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Displaying items by tag: Ballyholme Yacht Club

Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough has hosted a keelboat coaching event as part of the Magenta Project, with 34 female sailors taking to the water.

The Club is just one of five clubs across the UK to become successful in their bid for the event.

Supported by three coaches from the RYA Magenta Project, the group sailed from Bangor Marina in six yachts from the Belfast Lough Quarter Ton Class and Sigma Class.

"The Magenta Project is a collective of passionate sailors who are committed to creating equal access and opportunities for women in sailing"

The owners from Ballyholme Yacht Club (BYC) had kindly lent their boats to participants for the event. The sailors' race rigged the craft under the supervision of the coaches – Abby Ehler, Storm Nuttal and Nikki Henderson – and took to the water for four hours of coaching in testing conditions with winds gusting up to 28.7kts.

The Magenta Project is a collective of passionate sailors who are committed to creating equal access and opportunities for women in sailing. It was started up in 2015 by members of the all-female ‘Team SCA’ who successfully competed in the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race campaign.

Since then, the sailors have been working to create opportunities for women in performance sailing through on water training, learning and development opportunities.

They also support career/skills development schemes and events and STEM activities in the marine industry, building networks and relationships that connect individuals and organisations. This enables sailing knowledge, experience and opportunities to be shared, raising awareness of women in sailing and celebrating their successes and achievement.

The Magenta Project has now teamed up with the RYA to help promote more women racing keelboats at club level through tailored coaching sessions at clubs up and down the country, run by RYA qualified Magenta Project coaches, to get more female club members on the water racing, more often.

Aidan Pounder from Ballyholme Yacht Club commented: “This was the first time that the Magenta Project had come to Northern Ireland, and the ladies who participated found the experience truly remarkable, albeit a little exhausting. BYC hopes that this is not the last, but the start of many more Magenta Days to come in the future, helping to inspire more women into keelboat sailing.”

The final day has arrived for the Irish Laser Nationals at Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough.

After six of 11 scheduled races were completed on Day 2 yesterday (Saturday 24 August), sailors awoke to sunny skies but little wind and forecasts for today range from 5 to 12 knots, gusting 16.

After nine fairly tough races (see results HERE), some will be grateful for a bit of respite although many have polished up their breezy sailing skills in the last three days and wanting one last blast if possible.

Yesterday morning saw the strongest winds of the event for Race 1 although not as unsteady as Day 1 or as gusting and less breakages to masts, etc as a result.

The second race was similar if a little more controllable with great blast reaches between the beats and runs. Legs in the standard fleet at least were starting to get painful after 24 beats in the championship so far.

The final race started in decent wind as well for the standards and 4.7s who both got away first time as soon as the Radials had cleared the inner loop.

The breeze finally relented on the first run a little and then on the second run shifted 50 degrees to the east without warning but by then both fleets were settled and relatively happy for the fetch and reach/run to the finish.

Racing hard in the Irish Laser Nationals at Ballyholme Yacht ClubRacing hard in the Irish Laser Nationals at Ballyholme Yacht Club

As they were heading for home the Radial fleet finally got away for their final race with the Race Management team having had to shift the course to accommodate the new wind direction.

In the Laser Standards, Ronan Wallace of Wexford Boat Club continued his great form with two bullets in Races 7 and 8 although he wasn’t always at the front of the fleet until the latter stages of both races.

In Race 9, Darragh O’Sullivan managed to get in front and spoil the perfect score. Fionn Conway was always close as well with Master Nick Walsh and Conor Simms both trying to get in on the action but getting passed by the finish line.

The 4.7 fleet saw England’s Luke Anstey make a move with two firsts and a second to move equal on points with Royal Cork’s Michael Crosbie with the National’s Conor Gorman just one point behind. Michael and Conor both have three firsts so it’s very much up to what happens today to see who will win.

First girl remains Ellen Barbour from County Antrim Yacht Club with consistent results in the breeze let down a little by the final race.

