Kinsale's Summer of Optimism.

23 July, 2009


Year after year, the dedication of a few parents, coaches and sailors are keeping Kinsale Yacht Club sailors at the forefront of Irish Optimist sailing. This year was no exception and the experienced Colm O Regan went to Slovenia to represent his country and club at the Europeans whilst Aodh Kennedy, Conor Murphy, Amy Clarke and 11 year old Cliodhna O Regan qualified for the division one fleet (out of 5) at the CIE (French Summer International Trophy).

European Optimist Championship, Piran, Slovenia;

With 11 races sailed in various conditions (from drifter to 18 kts); Slovenia delivered a difficult but most challenging championship. Colm started slow as did the championship in the 147 boat fleet (2*78 flights) with two 52nd in very light air... it was to be two long days but he kept his calm and focus to be ready when the rest of the week provided better racing allowing to catch up on the program and put 11 races on the board... Colm tidied up on the start line and never really looked back securing world class starts for the rest of the week. However, he found the conditions difficult and despite moments of brilliance and great catch up in some second beats, he could not manage to put together the perfect race without mistakes. Better consistency was there but his best scores remained at 22nd (race3) and 24th (race8) and in such a championship where high scores are needed, he settled with 90th (81st Europeans).

90. Colm O Regan, KYC, 52, 52, 22, 30, 57, 29, 37, 24, 31, 60, 37

His result contributed to qualify Ireland to the team racing Europeans on Lake Ledro (Italy) where the best 16 European countries will battle for the coveted title.

Coupe internationale d'été, Loctudy, France;

What a line up it was in France! 467 optimists separated in 5 divisions. The Elite senior division ("Minime over 11" in French) lined up 176 sailors from 9 different countries of which 12 were from Ireland. Amongst the Irish were 4 KYC sailors.
The championship started by a long day afloat (finishing at 8pm) securing 3 races for each of the two flights to initiate the qualifying series. Aodh Kennedy was the quickest to cop on with the strength of the fleet to secure 22nd in an initial race where the Irish underestimated the overall speed of the fleet. Conor Murphy reacted like a champion on the second race taking a superb 10th after a dreadful start (last... actually!). He confirmed with a 27th in the third race. Cliodhna steadily progressed to secure a 51st on the last race of the day. The second day provided great sailing conditions again and 2 races were sailed to put the number at 5 for the qualifying series. Aodh had another good initial race (22nd) but an OCS put him under pressure on the overall ranking after 5 races. Conor was definitely launched and settled into the top half with two solid scores. Cliodhna had an excellent first race (32nd) but picked an OCS as well on the second race. Amy was finding the going very tough but kept looking for solutions all day with a fighting attitude. Day 3 was a little special with an unusual race to conclude the qualifying series. A long offshore race! Amy was unlucky enough to be caught on course side on the line. Conor and Aodh failed to launch of the start line and missed completely the two initial tactical moves making their race a catch up mission. If for Conor the come back was not essential to secure Gold, Aodh was under pressure to come back in the top 30 at least, which unfortunately he did not manage to do (57th) settling as one of the leaders of the silver (6th). Conor actually did pick up a good few places to take 35th in the race and Cliodhna took 52nd. Aodh worked his disappointment and was on fire on day 4 sailing safe and well to secure 4 top 10 (8th, 2nd, 10th and 6th) to take the lead in silver. Amy readjusted some of her settings to improve her speed and found more space in the silver to get 3 excellent races (and a BFD) culminating with a 16th gaining her almost 20 places overall. Cliodhna inexperience cost a lot on this 4 races long day and she scored 2 BFDs on her best races (a 3rd and a 19th) but the experience can only stand to her in the future and she will be one of the Irish leaders of the U12 squad in the upcoming UK nationals. In the Gold, Conor had crackers on the start line launching him for potential top 15-20, however he found the tightness of the fleet pretty difficult and made a few mistakes on mark approaches when things became tight and lost valuable points. his best race of the day was 34th. The final day provided a strong forecast. Despite going afloat, the silver fleet was sent back ashore which meant Aodh won silver. “the easiest way of maintaining my (his) lead" as he said! Conor stayed out for two races. The first one was a nightmare for him as everything went wrong. But when the breeze picked up above 25kts foor the second race, he put a brave fight to take 42nd on the line.

GOLD (90 boats)
61. Conor Murphy, KYC, 89, 10, 27, 40, 22, 35, 65, 47, 65, 34, 81, 42

SILVER (86 boats)
1. Aodh Kennedy, KYC, 22, 77, 41, 22, ocs, 57, 8, 2, 10, 6
56. Amy Clarke, KYC, 67, 66, 70, 66, 76, ocs, 25, 16, bfd, 30
62. Cliodhan O Regan, KYC, 64, 59, 51, 32, ocs, 52, 64, bfd, bfd, 34

KYC entered the team racing event ( sailed over day 2 and 3) among 40 teams from 8 countries. the KYC team won the initial challenge to move into round two but lost against a French regional team after a tight challenge.

Thomas Chaix (coach)