200 young Optimist sailors from over 15 Irish clubs (including 24 overseas entries from five other nations) will descend on Howth Yacht Club next week for the Image Skincare Optimist National Championships for a 12-race series over five days.
The bulk of the entries (150) will compete in the main fleet (junior and senior) with the balance in the ‘regatta fleet’ for less experienced sailors. Entries have been received from Britain (including new UK Junior Champion Max Clapp from Royal Southern YC), India, Norway, South Africa and the USA.
After four provincial championships, the Irish senior rankings are led by Tralee’s Sophie Browne who won the Connachts and Munsters and will represent Ireland at the Worlds in New Zealand later this year, having won the IODAI Trials during the Youth Nationals in Dublin Bay.
Adam Hyland (Royal St.George YC), who finished 11th in the recent German Nationals, and Robert Dickson (Howth) are second and third respectively in the rankings while Peter McCann of Royal Cork - 7th overall in the Europeans and a provincial winner too – is another contender.
Two firsts and a second in the provincial events puts Ronan Cournane of Royal Cork on top of the Junior rankings, ahead of Kate Lyttle (Royal St.George YC) and Howth’s Isabelle Delamer.
In the Regatta Fleet, Micheal O’Suilleabhain (Kinsale YC) and Peter Fagan (National YC) are among a small group of sailors who have featured in the top placings at the regional events.
An opening ceremony on Monday (15th) evening at 6.00pm involving all the competitors gets the Nationals underway, with the on-the-water schedule starting on Tuesday 16th with two races. The race management team is led by David Lovegrove, International Race Officer.