Displaying items by tag: Laser
The morning dawned with a black, rainy sky blanketing the county of Cork. The air was humid and the drizzle was cold, all because of the infamous storm that has been hot news on every weather forecast the length of the country. It all looked decidedly ominous. It takes more than a storm to stop these weather-hardened sailors, so all arrived in Monkstown in fine spirits and ready for a morning’s racing.
Only a quarter of the regular fleet chose to race. This meant that only six competitors got out of their cars, to rig up their dinghies in the high wind. Onlookers were taken aback, as the league participants made ready to hit the water. Rigs were raised with great difficulty as the wind threatened to knock them back down. Monkstown residents were awoken with the sound of flogging sails. Rigging was completed and the sailors began the descent down the slip to hit the boiling waters of Monkstown Bay.
First to launch his Laser was MBSC’s Ronan Kenneally, as enthusiastic as ever to test the wild conditions. The wind ripped across the bay, averaging 25 knots and gusting over 30 knots from the South West. Alas, Kenneally broke his boom before anyone else had launched. He quickly retreated to shore, not put out in the slightest, where he simply rigged another boom and launched with the other sailors.
The six laser sailors sailed out to the course situated at the southern end of the Marina. The wind ripped down, tearing up the water. Race Officer Alan Fehily with his team, Judy Moynihan and John Hegarty, set a windward/leeward course with the help of Emmett O’ Sullivan and Simon Butler in the low-sprung crash boat.
The start was scheduled for 10:10 am. As the competitors blasted around in the heavy breeze, the start went into sequence right on time. A strong ebb tide pushed against the wind, making the start a tricky manoeuvre. With gusts hitting the water at 35 knots, the gun went and race one was underway.
The small fleet kept the racing close as the competitors battled up to the windward mark. The wind became patchy as they came closer to land, with extreme gusts from all angles threatening to knock the dinghies over. These were of no moment to the competitors and the fleet rounded the top mark in succession. Three rounds of the course were to be completed. The wind increased even more, causing a few capsizes among the fleet. As the finish line came into sight, it was MBSC’s Chris Bateman, Inniscarra’s James Long, and MBSC’s Ronan Kenneally in first, second and third. These positions held true across the line.
Race two began in equal amounts of wind. The sailors battled upwind in the solid 30 knots of wind, successfully staying upright. They reached the windward mark, with your correspondent in the lead. James Long was just behind, with Kenneally in third. Masts threatened to snap as the fleet screamed down to the leeward mark, where Bateman capsized in a wild gybe around the leeward mark, with Long and Kenneally planing right behind. Two rounds of the course later, and your correspondent managed to take first place. James long maintained his second place for the majority of the race, but he too capsized in a gybe around the leeward mark. This let Kenneally sail through into second place, while Long finished up in third.
The third and final race of the day was the most difficult, as it began in the most breeze. With the knowledge that all events across the country had been cancelled, the enthusiastic Cork sailors began the ascent to the windward mark. The gusts were vicious, knocking over half the fleet. Kenneally took the lead, ahead of your correspondent and James Long. As Kenneally and Bateman battled it out downwind, the competitors just behind screamed down to the leeward mark. Two insane, very close rounds of the course later, and your correspondent took first position. Kenneally followed up in second, while just behind James Long and RCYC’s Robin Bateman were having a battle of their own. A gust of over 30 knots managed to capsize Long, allowing Robin Bateman to sail through into third place.
Although the races were finished, nobody was out of the woods yet. The shoreline looked good, but there was still one more downwind home. A squall recorded over 35 knots tore up the bay, as Bateman and Kenneally screamed downwind, with insane amounts of pressure on the hull and rigs, boat speed topping over 20 knots, The two just made it back, broad-reaching across the dockyard. The other competitors were further up the bay and had further to come. This resulted in several wipeouts. Once upright, everyone enjoyed the crazy-fast broad reach home.
Once ashore safely, everyone staggered up the slip pulling their battered dinghies behind them. As usual, the sailors were in before 12 O'Clock. Showers, food and warmth awaited, but the competitors will remember how they had conquered the storm in the finest fashion possible. The lasers were put to bed, and the sailors departed.
Next week marks the final day of the series, so join us on the water for some of the finest dinghy racing in the harbour.
Spring training for Oppys runs for five Sunday afternoons beginning on 1 March. Only two places remain as of time of writing — to register (and optionally charter a club boat) see the NYC website HERE.
The Topper spring coaching programme is already under way, but a handful of places remain in the Advanced Racer and Improvers groups. More details and online registration can be found HERE.
And coaching for RS Feva juniors begins later this month on 23 February, with only two spots to spare. Details and registration HERE.
