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The Irish Laser Class Association (ILCA) has announced that its annual general meeting (AGM) will be held virtually on April 17th at 6:30 pm. The meeting will be followed by a live Q&A session with the ILCA representatives who will be competing at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.

The ILCA is the national governing body for Laser sailing in Ireland, and the AGM is an opportunity for members to discuss the association's progress and plans for the future. The meeting will cover a range of topics, including reports from the committee, financial updates, and proposed changes to the association's constitution.

After the AGM, Brendan Hughes, an experienced sailor and member of the ILCA, will host a live Q&A session with Finn Lynch and Eve McMahon, the two Irish Laser sailors who will be representing the country at the Paris Olympics.

Register in advance for this webinar below 

Click Here to Register

ILCA AGM Agenda 17th April 2024

More on the Irish efforts for the Paris Olympic sailing regatta here

Published in Laser
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Olympic ILCA 6 qualified Eve McMahon (Howth Yacht Club), the 2023 Irish Sailor of the Year, had the best result of the Irish Team at the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma, finishing 14th overall out of 114 boats after a 5th place finish on her final day of racing.

This marks significant progress for the 20-year-old Dublin sailor in her first full year of senior fleet sailing after qualifying for the Paris Olympics earlier this year at the ILCA 6 World Championships in Brazil.

Following some tricky conditions, Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club) earned their first Gold Fleet position of the season in the 49er fleet. They went on to finish the event in 23rd in what turned out to be one of the better performances of their campaign so far.

The National Yacht Club’s Finn Lynch completed the regatta in 21st after a testing final day with his highest score of the regatta. Fellow ILCA 7 sailor Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) concluded his regatta by gaining nine places on his final day of sailing, jumping from 38th to 29th overnight.

Read more from the 2024 Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma here and more on Eve McMahon here

Published in Eve McMahon
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On light-wind day four of the World Cup Series event at the 53 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mallorca, Irish competitors maintained their overall positions, with one day left to sail before the medal races on Saturday.

The light sea-breeze condition on the Bay Of Palma today proved especially testing for the giant fleet, and even many of the event leaders struggled to record consistently top finishes as the winds moved around in direction and pressure.

In the ILCA 7 men’s dinghy, after two general recalls, Britain’s Micky Beckett pushed too hard on the first start and landed a BFD [black flag disqualification]. However, his overall margin at the top of the Gold fleet is a very tidy 14 points over Germany’s past world champion Philipp Buhl.

Poised behind Buhl is Australian Olympic and world champion Matt Wearn, who is now 14 points behind the German. Buhl commented: "The winds were light and quite shifty, the wind strength pulsating, sometimes more, sometimes less, not rhythmic, difficult to predict. That's why I'm very happy with my results. On a day like today, there is about 30 to 40 per cent unpredictability. On normal days, it's more like 10 per cent. If you then manage to be alert and very focused you can determine the other 60 to 70 per cent."

The National Yacht Club's Paris-qualified Finn Lynch dropped moved up one to 14th after scoring a 21 and 26 in gold fleet races seven and eight.

Howth Yacht Club rival Ewan McMahon, who moved up from 40th to 26th on Wednesday, has dropped back to 38th.

ILCA 6

Australian Mara Stransky maintained her lead in the ILCA 6 women’s dinghy event, counting a 16th from the second race as Hungary’s European champion Maria Erdi proved the most consistent of the title contenders in another fleet which again saw many land one good result and one bad.

Ireland's Paris-qualified Eve McMahon of Howth Yacht Club has moved up two places overall to 20th.

49er

Poland’s Lukasz Przybytek and Jacek Piasecki made a vital move to the top of the 49er Skiff leaderboard. 

This regatta is a selection event for Poland’s Olympic team and Przybytek and Piasecki are strengthening their claim to the coveted Olympic ticket for Paris 2024 this summer. Ninth at Tokyo 2020, the duo are tied with Spain’s Diego Botín and Florian Trittel who were fourth at the last Games.

