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Rio 2016
Finn Lynch (left) adds 2024 European Bronze to his world championship silver at Barcelona in 2021 after a thrilling final day at the European ILCA 7 Championships in Athens
With a final day turn of speed, the National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch won the bronze medal at the ILCA 7 European Championships in Athens today (Friday, 23rd February 2024) after a three-race final day that ended the weather-hit event.…
ILCA 6 class European Championships racing on the final day in Athens
Nineteen-year-old Eve McMahon concluded the weather-hit ILCA 6 class European Championships in 15th place overall.  Already qualified for Paris, the Howth Olympic debutante will compete at the forthcoming French Olympic Week in Hyeres as her final major competition before the Olympics.…
Lymington sailor Hannah Snellgrove will sail the ILCA 6 for Britain at the Paris 2024 Olympics
Lymington sailor Hannah Snellgrove has been selected as the 11th sailor for Team GB at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the British Olympic Association (BOA) announced on Tuesday. The 33-year-old will be competing in the women's dinghy class sailing the…
Finn Lynch leads into the final day of the second Irish Olympic trial for Paris 2024 in the men's ILCA 7 at the European Championships in Athens
Friday's final day of the second Irish Olympic trial for Paris 2024 in the men's ILCA 7 will be a tight contest at the European Championships in Athens. Trials leader Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) is in 14th place, with…
Maria Erdi from Hungary, the reigning 2023 World champion, leads going into the final day of the Women's ILCA 6 European Championships in Athens
Eve McMahon (Howth YC) improved her overall position in the Women's ILCA 6 European championships in Athens, Greece where she lies 14th overall going into the final day of racing. McMahon – already selected for the Paris 2024 Olympics –…
Finn Lynch is one of two Irish sailors competing in the ILCA 7 European Championships in Athens that is also serving as the second Irish Olym[pic trial for the Paris 2024 Olympic Regatta
The ILCA European Championships in Athens has experienced another day without racing due to light winds. The event, which began on Sunday, has completed just three out of the planned eight races for the women's ILCA 6 class, while the…
Two ILCA 7 European Championship races were completed in between spells of near-calm conditions. The 140-boat fleet was only at sea for a few hours when they were recalled to shore as the wind died
Paris 2024 Irish Olympic trialists, in their second of three trials, posted close results after the first races sailed at the ILCA 7 European Championships in Athens today. Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club) and Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) had almost…
After three races sailed, Howth's Eve McMahon lies in 20th place at the ILCA 6 European Championships in Athens
After three races sailed, Paris 2024 qualified Eve McMahon of Ireland lies in 20th place at the ILCA 6 European Championships in Athens.  In light and flukey conditions that have delayed the racing schedule, the Howth star scored a consistent…
Séafra Guilfoyle (left) and Johnny Durcan of Royal Cork Yacht Club have won sponsorship for their Olympic Trials Series starting next month
UCC graduates Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan will contest the Irish 49er Olympic trial with the backing of a new sponsor next month.  The Royal Cork duo have bagged €10k in sponsorship from the National Business Machines Group headquartered in Cork. The…
The ILCA 7 European Championships in Athens was becalmed for a second day, and along with it, the second leg of the Irish Olympic Trial for Paris 2024
Irish rivals Finn Lynch and Ewan McMahon have been left frustrated for the second consecutive day as their Olympic trial was postponed due to high pressure over Greece, leaving the ILCA 7 European Championships without racing in Athens today.  The…
ILCA 7 campaigner Ewan McMahon reaches a new high at 25 in the world rankings in his independent 'Green Rebel' campaign from Howth Yacht Club
As the second trial for the Irish Paris 2024 nomination was becalmed in Greece today at the ILCA7 European Championships, the February World Rankings reveal both Irish trialists are in the top 25. Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club), who finished…
The ILCA 6 European Championships dinghy park in Athens after a light air start to the regatta
Ireland's Paris 2024 qualified Eve McMahon opened her account at the ILCA 6 European Championships in Athens, Greece, today with a 21st place.  With several top rivals absent, the Howth Yacht Club teen has an excellent opportunity to build on her already impressive…
Eve McMahon will have the coaching support of Rio 2016 silver medallist Annalise Murphy at the ILCA6 Europeans in Athens on Sunday
Rising star of Irish sailing, Eve McMahon, is all set to compete in the ILCA 6 European Championships in Athens, starting this Sunday. With several top rivals absent, the Howth Yacht Club teen has an excellent opportunity to build on…
Top class sailing from Finn Lynch put the National Yacht Club sailor into the medal race of the ILCA 7 World Championships in Adelaide, Australia in January
Irish sailors Finn Lynch and Ewan McMahon are battling it out for a spot in the Men's ILCA 7 single-handed event at the Paris 2024 Olympic regatta. With just five months to go before the event begins in Marseilles, the…
Ireland's top ten ILCA 7 World Championship finisher Finn Lynch will race in the 53rd Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca in April
Over 300 teams from more than fifty countries have already registered to participate in the 53rd edition of the Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar, the first regatta of the year that will see all ten sailing classes compete, which…
Australia's Matt Wearnd has successfully defended his ILCA 7 Men's World Championship title in Adelaide
In a show of strength in the world's hottest dinghy class, Australian Matt Wearn successfully defended his ILCA 7 Men's World Championship title on home waters after an epic 11-race strong wind battle. Wearn wrapped up the Adelaide championships with 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