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Paris 2024 Irish Olympic sailors are among athletes across sixteen sports who were awarded a total amount of €115,000 to support their performance through an Olympic Federation of Ireland athlete's fund

ILCA 7 solo campaigner Finn Lynch, who just finished 13th overall at last week's European Championships in Italy, got €3,000, and the Irish doublehanded 49er crews, Dublin's Robert Dickson & Sean Waddilove and Cork's Seafra Guilfoyle & Johnny Durcan were each awarded €3,000 per boat.

The proceeds of the fund were partially raised by the Make a Difference Golf Day in October 2022 and an additional €50,000 from the Olympic Federation of Ireland.

Athletes targeting both the Summer Olympics in Paris 2024 and the Winter Olympics in Milano Cortina 2026 will benefit from the fund, which will support applications detailing projects from training camps to specialist coaches.

Chair of the Olympic Federation of Ireland Athletes’ Commission, Shane O’Connor welcomed the increased amount saying,

“There are a huge number of athletes across a huge number of sports vying for Olympic qualification. The quality and depth of applications received were very impressive and highlighted that a little extra support to the athletes can really make a huge difference. We are happy as an Athletes' Commission to be able to support this fund, with the backing of the Olympic Federation of Ireland, and the Make a Difference golf fundraiser.”

Paris 2024 make a difference fund recipients - €93,000Paris 2024 make a difference fund recipients - €93,000

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Ireland's top hope for Paris 2024, Finn Lynch, worked back from disappointments on Thursday to finish tenth European and 13th overall in ILCA7 European Championships in Andora, Italy today. 

Although Lynch will rue mistakes made in gear failure and rules infringement, the most important thing for the Rio Olympian is that he knows he is on the pace for the all-important Olympic qualifiers coming up in the Hague this summer. 

“It was a very, very up and down week for me, a good start and a decent ending," Lynch said after racing ended.  "I was happy with how I was sailing, but definitely lots of room to improve.”

The series had started with plenty of promise, including straight top five places in the qualification round, setting the National Yacht Club sailor on a good trajectory into the final round.

Lynch's rival for Paris, Ewan McMahon, ended the event in 45th overall.

Final Results – ILCA 7

European Championships 

  1. Tonci Stipanovic CRO 41 pt
  2. Filip Jurisic CRO 42 pt
  3. Pavlos Kontides CYP 62 pt
  4. Nik Aaron Willim GER 67 pt
  5. William De Smet BEL 78 pt
  6. Philipp Buhl GER
  7. Duko Bos NED
  8. Jonatan Vadnai HUN
  9. Jean Baptiste Bernaz FRA
  10. Finn Lynch IRL

European Trophy

  1. Tonci Stipanovic CRO 41 pt
  2. Filip Jurisic CRO 42 pt
  3. Matthew Wearn AUS 48 pt
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There was more disappointment for Ireland's Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club), who had placed fourth in the day's first race for the senior men's ILCA 7 European Championships in Andora, Italy.

A protest by Australian event leader Matt Wearn against the Irish sailor for an alleged rules infringement saw Lynch accept an arbitration penalty (42 points) ashore following the end of racing for the day.

After a consistent qualification series, where Lynch counted 5, 5, 6, 1 til Tuesday, the last two days have seen Ireland's top hope for Paris 2024 suffer gear failure and penalties, dropping him out of the top ten overall with scores of 23.0 PRP, 20.0 and (42.0).

The added points today dropped Lynch to 12th overall, and his best outcome for the championship will be a top-ten placing on Friday, but, crucially, no way near a podium finish.

Shifty light to medium winds and good swell marked the fifth day.

Reigning Olympic champion Wearn AUS (2-17) continues to head the overall fleet and leads the European Open Trophy with 17 points.

Second place overall and first European place for Tonci Stipanovic CRO (9-5) with 23.

Duko Bos NED (25-9) and Filip Jurisic CRO (8-11) complete the European provisional podium with 29 and 36 points, respectively.