This month will also see a team racing clinic at the Royal Irish Yacht Club on Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 February during the upcoming midterm break.
The Irish Sailing-supported initiative for team racing is offered at the special price of only €25 for the two days of training, and is open to anyone (including non-club members) who has a competent level of sailing experience but is most suited to at least Level 3 or equivalent.
Sign-ups are still open for the Dun Laoghaire Youth Laser spring training programme, which continues this month with a focus on preparing 4.7 sailors for Easter trials and Radials for the Europeans at Ballyholme in July.
And dates have been finalised for NYC’s junior summer courses, each of two weeks’ duration:
- Course 1: Tuesday 2 to Friday 12 June
- Course 2: Monday 15 to Friday 26 June
- Course 3: Monday 29 June to Friday 10 July
- Course 4: Monday 13 July to Friday 24 July
- Course 5: Monday 27 July to Friday 7 August
These will involve the full suite of Irish Sailing levels (Start Sailing, Basic Skills, Improving Skills, Racing, Advanced Boat Handling, Adventure) over each course.
The Irish Olympic Sailing team start competing in Australia at two separate World Championships next week.
The 49er World Championships
First off are the 49er World Championships in Geelong, Victoria. Ireland will be represented by two teams, Olympian Ryan Seaton (Ballyholme Yacht Club) and Seafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork Yacht Club), and Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club). Racing starts on Monday 10 February and concludes 15 February.
Hosted by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, the 49er World Championships will see 77 boats compete from 26 countries.
The ILCA Laser World Championships
The following day, Tuesday 11 February will see the start of the Laser men’s races at the ILCA Laser World Championships, taking place in Melbourne (Sandringham Yacht Club). Competing are Olympian and Carlow native Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club), Liam Glynn (Ballyholme Yacht Club) and Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club). There are 131 competitors from 45 countries.
A Mix of Youth & Experience
Both 49er and Laser classes have a mix of youth and experience. In the 49er two-time Olympic veteran Ryan Seaton will be hoping to regain some of the form that saw him make the medal race final in the 2016 Olympic Games. He now sails with Seafra Guilfoyle. Hot on their heels are the U23 Bronze medallists Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove. They are still learning the ropes on the senior circuit but had an impressive World Championships at the end of last year, making Gold fleet.
In the Laser, Olympian Finn Lynch is competing alongside Liam Glynn, and Ewan McMahon who is relatively new to the senior circuit. This is only Ewan’s second World Championships and he will be hoping to repeat his impressive Gold Fleet performance at his debut Worlds.
Laser Radial Women compete for Ireland’s spot at the Olympics
With Ireland having secured a boat in the Laser Radial at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, four Irish women now begin their battle for that spot. The women’s races at the ILCA Laser World Championships start a week after the men on 23 February. This is the first event of three to decide who will represent Ireland (the other two being the Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Palma, March, and the Hyeres Regatta, France in April).
In the mix is Olympic silver medallist Annalise Murphy (National Yacht Club) fresh from her silver medal at Sail Melbourne in January, Aoife Hopkins (Howth Yacht Club), Aisling Keller (Lough Derg Yacht Club) and Eve McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) who won the U17 Gold Medal at Sail Melbourne.
111 competitors will compete from 41 countries.
A low sun arose over Cork Harbour in the early hours of the morning. A slight chill in the air was enough to inflict a bite, but not enough to stop thirteen enthusiastic sailors from arriving on the Sandquay at 9 am. A windy forecast was on the cards and gusts of up to 27 knots were due later in the morning. The sky was cloudless and Monkstown Bay looked promising.
A south-westerly breeze blew across the bay, peaking at a low 10 knots of wind. The tide was high and weak. The competitors launched their Lasers off the Sandquay, to join the race committee.
A windward/leeward course had been set, with a windward mark situated in the creek near Raffeen. The 10:10 am scheduled start was right on time and the thirteen Laser sailors found their positions on the small start line. Three minutes went by and race one was underway.
Launching off the line was MBSC’s Ronan Kenneally, who crossed the fleet with a spectacular port tack flyer. This put him into the lead just ahead of the fleet. Conditions were tough, with a gusty wind mixing things up. Kenneally held his lead around the windward mark just in front of BSC’s Fionn Lyden MBSC’s Chris Bateman. But things were not all as they seemed and the ace Finn sailor (Lyden) sailed past Kenneally using his downwind skills. The breeze was increasing slowly as they sailed downwind. Bateman chose the opposite side of the course and managed to round the leeward mark just ahead of Lyden and Kenneally. Paths were chosen carefully as the competitors travelled upwind, working through the shifty wind. All remained vigilant and two rounds later, your correspondent took first place. Taking the second position was Lyden, with Kenneally following just behind in third.
