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Displaying items by tag: youth sailing

Dinghy Performance teamed up with Tralee Bay Sailing Club to bring back the Tralee Bay New year clinic onto the 2022 calendar.

The clinic's concept is to have all the main junior and youth classes in the same venue, allowing the older sailors to interact with the up and coming talents and giving the younger kids an idea of what comes next.

Over 30 young sailors from 7 clubs trained over the four days in Optimist, ILCA4, ILCA6 and 29ers, with local Riona Moriarty joining the final day in her Topper and the three resident dolphins of Tralee Bay enjoying and joining the action.

The coaching team was composed of locals Paddy Cunnane and Dylan Reidy, and Cork coaches Caoimhe Foster and Chris Bateman (who was also winning in Cork Harbour on Sunday), with overall management delivered by Thomas Chaix.

Each coach was in charge of a small pod of sailors.

The magnificent sailing waters of Tralee BayThe magnificent sailing waters of Tralee Bay

The conditions started with a blustery Southerly keeping all the boats ashore on day 1. Day 2 was challenging too, but most of the fleet launched and managed a session East of the Marina. It certainly challenged coaches and sailors alike with many capsizes and some fast thrills.

Day 3 got cooler but delivered a great day afloat with 10-15 kts from the North. Ellie Cunnane joined the day, testing out her skills on one of the 49er FX. All groups had a solid session making up for the hours lost on day one, and parents collected cold feet and tired faces after sailing.

Superb conditions welcomed the sailors on day 4 for the New year regatta. It was still very cold, but the sun warmed up everyone so four races could be completed just west of the marina in front of Fenit Beach.

Laser racing off Fenit HarbourLaser racing off Fenit Harbour

The event was run under PY with all the classes battling it on the same course, a windward-leeward with a spreader mark. The light breeze proved to be a challenge for the usually fast 29ers, but overall, all the classes had races near the front, proving once more that PY is not such a bad system!

The first race was a battle between ILCA4 and ILCA6, and its winner was eventually NYC sailor Sam Ledoux who took the race win for just 4 seconds over clubmate Ella Dempsey after a 35 mins tight battle around the course.

The remaining three races were shorter (about 20 mins) which suited RCYC ace Oisin Pierse (Optimist) perfectly, building solid leads over the rest of the Optimist fleet and sufficient gaps against the other classes. Three race wins (discarding his first race) gave him the overall trophy. Sam Ledoux (ILCA6) took 2nd overall, with recent team Ireland Youth Worlds representative Ben O'Shaugnessy & James Dwyer (29er) securing 3rd.

Part of the regatta was the return of the 'Battle of the classes", counting the top 3 finishers in each class. The ILCA6 with Sam Ledoux, Ella Dempsey and Conall McThrinfhir took the silverware home.

New Year Clinic Results at Tralee Bay Sailing ClubNew Year Clinic Results at Tralee Bay Sailing Club

Published in Youth Sailing
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Baltimore Sailing Club in West Cork is, predominantly, a ‘summer club’ that is very busy when seasonal visitors arrive in the village from Cork City, Dublin and other locations. That does not limit its ambitions to develop the sport as its newly-elected Commodore Grahame Copplestone has been telling me.

The annual general meeting this week had a list of planned events that it hopes to host, starting in April and this year running possibly into October/ November. The list includes Munster Lasers – 16th-17th April; Wazsp Southerns/Foil Event – 14th – 15th May; National 18’s South Coast – 4th -5th June; 1720 Nationals – 1st, 2nd 3rd August or 8th, 9th 10th August; Baltimore Cup – August weekend; ITRA Nationals –late October/November.

1720 sportsboats are strong in Baltimore Sailing Club where class ace Robert O'Leary (left) is the club Sailing Secretary1720 sportsboats are strong in Baltimore Sailing Club where class ace Robert O'Leary (left) is the club Sailing Secretary Photo: Deirdre Horgan

Grahame Copplestone takes over from outgoing Commodore Charlie Bolger who has agreed to stay on as a club committee member. Peter O’Flynn has been appointed as Vice Commodore; Tom Bushe – Treasurer; Etain Linehan – Secretary; Sheila O’Sullivan – Rear Commodore; Rob O’Leary – Sailing Secretary, with Committee Members - Ruth Field, Dee Griffiths, Pierce Ryan, Glenn MacCarthy and Fiona MacCarthy.

"The 1720 Class has become a major part of the club"

The 1720 Class has become a major part of the club and owners of these boats are encouraging a “cohort of younger sailors to join the fleet,” the new Commodore says. He told me that the club is putting a lot of emphasis on retaining younger sailors in the sport and is also intending to develop more cruiser racing.

The Heir Island Sloop is designed for local one-design racing and day sailing on the semi-sheltered waters of Long Island Bay and Roaring Water Bay, South West County Cork. The Heir Island Sloop raced at Baltimore Sailing Club is designed for local one-design racing and day sailing on the semi-sheltered waters of Long Island Bay and Roaring Water Bay in South West Cork

Graham Copplestone is my first podcast guest in 2022. Listen to his interview here where he outlines in detail the club plans, starting with its position as a summer club.

Published in Tom MacSweeney

Howth Yacht Club's Eve McMahon has finished in fourth place overall in the Women’s ILCA6 (Laser Radial) at the Youth Sailing World Championships in Mussanah, Oman.

