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National Yacht Club Junior Awards Ceremony Salutes Instructors 'Selfless Act of Bravery'

29th November 2022
National Yacht Club Commodore Conor O'Regan presents the Rickard Cup for Bravery to NYC instructors Hal Fitzgerald and John Duffy, and there was special recognition also to Jack Hall and Nicola Ferguson
National Yacht Club Commodore Conor O'Regan (right) presents the Rickard Cup for Bravery to NYC instructors Hal Fitzgerald and John Duffy, and there was special recognition also to Jack Hall and Nicola Ferguson

The annual NYC Junior Awards Ceremony occurred at the National Yacht Club on Saturday, 26th November. The awards night is when NYC juniors traditionally take over the club.

This is when the achievements of our juniors in summer courses and in National and international events are acknowledged marking the end of the junior sailing season.

In addition, the evening is an opportunity to thank all our instructors and assistant instructors for their great work over the summer and to acknowledge the huge effort they make in ensuring that our young sailors have a fun summer course whilst nurturing a lifelong love of sailing in a safe environment.

The National Yacht Club is packed by junior sailors for the awards evening at Dun Laoghaire Harbour The National Yacht Club is packed by junior sailors for the awards evening at Dun Laoghaire Harbour

It is also an event when parents can get together. Last Saturday, the JB room was buzzing with relaxed parents, whilst upstairs the dining room was filled with our juniors.

The evening started for the juniors with spot prizes, followed by dinner for both juniors and parents. After the meal, our instructors organised a table quiz with prizes to let the relaxation last a bit longer for the parents. And to finish, there was a selection box for ‘everyone in the audience’ to start the Christmas festivities.

Thanks to all the staff of NYC, especially John and Cormac, for their support in hosting over 100 juniors upstairs and 60 parents downstairs. It was a seamless production. 

The National Yacht Club instructors with Commodore Conor O'Regan (right)The National Yacht Club instructors with Commodore Conor O'Regan (right)

The awards ceremony then began with a total of 137 recipients receiving prizes. We celebrated our juniors’ performance in summer courses to Optimist, Topper, ILCA (formerly Laser), Feva and 29er Fleets in National and international events. In addition, we awarded special individual awards. We also recognised our SI Nicola Ferguson and Assistant SI Clare Gorman for their huge efforts this summer, together with all our NYC instructors and assistants. The final part of the ceremony was the trophy ceremony to present special awards to sailors across the Junior Section.

The list of the prizes winners is below.

The evening wrapped up with a raffle in aid of the RNLI and PIETA House, in which we raised €1000. Thank you to Aoife Hofler for organising the raffle and super prizes from our sponsors:

  • RTE
  • Viking Marine
  • Mediacentral
  • Spotify
  • The Irish Times
  • Keogh’s

Thanks to our head coach Thomas Chaix for all the organising and support he has contributed to our Junior Section since his appointment and for stepping in as main photographer at the award ceremony.

Thanks also to all the Junior Committee for ensuring our young sailors had a great 2022.

Happy Christmas and here’s to a happy and healthy 2023.

Rebecca Hall, NYC Junior Organiser

PART I: Summer Course 2022 Achievement Awards

  • Most Improved Taste of Sailing – Aveline Gaffney, Elodie Chapman
  • Most Improved Start Sailing – Albane Rouillon, Freddy Hofler
  • Most Improved Basic Skills – Michael O’Brien, Aodh J Carty, Charles Collenette, Isabelle Byrne
  • Most Improved Improving Skills – Louis Trickett, Lara Fitzpatrick
  • Most Improved Advanced Boat Handling – Jamie Kirrane, Mark O’Meara
  • Most Improved Racing – Daniel McDaid, Ethan Verling
  • Most Improved Adventure – Siofra O’Donnell, Clarissa Byrnes
  • Most Improved J80s – Peadar Doyle, Oisin Alexander, Minnie Mansfield
  • Most Improved Feva Helms and Crews – Leonardo Errico, Zara Whelan, Finn Collins, Clodagh Denn, Caoilfhionn Denn
  • Most Improved Toppers – Hugo Farrington, Ben Doherty, Rory Brennan Hobbs

