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Eve McMahon Has One Hand on ILCA 6 Female Youth World Gold in The Hague

13th July 2022
Two race wins plus a third place for Eve McMahon on Wednesday leaves the Howth Yacht Club sailor with a commanding 14-point lead of the ILCA6 dinghy class
Two race wins plus a third place for Eve McMahon on Wednesday leaves the Howth Yacht Club sailor with a commanding 14-point lead of the ILCA6 dinghy class

Howth Yacht Club ILCA 6/Laser Radial sailors look set for podium finishes in both boys and girls finishes at the Allianz World Youth Sailing Championships in The Hague on Thursday.

Dubliner Eve McMahon sailed out of her skin to notch up scores of 3,1,1, moving the Irish sailor out to a comfortable lead ahead of the ILCA 6 Female fleet.

As regular Afloat readers know, the Irish Sailor of the Year for 2021 already holds ILCA class youth World and European Championship titles secured in her Olympic campaign towards Paris 2024. 

Having finished fourth in Oman last year, McMahon has a steely determination to finish off her youth career in the best way possible. She will settle for nothing less than gold, and is well placed to do so. Counting four first places, one second and discarding a third, The Irish sailor sits on six points with Australia’s Evie Saunders 14 points behind. USA, the Netherlands and Spain are all within striking distance of second place.

“It was really nice to stretch the legs again and put the fitness to work in some stronger wind,” said McMahon. “It was really nice conditions, good fun working the waves. I’ve been working hard on my fitness and I’ve improved my light airs sailing since Oman. I’ve been focusing on my consistency, not putting too much pressure on myself. I’ve done three Youth Worlds now, 15th in 2019, 4th in 2021 and now I want to finish off my time in the youth fleet the best that I can.”

Rocco Wright

McMahon's club-mate Rocco Wright is in a three-way tie for his event in the One-person ILCA 6 Male dinghy event. After posting a consistent day of two seventh places and a sixth, he is currently second overall on tie-break.

Rocco Wright is in a three-way tie for his event in the One-person Male dinghy event.  After posting a consistent day of two seventh places and a sixth, he is currently second overall on tie-break.Rocco Wright is in a three-way tie for his event in the one-person Male dinghy event. After posting a consistent day of two seventh places and a sixth, he is currently second overall on tie-break. File photo: Bob Bateman 

Last year’s champion in the ILCA 6 male one-person dinghy struggled in today’s three races. Sebastian Kempe (BER) has worn the leader’s yellow bib since day one but he goes into the final day wearing a standard bib having dropped to fourth overall. Just four points ahead of him are three sailors all tied at the top on 26 points: Peter Barnard (USA), Rocco Wright (IRL) and Ole Schweckendiek (GER). With two races still to be sailed on Thursday, any one of these four, along with the Israeli and Slovenian sailors, have a realistic shot at gold.

In Oman seven months ago, Kempe came from behind to steal gold at the very last gasp of the 2021 Youth Worlds. This might give him confidence that he can pull off the same trick in The Hague. The Bermudian was having none of it. He doesn’t believe in history repeating itself. “Every day is different. Every boat race is different. We'll see how it goes. I'll give it everything I have. Today I felt the pressure of the yellow bib and I didn’t deal well with it. I was too conservative on the starts. But tomorrow the pressure’s on someone else and I’ll be able to sail my own race again.”

Barnard was surprised and delighted to learn he’ll be wearing the yellow bib for the first time at his first Youth Worlds. “It’s a great feeling because I think it’s been a while since we’ve had anyone from the USA wear the ILCA bib at this regatta,” said Barnard from Chicago. “Today I was just thinking about having a good consistent day. I didn't want to try to blow it out of the park today. I just wanted to get three good results and have a good day going into tomorrow. I’ll take the same approach on the final day. The points are too close to do anything other than sail the best race you can.”

However things turn out for Wright in the blue bib, the Irish sailor has enjoyed his first time at a Youth Worlds. “Meeting people from all around the world, and seeing some of my old friends from the Optimist fleet, it’s been a really nice week. I just wanted to get a top 10, so I’m really excited to be where I am in the fleet and I’ll give it my best shot tomorrow.”

Emily Conan and Lauren O'Callaghan

Meanwhile, Ireland's third boat at the event features Emily Conan and Lauren O'Callaghan (Royal St. George YC) are 18th overall in the 29er skiff event and count an eighth place on Sunday as their best of the regatta so far.

Afloat.ie Team

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