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Displaying items by tag: Paris 2024

The Princess Sofia Trophy regatta in stunning Palma de Mallorca is arguably the largest – and most loved – Olympic classes regatta in the calendar. It also happens to be the 2023 season opener – and what a season this promises to be. Racing starts on Monday, April 3, and runs until Saturday, April 8.

There have been a few smaller regattas over the winter period, but this is the first biggie, and the who of Olympic sailing will be at it. More than 1,300 sailors from 67 countries are set to compete.

As regular Afloar readers will know, Irish Olympic sailors have already been in action this year at the ILCA European Championships. Finn Lynch finished 13th overall (but a top-10 European finish), and Eve McMahon scored 16th

The pressure is starting to mount with Paris 2024 a little over a year away. Each nation will want to get one over on its rivals, while the athletes themselves will be looking to not only better their international competition but also stake a claim to the sole place in each of the ten classes for Paris 2024. 

Palma Bay is known for its ability to chuck all sorts of weather at sailors, which always makes for an exciting week.

Competing for Ireland in the week-long regatta (Monday, 3 to Saturday, 8 April) are Rio Olympian Lynch and Ewan McMahon in the ILCA 7 and his sister Eve in the ILCA 6.

In the 49er skiffs are Tokyo Olympians Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove, and rivals for the single Paris 2024 berth Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan.

Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey of the Royal Irish Yacht Club, an Irish Rio 2016 Olympian, competes for Team GB with Freya Black, who will be looking to avenge their 2022 that saw them miss out on the 49erFX medal race by a single point.

The official website featuring results and the full entry list is here, but if you want to track the progress of the Irish, the best place to do so is We will update you daily on the results and feature the event's best Irish photos.

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For more than 50 years, the elite of Olympic sailing have been journeying to Hyères, the historic jewel of the French Riviera, at the end of April.

Over the years, the Semaine Olympique Française de Hyères - TPM has become an unmissable event for every national team. In 2023, for its 54th edition, Hyères will have the pleasure of once again welcoming the world’s best Olympic sailors in preparation for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

With almost 1,000 athletes from over 60 countries, the Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères is — along with the Trofeo Princesa Sofía this week — a Mediterranean event not to be missed for the Olympic elite, with under a year-and-a-half until Paris 2024.

Like every year, “La SOF” continues to stage an event exclusively dedicated to the 10 Olympic classes. ILCA (women’s and men’s single-handed dinghy), 49er (women’s and men’s double-handed dinghy), Nacra 17 (mixed double-handed catamaran), 470 (mixed double-handed dinghy), Formula Kite (women’s and men’s kitefoil) and iQFOiL (women’s and men’s windfoil) will compete on the Hyérois waters less than 500 days before the first Olympic events.

French Olympic Week 2023 logo

Olympic champions from Tokyo 2020 and Rio 2016 competing in Hyères next month will include the likes of Brazil’s Martine Grael (49erFX double gold medallist), Italians Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti (Nacra 17 mixed), Australians Matt Wearn (gold in Tokyo) and Tom Burton (gold in Rio) in the ILCA 7, and China’s Lu Yunxiu (gold in the women’s RS:X in Tokyo) in the iQFOiL.

The event, coming during the school holidays, will be freely open to all and in particular to children, who will be able to get close to the best sailors in the world. There will be a multitude of onshore events to introduce sailing to as many people as possible.

Following reception and registration over the weekend of Friday 21 to Sunday 23 April, the opening ceremony takes place on Monday 24 April which also sees the start of the week-long qualifying phase, before the medal races, prize-giving and closing ceremony on Saturday 29 April.

Also, be sure to save the dates for next year’s Semaine Olympique Française, the 55th edition from 20-27 April 2024 just weeks before the Paris Games.

