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Three different competitors got the winning gun in today's short sharp races at Monkstown Bay Sailing Club Laser Frostbite Series in Cork Harbour but Darragh O'Sullivan is still holding the overall lead writes Bob Bateman.

Chris Bateman is three points behind in second overall with John Durcan just a point further behind.

It was mild day, if a bit overcast, with a ten–knot west–south–west breeze greeting the competitors for the fourth day of racing with Alan Feehily doing the honours as PRO.

Racing continues next week.

Photo gallery below

Monkstown Bay Laser dinghy sailing11Above and two photos below: Charles Dwyer is sixth overall

Monkstown Bay Laser dinghy sailing11

Monkstown Bay Laser dinghy sailing11

Monkstown Bay Laser dinghy sailing11Chris Bateman is three points off the lead

Monkstown Bay Laser dinghy sailing11Arthur O'Connor is 12th overall

Monkstown Bay Laser dinghy sailing11Above and two photos below: Johnny Durcan is third overall

Monkstown Bay Laser dinghy sailing11

Monkstown Bay Laser dinghy sailing11

Monkstown Bay Laser dinghy sailing11Above and below Cian Byrne is fourth overall

Monkstown Bay Laser dinghy sailing11

Monkstown Bay Laser dinghy sailing11Last year's league winner Ronan Kenneally is fifth overall

Monkstown Bay Laser dinghy sailing11Rob Howe lies ninth

Monkstown Bay Laser dinghy sailing11Tight mark roundings in the Monkstown Bay Laser dinghy leagueMonkstown Bay Laser dinghy sailing11Monkstown Bay Laser dinghy sailing11Monkstown Bay Laser dinghy sailing11Luke McGrathMonkstown Bay Laser dinghy sailing11O'Sullivan leads Howe into a weather mark

Monkstown Bay Laser dinghy sailing11Overall results after 12 races so far

Published in Laser

We’re living longer than ever. But as the years advance, are most of us really living, really alive? Or are we merely existing, and allowing our diminishing physical abilities and shrinking mental interests to be dictated by out-of-date concepts about expected lifespans and the appropriate behaviour for each age group? W M Nixon snuffles around a tricky topic.

Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire, Helmsman Champion 1993, a successful veteran of several classes new and old, and now a notably-fit 50-something whose main international sailing outlet is the Laser Masters, has been adding extra impetus to the age-and-sailing conversation.

It was our story about the great Gordon Ingate winning the 2018 Australian Dragon Championship at the fine age of 92 which got this discussion going. It has to be confessed that particular story was put together in the first place because I’d been on the lookout for some good reason to re-use one of my favourite photos, of Ingate’s handsome Robert Clark-designed Caprice of Huon cutting through Cowes Roads in magic style, when he won everything of significance in Cowes Week 1965, and the RORC Channel Race overall as well.

caprice of huon cowes2Caprice of Huon cutting her way to total success at Cowes Week 1965. At the time, her owner-skipper Gordon Ingate was already 40, yet in 2018 at 92, he’s still winning races.

It’s a wonderful photo – there’s an entire universe, a complete era, all in that one image if you take the time to examine it in detail. But then, in pinged an email from Don Street in Glandore about how he’s still racing Dragons at the age of 87, and Ingate’s success at 92 was confirmation that the Glandore Dragons can expect to be racing Don and his very veteran Gypsy for at least another five years yet, with no quarter given or expected.

This got a discussion going in various social media circles around the Glandore Dragons, and made everyone realize yet again that chronological age is a very blunt instrument, and of doubtful value in assessing how old a person actually is. But although we were living on the mantra of “Sailing - A Sport for Life” for some time, it was a slogan of mixed value when set against the fact that nowadays the trendy way for some people to live by is to have “Sailing: A Sport for This Weekend” on one occasion, and then the following weekend it might be hill-walking.

don street3Don Street in Glandore, where he continues to race Dragons at 87

For such people, “A Sport for Life” has something of the prison sentence about it. But for those of us for whom the entire paraphernalia of sailing - and particularly the boats themselves – is what it’s all about, it’s difficult to relate to the hyper-casual approach, for in reality for us, boats and sailing are not seen as providing a sport for life – rather, they’re a way of life which we adjust with the passing years.

