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November is stock-taking time in a pre-Olympic year with the international championship programme about to get under way in the Southern Hemisphere, and the review of Irish Olympic hopefuls during the 2019 season shows that it was Aisling Keller of Lough Derg YC who spearheaded the vital results which secured Ireland’s place in the Laser Radials by taking seventh among Olympic potentials in the selection series at the Worlds at Sakaiminato. The all-important place is secured, but the sailor who actually fills it will be determined by a gruelling selection process spread over three international regattas in the first part of 2020, involving four sailors: Aisling Keller, Aoife Hopkins (who was also in the top ten at Sakaiminato), U17 World Champion Eve McMahon, and 2016 Olympic Silver Medallist Annalise Murphy

Published in Laser
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Just as well Ballyholme Yacht Club is at present extending the south dinghy park and widening one of the launching slips because next July an entry of over 300 is expected for the Laser Youth Radial European Championships which will run from 5th till 11th July writes Betty Armstrong.

But as the event is being left unlimited up to a point, there maybe even more. The limit is set at 400 as per EurILCA regs.

The club lies on a wide sandy bay on the south side of Belfast Lough and this RYA recognised Training Centre has an enviable reputation for running world, international, national and regional events, with a superb 40 sq km racing area in virtually hazard and tide free waters on the Lough close at hand.

Among the world championships hosted by the club were the Topper Worlds in 2016 and the F18 World Championships in 2014. Lasers have been sailed at BYC from the early 1970s and the club hosted one of the first European Championships in 1979 as well as the Laser Radial Europeans in 2004.

The club’s racing pedigree has provided sailors and officials to Olympic Regattas and many other international events. Some members are noted for their expertise in the role of Race officer and one, Bill O’Hara was the PRO for 2017 Volvo Round the World Race.

Interest in competing is already picking up and entries open on 20th November. Rear Commodore Mark Mackey reports that last year sailors at Tarbert in Scotland have expressed a solid interest.

Bangor has a wide variety of accommodation including the new Premier Inn in the centre of the town, but with such a huge influx of people expected, it is advisable to make plans early. Info on the event can be found here 

Published in Belfast Lough

After three races of the Royal Cork Yacht Club Laser 4.7 Frostbites, Dawson Kohl leads from Peter Layton in a 16-boat fleet. Third is Daisy Seward writes Bob Bateman

In the Laser Radial division, Chris Bateman leads Atlee Kohl with Sophie Crosbie in third in the seven boat fleet.

A 12-boat Topper 5.3 fleet is lead by Neil O'Leary with Darragh Collins in second and Cian Mc Donagh third.

See photo gallery below. Results are here

RCYC Topper Laser Frostbite1RCYC Topper Laser Frostbite1RCYC Topper Laser Frostbite1RCYC Topper Laser Frostbite1RCYC Topper Laser Frostbite1RCYC Topper Laser Frostbite1RCYC Topper Laser Frostbite1RCYC Topper Laser Frostbite1RCYC Topper Laser Frostbite1RCYC Topper Laser Frostbite1RCYC Topper Laser Frostbite1

Published in Cork Harbour
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Monkstown Bay Sailing Club’s October Cork Harbour dinghy league ended with Class 1 top place going to Laser sailor Ronan Kenneally. He had a total of 8 points from six races, winning two, second in three, discarding one placing. He was two points ahead of an RS400 and a GP14.

Sandy Rimmington and Richie Harrington in the RS 400 and Alex Barry and Ken Murphy in the GP finished on 10 points.

This resulted in a ‘tie-breaker’ where each race result throughout the series is taken into account. The RS200 crew had two firsts, a second and two thirds. The GP 14 sailors also had two firsts. They counted two thirds, but had one fourth, which cost them second place, pushing them to third overall.

In Class 2 Harry Pritchard sailing his Laser was well ahead overall, finishing on six points from eight races, seven of which he won and finished second in the other. It was a strong performance by the young sailor. Two Topper sailors were next. Cian McDonagh was second on 19 points and Frances Corkery third on 20.

