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Finn Lynch's silver medal last week in the ILCA 7 World Championships is an inspiration for anyone embarking on a Laser campaign but could there be more silver - or even gold - in Barcelona waters for Irish sailors this month?

As the ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) and ILCA 6 (Radial) Apprentice Master 2021 World Championships began at the Barcelona Sailing Centre on Sunday, three Irish sailors are hoping for a repeat performance.

One race was completed in each fleet at the 2021 Laser Masters World Championships, except for the ILCA 6 Masters and Grand Masters due to unstable and lack of wind. The sailors went out on schedule for the first warning signal at 12:00, with sunshine and good wind. But as the wind began to die, the two ILCA 6 divisions could not complete their first race, and the ILCA 7 fleet started their second race only to then abandon it.

In the ILCA 7 fleets, Maciej Grabowski of Poland is leading the Apprentices, ahead of Belgium’s Wannes Van Laser and Italian Lorenzo Cerretelli.

Ireland's George Kingston is ninth and Roger O'Gorman 13th in the 14-boat fleet.

Peter Hurley of the United States finished first in the Masters division, with fellow countryman Ernesto Rodriguez in second, and Australia’s Chris Caldecoat in third.The Grand Masters are lead by another American, Robert Hallawell, with Swiss Ferruccio Arvedi in second and Ron Lenson of the Netherlands in third. Finally, in the Great Grand Masters division, Great Britain’s Michael Hicks took the lead, with Jose Luis Doreste of Spain behind in second, and Germany’s Wolfgang Herz in third.

In the ILCA 6 fleets, Great Britain’s Jon Emmett is leading the Apprentices, ahead of Arturo Reina of Spain and Italian Roberto Giacalone.

In the Great Grand Master division, Americans Bill Symes and Bruce Martinson sit in first and third, respectively, with Canada’s Paul Clifford in second. Last but not least, Henk Wittenberg of the Netherlands is leading the Legends, with French Pierre Roche in second, and American Jacques Kerrest in third.

Royal St George's Sean Craig is yet to start in the ILCA 6 Grand Master division.

Forecasted wind for the week is light, but everyone is planning on and hoping for enough wind to complete some successful races.

See event website here for full results.

Apprentice age division change

In other Laser news, beginning in 2022, the Apprentice age division for ILCA Masters World Championships will include sailors ages 30 to 44. ILCA says it is excited about this change, which for the first time gives sailors under the age of 35 the opportunity to join the ILCA Masters World Championships and to enjoy the unique atmosphere of that fleet. All other Masters age categories will remain unchanged.

Published in Laser
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While everyone in Irish sailing and beyond shares in the joy of seeing Finn Lynch emerge so spectacularly from a performance drought to take Silver at this week’s Laser Worlds in Barcelona, it is really only those who have fully experienced the extremes of competition at this level of solo sailing – from the grim depths of isolated frustration to the exhilarated heights of shared achievement – who can most deeply appreciate the quality of what he has done.

Make no mistake about it, this was a very special regatta for a large and extremely competitive fleet. Some reports may have suggested a preponderance of flukey conditions, but one seasoned observer – often noted for his acerbic comments – bluntly stated that it was “magnificent” with its energetic variety of conditions, and racing at the highest level.

Out of this, with one race still to sail and a great first place out of what should have been the penultimate contest, Finn emerged with a scoreline of 3,6,8,10, 16,7, 2,1. Clearly, having already been good, he was onto a real roll towards the end. And with one race still to sail, he actually had the lowest gross points total in the entire fleet, but as he was discarding a 16th to the 37th of nett leader Tom Saunders of New Zealand, it was Saunders’ title to lose.

Keeping his cool and stacking up on the carbs – Finn in championship preparationKeeping his cool and stacking up on the carbs – Finn in championship preparation

It was not to be - the planned last race could not be sailed because of calm, and the final points were T.Saunders NZL 1st (23 pts); F.Lynch IRL 2nd 37pts; and T. Stipanovic CRO 3rd (65 pts..) at the head of a notably international fleet of 135 boats in which the Laser Standard (or the ILCA 7 if you prefer) demonstrated yet again that with 50 years and more of successful competition now logged, she really does do the business very well, and then some.

And for Ireland, the special nature of this result simply cannot be over-estimated. While it may be that during the Olympics the Lasers now get their greatest level of general global attention, the fact is that it was the Olympics that clambered aboard the Laser bandwagon back in 1996, rather than the other way round. And that was long after the Laser Class’s World Championship had already become firmly established as one of the planet’s truly great regattas.

Thus there are many for whom the Laser Worlds continue to be of greater importance than the four-yearly Olympic pressure cooker experience. Yet until now, Ireland has barely been at the races in this great event – it’s thought that a 19th back in pre-1996 days might have been our best showing.

