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Friday's Royal Cork Yacht Club May IHS cruiser-racer league in Cork Harbour was won by Louise O'Keeffe's Dufour 30, Labous Gwen in a corrected time of 1 hour 16 minutes and 16 seconds.

Fiona Young's Albin Express, North Star was second in the light air race in a time of 1:16:45 corr. The McJenkins family were third in the S&S 34, Morning After (1:18:47 corr).

A dull Friday turned sunny by mid-afternoon but the wind went light for the start of the race and was no match for the harbour's foul tide.

Overall, after three races sailed in the May league, Labous Gwen leads by five points from Clodagh O'Donovan's First 35s5, Roaring Forties on 15 points. Danny Rock's RCYC 1720 is lying third.

Results are provisional (below) for the 11-boat fleet, which produced further proof for the Royal Cork claim that momentum is growing in Summer keelboat racing with a combined harbour league resuming in June.

Published in Royal Cork YC
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"The largest number of boats racing on a Summer Series Friday night in over 10 years, a remarkable achievement,” says Royal Cork Yacht Club Rear Admiral Keelboats, Rob Foster, after the second week of the club’s May League.

Between the Thursday and Friday leagues, over thirty boats raced out of the Crosshaven club, giving the season its best start in many years.

The conditions were light on both nights for the second week and there was a distinctive taste of summer in the air. On Thursday night, Fiona Young’s North Star reigned supreme in Spinnakers IRC, with Ria Lyden’s Ellida winning in ECHO handicap.

The club 1720 won Whitesail IRC and Pat Vaughan was the winner on Aramis in ECHO.

Friday is especially for whitesails.

The second Friday evening race under IHS club handicapping had the biggest racing fleet so far, a turn-out of 18 yachts. The winner was Louise O'Keeffe’s Labous Gwen.

As Afloat reported earlier, in a further boost for Munster cruiser-racer interests, the Cork Harbour Cruiser League is to be revived next month.

Published in Royal Cork YC
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After a break since the impact of Covid, the Cork Harbour Combined Cruiser League is to be held again.

It will start on Friday, June 5, and be jointly organised by the Royal Cork YC and Cove SC. It is open to both Whitesail and Spinnaker racing and will run for four Fridays in June.

The event is sponsored by Johanna Murphy and Associates.

"It promises to be a fantastic league with the Harbour Clubs working together to deliver great racing for both clubs," says RCYC Rear Admiral Keelboats, Rob Foster.

The overall league prize-giving will be on Friday, June 28, in Cobh.

Sailing Instructions and the Notice of Race are being published on club websites.

Published in Cork Harbour

For the first time in five years the Rankin dinghy ‘Worlds’ will be held again this season.

The Rankins are a revered Cork Harbour class that was revived, beginning in 2016, by dedicated enthusiasts in Cobh and is now thriving again as part of Cove Sailing Club.

The ’Worlds were last held in 2019 and will be race again on June 29 and 30. hosted by the Royal Cork YC at Crosshaven.

The title ‘holders’ from then are Conor and Robbie English. Conor was one of the two leaders who led the revival of the Rankins.

Rankin R4 and Helga of the fleet on the Cork Harbour dinghy class's first sail of 2024 Photo: Rankins/FacebookRankin R4 and Helga of the fleet on the Cork Harbour dinghy class's first sail of 2024 Photo: Rankins/Facebook

The other, Maurice Kidney, told me: “We are eagerly looking forward to the revival event.

“As of now, we've 23 confirmed boats and anticipate another five, which gives us upwards of 28 boats on the water. Peter Crowley of the RCYC, himself a long-time Rankin enthusiast, has kindly agreed to be the Sailing Coordinator for the weekend.

“While the emphasis will be on participation, it can be expected to be fairly hot at the top of the fleet.

“Alex Barry will be sailing his brother Colin’s boat, Tommy Dwyer, in scintillating form at Rankin events last year are ones to note. There are many others. The ‘Worlds’ will be a great event.”

Published in Rankin Dinghy

On Saturday morning, the Carrigaline Choral Group participated in the annual Darkness into Light national fundraiser with the Royal Cork Yacht Club. Up to 30 pleasure crafts sailed out into Cork Harbour before sunrise to support the charity Pieta, which raises awareness about suicide and provides support to those suffering from suicidal ideation, self-harm, or those bereaved by suicide.

A flotilla of up to 30 boats headed out into a misty Cork Harbour for the annual Darkness into Light national fundraiser with the Royal Cork Yacht Club Photo: Bob BatemanA flotilla of up to 30 boats headed out into a misty Cork Harbour for the annual Darkness into Light national fundraiser with the Royal Cork Yacht Club Photo: Bob Bateman

The flotilla was led by Royal Cork Yacht Club Admiral Annamarie Fegan. The Carrigaline Choral Group was onboard the RCYC's Committee boat, Gem, and was accompanied by the Crosshaven RNLI inshore lifeboat.

The  Darkness into Light flotilla of boats included the Crosshaven RNLI inshore lifeboat Photo: Bob BatemanThe  Darkness into Light flotilla of boats included the Crosshaven RNLI inshore lifeboat Photo: Bob Bateman

Although there was a foggy start to the proceedings, the boats set off from Crosshaven in a parade and headed for the entrance to Cork Harbour just off Roches Point.

Royal Cork Yacht Club Committee Boat Gem, skippered by marina manager Mark Ring underneath Roches Point at sunrise for the Darkness into Light charity appeal  Photo: Bob BatemanRoyal Cork Yacht Club Committee Boat Gem, skippered by marina manager Mark Ring underneath Roches Point at sunrise for the Darkness into Light charity appeal  Photo: Bob Bateman

At 5:45 a.m., just after sunrise, Admiral Fegan raised the club pennant to honour the Darkness into Light charity appeal, and the choir, led by honorary choral secretary Mary Malone, sang in the misty morning. 

Royal Cork Yacht Club Admiral Annamarie Fegan raises the club pennant to honour the Darkness into Light charity appeal Photo: Bob BatemanRoyal Cork Yacht Club Admiral Annamarie Fegan raises the club pennant to honour the Darkness into Light charity appeal Photo: Bob Bateman

Carrigaline Choral Group perform at sunrise off Roches Point in Cork Harbour as part of the Royal Cork Yacht Club's support of the annual Darkness into Light national fundraiser Photo: Bob BatemanCarrigaline Choral Group perform at sunrise off Roches Point in Cork Harbour as part of the Royal Cork Yacht Club's support of the annual Darkness into Light national fundraiser Photo: Bob Bateman

After the event, the fleet returned to the clubhouse for tea, coffee, and croissants.

Pieta was founded in Dublin in 2006 to provide free, accessible one-to-one counselling to people in need.

Royal Cork Yacht Club's 2024 'Darkness into Light' Fundraiser in aid of Pieta House Photo Gallery by Bob Bateman

Published in Royal Cork YC

The Royal Cork YC’s Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo is always a busy boat, and usually successful too. But things are in over-drive for 2024 and 2025, as co-owner-skipper Annamarie Fegan - aka Mrs Denis Murphy - is also the RCYC’s first woman Admiral. Thus she and Denis and their crew are finding their energies well spread, for as we’re all only too well aware, getting enthusiasm going for the new 2024 season has been a bit of a challenge in the face of decidedly mixed weather. And in any case, being Admiral RCYC is virtually a full-time job.

Nieulargo is well-accustomed to leading on the water in straightforward racing, but in early 2024 it has behoved them to lead by example too. So they took themselves off – as the keener Crosshaven boats usually do – for total commitment to the Axiom Spring Series in Kinsale, and never mind the weather. They won Class 1 overall. Now that is truly inspirational leadership.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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On Saturday evening (April 20), the Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC) honoured British yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who arrived into Cork Harbour during his Round Ireland cruise.

Knox Johnston, who famously completed the first single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the world in 1969, presented the prizes after the successful staging of RCYC's Crosshaven House PY 1000 dinghy race.

The round-the-world legend presented the winner's cheque for €700 to National 18 trio Colin Chapman (winning for a second time), Ewan O'Keefe and Dave Lane on the RCYC lawn in the evening sunshine.

The tenth edition of the mixed dinghy event featured a pursuit race in the Owenabue River, organised by Alex Barry.

Race Officer John Crotty saw the first boats off at 3:30 p.m. and finishers arriving at 5 pm.

National 18 dinghies head off in the tenth Crosshaven House PY 1000 dinghy race Photo: Bob BatemanNational 18 dinghies head off in the tenth Crosshaven House PY 1000 dinghy race Photo: Bob Bateman

420 dinghies competing in the tenth Crosshaven House PY 1000 dinghy race Photo: Bob Bateman420 dinghies competing in the tenth Crosshaven House PY 1000 dinghy race Photo: Bob Bateman

The sunny day with an east, south-east wind made for a gentle start to the proceedings, perfect for the three-man National 18 dinghy to show its performance potential and arrive in first place.

National 18 trio Colin Chapman (winning for a second time), Ewan O'Keefe and Dave Lane on their way to RCYC Crosshaven House PY 1000 dinghy race victory Photo: Bob BatemanNational 18 trio Colin Chapman (winning for a second time), Ewan O'Keefe and Dave Lane on their way to RCYC Crosshaven House PY 1000 dinghy race victory Photo: Bob Bateman

Charles Dwyer and Peter Scannell, in another N18, were second, with Daphne O'Leary (aged 8) and her father, Peter O'Leary third. 

Daphne O'Leary (aged 8) and her father, Peter O'Leary were in the third in RCYC's Crosshaven House PY 1000 dinghy race. Photo: Bob BatemanDaphne O'Leary (aged 8) and her father, Peter O'Leary were in the third in RCYC's Crosshaven House PY 1000 dinghy race. Photo: Bob Bateman

A Melges 15 dingy made its RCYC Crosshaven House PY 1000 dinghy race debut on the Owenabue river Photo: Bob BatemanNew marque - A Melges 15 dinghy (IRL 561) made its RCYC Crosshaven House PY 1000 dinghy race debut on the Owenabue river Photo: Bob Bateman

Royal Cork's 2024 PY1000 Dinghy Race Photo Gallery By Bob Bateman

Published in Royal Cork YC

The 1980s tend to get a bad press as a time when young people left the country in droves, searching for jobs that matched their potential and training. Those of us who stayed at home to battle on, but now find ourselves living in one of the allegedly richest countries in Europe, survived the bad times by generally not keeping overly close tabs on those who had made the Great Escape. For indeed, some had more or less vanished without trace, while others were rumoured to have made some sort of determinedly-sought breakthrough to become household names in their own household, or even better.

GETTING OUT IN 1985

One such is Ken Corry, now Commodore of the highly-regarded 1901-founded Los Angeles Yacht Club. Yet when he departed the intense Cork sailing scene in 1985, boats and sailing in his new life in California were barely even on the to-do list as he worked with increasing success on the lively West Coast, where the multi-opportunity California is nearly 15% of the entire US total economy, while New York state is only 8%.

Neill Love from Cork with Commodore Ken Corry at the Los Angeles Yacht ClubNeill Love from Cork with Commodore Ken Corry at the Los Angeles Yacht Club

DEEPLY INTO CROSSHAVEN JUNIOR SAILING

Yet back in Crosshaven he’d been completely invested in the junior sailing programme, having joined the Royal Cork YC as a kid in 1970, then moving up the ranks to race in the Mirrors and be a helm in the RCYC Team which beat Sutton Dinghy Club for the historic Book Trophy by a cool 17.5 points in 1976.

The most junior of juniors – a young Ken Corry at Crosshaven (left) with Eddie Tingle and the late Suzanne Crosbie. The lifejackets back then were so uncomfortable that where the rules said “Life Jackets Must Be Worn When Sailing”, the youngsters interpreted that to a very fine point, and in a less prosperous era of fewer items of equipment, life jackets could be used as fenders when the boats weren’t actually under wayThe most junior of juniors – a young Ken Corry at Crosshaven (left) with Eddie Tingle and the late Suzanne Crosbie. The lifejackets back then were so uncomfortable that where the rules said “Life Jackets Must Be Worn When Sailing”, the youngsters interpreted that to a very fine point, and in a less prosperous era of fewer items of equipment, life jackets could be used as fenders when the boats weren’t actually under way

Success! Forty-eight years after the event, the 1976 page of “The Book” show young helm Ken Corry (bottom left) proving his worth for Royal Cork in the annual tournament against Sutton Dinghy ClubSuccess! Forty-eight years after the event, the 1976 page of “The Book” show young helm Ken Corry (bottom left) proving his worth for Royal Cork in the annual tournament against Sutton Dinghy Club

MOVING UP THE ROYAL CORK SAILING RANKS

Then he went on to the National 18s for a couple of years before being elevated to a crewing role on Denis Doyle’s new Crosshaven-built Frers 51 Moonduster in 1981, going on to race with The Doyler in that year’s Admiral’s Cup including the Fastnet, and the Sardinia Cup in Porto Cervo in the Mediterranean in 1982. By 1984, he had been swept into the wave of enthusiasm for the J/24s, crewing both for Stephen Hyde in that year’s Worlds at Poole, and subsequently with Anthony O’Leary in the legendary Flying Ferret.

Fresh out of Crosshaven Boatyard in May 1981, Denis Doyle’s new Frers 51 Moonduster had a youthful crew – including Ken Corry – who took a while to realise just how much they needed to ease the backstay when running. Photo: W M NixonFresh out of Crosshaven Boatyard in May 1981, Denis Doyle’s new Frers 51 Moonduster had a youthful crew – including Ken Corry – who took a while to realise just how much they needed to ease the backstay when running. Photo: W M Nixon

But in the mid-1980s, the winters were long and the economic outlook was bleak, and in 1985 he fetched up in California, keen to work. The way his friend Neill Love back in Cork tells it, his reinvolvement – eventually to the highest levels – in the sailing scene in the new environment came about in a very laid-back style:

  • Sailed casually with friends for a number of years before becoming a partner (and now sole owner) of a Cal 40 in restoration project.
  • Joined Board of Directors (the Committee) in Los Angeles Yacht Club 2018
  • Launched superbly restored and successful Cal 40 in 2021
  • Commodore LAYC 2024

Joining the real club….the restoration of Ken Corry’s Cal 40 nears completion in 2021Joining the real club….the restoration of Ken Corry’s Cal 40 nears completion in 2021

It’s a beautiful story, and the involvement of a Cal 40 is the cream on the cake. Back in 1963, sailors of a modernist mind in Ireland were much taken by the new van de Stadt-designed Excalibur 36, virtually all fibreglass and with a spade rudder in the newest of the new styles, completely separate from the keel. There was an attempt to get an OD class going in Dun Laoghaire, but it had petered out by the 1970s, as moving from the very stylish and classic DB24s to the utterly plastic fantastic Excalibur was just too much of a leap.

CAL 40 IS CALIFORNIA’S ENDURING CLASSIC

But meanwhile, in California in 1963, Bill Lapworth unveiled the Cal 40, the same concept as the Excalibur 36, but with a more slim Pacific style in that very useful extra 4ft of length and enough traditional varnish-work – particularly a wooden cockpit coaming – to keep many traditionalists happy.

The ultimate restored Cal 40 – Stan and and Sally Honey’s Illusion sweeps into another ocean race win. After many years of massive successes on both the Pacific and Atlantic coats of the US with Illusion, Stan and Sally have gone over to the dark side with the purchase of a fully-powered trawler yacht, while Illusion has gone to Stan’s nephew “as he gets what she means”.The ultimate restored Cal 40 – Stan and and Sally Honey’s Illusion sweeps into another ocean race win. After many years of massive successes on both the Pacific and Atlantic coats of the US with Illusion, Stan and Sally have gone over to the dark side with the purchase of a fully-powered trawler yacht, while Illusion has gone to Stan’s nephew “as he gets what she means”.

To cut a long story short, you won’t see any Excalibur 36s making the offshore racing scene these days. Yet in the US on both coasts the Cal 40 wonderboat just keeps on winning, and restoring one – as super-sailors Stan and Sally Honey did with their hugely successful yet ancient Illusion, which had bullet holes in the hull when they took on the job - is looked on along the West Coast as an almost sacred duty for serious sailors.

Thus from being someone from a cosy Irish sailing community who was making a leap into the dark in moving to the Coast, Ken Corry is now very much at home at the heart of Los Angeles sailing and its finest traditions. Rather than travelling to visit, he is the one to be visited – he has had Neill Love calling by, and when his mother Sheila arrived, they were able to get together with Ron Holland down from Vancouver, and his daughter Kelly.

And so far, he seems to have comfortably resisted any projects to make the LAYC the Western Station of the RCYC, but may well be open to the idea that the RCYC becomes the Eastern Station of the LAYC.

Sailing folk from several homes in Ken Corry’s home club are (left to right) Ken’s mother Sheila, Ron Holland down from Vancouver, Ken Corry in one of the places he knows best, and Ron Holland’s daughter Kelly.Sailing folk from several homes in Ken Corry’s home club are (left to right) Ken’s mother Sheila, Ron Holland down from Vancouver, Ken Corry in one of the places he knows best, and Ron Holland’s daughter Kelly.

Published in Cork Harbour

Not many were surprised when the Irish Sailing Youth National Championships, which have been taking place at the Royal Cork Yacht Club since Thursday, concluded early due to the landing of Storm Kathleen and a deteriorating forecast for the following day.

After four classes managed to complete their series earlier on Thursday, race management made the decision to abandon the remaining races for the safety of the sailors. 

Sean Evans, Irish Sailing High Performance Youth Development Manager, expressed his disappointment at the decision, stating, "It is with a heavy heart that race management has made the decision to cancel the remainder of the event due to the adverse weather. The safety of our sailors will always come first." 

Despite the cancellation, the one day of racing that did occur showcased an impressive level of talent, illustrating the bright future of Irish sailing. Talks from Faye St Leger, Development Strength and Conditioning Coach, and a Coaches' Development Conference were still scheduled to take place later in the day. 

The prizegiving event is scheduled to take place at 2:30 p.m., with Irish Sailing President John Twomey presenting the trophies. 

Irish Sailing Youth National Championships Final Results:

ILCA 6

Bobby Driscoll, Ballyholme Yacht Club
Andrew Kingston, Royal Cork Yacht Club
Lewis Thompson, Ballyhome Yacht Club

29ers

  1. Clementine Van Steenberg & Jessica Riordan, The National Yacht Club and The Royal St. George Yacht Club
  2. Oisin Pierse & Fionn Daly, Royal Cork Yacht Club
  3. Hugh Meaghar & Oisin Alexander, National Yacht Club

420

  1. Max Sweetman & Fionn Lynch, Waterford Harbour Sailing Club
  2. Cora McNaughton & Sean Cronin, Blessington Sailing Club
  3. Sean Lemonier & Killian Matthieu, Galway Bay Sailing Club

Opti

  1. Max O’Hare, Royal St. George Yacht Club and Malahide Yacht Club
  2. Patrick Fegan, Royal St George Yacht Club
  3. Juliet Ryan, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Malahide Yacht Club

Full results below

Published in Youth Sailing

The second day of racing at the 2024 Irish Sailing Youth National Championships at Crosshaven in Cork Harbour has been cancelled due to strong winds. 

Organisers completed a successful first day of races on Thursday for over 90 boats and more than 100 sailors, as Afloat reports here.

After a number of postponements this morning, Friday's racing was cancelled for all classes at lunchtime due to winds reaching over 30 mph.

Over 170 young sailors in six classes are set to compete in Ireland’s largest youth regatta, which was scheduled to continue this weekend.

However, the imminent arrival of Storm Kathleen, that has already altered other weekend sailing events, means organisers have deemed it 'unsafe to go on the water' for the rest of today or Saturday. 

'Based on current forecasts, all on-the-water activity is now postponed until Sunday 7 April', organisers note.

Bibs were also awarded to leading sailors after Day One's races with current positions standing:

ILCA 6

  1. Bobby Driscoll
  2. Andrew Kingston
  3. Lewis Thompson

29ers

  1. Clementine Van Steenberg & Jessica Riordan
  2. Oisin Pierse & Fionn Daly
  3. Hugh Maher & Oisin Alexander

420

  1. Max Sweetman & Fionn Lynch
  2. Cora McNaughton & Sean Cronin
  3. Sean Lemonier & Killian Matthieu
Published in Youth Sailing
Page 1 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 -  Paris Olympics Sailing Marseille

July 28th – August 8th Paris Olympics Sailing Marseille

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