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Displaying items by tag: Simon Coveney

Former Marine Minister Simon Coveney announced his surprise step down from Cabinet on Tuesday (2 April).

The Fine Gael TD for Cork South Central said his tenure in Cabinet “has been an amazing experience for 13 years” but that “the time was right” to step away as new party leader Simon Harris plans for an expected reshuffle, as RTÉ News reports.

Most recently Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Coveney served as Tánaiste from November 2017 to June 2020 and following that as Minister for Defence while also holding the post of Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade until 2022, and was previously Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine from 2011 to 2016.

Coveney promised to “continue to work as a proud TD for Cork South Central and will of course actively support the Government in the Dáil”.

That will be some comfort to his many supporters, particularly in the Cork Harbour sailing community where the Coveney name carries significant weight.

Simon’s TD father Hugh Coveney, who famously raced in the George Bushe-built Golden Apple, was a stalwart of the Cork scene for many years.

And Simon himself is an experienced sailor, having worked as an instructor at his club the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven and been involved in many sailing regattas over the years.

In 1997/98 he led the Sail Chernobyl Project which involved sailing a boat 30,000 miles around the world and raising €650,000 for charity.

Last summer, Simon Coveney addressed a sold-out audience at his home club to talk the future of sailing and the blue economy.

Published in Cork Harbour
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Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney will be quizzed on the Government’s Climate Action Plan 2023 at an Oireachtas committee on Wednesday (Feb 22)

The Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action has invited Mr Coveney, a former marine and agriculture minister who would be familiar with the implications of these aspects of the plan, to come before it.

The plan outlines what it terms a “viable pathway” to achieve a 51% reduction in Ireland’s overall greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and net-zero emissions no later than 2050.

While agriculture is one of the main focuses, the plan seeks to bring measures that will also affect fishing vessels and benefit the marine environment.

It aims to manage land to protect “climate, biodiversity and water”, Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue said when the plan was published last December.

Cathaoirleach of the Oireachtas committee, Green Party TD Brian Leddin said: “The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2021 provides that ministers come before the committee to discuss their department’s role in implementing the measures and achieving the targets set out in the climate action plan”.

“Over the coming weeks, the committee plans a series of such meetings. This week we look forward to meeting with Minister Coveney to discuss the actions of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment in relation to the 2023 Climate Action Plan, and related matters,” he said.

The Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action have 14 Members, nine from the Dáil and five from the Seanad.

The meeting in Committee Room 4 at 5.30 pm today (February 22nd) can be viewed live on Oireachtas TV.

Committee proceedings can also be viewed on the Houses of the Oireachtas Smartphone App, available for Apple and Android devices.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Russian military exercises planned for next week will no longer take place within Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Foreign Affairs Minister has confirmed.

In a tweet published this evening (Saturday 29 January), Simon Coveney — who is also Minister for Defence — said: “This week I wrote to my counterpart, the Minister of Defence of Russia, to request a reconsideration of naval exercises off the Irish coast. This evening I received a letter confirming the Russian exercises will be relocated outside of Ireland’s EEZ. I welcome this response.”

The planned manoeuvres, which will include live-fire exercised by Russia’s navy and air force, have been the subject of much controversy in recent days.

Originally proposed for an area some 240km southwest of Cork, in international waters but within Ireland’s EEZ, the plans sparked concerns among the Irish fishing fleet and conversationists alike over the potential impact on important fishing grounds and habitats for vulnerable marine wildlife.

A marine craft advisory over “serious safety risks” surrounding the planned military drills was published by the Department of Transport, before a “successful and positive meeting” between fishing industry representatives and the Russian ambassador on Thursday.

Published in News Update
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Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has confirmed that a team has been working on Ireland’s bid for the America’s Cup since January of this year.

The world’s biggest and oldest sailing event is ranked third only to the Olympics and a Football World Cup in sporting value for a host country.

Global viewership for the race in New Zealand this year was 940 million.

The current holders of the America’s Cup, Team New Zealand, have been exploring alternative venues after reportedly turning down a bid from their home nation’s government worth NZ$99 million, or some €58.3 million.

Ireland is on a shortlist, with Cork harbour as venue, and a final decision will be made in mid-September, Coveney said.

Coveney confirmed that Belfast and Dublin had also been assessed initially, but Cork won out in terms of infrastructure and international links – and the fact the city is built on one of the world’s finest natural harbours.

Galway was not considered due to lack of sufficient infrastructure and international connectivity, he said.

“Galway did host two Volvo Ocean Races and a lot of New Zealand sailors regard it as one of the most successful sporting events of all time,” Coveney said.

“There were some financial issues after the second Volvo ocean race, but that is a separate issue,” he said.

As an Irish port, Cork Harbour won out in terms of its infrastructure and international links says Minister Coveney Photo: Bob BatemanAs an Irish port, Cork Harbour won out in terms of its infrastructure and international links says Minister Coveney Photo: Bob Bateman

“We had New Zealanders asking us about Galway, but essentially it was down to infrastructure and international aviation links,” he said.

