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Irish Paralympic Sailors are still in contention for a place on the start line in Rio next year and remain in a mid–fleet position in the Australian 2015 Para Worlds Sailing Championships in their bid for a place on the start line in Rio next year.

Perfect sailing conditions continued in Port Phillip bay for races three and four of the 2015 Para World Sailing Championships out of Williamstown’s Royal Yacht Club of Victoria.

The breeze was generally southerly, starting at around eight knots and steadily building to approximately 12 knots in the later afternoon.

After four races, Ireland's paralympic sailors lie in 9th place, in the middle of the fleet, at the end of day two at the 2015 Para World Sailing Championships in Williamstown, Melbourne, Australia. More importantly, of the nations seeking to qualify for a place on the start line in Rio next year at the paralympics, Ireland are still in fourth position out of a possible six places.

With seven more races to go, Ian Costelloe, one of the crew of the Irish Paralympic team said: "It was a great day for sailing, the competition is really though here but we are sailing really well. Our first race today went okay for us; we played it well, but unfortunately the second race today was a bit tricker and we came out the wrong side of a windshift. But other than that we are happy with our progress and there's still a lot of sailing to be done."
Scores are quite close in this fleet and give the promise of some further great competition over the next four days.
Among the 18 boats in the Sonar fleet, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Britain, Greece and Norway have already booked their place at Rio 2016.

However Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Spain, the United States and the US Virgin Islands will be chasing the remaining six spots on offer, with three teams set to miss out on berths for the Games.
The Irish Paralympic Sailing Team comprising John Twomey, Ian Costello and Austin O'Carroll is campaigning to qualify for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. This final qualifying event is being hosted by one of the oldest sailing clubs in Australia, the Royal Yacht Club Victoria, Williamstown, Melbourne from November 28th to the 3rd of December 2015. The event comprises of eleven races, two for each of the first five days with the final race on Dec 3rd.

The team compete in the 23 foot Sonar Class, which for Paralympic events is a two sails keelboat. The Irish team are currently ranked 5th in the world. Racing out of the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria in Williamstown, a small suburb of Melbourne, competitors are seeking to qualify for a place on the start line in the Paralymic Games in Rio, Brazil 2016. The Irish team need to secure a place in the top six overall in this championship to secure their place on the start line in Rio de Janeiro next year.

Entries from 31 countries and 81 boats comprising 142 sailors are competing for just 35 places to participate in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil next year. The fleet of sailors across three different types of boats include 45 sailing the 2.4mR (single person boat), 18 sailing the SKUD 18 (two person boat) and 18 sailing the Sonar (three person boat).

In total, 35 athletes, across three fleets of boats will book their spot at Rio 2016 in Melbourne. Seven spots in the 2.4mR, five in the SKUD18 and six in the Sonar will be up for grabs.

Published in Olympic
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Irish Paralympic Sailors ready to compete in the 2015 Para Worlds Sailing Championships in Australia for a place on the start line in Rio next year. The three sailors are ready for the challenge that awaits them when racing commences this Saturday at the 2015 Para World Sailing Championships in Williamstown, Melbourne, Australia.

Among the 18 boats in the Sonar fleet, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Britain, Greece and Norway begin the Championships having already booked their place at Rio 2016.

However Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Spain, the United States and the US Virgin Islands will be chasing the remaining six spots on offer, with three teams set to miss out on berths for the Games.
The Irish Paralympic Sailing Team comprising John Twomey, Ian Costello and Austin O'Carroll is campaigning to qualify for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. This final qualifying event is taking place in Melbourne, Australia from November 28th to the 3rd of December 2015.
The team compete in the 23 foot Sonar Class, which for Paralympic events is a two sails keelboat. The Irish team are currently ranked 5th in the world. Racing out of the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria in Williamstown, a small suburb of Melbourne, competitors are seeking to qualify for a place on the start line in the Paralymic Games in Rio, Brazil 2016. The Irish team need to secure a place in the top six overall in this championship to secure their place on the start line in Rio de Janeiro next year.

Entries from over 30 countries and over 80 boats comprising 140 sailors are competing for just 35 places to participate in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil next year. The fleet of sailors across three different types of boats include 45 sailing the 2.4mR (single person boat), 18 sailing the SKUD 18 (two person boat) and 18 sailing the Sonar (three person boat).

The 2.4mR the biggest fleet in Melbourne with 45 entries whilst the Two-Person Keelboat, the SKUD18, and the Three Person Keelboat, the Sonar, have 18 entries each. In total, 140 sailors and 70 coaches are in Melbourne with eyes focused on taking gold and securing a place on the Rio 2016 start line.

In total, 35 athletes will book their spot at Rio 2016 in Melbourne. Seven spots in the 2.4mR, five in the SKUD18 and six in the Sonar will be up for grabs.

Published in Olympic
Tagged under

Things are on the move again. There’s a buzz in the air. W M Nixon anticipates the sailing possibilities for 2016 in a fixtures list so diverse that he reckons that anyone who thinks they know everything that’s going on clearly doesn’t.

If you want anything done, then ask a busy man to do it. And the busier people are ashore, the keener they are to get afloat when they can. There was nothing more sluggish than the sailing and boating scene during the recession years. There was less zest for going sailing when you’d all the time in the world to do it because there was nothing to do ashore. And anyway, as a vehicle sport, sailing was a very identifiable expense which could be reduced or even discarded as the recession rumbled on.

Of course, it wasn’t as simple as that. Anyone with businesses to run knew they’d to keep a very close eye on things all the time if they were to survive at all. Thus we became experts at the short sailing break. The four day regatta became all the rage, and even if the good times roll again as never before, it seems likely the four day regatta is going to stay popular.

It’s indicative of amazingly changed times. Today, it’s beyond imagination to realise that at the height of Scotland’s industrial pomp around Glasgow for eighty years into the 1960s, there used to be a Clyde Fortnight. Two whole weeks of sailing on the trot. Except for Sundays of course, when the church services became yachting events. But even with that spiritual input, it was conspicuous consumption gone mad to be able to show you’d the resources and free time to go off yacht racing for a clear fortnight, knowing your employees – or rather, your inherited company’s employees – would keep those profits and dividends rolling in while you swanned about on the bonnie waters of the Firth.

