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Displaying items by tag: Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove

Five Irish sailors will be looking to make a big impression at the 49er Worlds 2022 in the frigid waters of Nova Scotia, which get under way this coming Wednesday 31 August.

In the 49er division, the experienced skiff duo of Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove (Howth Yacht Club/Skerries Sailing Club) will be up against the new Royal Cork pairing of Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan within a challenging field.

Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny DurcanSéafra Guilfoyle (left) and Johnny Durcan

Meanwhile, in the 49erFX, Dun Laoghaire’s Saskia Tidey and new Team GB skiff partner Freya Black will be looking to improve upon their 24th-place finish in last month’s Europeans and make a bigger splash at Hubbards on St Margaret’s Bay, some 50km west of Halifax.

Robert Dickson and Sean WaddiloveRobert Dickson (left) and Sean Waddilove

The village’s community waterfront on the site of a former fish processing plant has been completely transformed in preparation for the championships hosting the cream of 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 racers the world over.

Racing at the 2022 World Championship runs from Wednesday 31 August to Monday 5 September with daily live streams from Day 3 (Friday 2 September). 

Ireland's Olympic skiff campaigners finished off the 49er European Championship on Sunday (10th July 2022) making the best of their silver fleet series in Aarhus, Denmark.

Tokyo Olympians Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) closed the gap on the silver fleet leaders but ultimately had to accept a second place at the end of their 16-race championship.

The pair had been leading their final race when the light breeze filled in from behind bringing the chasing pack up to them and they placed ninth.

Séafra Guilfoyle with Jonny Durcan of the Royal Cork Yacht Club had the best performance of the day in the Silver fleet when they scored back to back third places and held on to their eighth place in that division and 33rd overall.

Both crews are now focused on the 49er world championship scheduled for Halifax, Nova Scotia at the end of August where strong Irish performances are expected.

With the Paris Olympics just two years away, next Summer will see the first qualification opportunities at the combined Sailing World Championships scheduled for the 10th - 20th August 2023 in The Hague, Netherlands.

With three remaining qualification races planned both of Ireland's 49er crews will need to move up a gear to secure a top 25 place for the gold fleet in Denmark on Thursday.

Tokyo 2020 reps Robert Dickson (Howth YC) with Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) looked to put a shaky start to the Aarhus Championships on Tuesday behind them when they were disqualified from the first race. The pair had a second and fifth place but a jammed cleat proved costly in Wednesday's opening race meant they lost 15 minutes from the race and again incurred maximum points and are 37th in the 89-boat fleet.

One place ahead, team-mates Seafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan from the Royal Cork YC had a 17th and two 18th places for the day.

Mihovil Fantella of Croatia bolted the port wing back onto his 49er early this morning after a starting line crash in Tuesday’s last race wrecked his boat, sails and rig. After some late-night epoxy work and hours of rigging they hammered out a 1, 10, 2 today which dropped them in a group of six teams looking to break the stronghold on first held by Lambriex/Werken (NED) who are four points clear of the Croatians in second.

“Luckily the accident was the last race of the day,” said Mihovil as he and his brother pulled their mast down to re-calibrate settings after today’s racing. “Sime was in a protest to 10, I was there fixing and preparing for the new day. You can’t do much about that you just have to go straight on fixing and try to be as prepared as you can.”

The FX fleets were free of accidents and drama, and the consistency of the top four, six points separating them all, is a fine preview of the tension that will build when the gold fleet races begin Friday.

The Schmidt sisters of Denmark have been going from strength to strength this week, rounding the top mark of race 6 in second behind Maloney/Hobbs (NZL). They slipped to third in that race but still hold a two-point lead over Bobeck/Netzler (SWE) and Roble/Shea (USA) who is another one point behind in third.

Aleh/Meech (NZL) had a blinder of a day with a 5, 2, 1 and the pair is finally settling into a form they they both know from precious sailing in the Olympic Games, albeit with different partners.

“It’s just nice to go sailing again,” said Aleh this morning as she dropped shroud pins in new settings. Since her gold in London and silver in Rio, both in women’s 470, she has been a national coach and is a vice President at world Sailing. Meech was Maloney’s partner in Tokyo last summer.

A steady 15 knots was pressing down on the two FX fleets in the afternoon on the Bay of Aarhus, but the three 49er race circles saw solid white caps and gusts well into the 20s for their morning races.

While Lambriex/Werken (NED) had a hiccup in race six sailing their throwout (9th), standouts Colley/Connor (AUS) have been consistently stringing together a beautiful scoreline to leave them in a three-way tie for third that includes Peters/Sterritt (GBR) and McHardie/McKenzie (NZL). The latter’s teammates Dunning Beck/Gunn (NZL) have also been finding their wheels after a disastrous Kiel Week result of 47th.

