BY KIERAN McCARTHY
A WEST CORK-BASED sailor will compete against the best in the world at the 2017 Optimist World Championships in Thailand this July.
Justin Lucas (13) and his family moved to Clonakilty in January this year, and the West Cork air seems to suit this talented young sailor who was the star of the show at the Optimist sailing trials in Ballyholme (Northern Ireland) last month.
He left his competitors trailing in his wake, as his coach Thomas Chaix explains.
‘Justin had a staggering 44-point lead having won five races in the 13-race series in front of a field of 62 of the best optimist sailors in the country. This result earned him a leading place in the five-sailor Irish team going to Thailand in the summer to compete at the world championship,’ Chaix explained.
Son of Kilkenny man Tim and Kerry woman Patricia, and oldest brother to Emmet (11) and Melissa (5), it was actually in West Cork two years ago that Justin decided to take sailing seriously.
‘Justin started sailing in 2013 and started racing in 2014, but I’ll always remember January 2015, he came off the slip in Baltimore, turned to me and said, “I’m going to do all the events and try to start winning something”. He has been climbing ever since,’ said his proud father Tim.
A member of Tralee Bay Sailing Club and Royal Cork, as well as a member of Kinsale Sailing Club, Justin is a very dedicated trainer on and off the water, and his impressive results show that hard work does have its rewards.
In recent months he finished eighth overall in an international field at the UK Springs in Torbay despite the conditions not suiting his light weight.
He has also taken part, when he’s off school, in international clinics in Lanzarote and a couple of events in warmer weather as his skillset and boat handling skills improve along with his speed.
And now Justin will get to show it off on the world stage later this summer.