Displaying items by tag: Optimist
With 178 Optimists racing in the Irish Nationals at Kinsale, and Ireland’s GP14 dinghies in fine form after the massive Worlds in England as they gather for their own Nationals in Sligo this weekend through to Monday, there’s much to be hopeful about even as our cruiser-racers deal with the fallout from the multi-gale depredations on the programme in the ICRA Nationals at Galway, and the damage-forced retirement from the Round Britain & Ireland Race of Conor Fogerty and Simon Knowles in Bam! W M Nixon hopes to brighten the mood.
The remains of Subtropical Storm Ernesto could not have chosen a more inconvenient time to swing by the west coast of Ireland and the Outer Hebrides of Scotland than during this past week.
For meteorologists, one of the curiosities was that Ernesto was so all-encompassing that he included in his swirling airmass not only an enormous long plume of smoke from the wildfires in California, but dust from the Sahara. That’s globalisation, and no mistake.
Subtropical Storm Ernesto
And he also brought us in Ireland far more than our fair share of extremely humid and unstable air, lots of it moving at near gale force, with all of it very dense to exacerbate the effects of wind speed. With its added ingredients of smoke and dust, it was not only humid – it was arguably putrid.
Seen from a lee shore, the Ernesto Effect produced unspeakable sea and sailing conditions which made race cancellations in Galway Bay inevitable. And for those already out at sea and racing in the RB & I marathon, the endlessly varying wind strengths and its many weaving directions led to widespread damage in the Sevenstar fleet, and several retirals to ports along Ireland’s Atlantic seaboard.
Up to a point, we could take it all in our stride. But when Bam!’s dejected crew were forced to pull out on Thursday morning, it was time and more to look elsewhere for signs of encouragement in the Irish sailing scene, news and stories to remind us that, until a week ago, the season of 2018 was going very well indeed, and it will soon be back on track again.
178 Optimists at the Nationals in Kinsale
So that figure of 178 Optimists at the Nationals in Kinsale is hugely encouraging, particularly when we remember that the Irish Optimist racing scene is so highly regarded internationally that teams from six other nations have come to Kinsale to race as Open division entries.
Because it’s children’s sport, some limits apply in reporting Optimist success. But when new stars such as Justin Lucas of Clonakilty and more recently Rocco Wright of Howth emerge with brilliant performances, the news gets out.
And living as I do in an Optimist neighbourhood (half the houses in our road seem to have evidence of at least one Optimist dinghy in the family), part of the fascination of Optimist campaigning is its entertainment value for the rest of us. When you see an entire family (including the pooch) heading off for a championship with the total package of support RIB, several Optimists attached here, there and everywhere - with the roof-rack of the SUV also utilized – then you’re really looking at something special, yet we take it for granted.
GP14 Worlds 2020 at Skerries
In an era when novelty and innovation seem to be the priorities that we seek in vehicles and equipment, the GP 14 is a real curiosity. She goes all the way back to 1949 – yes, she’ll be 70 next year – and her original purpose was that, as a hard-chined boat built in marine plywood, she could be home-built by any reasonably competent Do-It-Yourself enthusiast at a time when DIY was widely popular.
She was called the GP as it meant General Purpose and most assuredly not Grand Prix, with day cruising or even longer non-racing ventures considered an option. But soon, the new boat had acquired a spinnaker, and racing was on the agenda and moving rapidly towards the top. It has stayed there ever since as the GP 14’s main purpose in life.
Many new dinghy designs have appeared since 1949 to promote fresh classes, yet the GP 14 continues to trundle successfully along – more than 14,000 have been built worldwide. And though glassfibre construction has been used in some cases – Shane MacCarthy of Greystones won the GP 14 Worlds in 2016 in Barbados in a GRP GP14 – wood construction continues to be much favoured, and one of the very best builders in the world is Alistair Duffin of East Belfast, who succeeded his father Gerry in the business of creating exquisite wooden boats which are also race-winners.
