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Displaying items by tag: Saskia Tidey

Royal Irish Yacht Club's Saskia Tidey has been named as a member of the Pathway squad in the race to win the inaugural Puig Women’s America’s Cup and retain the Youth America’s Cup for Britain.

In a busy year for the Dun Laoghaire Harbour sailor, Tidey has also been selected to sail for Team GB in the 49er class in the Paris Olympics, to make it her third Olympic appearance, twice for Britan and once for Ireland.

The Twelve strong squad share a resume of 6 Olympic and 22 World Championship medals.

Hannah Mills OBE and Sir Ben Ainslie announced the Athena Pathway squad of sailors that, entered through Challenging Club the Royal Yacht Squadron, will seek to make history by winning the inaugural Puig Women’s America’s Cup and retaining the Youth America’s Cup for Britain.

Athena Pathway was launched in August 2022 by Mills and Ainslie, the world’s most successful Olympic sailors, with the aim of fast-tracking development in high-performance sailing and bringing diversity into the sport and the UK marine industry more broadly.

The Athena Pathway squad in the race to win the inaugural Puig Women’s America’s CupThe Athena Pathway squad in the race to win the inaugural Puig Women’s America’s Cup

The Women’s and Youth America’s Cups, taking place alongside the 37th America’s Cup in Barcelona in September and October 2024, are a central focus for the Pathway, with the first-time inclusion of a women’s event and the renewed emphasis on supporting the next generation representing major progress for the World’s oldest sporting trophy in achieving gender equity and raising the sport’s profile for young people.

Over 300 applications were received for Athena Pathway’s Cup squad, with an intensive 18-month trials process, comprising on-water and simulator-based analysis, used to assess the hopefuls’ abilities to adapt to the unique skillset required to sail at speeds of up to 100kph in an AC40, the highly technical and data-driven foiling monohull which will be used in the Women’s and Youth regattas.

Published in America's Cup
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Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Saskia Tidey will make her third Olympic Games appearance in 2024 after being named as one of ten sailors for Team GB.

Returning for another tilt at Olympic glory is Saskia Tidey, who, with two previous Olympic Games under her belt, will be the most experienced member of the sailing team.

Tidey, of the Royal Irish Yacht Club, is picked in the women’s skiff class alongside crew mate Freya Black, the youngest sailor in the Team GB sailing line-up at 22 years old.

As regular Afloat readers will know, Tidey first sailed in the Olympics in Rio 2016 for Ireland but switched to Team GB for Tokyo 2020 due to a lack of opportunities in the skiff class at home.

Olympic medallists Emma Wilson, John Gimson and Anna Burnet, who recently broke the record for the fastest crossing between Northern Ireland and Scotland in their foiling catamaran, are also among ten sailors named by the British Olympic Association (BOA) as the first Team GB athletes selected for Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The trio headline a new-look group of elite sailors representing seven of the ten Olympic sailing classes, as the team is announced at London’s St Pancras Station, home of the Eurostar.

Tokyo 2020 silver medal winners Gimson and Burnet sealed their Paris place with a bronze in the mixed multihull fleet at the Olympic test event in July, followed by the runners-up spot at the World Championships in August. 

Wilson also enjoyed a solid summer, with bronze at the iQFOiL European Championships followed up with a silver at the test event in Marseille, the venue for the Paris 2024 sailing competition.

Her selection for Team GB is all the more impressive given she has only been racing the iQFOiL, the foiling windsurfer new for Paris 2024, for two years.

James Peters and Fynn Sterritt will look to continue Britain’s success in the men’s skiff on their Olympic debut, following in the footsteps of Tokyo 2020 gold medallists Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell.

Windsurfer Sam Sills earned his place with Team GB after winning the men’s iQFOiL class at the illustrious Princess Sofia regatta in Mallorca this year, following it up with a fifth at the Sailing World Championships.

Irish Sea sailor Michael Beckett will pick up the mantle in the men’s dinghy and attempt to break Australia’s three-Games winning streak in the class.

Meanwhile, Ellie Aldridge’s historic European title win just two weeks ago secured her place as the sole representative in the women’s kite class, the second of the two new sailing disciplines for Paris 2024.

Mark Robinson, Team GB Sailing Team Leader and RYA Performance Director, said: “Announcing this amazing group of sailors as the first athletes for Team GB is a real privilege. They are the best of the best and have all rightly earned their spots thanks to some fantastic performances over the past year.

