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#YouthSailing - US sailor Morgan Reeser gave an inspiring talk to over 50 young sailors, their instructors and a few parents at Sutton Dinghy Club on Thursday 3 July, writes Andrew Johnston.

Reeser's son Nicolas has been a regular attendee at courses in Sutton the last two summers while on holiday in the locality, and this week has been sailing in Sutton Creek with his father and some of the other trainees.

Morgan Reeser, a 470 Olympic silver medallist in Barcelona 1992, is currently coaching both the US and Austrian Olympic 470 hopefuls and successfully coached the Greek 470 women's team to Olympic gold in Athens 2004 and the British 470 men to Olympic silver in Weymouth during London 2012.

He talked to the juniors about his first 'start sailing' course in Miami in an Optimist, as well as some of his sailing heroes and the coaches that inspired him.

Reeser also remembered his first visit to Dublin in 1981 for an inter-country team racing event sailed in Shamrock half-tonners in Dun Laoghaire, and obviously about his preparation for the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992.

His abiding memory of the final race of the regatta, after finishing in a tight bunch, was that he and his crew Kevin Burnham didn't find out till they reached the marina 40 mins later that they had won a medal.

He outlined the fine margins between medaling and missing out at events, explaining they would have been out of the medals altogether if they had dropped a single place in their best race at the regatta, which happened to be a race win.

Reeser was back at the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 and while he failed to take a medal, he met his future wife, none other than Irish Olympic 470 sailor Louise Cole.

The winning of an Olympic medal is obviously a fantastic memory for Reeser, but one of his best memories is of the opening ceremony in Barcelona and the opportunity to meet up with top-class athletes from around the world.

Since turning to coaching, Reeser has encouraged his Olympic hopefuls to attend the opening ceremony as this is one of the things that make it the 'Games' and not just another regatta.

Sutton Dinghy Club Commodore Andy Johnston presented Reeser with a club burgee and thanked him for taking the time drop in and talk with the club's young sailors and their instructors.

Before getting back on the water, many of the kids availed of the opportunity to get the autograph of a fully fledged Olympic medalist on what was a memorable morning for the young sailors and indeed for all in attendance.

Published in Youth Sailing

#youthsailing – In a major boost for Irish Laser youth sailingSeafra Guilfoyle finished in sixth place from 155–starters at the European Laser Youth Championships in Denmark yesterday. The result is a promising indicator of form for this month's ISAF Youth Worlds in Portugal, in which Guilfoyle will represent Ireland also in the Laser class.

There were other top Irish results at the Danish venue too in both the boys and girls fleets.

Five Irish girls finished in the top 30. The girls, all under 19 years, completed 12 races over the week and finished in strong conditions with winds over 20 knots.

Erika Ruigrok finished in 10th position followed by 6 other girl sailors Aisling Keller 14th, Sorcha Ni Shuilleabhain 23rd, Sorcha Donnelly 27th, Sarah Eames 29th & Laura Gilmore 40th out of a fleet of 77 boats.

In the larger boys fleet of 155 boats. Guilfoyle was followed by Cian Byrne 20th, Liam Glynn 27th & Conor O'Beirne. 56th.

Published in Youth Sailing

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

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

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

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

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

ISA Squad for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships 2014:

Laser Radial

Boy: Séafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork Yacht Club)

Girl: Sarah Eames (Ballyholme Yacht Club)


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

Girls: Lizzie and Cara McDowell (Malahide Yacht Club)


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

Published in Youth Sailing

#hyc – Up to 250 of Ireland's top young sailors sail from the Fingal port of Howth in County Dublin this morning for the annual four-day Youth National Championships. Three separate race areas will be laid north of Ireland's Eye in order to accommodate the large number of competitors.

From the 24th to the 27th of April, Howth Yacht Club is hosting the annual youth sailing event on the domestic calendar. 

In the Laser Radial class, many of last year's top performing sailors have progressed on to the senior Standard class. This has opened up the competition to the new wave of younger ambitious athletes eager to take the prized podium places. In the two-person 420 class, locals Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove will be the ones to watch. The 2013 champions are currently in transition year and have spent their academic year studying in France where they have also been able to put in a lot of training and competition time on the water.

On a separate race course for the week, the 60 strong Optimist fleet will contest the first leg of their annual trials for representing Ireland abroad at a host of summer events. One of the pinnacle events will be the Optimist European Championship which this year will be hosted in Ireland by the Royal St George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. With just under three months to go to the opening ceremony there are currently 250 registered sailors in the Dun Laoghaire event from 43 countries from as far afield as Bermuda, Japan, India and Iceland. They will arrive with 80 coaches and support personnel and many travelling with their families.

