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Displaying items by tag: Laser

Since the Laser/ILCA 7 dinghy made its Olympic debut 25 years ago, Ireland has sought a top 30 result at the annual World Championships.

There's the prospect of such a result at the Barcelona-hosted championship next week thanks to the current form of Irish Laser ace Finn Lynch, part of a new team bidding for Paris 2024.

Lynch, of the National Yacht Club, will be aiming to build on last month's seventh overall score at the European Championships in Bulgaria.

It's the first Worlds in this Olympic triennial. Hence, while the competition may arguably not be as red hot as the Olympic year itself, a Laser Worlds contest is never lukewarm. There are 139 entries from 44 countries.

The ILCA 7 fleet always boasts a stellar lineup from across the globe. The Brits will be looking to build on their recent European Championships success and translate that on to the world stage coming up against a host of world and Olympic champions like Cypriot Pavlos Kontides and Germany’s Philip Buhl. The class has the strength and depth to put together a very strong start list for this event, and with mandatory chartered boats, the racing will be just as strong.

As the number one Irish contender, Lynch is attempting to rebuild after his disappointment of failing to qualify for Tokyo 2020, so it's important he's on the right tack at the first opportunity.

World Championship results can be highly dependent on the stage of the four-year (or three for Paris) Olympic cycle. The standard builds typically from the Olympic Games and then peaks in the next pre-Olympic year (or maybe in the Olympic year itself if places are still up for grabs).

Howth's Ewan McMahonHowth's Ewan McMahon

Keep improving

Ireland's 1996 Laser representative, Mark Lyttle, a race winner in Atlanta when the Laser made its Olympic debut, says a typical campaign strategy is to 'bang a result early in the cycle and then keep improving your performance to keep results at the same level as the overall standard [of the fleet] improves.  If you start behind the cycle, you have to improve quicker than the fleet during cycle".

So, as Paris hoves into view, successful campaigns are already well up and running.

The Irish competition for the single place on the Marseille start line is already taking shape, and there have been changes since Tokyo in the Irish camp.

Howth's Ewan McMahon continues as Lynch's main rival but absent from the Barcelona starting lineup is long-time running mate, Ballyholme's Liam Glynn.

Royal St. George's Tom HigginsRoyal St. George's Tom Higgins

The former Topper World Champion is replaced by two relative greenhorns, McMahon's younger brother Jamie, who sampled his first senior competition in the silver fleet in Bulgaria a month ago, and Royal St George's Tom Higgins.

Howth's Jamie McMahon, younger brother of EwanHowth's Jamie McMahon, younger brother of Ewan

Mediterranean sailing

Typically, as air temperatures dip and the water stays warm lighter winds tend to prevail in the Mediterranean city at this time of year. Experts predicted winds in the 7 to 12 knots range for Friday, but other weather models are now looking windier.

The lighter stuff would help Higgins, who is proving quick in sub ten knots; for example, the Dun Laoghaire Harbour helmsman won a race at the Radial Europeans in Poland in 2020. 

Two races per day are scheduled from Friday at the Barcelona International Sailing Centre until Monday 8 November, when the fleet splits into Gold and Silver. The final series then continues until Wednesday, 10 November.

Make the cut

Coach Vasilij Žbogar, who was ushered in in 2018 with great fanfare to boost Irish Tokyo medal chances (only for Ireland not to qualify), is coaching again with the hope that Ireland can make the cut, at least, this time.

It might not be too popular to air it in some quarters, but despite 25 years of trying, Ireland has never finished in the top 30 of the World Championships. You have to go right back to the 'eighties to find any higher Irish results. In 1983 Lyttle finished 19th and Bill O'Hara 13th, a record, albeit achieved in pre-Olympic times, that stands to this day.

Lynch's own best Worlds performance is 31, scored in Melbourne in 2020 a position he also got in Aarhus, Denmark in 2018. 31st is also a result also achieved by his predecessor James Espey in Oman in 2013.

