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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: Yachting

Barry Pickthall, the former yachting correspondent to The Times and Sunday Times newspapers, has been elected Chairman of the Yachting Journalist's Association which represents the interests of some 250 specialist media from as far afield as Ireland, Australia, Caribbean, China, Europe, Gulf States, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, and USA.

Barry takes over during challenging times for marine media with both the number of traditional magazine titles and circulation figures dipping, pay rates stagnating and the demand for copyright free pictures and footage on the increase.

It is not all bad news. Web sites and digital advertising are flourishing and demand for good video footage on the increase. TV viewing is also changing fast with viewers becoming much more selective over what they watch, using catch-up services rather than video recorders to view programmes they miss.

"The sport, and the way we present and watch it, is changing so fast that unless we adapt, we run the risk of being side-lined altogether." Says Barry Pickthall. "Journalists not only need to be masters of the pen, but produce good image and video content to promote what they have written, and for photographers and video cameramen, the role is reversed."

YJA members are being invited to provide valuable work experience for graduates, and the Association will be promoting their work in a competition to encourage budding media stars to get themselves in print.

In another major initiative, the YJA is also planning to introduce a new competition to promote the work of existing members to a world-wide audience.

The YJA has also refined its membership rules to allow Advertising and PR executives within the marine industry to join as associate members in order to widen the sphere and influence of the Association.

Membership of the Yachting Journalists' Association costs £40 per year and includes an Internationally recognised Press Card, a listing on the YJA website highlighting your specialist skills and contact details, and many other benefits.

Published in News Update
Tagged under

#Oyster - A fleet of 27 yachts from North America, South Africa and Western Europe - including Ireland - will take part in the 2013 Oyster World Rally, which sets off from Antigua in the West Indies tomorrow (6 January).

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the sailing brand, the launch from Nelson's Dockyard will mark the start of a "16-month odyssey of endless adventure" that will take the fleet all the way round the world via more than 30 ports of call.

After passing through the Panama Canal and into the Pacific, the rally will stop at the the Galapagos Islands, Marquesas, Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea.

From there the fleet will head to the Great Barrier Reef, round the top of Australia, partying in Bali and heading west for Cape Town in time for next Christmas, then on to Brazil for next year's carnival, before joining up for a final grand party with the Oyster Caribbean Regatta in April 2014.

And the Irish will be in the thick of the action, via the Oyster 885 'Lush' owned by Formula 1 pundit and sailing convert Eddie Jordan.

Oyster World Rally event manager Debbie Johnson said: “It is very exciting to finally be in Antigua getting ready for the start.

"So many sailors dream of sailing around the world and the camaraderie throughout the fleet is just fantastic."

Follow the progress of the fleet as the rally gets under way via the official website HERE.

Published in Sailing Events

#SEASICKNESS - A surprising 62% of crew members on board yachts taking part in the Global Challenge experienced seasickness at least once along the 27,000-mile route.

Those are the findings of a survey undertaken by Yachting World of the 223 crew involved in the latest edition of the wrong-way-round-the-world race, as magazine Yachting Monthly reports.

The survey focused on the penultimate leg of the race from Boston to La Rochelle in France. The majority of crew were declared to have no prior disposition to seasickness and were allocated on boats by various other criteria, making the results a "reflection of susceptibility among the population at large".

The results were staggering, with almost two-thirds of crew experiencing seasickness. Though the figures were mostly evenly distributed across the fleet, on one boat the vast majority of those on board were seasick.

Factors that appear to influence the rate of seasickness include age (those older than the peak age of 24 were less susceptible), gender (more women then men were seasick on average) and wind angle (seasickness was less common on downwind stretches).

The sample survey shows that 84% of crew were able to carry on working despite being seasick, but the remaining 16% - localised to a small number of boats - were incapacitated by vomiting and dry-heaving. Recovery time, however, was quick, with even the worst cases improvsing within five days.

Yachting Monthly has much more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
The first of the in-port races ahead of the Volvo Ocean Race start tomorrow in Alicante – and top Irish sailors are among the six teams competing.
Wexford’s Justin Slattery is on Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, which is competing in the race for the first time.
Skipper Ian Walker told Sail World: "Everything is ready and we can’t wait to line up against the other teams... The forecast is for strong breeze on Saturday so there will be extra pressure on the crew to get it right."
The team has another Ireland connection in its commercial director David Hassett, a veteran of the Irish yachting scene and backer of Ireland's Green Dragon team in the 2009 race.
Elsewhere, Kerryman Damian Foxall is a watch leader on Groupama, captained by debuting VOR skipper Franck Cammas - who last month received one of France's most prestigious sporting honours.
Meanwhile, the Chinese entry Team Sanya, which is part sponsored by Discover Ireland, is hoping skipper Mike Sanderson - who took Telefónica Blue to the podium at every stage in the 2009-09 race - can repeat his past successes.
In-port races take place in all 10 host ports along the 39,000-nautical-mile route, and as they account for more than 20% of the points, no team will be taking them easy.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, a delegation from Galway - hosts of the final stage of the race next summer - will be in Spain for a week of events beginning tomorrow ahead of the start of the race proper on 5 November.
Sail World has more on the story HERE.

The first of the in-port races ahead of the Volvo Ocean Race start tomorrow in Alicante – and top Irish sailors are among the six teams competing.

Wexford’s Justin Slattery is on Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, which is competing in the race for the first time.

Skipper Ian Walker told Sail World: "Everything is ready and we can’t wait to line up against the other teams... The forecast is for strong breeze on Saturday so there will be extra pressure on the crew to get it right."

The team has another Ireland connection in its commercial director David Hassett, a veteran of the Irish yachting scene and backer of Ireland's Green Dragon team in the 2009 race.

Elsewhere, Kerryman Damian Foxall is a watch leader on Groupama, captained by debuting VOR skipper Franck Cammas - who last month received one of France's most prestigious sporting honours.

Meanwhile, the Chinese entry Team Sanya, which is part sponsored by Discover Ireland, is hoping skipper Mike Sanderson - who took Telefónica Blue to the podium at every stage in the 2009-09 race - can repeat his past successes.

In-port races take place in all 10 host ports along the 39,000-nautical-mile route, and as they account for more than 20% of the points, no team will be taking them easy.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, a delegation from Galway - hosts of the final stage of the race next summer - will be in Spain for a week of events beginning tomorrow ahead of the start of the race proper on 5 November.

Sail World has more on the story HERE.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
Volvo Ocean Race skipper Franck Cammas has been presented with one of France’s most prestigious sporting honours.
The man in charge of the Groupama sailing was awarded the Grand Prix de l’Académie des Sports in Paris recently, recognising his achievements in sailing in 2010.
These included his skippering of the 100ft trimaran Groupama 3 non-stop around the world in a record-breaking in 48 days, 7 hours, 44 minutes and 52 seconds.
Cammas is only the fifth sailor to be presented with the award, following Whitbread Round the World Race skipper Eric Tabarly, 1983 America’s Cup winner John Bertrand, solo sailor Isabelle Autissier and Alinghi team principal Ernesto Bertarelli.
But Cammas isn't resting on his laurels, as he's currently preparing with his team to compete in the next Volvo Ocean Race kicking off next month.
He will lead a crew of 11 sailors on the 70ft monohull Volvo Open 70 Groupama 4 in the 39,000 nautical mile race - which is set to stop off in Galway next summer.
The action starts in Alicante, Spain on 29 October with the first in-port race. The first leg to Cape Town then begins on 5 November.

Volvo Ocean Race skipper Franck Cammas has been presented with one of France’s most prestigious sporting honours.

The man in charge of the Groupama sailing team was awarded the Grand Prix de l’Académie des Sports in Paris recently, recognising his achievements in sailing in 2010.

These included his skippering of the 100ft trimaran Groupama 3 non-stop around the world in a record-breaking in 48 days, 7 hours, 44 minutes and 52 seconds.

Cammas is only the fifth sailor to be presented with the award, following Whitbread Round the World Race skipper Eric Tabarly, 1983 America’s Cup winner John Bertrand, solo sailor Isabelle Autissier and Alinghi team principal Ernesto Bertarelli.

But Cammas isn't resting on his laurels, as he's currently preparing with his team to compete in the next Volvo Ocean Race kicking off next month.

He will lead a crew of 11 sailors - including Kerryman Damian Foxall - on the 70ft monohull Volvo Open 70 Groupama 4 in the 39,000 nautical mile race, which is set to conclude in Galway next summer and will also involve Wexford sailor Justin Slattery, who is in the crew for Team Abu Dhabi.

The action starts in Alicante, Spain on 29 October with the first in-port race. The first leg to Cape Town then begins on 5 November.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
UK and Ireland importers of J boats, Key Yachting Ltd are celebrating a good showing for both their J boats and Grand Soleil ranges in this week's Fastnet race. The UK firm has issued the following press statement capitalising on results to date:

The Key Yachting Fastnet Top Twenty – Grand Soleil 43 Codiam straight in at Number One

For those who love the Fastnet Race, and for many it is the highlight of the offshore season, the 2011 race has delivered on all counts. It has proved a hugely tactical race and competitors have fought for speed in a whole variety of conditions from 30 knots of breeze through to what was almost a complete shut-down in the pressure. Extraordinarily frightening for for some, gut wrenchingly frustrating for others, incredibly rewarding for those who got it right and extremely high-stress for many of the thousands and thousands of ‘virtual spectators’ who have spent the last five days perched on the edge of their office chairs watching the thrills and spills of the race online, whilst the UK economy grinds slowly upwind against the tide.

The fleet this year numbered well over 300 boats, one of the largest race entries on record. Of these, clients of Key Yachting, racing their J Boats and Grand Soleils made up a significant proportion, both in the fully crewed IRC Classes and also in the Double-Handed Class. Of course enormous credit is bestowed by the team at Key Yachting upon each and every skipper and crew member who arrived on the startline last Sunday to take part, irrespective of their choice of craft. However, one simply cannot fail but notice just how well the Js and Grand Soleils performed overall.

The huge numbers of entries, the massive variance in the type of craft taking part and the disparate sailing experience across the competing crews means that everyone who take part in this epic race can consider themselves a winner. Reviewing the race would be a dream job for any political spin doctor; it just depends on the angle of one’s approach. So, for our purposes here, let’s look at the top twenty overall. That’s the first twenty boats of the entire 300+ fleet under the most widely employed rating system in the world, IRC. In this top twenty, the number of Js and Grand Soleils was six, or put another way, 33% of the top twenty best performing crews in the Fastnet Race were sailing a J Boat or a Grand Soleil.

Topping the Key Yachting Fastnet Leaderboard is Codiam, the Grand Soleil 43 OT of Monsieurs Loday and Nicoleau.  Codiam was seventh overall under IRC, the best performing Grand Soleil in the race and they won Class IRC 1. This is a formidable racing team and this also happens to be their second consecutive win in IRC Class 1 on the Fastnet: they also took the bullet here in 2009. It’s hard enough to win, but even harder to do it twice. This is an absolutely amazing result.

The J/122 Nutmeg IV, owned and raced by Francois Lognone and his crew were the top J Boat overall in the Fastnet 2011. Another seasoned offshore campaigner, this is a well deserved and hard fought result for the French skipper and crew of this forty footer. Eighth overall translates to third in their class: IRC 2.

The Grand Soleil 43 OT, Quokka 8, the current UK IRC National Champion (having achieved eight straight wins around-the-cans back in July) used the Fastnet Race to prove that these beautiful Italian yachts are far more than one-trick ponies. Can they win inshore? Yes they can. How do they do offshore? Very well indeed: Quokka 8 was tenth overall in the Fastnet this year, a result which is all the more commendable because she was being sailed under charter by Philip Falle and his team from Sailing Logic. What a cracking job they did!

Another J/122, Neil Kipling’s Joopster crossed the finish line in very good shape indeed and dug straight in to the overall scores in fourteenth place, Yves Grosjeans’s bright red forty-three foot J/133 Jivaro was just a few steps behind in eighteenth place overall and Chaz Ivill’s Grand Soleil 54 John B closed the Key Yachting Fastnet Top Twenty.

