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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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For ILCA sailors Easter always means the Munster Championships in Baltimore Sailing Club in West Cork. Despite the early Easter this year the Munster Championships lived up to all expectations, with nearly a hundred boats travelling from around the country, all three ILCA fleets were very well represented.

Saturday brought a fresh Southerly 18 to 22 knots, with a rolling swell entering the harbour from below the beacon. Race Officer Ciaran McSweeney laid a trapezoid course with ILCA 4 and 6 racing on the inner loop and ILCA 7 on the outer loop. Three races were planned for each day, with an option of a fourth on day one. For once, all fleets got off the line without a general recall, which is a testament to an excellent course and line set by McSweeney’s team.

In the ILCA 4, Patrick Foley got off to a great start with 1, 1, 5. Riona McMorrow Moriarty was not far behind with a consistent 3,3,3 and Caoilinn McDonnell was in the mix with 4, 6, 1.

In the ILCA 6 Bobby Driscoll was untouchable with three bullets, close behind was Lewis Thompson 5,2,2 and Sam LeDoux 3,4,3. Hugh Delap led the Masters division with 11,10,11 and Philip Doherty lay second with14,13,13.

Royal St. George sailors from Dublin Bay preparing for day two of the ILCA Munster Championships in Baltimore, West CorkRoyal St. George sailors from Dublin Bay preparing for day two of the ILCA Munster Championships in Baltimore, West Cork

Tom Coulter and Fiachra McDonell were battling it out at the front of the ILCA 7 fleet after their recent return from the U21 European Championships. Tom scored a 2,1,1. Fiachra was not far behind with 1,4,2, followed by Jonathan O’Shaughnessy with 4,2,4. Conor Byrne 5,6,3 and Colin Leonard 6,3,5 led the Masters.

Day 2 brought very different conditions with a shifty North Easterly breeze ranging from 15 to 8 knots. The Race Officer’s team set the course through the harbour and kept races to an ideal 45 to 50 minutes. With big shifts hitting either side of the course and the lousy rocks in the middle, it paid to pick a side, but whether to go left or right was anyone’s guess.

ILCA 4 overall winner Riona McMorrow Moriarty showed consistency across conditions with a 3,1,1 on day two, scoring top three results in all six races. Caoilinn McDonnell finished second with 7,5,3 and Patrick Foley third with 8,9,10.

In the ILCA 6, Bobby Driscoll started well with another bullet but scored a 15 in race two, which he was able to discard with a 3 in race six. Sam LeDoux had an excellent second day with 2,4,1 taking second place overall and Lewis Thompson finished in third with a 7,1,21. Hugh Delap led the Masters with 12,7,6 and Conor Barry finished as second master with 2,12,17. Special mention to Masters sailor Brendan Hughes who led the fleet in race 6 for the first two laps, the youth sailors were never far behind but it shows the quality throughout the fleet and the fact the ILCA is a boat for all age groups.

With tensions high and a slight current pushing the fleets over the line the ILCA 7’s were called for a general recall in race 4, but got away on the second attempt. Tom Coulter had an outstanding day two with a 1,1,9. Fiachra McDonnell finished second overall with a 7,2,6 and Fionn Lyden took third with 5,6,2. Conor Byrne 2,5,7 finished as the top Master on joint points with Lyden after six races. After a black flag in race 6, Colin Leonard finished as second Master with 3,10, BFD.

ILCA Ireland’s next event is the Connaught Championships taking Place in Lough Ree Yacht Club on the 27th and 28th of April. Registration and the ILCA event calendar is here

Published in Laser

The best laid plans often go awry - despite what was set to be a great turnout for the annual Howth Yacht Club Round the Island Race last Saturday at Howth, the weather gods didn't play ball, and a decision was taken 48 hours before the event in the face of an expected easterly gale to cancel the day's sailing (it was a very accurate call – on the day, the waves were sweeping the Howth East Pier almost as if it wasn’t there – Ed.). It meant great disappointment, not only for the series regulars who have been racing in HYC nearly every Sunday since November, but also for the strong visitor turnout. The event was due to see a variety of boats from all over the country, including Fireballs from Cork, RS Aeros from the North and Mermaids from North Dublin.