Howth's Ewan McMahon is lying 41st overall. The last day of the competition is Friday.

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Gear failure for Finn Lynch on the first day of gold fleet racing at the ILCA 7 European Championships in Andora, Italy, has been a setback for the National Yacht Club ace.

Lynch was forced to use his discard when the centreboard stop on his new dinghy failed, causing him to sit out the day's first race and count maximum points in his 62-boat fleet. 

A repair at sea was possible before the second race in which the world-ranked number two scored 20th, dropping him back overall in the gold fleet.

It's a disappointing setback for the Dun Laoghaire sailor as his scoresheet reflected his top form of late, ending the qualification rounds on Tuesday with a race win boost to his eighth overall with a consistent 5, 5, (6.0) and 1.

Winds were between 15 to 22 knots.

On the ILCA 7 course, the Gold fleet had their first start right away, but the Silver and Bronze fleet starts were delayed around an hour for the Race Committee to anchor their boat and pin end boats correctly to set the line.

After five races sailed, reigning Olympic champion Matthew Wearn AUS is leading with nine points. Four times Senior European champion Tonci Stipanovic from Croatia is second overall and leader of the European Championship with 17. Reigning World champion Jean Baptiste Bernaz FRA has 19. Philipp Buhl GER completes the European provisional podium with 25 points. 

Racing continues with the final for the coming two days.

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Consistent sailing by Olympic Paris 2024 campaigner Finn Lynch puts him in the top ten of the ILCA 7 European Championships in Andora, Italy.

The National Yacht Club ace, ranked as high as second in the world last season, added another two fifth-place results to his scoresheet on Tuesday before ending the qualification rounds with a race win boost to sit eighth overall with 5, 5, (6.0) and 1.

Reigning World champion Jean Baptiste Bernaz FRA (1-3-1-10) leads the competition with five points among 191 sailors.

Medium air conditions were quite shifty, with the breeze up and down in big seas on the Riviera delle Palme.

Three sailors are just one point behind Bernaz, so the championship promises to be fought to the bitter end; Duko Bos NED (7-4-1-1), Philipp Buhl GER (1-19-1-4), and Matthew Wearn AUS (1-3-2-4) are all counting six points after the first four races. Tonci Stipanovic CRO (7-1-4-3) is also close with eight.

There was a special moment for Ireland at this major championship when Lynch's rival for Paris 2024, Ewan McMahon of Howth Yacht Club, crossed the finish line just behind Lynch, giving Ireland a 1-2 in race four.

Three races are scheduled for Wednesday, with the first warning signal at 09:00. Coaches meeting at 07:00.

ILCA 7 – Full results below

The National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch took a top-five result in his flight in the opening race of the ILCA 7 European Championships at Andora, Italy.

The race was sailed in a breeze of only three to five knots with a one-knot current running across the course.

Lynch's main rival for Paris 2024, Ewan McMahon of Howth Yacht Club, sailed most of his race in the top ten before slipping to 14th at the finish.

German sailor Philipp Buhl GER won the single race in the ILCA 7 Yellow group, followed by Hungarian brothers Jonatan Vadnai HUN and Benjamin Vadnai HUN.

Reigning Olympic Gold medalist Matthew Wearn AUS won the race in the Blue fleet, followed by Yogev Alcalay ISR and Ondrej Teply CZE.

Jean Baptiste Bernaz FRA won the Red group, with Johan Schubert DEN second and Ethan MCaullay AUS.

191 entries are competing, with the finals scheduled to begin on Wednesday for Gold, Silver and Bronze fleet splits.

"We had very light conditions, shifty and unpredictable with a lot of current that was the key factor today," commented Vasilij Zbogar, the Irish ILCA coach. "Both [Irish sailors] had quite good results though the race was very much on the limit from beginning to end; it was a good day and a good start to the event."