But now, suddenly and gloriously, we have the Worlds Silver Medal for an Olympic sailor whose experiences have been decidedly mixed since he was – at 20 – the youngest helmsman in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Bill O’Hara in one of his many international roles, as Principal Race Officer for the Volvo Ocean RaceBill O’Hara in one of his many international roles, as Principal Race Officer for the Volvo Ocean Race

That sage observer Bill O’Hara OBE OLY of Ballyholme, a man of unrivalled experience in every aspect and form of international sailing, has put it crisply into perspective for us:


Finn Lynch's result is the best Irish result ever at an Olympic Class Event World Championship. Mark Mansfield & David O'Brien were third in the Star Class in 2000, and David Burrows was third in the Finn Class Worlds in 2004. They were the previous contenders, but I think they would all agree that Finn's result is incredibly impressive.

What's even more impressive was his strength of character to recover from missing out on qualifying for the Olympic Games in April. He took stock, worked hard with his coach Vasilij Zbogar and produced a seventh in the Europeans last month, and now a second in the Worlds.

Finn’s coach, Vasilij Zbogar of Slovenia, has won two Olympic Silver and one Olympic Bronze in sailingFinn’s coach, Vasilij Zbogar of Slovenia, has won two Olympic Silver and one Olympic Bronze in sailing

Missing the cut for the Tokyo Olympics had been a savage blow for Finn Lynch after a long period of steady training and competition since he went into the Olympics at the deep end in 2016, but it is something which is well understood by Mark Lyttle who – in 1996 – was Ireland’s Laser sailor at the class’s first appearance, at the Atlanta Olympics, when he recorded a race win.

In order to reach the level required, he was the first Irish Laser sailor to take up campaigning full time, supported by a discreetly assembled team of backers who were keen to see Irish Olympic sailing move onto a proper professional basis with the resources to concentrate full time on one class.

Thus Mark Lyttle was very much in a pioneering role a quarter of a century and more ago, but despite it being a challenging experience, it has not dented his love of Laser racing, his most recent major achievement being winning the Lasers Masters Worlds in Dublin Bay in 2018. Nevertheless he can remember the down times in the long countdown to Atlanta, and particularly a six month period when nothing was going right, and he had to step back and – successfully as it emerged – re-dial the whole business.

Mark Lyttle, Ireland’s first Olympic sailor in the Lasers in 1996, is seen here as winner of the Laser World Masters in Dublin Bay in 2018. Photo: O’BrienMark Lyttle, Ireland’s first Olympic sailor in the Lasers in 1996, is seen here as winner of the Laser World Masters in Dublin Bay in 2018. Photo: O’Brien

It was an experience which gives him a special insight into Finn Lynch’s extended period of disappointing results. In a class as numerous and globally popular as the Laser, inevitably it’s something many talented helms will share – the new World Champion Tom Saunders, for instance, has been banging at the door of a major podium place for ten years. But in Mark Lyttle’s case, those six months of frustration and disappointment in the 1990s have a greater relevance, as he knows only too well how such things play out within the Irish sailing context, so his thoughtful comments this week carry extra weight:


It's a tremendous result and a great platform on which to go forward.

The real benefit of a super result like this is around the building of confidence. ILCA boats provide no technical advantage no matter how much money you spend, and boat speed starts to equalise when everyone is sailing full-time, so psychology becomes more and more important. It is about confidence that has been backed up by results, and has real foundation. Knowing you can do it because you have done it.

And it is not just about confidence, it is about dealing with stress and tension when the pressure is on, and also building resilience to deal with the ups and downs, not just in a regatta, but around the campaign as a whole. These experiences are the foundation of getting top results at the Olympics. And of course in the short term, it provides motivation for a hard winter of training.


However, while Bill O’Hara and Mark Lyttle know Finn Lynch primarily as a sailor, 2016 Olympic Silver Medallist Annalise Murphy and her mother Cathy Mac Aleavey – an Olympian in the 470 Class in 1988 – know him as sailor, friend and shipmate, something which was well demonstrated in the summer of 2020 as sailing began to emerge from the first pandemic lockdown, when Finn was invited to race with Annalise in the family’s Water Wag in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, the friendship being strengthened by a handy win.

Finn Lynch and Annalise Murphy winning a Water Wag Race in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, July 2020. Photo: Con MurphyFinn Lynch and Annalise Murphy winning a Water Wag Race in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, July 2020. Photo: Con Murphy

That Water Wag race seen again in this week’s congratulatory Tweet from Annalise.That Water Wag race seen again in this week’s congratulatory Tweet from Annalise.

Both Cathy and Annalise are now very much in post-Olympic mode, with the latter immersed in an MBA at Trinity College Dublin, while Cathy – having excelled in classic boat-building under the tutelage of the late great Jimmy Furey of Lecarrow – has been somewhat taken up with dog breeding. Yet here again she has been blessed with success, and Mac Aleavey Kennels are showing splendid new sibling pups, one golden and the other black.

Olympic sailor and classic boat-builder Cathy Mac Aleavey’s latest venture. Photo: Cathy Mac AelaveyOlympic sailor and classic boat-builder Cathy Mac Aleavey’s latest venture. Photo: Cathy Mac Aelavey

Despite all this, they have been following Finn Lynch’s progress with sympathetic understanding, and some celebration in the Kennels this week produced the following statement:

Sailing is such a difficult sport, especially the Laser Standard Fleet where the depth of talent is so high.

