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Seven young sailors were selected at the Optimist trials last April to represent Ireland at the Optimist Europeans in Crozon, Brittany writes Coach Thomas Chaix. The 2019 regatta had about 300 entries from 50 countries making it virtually a 'B Worlds'. We were pretty happy at the Western tip of mainland Europe keeping on the edge of the worst of the heat wave and despite challenging wind conditions, team Ireland enjoyed a good event and represented the IODAI and their clubs with pride.

After a day waiting for the wind (no racing), we completed a 5 races qualifying series over two days.

The first day delivered plenty of drama with a confusing finish in very light breezes for one of the girls fleet leading to a staggering number of girls scored DNF. Jessica Riordan (RstGYC) and Alanna Twomey (RCYC) fell foul of the situation putting early pressures on their series. Teammate Clementine Van Steenberge (NYC) made the most of the light breeze to secure two top 10 finishes (9-3). The boys found the light breeze challenging. The second racing day started with a medium 10-12 kts gradually building to 16-18 kts. Clementine maintained her good form (3-14-8) and Jessica showed great character putting a second blow behind her to deliver 2 superb races (BFD-8-4). Alanna had a tough task on the final race to deliver a solid race to secure selection in the gold fleet. She managed to squeeze in thanks to a gutsy final beat gaining places one by one to the finish... All 3 girls made it into the gold fleet which I believe was a first for team Ireland. In the boys fleet, Justin Lucas (RCYC) enjoyed the breeze and showed his master class in the conditions rounding up his qualifying series with a race win (2-12-1). He secured his spot in the boys gold fleet. Fiachra McDonnel Geraghty (NYC) eventually started to show his bow to the front but fell well short of gold. Johnny Flynn (HYC) was equally disappointed with a consistent yet insufficient series to secure Gold. Archie Daly (RstGYC) rounded up his qualifying series with his best race (18th) and settled with Bronze fleet.

Justin LucasJustin Lucas (16th European) in action Photo: Mattias Capizzano

We were looking good before the finals. The 5 races however delivered a challenge we found very difficult.

Despite a good forecast, the first day gave conditions many would have deemed unsuitable for racing with 2-5 kts, insane shifts and very different conditions and wind angles from left to right of the course. Clementine eventually scored her discard (UFD) whilst Alanna new attitude “I have nothing to lose” delivered her best race (14th). Justin saved his first race well (12th) before falling foul of a 50 degrees shift in the second. In Silver, Fiachra and Johnny sailed a solid first race (both top 10) before getting caught by the now infamous left shift in the second one. Archie had just one race.
The final day of the event remained light, but the conditions were definitely fairer and 3 races were sailed in 5-10 kts from the west. 13-year-old Clementine was certainly tired and somewhat tense but determined to give it her best. The first two races were challenging for the National YC sailor and the dream just became too far to reach. But she kept her concentration and her final effort was better allowing her to secure 14th overall (11th at the Europeans) which constitute the best finish by an Irish girl since the 90s. Alanna’s final race (13th) secured her 51st overall, just 2 ahead of teammate Jessica who alternated brilliant sailing with costly errors. The lighter breeze was not to Justin’s taste and despite showing some pride securing a 4th on the second race, there was a significant loss of points dropping him to 19th overall (16th at the Europeans). The man on form was Fiachra rounding up his event with a race win (2-10-1) and securing the most significant gain climbing back to 5th overall in Silver, overtaking Johnny in the process (9th overall in Silver). Archie had two solid 10th for his final day racing concluding his event 12th in the bronze fleet.

Clementine Van SteenbergeClementine Van Steenberge (11th Europeans) Photo: Mattias Capizzano

For the third time since the start of the Nation Cup some 15 years ago, Ireland secured top 10 nation. After last year's superb fourth, we are confirming Ireland as one of the best nations in Europe in 9th.

Bring on Estonia in 2020!

Published in Optimist
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The Optimist class at the Irish Sailing Youth Championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club were the only class that got racing today thanks to the relative shelter of their race course on Cork Harbour's Curlane Bank.

In the Trials fleet, after six races sailed and one discard, James Dwyer Matthews of Kinsale leads the 60-boat fleet with Sam Ledoux of the National Yacht Club second and Rocco Wright of Howth third.  Full results here

Local Optimist sailor James Dwyer Matthews extended his overall lead of the class at the end of the sixth race in the series that started on Thursday.  The 15 year old is counting all top five results to date.

