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#OptimistBaltimore Sailing Club have started preparations for the annual invasion of Irish Optimist sailors for the week from next Sunday 17 February.

The International Optimist Dinghy Association of Ireland’s (IODAI) team of coaches are making plans for training both on and off the water.

Participating sailors are reminded to check and label all their equipment before packing for the week, especially if it has been put away all winter.

“We are looking forward to a great week of fun, action and friendships both on and off the water,” the IODAI said.

Meanwhile, registrations are now open for the 2019 Optimist Trials which will take place as part of the Irish Sailing Youth Nationals at the Royal Cork from 25-28 April.

Entry is by invitation only based on 2018 season results. Entries made before 10pm on Thursday 28 March will avail of the early bird rate of €120 (entry thereafter is €200) with the final date for entries no later than 10pm on Thursday 11 April.

Published in Youth Sailing

#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.

“HowthHowth YC Commodore Joe McPeake (centre) at the reception to welcome home the new gold medallists Robert Dickson (left) and Sean Waddilove | Photo: Ian Dickson

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.

“GuestsGuests taking their seats at the 2018 Volvo Irish Sailing Awards | Photo: David O’Brien

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’ShaugnnessyBrendan 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.

Niall Dowling took line honours in the Round Ireland, while later in the year Vicky Cox and Peter Dunlop topped the ISORA standings.

The inspirational Enda O’Coineen was no April fool as he completed his delayed circumnavigation for his own personal Vendée Globe milestone.

Pat Kelly and company got off to a flying start on their J/109 Storm, while windsurfer Oisin van Gelderen set new Irish speed records in Luderitz.

Classic boating was ably represented by Ilen restorer Gary MacMahonDave 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.

Former sailmaker Ross Kearney is now sailing for the love of it, while Mark Lyttleproved he’s still winning calibre with his Grand Masters title in September.

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. 

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.

“BoatsBoats on display at the rear of the RDS hall during the 2018 Volvo Irish Sailing Awards | Photo: David O’Brien

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.

Published in ISA

Irish Sailing has named Volvo Ocean race veteran Damian Foxall as its sustainability ambassador.

The national governing body for sailing in Ireland says the Kerry sailor — who served as sustainability manager for Vestas 11th Hour Racing in the most recent edition of the VOR — “has committed to helping us support sailors, clubs and centres to make sailing in Ireland environmentally sustainable and help reduce our carbon footprint.

“We are excited to announce that he has committed to attending a number of Irish Sailing events to help share advice on sustainability and environmental impact.

“Damian brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table for us all to learn from. He completed 10 round-the-world races and is a passionate ocean conservationist.”

The ocean consultant will be guest speaker at the Irish Sailing Cruising Conference in Lough Ree Yacht Club next Saturday 16 February, and will also be presenting Irish Sailing’s first Sustainability Award at tonight’s Volvo Irish Sailing Awards – just a few days after his recent skiing adventures on Ireland's highest peak.

Published in ISA

Irish Sailing has been given an increase in its core funding from the government of €62k up from €323,000 in 2018 to €385,000 this year.

Sport Ireland today announced an investment of nearly €32 million in National Governing Bodies for Sport, direct athlete support and the Local Sports Partnership Network for 2019.

Commenting on the increase, Irish Sailing high-performance manager James O'Callaghan said "without it, the programme would not be possible. 2019 is a challenging year with two Olympic qualifiers in Japan and two in New Zealand, we also have the Olympic test event. Resourcing these events will be key".

The news follows a stand out week for County Carlow's Finn Lynch who became the first Irish man to qualify for a World Cup Laser medal race, finishing ninth overall.

The total sports funding announced, which represents a significant increase on 2018, includes an investment of €12.845 million in the core activity of National Governing Bodies for Sport (NGBs), €8.46m in NGB High Performance Programmes, €820,000 in high performance funding for the Olympic Federation of Ireland and Paralympics Ireland, and €7.29 million in the work of the Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs).

Sport Ireland also announced €500,000 in targeted funding for projects, to assist with the preparation for key events in 2019, along with a further €1.93 million for the International Carding Scheme.

