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UK Sailmakers: Dedicated to Growing the Sport

7th September 2022
Kinsale Yacht Club's Kinsailor crew competing at the J24 Europeans in Howth
Kinsale Yacht Club's Kinsailor crew competing at the J24 Europeans in Howth

After ten races, the J/24 European Championship hosted by Howth Yacht Club, concluded in a tie at 65 points, with the third-place team only one point back. That third-place team was made up of six junior sailors from the Kinsale Yacht Club, which has worked to create a squad of under 25-year-old sailors or U25s. Along with finishing third overall, one point out of first, Carroll’s team finished second in the Corinthian Class and first in the Youth Class. Micheál O’Súilleabháin was on the helm.

This was the first year sailing a J/24 for this young team. Crewmember Mike Carroll said, “Since we only started in the J24 class this summer, we didn’t know what to expect from ourselves at the event. We had some poor results earlier on in the regatta, but as the event went on, we improved and achieved a good level of consistency that we were happy with. We couldn’t afford another poor result as there was only one discard across the 10 races. We had a mix of all sailing conditions during the week, which led to it being a high-scoring event. Given that most boats had at least one or two bad scores, it allowed us to climb high in the results without needing to win races. What happened on the water exceeded our expectations.” By finishing second in the last race of the regatta, the team moved from sixth to third.

Kinsailor competing at the ten race, the J/24 European Championship at Howth Yacht Club Photo: Christopher HowellKinsailor competing at the ten race J/24 European Championship at Howth Yacht Club Photo: Christopher Howell

The young team faced down some serious challenges, which they overcame. A week before the Europeans, while racing in the J/24 Easterns, they broke their mast and had to secure a loner. Their new UK Sailmakers mainsail was damaged when the rig came down, and they finished the Easterns with their delivery main. UK Sailmakers Ireland made an invisible repair in a few short days and had the main ready for the Europeans.

“The sails were fantastic”

Dave Sullivan, the team’s coach said, “It’s just brilliant that a team of kids from Kinsale can get a boat, set it up, and deliver a world-class performance -- all in less than a year. Phenomenal really; we are most proud of them.” The team came about as part of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association Under 25 initiative designed to create a pathway for junior sailors to progress into the adult sailing scene. Sullivan said that members of the Kinsale Yacht Club held a fundraiser to buy, ship to Ireland and prepare a J/24 for the club’s juniors to use. He took on the role of the team’s mentor. The original goal was to compete at the 2022 European Championships and the boat will stay available for juniors at the club for years to come.

Kinsailor is a Kinsale Yacht Club Under 25 initiativeKinsailor is a Kinsale Yacht Club Under 25 initiative

Barry Hayes, President of UK Sailmakers Ireland said, “Our loft is doing everything to help young sailors excel. They are the future of the sport. Therefore, we are doing our best to help them get the best sails, learn how to use them so that they move up to the podium as quickly as possible. From centreboard to keelboats, UK Sailmakers is dedicated to helping the next generation of sailors.”

About the UK Sailmakers J/24 class sails, the team members said, “The sails were fantastic.”

The Kinsailor crew with their prizes in Howth including Mikey Carroll, Jack O’Sullivan, Lellie Collins, Francesca Lewis, Rory Carroll and Micheál O’SúilleabháinThe Kinsailor J24 crew with their prizes in Howth including Mikey Carroll, Jack O’Sullivan, Lellie Collins, Francesca Lewis, Rory Carroll and Micheál O’Súilleabháin

The four men and two women on KINSAILOR were:

  • Mikey Carroll
  • Jack O’Sullivan
  • Lellie Collins
  • Francesca Lewis
  • Rory Carroll
  • Micheál O’Súilleabháin

J24 European Championships results2022 J24 European Championships results

UK Sailmakers Winter discount banner

About the Loft

UK Sailmakers Ireland brings modern professional sailmaking to Irish Sailing.​ Formerly known as McWilliam Sailmakers; the company was started 47 years ago to bring the latest technology to Irish sailors - we continue this mission today.

Under new leadership in 2018; our loft is dedicated to fulfilling the needs of all Irish sailors. ​As sailmakers, we do not just design sails for boats. We design and build sails for your boat. Our extensive and versatile product line allows us to produce sails to suit your requirements and expectations.   

​As a core loft within the UK Sailmakers Group, we are uniquely placed to draw from a worldwide pool of knowledge and experience - these ties have been recently strengthened with the return of Barry Hayes and Claire Morgan from Hong Kong. ​Barry held a key role in our primary production facility on Hong Kong Island for the past fifteen years. With their return comes a renewed focus on technology R&D on Irish waters.  

​With a wide variety of sailing conditions and an impressive pool of talent, the Irish cruiser racing fleet is the ideal testbed for new technologies.​ 

​As with all things in sailing; the secrets will be closely guarded - but for the first time in decades Irish sailors will be at the forefront of sail technology development.​

Although much has changed; some constants remain. The same great sail and customer service we have provided in the past will continue, as does our commitment and passion for growing the sport of sailing all over the country. 

Barry Hayes [email protected]

Contact Information:

UK Sailmakers Ireland

Hoddersfield Mill

Crosshaven

County Cork

P43 EY26

Republic of Ireland

Tel: +353 21 4831505

Fax: +353 21 4831700

Email: [email protected]

Barry Hayes

About The Author

Barry Hayes

Email The Author

Barry Hayes, Director of UK Sails Ireland, managed the main UK Production facility for UK Sails in Hong Kong until last October and has been a sail designer with UK sails for over 15 years.

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