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Displaying items by tag: 29er

In the 21 years since the Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Month” awards were first introduced, we had always dutifully waited until the end of the month before allocating the plaudits, even when it had been clear for days or even weeks where the honours were going to be placed.

But special situations deserve special treatment, and 17–year–old Cork Harbour sailor Johnny Durcan’s heartfelt thanks to fellow 29er sailors Simon Hoffman of Australia and Santiago Alegre of Spain for saving his life in the Worlds at Los Angeles had served as a very timely reminder of the dangers of our sport at its most intense and competitive levels.

So a fortnight ago was the right time to first honour what they did. And what they did was so special that we regard it as a privilege to re-state it all after the end of the month has duly passed.

Even though capsizes are part and parcel of dinghy racing, in a complex trapeze boat like the 29er, an ordinary capsize can sometimes escalate into a rapidly deteriorating situation in which sailors are trapped in ropes, lines and sails, with the very lifejackets which are supposed to help them actually jamming them in situations where drowning becomes all too possible.

This is what happened with Johnny Durcan. But in the hectic rush of the fleet, other competitors scarcely noticed that this was something much worse than an ordinary capsize. Yet Simon Hoffman, who had recently received intensive first-aid training as part of his bid to become a fully-fledged sailing coach, sensed that this was a total emergency. He simply abandoned his own boat, tore off his lifejacket, and dived underneath the capsized boat to save Durcan in what was now a full-scale emergency.

durcan alegre2Johnny Durcan (left) is visited by Santiago Alegre
He was soon joined by Santiago Alegre, and between them they released Durcan and dragged him up through a mesh of ropes and sails to the surface. He had been immersed for maybe three minutes, and was in a very bad way. But he revived after CPR by Hoffman and Alegre, and fully recovered in hospital.

Just a few seconds more, or with less decisive action by Hoffman and Alegre, and this would not have been a story with a happy ending. We can all only hope that, faced with such a situation, our own instincts of humanity would guide us in the right way too. Yet that is something for which most of the rest of us can only hope. But Simon Hoffman and Santiago Alegre showed us what true instincts of humanity can achieve, and they deserve heartfelt gratitude from the entire world of sailing.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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The Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin is seeking youth sailors 'looking for a new challenge'.

RStGYC Sailing Manager Ronan Adams says a group of sailors are looking to form a 29'er fleet in Dun Laoghaire. The RStGYC has put a shout out to to see 'if anyone else might be open to a discussion as to the merits of this double hander class'

While Adams acknowledges 'the 29er is not supported/ recognised by the ISA as a pathway class', he says 'it most certainly does have its merits internationally' and also is a draw as ‘cool’ and fast/ fun boat for the age group mid-teens/ youths who sail it.

The Royal St. George's Tom Higgins has launched a new 29er campaign with Royal Cork's Harry Durcan as Afloat.ie reported previously.

One possible draw back is that the learning curve is very steep, vertical nearly but those that stick with it will be rewarded. Good second hand boats are in the region of €5k and are available in the UK, according to Adams. 

RStGYC currently has two interested families and at least one in another waterfront Club in Dun Laoghaire who would like to meet other interested parties to discuss. 

Expressions of interest or suggestions on whom to pass on the information are encouraged. The plan is to put all interested parties in touch with one another through email and see what happens.

email: [email protected] who are aiming to hold a meeting on Sept 10th or 17th. and have your say on Afloat's Facebook page. Here's what others have been saying: 

Published in RStGYC

This month's Californian 29–er skiff Worlds was youth sailors Harry Durcan and Harry Whitaker's last regatta together as the pair embark on different sailing and study plans.

Durcan will swap to crewing the 29er dinghy. His new helmsman is 2016 Irish and British Optimist national champion Tom Higgins of Dun Laoghaire's Royal St. George Yacht Club.

tom higginsDun Laoghaire's Tom Higgins who has moved from Optimist to Laser 4.7 and now to 29er skiff. Photo: Bob Bateman

The pair have already started training and although the early goal back in April was to contest the Europeans this month in France they have not entered that regatta that began at the weekend. The campaign will last until next June 2018 and the end of sixth year studies. 'Once that is over I'll be heading into the Olympic 49er class, the young Cork Harbour sailor told Afloat.ie

Harry Whitaker, it is understood, will take a step back from competitive sailing but will continue to participate in team racing and yacht racing while going through college.