A 3rd, 6th and 8th place in the final three races secured Eve’s top place in the fleet of 46.

The result rounds off a successful year of competition for the Dublin teenager, winning the 2021 ILCA6 (Laser Radial) Youth World Championships in Italy; U19 Silver Medallist, EURILCA (European region of International Laser Class Association) U21 European Championships; and Silver Medallist, EURILCA Laser Radial Youth Championships.

In the Men’s ILCA6 (Laser Radial), Cork sailors Jonathan O’Shaughnessy finished in 34th place, with Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer Matthews finishing in 12th place in the 29er class.

Her coach Vasilij Zbogar said “Eve finished 4th in tricky conditions – very light winds, choppy – she was struggling, and then the last two days we made a solid plan which she executed well. She’s had a fantastic year and still has another year of youth sailing competition left".

Published in Youth Sailing

Midway at the Youth Sailing World Championships in Mussanah, Oman Eve McMahon of Howth lies in 16th place overall after six races in the Women’s ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) fleet of 46.

It's a drop of some ten places overnight for the Dublin teen who counted 23 and 28 in today's tricky conditions.

The light onshore breezes in Oman are surprisingly difficult to read, and it’s a test of patience and cunning that is resulting in high scores across the 46-boat fleet. 

In the Men’s ILCA 6 (Laser Radial), Royal Cork’s Jonathan O’Shaughnessy is in 36th place overall.

Royal Cork 29er team Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer are currently in 13th place after nine of their 13 races.

Winning is not the only thing that matters at the 2021 Youth Sailing World Championships presented by Hempel. But when two sailors from Emerging Nations each win a race on the same day, that’s a reason for the whole sport to celebrate.

With 11 events due to be decided by the end of this Friday, Wednesday marked the halfway point of the competition for the 433 sailors from 59 nations. It was another afternoon of 6 to 10 knot onshore breezes which made for challenging tactical and strategic decisions on the race course. 

Female One Person Dinghy ILCA 6

Despite an uncharacteristically poor outing by Marie Jacobsen Lepperöd (NOR), scores of 15 & 9 were still sufficient to keep the Norwegian top of the leaderboard, just three points ahead of Peru’s Florencia Chiarella. The light onshore breezes in Oman are surprisingly difficult to read, and it’s a test of patience and cunning that is resulting in high scores across the 46-boat fleet. With all the boats supplied by German builder Ziegelmeyer, there is no boat speed advantage. This is racing in its purest form, which is all the more reason to celebrate victory for Mariam Ehab Mohamed Moustfa (EGY) in the first race of the day, followed by Agnese Caiafa (URU) in the next. Both the Egyptian and Uruguyan competitors were over the moon with this breakthrough in their young careers. “I am so happy,” said Moustfa. “It is a good feeling. One day I want to race for Egypt at the Olympic Games.”

Male One Person Dinghy ILCA 6

Sebastian Kempe (BER) had the best day in the boys’ singlehander fleet, scores of 3 & 1 lifting the Bermudan to second overall and just two points off the new series leader, José Gomes Saraiva Mendes (POR). Previous leader Ukraine’s Oskar Madonich (UKR) tumbled down the rankings to fifth but it’s tight in the front bunch with Przemyslaw Machowski (POL) tied on points with Bermuda and sitting in third.

Male Skiff 29er

Hugo Revil & Karl Devaux (FRA) should have been happy to have stayed top of the boys’ 29er fleet but the French crew seemed dissatisfied with their three races. “We did a penalty for Rule 42 [kinetics] and we lost a place in one race,” frowned Revil. Nevertheless the French wear their Maillots Jaunes going into the penultimate day, with a 10 point advantage over the Codoñer Alemany brothers (ESP) who won the last race of the afternoon. Other race wins went to USA in third and Argentina in fourth overall. 

Female Skiff 29er

Charlie Leigh and Sophie Fisher (USA) seized back the yellow jerseys from Emily Mueller and Florence Brellisford (GBR), although the American advantage is a single point. With a 12 point gap back to Slovenia in third place, this is looking increasingly like a match race for the gold medal between the front two. All the skiffs are supplied by Ovington Boats and most of the equipment is doing double duty for the girls’ and the boys’ fleets. The changeover at the beach in front of the big swimming pool and lounge area of the Barceló Mussanah Resort is where the 29er skiffs change hands at the midpoint of the afternoon, when the sailors from the first outing can pass on any tips to their team mates heading out for the second shift of the day.

Mixed Two Person Multihull Nacra 15

Kay Brunsvold and Cooper Delbridge (USA) continue to make moves towards the top of the leaderboard after the Americans enjoyed the best set of scores on day three. Results of 3,2,1 lift the USA to second overall and just three points off the lead which continues to be held by Thomas Proust and Eloïse Clabon (FRA). Just two points behind the Americans are Olivier Jaquet and Femme Rixt Rijk (NED) in third overall.

