As Autumn storms herald the end of the main Sailing season, twin annual showdowns between various strands of the sport in Ireland are set to take place in Dun Laoghaire and Lough Ree over the next two weekends.
Once known as the Helmsman Championships of Ireland and informally, the “champion of champions” or just simply “the helmsmans”, both the junior and senior events are modernised to the Sailing All-Irelands.
The format of both events is almost identical save for the type of boats to be sailed: major class associations are invited to nominate their national champion sailor to compete against other similar nominees over a weekend; a series of flights determines the best sailors who progress to a final round with a repechage for second chance reprieves.
Huge depth in the mix for both junior and seniors is certain as some classes compete to club and regional standards while others have sailors with regular international pedigree and even are prospective Olympians.
The senior trophy is a silver salver with engraved winners’ names that trace the history of Irish Sailing (aka the Irish Sailing Association) and previously the Irish Yachting Association and its forebear, the Irish Dinghy Racing Association over a 60-plus year span.
And those names read like a who’s who of the sport, of amateur and professionals alike.
Notably sailors such as Clayton Love, Somers Payne, Harold Cudmore, recent Olympians Mark Lyttle, Mark Mansfield, Tom Fitzpatrick, Ger Owens and Peter O’Leary to name but a few of the dozens of past-winners.
Baltimore’s Fionn Lyden returns to defend his 2017 and possibly, add his name for a second to the salver in this year’s event that will be sailed in SB20 sportsboats for the Senior title.
The Junior title this weekend will be sailed in Firefly dinghies, a regular boat of choice for varsity teams.
: Laser 4.7 - Charlie Cullen (National YC/Royal St George YC) Marcus O’Leary; Laser 4.7 - Rob Keal (Royal Cork YC) Cathal O’Regan; Laser Radial / 29er - Atlee Kohl (RCYC) Jonathan O’Shaughnessy; RS200 - Adam Power (RCYC) Jack Young; 420 Grace O’Beirne (RSGYC) Kathy Kelly; Waszp - Alana Coakley (RSGYC) Ellie Cunnane; Topper - Hugh O’Connor (National YC) Hugh Lynch; RS Feva - Tim Norwood (Royal Irish YC) Finn Cleary; Mermaid - Oisin Finnucane (Foynes YC) Ronan Kiely Maher; Team Racing - Tom Higgins (RSGYC) Henry Higgins; Mirror / RS Feva - Ben Graf (Lough Ree YC) Daniel Smyth; Laser Radial - Nell Staunton (National YC) Eve Mc Mahon; Optimist - Justin Lucas (RCYC / Kinsale YC) Killian O’Reagan; Laser Radial - Michael O’Suilleabhain (KYC) Michael Carroll; Topper - David Jones (RCYC) Conor Horgan; Laser Radial - Chris Bateman (RCYC) Chris McDonnell.
: 1720 - Donagh Good (Royal Cork Yacht Club) Grattan Roberts; Flying Fifteen - Dave Gorman (National YC) Chris Doorly; Mermaid/ICRA 4 Darragh McCormack (Foynes YC) Johnny Dillon; RS 400 Alex Barry (RCYC/Monkstown Bay SC) Mel Collins; GP 14 Ross Kearney (Royal North of Ireland YC) Jim Hunt; RS 200 Jocelyn Hill County Antrim YC) Katie Kane; Squib Peter Wallace (RNIYC) Martin Weatherstone; Waterwags - Guy Kilroy (Royal Irish YC) Adam Winkelmann; Shannon One Design - Graham Mc Mullin (Lough Ree YC) John Malone; IDRA 14 - Simon Revill (Sutton Dinghy Club) Noel Butler; SB20 - Peter Kennedy (Strangford Lough YC) Stephen Kane; J24 - Stefan Hyde (RCYC/RIYC) Cillian Dickson; 2017 Champion - Fionn Lyden (Baltimore SC) David Harte; Laser Standard - Liam Glynn (Ballyholme YC/UCD SC) Ryan Glynn; Dragon Neil Hegarty – (Royal St George YC) Tom Hegarty; Laser Radial - Aisling Keller (Lough Derg YC/RIYC)/Trinity SC) Crew tbc