Published in Laser

For Irish Olympic Laser fans there was a taste of what's to come next season in the mens Laser Class last weekend in Portland Harbour on the English South Coast. Irish Tokyo trialists Finn Lynch (23) and Ewan McMahon (20) finished only a point apart at a UK World and European Qualifying event.

The pair, along with 2018 Irish champion Liam Glynn, are still seeking a nation berth after the disappointment of the Worlds in Japan in July. There's one chance left and if successful in Genoa's World Cup round next April it will produce a three-way trial between them for the single Olympic spot.

And if the weekend results from the Dorset coast are anything to go by, Lynch of the National Yacht Club and McMahon of Howth Yacht Club appear to be already locked in a battle royal.

It is McMahon's first senior season in the Laser and already the 2016 Radial world silver medalist is challenging the 2016 Rio Rep, Lynch. 

130 Laser sailors raced under blue skies in Portland Harbour with some great breezes, even if shifty conditions led to up and down results for some.

Glynn looked completely off the pace in 16th place after counting a DNS and a DNC in the Standard fleet but Lynch and McMahon finished fifth and sixth respectively and were only a point apart overall after six races. Results are here

Also competing in Portland was 2018 Masters World Champion Mark Lyttle who finished 20th.

More on the Q system for Ireland in the mens Laser is here

Published in Tokyo 2020

The CH Marine Laser sponsored, Final Fling regatta took place in Dun Laoghaire on Saturday with a whopping 45 entries across two race courses writes Gavan Murphy,
Dun Laoghaire Laser Class Captain

Competitors were greeted by a punchy 20 knot South Westerly on Saturday morning as they came down to rig, so Regatta Fleet Race Officer, Sean Craig, wisely postponed launching his fleet by an hour to ensure they raced in optimum conditions to match their experience. This gave Sean an opportunity to do a rig set up session with some of the more apprehensive sailors in this fleet so they were confidently ready to hit the water as soon as the breeze came down.

Meanwhile, in the 34-boat, DBSC hosted Main Fleet, the weather God's attempted to make life difficult for not only the competitors but race officer, Suzanne McGarry and her mark layers, who were frequently charged with moving the weather mark and pin end to facilitate the constantly shifting and dying breeze. That said, the fleet managed to get four close races in on a windward-leeward course. In the Laser 4.7's, Archie Daly and Oisin Hughes of RSGYC were 1st and 2nd, while Christian Ennis of NYC was 3rd. In the Laser Radial's, Barry McCartin of CBSC/RSGYC showed his class with four wins from four, Conor Clancy and Kate Fahy of RSGYC were 2nd and 3rd respectively. In the Laser Standard's, Damian Maloney of the RSGYC showed a clean set of heels with three 1st places and one 2nd. Ian Simington and Robbie Walker also of the RSGYC were 2nd and 3rd respectively.

"There was a whopping 45 entries across two race courses"

On the Regatta Fleet race course, Race Officer Sean Craig managed to get 5 quick-fire races in on a short triangular course for his charge of 11 boats. In the Laser Standard class, Maurice Mason of the RSGYC took the honours with Mick Shelley, also of the RSGYC close on his heels throughout. Indeed, there was a funny incident in the last downwind leg of the last race, where both competitors main sheet's managed to run clear of the blocks at the same time....a mad scramble ensued only for Maurice to get his main sheet re-tied and got to the line just ahead of Mick. A course in stopper knot skills is duly noted for these two! In the Radial Class, Oisin Hannon, Heather Craig and Rachel Crowley of the RSGYC took the honours, while in the Laser 4.7 class, Lorraine O'Connor and Alec Munro took 1st and 2nd respectively. For the majority of the sailors in this fleet, this was their first regatta which they did remarkably well to compete in and manage so effectively. Indeed, coach Richard O'Rahilly commented he was really encouraged by the closeness of racing and boat handling ability he witnessed. We hope to see some of these sailors make the transition to frostbiting this winter and indeed on to the regatta and Laser circuit next season.

