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2021 Slalom and U20 Waszp European Champion Charlie Cullen of the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour was joined by six other Irish sailors for the 2022 Waszp Games where over 170 competitors gathered at beautiful Vela Malcesine in Lake Garda Italy.

It is the biggest event in the history of the Waszp fleet to date with the best coming from all over the World to fight for the World title. Cullen (20) was considered one of the favourites after his recent silver medal at the Foiling Week in Lake Garda at the beginning of July.

Day 1 of the regatta was Slalom racing. Slalom is a tight quick downwind format racing with 20 boats heat flights. The top 10 from each flight move to the next round with the bottom 10 getting knocked out. Cullen being the current champion in this discipline set out to defend his title. The Royal St. George sailor qualified for the final and finished 10th overall in the Slalom.

But it was the Spaniards who dominated - 2 time European Champion Joan Costa was on top form getting 2 bullets in the first 2 races in the 3 race final. However, the slalom is a very unforgiving format where one mistake hits hard. In the final race Costa set for a guaranteed win, threw it all away after capsizing 10 metres from the finish line in the final race, handing the win to fellow Spaniard Jaime Framis.

Championship racing followed. Cullen had a flying start getting a bullet in race 3 putting him in 2nd position after the first days of racing. With the days to follow, Cullen would qualify for gold fleet in 6th position - Max Goodbody & Henry Start also qualified for gold fleet. With Marcus O’Leary and Georgia Goodbody qualifying in silver fleet.

Finals Racing was concluded with Sam Street of New Zealand taking the Gold and becoming the 2022 World Champion. GBR Sam Whaley took silver and Enzio Savoini of Italy took 3rd. Charlie Finished 9th overall being the first ever Irish sailor to finish in the top 10 at the World Championships.

There was a record number of girl representation at this event with 40 females taking to the start line compared to only 2 females at the previous Worlds held in Perth in 2019. Georgia Goodbody was Irelands girl representative at only 16 years of age racing in the main fleet with the full 8.2 meter rig. Georgia sailed a great regatta finishing 113th in the 170 boat fleet. Emirates Team New Zealand Engineer Elise Beavis of New Zealand finished 22nd overall and took the overall female title, with Nora Doksrod and Mathilde Roberstad of Norway filling the female podium.

The other Irish had great events with Max Goodbody finishing 55th, Henry Start finishing 58th & Marcus O’Leary finishing 105th. 

Royal Irish's Max Goodbody won the top speed prize for the weekend with a speed of 23.5 knotsRoyal Irish's Max Goodbody won the top speed prize for the weekend with a speed of 23.5 knots

The next event on the Waszp calendar is the Irish Waszp & Moth nationals that will be held out of the Royal St. George from the 5th to the 7th of August.

Results are here

Published in Waszp
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The high-performance foiling 69F class is hosting its first grand prix in Puntaldia, Sardinia this weekend.

And it marks the first time an Irish sailor — and club — will race in an event for the foiling monohull, which takes a crew of three or four.

Waszp sailor Charlie Cullen and his team-mates have collaborated to represent the Royal St George Yacht Club under the name International Youth Foiling Team in this weekend’s regatta.

Charlie (20), with his foiling knowledge, will be flight controller, with Spanish Waszp sailor Jaime Frames (19) taking the helm and Brazilian 49er brothers Mathias and Leonardo Crespo (19) trimming the sails.

Marina di Puntaldia in Sardinia is hosting the second European round of the 69F Cup | Credit: Kevin Rio/69F mediaMarina di Puntaldia in Sardinia is hosting the second European round of the 69F Cup | Credit: Kevin Rio/69F media

“I’m super excited for this event. The 69F is an incredible machine and I can't wait to get racing,” Charlie told before racing got under way.

“The learning curve will be steep with only three days of training before the regatta, but I look forward to the challenge and to race against some big names in the sport.”

The competition this weekend is tough, with world-class sailors competing in this grand prix. This includes 49er Spanish Olympian Lago Lopez, who finished fourth in Tokyo, and London 2012 49er bronze medallist Allan Norregaard from Denmark. Keep track of the latest results HERE.

