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Displaying items by tag: youth sailing

Dinghy Performance teamed up with Tralee Bay Sailing Club to bring back the Tralee Bay New year clinic onto the 2022 calendar.

The clinic's concept is to have all the main junior and youth classes in the same venue, allowing the older sailors to interact with the up and coming talents and giving the younger kids an idea of what comes next.

Over 30 young sailors from 7 clubs trained over the four days in Optimist, ILCA4, ILCA6 and 29ers, with local Riona Moriarty joining the final day in her Topper and the three resident dolphins of Tralee Bay enjoying and joining the action.

The coaching team was composed of locals Paddy Cunnane and Dylan Reidy, and Cork coaches Caoimhe Foster and Chris Bateman (who was also winning in Cork Harbour on Sunday), with overall management delivered by Thomas Chaix.

Each coach was in charge of a small pod of sailors.

The magnificent sailing waters of Tralee BayThe magnificent sailing waters of Tralee Bay

The conditions started with a blustery Southerly keeping all the boats ashore on day 1. Day 2 was challenging too, but most of the fleet launched and managed a session East of the Marina. It certainly challenged coaches and sailors alike with many capsizes and some fast thrills.

Day 3 got cooler but delivered a great day afloat with 10-15 kts from the North. Ellie Cunnane joined the day, testing out her skills on one of the 49er FX. All groups had a solid session making up for the hours lost on day one, and parents collected cold feet and tired faces after sailing.

Superb conditions welcomed the sailors on day 4 for the New year regatta. It was still very cold, but the sun warmed up everyone so four races could be completed just west of the marina in front of Fenit Beach.

Laser racing off Fenit HarbourLaser racing off Fenit Harbour

The event was run under PY with all the classes battling it on the same course, a windward-leeward with a spreader mark. The light breeze proved to be a challenge for the usually fast 29ers, but overall, all the classes had races near the front, proving once more that PY is not such a bad system!

The first race was a battle between ILCA4 and ILCA6, and its winner was eventually NYC sailor Sam Ledoux who took the race win for just 4 seconds over clubmate Ella Dempsey after a 35 mins tight battle around the course.

The remaining three races were shorter (about 20 mins) which suited RCYC ace Oisin Pierse (Optimist) perfectly, building solid leads over the rest of the Optimist fleet and sufficient gaps against the other classes. Three race wins (discarding his first race) gave him the overall trophy. Sam Ledoux (ILCA6) took 2nd overall, with recent team Ireland Youth Worlds representative Ben O'Shaugnessy & James Dwyer (29er) securing 3rd.

Part of the regatta was the return of the 'Battle of the classes", counting the top 3 finishers in each class. The ILCA6 with Sam Ledoux, Ella Dempsey and Conall McThrinfhir took the silverware home.

New Year Clinic Results at Tralee Bay Sailing ClubNew Year Clinic Results at Tralee Bay Sailing Club

Published in Youth Sailing
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Baltimore Sailing Club in West Cork is, predominantly, a ‘summer club’ that is very busy when seasonal visitors arrive in the village from Cork City, Dublin and other locations. That does not limit its ambitions to develop the sport as its newly-elected Commodore Grahame Copplestone has been telling me.

The annual general meeting this week had a list of planned events that it hopes to host, starting in April and this year running possibly into October/ November. The list includes Munster Lasers – 16th-17th April; Wazsp Southerns/Foil Event – 14th – 15th May; National 18’s South Coast – 4th -5th June; 1720 Nationals – 1st, 2nd 3rd August or 8th, 9th 10th August; Baltimore Cup – August weekend; ITRA Nationals –late October/November.

1720 sportsboats are strong in Baltimore Sailing Club where class ace Robert O'Leary (left) is the club Sailing Secretary1720 sportsboats are strong in Baltimore Sailing Club where class ace Robert O'Leary (left) is the club Sailing Secretary Photo: Deirdre Horgan

Grahame Copplestone takes over from outgoing Commodore Charlie Bolger who has agreed to stay on as a club committee member. Peter O’Flynn has been appointed as Vice Commodore; Tom Bushe – Treasurer; Etain Linehan – Secretary; Sheila O’Sullivan – Rear Commodore; Rob O’Leary – Sailing Secretary, with Committee Members - Ruth Field, Dee Griffiths, Pierce Ryan, Glenn MacCarthy and Fiona MacCarthy.

"The 1720 Class has become a major part of the club"

The 1720 Class has become a major part of the club and owners of these boats are encouraging a “cohort of younger sailors to join the fleet,” the new Commodore says. He told me that the club is putting a lot of emphasis on retaining younger sailors in the sport and is also intending to develop more cruiser racing.

The Heir Island Sloop is designed for local one-design racing and day sailing on the semi-sheltered waters of Long Island Bay and Roaring Water Bay, South West County Cork. The Heir Island Sloop raced at Baltimore Sailing Club is designed for local one-design racing and day sailing on the semi-sheltered waters of Long Island Bay and Roaring Water Bay in South West Cork

Graham Copplestone is my first podcast guest in 2022. Listen to his interview here where he outlines in detail the club plans, starting with its position as a summer club.

Published in Tom MacSweeney

Howth Yacht Club's Eve McMahon has finished in fourth place overall in the Women’s ILCA6 (Laser Radial) at the Youth Sailing World Championships in Mussanah, Oman.