To keep on trying after the disappointment of not making the Tokyo Olympics shows his strength of character.

We think Carmel Winkelmann must be thrilled wherever she is. She never lost her faith in Finn.

Roll on Paris 2024!


That reference to the late Carmel Winkelmann will have immediately rung a bell with many who monitor Irish sailing, and particularly Dublin Bay racing. Through her fifty years and more of junior training and general encouragement for promise shown in the National Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire harbour generally, Carmel had become a formidable talent scout, so much so that when the news broke of Finn’s Silver Medal on Wednesday, immediately had one-liners with “That’s one for Carmel” as their brief but clear theme. Perhaps this can best be explained by our Sailing on Saturday for July 23rd 2016

The late Carmel Winkelmann and the young Finn Lynch at the National Yacht Club in July 2016. Photo: W M NixonThe late Carmel Winkelmann and the young Finn Lynch at the National Yacht Club in July 2016. Photo: W M Nixon

The story of how a boy from Benekerry in the lovely depths of County Carlow came to frontline international sailing by way of Blessington Sailing Club in the Wicklow Hills and the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire now has a profound added resonance. And while we can’t properly publish some of the private emails we’ve received from the trans-national coaching brotherhood about their genuine and unfeigned delight in Finn Lynch’s success, let’s just say that for an extremely special select international group, this is seen as very good news indeed. Nevertheless, they’re concerned that the powers-that-be truly realise that right now is the time that Finn Lynch will need a new level of psychological and organisational support. Time will tell.

Published in W M Nixon
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After playing havoc with the ILCA 7/Laser World Championships all week, Mother Nature decided to end the regatta early with Storm Blas preventing the final day’s racing, a decision that handed Ireland its best ever Laser World Championship result but also denied second overall Finn Lynch the possibility of going one better given the on-form Dun Laoghaire ace had the best discardable result and was least at risk from further races.

With two days lost to light winds early on in the regatta, only eight races were completed over the six-day event.

Any hopes of bettering positions were dashed by the huge seas preventing sailors from leaving the harbour at Barcelona Sailing Centre, the Brits taking on the 135-boat fleet had to settle for their day five scores.

Taking the title of top Brit was 23-year-old Welshman and the Irish Sea sailor Daniel Whiteley, who finished eighth in what was his first world championships since becoming a full-time athlete with the British Sailing Team.

Whiteley followed up on last month’s 13th place at the ILCA 7 European Championships with another personal best against the international fleet.

“It feels incredible,” said Whiteley, from Bangor. “I’ve missed racing at the front since I aged out of under-21 regattas, so to be back in the top ten feels amazing. This is the first world championship I’ve been to since 2018 and my first since going full time with the British Sailing Team. To come away with this result means everything.”

Fellow young gun Sam Whaley also bettered his 22nd at the Euros – also a personal best – to come home 15th, obliterating his 2020 result of 64th.

“It’s been a really tricky week here in Barcelona but I’m pretty chuffed to finish the event 15th overall, an improvement of almost fifty places from last year,” the 24-year-old from Swanage, Dorset, said.

“The team environment we have is brilliant and has really allowed us to level up this year. It’s pretty cool to share this success with my squadmates as well as coaches Penny and Matt, who have been awesome this week. I’m going to remember this one for a long time.”

Tokyo 2020 Team GB athlete Elliot Hanson led the regatta at the halfway stage when teammate and recently crowned European champion Micky Beckett picked up the mantle.

However, the pair’s medals hopes were ended when a collision between them on the start line of the final race of day five resulted in Beckett pulling out with a minor injury and Hanson retiring in accordance with the rules.

Beckett finished 13th while Hanson was 17th.

“It’s been good to be back racing after a prolonged break since Tokyo,” Hanson said. “It’s obviously a real shame to end the way it did having led most of the week. An unfortunate freak accident that ultimately took both myself and Micky out of the standings wasn’t in the script.

“I’m happy he’s ok though and look forward to training hard together this winter. Special mention to both Sam and Dan who have been working hard and sailed a fantastic week to both score personal bests.”

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After three gold fleet races at the Laser Worlds/ILCA 7 Championships in Barcelona, Ireland's Finn Lynch has moved up to second overall.

With one day of competition (Wednesday) to decide the overall honours, the National Yacht Club ace is 14 points off the lead in a fleet of 139 entries drawn from 44 countries.

At lunchtime today, the fleet was signalled with 'AP over H' on the water and 'AP' displayed ashore for the Silver fleet bringing Tuesday racing to a conclusion.

The on-form Rio Olympian signalled his intentions of making good on his campaign for Paris 2024 after missing out on Tokyo with a seventh at the European Championships just a month ago.

He has sailed a consistent series so far this week in the trickiest of conditions, chalking up a 7,2,1 in the first day of gold fleet racing today.

