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Finn Lynch is now ranked second in the world
The National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch's superb results have been reflected in the latest World Rankings, issued this week by World Sailing. Lynch is now ranked second in the world – up from 20th – and by far the highest…
HYC Commodore Paddy Judge welcomes the Howth squad home from the ILCA6 Youth Worlds in Texas with (left to right) Luke Turvey, Eve McMahon (Gold) and Rocco Wright (Bronze in U17). A carnival-style welcome home celebration will be staged at Howth YC next Friday (August 12th), starting 4 pm
In some ways, Howth Yacht Club has it easy. It isn’t hampered by being the senior sailing centre in Ireland. That particular burden has been carried since 1720 by Cork. Nor is it sailing’s premier centre. Since the active first…
Mark Robinson MBE
Heralding a new era for RYA Racing, today sees the announcement that Nick Scott will be taking up the Director of Racing position this autumn and Mark Robinson MBE is assuming a new role as Performance Director following the British…
Top Lone Sailor in the Lone Star State – Eve McMahon on her way to a convincing Gold Medal victory in Texas
July 2022 will be remembered as the ultra-crowded month in which sailing in Ireland really did leap back to pre-pandemic levels, something that has been reflected in it recording an unprecedented number of Afloat.ie “Sailors of the Month” in six…
Homecoming - Eve McMahon with her mother Vicky and her father Jim upon arrival at Dublin airport
Dublin sailor Eve McMahon (18) was pictured arriving home to Dublin Airport this morning after capturing gold in the single-handed ILCA 6 class at the 2022 ILCA 6 Youth World Championships in Houston, Texas on Saturday, July 30th. Irish Sailor…
ILCA Women’s Youth Words Podium at the ILCA Youth Worlds with Ireland's Eve McMahon in gold medal position. This is McMahon’s third gold medal this summer after winning the ILCA 6 Youth European Championships in Greece and the Youth Sailing World Championships in the Netherlands. She finished the event with only 13 net points. Second place went to Germany’s Linda Hensel with 26 net points, who finished eighth in the first race of the day followed by two seconds. Tea Peteh of Croatia secured bronze with a 13th, third, and first in yesterday’s races. The leaderboard of the women’s division was maintained all week by these three women and they all were able to sail consistently enough to bring it home
ILCA 6 Laser youth world champion Eve McMahon returns to a Dublin Airport homecoming this morning after a stellar performance on the world stage. The teen sensation from Howth Yacht Club retained gold in the single-handed ILCA6 class at the…
Eve McMahon on her way to World Championship success in Texas
Eve McMahon (18) returned to top form for Ireland with two more bullets in today (Saturday's) final three races in the ILCA6/Laser Radial Youth Worlds 2022 at Houston in Texas. After six straight wins in the first four days, there…
Hannah Mills (L) and Eilidh McIntyre of Team Great Britain pose with their gold medals for winning the Women's 470 class on day twelve of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Enoshima Yacht Harbour on August 04, 2021, in Fujisawa, Japan
The rollercoaster journey of the British Sailing Team and its Tokyo 2020 athletes is revealed in new behind-the-scenes film Chasing Tokyo, released today. The 90-minute feature documentary lifts the lid on the highs and lows Team GB's athletes faced from…
Howth's Eve McMahon in the lead in Houston
Fresh from winning two major international championships in Europe already during July, Howth's Eve McMahon (17) has launched her campaign in the Laser Radial/ILCA6 Youth Worlds at Houston in Texas in appropriately rocket-assisted style with four bullets in a stellar…
Keeping cool – Eve MacMahon leading in The Netherlands as the temperature builds
Despite the gathering record-breaking heatwave over Europe as July progressed, Ireland’s Eve McMahon (17) won Gold at both the ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) European Youth Championship in Greece, and then Gold again at the 2022 World Sailing Youth World Championship…
President Michael D Higgins:
While it may take a day or two for the full significance of the Gold Medals won in this week's World Youth Sailing Championship in The Netherlands by Eve McMahon and Rocco Wright to sink in among the population at large,…
The sweet smile of success. Eve McMahon afloat at The Hague after another win
Time was when the Hill of Howth was the only part of Ireland above water. Admittedly that was about 600 millions years ago, and our rare old Howth rocks were down around where Australia is now located before they took…
Eve McMahon (left) celebrates her World Sailing Youth Gold in The Hague
Both of Ireland's single-handed sailors have won Gold medals at the Allianz Youth Sailing World Championships in The Hague this afternoon (The Netherlands, Thursday 14th July 2022) Eve McMahon, the 2021 Irish Sailor of the Year, and Rocco Wright, both from…
Two race wins plus a third place for Eve McMahon on Wednesday leaves the Howth Yacht Club sailor with a commanding 14-point lead of the ILCA6 dinghy class
Howth Yacht Club ILCA 6/Laser Radial sailors look set for podium finishes in both boys and girls finishes at the Allianz World Youth Sailing Championships in The Hague on Thursday. Dubliner Eve McMahon sailed out of her skin to notch…
After the first day of competition, Ireland's Eve McMahon has gone straight into the lead of the World Youth Sailing Championships at the Hague in the Netherlands.  McMahon, who is competing in the Girls Single-handers class, arrived in the Hague as…
Séafra Guilfoyle with Jonny Durcan of the Royal Cork Yacht Club
Ireland's Olympic skiff campaigners finished off the 49er European Championship on Sunday (10th July 2022) making the best of their silver fleet series in Aarhus, Denmark. Tokyo Olympians Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) closed…

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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