A 3rd, 6th and 8th place in the final three races secured Eve’s top place in the fleet of 46.

The result rounds off a successful year of competition for the Dublin teenager, winning the 2021 ILCA6 (Laser Radial) Youth World Championships in Italy; U19 Silver Medallist, EURILCA (European region of International Laser Class Association) U21 European Championships; and Silver Medallist, EURILCA Laser Radial Youth Championships.

In the Men’s ILCA6 (Laser Radial), Cork sailors Jonathan O’Shaughnessy finished in 34th place, with Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer Matthews finishing in 12th place in the 29er class.

Her coach Vasilij Zbogar said “Eve finished 4th in tricky conditions – very light winds, choppy – she was struggling, and then the last two days we made a solid plan which she executed well. She’s had a fantastic year and still has another year of youth sailing competition left".

Published in Youth Sailing

Midway at the Youth Sailing World Championships in Mussanah, Oman Eve McMahon of Howth lies in 16th place overall after six races in the Women’s ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) fleet of 46.

It's a drop of some ten places overnight for the Dublin teen who counted 23 and 28 in today's tricky conditions.

The light onshore breezes in Oman are surprisingly difficult to read, and it’s a test of patience and cunning that is resulting in high scores across the 46-boat fleet. 

In the Men’s ILCA 6 (Laser Radial), Royal Cork’s Jonathan O’Shaughnessy is in 36th place overall.

Royal Cork 29er team Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer are currently in 13th place after nine of their 13 races.

Winning is not the only thing that matters at the 2021 Youth Sailing World Championships presented by Hempel. But when two sailors from Emerging Nations each win a race on the same day, that’s a reason for the whole sport to celebrate.

With 11 events due to be decided by the end of this Friday, Wednesday marked the halfway point of the competition for the 433 sailors from 59 nations. It was another afternoon of 6 to 10 knot onshore breezes which made for challenging tactical and strategic decisions on the race course. 

Female One Person Dinghy ILCA 6

Despite an uncharacteristically poor outing by Marie Jacobsen Lepperöd (NOR), scores of 15 & 9 were still sufficient to keep the Norwegian top of the leaderboard, just three points ahead of Peru’s Florencia Chiarella. The light onshore breezes in Oman are surprisingly difficult to read, and it’s a test of patience and cunning that is resulting in high scores across the 46-boat fleet. With all the boats supplied by German builder Ziegelmeyer, there is no boat speed advantage. This is racing in its purest form, which is all the more reason to celebrate victory for Mariam Ehab Mohamed Moustfa (EGY) in the first race of the day, followed by Agnese Caiafa (URU) in the next. Both the Egyptian and Uruguyan competitors were over the moon with this breakthrough in their young careers. “I am so happy,” said Moustfa. “It is a good feeling. One day I want to race for Egypt at the Olympic Games.”

Male One Person Dinghy ILCA 6

Sebastian Kempe (BER) had the best day in the boys’ singlehander fleet, scores of 3 & 1 lifting the Bermudan to second overall and just two points off the new series leader, José Gomes Saraiva Mendes (POR). Previous leader Ukraine’s Oskar Madonich (UKR) tumbled down the rankings to fifth but it’s tight in the front bunch with Przemyslaw Machowski (POL) tied on points with Bermuda and sitting in third.

Male Skiff 29er

Hugo Revil & Karl Devaux (FRA) should have been happy to have stayed top of the boys’ 29er fleet but the French crew seemed dissatisfied with their three races. “We did a penalty for Rule 42 [kinetics] and we lost a place in one race,” frowned Revil. Nevertheless the French wear their Maillots Jaunes going into the penultimate day, with a 10 point advantage over the Codoñer Alemany brothers (ESP) who won the last race of the afternoon. Other race wins went to USA in third and Argentina in fourth overall. 

Female Skiff 29er

Charlie Leigh and Sophie Fisher (USA) seized back the yellow jerseys from Emily Mueller and Florence Brellisford (GBR), although the American advantage is a single point. With a 12 point gap back to Slovenia in third place, this is looking increasingly like a match race for the gold medal between the front two. All the skiffs are supplied by Ovington Boats and most of the equipment is doing double duty for the girls’ and the boys’ fleets. The changeover at the beach in front of the big swimming pool and lounge area of the Barceló Mussanah Resort is where the 29er skiffs change hands at the midpoint of the afternoon, when the sailors from the first outing can pass on any tips to their team mates heading out for the second shift of the day.

Mixed Two Person Multihull Nacra 15

Kay Brunsvold and Cooper Delbridge (USA) continue to make moves towards the top of the leaderboard after the Americans enjoyed the best set of scores on day three. Results of 3,2,1 lift the USA to second overall and just three points off the lead which continues to be held by Thomas Proust and Eloïse Clabon (FRA). Just two points behind the Americans are Olivier Jaquet and Femme Rixt Rijk (NED) in third overall.