PART II: Trophy Ceremony


Junior Optimist Fleet

3rd Prize – James Gorman

2nd Prize – Basile Dion

1st Prize, Cullen Cup – Johnathan Dempsey (1st Ranked NYC sailor)

Senior Optimist Fleet

3rd Prize - Hannah Walsh

2nd Prize - Louise Hanley

1st Prize, Ferguson Cup – Felix Dion – Highest ranked NYC sailor

Regatta fleet: Optimist sailors that we should keep an eye on next year

  • Aurele Dion
  • Jacob Brown
  • Michael Hanley
  • Louise Trickett
  • Felicia De Vreeze


3rd Prize – Peadar Doyle and Senan Corry (3rd Silver Fleet in Nationals)

2nd Prize – Lizzie Hall and James Hall (1st Silver Fleet Nationals)

1st Prize, Double Hander Trophy (Feva) (Plaque) – Theo Madigan and Cathal O’Regan (6th Gold Fleet in Nationals)


3rd Place – Lizzie Hall

2nd Place – James Hall

1st Place, Cooney Cup (Topper Trophy) – Ella Fitzgerald

LASER 4.7 Trophy (Donal Loghlan O’Sullivan Cup)

Dylan De Vreeze


3rd Place – Zoe Hall

2nd Place – Benjamin Reeser

1st Place, Lynch Cup (Laser Radial Trophy) – Sam Ledoux


van Steenberge Cup (29er Trophy) – Ben O Shaughnessy and Ethan Spain

Recognition awards for their achievements this season in 29er Fleet for

Lauren O’Callaghan and Clementine van Steenberge

29er skiff sailor Clementine van Steenberge receives the Cathy MacAleavey Trophy from National Yacht Club Commodore Conor O'Regan29er skiff sailor Clementine van Steenberge receives the Cathy MacAleavey Trophy from National Yacht Club Commodore Conor O'Regan

Cathy McAleavey Trophy

This award is given to the sailor that has achieved the most in 2022

Clementine van Steenberge (29er).

PART III: AWARDS to sailors who went above and beyond in 2022

Shanahan Cup (The most helpful assistant and TY sailor 2022)

Conor Staunton

McDonald Trophy (The most helpful Junior during the summer courses)

James Walsh

A stand-alone award this year was the Rickard Cup which was awarded to two instructors in recognition of their selfless act of bravery in reacting to an incident over the summer. The two sailors demonstrated qualities that we would all hope to have and live by. We are so proud to have these sailors on our NYC team of instructors; their actions were truly heroic.

Rickard Cup for Bravery

Hal Fitzgerald and John Duffy

Special recognition also to

Jack Hall and Nicola Ferguson

These were a group of instructors whose actions demonstrated maturity beyond their years

Published in National YC
Thomas Chaix

About The Author

Thomas Chaix

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Thomas Chaix is Head Coach at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. He currently sails the 49er dinghy (for fun) but raced the Laser for 25 years and has been a member of French and Irish teams


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The home club of Laser Radial Olympic Silver medalist Annalise Murphy, the National Yacht Club is a lot more besides. It is also the spiritual home of the offshore sailing body ISORA, the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race and the biggest Flying Fifteen fleet in Ireland. Founded on a loyal membership, the National Yacht Club at the East Pier in Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay enjoys a family ethos and a strong fellowship in a relaxed atmosphere of support and friendship through sailing.

Bathing in the gentle waterfront ambience of Dun Laoghaire on the edge of South County Dublin, the National Yacht Club has graced the waters of the Irish Sea and far beyond for more than a century and in 2020 celebrates its sesquicentennial.  

The club is particularly active in dinghy and keelboat one-design racing and has hosted three World Championships in recent years including the Flying Fifteen Worlds in 2003, 2019 and the SB3 Worlds in 2008. The ISAF Youth Worlds was co-hosted with our neighbouring club the Royal St. George Yacht Club in 2012...

National Yacht Club Facilities

Facilities include a slipway directly accessing Dun Laoghaire Harbour, over eighty club moorings, platform parking, pontoons, fuelling, watering and crane-lifting ensure that the NYC is excellently equipped to cater for all the needs of the contemporary sailor. Berths with diesel, water, power and overnight facilities are available to cruising yachtsmen with shopping facilities being a short walk away. The club is active throughout the year with full dining and bar facilities and winter activities include bridge, snooker, quiz nights, wine tasting and special events.

National Yacht Club History

Although there are references to an active “club” prior to 1870, history records that the present clubhouse was erected in 1870 at a cost of £4,000 to a design by William Sterling and the Kingstown Royal Harbour Boat Club was registered with Lloyds in the same year. By 1872 the name had been changed to the Kingston Harbour Boat Club and this change was registered at Lloyds.

In 1881. the premises were purchased by a Captain Peacocke and others who formed a proprietary club called the Kingstown Harbour Yacht Club again registered at Lloyds. Some six years later in 1877 the building again changed hands being bought by a Mr Charles Barrington. and between 1877 and 1901 the club was very active and operated for a while as the “Absolute Club” although this change of name was never registered.

In 1901, the lease was purchased by three trustees who registered it as the Edward Yacht Club. In 1930 at a time when the Edward Yacht Club was relatively inactive, a committee including The Earl of Granard approached the trustees with a proposition to form the National Yacht Club. The Earl of Granard had been Commodore of the North Shannon Y.C. and was a senator in the W.T.Cosgrave government. An agreement was reached, the National Yacht Club was registered at Lloyds. The club burgee was created, red cross of Saint George with blue and white quarters being sky cloud, sea and surf. The Earl of Granard became the first Commodore.

In July of 1950, a warrant was issued to the National Yacht Club by the Government under the Merchant Shipping Act authorising members to hoist a club ensign in lieu of the National Flag. The new ensign to include a representation of the harp. This privilege is unique and specific to members of the National Yacht Club. Sterling’s design for the exterior of the club was a hybrid French Chateau and eighteenth century Garden Pavilion and today as a Class A restricted building it continues to provide elegant dining and bar facilities.

An early drawing of the building shows viewing balconies on the roof and the waterfront façade. Subsequent additions of platforms and a new slip to the seaward side and most recently the construction of new changing rooms, offices and boathouse provide state of the art facilities, capable of coping with major international and world championship events. The club provides a wide range of sailing facilities, from Junior training to family cruising, dinghy sailing to offshore racing and caters for most major classes of dinghies, one design keelboats, sports boats and cruiser racers. It provides training facilities within the ISA Youth Sailing Scheme and National Power Boat Schemes.

Past Commodores

1931 – 42 Earl of Granard 1942 – 45 T.J. Hamilton 1945 – 47 P.M. Purcell 1947 – 50 J.J. O’Leary 1950 – 55 A.A. Murphy 1955 – 60 J.J. O’Leary 1960 – 64 F. Lemass 1964 – 69 J.C. McConnell 1969 – 72 P.J. Johnston 1972 – 74 L. Boyd 1974 – 76 F.C. Winkelmann 1976 – 79 P.A. Browne 1979 – 83 W.A. Maguire 1983 – 87 F.J. Cooney 1987 – 88 J.J. Byrne 1988 – 91 M.F. Muldoon 1991 – 94 B.D. Barry 1994 – 97 M.P.B. Horgan 1997 – 00 B. MacNeaney 2000 – 02 I.E. Kiernan 2002 – 05 C.N.I. Moore 2005 – 08 C.J. Murphy 2008 – 11 P.D. Ryan 2011 – P. Barrington 2011-2014 Larry Power 2014-2017 Ronan Beirne 2017 – 2019

At A Glance - National Yacht Club 2022 Events

  • ILCA/Laser Ireland Master Championships 2022 - May 28th & 29th
  • Topper Southern Championships 2022 - June 4th and 5th
  • National Yacht Club Regatta - June 18th
  • Irish Sailing Women at the Helm Regatta - August 27th & 28th
  • FFAI Flying Fifteen National Championships - September 2nd, 3rd & 4th
  • Irish J109 National Championships - September 23rd, 24th & 25th

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