LeasePlan Optimist National and Open Championships 2015

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Black Flags Flown At Skerries Optimist Nationals

Author: Gerry Byrne SSC

A general recall in today’s first race at the LeasePlan Irish Optimist National and Open Championships at Skerries Sailing Club led to black flags being brandished by Race Officer Liam Dineen with the result that a total of five sailors received race disqualifications. One of them, Hannah Leonard (RIYC), was unlucky enough to be black flagged in both the second and last of today’s (Saturday’s) races. Also affected were both the Spanish leaders in the Open Fleet, Arnau Gelpi and Eduardo Ojeda Suarez. While Gelpi barely holds onto his Open lead, Suarez has yielded second in the Opens to Skerries’ Peter Fagan.


Hugh Turvey (Howth YC) leads the Junior Championship fleet in the Leaseplan Irish Optimist National and Open Championship.

Photo: Outdoor Photography Skerries

The top of the National Championship Senior fleet was unaffected by the black flag epidemic although Gemma McDowell (Malahide YC) was forced to surrender her precarious lead to Fagan (SSC) following his storming performance with a second, a third and a sixth. Peter Fagan’s Nationals lead of 13 points over MacDowell seems very comfortable. The National’s Clare Gorman looked set to score even better in today’s racing although she was unable to maintain the momentum of two firsts and now lies third overall after McDowell. Tom Higgins (National YC) has equal points and is nipping at Gorman’s heels: she will require extreme concentration tomorrow to secure a podium finish because the light airs threatened in Sunday’s forecast could produce unpredictable results in the remaining two races.

In other fleets Howth Yacht Club’s Hugh Turvey is a strong contender for the Junior National Championship although his performance today was surpassed by Royal Cork’s Rory O’Sullivan who proved the best of the Irish in the Junior Fleet. The previous day’s Junior Fleet leader, Harry Twomey (RCYC), has dropped back to third place closely followed by Conor Gorman of the National. Unlike the tight placings of the Senior fleet, no Irish sailor is likely to stand an even remote chance of snaring the Junior Open title which appears to be Britain’s Archie Leckie’s for the taking with the other Open podium places likely to be shared among his compatriots.

Zoe Hall

Zoe Hall (National YC) sailing in the Junior Fleet.

Photo: Outdoor Photography Skerries

Royal Cork Yacht Club’s dominance of the Regatta Fleet continues as Jamie Venner scored three firsts and a second today (Saturday) virtually cementing his lead of this fleet. Howth’s Johnny Flynn also did well today although he remains 16 points astray of Venner’s 9 points score. The next three places are firmly held by RCYC with Anna Keal, Max Coveney and Lucy Bateman in 3rd, 4th and 5th places respectively.

The LeasePlan Irish Optimist National and Open Championship concludes with two races on Sunday in Skerries.

Malahide Yacht Club Sailor Leads Optimist Nationals At Skerries

By Gerry Byrne (SSC)

Johnny Flynn

Johnny Flynn from Howth YC sailing in the Regatta Fleet at the LeasePlan Irish Optimist National Championship at Skerries today

Photo: Outdoor Photography Skerries

Malahide Yacht Club’s Gemma McDowell leads the LeasePlan Irish Optimist National Championship at Skerries Sailing Club after two days of racing. The event continues until Sunday.

McDowell faces stiff opposition from Howth’s Harry Bell who is just one point behind her,  and from Tom Higgins (Royal St. George) and Peter Fagan (Skerries) who are both just three points astray of her.

In other fleets Royal Cork is showing excellent form with Harry Twomey leading the Junior Fleet and Jamie Venner mastering the Regatta Fleet. In the latter fleet RCYC dominates the top 5 with Anna Keal (third), Max Coveney (fourth) and Lucy Bateman (Fifth).

Almost 200 competitors are taking part with dozens representing the UK, France, Spain and the USA in the parallel Open Championships.

Today’s winds were brisker and more reliable than Thursday’s lighter conditions although Senior Race Officer Liam Dineen has been able to complete a full schedule of races.

A separate course is being raced by the Regatta Fleet while the Open, Junior and Senior events are being raced on the main racecourse.

Junior Fleet racing

The Junior Fleet racing on Thursday at the LeasePlan Irish Optimist National Championship at Skerries SC. 

Photo: Outdoor Photography Skerries



Opening Ceremony featuring St. Maur’s Pipe Band from Rush Co. Dublin and parade arriving at Skerries Sailing Club.

Opening Ceremony12082015

Photograph courtesy of Outdoor Studio visit

Thursday, 13th August 2015
Time Activity Location
09:00 – 10:00 Measurement & Registration Marquee & Race Office
10:30 Coache & Safety Boat Briefing Marquee
11:00 Main Fleet Briefing Marquee
11:30 Regatta Fleet Briefing Marquee
11:30 Tea, Coffee & Scones for Parents Upstairs Bar
17:00 Hot food for competitors & rescue Marquee
18:00 Dinner Marquee & Upstairs Bar
18:00 – 20:00 Sailing on land competition outside Marquee


Please Note

Starting sequence will be as outlined in the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions.

The Countdown Begins

Final preparations for the 2015 Optimist Nationals are under way in Skerries Sailing Club and the countdown to the start of event has now begun. Best wishes to all competitors and we hope you enjoy your time in Skerries.

LeasePlan and Skerries Sailing Club welcom sign.

Event Registration

All competitors are requested to download and complete the following forms and bring to Skerries Sailing Club at Registration.

Important Dates 

Overseas Team Entries: Closed

Overseas individual entries close: 30th July.

Irish Entries Close: Aug 2nd

IODAI Committee meeting: Sat 15th Aug (after launch)

IODAI AGM: Sat 15th Aug 6pm followed by Forum.

Early Arrivals

Competitors arriving early for the event i.e. before Wednesday the 12th of August should contact Olive Parker at or by phone at +353 87 4441002 to arrange access to the Boat park and club facilities.

Irish Ferries Discount

Competitors travelling from the UK can avail of the IODAI Irish Ferries discount.

The discount only applies to morning and evening ferry crossings.

To avail of the discount please contact David O’Connor at david.o’

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