. Jonatan Vadnai (HUN) - 18
4. Daniel Whiteley (GBR) - 19
5. Pavlos Kontides (CYP) - 20

11. Finn Lynch, (IRL) - 39

Full results here Gold fleet finalists here

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With winds between 8 and 20+ knots and plenty of squalls predicted, racing took place for the DBSC Lasers inside Dun Laoghaire harbour on Tuesday, May 10th. Staying in your boat with the mast pointing at the sky was the best tactic. In the Radials, with huge wind shifts allowing for big gains upwind, the never say die attitude of Michael Norman and Hugh Cahill allowed them to share the honours with one win each.

In the standard rig Gary O’Hare and Conor O’Leary, standing in for Theo Lyttle, battled it out. Both had capsizes and the 2nd race was particularly close after a well-fought battle for the favoured pin end at the start.

All sailors were delighted when the DBSC race committee posted a X2 course rather than X3, there were some tired sailors nursing their boats ashore afterwards.

Standard Rig

Race 1, 1: Gary O’Hare 2: Theo Lyttle

Race 2, 1: Gary O’Hare 2: Theo Lyttle

Radial rig

Race 1, 1: Hugh Cahill 2: Michael Norman 3: Judy O’Beirne

Race 2, 1: Michael Norman 2: Alison Pigot 3: Judy O’Beirne

Published in DBSC
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Eighty Laser/ILCA dinghies from twenty clubs around Ireland returned to the sunny South East venue of Dunmore East this past weekend for the 'Connaught' Championships at Waterford Harbour Sailing Club.

Although the wind God didn’t deliver the usual breezy/wavy conditions that is standard to this region, the sun shone on this glorious venue for the entire weekend providing for a beautiful setting. Waterford Harbour Sailing Club put on a first class performance of volunteer coordination and support ashore making it a truly magical weekend of sailing and socializing for all, topped off with a barbeque on the Clubhouse balcony on Saturday night as the sun set.

Race Officer, Con Murphy, and his very able team of hard-working support crew aboard the flagship and ribs had their work cut out for them in a strong ebb side and light unstable breeze for the duration of the weekend. Not ones to be put off by a challenge, however, they managed to get the full complement of six races in over the entire weekend.

ILCA 4

In the ILCA 4’s, Daniel O’Connor of the RStGYC continued his rich run of form and took home first prize with Daniel Palmer of BYC and Krzysztof Ciborowski of RStGYC in close second and third respectively with a point between them. True to recent form, Ava Ennis of RStGYC was the first girl, followed by Megan O’Sullivan of RCYC and Lucy Ives of CSC. Lucy just pipping Isabel McCarty of RCYC for third-placed girl on count-back. Four of the top ten places consisted of girls, a testament to the sailors, their club programmes and fun competitive draw of the ILCA class to all, no matter their gender.

ILCA 6

In the considerable and ever-competitive ILCA 6 fleet, the usual suspects of Rocco Wright and Luke Turvey of HYC took home first and second, while Sam Ledoux of NYC took third, with just four points separating the three of them showing just how tight the margins were. Becky Lowney of RSGYC/WHBTC was the first girl in tenth overall, with Sophie Kilmartin of RSGYC/MYC second and Anna O’Connor of RIYC/RSGYC third. Sean Craig, Marco Sorgassi and Hugh Delap, all of RStGYC, were first, second and third placed Masters.

ILCA 7

In the ILCA 7’s, Rory Lynch (BSC) and Chris Bateman (PWWC) battled it out for the entire weekend, ending with an equal share of points and Lynch winning it out on count-back. Nick Walsh (RCYC) was third and first placed Master with Darragh Kelleher (SSC) second placed Master and Dan O’Connell (ISA) third.

Results here

Published in Laser

Twelve Dun Laoghaire Harbour Laser/ILCA sailors competed last weekend at the XIV edition of the Spanish ILCA Masters, at picturesque Calella de Palafrugell on the Costa Brava coast.

Racing in nine ILCA 6’s (Radials) and three ILCA 7’s (Full rigs), the sailors came from RStGYC, NYC and the Coal Harbour.

Ireland was also represented on the water by our International Judge/Umpire Michael O’Connor, from Kinsale.

This is one of the most popular regattas on the popular EuroMasters circuit which attracts over 700 ILCA sailors to various wonderful venues each year. For this regatta, hosted by the hospitable Club Vela Calella, there were 64 ILCA 6s and 34 ILCA 7s.

The Spanish ILCA Masters at picturesque Calella de Palafrugell on the Costa Brava coast(Above and below) The Spanish ILCA Masters at picturesque Calella de Palafrugell on the Costa Brava coast

Sailed in glorious sunshine throughout and very pleasant temperatures, the regatta began on Thursday, April 28 with an epic practice race in 15-20 knots, followed by Day 1 proper with 3 races in 10-14 knots but, by the weekend, competing weather systems left the venue windless and only one more race was possible on the Sunday. So Friday was key and, despite a very one-sided first beat, results were very up and down as starts were congested (especially with the 6’s) and finding lanes on the favoured port lay line was absolutely treacherous.

The Spanish ILCA Masters at picturesque Calella de Palafrugell on the Costa Brava coast

The Irish squad proved that the vibrant local Masters' scene means our sailors are very competitive and all acquitted themselves well. Off the water too, where the team represented the second-largest contingent after the hosts, among the 13 countries represented!

In the ILCA 6’s, Monica Azon claimed first overall for Spain, proving her pedigree as a dual Olympian from 2004 and 2008. She was pushed hard by Max Hunt (GBR), very well known for his specialist ILCA parts business. Next were Dutch and Mexican competitors (the latter preparing for the Master Worlds in Mexico in June) and the top 5 was rounded off by Sean Craig (RStGYC), a result which also gave him a podium 2nd in the 28-boat Grand Master category. The next best of the Irish was Judy O’Beirne in 28th overall (and 6th lady overall), followed by Sean Flanagan in 32nd, Shirley Gilmore in 34th and Michael Norman in 37th.

In the ILCA 7’s, the Spanish dominated, taking the top 6 overall and the great Jose Luis Doreste (470 Gold in 1984 Games and Flying Dutchman Gold in 1996 Games) didn’t actually make top three. Best of the Irish was Theo Lyttle in 17th overall who had the satisfaction of a win in the Practice race.

The Irish competitors were ; Alison Pigot (NYC), Ali Robinson (RStGYC), Judy O’Beirne (RStGYC), Shirley Gilmore (RStGYC), Michael Norman (Coal Harbour/Wicklow SC), Hugh Cahill (Coal Harbour/DBSC), Sean Flanagan (RStGYC), David Cahill (NYC), Sean Craig (RStGYC), Theo Lyttle (RStGYC), Conor O’Leary (RStGYC), Chris Arrowsmith (RStGYC)

The 2022 ILCA Master European Championships will take place not far up the coast from Calella de Palafrugell, in October, at L’Escala. A strong Irish team is expected to compete.

Results of the 2022 Spanish Masters are downloadable below

Published in Laser

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 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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