 Kerry’s Eimer McMorrow Morriarty is best of the girls in the class in fifth overall.

Racing is currently abandoned for the day and possibly until later on Saturday subject to a decision in the morning and depending on the progress of Storm Hanna.

Scroll down for photo gallery below

Optimists Irish Youth Sailing Cork1Optimists Irish Youth Sailing Cork1Optimists Irish Youth Sailing Cork1Optimists Irish Youth Sailing Cork1Optimists Irish Youth Sailing Cork1Optimists Irish Youth Sailing Cork1Optimists Irish Youth Sailing Cork1Optimists Irish Youth Sailing Cork1Optimists Irish Youth Sailing Cork1Optimists Irish Youth Sailing Cork1Optimists Irish Youth Sailing Cork1Optimists Irish Youth Sailing Cork1Optimists Irish Youth Sailing Cork1Optimists Irish Youth Sailing Cork1Optimists Irish Youth Sailing Cork1Optimists Irish Youth Sailing Cork1

Published in Optimist
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A fleet of 155 boats is a daunting prospect, even when they’re little Optimist dinghies. But in recent years young James Dwyer Matthews of Kinsale has shown increasing expertise in dealing with the special challenges such numbers entail. Now at the age of 15 he has reached a new level of performance by carrying off the overall win in the British Spring Opens in Lymington to inspire a formidable 28-strong Irish campaign, making him a clear winner of the Afloat.ie Sailor of the Month Junior Title for March.

More on this story here

Published in Sailor of the Month
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James Dwyer Matthews (15) of Kinsale and Luke Turvey (13) of Howth have led the charge for Ireland in the 155-boat International Optimist British Spring Opens at Lymington, with both on the podium at the finish yesterday evening – Matthews taking first and Turvey taking third.

The Irish Optimist class is certainly on a roll these days with a particularly strong travelling contingent – no less than 28 Irish helms made the long trek to the Solent, but it was well worth the effort, as in addition to the two podia places, they’d four in the top ten with Sam Ledoux of the National placing 6th while Johnny Flynn of Howth/RStGYC was 7th.

The final results make for sweet reading here

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The fantastic progress of Howth’s Under 12 Optimist star Rocco Wright continued at the Irish Nationals at Kinsale Yacht Club. But Justin Lucas of Kinsale and Tralee, having led the early stages of the series in the Senior Fleet, had to concede the overall win to lone Belgian sailor Guentin Borghis by just two points.

james matthews2James Dwyer Matthews of Kinsale was one of three Irish helms battling for the senior win, but though he tied at second place two points behind the winner, on countback he was put in fourth. Photo: Robert Bateman

Justin Lucas swept back into contention by winning the final race when Borghijs was sixth, but the Cork sailor was carrying a 14th and 15th, having discarded a 47th and an OCS. However, with a final tally of 49 to the 47 of the Belgian, Lucas still took second overall and the Irish title on the count back against two other Irish helms also on 49, Luke Turvey of Howth and James Dwyer Matthews of Kinsale who placed 3rd and 4th in the Open Division, while Emily Riordan of Royal St George YC was top girl at 8th.

Results were much more clearcut in the Under 12s, where Rocco Wright’s scoreline included seven bullets and a 5th, with 6th and 9th discarded, putting him on just 15 points to the 41 of Ben O’Shaughnessy of Royal Cork. In a period of difficult weather, Kinsale's many options were fully exploited by Race Officer Peter Crowley to ensure that the programme was completed, while Kinsale YC’s hard-working voluntary team saw the fleet of 178 get afloat and then ashore with remarkable efficiency each day.

Results here

luke turvey3Luke Turvey of Howth was one of three heoms who tied on points for the Irish title, but moved to second on the count back. Photo: Robert Bateman

Additional reporting from Michelle Kennelly of Kinsale Yacht Club

The Davy Optimist Irish National Championships took place in Kinsale 16 – 19 Aug. The weather decided to throw everything at the competitors and Race Committee with cloudy skies, gusts over 23 knots, fog and finally sunshine.

