The ISAF Women's Match Racing World Selection trials were sailed off Howth in the ISA SailFleet J80s on Sunday, 13th April. Three skippers competed - Diana Kissane, Mary O'Loughlin and Laura Dillon.
The racing was tight and wind conditions were windy, approximately 15-20 knots from a westerly direction. Racing started with full rig and spinnakers, but, with the wind increasing Race 2 and Race 3 were raced without spinnakers.
Diana Kissane and her team did an excellent job, as this was their first ever match racing event. With more experience of the technical and formal aspects of match racing they would have been clear challengers for selection. We predict great things to come from Diana and her team in the future.
The ISA Selection Committee of Gordon Davies, Brian Matthews and Cxema Pico will be recommending that the invitations available for Irish skippers be given to :
- Mary O'Loughlin (and her team of Karena Knaggs, Lynn Reilly and Niamh McDonald)
- Laura Dillon (and her team of Maria Coleman, Carol O'Kelly and Breffni Jones)
The ISAF Women's Match Racing Worlds which will be hosted by Royal Cork Yacht Club, from 3-8 June 2014. This is a very prestigious event for Ireland, entry is by invitation only and Ireland is fortunate to benefit from two wild card invitations.
The Selection Committee would like to thank the the HYC event management team for organising this selection event at short notice.
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10th April 2014
Ireland as been granted two wild card places at the 2014 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championships to be held at Royal Cork Yacht Club from the 3rd - 8th of June 2014.
In order to select teams, the ISA appointed a Selection Committee composed of Cxema Pico, Brian Mathews and Gordon Davies. The committee was requested to decide on the process to select the skippers (and teams) that will deliver the best result for Ireland at this event, and to be as fair as possible to all of applicant skippers.
Initially four skippers had expressed an interest, although only three have confirmed that they are available for selection. It was agreed, by both selectors and competitors, that the most appropriate way to choose between the sailors would be out on the water. The selection trials will be sailed in Howth this Sunday the 13th of April, using the same Sailfleet J80s that will be used for the World Championships.
The three candidates are :
Laura Dillon was the only female winner of the ISA Senior Helmsmans Championship in 1996, Bronze Medallist at the 1996 ISAF Youth Worlds and, having competed in match racing she was at one time in the top 20 ranked female match racers, and is current Irish Women's Match Racing Champion (last sailed in 2010). Her crew includes double Olympian Maria Coleman.
Diane Kissane is a 470 sailor and current captain of the Trinity College sailing team Diane was 2008 Irish Laser 4.7 champion and won the 2009 ISA Junior Helmsmans. Her crew all have recent team racing experience, including member so of this year's IUSA championship winning team, and have all represented Ireland at the Student World Yachting.
Mary O'Loughlin was the 1997 Mirror Ladies World Champion. She was a keen match racer here and abroad when the Irish circuit was developing in the mid 2000's. She has also extensive experience sailing an Etchells. Her crew is an interesting mix of keelboat sailors and dinghy/team racers.
Based on the results of next Sunday's competition the Selection Committee will recommend two skippers to the ISA for selection.