Speaking ahead of the announcement at the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena today, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, said: “The National Sports Policy 2018-2027 published by my Department last July puts a strong emphasis on increasing participation in sport and physical activity by all members of society, regardless of age or circumstance. The significant increase in funding announced today will assist the excellent work of our National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships in delivering programmes and initiatives on the ground to get more people active on a regular basis. Their work is making a substantial contribution to the health and welfare of individuals, communities and the nation.”

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD, added: “The funding announced today will assist in furthering Ireland’s ambitions at the highest level on the international stage as we head into a critical period for high performance sport. 2018 was an exceptional year for Irish teams and athletes and we look forward to that success continuing into 2019 with Olympic and Paralympic qualification on the horizon for many athletes. In particular, the move to a two-year model for the International Carding scheme is to be welcomed as we look to give our top athletes the best possible opportunity to realise their potential on the international stage.”

2018 marked an exceptional year for Irish sport at an international level, with Irish athletes and teams winning 77 medals at major competition throughout the year. At home, National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships saw sustained participation and engagement with programmes, with many new innovative initiatives rolled-out nationwide.

Chairman of Sport Ireland, Kieran Mulvey, commented: “2018 was a landmark year for Irish sport. At a strategic level, the publication of the new National Sports Policy was a key milestone for the sports sector. On the international stage we saw sustained success from our high performance teams and athletes, while the NGBs and LSPs are continuing to support strong participation in sport among people of all ages. Through a substantial budget increase for 2019, the Government has responded very positively to the case made by Sport Ireland and the Irish sporting community with a broad commitment to sport and physical activity. It is vital that our NGBs and LSPs are well supported and the increase in funding this year means that our funded bodies will be well equipped to deliver on their objectives as we look towards next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games and increasing participation in sport across the board.”

The International Carding Scheme has increased from €1.9 million in 2018 to €1.934 million in 2019. For 2019 and 2020 the International Carding Scheme will be awarded as a two year Scheme. This means that athletes who are awarded Carding in 2019 will be funded until December 2020, subject to terms and conditions.

Sport Ireland Chief Executive, John Treacy, added: “Sport Ireland is delighted to be in a position to provide the majority of performing National Governing Bodies for Sport and Local Sports Partnerships with an increase in investment in 2019. A significant development this year is the move to a two-year model for the International Athlete Carding Scheme. This new approach will remove pressures associated with carding criteria and allow athletes to fully focus on Tokyo 2020 qualification and performance. High Performance Programme funding provided to NGBs in 2019 will stand for the funding round in 2020. This commitment from Sport Ireland is provided to well-governed NGBs that are tracking to deliver their targets in Tokyo 2020.”

Mr Treacy continued: “At a local level, the increased investment in the Sports Inclusion Disability Programme means that all 29 Local Sports Partnerships will have a Sports Inclusion Disability Officer (SIDO) in 2019. The SIDOs will provide valuable support and facilitate an increase in opportunities for people to participate in sport and physical activity. We look forward to another positive year for Irish sport in 2019.”

National Governing Body core funding (2018 Allocation first)