“Our race course was close to the shore and the left side paid all the time,” said Piasecki. “We got good starts and made four solid races. Last time here we just missed the Medal Race so this time we are aiming to make it, and then who knows? This and Hyères [Semaine Olympique Francaise] are our final trial events. We got a seventh at the Worlds but when it’s not based on points then it is always hard to say who will be selected.”

17, 20 scored by Royal Cork duo Seafra Guilfyole and Johnny Durcan moved them down one place to 25th overall. 

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Over 1,100 sailors from 75 countries have arrived in the Bay of Palma, Mallorca, Spain for the 53rd edition of the Trofeo Princess Sofia, which is set to run from April 1 until April 6. Among the participants are Irish sailors aiming for the Paris Olympic Games later this year.

In the ILCA 7 class, the National Yacht Club’s Finn Lynch, who is selected for Paris, and Howth’s Ewan McMahon (no longer an 'independent' campaigner but back on the national squad) will be competing against the top sailors in their class, striving for a podium place and testing their skills ahead of the summer’s major regattas.

Meanwhile, recently crowned Afloat Irish Sailor of the Year 2023, Eve McMahon, will represent Ireland in the ILCA 6 class. McMahon, who finished fourth at the U21 ILCA European Championships in Pollensa, Spain, last week, will be up against a strong fleet that includes current world champion Anne Marie Rindom from Denmark.

The Royal Cork duo of Seáfra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan, who are still in the running for the Irish berth in the 49er class for the Paris 2024 games, will be the only Irish 49er attending this event.

After spending their entire winter season training in Lanzarote, which has similar conditions to Palma, this regatta will serve as a good test for the pair. However, it is important to note that this World Cup will not stand as a test event for the Irish Olympic boat selection, led by Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove.

Both the men's and women's dinghies will have 10 races plus a medal race, while the men’s skiff will have 15 races plus a medal race.

A retiral in race nine of the 2024 Women's U21 European Championships dropped Ireland's Paris 2024 representative in the ILCA 6 class, Eve McMahon, off the podium. 

Just crowned Irish Sailor of the Year recovered four places overall but despite scoring a second in race ten missed the podium in today's final round of the 2024 Women's U21 European Championships in Mallorca.

The Irish girl, who will be Ireland's Paris 2024 representative in the ILCA 6 class, led the regatta most of the week, but a below-par performance on Thursday saw her relinquish her lead

The Howth Yacht Club sailor finished overall on 120 points in the 65-boat fleet.

Poland's  Lilly May Niezabitowska is the new 2024 ILCA 6 Under 21 European champion Photo: Thom TouwPoland's  Lilly May Niezabitowska is the new 2024 ILCA 6 Under 21 European champion Photo: Thom Touw

Overnight leader Lilly May Niezabitowska POL was finally crowned the new 2024 ILCA 6 Under 21 European champion, showing a solid performance during the whole week. By finishing nineteenth today and staying ahead of her closest competitor, Emma Mattivi from Italy, she successfully secured the Gold medal.

Spanish sailor Claudia Adan Lledo ESP had a fantastic conclusion to the championship, claiming first place in today’s race and climbing from third to second to earn the Silver medal.

Top 10 European sailors – ILCA 6

  1. Lilly May Niezabitowska POL 60 pt
  2. Claudia Adan Lledo ESP 83 pt
  3. Emma Mattivi ITA 95 pt
  4. Eve McMahon IRL
  5. Alina Shapovalova UKR
  6. Alice Ruperto ITA
  7. Ginevra Caracciolo ITA
  8. Marga Perello ESP
  9. Pia Conradi GER
  10. Alenka Valencic SLO
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Howth sailor Eve McMahon won the prestigious Irish Sailor of the Year, presented by Afloat Magazine this evening, Friday 22 March, at the Irish Sailing Awards in Howth Yacht Club, Co. Dublin.

Former Irish Sailing Youth Sailor Awardee Eve was nominated following a phenomenal 2023, which saw her progress from junior to senior competition, and she won the under-21 World Championships in Tangiers, Morocco.

Eve McMahon will join Finn Lynch at the 2024 Paris Olympics this summer, with the 49er team still to be decided.

