Finn Lynch secures landmark sailing silver medal in Barcelona

Lynch’s laser world championship silver is the best ever achieved by an Irish sailor

After a frustrating wait for wind on the final day, Ireland’s Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) has won silver at the Laser World Championship in Barcelona on Wednesday.

Although the Carlow sailor finished the regatta with the best scores across all eight races, New Zealand’s Thomas Saunders took Gold after allowance for worst race discard was applied.

Double Olympic silver medallist Tonci Stipanovic from Croatia placed third ahead of a star-studded field.

Lynch’s silver at World championship level is the best ever achieved by an Irish sailor in any Olympic discipline.


This year’s world championship was beset by light winds that delayed or postponed racing since last Friday. However, Tuesday’s racing saw Lynch deliver his best day yet that ended with a race win.

“Finn has delivered an impeccable regatta and realised his full potential after years of dedication and hard work,” said James O’Callaghan, Performance Director with Irish Sailing.

“It would be tempting to imagine what another day of racing might have achieved but silver and the best performance of any of the 135 athletes at the regatta is everything we could ask of him.”

Fresh winds were forecast for Wednesday to complete the regatta when a duel between Saunders and Lynch was on the cards but the weather again failed to deliver and Tuesday’s overall results remain unchanged.

“I’m extremely happy with the result but it didn’t come by coincidence or some luck - it came after a lot of work after not being able to qualify for the Olympics which was really hard on Finn,” said Vasilij Zbogar, the Slovenian triple Olympic medallist who is Laser coach with Irish Sailing.

“This was something that Finn needed so that he can start to believe. He was good already last year but mentally he wasn’t ready to be in the front. This week was really solid sailing all week and he didn’t make any mistakes. He had the lowest point score of the entire fleet meaning he was really consistent.”

The result is redemption for Rio 2016 veteran Lynch who missed out on qualification for Tokyo 2020 just six months ago despite earlier promising form.

“We still have things to work on but good to confirm that we’re going in the right direction and we will continue pushing. Finn did any amazing job and now he can start to believe that a medal at Paris 2024 can be achieved,” said Zbogar.

“A few things had to come together and they come together here at the right time. I knew this result would come one day - I was 100 per cent sure!”

Of the other Irish sailors competing in Barcelona, Howth YC’s Ewan McMahon ended 25th overall in the Gold fleet with the loss of racing on the final day denying him a chance at finishing in the top 20 boats.

Under-21 sailors Tom Higgins of the Royal St. George YC finished 47th overall in the Gold fleet while Jamie McMahon (Howth YC), younger brother of Ewan placed 14th overall in the Silver fleet.