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Displaying items by tag: Ballyholme Yacht Club

Last Saturday saw the start of the 2 day Irish Laser Masters event at Ballyholme Yacht Club with a number of competitors travelling from the Republic of Ireland to compete writes Aidan Pounder of Ballyholme Yacht Club.

As the competitors took to the water around 1100 hrs the weather was excellent, however as forecast the winds got lighter as the day progressed which on top of the sea swell made the sail out to the race arena rather tiring. With all assembled, the competitors waited patiently for the wind shifts to steady, upon which our Race Officer, Robin Gray released the fleet, much to the relief of the mark laying team too.

We managed to get three races in which were all won by Gareth Flannigan.

The fleet returned to the club late in the afternoon and prepared for a dinner laid on by Bow Bells.

Sunday saw a complete contrast in the sailing conditions with a strong wind out of the South. In the race arena out in the Lough, Robin Gray was recording a baseline wind of about 20 knots with gusts up to 31 knots and sailing was delayed.

After some deliberation a course was laid closer to the shore and the fleet released from the south & north slip, and unlike the previous day with a good following wind and no sea swell the competitors were at the committee boat and ready to go in no time.

The next two races saw steady baseline winds of around 22 knots with gusts up to 30 knots presenting the competitors with very challenging conditions especially rounding the marks at the bottom of the course, which saw a lot of capsizes and a spectacular coming together between David Wilson and Charlie Westhurst. Fortunately both were ok and likewise their Lasers.

Early Sunday afternoon saw the end of racing and results were gathered and checked by Ron Hutchieson from the Irish Laser Association.

The winners were as follows :

Radial - 1st Howard Massie - BYC

Grand Master - 1st Charlie Taylor - BYC

2nd Richard Ramsey East Down YC

Master - 1st Nick Walsh - Royal Cork YC

2nd William Duane - Royal Cork YC

3rd Edward Rice - Royal Cork YC

Apprentice Master - 1st - Gareth Flannigan - BYC

2nd - Roger O'Gorman - Monkstown Bay SC

3rd - Daragh Kelleher - Skerries SC

Overall - 1st Gareth Flannigan - BYC

2nd Roger O'Gorman - Monkstown Bay SC

3rd Nick Walsh - Royal Cork YC

Published in Laser

#lasermasters – There's a strong contingent of Irish competing in the Laser Masters Worlds taking place from the 4th - 11th October in Hyeres, France this week.

The event has broken records for the number competing which topped out at an eye watering 499.

The logistics and challenges for the event organisers of dealing with a fleet this size both onshore and afloat are daunting but COYCH are managing.

Masters fleets are divided by age brackets. The youngest competitors are 35 in the apprentice fleet. At 45 these "young guns" graduate to Masters and so on as the bands continue up in blocks of 10 years.

The Irish team consists of Worlds stalwart and Great Grand Master Denis O'Sullivan. Chris Arrowsmith from RStGYC is in the Grand Master category. Ed Rice and Nick Walsh from Royal Cork YC along with Colin Galavan from RIYC and Kevin Currier from Ballyholme are in the Masters fleet. The team is rounded out by three Apprentice Masters, Dan O'Connell from RCYC, sailing coach Thomas Chaix and Paul Keane also from RIYC.

The weather has not played ball for the organisers who have been plagued by light airs and blue skies. Nice for the beach, of which there are plenty, but not for sailing. After two days of light racing some fleets have only two results but the Great Grand Masters have yet to finish a race.

After coming second in the Pre Worlds and winning the practice race Thomas Chaix was confident going into the first race but there is no quarter being given in the Apprentice fleet which includes 2 current and a very large percentage of ex Olmypians. The start line and contested mark roundings are not for the faint of heart.

The Masters fleet is around 130 boats so it's further split into Yellow and Red fleets. In the Red fleet Nick Walsh is on the hunt for some good results after a very successful domestic sailing season. Nick's sparring partner from home, Ed Rice is in the Yellow fleet and after a shaky first race put the demons behind him to score a decent result in the 2nd.

Well known RStGYC sailor Chris Arrowsmith had a middle of the road result in the first race but a strange abbreviation "PTSr" appeared beside his and others scores. This seemed to be "Penalty turns, retrospective" i.e. you're not whistled by the jury on the water but they take your number and penalise you after the race. An Australian team sailor was also penalised in this way and took the RC to the protest room where it seems to have been dropped. In the second race Chris scored a very respectable 11th. Onwards and upwards.