The ISA championships will also be complemented by Howth's annual Dublin Bay Prawn Festival, which will see the entire harbour front filled with tents and stalls offering various culinary delights related to the world-famous crustaceans. There will also be a carnival on the green of the harbour for the children and their families.

Published in Youth Sailing

#youthsailing – Sole Irish skiff duo Sean Donnelly and Patrick Crosbie took fifth overall in a highly competitive British youth nationals fleet in Weymouth yesterday. After eight races and one discard in the week long event, the National Yacht Club pairing counted seven top ten results, inlcuding a third place in race six in a 64–boat fleet.

And in the 420 dinghy, Ewan McMahon and Colin O'Sullivan from Malahide Yacht Club were 15th overall. Club mates Lizzie and Carrie McDowell were 26th in the 44–boat fleet. 

ll classes took to the water as scheduled on this final day of racing yesterday but battled against a light shifty breeze resulting in postponements and abandonments across the four course areas. The RS:X were the only class to complete a race, whilst the other four classes attempted one race, which was abandoned shortly after starting.

The RS:X boys' class was the one to watch this week as the battle for the top spot was the hot topic of conversation on the final day of racing. Entering the final day of the regatta Daniel Wilson trailed overnight leader Robert York by two points, however was unable to overcome the deficit as York clinched a second in the only race of the day to take event victory.

"It feels pretty awesome, I have put in a lot of hard work over the week so it's nice for it to pay off," expressed the 18-year-old from Skegness.

"It means a lot, I have been in the RS:X for two years now. Last year was my first Youth Nationals and it didn't really go to plan so it's nice to win it this year. I have been looking up to people for a quite a few years so it's nice to finally be there."

York found himself in third place going up the first beat with Wilson leading the race from the word go. Fighting against the light breeze inside Portland Harbour, York managed to pull himself up into second, while Wilson dropped back into third, handing York his first RYA Youth Nationals title.

"The last race didn't start off too well, I had an okay start but probably didn't go the right way up the first beat and ended up in third. Then the wind started to drop, there was a lot of pumping involved but I managed to bring it back and get past Dan [Wilson] who finished third."

Imogen Sills has completed her quest in emulating older brother Sam and twin sister Saskia by winning her first RYA Youth Nationals title in the female RS:X windsurfing event. Sills sealed championships honours with a fourth place finish overall, ending her regatta an impressive 20 points ahead of second placed Emma Wilson.

"I've finally won a Youth Nationals title," laughed the17-year-old from Launceston. "It means a lot to win and I'm just so happy. I worked hard and knew what I had to do, it feels good to keep the title within the family."

Entering today's final races with a healthy lead, Sills admits that she still had a lot to do to secure the title: "Emma [Wilson] is pretty good in light winds, so I thought if there was two races then there was a chance that she could overtake me, so I had to stay near her and work hard and keep an eye out. I didn't think I had won before the race, I wasn't taking anything to chance."

The 420 boys class was won by 2013 Youth National champion Tim Riley and his new crew James Taylor, who finished fifth at the 2013 event in Largs, Scotland with his former sailing partner. The duo who had a disappointing start to the regatta, soon came into their own posting seven top three finishes from the 12 race series to win the regatta by a comfortable 17 points. Robbie King and Ryan Orr clinched the silver medal while New Zealand's Sam Barnett and Zak Merton finished with the bronze.

Riley said: "I am relieved mostly, it was such a long day on the water especially with all the wind shifting about and I was half hopeful they would get a race in. We got one away and we were doing quite well in it then they canned it because there was no wind. I looked at my watch and noticed the time limit was over and realised I'd won it, just relief, pure relief."

On defending his Youth National title, Riley added: "It means a lot to win it for a second year, especially this year as we have had so many young competitive sailors in the 420 class really coming up and just to be able to hold them off for one week which is a long, long time in these varying conditions is a relief."

Sarah Norbury and Mari Davies took the girls 420 title holding their place as top female crew throughout the regatta. At the halfway stage of the regatta the duo really upped their game and posted three seconds giving them a sizable lead over the other 420 girls crews and placing them an impress fourth overall. Jemima Lawson and Lily Summers won silver while Olivia Mackay and Abby Goodwin (NZL) finished third.

Norbury said: "It's incredible, it feels so good to win! All the work hard has paid off and it has all come together so we are really pleased."

For the 29er title, Owen Bowerman and Morgan Peach tussled all week with 2013 Youth National champion and 2013 29er World Championship silver medallist Marcus Somerville and his crew Isaac Mchardie for the top spot but fell short by a single point, giving the Kiwi sailors their second consecutive Youth National title.

"The Kiwi's put in some great competition this week so hats off to them, it has been awesome having them here! We also have had some great British people to race against so to finish second is a massive achievement for us. It's been hard work and I am pretty proud of what we have managed to achieve" said Bowerman.

Bowerman and Peach finished top GBR boat whilst Scotland's Gilles Munro and Daniel Harris rounded their regatta off with a hard fought bronze medal. Ruth Allan and Alice Masterman were the top placed female boat finishing seventh overall, improving on their 13th place finish at the 2013 event.

Scotland's Jamie Calder claimed his first RYA Youth Nationals title in Radial fleet which saw competition become extremely tight once the qualifying series determined the Gold fleet. Having posted a set of consistent scores in the qualifying series, Calder entered the final series at the top of the pack. Facing stiff competition in a competitive Radial fleet, the Scottish sailor kept his focus and continued an impressive scoreline to claim event honours.

Ellie Cumpsty claimed victory in the Radial female fleet by an impressive 38 points. Cumpsty finished eighth overall while New Zealand's Ali Nightingale finished second female with Rhiannon Massey laying in third.

Coming in as one of the favourites, Cumpsty confessed: "If I messed it up it would be pretty disappointing for me. I managed to stay calm and exceed my expectations."

The Spitfire class was a tight affair with Weymouth duo Sam Barker and Ross McFarline and Olivier Greber and Jess Eales swapping first and second place all week. Two race wins on the penultimate day of racing was enough to give Barker and McFarline the Youth National title, while Greber and Eales were made to settle for the Under 19 crown. Brothers Oliver and James King took bronze.

James Tilley, RYA Youth Nationals Event Manager, said: "It has been a fantastic week of racing at WPNSA, on the behalf of the RYA I would like to thank the huge team of volunteers, the venue and all of the sailors for making it an excellent event."

Double Olympic gold medallist Sarah Gosling OBE, who has formed part of the RYA's Selection Panel at WPNSA this week, added: "I have been really impressed with the standard of racing this week, it's fantastic to have some foreign sailors here. The boat handling around the course has been strong and in a wide range of conditions which has been fantastic especially from a selectors point of view to see how the sailors react to different conditions.

"For those who didn't quite achieve what they set out to, they need to remember it is the first stepping stone in their journey and I think everyone needs to understand that you don't necessarily win everything you set out to, you don't always perform to the best of your ability all the time.

"It is how you overcome that, take the lessons forward and improve for the next event and this is actually what makes a great sailor. Not everyone will win everything, it's how you knuckle down after this event and assess what happened then go out and do better next time," concluded Gosling.

Published in Youth Sailing
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Next week will see a record number of the nation's top Youth sailors compete on the Olympic waters of Weymouth and Portland for the chance to be crowned RYA Youth National Champion 2014.

The premier event on the RYA's Youth Racing calendar, which this year is being staged at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy from 12-18 April, will welcome the largest number of competitors in the event's history.

Over 392 dinghy, catamaran and windsurf racers in the six Youth classes will compete across four race course areas in Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour for Championship honours and the chance to be selected to represent the British Youth Sailing Team at a range of International competitions, World and European Championships in 2014.

Five reigning champions will be bidding to retain their crowns; Tim Riley (420 boys), Luke Burywood (420 boys), Olivier Greber (Spitfire) and Mimi El-Khazindar (29er) all landing their first Youth National titles in Largs, Scotland last year, while Ben Batten (29er) will be vying for his third consecutive national title at this year's event.
"Our preparations for the Youth Nationals have been going really well. Mimi and I have been sailing well together, we have been working hard over the winter and we feel like we are ready to go come the starting gun on Monday," expressed Batten.

"We would love to try and win the regatta again -- it would be an amazing achievement for us to win what is such a big and prestigious event for a second year running. Our aim is to just put in a good, consistent series and to also try and take away as much as possible for our summer regattas. We know if we sail like we know we can, keep consistent across the five days of racing then we will be in with a chance of defending our title."

17-year-old Batten, who competes with his helm Mimi El-Khazindar, will be up against it they are to retain their crown in the 29er class. The Lymington duo who represented Great Britain at the 2013 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship will face stiff competition from 2013 Youth Nationals medallists Owen Bowerman/Morgan Peach, siblings Rob and Emma Loveridge and the Scottish duo of Gillies Munro/Daniel Harris who will be among the other main title contenders.

"It's certainly going to be a challenge in what is such a competitive 29er fleet. Every year is as tough as the last and everyone gets better each year and everyone is continually improving so it will no doubt be a very tough regatta to win. We now know the people we are up against, better than we did last year, and have had more time to train and compete against them in the build-up to this regatta so it will be interesting to see what happens.
Batten concluded: "To win the Youth Nationals for a third consecutive time would be an amazing achievement for myself. I know there is only a small handful of sailors who have managed to achieve this in the past so to be able to do win three national titles would be incredible -- it would feel like I was joining an elite club which would be great."