“We have a lot of pressure and expectation on us to maintain our record as the most successful Olympic nation, but I have no doubt that the sailors announced today are the ones who can help us succeed in that challenge in Marseille next summer.”

Team GB has a rich history of excellence in Olympic sailing competition, having won 64 medals, including 31 golds, more than any other nation.

Former Team GB athletes Sir Ben Ainslie and Hannah Mills are the most successful male and female Olympic sailors of all time; Ainslie with four golds and a silver, Mills with two golds and a silver.

The sailors selected for Team GB at Paris 2024 are:

  • John Gimson and Anna Burnet – Mixed Multihull (Nacra 17)
  • James Peters and Fynn Sterritt – Men’s Skiff (49er)
  • Freya Black and Saskia Tidey – Women’s Skiff (49erFX)
  • Emma Wilson – Women’s Windsurfing (iQFOiL)
  • Sam Sills – Men’s Windsurfing (iQFOiL)
  • Ellie Aldridge – Women’s Kite (Formula Kite)
  • Michael Beckett – Men’s Dinghy (ILCA 7)
Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club

Two Dun Laoghaire Harbour sailors are a step closer to the Paris 2024 Olympics thanks to their performances at last week's World Sailing Championships in The Hague.

In addition to the National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch gaining Ireland's only place so far for the Marseille-based Olympic regatta, his Rio 2016 teammate Saskia Tidey (30) also took a berth in the 49er FX for Team GB.

As regular Afloat readers will recall, Tidey quit the Irish Team after Rio 'due to lack of opportunities at home' in the 49er FX skiff and embarked on a new campaign for Team GB (thanks to dual citizenship), and led the Tokyo 2020 event at the halfway stage with Scottish helm Charlotte Dobson before finishing sixth. Now the Royal Irish Yacht Club ace has qualified Britain for Paris 2024 by coming home fifth in The Hague with new helm Freya Black and is a front-runner to make Team GB for a second time, bringing with it the prospect of her becoming a triple Olympian. 

Tidey and Black were among eight Team GB teams to achieve qualification in The Hague.

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Tokyo 2020 UK stars John Gimson, Anna Burnet, and Emma Wilson will headline a stellar cast of athletes picked to represent Great Britain at the Paris 2024 test event that includes Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey from the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

The medal-winning trio are among a 14-strong squad that will take on the world’s best in Marseille, the host city of the sailing competition at next summer’s Olympics, in July.

The test event is a dress rehearsal for the Games, with only one entry per nation in each of the ten classes.

It’s also a key performance indicator in the run-up to Paris 2024, where Britain will aim to maintain its title as the world’s most successful Olympic sailing team.

Gimson and Burnett, Nacra 17 silver medallists at Tokyo 2020, will head to Marseille unbeaten in 2023, chalking up wins at the Princess Sofia Trophy and Semaine Olympique Française regattas.

Team GB Windsurfer Emma WilsonTeam GB Windsurfer Emma Wilson

Windsurfer Wilson (above), who won Olympic bronze in the RS:X, has also enjoyed an impressive start to the season with victory at the Princess Sofia Trophy and bronze at the iQFOiL European Championships.

With many of the successful Tokyo 2020 team hanging up their wetsuit boots, including gold medallists Giles Scott, Hannah Mills, Eilidh McIntyre, Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell, a new generation will get their chance stake their claims for a ticket to the greatest show on Earth.

Joining Wilson on the iQFOiL, one of two new sailing classes making their Olympic debut in Paris, will be Sam Sills (below), who won bronze at the Lanzarote International Regatta before clinching the top spot at the Princess Sofia Trophy.


With Formula Kite also set to debut in Paris, Connor Bainbridge and Ellie Aldridge have been chosen to compete at the test event off the back off bronze medals at the Princess Sofia Trophy and another for Bainbridge at Semaine Olympique Française.

A win at Princess Sofia followed by bronze at Semaine Olympique Française was enough to secure Micky Beckett the coveted spot in the ILCA 7, while 2022 Princess Sofia silver medallist Hannah Snellgrove will fly the flag in the ILCA 6 fleet.

Stalwart pairing James Peters and Fynn Sterritt will take on the 49er fleet, while two-time Olympian Saskia Tidey and test event debutant Freya Black will contest the 49erFX class.

As regular Afloat readers know, Tidey switched to sail for Team GB after Rio due to 'a lack of opportunities in the Irish team set-up'.

