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Rio 2016
Annalise Murphy is relishing the windy conditions in Melbourne
Annalise Murphy's heavy air prowess is to the fore at Sail Melbourne this week where the Rio Olympic silver medalist is enjoying her second regatta since her return to the Radial for a Tokyo 2020 bid. The National Yacht Club's…
Chris Lindsay - An International Technical Official (ITO) for the Tokyo Olympics
Irish Sailing National and International Judge Chris Lindsay of Carrickfergus Sailing Club on Belfast Lough has been appointed as an International Technical Official (ITO) for the Tokyo Olympics. Not only will Chris be the only Irish race official in Tokyo,…
J/109s in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in Dublin Bay. Racing in Irish and nearby waters keeps the budget manageable, but aspirations to international competition and Olympic participation immediately activate a built-in travel cost before any further expenditure is taken into account
It is still possible to sail in Irish waters in your own cruiser-racer without involving enormous expense. You just have to be prepared to do it in a boat of economical size which is far from being the newest available.…
Annalise Murphy competing at the Australian Laser Radial National Championships in Melbourne. Photograph: John West/Sail Melbourne Annalise Murphy competing at the Australian Laser Radial National Championships in Melbourne
Rio Olympic silver medallist Annalise Murphy marked her return to the Laser Radial with some reliable performances at the Australian National Championships in Melbourne this week. Her scoresheet included a race win as David O'Brien reports in this morning's Irish…
Radial racing on day one at Sandringham
Rio Silver Medalist Annalise Murphy is recording some encouraging results at the Australian Laser National Championships this weekend. In one of her first major regattas since returning to the Laser last September, in a bid for the Irish Tokyo slot,…
Oisin McClelland from Donaghdee competing in Melbourne
Josh Junior has become the first Kiwi to ever win the Finn Gold Cup after an epic medal race in Melbourne, Australia. Nick Heiner, from The Netherlands, took silver while 2018 world champion, Zsombor Berecz took bronze. Ireland was represented…
Tokyo Olympic campaigner Oisin McClelland
Christmas only comes once a year, but for one Finn sailor Christmas will come early this year, with one of the most prestigious and famous trophies in sailing there for the taking over the next six days at the 2019…
Ireland is in the fight for the last Euro 49er spot next Easter
Ireland face an uphill battle to qualify the 49er for the 2020 Olympics at the Genoa World Cup event next Easter. That’s if the form over the last 12 months is the yardstick by which to judge Ireland’s chances at…
Robert Dickson and Sean Waddiove racing in gold fleet in Auckland
Despite a bravo performance by young Dublin skiff sailors who finished in the top quarter of the 88-boat fleet, an Irish Tokyo 2020 berth was not secured in Auckland today. Four European countries were selected this week in a championship…
Robert Dickson (Howth YC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) in action in Auckland
Another three top ten results scored in the gold fleet of the 49er World Championships for Dubliners Robert Dickson (Howth YC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) moved the pairing up to 19th overall in Auckland Harbour today. It's been this week's…
Robert Dickson (Howth YC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) competing in Auckland
Plucky World Under 23 bronze medallists Robert Dickson (Howth YC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) are now 24th overall in the world championship and Olympic qualifier in New Zealand with two days of racing left to sail. As they chase…
49er World Championship Gold Fleet Success for Dickson & Waddilove, Seaton & Guilfoyle in Silver
In only their third-ever appearance at a  senior event, World Under 23 bronze medallists Robert Dickson (Howth YC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) have qualified for the 49er World Championships Gold fleet after a high stakes day in Auckland Harbour…
Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle in Auckland
Some consistent scoring from Ireland's two 49er skiff teams on day two of the 49er World Championships in Auckland harbour sees Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle lead the Irish quest for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Regatta qualification. Day two saw lighter…
A yellow race start at the 49er World Championships in Auckland today. See video below.
A race win in breezy conditions for Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove was the best possible start for the Howth Yacht Club and Skerries duo who are one of two Irish teams trying to qualify Ireland this week at the…
Aisling Keller of Lough Derg in action in Japan
November is stock-taking time in a pre-Olympic year with the international championship programme about to get under way in the Southern Hemisphere, and the review of Irish Olympic hopefuls during the 2019 season shows that it was Aisling Keller of…
Irish 49ers practice in New Zealand
Two Irish 49er crews aiming to qualify Ireland for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games face a stern test when the 49er World Championship series gets underway next week (evening of Monday 2nd December 2019 Irish time). Four nation places for next…

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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