Day 6: Finn Lynch finishes in 4th overall at Princesa Sofia regatta, Mallorca
In a thrilling conclusion to the Princesa Sofia regatta for Olympic classes in Mallorca, Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) sailed a faultless final race to secure fourth overall in the six-day ILCA7 class series.
The result matches his 2019 performance at the same event and marks his form ahead of the ILCA7 class world championships in May 2022.
Lynch won silver at the 2021 worlds in Barcelona and this week's form is regarded as good progress towards this year's championship, scheduled to be held in Puerto Vallarta in Mexico.
With the moderate breeze freshening off Ca'n Pastilla on the Bay of Palma, the ILCA7 medal race was the first final to get underway for the Princess Sofia trophy and Lynch made a clean start and was up to fourth place by the first mark.
In the next two legs he gained the lead of the race until the final few hundred metres when the wind freshened on the opposite side of the course and he was overtaken on the finishing-line to place third in a group of overlapped leading boats.
Nevertheless, the result was enough to move him from fifth to fourth place, continuing his consistent rise through the ranks of the top ten boats all week.
Britain's Michael Beckett placed seventh in the race and took the Gold medal while Australia's Matt Wearn was second and took Silver. Germany's Philippe Buhl was last in the race and placed third overall.
Meanwhile, Irish Sailing's squad delivered a range of results with particularly encouraging results coming from some of the newer and younger crews who are gaining experience at senior level.
While Olympians Robert Dickson (Howth YC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) missed out on a medal race place due to a broken tiller-extension, new pairing Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan (both Royal Cork YC) rounded off their final day in the Silver fleet on Friday with a race win and a fourth place that moved them to 35th overall in the 76-boat event.
Amongst the single-handers in the ILCA7 (formerly Laser) class, Ewan McMahon (HYC) showed plenty of potential and his 32nd place overall foretells of an imminent move into the top 20 this season. His younger brother Jamie McMahon (HYC) also gained valuable big fleet experience at senior level ahead of the squad's next big event in Hyeres, France in a fortnight's time.
As the first Palma Olympic classes regatta in three years draws to a close, the overall winner of the Princess Sophia Trophy was confirmed as Italians Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti in the Mixed Nacra 17 foiling catamaran class.
Day 5: Friday 8 April 2022
Lynch secures medal race place for Princess Sofia finale
After another breezy day on the Bay of Palma (Friday 8th April 2022) Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) has moved up to fifth place overall at the end of Gold fleet racing in the ILCA7 single-handed fleet at the Princesa Sofia regatta.
The result marks the end of 10 races for the 163-boat class with the top ten placed boats going forward for a brief race on Saturday to decide the podium places. The best place that Lynch can achieve is fourth which would match his previous best at this regatta in 2019.
The Carlow sailor had a fifth place in the opening race of the day and followed with his worst result of the week, a 22nd which then became his discard.
"Finn has put together a really solid event this week," said Vasilij Zbogar, Irish Sailing's Laser Coach. "He's had an issue with a swollen arm so it’s hard to sail but all credit to him, he didn't want to give up even on painkillers for two days."
"The upside is that we'll get some medal race practice after a long gap but the downside is that a medal isn't an option so fourth is the target."
Our other sailor in the ILCA7 event is Ewan McMahon Howth YC) who placed 32nd overall after the ten race fleet series ended.
"The results don't show it but it's really only some small mistakes keeping him out of the top 20," said Zbogar. "He isn't losing any places on the downwind but we need to work on executing the upwind legs better."
Meanwhile, in the 49er medal race hopefuls Robert Dickson (HYC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) missed out on a top ten appearance on Saturday after a tiller-extension broke leading to a capsize in the first race of the day.
The pair went on to score two seventh places leaving them 13th overall, unchanged from their overnight position and just seven points shy of the top ten.
"I feel disappointed that we didn't sail our best and under-performed a bit with too many small errors, particularly at the starts but that's something we can work on," said Dickson after racing. "It’s about strategy and risk management."
Like the ILCA7 class, only a handful of boats in the top ten are in contention for the podium in the 49er class.
"There were lots of good things we can take away from this regatta and also things that we can work on," said Waddilove. "One of our goals before the regatta was how we get back (into) the fleet and catching back up and that's something that we showed we're well capable of."
