Finn Lynch to become Ireland’s youngest Olympic helmsman

National Yacht Club 20-year-old heading for Rio Games this summer

Finn Lynch on his way to winning the Irish mens’ Laser nomination in Mexico this week.

Finn Lynch on his way to winning the Irish mens’ Laser nomination in Mexico this week.

 
Finn Lynch

Seven years after his Topper World Championships medal (aged 13), and just four since taking ISAF Youths silver, the National Yacht Club (NYC) wunderkind will be racing at the Rio Games this summer as Ireland’s youngest ever Olympic helmsman.

Lynch secured his selection over boat qualifier James Espey (the London 2012 representative) and fellow trialist Fionn Lyden on the final day of the Laser Worlds in Mexico.

Expectations were that the Co Carlow teen would gain experience at the 2016 trials on the road to Tokyo 2020, but instead produced a string of consistent results that saw the cash-strapped solo sailor compete at three events since Christmas at a campaign cost of approximately €50,000.

His fledgling effort was only kept afloat by club fundraisers, spearheaded by NYC’s Carmel Winkelmann.

He joins club-mate Annalise Murphy on the Olympic team, along with skiff crews Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey in the 49erfx and Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern in the 49er.

In a week when power-boating’s Round Ireland Venture Cup race hit rocks over cash flow problems, competitor numbers for all three of Ireland’s blue riband sailing events look remarkably solid.

The ICRA Nationals in Howth in three weeks are on course to hit 80-plus. A week later the Volvo Round Ireland fleet is set to double. A record 62 yachts are confirmed to arrive in Wicklow Bay on June 18th. July’s Cork Week claimed 90 confirmed entries yesterday for the Crosshaven event.

UK visitor Charles Apthorp, a former world champion, is favourite for tomorrow’s 20-boat Flying Fifteen Northern Championships at Portaferry Sailing Club on Strangford Lough.

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