Irish Sailor of the Year Eve McMahon is competing in the women's ILCA 6 Championships but there was no racing despite multiple attempts being made to get races away.

An improved weather forecast is expected for Monday, when both events are expected to sail three races to catch up on the regatta schedule.

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Irish Sailor of the Year Eve McMahon goes into action for the second time in 2023 when she races at the – unusually early – 2023 ILCA Senior European Championships in Andora, Italy.

The Howth world and European ILCA 6 youth champion is joined on the Iberian Peninsula by Olympic sailing teammate, 2021 world silver medallist Finn Lynch (National YC) in the men's ILCA 7.

Both were among four Irish sailors to be awarded funding under the Sports Council funding earlier this month. 

Last summer, Lynch was placed second in the world in the World Sailing rankings, thanks to a consistent string of results that included a silver medal at the ILCA7 World Championship in Barcelona in November 2021 and his sixth place at the 2022 ILCA 7 Men’s World Championship in Mexico in May 2022.

Lynch, however, suffered a blip at the back end of 2022 when he posted 25th overall at the 2022 Europeans in France. He suffered in the lighter winds at the crucial later stage in the competition, meaning the hoped-for top-ten finish on the Bay of Hyères was out of reach for the 2021 World silver medalist. 

Lynch appears in good form this season, posting a second overall in a 50-boat fleet at the second round of the Portugal Grand Prix in Vilamoura a month ago.

Andora will be Eve McMahon’s third senior-level European championship but her first not competing as a Youth. She had an incredibly successful summer in 2022, winning a hat-trick of gold medals at the ILCA 6 Youth European Championships in Greece, the World Sailing Youth World Championships in the Netherlands, the ILCA 6 Youth World Championships in Texas, and finishing with silver at the U21 ILCA Youth World Championships in Portugal in August. The stand-out performance earned her a second Irish Sailor of the Year title.

Like Lynch, McMahon had her first races in 2023 Vilamoura in February, an event won by Olympic Gold medalist Marit Boumeester. The Irish ace posted 15th, counting a black flag disqualification in her scoresheet in a 79-boat fleet.

Also competing in Andora is McMahon's older brother Ewan who is Lynch's main competition for the single ILCA 7 berth in Paris 2024, and youths Rocco Wright and Fiachra McDonnell in the men's ILCA 6. 

In the men’s ILCA 7 fleet, there are 195 sailors representing 42 countries, including the reigning Senior European champion Pavlos Kontydes, the reigning World champion Jean Baptiste Bernaz (France) and the reigning Olympic Gold medallist Matthew Wearn (Australia).

The ILCA 6 women’s fleet sees 117 sailors representing 40 countries, including the reigning Senior European champion Agata Barwinska of Poland, and the reigning World champion and Olympic Gold medallist Anne-Marie Rindom of Denmark.

The Irish sailors benefit from coach Vasilij Zbogar, a three-time Olympic medallist from Slovenia and Sport Ireland backroom support.

Racing begins on Sunday, 12th March and concludes with the medal races on Friday, 17th.

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Ireland's ILCA 7 Paris 2024 campaigners ended a 'tough' week at the European Championships in Hyeres on Monday, with Finn Lynch finishing 25th and Ewan McMahon 11 places behind his Paris rival in 36th in a fleet of 137.

The Gold fleet started a final race after a long waiting on shore and also on the water, but had to be cancelled before the first mark due to lack of wind. The waiting game restarted with zero knots in the course. After a while without any breeze, and when the Race Committee was preparing to make a final decision, the wind suddenly arrived together with rain to allow the last race to be sailed in epic conditions.

Lynch placed 13th to bring him to 25th overall. 

A strong start to the regatta for the National YC's Rio 2016 Olympian looked promising in the breezy conditions for the qualification rounds earlier in the series. However, Lynch suffered in the lighter winds at the crucial later stage in the competition, meaning the hoped for top-ten finish on the Bay of Hyères was out of reach for the 2021 World silver medalist. 

