Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Displaying items by tag: Olympic games

#Rowing: Ireland will send a big team to the World Coastal Rowing Championships in Hong Kong early next month (November 1st to 3rd). Coastal Rowing is growing and may become part of the Olympic programme.

 Niall O’Toole (49) was Ireland’s first world rowing champion. The three-time Olympian now runs Crew Class for indoor rowers. He tried his luck at the Irish Offshore Rowing Championships in September in Co Antrim. Here are his impressions.

The Rock’n Roll of Offshore Rowing

By Niall O’Toole

I was excited for my first offshore race. Rounding the corner, I arrived at the location to big breaking waves crashing onto the shoreline. I immediately knew this was something different: it was going to be ugly and unpredictable.

 I fully hoped that the regatta would be called off, due to the extreme weather conditions. I looked to other competitors for solace. Instead of being able to gauge their fear, I was met with wide grins and a crazy glint in their eyes: they were unfazed. This was their normal. They were just looking forward to getting amongst it.

 I’m used to something different. A sterile environment in your own lane, as fast as you can row from A to B over 2km. You train for your own race, your pace and pushes planned down to a T. You have very little to think about on the day, other than executing that race plan. A starter holds your stern, everyone in line, traffic lights signal the off. It’s all inch-perfect and highly controlled. You may have one or two glances out of the boat, but essentially you row without interference from others.

 In Olympic-style rowing, we are guarded from the elements. Most international courses are strategically located to have a prevailing wind in one direction to avoid rough water. If there is wind, the water tends not to be affected. I wasn’t used to nature writing the rules.

 There was a delay to racing due to a late change of course. We were told that it was no longer safe for the safety boats, and that rowers were likely to be pushed onto the rocks. When the officials said, “You need to ask yourself, is it safe for you to row today?” the answer was screaming in my head. The organisers said they’d run the first race and would review whether they would continue the regatta after that. I took this to mean that the first race competitors were now officially the canaries down the mine. They got around, despite buoys moving during the race, and the regatta continued, to my growing fear and dismay.

 Shouldered with the weight of some rowing heritage behind me, I had to harness my dwindling toughness and get out onto the water, launching amidst breaking waves on the beach. Within 30 seconds I was completely soaked and instantly thought we needed a bigger boat.

 The race starts with a floating start and is the only real part that you can plan. There are no individual lanes, just a fight for the best line around a 4km course of buoys. Your only real hope is to fly out the start and get clear of the field down to that all important first buoy, before traffic starts hitting you and rowing becomes a contact sport.

 Battling the elements, and trying to keep the boat straight without a tiller was absolutely exhausting. Given my experience, I went out high and hard, but found it difficult to factor in the added dimensions of staying away from other boats and staying on the right lines to hit the markers. Trying to keep the boat straight against a crushing side-wind completely seized up my forearm within minutes of the start. Within the washing machine of the wind and waves, and the physical exertion of breathing through your ears, you are punished for small navigational mistakes which are big errors, handing away hard-fought lengths to more savvy and seasoned competitors.

 I did enjoy it though, despite myself. The rush of adrenaline you get flying around buoys, fighting for your line, with other boats breathing down your neck. You are completely focused on getting in and out of the turn as quickly as possible, whilst also paranoid that your competitor is taking a better line, for reasons as yet unknown to you. The sheer volume of data you have to integrate along with the physical exertion maxed me out in a way I couldn’t have imagined.

 This is one hell of a sport. Chaotic, unpredictable and exhilarating. It really is the rock’n roll of rowing. I’m completely hooked.

Niall O’Toole was part of the winning men’s quadruple, a composite crew of Wicklow, Kilurin and Ring, at the Irish Offshore Championships. 

Published in Rowing

#Canoeing: Robert Hendrick qualified Ireland for an Olympic place in canoeing at the World Championships in La Seu d’Urgell in Spain this morning. Going off first in the C1 competition, the Kildare man put down a nerveless run of 95.12 seconds without a time penalty. It stood up as a fine time even as 29 more paddlers came down the course. The top 11 nations qualified for the Olympic Games and Hendrick gave Ireland 9th overall in this ranking. His personal placing of 11th saw him miss out by one place on an A Final place.  

