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20 Northern Ireland Sailors Compete at Royal Cork Youth Dinghy Championships

3rd November 2021
Tom Coulter, (left) fifth overall cross tacks with overall winner Eve McMahon in the ILCA 6/Radial class
Tom Coulter, (left) fifth overall cross tacks with overall winner Eve McMahon in the ILCA 6/Radial class Credit: Bob Bateman

Twenty young sailors from Northern Ireland made the long journey south to Royal Cork Yacht Club for the Investwise Youth Sailing National Championships last weekend. They were members of Newcastle Yacht Club on the south Down coast, East Antrim BC on Larne Lough, County Antrim BC, Ballyholme and Royal North Yacht Clubs on Belfast Lough and Strangford Sailing Club and Strangford Lough YC on Strangford Lough.

After three days of intense racing Tom Coulter of East Antrim Boat Club and Ellen Barbour of East Antrim and County Antrim Boat Clubs turned in results they can be justly proud of.

In the ILCA 6 fleet, Tom Coulter was fifth and had a first in Race 5 in the 30 strong division, and Ellen came 12th with a best place second in the same fleet.

Coulter was delighted with his top ten result; "The competition was intense, and positions fiercely contested, but I managed to stay fairly consistent, contending with wind shifts and tides throughout. Always lots of learning to take away though. Thanks to the organisers Royal Cork Yacht Club for putting together such a fantastic event! The food, hospitality and entertainment were first class, and it was great to catch up and have a laugh with sailors from all over Ireland, both on and off the water".

Daniel Palmer of Ballyholme finished fourth overall in ILCA 4 with a first, second and third as his best results with clubmate Hannah Dadley-Young 8th in the same fleet.

Bobby Driscoll (right)of Royal North and Ballyholme Yacht ClubsBobby Driscoll (right) of Royal North and Ballyholme Yacht Clubs Photo: Bob Bateman

And Bobby Driscoll of Royal North and Ballyholme Yacht Clubs put up a good showing in the largest fleet in the competition, the 38 strong Topper division, with a 3rd overall, counting two first places on the Saturday. Autumn Halliday from Strangford Lough Yacht Club was 12th in the same fleet.

East Antrim BC Commodore Lucy Whitford was pleased with the club's sailors' showing at the Championships; "I was delighted to see such strong performances from our members Tom Coulter, Ellen Barber, Callum Jackson and Zoe Whitford. It has been an incredibly busy year for all of them and this was a great way to end the season. Congratulations to them all".

Lauren McDowell, RNIYC and Erin McIlwaine, Newcastle YC sailing 1619Lauren McDowell, RNIYC and Erin McIlwaine, Newcastle YC sailing 1619 Photo: Bob Bateman

In the high-performance 29er class Lauren McDowell, RNIYC and Erin McIlwaine, Newcastle YC sailed very well to turn in a 6th. Perhaps lack of a competitive 29er Class in the North deprives Lauren and Ellen of regular competitive racing.

The northern contestants won't have such a long journey to the Championships next year because this prestigious event will be hosted by Ballyholme Yacht Club from 21st till 24th April.

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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