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Aoife & Aisling battle for Lead in Final Day of Laser U21 Euros

24th July 2017
Merveilleux! Aoife Hopkins showing how it should be done in the big stuff at Douarnenez. Photo Aoife Hopkins Sailing/Gauthier Thomas Merveilleux! Aoife Hopkins showing how it should be done in the big stuff at Douarnenez. Photo Aoife Hopkins Sailing/Gauthier Thomas

Ireland’s Aoife Hopkins of Howth and Aisling Keller of Lough Derg hold the lead going into today’s final racing in the Laser U21 European Championship at Dournenez in Western Brittany writes W M Nixon.

The French race officers are hoping to squeeze in three races, as all of yesterday’s programme was lost to calm. This was in marked contrast to conditions earlier in the series, when the big southwest to west winds on Thursday - which caused the giant catamaran Spindrift 2 to call off her round Ireland challenge a hundred miles to the north as she approached Land’s End – were providing just-about-sailable conditions of 25 knots-plus-plus in Brittany, with a huge sea sweeping into the Baie de Douarnenez.

The Irish girls revelled in the conditions, with Hopkins in particular providing some great photo-ops in sailing which she said reminded her of what it’s like in a strong easterly back home at Howth. Not everyone else enjoyed it so much, but it gave Hopkins a lead of 10 points to the 14 of Keller, with the next-in-line, Clementina Thompson (GB) on 20 while Russia’s Marita Kislukhina is fourth on 23 with todays racing getting under way.

Conditions in Douarnenez are currently recorded as a moderate nor’wester, and the pressure is on at the front of the fleet.

howth seventeen breaker2A brisk easterly at Howth. The 1898-vintage Howth 17 Aura can’t quite fly like a Laser, but Aoife Hopkins says that sailing in conditions like this helped her to deal with the big seas off Douarnenez. Photo: Jaimie Blandford

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