It took special stamina, too. But times and tastes have changed in any case. There are so many other sports, entertainments and interests vying for our attention these days that sailing has to keep re-inventing itself to make its mark. Yet beneath it all there’s still that elementally simple appeal so eloquently expressed by the folksy Floridian Clark Mills, who in 1947 created the Optimist dinghy:

“A boat, by God, it’s just a gleamin’ beautiful creation. And when you pull the sail up on a boat, you’ve got a little bit of really somethin’ God-given. Man, it goes bleetin’ off like a bird’s wing, you know, and there’s nothin’ else like it”.

It’s still as simple as that. So apart from the usual frostbite races and leagues, it’s more than appropriate that the first major sailing event in Ireland in 2016 is the legendary Optimist Training Week at Baltimore during the half term break in February. Yes folks, February. For sure, we know that in the old Irish calendar, February 1st is St Brigid’s Day, and officially the first day of Spring. But for many sailors, St Patrick’s Day on March 17th is about as early as we want to get. And for most of us, Easter is quite soon enough, thank you.

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A harvest of Optys – Optimists racing at the Cork Dinghyfest 2015 in conditions rather different from those they’ll be expecting at Baltimore in February. Photo: Robert Bateman

Nevertheless we salute the keen Opty kids who in February drag their families along with them down to Baltimore – even unto the family dog – in a caravanserai which tells us much about Irish sailing. But what we also know is that Irish sailing is universal, and from times past we’re well aware that our new season is reckoned to start with the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race on December 26th in the dying days of the old year. So the up-coming dash to Hobart is when our new year begins, and back in December 2012 when Gordon Maguire won it overall - his second overall win in this great Australian annual classic - he was undisputed Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Month” for January 2013.

As we’re on the cruiser-racer theme, we’ll stay with it for now through to the August fixtures, and anyone totally into dinghies and nothing else is invited to scroll down a dozen paragraphs to where we emerge from the world of truck-racing for a consideration of the Olympics, the inshore racing classes, and the dinghies.

But for now staying with cruiser-racers, in recent months Gordon Maguire has been making the Mediterranean scene with success aboard the Mark Mills-designed Max 72 Caol Ila (ex-Alegre), but as the Australian season currently swings back into top gear, he’s in the Matt Allen camp aboard the Carkeek 60 Ichi Ban. However, another Irish line of interest continues with Wicklow-based designer Mark Mills, whose newest 45ft footer Concubine – fresh built in Dubai – is going to an Adelaide owner who will have her at optimum trim for her first big outing in the Hobart race.

163Flying machine. The new Mark Mills-designed 45ft Concubine arrives in Australia on November 22nd

Meanwhile, notwithstanding the Optimists gearing up for their February Sailfest in Baltimore, things at home really start on Friday February 4th when the Irish sailing focus closes in on the august yet friendly premises of the Royal College of Surgeons on Stephens Green in the heart of Dublin for the annual ISA/Afloat.ie National Sailing Awards. Sailors of the Month, Sailor of the Year, Mitsubishi Motors Club of the Year and many other well-earned awards will be swept through in a festival of mutual congratulation and camaraderie which perfectly captures the spirit of a sport which has a longer history in Ireland than anywhere else.

164Can they do it again? The Royal Cork Yacht Club – with Marine Minister Simon Coveney – at the ISA/Afloat.ie Sailing Awards 2014 ceremony in the RCSI in Dublin on Friday 6th March 2015, when they swept the board and took the Mitsubishi Motors “Club of the Year” award for good measure. The 2015 awards will be presented at the same venue on Friday, February 4th 2016.

University sailing also comes top of the bill in the Springtime, with the Irish championship seeing titleholders UCD defend a position which also saw them representing Ireland at the Student Yachting Worlds in France in October, when they placed third overall. It sounds reasonable enough, but Ireland has won the Worlds a couple of times in the recent past, so there’s work to be done here.

Another area where work is being done is in the growing interest for Under 25 Squads in doing great things with revitalised J/24s. Cillian Dickson of Howth led his Under 25 group to success both in J/24 and open racing in 2015 with the J/24 Kilcullen, and the word is that 2016 will see at least three similar teams making the scene at national and local events.

But for boats with a lid, the top item on the agenda has to be the fact that this is a biennial Commodores’ Cup year, and we’re the defenders. In 2014, thanks to the single-minded determination of Anthony O’Leary, a competitive three boat team was somehow assembled from some very disparate parts, and the title - won in 2010 but undefended in 2012 in the depths of the recession - was re-taken in very positive style after a week of ferocious racing in late July in the Solent.

165Ireland nicely placed at the start of the Round the Island Race in the Commodore’s Cup 2014, with two British boats neatly sandwiched between Catapult (red hull) and Antix (silver hull). Catapult is now Antix, while the former Antix has been sold to Sweden.

The RORC Brewin Dolphin Commodore’s Cup 2016 will be raced from Cowes from 23rd to 30th July 2016, and far from having to scrape around to assemble a team, the word is that ICRA may be mounting a two team defence/challenge on our behalf, as the RORC event has seen the rating band lowered to 1,000 to make it attractive to boats like J/109s. These super boats are finally taking off in Ireland as a premier class. It has taken some time, but as we’ve been saying for years, the J/109 might have been designed with the Irish context in mind, and they’re going to be a major part of our sailing for many years to come.

166They might have been designed precisely with Irish requirements in mind…….the J/109 class is finally beginning to take off at all main centres.

Through the season, cruiser-racer events swing into action at every level, both at home and nearby abroad, with the RORC Easter Challenge in the Solent (Antix defending for Ireland here), the Silver’s Marine Scottish Series at Tarbert from May 27-30 (Rob McConnell’s A35 Fool’s Gold from Dunmore East is the defender) and then the big home one, the ICRA Nats at Howth from June 10th to 12th, staged just a week after Howth’s at-home major, the Lambay Races on June 4th.

167ICRA racing at its best – Liam Burke’s Corby 25 Tribal from Galway making knots at Kinsale in the ICRA Nats 2015. The ICRA Nats 2016 are at Howth from June 10th to 12th. Photo: ICRA

Meanwhile the re-vitalised ISORA programme (defending champion is Shanahan family’s J/109 Ruth from the National YC) will have swung into action in the Irish Sea with a stated commitment to impinge adversely as little as possible – if at all – on long-established events, but for serious old salts the real story in June will be the countdown to the Volvo Round Ireland Race from Wicklow on Saturday June 18th.

