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Displaying items by tag: Seafra Guilfoyle

It was game on immediately for two Irish rivals at the Olympic 49er skiff class world championships in Mussanah, Oman on Tuesday. A new Royal Cork combination took a race win in their opening round while their Dublin rivals for the single Paris 2024 place won the last race of the day.

Cork dinghy ace Johnny Durcan with Tokyo campaigner Séafra Guilfoyle won their championship opening race in their flight. A ninth and an 18th followed, leaving the debutantes in the 18th, a mid-fleet overall standing at this early stage.

Tokyo 2020 Olympians Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) had a steadily improving day, building their form as the light breeze strengthened.

Tokyo 2020 Olympians Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club)Tokyo 2020 Olympians Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Seán Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club)

The North Dublin pair had a 14th then tenth place before winning the third race to finish 14th overall.

Britain's Jack Hawkins and Chris Tomas, who are looking to emerge from the shadow of training partners of Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell, the Tokyo 2020 gold medallists are tied with the French pair of Kevin Fischer Guillou and Noe’ Delpech. Both are experiencing their first tastes of sitting atop a big championship.

With only the two 49er fleets needing to sail qualifiers through Thursday, the fleets are aiming for three races each day. Though the shifty warm breezes kept the scores of even the leaders mixed, the sunshine will be the only consistent factor this week.

Turning Heads

The Path to Paris will have new faces. Otto Henry with Miles Davey (AUS) and Hernan Umpierre with Fernando Diz (URU) sit third and fourth on the 49er leaderboard respectively. They represent the next generation of skiff talent who have grown up sailing fast and upskilling through a combination of video and extreme sports. Of the four, Diz is the oldest born in 1999, the rest were born in the new millennium and it doesn’t look like they’re interested in starting from the back of the fleet and moving up.

The Uruguayan pair won the Asian Championship as the warm up to this year’s worlds. They have moved to Cadiz, Spain, for their university studies, but it’s clear their passions lie in sailing. Likewise, locked out of Australia, the young pair have been in Europe all summer racing and training, before they are allowed back home eventually.

The qualification round continues for another two days to determine the Gold and Silver fleet splits for the final game that concludes the event on Sunday (21st November 2021).

The venue has experienced light airs for the past two weeks, but a sea breeze on Wednesday has been forecast.

Oman Sail is preparing to welcome a 148-strong fleet representing 29 countries when the 2021 49er, 49erFX and Nacra the World Championships gets underway in Mussanah on 16 November.

Being held in Asia for the first time in event history, the regatta is one of the first global sailing events after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and for some participants the start of the campaign to qualify for the Paris 2024 Games.

Ireland is represented by two 49er teams but alas no one in the women's 49er FX class where there is also an absence of Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey who competed for Team GB in Tokyo.

Tokyo Olympians Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove were 11th at this week's Asian 49er ChampionshipsTokyo Olympians Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove were 11th at this week's Asian 49er Championships Photo: Sailing Energy

Representing Ireland are Tokyo Olympians Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove of Howth YC and Skerries Sailing Club (2018 Afloat Sailors of the Year) and challengers for Paris, Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan, both of Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Asian Championships

The Worlds is the first big event for both teams but not the first time the Irish rivals have met on the water.

They crossed swords last week at the 11-race pre-worlds or Asian Championships. It was first blood to the Tokyo Olympians as might be expected in the 30 boat fleet but not by that big a margin. Dickson and Waddilove finished 11th and the new Cork Harbour partnership finished 17th with a promising sixth scored in the penultimate race.

The 36-boat world championship will run from 16–21 November 2021 at the Barcelo Mussanah Resort, adding to Oman’s reputation as a world-class host and premier sailing nation.

The fleet includes Olympians, promising young sailors, high-performance doubles sailors and members of Oman’s national team, all looking to start their 2024 Olympic campaign in good form.

Teams are taking a breather after Tokyo 2020 and with Covid still causing travel issues, all three fleets will be heavily reduced at this regatta. That said, each class still contains some heavy hitters, so it will by no means be an easy ride to the top.

In the 49er class, none of the Olympic medalists from Tokyo are competing but that's not to say it leaves the prospect of a top result wide open with Olympians Łukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski (POL), Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl (AUT), and former world number one James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR) all competing.

