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Kinsale's Stephanie Lyons Sails into Global Role

21st March 2021
Sailor Steph Lyons in business mode – her noted administrative expertise has now been recruited by World Sailing
Sailor Steph Lyons in business mode – her noted administrative expertise has now been recruited by World Sailing

It was exactly fourteen months ago – precisely on January 21st 2020 – that we featured the intriguing story of how Stephanie Lyons of Kildare had come to be in a role of active sailing prominence in Australia via training cruises on Asgard II and offshore racing from Kinsale. It's a story worth reading again here

If nothing else, it certainly makes you realise that in January 2020, we were living on an entirely different planet. The light-hearted optimistic expectations for the season of 2020 which permeate that piece are now almost heart-breaking to contemplate.

But in Australia as elsewhere, they've done what sailing they could, and even though the annual Sydney-Hobart Race on December 26th had to be cancelled just a week in advance of the start, as they moved into 2021 there was some semblance of normality in more local events. Thus Steph found herself in her familiar role of working the bow on Wild One in the 2021 Sydney 38 OD New South Wales Championship.

And meanwhile, the combination of her in-depth sailing experience, coupled with the high level of professional expertise required in her onshore position as Chief Risk Officer of major fund EISS Super, was to provide Australian Sailing with an ideal personal profile as they actively implemented their ongoing SheSails initiative, which is designed to get more female sailors involved at every level of the sport, both afloat and ashore.

Steph Lyons working the bow on the Sydney 38 Wild One in the recent 2021 New South Wales ChampionshipSteph Lyons working the bow on the Sydney 38 Wild One in the recent 2021 New South Wales Championship

In line with this, Stephanie became a valued member in the general Australian Sailing organisation. This was in addition to still being a member of Kinsale YC, which she combines with her local club Balmain SC in Sydney, and the high-powered Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. But the Australian Sailing link has now led on to international connections, as she has been appointed to World Sailing's Audit Committee, where a fellow-member is WS Vice President Marcus Spillane of Irish Sailing.

However, as she has been Australia-based for nearly twelve years now, it is Australian Sailing which deserves most credit for recognizing just how much Stephanie Lyons can bring to the party, and their exuberant press release – issued on Friday 19th March – deserves to be quoted in full:

Australian Stephanie Lyons is making her mark on the global sailing scene with her election to World Sailing's Audit Committee.

A native of Ireland, Lyons moved to Australia eleven years ago and brought her love of sailing with her. She is a member of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Balmain Sailing Club and Kinsale Yacht Club (Ireland), with two Sydney Hobart races as bow woman to her name.

Off the water, Lyons is the Chief Risk Officer of the major super fund EISS Super, with strong experience in strategy, project management, financial management, risk management and compliance.

The Sydney 38 OD Wild One going sweetly in home watersThe Sydney 38 OD Wild One going sweetly in home waters 

"I am incredibly excited and honoured to have been appointed to this role at World Sailing," said Lyons today. "I am looking forward to combining my professional experience in finance, compliance and risk with my passion for the sport I love – sailing."

Lyons joins a growing group of Australian females in roles at World Sailing, following on from the election of Sarah Kenny as Vice President last year.

"Australian female sailors are doing amazing things both on the water and in posts that matter," said Australian Sailing President Daniel Belcher on Lyons' appointment.

"We have seen a huge increase in female participation in our sport across the board over the past three years. Locally we have seen over 20% growth in female membership in clubs around Australia. Internationally we have Rio Olympic

Silver Medallist Lisa Darmanin breaking barriers on the water and the likes of Sarah and Stephanie making their mark at World Sailing.
"It truly is a time to be excited about what women are doing in our sport."

Australian Sailing launched its female participation initiative SheSails in 2018.

SheSails is designed to recognise all the female contributors to our sport, and to encourage women of all ages to enjoy sailing through organised activities at their local sailing club. There are now SheSails representatives at 141 clubs all around the country who work to ensure a safe and inclusive space for all members and participants.

Lyons is ready to bring a fresh set of eyes to the global governing body for the sport of sailing.

"I am here to make a difference at World Sailing. My focus is on audit and risk, but I will be bringing fresh ideas and my own thoughts and experience on revenue generation to the Audit Committee" added Lyons.
Stephanie will serve a four-year term on the Audit Committee, concluding in 2024.

W M Nixon adds: They say that if you want anything done, then you should ask a busy person to do it. In a very recognisable combination of interests, Steph Lyons is also a Non-Executive Director of Equestrian Australia. You may well take the girl out of Ireland, but you can never entirely take Ireland (and particularly Kildare) out of the girl…..

It could only be Kildare……a vibrant equestrian heritage from Kildare and a maritime outlook from Kinsale have enabled Stephanie Lyons to bring a remarkable combination of skill sets and experience to Australian sport.It could only be Kildare……a vibrant equestrian heritage from Kildare and a maritime outlook from Kinsale have enabled Stephanie Lyons to bring a remarkable combination of skill sets and experience to Australian sport.

Published in Kinsale
WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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Kinsale Yacht Club located in Kinsale, County Cork lies just 120 nautical miles from Wales, 240 from North West France and only 500 from the Galician Coast of North Spain.

Kinsale Yacht Club is only a few minutes walk from every shop, hotel, pub and restaurant in Ireland’s gourmet capital but most significantly it is only 30 km by road from Cork, Ireland’s second city, and between the two lies one the region’s main assets - Cork International Airport - with its daily links to many European capitals.

Club members, of which there are more than 600, race Cruisers, One Design Keelboats and Dinghies.

The club runs inshore and offshore races, has an active cruising scene, a powerboat section and most significantly for any real club, a strong and dynamic junior training programme.

Beyond the club’s own marina is the club house itself and the dinghy park. Within the clubhouse are changing rooms, bar and restaurant all with full wheelchair access. The club’s full-time secretariat, steward and marina manager are there to look after sailing visitors and members alike in a relaxed, informal and fun environment.

The club welcomes new members and has always got room on its members’ yachts for new comers to the sport.

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