Female Windsurfer Bic Techno 293+

Manon Pianazza’s (FRA) domination of the girls’ windsurfing continues as the French athlete worked her way to three more race wins today. Nine wins from nine races, and there’s little prospect of anyone being able to topple her from the top of the podium at this Friday’s prizegiving. Nothing comes easy though. “I wish it was a bit windier, then it wouldn’t be such hard work,” smiled Pianazza, her muscles aching from pumping the Bic Techno rig through the warm air of Oman. Behind her a close battle for the next places, Kristyna Chalupnikova (CZE) holding a narrow advantage over Zoe Fernandez de Bobadilla Ramos (ESP) and Lucy Kenyon (GBR). 

Male Windsurfer Bic Techno 293+

Federico Alan Pilloni (ITA) holds a lead almost as dominant as Pianazza in the girls’ fleet. Boris Shaw (GBR) looks equally secure in second overall, with Ozan Turker (TUR) in third overall. A few weeks ago Pilloni was suffering with a serious illness in hospital, so he is taking nothing for granted in Oman, despite the ease with which the humble Italian is winning. “The mind and the body are feeling good, thanks probably to all the training I've been doing from the past two years.” It’s quite likely that he’ll wrap up gold with a day to spare but he’s not counting his chickens yet. “I suppose it might happen, but you never know in sport.” 

Male Kiteboarding FormulaKite

Who knew that dropping a banana skin in the water could ruin somebody else’s race? So sensitive and finely balanced are the high-speed kitefoilers as they hit speeds of 30 knots in just 8 knots of wind, even running into a seemingly innocent banana skin can result in a head over heels crash. On the day of the record breaking Beach Clean (see below), Max Maeder (SGP) was delighted and relieved to have dodged any race-threatening debris to score three straight wins and move into the lead. Displaced from the yellow jersey, Riccardo Pianosi (ITA) was scratching his head about how to fight back for the lead. “Max had more speed today in the light conditions. I’m not sure what it is, but I need to work something out for tomorrow.” Mikhail Novikov (RUS) maintains third place but believes he can still close the gap to the front two. 

Female Kiteboarding FormulaKite

Gal Zukerman (ISR) only took up kitefoiling a little more than a year ago but is proving the master of her art as she now notches up 11 straight victories. The gold medal is virtually assured for the girl who raced 420s at the Youth Worlds in 2018 before discovering the joy of kiting. Julia Damasiewicz (POL) is looking solid for the silver while Héloïse Pégourié (FRA) sits in third. 

Female Two Person Dinghy 420

With the whole fleet competing in supplied Nautivela 420s from Italy, it’s the Spanish who are leading in both 420 divisions. Neus Ballester Bover and Andrea Perello Mora (ESP) hold the upper hand in the girls’ 420, four points ahead of Manon Pennaneac'h and Victoire Lerat (FRA). Vanessa Lahrkamp and Katherine McNamara (USA) are third.

Male/Mixed Two Person Dinghy 420

Just five points separate the top four in the boys’ 420. Ian Clive Walker March sailing with Finn Dicke (ESP) continue to lead for Spain, but closely chased by Roi Levy and Ariel Gal (ISR) and Florian Krauss and Jannis Summchen (GER). Can Erturk and Ali Beren Adamcil (TUR) could yet jump onto the podium if the young Turks have a good day on Thursday.

Full results here

Racing continues tomorrow (Thursday) with the final races on Friday.

Published in Youth Sailing
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Howth Yacht Club's Eve McMahon continues to be the top Irish performer after another big day on the water at the 2021 Youth Sailing World Championships om Oman.

With 11 events due to be decided by the end of this Friday, 17 December, the 433 sailors from 59 nations already find themselves close to the halfway stage of the competition.

McMahon, who won the youth radial world title in Italy in August, is lying sixth after four races sailed so far in the girl's radial (ILCA6) division from 46 starters.

Her Irish team-mate Jonathan O'Shaughnessy is not fairing as well in the 50-boat boys ILCA 6 division and lies 34th overall.

In the boy's 29er skiff, Ben O'Shaughnessy and James Dwyer have dropped to 13th overall after six races sailed in their 24-boat fleet.

Female Skiff 29er

Emily Mueller (GBR) was having that very conversation with her 29er crew Florence Brellisford. "By the time we’re dropping the kite at the leeward gate in our next race, we’ll be half way through our regatta," said Mueller. "It feels like we’ve only just started!" It was a very good day for the British 29er team, scoring 1,3,1 in 6 to 10 knot conditions that Mueller described as ‘snakes and ladders’. "We finally learned how to start," smiled Brellisford, trying to pinpoint what made the difference on day two. "A good start makes life a lot easier, rather than having to fight your way through from the back. But it never felt easy. It was super shifty out there, really hard to read the wind."

The British girls are enjoying the competition and using one of the many supplied equipment boats that they didn’t have to bring themselves. "The boats are really good," said Mueller. "They feel fast, everything is new. But you’re not allowed to change anything, all the rope and control lengths are set, you can only add bungee. It’s the same for everybody so it’s very fair racing."

Four points behind the British crew are Charlie Leigh and Sophie Fisher (USA), who scored two fourth places but then fell foul of the Black Flag Disqualification for starting too soon in the last race of the session.

Meanwhile, life at the Barceló Mussanah Resort is good, with the sailors enjoying the swimming pool and the balmy weather either in the morning or during the afternoon. When you get your break depends on when your racing is scheduled for the day.