Here’s success for Ukraine – Oleksandr Bezpalyi of the Obolon SC in Kiev is in the frame at HowthHere’s success for Ukraine – Oleksandr Bezpalyi of the Obolon SC in Kiev is in the frame at Howth

This one’s for West Cork – Rory Lynch of Baltimore SC made good on the East CoastThis one’s for West Cork – Rory Lynch of Baltimore SC made good on the East Coast

However, all was not lost, as the shore-side of the day's agenda could still proceed uninterrupted. The prizegiving for the both Frostbite series and the New Year's Day Race, followed by a lunch and the 6 Nations rugby matches on the big screen gave everyone plenty to look forward to on the day, but we’ll put the rugby down to experience

MANY VOLUNTEERS

Commodore Neil Murphy said a few words to welcome everyone. The main thanks of the event go to the volunteer race officer team, who share weekly duties among themselves and have done so for many years. Harry Gallagher, Jim Lambkin, Liam Dineen, Dave Jones, Richard Kissane, Ronan MacDonell and Neil Murphy as race officers, along with many more volunteers who manage the results, and the RIB crews all do a great job of ensuring that everyone gets great, safe racing done all winter long.

Rising star. Andrei Samoilov collected the trophy for most improved sailorRising star. Andrei Samoilov collected the trophy for most improved sailor

Special mentions were also given to the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the Frostbite series and Laser/ILCA racing in HYC next Autumn, where there will be a number of on and off the water events to mark the special milestone. Winter sailing in HYC has lots to look forward to - a growing PY fleet including GP14s, B14s and RS Aeros out every week set to be joined next year by a fleet of Melges 15s.

“Gee thanks Dad!” Series organiser and prize winner Conor Murphy with Mr Big“Gee thanks Dad!” Series organiser and prize winner Conor Murphy with Mr Big

New talent - Charlie Robertson and crew took the Junior Title in PY.New talent - Charlie Robertson and crew took the Junior Title in PY

As the prizes were given out, great enjoyment was taken in identifying past winners of each of the trophies and reminiscing on years gone by, while also looking forward to the coming years. Most trophies saw new names being added to them this year, and there were many new visitors to the podium places in each class. While most of the prizes are given out for podium finishes in the series, one prize is given each year to recognise the most improved sailor among the participants. This year, Malahide's Andrej Samoilov won this prize in his second season at the HYC Frostbites, as this year he obtained podium results and led the fleet on occasion.

Ciara McMahon is yet another branch of the top sailing clanCiara McMahon is yet another branch of the top sailing clan

The tops! Daragh Sheridan led a successful solo charge with the RS Aero.The tops! Daragh Sheridan led a successful solo charge with the RS Aero.

All prizes awarded and photos are below.

2023 HYC Pre-Christmas Series

• ILCA 7 (Courtney Cup): Rory Lynch (Baltimore SC), Daragh Kelleher (SSC), Dave Kirwan (MYC)
• ILCA 6 (Stafford Trophy): Tom Fox (Rush SC), Darragh Peelo (Malahide YC), Peter Hassett
• ILCA 4 (Frazer Casey Firefly Cup): Oleksandr Bezpalyi (Obolon SC), Harry Dunne (Howth YC), Stan O'Rourke (MYC/HYC)
• PY: Daragh Sheridan (RS Aero, Howth YC), John Phelan (RS Aero, Howth YC), Jeremy Beshoff & Declan McManus (B14, Howth YC)
• PY2: Charlie Robertson

2024 New Year's Day Race

• ILCA 7 (New Year's Day Mug): Colm Cunningham (Malahide YC)
• ILCA 6: Peter Hassett
• PY: Daragh Sheridan

2024 Post-Christmas Series

• ILCA 7 (Rowan Trophy): Conor Murphy (Howth YC), Dan O'Connell (Cobh SC), Rory Lynch (Baltimore SC)
• ILCA 6 (Elliot Cup): Tom Fox (Rush SC), Vikor Samoilov (MYC/HYC), Ciara McMahon (Howth YC)
• ILCA 4 (Fitzpatrick Cup): Stan O'Rourke (MYC/HYC), Oleksandr Bezpalyi (Obolon SC), Charlie Power (Howth YC)
• PY: Daragh Sheridan (RS Aero, Howth YC), Alan Blay & Hugh McNally (GP14, Howth YC), Sam Street & Josh Lloyd (GP14, Blessington LSC)

Peter Hassett was in the frame in ILCA 6sPeter Hassett was in the frame in ILCA 6s

All welcome. Commodore with Daragh Peelo of MalahideAll welcome. Commodore with Daragh Peelo of Malahide

Dave Kirwan was another of the Estuary Invaders from MalahideDave Kirwan was another of the Estuary Invaders from Malahide

Young Stan O’Rourke successfully carried the banner for a renowned Dublin sailing nameYoung Stan O’Rourke successfully carried the banner for a renowned Dublin sailing name

Commodore with John Phelan, whose successes come inshore and offshore, winter and summer.Commodore with John Phelan, whose successes come inshore and offshore, winter and summer

Published in Howth YC
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Eve McMahon (Howth YC) improved her overall position in the Women's ILCA 6 European championships in Athens, Greece where she lies 14th overall going into the final day of racing.

McMahon – already selected for the Paris 2024 Olympics – will likely end up outside the top ten with one race on Friday but can still move up further in the rankings.

