Displaying items by tag: robert dickson
Annalise Murphy’s role in raising sailing’s profile in Ireland was brought home to us last weekend when The Irish Times ran a St Patrick’s Eve Quiz. Set by Eoin Butler, it aimed to test how truly Irish we who like to think we’re Irish really are writes W M Nixon
It was presented as something mildly entertaining at a highly appropriate time. But as with all questionnaires, much more profound truths could be discerned from the very nature of the questions, all of which probed a little more deeply than at first seemed the case.
So there we were, ploughing through a hundred seemingly innocuous Irish-flavoured queries in glowing stoveside comfort on a March night when winter still clung on outside. And of those questions, just ten were about sport.
Tempting as it was to get into a word-war about whether sport in Ireland merits a mere ten percent of our national interest, we let it go for the very good reason that, of the ten sporting questions, one was about details of the winning by Annalise – she has reached that special celebrity status of not needing a surname any more – of her Silver Medal at the Rio Olympics in August 2016.
Sailing in times past had the image of being very much a minority sport, and then some. So getting ten per cent of the sporting questions was actually pretty good going. But there was further encouragement in the way the question was framed. It asked not what medal she won - for that’s too widely known - but rather what kind of boat was she racing – was it (a) the RS-X, (b) the Laser Radial, (c) the 470 or (d) the 49erFX?
Now, of course, that question could be answered in seconds with the use of Google. But the very fact that the question was asked on the assumption that proper participants should be able to answer straight off the tops of their heads is an indicator of how far we have come.
The notion that there are many people all over Ireland who now have some knowledge of Olympic sailing classes is heart-warming. And it’s thanks to the Annalise breakthrough. We were reminded of it yet again on Tuesday night, when she was the star attraction as enthusiasts filled the Brent Suite in the Marine Hotel in Sutton for a fund-raiser for the Rob Dickson-Sean Waddilove 49er campaign which, after their Gold Medal in the Under 23 Worlds at Marseille last September, has seen a re-gearing of their plans, with their programme towards the 2024 Olympics in France being fore-shortened into a duel for a place in Tokyo 2020.
Either way, these things need substantial resources, and while a neighbourhood fund-raiser is only going to make a minor immediate dent in the money-pile required, the hope is that the power-focus of strong local goodwill may well lead on to more lucrative connections.
With Annalise generously giving of her time to provide the major draw for the new boys on the 2020 Olympic block, the spirit of Sutton enterprise and Fingal sailing was able to put on a special show of top stars. It was very much a shared enterprise between clubs, for although Howth Yacht Club may be far and away the biggest club in Fingal, Sutton Dinghy Club makes an enormous contribution to small boat sailing, while Sean Waddilove came to sailing at the age of seven through the Taste of Sailing Programme at Skerries Sailing Club.
With Annalise along to tell her story of the ups and downs of Olympic life as the star attraction, the Guest of Honour was the Mayor of Fingal, Councillor Anthony Lavin, while Senator Catherine Noone was there for the Government, and Commodores Stephen Boyle of Sutton Dinghy Club and Ian Byrne of HYC represented the many facets of sailing on a peninsula which has produced more than its fair share of sailing stars over the years.
Yet as is often the case, it was people who do good work under the radar who pulled it all together, as this possibly unique event was co-ordinated by Hugh Gill of Sutton DC and Sailing School, working with Robert Dickson’s mother Susan and former HYC Commodore Brian Turvey. Behind the scenes, they calculated it out so neatly that when enough seats had been put out for what they reckoned would be the optimal number for such a show, just seven extra chairs had to be added at the end. And as we milled towards our places with a crowd of enchanted adults and starstruck kids, it was with the growing realisation that the organisers had hit the jackpot.
For how else would you get a crowd so well representative of a busy sailing region which not only included national champions, but there were European champions as well, while to top it all we’d four Afloat.ie “Sailors of the Year”.
There was the National YC’s Annalise from 2016, seemingly the girl next door yet she won an Olympic Silver in style. Then from just up the hill there was HYC’s Conor Fogerty, top awardee in 2017 for his victory in the OSTAR and bubbling over with enthusiasm for the imminent arrival of his new foiling Figaro 3 which he will be racing in the international programme under IRC with the Fastnet Race and the Autumn’s RORC Transatlantic in prospect.
And then there were the stars of today, Rob and Sean who struck gold in every sense in Marseille on Saturday, September 1st 2018, and soared along into the “Sailors of the Year 2018” title at the RDS on Friday 8th February this year.
