Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove

After a disappointing week for both Irish crews competing at 49er World Championship in Lanzarote a final-race second place on Sunday (10 March) for Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove was a welcome early season morale boost.

After a clean start, Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) led the fleet at the first mark but then jousted with the eventual overall winners of the championship for the two laps of the course.

While the score was welcome, it wasn’t enough to lift them from 25th place in the Gold fleet. Meanwhile, at the front, French sailors Erwan Fischer and Clément Péquin maintained their lead to secure their nation’s first world championship in the 49er skiff class. See the overall results HERE.

“The guys are world-class sailors and can perform in a lot of conditions with good starts and they’re very fast,” said Matt McGovern, Irish Sailing’s skiff coach. “We just struggled with a bit of the strategy so we need to get back to the drawing board and look at what we’ve learned from this event.”

Elsewhere, Crosshaven’s Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club) ended their championship in 31st place, narrowly missing their Sport Ireland funding goal of top 30 boats.

An opportunity to protest a Danish rival for a rules infringement wasn’t enough to close the gap on 30th place while racing in the 46-boat Silver fleet.

However, both Irish crews are now on level points after the first of three regattas for the selection trials to determine which crew will take the sole place for Ireland in the men’s skiff event for the Paris 2024 Olympic regatta in Marseille this Summer.

Both crews will be in action again in late April at the French Olympic Week in Hyères, where more than 1,000 sailors will gather for the ‘last-chance regatta’ to decide the remaining nation places for the games.

Ireland has already qualified in all three events that Irish Sailing’s Senior squad trains for, with Eve McMahon and Finn Lynch both confirmed for their respective single-handed events pending nomination by the Olympic Steering Group of Irish Sailing to the Olympic Federation of Ireland.

The skiff trials series will conclude at the start of May with the 49er European Championship at La Grande-Motte near Montpelier.

Tricky wind conditions have exposed a weakness for the leading Irish crew competing at 49er World Championship in Lanzarote on Friday (8 March).

Competing in the Gold fleet final round, Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) were unable to lift off the bottom of the leaderboard and remain in 25th place overnight.

The problem area for Dickson and Waddilove is how to handle the variable wind direction and strength blowing down from Lanzarote’s nearby mountains.

Few of the top sailors have escaped incurring high scores during the series so far, including three-time world champions Bart Lambriex and Floris Van de Werken from The Netherlands.

However, the Irish crew have yet to repeat their previous form of regular top ten results or higher in this series.

“It’s clear that we’ve found one of our weaknesses which is good as it’s definitely something we can focus on in the next couple of months,” said Sean Waddilove after racing ended for the day. “It’s different to Marseille [the Olympic regatta venue] which is a bit more predictable.

“These conditions aren’t what we used to find in Lanzarote but we’ve had them and we have to deal with them and do a better job.”

Waddilove maintains that the issue is fixable and points to their progress in previous weak areas that the pair addressed last year such as their light-winds boat speed and starting technique.

“When you’re at this level of sport, it’s hard to find weaknesses but the big lesson this week is that we’ve definitely found something that we can make gains in heading to Marseille,” he said.

Meanwhile, Crosshaven’s Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club) had a good day in the 46-boat Silver fleet where they included a race win and a second place to move into the lead of that class.

Both Irish crews have started a selection trials this week to determine which of them will represent Ireland in the men’s skiff event for the Paris 2024 Olympics this Summer.

With Dickson and Waddilove trailing in Gold fleet and Guilfoyle and Durcan leading the Silver fleet, the outcome of this event could be very narrow, setting the scene for a major contest at the French Olympic Week regatta in five weeks’ time.

Elsewhere, Day 4 showcased the dominance of Brazilian duo Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze, the only team with top 10 scores in all three races today.

The Dutch women’s team of Annette Duetz and Odile Van Aanholt also maintained consistency while their male compatriots Lambriex and Van De Werken struggled, allowing the local Spanish favourites to climb to second place.

In the men’s 49er, the French pair Erwan Fischer and Clement Pequin secured a significant lead. The battle among French teams for the home Olympic spot is intensifying.

After Friday’s fickle breeze and the mind-bending challenges of such a random race course, the fleet is hoping the forecast of stronger breeze might make things more predictable on Day 5.

One of the two Irish boats at the 49er World Championship in Lanzarote has qualified for the Gold fleet final series at the end of the nine-race qualification round on Thursday evening (7 March).

Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) placed 25th out of 71 crews after a tough day on the water at Playa Blanca that saw them narrowly qualify for the next three days of finals racing.

“Today had the hallmark of a great day for us with perfect conditions,” said Matt McGovern, Irish Sailing’s 49er coach. “But the day just got away from us and it isn’t very obvious why — it wasn’t what we wanted performance-wise.”

However, the regatta is still only at the halfway stage and Dickson reckons that its still all to play for.

“We’re last in Gold fleet so we have nothing to lose; we can probably take a little more risk and try and get up the leaderboard,” Dickson said after racing ended. “I definitely think that medal race is possible as the conditions have been very variable and the points are very tight.”

Earlier, Crosshaven's Séafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club) came agonisingly close to making the cut for Gold fleet but were disappointed to finish the qualification series in 27th overall.

The Cork crew placed second in the opening race of the day though Guilfoyle later conceded that it was due to a lucky windshift in their favour that saw them jump over 20 places in the space of one leg.

The pair will continue the world championships competing in the 46-strong Silver fleet while 25 boats will race in the Gold fleet to determine the top ten boats to sail in Sunday's medal race final.

“Obviously, it’s very disappointing that we’re not in Gold fleet and that’ll take a bit of time to process,” Guilfoyle said. “We definitely have to keep fighting for top 30 because our funding depends on it. With another nine races to go, we can do it.”

Guilfoyle and Durcan are in a trials series with the Dickson and Waddilove to decide which of the two boats will take the single Irish place for the Paris 2024 Olympic regatta in the men’s skiff event. Two more events will follow over the next eight weeks.

“We have to pick ourselves up now and attack the rest of the regatta — we can debrief fully later.”

It was a day of mixed and extreme emotions in the boat park after the fleet came ashore at the end of a vital third day of Qualifying at the 49er and 49erFX World Championships in Lanzarote.

For some this was perhaps the hardest day they will ever experience in their Olympic sailing career. For some who didn't make it through to Gold Fleet, who find themselves relegated to Silver, it could well spell the end of their dreams of making it to Paris 2024.

Racing continues with the fleets split into gold and silver for each fleet.

Irish sailors Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove have put their best foot forward at the 49er World Championship in Lanzarote. The duo is on the brink of qualifying for Gold fleet after the end of the nine-race qualification round on Thursday. However, they eagerly await the outcome of protest hearings tonight that could potentially push them out of the top 25. 

Meanwhile, Crosshaven's Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan missed the cut for Gold fleet, finishing in 27th place overall. The Cork crew came agonizingly close to making it to the top 25, placing second in the opening race of the day. Guilfoyle later admitted that their success in the race was due to a lucky wind-shift in their favor. 

The world championships will continue with 25 boats competing in the Gold fleet to determine the top ten boats for Sunday's medal race final. Guilfoyle and Durcan will compete in the 46-strong Silver fleet. 

The Irish sailors are in a trials series with Dickson and Waddilove to decide which of the two boats will represent Ireland at the Paris 2024 Olympics in the men's skiff event. Two more events will take place over the next eight weeks. 

Speaking about the outcome, Guilfoyle said, "Obviously, it's very disappointing that we're not in Gold fleet, and that'll take a bit of time to process. We definitely have to keep fighting for the top 30 because our funding depends on it. With another nine races to go, we can do it." 

The International Jury hearings are expected to conclude shortly, and the Irish sailors will soon know their fate.

Dublin sailors Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove made a strong start on the second day of racing at the 49er World Championship in Lanzarote, Spain on Wednesday.

Despite challenging conditions, including an unstable northerly wind, the duo managed to score two top-ten results in their fleet. However, a 15th-place finish weighed down their overall standing, putting them in 18th place overall. With just ten points separating them from the top ten, the Dublin pair will be keen to improve their position in Thursday's races in order to qualify for the Gold fleet final round.

Meanwhile, Crosshaven's Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan from the Royal Cork Yacht Club also had a strong showing, with a top result and two 20th place finishes. Although the latter result was discarded as their worst score, the Cork duo will need to find their form on Thursday in order to improve their position and secure a spot in the Gold fleet.

As Afloat previously reported, the 49er World Championship is the first of three selection trials for the single Irish berth at the Paris 2024 Olympics in the Men's single-handed event. With all eyes on the prize, the Irish sailors are giving it their all and leaving nothing to chance.

