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Displaying items by tag: Robert Dickson & Sean Waddilove

It looks like Ireland's newly qualified 49er Tokyo pairing of Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove will be making a trip to Canada in 2022 if they continue their skiff campaign for Paris 2024.

Nova Scotia will host a 400-strong field of the world’s best sailors from over 35 countries when the World Championships for three Olympic classes, the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17, kick off in September 2022. Taking place in Canada for the first time in its history, the competition will be held on St. Margaret’s Bay during the six-day event.

Sail Nova Scotia won the rights to host the 2022 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships, which will run September 6-11, 2022, in partnership with Hubbards Sailing Club, St. Margaret Sailing Club and Sail Canada.

Building on Nova Scotia’s long-held affinity and connection to the sea, the province is gaining a reputation in the sailing world as an accomplished host of national and international sailing events. The event will be held on the waters of St. Margaret’s Bay, which has played host to numerous national and international sailing events over the years. These waters make an excellent venue for the championship. The venue has clean water and moderate to strong consistent winds in a spectacularly beautiful setting.

It says everything about the quality of the Dickson-Waddilove team's securing of the Tokyo Olympics 49er place, that it not only sent the spirits of the Irish sailing community soaring skywards, but in these difficult times, it helped to raise the mood of the nation generally.

The inspiration has been heightened by knowing that the path of the "Flying Fingallions" to a Tokyo place has been specially challenging. They'd a carefully planned route towards a serious challenge for a full Olympic challenge in 2024. But their unexpected yet convincing victory in the U23 Worlds in September 2018 saw a re-alignment of objectives, with a new programme towards Tokyo which was in turn upset by the Pandemic-induced year's delay in the 2020 Olympics.

It became a continuous character-testing situation in which the two seemed to find new reserves of mindset and performance which, last week in Portugal, produced a showing which went far beyond the minimum required, and was rounded out by a victorious showing in the Medal Race.

We could not ask for more worthy winners of the latest "Sailors of the Month" award.

Read more about this new Tokyo Olympic duo here

Published in Sailor of the Month

With Ireland's Olympic place secured in fleet racing, Robert Dickson (HYC) and Sean Waddilove (SSC) showed a clean pair of heels to the 10-boat fleet and propelled themselves back onto the podium with a medal race win at the 49er Olympic Qualifying regatta in Lanzarote.

An unusual southerly wind, dying towards the end of the race, put a premium on position on the racecourse. Coming off the middle of the line, the Irish boat took the favoured left side on the first beat and rounded the weather mark first, never to be headed despite a strong challenge from the Dutch team. It was the lightest conditions that had been experienced all week for the final two legs, with not only directional shifts but considerable velocity shifts ensuring constant changes to sail and boat trim.

It rounded off a great week for this young team, winners of the 2018 49er Junior World Championship. Now they are booked on the Tokyo flight, and the quality of the performance in Lanzarote suggests that they are well up to the Olympic challenge.

Final Top 3 at Lanzarote International RegattaFinal Top 3 at Lanzarote International Regatta

Published in Tokyo 2020

Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove's mission for Tokyo 2021 was accomplished yesterday when they took the last Olympic berth in the men's skiff class but the way it was achieved has been revelatory not only to the 49er fleet itself but to the Irish sailing community too. 

Sheer hard work paid off in the Canary Islands as the Howth and Skerries pair sailed a solid series to win their Olympic dream at the last throw of the dice.

Now the place on the Enoshima startline is secured with such a standout performance, the tantalising question is what else might we expect from the Olympic debutantes this July?

On the podium - the Irish 49er medal race winners finish third overall and Tokyo Olympic qualification Photo: Sailing EnergyOn the podium - the Irish 49er medal race winners finish third overall and Tokyo Olympic qualification Photo: Sailing Energy

As Afloat reported yesterday, following qualification with a race to spare, the duo went on to win the double points medal race yesterday afternoon – the first one they had ever competed in – and secure the bronze medal at the Lanzarote International Regatta into the bargain. Success certainly tasted sweet standing on the podium in the Lanzarote sunshine.

Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove (green spinnaker) lead Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle on a downwind leg in Lanzarote this week Photo: Sailing EnergyRobert Dickson and Sean Waddilove (green spinnaker) lead Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle on a downwind leg in Lanzarote this week Photo: Sailing Energy

It might have been the last Olympic place available, as viewed in some quarters, but the way in which it was won represents far more as a new chapter opens for Irish skiff sailing in Ireland. And It's a chapter that holds out so much promise both for Tokyo and Paris 2024.

Many at home had expected Northern Ireland skiff ace Ryan Seaton would use his 16 years experience from London 2012 to Rio 2016 to easily qualify Ireland early for Tokyo but when that campaign stalled it left the door open for youth to triumph over experience and Dickson and Waddilove seized the opportunity.

Olympic bound - Sean Waddilove (left) and Robert Dickson take the Tokyo berth with a race to spare in Playa Blanca Photo: Sailing EnergyOlympic bound - Sean Waddilove (left) and Robert Dickson take the Tokyo berth with a race to spare in Playa Blanca Photo: Sailing Energy

Frankly, Irish Olympic sailing needed a short in the arm after so many disappointments this quadrennial and the manner in which Dickson and Waddilove put one of Ireland's main medal hopes to the sword has been quite the eye-opener. 

It is six years almost to the day that Dickson and Waddilove first set foot in a 49er and what a voyage of discovery it has been from absolute beginner to Tokyo Olympians at the first time of asking as Afloat's WM Nixon wrote here.

Aside from two UFD scores this week, the young team has been a revelation into the top tier of senior 49er fleets and are now clearly on top of their game, prompting interviewer John Emmet in Lanzarote yesterday to ask how far the modest pairing think they can go in Tokyo (in the video below).

The result is also a big relief for the fledgeling Irish 49er class that at one point had up to five campaigns bidding for Tokyo but each one falling away as key earlier qualification opportunities were missed in Aarhus 2018 and Auckland 2019.

What started out as something of a vertical learning curve for the 420 teen duo in the high powered skiff in Howth in March 2015 was rewarded just three years later with Under 23 World Championships success in 2018 (and an Afloat Irish Sailor of the Year Award). Dickson wrote about that achievement for Afloat here.

Early signs of success - Taoiseach Leo Varadkar congratulates Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove after their Under 23 win in 2018 at Howth Yacht ClubEarly signs of success - Taoiseach Leo Varadkar congratulates Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove after their Under 23 win in 2018 at Howth Yacht Club

But it was from this point on that they truly showed the depth of their ambitions making gold fleet at the first time of asking at the 2019 World Championships in Auckland.

Despite the havoc COVID-19 disruption brought to campaign plans, the pandemic, in fact, played into their hands as it gave valuable time to 'keep learning' as the qualification regatta was repeatedly cancelled to within five months of the Games itself. Dickson and Waddilove stuck to a religious training programme and the buds of Lanzarote success this week were well in evidence last season when they came out ahead of Seaton & Guilfoyle in a Kiel Week 49er test last September. It was the same again in Austria in October at the 2020 Europeans on Lake Attersee when Dickson and Waddilove finished on top in 18th place.

Congratulations from Howth, Skerries & Across Ireland

Dickson's own club at Howth Yacht Club and Waddilove's Skerries were celebrating the qualification news yesterday. Both have both been following the campaign intensely and especially this week's last chance event. It is clear from social media the duo have a strong following especially in north Dublin and are surrounded by supporters and sponsors who admire their progress born out of a strong work ethic.

Reaction from home and indeed across the world has been quick with so many offering their congratulations. Here's a selection of comments via social media: 

GBR Olympic sailor Saskia Tidey wrote: “Just buzzing for you! Well done lads xxx”.

Irish sailing Pro Maurice O'Connell: "TREMENDOUS".

Flying Fifteen class president Chris Doorly: “Brilliant, well done! Great watching the event as we are locked in!”

Royal St George Match Racing champion, John Sheehy: "Was tuned in all week. Phenomenal. Congratulations". 

Howth’s Richard Kissane: "Great result and well deserved!"

Royal Cork's Neil Kenefick: "Wonderful, Sail on". 

Gillian Guinness of Howth: "Well done boys, delighted for you both. Robert your grandfather Roy would be so so proud of you". 

Success in Lanzarote this week was born in the hard conditions of Dun Laoghaire's Coal Harbour says former coach Tytus Photo: Sailing EnergySuccess in Lanzarote this week was born in the hard conditions of Dun Laoghaire's Coal Harbour says former coach Tytus Konarzewski Photo: Sailing Energy

From Warsaw, the coach that took them to their under 23 gold medals in Marseilles, Tytus Konarzewski also sent his congratulations. He believes the duo can go all the way to the podium, if not in Tokyo, then certainly at Paris 2024.

“I remember when it was was really cold in Dun Laoghaire in winter 2017. We were changing sailing clothes on the street in the Coal Harbour. They never complained,  so, months later when it was windy and wavy in Marseille, they were very happy to race in any conditions and gave it all, right up to the end” 

“Success was born in hard conditions, it is why Irish sailors could be successful if they are not spoiled!

I love them, they are good guys and I wish them all the best, I’ll always cross my fingers for them”, Konarzewski told Afloat.

Irish Sailing's James O'Callaghan says "The whole team have all worked really hard preparing for the Tokyo Olympics and qualifying today is a really important step and a milestone for Rob and Sean. It’s a bittersweet feeling for Ryan and Seafra, as they had hoped to win the nomination, but without these two boats working as a team Ireland would have had no chance securing the last available Olympic place." 

Click to read more on 49er sailors Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove

Published in Tokyo 2020

Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove have withdrawn their protest for a UFD penalty made against them in today's important Lanzarote International Regatta, the final Olympic Qualification event for the European 49er fleet.

As Afloat reported earlier, Dickson and Waddilove did file a protest seeking redress in the second race, claiming they were incorrectly identified as being over the line. However, when they appeared in front of the jury this afternoon it was to withdraw the protests, so the results stand.

Three of the seven countries seeking the one available Olympic slot have qualified for the gold fleet. 

Belgium is in ninth place, while Italy has boats in 15th, 18th and 19th places.  The top 25 boats from the qualifying series will compete in the gold fleet finals, carrying forward their scores from the qualifying rounds.  

The real battle begins tomorrow, Wednesday, with three races scheduled, followed by three on Thursday and a 10 boat medal race on Friday. 

The Olympic qualifying positions are as follows:  

  • 3   IRL       Dickson/Waddilove        31pts
  • 9   BEL      Lefebvre/Pelsmaekers    56pts
  • 10 IRL       Seaton/Guilfoyle             58pts
  • 15 ITA        Ferrarese/Togni              65pts
  • 18 ITA        Anessi/Gamba                71pts
  • 19 ITA        Crivelli/Chiste                 73pts

Full results here

Published in Tokyo 2020

A brilliant opening day's sailing by Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove of Howth and Skerries has put Ireland into pole position in the 49er European Olympic qualification shoot-out in Lanzarote today.

Great sailing conditions of a fresh breeze in warm sunshine saw the Irish pair record two thirds and a first in a 44 boat entry split onto two fleets.

17 races are scheduled in total over six days in the Canaries.

Ireland's other entry, that of Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle scored an 11th and two 8ths to lie in 15th place after day one.

Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle are 16th in the 44 boat fleet after the first three racesRyan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle are 16th in the 44 boat fleet after the first three races Photo: Sailing Energy

Two more days of qualifying follow before the competitors are split onto gold and silver fleets on Wednesday for two further days before the medal race scheduled for Friday.

19 nations are competing, but only 7 countries are in the battle for the single remaining Olympic slot.

As of the end of sailing on day one, the ranking is Ireland (1), Belgium (13), Italy, (14), Estonia (17), Norway (30), Russia (35) and Greece (38).

Seven countries from 19 are in the battle for the single remaining Olympic sloSeven countries from 19 are in the battle for the single remaining Olympic slot Photo: Sailing Energy.

Immediately behind Dickson and Waddilove are the already qualified British, French, Croatian and Spanish teams.

Results are here

Published in Tokyo 2020

In the hunt for the last Olympic berth for Toyko next year, the Irish under-23 duo of Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove have, for a second time in a fortnight, beaten double Olympian Ryan Seaton sailing with Seafra Guilfoyle at an international regatta.

In their first Olympic campaign, the Howth and Skerries duo finished 18th overall at the European Championships on Lake Attersee in Austria this afternoon leaving the Belfast and Cork combination of Seaton and Guilfoyle ten places behind in 26th overall in the 55-boat fleet. 

At Kiel Week Regatta in northern Germany, on September 15th, the Dublin pairing finished 14th, some 13 places ahead of Seaton and Guilfoyle who had a silver fleet finish in 27th place in the 52-boat fleet. 

Seafra Guilfoyle (left) and Ryan Seaton finished 26th at the Lake Attersee 49er Europeans. Photo: Tobias StoerkleSeafra Guilfoyle (left) and Ryan Seaton finished 26th at the Lake Attersee 49er Europeans. Photo: Tobias Stoerkle

It's a satisfying result for the former U23 49er world champions as they seek Olympic qualification early next season but it is tempered by the fact that the other three nations chasing the final Tokyo place all finished ahead of them. Italy finished seventh, Belgium eighth and Sweden 17th and that is an urgent reminder to the Irish teams of the work that lies ahead if Ireland is to be on the Tokyo startline next July. 

A third Irish team competing, Sean Donnelly and Marcus O'Leary of Dun Laoghaire, placed 48th.

Fischer and Graf cling on to win 49er European Title

Tim Fischer and Fabian Graf have become European Champions in the 49er, despite a wobbly finish to their regatta. A bit like their German counterparts in the 49erFX, Fischer and Graf clocked up two useful scores earlier in the day with 3,2 but then faded in the final two heats with 13,11.

The Lake Attersee fleet line up for a 49er Euros start Photo: Tobias StoerkleThe Lake Attersee fleet line up for a 49er Euros start Photo: Tobias Stoerkle

In the final race, it looked like the recovery of the regatta was about to crowned with the best possible finish for local heroes Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl. On day one, Hussl had been so ill that the Austrian team’s coach stepped in at the front with Bildstein. They were sitting outside of the top 10 with a mountain to climb if they were to have a chance of getting on to the podium. With Hussl recovered and the team back together, they started to put together a solid set of scores.

At the final bear away of the regatta, the Austrians rounded next to an Irish team in 4th place. The simultaneous gybe-set would have gone fine except the Irish trawled the gennaker. In trying to avoid their suddenly-stopped rivals the Austrians capsized! They slipped six places to 10th. The losing margin to the Germans was just 3 points. If only Bildstein and Hussl had avoided the Irish - but that’s yacht racing at the highest level. A game of small margins.

For the Croatian brothers, Šime and Mihovil Fantela, it was also a case of what might have been when they discovered that their race win in the first heat of the morning was a U-Flag disqualification for breaking the start line just a fraction early. The 2018 World Champions had to be satisfied with a bronze medal in Lake Attersee. A race win in the final heat lifted Jonas Warrer and Jakob Precht of Denmark to fourth overall.

Results here

Published in Tokyo 2020

Three Irish Olympic 49ers will compete at the European Championships at Union-Yacht-Club Attersee, on Lake Attersee, Austria next week. 

After a halt to global racing in March, this will be the first time for teams to come together and race in a championship since the World Championship in Geelong in February.

Irish 49er Olympic Qualification

Ireland is vying with Belgium, Sweden and Italy for the one remaining European place at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics. Form at the 2020 Worlds suggested that Irish sailors would be favourites having finished ahead of the other three candidates, but they are the lowest in a tightly packed group in the world rankings.

Even though Attersee is not a qualifying event, Italy is sending four teams, the Swedes have three teams and the Belgians one team.

It's hard to fathom how after starting out ahead of the curve for Tokyo four years ago, Ireland is now in the 49er last chance saloon. However, 'we are where we are', as the saying goes, and the final chance to secure the last berth now looks scheduled for early 2021.

In the meantime, the race is on to find that crucial speed edge to bring Ireland Olympic representation in the men's skiff class next July.

Three Irish skiff teams for Attersee

After seven months without racing Irish crews checked in with the European fleet earlier this month at Kiel Week in a build-up to the Europeans.

It produced some important markers for both Irish men's skiff teams, not least the fact that it was the Under-23 duo Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove that came out on top. The Howth and Skerries pairing finished 14th some 13 places ahead of double Olympian Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle who had a silver fleet finish in 27th place in the 52-boat fleet. 

For Attersee, a new Irish combination makes its debut as Sean Donnelly and Marcus O'Leary represent the Royal St. George Yacht Club

European 49er Championship Racing Schedule

Date Activity First Warning
Mon 28th Sept 2020 Practice Race 12:55
Tues 29th Sept 2020 Qualifying Series 10:55
Wed 30th Set 2020 Qualifying Series 10:55
Thurs 1st  Oct 2020 Qualifying Series 10:55
Fri 2nd Oct 2020 Final Series 10:55
Sat 3rd Oct 2020 Final Series 10:55
Sun 4th Oct 2020 Final Series 09:55
Published in Tokyo 2020

Sky Sport will broadcast live all six days of December’s 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 world championships in Auckland, New Zealand, which is believed to be a world-first for an Olympic class sailing world championships it has been announced by the 49er and 49erFX world president Marcus Spillane from Cork.

Spillane is also a member of Irish Sailing's Olympic Steering Group charged with assisting Irish Sailors to reach medal winning positions in the Olympic Games so he will have added interest in ensuring Ireland's 49er crews, Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle and Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove will be in the best possible position to compete for the final chance of an Olympic berth at Tokyo 2020.

Unfortunately, the championships will not now include Annalise Murphy and Katie Tingle who quit their fledgeling campaign last week.

49er Dickson Waddilove 1854Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove are New Zealand bound Photo: Afloat

As many as 400 of the world’s best sailors, including New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke and Alex Maloney and Molly Meech, are expected to compete at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club from December 3-8.

Not only will world titles be on the line, but many countries will be using it as an Olympic selection event so the stakes will be high.

Sky Sport will screen live all six days of racing – six races a day – and also produce a daily highlights package, which will also be shown on free-to-air partner Prime TV.

On-the-water gyroscopic cameras will capture all the racing action, including state-of-the-art drones, and there will be comprehensive analysis and interviews from the boat park before and after the racing presented by a team of sailing experts.

Tracking and animation will also be provided by Animation Research Ltd, who are world leaders in graphics visualisation.

“We’re proud to be the host broadcaster for this great event, and we look forward to bringing sailing fans racing coverage from December 3-8 on Sky Sport,” Sky head of sports production Brian Hitchcock said.

The scale of the production is believed to be a world-first for an Olympic class regatta and will enable New Zealand fans to get close to the action. Negotiations are also progressing to distribute the feed internationally.

The 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 are arguably the most exciting of all of the Olympic classes, with the boats reaching speeds in excess of 20 knots.

Burling and Tuke have made a successful comeback to the 49er after a couple of years focusing on the America’s Cup and Ocean Race, winning last month’s Olympic test event in Japan, and will be looking to add a fifth world title in December.

“We are thrilled to have Sky Sport New Zealand broadcast our upcoming world championship,” 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 president Spillane said. “The 2019 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 world championships are likely to be the most competitive regatta in all of sailing this year.

“To have a passionate New Zealand audience and our global fanbase be able to watch the whole thing is wonderful for the sport.”

The regatta is one of the highlights on the upcoming sailing calendar, which also includes February’s RS:X world championships in Auckland as well as the 2021 America’s Cup.

“It’s a great time to be involved in sailing in this country,” Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie said. “With Sky Sport’s partnership, we have an opportunity to further inspire our young sailors through sharing content, telling stories and showing live just how exciting sailing, and in particular, 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 sailing, can be.

“As a passionate nation of sports enthusiasts and sailors, we look forward to what promises to be an exciting week of competition and thank Sky Sport for their commitment to work with us in showcasing sailing and Auckland and New Zealand.”

Published in Tokyo 2020

The final day highlighted a brilliant advance up the leader board for 2018 Junior World Champions, Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove of Howth Yacht Club. The duo started out the regatta with their worst two results of the week, a 21, and then a 14, which ended up being their worst two races. They built improving momentum throughout the week and finished with a 5, 1, 3 to win the final day and grab the bottom rung of the podium. They only just hung on to that third place finish fending off a protest in the final day from the Polish in fourth place overall.

Also moving up on the podium were the British pair of James Grummet and Daniel Budden. They sailed a consistent week, only counting top 10 finishes, and when the Australian team of Hansen and Hoffman suffered two poor races in a row on the final day they were able to grab the silver.

But the week belonged to McHardie and McKenzie (NZL) from New Zealand. The pair were the highest-ranked team entering the competition and hardly made any mistakes during the week. They won 5 of the 14 races and discarded a 10th place, their worst result of the week. The duo are part of an extremely talented squad of New Zealand emerging 49er sailors who also had a top 10 finish at Kiel Week. Now they move on to train at the Olympic venue in Enoshima, Japan. New Zealand will be hosting the 2019 World Championship in Auckland so they’ll be playing host to the fleet in a few months time.

Claiming the U21 prize were 4th overall Mikolaj Stanijul and Kuba Stzorch (POL) who were in medal contention all week. At ony 18 years old each, this duo has a bright future ahead.

A second Irish pairing Sean Donnelly and Adam Hyland were 14th in the 53-boat fleet.  Results are here

Published in Youth Sailing
Page 2 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

Tokyo 2021 Olympic Sailing

Olympic Sailing features a variety of craft, from dinghies and keelboats to windsurfing boards. The programme at Tokyo 2020 will include two events for both men and women, three for men only, two for women only and one for mixed crews:

Event Programme

RS:X - Windsurfer (Men/Women)
Laser - One Person Dinghy (Men)
Laser Radial - One Person Dinghy (Women)
Finn - One Person Dinghy (Heavyweight) (Men)
470 - Two Person Dinghy (Men/Women)
49er - Skiff (Men)
49er FX - Skiff (Women)
Nacra 17 Foiling - Mixed Multihull

The mixed Nacra 17 Foiling - Mixed Multihull and women-only 49er FX - Skiff, events were first staged at Rio 2016.

Each event consists of a series of races. Points in each race are awarded according to position: the winner gets one point, the second-placed finisher scores two, and so on. The final race is called the medal race, for which points are doubled. Following the medal race, the individual or crew with the fewest total points is declared the winner.

During races, boats navigate a course shaped like an enormous triangle, heading for the finish line after they contend with the wind from all three directions. They must pass marker buoys a certain number of times and in a predetermined order.

Sailing competitions at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are scheduled to take place from 27 July to 6 August at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour. 

Venues: Enoshima Yacht Harbor

No. of events: 10

Dates: 27 July – 6 August

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Dates

Following a one year postponement, sailing competitions at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are scheduled to take place from 23 July 2021 and run until the 8 August at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour. 

Venue: Enoshima Yacht Harbour

No. of events: 10

Dates: 23 July – 8 August 2021

Tokyo 2020 Irish Olympic Sailing Team

ANNALISE MURPHY, Laser Radial

Age 31. From Rathfarnham, Dublin.

Club: National Yacht Club

Full-time sailor

Silver medallist at the 2016 Olympic Games, Rio (Laser Radial class). Competed in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/2018. Represented Ireland at the London 2012 Olympics. Laser Radial European Champion in 2013.

ROBERT DICKSON, 49er (sails with Seán Waddilove)

Winner, U23 49er World Championships, September 2018, and 2018 Volvo/Afloat Irish Sailor of the Year

DOB: 6 March 1998, from Sutton, Co. Dublin. Age 23

Club: Howth Yacht Club

Currently studying: Sports Science and Health in DCU with a Sports Scholarship.

SEÁN WADDILOVE, 49er (sails with Robert Dickson)

Winner, U23 49er World Championships, September 2018, and recently awarded 2018 Volvo Afloat/Irish Sailor of the Year

DOB: 19 June 1997. From Skerries, Dublin

Age 24

Club: Skerries Sailing Club and Howth Yacht Club

Currently studying International Business and Languages and awarded sports scholarship at TU (Technology University)

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