Either way, the fact that they give us an absorbing interest keeps the years at bay. Yet events of the past year have thrown our generally held notions about age and sailing into some further confusion, even though it’s quite some time since America’s Cup legend Dennis Conner opined that 45 is the prime age for a world-class helmsman. That led some top youth-oriented field athletes to deride the very idea that sailing was a sport at all – on the contrary, said they, it should be seen as a vehicle and technical activity.

dennis conner4Dennis Conner after winning back the America’s Cup from Australia in 1987. Aged 45 at the time, he reckoned he was only reaching his prime as a helmsman.

But within sailing, we in turn also have our age prejudices at the lower end of the spectrum. After the storm-hammered Sydney-Hobart Race of 1998 saw the loss of five lives, new regulations were introduced, and one of them was that there was to be a lower age limit of 18 for participation. Old salts would have reckoned that’s about right. When all’s said and done, they argued, you need maturity and the experience and stamina it provides to be a useful crew-member on a fully competitive offshore racer, and there are the legal obligations for minors to be considered too.

Yet here in Europe we don’t seem to be so strict. After all, the 16-year-old New Zealand-born Dutch girl, Laura Dekker, completed a solo round the world voyage in her 38ft ketch Guppy in 2012, and she was 14 when she started in 2010. It may well be that in sailing along the coastlines of some countries, she was contravening their regulations about both minimum age and sailing single-handed, but she did it so quickly that she’d gone beyond the horizon before the authorities could do anything effective to stop her, though they’d tried. And as for a minimum age for events like the Fastnet, I’ve a feeling there may have been competitors as young as 12 completing the race as crew.

laura dekker5Laura Dekker of The Netherlands on completion of her round the world voyage in 2012 at the age of 16

laura dekker guppy6Laura Dekker’s global circumnavigating ketch Guppy was a Jeanneau Gin Fizz 38

Here in Ireland we have our own offshore wunderkind in Lorcan Tighe of Dun Laoghaire. He still isn’t old enough to race the Sydney-Hobart, but at 16 he did the Volvo Round Ireland of 2016 with the Irish National Sailing School’s Reflex 38 Lynx, and not as a trainee - he was bow-man - while in 2017 he did the Rolex Fastnet Race in the INSS’s class-winning J/109 Jedi as a senior crewman/instructor, aged just 17.

lorcan tighe7Lorcan Tighe of Dun Laoghaire – already a veteran of the Round Ireland Race and the Fastnet Race (in which he got a class win), at 17 he is still too young to qualify for the Sydney-Hobart.

On Ireland’s Atlantic seaboard, the junior pace offshore has been set by schoolboy Conor Dillon of Foynes Yacht Club, racing several campaigns with his father Derek on their Dehler 34 The Big Deal. They won the two-handed division in the 2014 Round Ireland Race, and their scorecard also includes the Fastnet and the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Races. It’s remarkable youthful experience which has been put to further good use with Conor becoming a leading instructor in the sailing academy at Foynes.

derek and conor dillonSchoolboy Conor Dillon of Foynes at the helm of the Deher 34 The Big Deal which he campaigns in major events with his father Derek (left) - their successes have included winning the Two-Handed Division in the 2014 Round Ireland Race

Old-fashioned notions about the need for the experience of the years were further knocked on the head in the Mini-Transat in November. The Mini-Transat does have some quite senior sailors, though at 30 years our own Tom Dolan, who finished 6th overall, was maybe slightly above average age. But all notions of the ideal age for the Mini-Transat – one of the toughest events of all – were blown out the window when it was won, and won well, by Erwan Le Draoulec, aged just 20.

Some of us will find that a bit spooky. After all, here he is, just 20, and already he’s won the Mini-Transat – what on earth does he do next? In fact, the lad himself has made one ambition clear – he wants to sail the Atlantic again, but this time “properly”, taking time to enjoy the voyage and savour the experience, rather than tear across it like a demented bat out of hell, pushing a tiny and permanently wet boat to the absolute limits.

erwan le draoulec8Erwan le Draoulec – at 20, the overall winner of the Mini-Transat 2017

But when a 20-year-old expresses a hope like that, it reminds us of just how very alive sailing makes us feel, and reinforces the notion that if only more young people could find an interest in boats and sailing, or something comparable, then the world would be a better place. So it’s good news that the Sail Training Ireland programme in 2017 attracted numbers which harked back to the Asgard II heydays, and that in turn is encouraging to those promoting sailing as an interest for young people throughout Ireland.

