The Investwise Youth Nationals Championship at Howth Yacht Club was held over the Easter school break with over 170 sailors competing, including 32 RCYC members. Ben O’Shaughnessy with crew Ethan Spain won the 29er championship, and Oisín Pierse took the honours in the ILCA4 championship.
The 4-day event is one of the gala dinghy events of the calendar year, held annually over the Easter break, it brings together the main dinghy classes from around the country.
The double-handed 29ers and 420 classes sail in an U21 category for 4 days along with ILCA6 U19 category on the youth course. The Junior course combines the U16 topper class and the U17 ILCA4 class for 3 days, while the optimist ‘trials’ race for 4days on another course.
Day1 got off to a late start due to high winds, but winds abated in the afternoon and the event got under in sunny yet chilly conditions. With the optimists & Youth courses racing day1, both race management teams did a great job to get 2 races away.
Day 2 began again with another late start, but due to lack of wind on this occasion, but most classes got 2 more races away, and the leaderboards were starting to take shape at this point. Early showings by Ben & Oisín, along with Andrew O’Neill(optimist) made for an exciting last couple of days to the championships.
Day3 brought light conditions in the morning, with the winds increasing thru the day. All the fleets got their full race schedule completed, with some adding an extra race to make up for the short days previously.
The final day was another waiting game, but all classes launched around 11am and were towed to the race area to wait for wind. As the sun came out in the afternoon, a light breeze materialised and one race was completed before the last warning gun deadline of 1400. The final day did not change the top of the leaderboard for 29er and ILCA4 with RCYC’s Ben O’Shaughnessy & Ethan Spain(NYC) taking the 29er championship, along with RCYC’s Oisín Pierse winning the ILCA4 championship. Caoimhe Corkery with a bullet in the last race jumped up the leaderboard to take the 3rd prize in the topper championship. Also taking 3rd prizes, were Alana Twomey & Lucia Cullen(29ers) & Andrew O’Neill(optimist).
The 3rd place in the optimist championship(aka Trials) for Andrew means he is selected by IODAI as one of the 5 sailor IODAI Worlds team at the Optimist World Championships. Rory Whyte with an 11th place finish earned his place on the IODAI European team, with Dougie Venner & Annabelle Wilson securing places on the IODAI IDT team.
Places in the ILCA4 & Topper Irish Sailing squads are due to be announced over the coming days, along with the new Irish Sailing 29er academy being launched next week are sure to include a good representation of RCYC sailors.
For the full details of the event, including results, talks, video and gallery, see the Investwise Irish Sailing Youth Nationals 2023 webpage
RCYC have been chosen by Irish Sailing to host the 2024 Youth National Championship, so lets keep the buzz going and look forward to a bumper participation at this fantastic annual event next year at home!
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