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The Royal Irish Yacht Club’s Saskia Tidey and her Team GB sailing partner Charlotte Dobson have launched a crowdfunding campaign to support their efforts to qualify for the 49erFX class in next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The pair, who finished seventh among a strong field of contender at the 49erFX Europeans last month, say they have reached a “hurdle” in their present fundraising efforts.

“The level of financial backing we have needed to maintain podium positions has now exceeded beyond what our campaign budget is capable of.”

But with additional backing, they say, “we absolutely believe we can complete and deliver the training programme we have planned to bring home a medal”.

Saskia and Charlotte have set a £5,000 of which they have raised nearly a quarter in less than a week.

For more on the pair’s campaign, see their GoFundMe page HERE.

Read the pair’s full appeal below:

We are Olympians Saskia Tidey & Charlotte Dobson. Team mates onboard our 49er FX Olympic class skiff dinghy representing Great Britain on the British Sailing team. We need your help!

After the Rio 2016 Olympic games concluded we left with fire in our bellies and our eyes and hearts set on the goal to medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

For three years we have battled on the International World Sailing circuit to bring home medal winning performances for Great Britain. It has been a honour to fly the flag and and a privilege to be under the pressure of striving for greatness.

Unfortunately we have reached a hurdle in our campaign which we are finding increasingly difficult to jump. The level of financial backing we have needed to maintain podium positions has now exceeded beyond what our campaign budget is capable of. With additional funds we absolutely believe we can complete and deliver the training programme we have planned to bring home a medal.

This summer we will represent Great Britain at the 2019 Olympic Test event in Japan. Please follow our journey and donate before August 2019 to help us reach the gold standard program we need to continue to succeed!

With Tokyo 2020 just around the corner we are seeking help and support from anyone would would like to join our journey and help us keep on the podium for Great Britain in 2020!

Sailing is a sport that can be overlooked and misunderstood but it is an exhilarating sport which is accessible to everyone and we would love to entice more viewers to enjoy it too!

Please help us on on our journey!

Follow our story on Instagram @gbr_44fx

Help Spread the word! 

Charlotte & Saskia xox

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club

The Olympics is not the “Holy Grail” for Jenny Egan despite her recent international success in sprint and marathon kayaking.

In a new Q&A with the Irish Examiner, the Leixlip-based paddler talks her beginnings in the sport (“Mum says I was in a boat before I was born”), the setbacks she’s faced along the way, and why her passion for kayaking outweighs any disappointments.

Last August, Egan became was the first Irish athlete to medal at the ICF Senior Canoe Sprint World Championships with a bronze — something she rates as highly as a podium finish at the Olympics.

“Of course, it would be a dream come true to qualify and race at Tokyo 2020, but I remember one Irish Olympian who pointed out that there are European and World Championships every year and you could be a world champion, but maybe not perform at the Olympic Games, as it only comes around every four years, whereas, these events are of an extremely high level and are every year.”

The Irish Examiner has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Canoeing
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With only one result out of five so far in the top half of her fleet (two groups with 24 in each group), it looks like Annalise Murphy sailing with Katie Tingle will not make the 49erFX gold fleet at the World Cup Series in Genoa.

The Olympic silver medallist and Tingle had a 13th and a 19th yesterday in tricky light winds at their first World Cup event together.

“Annalise and Katie are doing really well considering it's their first competition in a new boat,” said Rory Fitzpatrick, Head Coach with Irish Sailing. “They aren’t quite into Gold fleet yet but they are on a steep learning curve and making rapid progress along it."

Murphy and Tingle are currently in 32nd place overall in their 49-boat event.

Qualification rounds in most classes conclude today and stage final races on Saturday to determine medal race top-10 finishers.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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At the World Sailing Cup Series in Italy today, Ireland's Finn Lynch is eyeing the top of the Laser leaderboard after four races sailed in a continuation of top form for the National Yacht Club sailor. After top medal race results achieved in Florida in January and Spain earlier this month, the 22-year old is now sitting in third overall in another stand-out performance in some tricky five to seven-knot breezes in the Gulf of Genoa.

If the solo sailor can match or better his seventh in Miami or fourth in Palma it will be a perfect Mediterranean birthday gift for the Carlow native who turns 23 next Tuesday.

Lynch genoaFinn Lynch is excelling in ultra-competitive racing and timid five-knot winds on the Gulf of Genoa Photo: Sailing Energy

Three Laser blue races and two yellow races were completed. Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) sailed his way to a second, tenth and a 36th. His 36th does not yet count as the yellow fleet are a race behind. He holds the lead, with Lynch hovering in the background with a second scored in race four, but Stipanovic currently discards his tenth but his discard will be his 36th once the yellow fleet catch-up.

resultsFinn Lynch's impressive results so far in Genoa put him in third overall

Most of the competitors hold high scores so once the yellow fleet complete their fourth, plenty more shuffling around is expected in the 111-boat fleet.

Radial Still Waiting to Race

The Laser Radial pushed to complete a race but it was just not possible as the wind died towards the latter part of the afternoon. Line Flem Høst (NOR) and Maud Jayet (SUI) remain tied on a point each after one yellow and blue race. Tipperary’s Aisling Keller and Howth’s Aoife Hopkins are waiting for a second race in the series.

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

Published in National YC
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Annalise Murphy has received a major boost to her 49erFX campaign for Tokyo 2020 as Mercedes-Benz has extended its support to the Olympic silver medallist.

The National Yacht Club hero recently resumed training without direct funding support from Sport Ireland, as her absence from competition due to Volvo Ocean Race commitments ruled her out of the €40,000-per-annum programme.

But now the 29-year-old Rathfarnham sailing star has renewed her ‘Tier One’ partnership arrangement with Mercedes-Benz, availing of a new X-Class pickup to transport her and team-mate Katie Tingle to events here in Ireland and abroad.

“Having the Mercedes-Benz X-Class is a major boost to my training regime and my ambitions for Tokyo,” she says. “I am really looking forward to giving my preparation the X-tra power that the stylish new X-Class delivers.”

Soon to be a regular sight at 49erFX events, the 190hp X-Class is finished in the Kabara black, silver and grey livery similar to that on her previous Mercedes-Benz Vito Mixto van.

Equipped to tow her and Katie’s 49erFX, its features include 4MATIC 4x4 automatic transmission, chrome style bar, bed liner and bed cover in body-matching colour, reversing camera, cruise control power, rear sliding window and a style pack that includes roof rails and side steps.

Wishing Annalise every success on her road to Tokyo, Fergus Conheady, sales manager for Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles, said: “We are proud to continue our support for Annalise, one of Ireland’s most admired Olympians.”

The renewed support for Annalise Murphy could not come at a better time, as she and Katie prepare for their first big test of their qualifying campaign at the World Cup event in Genoa, Italy next week.

Published in National YC

Royal Irish Yacht Club's Saskia Tidey has taken bronze for Team GB in the 49erFX class with her sailing partner Charlotte Dobson at the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma at the weekend.

Brazil’s Olympic gold medalists Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze were in the box seats for the overall win in the FX skiff class, leading into the Medal race by 17 points they needed only a solid final race to be assured of an impressive return to the class after Grael competed in the Volvo Ocean Race with Akzo Nobel. A capsize near to the finish line of a breezy, on-the-edge final race perhaps cost them a chance of winning the women’s class before the medal race.

“We missed out there.” Grimaced Grael, “With the rain coming through it was pretty windy with big shifts on the race course. But it was fun. I guess we have to wait for tomorrow now.”

Grael and Kunze lost no time in getting back to the FX after the Volvo Race finished but helm Grael says they are still getting back to fitness:

“We did the worlds, the test event in Japan and Miami. We are getting back to it, missing a bit in the strong winds and that was maybe a little bit evident today. These last two days we have felt the lack of training in the strong breeze.”

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club
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Two of Ireland’s most promising sailors in Aoife Hopkins and Katie Tingle have been the subject of separate profiles in recent days.

Katie Tingle has been making her big comeback after a broken arm put her and Annalise Murphy’s 49erFX training regimen on pause last autumn.

But it’s also been part of a longer return for the Cork sailor, who swapped competitive racing for coaching after success in the Optimist class as a junior last decade.

A reconnection with former junior peer Annalise on the Wednesday night scene in Dublin led to a fateful phone call a year ago, from the Olympic silver medallist to the primary school teacher: did Katie want to join her 49erFX Olympic campaign?

“I don’t think she’d have asked me if she didn’t think I could do it and I wouldn’t have said yes if I didn’t think deep down that I could do it either,” Katie tells The42.ie.

The 29-year-old was already deep into training and conditioning when Annalise returned from her stint in the Volvo Ocean Race, and the two started getting to grips with their new boat on Dublin Bay — the Olympian learning from Katie who had previous experience in two-handed dinghies.

However, a freak incident just weeks into training left Katie with a broken arm — and out of the water for four crucial months.

As needs must, Annalise shortly after resumed training over the winter in the warmer climes of Portugal, with Adam Hyland in Katie’s stead — while Katie hit the gym as soon as doctors allowed get back on the road to sailing fitness.

Earlier this year Annalise and Katie, how fully healed up, reunited and got back in their groove with the challenging 49erFX as their first big test — and first Tokyo 2020 qualifier — looms in Genoa just two weeks from now.

“AoifeAoife Hopkins weight training | Photo: Irish Sailing

Another young sailor who faces a big test in Genoa is Howth Yacht Club’s Aoife Hopkins.