Male Skiff 29er

As soon as the girls had completed three races they sailed their 29ers to the beach near the pool, at which point their male team mates took over the boats for their afternoon session. Revil & Devaux (FRA) haven’t won a race but then they haven’t finished outside of the top five either. No other team has kept all their scores inside the top 10, so the French are on a breakaway in the 29er fleet. First day leaders, the Codoñer Alemany brothers (ESP) are in second, although the race wins for the day went to Italy, Finland and Argentina.

Mixed Two Person Multihull Nacra 15

Kay Brunsvold and Cooper Delbridge (USA) had the best day in the Nacra 15 multihull. Delbridge attributed this to the decision to have more fun. "We were doing a lot of contemplation last night about our rig and the way we're positioning ourselves through the waves. And we decided we’re just going to enjoy the racing today and see how things go. Worked out pretty well!" Where most of the skippers in the Nacra fleet are boys, Brunsvold is one of the few girls steering. Asked why boys tend to make up the majority of helms in the fleet, Brunsvold joked: "Males can be a little bit more stubborn and like to choose where the boat goes. But that's the way I am too." Delbridge laughed and agreed that his helm is probably the most stubborn of the two of them. "But we don’t really have disagreements either. When things go wrong we tend to laugh about it!"

Although the Americans have closed the gap to the leaders it’s still Thomas Proust and Eloïse Clabon (FRA) who hold the overall lead just one point ahead of Olivier Jaquet and Femme Rixt Rijk (NED).

Female One Person Dinghy ILCA 6

Biggest mover of the day in the girls’ ILCA 6 singlehander was Sara Savelli (ITA). After a disastrous opening day when the Italian was penalised for a Rule 42 kinetics infringement, and scores of 39 and 14, the resilient sailor bounced back with a first and a second place today, lifting Italy to within a point of the lead. Ahead of Savelli, however, are three sailors tied on 16 points at the top of the leaderboard - Anja von Allmen (SUI), Florencia Chiarella (PER) and Marie Jacobsen Lepperöd (NOR). 

Male One Person Dinghy ILCA 6

Ukraine’s Oskar Madonich (UKR) continues to lead the boys’ ILCA 6 fleet with Przemyslaw Machowski (POL) rising to second place ahead of José Gomes Saraiva Mendes (POR) in third. 

Female Two Person Dinghy 420

Neus Ballester Bover and Andrea Perello Mora (ESP) have seen their lead reduced to just a point ahead of Manon Pennaneac'h and Victoire Lerat (FRA). Vanessa Lahrkamp and Katherine McNamara (USA) are only a point behind the French in third.

Male/Mixed Two Person Dinghy 420

Ian Clive Walker March sailing with Finn Dicke (ESP) continue to lead for Spain, but closely chased by Roi Levy and Ariel Gal (ISR) and Florian Krauss and Jannis Summchen (GER).

Female Windsurfer Bic Techno 293+

Manon Pianazza (FRA) is in a class of her own, winning all six races. Behind her a close battle for the next places, just three points between CZE, ITA, ESP and GBR. 

Male Windsurfer Bic Techno 293+

Almost as impressive as Pianazza in the girls’ fleet, Federico Alan Pilloni (ITA) has scored all firsts and is discarding a second. Boris Shaw (GBR) is the only sailor to beat Pilloni in a race and holds second overall.

Male Kiteboarding FormulaKite

Mikhail Novikov (RUS) won the first race of the day, then the next two to Max Maeder (SGP). Leader after day one, Riccardo Pianosi (ITA) fought back with a win in the last race of the day, putting the Italian in a tie with Singapore but retaining the leader’s yellow jersey. 

Female Kiteboarding FormulaKite

Gal Zukerman (ISR) continued her perfect scoreline with unbroken victories. Julia Damasiewicz (POL) is second and Héloïse Pégourié (FRA) third. 

Competition continues on Wednesday, December, starting at 1200 hours local time.

Published in Youth Sailing

After a year’s absence due to COVID, Irish sailors finally have the opportunity to compete at the Youth Sailing World Championships in Oman on Monday. 

As Afloat previously reported, Ireland's team is Eve McMahon in the girl's Laser Radial class, along with Jonathan O’Shaughnessy in the boy's division and Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer Matthews in the 29er class.

Ireland has had some success in Oman already this winter with eighth place achieved by Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove at the 49er World Championships, and last week a 17th placing by Aoife Hopkins in the Laser Radial World Championships.

Mussanah’s average temperature in December is a balmy 24 degrees, with average winds of 10-17 knots, although extremely light winds have been a feature of the past world championships.

Racing for both Laser Radials and 29er classes begins on Monday 13 December and continues all week to Friday 17 December.

The Irish Laser Coach is Vasilij Zbogar, and 29er coach Thomas Chaix.

Published in Youth Sailing

Sixteen of the UK's most promising young sailors are ready to take on the world’s best when they represent Great Britain at the Youth Sailing World Championships.

The talented youngsters, all aged 18 or under, will represent the British Youth Sailing (BYS) Team at the 50th edition of the prestigious regatta being held in Mussanah, Oman, from 11-18 December.  

Competing in the 29er, 420, Nacra 15, ILCA 6, Techno293+ and Formula Kite classes, the sailors gained selection to the team for their performances at the 2021 RYA Youth National Championships.

The Youth Worlds returns after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic and follows the Olympic pathway more closely with the addition of the kiteboarding.