A casual prize giving took place for the Lasers on the balcony of the George after racing, thanks to CH Marine. This was followed by a Grant Thornton sponsored champagne reception, compliments of Mick Shelley and the now infamous Dun Laoghaire Laser class end of season dinner in the George that evening which was superbly attended by 30 people.

Huge thanks again to Laser prize sponsors, CH Marine; DBSC; George Sailing Manager, Ronan Adams; Race Officers, Suzanne McGarry and Sean Craig and their respective rescue and committee boat teams; namely, Shirley Gilmore, Caroline Liddy, Barbara Conway, Liz Aylmer, Hilary Bloxham and Brian Mulqueen.

Published in RStGYC

At the recent Dinghy Fest Regatta at Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC) earlier this month, leading Irish Chandlery CH Marine announced its continued support for the Irish Laser Association (ILA).

The ILA currently has over two hundred active members ranging in age from early teens to masters sailors in their eighties.

CH Marine are the official Laser supplier in Ireland and stock everything for lasers and all marine equipment in shops throughout Ireland. Nick Bendon of CH Marine said he was delighted to continue sponsoring the Irish laser association. 

At the Cork Harbour announcement, Chairman of the ILA, Aidan Staunton thanked CH Marine for the assistance as the funding helps support regional championships (six in total) and coaching at a grassroots level.

Champion sailor and Class treasurer Nick Walsh also welcomed the continued association between the laser class and CH Marine and thanked Nick Bendon for supporting the class at local national and international level.

Published in Laser
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The CH Marine sponsored 'Final Fling' Dinghy Regatta takes place for the 3rd consecutive year, this Sept 28th in Dun Laoghaire writes Gavan Murphy, Dublin Bay Laser Class Captain

This year, the regatta will offer a very innovative format in that there will be two fleets, a Regatta Fleet and a Main Fleet.

The Regatta Fleet, facilitated by the Royal St George Yacht Club, is designed to accommodate less confident Laser (only) sailors. This fleet with race 5 short races inside the Harbour, with plenty of RIB support and on the water coaching. It will comprise of sailors that have perhaps done some of the Laser 'Kindergarten' workshops that have been running throughout the season in locations including Dun Laoghaire, Malahide & Wexford. Other participants in this group may include parents whose child has a Laser but their own sailing has lapsed and they're a little rusty. Regatta Fleet sailors are expected to be able to sail around a simple triangular course. There will be a briefing and debriefing session in the Royal St George to help the learning experience and a 15-minute workshop looking at rigging and sail control lines, all given by Sean Craig, local Laser sailor and Regatta Fleet Race Officer for the day.

The Main Fleet will be facilitated by the DBSC and will comprise of PY's (IDRA, Fireball, Vago etc.), Laser Standards, Laser Radials and Laser 4.7's who will complete 4 quick-fire races for the coveted 'Final Fling' prizes!

Prizegiving for both fleets will take place in the Royal St George from 6 pm. This will be followed by the 'now infamous' end of season Laser fleet dinner and social in the George that evening.

Follow this link to enter both the Regatta & Main Fleet here

Published in CH Marine Chandlery
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Three sailors from Ireland Alanna Coakley (Royal St. George Yacht Club), Hugh O’Connor (National Yacht Club) and Evan Dargan Hayes (Greystones Sailing Club) competed in the Laser 4.7 World Youth Championships in Kingston Canada from 18th - 24th August. The 4.7 Worlds stated with a promise of breeze of 6 to 7 knots with the fleet being divided into three groups, a yellow, blue and girls group. Each group started well, but it was not long after the girls start that the wind dropped below 5 knots and races had to be abandoned. However, the race officer wasted no time in regrouping and going for a second start. No sooner had the three groups started when the wind died again. This pattern continued for the day and all was abandoned. Day 2 showed more promise and the wind maintained a steady 25 knots with gusts nearing 30 knots, a great challenge for all. There was pressure to secure the 4 qualifying races and three races were completed in both the boys fleets.