Ben Remocker, 49er Class Manager, said, “In this shortened cycle ahead of the Paris 2024 Games, every regatta is important. With such a strong and varied fleet, the competition should be fierce throughout the week. Oman is an ideal host venue, and a great choice for the first 49er, 49erFX and Nacra the World Championships to be held within Asia".

The Olympic Federation of Ireland has announced that 49er skiff crew Seafra Guilfoyle has become one of its ‘Dare to Believe' ambassadors.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club sailor was included in the unveiling of 25 ‘Dare to Believe’ athlete ambassadors from across a variety of sports.

Guilfoyle teamed with Double Olympian Ryan Seaton of Belfast Lough is currently seeking the final country berth for Ireland in the 49er skiff class in order to get to Tokyo next year.  

The OFI also announced FBD Insurance as the sponsor of this year’s ‘Dare to Believe’ Olympic Schools Programme. Ireland’s homegrown insurer is the Official Sponsor of Team Ireland on the road to Tokyo, and this extension of the sponsorship will allow ‘Dare to Believe’ to continue to grow and inspire schoolchildren nationwide. Today’s announcement  

In its first year, ‘Dare to Believe’, which was set up with funding from Olympic Solidarity support, surpassed all of its targets, bringing the Olympics into the classroom for over 5,000 children nationwide. The school activation programme, championed and supported by the Olympic Federation of Ireland Athletes’ Commission, was developed by 2008 Olympian Roisin McGettigan and, as the programme moves into the next phase, the focus is on further expansion, with a boost of 16 new ambassadors to the programme, bringing the total to 25 athletes.

‘Dare to Believe’, will teach primary school students about Olympic Values and Olympism through a curriculum that includes over 40 of the approved education methodologies. The ‘five-ring’ programme allows teachers to interactively explore broad themes that reflect the Olympic Values of Respect and Equality, Healthy Body and Mind, and Joy of Effort. The final ring focuses on Striving for Excellence, which sees the athlete ambassador deliver their personal sporting story to the class, with the changing environment meaning that these visits will now be virtual. 

A host of the ‘Dare to Believe’ athletes, including boxer Kellie Harrington, hockey stars, Anna O’Flanagan, Roisin Upton and Emma Buckley as well as Oliver Dingley (Diving), Sive Brassil (Modern Pentathlon) and Brendan Boyce (Race Walking) will also appear on RTÉ’s After School Hub programme next week from Monday, November 23rd, with Olympic Federation of Ireland Athletes’ Commission member and Olympic medallist in boxing, Kenneth Egan, also set to feature on the programme.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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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

Northern Ireland's Ryan Seaton from Ballyholme Yacht Club and Séafra Guilfoyle of Royal Cork Yacht Club have made the cut for their 49er Gold fleet which begins this morning, the result was confirmed with a strong fourth place scored yesterday afternoon to put the duo 19th overall. 

The fact will not be lost on Seaton, however, that three years ago – in a red hot Olympic year – he won this regatta outright indicating there is much work for the new Belfast-Cork pair to do if a result is to be achieved in Tokyo next year to eclipse the creditable tenth overall he secured at Rio 2016 with former partner Matt McGovern.

The pair said on social media: "Some solid races in qualifying have us set up nicely for gold fleet. Still focusing on the processes but really happy with how we’re going".

Other Irish skiff results from Howth's Rob Dickson (sailing this week with Robbie Gilmore) and Sean and Tadhg Donnelly are here.

The top of the 49er fleet is tight after three more qualifying races were completed. GBR’s 2017 world champions Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell are just one point clear of the Argentina’s Yago and Klaus Lange, winners here last year. 

“At the important moments we chose the right positions on the race course.” Klaus Lange recalled, “We had a really good winter of training sailed with the Austrian squad in Argentina. We have made progress and for us, we have to work perfectly as a team we are really strong".

Their Austrian training partners Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl won two from three races yesterday and are third overall while reigning world champions Sime and Mihovil Fantela of Croatia moved up to fifth with a 12pts aggregate.

Full results are here Check out all our Irish Olympic sailing coverage in the build-up to Tokyo 2020 here

Published in Tokyo 2020

Belfast Lough and Cork Harbour duo Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle are 20th overall in quite possibly the largest 49er fleet ever assembled in Palma of 108 boats after the first day of racing at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia regatta.

Helmsman Ryan Seaton, tenth in Rio, and who won the class in Palma in 2016, is only now getting up to speed after a troublesome winter of injuries for new crew Guilfoyle. The pair counted a (17), 9 and an encouraging third in the final race yesterday.

But these early qualifying rounds in light winds have not been plain sailing for the other Irish skiffs. Afloat.ie's Irish Sailor of the Year Rob Dickson, who is without his regular crew Sean Waddilove and sailing with stand-in Robbie Gilmore, lies 106th after 'gear problems' yesterday. 

The National Yacht Club's Sean and Tadhg Donnelly are 105th. Not competing this year are West Cork duo, Mark Hassett and Oisin O'Driscoll. 

Also absent from the Irish set-up in Palma this year is longtime coach Tytus Konarzewski who is credited with bringing the Dickson–Waddilove duo to U23 World Championship success last season. Konarzewski departed the Irish camp after the 'merger' of the youth and senior Irish skiff programmes this winter that saw the skiff numbers reduced.

Full results are here. Read more about Irish hopes for Tokyo 2020 here.

Published in Tokyo 2020

#49er - More than €5,000 is the cost of competition for Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle as they prep for their first event as a duo in Mallorca this coming spring.

The new combination have joined with PledgeSports to crowdfund the necessary budget for a new 49er skiff plus flights, accommodation and ferries as they ready for their debut competition event in the Balearic Islands.

Ahead of that, they will be training with other Olympic hopeful teams and coaches in Cadiz and Mallorca in preparation for a season that builds on a tremendously successful 2016 for Irish high performance sailing.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, last month double Olympian Seaton teamed up with 20-year-old Royal Cork prospect Guilfoyle, making his comeback from an injury that ruled him out of last summer’s Olympics, with ambitions to represent Ireland in the skiff class at Tokyo 2020.

But they will face strong competition for that spot, not least from Seaton’s former partner and fellow Belfast sailor Matt McGovern, with whom he finished in the top 10 in Rio, who is also currently looking for a new skiff partner.

More on the €5,350 Seaton and Guilfoyle are looking to raise can be found on the PledgeSports website HERE.

Published in Olympic

A unique north–south Olympic campaign was launched last night at Royal Cork Yacht Club when double Olympian Ryan Seaton of Belfast Lough announced new crew Seafra Guilfoyle of Cork Harbour as his partner for Tokyo 2020.

As Afloat.ie reported previously, the new pairing will face stiff competition not least from Seaton's former crew Matt McGovern who is among up to four campaigns aiming for Tokyo selection in the mens skiff class.

The Belast–Cork duo say they are looking to build on Rio's top ten finish, Ireland's top Olympic 49er result so far.

In a further boost for Irish skiff class hopes, a boat that is not yet raced here domestically, there are also three other fledgling campaigns readying for Tokyo and beyond too.

Oisin O’Driscoll from Schull and Mark Hassett from Baltimore, Sean and Tadgh Donnelly from Dun Laoghaire, and Robert Dickson from Howth with Sean Waddilove from Skerries have all been involved in training camps at home and in Spain bringing Irish interest in the 16–footer to an all–time high.

Read also: Irish 49ers Are Ahead of the Curve

Published in Olympic

Royal Cork dinghy sailor Seafra Guilfoyle (20) will team up with Belfast double Olympian Ryan Seaton for a Tokyo 2020 Olympic 49er campaign.

The move brings the curtain down on an eight year campaign by Seaton who split from crew Matt McGovern after Rio. Seaton had been trialling a number of crew replacements since Rio, as earlier reported by Afloat.ie. 

McGovern, also from Belfast, is in talks to find a new sailing partner as he intends to continue for Tokyo too.  

According to Royal Cork Yacht Club, Seaton and Guilfoyle will make a formal announcement of the campaign in Crosshaven this Friday. The duo will be looking to build on the Rio top ten finish.

Guilfoyle, an ISAF youth silver medalist in the Laser Radial from 2014, withdrew from the 2016 Mens Laser trial with a back injury.

As Afloat.ie reported in Ireland may field as many as four Olympic 49er campaigns for Tokyo. Read our 49er profile here.

Published in Olympic
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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

Who is Your Sailor of the Year 2021?
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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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