His boat-building skills are such that other classes try to avail of his services when there’s the tiniest gap in his GP 14 orderbook – at the moment he’s putting a new deck on a Dublin Bay Mermaid, evidence of another of Ireland’s much-loved older classes finding itself with a new lease of life.
One aspect of such classes is that they give you the feeling of being in one great big family, and certainly in the GP14s in particular, the family thread runs strong, with parents as readily crewing for children as the other way round.
The class is renowned for its provision of good value for its members. This was particularly apparent when the GP 14 Worlds of 2014 was held at East Down Yacht Club on Strangford Lough. The renowned Norman Lee of Greystones was among those taking part with his impressive compact largely self-created equipage of campervan-cum-workshop with boat and gear and spares, all of it on site and typical of a class where a monumental yet quietly effective community effort was needed each day to get the fleet – almost exactly a hundred in all – neatly away for each day’s racing.
This sense of readily-supported group effort within GP 14 Ireland reached a new level in 2016, when the Worlds were set for Barbados in March. The prospect of Caribbean sailing at the tail end of the Irish winter was a mighty attraction, but the logistics of it would have been beyond most classes. Yet the unrivalled community spirit within the Irish GPs saw 22 boats being taken Transatlantic in a well co-ordinated container movement combined with an affordable travel and accommodation package which was negotiated though sensible group action, and planning well ahead.
The fact that in some magnificent racing the new GP 14 World Champion was to emerge as Shane MacCarthy of Greystones, crewed by Andy Davis, was the perfect finishing touch to a great adventure, and a timely reminder that the Irish GP 14 class has had its World Champions in the past, with Bill Whisker and Jimmy McKee of Ballyholme winning in 1975, while Mark and Paul Fekkes from Larne won in 1991.
Thus the main international focus for the Irish class this season has been the recent GP 14 Worlds in southwest England at Mounts Bay in Cornwall, where a convenient gently sloping beach provides the exceptional launching facilities required by a fleet of 117 boats, for which 17 travelled from various Irish centres, while total Irish participation was pushed above the 20 mark with our GP 14 sailors who currently live in Britain.
Inevitably, defending champion Shane MacCarthy was something of a marked man, and going into the final race he seemed assured of the bronze. But he was pushed into fourth, and the best of the Irish was Ross Kearney with the Silver, sailing under the burgee of the Royal North of Ireland YC at Cultra, and crewed by Ed Bradburn of South Staffs SC.
After Shane MacCarthy in fourth, next best of the Irish was Ger Owens of Royal St George YC at 9th. He is one of those leading Irish dinghy sailors who is equally renowned for his successes in other boats, most of them of more modern type, yet he reckons that for sport and value, keeping a GP 14 in trim and having someone as able as regular crew Melanie Morris to campaign with makes it well worth the effort.
In a fleet of this size, everyone will have found their level where the sport is at its best, and age is no barrier. We wouldn’t dream of even guessing at the age of Curly Morris of Larne, but he has been sailing GP 14s for as long as we’ve known him, which is very far back into the previous millennium. Yet there he was at Mounts Bay, merrily sailing around with all his replacement joints in reasonable working order, and taking 19th overall with Laura McFarland of Newtownards SC as his crew.
As for top all-women crew, that went to Katy Dwyer and Michelle Rowley of Sutton Dinghy Club, who were comfortably into the top half at 41st, which gave them a solid fifth in the Silver Fleet.
With full-on across-the-board participation by the Irish entries as events concluded at Mounts Bay in the first week of August, there’s been little enough time to re-charge batteries before this weekend’s Sligo gathering. But with GP 14 Ireland in the build-up to another big one on the home front within two years, the momentum is on, with the count-down already under way towards the GP 14 Worlds 2020 at Skerries, where this year in July they’ve already staged the Leinsters, won by Shane MacCarthy with Ger Owens second and Alan Blay and David Johnston of Sutton third.
