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Rio 2016
Gold medal to Dylan Fletcher (left) and Stu Bithell (GBR)
Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell (GBR) have won Tokyo Olympic gold in the 49er Men with Pete Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) taking silver and Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) bronze. New Zealand wanted the right-hand side of the…
Martine Grael (right) and Kahena Kunze (BRA) successfully defended the Olympic title they won in Rio 2016
Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) have won gold in the 49erFX Women with Tina Lutz and Susann Beucke (GER) taking silver and Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Duetz (NED) bronze. The remaining Irish interest in the Tokyo sailing regatta focussed…
Royal Irish Yacht club skiff crew Saskia Tidey and Charlotte Dobson sailing for Team GB
Royal Irish Yacht Club skiff crew Saskia Tidey from Dun Laoghaire Harbour faces another 24-hour wait for her medal race at Tokyo 2020.  The 49er and 49erFX medal races are each postponed until tomorrow. They will be added to the…
Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) won gold in the Women’s One Person Dinghy
Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) has won gold in the Women’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial with Josefin Olsson (SWE) taking silver and Marit Bouwmeester (NED) bronze. As regular Afloat readers know, this is the class in which Ireland's Annalise Murphy…
Annalise Murphy with her silver medal from Rio 2016
Fans and supporters of Annalise Murphy have paid tribute to the Irish sailing star after she suggested that her Olympic career was now at a close after failing to make her Tokyo 2020 final. As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Murphy…
Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey have completed 49erFX fleet racing. 15-4-18 means they go into the medal race in fifth, eight points off the podium
It was an up and down day for Charlotte Dobson and Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey to complete 49erFX fleet racing. One time fleet leader, the Scottish-Irish duo excelled in this week's stronger conditions but have had a torrid couple of…
Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove signed off their Olympic regatta debut in style
Ireland's 49er team, Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove signed off their Olympic regatta in style, winning the final race of the qualifying series, but missing out on medal race qualification by 8 points. Their day started well with a 3rd…
Anne-Marie Rindom - confusion
If Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) doesn’t win gold after Sunday’s Medal Race, the mistakes of today will haunt her for the rest of her life. Much lighter wind conditions make for a lot more jeopardy in the Laser Radial. Not only…
Charlotte Dobson and her Dun Laoghaire Harbour crew Saskia Tidey in the hunt for a medal this Saturday
Unstoppable and steadier through high-speed manoeuvres in the stronger winds, Charlotte Dobson and her Dun Laoghaire Harbour crew Saskia Tidey have ruled the waves of Sagami Bay this week for Team GB but light winds on Friday dropped the pair…
The Irish 49er duo of Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove are currently sitting in 14th overall after nine races
Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove would have done their best to heed the advice of their former coach Tytus Konarzewski  (who brought them to the Under-23 World Championship title success in 2018) and forget about yesterday’s two disqualifications as quickly as…
A strong sail yesterday saw Annalise Murphy finish in first and second place in Races 7 and 8 to leave her at 14th overall, so a big push was still needed today to qualify into the Top 10 today, but with light winds at Enoshima, it was a tough sail for Murphy
A much softer breeze was not kind to Annalise Murphy’s last-ditch hopes of Enoshima medal race participation in the Laser Radial this morning, the biggest sailing class of the Tokyo Olympic Games. The National Yacht Club sailor, who thrilled Irish…
Robert Dickson (left) trapezing from his 49er dinghy with Sean Waddilove right
Irish debutantes Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove have been disqualified from races five and six of the Tokyo Olympic Regatta today for the use of a trapeze harness that was 'too heavy'.  The hammer blow to the Irish camp comes…
Annalise Murphy is out in front during race 7 of the Laser Radial competition at Enoshima earlier today
On the Fujisawa course today (Thursday 29 July), the increased breeze proved to be to Annalise Murphy's liking, as Ireland’s Laser Radial contender led race 7 from wire to wire. The race saw her increasing her advantage from 31 seconds…
Sean Waddilove (left) and Robert Dickson racing in Enoshima earlier today
In a 10-knot southerly breeze, sailing on the Zushi course, Ireland’s Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove finished second in race 5 behind Denmark, and followed that with a sixth in race 6 as the wind picked up today (Thursday 29…
Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey and Scotland's Charlotte Dobson are leading the Tokyo Olympic regatta in the 49erFX class
Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey and Scotland's Charlotte Dobson consolidated their top position in the 49er FX with three top-five finishes in today's racing at the Olympic Regatta in Tokyo. There was sun, plenty of breeze and waves with 14 knots…
Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove are lying 11th after four races sailed
Day two of the 49er event at the 2020 Olympic Games regatta proved a bit less successful for the Irish pairing of Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove after taking the first race in what was a dream debut. Sailed in a…

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

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