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#youthnats – The RYA Youth National Championships kicked off yesterday with racing for all classes at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. A single Irish crew is competing in the 56–boat 29er class. An Irish Youth Nationals, expected to attract 200 boats – the bulk of which will be Optimist and Laser dinghies – is being staged at the Royal Cork Yacht Club this week.

The day in Weymouth started with a short postponement ashore before sailors headed out for their first race around 11am. The light sea breeze remained in the harbour for the rest of the day. A dying and unstable breeze in Weymouth Bay meant that the schedule was not completed on the 420, Spitfire and Radial boys' courses.

Consistency was key across the race courses, and those who mastered the shifty sea breeze have taken the advantage on day 1.

RS:X

A hat-trick of firsts started Dan Wilson's Youth National Championship title chase with a bang. The RS:X sailor led from the start of each race and protected his lead around the course.

Wilson looks to do much of the same as the week progresses: "I'm hoping to continue the rest of the week where I left off today, just getting the start nailed and pushing forward from there. Once you get the first beat out of the way it's just trying to protect what you have, so I will be hoping to do that this week."

Younger sister, Emma Wilson and Emily Hall sit on ten points in second and third respectively, both scored a second, third and fifth however Wilson pips Hall on countback.

29er

Favourites coming into the Youth Nationals, Dan Venables and Patrick Keech proved their dominance in the 29er class picking up double wins in racing today.

The pairing are already on the hunt for a EUROSAF Youth Europeans spot and are very happy after day 1: "It is a great start to the week, two bullets in two races especially considering it was quite gusty and shifty. It's the best start to the qualification process for the EUROSAFs this year, and hopefully we will keep it going for the rest of the week."

In the 29er yellow fleet Bobby Hewitt and Harvey Martin also had an excellent opening day, picking up a win in the first followed by a second. The 15-year-olds, who transitioned into the 29er this year and are the 2014 RS Feva World and European Champions, were thrilled with their first day.

"It's been a really good day, we were leading from the start in the first race and we just played the shifts up the beat and it was easy from there," said a smiley Martin.

"The second race didn't start so well, we were buried off the line but managed to get it back up the first beat, rounding mark one in fourth then fought the rest of the way to finish second."

Winning the second yellow fleet race of the day were all girl team Hannah Bristow and Emily Covell. Bristow, also a previous RS Feva World Champion, paired up with Covell a year ago and they have spent the winter training in the 29er Transition Squad.

The girls thrived in the gusty conditions: "It was a sea breeze day, a lot of mixing. The wind was shifting right throughout the day and was quite gusty. We were just making sure we were squeezing every gust and getting all the power we could get out of the boat." Explained Covell.

Laser

Henry Wetherell and Michael Beckett took all three of the race wins today. Wetherell claims the advantage with double firsts and a third finishing the day on five points to Beckett's six.

Although Beckett didn't win all three races he acknowledged his consistent start to a long week: "It was a one track race course and so once you figured that out it was just a question of working around the fleet. It couldn't have been much better for me but it could have been much worse, I'm happy."

Radial

The Laser Radial boys' fleet only managed to finish two of their scheduled three races. Jack Cookson and Daniel Whiteley stole the show in the two races sailed, both with a one and two to their score lines.

Both were pleased with their results: "My first day was really good, quite consistent and I was pretty quick around the race course." Said Whiteley.

After disappointing starts to both races, Cookson used his downwind speed to the advantage and sailed back through the fleet, pipping Whiteley to take line honours in the last race of the day.

Light wind specialist, Karyna Manuel ends the day in pole position in the Laser Radial girls' fleet. Similar to other race courses, consistency was the name of the game for the Radial girls' and Manuel takes the early lead with a six point advantage over rival Hanna Brant. Other race winners of the day, Clementine Thompson and Ellie Cumpsty sit further down the pack after both picking up a starting penalty.

420

Max Clapp and Ross Banham won the first and only race on the 420 course. The pair led up the first beat after a successful start, however they lost their lead to Martin Wrigley and Marcus Tressler after sailing to the wrong mark. With impressive boat speed Clapp and Banham regained the advantage up the second beat and held until the finish, winning by only a couple of boat lengths to Wrigley and Tressler.

Spitfire

The Spitfire class also only had one race. Eddie Bridle and James King took advantage of the tricky sea breeze conditions and crossed the line ahead of Sam Barker and Victoria Akhurst in second. Alex Philpott and Jess D'Arcy completed the podium in third.

Warning signal for the first race today is at the earlier than scheduled time of 10.25am for the 29er blue fleet. You can watch the live streaming from the Harbour course on the sportsXstream website. GPS tracking will also be live for all courses on the sportsXstream class pages.