Volvo Cars Ireland are in for the long haul on this one. So their first outing with the classic biennial circuit will be run fairly conservatively in the knowledge that legislation is going through the Dail to re-organise the administration of Wicklow Harbour (among other ports). Thus it’s on the cards that in the future, Wicklow Sailing Club and their supportive new sponsor will find they have a harbour much-improved to host visiting boats. But for 2016, the Royal Irish YC in Dun Laoghaire will be providing support berths for larger craft, as too will Greystones Marina in between.

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International participation in the biennial Round Ireland Race – Piet Vroon’s famous Ker 46 Tonnere de Breskens making away from the Wicklow starting line on a perect summer’s day. In 2016, Volvo Cars Ireland will be starting a longterm sponsorship of the race.

But even with the current facilities, it’s going to be quite a happening with serious multi-hulls involved for the first time, and Grand Prix racers of the calibre of George David’s Rambler 88 stepping up to the plate, while in the body of the fleet the Shanahan’s Ruth has unfinished business – in 2014 they missed the win by seven minutes to Richard Harris’s Tanit from Scotland.

Until this late-June stage of the season, the south coast will have been fairly quiet in terms of events with an international flavour, but all that changes between 10th and 15th July when the Royal Cork’s Volvo Cork Week swings into action with the added interest (to put it mildly) of the IRC European Championship. This completely new event – a joint venture between the RORC and the RCYC – is still at the developmental stage, but with some far-thinking organisers behind it such as Anthony O’Leary of Royal Cork and Michael Boyd of RORC, it has all the makings of something very special indeed, and will blend in well with July’s expanding European programme as teams work on their performance with the Commodores’ Cup at the end of July providing the Grand Finale.

But of course not everyone seeks the international limelight. There are plenty of local events to keep cruiser-racers busy, and the WIORA Championship 2016 will be from June 29th to July 02nd, hosted by the very venerable Royal Western of Ireland Yacht at Kilrush, which is itself a place re-born since the marina and harbour were taken over by leading harbour engineers L & M Keating.

Inevitably with the August Bank Holiday Monday being precisely on August 1st, traditional events in 2016 will find themselves being compressed into that first week of August, but if you were really keen it might be just be possible to finish the WIORA at Kilrush and then hare round to Schull for Calves Week from Tuesday August 2nd to Friday August 5th, but there are probably too many temptations on the way as you progress along Ireland’s top cruising coast.

However, if you’re not into total relax mode by the time August arrives, then there’s the Olympics in Rio to gather you up in its crazy five ring circus with the sailing events in a continuous tapestry from 5th August 21st August. The Irish challenge for the 2016 Olympiad is still in something of a state of flux as three places have been secured with other possibilities, but the whole thing is total melting-pot stuff, so it’s too early yet to make predictions.

But you don’t have to look to Rio for stellar performance in 2016 as we’ve top level dinghy racing coming to Ireland with the Laser Radial Youth World Championship being hosted in a joint venture by Dun Laoghaire Harbour and the Royal St George YC from Saturday July 23rd to Saturday July 30th, yet another event which has relevance in a different context as the administration of Dun Laoghaire Harbour could well be in a new context in the near future.

Any overview of the dinghy and inshore keelboat scene soon reminds you of the exasperation some observers feel at a global sport which boasts something like 143 recognised World Championships in its annual international programme. And that’s only counting World Championships. Add in Europeans, and numbers increase exponentially, but we have a Europeans in Ireland in 2016 with the Mirrors gathering from 7th to 12th August for racing with one of the most interesting little boats afloat at the RCYC in Crosshaven.

169Yet another new boat design. But the new Phil Morrison-designed National 18 has been making a very good impression in Cork Harbour. Photo: Robert Bateman

For their owners, all boats are interesting - that’s the way it is with boats. Indeed, for many participants, it’s not so much the sport as the vehicles themselves which are the raison d’etre of the whole business. And thus we find that in Ireland as elsewhere, traditional, classic and vintage boats are moving ever higher up the agenda with each season’s programme-making.

It could be argued that there’s nowhere better in the world to find such intriguing and individual boats playing an accepted and natural role in the sailing scene than in the Greater Dublin region. 2016 may also be witnessing the centenary of the Easter Rising and the Irish Revolution. But despite the turmoil of a hundred years ago, we’re basically a very settled and civilised society, and when we find a boat type we like, we tend to stay with her. And equally as a reasonable society we will happily accept the restrictions of one design racing in order to provide affordable sport.

Thus around Dublin we can find the Water Wags whose class organisation dates back to 1886, even if the boats themselves are the new-fangled version from around 1902 or thereabouts. Equally part of the scene are the Howth 17s, undiluted since 1898. And even boats which we think of as new – such as the International Dragons – are now vintage and some of their best racing in 2016 will be in Glandore where the presiding genius is Don Street and Gypsy, numbering 167 years between them, though it’s rude to ask which way the division falls.

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Back to her birthplace. Ian Malcolm’s Howth 17 Aura at Carrickfergus, where she was built by John Hilditch in 1898. Several vintage Hilditch-built boats plan to join the 150th Anniversary celebrations of Carrickfergus Sailing Club and the Royal Ulster yacht Club on Belfast Lough next June. Photo: Damian Cronin

Part of the traditional and classic boat scene in Dublin is the annual Leinster Trophy Race of the Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association at the June Bank Holiday, and newly-elected DBOGA President denis Aylmer with his Cornish Crabber Mona is defending champion. But this year the classic focus shifts to Belfast Lough at the end of June, as both Carrickfergus Sailing Club and Royal Ulster Yacht Club are celebrating their 150th Anniveraries.

They’ll have many separate events, but as Carrickfergus was also the location of the famous Hilditch boat-building yard where many famous wooden one designs were built between 1892 and 1914, there’ll be a Hilditch Regatta at Carrickfergus morphing into a RUYC Classic Yacht Festival across Belfast Lough at Bangor between Wednesday June 22nd and Monday June 27th, with vintage fleets eligible including Strangford Lough Rivers, the Glens, Howth 17s, Belfast Lough Waverleys, Ballyholme Bays and indeed any classics willing to travel such as Water Wags and vintage Dragons.