This will put a double-focus on MacCarthy at Sligo, as he’s defending National Champion, having won at Ballyholme last year. So all that’s needed in Sligo is a relenting of the weather to set the stage for the sort of racing the GP 14s relish.
It speaks volumes of a class in good heart, and with GP14 Ireland now having David Cooke of Skerries as President, there’s a strong home team in place to provide a World Championship worthy of the competitors, while on the boat front, the word is that Alistair Duffin’s order book for new GP 14s is well-filled to 2020.
World Sailing Championships on the Fingal Coast
It all means that 2020 is going to be quite a year for World Championships on the Fingal coast, as fourteen miles to the south at Howth, one of HYC’s main events for 2020 will be staging the Fireball Worlds.
While the Fireball Class doesn’t have the same national coverage in Ireland as the GP 14, it continues to be a significant international force, and of course Irish faith in the Fireball is still sustained by memories of the World Championship in Dublin Bay in 1995, won by John Lavery and David O’Brien of the National Yacht Club.
The very idea that the coast of Fingal would be hosting two world championships at two different venues within the county in 2020 would have been seen as far-fetched back in 1995. But population growth has seen club development across the board in the north county – think, for instance, of the remarkable growth of Rush Sailing Club’s success – and the area’s lack of commercial shipping is a real boon when Dublin Port’s increasing activity keeps the Bay’s shipping lanes busier than ever.
Then, too, when the Atlantic weather is excessively flexing its muscles, the well-islanded coast of Fingal’s great sailing water has all of Ireland to provide a lee when the big westerlies roar across country to make racing events impossible on open water on the Atlantic seaboard.
Half Ton Classics Worlds at Nieuwpoort
So between Optimists and GP 14s and Fireballs, there is much to cheer us in the current and future scene. And as for cruiser racing, there may have been a glitch, but in the Irish Sea ISORA soldiers on, and we’ve two Howth boats – Dave Cullen’s Checkmate XV and Jonny Swann’s Harmony – in with a shout in next week’s Half Ton Classics Worlds at Nieuwpoort in Belgium. Life goes on.
The opening ceremony for the 2018 Davy Irish Optimist National and Open Championships took place tonight at Kinsale Yacht Club writes Bob Bateman.
178 entries are registered for the event running from August 16th-19th with sailors coming from France, Spain, USA, Cayman Islands, Australia, Belgium, GBR, and Ireland.
The Race Director for the Event is John Stallard. Principle Race Officer is Peter Crowley. Race Officer for the Regatta Fleet is Denis Kieran.
Twenty four sailors from the NYC – some of whom are junior members of other clubs as well – took part in this event across three fleets.
There was great NYC representation at the prizegiving with the following results:
Sam Ledoux finished 2nd place overall, Leah Rickard finished 3rd place overall and 1st Girl in the Senior Gold Fleet, Conor Gorman finished 4th place overall, Fiachra Mc Donnell finished 5th place overall, Rian Geraghty - Mc Donnell finished 6th place overall, Luke Turvey finished 8th place overall, Hugh Turvey finished 10th place overall and Nathan van Steenberge finished 13th place overall. Lauren O’Callaghan finished in 4th place in the Senior Silver Fleet.
Rocco Wright finished 1st place overall, Clementine van Steenberge finished 3rd place overall and Lucia Cullen finished 8th place overall.
Ava Ennis finished 2nd place overall, Caoilinn Mc Donnell finished 3rd place overall, James Hall finished 4th place overall, Lizzie Hall finished 6th place overall, Kate Flood finished 7th place overall, Grace Gavin finished 12th place overall and Ciara O’Sullivan finished 14th place overall.
Two teams were also presented with their kit for forthcoming international regattas.
The European Team with NYC sailors Leah Rickard, Nathan van Steenberge, Rocco Wright and Sam Ledoux.