Ballyholme’s Dan McGaughey had a much better third day in the Radial fleet, winning the day with 2,1,7 but his poor Friday keeps him in fourth place. Michael O’Suilleabhan won the final race to squeeze in front by one point from Kai Wolgram from Llyn Brenig with Tom Higgins in third place. Clare Gorman is first lady.

Two more races are scheduled today but with an AP up, the fleet may be lucky to squeeze in one race before the wrap-up and prize-giving.

Published in Laser

The Irish Multihull Association introduced an innovative approach to their National Championships this year by inviting the 49er and 29er fleets to join them in a high-speed weekend of competitive sailing on Belfast Lough where we hosted the World F18 Championships in 2014 writes organiser Richard Swanston

Catamarans of various types arrived on Friday evening to give us a very competitive fleet of Dart 18’s Dart 18’s Hurricane 5.9 SX and a very competitive F18 fleet including four of the Irish team that attended the recent European Championships in Spain.

Multihull Belfast LoughMultihulls at speed on Belfast Lough Photo: Jarret Truscott

Race 1
The fleets were met with an uncharacteristic SSW shifty wind on Saturday 5 to 15 knots. A very packed committee boat end provided for some bumps/words of aggression not often heard. The racing was extremely tight with usual front-runners Adrian Allen and Barry Swanston well down the fleet. Last years winners Wyatt Orsmond and Patrick Billington winning race one but not before newcomers in a Nacra,

Mat and James McNichol rocketed around the course making some great decisions in the tricky winds. Wyatt’s experience finally ran Mat and James down. Peter and Dee Mc. Dowell pushed into a third place in their Viper.

29er skiff dinghy belfastThe 29er skiff dinghy on Belfast Lough Photo: Jarret Truscott

Race 2
Matt and James overturned the first race with a storming race win with Adrian and Barry in 2nd. Place.

Race 3
Wyatt and Patrick winning this race with Adrian and Barry in 2nd. Swannie and Mat Mc. Murty showing a bit of form with a 3rd. place.

Race 4
Adrian and Barry in their Cirrus R1 were starting to really take control with another race win, Wyatt down in 7th. Place and Mat in the Nacra in 2nd. Beginning to assert a regular top three placing.

Saturday night was hugely enjoyed by all. A bbq followed by a table quiz and an open mic music night provided for the necessary sore heads on Sunday morning.

Sunday dawned with a very brisk 15 to 25-knot breeze. Time for the speed machines to stretch their legs with very high speed downwind sprints and very close upwind racing

49er skiff reaching A 49er skiff Photo: Jarret Truscott

Race 1
Swannie and Matt in their Windrush Edge show real potential and despite many place changes took control on the 3 rd. lap only to blow a race win by finishing incorrectly. Mark roundings with 4 f18s at top speed made for great viewing.

"The IMA Festival of Speed event is to become an annual event. Next year looks like it may come to Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay"

Race 2 and 3
Adrian and Wyatt swapped race wins and second places albeit with Mat and Swannie, David Biddy Biddulf and new crew Emma roaring around the course to add yet another competitive boat to the mix with some great racing and no quarter being given.

FB IMG 1537613531427

Race 4
Was won again by Wyatt and Paddy with Adrian and Barry in 2nd. Biddy in 3rd. Swannie had to retire with a broken shackle on his mainsheet.

Controversy, however, was the deciding factor in the end, race one was started one minute early a protest was heard and it was decided to throw out the race, however, a last minute counter protest reinstated the race allowing Wyatt to claim the first race win and win the event overall by one point !!!

All in all a very successful weekend with a great interaction with the junior 29er fleet and top 49er sailors.

The IMA Festival of Speed event is to become an annual event. Next year looks like it may come to Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay.

