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Displaying items by tag: Rocco Wright

Turning 15 can be a difficult development stage for a young sailor. But Howth's Rocco Wright has been managing it with aplomb as he turned in some impressive race-winning performances at the mega-fleet Optimist Worlds on Lake Garda, shaped up with enthusiasm to a vertical learning curve as the youngest participant in the intense NYYC Invitational raced in the demanding Melges ILC 37s at Newport, Rhode Island, and then in the final weekend of September - crewed by Nathan van Steenberge - he won the 2021 All-Ireland Junior Championship in a cliff-hanger finish at Schull.

Rocco Wrght and crew Nathan van Steenberge with their prizes at Schull.Rocco Wrght and crew Nathan van Steenberge with their prizes at Schull.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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Fresh back from being the youngest participant in the NYYC Invitationals racing ILC 37s at Newport, Rhode Island, 15-year-old Rocco Wright of Howth reactivated his well-proven dinghy-racing skills in jig time to emerge as the 2021 Junior All-Ireland Sailing Champion at Schull in the weekend's intensive programme of racing organised from the Fastnet Marine Education Centre.

At various stages in the series, leading junior sailors from several top sailing centres were heading the leaderboard.

But even though it went down to the wire in the medals race at the end, the new name on the trophy is Rocco Wright crewed by Nathan van Steenberge.

Second were Jonathan and Ben O’Shaughnessy of Royal Cork, and third Ben Graaf and Alex Leech of Lough Ree YC.

Published in Youth Sailing
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A slowly fading southerly breeze on Lake Garda today - declining from an initial 10 knots - favoured early fleet leaders in the three day finals of the Optimist Worlds 2021, and the USA’s Gil Hackel found extra speed to log an impressive first and second to put him ahead of the winner of the qualifying championship, Thailand’s Weka Bhanubandh, who posted 17-11 but holds on to second overall.

Continuing in third is Brazil’s Alex Di Francesco Kuhl with a 12-12. while Ireland’s Rocco Wright of Howth Yacht Club - lying fifth overall going into the finals - had to re-include his previously-discarded 19th from the qualifying series, for although he took a 10th in today’s first race, he was one of the victims of the fading breeze in the second, and notched a now-discarded 51st. However, currently on 40 points, he stays in the top ten at 9th overall in a total fleet of 259 boats.

Published in Optimist
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The nine-day Optimist Worlds currently under way on the marvellous Lake Garda have a programme which would be demanding for mature athletes at the peak of their career-developing stamina curve. But the young sailors seem game for it all, as the three days of initial qualifying races - which concluded yesterday (Sunday) with Ireland’s Rocco Wright comfortably into the Gold Division at 5th overall - have now seen the 58-nation fleet squaring up for two days of intensive team racing.

Not all of the 58 nations taking part have enough boats present to form a full team, but a remarkable 48 including Ireland have made the cut for participation in this novel aspect of the World Championshjp programme. However, although the Irish squad had their moments in initial racing against Peru and Norway, they aren’t into the final listings going into tomorrow (Tuesday’s) final Team Racing stages, in which Group A are providing Italy, Ukraine, Hungary, Turkey, Spain USA, Singapore and Finland, while Group B are sending forth Thailand, Belgium, Croatia, Brazil, France, Portugal, Argentina and Lithuania. And then on Wednesday, it’s straight back to the very serious business of the final three days of the Worlds proper.

Published in Optimist
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The Optimist Worlds currently getting into their stride on Lake Garda (they conclude on July 10th) find Howth's Rocco Wright to be the target helm, as his countdown to the big one has been wellnigh perfect. In mid-June he took Bronze in the Meringa Cup series on the lake, and then last weekend in a fleet of nearly 300 boats from 31 nations with Lake Garda in fine sailing form, he won overall by an astonishing 9 points, convincingly making him Ireland's outstanding junior sailor in June.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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Howth’s Rocco Wright is continuing his successful countdown to the Optimist Worlds 2021 with a runaway big-fleet win on Lake Garda. Promoted as the best warmup opportunity before this week’s World Championships, the 46th Trofeo Optimist d’Argento ended on Sunday at the Circolo Vela Torbole with 31 nations participating and nearly 300 entries. The young Irish sailor led the charge from the start, and won overall by an extraordinary 9 points, ahead of top American sailor James Pine - brother of Nathan who won in Howth at the Irish Nationals in 2019.

The World Championships start on Lake Garda on Wednesday, June 30th and runs until July 1.

Published in Optimist
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Rocco Wright (13) of Howth Yacht Club is Sailor of the Month (Junior) for January after twice taking silver in major Optimist regattas in both the southern and northern hemispheres. Early in the month in Sail Melbourne 2020 in Australia in a total fleet of 255 boats, he was overnight leader going into the final day. But a series of sometimes flukey winds produced its most fickle day of all to conclude with, the positions were inverted, and he did well to hold on to second overall.

In Alicante in Spain at the end of the month, conditions were breezy and almost wintry for the Euromarina Trophy and an astonishing total fleet of 401 boats. Here again, he was the overnight leader going into the final day’s three races. With a ninth and a first in the two initial contests, things were looking good, but this time gear failure resulted in a DNC in the last race, and he’d to concede the overall lead to Italy’s Alessandro Cortese but stayed ahead of another Italian helm, Lisa Vucceti, who was also top girl.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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Optimist ace Rocco Wright of Howth found it was tough at the top when the 185-strong 11-nation fleet gathered at his home port for the Irish Open Nationals in August. After he’d won the first race, he was a marked man, and had to be content with fourth overall by the finish. But back in July, he’d taken 10th overall in the Worlds, and then in October, he notched second overall in the North Americans, giving him Ireland’s best international performance in 2019.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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Ireland had reason to celebrate at the Optimist North American Championship this past week with a podium finish among two top-five places.

Howth Yacht Club’s bright Oppy star Rocco Wright finished second just two points behind winner Gustavo Campos from Brazil — and James Dwyer Matthews of the Royal Cork/Kinsale wasn’t far behind in fifth place.

Ironically, the two were also separated by three spots in the final standings of this summer’s Optimist Worlds in Antigua.

In 83rd place, Clementine Van Steenberge (National Yacht Club) topped the girls who comprised the rest of Team Ireland in the Bahamas last week. Full results are available HERE.

In other youth sailing news, the National YC scored top results in the Junior Helmsman’s event in Schull last weekend.

Representing the Laser Radial, Clare Gorman with crew (and brother) Conor Gorman were second overall after taking the medal race, while Clare was also named first girl.

Rian Geraghty-McDonnell and crew Nathan Van Steenberge representing the 29er class were third overall.

Published in Youth Sailing

Howth Yacht Club’s Rocco Wright scored a tremendous result for Ireland as he placed 10th in the Optimist Worlds in Antigua earlier this week.

He was followed closely in the final standings by 13th-placed James Dwyer Matthews of the Royal Cork/Kinsale in the event won by the new three-time champion Marco Gradoni of Italy.

The rest of the Irish team are also to be commended for their finishes in a field comprising 255 young sailors: Sam Ledoux (National YC) was 70th overall, Luke Turkey (HYC) 100th and Ben O’Shaughnessy (RCYC) 159th.

In the glow of that achievement for the nation, the International Optimist Dinghy Association of Ireland (IODAI) has decamped to Waterford Harbour for the Optimist Munster Championships from today, Saturday 29 July.

The event is open to all boats of the IODAI across Regatta, Junior and Senior fleets, with the Notice of Race, Sailing Instructions and Supplementary Instructions available on the Waterford Harbour Sailing Club website.

Published in Optimist
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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.


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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