Mark Lyttle returns to Irish Laser circuit at Lough Derg

Sailing: Olympian (55) will also compete in Laser Masters Championships on Dublin Bay

Ross O’Leary of the Royal St George Yacht Club, who will race in the 304-boat Laser Master World Championships in Dún Laoghaire on September 7th

Ross O’Leary of the Royal St George Yacht Club, who will race in the 304-boat Laser Master World Championships in Dún Laoghaire on September 7th

 

Atlanta Olympian Mark Lyttle marked his return to the Irish Laser circuit at Lough Derg as the first races of the Irish 2018 Championships sailed on Thursday.

Twenty-two years after becoming Ireland’s first representative in the then brand-new Olympic class, Lyttle (55) – now based in the UK – will also compete in the massive 304-boat Laser Masters Championships on Dublin Bay in a fortnight.

15 of Lyttle’s contemporaries are competing in Dromineer in each of the Radial and Full rig divisions as a warm-up for the Dublin event that sees 25 countries coming to Dún Laoghaire Harbour on September 7th.

Marc Lyttle: was Ireland’s first representative in the newly created Laser class at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996
Marc Lyttle: was Ireland’s first representative in the newly created Laser class at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996

Lyttle won the UK Laser Masters Championships in June in some style, with six firsts in eight races, so he comes to Dromineer with some form. But that does not guarantee he will have things all his own way on the notoriously tricky Lake venue. Tokyo Olympic trialist Liam Glynn – the U21 world bronze medallist – along with UK visitor Craig Williamson, are among the names in a fleet of 25 also contesting the freshwater event.

But in a clash of fixtures, some of the country’s most skilful youths are not on Lough Derg due to competition at both the U21 Europeans in Sweden and the Radial Youth Worlds in Germany.

Impressive speed

For example, Royal Cork’s Johnny Durcan, who has been showing impressive speed downwind, lies 10th overall at the Under-21 event in Båstad with four more gold fleet races still left to sail.

In Kiel, on the Baltic Sea, two third-place finishes for Tom Higgins of the Royal St George Yacht Club put the Dublin Bay helmsman in 16th position overall (from 269 entries) to put him top Irish sailor in the Gold fleet. Clare Gorman of the National Yacht Club also posted two thirds in the girl’s division, where 96 are competing, but this wasn’t enough to make gold fleet as her earlier results were recorded as “did not sail” due to an unfortunate mix-up in flights. The same error has been applied to clubmate Nell Staunton’s scoresheet.

In Belgium, the Half Ton concludes on Friday with two Howth vintage designs placed in the top five overall. Dave Cullen’s Checkmate XV and Jonny Swann’s Harmony are lying third and fifth respectively in the 19-boat fleet after six races sailed.

Consistent showing

Another Howth keelboat, Pat Kelly’s Storm, has won the inaugural Celtic Cup for her consistent showing on the Irish Sea this season. Kelly’s J109 won again last weekend at the Welsh IRC Championships in Pwllheli, adding to a second at Bangor town regatta in July on Belfast Lough and wins at the Scottish Series at Tarbert and Kip Regatta, both in May.

The Taste of Greystones Regatta is set to welcome a strong Dublin turnout to the Co Wicklow regatta on Sunday following two separate feeder races from Dublin Bay this Saturday. Both ISORA and DBSC race organisations are sending fleets for the two-race affair off Bray Head that includes Greystones Sailing Club’s multi-regatta winning Grand Soleil 44, Eleuthera, as a favourite.

Staying in Dublin Bay, however, is the 13-boat Beneteau 31.7 fleet that will compete in a six-race series for National Championship honours at the Royal Irish Yacht Club. In a busy conclusion to the summer season, the same club hosts a 40-boat SB20 European Championships next week.

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