Finn Lynch takes bronze at European Championship and secures place at Paris Olympics

Carlow sailor narrowly misses silver after recovering from faltering opening race and steadily improving form as week progressed

With an event to spare, Carlow sailor Finn Lynch has secured his place at this Summer’s Paris 2024 Olympic Games along with a European Championship Bronze medal.

The six-day series in Athens was beset by near calm conditions throughout though Lynch managed to recover from a faltering opening race and steadily improved his form as the week progressed.

He narrowly missed a Silver or perhaps even Gold medal as he ended up tied on points with Hungary’s Jonatan Vadnai who edged ahead on tie-break.

Even overall winner Valterri Uusiltalo from Hungary went into the final race on edge as he only had a winning margin of four points as the high-scoring regatta went down to the wire.


Critically for Lynch, the result puts an end to the Irish selection trials series that this championship formed the second regatta in.

Howth sailor Ewan McMahon ended the championship in 17th overall marking a further step-up in performance terms but even with a third event, the French Olympic Week in April, Lynch had opened up too much of a points lead after his ninth overall in the world championships last month in Australia.

Nevertheless, McMahon’s result is enough to get him back into the Sport Ireland carding scheme and he remains a prospect for Los Angeles 2028.

“The last day was very good. I knew I needed three good results to be close to the medal and for other people to mess up, but I knew that was possible,” said Lynch.

“I was just very focused and had good speed upwind and downwind though I didn’t really know what the story was in the last race but I knew I was close. I’m just really, really happy and delighted to get a medal.”

Meanwhile, Ireland’s third boat in Athens was sailed by Eve McMahon in the ILCA6 event where the 19-year-old Howth sailor finished 15th overall.

Younger sibling to Ewan, Eve has already qualified for Paris and was this week being coached by Annalise Murphy with particular emphasis on her starting tactics.

The Athens venue was beset by light winds from the start of the six-day event last Sunday and no racing was possible on two of the six days.

Only in the final two days did the light breeze fill in sufficiently to allow up to three races to complete the championships albeit without a medal race for the Men’s ILCA7 event.

David Branigan

David Branigan

David Branigan is a contributor on sailing to The Irish Times