Howth's Ewan McMahon had a faltering start to the event but regained his composure to qualify for Gold fleet and finished 36. Younger brother Jamie had been in the hunt for the top 55 but, in the end, had to settle for the Silver fleet.

The fourth Irish ILCA 7 sailor in action was Tom Higgins (Royal St. George YC), who earned a race win in the Bronze fleet to take seventh place in that event.

Published in Laser
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The National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch scored a 16th-39th-32nd dropping him to 32nd place overall in a light wind three race penultimate day of the ILCA/Laser European Championships in Hyeres, France.

Three more races were held today by all the fleets, with shifty and patchy 8-12 knots of breeze. There were many ups and downs that made the sailing conditions very tricky for all the 350 competitors, with significant changes in the standings.

"We just didn't find the right mode to get in front of the fleet at the beginning," commented Vasilij Zbogar, Lynch's Laser coach. "The truth is... I don't know; we were going so well before the event, but now we have different conditions.

"Finn mentally was prepared well and is feeling well. We're struggling a little bit for speed in these conditions for the set-up we have could be a little bit better."

Zbogar, a triple Olympic medallist, pointed to Lynch's improved performance in the upper wind range earlier in the week, calling it a "huge step forward." Normally, the Rio veteran would be expected to perform well in the conditions of the past two days.

"I'm not feeling great - I need to be doing better," Finn Lynch said after racing ended. "There is a lot of luck involved in these conditions, but I need to be better so that I can afford to have bad luck."

For the remaining two races, Lynch will be aiming to finish on a high with individual best results though both the podium and, most likely, the top ten are beyond his reach.

It was not a good day for the overnight leader and reigning 2021 Senior European champion Michael Beckett GBR (22-25-2), losing the top spot for the first time in the event. He’s now in second place but only 2 points behind the new leader Pavlos Kontides CYP (4-3-1), who’s counting 32.

Finland’s Kaarle Tapper FIN (5-23-3) is now third with 50. 7 points after him is Jonatan Vadnai HUN (8-18-17) on fourth.

Lorenzo Chiavarini ITA (6-17-13) and Sam Whaley GBR (24-6-10) are tied in 66 points on places fifth and sixth.

Provisional ILCA 7 European Top 10 after 10 races:

  1. Pavlos Kontides CYP 32
  2. Michael Beckett GBR 34
  3. Kaarle Tapper FIN 50
  4. Jonatan Vadnai HUN 57
  5. Lorenzo Chiavarini ITA 66
  6. Sam Whaley GBR 66
  7. Niels Broekhuizen NED 72
  8. Tonci Stipanovic CRO 74
  9. Hermann Tomasgaard NOR 75
  10. Jean Baptiste Bernaz FRA 85

Download results below

Published in Laser

There was a setback for Irish sailors when the Final series started on Saturday at the 2022 EurILCA Senior European Championships & Open European Trophy in Hyeres, France.

The wind was unstable in both race areas, forcing the Race Committee to adjust the courses frequently before and during the competition.

That added to several failed starts and general recalls meaning that the day ended with only one race for the ILCA 6 Women, no new races for the ILCA 6 Men, and two new races for the ILCA 7.

Any lessons learned in the shifty conditions will be important for the fleet to consider, as this Cote D'Azur race course is approximately 60 km from the 2024 Olympic sailing venue of Marseille. 

Finn Lynch

Rio 2016 Olympian and world silver medallist Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club), whose main aim was to 'stay in the game', had been hoping that the first day of Gold fleet racing would lead to a 'breakthrough' from 15th overall into the top ten. Instead, he was on the wrong side of early windshifts, and he placed 41st and 44th, which dropped the Paris 2024 campaigner to 28th overall.

Lynch's main rival for the single Irish Olympic place, Ewan McMahon of Howth, lies 45th overall in the 169-boat fleet. Jamie McMahon is lying 100th and Royal St George's Tom Higgins 133rd.