In the Radial category, MBSC’s Harry Pritchard took first place, with MBSC’s Philip Doherty following up in second place.
Race two began with much more wind. There was now a steady 13-knot wind gusting up over 16 knots. The high tide was still weak and the competitors had no trouble beating up to the mark. Pulling away into the lead was Sunday’s Well sailor Paul O’Sullivan, followed by radial sailor Philip Doherty in second. The top mark was seeing heavy wind and a wild gust caught out O’Sullivan, as he spun into an almost-saved death roll. This capsize let Doherty pull into the lead, with Bateman just behind. Doherty blasted away from the fleet in the high wind and rounded the leeward mark in first. As they continued on the upwind leg, Doherty’s radial rig lacked the extra ‘grunt’ in the lulls, allowing your correspondent to sail through in the full rig. The last downwind leg saw Fionn Lyden sail through the radial sailor, followed up by MBSC’s Alex Barry. Taking first place was Bateman and in second place was Lyden. Light-weight sailor Alex Barry managed the heavy weather well and took third place.
In the Radial category, MBSC’s Phil Doherty showed heavy weather speed and took a comfortable first place. MBSC’s Harry Pritchard followed up in second, having struggled in the big breeze.
The wind had piped up for race three, the last race of the day. A strong, gusty wind blew across the land from the west. These are tricky conditions at best, with rogue wind shifts threatening to capsize the laser dinghies. The competitors set off and immediately started to work their boats to maximum speed. Leading around the windward mark was O’Sullivan, with Kenneally in second. A heavy gust of over 22 knots let Kenneally sail through O’ Sullivan. As the competitors planed towards the leeward mark, the wind was gusting over 25 knots. Your correspondent sailed around the leeward mark just ahead of Kenneally, with Lyden closing in. The wind whipped across the water, making the windward mark rounding a task. Lyden and Kenneally battled it out, with Kenneally sailing over the top of Lyden. The heavy wind was of no moment to the fleet as they all blasted downwind to the finish line. Taking first place was your correspondent. In second position was Kenneally, with Lyden sailing through into third.
In the Radial fleet, Heavy weather specialist Phil Doherty took another win. Harry Pritchard finished up in second place.
So, a great end to what was an epic morning on the water. The sailors headed for shore, whipped with wind and spray. Warmth and rest awaited on shore, all the that was needed to relax after a hard morning’s sailing.
Join us next week on the water, where the stellar race committee and mark layers will make sure you get the most out of your Saturday morning, and will never disappoint!
A mixed bag of weather conditions was in store for the competitors, with a dull sky and black clouds dampening the mood. The air was warmer than usual, so comfort levels were at their peak. A south-westerly breeze was blowing up around 9-12 knots. The Sandquay was busy, as a record number of sailors had arrived to enjoy the morning’s racing.
The start was due for 10:10 am, so Race Officer Alan Fehily and his crew were seen setting up a course in the early hours. The fleet launched with time to spare and could be seen sailing out into the channel under a heavy flood tide. A windward/leeward course was set opposite Alta Terrace.
The 3-minute gun went off at exactly the scheduled time. The record-sized fleet of sixteen boats lined up on the start line, jousting for position. The competitors could be seen trying to stay below the line, with a very strong flood tide dragging them over early. One general recall later and the first race of the day was underway.
As the fleet converged at the top mark, it became apparent how much the tide was affecting the race. A perfect path had to be chosen, with most sailors heading to the left side of the course just outside the shipping channel. MBSC’s Brendan Dwyer took an early lead and extended that lead throughout the race. Challenging for second and third were Monkstown’s Chris Bateman and Fionn Lyden from Baltimore sailing club. Dwyer held them off until the third and final lap, where your correspondent managed to slip into first place, with Lyden in second. RCYC’s Johnny Durcan followed in third place. As the race carried on, Lyden sailed past Bateman on the downwind to finish in first place. Your correspondent took second position, with Durcan making up third.
In the radial fleet, MBSC’s Harry Pritchard took first place, with RCYC’s Michael Crosbie in second and MBSC’s Philip Doherty in third.
Race two began with the same strong tide but with a little less wind. The fleet was close as they made their way up the first beat, beginning the three-lap race. Tactics downwind were crucial, as the tide was head-on. Your correspondent took the lead early on, with Durcan following and MBSC’s Ronan Kenneally right behind. The sun had come out and the water was a clear blue. Bateman gybed away from the fleet onto the shoreline, while Durcan elected to stay out in the tide, but with more wind. By the end of the race, Bateman finished out in front with Durcan in second place. Kenneally finished in third position.
