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Displaying items by tag: youth sailing

Every sport sees it happen. Young enthusiastic kids who can't get enough training, competing, fitness, drills, and dreams of making it big writes Paul O'Hare of Rush Sailing Club.

Many then drift away from the sport they loved as they get into their late teens and 20's. Sport gets replaced with studies, college, travel, partners, new careers, marriage, family, and maybe realising that they are not the next Cluxton, Keane, O'Driscoll, or Murphy. Finally, after 10 or 15 years, they get back to the sport they once loved, but now with their own kids.

In sailing, this is an all too familiar story as young sailors, tossed about on the seas of Ireland in single-handed Oppies, Toppers and Lasers, give up the sport during their adolescence. It's hard then to get back into a small dinghy when they are older, so many give up sailing altogether.

Well, the fine people at Rush Sailing Club in North County Dublin have watched this happen throughout the generations, from the club's inception in 1954 to the modern day. They've put together a plan to keep these young adults in the sport by making it exciting, inclusive, competitive and fun. Central to this drive is the club's acquisition of two J/24 racing keelboats. The club chose this popular and competitive boat with 5,500 boats sailing in 165 fleets throughout 110 countries. Crews range from four to six people, and the boat is an ideal all-rounder, offering exciting racing to experienced sailors but a safe introduction to novices (that's right, it has a keel so it won't capsize! Mostly). The boat can be trailered to events and is suitable for all kinds of weather.

The new Rush Sailing Club J/24's look fast with their new paint jobThe new Rush Sailing Club J/24's look fast with their new paint job

The team in Rush are lead by two 20-year old committee members, David Kelly (Sailing Sec) and Lauren O'Hare (Senior Instructor, SI). They are putting together a team racing schedule with the new boats and some other multi-crewed boats that the club own. Team racing draws in members of all ages as Rush family dynasties are pitted against each other. Novices will sail alongside seasoned veterans in a winner-takes-all season. In addition, young crews aim to compete around Ireland & the UK against other clubs in this highly competitive class. The club aims to boost sailing with competition on the water, enhancing the membership experience for all.

Rush Sailing Club members collecting the boats in Southampton before their renovation Rush Sailing Club members collecting the boats in Southampton before their renovation 

The boats are aptly named 'Juvenile Delinquent' and 'Out of Control'. They were purchased second hand in Southampton at the start of the lockdown, and in typical RSC fashion, they were sourced, collected, gutted and restored by the club's members under the stewardship of Commodore David Kelly (senior). Sponsorship provided by local businesses and members allowed the club to put the boats on the water with zero cost to the membership!

So, if you've never sailed but would love to give it a try, or if you want to get back to sailing, or if you fancy a bit of high-octane competitive fun, then contact RSC, where a new sport, hobby and obsession awaits you.

Published in Youth Sailing

Clubs are hoping to get young sailors back into activity with the easing of restrictions on training. However, as in all sports, there is some concern about the effects of the lengthy restrictions on youth's interest in sport.

Principal Coach at the Royal Cork in Crosshaven, Ben Fusco, says: "We are looking forward to the return to Junior Coaching on the May weekend. Preparations are well underway to get all of our junior and youth sailors back on the water and shaking off the cobwebs of an extended off-season. We have a robust training plan in place for each of the Classes."

With the easing of restrictions for junior training, Monkstown Bay SC in Cork Harbour says that it will be starting its Sunday morning coaching sessions for Optimists. It has also opened applications for this year's sailing courses. 

Applications will close at the end of May, the club says.

Published in Cork Harbour

More young sailors are interested in racing offshore, an encouraging trend that should be fostered. It can help to bridge the problems that have been encountered in sailing where younger sailors have been lost to the sport in bridging the gap from dinghy to cruiser racing.

Younger sailors have been featuring more in South Coast racing and are included on the crews of leading Cork boats.

The newly-elected Commodore of the South Coast Offshore Racing Association (SCORA), Daragh Connolly, sees this as a particularly positive and encouraging trend.

Daragh Connolly, the new Commodore of SCORA. Listen to him o podcast belowDaragh Connolly, the new Commodore of SCORA. Listen to him on the podcast below Photo: Bob Bateman

Noel Coleman's Blue Oyster is registered for August's Fastnet Race Photo: Bob BatemanNoel Coleman's Blue Oyster is registered for August's Fastnet Race Photo: Bob Bateman

"I cut my teeth in coastal, offshore racing. It is an exciting part of the sport and I'm encouraged and very positive about this. It is part of the renewed and growing interest in coastal racing," he says in this week's podcast, where he also talks about liaising with ISORA, the successful 450 Dun Laoghaire to Cork Race and the three south coast yachts which have entered for the Fastnet Race.