The 420 class looks set to be a close contest with 2013 Youth National champions Tim Riley and Luke Burywood now competing against one another in a bid to defend their crowns with their respective new teammates. 2013 ISAF Youth Worlds bronze medallist Oli Greber and new teammate Jess Eales are among the top runners in the mixed multihull Spitfire event and no doubt will be dominant in the hunt for success.

The Laser Radial is the largest fleet of the Championships boasting 106 boats. With such large numbers the fleet is set to be one of the most competitive classes with a select number of sailors possessing the racing skills required to clinch championship honours.
With two-time RYA Youth National Champion and 2012 ISAF Youth Worlds gold medallist Saskia Sills not competing due to illness, the door has been left wide open for her twin sister Imogen to steal the show in the RS:X windsurfing fleet, while Robert York, winner of the RYA Olympic Classes Spring Series event in March will be the one to beat in the 16-strong RS:X boys fleet.

HRH The Princess Royal, President of the Royal Yachting Association, will also visit the event on Thursday (17 April) to see the latest crop of talented sailors coming through the ranks.

Published in Youth Sailing
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#UCD – University College Dublin (UCD) sailing team won the five race Student Yachting Nationals title in Howth at the weekend to qualify for the Student Yachting World Cup (SYWoC) in France and represent Ireland in La Rochelle later this year. 

It's more top marks for the Dublin college whose watersports clubs have already taken wins in the 2014 Sailing intervarsities in Wexford, the inaugural Kitesurfing Championships and rowing's Gannon Cup on the river Liffey. 

The team was made up of previous SYWoC sailors Philip and Simon Doran (Afloat Sailor of the Month for March), Ben Fusco and Sophie Murphy, with Will Byrne on bow.

The team are returning to La Rochelle in October to try win back the trophy first won by them in 2012.

Published in Youth Sailing
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#inss – There were plenty of thrills and spills in Dun Laoghaire harbour last weekend when local youths took to the chilly February waters as part of the Irish National Sailing School's year round sailing syllabus.

The Irish National Sailing School Junior Club is a way for young sailors to keep sailing during the school terms. Sailors have a choice of sailing either from 10am to 1pm or from 2pm-5pm on Saturdays. 

While they primarily sail in dinghies, on the particular cold days children take out fleet of keelboats (1720s and Squibs) allowing them to keep sailing and stay warm in the colder conditions. Sailing on the bigger keelboats also broadens the children's skills and allows them to venture further afield.

Children from as young as 7 are out sailing in the club every Saturday combining the fun and skills of sailing while making new friends and socialising says centre principal Kenneth Rumball. 'There are always plenty of spaces available with new sailors welcome to sign up at any stage', he adds.

The Summer term is running on the following Saturdays February 1, 8, 15, 22 March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 April 5, 26 May 3, 10. During the 13 weeks children build on their sailing skill and progress through their logbooks to ensure they are learning all the time and gaining extra valuable skills along the way.

 For full dates, time and prices see the Junior Club Sailing website 

Published in Youth Sailing

#sywoc – Irish sailing teams lie eighth and ninth after the fourth day of racing at the Student Yachting World Cup in France. The Swiss team had an outstanding performance to be in second place but it is still the French hosts from Kedge BS that keep the lead in Ponic. 

The 14 schools raced J/80s in four windward-leeward races. UCD are eighth and an Irish Universities team is ninth. Results here 

Published in Youth Sailing

#sywoc – Ireland lies fourth at the The Student Yachting World Cup in France. Yesterday, the French team dominated the races but got an OCS penalty in one windward leeward race. The final ranking of the first day was: The USA first (16 points), then France (2nd, 18 points) followed by Scotland (3rd, 20 points). The others' ranking was Ireland (4th), Switzerland ( 5th), Australia ( 6th), England (7th), Belgium (8th), Defender (9th), Norway (10th), X-HEC (11th), Japan (12th),Germany (13th), China (14th).

As the weather condition was not as good as yesterday, the first windward leeward race was the occasion to show how strong the crews were. Switzerland first dominated the race but had trouble in the third round, they finished fifth. The leader of yesterday, France proved the former victories were not a blow dealt by fate. They eventually won this race. Belgium and Australia were side by side but the latter had been faster to set the spinnaker in the last round and finished second.

Today has been a thrilling day of races. Weather conditions were tough and the teams came back to the harbour exhausted. France proved they will be strong competitors and got the top position on the podium. (from Michalis Pateniotis,

Published in Youth Sailing
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