But why should it just be young people? Partly it’s because the Powers-that-Be can easily identify the cohort they’re aiming for. It simplifies things, the same way as - in the final analysis - the only way that sailing can really impinge on the national consciousness is when it’s an Olympic sport.

Yet those who are involved along the waterfront and afloat in bringing sailing to young people know that there are significant numbers of people of more mature years who would dearly like to be introduced to sailing if they could only be encouraged into it in the right way.

One who is well aware of this is Gary MacMahon of the Ilen Boat-Building School in Limerick. When they were unveiling their new flotilla of Limerick-built CityOne sailing dinghies designed by the late Theo Rye a couple of years ago, as the CityOnes and the re-created gandelows made their way out onto the Shannon in the heart of the city, it was clear that some of these young sailors were no longer in the first flush of youth.

The response to a comment about this was classic Gary MacMahon: “You have to understand that Sailing is a Sport for the Youth of All Ages. That’s all there is to it”.

cityones limerick9The CityOne dinghies racing in the Shannon at Limerick. Photo: Gary MacMahon

This pithy reply came to mind when Sean Craig sent his eloquent follow-up to the Gordon Ingate story, as Sean – with that 1993 Helmsmans Championship and other titles under his belt - is now of sufficient years to qualify for the Laser Masters, and this has given him an entirely new perspective on the limiting effects of age, or rather the lack of them if you have a positive attitude.

After all, most of us remember that when the great Denis Doyle did his last Fastnet Race with Moonduster at the age of 81 in 2001, he was asked why he kept going, and he responded with a twinkle that he couldn’t think of anything else to be doing when August in an odd-numbered year came round. He was gone from among us within months, but he left inspiring memories.

denis doyle10Denis Doyle, who campaigned his final Fastnet Race aged 81 – “Sure, what else would I be doing?”

As too did the legendary Norman Wilkinson, who simply kept on successfully racing his veteran Howth 17s until, shortly before his death, he raced his last one at the age of 82 in 1998. And he very appropriately won, for it was the Class’s Centenary Race.

Equally, Sean Craig has been inspired and sometimes astonished by the ages of some of the Laser Masters, and he has fired in some eloquently-expressed and heartfelt thoughts which capture a viewpoint so well it had us having a friendly discussion on the possibilities of changing places for a month. I’d be the high-powered bond trader, Sean would become the harassed hack…….

sean craig and salver11Sean Craig with the historic Helmsmans Championship Silver Salver in 1993, when he won it racing GP 14s at East Antrim Boat Club in Larne. Those were the days: the sponsorship by Church & General Insurance included a 1,500 punts grant towards the new champion’s sailing travel expenses in 1994.

We can be reasonably sure that one half of that job exchange would quickly wreck the global economy. But as for communications in Irish sailing, they’d run along just fine, as these thoughts from Sean Craig reveal:

“The catalyst was your enjoyable piece about Gordon Ingate. I’ve always been inspired by guys like this who stay so competitive into their later years. The great Alf Delaney was something of a hero of mine down at the Royal St George YC, all the more so because he was still dinghy sailing so late in life. Thankfully it’s more of a trend generally now, in Ireland as well as globally. One thinks of Curly Morris, still ultra-competitive in his GP 14 well into his 70s, with two plastic hips and one plastic knee, or is it the other way round? And in Dun Laoghaire, Louis Smyth can still be seen blitzing around Dublin Bay in his Fireball, now into his 80s. Amazing!

denis osullivan13Denis O’Sullivan of Monkstown Bay: into his 80s, still racing Lasers - and still partying. Photo: Facebook 

And amazing too is Ireland’s own Denis O’Sullivan of Monkstown Bay SC, and also sometimes Caribbean based, well into his 80s and still blasting away with the Laser Masters. I’m aware of this for I now sail Lasers. I’m a very late convert to Single-handers and feel like I’m learning out all over again. But it’s great fun, great exercise and, crucially, big fleets whether you’re club racing, doing an Irish circuit event, or competing overseas.