In the mixed 470, the spot goes to Martin Wrigley and Bettine Harris. The duo only joined forces a few months ago but have put in some promising performances.

Selection for the test event, made by the RYA's Olympic Selection Committee, is a key step in the RYA's ongoing process to nominate athletes to go to Paris 2024 as part of Team GB.

It doesn’t guarantee that these athletes will be picked to represent Team GB in Paris 2024.

Mark Robinson, the RYA’s Performance Director, said: “Attending the Olympic test event is always a key milestone in one’s Olympic campaign journey and these 14 athletes, through their recent performances, thoroughly deserve that opportunity. With a number of equipment and class changes for Paris 2024 we have selected a great mix of up-and-coming performers alongside seasoned campaigners at the highest level.”

The Paris 2024 test event runs from July 9 to 16.

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Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Saskia Tidey, who now sails for Team GB in a 49erFX campaign for Paris 2024, struck gold with new sailing partner Freya Black at Lanzarote International Regatta.

Black and Tidey (of the Royal Irish Yacht Club) looked hard to beat going into the regatta with a consistent display in some strong wind conditions. In the medal race, the Irish-British combination crossed the finish line in fourth, giving them the gold medal. Italy’s Jana Germani and Giorgia Bertuzzi made a late charge across the finish to grab silver from the Americans, Steph Roble and Maggie Shea, who took bronze.

A year ago, Black had barely trapezed off the side of any dinghy, let alone a high-performance skiff like the 49erFX. Working with the experienced double Olympian Tidey, Black quickly made phenomenal progress. “I’m so, so buzzing and so proud of what we've done here this week,” said Black. Tidey added: “We’re slightly ahead of where we want to be and it’s a great start to a really important year as we build up towards qualifying for the Paris Olympics.

“We’ve had a really good training block here in Lanzarote. We've been here for three years now, and the conditions just deliver every single time we've been here"

Results here

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Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey of the Royal Irish Yacht Club has moved to the top of the 49erFX women’s fleet on day two of the Lanzarote International Regatta on the Canary Islands. 

Tidey, who sails with Freya Black for Great Britain due to a lack of skiff opportunities in Ireland, held their nerve in big seas to move to the top of the 49erFX women’s fleet at the Lanzarote International Regatta on the Canary Islands. 

Even launching the 49erFX fleet had its hairy moments; the wind was gusting hard through Marina Rubicon as the women launched their frisky, disobedient skiffs onto the water. The racing was a war of attrition with multiple nosedives, pitchpoles and capsizes in the huge, unforgiving swell.

Double Olympian Saskia Tidey (IRL and GBR): “Defo the Biggest Wave of My Life!”

Where the 470s travel at more or less wave speed a lot of the time, the 49erFX always wants to overtake the wave, and that’s where the trouble begins. Learning how to throttle back is sometimes more important than putting your foot to the floor.

Emerging unscathed and on top of the leaderboard were the still quite new pairing of Freya Black and Saskia Tidey (GBR). While Tidey has been to the past two Olympic Games (for Ireland in Rio 2016) in the 49erFX, Black is barely a year in this demanding class, which made her mastery of today’s conditions all the more impressive. 

Tidey was still buzzing from a big day out. “Pretty full on, but fun, massive waves,” she grinned. “Thankfully, we kept a dry mast for all three races, plenty of points where we were nearly going over, but Freya did a great job of keeping the stick in the sky.

“To be honest,” continued Tidey, “I think I saw two of the biggest waves in my career today. Bigger than in Tokyo, but we survived them and that’s all that matters. A lot of time I was head in the boat, trying to look after ourselves and keeping out of trouble, so I’m only just realising now how much of a big day it’s been with breakage and injury. It’s an epic venue and Marina Rubicon are putting on such a great show here, we’re really enjoying it.”

Almost as consistent as the British scores of 2,4,1 were the Italians, Jana Germani & Georgia Bertuzzi (ITA) who won the first two heats and were sixth in the last. However their mast tip snapped soon after the end of the last race. “We haven’t had a moment to think about what we did just now,” said Germani as she and Bertuzzi rushed to prepare a new mast in case the fleet was sent out for an afternoon session. “We were sailing in after the races and a fitting at the top of the mast broke so we need to hurry to get ready again.” 

The Italians have moved to second overall with Steph Roble & Maggie Shea (USA) posting a solid day to climb to third place, just ahead of yesterday’s leaders, Olympic Champions Martine Grael & Kahena Kunze (BRA) who struggled today.

The forecast for Sunday and the coming days is looking very good. Racing starts at 1100 hours on Sunday morning.

Results here

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Five Irish sailors will be looking to make a big impression at the 49er Worlds 2022 in the frigid waters of Nova Scotia, which get under way this coming Wednesday 31 August.

In the 49er division, the experienced skiff duo of Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove (Howth Yacht Club/Skerries Sailing Club) will be up against the new Royal Cork pairing of Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan within a challenging field.

Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny DurcanSéafra Guilfoyle (left) and Johnny Durcan

Meanwhile, in the 49erFX, Dun Laoghaire’s Saskia Tidey and new Team GB skiff partner Freya Black will be looking to improve upon their 24th-place finish in last month’s Europeans and make a bigger splash at Hubbards on St Margaret’s Bay, some 50km west of Halifax.

Robert Dickson and Sean WaddiloveRobert Dickson (left) and Sean Waddilove

The village’s community waterfront on the site of a former fish processing plant has been completely transformed in preparation for the championships hosting the cream of 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 racers the world over.

Racing at the 2022 World Championship runs from Wednesday 31 August to Monday 5 September with daily live streams from Day 3 (Friday 2 September). 

A seventh in the Kiel Week medal race leaving Dubliners Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove in ninth overall represents another creditable result on the road to Paris 2024 for the Tokyo 2020 49er reps and another confidence boost before this week's toughest test of this triennial so far; the European Championships that start on Tuesday, (July 5th).

Buoyed by their top ten in Kiel and second in June's Allianz Regatta (not to mention an Irish Sailor of the Month award), the 90-boat Euros is the biggest event of the 2022 season so far, and with Paris just two years away will prove a crucial benchmark across the international fleet.

Also competing for Ireland are Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan from the Royal Cork YC.

The 2022 European Championships run until the 10th of July at Aarhus, Denmark. 

Saskia Tidey

Meanwhile, Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey who is competing for Team GB due to 'a lack of opportunities at home' will compete in the 74-boat 49erFX fleet.

In fact, Tidey is part of five British crews contesting the title. 

Rio 2016 (for Team Ireland) and Tokyo 2020 Olympian for GB) Saskia Tidey and new teammate Freya Black will be looking to make an impression on the fleet, although their lead-up to the regatta was disrupted by Covid. 

“Our lead into the Europeans has been challenging and not quite as planned,” Black said. “We will push through and hope to be fit and fighting on day one. We are buzzing to make a debut as a team at our first Europeans together and we are ready to give it the best shot we can.” 

To follow the results, click here.

Britain’s elite sailors laid down a marker as the 2022 season got underway at Palma’s iconic Trofeo Princesa Sofia, bringing home medals in six of the ten classes.

The British Sailing Team haul included two golds, a silver and three bronze as the six-day regatta came to a climax in Palma Bay.

Michael Beckett (below) took gold in the ILCA 7 (formerly Laser) class, his first-ever medal at any World Cup event, while Andy Brown scored his first senior win of his career in the iQFOiL windsurfing class.

Michael Beckett (below) took gold in the ILCA 7Michael Beckett took gold in the ILCA 7

Hannah Snellgrove took silver in the ILCA 6 (formerly Laser Radial), and there were bronzes for Ellie Aldridge and Connor Bainbridge in the Formula Kite classes, and John Gimson and Anna Burnet in the Nacra 17.

“This is one of the first World Cup regattas I ever did, ten years ago, and so the number of people here and the scale of the event makes it special,” said Beckett, from Solva in Pembrokeshire. “I remember at the time how unbelievably difficult it was then and I had so much respect for the people who were winning then. This is a proper event and this is the first World Cup event I have won. That means a lot.”

Brown, from Glasgow, revelled in Palma’s blustery conditions and proved his skill in the Olympics’ new foiling windsurfing class with eight race wins in 18 races, only once placing outside of the top 10.

Andy Brown scored his first senior win of his career in the iQFOiL windsurfing classAndy Brown scored his first senior win of his career in the iQFOiL windsurfing class

“I’m feeling amazing,” Brown said. “It’s the first time I’ve won any senior medal in an Olympic class, and I’m absolutely buzzing. I’ve been competing at this event for six years now and it feels great to win.”