It was the Europeans who were leading the way at the end of the day in both the boys and girls fleets. Day 3 and the wind maintained a constant 10-12 knots but with considerable wind shifts making it tricky for sailors. All three fleets completed three races and the boys finished their qualifying series.

The Italian Nicole Nordera was leading the boys fleet and Sara Savelli of Italy leading the girls with Alanna Coakley in 5th position. The boys group were then divided into gold and silver fleets. Hugh O’Connor and Evan Dargan Hayes made the Silver fleet with Hugh O’Connor sitting on 5th position within this fleet going into day 4. On Day 4 and Day 5 the wind picked up again and maintained a steady 23 knots gusting 28 knots but it settled into a SW position allowing 5 races to be completed by all groups. At the end of Day 4 Alanna Coakley was in 7th position but on Day 5 she was black flagged and ended the day in 13th position. Hugh O’Connor was in 7th position by the end of Day 4 but by Day 5 he dropped back to 11th position, while Evan Dargan Hayes was in 42nd position and by day five he had moved to 38th position. The final positions would be decided on Day 6 with one race to go. However the wind dropped again and the race officers had difficulty setting a course. After 2 hours on the water all was abandoned and the final positions were as of the day 5 with Alanna Coakley the best of the Irish in 13th position.

The overall winners were Niccolo Nordera of Italy in 1st position, Roko Stipanovic of Croatia in 2nd position and Gasper Strahonik of Slovenia in 3rd position. In the Silver Fleet it was Nicolas Host Verbraak of Norway in first position, Yusuf Teshima of Japan in Second position and Spencer Dominique’s of the USA in third. In the girls it was Anja Von Allmen from Switzerland in first position Lara Minnes from Spain in second position and Sara Savelli from Italy in third position.

CORK International Regatta/Canadian National Laser Championship 12th - 16th August 2019

The Canadian National Laser Championships 2019 were held in Kingston Canada prior to the 4.7 Youth World Championships at the Canadian Olympic Venue.

Three Irish sailors Alanna Coakley, Hugh O’Connor and Evan Dargan Hayes competed in this event over 4 days. The winds were a consistent 12 - 15 knots, however, were coming from the NW, shifting and difficult to read making it hard to set a course. Four qualifying races and 5 championship races were held over the four days with one discard.

At the end of day one Hugh O’Connor was lying in 7th position and Evan Dargan Hayes in the mid-twenties and Alanna Coakley in the mid-teens. The Irish held their own but shifting winds made this a tricky event demanding skills in reading and anticipating the increasing wind shifts.

Throughout the four days Hugh O’Connor managed to maintain his position in the top ten and finished 9th overall, Alanna Coakley finished 19th overall and 5th girl and Evan Dargan Hayes finished 23rd overall.

Published in Laser
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Over 100 sailors competed across 4 days for the Irish Laser Nationals at Ballyholme Yacht Club from 22nd to 25th August 2019. 

Nine races were completed in the first 3 days of the championship in moderate to fresh southerly breezes which swung back and forwards each day to keep competitors on their toes. The Race Management team led by PRO Sheila Lewis from County Antrim kept races moving each day as swiftly as possible aided by separate finishing boat which allowed the Standard and 4.7 fleets to get away as soon as they were finished and not have to wait on the Radials who as always were prone to a few general recalls despite the Uniform flag in operation for most of the four days. The final day saw lots of sunshine and eventually a sea breeze filled in but too late to get all fleets away before the time limit.

Sailors came from far and wide across Ireland with a few visitors from England and Wales in preparation for the Laser Radial Youth European Championship which Ballyholme Yacht Club will host in July 2020. Most of the events this summer have been in relatively light winds so Day 1 especially was spent by many brushing up on their hiking and surfing techniques and discovering muscles they’d forgotten about for a while. Noticeably the first day also saw a number of broken masts following downwind capsizes in the shifting breeze. One visiting Radial sailor Arthur Farley from the Isle of Wight blew a number of race leads with death rolls on the runs although still had a smile on his face at the end of the event: “This year is about learning to sail in shifting breezes and learning the venue before next years Europeans - I am more used to chasing tides around the Isle of Wight, and the performance here was more important than the eventual result.” The strongest wind was actually to be found on Race 7 at the start of Day 3 but by then most of the fleets were breeze veterans, even if their legs were aching.