The Laser Radial ace not only steps into the significant gap left by Annalise Murphy, whose Rio 2016 silver medal was in the class — she’s also in competition with teammate Aisling Keller for the single slot available to Ireland.

Aoife tells The Irish Times how she juggles the training regimen of her Tokyo 2020 campaign with the demands of her maths degree at Trinity College, not to mention the various expenses associated with performance sailing at the highest level.

In a boost to their aspirations, Aoife and her fellow performance sailors now benefit from Irish Sailing's new Performance Headquarters in Dun Laoghaire, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Olympic

Irish Sailing unveiled its new €300k 'Performance Headquarters', funded entirely by the Irish Sailing Foundation and located on the grounds of the Commissioners of Irish Lights, at Dun Laoghaire Harbour this morning.

Rio Silver Medalist Annalise Murphy lead the Irish Olympic Sailing team into today's celebrations.

With under 500 days to Tokyo 2020, Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor, a local Dun Laoghaire TD, was on hand to launch the ‘new home and training centre’ for the team that has yet to qualify for the Olympic Regatta.

Thirteen sailors from throughout Ireland will be based there, including the 2016 Olympic Games silver medallist, her new sailing partner, Katie Tingle, from Cork, and six other world championship medallists.

As well as Murphy and Tingle in attendance today were team members Liam Glynn, Finn Lynch, Aoife Hopkins, Rob Dickson & Sean Waddilove, Ryan Seaton & Seafra Guilfoyle; and training partners Aisling Keller, Ewan McMahon, Tadgh and Sean Donnelly.

As Afloat.ie reported previously, the Performance HQ is entirely mobile and consists of three converted shipping containers which have space for briefings and athlete education, a gym, gear storage and a boat maintenance area. The athlete briefing room can then be shipped directly to international competitions such as the Olympics in Tokyo 2020 and provide a base for our athletes overseas. Outside there is a boat park and a pontoon for launching boats

Speaking at the launch, Annalise Murphy said: “Having this new base is fantastic. For the first time we have a home, somewhere we know we can train, share experiences and focus as a group on how we can make our sailing performances better. It will be a huge support to our campaigns at international events this year as we look to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

“We’ve got a saying, ‘Leave home stronger’, which is there to remind us that we’ve got a home to come back to where we can recover, gain strength and prepare for the next campaign. That’s what the new HQ gives us – it means we don’t need to rely on the nomadic overseas campaigns of the past.”

performancerformanceThe new Irish Sailing Performance Centre at the Irish Lights Depot

The new HQ will improve both training and educational opportunities for the sailors. It has been instituted with the specific aim of maximising Ireland’s medal potential in international competitions and qualifying for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Rory Fitzpatrick, Irish Sailing Performance Head Coach, said that it represents a massive step forward on the journey to medal-winning success for Irish Sailing.

He said: “We will finally have a place we can call ‘home’ and for that reason alone the impact of the new Irish Sailing Performance HQ cannot be underestimated. The environment created will allow for consistent coaching, a base for equipment and our own direct access to the water, which all adds up to giving our athletes the best opportunities to reach their maximum medal-winning potential in the long-term.

This is a major milestone for Irish performance sailing. The new HQ clearly demonstrates the positive impact philanthropy can have on a sport like sailing. We are delighted that private individuals believe in our vision of delivering consistent medal success for Ireland on the world stage”.

The new HQ was officially opened today by Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Minister of State for Higher Education. Ms Mitchell O’Connor commented: “I have no doubt that with this terrific new facility, Irish sailors will be stronger as a squad and be better positioned than ever before to mount successful campaigns at international events in 2019 and beyond, including at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. I would like to wish the senior squad the best of luck and look forward to them building on the incredible international success they have experienced up to now. “

The CEO of Irish Sailing, Harry Hermon, added: “The creation of the Performance HQ is great news – there is no doubt that we’re at the beginning of a new chapter in the story of Irish Sailing, delivering on the medal-winning potential that the facility will help shape and focus. Clearly, however, this new home for the Performance team would not have been possible without the generosity and far-sightedness of those who, through the Irish Sailing Foundation, funded the project.

Competitive sailing requires incredible dedication and sacrifice from the athletes, their families and supporters, and Irish Sailing and its chances of success on a global stage rely on the vision and philanthropy of a group of individuals to whom we are extremely grateful.”

Sailors currently at the Performance HQ
49erFX – Women’s double-hander
Annalise Murphy & Katie Tingle
49er skiff – Men’s double-hander
Ryan Seaton & Seafra Guilfoyle
Robert Dickson & Sean Waddilove
Sean & Tadgh Donnelly (training partners)
Laser Radial – single-hander
Aoife Hopkins
Aisling Keller (training partner)
Laser Standard – single-hander
Liam Glynn
Finn Lynch
Ewan McMahon (training partner)

Read tomorrow on Afloat.ie: Annalise brings stardust to Sutton and the Dickson-Waddilove Tokyo 2020 campaign

Published in ISA

The Irish Times reported earlier this month that Irish Olympic medallist Annalise Murphy no longer has her direct funding support from Sport Ireland.