Published in Belfast Lough
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Ballyholme Yacht Club is pleased to launch the Icebreaker Series 2018/19. Now in its fourth decade, this event attracts a range of sailors from all over Belfast Lough. Commencing on Sunday, September 30th and continuing each Sunday until 16th December. Part 1 will consist of 12 races. After a short break over Christmas and New Year, Part 2 commences on Sunday, 3rd February 2019. One race will be run on each day. 

 "There will be no charge for entering the Icebreaker Series"

Entry is open to dinghies and multihulls, who otherwise would have limited opportunity to race during the winter. Olympian and RYA High-Performance Manager Matt McGovern commented “Ballyholme Icebreaker Series is a real highlight in the winter sailing calendar. It offers great quality racing in large fleets every Sunday. Personally, I can’t wait to dust off the hiking pads and get out there myself in the Laser class this year.”

In a change from former years, there will be no charge for entering the Danske Bank sponsored Icebreaker Series 2018/19. Visiting boats will be accommodated at BYC for a small fee. This is in order to encourage a large entry. For those sailors with limited racing experience, BYC will be offering adult training on Saturday afternoons for members and visitors to help them build confidence for a competitive environment.

For more information including Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions, please see here

Published in Belfast Lough
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The Mackey Opticians sponsored Belfast Lough Autumn Series came to a sad finale yesterday with Storm Brian hanging around long enough to put paid to the morning's racing.

Race Officer Ruan O'Tiarnaigh had hoped to run two races as the series had only completed three out of six Sunday mornings due to the previous Storm Ophelia and a cou-ple of windless days before that. However a constant 30 knots and gusts into the late 30's made the RO's mind up that it was better to end the season with all of the boats in one piece.

There has been some close racing in the 3 races achieved. The IRC handicap has worked well for the wide range of sizes in their class with the 44 foot Hanse Grey Goose, First 40 Giggle, 38 foot Indigo and First 31.7 competing against the much small-er Beneteau 26 Stratus Sailing campaigned by Gavin Watson and his compatriots who normally compete on Jay Colville's Forty Licks. Despite managing to almost deglove the finger of one crew member on the first race, followed by a young crew member having to be taken off the boat during the second race after getting his hand stuck in a block, Stratus Sailing won the class by 3 points from Dickie and Pauline Donnan's Indigo

The Belfast Lough Quarter Ton class had a good turnout for the series and the differing breezes over the 3 races upset the normal standings with the older ladies Chatterbox owned by Davy Quinn winning the class and Mumbo Jumbo - a 1976 Contessa 25 owned by the Moran/Storey/Westhurst partnership coming in second with more con-sistent results than the rest.

The NHC Whitesail fleet may have been won by Gerry Bell and Bryan Lawther's Merry Jack if they had read the Sailing Instructions for the first race. After completing their two laps, they opted to try and sail a 3rd rather than sailing through the downwind finish line - winning Mug of the Day instead of the first race. Instead John Moorehead and his team on Margarita took the overall class win from David McMullan's Steel Pulse.

The Sigma class saw some close racing as typified by the Sigma fleet this summer in Scotland and Dún Laoghaire. Paul and Emma Prentice's Irish Sigma Champions on Squawk managed to get a jump on the others in the breezier first two races to win over-all although both Starshine Challenger and Impulse showed some good pace at times - in particular in the lighter wind 3rd race with Impulse's shiny and crackling new genoa - to promise more great one design contests when the boats relaunch for next season.

Rear Commodore Ruan O'Tiarnaigh thanked the various committee boat owners, race management teams and mark layers from Ballyholme and Royal Ulster Yacht Clubs for their help over the seven weekends. Mark Mackey and Mackey Opticians were also thanked for sponsoring the event, as well as all of the competitors for continuing to support what is normally some of the best racing of the year in Belfast Lough sadly limited by this years hopefully freak weather.

