2024 ILCA Masters bring a splash of summer to Howth

14 May 2024
2024  ILCA Masters bring a splash of summer to Howth

On a bright and sunny Saturday, 11th May, the ILCA Masters arrived in Howth for their 2024 annual championship. A total of 43 competitors took part in this event, which is exclusively for participants aged 30 and above, across the ILCA 6 and 7 fleets, formerly known as Laser Radial and Standard respectively.

The event is a highlight on the ILCA calendar, known for its later start times and relaxed atmosphere as well as for the impressive racing performance of the participants, who consistently display their skills and expertise.

2024 ILCA Masters participants pose for a group photo after the event

Competitors were divided into four age categories: Apprentice (30-44), Master (45-54), Grand Master (55-64), and Great Grand Master (65+). All age categories were represented in both the 6 and 7 fleets, demonstrating the longevity of this fleet.

Defending champions Shirley Gilmore (2023 ILCA 6 Ladies) and Conor Byrne (2023 ILCA 7) arrived ready to defend their titles. Other past champions, including Sean Craig, Nick Walsh, and Paul McMahon, also participated.

The Race Committee team led by Neil Murphy, fresh from their experience managing ILCAs all winter in the HYC Frostbites, managed the event with mastery. Sailors were warned at the briefing that they would be started on a P flag, but any misbehaviour would result in a U flag, which would not be lowered. Both fleets experienced this at some point during the event.

The conditions were ideal with blue skies and a gentle, steady breeze. These favourable settings allowed the full schedule of races, three each day, to be completed. Saturday saw consistently light breezes, making a good start key to ensuring clean air. Sunday started with similar light conditions, but the breeze built steadily across the three races, much to the delight of the heavier ends of the fleets.

Sean Craig and Conor Clancy in tight battle

In the ILCA 6 Women’s category, Shirley Gilmore (RSGYC) retained her Women’s Masters title, with Judy OBeirne (RSGYC) finishing second and Mary Chambers third overall. Alison Pigot (NYC) was second in the Grand Master category, while HYC Carla Fagan was the top Apprentice.

Neil Murphy presents the Masters Trophy to Shirley Gilmore 

In the ILCA 6 fleet, Sean Craig (RSGYC) showed his experience with three race wins, taking first overall and top Grand Master. Conor Clancy (RSGYC) finished just three points behind, taking second overall and top Apprentice. Conor Barry (RCYC) sailed a consistent series to take third place and top Master.

Grand master Sean Craig with his trophy and prize

The ILCA 7s saw Rory Lynch (Baltimore SC) take first place, a good omen for the Lynch family as Rory’s brother Finn prepares for Paris 2024. Local knowledge paid off for Rory and second-place finisher Dan O’Connell (Cove SC), both regulars in the HYC Dinghy Frostbite series. Defending champion Conor Byrne (RSGYC) took third place, while Paul McMahon, a previous winner of the event in 2021, took fourth in his ILCA comeback.

Rory Lynch on his way to 2024 Masters victory

Conor Murphy and Brian Tyrrell also represented HYC, achieving 8th and 22nd places respectively.

A final grateful mention goes to Rooster Sailing that kindly donated prizes, which were well received by the competitors.


Full results are available here.