NYC Olympic Contenders Annalise & Finn and NYC Junior Laser Sailors Perform Well in Laser Nationals in Ballyholme


bkThe 2014 Irish Laser Nationals were held over four days recently in Ballyholme (Aug 28th – 31st) where NYC sailors were once again prominent, winning several prizes. Of the 127 laser sailors at the Nationals, 16 sailors travelled to represent NYC.  The conditions were extremely variable and challenging for both sailors and race committee with winds of 20+ knots on Day 1, no sailing in Day 2 due to winds in excess of 25-30 knots, Day 3 producing a gradual drop off  in wind from 12-15 knots to lighter and more variable winds of 5 – 8 knots at the end of the day.  There was almost no wind on the last day with only 1 race successfully completed.

Both our Olympic Laser contenders were competing with Annalise Murphy demonstrating great form by winning the Radial fleet, holding off challenges from all the ISA Academy sailors (both male and female) including recent ISAF Youth Worlds Silver medalist, Siofra Guilfoyle from RCYC. Our other Olympic contender, Finn Lynch warmed up for the Olympic Qualifying event (the ISAF Worlds) in Santander in September by finishing 3rd in the Full Rig fleet of 42 sailors , on this occasion beaten by local Ballyholme sailor and London 2012 Olympian, James Espey and just pipped for 2nd by fellow ISA Development squad member Fionn Lyden from Baltimore SC. In the 4.7 fleet, NYC had 9 sailors competing in the 39-boat fleet. Rory Caslin   finished 3rd overall including a bullet in the final race. Niamh Doran finished 10th, and 2nd Girl   with fellow ISA 4.7 squad member Evie Byrne finishing 12th. Newcomers to the 4.7 fleet (from both the Optimist and Topper fleets) sailed extremely well with Loghlen Rickard (ex Oppies) 13th, Heather Spain (ex-Toppers) 14th,and Hugh Perette (ex Toppers) 16th. Patrick Coyle sailed consistently to finish 18th,  Conor Byrne finished 23rd and showed great potential in the strong winds on the first day with a Top 10 finish. Robert Riordan showed great determination to complete his second ever regatta in 35th place completing all races.   In the Radial fleet, 4 of our junior sailors were competing for the first time in the highly competitive Radial fleet after experiencing great success in the 4.7 fleet in 2014.  The stronger winds and larger and less familiar Radial rig proved quite a challenge in the 46-boat fleet with Daniel Raymond finishing 18th, Nicole Hemeryck 27th, Conor Kneafsey 32nd and Iseult Kneafsey 45th. Ballyholme was an extremely welcoming venue with off-the-water social activities compensating for any loss of racing. All the sailors and their families had a very enjoyable time and are looking forward to the next Laser event, the End-of-Season Regatta in NYC at the end of September.  Meanwhile we all wish Annalise and Finn best wishes at the ISAF Worlds and Olympic Qualifying event in Santander, Spain from Sep 9 -21.