Sailing: Howth’s Rocco Wright secures bronze on final day at ILCA European Championships

Dún Laoghaire’s Fiachra McDonnell takes ninth overall in class, just missing out on potential tilt at podium finish

Ideal conditions on the final day at the ILCA European Championships in Andora, Italy enabled Rocco Wright from Howth to take bronze after he was unable to defend his title won previously in November.

Going into the final day, he was one of the top three boats in the hunt for the title win and virtually assured of a medal.

But in the end, it was Greek sailor Athanasios Kyfidis and Mattia Cesana of Italy who closed the gap on one another and it took the tie-break for the Italian to take the ILCA6 championship.

Although retaining the title might have been the dream outcome for the 16-year-old Irish sailor, finishing with a podium result just four weeks after recovering from a medical condition isn’t a bad outcome.

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Dún Laoghaire’s Fiachra McDonnell also had a good week taking ninth overall in the class with just a handful of higher scores blocking a potential tilt at the podium.

Olympic veteran

His Howth club-mate competing in ILCA6 women’s senior fleet, Eve McMahon, finished off her regatta with a better day to finish in the mid-teens overall.

“Eve had a good day and is definitely making progress in the fleet and learning a lot with more to come,” said Rory Fitzpatrick, Irish Sailing’s head coach. “She doesn’t have as much time in the boat as the older seniors but is getting faster and just needs to improve her speed.”

Meanwhile, after a bad race result on Thursday plus losing in a protest scenario, Olympic veteran Finn Lynch managed to recover to finish 10th European overall in his ILCA7 men’s senior event.

“It was a very, very up and down week for me, a good start and a decent ending,” he said after racing ended. “I was happy with how I was sailing but definitely lots of room to improve.”

David Branigan

David Branigan

David Branigan is a contributor on sailing to The Irish Times