“We just really had to go back to basics,” said Dunning Beck who came tantalizingly close to unseating Olympic gold medalists Burling/Tuke (NZL) for the Tokyo 49er berth. “We watched videos and just are slowly finding our way back.”

Gunn said the pair are humble, not thinking this week’s string of solid races means they are back in business. Dunning Beck added carefully, “We are putting it in our pocket, but it’s not all the way in yet.”

Results here

While the 49er World Champions may have grabbed an early gold at the Allianz Regatta in the Netherlands yesterday, Ireland's Tokyo 2020 reps Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove are very much in the fight for a silver medal in the medal race on Saturday.

Dutch 49er sailors Bart Lambriex and Floris van der Werken have secured the gold medal on day four of the Hempel World Cup Series at the Allianz Regatta.

As Afloat reported earlier, Dickson and Waddilove, from Howth Yacht Club and Skerries respectively and Lucas Rual/Emile Amoros (FRA) hold second and third currently, but many teams are breathing down their neck and ready to knock the Irish and French off the podium.

Sitting on 54 points Ireland has a five-point margin over the French but only 12 points separate second to fifth place overall in the 40-boat fleet.

With temperatures reaching to 25 degrees and winds picking up from 12 to 19 knots by the end of the balmy afternoon, the Markermeer waters between Amsterdam and Almere delivered stunning sailing conditions for all 10 fleets.

The perfect wind enabled race committees across all courses to make up most of the races lost to lighter and more fickle breezes earlier in the week.

In the 49er, Lambriex and van der Werken reminded their rivals why they won the world title in Oman at the end of last year. Winning five of the last six races, the Dutch go into Saturday’s Medal Race with an unassailable 29 point advantage. The gold medal is theirs.

Dutch 49er sailor Bart Lambriex and Floris van der Werk (NED) secured the gold medal Photo: Sailing Energy/Hempel World Cup Series Allianz RegattaDutch 49er sailor Bart Lambriex and Floris van der Werk (NED) secured the gold medal Photo: Sailing Energy/Hempel World Cup Series Allianz Regatta

Floris van der Werken explained their winning approach: "It was quite a strong field. A few of the worlds best are missing, but not many. We didn't really focus on the results this week, though, we never do. The focus was on communication onboard. We try to sail as one brain but with the capacity of two. Four eyes see more than two, but we have to think the same. That went very well this week. If the communication is good, if we give each other the right information, then we make the right decisions and we win."

Results in all classes are here

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 second biggest regatta since Tokyo.

Laser/ILCA7

Carlow sailor Finn Lynch finished 13th overall in the ILCA 7 (Laser) after coming fifth in both races yesterday demonstrating he has the speed even if nursing an arm injury, missing the medal race by just 12 points.

His 21-year-old rival for Paris 2024 Ewan McMahon (Howth YC) moved up again in the fleet to finish 23rd overall, a result that confirms he is an exciting prospect and Ireland's second most successful full rig sailor since Mark Lyttle, Ireland's inaugural Laser helmsman at Atlanta 1996. 

The pair are now in preparation for the World Championships, a highlight of the year where Lynch will defend his 2021 silver medal in Mexico in May.

49er

With less wind than on previous days, Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove (Howth YC and Skerries SC) finished in 15th place in the 49er class after the day’s three races. Rivals Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork YC) finished in 30th place overall.

Full results here

The regatta concludes today Saturday 30 April.

Ireland's 49er team, Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove signed off their Olympic regatta in style, winning the final race of the qualifying series, but missing out on medal race qualification by 8 points.

Their day started well with a 3rd place in race 1, but came unstuck in the second race when a 17th place put paid to their chances of medal race qualification. As this resilient pair have shown, the way to combat disappointment is by working harder, sailing faster and sailing smarter, which they did to great effect, winning in a 10-knot southerly breeze by the relatively comfortable (in 49er terms) margin of 24 seconds.

NZL, GBR and ESP occupy the podium slots going into Monday's medal race. With only four points separating the top three, the stage is set for an epic contest.

The Irish had their disqualification case (from two races due to an overweight harness) reopened overnight but 'the decision of the original hearing stands'. The findings are downloadable below as a pdf file.

What might have been? The numbers suggest that if the Irish boat had not been disqualified in two races, they would have entered the medal race in 8th position. This would have been too far back to medal, some 26 points behind 3rd place, with a maximum gain of 18 points available.

Dickson and Waddilove will now be installed as one of the favourites for the 2024 Olympics, to be sailed in Marseille in just three years time. The lessons learnt here will stand to them, as will their speed and tactical nous.

