Please select your home edition
Edition
Craftinsure 2023 LEADERBOARD

Meet the 29er fleet #13 - Ben O'shaunessy and Ethan Spain, IRL

by International 29er Class 30 Sep 2023 15:08 BST
29er European Championship © Kristian Joos

This week we meet 2023 Men's and Overall European Champions Ben O'shaunessy and Ethan Spain who sailed a spectacular regatta to take home the Gold medals and catapult themselves into the spotlight.

How old are you both?

Ben: I'm Ben and I'm 17.
Ethan: I'm Ethan and I'm 18 since June.

How long have you sailed the 29er?

Ben: Starting in the summer of 2021, have sailed for two and a half years now.
Ethan: I've been in the boat for 3 years now but I only started sailing with Ben about a year and a half ago.

Tell us a random fact about yourselves!

Ben: I started sailing out of the oldest yacht club in the world, Royal Cork Yacht Club.
Ethan: I have a phobia of cooked eggs:(

What do you love about sailing the 29er and the racing?

The 29er class manages to incorporate close competitive racing and high speed into the one class which can be hard to find. And although things can get heated on the water everyone is super chill off the water and everyone ends up having a good time!

Who/what has inspired your successes/inspires you?

While we both look up to sailors in the 49er class and sailors who are going to the Olympics. The people that inspire us the most are our coaches and teammates who continue to keep pushing us even when things don't turn out the way we would have liked them to.

What are your strengths as a team? Who does what job in the boat and what are you both good at?

While sometimes we get frustrated at ourselves in the boat, one of our strengths is that we never get angry at each other. Ben is in charge of tactics and strategy, and Ethan is in charge of speed. And if one of us makes a mistake in our area the other person never uses it as an opportunity to get frustrated. And this always keeps a positive dynamic in the boat.

Why do you think you've been so successful in the 29er and what are your future goals in the class?

Our success in the 29er can really be put down to time on the water, amazing training partners, support from coaches and family. Even if we didn't have a coach we would always make sure we got on the water in some form whether it is in the the 29er or the FX. As well as this we trained with the Van Steenberge siblings who constantly pushed to us our limits and they went on to win the Worlds. So having good training partners makes a massive difference. And looking forward we hope to get a good result at the Youth Worlds before moving into the 49er.

Do you have any top tips for people just starting in the 29er, for fellow sailors, mixed teams and for those looking to improve their performance for next year?

I think our main advice would be to never get frustrated at where you're at - the 29er can be a super frustrating boat and sometimes it feels like your getting nowhere, but eventually you will always come out the other side as a better sailor and more knowledge. Like for myself (Ethan), I used to be horrible in light air but eventually after about 2 and a half years it clicked and now we're strong in the light air. So it takes time but if you keep cracking at it you'll get there.

What are your future sailing goals, dreams and ambitions?

Not too sure yet as we are still quite young, but 49ers are pretty cool and we like to sail them now alongside the 29er. We'd need to put a lot of weight on first though.

Related Articles

8 all-female teams at 29er EuroCup 3
Clementine van Steenberge and Jessica Riordan from Ireland take the Gold in the 29er Women's Fleet The International 29er fleet is one of the fastest and most hotly contested youth fleets for sailors aged 13 and above and is proud to welcome sailors of many ages. Posted on 20 Feb
MedSailing 2024 at Club Nàutic El Balís
Soma Kis-Szölgyémi and András Juhász successfully defend their title The Hungarian crew composed of Soma Kis-Szölgyémi and András Juhász successfully defended their championship title at MedSailing in the waters of the Club Nàutic El Balís. Posted on 18 Feb
Crown Series Bellerive Regatta official launch
Commodore Cordell said the excitement is building for the anniversary event Sailors, sponsors, community and club members joined Bellerive Yacht Club (BYC) Commodore Jeff Cordell and the Hon. Nic Street MP, Minister for Sport and Recreation, today to launch the 20th anniversary of the Crown Series Bellerive Regatta. Posted on 14 Feb
29er Euro Cup at Valencia Day 3
Sara and Isa Momplet continue to lead in 29er Sara and Isa Momplet continue to lead in 29er, after the third day for the class, while Terol leads in the Finn, Bermúdez de la Puente and Pumariega in the Snipe and the tandem Fracés-Gil in Vaurien, with three and two races completed in these classes. Posted on 4 Feb
Sun Hung Kai & Co. Hong Kong Race Week overall
Misty morning gives way for a fantastic day of racing Whilst it was misty in the morning there was enough breeze to allow three races for the Optimist Main, Intermediate, 2.4mR, RS Feva and 29er fleets to be added to the scores on a fantastic fourth day of sailing. Posted on 4 Feb
Sun Hung Kai & Co. Hong Kong Race Week day 3
Three classes opted for three different racing areas What a great day for racing! Day 3 began with over 20kts of wind at Repulse Bay, however the wind gradually softened with the sun coming out to welcome sailors as they arrived on the racetracks for an exciting racing day. Posted on 3 Feb
29er Euro Cup at Valencia Day 2
Lack of wind leaves 29er fleet grounded and unable to sail The weather forecasts pointed to a second day with little wind. On this occasion, they were right, as the wind did not reach Valencia in terms of intensity. Posted on 2 Feb
Sun Hung Kai & Co. Hong Kong Race Week day 2
The AP flag was hoisted in the morning but sailors only had to wait ashore for half an hour Whilst beautiful blue sky could be seen above Middle Island, thick sea fog and very little wind delayed the start of Day 2 of the Sun Hung Kai & Co. Hong Kong Race Week. Posted on 2 Feb
29er Euro Cup at Valencia Day 1
Sara and Isa Momplet lead after the first day of racing The first of the four days for the 29er, regatta framed in the program of the Olympic Week of the Comunitat Valenciana and the championship of Spain of the class, with three races completed in the Real Club Náutico de Valencia, is closed Posted on 1 Feb
Sun Hung Kai & Co. Hong Kong Race Week day 1
It was a slow start at the Middle Island Water Sports Training Centre It was a slow start for Day 1 of the Sun Hung Kai & Co Hong Kong Race Week 2024, incorporating the 2024 29er Asian Championship. Posted on 1 Feb