The 52nd edition of the Trofeo Princesa Sofía, which will be held from this Wednesday 29 March to Friday 8 April on the Bay of Palma, marks the start of a crucial season for the teams in the run-up to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Among them the Irish Olympic team will be eager to prove their mettle, following on from the ILCA Euros earlier this month. Eve McMahon, Finn Lynch and other hopefuls are making the trip this week along with Ireland’s 49er contenders.

The Mallorcan regatta has a special importance just over a year before the Games of the 33rd Olympiad begin in Paris. The best Olympic sailing specialists in the world will meet in the Bay of Palma as a taste of what may happen at the French regatta off Marseille.

The pandemic reduced the Olympic cycle between Tokyo and Paris from the usual four years to three, an exception that intensified the programmes of sailors, teams and federations — and enhances the importance of events such as the Trofeo Princesa Sofía, which could not be held in 2020 or 2021. Last year, 2022, it made a strong comeback and faces 2023 as the biggest edition in its history.

Ferrán Muniesa, technical director of the Princess Sofia Trophy, explains that the pre-Olympic year is very important for the teams because “there are countries that have not achieved a place for the Games, so the Sofia, in many cases, is an Olympic country qualifying event. In this edition there is a lot of pressure, as it is well known that it is more difficult to get a selection place for a country than it is to participate in Paris 2024.

“This pressure is reflected in the numbers of the event, which for the first time will exceed 1,000 boats, with more than 1,300 sailors from 67 countries. The more sailors registered, the more groups there are to organise, and therefore the more races to compete in, which complicates the logistics.”

The changes in the Olympic classes have also affected the Trofeo Princesa Sofía. The Finn category and the division of 470 into male and female categories have given way to the unification in 470 Mixed and the creation of Formula Kite Men and Female, with the historic arrival of kitesurfing to the Olympic arena.

On the other hand, the iQFOiL revolutionises the windsurfing category, which now incorporates foils. Muniesa adds: “The events in the new flying classes are very short, between 12 and 15 minutes compared to 60 minutes before, and the speed is much higher. All of this makes the logistics more complicated, we have to be very attentive and increase safety.”

The first Sailing World Cup 2023 event will be followed by the Semaine Olympique Française in April in France, the Allianz Regatta in May-June in the Netherlands and the Kieler Woche in June in Germany. The hopefuls for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games have just 16 months to complete their preparations, and in the Princess Sofía they will find out where they stand in relation to their rivals and what their real chances are of achieving the coveted Olympic glory.

Paris 2024 Irish Olympic sailors are among athletes across sixteen sports who were awarded a total amount of €115,000 to support their performance through an Olympic Federation of Ireland athlete's fund

ILCA 7 campaigner Finn Lynch, who just finished 13th overall at last week's European Championships in Italy, got €3,000, and the Irish doublehanded 49er crews, Dublin's Robert Dickson & Sean Waddilove and Cork's Seafra Guilfoyle & Johnny Durcan were each awarded €3,000 per boat.

The proceeds of the fund were partially raised by the Make a Difference Golf Day in October 2022 and an additional €50,000 from the Olympic Federation of Ireland.

Athletes targeting both the Summer Olympics in Paris 2024 and the Winter Olympics in Milano Cortina 2026 will benefit from the fund, which will support applications detailing projects from training camps to specialist coaches.

Chair of the Olympic Federation of Ireland Athletes’ Commission, Shane O’Connor welcomed the increased amount saying,

“There are a huge number of athletes across a huge number of sports vying for Olympic qualification. The quality and depth of applications received were very impressive and highlighted that a little extra support to the athletes can really make a huge difference. We are happy as an Athletes' Commission to be able to support this fund, with the backing of the Olympic Federation of Ireland, and the Make a Difference golf fundraiser.”

Paris 2024 make a difference fund recipients - €93,000Paris 2024 make a difference fund recipients - €93,000

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Consistent sailing by Olympic Paris 2024 campaigner Finn Lynch puts him in the top ten of the ILCA 7 European Championships in Andora, Italy.

