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ISA Senior All Ireland Sailing Championship at Lough Derg Yacht Club

by Rachel Solon, Irish Sailing Association 7 Oct 2012 20:06 BST 5-7 October 2012
Peter O'Leary, Robert O'Leary and Robbie English win the ISA All Ireland Sailing Championship © David Branigan / Oceansport

Peter O'Leary wins Ireland's most prestigious sailing championship

2012 Olympic sailor Peter O'Leary has won Ireland's most prestigious sailing championship; the ISA (Irish Sailing Association) All Ireland Sailing Championship which was kindly sponsored by Waterways Ireland. The three day invitational regatta concluded in Lough Derg this afternoon (Sunday 7th) with Peter dominating the final three-race series and claiming the Helmsman Trophy for the second time, having first won title in 2006. A total of 24 of the nation's top sailors, along with a crew of their choosing, received invitations for the annual event which first began in 1947. Their selection was based on their performances throughout the year in their respective classes.

Racing in the ISA's SailFleet J80 keelboats, the regatta began with a qualifier round on Friday for eight of the teams with only the top three then making it through to a 16 boat, 2 flight preliminary series on Saturday. The original aim had been for the two separate flights of eight boats to sail three races a piece before a two-race repechage and three-race final series on Sunday. However due to the absence of any wind on Saturday afternoon it was not possible for the second flight to sail any races. Based on the circumstances, the race management team made the decision to forego the repechage in favour of attempting the three-race series for Flight 2 in the morning with the top four boats from each flight progressing to a three-race final series in the afternoon.

Competition in the final series was fierce. Amongst the eight helms were three former Olympic sailors including Peter O'Leary and Ryan Seaton who both competed in 2012 Games and Mark Mansfield who competed at four consecutive Olympics from 1992 to 2004. Also sailing was reigning champion, George Kenefick who was back to defend his title and the youngest of all the competitors, 17 year old Fionn Lyden who only two weeks ago won the ISA Junior All Ireland Championship in Schull, Co. Cork.

The deciding three races began in the early afternoon in winds that steadily grew to 12 knots for the final race. Peter O'Leary, who was sailing with his brother Robert O'Leary and Robbie English, quickly made his presence known by taking the lead and winning the first race. Having been top of the leader board going in to the final, Fionn Lyden and his crew of David Harte and Darragh McCormack slipped to second place overall followed closely by Mark Mansfield in third.

Another race win followed by a second place finish and the title was Peter's. Young Fionn Lyden sailed a magnificent regatta and beat off two Olympians to claim the silver. In third place was last year's winner George Kenefick who clawed his way up from the back of the fleet to win the final race and take the bronze. He finished tied on points with Mansfield but beat him based on a count back; George's best result during the regatta was a first whilst Mark's was a second.

ISA Chief Executive remarked "This has been the culmination of a fantastic year of Irish sailing at all levels. The standard of sailors was exceptional and we have a very worthy winner".

Overall Results:

1Peter O'LearyBaltimore SC5121127
2Fionn LydenBaltimore SC23134312
3George KennefickRoyal Cork YC16652115
4Mark MansfieldRoyal Cork YC25323815
5Noel ButlerDun Laoghaire Motor YC32448417
6Ryan SeatonBallyholme YC33167720
7David DicksonLough Ree YC71376623
8Ian NagleRoyal Cork YC82485524

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