The general goodwill was palpable, considerably boosted by the Marine Hotel generously donating the use of the spacious Brent Suite and providing free tea, coffee and biscuits, while 14 businesses provided an impressive array of raffle prizes. At the peak of it all there was Annalise, whose generosity and enthusiasm remains as strong as ever after nine years on the Olympic treadmill. And we also had the supportive presence of former European Under 21 Laser Radial Champion Aoife Hopkins from just up the hill, looking radiant after successfully overcoming illness last year.
Then we had the boys themselves, Rob and Sean, perfectly matched to race a sailing machine which could quite reasonably be described as the Devil-Boat. For the 49er is an unforgiving beast which will give you the sail of your life when everything in a complex matrix of factors is just right, but will dump you in a flash if just one element is out of sync.
So there we were, mostly club sailors who bask in the reflected glory of such international success, yet left almost be-numbed by the sheer level of dedication and the unbelievably rigorous training routine which is required of those keen enough to begin to start on the ladder towards true international and Olympic success.
That Annalise was able for it, and was then enthusiastic enough to go on to the challenge of the Volvo World Race on which she also gave an insightful run-down, speaks volumes for the very special character of “the girl next door”.
It’s a special character which Rob and Sean also show every sign of manifesting. Their dedicated and methodical yet visionary approach to their campaign is an inspiration. They’re operating on a different level of sailing to the rest of us. Yet on Tuesday the Olympians came back to their roots, they were among people who knew them and wished them well, and in all it was a night of heightened yet positive emotions.
Next up on the agenda for all the Olympic hopefuls is the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma at the end of March. That is when the results obtained will start to become seriously significant. Meanwhile yesterday (Friday), key members of our Olympic squad were present in Dun Laoghaire for the official opening of Irish Sailing’s new waterfront Performance HQ.
While Tuesday’s gathering in Sutton was very sociable and supportive, the fact is that within Ireland, much Olympic sailing training has been a relatively solitary business undertaken from the athletes’ home club, with few people about during off-season weekdays to provide an encouraging atmosphere. But a proper Performance Centre should provide a mutually supportive environment.
Meanwhile, we remain buoyed up by special warm memories of a remarkable outpouring of community goodwill in Sutton on Tuesday night. A true sense of community is not provided by some static ideal. On the contrary, it is provided by shared feelings with a sense of purpose, and that was something very much in evidence in the Brent Suite on Tuesday night.
#SailorOfTheYear - Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove have been named Afloat Irish Sailors of the Year for 2018 in recognition of their gold medal victory in the 49er U23 Junior World Championships, amid another landmark 12 months for inspiring performances in Irish sailing.
September’s Olympic Sailors of the Month were presented with their prize by Minister of State Mary Mitchell-O’Connor at the Volvo Irish Sailing Awards gala in Dublin’s RDS Concert Hall this evening (Friday 8 February).
Robert Dickson (21) of Howth and Seán Waddilove (20) of Skerries rose to the challenge in Marseille last August and September as they battled a strong international field — and a Mistral at full strength — to score their first world gold, and their first major win.
It was down to the wire at the climax of the final race on Saturday 1 September as the Dublin duo led a chasing pack in the fleet of 52 boats.
However, their placing was no surprise to anyone following the former 420 pair’s performance during their week on the Cote D’Azur, with seven results out of their first nine races in the top five — and all that after starting out on only two days of training, with Robert levelled by a bout of food poisoning.
Going into the final day as leaders no doubt piled on the pressure, which must have doubled when gear failure in their 10th race saw them slip down the finish order.
But according to Robert, the pair played it cool. “We were still leading the regatta by three points which we didn’t know at the time,” he told Afloat.ie. “We never think about points. We need a clear mind to carry out our jobs on the water.”
What a job it was, too — and a testament to their skill and steely nerve that after that humbling stumble, they recovered to win the final and claim Ireland’s first ever major victory of their age group in the skiff class.
It was also vindication of more than year of extraordinarily hard work put in by both young men, after injury felled Seán in early 2017 and almost scuppered their campaign for the 2020 Olympics.
Far from it, the signs now look exceedingly bright for a stellar performance in Tokyo next year.
According to the International 49er Class — whose president Marcus Spillane must be delighted at his home nation’s achievements — the academy set-up in Ireland has been key to this country’s boost in competitiveness in the skiff.