Provisional results position of the ILCA 7/Laser World ChampionshipsThe provisional results position of the ILCA 7/Laser World Championships with one day left to sail

Lynch was placed eighth overall after a long day on the water on Monday but leapfrogged some of the world's top sailors at the start of the 70-boat gold fleet racing with a magnificent race win for Ireland in the last race today. 

The New Zealand overall leader Thomas Saunders finished one place ahead of Lynch at the Bulgarian-hosted Euros in October and previously made the Laser Worlds top ten in 2017 and 2019.

Some places 28 points adrift of Lynch is the Tokyo Olympic silver medalist Tonci Stipanovic, an indication of the level of competition at the Barcelona Sailing Centre this week.

The prospect of Lynch posting a top result was discussed on Afloat in its World Championships preview here.

Meanwhile, there were mixed results for the other Irish boats in action on the penultimate day of racing in Barcelona.

Howth YC's Ewan McMahon moved up to 25th overall in the Gold fleet thanks to a 12th place in the second race of the day.

It was a similar story for Under 21 sailor Tom Higgins of the Royal St. George YC who had a 15th place on his first day of racing in the Gold fleet where he lies 47th overall.

Jamie McMahon (Howth YC), younger brother of Ewan had a seventh-place on Tuesday in the Silver fleet where he lies 14th overall.

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Consistent sailing in one of the world's toughest dinghy fleets by the National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch sees the solo ace lying eighth overall at the Laser Standard ILCA7 (Laser Standard) World Championships in Spain with two days of finals racing to go.

It's a top performance for the Rio Olympian on Mediterranean waters that also sees two of his three teammates competing in the gold fleet of the championships.

There are 139 entries from 44 countries competing for the coveted world title.

Lynch delivered a solid day's performance on Monday, counting eighth and tenth places to lie eighth overall as well as a 16th place that he discarded.

Light and tricky winds continued to affect the championship, with two races sailed early on Monday in a dying breeze before the 135-boat fleet was sent ashore.

A sea breeze formed in the afternoon that permitted one more race.

At the end of the qualification round, three out of four Irish sailors have reached the Gold fleet for the event, with up to six races planned to decide the championship by Wednesday afternoon.

Stronger winds are also forecast, so a full wind range for the series will produce a worthy champion. So far the early running is bing made by GBR's Elliot Hanson.

Ewan McMahon & Tom Higgins in Gold fleet

Currently 31st overall, Howth YC's Ewan McMahon secured his Gold fleet place, and a top 20 overall place is still within reach.

Meanwhile, Under 21 sailor Tom Higgins of the Royal St. George YC cut the top 70 boats for the finals phase when he picked up four places to finish the qualification round in 45th place.

Royal St. George's Tom HigginsRoyal St. George's Tom Higgins

Higgins showed great form in two attempted races on Monday, but these had to be abandoned due to the fading wind. However, he did secure a sixth place today (Monday), which resulted in his qualification for the finals.

Jamie McMahon (Howth YC), younger brother of Ewan and Ireland's second Under 21 sailor at the event, is in 83rd place overall.

The series will intensify as the best sailors from both qualification flights come together to decide the title.

Three races are scheduled on Tuesday for both Gold and Silver fleet as the regatta runs a day behind schedule.

Results here

Racing at the ILCA7 (Laser Standard) World Championships was again postponed on Sunday 7th November 2021 due to light winds in Barcelona leaving just two races sailed out of the six originally scheduled for the series that began on Friday.

The fleet went afloat on Sunday morning as planned and while two races were started, both had to be abandoned as the already light breeze faded.

The qualification phase of the championship has now been extended into Monday for the 135-boat event that will eventually decide the Gold and Silver fleets for the final round that is due to conclude by Wednesday afternoon (10th November 2021).

Rio 2016 Olympian Finn Lynch of the National Yacht Club is currently fifth overall while Howth Yacht Club's Ewan McMahon is 19th overall from Saturday's two races.

Ireland also has two other sailors competing at Under 21 level. Tom Higgins of the Royal St. George YC lies 49th overall while Jamie McMahon (Howth YC), younger brother of Ewan is in 72nd place.

On Monday, the intention is to sail three races back-to-back for each fleet with a first warning gun at 0900hrs.

Published in Laser
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There was no wind or racing for day one of the Laser / ILCA 7 Worlds in Barcelona, Spain today. 

A four-boat Irish team, (details here) including 2016 Rio Olympian Finn Lynch, is hoping to break into the top 30 of one of the hottest fleets in the world. 

Lynch (National Yacht Club), Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) Ewan’s younger brother Jamie McMahon and Tom Higgins (Royal St George Yacht Club) are competing.

Three races are scheduled for Saturday with the first warning signal at 9:30.

Published in Laser
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The British Sailing Team have a strong Laser/ILCA 7 squad and have the last three European champions competing at the 2021 Laser /ILCA Standard Men's World Championship (ILCA 7)at the Barcelona International Sailing Centre starting on Friday.