Of the other Irish boats that ended the 800+ entry regatta today, Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan (both Royal Cork YC) also ended in 13th place for their Silver fleet in the 49er class, finishing the regatta as they started with a ninth place.
And in the ILCA7 event, Jamie MacMahon (HYC), younger brother to Ewan placed 25th in the Silver fleet after a promising start to the series on Monday when he scored top 20 results in his qualification flight.
The medal race final for the ILCA7 class takes place at 1030 (Irish Summer time) on Saturday 9th April.
Day 4: Thursday 7 April
Classic Palma conditions as the Irish Sailing Team relish the penultimate day at Princesa Sofia regatta
Clear skies and fresh winds on the Bay of Palma saw two Irish boats make steady ground towards Saturday's medal race finals.
Finn Lynch continued his steady and consistent form that he has displayed all week in the ILCA7 (formerly Laser class) class, scoring eighth and 14th for the day, scores that move him up the rankings to sixth place with just two races remaining in the Gold fleet series.
Our second Gold fleet athlete didn't fare as well. Ewan McMahon slipped to 30th overall after placing 39th and 21st in the day but with a very tight points spread back to 20th where he had been.
"We had really nice conditions, one of the best days I've ever seen in Palma with strong wind - some sailors are starting to get quite tired," commented Vasilij Zbogar, Irish Sailing's Laser Coach. "Finn has been aiming for good average results and there's still the possibility of moving up the rankings a bit more; he's sailing smart without making mistakes.
"For Ewan, the points are still close so definitely he has the potential to pull up places on Friday."
Meanwhile, Olympians Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove are within two points of the top ten boats in the 49er skiff event after a four race day off S'Arenal east of Palma.
"They made some unforced errors which would have seen them around eighth tonight," said Irish Sailing's 49er coach Matt McGovern. "It would be great if they could show their full potential on the final day with the results they're truly capable of."
Overnight, the Dublin crew found themselves disqualified from a race on Wednesday when they were amongst a group of three boats that infringed an Italian entry on the starting-line. The ruling meant they had to use their discard to drop that penalty maximum score.
Thursday's racing saw the pair place 22nd then 15th before delivering two sixth places in the high-speed conditions. They now lie 12th overall.
Racing in all ten events continues on Friday to complete the fleet series with the top ten crews in each class going forward to Saturday's medal race finals.
Wednesday 6 April - Day 3
Third boat qualified for Gold fleet at Princess Sofia regatta in Mallorca
Olympians Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) qualified for the Gold fleet of the 49er skiff event today (Wednesday 6th April 2022) at the Princess Sofia regatta in Palma, Mallorca.
After a three hour delay ashore waiting for wind to fill in, racing got underway across the Bay of Palma but it wasn't until late afternoon when the 49er event got underway on the eastern shore.
"It was quite nice winds but still shifty for both races," said Irish Sailing's Performance Director James O'Callaghan. "Both boats each had one good race and each had one not so strong second result for the day."
Dickson and Waddilove played the windshifts well in the opening race and scored sixth. However, in the race that followed a starting-line incident involving two other countries saw them place tenth for that race, their worst score of the series to date which they discard.
However, the starting-line incident was being referred to the protest committee and could yet make their discarded score much higher depending on the outcome. The pair have qualified for Gold fleet regardless.
Cork sailors Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork YC) had their worst result of the series with an 18th place but followed it with an eighth. However, they were unable to make the cut-off for the Gold fleet on this, their second major regatta together as a new pairing.
Meanwhile, Gold fleet racing started for the ILCA7 (formerly the Laser) class today. Ireland's Finn Lynch (National YC) moved into the top ten overall in this massive fleet thanks to an eighth place that matches his top ten scores of the qualification series.
A 15th place in the next race takes up his discard with four races remaining in the Gold fleet to decide the top ten boats that will sail Saturday's medal race final.
"I feel good after a tricky day with lots of shifty winds," said Finn Lynch after racing. "I'm happy with my position after four days of racing to have not used my discard - 15th is still a good result in Gold fleet."
Meanwhile, Ireland's other ILCA7 Gold fleet sailor Ewan McMahon had a mixed day, discarding a weighty 49th place but staying calm to deliver a third place straight after. The Howth sailor lies 23rd overnight.