178 competitors took to the water spread across 3 fleets. The Regatta Fleet, with RO Denis Kieran, sailed in the waters off Charles Fort. 29 competitors sailed over the four days and enjoyed some competitive racing. 12 races were sailed and it was local member Tadgh Cronin, KYC, who prevailed and came first. Oliver Means, HSC was 2nd with Lucy Pitman, ESC, in third.

PRO Peter Crowley took the Junior and Senior Fleets out of the harbour to race in the area around the Bulman Buoy with the wind all weekend coming from the W and SW. There were 81 in the Junior Fleet and Rocco Wright, HYC/NYC, dominated from Race 1. He took a total of 7 line honours in the 11 races and ended 26 points clear ahead of the field. Oscar Morgan-Harris, RSYC, started Day 4 in 2nd place with Ben O’Shaughnessy, RCYC, in 3rd. However solid racing by Ben on Day 4 secured him an 8th and 3rd which was enough for him to take 2nd with Oscar 3rd.

The 68 strong Senior Fleet enjoyed very competitive racing with the overall leader changing daily. Both Luke Turvey, HYC/NYC and James Dwyer Matthews RCYC/KYC performed very strongly on Day 3 scoring a 3, 1, 1 & 1, 3, 4 respectively. Race 10 saw a total of 11 boats BFD. Justin Lucas took line honours in Race 11 in which Guentin Borghijs, KLYC, scored a 6th for a total of 47 which was enough to secure him the National title. 2nd to 4th places were decided on countback as all 3 finished on 49 points.

At the Prize Giving, Jack Roy, President of Irish Sailing congratulated all the sailors on their participation and wished them many more years of fun on the water. Kinsale Yacht Club would like to thank the 50 plus volunteers, adults and teenagers alike, who made this event possible - with special thanks to Regatta director John Stallard.

Ranking Nat Sail No Name Division Fleet M/F Club Age Net
1st BEL 1195 Guentin Borghijs Gold Senior M KLYC 14 47
2nd IRL 1596 Justin Lucas Gold Senior M RCYC 14 49
3rd IRL 1604 Luke Turvey Gold Senior M HYC/NYC 13 49
4th IRL 1586 James Dwyer Matthews Gold Senior M RCYC/KYC 14 49

Published in Optimist
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With 178 Optimists racing in the Irish Nationals at Kinsale, and Ireland’s GP14 dinghies in fine form after the massive Worlds in England as they gather for their own Nationals in Sligo this weekend through to Monday, there’s much to be hopeful about even as our cruiser-racers deal with the fallout from the multi-gale depredations on the programme in the ICRA Nationals at Galway, and the damage-forced retirement from the Round Britain & Ireland Race of Conor Fogerty and Simon Knowles in Bam! W M Nixon hopes to brighten the mood.

The remains of Subtropical Storm Ernesto could not have chosen a more inconvenient time to swing by the west coast of Ireland and the Outer Hebrides of Scotland than during this past week.

For meteorologists, one of the curiosities was that Ernesto was so all-encompassing that he included in his swirling airmass not only an enormous long plume of smoke from the wildfires in California, but dust from the Sahara. That’s globalisation, and no mistake.

Subtropical Storm Ernesto

And he also brought us in Ireland far more than our fair share of extremely humid and unstable air, lots of it moving at near gale force, with all of it very dense to exacerbate the effects of wind speed. With its added ingredients of smoke and dust, it was not only humid – it was arguably putrid.

optimists kinsale sunshine2Somewhere, the sun is shining……this was the Optimist Junior Fleet in action off Kinsale on Thursday. Photo: Robert Bateman

Seen from a lee shore, the Ernesto Effect produced unspeakable sea and sailing conditions which made race cancellations in Galway Bay inevitable. And for those already out at sea and racing in the RB & I marathon, the endlessly varying wind strengths and its many weaving directions led to widespread damage in the Sevenstar fleet, and several retirals to ports along Ireland’s Atlantic seaboard.

Up to a point, we could take it all in our stride. But when Bam!’s dejected crew were forced to pull out on Thursday morning, it was time and more to look elsewhere for signs of encouragement in the Irish sailing scene, news and stories to remind us that, until a week ago, the season of 2018 was going very well indeed, and it will soon be back on track again.

178 Optimists at the Nationals in Kinsale

So that figure of 178 Optimists at the Nationals in Kinsale is hugely encouraging, particularly when we remember that the Irish Optimist racing scene is so highly regarded internationally that teams from six other nations have come to Kinsale to race as Open division entries.