The Irish Sailing Youth Sailor of the Year Award went to Ben O’Shaughnessy and Ethan Spain of the Royal Cork Yacht Club and the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire, respectively. Ben and Ethan are current 29er European champions and secured the bronze medal at the Youth Sailing World Championships. They are also the Irish National champions and brought home a silver medal at the British Nationals.

CEO of Irish Sailing, Tim Bourke, said, “We are thrilled to have such a wealth of talent represented and celebrated here tonight. Sailor of the Year Eve McMahon’s hugely successful progression from youth to adult sailor is an encouraging reflection of Irish Sailing athlete development and, when you couple that with the amazing achievements of Youth Sailors Ben and Ethan, it gives us a lot to be hopeful about for both this summer and the future of Irish Sailing on the international stage. We are also delighted to have another ten awards representing commitment and success across the many activities of our sport and the recognition of all nominees from the sailing community in these awards is something we can all be proud of.”

Galway Bay Sailing Club took home the popular Irish Sailing Club of the Year award, having been nominated as the winner of the West Region. The two other nominees were Howth Yacht Club (East Region winners) and Bantry Sailing Club (winner of the South Region).

Catherine O’Brien of Dungarvan Harbour Sailing Club won the Irish Sailing Cruise of the Year for her inspirational approach to taking up the sport of sailing.

Leonie Conway from Sailing into Wellness won the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Award for her work on programmes that catered nationwide to those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Volunteer of the Year went to Aisling Gillen of Sligo Yacht Club and Senior Instructor of the Year Award went to Sophie Crosbie of Royal Cork Yacht Club.

This year’s Awards included three new categories – Class of the Year won by Irish Laser Class Association, Secondary School of the Year was won by St Andrew’s College in Dublin whose sailing programmes puts up to 250 student sailors on the water annually and the Woman on the Water Award won by Aideen Kilkelly of the Galway Hookers Sailing Club.

The Irish Sailing Training Centre of the Year Award went to Irish Offshore Sailing for their programme of offshore races such as The Round Ireland race, The Fastnet Race and The Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race.

The Irish Sailing President’s Award was given to Ailbe Millerick and Eunice Kennedy for their lifetime contribution to the development of Team Racing in Ireland at both school and university level.

Full list of winners at the 2023 Irish Sailing Awards, 22 March 2024

Irish Youth Sailor of the Year
Ben O’Shaughnessy & Ethan Spain, Royal Cork Yacht Club & National Yacht Club

Irish Sailing Cruiser of the Year
Catherine O’Brien, Dungarvan Harbour Sailing Club

Irish Sailing Training Centre of the Year
Irish Offshore Sailing

Irish Sailing Senior Instructor of the Year
Sophie Crosbie, Royal Cork Yacht Club

Irish Sailing Class of the Year
International Laser Class Association

Irish Sailing Volunteer of the Year
Aisling Gillen, Sligo Yacht Club

Irish Sailing Secondary School of the Year
St Andrew’s College, Dublin

Irish Sailing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Award
Leonie Conway, Sailing into Wellness

Irish Sailing Club of the Year
Galway Bay Sailing Club

Woman on the Water Award
Aideen Kilkelly, Galway Hookers Sailing Club

Irish Sailor of the Year presented in association with Afloat Magazine
Eve McMahon, Howth Yacht Club

Irish Sailing President’s Award
Ailbe Millerick & Eunice Kennedy

Published in Eve McMahon

A retiral in race nine of the 2024 Women's U21 European Championships dropped Ireland's Paris 2024 representative in the ILCA 6 class, Eve McMahon, off the podium in Mallorca this afternoon.

The Irish girl led the regatta most of the week, but a below-par performance on Thursday saw her relinquish her lead

The Howth Yacht Club sailor is lying eighth overall on 120 points in the 65-boat fleet, with the final race to sail on Saturday.

The day started with a two hours postponement onshore due to lack of wind. Sailors were only called to the water for their first race of the day at 13:10, with a 10-knot breeze blowing from the East.

All three fleets had a clear start and commenced racing consecutively. However, the breeze gradually diminished, leading the Race Committee to shorten the course. Only the ILCA 6 fleet completed the original course, with the first boat crossing the finish line after 59 minutes.