Speaking afterwards, Dickson said: "I'm pretty proud of the way we sailed, it's really good to finish on a high with the last race, and pretty amazing that we got two race wins. We've learned a lot from these games and we're going to bring that forward to (Paris) 2024."

Waddilove added: "Overall, it was a very positive experience and we've learnt plenty from this Olympic experience that we can bring forward. My biggest takeaway from this week is that we were very much capable of competing against these guys that have done multiple Olympics and have medals and medals under their belts and there's no reason why we can't get to 2024 and be medal contenders."

Results and overall standings are here

Olympic debutants Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove from Howth and Skerries in County Dublin got their regatta off to a sensational start today winning the opening race with a nail-biting finish, holding off the GBR boat by mere centimetres on the line.

While the result is provisional the early season promise shown by the two Irish debutantes when they secured the Irish nomination in style in Lanzarote.

Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove secured a mid-line front row start with plenty of clear air to blast off their Olympic Regatta Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove secured a mid-line front row start with plenty of clear air to blast off their Olympic Regatta Photo: Sailing Energy

A good start in clear air laid the ground work and favouring the left side of the course they took the lead at the first mark and then had a ding-dong battle with GBR all the way to the finish.

After the race the pair were relieved to start their campaign strongly, emphasising the changing nature of the sport. “I feel thrilled,” said Waddilove after the race, “We can’t ask for a better start, but you have to remember that this is the very first race, and anything could change with eleven races to go, plus a medal race, hopefully!” Dickson added, “It was pretty close, but you only have to win by a few centimetres. We didn’t know crossing the line that we’d done it until we came in and our coach told us.”

Racing is now cancelled for the rest of today and will resume tomorrow.

Silhouetted in the Enoshima sunshine, there's no mistaking the Irish tricolour in the lead of Race One of the 49er fleet Photo: Sailing EnergySilhouetted in the Enoshima sunshine, there's no mistaking the Irish tricolour in the lead of Race One of the 49er fleet Photo: Sailing Energy

The 49er scoreboard says it all - Ireland in the lead in TokyoThe 49er scoreboard says it all - Ireland in the lead in Tokyo in the first of a scheduled 12 races

Results are here

More on Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove here

Published in Tokyo 2020

Time was when the question of whether the 2020-Olympics-in-2021 should or should not be staged would have been described as the Elephant in the Room, suggesting the presence of an imponderable so large and unthinkable that the sanity-seeking majority of the global sporting population have continued determinedly along as though it is, of course, going to happen. The ponderous pachyderm, they've said, is a figment of people's imagination.

But a small but growing minority in sport are increasingly in agreement with the fact that an international super-spreader event like the Olympics simply has to be cancelled as the world still grapples with an ever-mutating virus.

That's the balance of attitudes within the gung-ho sporting community. But within the population at large, the situation is already very different, with 90% of the general population in host country Japan being against the idea of the Games going ahead in July – just two months and one week away, to be precise – while at the more specific level, at least 40 Japanese townships, which in previous Olympiad years had generously hosted national teams, have indicated that in July 2021, such teams will no longer be welcome.

A Spreader Event of Olympic proportions…..but even if the traditional Olympic Parade is not staged in the event of the games being held in Tokyo in July, can safe distancing be maintained in a country where vaccination levels are still very low.A Spreader Event of Olympic proportions…..but even if the traditional Olympic Parade is not staged in the event of the games being held in Tokyo in July, can safe distancing be maintained in a country where vaccination levels are still very low.

The emergence of this and other gloom-inducing facts during the past week or so, such as a lowly 1% vaccination rate in Japan itself, have contributed to what appears to be a tipping point in opinion in top sporting circles. This is leading to the weary resignation of preparing for acceptance of the unthinkable – that the postponed 2020 Olympics will not happen in 2021, and thus is there any point of thinking about a third attempt at staging them in Japan in 2022, when the 2024 Paris Olympics are already thundering up the agenda?

The scenario is so unthinkable - so unreal and rumour-prone - that those of us on the outside can only grasp at straws in the wind as to how things are going in the real decision-making centres. And for long enough, as the majority of us clung to the hope that the Games would go ahead - albeit in very shrunken relatively spectator-less settings – each little indicator that suggested things were on track was hopefully added to our viewpoint.

But in doing so, we were ignoring the sheer vastness, the extremely spread-out nature, and the very lengthy time-span of the modern Olympics. Even in the most normal of times, the potential for some section of the games to come off the rails is ever-present. So heaven alone knows what twists of disease and other trouble might unravel in the extreme heat of 2021 Tokyo in high summer, when hysteria can run amok.