Younger brother Jamie McMahon lies eleventh overall in the Silver fleet after a 14th and a discarded 47th place.
Racing continues for all fleets on Thursday and Friday to decide the top ten in each event for Saturday's medal race final.
Tuesday 5 April - Day 2
Two of the team so far qualify for Gold fleet at Palma’s Princesa Sofia
Following another windswept day on the Bay of Palma, two of the Irish Sailing Team have qualified for the ILCA7 (formerly Laser) men’s event.
Rio 2016 Olympian and Carlow sailor Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) had another consistent day to place 20th overall out 163 boats so easily makes the 55 boat cut for Gold fleet. His results are all top ten places in the qualification round so far.
"Finn did as we discussed and was really close to the leaders," commented Irish Sailing's Laser Coach Vasilij Zbogar after racing. "He was really quite smooth and good with no high-scoring results.
"Overall, it was an okay day. Ewan made a few small mistakes but I’m happy with his performance."
Howth YC’s Ewan McMahon counts three out of four races with top 14 places and also makes the Gold fleet in 38th place overall.
However, his younger brother Jamie McMahon narrowly missed out by placing 56th overall after a disappointing day that included a capsize in the choppy seas.
"There was a big differences between the two days so I’m a bit disappointed there, he needs to focus on executing," said Zbogar.
Meanwhile, the 49er skiff event started their qualification series today with two Irish crews in action.
Tokyo 2020 veterans Robert Dickson (Howth YC) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) had a good day by placing second, ninth and sixth in the split racing.
High winds threatened to disrupt the course area where the women's 49erFX event was also scheduled so the men sailed ashore after two races then returned for their third race of the day in the late afternoon.
"The first race was close to survival (conditions) but after that it was proper racing even if a bit shifty and gusty," said Robert Dickson. "Right now, we're just focussing on qualifications and see what happens after that."
New pairing Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan representing the Royal Cork YC scored a ninth and a tenth in the same flight as their Dublin teammates and lie 38th overall out of 71 entries.
"We did well in the first two races this morning though capsized in the second race but managed to recover to top 15 so we're pretty happy," said Johnny Durcan. "We're just taking the second day (of qualification on Wednesday) as another learning day and really enjoying it."
Racing continues on Wednesday for all fleets and the welcome prospect of milder conditions for the second half of the regatta that continues until Saturday when the medal race finals for all classes will be sailed.
Monday 4 April - Day 1
Solid opening day for the Irish team at the Princesa Sofia Regatta in Palma
Chilly northerly winds over Mallorca marked the first day of racing for the start of the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Regatta for Olympic classes where five Irish crews are in competition this week.
Winds gusting to more than 30 knots delivered testing conditions for the ILCA7 class, formerly known as the Laser men’s single-hander that started their qualification round.
Ireland's performance after day one is in the top three nations with Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club), Ewan MacMahon (Howth YC) and younger brother Jamie MacMahon (HYC) all inside the top thirty boats in their flights.
Lynch had a consistent day with ninth and fifth places. "It was survival conditions but I'm happy with the day and that I didn't make any mistakes," the Carlow sailor said after coming ashore at the Can Pastilla sailing base.
“We know that when the wind blows from the north here in Palma that it can be quite strong and we had it at the start of March for our training regatta so we were kinda of used to it,” said Vasilij Zbogar, Irish Sailing’s ILCA7 coach. “But it wasn’t as strong as today which was on the limits but a lot of fun.”
Zbogar is aiming to see all three Irish sailors in the Gold fleet series that is scheduled to begin later in the week pending the outcome of the qualification round.
“I’m happy with our sailors today. There were a few small mistakes but I had said to sail a little bit safer (due to the conditions) and try and get around tenth and they executed this.”
Tomorrow (Tuesday 5th April) sees the start of the full competition when all ten classes will be in action across the Bay of Palma with a similar forecast of un-seasonally cold temperatures and strong northerly winds.
The 49er skiff event will feature Tokyo Olympians Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove as well teammates Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan in their second major competition together. The Team have been training for much of the winter out of the Performance HQ in Dun Laoghaire and will be looking forward to their first major event of the 2022 season in the short lead-in to Paris 2024.