Female Windsurfer Bic Techno 293+

Manon Pianazza’s (FRA) domination of the girls’ windsurfing continues as the French athlete worked her way to three more race wins today. Nine wins from nine races, and there’s little prospect of anyone being able to topple her from the top of the podium at this Friday’s prizegiving. Nothing comes easy though. “I wish it was a bit windier, then it wouldn’t be such hard work,” smiled Pianazza, her muscles aching from pumping the Bic Techno rig through the warm air of Oman. Behind her a close battle for the next places, Kristyna Chalupnikova (CZE) holding a narrow advantage over Zoe Fernandez de Bobadilla Ramos (ESP) and Lucy Kenyon (GBR). 

Male Windsurfer Bic Techno 293+

Federico Alan Pilloni (ITA) holds a lead almost as dominant as Pianazza in the girls’ fleet. Boris Shaw (GBR) looks equally secure in second overall, with Ozan Turker (TUR) in third overall. A few weeks ago Pilloni was suffering with a serious illness in hospital, so he is taking nothing for granted in Oman, despite the ease with which the humble Italian is winning. “The mind and the body are feeling good, thanks probably to all the training I've been doing from the past two years.” It’s quite likely that he’ll wrap up gold with a day to spare but he’s not counting his chickens yet. “I suppose it might happen, but you never know in sport.” 

Male Kiteboarding FormulaKite

Who knew that dropping a banana skin in the water could ruin somebody else’s race? So sensitive and finely balanced are the high-speed kitefoilers as they hit speeds of 30 knots in just 8 knots of wind, even running into a seemingly innocent banana skin can result in a head over heels crash. On the day of the record breaking Beach Clean (see below), Max Maeder (SGP) was delighted and relieved to have dodged any race-threatening debris to score three straight wins and move into the lead. Displaced from the yellow jersey, Riccardo Pianosi (ITA) was scratching his head about how to fight back for the lead. “Max had more speed today in the light conditions. I’m not sure what it is, but I need to work something out for tomorrow.” Mikhail Novikov (RUS) maintains third place but believes he can still close the gap to the front two. 

Female Kiteboarding FormulaKite

Gal Zukerman (ISR) only took up kitefoiling a little more than a year ago but is proving the master of her art as she now notches up 11 straight victories. The gold medal is virtually assured for the girl who raced 420s at the Youth Worlds in 2018 before discovering the joy of kiting. Julia Damasiewicz (POL) is looking solid for the silver while Héloïse Pégourié (FRA) sits in third. 

Female Two Person Dinghy 420

With the whole fleet competing in supplied Nautivela 420s from Italy, it’s the Spanish who are leading in both 420 divisions. Neus Ballester Bover and Andrea Perello Mora (ESP) hold the upper hand in the girls’ 420, four points ahead of Manon Pennaneac'h and Victoire Lerat (FRA). Vanessa Lahrkamp and Katherine McNamara (USA) are third.

Male/Mixed Two Person Dinghy 420

Just five points separate the top four in the boys’ 420. Ian Clive Walker March sailing with Finn Dicke (ESP) continue to lead for Spain, but closely chased by Roi Levy and Ariel Gal (ISR) and Florian Krauss and Jannis Summchen (GER). Can Erturk and Ali Beren Adamcil (TUR) could yet jump onto the podium if the young Turks have a good day on Thursday.

Full results here

Racing continues tomorrow (Thursday) with the final races on Friday.

Published in Youth Sailing
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Howth Yacht Club's Eve McMahon continues to be the top Irish performer after another big day on the water at the 2021 Youth Sailing World Championships om Oman.

With 11 events due to be decided by the end of this Friday, 17 December, the 433 sailors from 59 nations already find themselves close to the halfway stage of the competition.

McMahon, who won the youth radial world title in Italy in August, is lying sixth after four races sailed so far in the girl's radial (ILCA6) division from 46 starters.

Her Irish team-mate Jonathan O'Shaughnessy is not fairing as well in the 50-boat boys ILCA 6 division and lies 34th overall.

In the boy's 29er skiff, Ben O'Shaughnessy and James Dwyer have dropped to 13th overall after six races sailed in their 24-boat fleet.

Female Skiff 29er

Emily Mueller (GBR) was having that very conversation with her 29er crew Florence Brellisford. "By the time we’re dropping the kite at the leeward gate in our next race, we’ll be half way through our regatta," said Mueller. "It feels like we’ve only just started!" It was a very good day for the British 29er team, scoring 1,3,1 in 6 to 10 knot conditions that Mueller described as ‘snakes and ladders’. "We finally learned how to start," smiled Brellisford, trying to pinpoint what made the difference on day two. "A good start makes life a lot easier, rather than having to fight your way through from the back. But it never felt easy. It was super shifty out there, really hard to read the wind."

The British girls are enjoying the competition and using one of the many supplied equipment boats that they didn’t have to bring themselves. "The boats are really good," said Mueller. "They feel fast, everything is new. But you’re not allowed to change anything, all the rope and control lengths are set, you can only add bungee. It’s the same for everybody so it’s very fair racing."

Four points behind the British crew are Charlie Leigh and Sophie Fisher (USA), who scored two fourth places but then fell foul of the Black Flag Disqualification for starting too soon in the last race of the session.

Meanwhile, life at the Barceló Mussanah Resort is good, with the sailors enjoying the swimming pool and the balmy weather either in the morning or during the afternoon. When you get your break depends on when your racing is scheduled for the day.

Male Skiff 29er

As soon as the girls had completed three races they sailed their 29ers to the beach near the pool, at which point their male team mates took over the boats for their afternoon session. Revil & Devaux (FRA) haven’t won a race but then they haven’t finished outside of the top five either. No other team has kept all their scores inside the top 10, so the French are on a breakaway in the 29er fleet. First day leaders, the Codoñer Alemany brothers (ESP) are in second, although the race wins for the day went to Italy, Finland and Argentina.

Mixed Two Person Multihull Nacra 15

Kay Brunsvold and Cooper Delbridge (USA) had the best day in the Nacra 15 multihull. Delbridge attributed this to the decision to have more fun. "We were doing a lot of contemplation last night about our rig and the way we're positioning ourselves through the waves. And we decided we’re just going to enjoy the racing today and see how things go. Worked out pretty well!" Where most of the skippers in the Nacra fleet are boys, Brunsvold is one of the few girls steering. Asked why boys tend to make up the majority of helms in the fleet, Brunsvold joked: "Males can be a little bit more stubborn and like to choose where the boat goes. But that's the way I am too." Delbridge laughed and agreed that his helm is probably the most stubborn of the two of them. "But we don’t really have disagreements either. When things go wrong we tend to laugh about it!"

Although the Americans have closed the gap to the leaders it’s still Thomas Proust and Eloïse Clabon (FRA) who hold the overall lead just one point ahead of Olivier Jaquet and Femme Rixt Rijk (NED).

Female One Person Dinghy ILCA 6

Biggest mover of the day in the girls’ ILCA 6 singlehander was Sara Savelli (ITA). After a disastrous opening day when the Italian was penalised for a Rule 42 kinetics infringement, and scores of 39 and 14, the resilient sailor bounced back with a first and a second place today, lifting Italy to within a point of the lead. Ahead of Savelli, however, are three sailors tied on 16 points at the top of the leaderboard - Anja von Allmen (SUI), Florencia Chiarella (PER) and Marie Jacobsen Lepperöd (NOR). 

Male One Person Dinghy ILCA 6

Ukraine’s Oskar Madonich (UKR) continues to lead the boys’ ILCA 6 fleet with Przemyslaw Machowski (POL) rising to second place ahead of José Gomes Saraiva Mendes (POR) in third. 

Female Two Person Dinghy 420

Neus Ballester Bover and Andrea Perello Mora (ESP) have seen their lead reduced to just a point ahead of Manon Pennaneac'h and Victoire Lerat (FRA). Vanessa Lahrkamp and Katherine McNamara (USA) are only a point behind the French in third.

Male/Mixed Two Person Dinghy 420

Ian Clive Walker March sailing with Finn Dicke (ESP) continue to lead for Spain, but closely chased by Roi Levy and Ariel Gal (ISR) and Florian Krauss and Jannis Summchen (GER).

Female Windsurfer Bic Techno 293+

Manon Pianazza (FRA) is in a class of her own, winning all six races. Behind her a close battle for the next places, just three points between CZE, ITA, ESP and GBR. 

Male Windsurfer Bic Techno 293+

Almost as impressive as Pianazza in the girls’ fleet, Federico Alan Pilloni (ITA) has scored all firsts and is discarding a second. Boris Shaw (GBR) is the only sailor to beat Pilloni in a race and holds second overall.

Male Kiteboarding FormulaKite

Mikhail Novikov (RUS) won the first race of the day, then the next two to Max Maeder (SGP). Leader after day one, Riccardo Pianosi (ITA) fought back with a win in the last race of the day, putting the Italian in a tie with Singapore but retaining the leader’s yellow jersey. 

Female Kiteboarding FormulaKite

Gal Zukerman (ISR) continued her perfect scoreline with unbroken victories. Julia Damasiewicz (POL) is second and Héloïse Pégourié (FRA) third. 

Competition continues on Wednesday, December, starting at 1200 hours local time.

Published in Youth Sailing

After a year’s absence due to COVID, Irish sailors finally have the opportunity to compete at the Youth Sailing World Championships in Oman on Monday. 

As Afloat previously reported, Ireland's team is Eve McMahon in the girl's Laser Radial class, along with Jonathan O’Shaughnessy in the boy's division and Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer Matthews in the 29er class.

Ireland has had some success in Oman already this winter with eighth place achieved by Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove at the 49er World Championships, and last week a 17th placing by Aoife Hopkins in the Laser Radial World Championships.

Mussanah’s average temperature in December is a balmy 24 degrees, with average winds of 10-17 knots, although extremely light winds have been a feature of the past world championships.

Racing for both Laser Radials and 29er classes begins on Monday 13 December and continues all week to Friday 17 December.

The Irish Laser Coach is Vasilij Zbogar, and 29er coach Thomas Chaix.

Published in Youth Sailing

Sixteen of the UK's most promising young sailors are ready to take on the world’s best when they represent Great Britain at the Youth Sailing World Championships.

The talented youngsters, all aged 18 or under, will represent the British Youth Sailing (BYS) Team at the 50th edition of the prestigious regatta being held in Mussanah, Oman, from 11-18 December.  

Competing in the 29er, 420, Nacra 15, ILCA 6, Techno293+ and Formula Kite classes, the sailors gained selection to the team for their performances at the 2021 RYA Youth National Championships.

The Youth Worlds returns after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic and follows the Olympic pathway more closely with the addition of the kiteboarding.