Special Olympics Ireland 1,200,000 1,200,000
Athletics Ireland 887,000 950,000
Swim Ireland 827,000 910,000
Horse Sport Ireland 775,000 875,000
Basketball Ireland 598,000 695,000
Irish Athletic Boxing Association 432,000 475,000
Ladies Gaelic Football Association 400,000 450,000
Cricket Ireland 355,000 450,000
Tennis Ireland 353,000 425,000
The Camogie Association 395,000 395,000
Irish Sailing Association 323,000 385,000
Badminton Ireland 320,000 365,000
Cycling Ireland 305,000 350,000
Hockey Ireland 260,000 325,000
Gymnastics Ireland 230,000 320,000
National Community Games 284,000 315,000
Rowing Ireland 210,000 300,000
Confederation of Golf in Ireland 233,000 300,000
Irish Wheelchair Association Sport 240,000 275,000
Canoeing Ireland 205,000 250,000
Mountaineering Ireland 193,000 225,000
Volleyball Association of Ireland 185,000 200,000
Triathlon Ireland 108,000 180,000
Irish Squash 160,000 180,000
Motor Sport Ireland 137,000 160,000
Table Tennis Ireland 107,000 107,000
GAA Handball Ireland 90,000 100,000
Irish Judo Association 70,000 85,000
Irish Surfing Association 64,000 75,000
Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland 63,000 75,000
ROI Billiards & Snooker Association 63,000 70,000
Irish Underwater Council 60,000 70,000
Deaf Sports Ireland 61,000 65,000
Irish Orienteering Association 45,000 65,000
Irish Martial Arts Commission 45,000 60,000
Fencing Ireland 27,000 55,000
Motor Cycling Ireland 48,000 48,000
Irish Clay Target Shooting Association 36,000 45,000
Vision Sports Ireland 35,000 45,000
Irish Olympic Handball Association 35,000 45,000
Irish Tug of War Association 22,000 40,000
Irish Tenpin Bowling Association 27,000 35,000
Bowling League of Ireland 24,000 30,000
Irish American Football Association 23,000 30,000
Weightlifting Ireland (-) 30,000
Bol Chumann na hÉireann 20,000 30,000
Irish Waterski & Wakeboard Federation 20,000 25,000
Irish Taekwondo Union 9,000 25,000
Baton Twirling Sport Association of Ireland 16,000 20,000
Racquetball Association of Ireland 15,000 20,000
Irish Amateur Wrestling Association 15,000 20,000
Archery Ireland 12,000 15,000
Rugby League Ireland 11,000 15,000
Speleological Union of Ireland 10,000 15,000
Angling Council of Ireland 10,000 15,000
Croquet Association of Ireland 5,000 10,000
Horseshoe Pitchers Association of Ireland 5,000 10,000
Irish Ice Hockey Association (-) 10,000
Karate Ireland/ONAKAI 6,000 (-)
National Aero Club of Ireland 5,000 (-1)
Ice Skating Association of Ireland (-)
Trout Anglers Association of Ireland (-)

Published in ISA

The wait is nearly over to find out who will be named Afloat Irish Sailor of the Year for 2018 at the star-studded Volvo Irish Sailing Awards in Dublin’s RDS this Friday 8 February.

Once again the country’s finest sailors will be recognised for their achievements across a host of categories including youth sailing, training, inclusion and sustainability.

However, the award most pertinent to Afloat.ie readers will be the one they’ve had a hand in selecting from a year of remarkable feats at home and abroad via our online poll of the boating public and maritime community.

Winkie Nixon rounds up the worthy nominees from Afloat.ie Sailors of the Month between January and October, while the final list added five more picks from November and December: speed sailor Oisin Van Gelderen; offshore pair Vicky Cox and Peter Dunlop; Donal O’Sullivan, who recently retired as DBSC Honorary Secretary; Dun Laoghaire’s Fintan Cairns; and classic boat sailor Darryl Hughes.

Sailing’s best and brightest won’t be the only VIPs in attendance, as Minister of State Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Sport Ireland chief John Treacy and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Cathaoirleach Ossian Smyth will be on hand to present awards on the night.

In addition, luminaries from Irish club and high performance sailing, national champions, class captains, club commodores, previous Sailors of the Year, and world and Olympic veterans and hopefuls alike will be among the more than 400 guests gathered at the RDS this Friday night for the annual celebration of excellence in Irish sailing, hosted by returning master of ceremonies Fiona Bolger.

Guests will also have an opportunity to get a special up-close look at some of the very boat models sailed by this year’s award nominees.

The dinghy scene will be represented by chandleries CH Marine and Viking Marine displaying the Laser Radial, Topper and Optimist, while the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School’s RS200 will also be in the hall — and yacht broker MGM Boats will have a scale model of the new Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300 that wowed the Paris Boat Show in December.

In all it’s shaping up to be another fantastic night toasting the very best sailing in Ireland has to offer — and if you can’t be there in person on the night, be sure to stay tuned to Afloat.ie this Friday evening for the announcement of 2018’s Sailor of the Year.