Previous Youth Worlds participants include some of today's best-known sailors including the world's most decorated Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie. Three of the 2019 team, Finn Hawkins, Freya Black and Matilda Nicholls, have also made the progression into the full British Sailing Team.

Of the sixteen selected sailors, all but one will make their Youth Worlds debut. Jasmine Williams (Restronguet SC) is the sole returnee taking on the Nacra 15, this time teaming up with crew Alfie Cogger (Coniston SC).

At 16, ILCA 6 sailor Sam Dickinson (HISC) is the youngest member of the team but has experience around him with 18-year-old Coco Barrett (Island Barn Reservoir SC) and seasoned ILCA coach James Hadden.

Barrett said: “I’m expecting it to be a fairly challenging but fun regatta. From what we saw of the ILCA 6 Worlds last week [in Oman], the breeze can be very light and shifty, so it’s going to be important to keep consistent.

“Sam and I have been working a lot with our coach this winter, so we’ll both be looking to replicate the gains we’ve made in training.

“Having not been able to compete at any of the U19 international events in the last two years due to covid, it’s really awesome to have one last opportunity before I age out. I’m really looking forward to meeting new people and experiencing the international atmosphere, and it’s always nice to sail somewhere hot midwinter.”

Adam Farrington (Bournemouth & Poole Kitesurfing ClubAdam Farrington (Bournemouth & Poole Kitesurfing Club 

Taking on the new addition of the Formula Kite is Adam Farrington (Bournemouth & Poole Kitesurfing Club) and Ella Geiger from West Sussex.

18-year-old Farrington (pictured above) said: “I’m expecting some high quality super-fast racing. I’ve not been able to compete internationally this year, but I’ve been training really hard and am hoping for a top five position. Nobody really knows who’s going or how good they are, so anything could happen.

“I’m also really excited to be representing GB sailing for the first time, and the warm weather will be a bonus.”

Continuing the theme of hot weather, girl’s Techno293+ representative Lucy Kenyon (pictured below), 17, said: “I’m really excited for the Youth Worlds in Oman. The venue looks amazing and I’m very happy to be leaving the UK winter weather behind.

“We’ve worked really hard so I can’t wait to get out there on the start line and do my best. I have to also say a big thank you for all the support and everyone that has made it possible.”

Kenyon has been one of the few sailors to get some international racing in when she stepped up to the senior ranks for the iQFOiL Euros in Marseille last month.

“It was really great to race with the senior girls and I gained loads of knowledge and had an awesome time. It will definitely help in Oman having practised some bigger fleet racing again and by running through race day practices in Marseille ready for the Youth Worlds.”

Kenyon is joined by Parkstone YC teammate, 16-year-old Boris Shaw, who takes the start line in the boy’s Techno293+.

Cardiff Bay YC is represented by Jamie Cook and Will Martin in the boy’s 420 with Julia Staite (HISC) and Bettine Harris (Bristol Corinthian YC) competing in the girl’s fleet.

HISC also has representation in the girl’s 29er where Emily Mueller and Florence Brellisford will be in action while Leo Wilkinson (Maidenhead SC / DWSC) and Sam Jones (Hill Head SC) take on the boy’s 29ers.

BYS Youth Worlds Team Lead, Sam Ross, said: “With so much uncertainty at the moment it’s with great excitement and relief we have the team on the plane and are heading out to the Youth Worlds.

“It’s great to see the team already coming together and excited for the event. We have a great range of experience within the sailing and coaching team and we can’t wait to take on the challenges that this quite unique event presents.

“It will also be the first time we’ve seen the Kites be involved at this level so great to see events coming even more into line with Paris 2024 and beyond.”

Racing begins on 13 December

2021 GBR Youth Sailing World Championships team:

420 girls:
Julia STAITE, 18, Hayling Island, HISC, and Bettine HARRIS, 18, Somerset, Bristol Corinthian YC

420 boys:
Jamie COOK, 17, and Will MARTIN, 18, Vale of Glamorgan, Cardiff Bay YC

29er girls:
Emily MUELLER, 18, Surrey, HISC, and Florence BRELLISFORD, 18, Essex, HISC

29er boys:
Leo WILKINSON, 17, High Wycombe, Maidenhead SC / DWSC, and Sam JONES, 18, Hampshire, Hill Head SC

Nacra 15:
Jasmine WILLIAMS, 17, Cornwall, Restronguet SC, and Alfie COGGER, 18, Cumbria, Coniston SC

Kite foiling girls:
Ella GEIGER, 16, West Sussex

Kite foiling boys:
Adam FARRINGTON, 18, Ferndown, Bournemouth & Poole Kitesurfing Club

ILCA6 Men:
Sam DICKINSON, 16, Hayling Island, HISC

ILCA6:
Coco BARRETT, 18, Surrey, Island Barn Reservoir SC

Techno293+ girls:
Lucy KENYON, 17, Poole, Parkstone YC

Techno293+ boys:
Boris SHAW, 16, Poole, Parkstone YC

Published in Youth Sailing
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The seaside resort of Mussanah in Oman is ready to host the world’s best young sailors when the 2021 Youth Sailing World Championships commences on 11 December.