 

Published in Youth Sailing
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The countdown to the 2015 RYA Youth Sailing National Championships is well underway, with just six days left to enter the premier annual event for the UK's young sailing talents.

Competitors have up until Sunday 22 March to sign up for the regatta (4-10 April), where racing will take place on the famed Olympic and Paralympic waters of Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour, and where RYA Youth National Champions will be crowned across six classes.

Racing will take place for under 21-year-old boys in Laser Standards, girls and boys in Laser Radials and Neil Pryde RS:X 8.5 windsurfers, and for all-boy, all-girl or mixed crews in 420s, 29ers and Spitfire catamarans.

The event also doubles up as a selection event for the British Youth Sailing Team to compete at the EUROSAF Youth European Championships in Brest, France (26 July-2 August), and will determine invitees for the British Youth Sailing Team Selection Event for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships, to be held at Hayling Island Sailing Club from 29-31 August 2015. The 2015 ISAF Youth Worlds is to be staged in Langkawi, Malaysia, from 27 December-2 January.

To enter the event and for further information click here

Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under

#olympicsailing – Water Rat's article: Is ISAF Alive To Sailing's Survival As An Olympic Sport? has raised the issue about the future viability of the Olympic sailing movement and brought reaction from readers, including Midshipman, who says it begs two interesting questions:

· Is being an Olympic sport good for sailing?

· Why have the amazing advances we have witnessed in technology over the last 15 years not made sailing more accessible and less expensive?

With the exception of the Laser (a manufacturer controlled boat which is not cheap at €7,250), none of the boats used in the Olympics are to be found in mainstream sailing.

The explosion in sailing during the 60's and 70's was fuelled by the development of exciting low cost boats built, mainly by amateurs, in plywood using new adhesive and coating techniques.

The turn of the century has seen vast improvements in the technologies used in boat building, making boats lighter, faster, stronger safer, but certainly not cheaper, as amateur construction can no longer compete with the sophisticated techniques of the boating industry.

That is probably why the most popular dinghy class in the world remains the inexpensive and simple Sunfish while low tech Hobie Beach Cats still dominate the multihull scene.

In years gone by, most young sailors got their start in wooden Optimists, often built by enthusiastic parents at modest cost over a couple of weekends and then typically graduated to a home built Mirror or its equivalent for their first experience of multi crewed sailing with multiple sails.

opty4.jpg

A wooden framework of the early Optimist dinghy

Nothing less than a relatively expensive Glass Fibre Optimist will do now and the Street Cred of young people is dependent on graduating to costly Lasers and 420s. In Ireland this situation is also compounded by the sense of failure youngsters experience if they fail to qualify for one of the Academy or Elite development squads which currently involves over 100 youth sailors of varied abilities.

opty10.jpg

The scene today – charter boats used at Dun Laoghaire for the 2014 Optimist Europeans

Sailing has become so fixated on exciting performance and elite achievement that it has lost sight of the sheer enjoyment of messing about in boats at modest cost which is the principle attraction to the vast majority of people.

We all admire the highly skilled and motivated sailors who aspire to the ultimate Olympic challenge, but let's face it , what they do has virtually no relevance to the activities of most recreational sailors. ISAF uses racing formats and boats which are not reflective of the sport in general, largely on the grounds of needing to excite TV viewers.

With the exception of horse riding, sailing is probably the most equipment dependent (meaning most expensive) sport in the Olympics. I am not sure that this is a message which ultimately helps encourage people to become involved in sailing.

If we want to use the Olympics as a marketing opportunity for sailing, we should use inexpensive boats which are used on a widespread basis by regular sailors and only have 2 events each for men and women whilst eliminating the cost of shipping boats by supplying evenly matched equipment.

Olympic sailing has created a very costly industry which contributes little back to mainstream sailing. The costs are truly horrendous as demonstrated by the recent announcement that the ISA is appointing an additional CEO to head up a funding programme to raise a further €2.75m a year over and above the €1m plus it receives from the Irish Sports Council for Irish Elite sailing activities.

Does the Irish sailing community believe an annual level of expenditure of €3.75m on elite sailing provides the best economic payback to the sport in Ireland? If we could replicate what has been done in New Zealand, maybe there is a business case which can be justified.

However, €15m seems an outrageous amount of money to propose spending over an Olympic cycle, which is equal to something in excess of €800 on behalf of each member of the ISA.

Let's make sailing accessible, less expensive and more engaging and use the Olympics as a shop window to remove the elitist and esoteric imagery created by the current profile of existing Olympic classes.