Published in Fastnet
Tagged under
The largest, most diverse fleet of racing boats ever in offshore yachting set sail this morning in the Rolex Fastnet Race.
The biennial flagship event of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, a tradition since 1925, will take the fleet some 608 miles from Cowes on the Isle of Wight along the UK's south coast and across the Celtc Sea to Fastnet Rock off the Cork coastline, before returning past the Scilly Isles to the finish line at Plymouth.
An incredible 318 yachts are competing this year and they come in all shapes and sizes, from the 40m trimaran Maxi Banque Populaire to the 9.1m Rogers 30, Brightwork.
The majority of the fleet will be racing under the IRC for the Fastnet Challenge Cup, won by the crew that sails best to their rating. The weather will play a big part in this, as a fast start and slow finish favours bigger boats - so far today looks to be the opposite.
The 45-55 foot boats will surely provide the most competitive action, with past Fastnet winner Piet Vroon piloting his championship-leading Ker 46 Tonnere de Breskens towards another victory.
Fans of the Volvo Ocean Race will also be watching the race live tracker intently today, as this is one of the only times many of the competitors will line up together before the start of the round-the-world yachting challenge.
www.fastnet.rorc.org
Regatta News has more on the story HERE.

The largest, most diverse fleet of racing boats ever in offshore yachting set sail this morning in the Rolex Fastnet Race.

The biennial flagship event of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, a tradition since 1925, will take the fleet some 608 miles from Cowes on the Isle of Wight along the UK's south coast and across the Celtc Sea to Fastnet Rock off the Cork coastline, before returning past the Scilly Isles to the finish line at Plymouth.

An incredible 318 yachts are competing this year and they come in all shapes and sizes, from the 40m trimaran Maxi Banque Populaire to the 9.1m Rogers 30, Brightwork.

The majority of the fleet will be racing under the IRC for the Fastnet Challenge Cup, won by the crew that sails best to their rating. The weather will play a big part in this, as a fast start and slow finish favours bigger boats - so far today looks to be the opposite.

The 45-55 foot boats will surely provide the most competitive action, with past Fastnet winner Piet Vroon piloting his championship-leading Ker 46 Tonnere de Breskens towards another victory.

Fans of the Volvo Ocean Race will also be watching the race live tracker intently today, as this is one of the only times many of the competitors will line up together before the start of the round-the-world yachting challenge.

Regatta News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fastnet
You could be in the hot seat at next month's International Match Racing Challenge - provided you'e got €200 to spend.
 
The top-level entertainment package for the Royal St George Yacht Club's second annual event, set for the weekend of 23-24 July, will put yacht racing fans on board with a team "experiencing the thrills and tension of the race as it happens along with the competitors".
 
 
A spectator package - which will set fans back €100 - gives a bird's-eye view of all the racing in Scotsman's Bay "as well as the added bonus of firing the starting gun", according to the RSGYC.
 
The second International Match Race Challenge will see Ireland’s top six match racing teams go head to head against a world team consisting of six international crews from France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Ireland will be hoping to avenge their 36-29 loss to the world at last year's inaugural event.
 
Match Racing involves head-to-head racing between two identical boats over short 20 minute courses, with each boat having four crew members. At the end of the competition and after approximately 90 races, there will be an overall individual winner. In addition, the combined scores of the six Irish teams and the six international teams will deliver an overall team winner.

You could be in the hot seat at next month's International Match Racing Challenge - provided you'e got €200 to spend.

The top-level entertainment package for the Royal St George Yacht Club's second annual event, set for the weekend of 23-24 July, will put yacht racing fans on board with a team "experiencing the thrills and tension of the race as it happens along with the competitors".

A spectator package - which will set fans back €100 - gives a bird's-eye view of all the racing in Scotsman's Bay "as well as the added bonus of firing the starting gun", according to the RSGYC.

The second International Match Race Challenge will see Ireland’s top six match racing teams go head to head against a world team consisting of six international crews from France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Ireland will be hoping to avenge their 36-29 loss to the world at last year's inaugural event.

