Baltimore’s Fionn Lyden has won the All Ireland Sailing Championships at Mullingar Sailing Club last week.
The series was decided on a knife-edge finale that saw Lyden match-race to the finish line, with GP14 World Champion Shane McCarthy from Greystones being denied victory by the tie-break in the series.
Lyden’s crew was rounded out by fellow West Cork sailor Liam Manning (Schull), and the pair represented the Irish Team Racing Association, who were Wild Card entries in the championship that is celebrating 70 years.
Although Lyden is currently best known for his U23 bronze medal, he was racing at Mullingar as the nominee of the Irish Team Racing Association, as his intervarsity team racing career with UCC first brought his name into the national consciousness as a sailor to watch.
Two very different days of racing tested the sailors. Saturday was a typical autumnal afternoon on Lough Owel – strong and quite blustery but manageable conditions apart from a few capsizes. Sunday morning saw the repechage races to decide the last two places in the final, but then the wind dropped and the lake turned into a mirror. Patience from Jack Roy’s Race Management team was rewarded in the late afternoon, when a light breeze picked up enough to allow three races in quick succession.
The going was slow, but in the final race a strategic decision by Lyden resulted in a two-boat match race between him and Shane McCarthy that took place at one side of the race area, while the rest of the fleet, including last year’s winner Alex Barry, battled it out for a podium place.
The final results were as follows: Fionn Lyden, with Liam Manning, of Baltimore SC in first place; in second place were Alex Barry, with crew Richard Leonard, of Monkstown Bay SC; and in third was Shane McCarthy, crew Andy Davis, of Greystones SC.