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23 July 2007, 09:58 am
Massive Youth Fleet Get To Grips With Dublin Bay
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Laser 4.7 European Championship 2007

The biggest youth sailing fleet seen on Dublin Bay successfully completed the opening two qualifying races for the European Laser 4.7 Championship at Dun Laoghaire yesterday (Sunday).
With light variable winds forecast to increase in the afternoon International Race Officer Jack ROY postponed the scheduled start of race one by an hour. However conditions changed markedly throughout the day and race two provided quite a contrast.

Con MURPHY, National Yacht Club Commodore, explained, 'The first race was run in light winds of just 5-7 knots but race two was quite different. It was started in torrential rain and provided winds 10-15 knots.'

With 262 young sailors on the water competitors are divided into four separate fleets - one female and three male. The initial four days of the championship is a qualifiying series for the male fleets, however after Wednesday they will be classified as either Gold, Silver or Bronze as they sail two races per day for the final series.

With each fleet scheduled to complete 12 races it is a daunting prospect for any Race Officer to ensure that all 262 boats away cleanly over 48 separate starts. However International Race Office Jack ROY has shown his intentions for the week with today's efficient and clean starts.

ROY commented 'It's a great experience for the sailors to compete in a regatta of this size and the standard of starts from the youngest to the oldest was fantastic with just a few OSC's.'

As expected the Spanish contingent is proving very competitive however our Irish summer is failing to impress Sara HERNANDEZ LEÓN who won the second race in the female fleet.

LEÓN from Tenerife said, 'It was a quiet windy during the race but it was also a lot colder than I'm used to.'

The logistics behind an event of this size is astonishing with 262 boats launched this morning in just 55 minutes however the slip master's team broke that record later in the day when all boats were landed in less than 45 minutes.

ISAF President Opens the Championship

President of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Gören PETERSSON attended the opening of the European Laser 4.7 Championship at the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin as a parade of 262 young sailors from around the world raised their national flags.

PETERSSON noted that this marked the seventh holding of the European Laser 4.7 Championship and 2007 provided record entries. PETERSSON also commented that the Laser 4.7 is 'one of ISAF's fastest growing youth classes that is now spread throughout the world in over 55 countries and 6 continents.'

National Yacht Club Commodore Con MURPHY said, 'We are delighted that over 260 sailors have travelled to compete in this European Championship and it is a great salute to the young sailors that ISAF President Gören PETERSSON is here.'

Event Organiser Cathy MacALEAVEY knows that meticulous planning is the key to the success of hosting an event of this calibre and with her team of 200 volunteers Cathy aims for the best. Not only the event organiser Cathy is a sailor herself and holds a significant sailing pedigree as she competed at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul on the first Irish women's team and,

Cathy went on to explain, 'As a sailor myself I'm delighted that we have such a high female entry for this top event with 60 girls from 20 nations.'

About the European Laser 4.7 Championship 2007

Prizes will be awarded to the 1st male and female competitor as the Laser 4.7 Male/Female European Champions 2007. As a result there will be a separate scoring and starts for male and female competitors.

All female competitors will display a red diamond on their sail. The large male entry will be divided into 3 groups with results combined at the end of each race. Furthermore their races will be divided into a qualifying and a final series of races.

Racing will take place on Dublin Bay, with twelve races scheduled for all fleets from Sun 22nd to Fri 27th July. If sufficient races are sailed one or more discards will take effect. A practice race is scheduled for Sat.

Laser 4.7

The Laser 4.7 rig is ideal for younger and lighter sailors and acts as a stepping stone before progressing on to the bigger Radial and Standard rig. The Laser 4.7 uses a short pre-bent lower mast to maintain a balanced helm and a sail area that is 35% smaller than the Laser Standard, an Olympic class boat. One of ISAF's fastest growing youth classes, the Laser 4.7 is now spread throughout the world in over 55 countries and 6 continents.

Event Sponsors:

Irish Sports Council, Fáilte Ireland, Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, Laser Card, The Royal Marine Hotel, Ballygowan, Slam and Renewco Energy.

Bernadette FOX (As Amended by ISAF), Image: Martin HAYES (GBR) © Pat Whelan
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