Denis and Annamarie Murphy's Nieulargo from Royal Cork was the winner of the inaugural Fastnet 450 Race and will compete in August's Fastnet Race Photo: Bob BatemanDenis and Annamarie Murphy's Nieulargo from Royal Cork was the winner of the inaugural Fastnet 450 Race and will compete in August's Fastnet Race Photo: Bob Bateman

There are two boats from his own club and one from that of the new Vice-Commodore of SCORA, Dave Cullinane from Kinsale YC. From the RCYC - Noel Coleman's Blue Oyster and Denis/Annemarie Murphy's Nieulargo. From Kinsale Cian McCarthy's Cinnamon Girl.

Cian McCarthy's Sunfast 3300' Cinnamon Girl from Kinsale Yacht Club is entered as a 'double-hander' for August's Fastnet Race Photo: Bob BatemanCian McCarthy's Sunfast 3300 Cinnamon Girl from Kinsale Yacht Club is entered as a 'double-hander' for August's Fastnet Race Photo: Bob Bateman

"For the season ahead, perhaps offshore could start on the Cork coast even if with restricted crewing. More racing outside Cork Harbour will be a positive experience for SCORA boats and challenging. The entry of 21 boats for last year's Navy Race, which was switched from inside to outside the harbour due to the Covid situation, showed the interest and that included white sail as well as spinnaker. There is a positive role here for more development and I am positive and hopeful. Despite the challenges which we face from Covid which has impacted so much on sailing, as soon as we have the clearance to go, you can be sure that SCORA will be there and ready. Despite the difficulties and challenges, I am positive for the future. We have a good team in place at SCORA and will carefully plan for the season ahead, allowing for the restrictions and limitations in place at present."

Listen to the podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney

Less than a week after Irish Sailing said it was 'proceeding as planned' with its Youth Sailing Nationals event in April at Royal Cork Yacht Club, the national governing body announced yesterday it was shelving its Easter date for Cork Harbour and postponing the event due to ongoing COVID restrictions.

Such are the times we live in that the 2021 sailing fixture list is now subject to change. Racing for 29ers, 420s, Toppers, Laser 4.7, and Laser Radial will now be held at Royal Cork from 28-31 October.

Irish Sailing coach Sean Evans said “We could see during the month that the numbers weren’t coming down quickly enough and that Level 5 restrictions would be likely to continue. That’s why we had already planned in an alternative October date. Now that the longer restrictions are confirmed, we’re putting this new plan in place".

Irish Optimist Trials

Meanwhile, the Irish Optimist Trials, that normally formed part of the Youth Nationals regatta, will race separately in May at the Royal St. George Yacht Club as Afloat reported here. While COVID lockdown has restricted plans for pre-trials training, coach Peter Fagan has been updating on the Dun Laoghaire Optimist Group 'DOGs' programme here.

The Irish youth sailing nationals move follows a similar move in the UK where the RYA has moved its Easter Youth Nationals at Plymouth to August.

Published in Youth Sailing

After a year in the planning, Royal Cork Yacht Club has launched a new offering for its youth sailors for 2021.

The pathway is intended to complement our existing entry points into sailing in the club across dinghies and keelboats. From age 7 to 25, total novice to Olympic ambition, male or female, we aim to provide something for everyone and ensure nobody slips through the cracks. 

The Club's Alex Barry says the goal is simple, “This pathway is being introduced to ensure that youth members of all abilities have the opportunity to further their skills and enhance their enjoyment of sailing and boating, ultimately gaining a varied set of skills and friendships for life.

More from RCYC here

Published in Royal Cork YC

They say that a good junior sail training programme will gradually introduce the young people to an increasingly demanding range of experiences afloat. But we doubt if the instructors in Santa Cruz in California at the weekend had had something so extreme in mind when the surf built rapidly at the harbour mouth as the sailing juniors were returning to port, and found themselves in the ultra-embarrassing situation of being rescued by the local surfing dudes.

In truth, embarrassment was probably the last thing on anybody’s mind out there on the water. Staying alive was a bigger priority. And after, that not being seriously injured. Miraculously, no-one was hurt, but the word is some of the boats are in Intensive Care….

Published in Youth Sailing
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The Royal Yachting Association has decided that in light of the current Covid-19 situation it is in the best interests of all parties to postpone its 2021 British Youth Sailing National Championships.

The regatta, the UK’s premier youth racing event, was due to take place from April 4 to 9 hosted by Plymouth Youth Sailing Club in Plymouth, Devon.

Typically, the annual event is attended by some Irish youth sailors, north and south of the border.

With the UK currently in lockdown and likely to revert to the tier system once restrictions ease, the decision has been made to delay the regatta until the summer.

This will give organisers the time to plan for the best possible event, as well as giving time for the nationwide vaccination programme to take effect.