I kind of knew the Laser was bit of a cult internationally, hardly surprising, given the numbers. My new boat this year is Sail Number 213,000 +. But I had no idea just how old some Laser racers are in some countries. For example, I competed at my first Laser Master Worlds in Split last September. It was a huge fleet at 350 boats but I would like to refer you to the results for “Radial Great Grand Master & 75+”, in this results link (scroll down) ; here

denis osullivan13Denis O’Sullivan’s racing his Laser in last September’s World Masters in Croatia. Photo: Sean Craig

There you will see that no less than SEVENTEEN of the sailors in the 65 year old plus category were in fact over 75. To see these guys competing, socializing and handling such a physical boat as the Laser is, to me at least, very inspiring. Here’s an example of one of these guys, Peter Seidenberg, with a “Sailing World” profile here 

Perhaps you’ve heard about Peter, one of the finest examples of what the International Laser Class Association has decided to call “Legends” rather than Over 75 or 75-85, like the other Masters ten year brackets. There’s another guy I met in Croatia, in his late 60s, from the US who has his own website devoted to all things Laser Masters This is Doug Peckover, another fabulous sailor but who only has sight in one eye (effectively) and he religiously writes up each Master Worlds he attends, for the website. You can read “About us” and “Worlds Diaries” for the last 21 World Championships.

Of course the rest of the story here is that Ireland hosts the 2018 Laser Master World Championships in Dun Laoghaire in September. We are expecting up to 400 boats (split evenly between Full Rigs and Radials) from 50 countries. I am open to correction, but I wonder is this the largest One-Design regatta ever held in Ireland, including even the largest gatherings of Optimists?

laser masters croatia14The “Irish & associated” squad at the Laser Masters Worlds in Croatia last September included (left to right) Niall Peelo, Paul Keane, Kevin Currier, Nick Walsh, Denis O’Sullivan, Ed Rice and Theo Lyttle, with Sean Craig in foreground

A personal hobby-horse of mine is that we should embrace and encourage these “silver racers”. Yet many simply take the glass half empty approach of harping on about lack of younger sailors. Of course that’s true, but that’s another debate. What we can see is, just as the MAMILs (Middle Aged Men In Lycra) are taking to their road bikes in their thousands, certain Irish dinghy classes are featuring great numbers in their 40s, 50s and 60s like never before.

I remember giving up dinghies 20 years ago to proceed through J/24s, Flying Fifteens and SB20s because I was told (and was persuaded erroneously) that at 30, I was too old for dinghies……. The times they are a-changing.”

Published in W M Nixon
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Two Irish Olympic sailing hopefuls for Tokyo 2020 are among 540 sailors have gathered in Regatta Park, Miami, USA, for the second round of the 2018 World Cup Series, running from 21-28 January 2018.

Howth Yacht Club's Aoife Hopkins and Finn Lynch from the National Yacht Club will race in the radial and full rig Laser classes respectively. Full entry lists are here.

Also of Dun Laoghaire interest is 2016 Irish Rio rep Saskia Tidey in the 49erfx, who is now sailing for Team GB.

The event marks the start of a big year for Olympic class sailors, as they prepare for the Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark this summer.

Sailors from over 50 nations will race over six days in all ten Olympic events on Biscayne Bay, just off Coconut Grove in Miami. The fleets will feature 27 Olympic medallists and they, along with all competitors, will come up against a moderate 12 knot breeze, warm temperatures and intermittent showers during the week.

Erika Reineke (USA) is a local Laser Radial sailor and she is very familiar with the waters. As sailors get set up in Regatta Park, Reineke welcomes the international competitors and is looking forward to the event. "It's great to see so many faces from across the world come here,” says Reineke.

Reineke and Women's 470 sailor, Maja Siegenthaler (SUI) both relate to the thought of Dolphins whenever they think of sailing in Miami.

Siegenthaler will be sailing with Linda Fahrni. The pair also competed at the first event of the Series in Gamagori, Japan, and just missed out on a podium spot. However, they are looking to improve on that showing, ready for the Worlds in Aarhus.

In the Men's Laser fleet, Lynch will be up against it, the finest sailors in the class are here in Miami ready to fight for World Cup Series medals. The ones to beat will once again be Rio 2016 gold medallist, Tom Burton, reigning World Champion, Pavlos Kontides (CYP) and 2017 European Champion, Nick Thompson (GBR).

Ahead of the competition Kontides was at ease in Miami and when asked what he thought about the Sunshine State he responded, "Beautiful, warm and vibrant.”

However, Kontides says the competition in Miami isn't easy, "It's always tricky. As you can see from the results, sailors finish with high points and competition is very close. It can be unpredictable.”

The London 2012 Olympic medallist, has his sights firmly set on Aarhus as well.

"I have nice memories from Aarhus from 2008. I was able to win the Youth Worlds back then. Right now, my main focus is on training as much as I can and using this event to prepare for the Worlds,” said Kontides.

Racing is scheduled to commence on Tuesday 23 January with the regatta culminating with the LIVE Medal Race days on Saturday and Sunday, 27 and 28 January.

Published in Tokyo 2020

Daragh O'Sullivan continues to lead the 16–boat Monkstown Bay Sailing Club Laser dinghy League in Cork Harbour by a margin of two points from local Chris Bateman after nine races and two discards. Charles Dwyer is third. Overall results are downloadable below.

The fleet has been joined by some of Cork’s leading dinghy sailors. They include John Durcan, just back from a Cadiz training session, 49er sailor Cian Byrne (pictured above) and Nick Walsh, 2017 National 18ft British and Irish Championships winner.

Changeable and gusy conditions continued for the third outing of the Saturday series. Photos by Bob Bateman below

Monksotwn Bay Laser dinghy1Eddie Rice in (206858)  leeward boat in a start of the 16–boat Monkstown Bay Laser dinghy league. Photo: Bob Bateman

Monksotwn Bay Laser dinghy1John Durcan uses his feet to tidy up his mainsheet. The Royal Cork youth saiilor is just back from training in Cadiz 

Monksotwn Bay Laser dinghy1Laser Masters Champion Nick Walsh deals with a lull

Monksotwn Bay Laser dinghy1Fleet leader Darragh O'Sullivan


Monksotwn Bay Laser dinghy1Local 16–year-old Chris Bateman (GBR sail) is mixing it with the Olympic hopefuls and lies in second place overall

Monksotwn Bay Laser dinghy1The breeze eventually came up for Saturday's racing

Monksotwn Bay Laser dinghy1

Monksotwn Bay Laser dinghy1Monksotwn Bay Laser dinghy1

Published in Laser
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The competitive instinct of Laser sailors is tightening the battle for honours in the Winter League in Cork Harbour being run by Monkstown Bay Sailing Club.

The fleet has been joined by some of Cork’s leading dinghy sailors. They include John Durcan, 49er sailor and Nick Walsh, 2017 National 18ft British and Irish Championships winner.

Despite their pressure the series leader, Darragh O'Sullivan, is holding his position as the sailors face into the third race of the series this Saturday.

There are three races each day. Last Saturday the weather was calmer than the opening day of the previous weekend. A higher-than-average morning temperature, sunlight and a light Southerly breeze were the conditions when OOD Alan Fehilly set race marks in the middle of Monkstown Bay for racing from Raffeen, to Ringaskiddy and back again.
In the light, changeable breeze, with a very strong tide, consistency was hard to achieve. Only Chris Bateman managed to stay in the top three places in each race, with a hat-trick of seconds. John Durcan was fourth in the first race of the day, but won the second and third races. Charles Dwyer, placing third in the third race of the day, moved into second place overall.
There is a fleet of sixteen boats racing.

O’Sullivan leads on 10 points, Bateman has 12 and Dwyer is on 18. Just behind him, in fourth place on 19 points is Ronan Kenneally. There is a ten-point gap then to Paul O’Sullivan who is fifth on 29 points, followed by John Durcan who, on his first outing, moved into sixth place overall by winning two of the day’s three races.
First Gun this Saturday will again be at 10.15 a.m.

Published in Laser
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Monkstown Bay Sailing Club had what the sailors taking part described as a “tremendous start” to its Laser Winter League in Cork Harbour, sponsored by CH Marine.