Published in Belfast Lough

The 2017 GP14 Irish Nationals were held on 19th-21st August at Ballyholme Yacht Club. 29 boats competed which included one visiting team from the UK – John Hayes, an ex 470 campaigner from Southport who was sailing with Joel James. Overall numbers were down a bit on previous years due to a number of mitigating factors. However those unable to attend missed a superb event with a wide range of conditions, superb race management, excellent hospitality and exceptionally close racing.

Chief measurer Jimmy McKee was in attendance on Friday night & Saturday morning to scrutineer and weigh boats. The forecast for Saturday was borderline and the fleet were held ashore initially for an hour or so to allow the wind to subside. When the fleet did eventually take to the water, the lull in conditions proved to be only temporary. Shortly after the start of race one, the committee boat began recording gusts of 30 knots. The ensuing white knuckle race saw Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken winning from Sligo’s Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty with Sutton sailors Alan Blay & David Johnston 3rd. With only 15 boats finishing and conditions refusing to abate, the race committee made the sensible decision to send the fleet home after a single race. Once ashore competitors enjoyed a superb bar-b-que where the famous Ballyholme rib-eye steaks lived up to all of the pre–event hype.

The forecast for the second day of racing could not have been more different to the first. This time, conditions looked borderline on the light side, with even the most optimistic forecasts predicting gusts of just 7 knots. Nevertheless, with a race to make up the race committee sent the fleet out and after a hour or so floating around the breeze did eventually appear. Niall & Ossain took first blood in the challenging conditions winning the opening race from English visitors John Hayes & Joel James. The right hand side of the beats seemed to be consistently paying in the ebbing tide but getting out there through the various holes & shifts was’t completely straightforward! Ger Owens & Melanie Morris found a way though, knocking in 2 bullets in race 3 and 4 from Alan Blay & David Johnsson and Keith Louden & Alan Thompson respectively. Silver fleet sailors Doire Shiels & Andrew Sexton also had a good day, recording a 7th and a 3rd to take control of the silver fleet. After a long day on the water, the race committee decided the fleet had had enough after 3 races and the fleet returned home.

2017 GP14 Prize Winners2017 GP14 Prize Winners at Ballyholme Yacht Club

The Irish GP14 AGM was held on Sunday evening and saw Stephen Boyle step down after 3 years as class president. David Cooke takes over as the new president and no doubt will strive to continue the excellent progress made over the past few years as the class builds towards a 2020 World Championships in his home club. Following the AGM, many of the sailors gathered in the nearby Jamaica Inn with a surprise birthday cake for class stalwart Hugh Gill who is celebrating another big one!

With 3 races scheduled for the final days sailing, and just 2 points separating the top four boats the championship was wide open. Race 5 saw Shane & Damien record their second race win from John & Joel. Race 6 and another race winner, this time John & Joel taking line honours with Keith Louden & Alan Thompson in second position. So going into the final race the championship was set for one of the closest finishes in recent years with Ger & Mel holding a narrow one point lead but Shane & Damian, John & Joel and Nial & Ossian all still in with a real chance of overall victory.

In the end however, Ger & Mel held held their nerve and won the last race and with it, the overall event. Doire Shiels & Andrew Sexton won the Silver fleet finishing in 10th overall while Sutton’s Shane MacLoughlin & Rory Murdoch won the bronze fleet. Top youths were Gareth & Richard Gallagher in 12th position overall.

Published in GP14

Over 100 swimmers took to the sea for the first night of Ballyholme Yacht Club's Open Water Swimming series last night. The series is now in its fourth year with participants from 8 years old to seasoned triathletes looking for some extra training.

Last year swimmers came from across Northern Ireland to Ballyholme Bay with a number of parties in training towards swimming the world famous North Channel swim from Donaghadee to Portpatrick which is part of the Ocean Sevens that participants travel around the world to complete. Several Indian and USA visitors based themselves in Bangor for a month's training whilst the Donegal Diamond waterpolo team had a relay squad that completed the 35km swim.

Following registration at the club and a detailed briefing, the swimmers dipped their toes in and got used to the temperature. Whilst most wear swimming wetsuits, some of the more experiences swimmers swim as "skins" in preparation for other open water events later in the year. However the briefing stresses that the Monday night swimming is not a race.

A course is set in Ballyholme Bay of approximately 750m around yellow buoys. The better swimmers completed 2 to 3 laps whilst others opted just to swim to the first mark or cut across the middle. Safety is provided by kayaks and RYA First Aid trained crews in Ribs. With prevailing south-westerly winds, the swimmers normally enjoy sheltered flat water in the sandy bay.

After an hour, all of the participants came out on the end with smiles on their faces. And looking forward to next week's swim on Bank Holiday Monday. The series runs every Monday evening until 11th September. To register for the swimming or to find out more about the series, please visit here

Published in Sea Swim
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Almost 40 Laser sailors enjoyed great sailing over the weekend in Belfast Lough, hosted by Ballyholme Yacht Club at the Danske Bank Private Banking sponsored Irish Laser Master Championships. Despite the forecast of little wind on the Saturday followed by too much on Sunday, the conditions were much more enjoyable. Saturday was a bit gentler Westerly with the odd hole but there was plenty of hiking and the odd gust into the high teens or low 20's, whilst Sunday was a bit stronger but thankfully manageable with flat seas due to a fairly steady Southerly. Race Officer Aidan Pounder was heard to comment that somehow the wind strength on Sunday seemed to lower on each downwind leg - divine intervention maybe.

The racing was very tight for most with little room on the start-line for those not used to accelerating as quick as some of the others. Top and bottom mark roundings are always busy and there were more than a couple capsizing at the leeward mark on top of other Lasers - in fact one mast slicing the tiller extension rope somehow on the other. However you could almost see a smile on the victims face as instead of a long slog of a beat home, he happily accepted a tow.

It was always going to be a close championship between Cork's Nick Walsh and Ballyholme's Gareth Flannigan even if Gareth has been seen more in RS400's over the last couple of years. Both have won the overall title before, and it was Flannigan who set the early pace with a marked lead in Race 1 followed by 2 second places. Unfortunately Walsh hadn't fully read the sailing instructions which detailed different coloured buoys for the start and finish line and having thought he had finished high in the first race, was signalled by a colleague to finish properly and ended up counting an 8th. This proved pivotal as he then won 4 of the next 5 races (and by some margin on the Sunday) discarding the last race of Saturday but the race one event gave Flannigan some wriggle room.

More used recently to getting his RS400 crew mate David Fletcher (who won the final race of Saturday) to do the hiking for him, Gareth struggled a little on the breezier Sunday and was often found at the first mark mid-fleet or in the final race almost last. In the 5th race he even found himself upside down not once but twice after an initial rear end bump from Theo Little - a rare sight for the multiple Irish champion. However his downwind speed came to his rescue and needing a 4th in the final race, scrambled back through the fleet to win the championship by a single point from Nick Walsh.

Monkstown's Paul O'Sullivan won the Apprentice Masters whilst Great Grand Master Chris Boyd somehow kept his body with a 5th overall place and the GGM trophy. Grand Master Charlie Taylor also showed great speed as always in the breeze with 4,8,3 on the Sunday. Royal St George's Shirley Gilmore was Lady Master in the Radials with Colm McLarnon winning overall. With one year to go before the Laser Masters World Championships come to Dun Laoghaire, there was a lot of chatter on how to qualify for next years event, especially as 8 hope to go to Croatia this year but with only 6 guaranteed spaces. Ron Hutchieson spelled out that 3 out of the 5 provincial/national Championships will count towards ILCA ranking points and there should be a few more Masters seen at the next event at Wexford Harbour.

The event was great craic as always with the traditional Laser Masters dinner attended by most of the competitors and partners. Many thanks must go to Garth Maxwell of Dankebank Private Banking for sponsorship, and Quay Marina for assistance. It was great to see lots of visitors from Cork and Dublin bay to come and play with the large Ballyholme contingent.