Global sports investment group Origin Sports, headed by Cork-based Stewart Hosford, recently led a fact-finding visit to Cork for Team New Zealand’s assessment team.

The former Cork dockyard, a 44-acre site in Cobh, could provide a race village, and owners Doyle Shipping Group have been very supportive, Coveney said.

Team New Zealand is the holder of the America's Cup Team New Zealand is the holder of the America's Cup Photo: Studio Borlenghi

“We have made the case that we can replicate a home here in Cork harbour for Team New Zealand which has many similarities to Auckland,” he said.

Coveney declined to comment on a figure for hosting the event but said that Ernst and Young were liaising with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on a detailed cost-benefit analysis.

“How we fund it, whether it is through a combination of urban renewal and other funds, has to be worked out, but it won’t happen if we don’t show the economic benefit”, he said.

In 2017, New Zealand’s business ministry estimated the America's Cup would be worth between 355 million euros to 592 million euros to the economy between 2018 and 2021 and hosting the event would create between 4700 and 8300 jobs.

The 2021 America's Cup was the most watched edition around the worldThe 2021 America's Cup was the most watched

However, New Zealand recorded heavy losses on hosting the event due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Coveney has said that a successful bid to host the America’s Cup yacht race would establish Ireland as a “leader of the blue economy within the EU” and would also be a significant expression of the Government’s “Global Ireland” initiative”.

Race Day 3 and spectator boats watch the action in Auckland Harbour during the 36th America's Cup in March 2021Race Day 3 and spectator boats watch the action in Auckland Harbour during the 36th America's Cup in March 2021

Auckland's Dockside Race Village with Rock The Dock with Rod Stewart in full swing in MarchAuckland's Dockside Race Village with Rock The Dock with Rod Stewart in full swing in March

“Some 2.5 million people came to see it when it was last in Europe, and we have taken a lot of learning from the Valencia experience,” Coveney said.

He said a successful bid would “fast-track Project Ireland 2040 investment in Cork, in particular Cork harbour’s ambition in becoming Ireland’s offshore renewable energy hub by supporting €5bn capital deployment in wind projects, creating 10,000 jobs over the next decade.”

Dr Val Cummins of Simply Blue Energy said that hosting an event like the America’s Cup would focus attention on Ireland’s island potential and its blue economy.

Professor sailor Maurice “Prof” O’Connell said that Ireland was in a very strong position to win the bid if it moves from New Zealand, and the proposed race hub at Cobh would be “tailor-made” for 60 to 70 superyachts.

“This is not just a weekend of sport, but a two year plus boost, with six or eight sailing teams basing themselves in the host country from 2022, along with designers, engineers, sports scientists, managers and so on,” O’Connell said.

Port of Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan – who first proposed publicly that Ireland should consider holding the America’s Cup - said that Galway had much expertise to offer, having hosted two Volvo ocean races.

“These new foiling boats we have seen in America’s Cup races don’t have keels, so don’t require depth of water – and Galway Bay is a natural amphitheatre for spectators,” Sheridan said.

Published in America's Cup

Over 100 boats are expected to enjoy four days racing in the open waters of Kinsale Harbour when the Sovereign’s Cup 2017 takes place at Kinsale Yacht Club from 21st-24th June, 2017.

The O’Leary Life & Pensions sponsored event was launched at Kinsale Yacht Club today by Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government. 

Minister Coveney praised the co-operation between all the stakeholders and cited Sovereign’s Cup as a prime example of what can be achieved to bring benefits to whole communities when clubs and associations work closely with business groups and local authorities to organise world class events.

Soverigns Cup 2017Jack Roy at his first official event as President of the ISA, Carrie Dunne, Ronan Goggin, O’Leary Life & Pensions, Minister Simon Coveney, Susan Horgan, Rear Commodore KYC, Cllr Kevin Murphy, Cork Co Council, Dave O’Sullivan, Vice Commodore KYC.

Some of the entries to the Sovereign’s Cup 2017 to date include 2015 Champions, Equinox the X-333 from Howth YC, skippered by Ross McDonald.

Also returning to Kinsale are WOW, the Farr 42 sailed by George Sisk, DUX, the X302 sailed by Anthony Gore-Grimes, Fool’s Gold the Archambault 35 sailed by Robert McConnell and Jump Juice, the Ker 37 sailed by Conor Phelan.

The J-109s are represented by Jump The Gun, sailed by John Kelly and Michael Monaghan, White Mischief, sailed by Tim & Richard Goodbody, Powder Monkey, sailed by Mark Byrne and Chris Moore and Indecision sailed by Declan Hayes.

IMG 0414J109, Jump The Gun,  sailed by John Kelly and Michael Monaghan is heading for Kinsale

Half Tonners, Checkmate XVIII, sailed by Nigel Biggs, The Big Picture, sailed by Michael Evans and Checkmake XV sailed by David Cullen will enjoy great racing in advance of the Half Ton Classic Cup that also takes place in KYC from 14th-18th August.

