Azeta Seery, Harry Hermon, Eithne Scott-Lennon and Frank O’Beirne help launch the KBC World Championships. Picture: Fennell Photography

THE LASER Radial World Championships are set to bring a major world sailing contest to Dun Laoghaire for the first time, after a long term development strategy from a group of interested parties helped the harbour stake a claim on the world stage.
The single-seater dinghies that make up the laser radial class are amongst the most popular in the world, and will see around 400 competitors from over 35 countries descend on the harbour for a week long competition that will run from July 23 to July 30, and is expected to raise around €2.5 million for the local economy.
David Kelly, chairman of the KBC Laser Radial Worlds, told GazetteSport the championships come “as a result of years of building up the venue as a world class option for sailing events,” a development that pushed on from the Youth Sailing World Championships which took place in Dun Laoghaire in the summer of 2012.
“It’s the culmination of a period we’ve spent trying to establish Dun Laoghaire harbour as a go to venue for major sailing championships,” Kelly explains. “There are certain places that sailing events go back to again and again, like Weymouth in Britain, and we’d like to be one of those.
“It’s been a team effort involving all of the sailing clubs in Dun Laoghaire, as well as the Harbour Company. It’s also an advantage to Irish sailors to have events here.
“Twice as many of our sailors are able to compete as a concession to the hosts and, obviously, it takes away a lot of the expenses to competing, too. It’s a chance for both Irish sailors that are just short of the standard to compete in most championships and for the volunteers to get a real sense of what an event like this is all about. That has a real knock on effect on local sailing.”
The event will take place just two weeks before the opening of the Rio Olympics, and with laser radial an Olympic class of dinghy, it will be the last chance to see many of the competitor’s in action before Rio.