Published in Youth Sailing

Royal Cork's top youth sailor Johnny Durcan has been involved in a serious incident competing at the 29er world championships where he was trapped under his skiff dinghy during a capsize. The top Laser sailor is recovering in hospital in Los Angeles after he ended up 'getting stuck beneath the water'. 

Durcan has described the 'hectic end' to the championships on social media and relates how, after his '[trapeze] harness was caught, it led to 'drowning and total respiratory failure i.e. 'I stopped breathing and passed out'.

The Cork Harbour ace was one of two Irish 29ers competing at Long Beach, California, the other boat sailed by his twin brother Harry and Harry Whitaker, also of Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Durcan admits 'things were looking quite bad because I was under the water, unconscious for a while but thanks to the many sailors on the course who jumped out to help, I'm still here and kicking'.

It is understood, his 11–year–old helm Lola Kohl, from Christiansted, St Croix in the USA, raised the alarm and fellow competitors and coaches rushed to Durcan's assistance.

CPR was performed on the Irish youth champion. He was rushed ashore from the race course and an ambulance brought him to hospital immediately.

'My fellow competitors helped save me. And that's something that makes sailing the sport it is.' the Cork youth declared on Facebook, posting this photograph below from his hospital bed.

Parent's Yvonne and Tom Durcan were one of the first to post a comment online in response: 'One seriously relieved Mom and Dad xxxxxx'

29er USA Durcan hospitalJohnny Durcan surrounded by well–wishers is recovering in an LA Hospital after a serious capsize incident at the 29er Worlds at Long Beach, California Photo: Facebook

We wish Johnny a speedy recovery and the Irish 29er team a safe trip home – Ed.

Published in Youth Sailing

Royal Cork Yacht Club pairing Harry Durcan and Harry Whitaker last were bronze medalists in the 29er class at the British Youth Sailing National championships sailed last week on the Solent. In a fleet of 70 boats the Royal Cork duo sailed 18 races in five days to give themselves a boost before the World Championships in America later this Summer.

The RYA youth nationals for under –19s (totalling a massive fleet of 450 boats and boards) was held in Hayling island sailing club, the British version of the current ISA regatta being sailed in Ballyholme YC.

Sailing in a wide range of conditions, the 29er fleet was split into two flights. Each day consisted of three to four races with each lasting 30 minutes for the lead boat. The Cork Harbour teens finished eighth place in the qualifying series and then slowly climbed up to third place overall in the Gold fleet series after sailing very consistently. 

'We are the current 29er British national champions and while we can't complain about a medal, we would have liked to have won but we hadn't raced in seven months', helmsman Durcan told Afloat.ie

Durcan Whitaker 29erDurcan and Whitaker (green kite on right) surf over the top of 29er competitors at the RYA Youth Nationals in Hayling Island. Photo: RYA

Next up for the pair is the USA national championship and then the following week the 29er World Championship in Long Beach, California in July where a top 10 finish is the aim after last year's 23rd.

'Until then it's working on the last few pieces of the puzzle and spending time in the gym to be fully prepared. We are the only Irish boat in Ireland and the only Irish boat heading to the Worlds'.

Results are here

Published in Royal Cork YC

Royal Cork's Harry Durcan was back on the water in Crosshaven, County Cork at the weekend with crew Harry Whitaker in advance of their first 29er skiff event of the year in Spain in February.

The first Eurocup of 2017 marks a new chapter for the youth sailing pair who have already notched up an overall win at the UK 29er British Nationals last August.

Meanwhile, Harry's twin brother Johnny returns from Australia today having finished fifth overall at the Australian Laser Youth Nationals in Adelaide on Friday.

