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Displaying items by tag: Sailor of the Month

The re-opening of the Royal Canal in October was the culmination of a remarkable joint effort by voluntary community groups and Waterways Ireland, together with government agencies. Many people were involved, at national and regional level, along this intriguing link between Dublin's docklands and the Upper Shannon in County Longford. Over the decades, the efforts of such achievements came into fruition and down to an individual. This was Ian Bath, who was central to forming the Royal Canal Amenity Group (RCAG) in 1974 and the importance of the canal in 21st century Ireland. The RCAG has successfully fulfilled its central purpose greatly enhances the recreational potential and interest of little known parts of the country. We salute Ian Bath as our final Afloat.ie/Irish Independent "Sailor of the Month" for 2010.

At home and abroad, Irish sailors once again delivered an impressive range of results in 2010.

Click on the month to the left to review our top sailors by month. And vote for them in our online poll (left)

As in previous years, Afloat magazine is asking the public to decide who should be crowned Ireland’s Sailor of the Year for 2010.

The overall national award will be presented to the person who, in the judge’s opinion, achieved the most notable results in, or made the most significant contribution to, watersports during 2010. Now you can log on to Afloat.ie and help select the shortlist from the last 12 months’ top performers by clicking on your sailor in the left hand column of the home page. The boating public gets to nominate their top three through the online poll, Afloat.ie gets a vote too and the Sailor of the Year judges decide the final winner.

Cast your vote by midnight February 18, 2011. The awards are administered and judged by Afloat magazine, the Irish Independent and the Irish Sailing Association.

The judges decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Thanks for your interest!

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Published in Sailor of the Year

Nicholas "Nin" O'Leary of Cork has re-written the Irish sailing records, and he's only 24. The new All Ireland Champion Helm is clear winner of the Afloat.ie/Irish Independent "Sailor of the Month" award for November after a nail-biting finale in difficult conditions off Kinsale, making it three-in-a-row for this junior skipper who was winning major titles with impressive scorelines well before he was out of his teens.

The wind was drawing from the east for the 20th November shootout in the ISA's SailFleet of J/80s. But the challenge lay in the fact that, after a week of strong winds up to gale force, a massive swell was rolling in past the Bulman Buoy to provide sea conditions which were out of sync with the strength of the breeze.

Yet the three top Royal Cork helms showed they were up to the challenge. In fact, it was Neil Kenefick, in the championship through being tops in the ICRA series in 2010, who best got to grips with the racing in the early stages, posting two wins with Anthony O'Leary second in the first race, while son Nicholas was second in the next one.

But the junior O'Leary moved nearer to retaining the title by winning the third, though his father was right there with a second, while James Espey from the Lasers posted a third. However, Kenefick was in touch with a fourth, but that became his discount as he nailed a couple of thirds in the two concluding races.

Going into the fifth and final race, the three Crosshaven helms were neck-and-neck on points, but O'Leary Junior put it neatly away by slicing in ahead of his father, with Kenefick third. The Corkmen were out on their own, as next in line was Puppeteer 22 Champion Garret May, but he concluded with 18 net points, while Neil Kenefick was on 8, Anthony O'Leary on 7, and Nicholas O'Leary the supreme champion on 6. And making a bit of history while he was at it - the first three-in-a-row in the All Ireland's 64 years.

John Sheehy of Dun Laoghaire is the latest Afloat.ie/Irish Independent "Sailor of the Month" after his convincing recovery to retain his title as National Match Racing Champion in Kinsale on October 24th.

Recovery and retention became the theme of a hotly-fought series, as Sheehy had seemed to be off form on the opening day, far from overnight leader, in the doldrums way back in fourth. Things were still rocky on the second day as they battled on all fronts to stay in contention after taking a beating from Ben Duncan of Howth, who seemed on track to be the new champion.

But Sheehy and his crew sailed off on their own for a brief onboard motivation session. He had a crew of all the talents in Darragh O'Connor, Paddy Kirwan and Marty O'Leary and they returned to the fray fired up on all cylinders to go into the final series with eight wins, while Duncan had nine.

However, by this stage there was no stopping the John Sheehy onslaught. He clinched two more excellent starts and retained the lead despite ferocious pressure in both matches from Ben Duncan, who was clear second overall, while Sam Hunt was third, narrowly ahead of Prof O'Connell.

Oisin van Gelderen of Skerries is the Afloat.ie/Irish Independent "Sailor of the Month" for September after his sensational windsurfer speed runs on the famous Marine Lake at West Kirby near Liverpool on September 15th. (SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO OF THE RECORD RUN)

Zooming along in 30—35 knot breezes, and using the specialised GPS analytical systems which have been developed for this extremely advanced form of sailing, van Gelderen (40) recorded a fastest speed burst of 47.17 knots. And although his average from his five best runs was down at 43.19 knots, it is still a new Irish record.

It is almost impossible for anyone outside windsurfing to imagine what it's like to experience these speeds on a board. The current unlimited world speed sailing record is 51.36 knots, established a year ago by Alain Thebault and his crew on the 60ft French trimaran Hydroptere, which skims across the water on hydrofoils once a basic speed (quite high in itself) is achieved.

Because of the hydrofoils, all hulls of the boat are clear of the water. And although the spray can fly across like a fusillade of bullets, you are travelling in luxury by comparison with a lone windsurfer battling the elements.

Going hyper-fast, water doesn't seem like water any more. It's more like concrete. Yet this kind of speed provides heaps of adrenalin, and then some. The sailing was so good that Van Gelderen would have kept going on into the night, but the danger of crashing into the West Kirby walls in the dark was very real.

While the Hydroptere speeds were the result of crew and technical team joint efforts, although Oisin van Gelderen was using the best of windsurfer technology, there is an intensely personal element in his feat which no other form of sailing can match, and we salute his achievement.

The 2010 Irish Commodore's Cup team are jointly the Afloat.ie/Irish Independent "Sailors of the Month" for August. In times past, we've had two or even three "Sailors of the Month" at once. And we even had a family – the Dicksons of Lough Ree – getting the honours together. But it's the first time that an entire team have been given the accolade.

However, the 2010 Irish Commodore's Cup team achieved their totally convincing win with a display of team spirit which was of truly international standard, and the judges acclaim the entire squad – and their enthusiastic and able management – with the accolade.

It was realized that selecting any individual sailor or one of the crews from the three boats was going to be difficult. Even when you tried to congratulate any of them, they would tend to heap praise on another of the boats. And on the rare occasion when things went wrong – as when Antix was caught by a rule break at the start of the final and clinching race – the skippers readily accepted blame.

In that instance, Antix boss and team captain Anthony O'Leary declared afterwards that he'd been "110% in the wrong". Admittedly it's not so painful saying that when you go on to sail an absolute blinder of a heavy weather race to finish second in class despite the setback of taking your penalty turn. But even so O'Leary, Dave Dwyer on marinerscove.ie, and the new boys on Roxy 6 were exemplary in their achievement.

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Ireland's Commodores Cup Team is August's Sailors of the Month. Photo: David Branigan

Roxy 6 was given special praise as she was still very raw, a new Corby 36 built for Rob Davis in Pembroke in Wales, and put together on the water at some speed by a Cork crew headed by Andrew Creighton, with Maurice "The Prof" O'Connell invaluable as the single permitted onboard professional.

And they sailed with the steady consistency and that sense of the bigger picture which is the key to team success. Ashore, Barry Rose of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association was always available as manager, and the result was the kind of result the Irish sailing community have dreamed about for decades. Not only have we been within a whisker of winning the Commodore's Cup in recent years, but way back in the great days of the Admirals Cup in 1979, the Irish team went into the final event of the series, the Fastnet Race, with what seemed a commanding points lead.

The notorious Fastnet storm of 1979 put paid to that. It was ironic that it was extreme Irish weather which blasted our chances. But the pain of that, and other blighted hopes, were so gloriously blown away in the Solent on Saturday August 22st as the final race was completed with Ireland's winning points piled high.

Ireland's Commodore's Cup team Crew List HERE.

Commdore's Cup Coverage HERE

Martin Byrne of Dun Laoghaire is the Afloat.ie/Irish Independent "Sailor of the Month" for July with his convincing victory in the Irish Dragon Championship on Belfast Lough, a four-day event of first class racing which concluded on Sunday July 25th at Cultra.

Like so many sailing happenings which are proving successful in these stringent times, there was a distinct blast of the past about the Open Nationals 2010. The Royal North of Ireland YC at Cultra was once the leading club in the country for Dragon racing. But the creation of marinas serving Belfast Lough at Carrickfergus and Bangor meant that the pleasant waterfront club in a leafy suburb of Holywood seemed to be left behind in sailing development.

Yet the sailing waters are still there, and the people are still there too. It was local resident Simon Brien, a leading Dragon racer in Ireland and abroad, who led the movement to bring the class back to Cultra. As he has been Irish champion more than once in his 16 years in the class, Dragon sailors at home and overseas took notice. With Belfast Harbour Commission as lead sponsors, the visiting boats were craned into Belfast Docks, and the fleet of 18 top Dragons made a race of it over the four miles to Cultra where they lay out on moorings, just like the good old days.

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Martin Byrne, centre with trophy at the Dragon Nationals prizegiving

Crewed by longtime shipmate Adam Winklemann, and Portuguese sailmaker Pedro Andrade, Martin Byrne sailing Jaguar put his stamp on the racing from the start. In fact, the Dublin Bay boats were making hay, as Don O'Donoghue (also of Glandore) finished second overall, with Andrew Craig third. The level of racing is indicated by Klaus Diederichs, crewed by the formidable lineup of Andy Beadsworth and Jamie Lea, being back in fourth, while Simon Brien himself was in fifth, though he and his team of David Gomes and David Good took the prize for top totally amateur crew.

It was good to see the Dragons back in force where they mean a lot to sailing heritage. And it was in an area getting used to sporting success – Rory McIlroy's place is just up the road. But for now in sailing, Martin Byrne is ahead of the pack.

Dave Dwyer of Cork is the Afloat.ie/Irish Independent “Sailor of the Month” for June with his convincing retention of the British Open IRC Championship over three days of racing which concluded in the Solent on Sunday June 27th.

A busy month of sailing had already produced several worthy contenders for the Sailor title. But Dwyer’s performance on the final weekend with the 39ft Marinerscove.ie (designed in 2006 by current Sailor of the Year Mark Mills of Wicklow) was in a league of its own.

The boat has of course been regularly updated and optimized during four busy years at the sharp end of national and international fleets. But even in these recessionary times, there are completely new and decidedly hot contenders coming on the scene,

Thus even as the Dwyer team – and it’s a formidable equipage - was shaping up for the Solent championship, right on Mills’ own doorstep in Wicklow it was being confirmed that the overall winner of the Round Ireland Race 2010 was the 46ft Tonnere de Breskens, designed by Jason Ker in 2008.

To add to the pain, second place went to another 2008 Ker boat, the 39ft Inis Mor (Bernard Gouy, Clifden Boat Club). In fact, there wasn’t a Mills design in the entire round Ireland fleet. But within four days, marinerscove.ie had done the business and redressed the balance against an international lineup off Cowes, clinching it with four wins on the final day of racing, and catapulting Dave Dwyer into Irish sailing’s kingpin spot for June.

More from W M Nixon on Dwyer's performance in today's Irish Independent here.

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Dave Dwyer's Marinerscove in winning form on the Solent. Photo: Paul Wyeth

 

Anthony O’Leary of Crosshaven is the Afloat.ie/Irish Independent “Sailor of the Month” for May after a steady stream of success at the very sharp end of IRC racing in Ireland and Scotland.

With his Ker 39 Antix making her debut in Irish waters, O’Leary (pictured at the wheel below by Bob Bateman) has put in an inspirational performance which will raise the hopes of the Irish Commodore’s Cup team which he’ll be leading into international competition in August.

Antix started the month by confirming her win in the Spring Series in Kinsale. She then went on to win overall in the Cork-Dun Laoghaire race on May 15th, and was on top form to clinch the class title in the Liebherr ICRA Nationals in Dublin Bay from May 21st to 23rd.

Barely pausing for breath, the boat headed on for the following extended weekend’s four-day Scottish Series in Loch Fyne. With a significant French presence to give a hint of the Commodore’s series, the racing was demanding. But the Antix crew – including Olympic son Peter – went better and better, rounding out the series with two wins on the final day. This put them firmly top of the leaderboard in the senior class, and clearly made Anthony O’Leary Ireland’s supreme sailor for May 2010.

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Gareth Flannigan of Ballyholme is the Afloat.ie/Irish Independent “Sailor of the Month” for April after rising through the 43-strong fleet at last weekend’s busy East Coast SB3 Championship in Dublin Bay.


Mobility was the core concept for the 20ft SB3 as Laser International and designer Tony Castro brainstormed their way in 2002 towards a lifting-keel easily-trailed performance three-four man boat which would capture the spirit of the original iconic Laser single handed dinghy.


While there are many SB3s based in the Dublin area, nevertheless the very competitive fleet seemed to emerge from nowhere and from every corner of Ireland onto the forecourt of the Royal St George YC for this, the class’s first major event of the 2010 season.


Expat Kiwi skipper Ben Duncan, who sails from Howth, was the overnight leader and seemed securely in place. But through the second day defending title-holder Gareth Flannigan of Belast Lough implemented a strategy which saw Duncan’s points lead eroded and then bested. 


With a team which included Stephen Milne who has recently launched himself onto the Olympic path with Cork’s Peter O’Leary in the Olympic Star, Flannigan cannily kept tabs on Duncan while keeping himself in the frame. His discard from Sunday’s three races was a 7th, while Duncan went down the tubes with a 19th and 18th in the two final jousts, after starting the day with a useful second.


In fact, it was Adrian O’Connell of the host club who showed best overall on Day Two, but Flannigan moved into a convincing overall lead, finishing on 15 points to the 24 of Duncan and O’Connell’s 26. It was a virtuoso performance which makes him a worthy winner of the monthly award, and it means Stephen Milne is right on line for an Oscar for best supporting actor – he has already been in lights for the second place in the Olympic Stars in Miami with Peter O’Leary in February.

Photo below: Gareth Flanningan (second fron left) and his crew received their award from Frank Keane of Mistubishi Motors. Photo: Gareth Craig More photos here.

 

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How to sail, sailing clubs and sailing boats plus news on the wide range of sailing events on Irish waters forms the backbone of Afloat's sailing coverage.

We aim to encompass the widest range of activities undertaken on Irish lakes, rivers and coastal waters. This page describes those sailing activites in more detail and provides links and breakdowns of what you can expect from our sailing pages. We aim to bring jargon free reports separated in to popular categories to promote the sport of sailing in Ireland.

The packed 2013 sailing season sees the usual regular summer leagues and there are regular weekly race reports from Dublin Bay Sailing Club, Howth and Cork Harbour on Afloat.ie. This season and last also featured an array of top class events coming to these shores. Each year there is ICRA's Cruiser Nationals starts and every other year the Round Ireland Yacht Race starts and ends in Wicklow and all this action before July. Crosshaven's Cork Week kicks off on in early July every other year. in 2012 Ireland hosted some big international events too,  the ISAF Youth Worlds in Dun Laoghaire and in August the Tall Ships Race sailed into Dublin on its final leg. In that year the Dragon Gold Cup set sail in Kinsale in too.

2013 is also packed with Kinsale hosting the IFDS diabled world sailing championships in Kinsale and the same port is also hosting the Sovereign's Cup. The action moves to the east coast in July with the staging of the country's biggest regatta, the Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta from July 11.

Our coverage though is not restricted to the Republic of Ireland but encompasses Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Irish Sea area too. In this section you'll find information on the Irish Sailing Association and Irish sailors. There's sailing reports on regattas, racing, training, cruising, dinghies and keelboat classes, windsurfers, disabled sailing, sailing cruisers, Olympic sailing and Tall Ships sections plus youth sailing, match racing and team racing coverage too.

Sailing Club News

There is a network of over 70 sailing clubs in Ireland and we invite all clubs to submit details of their activities for inclusion in our daily website updates. There are dedicated sections given over to the big Irish clubs such as  the waterfront clubs in Dun Laoghaire; Dublin Bay Sailing Club, the Royal Saint George Yacht Club,  the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the National Yacht Club. In Munster we regularly feature the work of Kinsale Yacht Club and Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven.  Abroad Irish sailors compete in Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) racing in the UK and this club is covered too. Click here for Afloat's full list of sailing club information. We are keen to increase our coverage on the network of clubs from around the coast so if you would like to send us news and views of a local interest please let us have it by sending an email to [email protected]

Sailing Boats and Classes

Over 20 active dinghy and one design classes race in Irish waters and fleet sizes range from just a dozen or so right up to over 100 boats in the case of some of the biggest classes such as the Laser or Optimist dinghies for national and regional championships. Afloat has dedicated pages for each class: Dragons, Etchells, Fireball, Flying Fifteen, GP14, J24's, J80's, Laser, Sigma 33, RS Sailing, Star, Squibs, TopperMirror, Mermaids, National 18, Optimist, Puppeteers, SB3's, and Wayfarers. For more resources on Irish classes go to our dedicated sailing classes page.

The big boat scene represents up to 60% of the sail boat racing in these waters and Afloat carries updates from the Irish Cruiser Racer Association (ICRA), the body responsible for administering cruiser racing in Ireland and the popular annual ICRA National Championships. In 2010 an Irish team won the RORC Commodore's Cup putting Irish cruiser racing at an all time high. Popular cruiser fleets in Ireland are raced right around the coast but naturally the biggest fleets are in the biggest sailing centres in Cork Harbour and Dublin Bay. Cruisers race from a modest 20 feet or so right up to 50'. Racing is typically divided in to Cruisers Zero, Cruisers One, Cruisers Two, Cruisers Three and Cruisers Four. A current trend over the past few seasons has been the introduction of a White Sail division that is attracting big fleets.

Traditionally sailing in northern Europe and Ireland used to occur only in some months but now thanks to the advent of a network of marinas around the coast (and some would say milder winters) there are a number of popular winter leagues running right over the Christmas and winter periods.

Sailing Events

Punching well above its weight Irish sailing has staged some of the world's top events including the Volvo Ocean Race Galway Stopover, Tall Ships visits as well as dozens of class world and European Championships including the Laser Worlds, the Fireball Worlds in both Dun Laoghaire and Sligo.

Some of these events are no longer pure sailing regattas and have become major public maritime festivals some are the biggest of all public staged events. In the past few seasons Ireland has hosted events such as La Solitaire du Figaro and the ISAF Dublin Bay 2012 Youth Worlds.

There is a lively domestic racing scene for both inshore and offshore sailing. A national sailing calendar of summer fixtures is published annually and it includes old favorites such as Sovereign's Cup, Calves Week, Dun Laoghaire to Dingle, All Ireland Sailing Championships as well as new events with international appeal such as the Round Britain and Ireland Race and the Clipper Round the World Race, both of which have visited Ireland.

The bulk of the work on running events though is carried out by the network of sailing clubs around the coast and this is mostly a voluntary effort by people committed to the sport of sailing. For example Wicklow Sailing Club's Round Ireland yacht race run in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club has been operating for over 30 years. Similarly the international Cork Week regatta has attracted over 500 boats in past editions and has also been running for over 30 years.  In recent years Dublin Bay has revived its own regatta called Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta and can claim to be the country's biggest event with over 550 boats entered in 2009.

On the international stage Afloat carries news of Irish and UK interest on Olympics 2012, Sydney to Hobart, Volvo Ocean Race, Cowes Week and the Fastnet Race.

We're always aiming to build on our sailing content. We're keen to build on areas such as online guides on learning to sail in Irish sailing schools, navigation and sailing holidays. If you have ideas for our pages we'd love to hear from you. Please email us at [email protected]

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