Bronze for Finn Lynch in European Championships

Bronze medal for Ireland’s Finn Lynch at European Championships in Greece

Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) has won the Bronze medal at the ILCA European Championships at Athens today (Friday 23rd February 2024) after a three-race final day that ended a weather-hit event.


The Carlow sailor had a consistent day of top ten results to end the eight-race regatta on equal points with Hungary’s Jonatan Vadnai who took the silver on tie-break.


Both boats were just four points off Gold where Valterri Uusiltalo topped the 141-boat fleet for Finland.


Lynch now adds a Bronze to his world championship silver at Barcelona in 2021 as he aims to secure the Irish place for the Men’s single-handed event at the Paris 2024 Olympics this Summer.


“It was very tricky, very up and down for the three races of mostly six knots, maximum eleven,” commented Irish Sailing’s Laser Coach Vasilij Zbogar.  “We were hoping for a little more wind, preferably over 10 knots where Finn definitely has an edge.  But we wanted a medal here, we got a medal here so we’re happy.”


The Rio 2016 Olympic veteran is in a selection trials series with Ewan McMahon (Howth YC) who ended this week’s event in 17th place and at times was leading Lynch.


While a third regatta was included in the Irish selection trials series, Lynch cannot be beaten and is set to be recommended by the Olympic Steering Group to the Irish Sailing board for nomination to the Olympic Federation of Ireland for inclusion in the national team for Paris.


However, there was a silver-lining for McMahon whose jump in performance and results this week means he has regained his status for Sport Ireland funding.


McMahon’s younger sibling Eve was also competing in her ILCA 6 class championship in Athens though the event was intended to concentrate on her starting technique with coach Annalise Murphy in attendance.


Photographs credit: INPHO/Matias Capizzano

Already qualified for Paris and her debut Olympic appearance, McMahon finished a creditable 15th overall for her event.  Like the remainder of the squad, she will compete at the forthcoming French Olympic Week in Hyeres as her final major competition before the Olympics.


“Overall, it was a very successful event for the Irish sailors.  Eve is so young, still only 19 and sailed a great week to come 15th at a European championships is really great,” said Murphy.  “It’s definitely a tricky time of year to sail in Athens, not much wind so very frustrating.  But overall it ended up working out well so very positive going into the next few months.”


The European Championships in Athens attracted 326 boats across three disciplines but the schedule was heavily affected by lack of wind on most days that curtailed the event and led to high scores by all the top sailors.


The next event in the Sailing schedule will be the 49er World Championships in Lanzarote in ten days’ time which will be the first selection trials regatta for the sole Irish place in the Men’s skiff event for Paris 2024.

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