Match racing involves head-to-head racing between two identical boats over short 20 minute courses, with each boat having four crew members. At the end of the competition and after approximately 90 races, there will be an overall individual winner. In addition, the combined scores of the six Irish teams and the six international teams will deliver an overall team winner.

Package One
THE HOT SEAT
€200 per person
Experience the thrills and tension of the race as it happens aboard!

 

12:00 Meet and Greet in Club
12:30 Race Briefing and Intro to the Event
12:45 Light Lunch
13:30 Trip on Yacht around Dublin Bay
14:30 Arrive at Spectator area to watch racing
15:00 Hot Seat Race
16:15 Return to shore
16:30 BBQ and Drinks
Hot Seaters need to be prepared to get wet and be active!

Package Two
PURE SPECTATOR
€100 per person
Get a Bird's Eye view of all the action!

12:00 Meet and Greet in Club
12:30 Race Briefing and Intro to the Event
12:45 Light Lunch
13:30 Trip on Yacht around Dublin Bay
14:30 Arrive at Spectator area to watch racing
15:00 Step on Board the Starter's Boat and fire the Starting Gun
16:00 Return to shore
16:30 BBQ and Drinks

Published in RStGYC

Sailing was not the only activity that took place in Dublin Bay last Saturday as the Northern Lighthouse Board's (NLB) multi-function tender NLV Pharos was busy at work, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The NLB is the Scottish equivalent of the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL) and it is not unusual for such vessels to share work duties beyond their respective jurisdictions. The 84m NLV Pharos is equipped with dynamic positioning and a 30-tonne main crane on her 300m2 aft-deck.

Overall she is similar in appearance to Irish lights ILV Granuaile which is based out of Dun Laoghaire. The Irish Lights tender built in Romania in 2000 tends to operate more often off the west coast during the summer months due to the more favourable weather conditions.

The 1,300 (dwt) deadweight tonnes NLV Pharos yesterday returned to her base in Oban from her Irish duties. The west coast base was established in 1904 and is also homeport to the service's smaller NLV Pole Star which is equipped with an 18-tonne crane on her 90m2 aft deck.

The facility in 2000 underwent a £4.2 million redevelopment to turn a buoy yard into a multi functional support base which is computer-linked to the NLB headquarters in Edinburgh.

In addition Trinity House which maintains the service for England and Wales operate the tenders THV Galtea,THV Patricia and the fast-response craft THV Alert from their base in Harwich.

Trinity House forms the trio of the General Lighthouse Authorities (GLA) alongside NLB and CIL. Each member of the GLA co-operate in the allocation of vessel-tender deployment.

Asides the varied and critical role of the tasks performed by the GLA's tenders, they are also available for charter to third parties. Between them the tenders can conduct buoy and chain work, search and rescue, lighthouse re-fuelling, salvage and recovery, towing, hydrographic applications and ROV work.

Published in Lighthouses
For the future of yachting, look to the east - so says a roundtable of yacht captains hosted by The Triton.
"You've got to follow the money," said one captain at the open discussion. "And right now, the money is coming from Russia, China and South East Asia."
The group lamented that the influx of 'new money' has seen a loss of yachting traditions among owners, and an emphasis on status and interior style over boating performance.
One new skipper suggested that it was the captain's duty to teach novice owners about the traditions of yachting - such as just relaxing and enjoying the experience, rather than keeping to a strict schedule of activities.
Other trends the captains pinpointed for yachting's future include smaller crews with greater certification.
The Triton has more on the story HERE.

For the future of yachting, look to the east - so says a roundtable of yacht captains hosted by The Triton.

"You've got to follow the money," said one captain at the open discussion. "And right now, the money is coming from Russia, China and South East Asia."

The group lamented that the influx of 'new money' among those buying boats has seen a loss of yachting traditions among owners, and an emphasis on status and interior style over boating performance.

One new skipper suggested that it was the captain's duty to teach novice owners about the traditions of yachting - such as just relaxing and enjoying the experience, rather than keeping to a strict schedule of activities.

Other trends the captains pinpointed for yachting's future include smaller crews with greater certification.

The Triton has more on the story HERE.

Published in Offshore
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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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