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Senior Hilditch boat. The Mylne-designed Belfast Lough Island Class yawl Trasnagh, seen here under her new Bermudan rig in 1933, is expected to join the 150th Anniversary celebrations in Belfast Lough in the summer of 2016. Photo courtesy RNIYC

1612As she was, so she is again. Tern – seen here in 1898 – has been so faithfully restored in 2015 that she even has replicated the inverted 2 for her sail number 7. They couldn’t find a 7 in the sailmakers loft when the boats were being commissioned in a hurry in May 1897. Photo courtesy RUYC

There may even be an appearance by two of the Hilditch daddies of them all, the Fife-designed Belfast Lough Class I 25ft LWL OD Tern of 1897 vintage which has re-emerged in the Mediterranean so effectively restored that she won her class at Les Voiles de St Tropez in September 2015, and the Mylne-designed 39ft LOA Island Class yawl Trasnagh, built in 1913 to join her sisters at Cultra anchorage to make up a fleet of the worlds first true cruiser-racer one designs.

At the other end of the size scale, one of the best new events of 2015 was the Dinghyfest at Royal Cork in August, which was such a success straight out of the box that they’re going to run it again in 2016 on much the same format, and the word is that classes are already queuing to take part in something which could well be a very welcome distraction from Olympic angst.

MAIN 2016 SAILING EVENTS OF IRISH INTEREST 

February 4th ISA/Afloat.ie Annual Awards RCSI, Dublin

May 27th to 30th Silver’s Scottish Series Tarbert, Loch Fyne

June 10th to 12th ICRA Nats Howth

June 18th Volvo Round Ireland Race Wicklow

June 22nd to 27th Belfast Lough Classics Carrickfergus & Bangor

July 10th to 15th Volvo Cork Week & IRC Europeans Royal Cork YC

July 23rd to 30th Laser Youth Radial Worlds RStGYC

July 23rd to 30th Brewin Dolphin Commodore’s Cup Cowes

August 5th to 21st Sailing Olympics 2016 Rio de Janeiro

August 7th to 12th Mirror Europeans Royal Cork YC

October 1st to 2nd All-Ireland Helmsman’s Championship

October Student Yachting World Cup France

October 22nd Rolex Middle Sea Race Malta

2016 ISA FIXTURE LIST

StartEndNameBoat ClassVenue
06/02/16 07/02/16 IUSA Westerns Fireflies Killaloe SC
25/02/16 28/02/16 IUSA Varsities Fireflies Kenmare
26/03/16 27/03/16 Munster Championships Laser Baltimore Sailing Club
10/04/16 10/04/16 Traveller 1 Topper East Down YC
23/04/16 24/04/16 Mirror Westerns Mirror Sligo YC
23/04/16 24/04/16 Ulster Championships Laser Coounty Antrim Yacht Club
23/04/16 24/04/16 RS400 Easterns RS Royal St George YC
23/04/16 24/04/16 RS200 Easterns RS Royal St George YC
24/04/16 24/04/16 Traveller 2 Topper Lough Derg YC
08/05/16 08/05/16 Traveller 3 Topper Wexford Harbour B&TC
14/05/16 16/05/16 Leinster Optimist Championships Optimist Royal St George YC
14/05/16 15/05/16 Optimist Leinsters Optimist Royal St George YC
21/05/16 22/05/16 Ulster Championships Topper Donaghadee SC
21/05/16 22/05/16 GP14 OT & Purcell GP14 Swords Sailing & BC
21/05/16 22/05/16 J/24 Northerrns J/24 Sligo YC
21/05/16 22/05/16 RS400 Northerns RS Cushendall Sailing & Boating Club
27/05/16 29/05/16 Sportsboat Cup 2016 Various Howth YC
27/05/16 29/05/16 Dragon East Coast Championship Dragon Royal Irish YC
28/05/16 29/05/16 Squib Northern Championship Squib Killyleagh SC
04/06/16 04/06/16 Lambay Races 2016 All Classes Howth YC
10/06/16 12/06/16 ICRA National Championships 2016 Cruisers Howth YC
10/06/16 12/06/16 Wayfarer National Championship Wayfarer Ramor Watersports Club
11/06/16 12/06/16 Optimist Connaughts Optimist Foynes YC
18/06/16   Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race Cruisers Wicklow SC
18/06/16 18/06/16 Royal Alfred Bloomsday Regatta All Classes National YC
18/06/16 19/06/16 Leinster Championships Topper Skerries SC
25/06/16 26/06/16 GP14 Ulsters GP14 East Down YC
25/06/16 26/06/16 RS400 Westerns RS Sligo YC
25/06/16 26/06/16 RS200 Westerns RS Sligo YC
01/07/16 01/07/16 Optimist VP Team Racing Cup Optimist Malahide YC
01/07/16 03/07/16 White Sails and Non Spinnaker Team Challenge Cruisers Royal St George YC
01/07/16 03/07/16 Dingy West 2016 - Sailing the Wild Atlantic All Dinghies Galway Bay Sailing Club
02/07/16 03/07/16 Connaught Championships Laser Lough Derg YC
02/07/16 03/07/16 Optimist Ulsters Optimist Malahide YC
02/07/16 03/07/16 J/24 Southerns J/24 Royal Cork YC
02/07/16 03/07/16 Fireball Leinsters Fireball Wexford Harbour B&TC
02/07/16 04/07/16 Irish Nationals Topper Royal Cork YC
10/07/16 15/07/16 Volvo Cork Week & IRC European Championships Various Royal Cork YC
15/07/16 17/07/16 Ruffian 23 National Championship Ruffian 23 Dun Laoghaire MYC
16/07/16 17/07/16 Optimist Crosbie Cup Optimist Lough Ree YC
16/07/16 17/07/16 Leinster Championships Laser National YC
17/07/16 17/07/16 Traveller 4 Topper Carrickfergus SC
22/07/16 24/07/16 Mirror National Championships Mirror Sutton Dinghy Club
23/07/16 30/07/16 Laser Radial World Championships (Men's & Youth's) Laser Royal St George YC
23/07/16 24/07/16 GP14 Leinsters GP14 Sutton Dinghy Club
23/07/16 24/07/16 RS400 Southerns RS Lough Ree YC
23/07/16 24/07/16 RS200 Southerns RS Lough Ree YC
23/07/16 29/07/16 World Championships Topper Ballyholme YC
29/06/16 02/07/16 WIORA 2016 Cruisers Royal Western YC
30/07/16 01/08/16 Arklow Maritime Festival All Classes Arklow SC
06/08/16 07/08/16 J/24 Westerns J/24 Lough Ree YC
07/08/16 07/08/16 Sutton Dinghy Regatta All Classes Sutton Dinghy Club
07/08/16 12/08/16 Mirror Europeans 2016 Mirror Royal Cork YC
09/08/16 11/08/16 420 Nationals 420 Howth YC
12/08/16 13/08/16 Sailability President's Cup Various Kinsale YC
12/08/16 14/08/16 Fireball Nationals Fireball Howth YC
15/08/16 19/08/16 Optimist Irish Nationals Optimist Lough Derg YC
19/08/16 21/08/16 Squib Irish National Championship Squib Kinsale YC
20/08/16 23/08/16 National Championships Laser Galway Bay Sailing Club
26/08/16 28/08/16 RS400 Irish Nationals RS Schull Harbour SC
26/08/16 28/08/16 RS400 Irish Nationals RS Schull Harbour SC
27/08/16 29/08/16 GP14 Irish & Masters GP14 Skerries SC
27/08/16 28/08/16 Munster Championships Topper Kinsale YC
27/08/16 28/08/16 Mirror Northerns Mirror Royal North Of Ireland YC
27/08/16 28/08/16 Topper Munster Championship Topper Kinsale YC
28/08/16 28/08/16 Taste of Greystones Cruiser Regatta Cruisers Greystones SC
31/08/16 04/09/16 Dragon Irish Championship Dragon Kinsale YC
02/09/16 04/09/16 J/24 Nationals J/24 Royal St George YC
03/09/16 04/09/16 Wayfarer Inland Championship Wayfarer Callaun SC
10/09/16 11/09/16 Optimist Munsters Optimist Royal Cork YC
10/09/16 11/09/16 Fireball Munsters Fireball Killaloe SC
11/09/16 11/09/16 Traveller 5 Topper Killyleagh SC
17/09/16 18/09/16 All Ireland Inter-Schools Championship All Classes Sutton Dinghy Club
24/09/16 25/09/16 GP14 Autumn & Youth GP14 Sligo YC
24/09/16 25/09/16 ISA All Ireland Youth Championships TBC TBC
01/10/16 02/10/16 ISA All Ireland Senior Championships J80 TBC
15/10/16 16/10/16 Squib Inland Championship/Freshwater Regatta Squib Lough Derg YC
Published in W M Nixon