Previous Youth Worlds participants include some of today's best-known sailors including the world's most decorated Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie. Three of the 2019 team, Finn Hawkins, Freya Black and Matilda Nicholls, have also made the progression into the full British Sailing Team.

Of the sixteen selected sailors, all but one will make their Youth Worlds debut. Jasmine Williams (Restronguet SC) is the sole returnee taking on the Nacra 15, this time teaming up with crew Alfie Cogger (Coniston SC).

At 16, ILCA 6 sailor Sam Dickinson (HISC) is the youngest member of the team but has experience around him with 18-year-old Coco Barrett (Island Barn Reservoir SC) and seasoned ILCA coach James Hadden.

Barrett said: “I’m expecting it to be a fairly challenging but fun regatta. From what we saw of the ILCA 6 Worlds last week [in Oman], the breeze can be very light and shifty, so it’s going to be important to keep consistent.

“Sam and I have been working a lot with our coach this winter, so we’ll both be looking to replicate the gains we’ve made in training.

“Having not been able to compete at any of the U19 international events in the last two years due to covid, it’s really awesome to have one last opportunity before I age out. I’m really looking forward to meeting new people and experiencing the international atmosphere, and it’s always nice to sail somewhere hot midwinter.”

Adam Farrington (Bournemouth & Poole Kitesurfing ClubAdam Farrington (Bournemouth & Poole Kitesurfing Club 

Taking on the new addition of the Formula Kite is Adam Farrington (Bournemouth & Poole Kitesurfing Club) and Ella Geiger from West Sussex.

18-year-old Farrington (pictured above) said: “I’m expecting some high quality super-fast racing. I’ve not been able to compete internationally this year, but I’ve been training really hard and am hoping for a top five position. Nobody really knows who’s going or how good they are, so anything could happen.

“I’m also really excited to be representing GB sailing for the first time, and the warm weather will be a bonus.”

Continuing the theme of hot weather, girl’s Techno293+ representative Lucy Kenyon (pictured below), 17, said: “I’m really excited for the Youth Worlds in Oman. The venue looks amazing and I’m very happy to be leaving the UK winter weather behind.

“We’ve worked really hard so I can’t wait to get out there on the start line and do my best. I have to also say a big thank you for all the support and everyone that has made it possible.”

Kenyon has been one of the few sailors to get some international racing in when she stepped up to the senior ranks for the iQFOiL Euros in Marseille last month.

“It was really great to race with the senior girls and I gained loads of knowledge and had an awesome time. It will definitely help in Oman having practised some bigger fleet racing again and by running through race day practices in Marseille ready for the Youth Worlds.”

Kenyon is joined by Parkstone YC teammate, 16-year-old Boris Shaw, who takes the start line in the boy’s Techno293+.

Cardiff Bay YC is represented by Jamie Cook and Will Martin in the boy’s 420 with Julia Staite (HISC) and Bettine Harris (Bristol Corinthian YC) competing in the girl’s fleet.

HISC also has representation in the girl’s 29er where Emily Mueller and Florence Brellisford will be in action while Leo Wilkinson (Maidenhead SC / DWSC) and Sam Jones (Hill Head SC) take on the boy’s 29ers.

BYS Youth Worlds Team Lead, Sam Ross, said: “With so much uncertainty at the moment it’s with great excitement and relief we have the team on the plane and are heading out to the Youth Worlds.

“It’s great to see the team already coming together and excited for the event. We have a great range of experience within the sailing and coaching team and we can’t wait to take on the challenges that this quite unique event presents.

“It will also be the first time we’ve seen the Kites be involved at this level so great to see events coming even more into line with Paris 2024 and beyond.”

Racing begins on 13 December

2021 GBR Youth Sailing World Championships team:

420 girls:
Julia STAITE, 18, Hayling Island, HISC, and Bettine HARRIS, 18, Somerset, Bristol Corinthian YC

420 boys:
Jamie COOK, 17, and Will MARTIN, 18, Vale of Glamorgan, Cardiff Bay YC

29er girls:
Emily MUELLER, 18, Surrey, HISC, and Florence BRELLISFORD, 18, Essex, HISC

29er boys:
Leo WILKINSON, 17, High Wycombe, Maidenhead SC / DWSC, and Sam JONES, 18, Hampshire, Hill Head SC

Nacra 15:
Jasmine WILLIAMS, 17, Cornwall, Restronguet SC, and Alfie COGGER, 18, Cumbria, Coniston SC

Kite foiling girls:
Ella GEIGER, 16, West Sussex

Kite foiling boys:
Adam FARRINGTON, 18, Ferndown, Bournemouth & Poole Kitesurfing Club

ILCA6 Men:
Sam DICKINSON, 16, Hayling Island, HISC

Coco BARRETT, 18, Surrey, Island Barn Reservoir SC

Techno293+ girls:
Lucy KENYON, 17, Poole, Parkstone YC

Techno293+ boys:
Boris SHAW, 16, Poole, Parkstone YC

Published in Youth Sailing
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The seaside resort of Mussanah in Oman is ready to host the world’s best young sailors when the 2021 Youth Sailing World Championships commences on 11 December.