Polish sailor Lilly May Niezabitowska continues to show a solid performance. She further extended the lead over her nearest rival by finishing eighth today in the single race.

As the competition enters its final day on Saturday, she now holds 41 points, a significant 31 points fewer than the second-placed Emma Mattivi ITA from Italy.

Spanish sailor Claudia Adan Lledo ESP is also well-placed for the final day with 82 points and benefiting from a lower discard (30 points compared to Emma’s 45 or Lilly’s 38).

Alice Ruperto ITA (2nd today) and Marga Perello ESP complete the provisional Top 5 with 97 and 99 points, respectively.

European Top 10 after 9 races

Lilly May Niezabitowska POL 41 pt
Emma Mattivi ITA 72 pt
Claudia Adan Lledo ESP 82 pt
Alice Ruperto ITA 97 pt
Marga Perello ESP 99 pt
Ginevra Caracciolo ITA 109 pt
Alina Shapovalova UKR 111 pt
Eve McMahon IRL 120 pt
Pia Conradi GER 122 pt
Linda Dokoupilova CZE 127 pt

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Ireland's Paris 2024 representative in the ILCA 6 class, Eve McMahon (47-33-12), relinquished her lead in the 2024 Women's U21 European Championships after eight races sailed in Mallorca on Thursday after maintaining the top position since the start of the regatta.

A below par performance in the afternoon races pushed the Howth Yacht Club sailor down to third place with 72 points in the 65-boat fleet. The new leader is Polish sailor Lilly May Niezabitowska POL (5-2-38) with 33 points, precisely half of the total points held by her closest competitor, Emma Mattivi ITA (44-6-1), who now sits in second place.

Spanish representatives Claudia Adan Lledo ESP (10-7-30) and Marga Perello ESP (24-50-13) complete the top 5 with 75 and 80 points respectively.

Winds fluctuating between 7 to 12 knots facilitated the addition of three new races across all three fleets, bringing the total to eight.

The day witnessed a mix of highs and lows within the fleets, resulting in some shifts at the top of the championship standings.

As the competition enters its final day on Saturday, the current provisional leaders stand as follows:

European Top 10 after eight races

  1. Lilly May Niezabitowska POL 33 pt
  2. Emma Mattivi ITA 66 pt
  3. Eve McMahon IRL 72 pt
  4. Claudia Adan Lledo ESP 31 pt
  5. Marga Perello ESP 25 pt
  6. Alice Ruperto ITA 95 pt
  7. Ginevra Caracciolo ITA 96 pt
  8. Alina Shapovalova UKR 99 pt
  9. Irene de Tomas Perello ESP 103 pt
  10. Pia Conradi GER 107 pt
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Ireland's Paris 2024 representative in the ILCA 6 class, Eve McMahon, continues to lead the 2024 Women's U21 European Championships after five races sailed in Mallorca on Wednesday, but Poland's Lilly May Niezabitowska has whittled the Irish woman's margin down to just one point in some fickle winds at Reial Club Nautic Port de Pollensa.

As with previous days, proceedings began with a shore postponement. However, once on the water, all three fleets successfully commenced and completed their initial races of the day before the wind subsided.

Reigning ILCA 6 Women’s Under 21 World Champion McMahon of Howth Yacht Club is on 14 points, after one discard applied, with Niezabitowska on 15 and third-placed Marga Perello of the host nation on 25 in the 65-boat fleet.

A second Irish sailor, Lucy Ives, lies 51st.

This year’s event has attracted 202 sailors, 137 of whom compete in ILCA 7 and 65 in ILCA 6. They represent 36 nations, including 28 from Europe.

Racing continues until Friday.