Just like her ILCA counterpart, Snellgrove also started the medal race guaranteed of silverware – although a 25-point gap to leader Sarah Douglas of Canada made gold unattainable.

Snellgrove’s battle for second was with Greece’s Vasileia Karachaliou, who started the medal race just a point behind. The sailor in fourth, Louise Cervera, of France, had no chance of third, so the medal race became a shoot-out for silver between Snellgrove and Karachaliou.

Hannah Snellgrove took silver in in the ILCA 6Hannah Snellgrove took silver in in the ILCA 6

“I feel really happy and relieved,” said Snellgrove, from Lymington. “It was a really stressful medal race, and I went into it knowing I could win either silver or bronze, so it was a case of ‘who beat’ who between Vasileia and me.

“I’m super happy to come away with the silver. It’s my best result at this regatta and it’s a massive confidence boost for the season ahead.”

Aldridge, from Poole, and Weymouth’s Bainbridge are no strangers to the Formula Kite podium, and both continued their stellar run of form with a brace of bronzes.

Elsewhere Sam Sills was fifth in the men’s iQFOiL class, while sister Saskia finished tenth in the women’s fleet, just behind Islay Watson in ninth and Emma Wilson in eighth.

British 470 pairs Vita Heathcote/Ryan Orr and Martin Wrigley/Eilidh McIntyre were ninth and tenth respectively as the class’s new mixed format made its debut at Trofeo Princesa Sofia.

New 49erFX pair Freya Black and Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey of the Royal Irish Yacht Club were dealt a cruel blow when they were disqualified from the last race of the final series, relegating them to 11th overall. Teammates Megan Brickwood and Steph Orton were just one place back in 12th.

Young guns Nick Robins and Dan Budden were the top 49er boat in 20th; Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Dylan Fletcher and new crew Rhos Hawes had to pull out on day one with damage to their boat.

The British Sailing Team will now turn its attention to the Semaine Olympique Francais in Hyeres later this month.

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Two-time Olympian Saskia Tidey has teamed up with 20-year-old Freya Black (pictured below) in the 49erFX after Tokyo partner Charlotte Dobson called time on her Olympic career.

A national champion in the 29er class, Black is returning to skiff racing after competing in the mixed 470 class for the past two years for a tilt at Paris 2024.

Tidey, a member of the Royal Irish Yacht Club, was forced to quit the Irish team after Rio and cited a lack of opportunities at home. 

As regular Afloat readers will know, Dobson and Tidey had a commanding lead in the early stages of the Tokyo Regatta before finishing sixth overall. 

“Freya is a great young sailor who has transitioned seamlessly into the FX from the 29er/ 470 class,” said Tidey, 28, from Sandycove on Dublin Bay but now based full time in Portland, Dorset.

Tidey told Afloat: “There was a sparkly feeling in the boat when we first sailed. I left the boat park that day feeling pretty motivated and excited to see more. Our attitudes, beliefs and raw competitiveness have blended so well from the get-go. I truly believe in our potential to represent Great Britain at Paris 2024 and challenge for medal-winning performances towards LA 2028.”

Black, from Goudhurst, Kent, added: “Partnering up with Sas in a 49erFX is a huge opportunity for me to make the jump into a team that has the experience and knowledge of a medal-worthy campaign. Bringing together Sas’ epic crewing skills and my 470 background of racing and boat feel, we see the potential of a great team.”

“It feels pretty good to be back in the harness and wearing the BST bib again. I have put a lot of thought into why I want to continue to develop as a world-class sailor with the BST. I still have the passion for pressure & the fire inside me to push for more.

“When the opportunity to sail with Freya Black presented itself I was really excited to take it. Freya is a great young sailor who has transitioned seamlessly into the FX from the 29er/ 470 class. There was a sparkly feeling in the boat when we first sailed. I left the boat park that day feeling pretty motivated and excited to see more. Our attitudes, beliefs and raw competitiveness have blended so well from the get-go. I truly believe in our potential to represent Great Britain at Paris 2024 and challenge for medal-winning performances towards LA 2028.

“Currently we are in Lanzarote training. This year is about playing with the boat as a new team and learning from our mistakes. With it being such a short cycle to Paris 2024 we will be making the most of every hour we have to ensure we qualify GB for the Olympic Games. I am honoured to have the opportunity to challenge a third Olympic Games in the 49erFX and be back with the British Sailing Team.”

The first major event of 2022 for the British Sailing Team will be the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma, Mallorca, in early April.

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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

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


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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