"Today was more of what we expected from Lanzarote," commented Matt McGovern, Irish Sailing's skiff coach. "After a light start for the first race, it got a little easier for the fleet as they just had to take the left track, so it was about getting off the start well."

Despite the challenging conditions, McGovern remained optimistic, saying, "Overall, it was a good day to survive." Gold fleet racing for the final round commences on Friday, followed by Sunday's medal race for the top ten overall to decide the podium.

On each side of the Yellow and Blue Qualifying Groups in the 49er, two different French teams put in some world-beating performances.

In Yellow Group, Julien D’Ortoli and Noe Delpech enjoyed an almost perfect day with scores of 2,1,1 to move up to 5th overall in the standings.

Meanwhile, in Blue Group, Erwan Fischer and Clement Pequin put the hammer down to score 3,1,3 and move to the top of the leaderboard. The French share equal points with reigning world champions Bart Lambriex and Floris van de Werken who hold second place with an 8 point gap on the Polish team, Mikolaj Staniul and Jakub Sztorch, in third.

49er World Championship in Lanzarote: results day two49er World Championship in Lanzarote: results day two

Ireland has passed out Belgium in the Olympic race for the single Paris berth available at the 49er European Championships in Vilamoura.

On the first day of gold fleet racing, Ireland's Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove improved from 13th to sixth place overnight after three solid races on Saturday

Suffering a tumble down the rankings and falling out of the top spot for the one Olympic qualifying spot available from this championship are the Belgian team of Yannick Lefèbvre and Jan Heuninck, whose scores of 23rd and 12th have dropped them from 7th to 14th overall.

Ireland in the mix - Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove improved from 13th to sixth place overnight after three solid races on Saturday Photo: Prow MediaIreland in the mix - Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove improved from 13th to sixth place overnight after three solid races on Saturday Photo: Prow Media

The Howth and Skerries duo have moved into Olympic pole position after scores of 10th and 2nd launched Dickson and Waddilove up into 6th overall. The closest threat for the Olympic ticket are the Italians, Simone Ferrarese and Leonardo Chistè, who have risen to 10th overall and are 10 points behind the Irish.

With six races remaining in the schedule before Monday afternoon's medal race, the Italian threat could be a big one.

As Afloat reported previously, Dickson and Waddilove came within one nation place of securing a berth in the Men's skiff event for the Paris 2024 Olympic regatta in Marseilles next August when they competed at the Sailing World Championships in The Hague in August.

Ireland's second crew in the competition, now in the Silver fleet had no racing due to the weather. Séafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork YC) are hoping that Sunday's conditions will allow the Silver and Bronze fleets an opportunity to continue.

The 49er European Championship dinghy park in Vilamoura, Portugal Photo: Prow MediaThe 49er European Championship dinghy park in Vilamoura, Portugal Photo: Prow Media

Read more about the progress of Irelaand's top 49er duo in our dedicated Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove category

Ireland's Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove survived the scramble to stay in the gold fleet qualification battle at the light air 49er Europeans Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal today.

For the five teams (including Ireland) in the battle for the sole qualification spot for next year’s Olympic Regatta, today’s racing was a make-or-break moment in the competition. As the final results were posted on the scoreboard, sailors and coaches were refreshing the page on their phones to see who had made the cut for the top 25 and Gold Fleet, and who had missed out.

Dickson (Howth YC) and Waddilove (Skerries SC) improved from 18th overall to 13th thanks to third and fourth places for the day while their discard took care of an 18th. 

Ireland's second crew in the competition also had their best day so far, but ultimately Séafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork YC) were unable to break into Gold fleet despite jumping from 60th to 38th place thanks to three solid results for the day including a fifth place.

Medallists at the past two World Championships, Diego Botin and Florian Trittel don’t expect to have to be checking whether they’ve made the cut for Gold. But it’s been that kind of week for the Spanish superstars, and quite a few other big name teams too.

Today was a much better day for the Spaniards who posted 8,3 from their qualifying group. When all the results were in from all three qualifying groups, it seems the Spaniards had done enough, scraping through in 22nd place and 6 points ahead of the German team in 26th. Normally 26th is the worst spot in a 49er regatta, but a quirk in the transition to the new 49er sails has given a bonus chance to Fabian Rieger and Tom Heinrich (GER) who, are the lone member of the 14-boat-strong German squad to squeek into gold fleet. Patryk Kosmalski with Tomasz Lewandowski (POL) sailed a wonderful qualifying series and made the gold fleet standard in 23rd overall. However, as they are youngsters in their first major championship, they are still using the old, transparent sails. By rule, only teams using the new sails may pass through to gold fleet so they have been relegated to Silver allowing the 26th place Germans into Gold.

With Erik Heil and Thomas Plœssel now retired from 49er competition, it would be unthinkable not to have a German representative following in the footsteps of the double Olympic bronze medallists. Except this is Olympic competition, and there is no tougher continent from which to qualify than from Europe.

Of the nations chasing the one Olympic spot in Vilamoura, highest placed are the Belgian team of Yannick Lefèbvre and Jan Heuninck, who are in 7th place overall.

Meanwhile Simone Ferrarese and Leonardo Chistè have kept Italian dreams alive as they responded to the pressure and posted scores of 5,1 to move into the Gold Fleet and up into 19th place overall. There’s still enough racing in the final three days for the Italians and others to overtake the Belgians for the golden ticket to Paris.

Also into gold fleet are Ireland, and Portugal, making five nations vying for the European Olympic berth. Maltese sailor Richard Schulties has also qualified to gold fleet but he is sailing with Frenchman Yoann Bertinn, and therefore they are ineligible for games spots at this event.

Three days and up to nine races remain in the series that will decide the medal race on Monday.

All teams not qualifying at the Hague or continental qualifiers will have to wait their turn at the ‘Last Chance’ regatta next April. That’s at Semaine Olympic Francaise in Hyères when there are five last-gasp Olympic berths up for grabs.

Best performers of the day were the young Spanish brother Martin and Jaime Wizner. A stellar performance of 2,1 lifts them to 3rd overall and within striking distance of the lead. Now topping the 49er standings are Ben Bildstein and David Hussl who are banishing the demons of a difficult year with an outstanding command of the tricky conditions. Just a point behind the Austrians in second place are the Polish duo, Dominik Buksak and Szymon Wierzbicki.

Having missed Paris 2024 Olympic qualification at the first opportunity at the Sailing World Championships in August, two Irish crews are vying for the one nation place on offer at the 49er European Championship in Vilamoura, Portugal.

Racing from this Wednesday, November 8th, until Monday, 13th, front runners Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) missed qualification by one place in The Hague but aim to close out the year with nation qualification in the bag.

It might be billed as a European Championships, but the great and the good of the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 classes will be in Vilamoura. Sailors from any nation can enter – so expect to see some big names, including two-time 49erFX Olympic gold medallists Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze of Brazil in action. The full entry lists can be found here.

As Tokyo reps, Dickson and Waddilove are expected to make the standard, but it has been a bit of a snakes and ladders year for the north Dublin duo, who have struggled with starting but otherwise have great boat speed.


Seafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club) Photo: Clare KeoghSeafra Guilfoyle (left) with Johnny Durcan  both of Royal Cork Yacht Club Photo: Clare Keogh

Ireland's second boat in Vilamoura will be the Cork Harbour pairing of Seafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork Yacht Club), who, at the very least, are seeking a top 20 result overall in the 90-strong event to meet Sport Ireland carding scheme criteria and regain a place on the Irish squad.

Royal Irish sailor Saskia Tidey has been selected by Team GB for Paris with helm Freya Black and will be in action in PortugalRoyal Irish sailor Saskia Tidey has been selected by Team GB for Paris with helm Freya Black and will be in action in Portugal

Saskia Tidey

Royal Irish sailor Saskia Tidey will also be in action in Vilamoura. The Royal Irish sailor who sailed for Ireland in Rio but switched to GB for Tokyo and has been selected by Team GB for Paris with helm Freya Black. Without any internal selection battles going on, the GB sailors will be free to focus 100 per cent on their international adversaries.

A black flag disqualification may not have been the best start to Olympic qualification for Dublin 49er duo Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove at the Allianz Sailing World Championships at The Hague in the Netherlands on Friday, but the Howth-Skerries duo showed the depth of their ambition by bouncing back with a second in race two. 

As Afloat reported previously, six Irish boats will be in action for ten days, where places for Paris 2024 are up for grabs but conditions are tricky with fluctuating winds and strong tidal currents.

The skiff classes started the series, and the Irish Tokyo 2020 representatives appeared to have nailed their first race start along with the Dutch training partners and defending world champions until the dreaded black flag was applied to the Irish hopes.

The Cork 49er crew Seafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan of the Royal Cork Yacht Club delivered two top-half fleet results for their first day with up to six further races remaining to decide the crucial Gold, Silver and Bronze fleet splits where a top ten result will be required to take a Paris place.

Royal Cork 49er crew of Seafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan of the Royal Cork Yacht Club Photo: World SailingRoyal Cork 49er crew of Seafra Guilfoyle with Johnny Durcan of the Royal Cork Yacht Club are racing in The Hague Photo: World Sailing

After three races sailed, Dickson and Waddilove lie 24th and Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan 59th in the 83-boat fleet.

Ten nations, excluding France, will qualify for Paris, and nations have a rooting interest in other nations from their continent as a quirk of the qualifying system. For example, if China and Korea were to finish in their current positions, they would not need to qualify at the next stage, the continental qualification, opening up greater opportunities for other Asian nations. The case is likewise in the Americas and Oceania, which will all have teams on the bubble of Olympic qualifying. The International 49er class has rated Dickson and Waddilove's chances of qualifying as 'on the bubble' as Afloat reports here.

American prowess

America's Nevin Snow and Mac Agnese (USA) won two of their three qualifying races to share the overall lead as their American teammates are also each in the top twelve, setting up the USA well for Olympic Qualifying.

America's Nevin Snow and Mac Agnese (USA) won two of their three qualifying racesAmerica's Nevin Snow and Mac Agnese (USA) won two of their three qualifying races at the World Sailing Championships Photo: World Sailing

Snow is the US college sailor of the year and has had flashes of brilliance in the 49er but also an up-and-down career so far. In teaming up with Mac Agenese, a member of the 2019 America’s Cup American Magic Team, he’s formed a stable partnership and an upward trajectory on his Olympic sailing career.

Also winning two races were Diego Botin with Florian Tritell (ESP), fresh off their seminal Sail GP win, to sit tied with the Americans on two points overall.

Three teams are tied for third at this early stage, with Wang/Qi (CHN), Fantela brothers (CRO), and Przbytek/Piasecki (POL) each on four points. 19 nations sit within the 25-place cutoff for gold fleet, showing the increasing depth of 49er racing globally. Asia has had its best-ever day in the 49er, with China, Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, and India all making the gold fleet standard. Asia has been purchasing 40% of the world’s 49ers since 2012, and as the depth and focus have improved, now the results are too.

Meanwhile, a female Irish 49erFX debuted on the women's course with Erin McIlwaine (Ballyhome Yacht Club) with Ellie Cunnane (Tralee Bay Sailing Club), completing their first three races at senior level.

Irish interest continues with the skiff events on Saturday.

Results are here

Ireland's 49er skiff crew of Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove, from Howth and Skerries, respectively, have withdrawn from French Olympic Sailing Week after failing to make the Gold fleet on Wednesday.

The duo, who represented Ireland at Tokyo 2020, will concentrate on Dickson's recovery due to a viral infection from which he had earlier been declared 'cleared to sail'.

Ireland's second 49er crew of Seáfra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan of Royal Cork Yacht Club ended a light airs day four in Hyeres, counting a double and a seventh.

None of the fleets saw quite such a change at the top of the leaderboard as the men’s 49er, as the top two boats fell down the ladder as Spain’s Diego Bottin & Florian Trittel enjoyed a golden finish to the start of gold fleet, winning the last two of the day’s four races. The Dutch world champions Bart Lambriex & Floris van der Werken are all that is left of Wednesday’s podium after they finished 8, 5, 2, 5.

Meanwhile New Zealand’s Logan Dunning Beck & Oscar Gunn, winners in Palma at the beginning of April, and leaders overnight, had a day to forget, finishing 10, 19, 12, 17 in the 24-boat gold fleet and slipped to 5th overall. Likewise, USA’s Ian Barrows & Hans Henken slipped from second to seventh with 16, 4, 19, and 22 finishes.

More races are scheduled for Friday.

Results are here

Page 1 of 3

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 -  Paris Olympics Sailing Marseille

July 28th – August 8th Paris Olympics Sailing Marseille

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
isora sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating