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Rio 2016
‘Breeze queen’ Annalise Murphy takes off in day one’s racing last Friday
The National Yacht Club’s Annalise Murphy held her lead over the 41-boat fleet to claim the Laser Radial open class title in the final racing of Italian Olympic Week at Follonica. Murphy’s third place finish yesterday (Sunday 20 September) was…
Finn Lynch (on port tack) on his way to seventh overall in Follonica, Italy
Two of Ireland's three Olympic men's Laser campaigners finished in the top ten of the Italian Olympic Week fleet today even though they didn't manage to sail the final race in Follonica. Howth's Ewan McMahon closed the gap on the…
Ireland's Liam Glynn and Ewan McMahon raft up with competitors as they wait for wind in Follonica today at Italian Olympic Week
The Irish Laser men who are in a three-way battle for 2021's single Tokyo Olympic berth resumed their fight after the COVID hiatus at Italian Olympic week in Follonica this weekend.  With six races sailed, the National Yacht Club's Finn…
Annalise Murphy blasting into the lead on the opening day of Italian Olympic Week at Follonica
Rio Olympic silver medalist Annalise Murphy continues her preparations for Tokyo 2021 with an overall lead at the Italian Olympic Classes Championships at Follonica.  In a 41-boat Laser Radial fleet, the Irish star remains at the top of the leaderboard on…
Under 23 duo Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove were top Irish 49er performers in Kiel last weekend
The first European 49er test after COVID has produced some important markers for both Irish men's skiff teams at Kiel, Germany last weekend, not least the fact that it was the Under 23 duo Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove that came out…
Susan Glenny and Conor Fogerty raced at the Eurosaf Mixed Offshore event in Italy
France has claimed the inaugural European Mixed Offshore Title in Italy in which Ireland's Conor Fogerty and Susan Glenny made their debut in the L30 keelboat but unfortunately did not finish the one race event.  Fogerty says he is still…
Charlotte Dobson and Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey (right) took bronze 49erFX bronze in Kiel as part of their build-up to Tokyo 2021
Dun Laoghaire Harbour skiff sailor Saskia Tidey of the Royal Irish Yacht Club was part of a four medal haul for Britain's Olympic Team GB at Kiel in Germany last weekend.  The British Sailing Team returned an impressive four medals…
A Laser Radial start at Kiel Week
There was no further improvement for Irish sailing star Annalise Murphy after her special run of three race wins in the women's Laser Radial class in strong winds last Friday at Kieler Woche Regatta. As Afloat reported previously, Ireland's Olympic silver medalist started…
Annalise Murphy has won four race wins from nine starts at Kiel Week so far
With four race wins from nine sailed so far, Annalise Murphy, Ireland’s only sailor qualified for Tokyo 2021, might have been expecting a better overall placing than a tenth at Kiel week in Germany this week.  However, the scoresheet speaks…
Dun Laoghaire skiff sailor Saskia Tidey (left) competing at Kiel Week
Dun Laoghaire Harbour skiff sailor Saskia Tidey of the Royal Irish Yacht Club has resumed her GBR campaign for Tokyo 2021 at Kiel Week in Germany this weekend and is lying third overall with Scottish partner Charlotte Dobson from the…
Belfast and Cork combination of double Olympian Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle (left) at a Kiel Week Race Start
Two Irish Tokyo rivals both now in the hunt for one of the final European Olympic berths have resumed their battle after COVID at a scaled-down Kiel Week Regatta 2020, in northern Germany this week. With two races left to…
Annalise Murphy is back in action at Kiel Week, Germany  She is pictured here in Melbourne on her vway to 12th overall at the World Championships
Annalise Murphy, Ireland's only qualified sailor for Tokyo 2021, is entered for this week's Kiel Week. The massive German Regatta marks her return to international competition since the outbreak of COVID. Regular Afloat readers will know that the Olympic programme…
Oisin McClelland
Irish Tokyo 2021 solo campaigner, 27-year-old Donaghadee Sailing Club member Oisin McClelland has clinched a personal best, claiming 23rd spot at the Finn European Championships at Gdynia in Poland. The event ran from 1st to 6th September and was the…
Ciara Peelo carries the tricolour for the Irish Olympic team at the Beijing 2008 opening ceremony
Today is the day athletes from around the world would have been celebrating the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at the opening ceremony, writes Gail McAllister. In many ways it marks the culmination of lifelong dreams, for 2020 the…
Annalise Murphy is qualified for Tokyo 2021
Annalise Murphy's bid for Tokyo Gold got a boost today with the Olympic Federation of Ireland announcement of details of its 2020 discretionary funding packages and sailing rewarded with the biggest handout. The Olympic silver medalist from Rio is the…
Annalise Murphy - Sailing's Rio Olympic silver medalist
What’s behind your Olympic dream? That’s the question that the Olympic Federation of Ireland asked Olympic silver medalist Annalise Murphy in this video (below) to celebrate Olympic Day today. Irish Sailing nominated Murphy for Tokyo 2021 this month and Ireland's…

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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