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Ireland’s Texas-Bound Laser Youth Gold Medallists: Will Extreme Weather Make It Out of the Frying Pan Into The Fire?

21st July 2022
Keeping cool – Eve MacMahon leading in The Netherlands as the temperature builds
Keeping cool – Eve MacMahon leading in The Netherlands as the temperature builds

Despite the gathering record-breaking heatwave over Europe as July progressed, Ireland’s Eve McMahon (17) won Gold at both the ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) European Youth Championship in Greece, and then Gold again at the 2022 World Sailing Youth World Championship in The Netherlands, where her Howth YC clubmate Rocco Wright (15) also collected Gold after a masterful final race.

But as world climate observers never tire of telling us, what is currently regarded as extreme heat in mid-Europe is simply thought of as fairly normal summer in places like southern Texas.

Yet a six-strong Irish ILCA team is now bound for the ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) Youth World Championships at Houston in Texas (starting Monday, July 25th) where the typical forecast for the city this afternoon (Thursday) predicts a temperature of 37C. However, it will feel like 41C owing to an underlying high level of humidity (86% at night) which does admittedly fall to 42% when the afternoon’s 15 kmh southerly breeze sets in.

Double Gold – Eve McMahon & Rocco Wright after total success in The HagueDouble Gold – Eve McMahon & Rocco Wright after total success in The Hague

But whether it’s a case of out of the frying pan into the fire or not remains to be seen. In the stellar Netherlands championship, their coach Vasilij Zbogar commented on how cool the two young stars stayed throughout. And though that was about their general state of mind, it’s a very useful foundation to have in place when you’re dealing with the added challenge of searing heat.

Also racing for Ireland is Sophie Kilmartin. Fiachra McDonnell, Luke Turvey and Oisin Hughes, with Liam Glynn as coach. 

Next week’s hot spot for world youth sailing. The Houston Yacht Club is – meteorologically speaking - the coolest place in townNext week’s hot spot for world youth sailing. The Houston Yacht Club is – meteorologically speaking - the coolest place in town

In Texas, the Irish team will face a wide field of 212 sailors from 35 countries. All sailors are under 18. The regatta is held over a week from Monday 25 July to Saturday 30th July. There are two races scheduled per day, each lasting approximately 50 minutes. Hosting the event is the Houston Yacht Club, based in Shoreacres, Texas, USA and the International Laser Class Association (ILCA).

WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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