Irish Sailing Youth National Championships 2022 at Ballyholme Yacht Club
by Irish Sailing 24 Apr 10:51 PDT
21-24 April 2022
216111 Eve McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) competing in the ICLA 6 class in big wave action during the Irish Sailing Youth Nationals 2022 © David Branigan / Oceansport
After four days of intense competition on Belfast Lough for 205 competitors, the Irish Sailing Youth National Championships ended today (Sunday 24th April 2022) in all six disciplines and several outstanding performances over the 10-race series.
Counting all top five results over the series, World Youth Champion in the single-handed ILCA6 (formerly the Laser Radial) class Eve McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) won her 38-strong event in convincing fashion by winning both races to bring her tally to five bullets.
However, her victory was far from assured even going into the finals as clubmate Rocco Wright has been leading the class and a group of six challengers since racing started on Thursday.
McMahon and Wright have now reached the standard to be nominated to represent Ireland at Youth World Sailing Championships in The Hague in July.
There were further celebrations in the Howth YC camp when Sienna Wright, younger sister to Rocco won the ILCA 4 (formerly Laser 4.7) class by a comfortable 13-point margin.
Ben O Shaughnessy with Eimer McMorrow Moriarty (Royal Cork Yacht Club) won the 29er skiff event with a highly consistent run of first and second places in this fleet while it was a similar story in the 420 class where Malahide’s Jack McDowell with Henry Thompson won with similar form.
The two double-handed classes are the smallest of the 190-boat regatta with eight and eleven boats respectively entered.
Local sailor from the hosting Ballyholme Yacht Club Bobby Driscoll, son of Atlanta ’96 Olympian John was a clear winner ahead of clubmate Emily McAfee in the Topper 5.3 event, one of two large fleets in the series.
Two race wins on the final day for Oisin Pearce (Royal Cork Yacht Club) sealed the series in the 49-boat Optimist class despite sustained pressure from Caoilinn Geraghty-McDonnell (Royal St. George Yacht Club). The class will now decide on the composition of the Irish squads for class World and European championships this year.
“A north-easterly in Ballyholme with big winds and waves tested everyone’s sailing skills but we’ve also had a range of conditions with dropping winds on two days so sailors had to adapt to that and improve their all-round skills,” said Sean Evans, Irish Sailing Development Manager. “It allows sailors who are good in all conditions to rise to the top and perform to their maximum ability.”
Aside from the results, this year’s championship will also be remembered for Saturday’s conditions that are widely regarded as ‘epic’ due to the mixture of breeze, big waves and warm sunshine though not everyone opted to continue with the day.
“Look, we’ve all gone through days like that ourselves; there are certain times that your abilities are pushed and days when your abilities aren’t quite up to the conditions but that doesn’t mean it should have an impact on the enjoyment and happiness you have from sailing,” said Evans. “It was a sign of great courage that every sailor went out yesterday and made smart decisions.”
The 2023 championship is scheduled to be sailed at Howth at the usual fixture of immediately after Easter.