No matter the weather or sailing conditions, nothing seems to change the solid performance of Michael Beckett GBR these days in Hyeres.

After winning another race today (the 4th out of 7), the reigning 2021 Senior European champion in Varna is comfortably leading the ILCA 7 fleet with 9 points.

The second place is now for ascendant Jonatan Vadnai HUN with 29, closely followed by Hermann Tomasgaard NOR with 32 points.

Pavlos Kontides CYP and Lorenzo Chiavarini ITA complete the European Top 5 with 34 and 36 points, respectively.

It was a terrible day for the overnight vice leader and 2020 champion Elliot Hanson GBR, scoring a 53-31 today and dropping to the 8th European place.

ILCA 7 Provisional European Top 10:

  1. Michael Beckett GBR 9
  2. Jonatan Vadnai HUN 29
  3. Hermann Tomasgaard NOR 32
  4. Pavlos Kontides CYP 34
  5. Lorenzo Chiavarini ITA 36
  6. Jean Baptiste Bernaz FRA 41
  7. Niels Broekhuizen NED 46
  8. Elliot Hanson GBR 47
  9. Sam Whaley GBR 50
  10. Tonci Stipanovic CRO 52

Full results are downloadable below

Eve McMahon

In the ILCA6 women's event, Ireland's sole campaigner for Paris, Eve McMahon (Howth YC), ended the single race in 24th place and 29th overall.

The Women’s fleet has a new leader, and that’s Canadian Sarah Douglas CAN, who finished 3rd in the Gold fleet and leads the Open European Trophy with 14 points.

Olympic champion Marit Bouwmeester of Holand is lying fifth overall at the ILCA 6 2022 EurILCA Senior European Championships & Open European Trophy in Hyeres, France Photo: Yepa PhotographyOlympic champion Marit Bouwmeester of Holand is lying fifth overall at the ILCA 6 2022 EurILCA Senior European Championships & Open European Trophy in Hyeres, France Photo: Yepa Photography

The reigning 2021 Senior European champion Agata Barwisnka POL wants to repeat the title obtained last year in Bulgaria, leading the European championship in second place overall with 23 points after finishing 12th today.

Overnight leader Hannah Snellgrove GBR scored a bad 38th today and dropped to the 8th European position.

Emma Plasschaert BEL is second European with 32 points, followed only 1 point behind by Maud Jayet SUI and Matilda Nicholls GBR.

Marilena Makri CYP won the single race today, climbing to the 19th European position.

ILCA 6 Women Provisional European Top 10:

  1. Agata Barwisnka POL 23
  2. Emma Plasschaert BEL 32
  3. Maud Jayet SUI 33
  4. Matilda Nicholls GBR 33
  5. Marit Bouwmeester NED 35
  6. Maria Erdi HUN 35
  7. Daisy Collingridge GBR 43
  8. Hannah Snellgrove GBR 48
  9. Vasileia Karachaliou POR 49
  10. Line Flem Host NOR 56

Rocco Wright

In the ILCA6 Men's event, Rocco Wright (Howth YC), in second overall, was leading the only race of the day until the wind changed, so the race was abandoned. Nothing further was sailed after five hours afloat for either ILCA6 women's or men's events.

There will be a bid to sail three races on Sunday, the penultimate day of the championships, with results critical for Monday's final outcome.

Published in Laser
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At A Glance – Laser Dinghy Specifications

Designer Bruce Kirby & Ian Bruce

Year 1969

Crew 1
Draft 0.787 m (2 ft 7.0 in)
Hull weight 58.97 kg (130.0 lb)
LOA 4.2 m (13 ft 9 in)
LWL 3.81 m (12 ft 6 in)
Beam 1.39 m (4 ft 7 in)
Mainsail area 7.06 m2 (76.0 sq ft)

Racing D-PN 91.1 RYA PN 1088 PHRF 217

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