The National Yacht Club ace, ranked as high as second in the world last season, added another two fifth-place results to his scoresheet on Tuesday before ending the qualification rounds with a race win boost to sit eighth overall with 5, 5, (6.0) and 1.

Reigning World champion Jean Baptiste Bernaz FRA (1-3-1-10) leads the competition with five points among 191 sailors.

Medium air conditions were quite shifty, with the breeze up and down in big seas on the Riviera delle Palme.

Three sailors are just one point behind Bernaz, so the championship promises to be fought to the bitter end; Duko Bos NED (7-4-1-1), Philipp Buhl GER (1-19-1-4), and Matthew Wearn AUS (1-3-2-4) are all counting six points after the first four races. Tonci Stipanovic CRO (7-1-4-3) is also close with eight.

There was a special moment for Ireland at this major championship when Lynch's rival for Paris 2024, Ewan McMahon of Howth Yacht Club, crossed the finish line just behind Lynch, giving Ireland a 1-2 in race four.

Three races are scheduled for Wednesday, with the first warning signal at 09:00. Coaches meeting at 07:00.

ILCA 7 – Full results below

Building on the highest-ever recorded Irish medal achievements in 2022 – including the achievements of sailors Finn Lynch and Eve McMahon at World level – Sport Ireland announced this week its latest funding packages for Paris 2024.

Top-ranked ILCA 7 sailor Lynch is one of 32 Irish athletes to receive the top category of 'Podium' funding of €40,000. 

Three other Irish sailors are among 63 athletes to receive international funding, but the number of sailors awarded has halved since May 2022.

49er duo Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove each get €18,000 (down from 25k each in 2022), and Irish Sailor of the Year Eve McMahon receives €18,000 for her ILCA 6 Paris bid.

Sport Ireland requires athletes to achieve published carded criteria to be eligible to apply to be on the Scheme.

 Sport Ireland carding for Irish Sailors in 2023Sport Ireland carding for Irish Sailors in 2023 - source: Sport Ireland

Meanwhile, in this week's High-Performance Programme Funding 2023 allocation, the Irish Sailing Association will receive €800,000, matching last year's grant, as part of the €3.2m it will get between 2021-2024.

High-Performance Programme Funding is provided to National Governing Bodies to fund performance team salaries and various activities, including training camps and competitions, pathway development, and performance services.

High-Performance Programme FundingHigh-Performance Programme Funding - source: Sport Ireland

Sport Ireland also announced that in 2022, the ISA received €220,000 in High-Performance Impact Funding. According to Sport Ireland, this 'Impact Funding' ensures flexibility to 'respond positively to performance opportunities' or 'reasonable financial challenges within NGBs'.

Under its 'multi-annual funding commitment' for 2022 to 2024, €10.8m in 'High-Performance Programme Funding' will be provided to 19 National Governing Bodies, including rowing, sailing and canoeing, to support the delivery of their performance programmes in 2023. 

See more from Sport Ireland here

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With 547 days to go to the Paris 2024 Olympics, America's Sailing Scuttlebutt website reports that USA Olympic Sailing has lost its Executive Director. 

Paul Cayard (San Francisco, CA), who had been appointed by US Sailing in March 2021 as Executive Director of U.S. Olympic Sailing, today announced his resignation from the position. Here are his words to supporters of US Olympic Sailing:

Unfortunately, over the past couple of months, the US Sailing Association and I had a complete breakdown on several levels. The process of resolution was not good and ultimately unsuccessful. Despite my passion for our mission and my perseverance, I can no longer work with US Sailing.

In 2020, I was told that trying to build a successful Olympic Team, within US Sailing, would be very challenging. Changing the processes, culture, and support for the Team is an extremely difficult task. We are just starting to make gains. Raising two or three times the amount of money ever raised in the USA, to support that goal is also a difficult task. Starting and building an endowment so that future leaders will have something to rely on financially is another tall order.

Ultimately, the relationship with US Sailing proved to be one that I could not cope with. It pains me to admit that as I did sail around the world twice, and generally feel pretty capable of dealing with adversity.