Despite the departure of Saskia Tidey to Team GB slowing down Irish 49erFX ambitions, on the men’s side the squad has grown since the split of Rio challengers Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern, the former forging a new partnership with Seafra Guilfoyle for Tokyo 2020 (McGovern retired last year and is now high performance manager with RYA NI).
And indeed, Robert and Seán are an integral part of this growth.
Recounting for Afloat.ie his and Seán’s path to the title, Robert explains that for both it began well before any world-class ambitions.
Each got into sailing as a child at club level, Robert sailing an Optimist alongside family in Lough Ree while Sean got his start via a taster course in Skerries.
As their talent shone through and competitions became a matter of course, the two would meet and become friends on the national circuit, forming a bond as their success soon took them abroad.
And after joining Irish Sailing’s Olympic Pathway in the Oppy class, it made perfect sense that they would team up to progress to the 420 class — in which they started training in their Transition Year — and then two years later to the 49er, often regarded as the ‘Formula 1’ of dinghy racing.
“Training with the 49er Development Squad and having a 100% committed coach makes training much more effective,” says Robert. “You can train solo but it’s not as effective as having a group of boats around you, pushing each other on and off the water to strive to be the best. This medal was certainly a team effort!”
That team, past and present, includes former 49er Development Team coach Tytus Konarzewski, Thomas Chaix, Ross Killian, ex-Olympic duo Ger Owens and Scott Flanigan, Graeme Grant, Philippe Boudgourd, John and David White, and sports physio Mark McCabe at SportsMed Ireland.
And that’s not to mention Robert and Sean’s families and fellow sailors, supportive clubs and sporting bodies — and their colleges that allow them to work classes and assignments around their full-on training schedule.
To confirm a suggestion proffered by the 49er class, the investment made in creating Olympic contenders like Laser Radial silver medallist (and 2016 Sailor of the Year) Annalise Murphy has indeed — in the success of Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove — been leveraged in bringing the next generation of youth and junior talent into the top levels of their age categories.
WM Nixon will have a profile of the 2018’s Afloat Sailors of the Year as well as the many worthy nominees in his Sailing on Saturday column, available later tonight right here on Afloat.ie.
Robert and Seán topped another incredible field of nominees for 2018, among them faces recognised from 2017’s shortlist and years previous, as well as a fellow Olympic contender.
Liam Glynn was a Sailor of the Month in July for his bronze at the U21 Laser Worlds, while Peter and Rob O’Leary were stars in the Star class. Wins at home and abroad put Justin Lucas on our radar, as was Irish Topper number one Hugh O’Connor, and Firefly duo Atlee Kohn and Jonathan O’Shaugnnessy. Brendan Lyden captained UCC1 to victory at the University Sailing Association Team Championship.
Last year’s Sailor of the Year Conor Fogerty made the list again for his runaway victory in Class 3 at the RORC Caribbean 600 mere days after collecting his Afloat gong.
Tom Dolan topped the rookies in his first Figaro Minitransat, while Barry Byrne skippered the Irish Defence Forces to the top of the corinthian ranks (and second overall) in the Volvo Round Ireland Race, besides a successful defence of the Beaufort Cup at Cork Week.
The inspirational Enda O’Coineen was no April fool as he completed his delayed circumnavigation for his own personal Vendée Globe milestone.
Classic boating was ably represented by Ilen restorer Gary MacMahon, Dave Cullen’s Wave Regatta champion Checkmate XV and Mermaid fan Darragh McCormick, while Darryl Hughes found a fruitful partnership with his vintage ketch Maybird.
Peter Kennedy fought hard to claim his All-Ireland title, Molly Breathnach cruised her way to a spot on the list, Fintan Cairns showed true leadership vision with the DBSC Turkey Shoot, and Donal O’Sullivan bowed out from his role at the same club after decades of unparalleled contributions.
And Gregor McGuckin got a nod in September for his selfless actions during the Golden Jubilee Golden Globe Race, racing to the aid of the injured Abilash Tomy with his own storm-worn yacht under jury rig.
In the night’s other prizes, Irish Sailing president Jack Roy presented the Senior Instructor Award to Southern Region winner Ellen O’Regan of Schull and the Fastnet Marine & Outdoor Education Centre for her exceptional instructor management abilities and skills.
Bray Sailing Club took one of the night’s two new categories as the Inclusion Award was presented by Gina Griffin to senior instructor Jack Hannon for his work on the Watersports Inclusion Games. The club was also named Training Centre of the Year for 2018 (presented by Cllr Ossian Smyth).
