Fionn Lyden impresses in U-23 Finn World Championships

Baltimore single-hander moves to the heavyweight dinghy and has Olympic ambitions

A new west Cork Olympic dinghy campaign got off to a flying start in Hungary this week when Irish youth champion Fionn Lyden sailed into the top five of the Under-23 Finn World Championships on Lake Balaton.

The Baltimore single-hander, who was beaten in the London 2012 Laser trials by Finn Lynch, moves to the heavyweight dinghy with Tokyo 2020 ambitions. It’s a move that will almost certainly trigger another trial in the seasons ahead with Dongahdee campaigner Oisín McCleland also declaring for the Japanese regatta.

UCC student Lyden made the decision to move to the Finn around Christmas. He borrowed, and then bought a boat to train in at home in January in Roaringwater Bay and has since been training at Luca Devoti’s dinghy Academy in Valencia, Spain. One of the most immediate obstacles ahead is the need to put on another 15-kgs in body weight to sail the boat competitively in strong winds.

Following the U-23 regatta, Lyden moves to another Lake Balaton venue for the Finn Gold Cup next week.


The new offshore racing entity, ‘Ireland Ocean Racing’, that aims to put Cork’s Nicholas O’Leary at the helm of the IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss on the 2020 Vendée Globe start line will arrive into Dun Laoghaire Harbour next week.

O’Leary (31) aims to be the first Irish sailor to complete the non-stop round the world challenge in the wake of Enda Ó Coineen’s dramatic dismasting in the last race off New Zealand in December. O’Leary is expected into Dublin Bay on August 30th.

As the climax to the Irish Sea Offshore (ISORA) season draws close, it’s three J109s that share the top three spots for offshore sailing’s ‘Wolfs Head’ Championship trophy.

Peter Dunlop’s Mojito leads defending champion Sgrech (Stephen Tudor) with Dun Laoghaire sailing school entry Jedi (Kenneth Rumball) in third.

Feeder race

The next ISORA race takes place tomorrow (Saturday, August 26th), a day race from Dun Laoghaire to Greystones. This is a feeder race to the Greystones Regatta taking place the following day. A fleet of 25 from a list of 33 entries is expected.

The growth in numbers from 68 in 2014 to an expected 140 on Sunday for Greystones Sailing Club’s (GSC) Regatta in County Wicklow reflects the appeal of the end-of-season event among east coast clubs.

Wexford and Courtown Club will race to Arklow and join the Arklow fleet for a race to Greystones.

Wicklow Sailing Club, Bray, Poolbeg and Clontarf Clubs have all confirmed races, GSC commodore Darragh Cafferky said.

The final race of the GP14 National Championships saw one of the closest finishes in recent years at Ballyholme last weekend when Dun Laoghaire-based Ger Owens and Melanie held a narrow one-point lead from Greystones pair Shane MacCarthy and Damian Bracken.

Owens won the last race in the 29-boat fleet, however, and took the title ahead of the current world champion.

Cork Harbour's Alex Barry and Richard Leonard lie fifth overall after three days and six races at the RS400 UK Nationals. The Royal Cork duo remain within touching distance of the championship currently within the grasp of John Gorringe and Oli Wells of Parkstone Yacht Club in Poole.

A new Dublin-Cork dinghy partnership has been forged with the announcement of youth pairing Tom Higgins of the Royal St George and Harry Durcan teaming up in the 29er youth skiff. Big things are expected with Durcan moving to the crewing role for his new helmsman, a former British and Irish Optimist champion.

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