The IDT Polish Team with NYC sailor Lucia Cullen
With five top three results out of six races sailed, Howth Yacht Club & RStGYC youth Johnny Flynn was the clear winner of the Ulster Optimist Championships sailed at Malahide Yacht Club over the weekend by a large margin of 21–points.
Dublin sailors took nine out of the ten top places with National Yacht Club sailors, in particular, occupying from second to sixth overall.
In a fine turnout of 126–boats, there was 55 in the main fleet, 50 in the junior fleet and 21 in the Regatta fleet.
Although youth champion Justin Lucas of Tralee Bay started the event well with a race win, 'BFD' and 'DNC' results scored in races three and four ruled him out of overall contention and he finished 15th.
Ulsters 2018 Optimist Championships - Main Fleet
1st IRL 1607 Howth Yacht Club & RStGYC youth Johnny Flynn M 13 Senior Gold 2 2 2 (10) 2 3 11
2nd IRL 1350 Sam Ledoux NYC M 13 Senior Gold 8 4 3 3 (15) 14 32
3rd IRL 1564 Leah Rickard NYC F 15 Senior Gold 4 3 (14) 5 12 9 33
4th IRL 1475 Conor Gorman NYC M 15 Senior Gold 9 (14) 4 2 10 10 35
5th IRL 1565 Fiachra McDonnell NYC M 13 Senior Gold 10 5 (21) 1 13 7 36
6th IRL 1588 Rian Geraghty-McDonnell NYC M 15 Senior Gold 6 11 (56 DNC) 4 9 6 36
7th IRL 1586 James Dwyer Matthews RCYC & KYC M 14 Senior Gold 12 15 1 (17) 5 5 38
8th IRL 1604 Luke Turvey HYC & NYC M 13 Senior Gold 15 1 (29) 18 7 1 42
9th IRL 1606 Emily Riordan RStGYC F 15 Senior Gold 14 9 (17) 9 6 4 42
10th IRL 1603 Hugh Turvey HYC & NYC
Ulsters 2018 Optimist Championships - Junior Fleet
1st IRL 1608 Rocco Wright HYC & NYC M 12 Junior Gold (2) 1 1 1 1 1 5
2nd IRL 1597 Jessica Riordan RStGYC F 12 Junior Gold 3 3 2 2 3 (4) 13
3rd IRL 1598 Clementine van Steenberge NYC F 12 Junior Gold (5) 5 4 5 2 3 19
4th IRL 1587 Alana Twomey RCYC & CHSC F 12 Junior Gold (6) 6 5 4 4 2 21
5th IRL 1502 Russell Bolger RStGYC M 12 Junior Gold 4 4 3 (8) 8 5 24
6th IRL 1528 Peter Williams RStGYC & CHSC M 12 Junior Gold 7 7 6 6 9 (11) 35
7th IRL 1576 Emmet Lucas RCYC M 12 Junior Gold 8 (15) 8 12 7 7 42
8th IRL 1580 Lucia Cullen NYC & RStGYC F 12 Junior Gold (13) 8 9 7 10 8 42
9th IRL 1473 Matty Keane RIYC M 12 Junior Gold 10 9 10 9 (12) 6 44
10th IRL 1463 Ben O Shaughnessy RCYC M 12 Junior Gold 1 2 (51 BFD) 3 6 35 47
Optimist Youth pathway champion Justin Lucas, who became Afloat.ie Sailor of the Month for his performance on Dublin Bay in April, will be in action at the Ulster Championships at Malahide Yacht Club next weekend.
The fourteen–year–old Tralee Bay and Royal Cork ace is part of a 140–boat fleet expected for the Joe Duffy Motors sponsored dinghy event at the Broadmeadow.
Entries are now closed for the two day regatta on May 19 and 20.
A long weekend of sailing on the Braassemermeer northeast of Leiden saw Lucas finish just two points behind the winner, Kerem Erkmen of Turkey, in the final tally.
Johnny Flynn, of Howth Yacht Club, came into the final day in third and finished a respectable 15th.