Lynch's Euros seventh in Bulgaria last month indicates the Carlow man is on a mission, so could Barcelona 2021 be a breakthrough for Irish Laser interests?

Tagged under

The cut short Investwise Irish Youth Sailing National Championships on Cork Harbour had produced some clear winners in five classes regardless of today's Yellow Alert weather warning at Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Five titles were divided between Dublin and Cork sailors with the host club taking two crowns, the biggest haul of any single club with the 29er and Topper titles won by local sailors.

Both Laser titles go to Dublin, with Howth Yacht Club taking the ILCA 6 and the National Yacht Club winning in the ILCA 4.

The 420 title is shared by a combined Malahide and Wexford duo.

McMahon wins ILCA 6 but Crosbie's Reinstatement Makes it Close

ILCA 6 Champion - Eve McMahon of Howth

As Afloat reported earlier, the final results from Saturday’s long day afloat weren’t initially confirmed as two titles were eventually settled ashore in the protest room this morning.

On Saturday evening, a protest by ILCA6 (Laser Radial) overall leader Eve McMahon saw the Howth Yacht Club sailor extend her lead over Michael Crosbie of the Royal Cork YC when he was disqualified from Race 10 due to a port and starboard incident.

However, the Crosshaven sailor returned to the protest room on Sunday morning to have his result reinstated as McMahon had not informed the race committee of her protest on Saturday.

McMahon still emerged as ILCA6 Youth National Champion after the tie-break with Crosbie.

O'Shaughnessy & Dwyer Lift 29er Skiff Title 

29er Champions Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer (Royal Cork YC) Photo: Bob Bateman29er Champions - Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer (Royal Cork YC) Photo: Bob Bateman

Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer (Royal Cork YC) won the 29er skiff national title by a single point as Afloat reported here after a close contest with Tim Norwood and Nathan Van Steenberge from the Royal Irish YC and National YC respectively in their eleven strong demonstration class that immediately followed a European Championships campaign on Lake Garda last week.

The runners-up were also in the protest room on Sunday morning seeking redress for equipment failure in their second race of the series on Friday but their submission was ruled out of time.

Collins top Toppers, Newcomer Ledoux Wins 4.7s

Rian CollinsTopper Champion - Rian Collins of Royal Cork Photo: Bob Bateman

As Afloat reported earlier, Crosshaven’s Rian Collins won the 38-boat Topper class with a 12-point lead over his clubmate Dan O’Leary taking the runner-up place in their seven-race series. Bobby Driscoll's third overall kept the Belfast Lough Topper flag flying.

Sam Ledoux of the National YCILCA 4 Champion - Sam Ledoux of the National YC Photo: Bob Bateman

The Topper fleet shared the same course as the ILCA4 (Laser 4.7) class, the second largest of the event with 31 boats where a newcomer to the class, Sam Ledoux of the National YC, emerged youth national champion. 

Five wins Give McDowell & Thompson the 420 Title

420  champions - Jack McDowell and Henry Thompson Photo: Bob Bateman420 champions - Jack McDowell and Henry Thompson Photo: Bob Bateman

The Malahide and Wexford Harbour pairing of Jack McDowell and Henry Thompson continued their three-day lead of the 420 class to win comfortably as Afloat reports here over Eoghan Duffy with Conor Paul of Lough Ree YC in a disappointingly small nine boat class.

Published in Youth Sailing

Not even a race disqualification can stop the march of Youth World Radial champion Eve McMahon at Royal Cork Yacht Club

The Under 18 star from Howth Yacht Club heads a mixed fleet of 30 boys and girls racing for youth national honours in Cork Harbour, where a place at the Oman World Sailing Championships this December is at stake.

After losing her overnight lead due to an opening day race disqualification, McMahon regained her overall lead of the ILCA6 (Laser Radial) division but only after a tiebreak from the chasing Michael Crosbie of the host club.