#roadtorio – Olympic class sailors including Irish Olympic campaigns will return to the London 2012 sailing venue in June this year. The ISAF Sailing World Cup will be held at the Weymouth & Portland Sailing Academy (WPNSA) 8 – 14 June 2015, organised by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA).

Over 450 of world's top sailors in all ten of the Olympic sailing Classes and the three Paralympic classes will be battling it out on the courses on Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour in June for places in ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi 27 October – 1 November 2015.

The line up includes 24 Olympic medallists from around the world who will return to the 2012 Olympic venue in the run up to Rio 2016. The entry list includes the British Sailing Team's only returning Gold medal winner, Helena Lucas MBE, who scooped Paralympic Gold in the 2.4mR class and has recently been named as the first British athlete to be selected for ParalympicsGB for Rio 2016.

Stephen Park, British Sailing Team Manager explains: "The ISAF Sailing World Cup has undergone a transformation this season to become a more elite invitation-only event with just 40 of the very best crews in each of the Olympic classes battling it out for event honour and a place the World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi. The Weymouth and Portland event will also see elite Paralympic Classes sailors plus some top kiteboard racers in action.

"We're delighted to welcome the world's best sailors back to our home in Weymouth and Portland for what I'm sure will be high quality event with hopefully lots of home support for our British Sailing Team stars. The new World Cup format complete with live medal race TV coverage, plus the RYA's plans for a World Cup Race Village in the venue will provide a fantastic showcase for our sport and our Rio 2016 medal hopefuls. We hope to see you there!"

The RYA won the bid to host one of two European legs of the ISAF Sailing World Cup at the British Sailing Team's training base at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. The team know these waters well and expectations are high for the athletes. Sailors must qualify to take part in the event based on performance and rankings from the previous legs.

The British squad so far includes 15 veterans of London 2012. The British competitors boast an impressive Olympic / Paralympic medal haul of one Gold, three Silver and three Bronze medals between them from previous Games. Along with the Olympic vets, Giles Scott will be competing in the Finn Class, looking to continue his winning streak and Nick Thompson in the Laser Class will be aiming to upgrade his recent Silver medal wins in the Hyeres and Miami events.

Park continued: "We are on home waters so clearly we want to put on a good show.. The global competition will be fierce as many of the country teams use the ISAF Sailing World Cup events as part of their selection processes towards Rio."

Spectators are invited to WPNSA to watch the racing and get up close to the sailors during the event. You can watch the progress on the live tracking system, follow the action on the live blog and on live streamed TV from the courses on the Medal Race Day (Sunday 14th June).

Admission to ISAF Sailing World Cup Race Village is free, and as well as the sailing action there will be a host of shore-side activities and opportunities for the whole family.

Published in Olympic
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#sailing – Irish Sailing is going to benefit from just under €1m in government funding in 2015, similar to 2014, but where sailing has made big gains is in the High Performance area. €250,000 for equipment for Rio, and €70,000 for Rio preparation were among the bonuses announced by the Minister today.

Sailing was in the top 10 of Irish sports in general funding, third in the High Performance funding, second in the Rio preparation funding and first in the HP equipment funding.

Total funds to sailing in 2015 from government sources is scheduled to be €1,289,900

By way of contrast, UK amounts are reported to be €33m over the four year Olympiad, while US has about €14m in the same time and Canada will benefit from about €700,000 in 2015.

However, it should be noted that Ireland is only supporting five of the 10 Olympic sailing disciplines, while UK and USA have full teams. And with a smaller pool, it could be argued that the Irish sailors are close to being among the best funded in the world right now. But such a suggestion would be 'completely misleading' as the Irish Sailing's High Performance manager James O'Callaghan points out; 'the programme funds cover 103 sailors involved from Optimist all the way up to the Olympics, not just the Olympic team itself'. 'At each stage of the pathway we have squads and coaches in place to help the sailors progress'.

O'Callaghan continues: 'We are very grateful for the ISC support but we still require additional sources of revenue to ensure our sailors have the best chance of success'. 

Amount per discipline per year

UK €825,000 (10 disciplines)
US €350,000 (10 disciplines)
Ireland €257,800 (5 disciplines)
Canada €140,000 (5 disciplines)

There was huge success for Irish Sailing when Minister of State for Sport, Michael Ring T.D., today announced an investment package of €19.6m from the Irish Sports Council into the National Governing Bodies of Sport in Ireland.