The forecast for the next few days is quite mixed. Last night a big rainstorm went through the area and there is a current "Orange" weather alert. Tomorrow the sun is due to come back and the wind is forecast in the 12-18kt range from a stable Easterly direction. This means waves in Hyeres Bay. Sun, Waves and Breeze for a Laser Sailor is better than a lotto win.

There is so much more to say about this event I could go on but I've just heard a gun and the AP is being lowered so I've got to go and get out on the water. For a very well observed flavour of the "internationality" of this event read USA team member Joe Berkeley's piece here 

Event photos are here and results here

Published in Laser

#lasersailing – After three days of strong winds, the final day of the Zhik Laser National Championships was always forecast for light breeze before strengthening in the afternoon writes Mark Mackey. Race Officer Robin Gray attempted several early starts but the wind kept shifting from side to side and it was early afternoon before things settled down. It meant there was time for only one race as an early time limit jad been agreed so that people could get home.

James Espey again took the lead on the downwind in the Standards and led the way home. Fionn Lyden eventually overtook Finn Lynch in a close battle to take second place and also second place overall. Finn had to settle for third overall though also added 1st Irish Laser Youth to the World Under 19 title won two weeks ago. This was James Espey's fifth Irish National title matching the record of Bill O'Hara. Bill was also competing here coming 14th (3rd Master), before flying off tomorrow or get ready as Race Officer for the upcoming Volvo Round the World Race. Thomas Chaix was first Master.

In the Radial class, Cian Byrne won the final race from Annalise Murphy and with it second place overall. Annalise won overall (her second Nationals title) and was 1st Lady. Liam Glynn had been leading Cian overall coming into today although only by one point. Unfortunately a bad start and an early yellow flag for body pumping put paid to any chances of Liam catching Cian. Ross O'Sullivan had another consistent day to take 4th overall.

NSH_0486.jpg

4.7 winner Johnny Durcan

Johnny Durcan continued to show his great form at the top of the Laser 4.7 fleet adding a second to his tally, finishing with only eight net points overall and ten points ahead of his nearest rival Rory Fekkes. Rory Caslin won the final race but this was still only good enough for 3rd overall with Scott Levie in 4th.

Ron Hutchieson was given a special award at the prize giving for 35 years of continuous service to the Laser class by event organiser Paddy Brow and ILA's Colin Leonard. Many thanks were given to the Race Officer Robin Gray, safety lead Ruth Mullan and the many volunteers for another great event.

Standard
1st James Espey Ballyholme YC/ RUYC (1),1,1,1,1,1
2nd Fionn Lyden Schull SC 2,(6),3,2,3,2
3rd Finn Lynch (1st Youth) National YC 3,2,(6),3,2,3
4th Darragh O'Sullivan Kinsale YC 7,5,2,4,4,(8)
5th Colin Leonard Ballyholme YC 4,3,4,6,(8),5

11th Thomas Chaix (1st Master) Kinsale YC 12,12,(13),7,13,12

Radial
1st Annalise Murphy (1st Lady) National YC 1,1,1,2,(3),2
2nd Cian Byrne Royal Cork YC 2,6,6,1,(7),1
3rd Liam Glynn Ballyholme YC (6),4,5,3,2,22
4th Ross O'Sullivan Kinsale YC (16),5,3,4,4,5
5th Conor O'Beirne Royal St George (11),7,2,7,5

4.7
1st Johnny Durcan Royal Cork YC 2,1,1,(13),2,2
2nd Rory Fekkes Ballyholme YC (8),2,4,1,4,7
3rd Rory Caslin National YC (9),4,2,4,8,1
4th Scott Levie Lough Derg YC 1,9,9,11,(40 BFD),3
5th Conor Sherriff Courtown SC 5,8,3,15,6,(16)

NSH_0495.jpg

Annalise Murphy, Radial winner

NSH_0505.jpg

James Espey, Standard winner

 

Published in Laser

#lasersailing – After Friday's blowout in the Zhik Irish Laser National Championships, it was great to see the forecast hold true  on Belfast Lough yesterday with a sunny start to the morning and 12-15 knots with a few gusts and lulls along the way writes Mark Mackey. The wind stayed fairly true in direction all day with just the odd hole or squall to cope with.

Although only 2 races have been completed so far, the Laser organisation opted to stick to 3 one hour races rather than try to catch up on the schedule. James Espey in the Laser Standard again rose to the fore winning all three races and apart from the first race when Darragh O'Sullivan held him off till the first downwind, led the rest of the fleet around all the marks. Behind James, there has been great competition. Fionn "Stallion" Lyden has shown great speed downwind (or faster than Colin Leonard who came 4th in Race 1). Finn Lynch dropped out of the first group on Race 1 but cam back to score 3 and 2 on the next races and liers equal with Fionn going into the final day.

In the Radial fleet, Annalise Murphy lies first with only 5 nett point sbut had a more mixed day with some of the future young stars mixing it up. Last year's Topper World Champion and in his first year in Radials - Liam Glynn had a good day with 5,3,2 and lies in scond place overall from Cian Byrne. ISAF Youth Worlds silver medallist Seafra Guilfoyle had a worse day even with a bullet in the final race, scoring a DNF and BFD in Race 1 and 2 and drops down to 13th. Cian Byrne was the other beneficiary and moves up to 3rd overall with a win in Race 2 today.

Ballyholme's Sorcha Donnelly (who sails from Skerries but has always competed from BYC) led Race 2 but misread the earlier staring flags - one of the Irish Radial nuances is that they drop the "sausage" if there is a general recall. Race Officer Robin Gray, getting used to the tricks of some forcing general recalls so that they have shorter races, started using AP's instead 5 seconds before the start meaning they should have sailed the longer course. Sorcha led at the first mark and took a group of her fellow radials with her around the wrong course scoring RET in the end.

In the 4.7 fleet young Royal Cork's Johnny Durcan continues to set the bar with a 1 and 2, leading from Ballyholme's Rory Fekkes who won Race 2 today. Ronan Walsh, another Cork youngster, won the final race of the day

Overall:

Standards

1 James Espey 1,1,1,1,1,
2 Finn Lynch (Youth) 3,2,6,3,2
3 Fionn Lyden 2,6,3,2,3
4 Darragh O'Sullivan 7,5,2,4,4
5 Colin Leonard 4,3,4,6,8
9 Nick Walsh (Master) 14,4,11,16,12

Radials:

1 Annalise Murphy 1,1,1,2,3
2 Liam Glynn 6,4,5,3,2
3 Cian Byrne 2,6,6,1,7
4 Ross O'Sullivam 16,5,3,4,4
5 Conor O'Beirne 11,7,2,7,5

4.7

1. Johnny Durcan 2,1,1,13,2
2. Rory Fekkes 8,2,4,1,4
3. Rory Caslin 9,4,2,4,8
4. Conor Sheriff 5,8,3,15,6
5. Ronan Walsh 18,16,7,2,1

Published in Laser

#laser – There was no racing today on Day 2 of Zhik Irish Laser National Championships on Belfast lough. Race Officer Robin Gray sent the three fleets totalling 130 boats afloat after a one hour postponement but after 30 minutes they were all sent home again after the breeze started to build. Racing starts again tomorrow at 10:55

Published in Laser

#lasersailing – The three Irish Laser fleets woke up on a beautiful sunny day at Ballyholme Yacht Club knowing that the wind was to fill in over the afternoon but no-one was sure by how much writes Mark Mackey. There is a little tension among the 126 competitors for the first time in a few years but if anyone was ignoring the pressure, it was the incumbent Olympian sailors from London 2012 James Espey (Ballyhome YC) and Annalise Murphy (National YC, Dun Laoghaire) who have won five Nationals between them.

This summer has new blood on the horizon - Finn Lynch winning the Laser Under 19 Youth World Championship last week in France, while Seafra Guilfoyle won the silver medal at the ISAF Radial Youth Games earlier in the summer.

Race 1 started with a southerly breeze and relatively flat seas with 16 knots. In the standard fleet James Espey got off to a slow start rounding the first mark 7th but a left shift on the second beat took him up to first from where he distanced himself from the chasing pack. ISA Squad member Fionn Lyden was second with Finn Lynch in 3rd. In the Radials Ballyholme's Liam Glynn led around the course till the second round until he sailed the wrong course and was passed by the top 4. Annalise also got off to a poor first beat in 20th place but she managed to catch up and pass Cork's Cian Byrne at the final mark.

The conditions worsened considerably for Race 2 gusting up to 25 knots at the finish. Annalise has always excelled in heavier airs and showed the rest of the Radial class the way home from the first mark. Finn Lynch led the Standards for 90% of his race but James Espey passed him up the final beat as the breeze grew.

The Youth 4.7 fleet managed the conditions commendably with Johnny Durcan from Royal Cork YC winning Race 2 and was second to Lough Derg's Scott Levie in Race 1. Asked for a comment afterwards Johnny offered that it was "very windy" and was a day to "keep your eyes out of the boat"

Race Officer Robin Gray decided to postpone the final race until tomorrow with the wind settling over 24 knots. Unfortunately, the morning looks like similar conditions with the breeze expected to start to die in the afternoon.