Micky Beckett is racing fresh from his Euros win in Bulgaria in October and is joined by teammate and 2019 Euros winner Lorenzo Chiavarini. Team GB’s Tokyo 2020 sailor and 2020 European champion, Elliot Hanson, is also making his return to action following the Games. BST members Sam Whaley and Dan Whiteley are among five other Brits joining the start line.

The ILCA 7 fleet always boasts a stellar lineup from across the globe. The Brits will be looking to build on their phenomenal recent European Championships success and translate that on to the world stage coming up against a host of world and Olympic champions like Cypriot Pavlos Kontides and Germany’s Philip Buhl. The class has the strength and depth to put together a very strong start list for this event, and with mandatory chartered boats, the racing will be just as strong.

“I enjoyed a few days off after the Euros, the recovery time was really nice. This is the first World championships since Covid, so it's an exciting opportunity that I've been thinking about for a while. The ILCA Worlds are a 'mandatory charter' event so every competitor is provided a brand-new boat for the week, making it the levelest playing field you could imagine, the racing is really tough and unforgiving. Given the event is so late in the year and on the Mediterranean I think we're expecting lighter breezes, so the job for me is to try and get to the halfway point of the regatta in good shape and push from there.” – Micky Beckett.

“I'm excited to get back racing in Barcelona. I've only done one day in the boat since the Olympics a little under three months ago, so I have no expectations going in. For me, it's about hatching a plan from the ashes of my Tokyo campaign to try and win the Worlds next May. The fire inside is starting to burn again which is important before getting back in the boat, unfortunately, I suspect my legs will be burning more.” – Elliot Hanson

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Since the Laser/ILCA 7 dinghy made its Olympic debut 25 years ago, Ireland has sought a top 30 result at the annual World Championships.

There's the prospect of such a result at the Barcelona-hosted championship next week thanks to the current form of Irish Laser ace Finn Lynch, part of a new team bidding for Paris 2024.

Lynch, of the National Yacht Club, will be aiming to build on last month's seventh overall score at the European Championships in Bulgaria.

It's the first Worlds in this Olympic triennial. Hence, while the competition may arguably not be as red hot as the Olympic year itself, a Laser Worlds contest is never lukewarm. There are 139 entries from 44 countries.

The ILCA 7 fleet always boasts a stellar lineup from across the globe. The Brits will be looking to build on their recent European Championships success and translate that on to the world stage coming up against a host of world and Olympic champions like Cypriot Pavlos Kontides and Germany’s Philip Buhl. The class has the strength and depth to put together a very strong start list for this event, and with mandatory chartered boats, the racing will be just as strong.

As the number one Irish contender, Lynch is attempting to rebuild after his disappointment of failing to qualify for Tokyo 2020, so it's important he's on the right tack at the first opportunity.

World Championship results can be highly dependent on the stage of the four-year (or three for Paris) Olympic cycle. The standard builds typically from the Olympic Games and then peaks in the next pre-Olympic year (or maybe in the Olympic year itself if places are still up for grabs).

Howth's Ewan McMahonHowth's Ewan McMahon

Keep improving

Ireland's 1996 Laser representative, Mark Lyttle, a race winner in Atlanta when the Laser made its Olympic debut, says a typical campaign strategy is to 'bang a result early in the cycle and then keep improving your performance to keep results at the same level as the overall standard [of the fleet] improves.  If you start behind the cycle, you have to improve quicker than the fleet during cycle".

So, as Paris hoves into view, successful campaigns are already well up and running.

The Irish competition for the single place on the Marseille start line is already taking shape, and there have been changes since Tokyo in the Irish camp.

Howth's Ewan McMahon continues as Lynch's main rival but absent from the Barcelona starting lineup is long-time running mate, Ballyholme's Liam Glynn.

Royal St. George's Tom HigginsRoyal St. George's Tom Higgins

The former Topper World Champion is replaced by two relative greenhorns, McMahon's younger brother Jamie, who sampled his first senior competition in the silver fleet in Bulgaria a month ago, and Royal St George's Tom Higgins.

Howth's Jamie McMahon, younger brother of EwanHowth's Jamie McMahon, younger brother of Ewan

Mediterranean sailing

Typically, as air temperatures dip and the water stays warm lighter winds tend to prevail in the Mediterranean city at this time of year. Experts predicted winds in the 7 to 12 knots range for Friday, but other weather models are now looking windier.

The lighter stuff would help Higgins, who is proving quick in sub ten knots; for example, the Dun Laoghaire Harbour helmsman won a race at the Radial Europeans in Poland in 2020. 

Two races per day are scheduled from Friday at the Barcelona International Sailing Centre until Monday 8 November, when the fleet splits into Gold and Silver. The final series then continues until Wednesday, 10 November.

Make the cut

Coach Vasilij Žbogar, who was ushered in in 2018 with great fanfare to boost Irish Tokyo medal chances (only for Ireland not to qualify), is coaching again with the hope that Ireland can make the cut, at least, this time.

