Gorman and Doorly to lead Irish fleet in Flying Fifteen World Championships

Seven Irish boats confirmed as automatic qualifiers for 80-boat contest in September

In a week of National Yacht Club (NYC) declarations, newly elected Commodore Martin McCarthy laid out his stall for the Dún Laoghaire club's 2019 season whose sailors are already enjoying success in Olympic, inshore and offshore disciplines.

As the NYC prepares for one of this year’s Irish sailing highlights, seven Irish boats are confirmed as “automatic qualifiers” for the 80-boat, Subaru-sponsored 2019 Flying Fifteen (FF) World Championships this September.

It's no surprise that FF National Championship winning duo David Gorman and Chris Doorly of the host club top the rankings on 174 points to lead the Irish fleet challenge.

In a promising build-up, the pair also took fourth at the British Nationals last July, so the first ever win of the World title could yet be on the cards. Of the seven Irish through so far, four are from Northern Ireland, two from the National Yacht Club (NYC) and one from Waterford Harbour.

Separately, Tokyo campaigner Finn Lynch has been saluted as the first Irish man to make a World Cup Laser medal race in January, a feat the NYC man repeated last month in Genoa, bolstering his hopes of Olympic qualification this July.

Offshore quest

Yesterday, another NYC solo sailor embarked on an offshore quest when Tom Dolan began the Solo Maître Coq series this week in France. Dolan is racing a 400-mile offshore that started on Thursday.

On Friday night Commodore McCarthy unveils a new youth initiative where the club’s new keelboat fleet of three J80s, four Elliott six-metres and six Firefly dinghies are showcased; the aim being to form an under-25 keelboat team for match and team racing events.

On Saturday, the club hosts the first ISORA offshore fixture of 2019 with a race from Dún Laoghaire Harbour to Holyhead at 8am. It’s the first time the Irish Sea fleet has returned to the North Wales port since the destruction of the marina there during Storm Emma last March.

As part of the ongoing improvements being introduced by the national cruiser racer body, ICRA has announced a new “transparent” formula for the award of the coveted Boat of The Year trophy. Previously, this trophy was awarded to the boat, who in the opinion of an ICRA committee, performed best. Results of various nationwide regattas will be utilised in an overall score for each yacht so the award will be made to the best scoring yacht from a series of races.

In strong winds and big seas, Royal St George Dragon sailor Martin Byrne is lying 11th in the second leg of the 2019 European Cup. Sailing with Brian Matthews and Mark Pettit, the Dún Laoghaire trio scored a 15 and a 10 in the opening rounds of the 29-boat HM King Juan Carlos Trophy in Cascais, Portugal.

Lough Ree Yacht Club members are developing a class of SB20s sportsboats on the lake for "informal" club racing. Three boats have been confirmed for this season with the possibility of a fourth boat involved too.

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