Overall after Day 1:

Standards
James Espey, Ballyholme YC/RUYC 1,1
Finn Lynch National YC 3,2
Colin Leonard BYC 4,3
Fionn Lyden Schull SC 2, 6

Radials
Annalise Murphy, NYC 1,1
Seafra Guilfoyle Royal Cork YC 3,2
Cian Byrne RCYC 2,6
Tim Brow BYC 5,3

4.7
1. Johnny Durcan RCYC 2,1
2. Niamh Doran Courtown SC 3,3
3. Scott Levie Lough Derg YC
4. Rory Fekkes BYC

 

Published in Laser

#laser – Tomorrow sees the start of the 2014 Zhik sponsored Irish Laser National Championships at Ballyholme Yacht Club (BYC) on Belfast Lough writes BYC's Mark Mackey.

The top Northern Ireland dinghy club is now expecting 130 boats with competition across all three fleets, especially at the top of the Laser Standard and Laser Radial fleets.

In the Standards, Olympian and multiple Irish National Laser Champion James Espey will fend off Finn Lynch who was crowned Under 19 World Champion last week with fellow squad sailors Fionn Lyden and Darragh O'Sullivan hot on their heels.

In the Radials, Olympian Annalise Murphy will have ISAF World Youth Silver medallist Seafra Guilfoyle to contend with as well as a host of Ballyholme YC's best Radials including Ryan Glynn (4th in UK Nationals), his brother Liam who was last year's Topper World Champion and Tim Brow, son of Event Organiser Paddy Brow and 7th in the UK Nationals.

Also look out for Ballyholme's Sarah Eames who has spent the summer competing across Europe at the ISAF Worlds, European Youth and World Under 19 Championships.

A mixture of conditions is forecast over the next 4 days with plenty of wind tomorrow afternoon and Friday. Expect to see Annalise excel in the breeze as always against the best of the boys, and catch most of those in the Standard fleet who start five minutes before her.

Published in Laser

#nikra – Despite the horrendous weather which had encircled Northern Ireland last weekend a tiny window opened to allow the August "Challenge" races of the Northern Ireland Restricted Keelboat Racing Association (NIRKRA) to proceed on Belfast Lough. A Bangor bay morning of sun-drenched competition, which after a series of light weather windward-lee races, in turn, saw the crowning of a new 'King Nirk'.
NIRKRA is an owner controlled class designed to give good, competitive, close racing at a reasonable cost. It is aimed at small racing keelboats within the Province with the emphasis on keeping the class in a small rating band so racing is as close as can be. NIRKRA racing is currently run under the RYA's NHC system.
With the NHC numbers revised after the previous 'Super Sunday,' none of the fleet were sure who would profit after the mathematics had had their day. Proceedings were opened by the crew of QT-pi who were taking no chances; at the helm, Ballyhome's Charlie Taylor drove the Gibsea80+ into a commanding lead gained from the second windward leg, and held it to the finish. The Starflash of Alan Morrison & John Simms were second on the water, with the defending 'NIRK' Prodigal, third.
In race two the same three boats were swapping places on the water with Prodigal gaining the final advantage from Starflash and QT-pi. However on corrected time it was the 'Starflashers' who profited yet again. The latest addition to the fleet, Nick & Davy Quinn's Eygthene 24, Chatterbox took third place, and then topped off his Super Sunday with second place in the final race!
For the final race, the wind Gods played their closing card. A lifeless starting line saw most of the fleet in irons. But as the wind again swept in from the west, the last boat away became the first to round the weather mark! Prodigal lead the fleet home, but a surging Starflash was close enough to make it three wins in row on corrected time; it was indeed a 'Super Sunday' for the home club - Ballyholme Yacht Club.
Ashore at BYC, and organised by NIRKRA secretary Tom Bell, the fleet enjoyed a Gourmet Barbeque as well as a 'live session' from the next county Down music superstar Sam Wickens.
RESULTS
POS BOAT TYPE OWNER CLUB SCORE
1 Starflash Starflash A. Morrison/J. Simms Ballyholme YC 3
2 Prodigal Bolero TN Jobling East Antrim BC 9
3 Chatterbox Eygthene24 D&N. Quinn Ballyholme YC 10
4 QT-pi Seagib 80 J. Coffey/T. Bell Royal Ulster YC 11
5 Mumbo Jumbo Contessa 25 C. West-Hirst/K. Storey Royal Ulster YC 12

Published in Belfast Lough

#lasersailing – This weekend Ballyholme Yacht Club will have five sailors at the Laser Radial Youth World Championships in Dziwnów, Poland - Tim Brow, Sarah Eames, Suzanne Flannigan, Sorcha Donnelly, and current Topper World Champion Liam Glynn. Laura Gilmore from SLYC and Gary Fekkes from EABC are also competing as part of a 15 boat Irish team that includes ISAF youth world silver medallist, Seafra Guilfoyle from Royal Cork.