A total of 433 sailors from 56 nations are entered in 11 youth events including the Male and Female divisions of the 29er Skiff, 420 Two Person Dinghy, ILCA 6 One Person Dinghy along with the Mixed Two Person Multihull, the Nacra 15. New additions to the class line-up are Male and Female categories in Windsurfer Bic Techno 293+ and Kiteboarding FormulaKite.

As Afloat's WM Nixon reported on Saturday, Ireland is represented by a team of fourEve McMahon (Howth YC) in the ILCA6, Jonathan O’Shaughnessy (Royal Cork YC) ILCA6, and Ben O’Shaughnessy & James Dwyer (RCYC) in the 29er. All are well aware of the weight of expectation on their young shoulders, though all are at the peak of impressive year-long achievements.

Eve McMahon of Howth YCEve McMahon of Howth YC Photo: Bob Bateman

This year is the 50th edition of this prestigious competition, with racing taking place from 11-17 December and is the first Youth Worlds since July 2019, due to COVID-19 restrictions. Hosted at the Barceló Mussanah Resort in Mussanah, the local organising team at Oman Sail have been getting plenty of high-level regatta practice in recent weeks. The 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships took place here less than a month ago, and the ILCA 6 Worlds have only just concluded at the beginning of December.

Ben O'Shaughnessy on the helm and James Dwyer on the wireRoyal Cork's Ben O'Shaughnessy on the helm and James Dwyer on the wire Photo: Bob Bateman

With light to moderate breezes expected, and daytime temperatures around 25 degrees Celsius, the sailors can look forward to excellent sailing conditions.

Principal race officer Marina Psychogyiou, a former competitor for Greece in the Radial (ILCA 6) single-hander, is looking forward to running a regatta for the sailors to remember: "Every sailor here at the Youth Worlds should feel very proud to be here, representing their country. Even if a sailor doesn’t finish as high up the results as they would like, they must still remember that they are here because they are the best sailor from their home nation. I wish all of them the very best of luck and we will do everything we can to make sure they enjoy the competition and take home great memories of Oman."

The 11 different events will test different aspects of the sport. From the highly tactical, boat-on-boat contest in the traditional dinghy classes, through to the ‘apparent wind’ driven multihull and skiffs which test balance and agility. The windsurfers require high levels of balance and aerobic fitness, while the fastest competitors on the water will be the kitefoilers, capable of peak speeds over 30 knots [55kmph | 35mph]. Having already proven themselves at the front of the senior fleet, the battle for supremacy in the brand new kitefoiling contest will be truly world class.

David Graham, CEO of World Sailing, commented: "It’s great to see such a strong entry for the Youth Sailing World Championships, thanks to the efforts that sailors and their national teams have made to travel to Oman under such challenging circumstances. At World Sailing, more than ever, we are placing a strong focus on promoting youth development, particularly among emerging nations. Anyone who has earned their place at the Youth Worlds is a shining inspiration to other young sailors around the world. I wish them all the very best for the coming week of friendly competition."

The official arrival day is this Saturday (11 December) although sailors have been arriving earlier in order to acclimatise and ensure they are best prepared. The Opening Ceremony officially welcomes the sailors on Sunday 12 December. Racing will commence on Monday 13 December and runs through to Friday 17 December when 11 new Youth World Champions will be crowned. Saturday 18 December is Departure Day, when competitors will hand back their supplied equipment and take the opportunity for some final goodbyes before flying home to different corners of the globe.

11 Events at the Youth Worlds, Ireland contesting three

Female Windsurfer Bic Techno 293+
Male Windsurfer Bic Techno 293+

Male Kiteboarding FormulaKite
Female Kiteboarding FormulaKite

Female Two Person Dinghy 420
Male/Mixed Two Person Dinghy 420

Female One Person Dinghy ILCA 6
Male One Person Dinghy ILCA 6

Male Skiff 29er
Female Skiff 29er

Mixed Two Person Multihull Nacra 15

Published in Youth Sailing
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So many 50th Anniversaries in international sailing are being celebrated these days that you could be forgiven for thinking that all these major events - such as next week’s opening of the event’s Golden Jubilee celebration, and the staging of the Youth Sailing Worlds 2021 in Oman - are marking the successful 50 years of an event which came into being in a vacuum. And certainly, the inauguration of the annual Youth Worlds in Sweden way back in 1971 was a major development that has resulted in a globally-recognised supreme peak – a Junior Sailing Olympiad.

Thus the team of four travelling to Oman – Eve McMahon (Howth YC) in the ILCA6, Jonathan O’Shaughnessy (Royal Cork YC) ILCA6, and Ben O’Shaughnessy & James Dwyer (RCYC) in the 29er - are well aware of the weight of expectation on their young shoulders, though all are at the peak of impressive year-long achievements.

But nevertheless, in looking back over the 50 years of the Youth Worlds, the most vividly remembered will be the 2012 event which was of course staged in Dublin Bay, with Finn Lynch leaping into the limelight with a Silver Medal in the Lasers. However, others with a broader view will also remember that the challenge of staging an event of this scale and scope, with Ireland still staggering out of the financial crash of 2008, involved heroic sacrifice and the giving over of their entire summer by folk of the calibre of Brian Craig, while the defining image may well be the remembered vision of on-water organizer Don O’Dowd of the Royal St George YC looking as though he is being fuelled entirely by adrenaline through each frantic day.