Because it’s children’s sport, some limits apply in reporting Optimist success. But when new stars such as Justin Lucas of Clonakilty and more recently Rocco Wright of Howth emerge with brilliant performances, the news gets out.

Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet3Rising star. Justin Lucas of Royal Cork & Tralee is one of Irish sailing’s most successful youth helms
And living as I do in an Optimist neighbourhood (half the houses in our road seem to have evidence of at least one Optimist dinghy in the family), part of the fascination of Optimist campaigning is its entertainment value for the rest of us. When you see an entire family (including the pooch) heading off for a championship with the total package of support RIB, several Optimists attached here, there and everywhere - with the roof-rack of the SUV also utilized – then you’re really looking at something special, yet we take it for granted.

It’s very much a combined effort, and that is something which we see manifested in other successful classes such as the close-knit Flying Fifteens in Dun Laoghaire, and the GP 14s nationwide.

GP14 Worlds 2020 at Skerries

In an era when novelty and innovation seem to be the priorities that we seek in vehicles and equipment, the GP 14 is a real curiosity. She goes all the way back to 1949 – yes, she’ll be 70 next year – and her original purpose was that, as a hard-chined boat built in marine plywood, she could be home-built by any reasonably competent Do-It-Yourself enthusiast at a time when DIY was widely popular.

She was called the GP as it meant General Purpose and most assuredly not Grand Prix, with day cruising or even longer non-racing ventures considered an option. But soon, the new boat had acquired a spinnaker, and racing was on the agenda and moving rapidly towards the top. It has stayed there ever since as the GP 14’s main purpose in life.

andy davis shane maccarthy4Andy Davis (left) and Greystone SC’s Shane MacCarthy on their way to winning the GP 14 Worlds 2016

Many new dinghy designs have appeared since 1949 to promote fresh classes, yet the GP 14 continues to trundle successfully along – more than 14,000 have been built worldwide. And though glassfibre construction has been used in some cases – Shane MacCarthy of Greystones won the GP 14 Worlds in 2016 in Barbados in a GRP GP14 – wood construction continues to be much favoured, and one of the very best builders in the world is Alistair Duffin of East Belfast, who succeeded his father Gerry in the business of creating exquisite wooden boats which are also race-winners.

duffin hull5The unmistakable look of a Duffin GP14 hull – this one won the Worlds in 2012

His boat-building skills are such that other classes try to avail of his services when there’s the tiniest gap in his GP 14 orderbook – at the moment he’s putting a new deck on a Dublin Bay Mermaid, evidence of another of Ireland’s much-loved older classes finding itself with a new lease of life.

One aspect of such classes is that they give you the feeling of being in one great big family, and certainly in the GP14s in particular, the family thread runs strong, with parents as readily crewing for children as the other way round.

The class is renowned for its provision of good value for its members. This was particularly apparent when the GP 14 Worlds of 2014 was held at East Down Yacht Club on Strangford Lough. The renowned Norman Lee of Greystones was among those taking part with his impressive compact largely self-created equipage of campervan-cum-workshop with boat and gear and spares, all of it on site and typical of a class where a monumental yet quietly effective community effort was needed each day to get the fleet – almost exactly a hundred in all – neatly away for each day’s racing.

launching at edyc6Fleets at most of the biennial GP 14 Worlds are so large that a convenient beach can be very useful, but in 2014 at East Down YC on Strangford Lough, they had to rely on a well-organised routine down a long slipway. Photo: W M Nixon

This sense of readily-supported group effort within GP 14 Ireland reached a new level in 2016, when the Worlds were set for Barbados in March. The prospect of Caribbean sailing at the tail end of the Irish winter was a mighty attraction, but the logistics of it would have been beyond most classes. Yet the unrivalled community spirit within the Irish GPs saw 22 boats being taken Transatlantic in a well co-ordinated container movement combined with an affordable travel and accommodation package which was negotiated though sensible group action, and planning well ahead.

The fact that in some magnificent racing the new GP 14 World Champion was to emerge as Shane MacCarthy of Greystones, crewed by Andy Davis, was the perfect finishing touch to a great adventure, and a timely reminder that the Irish GP 14 class has had its World Champions in the past, with Bill Whisker and Jimmy McKee of Ballyholme winning in 1975, while Mark and Paul Fekkes from Larne won in 1991.