Published in ISA

Irish Sailing’s annual Cruising Conference is headed inland in 2019, with Lough Ree Yacht Club hosting the day-long event on Saturday 16 February.

Speakers and presenters confirmed for the day include Paul Scannell and Mary Healy, who cruised round Ireland in a 41-year-old inland waterways vessel.

The Irish Coast Guard will explain the ins and outs of a helicopter lift, while Kylie McMillan will share her experience of a man overboard scenario at night and the importance of having a plan and training for such critical situations.

Norman Kean will talk the future of diesel for leisure craft, and Damian Foxall will discuss sustainability and the changes made for the most recent Volvo Ocean Race.

Niall Hatch of BirdWatch Ireland will give a presentation on the lives of coastal birds and how to identify them, and the gathering will see Vera Quinlan’s vlog on preparing to sail the Atlantic circuit with children under 12.

Battery management onboard is the topic for Toni O’Leary of Union Chandlery, which is sponsoring the event and provides a Standard Horizon HX300E handheld VHF for a prize draw on the day.

Kilrush Marina is also supporting the 2019 conference and one lucky attendee will win a week’s marina berthage and sling wash, while four could win a night in the marina’s floating pods.

Tickets for the 2019 Irish Sailing Cruising Conference are €27.55– €32.88 available from Eventbrite€27.55– €32.88 available from Eventbrite.

Published in ISA

The winter evenings are dark, Christmas is coming and the long hot summer of 2018 has passed. While personally, I am already looking forward to the 2019 season, there are many sailors still enjoying racing in various winter leagues around the country. Fun sailing at this time of year is proving very popular time for our sport.

Taking up where my last blog left off: In August we hosted the second Watersports Inclusion Games in Galway and I’m delighted that the Games won “Project of the Year” at the Cara National Inclusion Awards.

Our Performance Teams had a successful summer, bringing home three world medals. Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove won gold at the U23 49er World Championships in Marseilles in September. Liam Glynn took bronze at the U21 Laser World Championships in Gdynia, Poland; and Tom Higgins won silver at the U17 Radial Youth World Championships in Kiel. Both Finn Lynch and Aoife Hopkins made Gold Fleet at the World Championships. Our next chance to qualify for the Olympics is July 2019. Good luck to all involved!

The Performance HQ units, (funded by the Irish Sailing Foundation) arrived at the end of October at their Irish Lights site in Dun Laoghaire and will be fully operational for the Senior and Development teams in the New Year.

The Irish Sailing All Ireland Senior Championship took place in October at Lough Ree Yacht Club. Close racing over two days resulted in the Helmsman’s Silver Salver being won by SB20 nominee and former Olympian Peter Kennedy (Strangford Lough YC). The Junior All Irelands were held a week earlier at the Royal St George YC, and won by Atlee Kohl (RCYC). Watch the videos here on the Irish Sailing YouTube channel: http://bit.ly/2Dxb8jb

Other highlights this summer included the SB20 European Championships held in August in Dun Laoghaire where Michael O’Connor (RStGYC) finished third. The Laser Master World Championships in September saw 301 boats from 25 countries take over Dun Laoghaire for a week. Mark Lyttle finished first in the Grand Master Class. Also competing was Shirley Gilmore, Ireland’s only female competitor. One of our regular “Sailing Hero” articles was dedicated to Shirley here: http://bit.ly/2A89WiY

Some of the projects and programmes will impact sailors. Twenty-three Clubs are actively engaged in our Club Coaching Programme. The response has been very positive and reaffirms our belief that there is a strong cohort of coaches in the country who want to formalise their training and receive the recognition they deserve in the form of official qualification.

We are still pursuing a number of regulatory issues including ICCs, Green Diesel, Small Craft Register, Passenger Boat licencing, and VHF licencing and are we actively engaged on the advisory committee of the Government’s Marine Spatial Planning group.

The Club Symposium in early 2018 hosted by Irish Sailing saw 30 clubs from around the country represented. Discussions centred on social media, communications, marketing, and learnings from individual clubs on their successes and challenges. These discussions resulted in an action plan for Irish Sailing, and we’ve spent time this year implementing changes triggered by this.