Published in Youth Sailing

Royal Cork's Harry Durcan and Harry Whittaker have won the UK 29er National Championship in Torbay. After six days racing and 19 races in all, it all came down to the final race which they secured with a bullet giving them a two point lead over the rest of the fleet. Full results here. Conditions today were shifty at best and the Race Officer did well to get four races in to finish the final series.

Published in Youth Sailing

Just as Ireland named Finn Lynch as its last sailor for Rio yesterday, the final four sailors who will take to the water for Team GB at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games have were announced by the British Olympic Association (BOA).

Luke Patience and Chris Grube will compete in the men's 470, while Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign complete the squad in the 49er after a close British selection battle.

For Fletcher, Sign and Grube, Rio 2016 will be their first Olympic outing, with Grube having teamed up with Patience following Elliot Willis's cancer diagnosis at the end of 2015. Patience already has an Olympic medal to his name - a 470 silver he picked up with Stuart Bithell at London 2012.

The first group of sailors was announced back in September with further names being added in March and today's announcement completes the 15-strong sailing line-up that will head to Rio 2016.

Team GB lead the way in sailing at the Olympic Games and sit atop the overall standings with 55 medals accrued since 1986 - including 26 golds.

The four sailors selected today are:

Luke Patience, 29 (Men's 470)
Chris Grube, 31 (Men's 470)
Dylan Fletcher, 28 (49er)
Alain Sign, 30 (49er)

Those previously selected are:

Giles Scott (Finn)
Nick Thompson (Laser)
Alison Young (Laser Radial)
Bryony Shaw (Women's RS:X)
Nick Dempsey (Men's RS:X)
Hannah Mills (Women's 470)
Saskia Clark (Women's 470)
Charlotte Dobson (49erFX)
Sophie Ainsworth (49erFX)
Ben Saxton (Nacra 17)
Nicola Groves (Nacra 17)

Published in Olympic
Tagged under

After coming close to qualifying for the Youth Worlds in 2015, with only eight months in a 29er, Royal Cork youth sailor Harry Durcan is looking for a crew who wants to work towards competing at the front of the 29er fleet in European, World & Youth World Championships, with the ultimate goal being to medal at these events.

Durcan continues to train in the 29er with stand–in crews until he finds a permanent crew.

In a social media post this month, Durcan, a former top Optimist sailor, says his campaign comes complete with two competitive boats, a support Rib, training partners and a coach.

Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under

#isafyouthworlds – It's an indication of the depth of current talent in Irish youth sailing that selection for this July's ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships came down to the last race of the youth championships in Howth this afternoon. The team of five boys and three girls will compete across three different classes in Portugal each one hoping to match Finn Lynch's stunning silver medal achieved in 2012

Only one male and one female place were offered in each class and the contenders had to meet both international standards as well as win their category (except for the 29er) at the youth national championships to be selected. In the end sailors from Cork, Dublin and Belfast were winners and will race at Tavira, Portugal from the 12 – 19 July.

In the Laser Radial boys recent Laser Europa cup performer Séafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork Yacht Club) will represent and Sarah Eames (Ballyholme Yacht Club) represents in the Laser Radial girls.

Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove (Howth Yacht Club) who featured at last year's 420 Euros in Pwlhelli will race in the 420 boys, Lizzie and Cara McDowell (Malahide Yacht Club) in the 420 girls.

Recently fifth overall at the RYA youth championships in Weymouth skiff pairing Sean Donnelly (National Yacht Club) and Patrick Crosbie (Royal Cork Yacht Club) will race in the 29er open.

ISA Squad for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships 2014:

Laser Radial

Boy: Séafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork Yacht Club)

Girl: Sarah Eames (Ballyholme Yacht Club)

420

Boys: Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove (Howth Yacht Club)

Girls: Lizzie and Cara McDowell (Malahide Yacht Club)

29er

Open: Sean Donnelly (National Yacht Club) and Patrick Crosbie (Royal Cork Yacht Club)

Published in Youth Sailing
Page 3 of 4

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