What we are doing at the moment is deluding ourselves into believing that presenting our sport like NASCAR or Formula 1 motor racing will attract new people to buy Ford Mondeos and Fiat Pandas. – Midshipman

Published in Your Say

#youthsailing – Corpus Christi, Texas in the USA will host the 2018 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship subject to a successful site visit and satisfactory contractual agreements last week's ISAF conference heard. Ireland won its third ever medal at last year's championships in Tavira Portugal but unfortunately silver medal winner Seafra Guilfoyle is just out of age limit for the American event so the Cork star cannot qualify for the Texas event next season.

The following events and equipment for the 2017 ISAF Youth Worlds were also agreed by the Council:

Boy's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Girl's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Boy's Two Person Dinghy - 420
Girl's Two Person Dinghy - 420
Boy's Windsurfer - RS:X with 8.5 sail
Girl's Windsurfer - RS:X with 8.5 sail
Open multihull - Sirena SL16
Boy's Skiff - 29er
Girl's Skiff - 29er

The Equipment Committee recommended the new Nacra15 for the Open Multihull event and this will be discussed at the 2015 ISAF Mid-Year Meeting in the Netherlands with the earliest possible introduction of the new equipment being 2018.

Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under

Despite light weather and a number of clashing events, the traditional end of season All Ireland youth sailing Inter-schools event at Sutton Dinghy Club attracted 91 boats across 11 classes, 21 schools and 119 sailors. Now in its 39th year, this event continues to be as enjoyed and as hard fought as ever across both Mixed and Optimist Fleets.

The 72 boat Mixed Fleet which saw 10 different classes produce close and tight racing under Portsmouth Yardstick. The PRO team of Jim Lambkin, supported by Liam Dineen (Skerries) and Scorie Walls did exceptionally well to get all 4 races in over the 2 days.

6th year student and team captain Thomas Natin (Laser Full), who has sailed in the event since his first year in Belvedere, went out in a blaze of glory taking the Individual Trophy, from St Fintans Robert Dickson & Lochlann O'Shea (Mirror), with Mount Temples Daniel Hopkins Laser 4.7) in 3rd.

Even with victory in the Individual series, Belvedere College had to be content with 4th place overall as St Fintans Sutton (Robert Dickson, Lochlann O'Shea, Darragh Kelly) took the Team Trophy (Conor Nolan Memorial) from a clearly delighted Sligo Grammar School (Fergus Collins, Harry Collins, Sam & Imogen Wray) with Blackrock College (Conor Byrne, James O'Connor, Patrick Riordan) taking 3rd. Sligo Grammar were 1 of 3 Sligo schools who made the trip to Sutton for the event.

Despite a clash with end of season Optimist event across the bay, the Interschools Optimist Fleet saw 19 boats take to the water with the PRO team of Paul Kavanagh and Padraic Boyle deciding to get 3 races in on Saturday on the off chance Sunday might be even lighter. The Individual Trophy went to Ella Hemeryck (Loretto Stephen Green) by a single point from Luke Rickard (Gonzaga) with Hugo Kennedy (St. Michaels) in 3rd.

The Team Trophy saw perennial contenders Belvedere College (Ben McDonald, Conor Waddilove, Sam Crawford) retain the title with Burrow School Sutton (Jonathan Sargent, Sophie Dix, Kirsten Quinn) 2nd with Loretto Balbriggan (Francis Mulholland, Ella May, Stephanie O'Connor) 3rd.

That 2nd place overall meant Burrow School Sutton took the Primary School Trophy.

INTER_SCHOOLS_sailing5.jpg

INTER_SCHOOLS_sailing7.jpg––

INTER_SCHOOLS_sailing6.jpg

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INTER_SCHOOLSsailing4.jpg

The O'Tiarnaigh Trophy for best Sutton Dinghy Club helm went to Darragh Kelly sailing for St Fintans Sutton who finished 4th overall sailing a Laser Radial.

This Trophy, presented by former Commodore Muriel O'Tiarnaigh, is in honor of her late husband, former Commodore and Belvedere teacher Riocaird O'Tiarnaigh who introduced the Inter-schools Sailing event back in April 1995. The 39th running of the event saw their grandson Fionn Mulhall take part in the Optimist fleet for the first time.

The 40th running of this event next year, should be a very special event.

Published in Youth Sailing

#YouthSaling - Congratulations are in order for Laura Gilmore, Northern Ireland's new ladies and Laser Radial champion after this weekend's RYANI Youths at Ballyholme Yacht Club.

The 17-year-old youth sailor fended off strong competition from fellow youths Sarah Eames (Ballyholme) and Gary Fekkes (East Antrim) to claim the Laser Radial crown with a net total of six points, five ahead of her closest rival.