European Top 10 after five races

  1. Eve McMahon IRL 14 pt
  2. Lilly May Niezabitowska POL 16 pt
  3. Marga Perello ESP 25 pt
  4. Helena Wolff DEN 28 pt
  5. Claudia Adan Lledo ESP 31 pt
  6. Ginevra Caracciolo ITA 31 pt
  7. Emma Mattivi ITA 32 pt
  8. Alina Shapovalova UKR 40 pt
  9. Pia Conradi GER 48 pt
  10. Adriana Castro Nuñez ESP 56 pt
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Friday evening’s announcement of the Irish Sailor of the Year 2023 title for 19-year-old Eve McMahon at her sailing home of Howth Yacht Club well captures the zeitgeist of mid-2020s Ireland, not least in the fact that the title holder was away, wrapping up at the U21 Europeans in Mallorca.

Be that as it may, the announcement’s location was significant, for the geography of the Howth peninsula is such that Howth YC is willingly accepted as one of the semi-island’s main community centres. And in the bigger picture, gender equality has long been such a comfortably-accepted attitude in modern Irish sailing that it is no longer a matter of comment when female sailors win, whereas exceptional performance - from whatever quarter it may come - is always a package of fresh good news, to be celebrated with renewed enthusiasm.

It’s 2022, and Eve’s upward trajectory continues with Gold in the ILCA Youth Worlds.It’s 2022, and Eve’s upward trajectory continues with Gold in the ILCA Youth Worlds

For after all, in the development of female sailing, it is eight years since Annalise Murphy of Dun Laoghaire won Ireland our first Olympic sailing medal in Rio in 2016. It is 90 years since Elizabeth Crimmins of Cork Harbour was the first female awardee in 1934 of the Irish Cruising Club’s premier trophy, the Faulkner Cup - introduced only three years earlier in 1931 - and it subsequently went to Daphne French in 1939, while the two most recent female awards have both been for Maire Breathnach of Dungarvan for a circumnavigation of South America in 2004, and Arctic voyaging in 2017.

DUBLIN BAY’S SKILLED HELMSWOMEN

And well beyond all that, all of 140 years ago, the skilled helmswomen racing against the men within the Dublin Bay Water Wag OD class achieved such success and fame that they featured in the top sailing magazines of the day.

Yet even putting aside any notion of possible gender bias in either direction, the adjudicators – aided but not entirely dictated by the voting patterns on the Afloat.ie website at year’s end – had to maintain a special discipline in adhering to the 12-month year, when the reality is that international sailors at the McMahon level are operating on a year-round schedule.

An exceptional sailing talent from a supportive and very talented family – Eve is welcomed home to Dublin Airport by herparents Vicky & Jim after another international successAn exceptional sailing talent from a supportive and very talented family – Eve is welcomed home to Dublin Airport by herparents Vicky & Jim after another international success

Thus the decision was already clearly emerging even as the news came in on 10th January that she had qualified for the 2024 Paris/Marseille Olympics with her placing in the ILCA Worlds in Argentina. But the calendar reality is such that the deciding factor in Eve McMahon’s award of the Irish Sailor of the Year 2023 title came in October 2023 in a breezy Tangiers in Morocco for the ILCA U21 Worlds.

CLEAR WORLD TITLE

She was virtually out of sight in front on the leaderboard as the conclusion of the series approached when a capsize while in third place in the race of the day, approaching the line in extreme conditions, had the theoretical potential to lose the title. It was now that she fulfilled the Hemingway definition of courage as being “Grace Under Pressure”. She retrieved the situation in such smooth and unflustered style that she still finished eighth in a very demanding race, leading on to a remarkable clear overall win of the World Title by 14 points.

REVEALING THE BACKGROUND

This transcript of the interview with Cormac Farrelly, Hon. Communications Officer with Howth Yacht Club, gives some idea of the circumstances needed to support achievement at this level;

Putting it in context. HYC Communications Officer Cormac Farrelly interviewing Eve McMahonPutting it in context. HYC Communications Officer Cormac Farrelly interviewing Eve McMahon

Cormac HYC: I'm here with Eve McMahon in Howth Yacht club. Eve is the under 21 world champion for the ILCA6 class. Eve, let me dial you back to 2022. It started, I think, with you winning the Youth Europeans, then it was the youth worlds in The Hague, and then finally you were crowned ILCA 6 youth world champion in Texas. As far as I know, no other sailor, male or female, managed to do “The Triple”, winning all three championships in the one season. Tell us a little bit about what that was like.

