by Rachel Solon
The Irish Sailing Association (ISA) has revealed an eight-sailor squad that will represent Ireland at the 43rd ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships this summer. The team of five boys and three girls will compete across three different classes at the most prestigious international youth sailing event which will take place in Limassol, Cyprus from the 13 - 20 July. Only one male and one female place was offered in each class and the contenders had to meet both international standards as well as win their category at the ISA Youth National Championships in April in order to be selected.
Robbie Gilmore pipped 2012 silver medallist Finn Lynch to the Irish Radial spot
'The competition for places has been intense this year,' remarked ISA Performance Director James O'Callaghan. 'It is a real testament to the depth of talent in our fleets that most selections were decided in the last race. The team is looking forward to a great event in Cyprus.'
In the Laser Radial class Ireland will have male and female representatives, both hailing from Northern Ireland. Robbie Gilmore from Belfast had met the international standard along with eight other male sailors prior to the ISA Youth Nationals. That provided an equally nerve-wracking and exciting four day, 11 race deciding regatta as the top sailors battled it out for the coveted spot. Robbie took the lead in the early stages but was perused unwaveringly by last year's ISAF Youth Worlds silver medallist Finn Lynch who was determined to return to the championship for a second year. Ultimately it came down to the final day of racing but Lynch was unable to surpass Gilmore's impressive results.
In the girl's category Sarah Eames from Lisburn, a nominee for ISA Youth Sailor of the Year 2012, was triumphant beating her nearest female rival Sorcha Ni Shuilleabhain by eight points and thus earning her a place on the Youth Worlds team.
Ireland will also have both male and female representatives in the two-person 420 class.
Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove from Dublin were among three male teams already at international standard and hoping for a win at the ISA Youth Nationals. Competition was fierce as the top four teams continuously swapped positions on the leader board. It came down to the final race where the duo took the bullet and deservedly the overall win.
In the girl's category a young Cork pairing, Cliodhna Ni Shuilleabhain and Jill McGinley were the somewhat surprise winners. The girls, although incredibly talented sailors, were much younger than their opponents and had set their sights on 2014. However they dominated throughout the regatta and ultimately beat the Dublin McDowell cousins who had been tipped for the place. With the Youth Nationals win under their belt they travelled to Wales at the end of April for the qualification event and successfully finished sixth overall where only the top eight would meet the international standard.
The final team to earn their place for the second year in a row are brothers Sean and Tadgh Donnelly from Dublin. They will be competing in the 29er class where they will hope to improve on their 10th overall finish at last year's event which was held on Dublin Bay.
ISA Squad for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships 2013:
Boy: Robbie Gilmore (Strangford Lough Yacht Club)
Girl: Sarah Eames (Ballyholme Yacht Club)
Boys: Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove (Howth Yacht Club)
Girls: Cliodhna Ni Shuilleabhain (Kinsale Yacht Club) and Jill McGinley (Royal Cork Yacht Club)
29er - Open: Sean and Tadgh Donnelly (National Yacht Club)
ISAF Youth Worlds website