Thus the main international focus for the Irish class this season has been the recent GP 14 Worlds in southwest England at Mounts Bay in Cornwall, where a convenient gently sloping beach provides the exceptional launching facilities required by a fleet of 117 boats, for which 17 travelled from various Irish centres, while total Irish participation was pushed above the 20 mark with our GP 14 sailors who currently live in Britain.

mounts bay racing7The distinctive shape of St Michael’s Mount dominates the race area during the recent GP14 Worlds at Mounts Bay in Cornwall. Irish helms took second and fourth in the 117-strong fleet.
Inevitably, defending champion Shane MacCarthy was something of a marked man, and going into the final race he seemed assured of the bronze. But he was pushed into fourth, and the best of the Irish was Ross Kearney with the Silver, sailing under the burgee of the Royal North of Ireland YC at Cultra, and crewed by Ed Bradburn of South Staffs SC.

After Shane MacCarthy in fourth, next best of the Irish was Ger Owens of Royal St George YC at 9th. He is one of those leading Irish dinghy sailors who is equally renowned for his successes in other boats, most of them of more modern type, yet he reckons that for sport and value, keeping a GP 14 in trim and having someone as able as regular crew Melanie Morris to campaign with makes it well worth the effort.

In a fleet of this size, everyone will have found their level where the sport is at its best, and age is no barrier. We wouldn’t dream of even guessing at the age of Curly Morris of Larne, but he has been sailing GP 14s for as long as we’ve known him, which is very far back into the previous millennium. Yet there he was at Mounts Bay, merrily sailing around with all his replacement joints in reasonable working order, and taking 19th overall with Laura McFarland of Newtownards SC as his crew.

curly morris8Supersenior Sailor – veteran Curly Morris is as keen as ever. Photo: Robert Bateman

As for top all-women crew, that went to Katy Dwyer and Michelle Rowley of Sutton Dinghy Club, who were comfortably into the top half at 41st, which gave them a solid fifth in the Silver Fleet.

With full-on across-the-board participation by the Irish entries as events concluded at Mounts Bay in the first week of August, there’s been little enough time to re-charge batteries before this weekend’s Sligo gathering. But with GP 14 Ireland in the build-up to another big one on the home front within two years, the momentum is on, with the count-down already under way towards the GP 14 Worlds 2020 at Skerries, where this year in July they’ve already staged the Leinsters, won by Shane MacCarthy with Ger Owens second and Alan Blay and David Johnston of Sutton third.

This will put a double-focus on MacCarthy at Sligo, as he’s defending National Champion, having won at Ballyholme last year. So all that’s needed in Sligo is a relenting of the weather to set the stage for the sort of racing the GP 14s relish.

It speaks volumes of a class in good heart, and with GP14 Ireland now having David Cooke of Skerries as President, there’s a strong home team in place to provide a World Championship worthy of the competitors, while on the boat front, the word is that Alistair Duffin’s order book for new GP 14s is well-filled to 2020.

World Sailing Championships on the Fingal Coast

It all means that 2020 is going to be quite a year for World Championships on the Fingal coast, as fourteen miles to the south at Howth, one of HYC’s main events for 2020 will be staging the Fireball Worlds.

john lavery david obrien9The National YC’s John Lavery on the helm and David O’Brien on the wire, on their way to winning the Fireball Worlds 1995 in Dublin Bay. The Fireball Worlds 2020 will be staged at Howth. Photo: Shane O’Neill

While the Fireball Class doesn’t have the same national coverage in Ireland as the GP 14, it continues to be a significant international force, and of course Irish faith in the Fireball is still sustained by memories of the World Championship in Dublin Bay in 1995, won by John Lavery and David O’Brien of the National Yacht Club.

The very idea that the coast of Fingal would be hosting two world championships at two different venues within the county in 2020 would have been seen as far-fetched back in 1995. But population growth has seen club development across the board in the north county – think, for instance, of the remarkable growth of Rush Sailing Club’s success – and the area’s lack of commercial shipping is a real boon when Dublin Port’s increasing activity keeps the Bay’s shipping lanes busier than ever.