Running on adrenaline…..Don O’Dowd in the thick of the 2012 Youth Worlds in Dublin BayRunning on adrenaline…..Don O’Dowd in the thick of the 2012 Youth Worlds in Dublin Bay

The financial constraints of 2012 Ireland are not thought to be a problem in 2021 Oman, even if the Sultanate has cheerfully taken on the running of just about every one of 2021’s global sailing championships which had been COVID-shunted out of other countries, and despite the business of overseas teams getting there through the maze of international pandemic prevention providing an added challenge in getting to Oman, arguably the most maritime of all the Gulf States.

But nevertheless, Irish involvement has been a tradition since the event’s inception, and we’ve seen the metal to prove it, the last one in the 20th Century being Laura Dillon & Ciara Peelo’s Bronze in the Laser 2 in 1996 - a busy year for Laura, as she also won the All-Irelands.

As for the 21st Century, in 2014 in Tavira, Seafra Guilfoyle repeated Finn Lynch’s 2012 Silver win, and then in 2016 Doug Elmes of Kilkenny and Colin O’Sullivan of Malahide, sailing jointly under the HYC colours, won Bronze in the 420s in Malaysia.

But is it strictly true to say that it all started in 1971 in Sweden? That it should be Sweden is all of a piece, as the Scandinavian influence in international sailing was formidable at the time. So much so, in fact, that many thought the Optimist dinghy – which was starting to spread at lightning speed – was a Swedish invention, whereas the original narrative is rather more endearing.

Oman with its spectacular coastline is perhaps the most maritime of all the Gulf States – this is Shabab Oman II, the Omani Sail Training Tall Ship.Oman with its spectacular coastline is perhaps the most maritime of all the Gulf States – this is Shabab Oman II, the Omani Sail Training Tall Ship.

It seems a Swedish ship was taking on cargo in Florida around 1960 in the Port of Clearwater, where the local kids were sailing a little plywood box-boat, invented in 1947 and called the Optimist. The Swedish captain was impressed, and bought up two or three to take home as his own kids were keen on sailing. Thus the Optimist as an international phenomenon was launched, spreading out from Scandinavia.

So when the Swedes hosted the inaugural World Youth Sailing Championship in 1971, it was already a solidly-founded gold-plated event, and it blew away any other established but more modest championships with similar aims. One of these was something called the International Junior Regatta, which claimed world status, but whose heartlands were in mainland Northwest Europe and Scandinavia, and it was basically an inter-club event for national teams selected by the premier clubs (ie the poshest) in each country.

For twenty years from the 50s and 60s onwards, ace Dun Laoghaire helm Terry Roche of the Royal St George YC cruised the coasts of Europe in his 19-ton Hillyard cutter Neon Tetra (crazy name, crazy boat), and built up an unrivalled contact list with these top clubs and the key people in them. Thus the RStGYC became the organising club for Ireland, and staged the International Junior Regatta when it was hosted here.

George Henry (RStGYC) and Douglas Deane (Royal Munster YC) hoisting sail on their allocated Mermaid in the International Junior Regatta in Dun Laoghaire in 1955.George Henry (RStGYC) and Douglas Deane (Royal Munster YC) hoisting sail on their allocated Mermaid in the International Junior Regatta in Dun Laoghaire in 1955.

The late Dougie Deane of Cork remembered being sent up to Dun Laoghaire in 1955 to be part of the Irish squad, but as the racing was staged in Mermaids – at that time the only class in sufficient numbers of matched boats in Dun Laoghaire to stage an international invitational regatta of this sort - it wasn’t his happiest experience, as he was to become more accustomed to sailing to success in his own IDRA 14 Dusk with Donal McClement as crew.

However, as the 1960s gathered pace, the rapid development of Malahide as a powerhouse of rising talent began to show through in Irish participation in the International Junior Regatta, particularly when the Malahide effect began to be felt in Howth and brought forth the remarkable sailing talents of the “two sisters crew”, Margaret and Lee Cuffe-Smith, daughters of future HYC Commodore Bill Cuffe-Smith, who was no slouch himself when it came to inshore and offshore racing success.

The Irish Team at the 1965 International Junior Regatta in Denmark were (left to right) Robin Hennessy, Margaret Cuffe-Smith, Robert Michael, Lee Cuffe-Smith and Manager Terry RocheThe Irish Team at the 1965 International Junior Regatta in Denmark were (left to right) Robin Hennessy, Margaret Cuffe-Smith, Robert Michael, Lee Cuffe-Smith and Manager Terry Roche

The Irish team first leapt to fame in 1965 when the International Junior Regatta was staged at Skovshoved in Denmark, raced in International Snipes powered by as-equal-as-possible new Elvstrom sailed. The Cuffe-Smiths won the Girls Division, while the boys crew of Malahide’s Robin Hennessy and Robert Michael (a combination that later went on to win the coveted Endeavour Trophy in Enterprises in England) placed fourth to make Ireland second overall.

While Margaret and Lee Cuffe-Smith continued as the Irish girls representatives for much of the rest of the 1960s, Malahide furnished a changing lineup of top boy sailors, and in 1967 at Loosdrecht in the Netherlands, it was future Olympic Silver Medallist David Wilkins crewed by Philip Watson (yes, that Philip Watson), who provided the winning male ingredients for Ireland to win the International Junior Regatta Gold Cup for the first time, the podium points being Ireland 3415, Denmark 2973, and Finland 2747.

