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Displaying items by tag: Ballyholme Yacht Club

#ballyholme – Northern Ireland's largest open dinghy series began on Belfast Lough today with 49 Lasers competing in Ballyhome's Icebreaker series.  Gareth Flannigan was the winner of today's first race with Hammy Baker second and Chris Boyd third in the standard class. Tim Brow was the radial winner and James Moore won the 4.7 fleet.

The series runs though to Sunday 30th March with 22 races.  This year an F18 Multihull fleet are gearing up for the F18 worlds at Ballyholme YC in June 2014. Adrian Allen won the first race. The results are here

Published in Racing

#49er – For the first time in many years, Ballyholme Yacht Club (BYC) orgsnisers on Belfast lough are hoping for double figures for the Mackey Opticians sponsored Irish 49er nationals, especially if a few of the Dublin fleet travel for the October 5th event.

It will be a very busy weekend at Ballyholme bay with Race 4 of the Autumn Series on Sunday morning and Race 1 of the BYC Icebreaker series on Sunday morning.

London 2012 Olympians Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern (currently competing at the 49er worlds in Marseille, France) have been working hard to organise boats for all the competitors.

There will be practice racing on Friday 4th for those who haven't stepped on a 49er in a number of years or ever before.

The briefing will be at 10:30 on Saturday morning with races starting as soon as possible afterwards. We hope for 6 quick races on Saturday with 3-4 on Sunday starting earlier. Sailing instructions will be available at the briefing and will be dependent on the weather conditions.

There is a perpetual trophy available for the winning 49er and Mackey Opticians are donating two pairs of polarized sunglasses (value up to £150 each) for the winning pair.

Published in Olympic

Two races were sailed today in predominantly light conditions at the combined RS Championships at Ballyholme Yacht Club. The race officer made a good call to postpone proceedings until Sunday when the afternoon breeze completely shut down.

There are 18 RS 400's, 8 RS200's and 6 RS Fevas competing.

RS400 Results:
1st E.Ryan J.Ryan R1(2) R2(1)
2nd J.Espey M.Gunning R1(1) R2(3)
3rd D.Cheyne S.Kane R1(3) R2(5)
4th M.Ferguson J.Tomalin R1(7)R2(2)
5th R.Seaton M.McGovern R1(5)R2(4)
6th G.Flannigan D.Fletcher R1(4)R2(7)

RS200 Results:
1st C.Coffey H.Cassidy R1(2) R2(1)
2nd F & K O'Rourke R1(1) R2(5)
3rd R.Milligan P.Blamphin R1(5) R2(2)

RS Feva Results:
1st N.Eames M.Fekkes R1(3) R2(1)
2nd B.Coburn A.Mitchell R1(1) R2(5)
3rd R.Fekkes A.Harley R1(1) R2(6)

Published in RS Sailing

#RS – After a few weeks rest following the bumper turnout RS Nationals in July, the action moves to the new RS400 fleet's home at Ballyholme in Bangor.

Ballyholme has seen a great influx of RS400s to go with the RS200s already there, and has attracted some of Ulsters top racing talent, evidenced by July's two top Irish performances from Bob Espey/Mike Gunning, and Michael Ferguson/ Jeremy Tomalin at the Nationals. Whilst they will undoubtedly form the strongest teams to beat this weekend, there will be plenty of other talent tackling them, with Irish 49er Olympians Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern flying back for the weekend from Marseilles, multiple Irish Laser and SB20 Irish Champion Gareth Flannigan, and recent top youth helm at the British Nationals, Chris Eames.

All the old timers will be there, licking their wounds from the recent shoeing handed out by the new boys in the fleet. Liam Donnelly will be fresh from the UK Nationals, and always as competitive as ever, at 60 something years of age, spearheading the RNIYC charge, along with Whitehead's John Lewis, another Scorpion veteran, who will be keen to see how he goes in his first RS400 event. From RNIYC, former Squib Irish champion Gordy Patterson has been spotted practising, and seems to be getting to grips with the faster boat (though he has years of SB3ing to call on), and someday Ruan O'Tiarnaigh will get his boat out too; whilst the Southern efforts will be led by Emmet Ryan and Simon Herriott, along with up and coming Sean Cleary and Any Verso from Greystones.
Rumour has it 4-5 good teams from the Cork area are on the brink of getting 400s, which could lead to further strengthening of the fleet in Ireland, along with some good new Dublin sailors, and 5 new boats have arrived into other Northern clubs in the past fortnight, so turnouts should be increasingly strong going into 2014.
McCready Sailboats have recently been appointed as RS Boat Dealers for Ireland, following a few years of direct sales only, and are especially keen to push the RS Feva, supplying three boats for crews to test, and hopefully we will start to see a resurgence in this great youth boat next year, with their support.
The RS200s at Ballyholme will face some stiff competition from the ever strong Greystones contingent, who usually take the prizes home, and it would be great to see this class strengthening in the north as the RS Family gain a stronger foothold.
Racing in the Bay runs Saturday and Sunday, with beer and grub on Saturday and some decent northerly breeze looking set to roll in some surfing waves and maximise the craic. 

Published in RS Sailing

#topper – Liam Glynn from Ballyholme YC is leading the Topper World Championships in Loctudy, Brittany, France. In a fleet of 102 boats, he has already registered 3 firsts, 1 second and a third.
He has already won the Irish Nationals this summer at Donaghadee where conditions were similar with little breeze and lots of tide. Hopefully there is a little bit more wind forecast today although tomorrow is looking light without a sea or land breeze kicking in during the afternoon. Today is the first of the races where the gold and silver fleets have been separated and the racing starts properly. Ben Martin (BYC), Tom Purdon (BYC and SLYC), Peter Gilmore (SLYC), Lucy Mearns (SLYC) and Emily Hill (CAYC) should also make the Gold fleet.

Today wind-speed up to 12 knots , sunshine but also tidal stream were expecting the 117 contestants for the International Topper Class World Championship.
Racers were disturbed at the starting line by the tidal current as pointed out the young British William Birch Tomlinson who got the 4 th place for this evening.
"In the first and second race it was hard to stay under the starting line as the current made the dinghies drift.Then in the following legs everything was about taking the right decision and tack at the right moment to get the windward mark."
The Irish Liam Glynn, at the head of the overall results seems to share this point of view:
"The wind was quite steady but it was tricky to deal with waves and current at the starting line. Moreover beating to get the windward mark was one-sided and tide wasn't helping."
A light land breeze strengthened the wind-speed on the race and the real wind eventually dropped at midday. Then the land breeze had to vanish because of some clouds covering the body of water.
As for the French contestants, the process of learning how to sail this typically Anglo-saxon dinghy is still on the way.
"I never sailed a Topper before and I am far from the top ten but I don't really mind, Chloé Le Bars confesses. I usually sail Lasers and I'm not used to the Toppers' tricky balance. However I'm starting to get hold of this new boat even though what you feel when you hold the tiller is so different."
When we consider Marie-Anne Resmond the transition is even stiffer since she evolved from oppies to sporty catamarans. Hence a tough but pleasant return to single-handed dinghies .
"Going back to dinghies is so challenging, since you have to show real technical skills to sail them. I have so much to learn and to remember (many things forgotten when sailing catamarans) and I find it thrilling."
Tomorrow golden and silver fleet will be merged and that is when the real challenge to get in the top three starts.

Results after four races :
Topper 4.2 m² :
1. Hamish Beaumont (GBR), 14 pts ; 2. David Rosie, (GBR), 26 pts. ; 3. Georges Graham (GBR), 26 pts ; ... 15 classés.
Topper 5.3 m² :
1. Liam Glynn, (IRL), 25 pts ; 2. Phoebe Connellan ( GBR), 31 pts ; 3. Bella Fellows (GBR), 31 pts ; ... 102 classés.

Published in Topper

#F18 – Adrian Allen and Barry Swanston from Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough competed last week at the F18 Worlds in Marina di Grosseto on the west coast of Tuscany, Italy. They travelled as top ranking boat in Ireland with great expectations but little experience recently of large start lines and competing against large numbers of other F18 catamarans. Ballyholme Yacht Club will host the 2014 World Championship in July 2014, and the team plus Mark Mackey, Rear Commodore at Ballyholme Yacht Club, were looking at every detail of the organisation, planning for this huge event next year.

F18 catamarans are a level formula of dinghy catamarans bringing together up to 10 different makes and designs sailed by a number of profession teams including Olympian (silver and bronze medallist) and America's Cup helmsman Mitch Booth, the recent Vendee Globe winner Francois Gabart (who finished here in 4th) and many other world champions. The fleet is dominated by the French, German, Dutch and Italian fleets through there were 26 countries competing with a large number from South America and Australia and a first entrant from Oman who have started their own professional team in a bid to host the event in several years and also to use sailing to promote female equality. The fleets are sailed by male teams - young and old, female teams and mixed crews with a minimum weight for the larger sail plan or a lighter weight with a smaller jib and spinnaker.

180 boats were expected although a few may not have got through the Mont Blanc tunnel and only 161 arrived. Most were through qualification in their various countries though the event was eventually opened out and a number of extra English teams took the opportunity to join the fun. Races were to be sailed over 5 days with the plan for 2 days of qualification before the fleet was split into gold and silver fleets with 3 races per day.

After three days of boat measurement and scrutiny at the yacht club and a practice race, the competitors got together on Sunday evening for the opening ceremony with a flag procession through the town enthusiastically applauded by hundreds if not thousands of local spectators to the Marina. The other Irish team's - Dermot and Siobhan - daughter Emma took the mantle of carrying the Irish flag although by the end Barry had to take over and carried it into the arena. Speehes followed from the town mayor, main sponsors - Bank of Maremma and a local wine supplier owned by Ernesto Bertarelli's sister in law, many other dignateries and the Compagnia della Vela Grosseto yacht club "president" Marco Borioni.

Racing was held close to the shore of Marina di Grosseto so that spectators could get a great view of the action. The wind continually shifted throughout the week with an offshore breeze competing against the sea breeze and the first day got off to a slow start with racing postponed at the start due to competitors getting to grips with getting afloat on a sandy beach. Racing at Marina di Grosseto ensures warm weather, mainly great breeze of 15 knots or more, sunshine but also fantastic thunderstorms and lightning at 5 o'clock for a couple of days every two weeks which clashed with the start of the competition, and only allowed 1 race on the first day, 3 on the second and qualifying finally finished with 2 races on the third day. By then the Irish boats had realised how difficult mixing with the professionals was, and Adrian had also found that a leak in his boat was letting in water meaning that good starts were difficult to maintain by the end.

The final series started on Thursday with 4 races sailed. At the end of the first day, recent French champion Billy Besson had moved into the lead with Hugh Styles close behind. Another favourite Mishca Heemskerk had to retire from race 3 ending his hopes even though he won the final race. On Thursday night, the team from Ballyholme YC supported by Alison Stobie from North Down Borough Council held a very successful launch of the 2014 event at the yacht club with free T shirts for the competitors, visitors packs, DVD's and more. Many of the competitors left their email addresses for further details of Bangor 2014. Marina di Grosseto was suddenly covered in people wearing the new 2014F18Worlds logo and NDBC Tourism logo on the reverse side.

On the final day the wind dropped for the first time to 5-10 knots and sometimes lighter. Having dominated Thursday, the French sailor began today at the top of the standings and then proved more than capable of not only controlling his closest rival Hugh Styles in the final three Formula 18 World Championship races but also of taking home one win and one second position, which meant he barely gave the Englishman an inch. This was the perfect ending for the French duo who take home the title after a week that saw them go from strength to strength from day one and ending on 26 points. That was a good 19 points less than Hugh Styles and Richard Mason (45 points) who, nonetheless, proved their worth on the water by keeping the pressure on the French duo until the very last tack. This earned the Brits a very well deserved silver medal which they made their own with a very steady series of good results.

Mitch Booth and his son Jordi also showed the same kind of consistency in their performances in the final two days' sailing. After a less than brilliant start in the qualifiers, which they finished in seventh position, the father and son team delivered a string of results that saw them move all the way up to the third step of the podium on last day of racing with a total of 61 points. An enormously satisfying achievement for Mitch and 16 year old Jordi who was competing in his first international event.

The Silver fleet, however, was very much an Italian-dominated affair with Vaccari/Meoli taking victory. Mitch and Jordi Booth also won the Masters category while Taylor Reiss and Matthew Whitehead (USA 888) won the Youth and Moana Vaireaux and Manon Audinet (FRA 33) the Mixed.

The Silver fleet got only 2 races on the final day after a number of general recalls across all starts. Unfortunately Adrian and Barry, who had climbed the results table on Thursday, came unstuck when in 10th place when their spinnaker halyard strop broke and they had to retire to the beach for repairs. Both Irish boats finished the last race together with Adrian and Barry finishing 31st and Dermot and Siobhan 65th. Our new Italian friend and great character Manuel Vaccari and his crew Allesandro Meoli won the Silver fleet overall.

The prize giving was held in the marquee at the end of racing with lots of champagne Formula 1 style. International F18 president Olivier Bovyn thanked the local club's volunteers and the International race officers and jury for their great organisation. Compagnia della Vella is only 7 years old as a yacht club and will host the RS Feva worlds the week after the F18's which is incredible, especially as the current management board has only been in place for 3 years. The premises were only usable on the bottom floor which finished refitting 3 months ago. They do have the benefit of a very large car park and beach on which to keep the boats.

Much to the delight of everyone involved in working on the event, the Formula 18 Worlds is already looking forward to the next edition in Ireland in 2014. The organisers, in fact, came to the Maremma for the symbolic passing of the baton between the Compagnia della Vela Grosseto, represented by president Marco Borioni, and Ballyholme Yacht Club represented by Rear Commodore Mark Mackey.

Many thanks were given by Mark Mackey for the very friendly welcome he and the Irish team had received in Marina di Grossto and the hospitality shown especially on the final day when Marco entertained them all day on his rib and eventually on the race committee boat during the final race.

Published in Racing
Tagged under

Multiple Irish National Champion Gareth Flannigan is one of the leading contenders for the Laser Masters title when it is sailed on his home waters of Ballyholme Yacht Club in three weeks time (25/26th May).

Visitors from Scotland and England are swelling the fleet at Ballyholme to over 50 entries.

Four entries leave for warm weather training in Lake Garda this weekend, a sign of how competitive Laser sailing is in Ireland right now.

Published in Laser

#GP14–Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough will host the Irish GP14 Championships on July 21st and 22nd.

In 2014, the GP14 World Championships come to Northern Ireland for the first time in many years, so next month's  CraftInsure Irish Championship represents a an ideal way for visitors to complete some early research into local sailing.

The launch for the event was held in Belfast on Sunday 10th June beside the Lagan. The local GP14's held a short event on the river to salute Alastair Duffin for 50 years of building wooden boats (mainly GP14's) in East Belfast. Alistair Duffin's superb dinghies are sailed across the world. In the days of fibre glass boats, a wooden Duffin hull currently holds the World title.

Ballyholme Yacht Club regularly holds Regional, National and International Championships in many dinghy classes with club member Robin Gray an RYA NI Regional Race Management Coordinator.

Ballyholme YC has a long history in GP14s. Bill Whisker and Jimmy McKee from Ballyholme YC won the GP14 World Championships in Australia in the 1970 and Burton Allen won the GP14 British National Championship.

Published in GP14

It is hard to believe that Easter is upon us and that another BYC Stena Line Icebreaker winter series is over. Once again it was a fantastic series for those competitors who took part with the full range of weather conditions and cracking racing. It would not have been possible to race without the help of all the volunteers who gave up their spare time on Sundays (and other days as well) to make this event so successful. The guys and girls who go out to provide rescue, often in freezing conditions; the Crew of the Start boat; the battery teams and race officers; the results team, and everyone else who supports..... a big thank you from everyone who took part. Results are available to download as a pdf below.

Last Sunday was a great sailing day with blue skies and moderate wind. There was a good turnout for the last race of the series with lots of different battles going on in all the fleets and of course prizes and honour at stake!!!

In the Laser Standard fleet there was, really, only going to be one winner. Gareth Flannigan had the series wrapped up well before the end but he kept focused and finished 3rd on the day which gave him the second series win. Colin Leonard made a welcome return to the racing and recorded first place last week sailing a faultless race. Chris Boyd continued his good form and was second with Gareth in 3rd. David Fletcher and Brian Spence were just behind in 4th and 5th with Trevor Patterson having his best result ever in the Icebreaker series in 6th place. (another to benefit from Bob's coaching sessions!)

That meant Gareth Flannigan was the winner of the second series with Chris Boyd in second and Hammy Baker in third.

The overall results for both Part A & B for the lasers were Gareth Flannigan in first, Chris Boyd second and David Fletcher third.

In the silver fleet Robin Moran finished 10th on Sunday which was enough to secure him first place in the Sliver Fleet. David Wilson didn't have his best afternoon and couldn't put much pressure on him so he finished 2nd overall. Paddy Brow got over excited at the start in his quest to catch Robin and was black flagged so he dropped back to 3rd overall in the silver fleet.

The Bronze fleet was won by Robert Kirk who finished 24th on Sunday but had enough of a cushion to protect his lead. Francis Kennedy was 2nd with Chris Escott in 3rd.

In the radials Suzanne Flannigan had her best race in this fleet to date and took the honours with Ryan Glynn in 2nd and Brian Bibby in 3rd. The second series was won by Ryan Glynn with Tim Brow in 2nd place and Jessica Rutherford in 3rd place.

The overall results for the Radial were 1st Ryan Glynn, 2nd Brian Bibby, 3rd Chris Eames.

The Topper fleet has a huge number of entrants although due to other commitments such as NI Squad training, many sailors couldn't attend all events. In the end, a new entrant Ben Martin managed to win Part 2 with a first in the final race - this is his first full season racing, having come from the BYC "Race Squad" last summer. Ben also managed second in the overall series with Tom Purdon winning with consistent finishes in both series, and Mark McDonough third.

The large dinghy fleet was dominated by RS400's in Part 2 filling the top 4 places with Mark McAllister from RNIYC coming first from BYC's Robin Flannigan, and Liam Donnelly. Also of note, BYC's Bob Espey (brother of Olympic hopeful Laser sailor James) who only purchased a RS400 half way through the series and has had to sail with a broken mast, finished off the last five races with two thirds and two firsts. The summer season will certainly be competitive. Wic McCready won the overall series in his K1 dinghy/keelboat.

In the multihull class, Adrian Allen showed his continued form winning Part 2 and the Overall series.

Ballyholme YC would like to thank StenaLine for their sponsorship of the event, and all the visiting competitors from clubs throughout Northern Ireland - 120 boats across 6 fleets and 22 races from the start of October until end March. The summer will seem much quieter in comparison.

As a post-script, Gareth Flannigan heads to the Laser Munsters this weekend with many other BYC members. Our next racing is the Dennis Finlay Memorial Trophy on 21st April for Lasers, and Opening Day is the following Saturday with a RUYC start line.

Garth Maxwell, Mark Mackey

Published in Racing

#ICEBREAKER – Last Sunday saw the conclusion of Part 1 of this year's Ballyholme Yacht Club "StenaLine" Icebreaker series. The event has been a great success so far with only 2 weekends un-sailable due to weather. The numbers have been huge with 44 Laser standards, 15 laser radials, 7 laser 4.7's and 28 Toppers as well as the large dinghy and multihull fleets - all regularly in contention. Report by Garth Maxwell and Rory Flannigan.

After a couple of windy races, the breeze died down over last weekend. In fact, we could have done with a bit more wind to keep active and warm. It was still a great days racing with the light westerly breeze shifting about which kept everyone on their toes.

The Laser fleet were a bit twitchy at the start and even with the "standard" black flag start a number of competitors were too keen to get an early advantage. Luckily our Race Officer Robin Gray couldn't identify the numbers so we were all brought back and given a second life. Behaviour improved for the next start and everyone got away unscathed. The first beat from the North East mark to the north West was tricky as the wind had dropped slightly and everyone was trying to work out which side of the course would be favoured. Keith storey grabbed the headlines as he was 2nd to the windward mark and maintained his good position through out the race. Keith eventually finished 5th overall which was a PB for him in this series. Gareth Flannigan Colin Leonard and David Fletcher were fighting it out for the overall title but Chris Boyd sailed the last beat in fine style to record his first bullet of the series. David Fletcher was 2nd with Gareth 3rd and Colin 4th on the day. So the overall winner of part A was Gareth Flannigan who finished 5 points clear of Colin Leonard. David Fletcher was 3rd with John Simms in 4th. Gareth was a worthy winner with 5 firsts in the series. He was pushed all the way by both Colin and David who put together a fine series.