A total of 433 sailors from 56 nations are entered in 11 youth events including the Male and Female divisions of the 29er Skiff, 420 Two Person Dinghy, ILCA 6 One Person Dinghy along with the Mixed Two Person Multihull, the Nacra 15. New additions to the class line-up are Male and Female categories in Windsurfer Bic Techno 293+ and Kiteboarding FormulaKite.

As Afloat's WM Nixon reported on Saturday, Ireland is represented by a team of fourEve McMahon (Howth YC) in the ILCA6, Jonathan O’Shaughnessy (Royal Cork YC) ILCA6, and Ben O’Shaughnessy & James Dwyer (RCYC) in the 29er. All are well aware of the weight of expectation on their young shoulders, though all are at the peak of impressive year-long achievements.

Eve McMahon of Howth YCEve McMahon of Howth YC Photo: Bob Bateman

This year is the 50th edition of this prestigious competition, with racing taking place from 11-17 December and is the first Youth Worlds since July 2019, due to COVID-19 restrictions. Hosted at the Barceló Mussanah Resort in Mussanah, the local organising team at Oman Sail have been getting plenty of high-level regatta practice in recent weeks. The 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships took place here less than a month ago, and the ILCA 6 Worlds have only just concluded at the beginning of December.

Ben O'Shaughnessy on the helm and James Dwyer on the wireRoyal Cork's Ben O'Shaughnessy on the helm and James Dwyer on the wire Photo: Bob Bateman

With light to moderate breezes expected, and daytime temperatures around 25 degrees Celsius, the sailors can look forward to excellent sailing conditions.

Principal race officer Marina Psychogyiou, a former competitor for Greece in the Radial (ILCA 6) single-hander, is looking forward to running a regatta for the sailors to remember: "Every sailor here at the Youth Worlds should feel very proud to be here, representing their country. Even if a sailor doesn’t finish as high up the results as they would like, they must still remember that they are here because they are the best sailor from their home nation. I wish all of them the very best of luck and we will do everything we can to make sure they enjoy the competition and take home great memories of Oman."

The 11 different events will test different aspects of the sport. From the highly tactical, boat-on-boat contest in the traditional dinghy classes, through to the ‘apparent wind’ driven multihull and skiffs which test balance and agility. The windsurfers require high levels of balance and aerobic fitness, while the fastest competitors on the water will be the kitefoilers, capable of peak speeds over 30 knots [55kmph | 35mph]. Having already proven themselves at the front of the senior fleet, the battle for supremacy in the brand new kitefoiling contest will be truly world class.

David Graham, CEO of World Sailing, commented: "It’s great to see such a strong entry for the Youth Sailing World Championships, thanks to the efforts that sailors and their national teams have made to travel to Oman under such challenging circumstances. At World Sailing, more than ever, we are placing a strong focus on promoting youth development, particularly among emerging nations. Anyone who has earned their place at the Youth Worlds is a shining inspiration to other young sailors around the world. I wish them all the very best for the coming week of friendly competition."

The official arrival day is this Saturday (11 December) although sailors have been arriving earlier in order to acclimatise and ensure they are best prepared. The Opening Ceremony officially welcomes the sailors on Sunday 12 December. Racing will commence on Monday 13 December and runs through to Friday 17 December when 11 new Youth World Champions will be crowned. Saturday 18 December is Departure Day, when competitors will hand back their supplied equipment and take the opportunity for some final goodbyes before flying home to different corners of the globe.

11 Events at the Youth Worlds, Ireland contesting three

Female Windsurfer Bic Techno 293+
Male Windsurfer Bic Techno 293+

Male Kiteboarding FormulaKite
Female Kiteboarding FormulaKite

Female Two Person Dinghy 420
Male/Mixed Two Person Dinghy 420

Female One Person Dinghy ILCA 6
Male One Person Dinghy ILCA 6

Male Skiff 29er
Female Skiff 29er

Mixed Two Person Multihull Nacra 15

Published in Youth Sailing
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So many 50th Anniversaries in international sailing are being celebrated these days that you could be forgiven for thinking that all these major events - such as next week’s opening of the event’s Golden Jubilee celebration, and the staging of the Youth Sailing Worlds 2021 in Oman - are marking the successful 50 years of an event which came into being in a vacuum. And certainly, the inauguration of the annual Youth Worlds in Sweden way back in 1971 was a major development that has resulted in a globally-recognised supreme peak – a Junior Sailing Olympiad.

Thus the team of four travelling to Oman – Eve McMahon (Howth YC) in the ILCA6, Jonathan O’Shaughnessy (Royal Cork YC) ILCA6, and Ben O’Shaughnessy & James Dwyer (RCYC) in the 29er - are well aware of the weight of expectation on their young shoulders, though all are at the peak of impressive year-long achievements.

But nevertheless, in looking back over the 50 years of the Youth Worlds, the most vividly remembered will be the 2012 event which was of course staged in Dublin Bay, with Finn Lynch leaping into the limelight with a Silver Medal in the Lasers. However, others with a broader view will also remember that the challenge of staging an event of this scale and scope, with Ireland still staggering out of the financial crash of 2008, involved heroic sacrifice and the giving over of their entire summer by folk of the calibre of Brian Craig, while the defining image may well be the remembered vision of on-water organizer Don O’Dowd of the Royal St George YC looking as though he is being fuelled entirely by adrenaline through each frantic day.