Charlie Cullen and his team-mates representing the Royal St George in Italy this weekendCharlie Cullen and his team-mates representing the Royal St George in Italy this weekend

Published in Racing
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Dun Laoghaire Harbour sailor Charlie Cullen grabbed a bronze podium position at the Waszp Italian Cup event last weekend just over a month after he finished eighth at the Waszp European Championships in Spain.

This bodes well for the 20-year-old sailor's campaign towards the Waszp Worlds that will be held in Lake Garda Italy this July.

The first stop for the 2021 U20 & Slalom European Champion was the Italian Cup event held last weekend in beautiful Circolo Vela Bellano on Lake Como. All the top Italian sailors met at the event, including 2022 Waszp European Champion Francesco Bertone, and top 10 finishers Enzio Savoini & Emanuele Savoini.

Day 1 of racing saw unusual conditions with a very gusty and shifty north breeze, making for exciting and tactical racing. Charlie told Afloat, “ I had to ensure that I stayed in the pressure and just sail my own race. If we didn’t get it right the boat would fall into no wind and fall off the foils”.

The young sailor stayed consistent and grabbed himself a bullet in race 2 after an exciting, tactical downwind battle with 2022 European Champion Francesco Bertone. After day one Charlie lay in third overall with Enzio Savoini in 1st and Francesco Bertone close second. Day two saw light winds with only one race being held.

“Delighted to finish third on the podium in a fleet of 33 boats after such tough conditions, it’s promising going forward this summer into the worlds and foiling week”, said Charlie.

There is a strong Irish contingent planning to compete at the Worlds this summer with the fleet expecting to reach nearly 200 boats.

Published in Waszp

2021 Waszp Slalom and U20 European Champion, Charlie Cullen of the Royal St. George Yacht Club finished eighth overall at the 2022 Europeans held on the lagoon of Mar Menor in Spain.

The competition was tight with nine of the top 10 from last year’s Europeans racing once again, all with a chance of taking the title.

Day one of the regatta saw light winds. causing most boats to fall off their foils but after a tough start Cullen finished the day placing sixth.

Day two saw an earlier start with a strong breeze and with 5 races scheduled, a shift in the leaderboard was expected. Winds up to 25 knots blew down the Mar Menor lagoon making for some exciting racing. A capsize in the first race saw the Royal St George sailor drop back to 8th but he recovered well with a 2, 6, 2 in the following races ending the day in 4th position.

Charlie Cullen finished eighth overall at the 2022 EuropeansCharlie Cullen finished eighth overall at the 2022 Europeans

Light winds saw racing abandoned for Day three but Day four saw Cullen in second place after eight races. With little margin for error and a few unfortunate mistakes, he went into the final day in 6th position overall. There was a spread of only 10 points between the first six sailors and only five points separating sailors from 2nd to 6th position, with one point between each sailor, which made for a nail-biting event.

But after a scintillating battle between Italy’s Francesco Bertone and GB’s Ross Banham, the Italian came on top finishing one point behind the Brit. For Cullen, a podium finish wasn’t meant to be after two tricky races. He said, “ I want to say huge congrats to Francesco, Ross and Jann. They sailed a great event. For me, it was a tough finish but I learned a lot which will stand to me going into the Worlds in Lake Garda this summer”.

Cullen finished eighth overall tied on points with last year’s 2021 champion Matt Beck who took seventh on countback. It is a great result for the young sailor improving on his 10th overall finish in last year’s European event, making it Ireland’s best-ever performance at the Waszp Europeans. Next up is the World Championships in Lake Garda this summer.

Results here

Published in Waszp
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A veteran of foil sailing at just 19, Charlie Cullen of the Royal St George YC has been cutting an increasingly impressive furrow through Waszp racing in 2021 as the national and international programme resumes.

