European Team in Italy
The European team, Jil Mc Ginley, Scott Levie, Daniel Raymond, Cliodhna níShuilleabháin, Ewan Mc Mahon, Alacoque Daly and Ronan Cournane are preparing to travel to Lignano Sabbiadoro near Venice to compete in the 2012 European championships, with National Optimist coach Thomas Chaix, and assistant coach Cian O'Regan.
We wish them luck.
The team in Frankfurt airport on the way to Italy
Saturday June 30
The team have been here in Lignano Sabbiadoro for 4 days. We have stayed in the Hotel Regina while training in the race area and getting used to the charter boats, and getting to know the USA, Hungarian and New Zealand teams who also arrived early. This morning we moved to the Getur sports complex where the championships are to be held.
Sunday July 1st
The practice race at the start of the event was due to be raced at 2pm today but as winds continue to be late, the race was postponed and unfortunately had to be cancelled. The team then changed into their team gear for the parade and Opening Ceremony.
Temperatures are exceptionally high here, 37 degrees, and the residences are quite old; unfortunately ours doesn't have air conditioning and the team is finding conditions to be challenging.
Team Ireland at the Opening Ceremony
One of our supporters at the ceremony. Doesnt he look amazingly like Micheal!!
Monday July 2nd
Racing began today. Again, winds were light, and launching was postponed; in the end, only four of the flights got to race, and Jil and Cliodhna didnt get to race at all. Results were mixed and unfortunately we picked up a couple of black flags.
Tuesday July 3rd
Winds were a little better today and the girls ended the day with three races completed, and the boys with four. The heat is making it difficult for the team to sleep - even sailors from Meditteranean countries are struggling, and Team Ireland are doing incredibly well in these tough conditions. Jil is leading the Irish in 51st position.
Wednesday July 4th
A long postponement this morning as temperatures soared again and winds remained elusive, so launching didnt complete until 3 pm. All fleets had two races wth Daniel leading the Irish boys and Scott just 4 places behind, and Jil and Alacoque in places 51 & 52 in the girls competition
Thomas Chaix update July 4th:
"News from team Ireland after day 3 at the Optimist Europeans. It was to be another frustrating day at the office with the wind playing with our nerves. Postponed for a while, the fleets were released afloat one by one at a slow pace. Cian was afloat whilst I was keeping the shore side in order before I eventually followed the last fleet out... And we eventually added 2 races in light winds (as usual) to the series. with 6 races in the bag the boys were allowed to use their discard. Scott gained a mere 38 places in the process having scored two solid races (8-21). Daniel gained a couple after two mid fleet results. Alacoque was also on the gain side starting her day with a 12th... She will be happy to discard the 50th tomorrow... So now we have in the girls, Jil 51st, Alacoque 52nd and Cliodhna 72nd. In the boys Daniel climbed to 58th just ahead of Scott 62nd. Ewan and Ronan are finding it very difficult in 129th and 137th respectively. we are now at the half way mark, still along 3 days to go to improve on these results."
Thomas Chaix update July 5th:
"Opti Europeans DAY 4: 2 more races in... light wind (surprise). Good day at the office for Scotty who managed to leave behind the disappointment of converting a 3rd at the windward into a 15th on the finish line (laylines and downwind speed) to score 11th on the second race. Daniel sailed well but small mistakes there and there dropped him a few valuable points (29th and 18th). Ewan once more showed the number above the line. He then followed by a decent race (21st). Ronan just cant find the right gear! In the girls, the first race was tough but Cliodhna and Jil put a good fight down in the second one to score a 12th each. Overall the best boy is now Scott in 55th and the best girl is Jil in 44th."
Thomas Chaix update 6th July:
"opti euros... and the breeze picked up to... 40kts! No racing today, Irish not happy (jil says these Italians are pussies), and cian just about made it alive to the Marina. Frank O'Beirne just finished his presentation for the Euro 2014 in Ireland."
Saturday July 7th
Thursday was another light day with two races completed for both boys and girls, and most of our group managed to improve their positions.
Friday the weather changed, with no wind but a thunder storm threatened so racing was postponed. The storm came and when it password another followed; eventually the wind picked up late afternoon, but the increased waves from the wind meant the jury felt it was too difficult to launch, so all the sailors who were eagerly awaiting a bit of wind had their hopes dashed as racing was called off, but the 4 pm cancellation and great waves meant all the teams had a plenty of time for some great fun in the water.
Saturday was a short day on the water; the girls had two races, the boys just one, which meant that all finished the event with 9 races completed.