Running on adrenaline…..Don O’Dowd in the thick of the 2012 Youth Worlds in Dublin BayRunning on adrenaline…..Don O’Dowd in the thick of the 2012 Youth Worlds in Dublin Bay

The financial constraints of 2012 Ireland are not thought to be a problem in 2021 Oman, even if the Sultanate has cheerfully taken on the running of just about every one of 2021’s global sailing championships which had been COVID-shunted out of other countries, and despite the business of overseas teams getting there through the maze of international pandemic prevention providing an added challenge in getting to Oman, arguably the most maritime of all the Gulf States.

But nevertheless, Irish involvement has been a tradition since the event’s inception, and we’ve seen the metal to prove it, the last one in the 20th Century being Laura Dillon & Ciara Peelo’s Bronze in the Laser 2 in 1996 - a busy year for Laura, as she also won the All-Irelands.

As for the 21st Century, in 2014 in Tavira, Seafra Guilfoyle repeated Finn Lynch’s 2012 Silver win, and then in 2016 Doug Elmes of Kilkenny and Colin O’Sullivan of Malahide, sailing jointly under the HYC colours, won Bronze in the 420s in Malaysia.

But is it strictly true to say that it all started in 1971 in Sweden? That it should be Sweden is all of a piece, as the Scandinavian influence in international sailing was formidable at the time. So much so, in fact, that many thought the Optimist dinghy – which was starting to spread at lightning speed – was a Swedish invention, whereas the original narrative is rather more endearing.

Oman with its spectacular coastline is perhaps the most maritime of all the Gulf States – this is Shabab Oman II, the Omani Sail Training Tall Ship.Oman with its spectacular coastline is perhaps the most maritime of all the Gulf States – this is Shabab Oman II, the Omani Sail Training Tall Ship.

It seems a Swedish ship was taking on cargo in Florida around 1960 in the Port of Clearwater, where the local kids were sailing a little plywood box-boat, invented in 1947 and called the Optimist. The Swedish captain was impressed, and bought up two or three to take home as his own kids were keen on sailing. Thus the Optimist as an international phenomenon was launched, spreading out from Scandinavia.

So when the Swedes hosted the inaugural World Youth Sailing Championship in 1971, it was already a solidly-founded gold-plated event, and it blew away any other established but more modest championships with similar aims. One of these was something called the International Junior Regatta, which claimed world status, but whose heartlands were in mainland Northwest Europe and Scandinavia, and it was basically an inter-club event for national teams selected by the premier clubs (ie the poshest) in each country.

For twenty years from the 50s and 60s onwards, ace Dun Laoghaire helm Terry Roche of the Royal St George YC cruised the coasts of Europe in his 19-ton Hillyard cutter Neon Tetra (crazy name, crazy boat), and built up an unrivalled contact list with these top clubs and the key people in them. Thus the RStGYC became the organising club for Ireland, and staged the International Junior Regatta when it was hosted here.

George Henry (RStGYC) and Douglas Deane (Royal Munster YC) hoisting sail on their allocated Mermaid in the International Junior Regatta in Dun Laoghaire in 1955.George Henry (RStGYC) and Douglas Deane (Royal Munster YC) hoisting sail on their allocated Mermaid in the International Junior Regatta in Dun Laoghaire in 1955.

The late Dougie Deane of Cork remembered being sent up to Dun Laoghaire in 1955 to be part of the Irish squad, but as the racing was staged in Mermaids – at that time the only class in sufficient numbers of matched boats in Dun Laoghaire to stage an international invitational regatta of this sort - it wasn’t his happiest experience, as he was to become more accustomed to sailing to success in his own IDRA 14 Dusk with Donal McClement as crew.

However, as the 1960s gathered pace, the rapid development of Malahide as a powerhouse of rising talent began to show through in Irish participation in the International Junior Regatta, particularly when the Malahide effect began to be felt in Howth and brought forth the remarkable sailing talents of the “two sisters crew”, Margaret and Lee Cuffe-Smith, daughters of future HYC Commodore Bill Cuffe-Smith, who was no slouch himself when it came to inshore and offshore racing success.

The Irish Team at the 1965 International Junior Regatta in Denmark were (left to right) Robin Hennessy, Margaret Cuffe-Smith, Robert Michael, Lee Cuffe-Smith and Manager Terry RocheThe Irish Team at the 1965 International Junior Regatta in Denmark were (left to right) Robin Hennessy, Margaret Cuffe-Smith, Robert Michael, Lee Cuffe-Smith and Manager Terry Roche

The Irish team first leapt to fame in 1965 when the International Junior Regatta was staged at Skovshoved in Denmark, raced in International Snipes powered by as-equal-as-possible new Elvstrom sailed. The Cuffe-Smiths won the Girls Division, while the boys crew of Malahide’s Robin Hennessy and Robert Michael (a combination that later went on to win the coveted Endeavour Trophy in Enterprises in England) placed fourth to make Ireland second overall.

While Margaret and Lee Cuffe-Smith continued as the Irish girls representatives for much of the rest of the 1960s, Malahide furnished a changing lineup of top boy sailors, and in 1967 at Loosdrecht in the Netherlands, it was future Olympic Silver Medallist David Wilkins crewed by Philip Watson (yes, that Philip Watson), who provided the winning male ingredients for Ireland to win the International Junior Regatta Gold Cup for the first time, the podium points being Ireland 3415, Denmark 2973, and Finland 2747.