In mid-September, he reached new heights in the SailGP series in Saint-Tropez to take silver, providing him with his fourth podium place in the majors of the current season (including European U20 and Slalom Championships), and further up-grading expectations for his continuing progress in the sharpest area of sailing.

Slicing through – Ireland's Charlie Cullen zooms out from under the Norwegian and Italian contenders.Slicing through – Ireland's Charlie Cullen zooms out from under the Norwegian and Italian contenders.

Published in Sailor of the Month

Royal St George sailor, Charlie Cullen, 19, is Waszp European Slalom Champion and Junior (U20) European Champion following this year's Waszp European Games in Lake Garda Italy.

Held in beautiful Circolo vela Arco, a competitive and experienced 87 boat fleet emerged representing 18 countries from around the world to fight for the 2021 European championship titles.

A month earlier Cullen, from Dalkey in Dublin, secured a Silver medal at foiling week in Malcesine with a thirty boat International fleet.

Day 1 and 2 of the European Games event saw the slalom competition in full force. The slalom event is a quick and fast downwind circuit, with races only lasting a few minutes. Before the finals, there were several heat events with each race being a knockout for those that finish outside the top five places.

In the very first race of the day, Charlie IRL 2987 almost found himself out, after capsizing in his first gybe. However, after a quick recovery, Charlie scrapped his way into the next round finishing 4th in a 3-way photo-finish with 4th, 5th and 6th.

Charlie Cullen on the podium in ItalyCharlie Cullen on the podium in Italy

He managed to cruise his way through to the finals scoring 1st in both the quarter-final and Semi-final heats respectively. With a dying breeze, the finals were postponed to the following day.

After a 5 am wake up the Championship Fleet began racing for 5 hours in a 20 + knot north Peler wind that morning. Then after the fleet races, the top 10 slalom finalists gathered to race that afternoon in the famous Ora wind of Lake Garda.

Charlie, the only Irish to qualify for the finals - was on form winning the first race, with previous European slalom champion Elliot Savelon from the Netherlands hot on his tail.

However, Cullen, keeping his composure, finished 2nd and 3rd in the last two races of the final, thus scoring a 1,2,3 in the finals to become The 2021 Waszp European Slalom Champion.

The following days saw Championship Fleet racing unfold. With blistering temperatures, the famous afternoon Ora breeze of Lake Garda failed to fill in long enough for racing. This called the fleet again to an early 8 am first gun start for the 4 days of racing.

In the 20 knots of the morning Peler, and closing speeds of 30 – 40 knots the racing was quite a spectacle. The Waszp class standard has become higher and higher over the years resulting in extremely tight and exhilarating racing.

After winning the Slalom, he was one to watch in the battle for the overall title. Charlie port tacked the entire 87 boat foiling fleet resulting in a bullet becoming one of the many race winners. But with the tough conditions and tight crosses, he was struck with bad luck with a major collision with the helm of the other Waszp physically being flung through Charlie’s mainsail causing his sail to be written off and forcing him to miss two races of the day.

After getting redress, he was still in the fight for a top 10 overall and the Under 20 title. On the final day, he found his form getting a top 10 and a top 5 in the last races. This was enough for him to finish 10th overall and for him to be crowned the Waszp 2021 Under 20 Junior European Champion.

Matt Beck of GBR took the overall, with Germany’s Paul Farien and Italy’s Francesco Bertoni finishing the podium.

There was a strong Irish contingent, with six boats flying the flag. The young Irish fleet was represented by Royal St. George Sailors, Georgia Goodbody, Elysia O’Leary, Marcus O’Leary, Max Goodbody and Henry Start.

Three of the six boats received some top 10 results. With some incredible starting masterclasses from Marcus O’Leary and Max Goodbody who ported tacked the 87 boat fleet on multiple occasions. Max finished 30th, Marcus finished 39th overall and Henry Start finished 51st overall.

Georgia Goodbody and Elysia O’Leary both had a great event completing all the races in the tricky conditions. With Elysia finishing 64th and Georgia finishing second in the 6.9 category, 75th overall.

Full results are here

Published in Moth