Dinghy sailors at full stretch both at home and abroad

A young Irish squad’s efforts at the ISAF world youth championships in Cyprus come to a conclusion today

The Irish sailing scene has never been more buoyant, with Irish dinghy sailors at full stretch this morning, as leading classes stage championships on home waters and abroad, and a young Irish squad’s efforts at the ISAF world youth championships in Cyprus come to a conclusion today.

In one week’s time the first ever staging of a world championships on Ireland’s inland waters takes place on Lough Derg with the Mirror worlds, and next month the Olympic Laser class European championships sets sail on Dublin Bay.

It supports claims made in this column last spring that much more should be done to promote dinghy and one-design sailing. At noon today, fresh from victory at last weekend's Dún Laoghaire regatta, new Fireball pairing Bryan Byrne and Stephen Campion will be the latest threat to Noel Butler and Stephen Oram's national title when competition gets underway off Skerries.

In a hectic fortnight for the Fireball class Kenny Rumball and Dave Moran, Connor and James Clancy are also slated for the 20-boat national championships. A nine-race series is scheduled to conclude on Sunday.


There will be no repeat of Ireland’s silver medal success in Cyprus this evening when the competition concludes but consolation that the eight-strong young Irish team has several more years before the under-19 age limit is reached.

The team of five boys and three girls are competing in a fleet of 351 sailors across three different classes and have been sailing up to three races per day. In the Laser Radial dinghy, Robbie Gilmore (Strangford Lough Yacht Club) lies 21st from 56 after nine races sailed and in the girls' division Sarah Eames (Ballyholme Yacht Club) scored the Irish highlight of the week with a third to add to a fifth and seventh to put her into 18th place from a fleet of 40.

In the 420 dinghy, Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove (Howth Yacht Club) scored an eighth in race seven yesterday and are 15th from 31 after 10, and in the girls’ 420 Clíodhna Ní Shuilleabháin (Kinsale Yacht Club) and Jill McGinley (Royal Cork Yacht Club) are 20th from 27. In the 29er Skiff, Seán and Tadgh Donnelly (NYC), racing in their second youth worlds event, lie 24th from 28 after 12 races sailed.

Last year’s ISAF youth silver medallist Finn Lynch from Blessington opened his scoring at the Laser Standard Men’s U-21 world and European championship on Lake Balaton, Hungary this week with a fifth place and is lying 27th overall. Team -mates, Wexford’s Philip Doran is 39th and Fionn Lyden from Schull, 70th. Racing has been hampered by the lake’s notoriously fickle winds.

This morning’s Laser Connaught championships at Lough Ree Yacht Club is boosted by the presence of the country’s top radial sailors back from Croatian competition.

It means over 100-plus boats across the three rigs on Ree, split between 50 Radials, 25-30 Standards, and 20-25 4.7s.

David O'Brien

David O'Brien

David O'Brien, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a former world Fireball sailing champion and represented Ireland in the Star keelboat at the 2000 Olympics