It might not be too popular to air it in some quarters, but despite 25 years of trying, Ireland has never finished in the top 30 of the World Championships. You have to go right back to the 'eighties to find any higher Irish results. In 1983 Lyttle finished 19th and Bill O'Hara 13th, a record, albeit achieved in pre-Olympic times, that stands to this day.

Lynch's own best Worlds performance is 31, scored in Melbourne in 2020 a position he also got in Aarhus, Denmark in 2018. 31st is also a result also achieved by his predecessor James Espey in Oman in 2013.

Lynch's Euros seventh in Bulgaria last month indicates the Carlow man is on a mission, so could Barcelona 2021 be a breakthrough for Irish Laser interests?

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The cut short Investwise Irish Youth Sailing National Championships on Cork Harbour had produced some clear winners in five classes regardless of today's Yellow Alert weather warning at Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Five titles were divided between Dublin and Cork sailors with the host club taking two crowns, the biggest haul of any single club with the 29er and Topper titles won by local sailors.

Both Laser titles go to Dublin, with Howth Yacht Club taking the ILCA 6 and the National Yacht Club winning in the ILCA 4.

The 420 title is shared by a combined Malahide and Wexford duo.

McMahon wins ILCA 6 but Crosbie's Reinstatement Makes it Close

ILCA 6 Champion - Eve McMahon of Howth

As Afloat reported earlier, the final results from Saturday’s long day afloat weren’t initially confirmed as two titles were eventually settled ashore in the protest room this morning.

On Saturday evening, a protest by ILCA6 (Laser Radial) overall leader Eve McMahon saw the Howth Yacht Club sailor extend her lead over Michael Crosbie of the Royal Cork YC when he was disqualified from Race 10 due to a port and starboard incident.

However, the Crosshaven sailor returned to the protest room on Sunday morning to have his result reinstated as McMahon had not informed the race committee of her protest on Saturday.

McMahon still emerged as ILCA6 Youth National Champion after the tie-break with Crosbie.

O'Shaughnessy & Dwyer Lift 29er Skiff Title 

29er Champions Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer (Royal Cork YC) Photo: Bob Bateman29er Champions - Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer (Royal Cork YC) Photo: Bob Bateman

Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer (Royal Cork YC) won the 29er skiff national title by a single point as Afloat reported here after a close contest with Tim Norwood and Nathan Van Steenberge from the Royal Irish YC and National YC respectively in their eleven strong demonstration class that immediately followed a European Championships campaign on Lake Garda last week.

The runners-up were also in the protest room on Sunday morning seeking redress for equipment failure in their second race of the series on Friday but their submission was ruled out of time.

Collins top Toppers, Newcomer Ledoux Wins 4.7s

Rian CollinsTopper Champion - Rian Collins of Royal Cork Photo: Bob Bateman

As Afloat reported earlier, Crosshaven’s Rian Collins won the 38-boat Topper class with a 12-point lead over his clubmate Dan O’Leary taking the runner-up place in their seven-race series. Bobby Driscoll's third overall kept the Belfast Lough Topper flag flying.

Sam Ledoux of the National YCILCA 4 Champion - Sam Ledoux of the National YC Photo: Bob Bateman

The Topper fleet shared the same course as the ILCA4 (Laser 4.7) class, the second largest of the event with 31 boats where a newcomer to the class, Sam Ledoux of the National YC, emerged youth national champion. 

Five wins Give McDowell & Thompson the 420 Title

420  champions - Jack McDowell and Henry Thompson Photo: Bob Bateman420 champions - Jack McDowell and Henry Thompson Photo: Bob Bateman

The Malahide and Wexford Harbour pairing of Jack McDowell and Henry Thompson continued their three-day lead of the 420 class to win comfortably as Afloat reports here over Eoghan Duffy with Conor Paul of Lough Ree YC in a disappointingly small nine boat class.

Published in Youth Sailing
Page 9 of 67

Irish Olympic Sailing Team

Ireland has a proud representation in sailing at the Olympics dating back to 1948. Today there is a modern governing structure surrounding the selection of sailors the Olympic Regatta

Irish Olympic Sailing FAQs

Ireland’s representation in sailing at the Olympics dates back to 1948, when a team consisting of Jimmy Mooney (Firefly), Alf Delany and Hugh Allen (Swallow) competed in that year’s Summer Games in London (sailing off Torquay). Except for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Ireland has sent at least one sailor to every Summer Games since then.