Howth Yacht Club and the Royal Cork Yacht Club shared the inaugural Sustainability Award, presented by Irish Sailing’s new sustainability ambassador Damian Foxall.
And Youth Sailor of the Year, presented by Irish Sports Council chief executive John Treacy, is the National Yacht Club’s Nell Staunton, one of the standouts of Ireland’s Laser Radial youth squad and eighth-place finisher in last summer’s Youth Sailing Worlds in Texas.
Nell Staunton wins the Volvo Irish Sailing Youth Sailor for 2018.— Irish Sailing (@Irish_Sailing) February 8, 2019
# volvorishsailingawards pic.twitter.com/nrDiLtuolQ
Hosted once more by master of ceremonies Fiona Bolger, the night as always welcomed guests from Irish club and high performance sailing — youth and veteran, professional and corinthian.
Among the 500 people in attendance at the RDS Main Hall were Volvo Car Ireland MD David Thomas and PR and events executive Emma O’Carroll; from RYA NI, chair Jackie Patton (also of the Atlantic Youth Trust) and chief executive Richard Honeyford; and UK Sailmakers’ Barry Hayes.
Representing the Olympic Federation of Ireland were CEO Peter Sherrard, secretary Sarah O’Shea and Colm Barrington, first vice president and former chairman of Irish Sailing’s Olympic Steering Group.
From the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport were assistant secretary Deirdre O’Keeffe and Peter Horgan, principal officer of sports policy and the National Sports Campus, while Fianna Fáil spokesperson for sport Robert Troy also joined the evening.
From Dun Laoghaire’s waterfront were harbourmaster Simon Coate; National Yacht Club Commodore Ronan Beirne with Vice Commodore Martin McCarthy and club archivist Frank Burgess; Royal Irish YC Commodore Joseph Costello; Royal St George Vice Commodore Peter Bowring; and DMYC Commodore Frank Guilfoyle
Representing the rest of Co Dublin were Dublin Bay Sailing Club’s new honorary secretary Chris Moore; Howth YC’s Vice Commodore Emmet Dalton with the club’s Rear Commodores Paddy J Judge and Ian Malcolm, race officer Richella Carroll and communications officer Brian Turvey; and Malahide YC Commodore Matt Ryan and Rear Commodore Ciaran O’Reilly.
Also in attendance were Bray Sailing Club’s outgoing Commodore Darina Porter, incumbent Boris Fennema, treasurer Torren Gale, and Jack Hannon; Skerries Sailing Club Commodore Kathryn Collins with Vice Commodore Liam O’Callaghan; and Dublin Port Company assistant harbour master Tristan Walsh.
Cork’s flag was flown by Kinsale Yacht Club Commodore David O’Sullivan and Vice Commodore Michael Walsh, along with Baltimore Sailing Club Commodore Niall O’Neill, and Royal Cork’s Admiral Pat Farnan, general manager Gavin Deane and sustainability chair Aoife Deane.
RTÉ broadcaster Fergal Keane; Volvo Ocean Race photographer Brian Carlin; Sailing Into Wellness founder Colin Healy, World Sailing delegates Con Murphy and Paddy Boyd; Nobby Reilly, formerly of ICRA; and former ICRA Commodore Simon McGibney were also in attendance.
Guests were also given a special up-close look at some of the boat models sailed by Ireland’s next generation of high achievers in sailing at home and abroad.
Ian O’Meara of Viking Marine and Pierce Purcell Jr and Nicky Bendon of CH Marine represented the dinghy scene presenting Lasers and a Topper respectively, while Kenny Rumball of the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School brought along a training Optimist and RS Quest — and Gerry Salmon, Joss Walsh and Martin Salmon of yacht broker MGM Boats showed a scale model of the new Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300 that wowed the Paris Boat Show in December.
Hosted by Irish Sailing with Afloat magazine, the Volvo Irish Sailing Awards aim to highlight the breadth of sailing across the country.
Afloat’s Sailor of the Year awards have been running since 1996, recognising over 500 Irish sailors in that time. The awards “were originally formulated to bring a bigger profile to sailing achievements that do not get their fair share of the media coverage,” says editor David O’Brien. “Now these achievements are reaching a wider audience than ever before.”
Afloat.ie neared 1.3 million visitors in 2018 — an audience the publication is eager to share with Ireland’s sailing community.
“Afloat.ie wants to work with every club and every class in the country,” says O’Brien. “Please get in touch.”
Update Saturday 9 February: This article was corrected to show that Bray Sailing Club won Training Centre of the Year and not Lough Swilly Yacht club as previously indicated.