The Strangford Lough Yacht Club member and junior champ's victorious weekend got off to a slow start on Saturday, with lighter than forecast wind early on making things tough for the record 146 entries.

But soon a good, though shifty, 10-12 knot breeze filled in, enabling all fleets to get three races in across both race areas.

On Sunday, conditions were light and shifty, making conditions difficult for race officers. Still, two races went ahead with stiff competition from a number of clubs.

RYANI performance manager Richard Honeyford thanked Ballyholme YC "for hosting such a great regatta. It was fantastic to see the numbers going from strength to strength, with a large number of clubs being represented.

"Well done to all competitors and prize winners. It is great for RYANI to be able to recognise the dedication of our sailors and clubs.”

Published in Youth Sailing

#youthsailing – ISAF youth silver medallist Seafra Guilfoyle is a wild card entry into this weekend's All Ireland youth sailing event at Kinsale Yacht Club this Saturday. Crosshaven based Guilfoyle, who won world silver in Portugal in July, is slated against 19 other top Irish youth sailors who will compete in the double–handed Topaz dinghy fleet. 

Over 30 sailors from 11 classes were considered and the Irish Sailing Association organisers say their selection process allocated places based on the numbers of boats declared by the classes attending their national championships. The full list on invitees for the weekend fixture is published below (with some crew names missing).

The host Topaz dinghy has two nominees from its own national championships held in Dingle and the RS Feva also has two sailors attending. The Optimist class has three sailors slated including top European championships perfomers, Clare Gorman of the National Yacht Club and James McCann of Royal Cork420 dinghy youths are represented by national champion Peter McCann and girls champion Cliodhna NiShuillebhain of the host club.

The Mirror dinghy is also included with teams coming from Lough Ree  YC and Sutton Dinghy Club.

Class

Helm

Club

Crew

RS Feva

Alison Dolan

Blessington SC

Grainne Young

RS Feva

Triona Hinkson

Royal St.George YC

Catherine Kelly

RS200 - Youth

Stephen Craig

Royal St.George YC

 

Optimist

James McCann

Royal Cork YC

Michael Carroll

Optimist

Gemma McDowell

Malahide YC

 

Optimist

Clare Gorman

National YC

 

Mirror

Shane McLoughlin

Sutton DC

Oscar Langan

Mirror

Tiarnan Dickson

Lough Ree YC

Rory MacAllister

Topper

Hugh Perette

National YC

 

Topper

Ros Morgan

Skerries SC

 

Topper

Adam D'Arcy

Royal Cork YC

James Hassett

Laser 4-7

Johnny Durcan

Royal Cork YC

Florence Lyden

Laser 4-7

Rory Caslin

National YC

Scott Levie

Topaz

Jack Kiely

Dungarvan HSC

 

Topaz

Paddy Cunnane

Dingle SC

 

International 420

Peter McCann

Royal Cork YC

Micheal O'Suileabhain

International 420

Cliodhna NiShuillebhain

Kinsale YC

 

GP14 - Youth

David Johnston

Sutton DC

 

Wild Card

Harry Durcan

Royal Cork YC

Harry Whittaker

Wild Card

Séafra Guilfoyle

Royal Cork YC

Published in Youth Sailing

#ClipperRace - Clipper Round The World Race organiser Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and America's Cup hero Sir Ben Ainslie teamed up today at the PSP Southampton Boat Show to announce a new youth prize for the next edition of the world's longest ocean race.

As Practical Boat Owner reports, the £10,000 prize is open to any youth sailor aged between 18 and 24 regardless of experience, giving them the chance to crew on the Pacific Ocean leg of the world's longest ocean race.

It's all thanks to a donation from the Clipper chairman to the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation founded by Ainslie in memory of his friend who died while training for last summer's America's Cup.

"When you take on the Pacific Ocean crossing, you are taking on something very, very special," said Knox-Johnson. "There is nothing bigger or more awesome on this planet.

"This is something that will test you and push you to limits you didn't know you had. Very few people have tackled this challenge and now it's your chance to be one of them."

Ainslie added: "It really will be a once in a lifetime experience for the competition winner."

Practical Boat Owner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Clipper Race

#yog – A fleet of 30 Boys Byte CII's will line up to race on Monday 18 August when sailing commences at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) but Ireland is not represented because the Byte is not an Irish Sailing Association 'pathway' class but also because there is no budget to send a boy or girl to the YOG event, according to the Irish Sailing Association.

Based on Lake Jinniu in Nanjing 30 boys, aged 15-16, from 30 nations will fly their flag on the Chinese inland waters as they bid to take the honours at the second Youth Olympic Sailing Competition.