  • 1948 – London (Torquay) — Firefly: Jimmy Mooney; Swallow: Alf Delany, Hugh Allen
  • 1952 – Helsinki — Finn: Alf Delany * 1956 – Melbourne — Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1960 – Rome — Flying Dutchman: Johnny Hooper, Peter Gray; Dragon: Jimmy Mooney, David Ryder, Robin Benson; Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1964 – Tokyo — Dragon: Eddie Kelliher, Harry Maguire, Rob Dalton; Finn: Johnny Hooper 
  • 1972 – Munich (Kiel) — Tempest: David Wilkins, Sean Whitaker; Dragon: Robin Hennessy, Harry Byrne, Owen Delany; Finn: Kevin McLaverty; Flying Dutchman: Harold Cudmore, Richard O’Shea
  • 1976 – Montreal (Kingston) — 470: Robert Dix, Peter Dix; Flying Dutchman: Barry O’Neill, Jamie Wilkinson; Tempest: David Wilkins, Derek Jago
  • 1980 – Moscow (Tallinn) — Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson (Silver medalists) * 1984 – Los Angeles — Finn: Bill O’Hara
  • 1988 – Seoul (Pusan) — Finn: Bill O’Hara; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; 470 (Women): Cathy MacAleavy, Aisling Byrne
  • 1992 – Barcelona — Europe: Denise Lyttle; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; Star: Mark Mansfield, Tom McWilliam
  • 1996 – Atlanta (Savannah) — Laser: Mark Lyttle; Europe: Aisling Bowman (Byrne); Finn: John Driscoll; Star: Mark Mansfield, David Burrows; 470 (Women): Denise Lyttle, Louise Cole; Soling: Marshall King, Dan O’Grady, Garrett Connolly
  • 2000 – Sydney — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, David O'Brien
  • 2004 – Athens — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, Killian Collins; 49er: Tom Fitzpatrick, Fraser Brown; 470: Gerald Owens, Ross Killian; Laser: Rory Fitzpatrick
  • 2008 – Beijing (Qingdao) — Star: Peter O’Leary, Stephen Milne; Finn: Tim Goodbody; Laser Radial: Ciara Peelo; 470: Gerald Owens, Phil Lawton
  • 2012 – London (Weymouth) — Star: Peter O’Leary, David Burrows; 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; Laser Radial: Annalise Murphy; Laser: James Espey; 470: Gerald Owens, Scott Flanigan
  • 2016 – Rio — Laser Radial (Women): Annalise Murphy (Silver medalist); 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; 49erFX: Andrea Brewster, Saskia Tidey; Laser: Finn Lynch; Paralympic Sonar: John Twomey, Ian Costello & Austin O’Carroll

Ireland has won two Olympics medals in sailing events, both silver: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson in the Flying Dutchman at Moscow 1980, and Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial at Rio 2016.

The current team, as of December 2020, consists of Laser sailors Finn Lynch, Liam Glynn and Ewan McMahon, 49er pairs Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle, and Sean Waddilove and Robert Dickson, as well as Laser Radial sailors Annalise Murphy and Aoife Hopkins.

Irish Sailing is the National Governing Body for sailing in Ireland.

Irish Sailing’s Performance division is responsible for selecting and nurturing Olympic contenders as part of its Performance Pathway.

The Performance Pathway is Irish Sailing’s Olympic talent pipeline. The Performance Pathway counts over 70 sailors from 11 years up in its programme.The Performance Pathway is made up of Junior, Youth, Academy, Development and Olympic squads. It provides young, talented and ambitious Irish sailors with opportunities to move up through the ranks from an early age. With up to 100 young athletes training with the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway, every aspect of their performance is planned and closely monitored while strong relationships are simultaneously built with the sailors and their families

Rory Fitzpatrick is the head coach of Irish Sailing Performance. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and was an Athens 2004 Olympian in the Laser class.

The Performance Director of Irish Sailing is James O’Callaghan. Since 2006 James has been responsible for the development and delivery of athlete-focused, coach-led, performance-measured programmes across the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway. A Business & Economics graduate of Trinity College Dublin, he is a Level 3 Qualified Coach and Level 2 Coach Tutor. He has coached at five Olympic Games and numerous European and World Championship events across multiple Olympic classes. He is also a member of the Irish Sailing Foundation board.

Annalise Murphy is by far and away the biggest Irish sailing star. Her fourth in London 2012 when she came so agonisingly close to a bronze medal followed by her superb silver medal performance four years later at Rio won the hearts of Ireland. Murphy is aiming to go one better in Tokyo 2021. 

Under head coach Rory Fitzpatrick, the coaching staff consists of Laser Radial Academy coach Sean Evans, Olympic Laser coach Vasilij Zbogar and 49er team coach Matt McGovern.

The Irish Government provides funding to Irish Sailing. These funds are exclusively for the benefit of the Performance Pathway. However, this falls short of the amount required to fund the Performance Pathway in order to allow Ireland compete at the highest level. As a result the Performance Pathway programme currently receives around €850,000 per annum from Sport Ireland and €150,000 from sponsorship. A further €2 million per annum is needed to have a major impact at the highest level. The Irish Sailing Foundation was established to bridge the financial gap through securing philanthropic donations, corporate giving and sponsorship.

The vision of the Irish Sailing Foundation is to generate the required financial resources for Ireland to scale-up and execute its world-class sailing programme. Irish Sailing works tirelessly to promote sailing in Ireland and abroad and has been successful in securing funding of 1 million euro from Sport Ireland. However, to compete on a par with other nations, a further €2 million is required annually to realise the ambitions of our talented sailors. For this reason, the Irish Sailing Foundation was formed to seek philanthropic donations. Led by a Board of Directors and Head of Development Kathryn Grace, the foundation lads a campaign to bridge the financial gap to provide the Performance Pathway with the funds necessary to increase coaching hours, upgrade equipment and provide world class sport science support to a greater number of high-potential Irish sailors.