I want to emphasize my gratitude for your support, trust and confidence in me. Know that we made significant progress in the movement to get the USA back to the top of the podium. I remain interested in our mission and supporting athletes. Maybe this will take a different form in time.

It has been my honor and privilege to work with my staff and for all the great athletes of the USA who have so much potential. I wish them all the best!"

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US Sailing restructures Olympic programme

US Sailing, the sport's national governing body, announces an operational restructuring of the US Sailing Team.

During a reassessment of its business, and to ensure US Sailing Team athletes receive the best support leading up to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the US Sailing Board of Directors has decided to dedicate the resources necessary to ensure all aspects of successfully operating the Olympic Team receive the attention they deserve.

Previously, the Executive Director of US Olympic Sailing was responsible for both leading team operations as well as garnering financial support for the team. In this new structure, duties would be streamlined and separated into two roles. A Head of Olympic Operations will focus full-time on this part of the role, while a second position will give fundraising for the team the necessary attention it deserves.

In the past two years, many strides have been made towards success on the podium. Fundraising efforts and successes have grown, athletes participating on the US Sailing board, which is a requirement of The Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, have gained valuable leadership experience, and responsibilities have naturally been added.

By separating responsibilities into two roles, each effort will get the dedicated staff and time necessary for success.

"We are proud of the accomplishments made with respect to the Olympic Team and the development of our athletes over the past couple of years," said President of the Board of Directors Rich Jepsen. "We have done what all good organizations do, which is to continually assess how to be even better.

"In talking with many athletes and other stakeholders in that regard, and the Board believes that dedicating the necessary resources for these two valuable areas will help better position our athletes for success on the podium."

Additional steps are already being taken to implement this improved structure. A search committee comprised of US Sailing board members is being created to fill these important roles. Interviews are ongoing to recruit the successful development professional and will begin shortly for the head of the Team.

In the interim, two board members who have been integrally involved in the Board's oversight of the Olympic operations and the ongoing assessment, Olympian Sarah Lihan and long-time board member and 10-year sailor athlete Henry Brauer, will help oversee the Team.

Recent Lanzarote International Regatta winners James Peters and Fynn Sterritt will speak about Life as full-time sailors versus life and work in the 'real world'... in a 'Road To Gold' interview on Thursday, 23 February, 1900 hours UTC.

The No.1 GBR 49er team aiming for Paris 2024 will also give a Q&A session and discuss how it has been a difficult time for the 49er class transitioning to new masts and new sails, so James and Fynn will be asked for their tips on how best to spend your time when there's too much to do and what they've learned from the setbacks over the years.

The Road To Gold is a free Zoom call and a 60-minute Q&A session.

Road To Gold's Andy Rice and Hamish Willcox will be fielding live questions throughout each 60-minute session.

Join Zoom Meeting with James Peters & Fynn Sterritt

Meeting ID: 846 6777 2126
Passcode: 221537

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British windsurfer Sam Sills scooped a silver medal in a thrilling finale to the first Olympic class regatta of 2023.

Sills, 29, from Launceston in Cornwall, dominated the opening round of the iQFOiL Games in Lanzarote but had to settle for second after losing out to Poland’s Pawel Tarnowski in a dramatic winner-takes-all medal race.

Sills earned an automatic spot in the event finale having won nine of the 15 races, but the racing format of the iQFOiL class – which will make its debut at Paris 2024 – sees the top three riders go head-to-head on equal standings to determine the final podium positions.

Combined with the incredible speeds of the iQFOiL windsurfers the format makes for tense and exciting viewing – but for the athletes the jeopardy is highly increased.

In an incredible chain of events, Sills and Tarnowski were neck and neck as they hurtled towards the finish, before both crashed just metres short of the line.

Tarnowski was quickest to get back up on his board, crossing the line to take first place and the event win.

Frenchman Nicolas Goyard, the third athlete in the race, also passed Sills but in a show of sportsmanship stopped short of the line to allow Sills to take silver.

“It was so intense,” said Sills, who was competing in a medal race for the first time. “Everything happened so fast, it’s honestly still a blur. I think it’s going to take me a bit of time to process, but it was very extreme, very intense and a lot of fun.”

Sills, who lives in Portland, Dorset, home of the British Sailing Team, said he was happy to have made the podium in his first outing of 2023, a crucial year for the British Sailing Team as it looks to pick its squad for Paris 2024.

“It’s amazing to be in this position with just a year and a half until the Olympics,” Sills added.

“This result is another stepping stone towards the goal of an Olympic gold medal in Paris, and I’m just going to keep pushing hard. This result feels like a very special moment in my career and I’ll look back on it with a lot of happy memories.”

There were notable British performances across the fleets.

Scottish athlete Andy Brown made it to the quarter finals in the 84-strong men’s fleet, finishing 10th overall, while Sills’ fellow Cornishman Finn Hawkins was 18th.

In the women’s fleet fellow Scot Islay Watson was seventh, British Sailing Squad athlete Alice Read from Oxford was 13th and Saskia Sills, Sam’s sister, came home 18th from 66 athletes.

The British Sailing Team will field athletes in the Lanzarote International Regatta later this month before turning its attention to the Princess Sofia Regatta in early April.

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Ireland’s Olympic sailing team has started the New Year with a fair wind in its sails, having welcomed a new addition to its fleet of commercial vehicles in the shape of a new Mercedes-Benz Vito van.

The second of its kind to be added to the fleet, the Vito will soon be put through its paces transporting the team’s boats and equipment to international training camps and competitions throughout Europe in destinations such as Portugal, Italy and, significantly, the Olympic sailing venue of Marseille.

No stranger to the Irish sailing community, Mercedes-Benz has supported a number of water sport activities over the years, most notably in its sponsorship of Ireland’s Olympic medal-winning sailor Annalise Murphy in her preparations for the Rio and Tokyo Olympic Games.

Fittingly, the predominant user of this new vehicle will be Howth Yacht Club’s Eve McMahon, the current Youth World Champion in Murphy’s old class the ILCA 6 (formerly Laser Radial) who is hotly tipped for Olympic success of her own, at Paris 2024 and beyond.

Published in Eve McMahon
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The Irish National Sailing and Powerboat School is based on Dun Laoghaire's West Pier on Dublin Bay and in the heart of Ireland's marine leisure capital.

Whether you are looking at beginners start sailing course, a junior course or something more advanced in yacht racing, the INSS prides itself in being able to provide it as Ireland's largest sailing school.

Since its establishment in 1978, INSS says it has provided sailing and powerboat training to approximately 170,000 trainees. The school has a team of full-time instructors and they operate all year round. Lead by the father and son team of Alistair and Kenneth Rumball, the school has a great passion for the sport of sailing and boating and it enjoys nothing more than introducing it to beginners for the first time. 

Programmes include:

  • Shorebased Courses, including VHF, First Aid, Navigation
  • Powerboat Courses
  • Junior Sailing
  • Schools and College Sailing
  • Adult Dinghy and Yacht Training
  • Corporate Sailing & Events

History of the INSS

Set up by Alistair Rumball in 1978, the sailing school had very humble beginnings, with the original clubhouse situated on the first floor of what is now a charity shop on Dun Laoghaire's main street. Through the late 1970s and 1980s, the business began to establish a foothold, and Alistair's late brother Arthur set up the chandler Viking Marine during this period, which he ran until selling on to its present owners in 1999.

In 1991, the Irish National Sailing School relocated to its current premises at the foot of the West Pier. Throughout the 1990s the business continued to build on its reputation and became the training institution of choice for budding sailors. The 2000s saw the business break barriers - firstly by introducing more people to the water than any other organisation, and secondly pioneering low-cost course fees, thereby rubbishing the assertion that sailing is an expensive sport.