Finn Lynch battles rough seas to finish fourth at Palma regatta
Lynch’s consistent form continues to mark his progress ahead of Olympics
Ireland’s Finn Lynch at the finish of the medal race for the Laser event at the Princess Sofia/Palma Olympic Classes Regatta 2019 in Mallorca. Photograph: David Branigan/Oceansport
Ireland’s Finn Lynch emerged fourth overall at the Princess Sophia Trophy for Olympic classes in Palma at the weekend after a breezy medal race final for the men’s Laser event.
The Carlow Olympian has slipped from second to seventh overall after the main series ended on Friday but was just three points away from the podium.
Just the top 10 boats from an original event of 187 competed for the medal race and Lynch worked his way up the standings from eighth at the first mark to fourth at the finish.
And fourth was his final place overall as well, just shy of the podium though Lynch didn’t seem bothered.
In all likelihood, had he not had a 26th place in race 10 of the main series on Friday and scored his more consistent form for the series, he would have taken at least bronze or possibly silver; either were mathematically possible still on Saturday morning.
But he had already come to terms with that result on Friday and just being able to compete in the medal race, his goal for the event seemed enough.
And he enjoyed every minute of it, from the moment he cleared the breakwater at C’an Pastilla close to Palma airport when he saw the two- to three-metre swell with surf he had a grin that said it all.
“When I came out of the harbour, I had a big smile on my face that I saw the big waves; I was really excited,” said Lynch. “I know a lot of people think I can’t perform in those conditions so I hope I’ve proved some people wrong and others right that no matter what the conditions I can still do well.
“I think if I was offered fourth at the start of this regatta I’d have taken it without thinking. I sailed really well and I’m super happy with fourth overall.”
Starting comfortably, he placed eighth at the first mark, then sixth and by the finish he surfed home to fourth place.
However, with the World Cup of Sailing Genoa regatta just 10 days’ away, there was little time for further analysis and minds have already switched to that event when the full Irish Sailing squad will be in competition.
However, both Lynch’s result as well as Howth’s Ewan McMahon’s 29 th place in the Laser Gold fleet as best under 21-year old count as milestone performances for Irish Laser sailors since the class was first sailed in the Atlanta ’96 Olympics.
Palma was the first of two selection events to decide which Irish sailor will attend the Olympic test event in Japan in August. Lynch may well be the favourite but McMahon’s star is clearly rising by delivering such a strong performance at only his second senior level competition.
There is also the task of qualifying Ireland for Tokyo 2020 before any Laser sailor can be selected and the next opportunity for that will be in July.