Wallace wins Standard Division

Ronan Wallace of Wexford Boat Club showed the way home to the rest of the Laser Standard fleet in 8 of the 9 races. Darragh O’Sullivan managed to get in front on Race 9 and spoil the perfect score. Fionn Conway was always close as well with Master Nick Walsh and Conor Simms both trying to get in on the action but getting passed by the finish line. Ballyholme Yacht Club’s Grand Master Charlie Taylor was 5th with Mark Mackey 3rd Master.

Ronan WallaceRonan Wallace

Darragh OSullivanDarragh OSullivan

Fionn ConwayFionn Conway

RCYC's Crosbie Wins 4.7 Battle

The 4.7 fleet saw tight racing between Royal Corks’s Michael Crosbie, England’s Luke Anstey and the Nationals Conor Gorman. Michael won Day 1 while Conor had Day 2 and Luke chased hard on Day 3 to have equal points with Michael but only one point in front of Conor. Michael’s three race wins across the championship put him in lead position going into the final day where he remained when the racing was cancelled. First girl was Ellen Barbour from County Antrim YC followed by Eva Briggs of RNIYC and Sophie Kilmartin from Malahide YC. Silver fleet was won by Kei Walker with Ollie Haig 2nd and Oisín Hughes 3rd.

1st 4.7 Michael Crosbie1st 4.7 - Michael Crosbie

 2nd 4.7 Luke Anstey 2nd 4.7 - Luke Anstey

 3rd 4.7 Conor Gorman 3rd 4.7 - Conor Gorman

1st 4.7 Girl Ellen Barbour1st 4.7 Girl - Ellen Barbour

O’Suilleabhain Takes Radial Title

With the 2020 Europeans in view, the Radial fleet was always going to be about bragging rights before next years youth championship. A number of UK Radial squad travelled over following their own championships in Largs 2 weeks ago where Dan McGaughey came 1st Youth and 2nd overall. Unfortunately, things didn’t go all his way back at home despite being best boat on Days 1 and 3. Instead, Kinsale’s Michael O’Suilleabhain and the visiting Kai Wolgram from Llyn Brenig fought out the two top positions with a win in Race 9 squeezing Michael back into the lead by just 1 point. Tom Higgins came 3rd with 2 race wins under his belt with notable performances from Tralee Bay’s Paddy Cunnane and Gurnard SC’s Arthur Farley who won or lead races at times. Unfortunately, Michael and Kai didn’t get to fight it out on the final day giving Ireland the win in both the UK and Irish Laser Radial Nationals. Clare Gorman was first lady followed by Paddy’s sister Ellie Cunnane and Suzanne Flannigan.

Micheal OSullieabhainRadial winner - Micheal O'Sullieabhain

2nd Radial Kai Wolgram2nd Radial - Kai Wolgram

3rd Radial Tom Higgins3rd Radial - Tom Higgins

Royal Cork YC won the team prize (pictured below) with Nick Walsh, Michael Crosbie and Rob Keal in notable positions 

Laser Team RCYC

The Mayor of North Down and Borough Council Alderman Bill Keery thanked the many visitors for travelling to Bangor and encouraging to spend more time here highlighting the many attractions and events on especially with the August Open House Festival (this writer is heading to see The Specials at Bangor seafront after the close of play tonight). With the Laser Ulster’s and Radial Youth Europeans planned for Ballyholme next summer, many will be spending a fortnight training and racing and hopefully relaxing in North Down in July 2020.

Overall results from the 2019 Irish Laser Nationals can be viewed here

Published in Belfast Lough
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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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