The good news for sailing follows a similar announcement by the ISA this week that it intends to raise a further €2.75m itself to further fund the Irish Olympic sailing team.  

Overall, The government is spending almost €1million more on sport than the equivalent figure for 2014. This will allow the Council invest in crucial projects for Rio 2016, exciting participation initiatives with a variety of sports and support the participation of Team Ireland at the Special Olympic Summer Games in LA in July.

The investment includes an allocation of €10.85 million to 59 National Governing Bodies (NGBs) to support their core work of administration and participation programmes. This includes increases to support specific initiatives in the IABA, the Confederation of Irish Golf and Hockey Ireland. The Council will allocate €600,000 to support the Women in Sport programme of 23 NGBs with additional support for the highly successful programmes of Swim Ireland and Badminton Ireland.
€8.16m will be invested in 22 Performance Plans which will support Ireland participation at the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. The high performance NGBs also benefit from the direct service provision at the Institute of Sport, the development of high performance facilities at the National Sports Campus, the 2015 International Carding Scheme and the special sports equipment grants; a comprehensive and integrated package of support for Ireland's top performers.
Speaking at today's announcement Minister Ring commented: "I am delighted to be here today to announce a very significant package of sports investment by the Irish Sports Council. Today's investment is a substantial commitment from the Irish Government to the National Governing Bodies of Sport in Ireland. The importance of sport cannot be understated. Sport has the unique ability to activate local communities through participation and volunteerism whilst uniting a nation to support our athletes on the world stage".

Today's investment is designed to support NGBs develop sustainable and effective structures that facilitate increased numbers of both participants and volunteers. The success of the sustained investment has seen considerable growth in membership across the NGB sector which includes 53,000 in Athletics Ireland, 23,000 in Cycling Ireland and 57,000 in Badminton Ireland.
Speaking at the announcement, Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of the Irish Sports Council said:
"The Council place National Governing Bodies at the centre of our work and are the strategic heart of Irish sport. This is a major input of resources into their operations and ongoing development and we have confidence that there will be a significant return on that investment. I want to acknowledge and recognise the on-going support given to us by Minister Ring and his Department which allows us to continue our mission of increasing participation and enhancing high performance."
2015 is the 10th Anniversary of the Irish Sports Council's Women in Sport programme. The programme, which aims to raise the overall physical activity levels among women, has been a key driver in closing the gender gap as women's participation has grown from 39% (2011) to 42.7% (2013). Today's investment will continue to support Women in Sport programmes including 'The Swim for a Mile' initiative from Swim Ireland which aims to deliver 10,000 participants and Rowing Ireland's, 'Get Going, Get Rowing' programme which aims to get an additional 5,000 women participating in 2015.
Ireland will be proudly represented at many sporting events on the international stage. 2015 will be the crucial qualifying year for many sports for Rio 2016 and there will be vital championships events in athletics, swimming, boxing, hockey, cricket and cycling amongst others. The first European Games will take place in Baku in June and it will be could prove to be a pivotal event for the Olympic sports in Ireland. The Council is delighted to support Team Ireland at the Special Olympics World Game in Los Angeles.
John Treacy, CEO Irish Sports Council said:
"As the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games come into view, it is imperative we maintain investment so that we continue to build on the excellent performances of recent years in high performance sport. The resources made available in late 2014 by Minister Ring are invaluable for the sports and have been invested in vital equipment, camps and the all-important competition schedules".
Today's investment in High Performance will continue to build on the sustained success of high performance sport in Ireland. The Institute of Sport delivers sports services directly to the Olympic and Paralympic sports and, with athletes accessing services on site, is advanced in the creation of a new support system for high performance sport. The capacity at the Institute will be enhanced with the completion of the bespoke facility which is currently being constructed by the NSCDA on site and which in due for autumn 2015.

High Performance Sport: 2013 (€) - 2014 (€) - *2015 (€) - Rio
2013-2015
Olympic Council of Ireland: 396,776 - 378,987 - 450,382 - 1,226,145
Paralympics Ireland: 310,000 - 310,000 - 513,154 - 1,133,154
Athletics Ireland: 800,000 - 800,000 - 880,000 - 2,480,000
Badminton Ireland: 95,000 - 95,000 - 130,000 - 320,000
Irish Amatuer Boxing Association: 829,000 - 839,300 - 925,000 - 2,593,300
Canoeing Ireland: 50,000 - 65,000 - 65,000 - 180,000
Irish Clay Pigeon Shooting Association: 4,350 - 32,500 - 55,000 - 91,850
Cricket Ireland: 109,504 - 100,000 - 120,000 - 329,504
Cycling Ireland: 265,000 - 303,000 - 350,000 - 918,000
Golf (GUI and ILGU): 375,000 - 375,000 - 390,000 - 1,140,000
Gymnastics Ireland: 47,500 - 60,000 - 107,500
Irish Hockey Association: 400,000 - 420,000 - 450,000 - 1,270,000
Horse Sport Ireland: 525,000 - 510,000 - 550,000 - 1,585,000
Irish Judo Association: 30,000 - 40,000 - 50,000 - 120,000
Paralympic Sports: 613,000 - 610,000 - 665,000 - 1,888,000
Pentathlon Ireland: 190,000 - 170,000 - 180,000 - 540,000
Rowing Ireland: 380,000 - 380,000 - 410,000 - 1,170,000
Irish Rugby Football Union: 275,000 - 275,000 - 275,000 - 825,000
Irish Sailing Association: 643,000 - 632,000 - 635,000 - 1,910,000
Swim Ireland: 524,000 - 530,500 - 560,000 - 1,614,500
Tennis Ireland: 160,000 - 160,000 - 175,000 - 495,000
Triathlon Ireland: 260,000 - 260,000 - 275,000 - 795,000
Total: 7,234,630 - 7,333,787 - 8,163,536 - 22,731,953

The details of the €1.6 million investment in the 2015 International Carding Scheme will be announced at a later date. The transition of the Scheme to athletics, sailing swimming has proven to be successful and four more sports (rowing, triathlon, cycling and badminton) are currently in the transition phase.