Performance in competition is a prerequisite for the €40,000-per-annum support under the international carding scheme, also known as the ‘podium’ grand.

However, 29-year-old Annalise moved on from the Laser Radial class after her silver medal win in Rio in 2016.

She spent a number of months in 2017 and 2018 sailing in the Volvo Ocean Race before taking up the 49erFX with a view to qualifying for the Olympics in Tokyo next year.

Annalise recently resumed winter trials with her new boat in Portugal, joined by sailing partner Katie Tingle now recovered from an arm injury sustained last year.

Their first competition as a duo is expected be the Sailing World Cup series regatta in Genoa, Italy this April.

And both will continue to be supported by Irish Sailing, with high performance director James O’Callaghan saying: “The important thing is that [Annalise is] full on campaigning for Tokyo, and we’re delighted to have her back.”

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in ISA

Next up for Irish Olympic sailors still seeking the speed to qualify for Tokyo 2020 Olympics is March's Trofeo Princesa Sofía Iberostar, in Palma, Mallorca one of the most important Olympic Classes regatta in the World and a nominated Irish sailing 2019 qualifying regatta where sailors are required to finish the top half of their respective fleets.

In addition, Irish sailors must also qualify the nation to secure the single berth per country in Tokyo and there is more on that qualification process here.

While there is no official word on who will attend at Palma, it is understood, subject to injury, Ireland will field all its current trialists and some Irish are already entered on the official regatta website here.

  • Laser Standard – Finn Lynch, Liam Glynn, Ewan McMahon
  • Laser Radial – Aoife Hopkins, Aisling Keller
  • Men’s 49er skiff – Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle, Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove, Sean Donnelly and Tadgh Donnelly
  • Women’s 49erFX – Annalise Murphy and Katie Tingle.
  • Two campaigns (Fionn Lyden and Oisin McClelland) in the men’s heavyweight single-handed event operate independently of Irish Sailing 

Gender Equality at Trofeo Princesa

The Majorcan regatta begins the implementation of the gender equality requirements demanded by the International Olympic Committee.

The Trofeo Princesa Sofía Iberostar, one of the most important Olympic Classes regatta in the World, sets the trend once again and becomes the first sailing event to apply the gender equality criteria requested by the International Olympic Committee. The first step will be made at the 50th-anniversary edition of the Balearic event with the introduction of mixed teams in the two-person 470 class.

From 29th March to 6th April around one thousand sailors from approximately 55 nations will meet in the bay of Palma, distributed in the traditional ten Olympic fleets. But in this edition, the 470 Men and Women will be joined by the 470 Mixed, with crews formed by one male and one female, acting either as skipper or crew.

This new category that will sail with the 470 men at the Sofia Iberostar will have its world debut in Majorcan waters. It will be the first key test towards the Paris 2024 Olympics where, for the first time, it will be included in the Olympic programme following the IOC guidelines to foster gender equality in sport.

“It is an honour and pride for the Sofía Iberostar to be pioneers once again thanks to the close relationship with the classes and sailors which has resulted in the regatta being known as the “the sailors’ regatta”- points out Ferran Muniesa, the event General Manager-. The request to introduce the mixed event came from the International 470 Class with the purpose of offering teams the chance to start testing at events with views to Paris 2024”.

Therefore, the first 470 mixed teams, mostly youth teams from nations such as Great Britain, Switzerland and Spain, among others, will take a chance in the new category six years away from the Olympic target. They will have to overcome many obstacles along the way, the first of them being to find the balance on board with the new crew.

“We have already seen in the Nacra 17, also a mixed event, that it is not always easy to have mixed male and female teams due to an important psychological factor. But the IOC is determined to boost gender equality in sport and the Sofia Iberostar supports the concept, aware of the need to configure a fairer and more equal society at all levels, adds Muniesa.

Club Nàutic S’Arenal will be the venue for the 470 fleet at the 50 Trofeo Princesa Sofía Iberostar, together with the Finn, 49er and 49er FX and, as a novelty this year, it will also host the RS:X men and women. Club Marítimo San Antonio de la Playa (venue for the Laser, Laser Radial and Nacra 17) and Real Club Náutico de Palma (ORC and One design) are also organisers and venues of the Majorcan regatta that will celebrate this year half a century of life in a historical edition: at sports level for the exceptional participation expected, both in quantity and quality and in the social area with the celebration of several parallel commemorative events.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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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

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. 

Venue: Enoshima Yacht Harbour

No. of events: 10

Dates: 27 July – 6 August

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