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Displaying items by tag: youth sailing

Whether it be football or sailing, the people of Larne in County Antrim have plenty to celebrate, for the football club won the Irish League Cup on 15th April and East Antrim Boat Club’s ILCA 6 sailor, Tom Coulter began his Irish Youth Nationals competition by winning the opening ILCA 6 race at Howth Yacht Club’s four-day jamboree Investwise Youth Sailing Nationals for nearly 200 young sailors from all over Ireland. Tom went on to take third overall and his clubmate Zoe Whitford clocked an excellent 7th to take first the first girl place in the same class.

Zoe Whitford  - in the ILCA 6 fleetZoe Whitford - in the ILCA 6 fleet

And on the County Down coast, Ballyholme is celebrating a decisive win by Tom Driscoll in the 40-strong Topper class and a close second by two points was his clubmate, Cormac Byrne. 

Tom Coulter was one of the 30 competitors from Northern Ireland making the shorter trip (compared to the long drive to Baltimore for the Munster ILCAs the week before) to the Howth club, north of Dublin. In a class in which the Howth sailor and ILCA 6 Bronze European champion, Rocco Wright continues to shine, it was always going to be a fight for Tom, but he did start with a win and just before being black flagged in the last race, clocked up another, having taken three runner up slots and never falling below sixth, Tom (and EABC) will be encouraged by his performance.

Bobby Driscoll in the TopperTom Driscoll in the Topper

In the top ten ILCA 6s also were Lewis Thompson (BYC) at fifth, Zoe Whitford, also from the Larne club was 7th and first girl, and Bobby Driscoll, representing Royal North on Belfast Lough was 8th. Tom, Zoe and another BYC competitor, Charlotte Eadie, had trained in Schull from 1st April, before racing at Baltimore and then going on to Howth. As Zoe’s Mother, Lucy confessed, “it has been a busy Easter”.

Although Ballyholme’s Charlie O’Malley’s score of 22nd in ILCA 6 wasn’t outstanding, what was pleasing was that his daily efforts to help competitors haul their boats up the slip was noticed, and he was given a Spirit of the Event award.

A consistent set of results in the Toppers assured Tom Driscoll of 1st overall, but only two points behind was the Strangford Sailing Club/Ballyholme sailor, Cormac Byrne. In this class too, Emily McAfee at 5th was second girl and another BYC sailor, Katie Brow was 7th and third girl.

The Carlingford SC sailor, Lucy Ives, took 10th overall in the ILCA 4 class despite a DSQ and a DNE and the only northern entries in the 29ers, Hannah Dadley-Young, Toby Huges, Joseph Robinson and Henry Nelson from BYC in the 29er Class made credible efforts in challenging breezes for their first event in a boat requiring a steep learning curve.

RYANI was very pleased with the contingent’s performance. “All our sailors did us proud in a range of challenging conditions, including drifting with many course changes, right up to 20 knots in bitter cold wet breeze”.

Read more of Afloat's coverage of the Youth Sailing nationals at Howth here

Published in Youth Sailing

Some placings waxed and waned, occasionally quite spectacularly, in Day 2's racing in the Investwise Youth Sailing Nationals at Howth, as wind and weather struggled to stabilise themselves after the theatrically unsettled conditions experienced earlier in the week.

Nevertheless, in a testing time for Race Officer teams, the more senior classes, which had already notched two races on the opening afternoon on Thursday (Day 1), got themselves three further completed contests, while the newbies in the Toppers and ILCA 4s stepped up to the plate to start their championships with two races logged.

Already there'll be competitors who will be hoping for a full slate of finishes by the time racing concludes on Sunday, as two of the overnight leaders may be looking for everything that further discards have to offer. In the substantial Optimist fleet (43 boats racing), overnight clear leader Caoilinn McDonnell (Royal St George Yacht Club) scaled the extremes of experience with a UFD, a first, and a retiral to put her back to 15th overall despite having a neat lineup of three bullets for her three fully finished races.

An Optimist competitor sails past the Martello Tower on Ireland's Eye at Howth Yacht Club Photo: HYCAn Optimist dinghy competitor sails past the Martello Tower on Ireland's Eye at Howth Yacht Club Photo: HYC

There was excitement for the home Optimist fleet when local rising star Harry Dunne won the day's first race, and then a fifth in the second kept him up in lights, but a DNF in the third dropped him back to 7th OA at the end of the day.

Meanwhile, the Young Crusaders of Royal St George kept up their assault across a broad front, as Jules Start moved into first OA with a 13,3,1 while clubmate Conor Cronin took up second OA ahead of Andrew O'Neill of Royal Cork Yacht Club.

At the other end of the five-class regatta fleet, the ILCA 6s saw local stars Rocco Wright and Luke Turvey find their mojo with persistent performances in the frame, but Rocco was glad to have the first discard kick in as he was disqualified in the day's first race, but then made amends with two clear wins. Luke meanwhile had a first and two seconds, so it needed a tie-break to put Rocco ahead, as both are on 7 points total. Overnight leader Tom Coulter of East Antrim went back to 12 points total, as he'd to make do with a discarded 8th, and a retained 3rd and 6th.

World youth sailing gold medalist Rocco Wright leads the ILCA 6 division in his home waters at Howth Photo: World SailingWorld youth sailing gold medalist Rocco Wright leads the ILCA 6 division in his home waters at Howth Photo: World Sailing

It looks as though we're going to have to get used to spelling Krzysztof Ciborowski's name properly, as the young Royal St George YC helm ended the day on tops in the ILCA 4s after logging a 4th and 1st to put him ahead of Royal Cork's Oisin Pierse in another tie break, as both are on a total of 5, with another gong for Royal St George with Seth Walker third OA on a 5th and 2nd in a class of 34 boats.

The Toppers put out a fleet of 40 to see Tom Driscoll of Ballyholme become a clear overnight leader with two firsts to the 6th and 2nd of Cormac Byrne (SSC & BYC), with Lucy Moynan of Royal Cork keeping it cross country on third from a 4th and 5th.


Ben O'Shaughnessy of Crosshaven's Royal Cork YC and Ethan Spain of the National YC continued on form in the 29ers with a 2,1,2. When you're discarding a second, the smart money bets you're overall leaders, and so they are, yet it's only on a tie-break against the Van Steenberges (Clementine & Nathan) from Dun Laoghaire, while Lucia Cullen (Royal St George) and Alana Twomey (Royal Cork) are third on 11 to the leaders' 6.

International 29er performers Lucia Cullen (Royal St George) and Alana Twomey (Royal Cork) are lying third in Howth at the Youth Sailing Nationals International 29er performers Lucia Cullen (Royal St George) and Alana Twomey (Royal Cork) are lying third in Howth at the Youth Sailing Nationals 

The 420s saw Jack McDowell of Malahide and Henry Thompson of Wicklow have a great day on the water - with third and two firsts; they shot into the overall lead one point overall ahead of Malahide's Kate Campion and Amelie Soffe, while the cross-country mix of Max Sweetman of WHSC (Dunmore East) and Roisin Mitchell Ward of Galway Bay stayed in the frame on third overall.

When seen in the context of the week's earlier weather, it wasn't a bad day at all, but the promises of significantly warmer conditions have generally held back to Saturday (Day 3) when we hope to see a more steady southerly keeping this stylish and entertaining regatta on track.

Published in Youth Sailing

The first day of racing in the big-fleet Investwise Youth Sailing Nationals at Howth Yacht Club saw the Race Team get in two good races in the sweet spot between the morning's near gale that was the last of Storm Antonio blustering his way eastward, and the evening's calm which - after a cold night - hopefully, anticipates warmer weather and enough breeze for decent sport for the remaining three days.

It was a blast from the past when the biggest class - the Optimists - saw a girl helm dominating the fleet in the style of Denise Lyttle of the National Yacht Club at the Optimist Worlds at the same venue back in 1981. This time round, it was Royal St George Yacht Club's Caoilinn McDonnell who notched two bullets to lead overall from Tralee Bay's Jude Hynes Knight and another RStGYC sailor, Conor Cronin. With their patron's day just ten days away, evidently the Young Crusaders of the George are already on manoeuvres.

The outcome for the 33-boat fleet in the ILCA 6s may well have resulted in dancing in the streets back in Larne in County Antrim, as East Antrim BC's Tom Coulter logged a 1,2 to lead overall from local stars Rocco Wright (4,1) and Luke Turvey (2,4), with Royal St George's Fiachra McDonnell in the hunt at fourth overall with two thirds, making for a very crowded top layer on the leaderboard.

Howth is the venue for the Investwise Youth Sailing National ChampionshipsHowth is the venue for the Investwise Youth Sailing National Championships this weekend Photo: Afloat

For the 29ers, the remarkable inter-club mix of the fleet, in general, was reflected within boats, as Royal Cork's Ben O'Shaughnessy with the National's Ethan Spain topped the table, followed by Clementine and Nathan van Steenberge - they may be in the same boat, but they register as one with the National and the other with the Royal Irish, while club points tabulators are further confused by the third-placed boat being sailed by Lauren O'Callaghan (National YC) and James Dwyer (Royal Cork).

The 420s likewise saw club differences within the in-crew department, as the day's leaders were Max Sweetman from Dunmore East crewed by Roisin Mitchell Ward from Galway Bay - they got a fourth and first - but at least second slot was under the same umbrella of Malahide Yacht Club for both Kate Campion and Amalie Soffe, although we're mixing again in the third placed team, as helm Cora McNaughton is from mountainy stock up in Blessington, but crew Sean Cronin is very much at sea level in Malahide.

Just how the Race Officers managed to find a very useful westerly wind on this first day is a matter of wonder, as the spectacularly changing afternoon sky looked as if it had been painted by Paul Henry on a potent mixture of steroids and hallucinogenics. Be that as it may, David Lovegrove and his team did it, and two race results are already in the bag.

Result details below

Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under

The British Sailing Team has launched its new development academy, 'the British Sailing Squad', aimed at developing Olympic stars of the future.

The British Sailing Squad will act as an apprenticeship to the senior British Sailing Team, giving talented young sailors a taste of Olympic campaigning and the opportunity to perform on the international stage.

Sailors will get to train alongside British Sailing Team athletes, as well as access the team’s world-class performance services at its base in Portland, Dorset.

The British Sailing Squad will form a key part of the RYA performance pathway, which aims to nurture, develop and retain talented young racing sailors from Junior level with Regional Training Groups to squads at Youth level.

The British Sailing Squad is the next step towards fully-funded Olympic campaigning following the Transition phase of the pathway.

To earn a spot in the British Sailing Squad young sailors need to achieve performances close to or within the top 50 per cent of an international senior fleet. Podium performances at age level may also be considered.

RYA Performance Pathway Manager Jack Grundy, who heads up the British Sailing Squad, said: “For any young sailor with dreams of competing at the Olympics, the British Sailing Squad is an exciting new addition to our performance pathway.

“Sailors will get to train alongside – and learn from – the senior British Sailing Team, and benefit from dedicated coaching on and off the water from the BST’s support team.

“We’re really excited to launch the British Sailing Squad, and follow the development of these talented young racers.”

To find out more about the British Sailing Squad and the RYA’s performance pathway click here.

The British Sailing Squad athlete list will be released in January 2023.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland

Where other Irish harbours face the sea, Kinsale embraces it. And this generous geographical reality helps to provide a genuine sense of community interaction when any initiative at the hospitable south Cork port is put together to help get young people enthusiastically interested in boats and sailing.

But it’s a complex challenge. At a national level, this mixed though largely successful sailing year of 2022 has been remarkable for the emergence and rise of youthful Irish sailing talent, a situation which is as problematic as it is encouraging. It’s encouraging because in addition to enlivening the current scene, it bodes well for the future of our sport. But it is problematic in being a matter of continual judgment as to when an individual young sailor, or team of young sailors, should be highlighted – and to what level - in their growing achievements and potential.

It’s very easy to say that any publicity, if at all, should be kept very low-key until age 17. The simple ranking of ability, potential and maturity by something as narrowly-focused as the particular individual’s chronological age is now seen as almost embarrassingly unsophisticated, in an era when so many other measurable factors can be taken into account in a meaningful way.

 Reports and images of sailing children – however mature they may personally be – has always been problematic, yet this photo of Ireland’s Rocco Wright aged 12 has long since gone global. Photo: North Sails  Reports and images of sailing children – however mature they may personally be – has always been problematic, yet this photo of Ireland’s Rocco Wright aged 12 has long since gone global. Photo: North Sails 

Yet those who are trying to grapple with the big picture will inevitably find the number of statistics they deploy needs to get reduced to the basics, and in reporting and applauding junior achievement in, we try to be restrained until the young star reaches the age of 17, and even then it is hoped to be moderate with publicity until they’re in their early 20s and evidently maturing well. 


But there are some young sailors who manifest their talent at international level at such a young age that the good news keeps bursting out, however much the well-intentioned authorities, managers, coaches, parents and responsible communicators try to keep it under control. In the age of social media, rising stars not even into their teens are widely acknowledged in sailing as in other sports, becoming sources of too much interest before reaching the difficult years between 13 and 17 – and beyond – when so many factors for adult success and fulfilment are being set in place.

 The International 420 is internationally significant as a youth class, yet it often presents problems for reporters as the young sailors will be at their most formative and malleable stage The International 420 is internationally significant as a youth class, yet it often presents problems for reporters as the young sailors will be at their most formative and malleable stage

We all know of cases where the bright early light of potential talent has been allowed to burn so strongly that it soon burns itself out. But equally, we can all remember nascent but initially, low-wattage talents which might – just might – have burned increasingly brightly over time to reach their full potential, had there been the right environment of the optimal amounts of publicity, practical encouragement, and tangible support.

But all this is in the assumption that a significant proportion of up-and-coming young sailors – and their parents - aspire to a career ladder which will take them onwards and upwards to the demands of top-level international competition and the concentrated effort of high-performance training, thereby satisfying national sporting authorities, for whom a steady stream of successful international headline-grabbing talent is essential for their added income from public funds.

For in the final analysis, all that decision-making politicos with budgets to spend will really understand in sporting achievement is a gold, silver or bronze medal, and preferably in the Olympics, though a razzmatazz-filled World Championship title will do in the interim. 


Facing this noisy reality, we must remember that, increasingly, people are inclining to life at a more civilised level, with several sporting and recreational interests. And the backbone of Irish sailing is the club sailor who may aim at the occasional regional and national championship, but does not wish to sign up to a total all-consuming commitment on course to the highest level. They aspire instead to have sailing as part of a balanced and sensible lifestyle, ultimately with family at the heart of it.

 Squib Class action at Kinsale. The family-friendly Squib successfully lends itself to worthwhile club racing and major championships without straying into the demanding realms of extreme commitment and total dedication Squib Class action at Kinsale. The family-friendly Squib successfully lends itself to worthwhile club racing and major championships without straying into the demanding realms of extreme commitment and total dedication

But nevertheless, there is a substantial area of interest and activity between the quietly routine life of club sailing and the all-absorbing demands of Olympian and other high-level life-consuming international ambitions. And we’ve been seeing much of that in Ireland this year with the National, Continental and World championships of classes which have managed to avoid the Olympic stranglehold, yet can still offer their members a complete suite of competition levels, from club racing to quite intense international contests, while keeping publicity and demanding expectations of the national squad’s performance within reasonable limits. 


The classic case in point is the J/24, which you realize really is a unique proposition when one of their major championships comes to town. They don’t fit comfortably into any category, and they need a committed crew of five. Yet they have a devoted following worldwide, typified at the recent Euros in Howth by Germany’s Stefan Karsunke, who placed fifth overall with a crew of friends who have been happily sailing together for more than twenty years.

A boat and a sports level for all ages – the first race of the J/24 Euros 2022 at Howth is led by Seattle’s Admiral Denny Vaughan (USN, Retd), aged 83. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyA boat and a sports level for all ages – the first race of the J/24 Euros 2022 at Howth is led by Seattle’s Admiral Denny Vaughan (USN, Retd), aged 83. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

In Ireland, it’s some years now since the then ICRA Commodore Nobby Reilly proposed the establishment of a programme to encourage and support Under 25s into J/24 racing as an identifiable group. At the time, some thought that pitching the upper age limit at 25 was putting it a bit high – surely any real talent would have clearly manifested itself long before that? But as it happens, the peculiarities of economic realities in recent years have put young people at a disadvantage in hoping to mount their own campaigns, and that U25 ceiling seems more appropriate than ever.


The idea has been successful in several clubs, albeit somewhat unevenly, and for the last three years an outstanding product of the scheme has been the Headcase campaigns, where a crew – some now past 25 - from four different clubs in three Provinces have stayed together to campaign in Karsunke style.

It’s a setup which can only work with a high level of commitment from at least five young sailors. But last October a group was inaugurated in Kinsale, with Mikey Carroll as Team Captain, and former KYC Commodore Dave Sullivan as Mentor was inaugurated, though it was February 2022 by the time they’d secured a boat and had it all up and running.

The dream comes true – the “Kids from Kinsale” (right) successfully playing the Big Boys Game in some perfect racing weather at Howth. Photo: Christopher HowellThe dream comes true – the “Kids from Kinsale” (right) successfully playing the Big Boys Game in some perfect racing weather at Howth. Photo: Christopher Howell

But they were playing their cards very well indeed. For a start, they’d got themselves a gold standard boat. She may have been 31 years old, but she was the last J24 to be built by the great Jeremy Rogers of Lymington. As those of us who have had one will tell you, there are Jeremy Rogers boats. And there are “others”.


A further stroke of genius was the choice of name. Failure is an orphan while success has many fathers, so it’s a moot point whom to praise. But whoever thought of calling the boat Kinsailor was a genius. For sure, if you’re naming a private boat for personal use, you can choose whichever whimsical name takes your fancy. But if you’re campaigning a community and club-supported boat with national and international effects in mind, a simple name which says everything in just one word is a pearl beyond price, and they have it here in spades.

The re-born Jeremy Rogers-built masterpiece is unleashed on the world in February 2022 with a real stroke of genius in the name.The re-born Jeremy Rogers-built masterpiece is unleashed on the world in February 2022 with a real stroke of genius in the name.

Certainly it hit the spot in Kinsale, and they soon had a strong crew panel in place to get training under way. But while there were some regional contests to start testing their mettle, Headcase was away on a trail of success through regattas in Germany and the UK, and it was the Nationals at Foynes at the end of July before the lines of battle were clearly drawn.

The Kinsailor crew of Mikey Carroll, Leslie Collins. Rachel Akerlind, Michael O’Suilleabhain and Jack O’Sullivan put in a solid performance, winning the U25 section and placing eighth overall in a star-studded fleet. But it still looked as if the Headcase team were in a world of their own.

However, that special Headcase world seemed a little less elevated in the Easterns at Howth in the weekend preceding the Worlds at the end of August. Headcase was right there nearly all the way with 1,1,(8.0),2,1 but Kinsailor dealt deftly with the strong opposition with a 2,(13),4.1,2.


Then they seemed to find an extra gear with additional turbo-charging in the Euros themselves, and it all came right down to the wire last Saturday. Kinsailor’s final scoreline of 21,2,6,(27), 5,11,3,12,4,2 says a lot. With ten races possible though with only one discard even with total completion, a 21st in the first race usefully took the focus off them. It meant some further races with much better scores had to be sailed before they were in the area of being a marked boat.

Nevertheless despite that real upset of a 27th in Race 4, they were still in the hunt for a podium place, but the permutations were so abstruse that we thought it would be tempting fate even to mention any distinct possibility of such a thing in For Headcase was right back in the hunt with two bullets on the Friday.

 Job done. The Kinnsailor team at Howth after sweeping to success in the final race in the Euros 2022 are (left to right) Mikey Carroll, Jack O’Sullivan, Leslie Collins, Francesca Lewis, Rory Carroll and Micheal O’Suilleabhain Job done. The Kinnsailor team at Howth after sweeping to success in the final race in the Euros 2022 are (left to right) Mikey Carroll, Jack O’Sullivan, Leslie Collins, Francesca Lewis, Rory Carroll and Micheal O’Suilleabhain

But last weekend was a magic time for Kinsale up in Dublin. Off Howth, Kinsailor rocketed through to take a second and leap into third overall just one point behind the tied first and second boats. And across in Dun Laoghaire, Cameron Good of Kinsale Dragon Class fame finally broke a club drought of many years to win the Dragon Nationals.


Flushed with success at these double achievements firmly based in healthy club sailing, Kinsale Yacht Club is examining an initiative by Vice Commodore Anthony Scannell, together with Kinsale Outdoor Education Centre and Kinsale Community School, to develop a Team Racing Programme for Teenagers.

It is envisaged that up to six boats will be made available by KOEC who will provide training and safety boat cover. The boats will be stored in the dinghy park of KYC, and all participants will be students of KCS. It is the intention that training sessions would take place on Wednesday afternoons and some Saturdays.

Ultimately the success of such a worthwhile and genuinely community-based sailing project will be dependent on the goodwill and tangible support of ordinary Kinsale YC members. But the remarkable success of the Kinsailor campaign has amply demonstrated that as a group and a community within the Kinsale community, Kinsale’s club sailors really are the backbone of much good work. They’re an example to us all.

Published in W M Nixon

Despite the gathering record-breaking heatwave over Europe as July progressed, Ireland’s Eve McMahon (17) won Gold at both the ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) European Youth Championship in Greece, and then Gold again at the 2022 World Sailing Youth World Championship in The Netherlands, where her Howth YC clubmate Rocco Wright (15) also collected Gold after a masterful final race.

But as world climate observers never tire of telling us, what is currently regarded as extreme heat in mid-Europe is simply thought of as fairly normal summer in places like southern Texas.

Yet a six-strong Irish ILCA team is now bound for the ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) Youth World Championships at Houston in Texas (starting Monday, July 25th) where the typical forecast for the city this afternoon (Thursday) predicts a temperature of 37C. However, it will feel like 41C owing to an underlying high level of humidity (86% at night) which does admittedly fall to 42% when the afternoon’s 15 kmh southerly breeze sets in.

Double Gold – Eve McMahon & Rocco Wright after total success in The HagueDouble Gold – Eve McMahon & Rocco Wright after total success in The Hague

But whether it’s a case of out of the frying pan into the fire or not remains to be seen. In the stellar Netherlands championship, their coach Vasilij Zbogar commented on how cool the two young stars stayed throughout. And though that was about their general state of mind, it’s a very useful foundation to have in place when you’re dealing with the added challenge of searing heat.

Also racing for Ireland is Sophie Kilmartin. Fiachra McDonnell, Luke Turvey and Oisin Hughes, with Liam Glynn as coach. 

Next week’s hot spot for world youth sailing. The Houston Yacht Club is – meteorologically speaking - the coolest place in townNext week’s hot spot for world youth sailing. The Houston Yacht Club is – meteorologically speaking - the coolest place in town

In Texas, the Irish team will face a wide field of 212 sailors from 35 countries. All sailors are under 18. The regatta is held over a week from Monday 25 July to Saturday 30th July. There are two races scheduled per day, each lasting approximately 50 minutes. Hosting the event is the Houston Yacht Club, based in Shoreacres, Texas, USA and the International Laser Class Association (ILCA).

Published in Youth Sailing

Sixteen of the UK’s most promising young sailors have been selected to represent Great Britain at the Youth Sailing World Championships.

The talented youngsters, all aged 18 or under, will represent the British Youth Sailing (BYS) Team in eight classes at the 51st edition of the prestigious youth event at The Hague, Netherlands, from 8-15 July 2022.

The sailors gained selection to the team for their performances in the 29er, 420, Nacra 15, ILCA 6, iQFOiL and kiteboarding at the recent RYA Youth National Championships.

Previous Youth Worlds participants include some of today's best-known sailors including the world's most decorated Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie and 2008 Beijing gold medallist Pippa Wilson.

Among those selected and making a first appearance at the Youth Worlds, Santiago Sesto-Cosby (Royal Lymington YC - pictured above) is looking to draw upon venue knowledge and home similarities as the secret to success in the 29er alongside returning crew, Leo Wilkinson (Maidenhead SC).

“Qualifying for the youth world championships is an all-time dream for me,” said Sesto-Cosby. “Now is the time to build up towards it to be the best we can be to represent Great Britain.

Lucy Kenyon (Parkstone YCLucy Kenyon of Parkstone YC

“I have sailed in the venue when I qualified for my first Optimist European Championship in 2018 and I loved it. I did well there because it’s a tidal venue, very similar to Lymington. It can be very wavy too. I’m really looking forward to going back there. It will be fun in the 29er!” Lucy Kenyon (Parkstone YC - pictured above), who returns to the BYS team for a second Youth Worlds appearance, is also looking to call on previous knowledge to go one step further in 2022.

“I’m mega excited to be selected for the girls iQFOiL place for the youth worlds in The Hague. It looks like it’s going to be a great event and I’m looking forward to working hard over the next few months trying to beat last year’s fourth place.

It’ll be an awesome start to this year’s international racing season and I’m excited to kick it off with a bang.”

Making a third appearance at the Youth Worlds will be Nacra 15 helm Jasmine Williams, this time sailing with crew Sam Cox (both Restronguet SC). Charlie Dixon (Blackwater YC) takes on the boy’s iQFOiL fleet with Ellen Morley and Hazel McDonnell (both Hollowell SC) contesting the 29er girls.

Honor Proctor of Cardiff Bay YCHonor Proctor of Cardiff Bay YC

Thommie Grit (Royal Hospital School) was picked in the boy’s ILCA6 with Wales’ Honor Proctor (Cardiff Bay YC - pictured above) taking on the girls.

Proctor said: “I’m so thrilled to be selected for the Youth Worlds, it’s been a long and hard winter of training and now I’m looking forward to competing against some of the best ILCA6 youth sailors in the world.”

Megan Farrer (Emsworth SC) and Ellie Rush (Nottinghamshire County SC) were picked in the girls’ 420 class with Henry Heathcote and Hector Bennett (both Royal Lymington YC) in the boys.

Returning to take on the kite fleet is Ella Geiger, who is looking to improve on her debut sixth position last year, and Mattia Maini who make up the final spots on the BYS squad.

The squad will be coached and supported by the returning team of Olympian Kate Macgregor, current British Sailing Team iQFOiL women’s coach Sam Ross and BYS squad coach James Hadden.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
Tagged under

Nine young sailors from Northern Ireland travelled to England last weekend to compete in the Eric Twiname 2022 Championships at Rutland Sailing Club in the East Midlands.

The first Eric Twiname event took place in 1986 and has seen thousands of young sailors, including Olympians past and present take part. Sailing stars Ben Ainslie and Iain Percy were among the early winners of the regatta before going on to Olympic greatness.

The regatta took place on the 3000-acre Rutland Water and is named in memory of legendary sailor, author and journalist Eric Twiname. It is regarded by many young racers as a rite of passage as they continue their journey to become top-level competitors.

Twiname made his name in sailing, winning numerous national titles in a range of dinghy classes, as well as in team racing where he captained the British Universities Sailing Association.

Daniel Palmer of Ballyholme YC - 4th overall in the ILCA 4

Northern Ireland had six compete in the huge 110 strong Topper 5.3 fleet over five races and best performer was Bobby Driscoll of Royal North and Ballyholme Yacht Clubs on Belfast Lough. He came fifth overall with results never above ninth. His best placing was a third.

Autumn Halliday of Strangford Lough YC and Ballyholme clocked a seventh as her best result finishing in 27th place. She was closely followed by Cormac Byrne from Strangford Sailing Club and Ballyholme whose best placings were two ninths. Also competing were Emily McAfee, Isabelle Nixon, and Hugo Boyd also of Ballyholme

In the ILCA4 fifty-five strong fleet were Daniel Palmer of Royal North and BYC who finished in an excellent fourth slot with a third in the last race. In that fleet also was Callum Jackson from Coleraine and Portrush on the North Coast and Lucy Ives from the opposite end of the region, Carlingford Lough Yacht Club on the South Down coast.

RYA Northern Ireland posted on Facebook “ Some great results and lessons learned by all. No time to rest though as we are back training next weekend with our Youth Performance Topper Sailors”.

Published in Youth Sailing

The Irish Sailing Association and Ballyholme Yacht Club have thanked the RNLI and HM Coastguard for their assistance at the Youth Sailing Championships on Belfast Lough on Saturday.

In a statement, the organisers said a 'small number' of competitors had minor injuries. One person was taken to hospital for observation following a concussion.

No serious injuries occurred and all competitors are fully accounted for, the organisers said.

A number of competitors also retired from racing and sailed ashore without incident when wind against tide created difficult conditions at the under 18-championships.

Six sailors were brought ashore on safety ribs. An official rigid inflatable (RIB) also capsized in shallow water.

"We are grateful to the RNLI and HM Coastguard for their response and support when they were alerted as part of the event safety protocols," Harry Hermon, CEO of Irish Sailing said.

On the third day of racing at the Irish Sailing Youth National Championships in Bangor, Co. Down (Saturday 23rd April 2022) a number of minor incidents are being managed by the contingency arrangements agreed with Ballyholme Yacht Club.

The event with over 200 young sailors competing concludes today.

Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under

Challenging conditions on Belfast Lough were to the liking of Howth's Rocco Wright on the second day of racing at the Irish Youth Sailing National Championships at Ballyholme Yacht Club in Northern Ireland.

The Howth teen has moved into the overall lead of the ILCA 6/Radial fleet after four races sailed. The former Optimist ace has a two-point margin over day one leader Jonathan O'Shaughnessy of Royal Cork Yacht Club. Third is Howth YC's Luke Turvey on the same 17 points as the Crosshaven youth. 

At least four races have been completed in the series so far but in spite of a promising start and the hoped for four-race day, the wind quickly died and just two races were sailed.

The steep rolling swell made for difficult launching at Ballyholme but all sailors managed to avoid the heavy surf before reaching the open course areaThe steep rolling swell made for difficult launching at Ballyholme but all sailors managed to avoid the heavy surf before reaching the open course area.  

Ava Ennis (Royal St. George Yacht Club) narrowly leads the 28-boat ILCA4 event with a one-point advantage over Ballyholme's Daniel Palmer.

Ballyholme sailor, Bobby Driscoll leads the 48-boat Topper 5.3 event ahead of a string of local rivals.

Crosshaven's Oisin Pearce of Royal Cork Yacht Club has established an 18-point lead after five races in the 49-strong Optimist fleet.

Ben O' Shaughnessy and Eimer McMorrow Moriarty of RCYC lead the eight boat 29er skiffs by five points from clubmates James Dwyer and Andrew Conan. Lying third after four races sailed is Lucia Cullen and Alana Twomey of the RStGYC. 

Jack McDowell and Henry Thompson of Malahide Yacht Club continue to lead the 420 fleet on 15 points after four races sailed. Clubmates Imogen Hauer and Hugo Micka are second on 24 points. Waterford Harbour's Max Sweetman and Robert Jephson from Waterford Harbour are third on 25 points.

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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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