A forecast of 30 knots didn't put anyone off, as sailors were greeted by a sunny Monkstown Bay, the sun compensating for the low temperature. High Tide and a fresh North Easterly meant Officer of the Day Alan Fehily set a start line in Monkstown Creek, racing towards Monkstown Marina, then returning to Monkstown Creek for the finish. The entire racecourse was overlooked by the historic Victorian houses of Alta Terrace, the setting being a pleasant sight for the Saturday morning walkers on Strand Road.

After an initial general recall, last year’s winner, Ronan Kenneally, led the fleet into the top mark for Race 1. Kenneally just stayed clear of a noisy collision between Paul O'Sullivan and Charles Dwyer, with Paul O'Sullivan being forced to take a 720 degree penalty to exonerate himself. Kenneally was eventually overhauled by Laser National Champion, Darragh O'Sullivan, who held first place to the finish. Kenneally had to deal with local Radial sailor, Chris Bateman, who showed great consistency to come in 3rd place.

Race 2 was where Darragh O'Sullivan started to show his class and he led the race from Charles Dwyer, Ronan Kenneally and Chris Bateman who were all battling for 2nd place. Kenneally fell victim to one of the heavier gusts and capsized, allowing Charles Dwyer to take second from Bateman, in third.

The small race area and lively fleet, meant there were two general recalls before Race 3 got underway and Darragh O'Sullivan broke free from the fleet early. Former UK Olympic Laser squad member, Rob Howe, held second for most of the race, until he too capsized, as some of the forecast breeze started to emerge from the direction of the old Verolme Dockyard. Dwyer took second after a collision, his second of the day, with Kenneally who fell back, but was able to hold 3rd.

Racing continues for the next 5 Saturdays. First Gun 1015 this Saturday, January 13.

Published in CH Marine Chandlery

Tokyo Laser campaigner Finn Lynch (21) has notched up an important second overall at this month's Gran Canaria Olympic week.

The youngest ever Irish Olympic helmsman, who debuted in Rio, declared himself "happy with my sailing and the progress I've made".

Korean sailor Jeemin Ha beat the Dun Laoghaire man by nine points over nine races in a mix of light and medium conditions. And the top 10 included Belfast sailor Liam Glynn who placed sixth. Full results here.

Meanwhile, the National Yacht Club ace has a fortnight's training at the Canary Islands venue where he hopes to "dial in some things learned at this regatta".

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Today was the first day of competition for 374 of the world's best youth sailors, from 60 nations, racing across nine classes on Chinese waters at the World Youth Sailing Championshps in which Ireland is contesting three classes and hoping to replicate or better its 2014 silver and 2016 bronze medals. More team details here.

Grey skies and a variable 6–12 knot easterly breeze were present across the four racing areas and sailors were looking to get off to a steady start. See video below.

Best of the Irish after two races – with a long way to go in this competition – is Rush Sailing Club's Conor Quinn in the boys Laser radial class who scored an 11th in the second race of the day to be in the top 40% of his fleet, now lying 21st overall out of 51 starters. 

420 sanyaA boys 420 start in Sanya

In the boys 420 class, Geoff Power and James McCann are 22 from 26 and will be hoping for better in the following races this week. In June, the Dunmore East pair scored an impressive seventh overall at Kiel Week in Germany. 

Belfast Lough's Sally Bell, the RYA NI youth sailor of the year, is lying 26th from 40. 

Click this link for the official results sheet here.


USA's Charlotte Rose put out a strong signal of intent by dominating the day in the Girl's Laser Radial.
Racing in the 40-boat fleet, Rose won both races, sending out a message to the defending champion Dolores Moreira Fraschini (URU) and 2017 Youth Radial World Champion, Hannah Anderssohn (GER).

Rose did more than this, she controlled the fleet sealing two convincing victories. The American finished third to Moreira Fraschini and Anderssohn at the 2017 Youth Radial World Championships in Medemblik, the Netherlands in August and although she was anxious about the scale of the event, she remains calmly focused and competitive.

"The Youth Worlds is the top sailors in every country from around the world so that gets me a little nervous,” commented Rose. "These sailors qualified to be here and deserve to be here as much as I am. Just knowing that puts a little of pressure on.

"But I'm also not scared of them. They're still a threat to me but I deserve to win as much as they do. As long as I work harder and smarter than them, I can beat them.”