Canoe Slalom World Championships, La Seu d’Urgell, Spain (Irish interest)

Men

C1 – Semi-Final (First 11 nations qualify boat for Olympic Games; First 10 to A Final): 11 (ninth nation) R Hendrick 95.12 seconds.

Published in Canoeing

#Rowing: Ireland's ambitions of booking a slot for a fifth boat at Tokyo 2020 came up short. The Ireland four of Tara Hanlon, Eimear Lambe, Aifric Keogh and Emily Hegarty had the difficult task of taking a top-two place in their B Final. They found their pace coming up to the line, but Britain, in lane five, and Canada in lane six took the crucial spots, with Ireland finishing fourth behind third-placed China.

The crosswind was a problem during the race and immediately afterwards the authorities redrew the lanes to acknowledge that lanes five and six were favoured.

World Rowing Championshiops, Linz-Ottensheim, Day Seven (Irish interest)

Women

Four - B Final (First Two book Olympic places for boat): 1 Britain 6:55.08, 2 Canada 6:56.99; 3 China 7:02.28, 4 Ireland Ireland (T Hanlon, E Lambe, A Keogh, E Hegarty) 7:02.71.

Pair - B Final (First Five book Olympic places for boat): 1 Romania 7:18.88, 2 Ireland (A Crowley, M Dukarska) 7:20.68.

Lightweight Double Sculls - C Final (Places 13 to 18) 1 China 7:00.82; 5 Ireland (A Casey, D Walsh) 7:10.52.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Ireland's first boat qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games is the lightweight men's double. Fintan McCarthy and Paul O'Donovan won in a thrilling semi-final here in Linz-Ottensmeim to take an A Final place at the World Championships and land a berth for the boat in Tokyo.

This was classic Paul O'Donovan. He gelled with his new partner, McCarthy, to produce a perfectly-judged finish which pushed Germany into second - by 13 hundredths of a second. Norway, like Ireland, had watched Germany and Australia do the early work, then closed on them in the final stages. The Norway crew of Are Strandli and Kris Brun, who were bronze medallists behind Ireland's silver in Rio 2016, produced the fastest finish of all to take third. Australia fell back to fifth.

 All six A Finalists and the eventual winner of the B Final qualify boats for Tokyo 2020.

The Ireland women's pair of Aileen Crowley and Monika Dukarska will have to make their way through the B Final (placing fifth or better) if they are to qualify the boat for the Olympics. They finished fourth in a hotly-contested semi-final. New Zealand won with a commanding performance; the United States forced their way into second; the battle was joined between Ireland and fast-finishing Italy, who took the crucial third place.

 

World Rowing Championships, Linz-Ottensheim, Austria - Day Five (Irish interest)

Men

Lightweight Double Sculls - A/B Semi-Final Two (First Three to A Final; rest to B Final): 1 Ireland (F McCarthy, P O'Donovan) 6:13.46, 2 Germany 6:13.59, 3 Norway 6:14.15.

Women

Pair - A/B Semi-Final Two (First Three to A Final; rest to B Final): 1 New Zealand 6:57.92, 2 United States 7:01.78, 3 Italy 7:01.80; 4 Ireland (A Crowley, M Dukarska) 7:03.05.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll, the world champions in the lightweight pair, have decided to go heavyweight. “We have to do this. We want to go to an Olympics and this is the best way of going," O’Driscoll told The Southern Star.

 Only one lightweight boat, the lightweight double, is an Olympic discipline. Paul and Gary O’Donovan took silver at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. They recently showed good form at the Ireland trial.

 Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan have been bulking up and O’Driscoll said they were ready to take on this “new chapter” in their competitive lives. “Before we raced the World Championships we had decided to go heavyweight,” he said. “We had one regatta left before we made that decision and we really wanted to win that World Championship.”

