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49er Duo Seaton & McGovern Mid Fleet After Day One in Hyeres

27th April 2016
Ballyholme Yacht Club's Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern lie 17th in a fleet of 40–boats in Hyeres, France at the Sailing World Cup Ballyholme Yacht Club's Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern lie 17th in a fleet of 40–boats in Hyeres, France at the Sailing World Cup Credit: Jesus Renedo/SWC

In a heavy wind start to the second last Sailing World Cup event before the Olympic Games, Northern Ireland 49er duo Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern lie 17th in a fleet of 40–boats in Hyeres, France this evening. 

After a gold medal in Palma at the start of this month but silver fleet racing at the European Championships a fortnight later, the Belfast Lough pairing are aiming for some more consistency this week and a performance that might bring them back to the silver medals they won on the French south coast this time two years ago. 

So far it eludes them. In the first three races today, they scored 33, 22 and 7 but conditions have been described as 'survival' with plenty of capsizes. There are a possible nine races left to sai before the all important medal race this Sunday.

On Tuesday, 49er kings Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) could be seen meticulously practicing their tacking and gybing in huge breeze. The fluid, continuous motions that they rehearsed on Tuesday paid dividends as they took to the top of the table after three 49er races.

A bullet and a third was the ideal start but it could have been much better as Tuke explained, "We sailed the first two races well and 99% of the third race but we capsized right at the finish which is a bit of a pain. All in all, not a bad start.”

Burling and Tuke are on a run of 25 consecutive regatta victories, remaining unbeaten in the Rio 2016 quad. As a result, they are rightly labelled as favourites for Rio 2016 gold and with 100 days to go until the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, their run will count for nothing if they don't take gold.

"It is exciting, 100 days to go. I saw that [World Sailing's 100 Days to Go video] this morning on social media. It's a good little landmark but for us, it's business as usual and what we've been preparing for, for the last four years. We're here at the World Cup event to win but Rio in 100 days' time is fully on our mind and we're just looking to get better.”

Their unbeaten run indicates pure perfection so how can they get better? "Well we could have been better today by not capsizing,” Tuke said through a smile.

"There's still a lot of things that we can do better and we're just going to look at those things, at the big picture in Rio and concentrate on getting better. Since we've been focusing on improving, the results have spoken for themselves.”

It is early days in the 49er and the Kiwis lead only stands at one point over Will and Sam Phillips of Australia but if they keep looking to improve then it's going to take a special performance to overhaul them.

Racing this morning is scheduled to start at 11:00 local time and the 49erFX and Nacra 17 fleets will catch up on their missed races. -- Daniel Smith, World Sailing

Top three by class:

2.4 m
1. Matthew Bugg, AUS
2. Antonio Squizzato, ITA
3. Bjornar Erikstad, NOR

470 Men
1. Mathew Belcher / William Ryan, AUS
2. Luke Patience / Chris Grube, GBR
3. Sime Fantela / Igor Marenic, CRO

470 Women
1. Jo Aleh / Polly Powrie, NZL
2. Agnieszka Skrzypulec / Irmina Mrozek Gliszczynska, POL
3. Fernanda Oliveira / Ana Luiza Barbachan, BRA

49er
1. Peter Burling / Blair Tuke, NZL
2. William Phillips / Sam Phillips, AUS
3. John Pink / Stuart Bithell, GBR

49erFX Women - No results

Finn
1. Josh Junior, NZL
2. Caleb Paine, USA
3. Oliver Tweddell, AUS

Laser
1. Phlipp Buhl, GER
2. Matthew Wearn, AUS
3. Jean Baptiste Bernaz, FRA

Laser Radial Women
1. Evi Van Acker, BEL
2. Veronika Kozelska Fenclova, CZE
3. Alison Young, GBR

Nacra 17
1. Moana Vaireaux / Manon Audinet, FRA
2. Fernando Echavarri / Tara Pacheco van Rijnsoever, ESP
3. Gemma Jones / Jason Saunders, NZL

RS:X Men
1. Pawel Tarnowski, POL
2. Joao Rodrigues, POR
3. Thomas Goyard, FRA

RS:X Women
1. Helene Noesmoen, FRA
2. Maja Dziarnowska, POL
3. Zofia Nocceti-Klepacka, POL

Sonar
1. Hannah Stodel / John Robertson / Steve Thomas, GBR
2. Bruno Jourdren / Eric Flageul / Nicolas Vimont-Vicary, FRA
3. Aleksander Wang-Hansen / Marie Solberg / Per Eugen Kristiansen, NOR

Published in Olympic

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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

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