Predictably Olympic campaigners were to the fore at the 2011 Irish Laser National Championships yesterday but host club Lough Derg Yacht Club in Dromineer, Co. Tipperary are celebrating the first time in thirty years that a Laser sailor has won a National Championship division at their home club.
Belfast Olympic campaigner James Espey came top of the combined 151 boat fleet but yesterday the local cheers were for Derg sailor, Eoin Keller won the Irish Laser Radial National Championships.
Eoin Keller with his parents Josephine and Pat, and LDYC Commodore Lucy Sanders. Photo: Geraldine Wisdom
Lough Derg Yacht Club hosted the Irish Laser National Championship from 25 to 28 August. A total of 151 sailors participated in the event. Sailors travelled from all over Ireland and the UK to race in the event. The Laser class has three rig categories according to the sail size: the 4.7 Lasers (48 boats), the Laser Radials (71 boats) and the Standard or full rigs (32 boats).
Hosting a National event for such a large fleet requires considerable organisation, both on and off the water. LDYC Sailing Secretary, Michael McCarney, said that the "seventy plus volunteers, helping out at the event, ensured four great days of racing". He said that the "wildly varying weather conditions provided quite a challenge for sailors and race management". He added that "events such as this help to promote tourism and the local economy of this scenic area".
Laser Racing starts on Lough Derg
The Principal Race Officer for the event was John Lefroy. He conducted the races from his boat the 'Phoenix', and managed to get ten races in very changeable weather conditions. Liam Moloney and his team managed the finishing line on his yacht, 'Synergy'. John Lefroy said that he was "very impressed with the mark laying and rescue", and added that "the sailors were well tired at the end of the four days as I set demanding courses. Competitors at this level want to be stretched at these events". Jack Bayly and Teresa Hassey collated and posted the race results promptly every day.
Club Manager Claire Toohey coordinated Safety and Rescue for the Championship. This is a vital task, and Claire's organisational skills were very much in evidence. Claire commented that her brief was made easier by "top notch, well-trained local rescue crew, who did a superb job in quite testing conditions".
Summing up at the prize-giving, LDYC Commodore Lucy Sanders said, "I was impressed by the number of members who gave of their time to help out, particularly the younger members, who are the future of this Club". She went on to praise the work of the shore crew, including P. Keller and his helpers who efficiently managed the launch and recovery of boats, and Anne Atkinson and her team, who ensured the visitors were looked after with the hospitality for which the Club is well known.RESULTS Irish Laser National Championship 2011
1st Seafra Guilfoyle - Royal Cork Yacht Club
2nd Cian Byrne - Royal Cork Yacht Club
3rd Eoin Curran – East Down Yacht
1st Eoin Keller – Lough Derg Yacht Club
2nd Robbie Gilmore – Strangford Lough Yacht Club
3rd Finn Lynch – National Yacht Club
Standard Laser Sailors
1st James Espey – Royal Ulster Yacht Club
2nd Ryan Seaton – Carrickfergus Sailing Club
3rd Matthew O'Dowd – Royal St. George Yacht Club