It has been a busy summer for the young sailors from Bangor - Sarah has just finished competing in the ISAF Youth Worlds in Portugal, while Liam and Sarah competed in the European Youth Laser Radial Championships at the beginning of July when both Sarah and Liam won individual races. This is Liam Glynn's first season in the Laser Radial having stepped up from the Topper dinghy last summer when he won all the Irish provincial and national titles and followed this up by being the first Irish sailor to win the Topper World Championships in France. The Irish team are looking forward to many more top results after Royal Cork sailor Seafra Guilfoyle won the Silver medal at the ISAF Youth Worlds in Laser Radials in Portugal, coached by Ballyholme YC's Russell McGovern.

More details of the Laser Radial Youth World Championships can be found here

Before they left, four of the Ballyholme YC World Laser Radial Youth Squad got together to help launch the Irish Laser National Championships which are being hosted by Ballyholme Yacht Club from 28-31st August 2014. The Laser National Championships includes all 3 versions of the Laser dinghy - Standard, Radial and 4.7. The hull is the same for all versions, the sail and rig is smaller for the Radial and 4.7 which attracts ladies and youths. Ballyholme YC has one of the largest Standard and Radial fleets in Ireland and the championships hope to attract 130 boats over the 3 fleets. Some sailors have already expressed interest to travel from GB to race in what should be a very competitive event.

Published in Laser

#f18 – The F18 Catamaran podium may have looked settled even if the positions had not been agreed with 3 races to go. Belfast Lough offered a minefield today for the competitors to make their way through in light variable wind, and unfortunately the young Americans were the first to falter.

Race 1 (13) saw Glenn Ashby and Brett Goodall power away from the pin end of the line while the committee boat side had little breeze. Those that tacked off to clear air or try the right hand side of the course got left behind and this included USA team Taylor Reiss and Matthew Whitehead. Girvan Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot rounded the windward mark in the top 5 while Gunnar Larsen and Ferdinand van West got caught up in the traffic behind.

Ashby/Goodall went on to secure the first of three bullets for the final day. Who know's what their overall position might have been without the hull damage on Day 3. Bontemps/ Amiot closed the gap on Larsen/ van West but Reiss/ Whitehead were now looking at third place.

Race 2 (14) saw Bontemps/ Amiot again get in front of Larsen/ van West until the last downward leg but Gunnar somehow got in front before the finish.

In the final race (15), a shift at the start and light winds on the left hand course stranded half of the fleet. Simon (Nobby) Northrop/Josh O'Brien and Grant Piggot/Simon Farren restored a bit of pride for GBR leading into the windward mark. Larsen/ van West emerged from the middle of the fleet and worked their way into 2nd place behind Ashby/Goodall with Bontemps/ Amiot back in the fleet with Reiss/ Whitehead.

After 14 years of competing in F18s, Gunnar Larsen was finally World Champion with Ferdinand van West.

At the prize giving, Gunnar thanked the sponsors North Down Tourism and Northern Ireland Tourist Board for a great event. He also congratulated Event Chairman David Taylor and Race Officer Bill O'Hara and all 160 volunteers. This was the first time all 15 races were sailed in the World Championship with great racing, weather and race management, the hospitality was second to none and the welcome from Northern Ireland surpassed previous World Championships. It may be a long time before Ballyholme YC see another F18 World Championship but he recommended any class to come here and enjoy the craic.

F18 Results:
1. Gunnar Larsen and Ferdinand van West NED
2. Girvan Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot FRA
3. Taylor Reiss and Matthew Whitehead USA (1st Junior)
4. Morgan La Graviere and Armaud Jarlegan FRA
5. Tim Mourniac and Jean Christophe Mourniac FRA

6. Lois Berrehar and Hugo el Pomellac FRA (2nd Junior)
9. Robert Solune and Riwan Perron FRA (3rd Junior)
10. Helge and Christian Sach GER (1st Master)
20. William Sunnucks and Freddie White GBR (2nd Master)
21. Grant Piggott and Simon Farren GBR (3rd Master)
22. Sven Lindstadt and Marne Odefey GER (1st Mixed)

Published in Racing
Page 5 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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