The Senior and Academy teams of the Performance Pathway are supported with the provision of a coach, vehicle, coach boat and boats. Even with this level of subsidy there is still a large financial burden on individual families due to travel costs, entry fees and accommodation. There are often compromises made on the amount of days a coach can be hired for and on many occasions it is necessary to opt out of major competitions outside Europe due to cost. Money raised by the Irish Sailing Foundation will go towards increased quality coaching time, world-class equipment, and subsiding entry fees and travel-related costs. It also goes towards broadening the base of talented sailors that can consider campaigning by removing financial hurdles, and the Performance HQ in Dublin to increase efficiency and reduce logistical issues.

The ethos of the Performance Pathway is progression. At each stage international performance benchmarks are utilised to ensure the sailors are meeting expectations set. The size of a sailor will generally dictate which boat they sail. The classes selected on the pathway have been identified as the best feeder classes for progression. Currently the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway consists of the following groups: * Pathway (U15) Optimist and Topper * Youth Academy (U19) Laser 4.7, Laser Radial and 420 * Development Academy (U23) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX * Team IRL (direct-funded athletes) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX

The Irish Sailing performance director produces a detailed annual budget for the programme which is presented to Sport Ireland, Irish Sailing and the Foundation for detailed discussion and analysis of the programme, where each item of expenditure is reviewed and approved. Each year, the performance director drafts a Performance Plan and Budget designed to meet the objectives of Irish Performance Sailing based on an annual review of the Pathway Programmes from Junior to Olympic level. The plan is then presented to the Olympic Steering Group (OSG) where it is independently assessed and the budget is agreed. The OSG closely monitors the delivery of the plan ensuring it meets the agreed strategy, is within budget and in line with operational plans. The performance director communicates on an ongoing basis with the OSG throughout the year, reporting formally on a quarterly basis.

Due to the specialised nature of Performance Sport, Irish Sailing established an expert sub-committee which is referred to as the Olympic Steering Group (OSG). The OSG is chaired by Patrick Coveney and its objective is centred around winning Olympic medals so it oversees the delivery of the Irish Sailing’s Performance plan.

At Junior level (U15) sailors learn not only to be a sailor but also an athlete. They develop the discipline required to keep a training log while undertaking fitness programmes, attending coaching sessions and travelling to competitions. During the winter Regional Squads take place and then in spring the National Squads are selected for Summer Competitions. As sailors move into Youth level (U19) there is an exhaustive selection matrix used when considering a sailor for entry into the Performance Academy. Completion of club training programmes, attendance at the performance seminars, physical suitability and also progress at Junior and Youth competitions are assessed and reviewed. Once invited in to the Performance Academy, sailors are given a six-month trial before a final decision is made on their selection. Sailors in the Academy are very closely monitored and engage in a very well planned out sailing, training and competition programme. There are also defined international benchmarks which these sailors are required to meet by a certain age. Biannual reviews are conducted transparently with the sailors so they know exactly where they are performing well and they are made aware of where they may need to improve before the next review.

©Afloat 2020

Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition

Where is the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition being held? Sailing at Paris 2024 will take place in Marseille on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea between 28 July and 8 August, and will feature Kiteboarding for the first time, following a successful Olympic debut in 2018 at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. The sailing event is over 700 km from the main Olympic Games venue in Paris.

What are the events? The Olympic Sailing Competition at Paris 2024 will feature ten Events:

  • Women’s: Windsurfing, Kite, Dinghy, Skiff
  • Men’s: Windsurfing, Kite, Dinghy, Skiff
  • Mixed: Dinghy, Multihull

How do you qualify for Paris 2024?  The first opportunity for athletes to qualify for Paris 2024 will be the Sailing World Championships, The Hague 2023, followed by the Men’s and Women’s Dinghy 2024 World Championships and then a qualifier on each of World Sailing’s six continents in each of the ten Events. The final opportunity is a last chance regatta to be held in 2024, just a few months before the Games begin.

50-50 split between male and female athletes: The Paris 2024 Games is set to be the first to achieve a 50-50 split between male and female athletes, building on the progress made at both Rio 2016 (47.5%) and Tokyo 2020 (48.8%). It will also be the first Olympic Games where two of the three Chief roles in the sailing event will be held by female officials,

At A Glance - Irish Olympic Sailing Team 2022 Events

  • Laser World Championships 21-28 May, Mexico
  • 49er European Championships, 4 – 10 July, Denmark
  • Olympic Test Event, 1- 14 Aug, Marseille, France
  • 49er World Championships ... 31 Aug – 6 Sep, Canada
  • Hague Youth World Championships, 7 Sept – 2 Oct, The Hague
  • Laser Radial World Championships, 10 – 17 Oct, Qingdao, China
  • Laser European Championships, 14 – 21 Nov, Hyeres, France

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