The Race Officials Policy Group alongside an active volunteer base ran several courses in all key disciplines of race official management during the year with over 100 attendees. Having qualified specialists in all areas raises the standard of event delivery, which ensures top-class racing for sailors.

Dates for your diary

The Volvo Irish Sailing Awards: 

February 8th, RDS, Dublin.

2019 Irish Sailing AGM: 

March 30th. Venue tbc. 

Published in ISA

Colm Barrington has formally stepped down as chair of Irish Sailing’s Olympic Steering Group, as The Irish Times reports.

Greencore chief executive Patrick Coveney will succeed in the role that Barrington announced he would leave after the Rio 2016 games, at which Annalise Murphy won silver for Ireland in the Laser Radial.

Barrington — who says he considers Annalise’s medal win the high point of his 12-year tenure — was elected as first vice president of the Olympic Council of Ireland in February last year.

His successor, brother of Tánaiste Simon Coveney, is no stranger to the water as a member of the Royal Cork Yacht Club. The family previously owned a round-the-word One Tonner, Golden Apple. Coveney was a keen Enterprise dinghy helmsman sailing from Crosshaven in the 1980s.

Barrington told the newspaper that while there is a good system to bring young sailors through to international competition there is "a long way to go".

Not least are the current funding issues facing the new Chairman that led to the recent shut down of the 420 Academy, Optimist squad and Topper squads.

The senior team has also been refocussing with just under 600 days to Tokyo 2020 where Irish boats have yet to qualify.

Published in Olympic

The second annual Watersports Inclusion Games, organised by Irish Sailing, won Project of the Year at the National Inclusion Awards last night hosted by CARA and Sport Ireland.

The National Inclusion Awards highlight the excellent work of people and organisations who enhance participation opportunities for people with disabilities in Sport and Physical Activity.

A delighted Johanne Murphy, Irish Sailing Watersports Inclusion Games Officer commented: “this is a tremendous achievement and is down to the amazing committee and awesome volunteer team that we had at the event, and of course our wonderful participants”. 

Three watersports national governing bodies (Canoeing Ireland, Rowing Ireland and Irish Sailing) and partner organisations came together to put on the Games, which are now an annual event attracting people from all abilities on the physical, sensory, intellectual and learning difficulty spectrums. The two-day event aims to show both participants and their families, as well as people who organise watersport events, that everyone can get out onto the water. 

Next year’s Watersports Inclusion Games will be held in Cork, so watch out for more details on the Irish Sailing website. Watch the Watersports Inclusion Games on the Irish Sailing YouTube channel here

Irish Sailing was also awarded the Irish Water Safety Award for Community and Social Responsibility yesterday in recognition of the support given to Irish Water Safety Community Work.

Published in ISA

Earlier this summer Irish Sailing asked boat owners for their experiences of sailing their boats abroad, registering on the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport’s Part 1 Register, registering with other flag states and more.

Now the governing body for sailing in Ireland is requesting a meeting with the department and would like to ensure that its members’ collective voice is heard.

Irish Sailing says it has been representing the interests of its membership in representations to the department on a number of occasions in the past, campaigning for a statutory small craft register to be established for recreational craft travelling abroad.

“A registration system that is voluntary, appropriate, accessible, affordable and easy to obtain, as exists in many other European states” is what Irish Sailing is advocating for.

The department committed in the Maritime Safety Strategy 2015-2019 to start work on developing such a registration system in 2017 and encourage recreational craft under 24m to register in 2018. However, there is still no sign of it.

Irish Sailing says it has been told firmly that in the interim the current Part 1 register used for commercial shipping is available and fit for purpose for recreational craft, which is contrary to anecdotal feedback it has received to date from boat owners.

To be part of this representation, please share your experience directly by email to [email protected] before next Tuesday 20 November.

Published in ISA
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Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

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Featured Associations

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ICRA
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Featured Events

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Featured Chandleries

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Featured Sailmakers

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Featured Marinas

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Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
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