There are a number of 1720 sportsboats including Antix, sailed by Anthony O’Leary, Dutch Gold, sailed by Peter O’Leary, T-Bone, sailed by Clive O’Shea and Tom Durcan, Déjà vu, sailed by Rory and Ross Johnson, Aquatack, by Denis Murphy and 1601 sailed by Michael Walsh.

Kinsale YC is well represented by Meridien, skippered by KYC Commodore, Tom Roche, Freya, sailed by Conor Doyle, Artful Dodger sailed by Finbarr O’Regan and Cimarron VI, sailed by Vice Commodore Dave O’Sullivan.

Published in Sovereign's Cup

Enda O’Coineen may have exited the Vendee Globe in dramatic fashion on New Year’s Day when, as he drolly put it, Kilcullen Voyager stopped stone dead as she zapped into the back of a Southern Ocean wave, but his enormous mast just continued straight on with an almighty crash as it broke off clean at the deck. But this ruthless race continues on its way, and there’s still much of very specific Irish interest in it as the leaders approach the finish. W M Nixon gives us his own take on it all, and then tells us a tale out of school about Irish involvement.

It has to be the oddest geography lesson ever provided. And it has to be the most unexpectedly energetic way of promoting a relatively unknown region of France which was formerly almost exclusively associated with a relaxed way of life.

Once upon a time, the Vendee was a place which you’d usually associate with the gentler things in life. Things like good food and summer wine enjoyed in a sleepy siesta lifestyle in gently dusty villages inland from some fine beaches, villages where life moves slowly under the kindly shade of many trees, in a latitude which is not so far south as to be overly hot in summer, yet not far enough north to experience harsh winters.

vendee globeLittle place that thinks big – France’s Vendee region has put itself firmly on the world map by sponsoring the Vendee Globe

It’s about the size of an average Irish county. Yet right now, France’s modestly endowed Vendee region is being promoted as a place of world significance by extreme sportsmen taking part in a rugged sailing exercise with the most severe physical and life-threatening challenges, subsisting on a meagre diet which would rightly produce rioting in any self-respecting prison.

Welcome to the world of the Vendee Globe. That is, in the unlikely event that you aren’t already addicted to following it on a daily or indeed hourly basis. This still almost unbelievable round the world non-stop marathon continues to have an air of crazy novelty and enduring fascination, even though it was first staged in 1989.

vendee globePeaceful countryside. Deep in the heart of the Vendee, the sea seems far away
It boggles the mind to try and imagine the great French sailor Philippe Jeantot taking on the challenge of persuading the civil servants and politicians who run this relatively remote region of west France to permit, let alone sponsor, an event which is now utterly out on its own. Yet the regions of France quite rightly have an intense local pride. And if we in Ireland feel a tinge of envy at what they can achieve, just remember that last weekend it was announced that Wicklow Sailing Club had become the Mitsubishi Motors Club of the Year for 2017 thanks to their utter commitment to promoting the Round Ireland Race on a biennial basis, while at the same time continuing to function successfully as a club which caters for local sailing needs.

vendee globeA summer cornfield in the Vendee is about as different as you can get…

vendee globe cape horn….from rounding Cape Horn in a rising gale. Yet both are linked through the world’s most challenging race

It’s something which is unusual in an overly-centralized country like Ireland, where all major decision are made in the capital, and in sailing you’d expect one of the main centres such as Cork Harbour or Dublin Bay or Belfast Lough to be the home of the Round Ireland race. But it is dogged little Wicklow which has won through, and 2016’s race fully justified their faith.

However, in the Irish context it is a local sailing club which is setting the pace. But in France, it is the regional administration which has been persuaded to pull off a remarkable coup. Looking at the scale and publicity which accompanies the Globe race, you’d assume it starts and finishes in a major centre such as Brest, or Lorient, or La Rochelle. Au contraire. The Vendee Globe starts and finishes in the very artificial sand-surrounded port of les Sables d’Olonne, set on a long sandy coast off which just about the only object of interest is the intriguing little Biscay island of Ile d’Yeu.

les sables dolonneLes Sables d’Olonne, where the harbour is tucked in behind what used to be sand dunes

vendee globeThe start of the Vendee Globe 2016-2017

Yet despite the paucity of features of special interest along its sandy beaches, every three to four years sees Les Sables d’Olonne being swamped by hundreds of thousands of visitors when the Vendee Globe circus is in town. And this weekend, the focus sees the Race Headquarters move from their race-time base at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris back to the quayside at Les Sables in anticipation of the finish, some time in the middle of next week, of the two fleet leaders.

Yesterday, gales on the Biscay coast prevented the re-installation of the super-tented Vendee Globe Village in Les Sables. But by today the command control should be broadcasting again on all media, and we can resume our daily doses of a fascinating event which is reaching its most crucial stage in an unexpected way.

For after a week in which severe storms have been sweeping most of Europe, a great big high pressure area is showing every sign of settling in over the southwest approaches to the Bay of Biscay right across the track which the two leaders – Armel le Cleac’h on Bank Populaire VIII and Alex Thompson closing up from 130 miles astern on Hugo Boss – will have to take to get to Les Sables.

C’est ridicule! The seas off northwest Spain - Galicia, Finisterre, whatever you want to call it – should be one of the stormiest places in the world in the latter half of January. Yet here it is, in an increasingly benign mood, with the final stages of the world’s breeziest race threatening to become a battle of the zephyrs.

Enda O Coineen Stewart Hosford Enda O'Coineen and Stewart Hosford in Cork Harbour  in 2015

Under time-honoured traditional yacht racing tactics, all Le Cleac’h need to do is keep re-positioning himself so that he is directly between Thomson and the finish line. But these are not traditional yachts. Even in a zephyr, they can virtually create their own wind, and if the leader really does become so completely and utterly becalmed that he loses steerage way, the second-placed boat knows that his primary objective must be to maintain way even if it means actually heading away from the finish.

However, let’s face it, it is January, and it’s unlikely the total calm you might experience in high summer will ever settle in. That said, for le Cleac’h the situation is hugely challenging, for if there is one other skipper in the entire race who has the ability to pull off an audacious coup and snatch the lead, then it is 42-year-old Alex Thomson.

And in a sense, here in Ireland we can look on him as one of us. For five formative years of his childhood, he lived in the Crosshaven area, and his name can be found in the register of Templebreedy National School. His father Peter was a helicopter pilot on air-sea rescue duty, which meant that Alex was born in Bangor in North Wales as his father at the time was flying out of Anglesey, but then the move came to Cork airport, and the young Alex saw his first sailing off Weavers Point.

Sailing the seas of Cork at that time was young Stewart Hosford whose father Bill was one of the crew on Denis Doyle’s blue S&S designed Moonduster. Bill Hosford was also one of the consortium involved with Barry Burke in building the Ron Holland-desined Shamrrock racer-cruiser range, while for some added interest Bill and his wife Ann for ten years owned that deservedly renowned West Cork hostelry Mary Ann’s in the picturesque village of Castletownshend.

However, the challenge of life as an international banking executive drew young Stewart away from Cork, and he spent fifteen years in the City of London and another five in Edinburgh before the call of the sea returned, and he and his mates bought the Farr 65 Spirit of Diana in 2000 and linked up with the recent winning skipper in the Clipper Round the World Race, one Alex Thomson, to go racing. The rest is history.

vendee globe Alex Thompson keel“Alex does the sailing and the stunts…..” A spot of keel-walking with Hugo Boss

Hugo Boss Yacht shipwreckEven when things don’t go quite according to plan, somehow it still seems a success…

The synergy between the two men in creating a boat racing organization is extraordinary. Even though Stewart is now based back in Cork, life is totally peripatetic as he fulfills the role of CEO of Alex Thomson Racing, while Alex does the sailing and the stunts, and Sir Keith Mills is the third corner of a remarkable triangle for creating success.

The well-established link-up with Hugo Boss completed the package, and while on occasion things have gone spectacularly wrong, there’s something about an Alex Thomson Racing failure which makes it into a success. The man himself has a superhuman dedication and determination, and an ability to think completely outside the box, which makes their involvement in any event add greatly to its success.

Simon Coveney Alex Thomson Stewart HosfordThe then Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney with Alex Thomson and Stewart Hosford at a press briefing to put forward some proposals for developments on Cork Harbour

Most of us have lost count of how many different boats called Hugo Boss there have actually been, but there’s no doubt the current boat – after some setbacks which would have rebuffed a lesser squad – has evolved into on of the most formidable racing machines on the planet.

So even though it’s unlikely she’ll get starboard tack all the rest of the way to the finish in order for her lack of a starboard foil not to be a disadvantage, Hugo Boss racing has now reached such a level of attention that any outcome is ultra-newsworthy.

But though we talk of the Alex Thomson Racing challenges having reached a certain kevel, staying level is that last thing on the minds of these guys. They’ve all sorts of other ideas taking shape, and their track record is such that if they were so inclined, they could make a tidy living as consultants to nascent challenge projects. That is most unlikely. They’ve moved on a long way from Templebreedy. But even so, it still means a lot to Alex Thomson and Stewart Hosford when the latest Hugo Boss puts in an appearance at Crosshaven.

vendee globe Enda O’Coineen’s Kilcullen Voyager and the previous Hugo Boss off Crosshaven, where Alex Thomson spent five years of his childhood.

Published in W M Nixon

The governments in both jurisdictions in Ireland have included an all-Ireland sail training ship for the Atlantic Youth Trust in their long term capital expenditure proposals. And the movement in favour of support for this project has become so strong that the nationwide team involved in promoting it are confident that the ship’s future is now secured.

They continue to hold this view even with general elections and possible major changes in administrative direction taking place, north and south, within the next four months. Thus this week’s 2016 Annual General Meeting of the Atlantic Youth Trust in Irish Lights Headquarters in Dun Laoghaire found itself reviewing a remarkable year of progress and achievement, while giving pointers and reassurances for the successful way ahead. W M Nixon was there to take on board an evening of multiple messages.

It could well be that some time in the future, we will come to the sad but inescapable conclusion that the foundering of the Republic of Ireland’s national 84–ft sail training brigantine Asgard II in September 1908, followed within two years by the sinking of the Northern Ireland 70ft training ketch Lord Rank, were necessary disasters for the progress towards the ultimately more healthy ideal of a Class A 40-metre sail training barquentine.

The proposed ship - determinedly and enthusiastically serving all Ireland – will be initially funded through donations, and by government grants from both sides of the border. But the vessel is to be run independently by a cross-border trust rather than by some obscure unit of a government department.

September 2008 saw Ireland on the edge of the financial abyss. For a government under enormous pressure from all sides, a government, moreover, in which the minister responsible for the Asgard II took little or no interest in the ship and what she did, this sinking was a blessing in disguise.

The hull of Asgard II, completed in 1981, had long passed its sell-by date. When she sank, she took with her the magnificent rig which had been totally replaced only a couple of years earlier. Yet a properly involved government would surely have taken on board the advice that her timber hull urgently needed replacing, preferably with one built in steel. For although in 2008 the ship looked better than ever thanks to the devotion of her crew in working way over and above the call of duty in painting, varnishing and routine maintenance, there was no escaping the fact that the basic hull and its original fittings were living on borrowed time.

Ironically, the visit to La Rochelle, which she was nearing when she sank, included plans for a three-week stopover for a complete survey and some necessary repairs. Whether or not this would have revealed the fracturing seacock which many reckon to have caused the unstoppable ingress of water can only be a matter of speculation. The fact of the matter is the ship sank, and in an exemplary display of seamanship, the captain and crew ensured that their full quota of young trainees got safely away.

asgard tall ship
Flying the flag for Ireland – Asgard II in fine form, seen from another tall ship

But although Asgard II remained stubbornly intact and upright for some weeks on the Bay of Biscay seabed off Belle Ile, a government with financial Armageddon crashing down around its ears was glad enough to be shot of a unique project which some of them had never really understood or supported in the first place. Thus they refused to consider multiple suggests as to how best Asgard II could be salvaged. And frankly, it was for the best that they did so. For like it or not, while she was much-loved by the maritime community, the vessel had lost public confidence.

The subsequent loss of the Lord Rank in July 2010 after striking a rock likewise resulted in a merciful absence of casualties. But with Ireland north and south now in the utter depths of economic recession with no governmental enthusiasm whatsoever for non-essential projects, it was time to re-group for a few years and re-think the entire sail training ideal. It became almost an underground movement, with Coiste an Asgard being re-structured as Sail Training Ireland, and diligently setting about placing Irish trainees on the ships of other nations. It’s an ongoing programme which has been notably successful in providing both sea-going experience and a guaranteed international dimension for young people from all over Ireland, city and country alike.

Meanwhile there were rumblings from the west of Ireland where Enda O'Coineen and John Killeen were building on the can-do attitude of Galway, and from this there gradually emerged the Atlantic Youth Trust. It’s a determinedly all-Ireland group in which the Chairman is former Winter Olympics Gold Medallist Lord Glentoran from Northern Ireland, with the unstoppable unsinkable O Coineen as President. Supporting them is one very impressive list of seriously heavy hitters in the maritime and big business sphere from all over Ireland on its board, and perhaps most importantly of all, at an early stage they secured Neil O’Hagan as Executive Director.

neil o hagan3
Neil O’Hagan, Executive Director of the Atlantic Youth Trust

This sounds an impressive title, but at the moment he heads up a minimal staff. You can get the flavour of it all by taking a look at the Sailing on Saturdays conversation I had with him, reported here on 4th April 2015. The amount of work he puts in is prodigious, and though the Trust’s founding General Meeting was held in Belfast in the Harbour Commission’s historic building on September 10th 2014, they’d to forego a General Meeting during 2015 while various elements and agreements were being finally edged into place.

Since April 2015 we’ve had snippets of news about the governments north and south starting to provide what are essentially government letters of intent in support of the project. However, politics on this island being a snakelike progression notwithstanding the best efforts of St Patrick, with every twist and turn of the political machines the AYT have been at pains to ensure that gains supposedly agreed by one administrative decision-maker are carried through into the remit of the next when the inevitable political wheel of fortune turns yet again at the individual level.

But now, with two general elections in the offing and a rapidly improving situation developing in the AYT’s prospects, it was essential for a properly-convened AGM to be held on Thursday January 21st, staged this time in the impressive board-room of the Irish Lights Commissioners in Dun Laoghaire.

Atlantic youth trust4
The boardroom at Irish Lights HQ is an impressive venue for any meeting, and it suited the Atlantic Youth Trust’s 2016 AGM very well

enda O coineenThe maritime evangelist……Enda O'Coineen in full flight at this weeks AGM of the Atlantc Youth Trust

Ironically, although one of the main lines of thought in the AYT’s thinking is that the ship they’ll provide will be more of a floating multi-discipline schoolship of many projects, both afloat and ashore, rather than a traditional sail training ship, it emerged at the AGM that it was the traditional Tall Ships visit and Parade of Sail in Belfast and on Belfast Lough last July which gave them their greatest boost.

They’d a significant presence there, and thanks to one of the Trust Board Members, they’d the use of a fine big motor vessel aboard which visiting politicos and other heavy hitters could be taken on a sociable yet instructive tour of the harbour and the Tall Ships fleet. For many of these decision makers and opinion formers, it was a transformative experience, turning them into supporters of the Atlantic Youth Trust’s way of thinking.

Tall Ships Belfast 6
The Tall Ships in Belfast, July 2015

ay7She’s not a tall ship, she doesn’t even set sails, but the availability of the fine motor-yacht Evolution as a tour boat was a game changer for the Atlantic Youth Trust at Belfast’s Tall Ships Festival. Photo: W M Nixon

This opened doors north and south, and they rapidly increased their already formidable knowledge of how to work the corridors of power. The meeting on Thursday in Irish Lights was chaired by Peter Cooke from the north, and his affable presence made the running of business very smooth indeed. But as each specialist on the board revealed the progress they’d made during the past year and more in their particular task, it was to realize that here were people who were utterly professional in their approach, yet went at the job with the total enthusiasm of dedicated amateurs.

But what most impressed was the synergy of the high octane talents on the board which, in addition to Lord Glentoran, Enda O Coineen and Peter Cooke, can draw on the talents of people of the calibre of Dr Gerard O’Hare, Roger Courtney, Sean Lemass, David Beattie and John Killeen – with Neil O’Hagan as the key conduit, they’ve turned themselves into a formidable lobbying organisation.

It’s a fact of life in all Irish political administration, and particularly in Dublin, that each separate government department much prefers to function independently within its own little bubble, with nothing whatever to do with any other department while avoiding overlaps if at all possible. This is especially so in the neglected area of maritime activity, which is overseen by several departments, and is further warped by the reality that the government is in Dublin - which is also the biggest port - yet the real scene of the maritime action and the true hotbed of ideas is Cork.

So our shrewd operators in the AYT stood back and concluded that the politician they should most directly target was of course Minister for the Marine (and many other matters) Simon Coveney TD of Cork, but that in Dublin the departments to be wooed were Finance and the Office of the Taoiseach.

With increasing support at official level in the north and enthusiasm from key decision makers in the Republic, things were going grand when the President of the AYT suddenly went off in December 2015 to race single-handed across the Atlantic from the Caribbean to Brittany in his IMOCA 60 Kilcullen Voyager. Enda O’Coineen’s big boat has been very much part of the AYT awareness programme for the past year, taking trainee crews to sea. But this was something else altogether, and it made many supporters of the new training ship ideal distinctly nervous.

ay8Enda O Coineen’s IMOCA 60 Kilcullen Voyager was used in Belfast for AYT work, but then in December he went and raced her single-handed across the Atlantic from the Caribbean to France. Photo W M Nixon

Racing across the Atlantic in as rough a December as anyone could remember may have been a personal challenge, but inevitably it was a high risk venture with which the AYT was inevitably associated, whether it liked it or not. The sailing community in Ireland is small, and nothing can happen in isolation. But to everyone’s enormous relief, not only did the boy do it, but he did it well, sailing across in style and securing a podium place with third at the finish.

This was quietly acknowledged as something which had been on everyone’s mind in a graceful little speech by the Deputy Chairman of the Irish Lights Commissioners congratulating the President on his Transatlantic success. So with everything in place as regards where AYT now stands in relation to both governments, the formal part of the meeting concluded with some commitments as to the way ahead, and the news that the Atlantic Youth Trust’s next public gathering of significance will be in Galway on March 12th, when more precise details of the new ship and the building programme will be revealed.

However, with an ethos in which going the extra mile is part of the DNA, the AYT then laid on a hugely entertaining dinner in the neighbouring Royal Irish YC with fascinating shows by the Gardai Siochana’s Conor O’Byrne, who played a central on-board co-ordination role in rescuing a crewman who had gone overboard in mid-Pacific from the Clipper yacht Derry-Londonderry-Doire, and from Stewart Hosford from Cork, who is CEO of the organisation Five Degrees West whose main project is the designing, building and management of the Imoca 60 boats raced under the Hugo Boss campaign by Alex Thompson.

ay9May The Force Be With You – the two faces of the Garda Siochana’s Conor O’Byrne, who gave the AYT and its supporters a fascinating insight into the successful rescue of a crewmember who went overboard from Derry/Londonderry/Doire in mid-Pacific.

ay10Suits you, Sir…..Alex Thompson on the second Hugo Boss. At Thursday’s meeting, Stewart Hosford of Cork – whose interest in the sea and sailing was inspired by Asgard II – gave the inside story on his job as CEO of the Hugo Boss sailing challenges.

Each compact yet thought-provoking show would have made for a worthy topic on its own in most clubs’ entertainment programme. But it was special to include both on this night of all nights, as each speaker had been enthused in their youth by sailing on Asgard II, and each would do anything to ensure that the upcoming generations get a similar opportunity and inspiration.

It was that kind of night, with the congenial attendance including Seamus McLoughlin and Michael Byrne from Sail Training Ireland, and Oliver Hart whose 70ft schooner Spirit of Oysterhaven continues gallantly to fulfill the role of Ireland’s premier sail training vessel from her base on the Cork coast.

In all, it’s a busy few days for Irish sail training, which is definitely no longer an underground movement. Today, Sail Training Ireland hold their 4th Annual Prize Giving and Programme Launch in the Mansion House in Dublin, looking back on a season in which the number of funded trainees sent on sailing ships abroad and at home came in at just under 300, while in all they arranged berths for more than 500.

The plan for 2016 includes a formal twinning of Dublin and Liverpool for maritime festivals, while on the training front, STI are aiming for a target of 350 funded trainees. And as for Ireland eventually returning to having her own sail training ship, no sooner was Thursday night’s remarkable series of events brought to a close than Neil O’Hagan had to gather his thoughts and head off for New York to meet the Ireland Fund. They are taking a serious and very positive interest in the plans of the Atlantic Youth Trust.

ay11The Dutch Tall Ship Morgenster, seen here on Belfast Lough in July 2015, is one of the vessels used by Sail Training Ireland to send more than 500 young people every year out onto the high seas. Photo: W M Nixon

Published in W M Nixon

Pontoons in Cape Clear, West Cork a small craft harbour in Killybegs, County Donegal and dredging works in Howth, County Dublin are part of an €18m Capital Investment Package in 2016 for the development of Ireland’s fishery harbour network announced today by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D. See the full table below.

Announcing the investment package, the Minister said “In total I am allocating €18m for this year's Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Capital Programme. I have set aside €16m towards safety, maintenance and new development works at the six Fishery Harbour Centres at Howth, Dunmore East, Castletownbere, Dingle, Rossaveel and Killybegs. I am also making €2m available for a Local Authority Harbour Programme, and I am assessing specifically what is required to address storm damage at Local Authority owned fishery harbours.”

Flagship projects in the 2016 Capital Programme (see table1) include the provision of dedicated Ferry pontoons on the West Pier in Howth, infrastructure upgrades in Dunmore East, commencement of the Dinish Wharf expansion Project in Castletownbere, expansion of the small craft harbour in Ros an Mhíl and the Smooth Point pier extension in Killybegs. The Minister continued, “While there are a number of flagship projects for completion this year, of equal importance is the preparatory work for significant potential projects in Howth, Dunmore East, An Daingean and Ros an Mhíl”

The 2016 Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Capital Programme outlined by the Minister also contains funding of €2m to assist coastal Local Authorities repair, maintain and develop piers, harbours and slipways under their ownership. The Minister stated “I am delighted to continue to support Local Authorities in their efforts to maintain and develop the fishery harbour network which provides much needed facilities for our rural fishing and marine focussed communities. A number of smaller fishing piers around the coast experienced some damage during the recent storms and we are currently assessing how best to assist Local Authorities in carrying out repairs”

Concluding on the 2016 Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Capital Programme, the Minister said “This year’s programme is significant on a number of fronts, firstly it provides for the continuation of this Governments strategy to develop and improve the facilities at our fishery harbours in 2016. Secondly it prepares the groundwork for potential projects in the coming years all of which will benefit the fishing industry, seafood processing sector, other ancillary marine industries.”

 

Table 1- Fishery Harbour & Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme 2016 

Location Project Cost €m

Howth:

Traffic Management Works

East Pier Repairs

Pontoons to west pier for ferry landings

Engineers office

Preparation of Dumping at Sea licence

Provision of Berthing Face to Middle Pier

Electric Works West Pier

Gas Main

Other Services (Sewers,ducting,watermains)

Total

0.150

0.050

0.400

0.050

0.100

0.100

0.300

0.150

0.150

1.450

Dunmore East:

Harbour Office Upgrade

West Wharf upgrade

Breakwater (Design Report)

- Harbour Road re-surface

Total

0.700

0.200

0.160

0.100

1.160

Castletownbere:

Harbour User toilet and Shower facilities

Dinish Wharf Expansion

Harbour Slipway

Quayside Electrical Upgrade

Harbour Offices Upgrade

Replacement of water network Dinish

Dinish Bridge Survey

CCTV

Total

0.090

1.000

0.040

0.150

0.250

0. 450

0.080

0.070

2.130

An Daingean:

 

 

 

 

Workshop Design ,Planning and commence works

Capital Dredging Navigation Channel –  Dumping at sea

  Licence, tender preparation and preparation works

Net mending area

Total

0.400 

0.500

0.100

1.000

Ros an Mhíl:

 

 

 

- Quay Development – Design, Evaluations, Consulting, EIS, Permitting and preparation works

- Small craft Harbour – Dredging

Total

0.800

1.800

2.600

Killybegs:

 

Repairs to Blackrock/Auction Hall Piers

Small Craft Harbour

Smooth Point Pier Development

- Landing Pier Fendering

- Landing Pier Electrical Design/Works

- Boatyard investment

Total

0.175

0.900

2.500

0.300

0.190

0.0 70

4.135

Cape Clear

 

 

-Pontoons

Total

400

0.400

Total Departmental Owned Marine Infrastructure projects €12.875
Safety and Maintenance and Non-Discretionary and Contractual Capital Commitments 2016 (incl Disability Access) €3.120
Total Local Authority Harbour Development and Marine Leisure €2.000
Total Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Capital Programme

€17.995

 

Published in Irish Harbours

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today expressed concern at proposals for some of Ireland’s key fisheries quotas, ahead of annual EU Fisheries negotiations in Brussels next week. The Minister said that the rolling out of the new discards ban for a number of Irish stocks added to the complexities of this year’s negotiations.

Minister Coveney said today that “Some of the proposals for stocks of great importance to Irish fleets are unnecessarily restrictive in my view and do not reflect scientific advice. We must set quotas that support sustainable fish stocks and I will support cuts where the scientific advice is clear that that is the right thing to do. The Commission is proposing a 43% and 27% cut to our cod and haddock quotas in the Celtic Sea, these stocks are stable and cuts of this magnitude are not justified. Other serious cuts are proposed for our very valuable prawn quota which is not supported by the scientific advice and for whitefish quotas in the Irish Sea. We must set quotas that support sustainable fish stocks and I will support cuts where the scientific advice is clear that that is the right thing to do. I will be making a strong case next week to Commissioner Vella to make significant changes to these quota proposals. ”.
The Minister added that “There is an added complexity to this year’s negotiations as the new landing obligation for certain stocks will apply from the 1st of January 2016. During the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, brokered by Ireland, I was a strong advocate of a phased introduction of discards ban to end the wasteful practice of discarding high volumes of fish at sea. As part of that Reform, it was also agreed that quotas would be adjusted upwards for stocks covered by discards ban to take account of the new situation that all catches must now be landed. It is vital that this ‘uplift’ in quotas is fully applied to the stocks that come under the discards ban in 2016, to support its practical implementation.”
In 2016 Irish fisheries covered by discards ban include prawns, whiting in the Celtic Sea and Haddock in the Irish Sea and the area west of Scotland.
Minister Coveney concluded by saying that “I am meeting our industry representatives this evening in advance of Council and I also intend to meet other stakeholders on margin of the Council to get a full understanding of priorities. During the Council I will keep the industry representatives and other stakeholders fully up to date on progress and developing issues.”

The Annual Fisheries negotiations to decide on quotas for 2016 takes place on the 14th and 15th of December in Brussels.

Published in Fishing

The Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney met Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries during a visit to Malta today (Monday 9th November). The meeting covered the setting of fishing quotas for 2016, the introduction of the first phase of the discards ban for the whitefish fleet in 2016.

The Minister said “During my visit to Malta to meet the officers and crew of the LE Samuel Beckett, I held an informal and constructive meeting with Commissioner Vella. I set out some of the challenges facing our fishing industry in 2016, particularly for the whitefish and prawn fleets with introduction of the discards ban for some fisheries. The discards ban will directly apply next year to our important prawn fleet and our Celtic Sea whiting fleet. I made clear that I will be working at the December Council to achieve quotas that take account of this new situation where all catches in these fisheries must be landed. While I fully support the introduction of quotas that respect scientific advice, I pointed out that in line with the new Common Fisheries Policy, I will be looking for a phasing in of the new limits recommended by the scientific advice for some key economic stocks, which will be fished by the fleets which are becoming subject to the discards ban.”

Minister Coveney took the opportunity to brief Commissioner Vella on the issues highlighted by a recent report in the Guardian newspaper on illegal migrant workers on Irish fishing vessels. The Minister advised that the Irish Government has established a Task Force to examine the issues fully and to make recommendations on appropriate actions as a priority before the end of the year. Minister Coveney undertook to advise the Commissioner on the work of the Task Force and the Irish Government’s planned response.

The meeting also focused on the ongoing mackerel sharing arrangements involving the EU, Norway, Faroe Islands and the possible inclusion of Iceland and Russia under a new agreement. The mackerel fishery is economically the most important to Ireland and there are ongoing discussions under a Coastal States process to reach a long term agreement on the management of the stock.

Concluding the Minister said “Commissioner Vella undertook to work closely with us over the coming weeks in order to secure a balanced range of quotas for the Irish fleet”.

Published in Fishing
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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

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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