Eve McMahon: Yes, it was an incredible year. There was a lot of hard work put into it and I suppose with support, a lot of people don't see the behind the scenes work that it takes to be on the podium and to be winning gold medals. And they don't really see the highs and the lows. So I just had to put my absolute all into the events. And I obviously had my Leaving Cert to sit, which was just a week before, but I just went into the events knowing that I did the most preparation that I could do. And I really just had to let the work, the hard work, kind of speak for itself. And to come out with three gold medals, it was absolutely incredible and a moment that will kind of always stick with me and it'll always make me very proud. But sport moves on and I'm coming up now with hopefully some bigger and better goals that I'm trying to work towards.

Cormac HYC: 2022 was obviously an amazing year, but then this year you had to step up a class. So you went from youth division up to senior division. And I know the expectations are huge and it's not an easy transition. So tell us a little bit about that.

Howth Yacht Club is very proud of its star sailor – this large poster has been up on the club’s West Wall since November 2023Howth Yacht Club is very proud of its star sailor – this large poster has been up on the club’s West Wall since November 2023

Eve McMahon: Yes, so I have actually been competing in the youth, the under 21 and the senior division since I was 15. I did my first senior event in Australia. I went out to Australia for three months for the senior world championships. So I was really just trying to get all the experience that I can get from all the Olympic girls. So that was a huge stepping stone for me. But to be able to transition in and to be winning and being tipped as a known entity is really amazing

Cormac HYC: Many of us were watching you back in Tangiers in Morocco, and my recollection is that there were eight days of grueling racing. You're there on the last day, the last race, everything is up for grabs. You're very well positioned to become the ILCA 6 Under 21 World Champion, and then you capsize! What was going through your mind when that happened?

Eve McMahon: Listen, we're doing twelve races in a series and every race, it really can't be perfect when we're dealing with Mother Nature. So that's why we do so many training hours, to deal with those situations that go wrong and the adrenaline just kicks in and you just really had to get the boat back up quick. And I knew, although I wasn't looking at the results, I had somewhat of a comfortable lead, but there definitely was still a bit of panic. But that's sport. Things go wrong. So I really just had to get the boat back up quickly and finish right.

Cormac HYC: You're obviously very good at handling pressure! OK - I have to ask you about the Olympics. So I think it's no secret that your ambition was to get the nomination for Ireland, ILCA 6, for Los Angeles, 2028. But what about Paris 2024? Is that now a possibility?

Eve McMahon: Paris for sure. Listen, it's one of my ultimate goals to qualify for Paris. And as much as winning gold medals at youth and Under 21 are huge achievements for myself, they're for sure stepping stones for qualifying for Paris. So I'm heading off to Argentina. That's where I'll be while this whole awards (HYC Achiever’s awards) is taking place, and I'll be racing to the best of my ability and I'm loving absolutely every minute of it. And I'm really proud to be representing Howth.

Cormac HYC: Super. Just wrapping up on last year, you were Irish Sailor of the year. You were nominated twice by RTE for Young Sportsperson Of The Year… and now, which we're very proud of, you are the winner of the Howth Yacht Club 2023 Achiever Award for international sailing. I mean all of us in the club here are so proud of all your achievements to date, and you're such an inspiration, especially for the younger sailors. Can I ask you what it means to you to have won the Achievers award?

Eve McMahon: It really is huge to me and I really want to thank Howth Club for their continued support. I go out into international regattas and I really am proud to be representing Howth Yacht Club. This is where I grew up to sail with my two brothers when I was five or six, and it's just a fantastic club to represent while I'm away and I really want to thank everybody for their support. And, yes, I'm absolutely delighted to win and I'm really, really looking forward to hopefully representing Howth Yacht Club at the highest level.

OLYMPIC QUALIFICATION

That aspiration to make it to the highest level was fulfilled on 10th January, and as men’s ILCA Olympic-selected Finn Lynch has so pithily out it, securing the Olympic qualification is “like getting a monkey off your back”. The concentration pattern can be more comfortably re-focused, as Ireland now has three places in the Paris Olympics sailing events at Marseille from July 28th to August 8th this summer in the form of Eve McMahon (Howth YC, Women’s ILCA), Finn Lynch (National YC, Men’s ILCA), and Rob Dickson & Sean Waddilove (Howth YC, Lough Ree YC & Skerries SC, currently front-runners for Men’s 49er).

FINGAL OLYMPIC SAILING TEAM?

From that listing, it’s irresistible to avoid pointing out that the old Viking territory of Fingal – still often thought of by uncouth Southsiders as North Dublin - could comfortably mount its own Olympic Sailing Challenge if we so wished. But we’re generous folk up here in the old longship lands, and if you chuck in Finn Lynch from Bennekerry in the lovely lands of Carlow - though now sailing under the NYC flag - we’ll obligingly concede it’s the Irish Olympic Sailing Team, while reminding you that it was our own Laura Dillon who was the first female winner of the Helmsman’s Championship back in 1996, yet reassuring you that last night’s display of peak peninsular pride out Howth way was just a matter of TGIF gone mad.

Fingal County Hall in Swords. It’s beginning to look as though Fingal could mount it own Olympic Sailing Team, for in addition to the qualified Eve McMahon, the former Viking territory has Rob Dickson of Howth and Sean Waddilove of Skerries currently topping the rankings for the Irish slot in the Men’s 49er, having secured the position for Ireland in the first place.Fingal County Hall in Swords. It’s beginning to look as though Fingal could mount it own Olympic Sailing Team, for in addition to the qualified Eve McMahon, the former Viking territory has Rob Dickson of Howth and Sean Waddilove of Skerries currently topping the rankings for the Irish slot in the Men’s 49er, having secured the position for Ireland in the first place

Since getting the Olympic OK, the finalisation of the ultimate goal sees fresh priorities and future prospects taking centre stage. Nevertheless it was timely to reflect on Eve McMahon’s extraordinary sailing ability as demonstrated during 2023, for it’s at such a level that you would think that the ILCA had been expressly designed for her to show her talents, which amount to genius.

Away from the glamour of national ceremonies, Eve McMahon continues her demanding output of world class performanceAway from the glamour of national ceremonies, Eve McMahon continues her demanding output of world class performance

That she is doing this at age 19 is remarkable, but it reflects the fact that she is from a keen sailing and maritime-minded family with a mutually supportive attitude, within an environment where boats are a completely normal part of life and living. It’s a sea-minded world in Howth where this weekend is rightly a time for celebration. But on Monday, Marseille on Sunday, July 28th will resume its position as the ultimate target.

A major awards ceremony may have been scheduled for her home club, but Eve McMahon had to be in Mallorca for the ILCA 6 U21 Euros, and in the lead tooA major awards ceremony may have been scheduled for her home club, but Eve McMahon had to be in Mallorca for the ILCA 6 U21 Euros

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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

Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition

Where is the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition being held? Sailing at Paris 2024 will take place in Marseille on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea between 28 July and 8 August, and will feature Kiteboarding for the first time, following a successful Olympic debut in 2018 at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. The sailing event is over 700 km from the main Olympic Games venue in Paris.

What are the events? The Olympic Sailing Competition at Paris 2024 will feature ten Events:

  • Women’s: Windsurfing, Kite, Dinghy, Skiff
  • Men’s: Windsurfing, Kite, Dinghy, Skiff
  • Mixed: Dinghy, Multihull

How do you qualify for Paris 2024?  The first opportunity for athletes to qualify for Paris 2024 will be the Sailing World Championships, The Hague 2023, followed by the Men’s and Women’s Dinghy 2024 World Championships and then a qualifier on each of World Sailing’s six continents in each of the ten Events. The final opportunity is a last chance regatta to be held in 2024, just a few months before the Games begin.

50-50 split between male and female athletes: The Paris 2024 Games is set to be the first to achieve a 50-50 split between male and female athletes, building on the progress made at both Rio 2016 (47.5%) and Tokyo 2020 (48.8%). It will also be the first Olympic Games where two of the three Chief roles in the sailing event will be held by female officials,