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2021 World Championships silver medal winner Finn Lynch of the National Yacht Club
Finn Lynch will seek to repeat or better his 2021 World Championships silver medal in Monday's first races of the ILCA7/Laser World Championships at Riviera Nayarit, Mexico, in a fleet of 125 sailors from 45 nations. Lynch (26) and second…
A 'Green Armada' team of Irish Olympians will represent Ireland in the brand new SSL Gold Cup in Switzerland this week. The teams compete in the SSL47 keelboats (above)
Cork Harbour's Nicholas O’Leary captains a squad made up largely of Irish Olympic campaigners – including Rio silver medalist Annalise Murphy – in a bid to be crowned the world's best sailing nation in a new competition called the SSL…
Finn Lynch's silver medal at last year's ILCA 7 World Championships has promoted him to the Podium level which awards him €40,000 per annum through to Paris 2024
This week's confirmatory announcement of Sport Ireland High-Performance funding allocation is good news for sailors who have benefited from improved performances and an increase in the amounts awarded to International and World Class level athletes. Finn Lynch's silver medal at…
The transition from junior to senior sailing is difficult at the best of times, and the Irish “Sailor of the Year 2021” Eve McMahon of Howth has found that the arbitrary dictates of personal birth dates means that she has…
49er racing at Semaine Olympique Francaise (French Olympic Classes Week) in Hyères
No Irish representation in the medal races at the Semaine Olympique Francaise (French Olympic Classes Week) in Hyères is a disappointment for Irish Olympic sailing efforts but there is consolation in the two top 15 finishes achieved in what is the…
Dublin's Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove are the closest of two Irish skiff teams to securing a medal race finish in the 49er class at Semaine Olympique Francaise on Saturday
A medal race finish is a possibility for Irish 49er duo Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove if they sail three good final races on Friday at Semaine Olympique Francaise (French Olympic Classes Week) in Hyères. The regatta has added significance as…
Finn Lynch competing at France's massive 53rd Semaine Olympique Française de Hyeres
An arm injury that proved no obstacle for Ireland's Finn Lynch when he recorded fourth overall at the first World Cup of the season earlier this month may be the reason behind the National Yacht Club's comparatively lower scores so far…
Irish Olympic campaigners have completed day two of the 53rd Semaine Olympique Française de Hyeres on the Cote D'Azur. Finn Lynch dropped from 18th overall on day one to be 33rd overall yesterday after four races sailed in the big Laser…
An Irish flag peeks out of the 49er fleet at Hyères on Monday
The 53rd Semaine Olympique Française de Hyères - TPM opened in classic Côte d’Azur style on Monday (25 April) with the world’s best rising to the strong winds through a field of 751 sailors from over 50 countries. It was…
ILCA 6 champion Eve McMahon
Howth teen Eve McMahon booked her place to the Youth World Sailing Championships in The Hague in July when she sailed to success at the Irish Youth Sailing Championships on Belfast Lough today.  The reigning World Youth Champion in the…
Eve McMahon won three out of four races in big breeze on Belfast Lough
Ballyholme is famous for the big rolling seas with a northeast breeze of strength and on Super Saturday at the Youth Sailing Championships, the ILCA6 Under 17 world champion Eve McMahon showed her strength with a dominant display in strong winds and…
Finn Lynch is looking to notch up another top international result in Hyeres
ILCA7/Laser sailor Finn Lynch is hoping to build on recent top performances such as his silver medal win at last November's World Championships and this month's fourth at the Princesa Sofia Trophy when he races at Hyères in the French Olympic…
The 53rd Semaine Olympique Francaise de Hyères - Toulon Provence Mediterranee, is back from April 23 to 30, 2022 and Irish Olympic campaigners are among the 50 nations competing on the Mediteranean. Fresh from his fourth overall at Palma earlier…
Eya Guezguez
A teenage sailor who competed for Tunisia at Tokyo 2020 has tragically died after an accident while training at sea. According to BBC Sport, 17-year-old Eya Guezguez drowned after the boat she was sailing with her twin sister Sarra, who…
Winners of the 51st edition of the Princesa Sofía Mallorca
The awards ceremony the 51st edition of the Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca brought to an end. The week long event was the first major international event for Olympic classes since the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo and is the first…
New 49erFX pair Freya Black and Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey of the Royal Irish Yacht Club were dealt a cruel blow when they were disqualified from the last race of the final series, relegating them to 11th overall.
Britain’s elite sailors laid down a marker as the 2022 season got underway at Palma’s iconic Trofeo Princesa Sofia, bringing home medals in six of the ten classes. The British Sailing Team haul included two golds, a silver and three…

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

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