Day 6: Sixth overall finish for Finn Lynch
In a hotly contested final day of ILCA7 World Championships in Puerto Vallarta (Narayit, Mexico 28th May 2022) Finn Lynch emerged sixth overall, a result that confirms him as one of the world's best sailors.
After his week-long domination at the front of the 126-boat championship, Jean Baptiste Bernaz of France emerged with Gold though his lead narrowed in the penultimate race after a disqualification for early starting.
Lynch had a 21st place in that same race, a result that he couldn't discard having previously used his throwaway card. Two strong races on the final day were needed to reach the podium and sit with his silver medal from the last world championships in November 2021.
Conditions for the final proved fine once again as the venue lived up to its potential. Winds ranging from 12-17 knots plus the now familiar current meant tricky sailing for all: neither of the final day race winners featured inside the top ten overall standings.
"Finn was struggling a little bit in the first race. He had a few chances but didn't take them - it was a hard race to catch up," said Irish Sailing's Laser coach Vasilij Zbogar. "Ten points off a medal is a bit frustrating but overall it’s a good result and it makes Finn one of the best sailors in the fleet.
We’ve got some good feedback from this event. We're going to work on this small issue over the next couple of months, especially on up-wind speed in breezy and hiking conditions."
A short break follows for the National Yacht Club sailor before he returns to competition in The Netherlands for the Allianz Regatta and preparation for the 2023 world championships which will be the first qualification opportunity for Paris 2024.
"We are delighted with Finn’s performance and some small changes and improvements in the coming months will deliver further gains." said James O'Callaghan, Performance Director with Irish Sailing.
Day 5 update: Finn Lynch in podium hunt on final day
The final races of the ILCA7 World Championships in Puerto Vallarta (Narayit, Mexico 28th May 2022) will be sailed later this evening (Irish time) with Finn Lynch in contention for the podium on day six of the regatta.
Like all of the leading entries on Friday, the National Yacht Club sailor had a mixed day in light and flukey conditions that saw the scoreboard tighten ahead of Saturday's two remaining races.
Lynch had a 24th place in the 63-strong Gold fleet which was discarded and then regained form with an eighth which brought him back to fifth overall.
The tricky conditions saw the week-long fleet leader also shed some of his commanding lead as Jean Baptiste Bernaz had two results outside the top ten. Nevertheless, the French sailor will start the final day with a 20-point advantage over the chasing pack.
In the hunt for the podium, Lynch is just six points off the silver medal place that he won in Barcelona at the last world championships in November 2021.
"Finn faces an exciting final two races with such a tight leaderboard, literally anything can happen," said James O'Callaghan, Performance Director with Irish Sailing. "Being in contention going into the last day is exactly where we want our sailors to be: it is a case of sticking to process and see what outcome unfolds."
Day 4 update: Strong start to finals for Finn Lynch
After two good results overnight, Finn Lynch starts the penultimate day of the ILCA7 World Championships in Puerto Vallarta (Narayit, Mexico 27th May 2022) in fourth place overall.
The Carlow sailor's standing jumped from eleventh place after gear failure in the final race of the qualification series on Wednesday left him unable to complete the day.
Lynch delivered a seventh then a second place on Thursday that places him on equal points for third overall and five points off the silver medal that he achieved at the last worlds in Barcelona six months ago.
Conditions were lighter yesterday for the first time in this championship though no less tricky with strong current affecting the fleet. Three Black flag starts were needed to get the first race of the day off with nine sailors disqualified for early starting.
"Finn feels quite good, he's been in this position before so he knows how to deal with it," said Irish Sailing's Laser coach Vasilij Zbogar. "There are good sailors in front, good sailors behind - anything can happen - but a good opening to the finals.
"Slightly less wind than previously so that suits Finn for sure. There's still everything to play for but it's nice to be in the game."
Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht YC) has ended the regatta after missing out on Gold fleet qualification due to an illness and he spent Thursday observing the racing afloat.
Jean Baptiste Bernaz of France continues to lead the series having extended his lead overnight. Four races remain to be sailed over Friday and Saturday that will decide the championship.
Day 3 update: Finn Lynch through to Gold fleet at world championship Sailing regatta in Mexico
After three days of qualification round racing at the ILCA7 World Championships, Finn Lynch (National YC) is comfortably into the Gold fleet series that starts in Puerto Vallarta (Narayit, Mexico) later today, Thursday 26 May.
The Carlow sailor slipped from eighth to eleventh place overnight when gear failure in race six left him unable to compete. He had placed tenth in the first race of the day.
Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht YC) has ended the regatta after missing out on Gold fleet qualification due to an illness that left him unable to hike fully in the medium wind conditions.
"It was another good day with perfect sailing conditions of 12 to 18 knots," said Irish Sailing's Laser coach Vasilij Zbogar. "We're learning this venue and the mix between the sea breeze and gradient wind that makes it very tricky to sail."
The wind conditions have placed an added premium on the physicality of the boat which has impacted on McMahon's prospects for Mexico.
"Ewan isn't able to perform because of his injury, it doesn't make any sense to (continue) sail and make things worse," said Zbogar. "There's too much pain and too much anti-inflammatories and pain-killers (needed)."
However, Rio 2016 Olympian Lynch has fared better in the series so far.
"Finn had an okay day and was in seventh or eighth in the first race but made contact with another boat so ended tenth. In the second race, his downhaul rope broke but fortunately it was the last race and it is discarded so it's acceptable - the points are close and there' a lot in play in the finals."