General Investment
1. The Irish Sports Council received an Oireachtas Grant of €42.5m in 2015. As announced in Budget 2015, this is the same budget as in 2014.
2. In December 2014, a special allocation of current funds to support qualification, preparation and participation at the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games was provided to 18 sporting bodies. This money was provided in 2014 for expenditure on 2015 plans; it is recorded in these documents under the 2015 headings.
3. In November 2014, a special allocation of capital funds for sports equipment was provided to 15 NGBs. While the scheme was not targeted at high performance many NGBs used the funds to support their Performance Plans for 2015. For example, Sailing and Rowing were able to purchase boats and other equipment to support the preparation and participation at the Rio Games.

Core Investment
4. Special Olympics Ireland has received additional investment to support participation and preparation for the World Summer Games 2015. This follows the special allocation of funds in 2014 for the European Games. In total, an additional €250,000 has been allocated to support Special Olympic participation and preparation ay major games over a two year period.
5. Additional investment has been provided to the Irish Amateur Boxing Association, in both core and high performance, to strengthen the capacity of organisation with new appointments.
6. The Confederation of Golf in Ireland has received additional investment to support the increased responsibilities of the organisation and continue the development of Golf in Ireland.
7. In late 2014 Cycling Ireland received an investment of €50,000 to support the capacity of the organisation to support mass participation events. This is recorded in their core budget of 2014.
8. Also in 2014 Table Tennis Ireland received €15,000 to support a schools initiative and this is recorded under the 2014 core budget.
9. Hockey Ireland and the Irish Sailing Association have received additional seed investment to support the development fund on raising capacity on a pilot basis.
Women in Sport Investment
10. The Women in Sport programme for 2015 will total €600,000.
11. Substantial increases have been provided to Badminton Ireland and Swim Ireland to support an expansion of their successful programmes from 2014 including 'Swim a Mile', "Women on Court", "Women @ Heart" and "Girls on Court".
High Performance Investment
12. The Olympic Council of Ireland is entering into one of the most important and busiest years in its history. It has received additional investment to support its wide range of activities including the preparation and participation for the Rio 2016 Games, Youth Olympics and 1st European Olympics in Baku.
13. Paralympics Ireland has received significant additional investment to support the holding of training camps in 2015. The investment will allow Paralympics Ireland replicate the preparation system used in advance of London 2012 which proved to be so successful.
14. Increases in High Performance grants have been allocated to Athletics Ireland, Cycling Ireland and Horse Sport Ireland to continue the successful performance programmes in the lead up to Rio.
15. The Sports Equipment grants allowed Sailing and Rowing purchase boats and essential equipment for the Rio 2016 campaign.
16. Gymnastics Ireland and the Irish Clay Pigeon Shooting Association received High Performance Investment in 2014 and 2015. This was on the basis of an improved level of planning by the NGB and of performances by the athletes.

Published in Olympic

#ROWING: Sanita Puspure and canoeist Liam Jegou are among eight athletes who have been chosen by the Olympic Council of Ireland as recipients of Rio Scholarship programmes. The recipients will be supported from a fund of over €100,000 which comes courtesy of the OCI in association with the International Olympic Committee’s solidarity programme.

Jegou took silver at the Canoe Slalom Junior World Championships this year and was fourth at the European Junior Championships.

Puspure, a single sculler, took fourth place at the World Rowing Championships and a bronze medal at the European Championships. In her World Cup campaign, she made the A Final in Aiguebelette, and won the B Final at Lucerne.

The full list of athletes receiving scholarships is: Chloe and Sam Magee (badminton mixed doubles): Sanita Puspure (rowing); Liam Jegou (slalom canoeing), Bryan Keane (triathlon), Lisa Kearney (judo), Andrew Smith (gymnastics) and Natalya Coyle (modern pentathlon).

Published in Rowing

#roadtorio2016 – After Ireland secured three Olympic berths for Rio in Santander, the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) has yet to publish its own selection criteria on how Irish sailors might contest these places. According to David O'Brien in last Frday's Irish Times Sailing Column this will 'hopefully' will be available by the end of October but that's not quick enough for Water Rat.

The Rat has drawn up his own alternative Irish criteria for Rio with the basic idea that any sailor who goes to the games must contribute to medal chances – either now or in the future.

Water Rat maintains the important thing is to build for the future and the big debate is how you decide between upward trending rising talent and what some insiders are calling 'static incumbents'. The Rat concludes that given the notoriously fickle conditions that are forecast for Brazil, it is now time to think 'outside the box' and proposes no trials at all – just pure selection:

Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Team Selection Criteria by Water Rat

In making the selection the selectors will have as their primary guiding factor the maximisation of Irish medal performances in 2016 and subsequent games.

To be eligible for selection, all sailors must be country qualified and must, by January 1st 2015, sign a binding contract with the Irish Sailing Association which, inter alia, establishes the conditions pertaining to training, competition, lifestyle, sponsorship, funding, behaviour and the appeal mechanism in the event of contract disputes.

Sailors, whose performance qualified Ireland at the World Championships in 2014, are not guaranteed selection.

If country qualification has not been achieved at or before the Class world Championships in 2015, then sailors competing in that class will not be considered for selection.

The following points will be taken into consideration:

1. Improving results at major European or International Events, including World and Continental Championships, World Cup events and Eurosaf Events.

2. The trend in results at these events.

3. The potential for results at future games.

Should two or more sailors/team in one or more classes achieve a suitably high standard of results, then a trial may be held. Such a trial will use a major event or events to determine the favoured sailor/team.

In classes where only one Irish Sailor/team has displayed a satisfactory standard early confirmation of selection may be made.

Published in Water Rat
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#isafswc – The qualification system for the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup (SWC) has been published. It will consist of five rounds for all ten Olympic events and where possible, Formula Kite Racing.  Download the qualification system as a PDF below.

With reduced quotas, a qualification process based around the ISAF World Sailing Rankings and ISAF Sailing World Cup Qualification Regattas will be used to determine the entrants for each round, ensuring the world's best sailors will be within the World Cup fleets. 

Event winners from each SWC Round will qualify to the 2015 SWC Final whilst the best placed 'home continent' sailor in each round will also qualify. The top three finishers at the 2015 Class World Championships (if already held) will qualify to the 2015 SWC Final. The remaining SWC Final places will be awarded via the ISAF World Sailing Rankings.