World Champions. The all-conquering 1967 Irish Team in the International Junior Regatta in The Netherlands were (left to right) Philip Watson, Lee Cuffe-Smith, manager Terry Roche, David Wilkins (Olympic Silver Medallist 1980) and Margaret Cuffe-Smith.World Champions. The all-conquering 1967 Irish Team in the International Junior Regatta in The Netherlands were (left to right) Philip Watson, Lee Cuffe-Smith, manager Terry Roche, David Wilkins (Olympic Silver Medallist 1980) and Margaret Cuffe-Smith.

The Irish team then repeated this performance in 1968 racing Flying Juniors at Alghero Bay in Sardinia. Thereafter, our top junior talents were moving into more senior racing, and sailing was opening up to a more democratic system, even if the new World Youth Championship in 1971 continued to manifest the all-powerful Scandinavian influence, but in time its worldwide locations reflected the new reality.

That said, it’s a cherishable thought that somewhere in the world in some fusty ancient clubs where the wearing of white-topped yachting caps and the onset of premature middle age is the norm, there are old buffers still discussing the need to provide some special sport in an International Junior Regatta for the young people, even as we see in Oman the glorifying of international sport as a tool of international commerce and a weapon of global politics, with fashionable clothing styles and accessories to match.

A timely reminder of the joys of sailing – Jonathan O’Shaughnessy in action on Lake GardaA timely reminder of the joys of sailing – Jonathan O’Shaughnessy in action on Lake Garda

She’s struck gold! Jonathan O’Shaughnessy and Eve McMahon at Lake Garda after the Worlds in JulyShe’s struck gold! Jonathan O’Shaughnessy and Eve McMahon at Lake Garda after the Worlds in July

The Irish team fly out next Wednesday (December 8th), and as the main event officially opens on Saturday, December 11th, they’ve little enough time to acclimatize. Jonathan O’Shaughnessy has the advantage of a recent intensive training session in Valencia (Spain, not Kerry), but Eve McMahon has been much involved with school exams, making her probably the only World Champion in Ireland to have been in this past week’s exam cohort.

As for the younger pair of Ben – who is Jonathan’s cousin - and James in the 29er, they’ve been first out of the school gates down Cork Harbour way each afternoon in recent weeks for an intensive two-hour session on the boat at Crosshaven. You could call it a One-Boat Twilight Regatta, but with November slithering darkly into December, the Miner’s Lamp Challenge might be a more appropriate title.

Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer in the 29er – they have been getting in some intensive post-school training at Crosshaven in the last of the daylight in recent weeksBen O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer in the 29er – they have been getting in some intensive post-school training at Crosshaven in the last of the daylight in recent weeks

In Oman, the Team Leader and Head Coach will be three times Olympic sailing medallist Vasilij Zbogar, who has been involved with the Irish international sailing effort since 2018. Most recently last month, his supportive work in helping Finn Lynch out of a performance slump to take Silver at the Laser Worlds in Barcelona led everyone to conclude that though he may be from Slovenia, his home is clearly the Slovenian Gaeltacht. And if he and Support Coach Thomas Chaix of Tralee Bay can produce something similar to the Barcelona Breakthrough in Oman, Vasilij will be perceived as the Jurgen Klopp of sailing in Ireland.

Vasilij Zbogar racing an Olympic Finn – he retired from Olympic sailing after the 2016 Games in Rio, having sailed five Olympiads and winning Silver and Bronze in the Laser, and Silver in the Finn in their final appearance as an Olympic Class in 2016Vasilij Zbogar racing an Olympic Finn – he retired from Olympic sailing after the 2016 Games in Rio, having sailed five Olympiads and winning Silver and Bronze in the Laser, and Silver in the Finn in their penultimate appearance as an Olympic Class in 2016

Published in W M Nixon

There is no doubt that youth involvement is key to the future of sailing.

So it is wise for clubs to devote attention to developing youth sailing leading, hopefully, to onward transition into adult boats and classes and cruiser racing.

It is encouraging to see from incoming club reports that youth sailing is getting a lot of attention on the South Coast.

From Glandore and Kinsale to Monkstown, Cove and Crosshaven, there are positives to be taken from the past season and developed next year.

Youth sailing is getting a lot of attention on the South CoastYouth sailing is getting a lot of attention on the South Coast

Glandore Harbour Yacht Club has appointed Heather Mahmood as Assistant Manager of its Primary Schools' Programme, which is very popular in helping schoolchildren to get afloat.

At Kinsale Yacht Club, Junior Sailing Organiser, Conor Dillon says the future looks bright with new participants and ever-increasing fleet numbers as the young sailors become more skilled.

5o5 sailing in Cork Harbour5o5 sailing in Cork Harbour

Monkstown Bay Sailing Club is planning an outreach programme to city schools next year.

Cove Sailing Club started an Optimist fleet and the Royal Cork at Crosshaven has a vibrant and enthusiastic group of young sailors, some of whom also race on cruisers.

Overall, as clubs prepare for annual meetings, the future of the sport is attracting more youth participation and that is welcome and essential.

More about youth sailing on the South Coast in my Podcast here.

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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Page 1 of 21

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


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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