Then, too, when the Atlantic weather is excessively flexing its muscles, the well-islanded coast of Fingal’s great sailing water has all of Ireland to provide a lee when the big westerlies roar across country to make racing events impossible on open water on the Atlantic seaboard.

Half Ton Classics Worlds at Nieuwpoort

So between Optimists and GP 14s and Fireballs, there is much to cheer us in the current and future scene. And as for cruiser racing, there may have been a glitch, but in the Irish Sea ISORA soldiers on, and we’ve two Howth boats – Dave Cullen’s Checkmate XV and Jonny Swann’s Harmony – in with a shout in next week’s Half Ton Classics Worlds at Nieuwpoort in Belgium. Life goes on.

checkmate xv10All packed up, and ready to go….Dave Cullen’s classic Half Tonner Checkmate XV road-ready at Howth for departure to Nieuwpport in Belgium and the Half Ton Classic Worlds which start on Monday. Photo: W M Nixon

checkmate xv11No, you weren’t seeing things – Checkmate XV travels with five crew bicycles, as getting around some yacht harbours takes longer than you think, and the exercise is good for them. Photo: W M Nixon

harmony running12Jonny Swann’s Harmony, overall winner of the all-comers Harbour Race in Volvo Cork Week, will also be representing Howth in the Half Ton Championship in Belgium. Photo: Robert Bateman

Published in W M Nixon

It was a challenging day on the water in gusty conditions on day one of the Davy Irish Optimist Nationals in Kinsale Yacht Club. Scroll down for photo gallery below.

Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Junior fleet1

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Royal Cork Yacht Club's Justin Lucas leads the Davy Irish Optimist Nationals in Kinsale Yacht Club after three challenging races in gusty conditions on day one. Scroll down for our photo gallery by Bob Bateman below.

Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Fleet leader – Justin Lucas of RCYC Photo: Bob BatemanOptimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet1

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The opening ceremony for the 2018 Davy Irish Optimist National and Open Championships took place tonight at Kinsale Yacht Club writes Bob Bateman.

178 entries are registered for the event running from August 16th-19th with sailors coming from France, Spain, USA, Cayman Islands, Australia, Belgium, GBR, and Ireland.

The Race Director for the Event is John Stallard. Principle Race Officer is Peter Crowley. Race Officer for the Regatta Fleet is Denis Kieran.

Optimists Kinsale2Caribbean music at the Optimist launch in Kinsale Photo: Bob BatemanOptimists Kinsale2Optimists Kinsale2Optimists Kinsale2Rocco Wright of HYC and James Dwyer of RCYC & KYCOptimists Kinsale2The Howth YC teamOptimists Kinsale2David O'Sullivan, Commodore of KYCOptimists Kinsale2John Stallard, KYC Event Director

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The National Yacht Club had great success in the Optimist Ulster Championships which took place in Malahide Yacht Club last weekend writes Frieda Forde.

Twenty four sailors from the NYC – some of whom are junior members of other clubs as well – took part in this event across three fleets.

There was great NYC representation at the prizegiving with the following results:

Senior Fleet

Sam Ledoux finished 2nd place overall, Leah Rickard finished 3rd place overall and 1st Girl in the Senior Gold Fleet, Conor Gorman finished 4th place overall,  Fiachra Mc Donnell finished 5th place overall, Rian Geraghty - Mc Donnell finished 6th place overall, Luke Turvey finished 8th place overall, Hugh Turvey finished 10th place overall and Nathan van Steenberge finished 13th place overall. Lauren O’Callaghan finished in 4th place in the Senior Silver Fleet.

Junior Fleet 

Rocco Wright finished 1st place overall, Clementine van Steenberge finished 3rd place overall and Lucia Cullen finished 8th place overall.

Regatta Fleet

Ava Ennis finished 2nd place overall, Caoilinn Mc Donnell finished 3rd place overall, James Hall finished 4th place overall, Lizzie Hall finished 6th place overall, Kate Flood finished 7th place overall, Grace Gavin finished 12th place overall and Ciara O’Sullivan finished 14th place overall.
 
Two teams were also presented with their kit for forthcoming international regattas.
 
The European Team with NYC sailors Leah Rickard, Nathan van Steenberge, Rocco Wright and  Sam Ledoux.
 
The IDT Polish Team with NYC sailor Lucia Cullen

Published in National YC
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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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