In the Radial category, it was Pritchard taking first place, with Crosbie and Doherty following up in second and third.
Race three began with MBSC’s Richie Harrington taking an early lead. Following in second place was your correspondent, with Durcan in third place. Harrington increased his lead throughout the race, in the light and tricky conditions. Brendan Dwyer sailed through on the last downwind, passing out Durcan and Bateman, but could not hold Durcan with his new-school tacking manoeuvres. Meanwhile, Harrington sailed across the line in first place with a comfortable lead. Durcan sailed into second, with your correspondent making up third place.
A tough morning’s racing was enough to finish off the competitors, and the laser dinghies were put to bed, to be woken again next Saturday.
With Ireland having secured one of the last places in the Laser Radial class at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and with four sailors now set to contest a trials series for the single place, the Irish Sailing procedures for the 2020 Olympic Games Trials have been ratified by the Olympic Federation of Ireland and are downloadable below as a PDF document.
Ireland’s Laser Radial Olympic Berth
- ILCA Laser Radial Women’s World Championship, Melbourne, Australia, 21-28 February 2020 (this replaces the Genoa WC Round 2020)
- Trofeo Princesa Sofia, Palma, Spain. 28 March – 4 April 2020
- Hyéres Regatta, France, 18 – 25 April 2020
Lasers and 49ers Chasing Final Olympic Places
While neither the Laser Men or the 49ers have yet secured country qualification, both will compete in Genoa this April at the European qualifier with two final Olympic places available in the Laser class and one in the 49er. Whoever qualifies Ireland for an Olympic spot will automatically represent the nation in Tokyo this Summer.
Download the full nomination document below.
Eve McMahon of Howth Yacht Club, current Gold Medal holder in the Laser Radial U17s World League after success in Canada last summer, has added yet more valuable metal to her collection by emerging as U17 Gold Medal winner in this week’s Sail Melbourne Regatta, in which a total of 85 Lasers took part.
The second Wexford Harbour Boat Club Christmas regatta took place on Sunday, 29th December 2019 with plenty of wind for the first race.
There was another great turn out with sailors travelling from along the east coast with representatives from the Royal St George Yacht Club, Waterford Harbour sailing Club and Wicklow Sailing club competing.
Three races in total were held in tricky conditions to test the sailors.
Five fleets competed for the silverware; the PY fleet was won by Aoife Murphy. The Topper 5.3 (Snr) was won by Becky Lowney. Adam Rossiter won the Topper 4.2 (Jnr). The Laser Radial division was won by Cian Lynch with the Laser Full rig class won by Ronan Wallace for the second year running.
In one of her first major regattas since returning to the Laser last September, in a bid for the Irish Tokyo slot, the National Yacht club star is the top Irish woman from four contesting the championships at the Sandringham Yacht Club in Melbourne.
Murphy has counted a race win but also a black flag penalty to be placed 19th overall so far in the championships that have featured strong and light winds and some 'chilly' conditions.
The Men's and Women's Laser Radial classes are sailing together, split into Yellow and Purple fleets.
With the Australian selection for Tokyo 2020 still to be decided, Queenslander Mara Stransky struck an early blow with two wins in Purple fleet. Yumiko Tombe of Japan was second and Marie Burrue (FRA) was third in the first race. All three were pleased to have beaten Rio 2016 gold medallist, Marit Bouwmeester, who finished fifth overall and fourth woman.
Murphy's rivals for the Tokyo berth (that will be decided in selection trials later this year) are all sailing in the gold fleet and currently placed as follows: Aoife Hopkins 32nd, Aisling Keller 37th and Eve McMahon 60th.
The championships were subject to a protest by a competitor under 'Air quality' but the complaint was dismissed.
Organiser Charles Dwyer who puts a lot of effort into running this annual event says: “We are arranging this event around sailors with kids and those who want escape and get a quick sailing fix at the weekends!”
“Lasers who want to come sailing, join celebrity sailors and Olympic hopefuls like Chris Bateman, Johnny Durcan, Fionn Lydon, Richie Harrington will be coming out to play. And of course the recent Christmas Race Champion 2019 – Paul O’Sullivan.
The series is for Lasers Full Rig and Radials, with First Gun, a boat start at 10.15 a.m., which will be “as close as possible2 to the club’s boat base on the Sand Quay.”
One of the big attractions of this event is that sailors are guaranteed three short races each days, “ashore by noon for showers, debriefing, coffee and chowder.”
The entry fee is €20. For any Laser interested, “we would love to have you out sailing,” says Charles Dwyer who can be contacted on – 086 1703289.