Seven Irish crews went to the 199–boat 420 Worlds; five mens teams and two ladies. Following three days of qualifying races, two Irish teams qualified for the gold fleets, one in each mens and ladies.
The Howth YC pair posted their best result, a ninth, in the final race to earn a coveted top twenty overall in the 57–boat gold fleet.
Irish Gold fleet ladies team sailed by Clidohna Ni Shuilleabhain and Jil McGinley were 38th in the 42–boat gold fleet.
Full event website here
#420 – Howth Yacht Club's Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove continue their unbeaten run in the 420 dinghy class but they did not get it all their own way in the early stages of the Ulster Championships at County Antrim Yacht Club at the weekend.
Royal Cork's Peter McCann and Arran Walsh took the first three races in the ten boat fleet before the youth national champions got into their stride at Whitehead.
Full results available to download below as a jpeg file.
#420 – Howth Yacht Club's Robert Dickson & Sean Waddilove continue their steady progression up the 420 European rankings, making the most of the heavy weather in Pwllheli, North Wales yesterday. After two races, the best of the seven– boat Irish youth sailing team lies a credible 16th in the 96 boat fleet.
The final two races of the championships wil be sailed this morning. Full results here.
The change in weather shook teams up around the race track today, as many of the lighter crews struggled in the strong gusts and fairly brutal wave patterns.
Championship leaders Ilaria Paternoster/Benedetta di Salle dropped to second overall after a 26th place finish in race 9, allowing France's Marie Soler/Philip Meijer to move on up and claim the lead. A race later and a slight improvement in finishing position for the Italians with a 22nd place finish pushed them back to the front, as the French struggled back in the fleet taking a 41st place finish.
From perfect racing conditions, ideally suited to the pair, today the Italians were facing a different game out on the track. "Today was a very, very difficult day because the wind was very strong for us," said di Salle. "It was not good, and there were a lot of boys before us, with only 3 or 4 girls in front of us, such as the Spanish team. Today in the first race, it was not good as we didn't have a good start, so all the fleet were ahead of us. Tomorrow, we will do the best race we can."
Bart Lambriex/Philip Meijer from the Netherlands recovered from a pretty spectacular capsize in the opening race of the day, and ended with a 13th place to sit in second on the leaderboard.
"In the first race we capsized in the reach, when we were in 20th, and we finished virtually last, which was not a good race, but it is now our discard," said Lambriex. "In the second race, there was less wind and we managed to finish in 13th so we are quite happy."
Meijer added, "Tomorrow is going to be very exciting. There will not be much wind, which is very good for us and the points will be very close. We will just do our best and we will see."
As host nation, Great Britain is looking strong with four teams in the top 10, with the British charge led by Tim Riley/Luke Burywood who are in 5th overall. At the beginning of the week, Riley said he wanted to medal and be top British boat, and so far he is right on track.
Thriving in the stronger conditions today were the Antipodean teams of Taylor Burn/Henry Gibbs (NZL) and Xavier Winston Smith/Joshua Dawson (AUS). The Kiwi pair move up ten leaderboard places to 8th overall from their 2,1 score, with the Australians up from 27th to 14th from a 6,3 scoreline. Also finding their pace in the stronger breeze were the USA's Renier Eenkema Van Dijk/Spencer McDonough who virtually halved their leaderboard position from 28th to 15th.
With the 2013 420 Junior European Championship medals to be awarded tomorrow, the leaderboard is still all open. Two races are scheduled for the gold and silver 420 fleets with the first start at 1300 hours.
420 Open – Top 10 Leaderboard
1. Ilaria PATERNOSTER/Benedetta DI SALLE (ITA) – Female – 68 pts
2. Bart LAMBRIEX/Philip MEIJER (NED) – 77 pts
3. Marie SOLER/Laura PEBRIER (FRA) – Female – 86 pts
4. Diogo PEREIRA/Pedro CRUZ (POR) – 88 pts
5. Tim RILEY/Luke BURYWOOD (GBR) – 93 pts
6. Silvia MAS/Nuria MIRO (ESP) – Female – 94 pts
7. Daniel WHITELEY/James CLEMETSON (GBR) – 98 pts
8. Taylor BURN/Henry GIBBS (NZL) – 101 pts
9. Annabel CATTERMOLE/Bryony BENNET-LLOYD (GBR) – Female – 106 pts
10. Scott WALLIS/Josh VOLLER (GBR) – 107 pts