2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup

Melbourne - 7-14 December 2014
Miami - 25-31 January 2015
Hyères – 20-26 April 2015
Weymouth - 8-14 June 2015
Asian Round – September / October 2015
2015 Final Abu Dhabi – TBC

Published in Olympic
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#olympicsailing – 1,250 sailors in over 900 boats from 84 nations will begin competing at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Spain tomorrow. 50% of Rio 2016 Olympic places will be up for grabs at the regatta as well as numerous World Titles.

The ISAF Worlds, hosted in Santander in northern Spain, is the event every sailor has been aiming to peak at since the London 2012 Olympic Games and the competition will be fierce. Among the sailing talent will be eight Irish sailors, competing across five different classes.

This event will be the first opportunity for Irish sailors to qualify Ireland for the 2016 Games in the following classes:

Laser Radial – Annalise Murphy
Laser Standard – James Espey
49er – Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern

Laser Standard – Finn Lynch
49erFX – Andrea Brewster & Saskia Tidey)

Finn – Ross Hamilton

First to compete will be the Laser classes. This will include Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial and James Espey and Finn Lynch both in the Laser Standard. Racing for these classes will begin tomorrow and continue until the top 10 boats qualify for the Medal Races on Thursday the 18th of September. The top 19 nations will qualify their country for the Games in the Radial fleet and the top 23 will qualify in the men's Standard fleet.

The 49er, 49erFX and Finn classes will begin racing on Monday the 15th of September, concluding the regatta with their Medal Races on Sunday the 21st of September. Ireland will have three teams competing in these classes including duos Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern and Andrea Brewster & Saskia Tidey. Both of these teams must finish in the top 10 nations to qualify for the Games in two years' time.

Published in Olympic
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#rio2016 – More than 320 sailors from 34 nations will compete at the first test event of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games from 2-9 August from the Marina da Gloria.

The Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta 2014 is set to be the largest Olympic classes sailing competition ever held in Brazil and many of the world's top competitors are ready for the test.

Organised by Rio 2016 and Confederação Brasileira de Vela (CBVela) in conjunction with the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), the regatta will test the field of play, equipment, workforce, systems and procedures two years out from the Olympic Sailing Competition.

Five race courses will be assessed during the course of the regatta with three areas – Ponte, Escola Naval and Pão de Açucar –situated inside Guanabara Bay and the other two - Copacabana and Niterói – located outside the bay in open water.

The Test Event will be the first opportunity to start developing the skills of the 1,000+ workforce who will be critical to the success of the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition. The on water race committee teams are one such group and their training programme will get underway under the guidance of International ISAF officials from Brazil and overseas.

Media coverage and results from the Aquece Rio will be delivered by the Rio 2016 team and ISAF through www.aquecerio.com/en/competicoes.php and http://www.sailing.org/2014-test-event.php

Each nation is entitled to two places per Olympic event for the Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta and two teams will have full squads racing on Rio's water.

The British and Brazilian teams will have 20 boats and 30 sailors competing throughout the week however the Brazilians will benefit from it being their home waters.

World #1 49erFX team Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) will be the favourites in the 16-boat fleet having finished on the podium at 11 of 14 ISAF ranked regattas since jumping in the skiff. The pair are local to Rio but won't be taking anything for granted, "It is very hard to tell what is going to happen. We have to be prepared for everything and whatever comes, will be.

"We train here but racing is always different. I expect a low number of sailors but with a high level so it will be the perfect training session."

As Grael predicts the level is set to be high in the 49erFX fleet with 2013 World Champions Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) within the fleet. Speaking on their blog the pair said, "The main goal for the trip is to get accustomed to being in Rio, and the sailing conditions here. This competition is the first run-through event for both the organisers and sailors, and it will be great to get to know the rough course areas planned for the 2016 Olympics. After a great break, we are ready to get back into and learn as much as possible."

Strong teams from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden and the USA will join the Brazilians and Kiwis on the 49erFX start line in Rio.

Fresh from 49er Open European success Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) will spearhead the 19-boat 49er fleet. The Kiwis have won five consecutive 49er regattas including two ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas, one World Championship and two Open European Championships.

The Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta will be their first opportunity to showcase their talent on Olympic waters but they will be joined by a small yet competitive fleet that includes London 2012 gold medallists Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) and consistent British racers Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign.

The Laser Radial fleet features 28 sailors and includes six of the world's top ten, including World #1 Marit Bouwmeester (NED).

Many of the Laser Radial competitors have Rio experience under their belt and that includes Annalise Murphy (IRL) who, like many of the competitors, isn't focused on the end result, "I am really looking forward to experiencing some proper fleet racing in Rio, I think racing two years out from the Games is going to be hugely beneficial in my preparation for the Olympics.

"I hope to get a better understanding of Rio, get a feel for the bay and the different conditions we will experience. Everything is important to get used to, the wind, the tide, the food and finding a gym.

"I came to Rio for three weeks training last year and experienced a big mix of conditions; it is pretty tidal so it is going to be a tricky event. I think the racing will be very competitive; nearly everyone is here for this regatta so it will be a very high standard. I am looking forward to going out and enjoying myself on the water."

Joining Bouwmeester and Murphy in the fleet will be World #2 and ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres victor Evi Van Acker (BEL), ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao gold medallist Dongshuang Zhang (CHN) and World Cup Miami winner Paige Railey (USA).

The Laser fleet will be the largest in Rio with 36 boats registered to race. Top competitors include home favourite and 2013 Laser World Champion Robert Scheidt (BRA), Australia's Tom Burton, World #2 Nick Thompson and strong Kiwi sailors Andy Maloney and Sam Meech.

The Nacra 17 fleet will see 16-boats on the start line and includes a number of leading teams. 2013 World Champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) will be joined by the experienced Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (AUS), World #2 Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond (GBR), Franck Cammas and Sophie de Turckheim (FRA) and World #3 Thomas Zajac and Tanja Franck (AUT).

Giles Scott (GBR) is the Finn class' man of the moment having won nine of the last ten regattas. Scott has won his last five regattas and will be the one to beat in Rio but strength in depth is present throughout the fleet. Brazil's Jorge Zarif and Bruno Prada will have home water advantage whilst World #2 Bjorn Allansson (SWE), World #3 Thomas Le Breton (FRA) and the seasoned Jonathan Lobert (FRA) and Pieter Jan Postma (NED) will provide stern competition.

Aquece Rio - International Sailing Regatta 2014 is the first of two test events with the second following in 2015, provisionally scheduled for 12-22 August.

Published in Olympic
Page 3 of 5

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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