We are also very mindful that the young sailors will have lost training time over the winter and this gives them time to be ready for such an event.

It is hoped the rescheduled event will take place at the same venue the week commencing August 9, 2021. It is intended that further details and any Notice of Race will be shared before the end of January. More here

Published in Youth Sailing
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Five young sailors have been given a unique chance to boost their training and skills after they were awarded funding from the Mary Peters Trust.

The Trust aims to help aspiring young athletes, whatever their sport or social background, to realise their maximum potential by assisting them in both a financial and advisory capacity. We help young people, both disabled and able-bodied, achieve their sporting dreams and ambitions.

The five are Lauren McDowell, (29er) associated with Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough where she also helped instruct the young Pirate section; Erin McElwaine from Newcastle Yacht Club who is crew for Lauren McDowell; Dan McGaughey, from Donaghadee SC on the North Down coast, who won the 2018 Volvo Youth Sailor of the Year award for his performance internationally in the Topper class; Dan Palmer (Topper) from Ballyholme Yacht Club and Tom Coulter form Coleraine YC who sails a Laser Radial.

Topper sailor Danny Palmer of Ballyholme Yacht ClubTopper sailor Danny Palmer of Ballyholme Yacht Club

They are the worthy recipients of the awards from among 70 young competitors from 20 sports to receive the funding.

Lady Mary, who won Pentathlon gold at the 1972 Munich Olympics, founded her Trust soon afterwards to aid the development of young, homegrown, sporting talent, and in the intervening years has helped many thousands to achieve their sporting goals.

Commenting on the funding awards, Lady Mary said: "Our awards are made to support and accelerate sporting careers. The Trust recognises how difficult it has been to train and compete during the pandemic, and we are delighted to continue their funding in order to provide financial assistance. For over four decades, the Trust has supported our young athletes, and they are fantastic ambassadors for our country. I am proud of all those receiving this latest round of funding for their dedication to continue in their sport during difficult times."

RYA Northern Ireland's Performance Manager, Andrew Baker, commented: "At RYA Northern Ireland, we are very proud of our talented athletes. Funding is always a key issue for aspiring athletes, and it is fantastic that the Mary Peters Trust has invested in our young sailors. This funding will make a big difference and will allow our sailors to develop their skills and continue with their training and competitions."

Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under

More than 30 youth laser sailors from 10 clubs across Northern Ireland travelled to Cushendall Sailing and Boating Club for the RYA Northern Ireland Performance selection weekend.

The event, which took place on 10 and 11 October, saw the young sailors taking part in two days of coaching and selections.

Strict Covid-19 arrangements were in place and sessions took place outdoors in three groups with Laser Head Coach Barry McCartin, Performance Development Officer James Farrell and Performance Manager Andrew Baker.

Commenting on the action-packed weekend, Andrew Baker said: "Saturday was all about boat handling and shaking off any rustiness form a season with less sailing than normal. Gusts of 20 knots were a rude awakening for some. By the end of the day the groups were showing real promise and becoming more competitive within themselves.

"Sunday put into practice the previous day of training with a drill focusing on boat speed and changing gears in a laser. These sessions were aided by the ever-changing weather which had the sailors working the boats through light drifting conditions right up to flat out hiking."

He added: "The weekend concluded with three large races bringing all the groups together giving additional pressure of performing among a larger number of boats, which is what the sailors can expect at future events."

Reflecting on the success of the event, Baker said: "It was a great weekend and I am very pleased given the current Covid-19 climate that we were able to run the Performance selection weekend.

"I am impressed by the enthusiasm shown by all the participants. This was my first selection weekend as Performance Manager and I am pleased to see the talent Northern Ireland has to offer and excited to grow and support our future sailors.

"I would like to thank everyone for understanding the circumstances and helping us run the weekend safely and in accordance with Covid-19 guidelines.''

The successful young athletes who have been selected by RYA Northern Ireland will now be invited to be part of the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Performance Programme and undergo six weekends on-water coaching, as well as other campaign support throughout the Winter period.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland

Despite Royal Cork Yacht Club's Seafra Guilfoyle's super efforts at the sharp end of Ryan Seaton's 49er campaign for Tokyo 2021 next year, there's been little in the way of Olympic skiff sailing going on in Guilfoyle's home port for the past two seasons. 

These fast and tricky skiffs are a handful for most and this has put them on a downward spiral in Cork Harbour

So it was interesting to spot Optimist and Laser 4.7 ace James Dwyer Matthews of RCYC trying out a 49er (one of two in active use), with Chris Bateman of Monkstown Bay as his crew. 

Guilfoyle, a 2014 world youth silver medalist, meanwhile, continues his campaign for selection in the 49er and is vying with a Dublin crew to win a single Irish berth against stiff competition for one of the final slots available for Japan.

Published in Optimist
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