As well as an impressive scoreline that includes four strikes from ten races, McMahon has also found herself involved in three protests (either as an initiator or respondent) in the championships so far. Details here

Conor Galligan of the NYC rasing at the Youth Nationals Conor Galligan of the NYC rasing at the Youth Nationals

Crosbie was disqualified from the last race of the day, returning McMahon to a comfortable seven-point cushion at the top of the 30-boat fleet. 

Meanwhile, Jonathan O'Shaughnessy, the 2021 Radial National Champion who impressed at October's Eurocup, but got off to a poor star on Friday has moved up the rankings to third overall but still eight points behind Crosbie. Results below.

The fleet spent at least six hours on the water with racing delayed waiting for breeze to arrive, plus an extra race was added to the daily schedule.

The extra race was added in anticipation of strong winds on Sunday and fears of a blowout.

 ILCA 6/Radial Sailed: 10, Discards: 1, To count: 9, Entries: 30 ILCA 6/Radial Sailed: 10, Discards: 1, To count: 9, Entries: 30 

National's Ledoux Still leads 4.7s 

Sam Ledoux of the National YC leads the ILCA4 (Laser 4.7) fleet with 31 boats. After seven races sailed, the Dun Laoghaire Harbour campaigner has extended his lead on Royal St. George rival Matteo Ciaglia and now has a six-point margin. Royal Cork's Mauro G Regueral Nogguerol scoresheet has been updated to remove an earlier DNF from race two, a decision that puts the Spaniard into third overall. 

ILCA 4 Sailed: 7, Discards: 1, To count: 6, Entries: 32ILCA 4 Sailed: 7, Discards: 1, To count: 6, Entries: 32

Racing is scheduled for Sunday, but a forecast for strong winds looks set to cut the championships short.

Update Sunday 09.24: Due to current wind conditions and forecast, the race committee has decided to cancel sailing for the day. Prizegiving at 10 am in the marquee

ILCA 4 & 6 Day Three Youth Nationals Photo Gallery By Bob Bateman 

Published in Laser

Royal Cork's Jonathan O'Shaughnessy and Michael Crosbie, who put in a strong showing at the Laser Europa Cup in Hyeres, France, are the favourites for youth honours this Thursday in Cork Harbour.

O'Shaughnessy finished just outside the important top ten in 11th and Crosbie 21st in a tense edition of the Under-18 test.

More than 260 sailors participated in the French regatta, and full results are here.

Radial racing in Cork HarbourRadial racing in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

It's a result that confirms O'Shaughnessy, who took the Radial National title in August, and Crosbie, who was the winner of the Kinsale Laser end of Season Regatta in October, as favourites for the Investwise Youth Sailing Nationals at Royal Cork later this week. 

Rocco Wright (Howth YC)Rocco Wright (Howth YC) Photo: Bob Bateman

It'll be a new look Radial fleet in Cork with some new names into the fleet, including Rocco Wright (Howth YC), who dominated the 4.7 National Championships back in August.

Michael CrosbieMichael Crosbie Photo: Bob Bateman

New names into 4.7s

As well as some high profile departures from the ILCA4 (Laser 4.7s), there's also some new entries into the class.

Sienna Wright (Howth YC) and Hannah Dadley-Young (Ballyholme YC) are now racing 4.7s along with Daniel Palmer (Ballyholme YC), who's moved in from the Topper class, along with Mauro G Regueral Noguerol (RCYC).

Four-course areas will operate in Cork Habour Aghada, Curlane Bank, Cuskinny and Roches Point with an 11-race schedule for the ILCA 6/Laser class.

Racing begins on Thursday, October 28th, and as well as deciding national honours, the event serves as the second part of a qualifications system to determine Ireland's representative at the Youth World Sailing Championships in Oman this December.

Published in Youth Sailing

Michael Beckett has become the third Brit in as many years to claim the ILCA 7/Laser class European title.

Beckett, who has twice come runner up at the Euros, in 2018 and 2020, led the week-long regatta in Varna, Bulgaria, from the opening day and sealed victory with a race to spare.