The championship has a new leader, and it’s none other than Maria Erdi from Hungary, the reigning 2023 World champion. Following six consistently strong performances, she now leads the fleet with 19 points, edging ahead of the overnight leader Viktorija Andrulyte from Lithuania, who sits at 21 points. Louise Cervera, the next French Olympic representative, holds third place with 25 points.

"It was a wonderful day. The first race was just amazing. I had a good start and good tactic, and then I did good stuff at the speed. I was really first from far away, so I was happy. On the second race the same, I finished fifth, so it was really cool. The last one I did a bit of a shitty start, so it was difficult for me but, it’s ok, I’m really happy about the day," Cervera told reporters.

Top 5 – Senior Europeans:

Maria Erdi HUN 19 pt
Viktorija Andrulyte LTU 21 pt
Louise Cervera FRA 25 pt
Elena Vorobeva CRO 29 pt
Anne Marie Rindom DEN 33 pt

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The ILCA European Championships in Athens has experienced another day without racing due to light winds.

The event, which began on Sunday, has completed just three out of the planned eight races for the women's ILCA 6 class, while the men in the ILCA 7 have had two races so far.

Three Irish sailors, Finn Lynch of the National Yacht Club and Ewan and Eve McMahon of Howth Yacht Club, were among the 300 sailors hoping for wind but were left disappointed.

Lynch and McMahon posted nearly matching scores in the only races so far. Eve McMahon has had a consistent showing in the ILCA 6 division.

Due to the calm weather, organisers have cancelled the Olympic format medal race final on Friday instead of focusing on the fleet races. The championship requires four completed races to determine a winner, but the hope is that the qualification round will be completed on Thursday, allowing for Gold fleet racing on Friday to decide the event.

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Irish sailors held their nerve over the final two back-to-back races on Saturday to win ILCA 7 silver and bronze at the World Masters Championships in Adelaide, Australia.

Irish champion Colin Leonard of Ballyholme Yacht Club in Northern Ireland won silver in the ILCA 7 Apprentice fleet (age 30 to 44) after a consistent series saw the Belfast Lough sailor finish the 12 race series with a string of second place scores ((2.0 [6.0] 2.0 2.0 1.0 6.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 6.0 2.0) against overall winner Luke Deegan of New Zealand in a 12 boat fleet.

In the ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters division (age 55 to 64), 1996 Olympian Mark Lyttle of the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay won bronze in his 35-boat fleet.

The National Yacht Club's Mark Lyttle won bronze at the ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters World Championship fleet in Adelaide, Australia Photo: Jack FletcherThe National Yacht Club's Mark Lyttle won bronze at the ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters World Championship fleet in Adelaide, Australia Photo: Jack Fletcher 

The 1996 Atlanta Olympian, who won the Grand Master title in 2018 on home waters, finished on 46 points and third overall, six points off silver won by New Zealand's Andrew Dellabarca.

With an incredible 11 race wins from 12 starts, Australia's Brett Beyer proved unstoppable in this fleet.

Belfast Lough's Conrad Simpson, competing in the same division, finished 29th but withdrew after race seven due to injury.

Royal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour competing in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters World Championships in Adelaide, Australia Credit: Jack FletcherRoyal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour competing on day five in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters World Championships in Adelaide, Australia Credit: Jack Fletcher

Royal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour finished sixth overall in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters category.

Scroll down the results sheet (below) to read the final scores.

Published in Laser

Two final back-to-back races on Saturday will decide if Ireland will be on the podium in the ILCA/Laser World Masters Championships in Adelaide, Australia, with Irish boats contesting medal places in two divisions.

In the ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters 35 boat fleet,1996 Olympian Mark Lyttle of the National Yacht Club lies third in Adelaide, Australia, after ten races sailed.

The 1996 Atlanta Olympian, who won the Grand Master title in 2018 on home waters, is on 27 points and third overall, five points off second held by New Zealand's Andrew Dellabarca.

With an incredible nine race wins from ten starts, Australia's Brett Beyer is unstoppable on nine points in this fleet.

Belfast Lough's Conrad Simpson, competing in the same division, is 25th.

Irish sailors are performing is both ILCA 6 and 7 divisions at the ILCA World Masters Championships, Australia Photo Jack FletcherIrish sailors are performing well in both ILCA 6 and 7 divisions at the 2024 ILCA World Masters Championships, Australia Photo Jack Fletcher

In the 12-boat ILCA 7 Apprentice fleet, Ireland's Colin Leonard of Ballyholme Yacht Club continues a consistent run in second overall.

In the ILCA 6, Royal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour lies sixth overall up one place from Thursday's seventh in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters category after ten races sailed but just four points off fifth.

The Irish champion took an early lead in last Sunday's opening two races, scoring two fourths, but is now on 54 points after ten races sailed, some 38 points off the lead held by Australia's Mark Tonner-Joyce.

Robert Jeffreys of Australia, who spends half his year in Cork Harbour and sails out of Monkstown and Royal Cork, dropped to sixth from fourth place in the ILCA6 Great Grand Masters division.

The competition concludes on Saturday (February 10th) with two final back-to-back races. 

Scroll down the results sheet (below) to read the latest scores.

Published in Laser

Ireland's assault on the ILCA/Laser World Masters Championships in Adelaide, Australia, continues into the penultimate day of competition, with Irish boats in podium places in two divisions.

In the ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters 35 boat fleet,1996 Olympian Mark Lyttle of Dun Laoghaire lies third in Adelaide, Australia, after eight races sailed.

The 1996 Atlanta Olympian, who won the Grand Master title in 2018 on home waters, is on 27 points and third overall, five points off second held by New Zealand's Andrew Dellabarca.

With seven race wins from eight starts, Australia's Brett Beyer appears unstoppable on seven points in this fleet.

Belfast Lough's Conrad Simpson, competing in the same division, is 25th.

Irish sailors are performing is both ILCA 6 and 7 divisions at the ILCA World Masters Championships, Australia Photo Jack FletcherIrish sailors are performing well in both ILCA 6 and 7 divisions at the 2024 ILCA World Masters Championships, Australia Photo Jack Fletcher

In the 12-boat ILCA 7 Apprentice fleet, Ireland's Colin Leonard of Ballyholme Yacht Club continues in second overall.

In the ILCA 6, Royal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour lies seventh in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters category after seven races sailed but just two points off fifth.

The Irish champion took an early lead in last Sunday's opening two races, scoring two fourths, but is now on 42 points after seven races sailed, some 29 points off the lead held by Australia's Mark Tonner-Joyce.

Robert Jeffreys of Australia, who spends half his year in Cork Harbour and sails out of Monkstown and Royal Cork, continues in fourth place in the ILCA6 Great Grand Masters division.

The competition continues until Saturday, February 10th. 

Scroll down the results sheet (below) to read the latest scores.

Published in Laser

In the ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters 35 boat fleet,1996 Olympian Mark Lyttle of Dun Laoghaire lies fifth in Adelaide, Australia after six races sailed.

The 1996 Atlanta Olympian, who won the Grand Master title in 2018 on home waters, counts 4 (12) 4 5 2 4 to be on the same 19 points as third overall, Christoph Marsano of Austria.

With five races wins from six starts, Australia's Brett Beyer appears unstoppable on five points in this fleet.

Belfast Lough's Conrad Simpson, competing in the same division, is 21st.

In the 12-boat ILCA 7 Apprentice fleet, Ireland's Colin Leonard of Ballyholme Yacht Club continues in second overall.

Royal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour competing in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters World Championships in in Adelaide, Australia Photo: Jack FletcherRoyal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour competing in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters World Championships in in Adelaide, Australia Photo: Jack Fletcher

Royal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour continues in fifth in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters category.

The Irish champion took an early lead in Sunday's opening two races, scoring two fourths, but is now on 287 points after six races sailed, some 18 points off the lead held by Australia's Mark Tonner-Joyce.

Robert Jeffreys of Australia, who spends half his year in Cork Harbour and sails out of Monkstown and Royal Cork, is in fourth in the ILCA6 Great Grand Masters division.

The competition continues until next Saturday, February 10th. 

Scroll down the results sheet (below) to read the latest scores.

Published in Laser

Royal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour has lost the overall lead in the ILCA 6 World Championships Grand Masters Fleet in Adelaide, Australia.

The Irish champion took an early lead in Sunday's opening two races, scoring two fourths, but a four and discarded nine scored on Monday has dropped the sole Irish contender to fifth overall on 12 points.

Australia's Mark Tonner-Joyce leads on seven points from America's  Andrew Holdsworth on eight, with Australian Bruce Savage third on 11.

Ballyholme Yacht Club's Colin Leonard in action in the Apprentice division of the ILCA 7 World Championships in Adelaide, AustraliaBallyholme Yacht Club's Colin Leonard in action in the Apprentice division of the ILCA 7 World Championships in Adelaide, Australia

Lyttle Lying Fifth in ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters

In the ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters 35 boat fleet,1996 Olympian Mark Lyttle of Dun Laoghaire lies fifth, and Belfast Lough's Conrad Simpson is 18th.

The competition continues until next Saturday, February 10th. 

In the 12-boat ILCA 7 Apprentice fleet, Ireland's Colin Leonard of Ballyholme Yacht Club lies second.

Scroll down the results sheet (below) to read the latest scores.

Published in Laser
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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,