Moreira Fraschini, a Rio 2016 Olympian and defending champion, kept in sight of Rose and posted a 3-2 to sit within three points. Annabelle Rennie-Younger (NZL) and Luciana Cardozo (ARG) are tied on 15 points in third.

Germany's Anderssohn received a scoring penalty in the opening race and followed with a 12th. She is currently 30th overall but the discard comes into after the third race so she will have opportunities to spring up the leaderboard.

Italy's Guido Gallinaro holds the early lead in the 51-boat Boy's Laser Radial fleet after a second and a seventh from two races.

New Zealand's Josh Armit won the opening race and after racing said, "It's a tough competition and great to be sailing against all these great guys. The second race I didn't have that great of a start and struggled from there to work back through the pack.”

Armit finished 12th in the second race and occupies fifth overall. Yoshihiro Suzuki (JPN) also took a race win and is in fourth.

Norway's Mathias Berthet and Alexander Franks-Penty stole the show in the 30-boat Boy's 29er fleet.

They won two races and finished third in the other and were full of smiles ashore after racing, "We were very nervous at the start because we didn't have a good feeling in the practice day. I think we managed this pretty well today,” explained a modest Franks-Penty.

"We hit the good shifts and that was pretty important. Our starts were very clean and good.

"All in all, it's been a perfect day for us, it couldn't have gone any better.”

Sweden's Kasper Nordenram and Linus Berglund and France's Théo Revil and Gautier Guevel follow in second and third.

Margherita Porro and Sofia Leoni (ITA) were more impressive in the 20-boat Girl's 29er fleet, winning every single race. Zoya Novikova and Diana Sabirova (RUS) followed behind in the first two races but dropped to 12th in the final race of the day. They discard the 12th and are two points off the Italians.

Maiwenn Jacquin and Enora Percheron (FRA) complete the podium but it is still the early stage of the regatta.

There was plenty for the Chinese fans to cheer about in the Boy's and Girl's RS:X with Chinese sailors firmly placed within the leading bunch after three races.

Ting Yu (CHN) leads defending champion Emma Wilson (GBR) by one point in the Girl's RS:X fleet following two race wins and a third. Giorgia Speciale (ITA) and Yarden Isaak (ISR) are in contention in third and fourth.

Hao Chen (CHN) is one point off leading Israeli sailor Yoav Cohen following three races in the Boy's RS:X. Alongside a third, Cohen picked up two race wins. Chen took the final race win of the day.

Fernando Gonzalez de la Madrid Trueba (ESP) occupies the final podium position.

In the Boy's 420, Ido Bil and Noam Homri (ISR) lead the pack after a race win and a second. Australia's Otto Henry and Rome Featherstone follow in second and USA's Thomas Rice and Trevor Bornarth are third. In the Girl's division, Israel's Linoy Korn and Yael Steigman lead Carmen Cowles and Emma Cowles by two points.

Belgium's Lucas Claeyssens and Anne Vandenberghe (BEL) were in firm control in the Nacra 15 winning two races and picking up a second in the other. The Youth Worlds is open to competitors under 19 which makes the young teams form even more impressive as Claeyssens is just 13-years-old.

Belgium holds the record for the youngest competitor at the Youth Worlds. At just 11-years-old, Henri Demesmaeker sailed at the 2012 edition in the multihull. He went on to make three further appearances and won bronze in 2016.

If Claeyssens and Vandenberghe continue their form, the young helm could become the youngest medallist at the event.

Racing is scheduled to resume at 11:00 local time on Tuesday 12 December.

Published in Youth Sailing
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Irish youth sailors will join a fleet from 62 nations set to compete in the 2017 edition of the Youth Sailing World Championships from 9-16 December 2017 in Sanya, China.

As reported prevously, Ireland will be represented by three boats and four sailors: Sally Bell in Laser Radial Girls, Conor Quinn in Laser Radial Boys, and Geoff Power and James McCann in 420s.

The team will be joined by coach Russell McGovern.

On the eve of her departure for China, Bell was boosted with the 2016 RYA NI Youth Sailor of the Year Award

More than 380 competitors will race across nine youth events over five days of racing in a bid to follow in the footsteps of some of the greatest names in sailing who have competed at the event.