It was turned out to be a top venue for Irish campaigner Finn Lynch of Dun Laoghaire who earned a top ten result, his best so far, as Afloat reported here. And for Howth youth sensation Eve McMahon who took a race win and finished 15th overall.

As well as being Beckett’s first European Championships title, it’s the third successive win for Brits in the ILCA 7 class (formerly the Laser), and the fourth in five years.

Rio 2016 Olympian Nick Thompson was the European champion in 2017 and 2019, while his Tokyo 2020 successor Elliot Hanson was top in 2020.

Beckett said he’d been spurred on after relinquishing the lead at a regatta earlier in the year in the final race.

“The last event I did I lost the event lead in the final race after leading all week, and I found it a very tough experience,” said Beckett, 26, from Solva in Pembrokeshire.

“Over the summer I’ve really pulled apart a lot about my technique, fitness and general approach to try and make myself better and more consistent in regattas like this.

“I couldn’t be happier with how this event has gone. It feels like a huge amount of vindication for those changes I decided to make.

“It’s always difficult to back myself to make changes without knowing exactly if it’s a good idea or not, but the way I sailed this week I never panicked despite some really loose conditions, I stayed calm and enjoyed it.”

Beckett paid tribute to long-serving coach Chris Gowers for developing a powerful squad that consistently performs at the highest level, as well as his British Sailing Team colleagues.

“Chris is a very discreet guy but he’s been fantastic this week helping me in the right ways – and now he can say he has coached four of his sailors to four European titles in just five years, which I think is an incredible thing,” he added.

“We have a fantastic squad culture, winning the Europeans this week is a great reflection of the work that everyone in the squad has done. Without the guys pushing me all the time I would never be able to develop the skills to pull off something like this so I’m also really grateful to them.”

2020 bronze medallist Lorenzo Chiavarini was seventh, while teammates Daniel Whiteley and Sam Whaley came home 13th and 22nd respectively, both posting their best ever results at a European championships.

In the ILCA 6 fleet, Daisy Collingridge scored a personal best finishing seventh and top Brit. Hannah Snellgrove was 16th and Matilda Nicholls 20th.

“I feel like I’ve been on the brink of putting in a good performance for a while and I’m so happy to see it all come together,” said Collingridge, 22, from Waldringfield, Suffolk. “It was a really tough week conditions-wise but I managed to stay relatively consistent throughout. I’m massively looking forward to seeing what the future holds.”

The focus now turns to the world championships, taking place in Barcelona in early November for the men’s fleet and in Oman in early December for the women’s fleet.

Full results from the regatta can be found here.

Published in Laser
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Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Laser dinghy class ended their summer season with a bang, hosting over 80-boats in a five-race one-day regatta where some exciting new talent emerged.

80 Lasers racing in Dublin Bay on a sunny Saturday afternoon in October is an unusual sight in a normal year. These past two seasons have been far from normal for most sailors, but the Laser dinghy class has gone from strength to strength nationally.

At times during lockdown in 2020, single-handed dinghies were the only access for sailors to local waters. The fifty-year-old Laser class benefited greatly from this and has continued to attract and retain new sailors throughout 2021. The Irish Laser Masters championship hosted by the Royal St. George Yacht Club in June broke records with the highest attendance in the event’s history. Other regional and national events throughout the season were also seeing record attendances.

The final event of the season in Dun Laoghaire was this weekend’s Grant Thornton Sprint Regatta hosted by the Royal St. George Yacht Club. This novel regatta format saw race officer Richard Kissane serve up five races in quick succession for each of the three Laser fleets. Light and shifty wind conditions made his job particularly challenging as his team set down a trapezoid course. Ever-calm, Kissane was not phased and he delivered 15 race starts in just over three hours.

Rocco Wright (right) with Royal St. George Commodore Richard O'ConnorHowth's Rocco Wright (right) with Royal St. George Commodore Richard O'Connor

The event saw some new talent emerge into the Laser fleet, most notably in the junior section. Howth’s Rocco Wright who raced for the first time this season in a 4.7, sat into the larger Radial rig for this event. The lighter airs clearly suited him and he took home Gold against a strong fleet including national champion Jonathan O'Shaughnessy from Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Royal St. George’s Matteo CiagliaRoyal St. George’s Matteo Ciaglia

Meanwhile, in the 4.7 fleet, the Royal St. George’s Matteo Ciaglia who also competed for the first time in this fleet took home Gold for the Dun Laoghaire club. Christian Ennis from the National Yacht Club took Silver, while the George’s Jessica Riordan took third overall and first female.

Peter FaganRoyal St George's Peter Fagan

The Standard fleet served up a real treat with local sailors Tom Higgins and Peter Fagan going head to head for the entire event. Higgins took first blood, winning the opening race with Fagan then taking the second race. By race three, it had become a spectacle in match racing between the pair. Ultimately, two third place finishes killed off Higgins’ chances. Fagan took Gold with Higgins in second and Tralee Bay Sailing Club’s Paddy Cunnane taking bronze.

Event organiser, Brendan Hughes of the Royal St. George Yacht Club suggested that the interest in Saturday’s event was as much to do with format as the overall growth of Lasers. “Sailors are really enjoying the sprint format and also having the opportunity to participate in a competitive fleet on a single day. Each race was between 25 and 30 minutes in duration which on a trapezoid course means there is intense competition and opportunity to win or lose places.” said Hughes. “Clearly the format is worth repeating with fleets travelling for this event from as far and wide as Tralee, Cork and Sligo. We’ll definitely be doing more of these in future.”

Full results available here.

Published in RStGYC

The National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch got his Laser/ILCA 7 campaign for Paris 2024 off to a flying start in Bulgaria this week by taking seventh overall – a personal best – at the European Championships in Varna today.

Lynch's rivals for the single Irish Olympic spot in three years time were also competing. Ewan McMahon of Howth finished in 21st and Liam Glynn of Ballyholme in 44th.

Lynch's result eclipses his owner personal best performance at a Euros. That, as Afloat reported here, is the 13th scored in Poland last year. 

Ewan McMahonEwan McMahon

Jamie McMahon competing in his first senior event in the Standard rig raced in the Silver fleet in VarnaJamie McMahon competing in his first senior event in the Standard rig raced in the Silver fleet in Varna

Jamie McMahon finished in 17th place in the Men's Silver Fleet.

It was the third Gold medal in a row for the British team at the Senior Europeans, with Michael Beckett GBR becoming the new 2021 champion. It’s the third medal for him at the Senior Europeans after winning Silver in 2018 in La Rochelle and also Silver the last year in Gdansk, where the Brits conquered the podium.

Silver this time was for Croatian Filip Jurisic CRO, winning a Senior European medal for the first time.

Jonatan Vadnai HUN completed the podium, taking the Bronze medal also the first one for him at the Senior Europeans.

Just 1.8 points far from the podium was Russian Maxim Nikolaev RUS on fourth. 2018 Senior European champion Pavlos Kontides CYP was fifth.

Lorenzo Chiavarini GBR, Lynch IRL, Duko Bos, Wannes Van Laer BEL and William De Smet BEL completed the 2021 EurILCA Senior Europeans Top 10.

Results are here 

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The National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch moved up to eighth overall at the 2021 Laser European Championships in Bulgaria today, having scored two vital fifth places in final races three and four.

After six races sailed in the gold fleet and one discard, Lynch, a veteran of Rio 2016, was lying in 14th position last night but today's two top-five finishes in strong winds at the Port of Varna put Lynch firmly inside the coveted top ten. (Download results sheet below). 

Ewan McMahon of Howth lies 25th and Liam Glynn 44th in the 49 boat gold fleet. McMahon's brother Jamie is competing in the silver fleet.

After a bad first race today, the overnight ILCA 7 leader Michael Beckett GBR (11-2-1) finally took two great results on the last races and secured the provisional first position with 30 points.

Pavlos Kontides CYP (8-1-12), Filip Jurisic CRO (1-11-3) and Jonatan Vadnai HUN (3-6-4) are close with 34, 39 and 43 points, respectively, so nothing is finalised yet. 

Maxim Nikolaev RUS and Lorenzo Chiavarini GBR are fifth and sixth with 52 and 54.

Tagged under

Irish youth sailor Eve McMahon from Howth took a well-earned win in a breezy race eight of the 2021 Women's ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) Senior European Championships & Open European Trophy in Varna, Bulgaria today.

After nine races sailed, McMahon, who won the Radial Youth world title in August, stays 15th overall, but within eight points of 11th overall on 136 points in the 66-boat fleet.

McMahon's clubmate Aoife Hopkins is in 25th place on 220 points.

Strong wind and a big swell (plus cold and rain) made the Irish girls feel right at home on the Bulgarian Black Sea.

The Women’s championship changed hands for a second consecutive day today, with the Polish sailor Agata Barwinska POL (3-1) heading the competition on 38 points.

22 points behind is now the overnight first Basileia Carahaliou GRE (18-15) with 60. Third place for the previous days leader Line Flem Host NOR (27-4) with 70.

Maxime Jonker NED (13-2) is fourth, only one point behind Line. French sailor Louise Cervera FRA (5-14) is fifth with 81. Ascending Hannah Anderssohn GER (6-3) is sixth with 98.

Daisy Collingridge GBR, Elena Borobeva CRO, Anna Munch DEN and Marie Barrue FRA complete the provisional European Top 10.

Two last races are planned for tomorrow.

After missing out on Tokyo 2020, Ireland's three male Laser campaigners from that quadrennial are back on the water for the Paris 2024 Olympics at the Laser (ILCA 7) European Championships & Open European Trophy 2021 at Varna, Bulgaria this week. 

A white-out and another six-hour day on the Black Sea meant race officials were only able to squeeze in one race each for the Laser and Radial classes yesterday.

After six races sailed in the gold fleet and one discard, Lynch, a veteran of Rio 2016, is lying 14th. The National Yacht Club sailor is five points off the top ten (download results sheet below). 

If the Carlow native can maintain current form he's in with a chance of a top ten finish and eclipsing his owner personal best performance at a Euros. That, as Afloat reported here, is the 13th scored in Poland last year. 

The fleet spent hours out on the water in rain-driven shifts, but after that lone race, the race committee were forced to abandon the day after one last strong squall passed through the course.

Howth's Ewan McMahon is 39th and Finn Lynch is 42nd in the 58-boat fleet. The trio are joined this week by Ewan's brother Jamie. This is his first senior event in a Standard rig and he is racing in the Silver fleet.

The contracted coach to the Irish sailors, Vasilji Zbogar said on social media "Finn has had a solid qualifying series. Ewan hasn’t performed as well as expected but has plenty of time to turn this around in the finals and move his ranking up overall, and Liam is improving race by race”.

Two more days of racing remain. As only six races have been completed for the Laser men and seven for the Radial fleet the race committee will be under pressure to fire off the three races scheduled today.

Eve McMahon 15th

In the 66-boat Women's Radial division, Eve McMahon is 15th (moving up from 22nd) and Aoife Hopkins is 27th. Both are from Howth Yacht Club.

Page 10 of 68

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,

At A Glance - Irish Olympic Sailing Team 2022 Events

  • Laser World Championships 21-28 May, Mexico
  • 49er European Championships, 4 – 10 July, Denmark
  • Olympic Test Event, 1- 14 Aug, Marseille, France
  • 49er World Championships ... 31 Aug – 6 Sep, Canada
  • Hague Youth World Championships, 7 Sept – 2 Oct, The Hague
  • Laser Radial World Championships, 10 – 17 Oct, Qingdao, China
  • Laser European Championships, 14 – 21 Nov, Hyeres, France

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