Results

Radial
1st Colm McLarnon
2nd Shirley Gilmore (1st Lady Master)

Apprentice Master
1st Paul O'Sullivan
2nd David Fletcher

Master
1st Gareth Flannigan
2nd Nick Walsh
3rd Theo Lyttle

Grand Master
1st Charlie Taylor
2nd Richard Ramsay

Great Grand Master
1st Chris Boyd

Overall
1st Gareth Flannigan
2nd Nick Walsh
3rd Theo Lyttle

Published in Laser

Mayor Alderman Deborah Girvan of Ards and North Down Borough Council attended the first night of 'Dolphin & Sharks' at Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough last Friday night writes Mark Mackey. The visit is to encourage the next generation of young sailors. Over 50 children aged from six–years–old enjoyed an evening of swimming with their friends off the slipways and playing with body surf boards.

The Mayor was down to see the launch of the new training fleet of six SailQube dinghies, the purchase of which has been supported by the Borough Council. The SailQube is a polyethylene–built Optimist dinghy – the very popular youth dinghy aimed at younger sailors, and will be used to encourage the smaller "Dolphin" sailors to sail by themselves. The Mayor also had a try in the new Training rib also supported by the Council which will help grow the numbers able to be looked after.

Ballyholme offer adult and youth courses throughout the summer – next Saturday is the annual RYA Push the Boat Out Free Trysail event running all day from 9:30. Everyone is very welcome to come down and try sailing for the first time on a variety of different boats depending on what you may fancy – singlehanded or double handed dinghies, catamarans, keelboats. You just need to enrol online at ballyholme.com.

Published in Belfast Lough

Nearly 30 sailors attended the joint  420 and Fireball Ulster Championships last weekend with a mixture of conditions to test out the sailors writes Mark Mackey. Most of the visitors travelled up from Cork and Dublin to compete in the two different classes – both are double handed dinghies with a single trapeze wire for the crew, but there the similarities end.

The 420 is a rounded more plastic style mini version of the 470 class which is sailed at the Olympic Games by both male and female crews. The 420 is used as a youth pathway class and many of the teenage sailors had already visited Ballyholme over Easter at the ISA Youth Championhips. All-girl crews dominated the event despite the strong winds on Saturday, occupying the first 3 places overall. It was great to see local sailor Adam Lockart getting a run out having struggled to find a regular crew – Daniel Thompson from Wexford Harbour helped out this weekend.

The Fireball is a much sleeker craft orginially built in wood – in fact many were built in the Ballyholme chnaging rooms over the winters back in the 1970's. These days they are glass-fibre with lots of controls and tweaks to be made whilst racing. As opposed to the teenage crews of the 420's, the Fireball attract the older generation with many of the sailors well into their 60's and some their 80's – a marvellous example of the length of time that people can continue to compete and enjoy sailing. These are not sedentiary boats however with big mainsails that power them up to speeds that are only surpassed by the Olympic skiffs and multihull dinghy classes. See Fireball class report here.

After Saturday's breeze and lumpy seas, the sunshine came out for Sundays races with a light 5-8 knot breeze and flat water. A range of conditions is always useful to test out the best sailors who still manage to excel no matter what they are faced with. Malahide's Gemma McDowell and Emma Gallagher followed their second place 2 weeks ago with top of the podium in the 420 class, while Noel Butler and Stephen Oram are no strangers to the top of the Fireball fleet either. Both classes gave their thanks to the club, sponsor P&O Ferries and Race Officer Robin Gray. 

420 Ulsters: 

1st Gemma McDowell and Emma Gallagher, Malahide YC
2nd Grace O'Beirne and Kathy Kelly, Royal St George YC
3rd Nicola and Fiona Ferguson National YC

Published in 420
Page 3 of 8

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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