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: The Afloat Rower of the Month for March is Gary O’Donovan. The Skibbereen man beat heavyweight oarsmen Sam McKeown and Daire Lynch in the single sculls final at the Ireland Trial. The conditions, with a cross headwind, were difficult for a lightweight. However, O’Donovan was sharpest in the closings stages and won. Paul, his younger brother and crewmate in the lightweight double which took silver at the Olympic Games, had exam pressures and had missed the trial. Named the Rower of the Month by Worldrowing.com, Paul O’Donovan was typically provocative when asked if he would ever team up with anyone other than his brother: “Gary is quite fast so I often row the double scull with him but if I could row with someone faster I would be happy.” Facing into the 2017 campaign, Gary proved that he is a key member of Ireland’s top crew.

Rower of the Month awards: The judging panel is made up of Liam Gorman, rowing correspondent of The Irish Times, and David O'Brien, editor of Afloat magazine. Monthly awards for achievements during the year will appear on afloat.ie. Keep a monthly eye on progress and watch our 2017 champions list grow.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Claire Lambe has been named in the Cambridge crew for the Women’s Boat Race on April 2nd. The Dubliner (26) will row in the number three seat for the light blues. Lambe represented Ireland at the Olympic Games in 2016, partnering Sinead Lynch in the lightweight double which reached the A Final. 

Cambridge, who were beaten by Oxford in the last two years, have a very strong crew with a marked international aspect. “It’s the best crew we’ve had,” said Rob Baker, the Cambridge coach. Baker is a former Ireland under-23 coach.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: The men’s lightweight four will be removed from the Olympic programme. Ninety-four votes at the Fisa Extraordinary Congress in Tokyo went to the proposal to replace the lightweight four with the women’s four in an attempt to create gender balance in rowing at the Games. A counter proposal to achieve gender balance by introducing a women’s lightweight four received 67 votes.

 The lightweight four has been one of the most successful of Irish boats, with crews finishing fourth at the Atlanta Games in 1996 and sixth at the Athens Games in 2004.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Paul and Gary O’Donovan are the Afloat Rowers of the Month for August. The brothers from West Cork achieved something no Irish crew had done before when they took a silver medal at the Olympic Games regatta in Rio de Janeiro in the lightweight double sculls. The O’Donovans had become European champions in Brandenburg in May. Paul ended the month of August by becoming world champion in the lightweight single sculls in Rotterdam - he was the only competitor who medalled at the Olympic Games and the World Championships.

 At a tribute to the entire Ireland Olympic squad in UCD, the great Sean Drea, who finished fourth at the Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976, thanked the Ireland silver medallists. “On behalf of all the fourth-placed Olympians I would like to thank the O’Donovans for taking that monkey off our backs!” he said.

Rower of the Month awards: The judging panel is made up of Liam Gorman, rowing correspondent of The Irish Times, and David O'Brien, editor of Afloat magazine. Monthly awards for achievements during the year will appear on afloat.ie and the overall national award will be presented to the person or crew who, in the judges' opinion, achieved the most notable results in, or made the most significant contribution to rowing during 2016. Keep a monthly eye on progress and watch our 2016 champions list grow.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Sanita Puspure ended her Olympic programme in Rio de Janeiro with a win. The Ireland single sculler won the C Final, placing 13th overall. She had been very disappointed not to at least make the B Final, but she won this race well. Puspure got an early lead and held it, with Lina Saltyte of Lithuania the only competitor who kept pace with her until the closing stages.

Olympic Games Regatta, Rio de Janeiro (Irish interest; selected results)

Women

Single Sculls - C Final (Places 13 to 18): 1 Ireland (S Puspure) 7:27.60, 2 Lithuania (L Saltyte) 7:30.38, 3 Sweden (A M Svennung) 7:32.54.

 

Published in Rowing
Page 1 of 5

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

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

mgm sidebutton
bjmarine sidebutton
xyachts sidebutton

Featured Webcams

webcam sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

tokyo sidebutton
sovscup sidebutton
vdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating