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Displaying items by tag: Robert Dickson & Sean Waddilove

Having been passed fit and 'cleared to sail' at French Olympic Sailing Week only a week ago, Ireland's top two hopes for Paris 2024 retired from the competition in Hyeres, nursing those pre-existing injuries.

On the cusp of the busiest pre-Olympic season for the Paris 2024, the Irish sailors' will be frustrated to find that their immediate priorities are now focused instead on recovery and rehab.

ILCA 7 single-hander Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) secured a place in the Gold fleet despite carrying his ongoing wrist injury in some very windy weather. 

Lynch, a 2016 Rio Olympian, competed but could not complete the gold fleet series after suffering 'further inflammation'. 

As regular Afloat readers will recall, the world number three complained of the problem as far back as last year at Hyeres 2022.

Earlier this month in Palma, Lynch's coach Vasilij Zbogar said, "Recovery from the Europeans two weeks ago wasn't managed well enough, so we need to adapt for the next time." 

Eagle-eyed observers noted his bandaged arm at the Andoran prizegiving in March, but unfortunately for Lynch, the issue continues into May.

The 49er crew of Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club), opted to withdraw from the regatta's Silver fleet due to Dickson's 'virus'. Dickson also carries a wrist injury after a heavy air capsize in Hyeres.

Both teams had been seeking medal race finishes on the Cote d'Azur after mixed performances in Palma earlier this month.

Royal Cork Yacht Club's Seafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan placed 35th overall in Hyeres 49er silver fleet.

Howth brother and sister ILCA sailors Ewan and Eve McMahon were not competing. 

While the main focus is Olympic qualification at the World Championships in August, the Irish sailors will need to be fit for the ultra-busy season ahead, which includes the Paris 2024 Test Event on the Olympic regatta waters of Marseille from 7 July.

Irish Team manager James O'Callaghan said, "It is important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater; for sure, there are work-ons, but there are positives too".

Despite an improvement in form for Dubliners Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) in the 49er skiff class at the 52nd Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mallorca on the Bay of Palma, there was no return to their winning form of Wednesday that might have reversed their final 20th place overall.

It means the pair does not make the top ten medal race on Saturday and are left with food for thought, such as improving their starts and looking for answers as to their lack of boat speed in light winds that troubled them on Thursday, before April's next World Cup event in Hyeres, close to Paris 2024 Olympic waters. 

Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie

Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie (NZL) were the only 49er team to keep all three of the scores inside the top 10 today.

Their reward is to be wearers of the yellow bibs for Saturday’s Medal Race, although the other Kiwis who relinquish the leaders’ bibs - Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn - are only two points behind their teammates.

Effectively this means they will be going into the Medal Race level pegging. It’s a ‘who beats who’ scenario for the New Zealanders. However, breathing down their necks, just a point behind Beck and Gunn are another high-performing team from today’s racing. Tom Burton and Max Paul (AUS) scored a 3,11,1 to lift themselves into bronze medal position. Burton, Laser Olympic Champion from Rio 2016, has been working hard to make the shift into doublehanded skiff sailing, and this is a sign that his endeavours are beginning to bear fruit.

Gold fleet racing did not suit overall leaders Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) in the 49er fleet at the 52nd Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca today. 

After their stand-out day on Wednesday, the Irish pair started the day wearing the overall leaders' yellow bibs for the 49er skiff class but are now back in 19th place overall, the position they occupied after day one on Tuesday.

With the regatta moving into the decisive Finals phase on the Bay of Palma, leading contenders today finally got their first real feel for how much the level has increased since last season.

But in stark contrast to their earlier form that included two race wins, the Irish Tokyo Olympians appeared to stumble in the lighter winds, notably in their starts. In three out of the four races for the day, the pair placed at the back of their 25-boat Gold fleet.

Only the top ten boats at the end of Friday's racing progress to Saturday's medal race final to determine the podium, and the Dublin pair are now 19th overall.

Results are here

Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) have reaped the rewards of consistent sailing in Mallorca and seized the overall lead of the Princess Sofia Trophy in Mallorca after two days of testing sailing.

The Dublin duo, who represented Ireland at Tokyo 2020, took two race wins today to add to a fourth place to move up from 19th overall to lead the 49er Olympic class in Mallorca at the halfway point of the regatta.

It was a day when the local Embat sea breeze came in on cue at 12-13kts allowed Mallorca’s showcase 52 Trofeo Princesa Sofia to complete the qualifying series for all classes, allowing tomorrow’s Finals to be contested on schedule to decide who will compete in Saturday’s titles decider.  

Overall leaders - Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club)  at the start of a race at the 2023 Princess Sofia Trophy in Mallorca Photo: Sailing EnergyOverall leaders - Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club)  at the start of a race at the 2023 Princess Sofia Trophy in Mallorca Photo: Sailing Energy

Second to the Irish Paris 2024 campaigners in the 99-boat fleet are British duo James Peters and Fynn Sterritt, four points behind on 14.  Peters and Sterritt’s won the recent Lanzarote event and took bronze at last year’s European Championships. 

The 49er skiff class sees Holland’s double world champions Bart Lambriex and Floris van der Werken (NED) in third place so far but it will not have escaped Dickson and Seán Waddilove's attention that the next three teams are all tied for second place.

Rivals for the Paris 2024 berth, Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan of Royal Cork Yacht Club posted a15th, eighth and fifth in the final race of qualification to leave them 39th overall, which means they miss the Gold fleet cut.

Results are here

Tokyo 2020 Irish 49er reps Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) earned a fourth and an eleventh on Tuesday to be 19th overall on the opening day of the Princess Sofia Trophy for Olympic classes in Mallorca.

Shifting wind directions and big changes of wind pressure again taxed competitors and race organisers alike as Mallorca’s giant 52 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mallorca by Iberostar assumed its full size and shape when all ten Olympic classes took to the racing waters over the course of a very long day on the Bay of Palma.

Irish rivals for the single Paris 2024 berth, Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club) got off to a rocky start posting a 19th in the opening race but falling foul of the Black Flag in their second race in a 97 boat fleet.

Results are here

France leads 49ers

France's Kevin Fischer and Yann Jauvin made their mark in the 49er fleet with a pair of wins in the yellow fleet replicating the opening of their compatriots Erwan Fischer and Clément Pequin who went on to win the class.

Helm Kevin Fischer reported, "Conditions were pretty light when we got on the water, then wind picked up a bit with different clouds and patches of wind. It was a very tactical day. First of it all it was the start, we need to put the boat in front of the fleet to have a good vision of the wind, we planned for a good start, a good line to be able to choose the best wind.  It’s a good way to start our regatta, but it’s very long. It’s a pleasure to finish a winter training block with two wins at a World Cup sailing regatta.  Today it was more about the wind shifts. Speed was important but the big gains were from taking the right shifts. And I’m from Brittany in France, we have a lot of clouds there, and I think that background helps me read a day like today in Palma."

With the programme over the first two days compromised by the weather the organisers need a consistent Wednesday to get qualifying series back on track. 

A medal race finish for Paris 2024 skiff campaigners did nothing to improve the overall score of Dubliners Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove on the final day of a weather-hit Lanzarote International Regatta. 

The Canary Island regatta reached its climax with three enthralling medal races in the 470 Mixed, 49erFX and 49er fleets. The thick dust of the Calima wind from the Saharan Desert limited visibility, but it failed to limit the drama.

The Irish Tokyo reps were as high as third after the opening races this week but dropped back at Playa Blanca to finish eighth overall.

While there will be disappointment with their day two performance, especially in the context of previous success in Lanzarote in March 2021, there will also be a consolation that some individual scores this week is a marked improvement on Nova Scotia in September 2022, where the team failed to make the world championships gold fleet

The other Irish competing in Lanzarote, Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan of Royal Cork Yacht Club, finished 25th in the 29-boat fleet.

James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR) have been strong all week in the 49er, and a fourth place in the Medal Race was good enough for another skiff gold for Great Britain. After getting a knot in their gennaker retrieval line at the leeward mark and losing valuable ground against their rivals, Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn held on for a New Zealand silver while young Austrians Keanu Prettner and Jakob Flachberger took the bronze. 

"It's been really difficult conditions this week, big waves and quite challenging at times," said Sterritt. "So it's fantastic to come away with the win." Suffering burnout after missing out on a ticket to the Tokyo Games, Peters and Sterritt took a two-year sabbatical away from Olympic campaigning to get some experience in the corporate world.

© Sailing Energy/ Lanzarote Sailing Center: The Kiwis overcome this mishap to hold on to 49er silver

Victory in Lanzarote is a sign that the British duo are getting their campaign back on track as they aim for Paris 2024. "It's a good time to be putting in this kind of performance," said Peters. "We've got to keep plugging away, and hopefully, we'll get the rewards. It's great for Britain to win in the boys' and girls' fleets.

Results here

Ireland's Olympic skiff campaigners Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove are now eighth in the 49er fleet after a breezy second day of racing at Lanzarote International Regatta in the Canary Islands. 

The Howth and Skerries duo have dropped back five places in heavy weather conditions that were at the limit of sailing competition due to sea state.

The Dubliners scored (24), 17 and 21 and finished the day with a more optimistic second place in the 29-boat fleet.

After seven races sailed and one discard, it keeps them well ahead of Irish rivals for the single Paris 2024 berth, Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan, of Royal Cork Yacht Club, who are in 25th position after scoring 19, and three Did Not Compete (30) results.

Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan, of Royal Cork Yacht Club (pictured right), are in 25th position after scoring 19, and three Did Not Compete (30) results on day two of Lanzarote International Regatta in the Canary Islands Photo: Sailing EnergySeafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan, of Royal Cork Yacht Club (pictured right), are in 25th position after scoring 19, and three Did Not Compete (30) results on day two of Lanzarote International Regatta in the Canary Islands Photo: Sailing Energy

James Peters & Fynn Sterritt (GBR) move to the top of the 49ers after the British team scored 2,3,23,3 from the day. Sterritt sounded a little surprised that things had worked out so well for them. “It was hard to get the boat into any kind of a groove,” he said. “It felt like we left a lot out there [that we could have done better]. But we executed pretty well on our game plan, which was to go right up the course because we thought it was a bit stronger out there.”

Best performers of the four-race session were Logan Dunning Beck & Oscar Gunn (NZL), who improved throughout the afternoon with very solid scores of 8,7,2,1. This moves the Kiwis up to second overall, even if they’re a pretty big 16 points off the British lead. Up to third overall are Lukasz Przybytek & Jacek Piasecki (POL). Slipping down from 2nd to 6th overall are Diego Botin & Florian Trittel (ESP), who won the second race but saw their mast tip snap during the final race of the afternoon, forcing the Spanish to retire and head home early.

The forecast for Sunday and the coming days is looking very good. Racing starts at 1100 hours on Sunday morning.

Results here

Ireland's Olympic campaigners Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove are lying third after the first day of racing at Lanzarote International Regatta in the Canary Islands. 

The Howth and Skerries duo opened their account with a race win and followed it with two solid six places in the 29-boat fleet. In the early stages of this regatta, it puts them well ahead of Irish rivals for the single Paris 2024 berth, Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan, of Royal Cork Yacht Club, who are lying mid-fleet in 14th position after day one.

A young Austrian team, Keanu Prettner & Jakob Flachberger (AUT), made their mark on a world-class 49er fleet after winning the last two races of the three-race session in tricky conditions, westerly breeze of about 7 to 12 knots and big ocean swell. 

49er trialists - Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan, of Royal Cork Yacht Club Photo: Sailing Energy49er trialists - Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan, of Royal Cork Yacht Club Photo: Sailing Energy

“We managed to be fast out of the start line and we had good speed with some new sails,” said Prettner who has been sailing with Flachberger for three years. “Winning two races today, feels quite amazing, I hope we can keep it up this week. It feels good to have the reassurance that you’re going fast in these difficult conditions against such a high quality fleet.”

James Peters & Fynn Sterritt (GBR) sit in second place, 3 points behind the Austrians. “It’s really good to feel that pressure of racing again, after such a long time training,” said Peters. “That was good racing today and you can really see that Marina Rubicón and the organisers are working hard to turn this into a top-end competition.”

Fluky breezes and big seas

As for the challenges of the day, Peters said they were many, but highlighted three in particular. “Big swell, big shifts, and flaky breeze, and some or all of them came into play at different times. There were times when we were surfing upwind on waves, and you were underpowered trying to climb up a wave then overpowered as your surfed down the face of the wave. So there were times when we felt we weren’t on the right settings but we didn’t let it worry us, you just work with what you have.”

Behind the third-placed Irish team of Dickson & Waddilove winners of the opening race, are Diego Botin & Florian Trittel (ESP) “We’ve been training in Marina Rubicón for two months now, over the winter,” said Trittel. “You can sail pretty much every day here, you hardly lose a day of sailing and that’s what it was like today. We had a very untypical day, normally we have north-easterly breeze but today it was more from the south which made us have to wait but then the skies cleared and we ended up with three really good races. Our day was a keeper with a 5,2,5, which in such a strong fleet is a very good thing.”

Following last week's disappointing outcome to the 49er World Championship in Nova Scotia where both Irish crews missed Gold fleet qualification, the final results were Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) with Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) finishing seventh in the Silver fleet (32nd overall) while team-mates Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork YC) were 18th in (42nd overall) and included a race win on the final day.

Both Irish skiffs will next compete in the test event at The Hague at the end of the month in preparation for next Summer's combined World Sailing Championships, an important qualification regatta for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Bart Lambriex with Floris Van de Werken of The Netherlands, who are training partners with Dickson and Waddilove, retained their world title in Canada.

After The Hague, the first major competition of the 2023 season is at the Princess Sofia World Cup of Sailing regatta in Mallorca in March.

Meanwhile, Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey from the Royal Irish Yacht Club finished in the top ten of the women's 49er FX division, sailing with Freya Black for Team GB. The new combination had a race win in their 16-race scoresheet to be ninth overall in a fleet of 36.

In a disappointing outcome at the 49er World Championships in Nova Scotia, Canada on Friday, both of Ireland's crews failed to make the Gold fleet at the event's halfway stage.

Tokyo Olympians Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) with Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) ended the eight-race series in 29th place overall. A second place, their best of the series in the final qualification race put them within ten points of making the Gold fleet.

Seafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork YC) also had their best result with 12th place in the same race. While they kept their consistency of top 20 finishes, they otherwise counted mostly high teen results which were insufficient to make the breakthrough and they placed 37th overall.

The Irish crews will continue in the Silver fleet.

Kiwis leapfrog ahead as Umpierre & Did Claim Last Gold Fleet Spot 

Hanging onto a top position in the overall standings in the 49er fleet today was like gripping a sapling on an eroding cliff as double-digit scores plagued some top ten sailors who slid in the rankings.

“We struggled a lot with the starts,” said Diego Botin of Spain who kept second place overall, five points behind overnight leaders Lambriex/van der Werken. “Flo [Florien Trittel Paul] did a real nice trigger pull on the last start. It made us have a more relaxed race, but the first three races were all about finding lanes inside the fleet and positioning the boat.”

It was a luxury for the Spaniards to have a 30-point gap on the more than 20 teams struggling in today’s four races to qualify for the Gold fleet. The cut was made at 25th where the Uruguayan pair of Umpierre/Diz claimed the last spot. Protests are pending.

A notable team sneaking into the Gold fleet was Australians Burton/Hoffman in 20th. New 49er campaigner, Burton is an Olympic gold medalist in the men’s singlehanded Laser.

Immune from the tenuous holes and shifts today were the two Kiwi teams of Dunning Beck/Gunn and McHardie/McKenzie who rose to third and sixth respectively. Dunning Beck/Gunn won the day with a miraculous 6, 1, 8, 1.

Racing continues in both Gold and Silver fleets with three races daily over the weekend before the final on Monday.

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Irish Olympic Sailing Team

Ireland has a proud representation in sailing at the Olympics dating back to 1948. Today there is a modern governing structure surrounding the selection of sailors the Olympic Regatta

Irish Olympic Sailing FAQs

Ireland’s representation in sailing at the Olympics dates back to 1948, when a team consisting of Jimmy Mooney (Firefly), Alf Delany and Hugh Allen (Swallow) competed in that year’s Summer Games in London (sailing off Torquay). Except for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Ireland has sent at least one sailor to every Summer Games since then.

  • 1948 – London (Torquay) — Firefly: Jimmy Mooney; Swallow: Alf Delany, Hugh Allen
  • 1952 – Helsinki — Finn: Alf Delany * 1956 – Melbourne — Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1960 – Rome — Flying Dutchman: Johnny Hooper, Peter Gray; Dragon: Jimmy Mooney, David Ryder, Robin Benson; Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1964 – Tokyo — Dragon: Eddie Kelliher, Harry Maguire, Rob Dalton; Finn: Johnny Hooper 
  • 1972 – Munich (Kiel) — Tempest: David Wilkins, Sean Whitaker; Dragon: Robin Hennessy, Harry Byrne, Owen Delany; Finn: Kevin McLaverty; Flying Dutchman: Harold Cudmore, Richard O’Shea
  • 1976 – Montreal (Kingston) — 470: Robert Dix, Peter Dix; Flying Dutchman: Barry O’Neill, Jamie Wilkinson; Tempest: David Wilkins, Derek Jago
  • 1980 – Moscow (Tallinn) — Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson (Silver medalists) * 1984 – Los Angeles — Finn: Bill O’Hara
  • 1988 – Seoul (Pusan) — Finn: Bill O’Hara; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; 470 (Women): Cathy MacAleavy, Aisling Byrne
  • 1992 – Barcelona — Europe: Denise Lyttle; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; Star: Mark Mansfield, Tom McWilliam
  • 1996 – Atlanta (Savannah) — Laser: Mark Lyttle; Europe: Aisling Bowman (Byrne); Finn: John Driscoll; Star: Mark Mansfield, David Burrows; 470 (Women): Denise Lyttle, Louise Cole; Soling: Marshall King, Dan O’Grady, Garrett Connolly
  • 2000 – Sydney — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, David O'Brien
  • 2004 – Athens — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, Killian Collins; 49er: Tom Fitzpatrick, Fraser Brown; 470: Gerald Owens, Ross Killian; Laser: Rory Fitzpatrick
  • 2008 – Beijing (Qingdao) — Star: Peter O’Leary, Stephen Milne; Finn: Tim Goodbody; Laser Radial: Ciara Peelo; 470: Gerald Owens, Phil Lawton
  • 2012 – London (Weymouth) — Star: Peter O’Leary, David Burrows; 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; Laser Radial: Annalise Murphy; Laser: James Espey; 470: Gerald Owens, Scott Flanigan
  • 2016 – Rio — Laser Radial (Women): Annalise Murphy (Silver medalist); 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; 49erFX: Andrea Brewster, Saskia Tidey; Laser: Finn Lynch; Paralympic Sonar: John Twomey, Ian Costello & Austin O’Carroll

Ireland has won two Olympics medals in sailing events, both silver: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson in the Flying Dutchman at Moscow 1980, and Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial at Rio 2016.

The current team, as of December 2020, consists of Laser sailors Finn Lynch, Liam Glynn and Ewan McMahon, 49er pairs Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle, and Sean Waddilove and Robert Dickson, as well as Laser Radial sailors Annalise Murphy and Aoife Hopkins.

Irish Sailing is the National Governing Body for sailing in Ireland.

Irish Sailing’s Performance division is responsible for selecting and nurturing Olympic contenders as part of its Performance Pathway.

The Performance Pathway is Irish Sailing’s Olympic talent pipeline. The Performance Pathway counts over 70 sailors from 11 years up in its programme.The Performance Pathway is made up of Junior, Youth, Academy, Development and Olympic squads. It provides young, talented and ambitious Irish sailors with opportunities to move up through the ranks from an early age. With up to 100 young athletes training with the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway, every aspect of their performance is planned and closely monitored while strong relationships are simultaneously built with the sailors and their families

Rory Fitzpatrick is the head coach of Irish Sailing Performance. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and was an Athens 2004 Olympian in the Laser class.

The Performance Director of Irish Sailing is James O’Callaghan. Since 2006 James has been responsible for the development and delivery of athlete-focused, coach-led, performance-measured programmes across the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway. A Business & Economics graduate of Trinity College Dublin, he is a Level 3 Qualified Coach and Level 2 Coach Tutor. He has coached at five Olympic Games and numerous European and World Championship events across multiple Olympic classes. He is also a member of the Irish Sailing Foundation board.

Annalise Murphy is by far and away the biggest Irish sailing star. Her fourth in London 2012 when she came so agonisingly close to a bronze medal followed by her superb silver medal performance four years later at Rio won the hearts of Ireland. Murphy is aiming to go one better in Tokyo 2021. 

Under head coach Rory Fitzpatrick, the coaching staff consists of Laser Radial Academy coach Sean Evans, Olympic Laser coach Vasilij Zbogar and 49er team coach Matt McGovern.

The Irish Government provides funding to Irish Sailing. These funds are exclusively for the benefit of the Performance Pathway. However, this falls short of the amount required to fund the Performance Pathway in order to allow Ireland compete at the highest level. As a result the Performance Pathway programme currently receives around €850,000 per annum from Sport Ireland and €150,000 from sponsorship. A further €2 million per annum is needed to have a major impact at the highest level. The Irish Sailing Foundation was established to bridge the financial gap through securing philanthropic donations, corporate giving and sponsorship.

The vision of the Irish Sailing Foundation is to generate the required financial resources for Ireland to scale-up and execute its world-class sailing programme. Irish Sailing works tirelessly to promote sailing in Ireland and abroad and has been successful in securing funding of 1 million euro from Sport Ireland. However, to compete on a par with other nations, a further €2 million is required annually to realise the ambitions of our talented sailors. For this reason, the Irish Sailing Foundation was formed to seek philanthropic donations. Led by a Board of Directors and Head of Development Kathryn Grace, the foundation lads a campaign to bridge the financial gap to provide the Performance Pathway with the funds necessary to increase coaching hours, upgrade equipment and provide world class sport science support to a greater number of high-potential Irish sailors.

The Senior and Academy teams of the Performance Pathway are supported with the provision of a coach, vehicle, coach boat and boats. Even with this level of subsidy there is still a large financial burden on individual families due to travel costs, entry fees and accommodation. There are often compromises made on the amount of days a coach can be hired for and on many occasions it is necessary to opt out of major competitions outside Europe due to cost. Money raised by the Irish Sailing Foundation will go towards increased quality coaching time, world-class equipment, and subsiding entry fees and travel-related costs. It also goes towards broadening the base of talented sailors that can consider campaigning by removing financial hurdles, and the Performance HQ in Dublin to increase efficiency and reduce logistical issues.

The ethos of the Performance Pathway is progression. At each stage international performance benchmarks are utilised to ensure the sailors are meeting expectations set. The size of a sailor will generally dictate which boat they sail. The classes selected on the pathway have been identified as the best feeder classes for progression. Currently the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway consists of the following groups: * Pathway (U15) Optimist and Topper * Youth Academy (U19) Laser 4.7, Laser Radial and 420 * Development Academy (U23) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX * Team IRL (direct-funded athletes) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX

The Irish Sailing performance director produces a detailed annual budget for the programme which is presented to Sport Ireland, Irish Sailing and the Foundation for detailed discussion and analysis of the programme, where each item of expenditure is reviewed and approved. Each year, the performance director drafts a Performance Plan and Budget designed to meet the objectives of Irish Performance Sailing based on an annual review of the Pathway Programmes from Junior to Olympic level. The plan is then presented to the Olympic Steering Group (OSG) where it is independently assessed and the budget is agreed. The OSG closely monitors the delivery of the plan ensuring it meets the agreed strategy, is within budget and in line with operational plans. The performance director communicates on an ongoing basis with the OSG throughout the year, reporting formally on a quarterly basis.

Due to the specialised nature of Performance Sport, Irish Sailing established an expert sub-committee which is referred to as the Olympic Steering Group (OSG). The OSG is chaired by Patrick Coveney and its objective is centred around winning Olympic medals so it oversees the delivery of the Irish Sailing’s Performance plan.

At Junior level (U15) sailors learn not only to be a sailor but also an athlete. They develop the discipline required to keep a training log while undertaking fitness programmes, attending coaching sessions and travelling to competitions. During the winter Regional Squads take place and then in spring the National Squads are selected for Summer Competitions. As sailors move into Youth level (U19) there is an exhaustive selection matrix used when considering a sailor for entry into the Performance Academy. Completion of club training programmes, attendance at the performance seminars, physical suitability and also progress at Junior and Youth competitions are assessed and reviewed. Once invited in to the Performance Academy, sailors are given a six-month trial before a final decision is made on their selection. Sailors in the Academy are very closely monitored and engage in a very well planned out sailing, training and competition programme. There are also defined international benchmarks which these sailors are required to meet by a certain age. Biannual reviews are conducted transparently with the sailors so they know exactly where they are performing well and they are made aware of where they may need to improve before the next review.

©Afloat 2020