The National Optimist Trials were held over three days in Lough Derg at Easter and another three days over the bank holiday weekend in Royal Cork. Eighteen races were scheduled and seventeen were completed before worsening conditions brought to an end a very successful series for HYC sailors.
The Trials are run to select the Irish teams who will participate in the World Championships (Top 5), the European Championships (Next 7) and the Under 12 squad (Top 10 U12's) who travel to the British Nationals. This year, three substitutes were also selected. The World Championships take place in Sardinia and the European Championships take place in Athens, both events in July.
Diana Kissane, reigning national champion, qualified as the only girl on the World team. Oliver Keenan and Ali Dix qualified for the European team with Tara Flood one of the three substitutes. Tara also qualified as the top Under 12. It is a great achievement for Howth Yacht Club that four of its sailors qualified to represent their country. Thanks to HYC coach Andrea Giovanni from South Africa who proved a great success in preparation for and during the event.
HYC sailors featured at the head of the fleet in several races with Diana, Oliver, Ali and Scott Flanigan all recording race wins. The light variable breezes in Lough Derg did not play to the strengths of Scott, Andrew Tyrrell and Padraig Finnegan but the boys demonstrated their ability to compete with the best as soon as conditions became more lively in Cork. Over the last two days, they recorded several top ten results, including Scott's win in the last race of the Trials.
Brian Tyrrell very generously provided his rib for both parents and sailors during the event and the four mile tow home across Cork harbour at the end of a long day was very much appreciated by the sailors. Thanks Brian.
We wish all the sailors the very best at the upcoming international events.