Sailing: European Championships

Rocco gets the job done with European gold

by Aaron Dunne
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Gold for Ireland’s Rocco Wright (Howth Yacht Club) in the ILCA6 event of the European Championships on the Côte d’Azur was the highlight of a week of mixed fortunes for the Irish sailors competing.

Wright’s win in the ILCA6 Men’s event was always in prospect as he wore the yellow leader’s bib for over half the event.

His result came down to the single final race on the last day that he started on level points but ahead on tiebreak from Cypriot Georgios Yiasemides.  Wright kept his nerve to place fourth while making sure to stay well in front of his main rival who placed 13th.

“I’m extremely happy with this week as the first few days were very challenging and that was my weakness coming out of summer,” he said.  “I’m just speechless to be world and European champion this year. It was always a dream of mine to win a worlds and a European and to do it the same year… I’m just over the moon!”

Meanwhile, in the ILCA6 Women’s championship, Eve McMahon (Howth YC) delivered her goal of a strong finish when she placed 13th, lifting her to 21st place overall to end her season that includes three Gold medals at World Youth level.

A strong start to the regatta for Rio 2016 Olympian Finn Lynch (National YC) looked promising in the strong conditions that were present for the qualification round.  However, lighter winds with large windshifts saw the Carlow sailor suffer though he might normally have performed well in such weather.

Matching Eve McMahon’s final score, Lynch placed 13th to bring him to 26th overall, some distance off a top ten or podium result that he might normally deliver.

Meanwhile, two other McMahon siblings were in action on the Bay of Hyères.  

Ewan McMahon had a faltering start to the event but regained his composure in time to qualify for Gold fleet.  Younger brother Jamie had been in the hunt for the top 55 as well but in the end had to settle for Silver fleet.

The sixth Irish sailor in action was Tom Higgins (Royal St. George YC) who delivered a race win in the Bronze fleet series to take seventh place in that event.

It won’t quite be the results that they want but those guys (Finn Lynch and Ewan McMahon) are going to be back,” said Rory Fitzpatrick, Head Coach with Irish Sailing.  “We have a new European  champion in Rocco Wright so we’re pretty pleased about that, it’s really great for Irish Sailing, his parents and his club.”

Howth’s Rocco Wright won gold in the ILCA6 event at the European Championships

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