The event permits one discard to apply to the qualification round while a second discard will be available in the final round.
Day 2 update: Finn Lynch holding top ten position
With one day of the qualification round remaining at the ILCA7 World Championships, Finn Lynch (National YC) added a fourth place yesterday to his overnight scorecard leaving him in eighth overall going into the next two races later today in Puerto Vallarta (Narayit, Mexico 25th May 2022).
Lynch had a 13th place in the second race of the day, his worst of the series so far that is dropped under the discard system.
Achieving a strong end to the qualification round, such as top ten overall will be essential for the intensification of racing in the finals that conclude on Saturday.
Conditions built steadily over the course of the afternoon but full hiking weather meant Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht YC) was again unable to reach his potential due to the medical condition he has been hampered by since the weekend.
His worsening condition was evident in his 45th and 41st places leaving him outside of contention for Gold fleet at this regatta.
"Ewan has been unlucky to develop this problem affecting his ankles which prevents him from fully hiking out of the boat as the conditions demand," said James O'Callaghan, Irish Sailing's Performance Director. "Nevertheless, he remains determined to sail his best possible regatta so we cannot ask for better than that."
French sailor Jean-Baptiste Bernaz currently leads the championship overall while Tokyo 2020 Gold medallist Matt Wearn from Australia sailed ashore prior to Monday's race and is out of the competition due to illness.
Qualification for the Laser at the Paris Olympics in just over two years time will be at next year's combined Sailing World Championships in The Netherlands with another opportunity at the 2024 worlds.
Day 1 update: Finn Lynch posts good start in sixth overall
At the ILCA7 World Championships in Puerto Vallarta (Narayit, Mexico 23rd May 2022) Finn Lynch (National YC) delivered a good start to his silver medal defence as the qualifying round got underway overnight.
The Carlow sailor was well suited to the fresh conditions which weren't without challenges as the breeze proved tricky over both of the opening day's races.
Lynch scored a tenth then second place for his flight in the 126-boat regatta and was placed sixth overall.
The fleet is split into two “flights” for the first three days of the series which will then determine the Gold fleet cut, building towards Saturday's final day.
"Finn's results were quite a good day (to start the regatta) and the next couple of days should be similar wind conditions," said Vasilij Zbogar, Irish Sailing's Laser Coach. "A good average will be the key to have a good event."
"It was a typical day that we've seen here with 12 to 16/17 knots, two really nice races and very quick."
Meanwhile, although Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht YC) remains unwell, he did sail the opening two races. However, his condition means that he is unable to hike out of the boat properly, a technique that is critical for the conditions in Narayit.
After a 32nd and 40th places for the day, McMahon lies in the bottom half of the fleet in 72nd place overall though he might normally have been expected to feature close to the top 20 which was his goal for this event.
Qualification for the ILCA7 (formerly Laser) at the Paris Olympic Games in just over two years time will be at next year's combined Sailing World Championships in The Netherlands with another opportunity at the 2024 worlds.
Finn Lynch and Ewan McMahon prepare for the ILCA7 World Championships in Mexico tomorrow
Intense heat and strong ocean currents face the 120-strong fleet at the ILCA7 (Laser Standard) World Championships starting tomorrow Monday (Narayit, Mexico 23rd May 2022) where Finn Lynch (National YC) will be defending his silver medal from the 2021 event last November
The Carlow sailor has had seven days of training at the venue and is looking forward to the breezy conditions that have proved very consistent over the past week.
Six competition days of five hours afloat each comprise the championship that has been likened to back-to-back half-marathons in physical intensity.
Meanwhile, Ewan McMahon (Howth YC) has been unwell for the past two days and is under the care of the Irish squad physio but has already missed two days of training. His goal for the regatta is a top 20 place which depends on a return to full fitness.
Monday and Tuesday will form the qualifying round of the regatta with two races daily scheduled that will decide the Gold fleet finalists before the final result is decided on Saturday (28th May 2022).
Follow results HERE.
Next phase Paris 2024 preparation for Irish sailors starts in Mexico next week
At just over two years to go to the next Olympic Games but ahead of next year's qualification regattas, two of Irish Sailing's Performance senior squad will be in action at Riviera Nayarit, Mexico over the coming ten days.
Finn Lynch (National YC) and Ewan McMahon (Howth YC) will be competing at the ILCA7 World Championships (Saturday 21st - Saturday 28th May 2022, Riviera Nayarit, Mexico) in a fleet of 125 sailors from 45 nations.
While Lynch might easily seek to repeat or better his 2021 result of Silver from the world championships in Barcelona, the combined World Sailing Championships in The Hague next year remains the key task as far as selection for Paris 2024 is concerned.
After Barcelona, Covid disrupted his winter training plans but he still secured fourth overall at the Princess Sofia regatta despite nursing an arm injury that has been gradually improving ahead of the worlds in Mexico.
For McMahon, his form has been steadily improving and his goal for the world championships will be to secure a top 20 overall finishing result. He has demonstrated clear ability to do this already in the 2022 season and improved consistency will decide his regatta.
"We're very pleased with the potential and form to date of both our senior men's single-handed sailors as they work towards their goals for Paris and beyond," said James O'Callaghan, Performance Director with Irish Sailing. "Both Finn and Ewan have a clear pathway for the coming season culminating in the European championships in the Autumn."
The Irish sailors and coach Vasilij Zbogar arrived in Mexico last weekend followed by their boats on Monday to begin training for the start of the regatta. Intense heat and hydration are key factors in their preparations for the 12 race series that comprises a qualification round followed by finals series.