The Silver fleet was won by Cavan Fynes who actually didn't need to sail in the last race to win. Cavan had some very strong finishes and this now moves him to the gold fleet for Part 2. Mike Kimber also sailed a very consistent series and was only 4 points behind Cavan. Trevor Patterson was 3rd in the silver fleet another 2 points behind Mike.

The Bronze fleet was won in fine style by Des Magee. Des finished 20th last Sunday and this was enough for him to keep ahead of Stephen Dobbs and Robert Kirk. The bronze fleet was highly competitive and if some guys had not had so many DNCs the results would have looked much different!!

The Radial fleet was missing a few of the key players. Ryan Glynn sailed well to get his second bullet in a row with Suzanne Flannigan recording her best result of the season in the radial in 2nd place.Sarah Eames was 3rd and Jennifer Whittaker in 4th. So it really was a day for the girls in this fleet. Chris Eames had done enough to win overall with Ryan Glyn pushing him really close in 2nd. Brian Bibby held on to take 3rd place from Sam Purdon.

There were more 4.7s on the water this week with Tim Brow getting first place, Michael Lewis in 2nd and Lucy Robinson getting 3rd. Craig Campbell had done enough to win but only by a point from Michael with Tim Brow in 3rd and Lucy Robinson in 4th overall and first girl in this fleet.

There were 10 boats afloat in the Topper Fleet this week, although we now have had . From the start there was closely fought action with Sam Wilkinson, Tom Purdon and Liam Glynn and Ben Martin fighting it out for the the top three places. Ben Martin showed the rest of the fleet how it's done by keeping the National Squad members on their feet! Weather suited the Toppers and they had a good clean sail round the course.

Overall, at the end of the first half of the icebreaker, Mark McDonough is 3rd, Liam Glynn is 2nd and in 1st place and winner of the Stena Line prize is Tom Purdon!

The Large Dinghy class was down on numbers this week. It was great to see the regulars out and about! Wic McCready got round the course so fast that he nearly finished with the multihulls! Our Rescue Captain, Rob Milligan, also had a terrific race! At the start all boats started with a 'country mile' as our race officer Robin Gray, would say. Over all, Wic McCready is leading the Large Dinghy Fleet at the end of this season.

The Multihull fleet has a nice wee jolt round the course with Adrian Allen having an excellent tack right on the starting line as the gun roared. It was good to see three boats out in this fleet. Maybe next season we will see more as its a fleet we all love to watch. Adrian Allen won this season and won the Stena Line prize.

A huge thanks goes to the Battery Hens and the Battery Rooster Jimmy McKee for all their hard work this half of the ice breaker! They have been excellent up in the battery, recording the results of the biggest sailing fleet in Northern Ireland.

We would further like to thank the BYC Rescue team, Rory Flannigan, Kyle Dougan, Tim Addy and Garvin Halliwell along with their many various weekly assistants such as Mia Taylor, Ive, Aiden Pounder, Dave Mullen. You have all been amazing!

The series ended with our traditional Icebreaker dinner at Ballyholme YC on Sunday night with the prize giving and Christmas fare.

We look forward to Part 2 of the series which starts on 29th January 2012 and are hoping to attract the growing RS400 fleet down from RNIYC (Cultra) for more fantastic racing. A few of our Masters have been missing in the Laser Standard fleet so hopefully we can get over 50 entries by the end.

Part 1 Winners:

Laser Standard - Gareth Flannigan BYC

Laser Silver Fleet - Cavan Fyans BYC

Laser Bronze - Stephen Magee BYC

Laser Radial - Chris Eames BYC

Laser 4.7 - Craig Campbell RNIYC

Small Dinghy/ Topper - Tom Purdon SLYC

Large Dinghy - Wiclif McCready BYC

Multihull - Adrian Allen BYC

Published in Belfast Lough
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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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