Following a continental qualification system the fleet features a diverse mix of young talented sailors. From Algeria, to the Cook Islands, Indonesia and USA the varied mix of nations is unique and across the four Youth Olympic Games fleets, Boys and Girls Byte CII/Techno 293, there are a total of 62 nations competing from 101 possible spots.

The Boys Byte CII fleet is expected to throw out some exceptional competition but the main question on everyone's lips is "Who can beat Hungary's Jonatan Vadnai?"

The Hungarian sailor has been head and shoulders above the pack, literally in many cases, and has 2013 and 2014 Byte CII World titles to his name. At the 2013 Worlds, the first Youth Olympic qualification regatta, the Hungarian took the title convincingly, finishing 19 points ahead of fellow YOG sailor Henry Marshall. A year later he took the title again, sealing the deal with two races remaining.

Despite his dominance the Hungarian remains coy about his chances, "At the World Championships it was strong wind and in Nanjing I think it's going to be light and if it's light wind it will be harder for me and not that easy."

Vadnai has had a busy summer leading up to YOG having competed at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship in Tavira, Portugal where he finished seventh, and the Laser Radial Youth Worlds where he finished fifth. With a packed summer of sailing Vadnai feels prepared for China, "Now I'm going to bigger regattas like the ISAF Youth Worlds and I'm getting better at tactics so it doesn't matter what boat I compete in. The Byte is a tricky boat, it's very small and very unstable but I like it very much."

America's Marshall was absent from the 2014 Worlds but pushed the Hungarian in 2013 and they resume their fight in Nanjing. 2013 bronze medallist Pavle Zivanovic (CRO) will also join the pair on the start line as will 2014 podium finishers Scipio Houtman (NED) and Arvid Nordquist (SWE).

The road to Nanjing 2014 began in August 2013 with the Worlds acting as the first qualification regatta. Continental Championships in Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Oceania followed ensuring a strong blend on nations.

Paul de Souza (BAH) set out on mission to qualify for YOG and after falling short at the 2013 Worlds he took to the North Americans where he faced some nervy times, "I worked really hard to try and qualify for the Youth Olympic Games. I went to two different regattas and didn't quite make it the first time. The second time I managed to qualify in the third spot and I'm pretty proud of myself, I didn't expect to qualify because a lot of the kids I was sailing against I'd never beaten before. I was quite glad to see that I made it."

The 101 sailors will stay in the Athletes' Village and get a first-hand experience of the Olympic Games and de Souza is looking forward to the whole package, "I will just be really proud to be representing my country and to see my other competitors are there sailing and to see other competitors from my country in other sports. I will be glad to be up there with them at the opening ceremony."

Chile's Clemente Seguel was able to qualify his nation at the South American Championship alongside Brazil's Pedro Correa and Peru's Angelo Giuria. The Chilean had an exciting start to YOG when the whole team met Chilean President Michelle Bachelet for the official farewell. With the formalities done Seguel is ready and up for the challenge, "I have been training in the gym everyday from Monday to Friday and sailing at the weekends.

"You have to race with the wind you have. If there is light winds then that's something I am not worried about although I do prefer stronger winds. I know that in China we will have light winds so we need to get used to this and mentally prepare and start training for those conditions."

Olympic spirit and Olympic values will be key focal points for the young sailors and Seguel will use the event as a springboard, "Competing with the best sailors in the world in the Youth Olympic Games is a motivation to get to the Olympic Games in the future. I am very happy and excited because this high level championship is really important for your sailing curriculum vitae and experience."

The Opening Ceremony on Saturday 16 August will officially kick off the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games. The sailing competition begins on 18 August at 11:00 local time and will conclude on 23 August.

The four YOG Sailing events are:

Boy's Windsurfer – Techno 293
Girl's Windsurfer – Techno 293
Boy's One Person Dinghy – Byte CII
Girl's One Person Dinghy – Byte CII

The YOG Sailing Competition will consist of an opening series and final race. The format will be fleet racing but slalom racing may be run for the Boy's and Girl's Windsurfers if the weather conditions are suitable.

Published in Youth Sailing

#YouthSailing - Mail Online reports on the death of British youth sailing prospect Jess Eales, whose body was found in the New Forest last week a day after her 17th birthday.

Eales had recently represented Great Britain at the Youth Sailing Worlds in Portugal, where she placed a respectable 11th in the SL16 with helm Oliver Greber.

Before that she and Greber, who had only teamed up this year, took the U19 gold medal in the Spitfire at the Youth Nationals in Weymouth and Portland.

Mail Online has more on the story HERE.

Published in Youth Sailing
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