Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Paris 2024

Finn Lynch will not be racing at the Allianz Regatta at The Hague this week, despite his silver medal performance at the North Sea Regatta at the same venue, because the Rio Olympian is focussing on preparations for the Olympic test event in Marseilles from July 9 to 16.

After wrist injury setbacks after Hyeres in April but a 10th at the Europeans in March, the Irish number one finished an encouraging second overall counting seven top-five finishes from ten races at the largest regatta on the Dutch North Sea.

The windy 2023 edition was won by in-form Cypriot Pavlos Kontides, a 2102 Olympic silver medalist. Overall, Lynch beat noted international performer Tonci Stiponavic, the 2016 silver medalist, who finished fourth in the 53-boat fleet.

Howth Yacht Club brothers Ewan and Jamie McMahon are both competing in the men's single-handed ILCA7 fleet at Allianz Regatta at The Hague this week.

The results of the 2023 North Sea Regatta are here 

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Irish Olympic ILCA 6 and 7 campaigners for Paris 2024 will be hoping for a consistent Wednesday at Mallorca’s giant 52nd Trofeo Princesa Sofia to get back on track in the all-important qualifying series.

The National Yacht Club's top-ranked Finn Lynch had a 19th result in his opening ILCA7 race but suffered a U flag penalty for early-starting in race two. He is currently lying 124th in a 184-boat fleet.

Lynch's rival for Paris 2024, Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club), rounded off a solid day with a 14th and 12th place to lie 31st, according to official results here.

McMahon's younger brother Jamie lies 142nd.

Jamie McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) in the thick of it on the first day of the  giant 52nd Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Mallorca Photo: Sailing EnergyJamie McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) in the thick of it on the first day of the  giant 52nd Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Mallorca Photo: Sailing Energy

Shifting wind directions and big changes of wind pressure again taxed competitors and race organisers alike as Mallorca’s giant 52 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mallorca assumed its full size and shape when all ten Olympic classes took to the racing waters over the course of a very long day on the Bay of Palma.

Eve McMahon

McMahon's younger sister Eve racing in the women's ILCA6 event, put the disappointment of an early-starting disqualification on Monday behind her to place seventh in the second race of the day and lies 66th in a 106-boat fleet.

With the programme over the first two days compromised by weather, the organisers need a consistent Wednesday to get the qualifying series back on track. 

Olympic medallists started safely in the ILCA 6 and ILCA 7 fleets. The Netherlands' triple medallist Marit Bouwmeester tops the Womens' fleet whilst last year's Men's class winner GBR's Micky Beckett in second today, is sandwiched between Croatia's 2016 silver medallist Tonci Stipanovic who leads and Matt Wearn of Australia the reigning Olympic champion.

"It was a long day for a single race but I am happy to have won it so it was kind of worth it." smiled Wearn, "I was going well in the second race too when they abandoned it and so overall I am quite happy with the way I am sailing. Last year we had 25-30kts on the first race here and I had a breakage which cost me the two races effectively so I am happy to have started well now. We have had a good, big summer of training at home with our squad and some racing at the Nationals Sail Sydney and Sail Melbourne and did some training with the Brits at the venue for the 2024 Worlds and so I think I am in good shape."

Bouwmeester, who has started with a first and third remarked, "That was an ok result. But after two days, we have only done two races. Yesterday we started twice, but both races were cancelled again halfway through, due to lack of good wind. Today, three races were scheduled. Indeed, the other half of fleet has done three and our fleet only two. We are suffering from rain and showers here and they are completely messing up the wind. Yesterday we spent six hours on the water and today seven. They are very long days for very few races."

In spite of spending seven hours afloat and although the conditions were sunny for much of the day with up to 15 knots, the wind direction oscillated over 20-30 degrees and a steady course couldn't be set by the race committee for more than three hours.

Conditions permitting, three further races are scheduled for both ILCA single-handed fleets in the Men's and Women's events for Wednesday which will conclude the qualification round to decide Gold fleets across all classes in the regatta.

Mallorca‘s renowned Bay of Palma is set to see the biggest-ever racing fleet take to its waters as the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mallorca by Iberostar lifts the curtain on the 2023 Olympic classes season.

Irish Olympic campaigners are in action this morning as Afloat reported previously here

The Balearic showcase ‘Sofia’ always marks the critical point at which winter and spring training stops and the serious business of racing, measuring up against full-scale opposition, starts in earnest.

Club Nàutic S’Arenal

From their various training hubs and complexes, the classes converge on Palma for a 52nd edition that carries even more importance than usual. The period between Olympics compacted this time to just three years and already there are just 15 months or so before Paris 2024.

As usual, some aspiring athletes have been here for between six weeks and two months. Europeans have been in breezy, wavy Lanzarote or Vilamoura, Portugal. But commitments and needs vary. Reigning Olympic medallists, who perhaps have America’s Cup or Sail GP commitments or are perhaps enjoying parenthood for the first time, have programmes pared back to what they consider spells of essential racing and training.

The ‘Sofia’ is the first Sailing World Cup of 2023’s four regattas along with the Allianz Regatta (The Netherlands), the Semaine Olympique Française (Hyères, France) and Kieler Woche (Kiel, Germany). And as such many nations are using 52 Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar as a trials or observed event alongside with one or two other key regattas to make their team selections for the Olympic test event, the Games dress rehearsal 7-16 July in Marseille.

Italy’s dominant duo in the Nacra 17 foiling multihull, Olympic, World and European Champions Ruggera Tita and Caterina Banti have reduced the volume of their training and racing programme as Rolex World Sailors of the Year helm Tita takes on an increasingly important role with the Italian Luna Rossa America’s Cup challenge.

Looking relaxed, completing his final bits of boat work in the S’Arenal Club boat park last year’s Sofia winning helm enthuses: “This regatta is important for us to validate what we did through the winter because we did not do a lot of volume but focused on good quality in Cagliari with the British (John Gimson and Anna Burnet), the Italians and Santi Lange a bit too. We want to see how the level of the fleet has gone up which it certainly has. I think the level of the fleet is very high now and much more even than this time last year.”

Explaining how their priorities lie, he says, “I will be very busy with Luna Rossa, and so we will just do the key events, here and then Hyeres, we will then train in Sardinia and then do the test event – if we manage to qualify – and the worlds. Qualification is something to be accomplished and of course, the Italians are pushing very hard and working together so the level there is higher all the time...... and of course, they came second at the worlds. Sailing with Luna Rossa is give and take, somethings you can learn on the technical side that you can bring to the NACRA and somethings we practice on the water with the Nacra and we have done this for such a long time that it all helps with Luna Rossa.”

All of the Tokyo medal-winning pairs are racing in the 52 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Nacra 17 fleet. Tita points to their training partners, silver medal-winning British counterparts John Gimson and Anna Burnet as perhaps having a slight speed edge in the lighter conditions which are forecast for the first days of the regatta.

The 470 Mixed fleet has strengthened significantly since it debuted in ‘mixed doubles’ format here one year ago when Spain’s Jordi Xammar and Nora Brugman won. Sweden’s Anton Dahlberg and Lovisa Karlsson, European Championships led February’s Lanzarote International Regatta into the final stages but finished last in the medal race. “We had a communication problem then and it cost us but we are confident here, we have been going well in training. I just love sailing on the Bay of Palma with so many different boats around us.” smiles Dahlberg, silver medallist in Tokyo 2020.

Xammar says he is liking the shorter, intense three year pogramme, “I personally like it. We have been able to plan it accurately in advance, not like the Tokyo campaign, which nobody knew would go on to be five years. At a sporting level, I think it is very interesting because a year and a half ago all the athletes were at our maximum peak and in a year and a half we will have to be once again. And in terms of the media it keeps the focus on. A year and a half ago everyone had their eyes on Tokyo and in half a year we will be back into the Olympic year. So I think it is very positive in many areas and it is the same for everyone.”

The 49er skiff class sees Holland’s double world champions Bart Lambriex and Floris van der Werken (NED) starting as favourites along with Spain’s local heroes Diego Botín and Florian Trittel who fit their training and racing around Spain SailGP commitments. Britain’s James Peters and Fynn Sterritt’s won the Lanzarote event and took bronze at last year’s European Championships.

And in the 49erFX fleet the Dutch double world champions must be favourites too. Odile van Aanholt and Annette Duetz won here last year ten points clear of Brazil’s two times Olympic champions Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze.

The ILCA 6 racing will be fascinating, the fleet is stronger again this year. Canada’s Sarah Douglas was on relentless form after disappointment in Tokyo. But the Netherlands’ new mum Marit Bouwmeester is back in the fleet, hungry for a fourth Olympic medal after gold in Rio 2016, silver in London 2012 and bronze in Tokyo. So too Denmark’s 2020 Olympic champion Anne Marie Rindom returns to the Bay of Palma where she won class at the 2019 Sofia. And the ILCA 7 fleet is as densely packed with talent including gold medallist Matt Wearn who finished second last year behind GBR’s Micky Beckett after the Australian had to fight back from a bogey opening day with DNC due to a technical problem and a 26th.

Top seeds in the Formula Kite Men include Solvenia’s Toni Vodišek (SLO) and 16-year-old Singaporean Max Maeder, first and second at the world championships. Gold, silver and bronze medallists from last year’s Sofia debut were first and second placed French duo Théo de Ramecourt and Benoit Gomez while GBR’s Connor Bainbridge was third. In the Women’s kite event the USA’s Daniela Moroz finally prevailed over France’s Lauriane Nolot.

In the Women’s iQFOiL the duel is likely to be between France’s Hélène Noesmoen and Spain’s local favourite Pilar Lamadrid (ESP) along with Italy’s reigning world champion Marta Maggetti whilst Britain’s Sam Sills has shown strongly in the early stages of several events this season – as he did here last year – but this might prove to be his event. Among the contenders will be France’s Nico Goyard, Germany’s reigning world champion Sebastian Koerdel and Poland’s Pawel Tarnowski, winner of the iQFOiL Games in Lanzarote in January.

52 Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar - Day 1 programme:

iQFOiL Men, 4 races for Yellow and Blue Fleets

470 Mixed, 2 races for Yellow and Blue Fleets
ILCA 7 Men, 2 races for Yellow, Blue and Red Fleets
ILCA 6 Women, 2 races for Yellow and Blue Fleets

iQFOiL Women, 4 races for Yellow and Blue Fleets

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The Princess Sofia Trophy regatta in stunning Palma de Mallorca is arguably the largest – and most loved – Olympic classes regatta in the calendar. It also happens to be the 2023 season opener – and what a season this promises to be. Racing starts on Monday, April 3, and runs until Saturday, April 8.

There have been a few smaller regattas over the winter period, but this is the first biggie, and the who of Olympic sailing will be at it. More than 1,300 sailors from 67 countries are set to compete.

As regular Afloar readers will know, Irish Olympic sailors have already been in action this year at the ILCA European Championships. Finn Lynch finished 13th overall (but a top-10 European finish), and Eve McMahon scored 16th

The pressure is starting to mount with Paris 2024 a little over a year away. Each nation will want to get one over on its rivals, while the athletes themselves will be looking to not only better their international competition but also stake a claim to the sole place in each of the ten classes for Paris 2024. 

Palma Bay is known for its ability to chuck all sorts of weather at sailors, which always makes for an exciting week.

Competing for Ireland in the week-long regatta (Monday, 3 to Saturday, 8 April) are Rio Olympian Lynch and Ewan McMahon in the ILCA 7 and his sister Eve in the ILCA 6.

In the 49er skiffs are Tokyo Olympians Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove, and rivals for the single Paris 2024 berth Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan.

Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey of the Royal Irish Yacht Club, an Irish Rio 2016 Olympian, competes for Team GB with Freya Black, who will be looking to avenge their 2022 that saw them miss out on the 49erFX medal race by a single point.

The official website featuring results and the full entry list is here, but if you want to track the progress of the Irish, the best place to do so is We will update you daily on the results and feature the event's best Irish photos.

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For more than 50 years, the elite of Olympic sailing have been journeying to Hyères, the historic jewel of the French Riviera, at the end of April.

Over the years, the Semaine Olympique Française de Hyères - TPM has become an unmissable event for every national team. In 2023, for its 54th edition, Hyères will have the pleasure of once again welcoming the world’s best Olympic sailors in preparation for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

With almost 1,000 athletes from over 60 countries, the Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères is — along with the Trofeo Princesa Sofía this week — a Mediterranean event not to be missed for the Olympic elite, with under a year-and-a-half until Paris 2024.

Like every year, “La SOF” continues to stage an event exclusively dedicated to the 10 Olympic classes. ILCA (women’s and men’s single-handed dinghy), 49er (women’s and men’s double-handed dinghy), Nacra 17 (mixed double-handed catamaran), 470 (mixed double-handed dinghy), Formula Kite (women’s and men’s kitefoil) and iQFOiL (women’s and men’s windfoil) will compete on the Hyérois waters less than 500 days before the first Olympic events.

French Olympic Week 2023 logo

Olympic champions from Tokyo 2020 and Rio 2016 competing in Hyères next month will include the likes of Brazil’s Martine Grael (49erFX double gold medallist), Italians Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti (Nacra 17 mixed), Australians Matt Wearn (gold in Tokyo) and Tom Burton (gold in Rio) in the ILCA 7, and China’s Lu Yunxiu (gold in the women’s RS:X in Tokyo) in the iQFOiL.

The event, coming during the school holidays, will be freely open to all and in particular to children, who will be able to get close to the best sailors in the world. There will be a multitude of onshore events to introduce sailing to as many people as possible.

Following reception and registration over the weekend of Friday 21 to Sunday 23 April, the opening ceremony takes place on Monday 24 April which also sees the start of the week-long qualifying phase, before the medal races, prize-giving and closing ceremony on Saturday 29 April.

Also, be sure to save the dates for next year’s Semaine Olympique Française, the 55th edition from 20-27 April 2024 just weeks before the Paris Games.

The 52nd edition of the Trofeo Princesa Sofía, which will be held from this Wednesday 29 March to Friday 8 April on the Bay of Palma, marks the start of a crucial season for the teams in the run-up to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Among them the Irish Olympic team will be eager to prove their mettle, following on from the ILCA Euros earlier this month. Eve McMahon, Finn Lynch and other hopefuls are making the trip this week along with Ireland’s 49er contenders.

The Mallorcan regatta has a special importance just over a year before the Games of the 33rd Olympiad begin in Paris. The best Olympic sailing specialists in the world will meet in the Bay of Palma as a taste of what may happen at the French regatta off Marseille.

The pandemic reduced the Olympic cycle between Tokyo and Paris from the usual four years to three, an exception that intensified the programmes of sailors, teams and federations — and enhances the importance of events such as the Trofeo Princesa Sofía, which could not be held in 2020 or 2021. Last year, 2022, it made a strong comeback and faces 2023 as the biggest edition in its history.

Ferrán Muniesa, technical director of the Princess Sofia Trophy, explains that the pre-Olympic year is very important for the teams because “there are countries that have not achieved a place for the Games, so the Sofia, in many cases, is an Olympic country qualifying event. In this edition there is a lot of pressure, as it is well known that it is more difficult to get a selection place for a country than it is to participate in Paris 2024.

“This pressure is reflected in the numbers of the event, which for the first time will exceed 1,000 boats, with more than 1,300 sailors from 67 countries. The more sailors registered, the more groups there are to organise, and therefore the more races to compete in, which complicates the logistics.”

The changes in the Olympic classes have also affected the Trofeo Princesa Sofía. The Finn category and the division of 470 into male and female categories have given way to the unification in 470 Mixed and the creation of Formula Kite Men and Female, with the historic arrival of kitesurfing to the Olympic arena.

On the other hand, the iQFOiL revolutionises the windsurfing category, which now incorporates foils. Muniesa adds: “The events in the new flying classes are very short, between 12 and 15 minutes compared to 60 minutes before, and the speed is much higher. All of this makes the logistics more complicated, we have to be very attentive and increase safety.”

The first Sailing World Cup 2023 event will be followed by the Semaine Olympique Française in April in France, the Allianz Regatta in May-June in the Netherlands and the Kieler Woche in June in Germany. The hopefuls for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games have just 16 months to complete their preparations, and in the Princess Sofía they will find out where they stand in relation to their rivals and what their real chances are of achieving the coveted Olympic glory.

Paris 2024 Irish Olympic sailors are among athletes across sixteen sports who were awarded a total amount of €115,000 to support their performance through an Olympic Federation of Ireland athlete's fund

ILCA 7 campaigner Finn Lynch, who just finished 13th overall at last week's European Championships in Italy, got €3,000, and the Irish doublehanded 49er crews, Dublin's Robert Dickson & Sean Waddilove and Cork's Seafra Guilfoyle & Johnny Durcan were each awarded €3,000 per boat.

The proceeds of the fund were partially raised by the Make a Difference Golf Day in October 2022 and an additional €50,000 from the Olympic Federation of Ireland.

Athletes targeting both the Summer Olympics in Paris 2024 and the Winter Olympics in Milano Cortina 2026 will benefit from the fund, which will support applications detailing projects from training camps to specialist coaches.

Chair of the Olympic Federation of Ireland Athletes’ Commission, Shane O’Connor welcomed the increased amount saying,

“There are a huge number of athletes across a huge number of sports vying for Olympic qualification. The quality and depth of applications received were very impressive and highlighted that a little extra support to the athletes can really make a huge difference. We are happy as an Athletes' Commission to be able to support this fund, with the backing of the Olympic Federation of Ireland, and the Make a Difference golf fundraiser.”

Paris 2024 make a difference fund recipients - €93,000Paris 2024 make a difference fund recipients - €93,000

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Consistent sailing by Olympic Paris 2024 campaigner Finn Lynch puts him in the top ten of the ILCA 7 European Championships in Andora, Italy.

The National Yacht Club ace, ranked as high as second in the world last season, added another two fifth-place results to his scoresheet on Tuesday before ending the qualification rounds with a race win boost to sit eighth overall with 5, 5, (6.0) and 1.

Reigning World champion Jean Baptiste Bernaz FRA (1-3-1-10) leads the competition with five points among 191 sailors.

Medium air conditions were quite shifty, with the breeze up and down in big seas on the Riviera delle Palme.

Three sailors are just one point behind Bernaz, so the championship promises to be fought to the bitter end; Duko Bos NED (7-4-1-1), Philipp Buhl GER (1-19-1-4), and Matthew Wearn AUS (1-3-2-4) are all counting six points after the first four races. Tonci Stipanovic CRO (7-1-4-3) is also close with eight.

There was a special moment for Ireland at this major championship when Lynch's rival for Paris 2024, Ewan McMahon of Howth Yacht Club, crossed the finish line just behind Lynch, giving Ireland a 1-2 in race four.

Three races are scheduled for Wednesday, with the first warning signal at 09:00. Coaches meeting at 07:00.

ILCA 7 – Full results below

Building on the highest-ever recorded Irish medal achievements in 2022 – including the achievements of sailors Finn Lynch and Eve McMahon at World level – Sport Ireland announced this week its latest funding packages for Paris 2024.

Top-ranked ILCA 7 sailor Lynch is one of 32 Irish athletes to receive the top category of 'Podium' funding of €40,000. 

Three other Irish sailors are among 63 athletes to receive international funding, but the number of sailors awarded has halved since May 2022.

49er duo Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove each get €18,000 (down from 25k each in 2022), and Irish Sailor of the Year Eve McMahon receives €18,000 for her ILCA 6 Paris bid.

Sport Ireland requires athletes to achieve published carded criteria to be eligible to apply to be on the Scheme.

 Sport Ireland carding for Irish Sailors in 2023Sport Ireland carding for Irish Sailors in 2023 - source: Sport Ireland

Meanwhile, in this week's High-Performance Programme Funding 2023 allocation, the Irish Sailing Association will receive €800,000, matching last year's grant, as part of the €3.2m it will get between 2021-2024.

High-Performance Programme Funding is provided to National Governing Bodies to fund performance team salaries and various activities, including training camps and competitions, pathway development, and performance services.

High-Performance Programme FundingHigh-Performance Programme Funding - source: Sport Ireland

Sport Ireland also announced that in 2022, the ISA received €220,000 in High-Performance Impact Funding. According to Sport Ireland, this 'Impact Funding' ensures flexibility to 'respond positively to performance opportunities' or 'reasonable financial challenges within NGBs'.

Under its 'multi-annual funding commitment' for 2022 to 2024, €10.8m in 'High-Performance Programme Funding' will be provided to 19 National Governing Bodies, including rowing, sailing and canoeing, to support the delivery of their performance programmes in 2023. 

See more from Sport Ireland here

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With 547 days to go to the Paris 2024 Olympics, America's Sailing Scuttlebutt website reports that USA Olympic Sailing has lost its Executive Director. 

Paul Cayard (San Francisco, CA), who had been appointed by US Sailing in March 2021 as Executive Director of U.S. Olympic Sailing, today announced his resignation from the position. Here are his words to supporters of US Olympic Sailing:

Unfortunately, over the past couple of months, the US Sailing Association and I had a complete breakdown on several levels. The process of resolution was not good and ultimately unsuccessful. Despite my passion for our mission and my perseverance, I can no longer work with US Sailing.

In 2020, I was told that trying to build a successful Olympic Team, within US Sailing, would be very challenging. Changing the processes, culture, and support for the Team is an extremely difficult task. We are just starting to make gains. Raising two or three times the amount of money ever raised in the USA, to support that goal is also a difficult task. Starting and building an endowment so that future leaders will have something to rely on financially is another tall order.

Ultimately, the relationship with US Sailing proved to be one that I could not cope with. It pains me to admit that as I did sail around the world twice, and generally feel pretty capable of dealing with adversity.

I want to emphasize my gratitude for your support, trust and confidence in me. Know that we made significant progress in the movement to get the USA back to the top of the podium. I remain interested in our mission and supporting athletes. Maybe this will take a different form in time.

It has been my honor and privilege to work with my staff and for all the great athletes of the USA who have so much potential. I wish them all the best!"

More on here

US Sailing restructures Olympic programme

US Sailing, the sport's national governing body, announces an operational restructuring of the US Sailing Team.

During a reassessment of its business, and to ensure US Sailing Team athletes receive the best support leading up to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the US Sailing Board of Directors has decided to dedicate the resources necessary to ensure all aspects of successfully operating the Olympic Team receive the attention they deserve.

Previously, the Executive Director of US Olympic Sailing was responsible for both leading team operations as well as garnering financial support for the team. In this new structure, duties would be streamlined and separated into two roles. A Head of Olympic Operations will focus full-time on this part of the role, while a second position will give fundraising for the team the necessary attention it deserves.

In the past two years, many strides have been made towards success on the podium. Fundraising efforts and successes have grown, athletes participating on the US Sailing board, which is a requirement of The Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, have gained valuable leadership experience, and responsibilities have naturally been added.

By separating responsibilities into two roles, each effort will get the dedicated staff and time necessary for success.

"We are proud of the accomplishments made with respect to the Olympic Team and the development of our athletes over the past couple of years," said President of the Board of Directors Rich Jepsen. "We have done what all good organizations do, which is to continually assess how to be even better.

"In talking with many athletes and other stakeholders in that regard, and the Board believes that dedicating the necessary resources for these two valuable areas will help better position our athletes for success on the podium."

Additional steps are already being taken to implement this improved structure. A search committee comprised of US Sailing board members is being created to fill these important roles. Interviews are ongoing to recruit the successful development professional and will begin shortly for the head of the Team.

In the interim, two board members who have been integrally involved in the Board's oversight of the Olympic operations and the ongoing assessment, Olympian Sarah Lihan and long-time board member and 10-year sailor athlete Henry Brauer, will help oversee the Team.

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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,

At A Glance - Irish Olympic Sailing Team 2023 Key Events

  • 07-Jul 14-Jul Marseilles, France ILCA 6, ILCA 7, 49ers World Olympic Test Event
  • 10-Aug 20-Aug The Hague, Netherlands ILCA 6, ILCA 7, 49ers World FIRST OLYMPIC QUALIFIER: 2023 World Sailing Championship and ILCA 7 World Championships 
  • 08-Nov 13-Nov Vilamoura, Portugal 49er European European Championships

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