World Champions. The all-conquering 1967 Irish Team in the International Junior Regatta in The Netherlands were (left to right) Philip Watson, Lee Cuffe-Smith, manager Terry Roche, David Wilkins (Olympic Silver Medallist 1980) and Margaret Cuffe-Smith.World Champions. The all-conquering 1967 Irish Team in the International Junior Regatta in The Netherlands were (left to right) Philip Watson, Lee Cuffe-Smith, manager Terry Roche, David Wilkins (Olympic Silver Medallist 1980) and Margaret Cuffe-Smith.

The Irish team then repeated this performance in 1968 racing Flying Juniors at Alghero Bay in Sardinia. Thereafter, our top junior talents were moving into more senior racing, and sailing was opening up to a more democratic system, even if the new World Youth Championship in 1971 continued to manifest the all-powerful Scandinavian influence, but in time its worldwide locations reflected the new reality.

That said, it’s a cherishable thought that somewhere in the world in some fusty ancient clubs where the wearing of white-topped yachting caps and the onset of premature middle age is the norm, there are old buffers still discussing the need to provide some special sport in an International Junior Regatta for the young people, even as we see in Oman the glorifying of international sport as a tool of international commerce and a weapon of global politics, with fashionable clothing styles and accessories to match.

A timely reminder of the joys of sailing – Jonathan O’Shaughnessy in action on Lake GardaA timely reminder of the joys of sailing – Jonathan O’Shaughnessy in action on Lake Garda

She’s struck gold! Jonathan O’Shaughnessy and Eve McMahon at Lake Garda after the Worlds in JulyShe’s struck gold! Jonathan O’Shaughnessy and Eve McMahon at Lake Garda after the Worlds in July

The Irish team fly out next Wednesday (December 8th), and as the main event officially opens on Saturday, December 11th, they’ve little enough time to acclimatize. Jonathan O’Shaughnessy has the advantage of a recent intensive training session in Valencia (Spain, not Kerry), but Eve McMahon has been much involved with school exams, making her probably the only World Champion in Ireland to have been in this past week’s exam cohort.

As for the younger pair of Ben – who is Jonathan’s cousin - and James in the 29er, they’ve been first out of the school gates down Cork Harbour way each afternoon in recent weeks for an intensive two-hour session on the boat at Crosshaven. You could call it a One-Boat Twilight Regatta, but with November slithering darkly into December, the Miner’s Lamp Challenge might be a more appropriate title.

Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer in the 29er – they have been getting in some intensive post-school training at Crosshaven in the last of the daylight in recent weeksBen O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer in the 29er – they have been getting in some intensive post-school training at Crosshaven in the last of the daylight in recent weeks

In Oman, the Team Leader and Head Coach will be three times Olympic sailing medallist Vasilij Zbogar, who has been involved with the Irish international sailing effort since 2018. Most recently last month, his supportive work in helping Finn Lynch out of a performance slump to take Silver at the Laser Worlds in Barcelona led everyone to conclude that though he may be from Slovenia, his home is clearly the Slovenian Gaeltacht. And if he and Support Coach Thomas Chaix of Tralee Bay can produce something similar to the Barcelona Breakthrough in Oman, Vasilij will be perceived as the Jurgen Klopp of sailing in Ireland.

Vasilij Zbogar racing an Olympic Finn – he retired from Olympic sailing after the 2016 Games in Rio, having sailed five Olympiads and winning Silver and Bronze in the Laser, and Silver in the Finn in their final appearance as an Olympic Class in 2016Vasilij Zbogar racing an Olympic Finn – he retired from Olympic sailing after the 2016 Games in Rio, having sailed five Olympiads and winning Silver and Bronze in the Laser, and Silver in the Finn in their penultimate appearance as an Olympic Class in 2016

Published in W M Nixon

There is no doubt that youth involvement is key to the future of sailing.

So it is wise for clubs to devote attention to developing youth sailing leading, hopefully, to onward transition into adult boats and classes and cruiser racing.

It is encouraging to see from incoming club reports that youth sailing is getting a lot of attention on the South Coast.

From Glandore and Kinsale to Monkstown, Cove and Crosshaven, there are positives to be taken from the past season and developed next year.

Youth sailing is getting a lot of attention on the South CoastYouth sailing is getting a lot of attention on the South Coast

Glandore Harbour Yacht Club has appointed Heather Mahmood as Assistant Manager of its Primary Schools' Programme, which is very popular in helping schoolchildren to get afloat.

At Kinsale Yacht Club, Junior Sailing Organiser, Conor Dillon says the future looks bright with new participants and ever-increasing fleet numbers as the young sailors become more skilled.

5o5 sailing in Cork Harbour5o5 sailing in Cork Harbour

Monkstown Bay Sailing Club is planning an outreach programme to city schools next year.

Cove Sailing Club started an Optimist fleet and the Royal Cork at Crosshaven has a vibrant and enthusiastic group of young sailors, some of whom also race on cruisers.

Overall, as clubs prepare for annual meetings, the future of the sport is attracting more youth participation and that is welcome and essential.

More about youth sailing on the South Coast in my Podcast here.

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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