Some of the famous faces include Ben Ainslie (GBR), five-time Olympic medallist, Russell Coutts (NZL), America's Cup winner, Santiago Lange (ARG), Rio 2016 legend and Alessandra Sensini (ITA), one of the most successful Olympic sailors of all time.

The names collected on the nine perpetual trophies, since the events inception in 1971, reads like a who's who in sailing.

The world's best youth sailors will all be heading to Sanya aiming to write their names in the history book to emulate the stars of the sport.

Laser Radial

The Girl's Laser Radial fleet will welcome 40 talented competitors. Sailors with experience at the Youth Olympic games and World Championships will all be at the start line. The one name that shines in the fleet is Uruguay's Dolores Moreira Fraschini.

At just 18-years-old, Fraschini has achieved a lot in her short career so far. In 2016, she qualified Uruguay for a spot at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the Laser Radial and was selected to compete for her nation. Not only was she selected but she was chosen to carry the Uruguayan flag in the opening ceremony.

Just a few months later at the 2016 Youth Worlds in Auckland, New Zealand, she claimed gold for herself and nation in the Laser Radial fleet, capping off a tremendous year of competitive sailing.

Fraschini is the only returnee of the medallists from 2016 and will be looking to defend her crown against a very strong line up of sailors.

In the entrants is Hannah Anderssohn of Germany. Anderssohn beat Fraschini to gold earlier this year at the Laser Radial Youth World Championships in Medemblik, the Netherlands and knows what it takes to win.

Charlotte Rose (USA) finished third behind Anderssohn and Fraschini at the Radial Youth Worlds. She will also be in Sanya, aiming for the podium once again.

It's not just Youth Worlds experience within the Laser Radial fleet. Australia's Elyse Ainsworth sailed at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China. Racing in the Byte CII, Ainsworth finished 24th but since she stepped into the Laser Radial, she has finished amongst the frontrunners at Sailing's World Cup Series Final in Melbourne in 2016 and is improving in the senior ranks.

In the Boy's Laser Radial, there will be 51 skilled sailors competing in Sanya.

Amongst that fleet, the winner of the 2017 Youth Laser Radial World Championship, Dimitris Papadimitriou (GRE), will be attending and seeking to claim the top spot.

Papadimitriou dominated the Laser Radial Worlds, winning by a considerable margin over Matias Dietrich from Argentina.

Dietrich will be in Sanya and has been training to improve on his Radial Youth Worlds performance to take gold home for Argentina.

Josh Armit (NZL) missed out on Bronze at Radial Youth Worlds via a countback. Armit will be attending the Youth Worlds hoping to make amends.

Only two returnees from the top ten of the 2016 Youth Worlds will return for 2017.

Dominik Perkovic (CRO) and Clemente Sequel (CHI) finished ninth and tenth respectively and will be aiming to improve on their performance on Chinese waters.

Racing will also take place in the Boy's and Girl's 420, Boy's and Girl's 29er and the Open Mulithull, the Nacra 15 and the RSX.

Sailors will be officially welcomed to Sanya on Sunday 10 December with the opening ceremony. Racing is scheduled to commence at 11:00 local time on Monday 11 December and will conclude on Friday 15 December.

Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under

Royal Cork's annual Topper and Laser dinghy Frostbite League commenced on November 9 in chilly but bright conditions with fifty five dinghies competing. After seven races sailed, Joe O'Sullivan leads the Topper 4.2 fleet, Jonathan O'Shaughnessy leads a 23–boat 5.3 fleet. Conor Horgan is top of a 13–boat Laser 4.7 fleet.

There was great support from Kinsale Yacht Club who joined the Royal Cork contingent on the water under the watchful eye of Ciaran McSweeney, PRO.

It bodes well for the Munster club that has seen a surge in dinghy sailing.

The has seen the RCYC Laser group finish five days of performance coaching over two weekend's with coaches Michal Gryglewski, Cian Byrne and Tom McGrath. The Topper mid term clinic came to a close after four days with Adam D’Arcy, Eoghan O’Regan and guest coach Alan Ruigrok.

The fleets are looking forward to two more Sundays on the water before the prize giving on Sunday 26th November

Results can be found here

Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1Royal cork yacht sailing dinghies1

Published in Topper
Page 13 of 45

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.


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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