There’ll be three race courses, five classes, three evening talks, and 32 counties represented at next month's Volvo Irish Sailing Youth Pathway National Championships taking place 5th – 8th April 2018 in Dun Laoghaire, jointly hosted by the Royal St George Yacht Club and the National Yacht Club.
As well as great racing on the water, and good fun at the club ashore. The evening talks as well as the races are open to all young sailors who sail in the five Irish Sailing Youth Pathway Classes (Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, 420, Topper and Optimist). This is Ireland’s largest Youth regatta and Irish Sailing’s primary talent spotting event of the year for the Academy and Junior classes.
Importantly it’s also one of the few chances in the year when family and friends who are sail in different classes can all sail together at one regatta venue, competing on different courses but on the same waters, giving a brilliant opportunity for shared experiences, learning and fun.
Up to six places on the Irish Sailing Laser 4.7 Squad: Up to six sailors will be chosen at the Irish Sailing Youth Pathway Nationals to join the Irish Sailing Laser 4.7 Squad. The squad will provide training to help young sailors transition in the Laser 4.7 class. It will also aim to prepare and support the squad for the Laser 4.7 World Championship to be held in Gdynia, Poland in July. The squad coach and programme will be announced following the event. Entry to the Laser 4.7 Worlds is independent of Irish Sailing squad selection through the International Laser Class Association.
The four days of racing in Dublin Bay will decide the six places on the 420 European team who will travel to Sisimbra, Portugal in July to compete in the 420 Junior (U18) European Championships.
Irish Sailing Laser Radial & 420 Academy: The Irish Sailing Youth Pathway Nationals is an indicator event (amongst other factors including domestic and international events) for the Irish Sailing Youth Academy. The Academy undergoes a review biannually following the Youth Pathway Nationals and in the autumn each year.
IODAI Irish Optimist Trials: The Optimist trials fleet will take to the water to compete for coveted team spots at the 2018 international regattas. Places for the World Championships in Cyprus, the European Championships in the Netherlands, and the international development team events in both Poland and France are all up for grabs.
Topper class: The Topper World Championships take place in China this year with a strong Irish team travelling to the regatta this year. The Pathway Nationals will provide a good indicator of form as the sailors test themselves against the best in the country as they head into the spring period of their season.
A lineup of evening speakers – open to all: At 5.30pm each evening there will be a talk and Q&A session at the nominated club with speakers who have a deep knowledge of racing. The talks are open to all sailors and parents.
• Thursday 5th – Saturday 7th April, Ross Killian & Sean Evans. Each evening Ross and Sean, the Irish Sailing Performance Coaches will give video analysis and coaching tips from the day’s racing
• Friday 6th April, James O’Callaghan Irish Sailing High Performance Director will talk through the Olympic and Performance Pathway
• Saturday 7th April, Jessie Barr, Sport psychologist currently working at the Sport Ireland Institute. Jessie is a four-time 400m relay Olympian. She has worked with a number of the Laser and 420 Academy sailors.
As part of the Irish National Sailing School 40th Birthday Celebrations the country's leading sailing school is hosting a series of free talks and events starting tonight when School Principal Kenneth Rumball will share tales about his background and the pursuit of his hobby including the story of the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race Campaign and how the lessons learned can be used to encourage more people to try sailing in Ireland.
One of the topics Rumball will cover will be the inside story of the INSS's 2017 Fastnet Race Campaign.
Rumball will chat about his dinghy sailing and youth racing which was where he learned his skills. This section of the talk will be of particular interest to parent of young sailors who may like to get involved in this in the future.
The final section of the talk will deal with what is involved with running the largest training centre in Ireland and the UK and some of our plans for the future. We've a few new announcements planned for those in attendance!
The talk is open to all, please do let INSS know if you're coming along, by email to [email protected] or pop along to the INSS centre on the West Pier at 8pm today March 14th 2018.