The Irish Sailing Youth National Championships were hosted at the Ballyholme Yacht Club from 22nd to the 24th April in sunny but very mixed sailing conditions, with the third day in particular being very challenging. This event is special as it gives the young sailors the opportunity to see the various pathways they may take after the Optimist Fleet. On day 2 the Optimist and ILCA6 classes launched at the same time in very challenging conditions with both classes literally sailing on crests of waves as they sailed out into Belfast Lough.
The National Yacht Club has a vibrant and high achieving youth element to the Club which was in full force at the event.
National Yacht Club sailors participated in the ILCA4, ILCA 6, 29er and Optimist fleets and showed great endurance in their performances in all classes.
Sam Ledoux whose first event it was in the ILCA 6 class came 7th overall out of a very competitive fleet sailing consistently well for the four-day event and Zoe Hall also sailing in her first ILCA6 class event was 7th Girl overall.
In the ILCA 4 class Dylan de Vreeze sailed well in very challenging conditions over the four-day event in particular on the third day he showed great resilience in his performance.
The National Yacht Club sailors also performed very well in the 29er fleet with a 3rd place finish for Johnny Flynn (HYC) and Ethan Spain, a 5th for Lauren O’Callaghan and Emily Conan (RStGYC),and a 6th for William Walsh and Conor Walsh(BLSC Blessington).
The results of the Optimist youth Nationals were IODAI trials for team selection. Our Optimist sailors showed great resilience and courage with the very mixed conditions and at times enormous waves. Theo Madigan, Felix Dion, Hannah Walsh, James Gorman, Louise Hanley and Lucas Browne sailed the 4 day event and had great individual performances with both Felix Dion and Louise Hanley getting 3rd place in races 1 and 10 and Felix getting 5th place in the last race. The NYC were also joined by Grace Keating from LDYC and she really added to our Optimist team.
Congratulations to Theo Madigan, Felix Dion and Hannah Walsh for making the IODAI IDT team they travel to France in July. Thanks also to Thomas Chaix who was the Optimist Coach and really gave superb support and advice to our young sailors.
There were talks organised for the sailors which ranged from Talks on Our Living Seas and Sustainable Fish Cities. Health, Fitness and Hiking Technique with Sean Evans, Irish Sailing and Andrew Baker, RYA NI leading this session, lots of great advice, hiking technique and a few spot prizes for hiking
On the Saturday evening BYC’s own Liam Glynn, Topper World Champion 2013 did a debrief on the days racing and answered questions.
The event was also a zero single use plastics event.
Many thanks to Ballyholme Yacht club for organising a great event in particular the volunteers who helped at launch and retrieving the boats in sometimes very rough conditions.
The NYC family had some great evening debriefing dinners with all fleets well represented. It was a successful event for all involved. We are now looking forward to getting the sailors back into the club programmes to energise the summer training and events.