Rollercoaster 10 days for Irish Junior and Youth Sailors

The busiest period of the summer for young Irish sailors almost came to a close in spectacular fashion this weekend past. For a few hours we all believed Ewan McMahon had become the latest success story from the ISA Pathway in claiming the u17 European Radial title in Viana do Castelo, Portugal. However, the wind was taken from our sails a few hours later when a final race protest meant the title was no longer Ireland bound. That is sport and the decision is what it is, and Ewan will go on to fight another day. Whilst his performance stood out, the boys’ results were not as strong as recent years, and the academy will need to re-group before heading to Canada for the Worlds, and hopefully a more competitive outing.

Viana do Castelo also hosted the Radial Youth Europeans, where Aoife Hopkins was impressive all week, and Aishling Keller, despite starting slow put together a great string of results. They finished 9th and 10th respectively. You did not have to go very far down the leaderboard to find more Irish female sailors – Nicole Hemeryck and Erica Ruigrok both finished in the top 20. The future of Irish ladies radial sailing is a bright one.

The busy period continued in impressive fashion with the Durcan twins from RCYC competing at the 29er European Championships, which ran from the 17-21 July in Medemblik, The Netherlands. They were the youngest qualifiers in GOLD fleet and finished in 25th position.

Next up we had the Optimist Europeans 17-24 July in Pwllhli, Wales, where we had 5 sailors in the top half, with lots of great individual race results, which indicates good future potential.

In lake Riva Del Garda, Italy, we had a large representation in the Topper World Championships which ran from the 17-24 July. For the majority of the week we had Geoff Power on the podium and he sailed an excellent regatta. In the end he was just pipped to bronze by one point. It all about fine margins at this level, but nonetheless it’s a result Geoff can be very proud of.

And so, as the busy period drew to a close, all eyes moved to the other side of the World where we had two 420 teams competing at the World Championships in Castle Bay Karatsu, Japan from the 17-25 July. Douglas Elmes and Colin O’Sullivan recovered well from a pre event setback where Colin broke his toe – they soldiered on through the event and made GOLD fleet and finished a respectable 23rd. In the Ladies division Lizzie and Cara McDowell also made GOLD fleet and finished 19th overall.

So catch your breath while you still can – up next we have the 29er Worlds in Pwllhli, Wales, from 8-14 August; the Optimist Worlds in Dziwnów, Poland from August 26 – Sep 4; the 420 Junior Europeans in Bulgaria from August 8-15; and a Laser Radial Worlds in Kingston Canada 14-20 August.

Follow all progress of this talented generation on the ISA Performance website – and Facebook page –

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