Thomas Chaix update July 7th:
"Opti Euros. One more race for the boys and two more for the girls. 10-12 kts gave us finally a bit of fun and a chance to hike out (almost)... It would have been a great day for the Irish, unfortunately most of them decided to make a sea salad and found the best way to keep it fresh was under the boat stuck on the daggerboard. Jil and Daniel dropped from the top 10 and the other two girls were very slow. On the smiles, Scott ended his event with a 9th and Ewan with a 12th. Jil was sailing well all day and putting her salad in the fridge after race 1 she scored a 13th in the final race ( and her final race in an opti). Overall Scott was 48th (39th European), Daniel 62nd, Ewan 120th and Ronan 133rd. Jil picked one place to 43rd, Alacoque 66th and Cliodhna 72nd. The top 10 were courtesy of Scott (3) and Daniel (1). Tough week but lessons were learnt..."
Saturday evening was the Closing ceremony and a chance for the teams to meet up and stay up as late as they possibly could!
The European Championships this year was a challenging event, with shifty wind, extreme heat, and the team are to be congratulated for some great results in very difficult circumstances. They worked together well as a team, behaved extremely well, and did us proud. Well done Jil, Scott, Daniel, Cliodhna, Ewan, Alacoque and Ronan!
Ewan McMahon was one of the team and he has written the following report for IODAI:
Ewan McMahon Practicing at Home
"THE EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS 2012
The team gathered in Dublin Airport at 5am on Tuesday the 26th June. We flew to Venice via Frankfurt. We transferred by bus to Lignano Sabbiadoro(45 km North of Venice) where the European championships where being held .The team were in great spirits and looking forward to getting started into training and racing. The sun was shining and the temperatures were very hot; hard to believe we had left cold, wet and windy Ireland earlier that day! On arrival, the team booked into Hotel Regina ready to start training the next day.
On Wednesday morning we got our charter boats and we eased into training with a few speed tests and trialled some starts. The winds were light, for most of training (and the championships ),which proved challenging at times to get going in some of the races. Measurements took place on Wednesday afternoon and it came as a bit of a surprise to me when I was told my J Sail had failed the measuring test. A chat with the owner of J Sails sorted the problem and to my delight he gave me a brand new sail for the event…Result!
Thursday 28th June was another scorcher and after training it turned into a party night for two reasons. I celebrated my birthday with the team and everybody enjoyed the chocolate profiterole cake that Joan (team Mum) had ordered the night before. The same night Italy won their semi-final soccer match against Germany and the whole town went mad for the night celebrating the win. Not much sleep to be had that night!
Saturday 30th June was a rest day for the team and on that day we moved into the event accommodation and it proved to be a move from the frying pan and into the fire. Hotel Getur was a remnant of another era and the facilities (or complete lack of) proved to be a challenge for all!! With the temperatures soaring to an unseasonal high of 38o C we all felt like we were being baked alive in the rooms as there was NO air conditioning in our building-it was very demoralizing for all the teams. There was worse to come when we sampled the food-less than edible at times and Joan made a decision to dine elsewhere for some of the evenings so that we all got something decent to eat. The only appetites that were satiated were the mosquitoes, who all dined out on us for the week!! After a team discussion we felt that we had to make the best of a bad lot (other teams hightailed it to better facilities) and Joan staged a sit in at reception until they provided a fan for the bedrooms. Think the hotel staff learned you should never mess with the mammies-especially an Irish mammy!! Sleep deprivation was our biggest challenge as even with a fan, the rooms were uncomfortably hot and getting some sleep was very difficult for the entire competition.
Sunday 1st July was to be a practice race, however the absence of wind and no sea breeze unfortunately kicked that to touch for the day, so the team cooled off swimming in the sea with some of the other teams. A little more refreshed, we all went to the opening ceremony that evening and flew the flag for Ireland in the procession. Ronan Cournane had a very enthusiastic flag waving technique ( nice to know if the power failed he could have been a substitute for the fan in the room!). The team spirit was good and we were all looking forward to racing the next day. Back at the hotel that evening we were preparing for another sleep deprived night as Italy played Spain in the final of the soccer championships and if they had won the celebrations would have been louder than Vesuvius erupting! Thanks be to God that Spain won 4-0 and peace reigned that night.
Racing commenced on Monday the 2nd July. We all had difficult light wind conditions to deal with throughout the competition. The courses were very long with places lost easily and hard to win back. Our Race Officer was excellent at picking out numbers on the start line and we also had a great Jury and they didn’t hold back on giving out yellow flags. The racing was great but tough, with all the competitors fighting for every last position. On one of the days the racing was cancelled due to a thunder storm that was hanging over the race course but overall I think everyone had a good, but hard event. On Saturday we had a fantastic prize giving and the new European Champion was presented with the trophy.
Our team coach wasThomas Chaix and assisted by Cian O Regan. We all had a great time with them. They were really helpful on and off the water and great craic.We all flew home exhausted but happy with a very respectable 15th team position overall..It was a valuable experience for us all and a fantastic achievement by all the team to represent our country at such a prestigious event."