When Ireland first sailed in a Japanese Olympics in 1964, the racing was staged in October when the intense summer heat had eased. This year's regatta is planned here at Enoshima in July, a bit cooler than the main centre of Tokyo nearby, but still making a period of acclimatisation for Irish sailors highly desirable.When Ireland first sailed in a Japanese Olympics in 1964, the racing was staged in October when the intense summer heat had eased. This year's regatta is planned here at Enoshima in July, a bit cooler than the main centre of Tokyo nearby, but still making a period of acclimatisation for Irish sailors highly desirable.

The two factors that seemed to put us through the tipping point this past week have been the Japanese townships' declining of the opportunity to host teams – for that was something very specific as opposed to the vagueness of a national opinion poll – and the outcome of an announcement last week, that this week would be seeing all national teams receiving their first jab of the Pfizer vaccine if they hadn't already got it, or were on some other vaccination.

The Pfizer seems to have emerged as the Gold Standard, as it provides 95% immunity whereas some of the "workhorse" vaxes, while still effective, give significantly less protection. But anecdotal evidence from personal experiences suggests that the two-part Pfizer super-jab leaves you in no doubt whatever that your body has been put through quite a major biochemical experience.

There's a four week gap between the two Pfizer injections, and a full return to feelings of normality shouldn't really be expected until about a fortnight after the second jab, though the latest research suggests that you'll have achieved virtually full immunity one week after Jab Two.

Full immunity and a feeling of general well-being are two very different psycho-physical states, and thus it's realistic to think that an Olympic athlete receiving the full Pfizer treatment would need to have a clear eight week period after the first jab, before they could hope to return to that very finely-tuned condition which is optimal performance preparedness, and has more physical and mental components than you'd think possible.

Thus when the announcement came last week that agreement had been reached for all un-vaccinated Olympians to begin the Pfizer course this week, with the response coming that Olympic medical teams were ready and able for the administration, it gave us small grounds for added optimism. For this proposed schedule was just within the time-frame for the full post-vaccination recovery of the athletes by the time the Games began to take shape.

Team Dickson/Waddilove performing at peak. To achieve this level of fitness, an athlete would need to be as far post-vaccine as possible.   Team Dickson/Waddilove performing at peak. To achieve this level of fitness, an athlete would need to be as far post-vaccine as possible.  

But so far this week we've not been able to confirm any evidence at all that the widely-welcomed vaccination programme for the Olympians has gone ahead, and that apparent non-event - in addition to the Japanese townships' "Not Welcome" announcements - suggest we're in a domino-effect continuum, at the end of which we'll find the cancellation of the 2021 Olympics.

That said, much of the athletic preparation towards the postponed Games has been done under the radar, and it could well be that it's official Olympic management policy not to reveal that a vaccination programme is under way at the moment until it is successfully completed, for fear of arousing some unpleasant protests from career begrudgers about the Olympians receiving elite treatment when the world is crying out for vaccination.

Most reasonable folk would strongly support the view that Olympic athletes – a very tiny minority – have done so much to inspire the rest of us, cheering us up generally through two winters of gloom, that they should as a matter of course have been among the primary groups for vaccination.

For sure, the real heroes deserving immediate vaccination have been the frontline health workers. But it's almost impossible to over-estimate the psychological benefits which those able to continue successfully with their sport have gifted to the rest of us. And while the unique nature of our sport has meant that quite a bit of in-Ireland sailing has been possible in pandemic gaps, it is the Irish sailing breakthroughs at a restricted international level that have been the brightest lights in the general gloom.

It was as recently as mid-March that the Afloat.ie Editorial Team were having a conversation with renowned coach Tytus Konarzewski about the chances of the "Fingal Flyers" 49er team – Rob Dickson of Howth and Sam Waddilove of Skerries - making it past the final stages of Olympic selection – the last chance saloon - at Lanzarote at the end of the month.

The hugely experienced Konarzewski has seen and done it all, and comfortably takes the long view. When he started coaching with Dickson & Waddilove, it was with the long count-down to the 2024 Olympics in mind. But didn't the boys go and spoil it all by winning the U23 49er Worlds at Marseille in September 2018?

This not only made them the Afloat.ie Sailors of the Year 2018, but also saw them yanked by the powers-that-be out of their buildup programme towards 2024, and pushed instead into the main road towards Tokyo 2020, while the highly-regarded Konarzewski was let go.

The Sage of Successful Sailing – renowned coach Tytus Konarzewski in thoughtful observational mode on Dublin Bay. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien   The Sage of Successful Sailing – renowned coach Tytus Konarzewski in thoughtful observational mode on Dublin Bay. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien  

It was an arguably unhealthy development in terms of campaign planning, but where others then came to see the postponement of the 2020 Olympics as a problem in the latter stages of securing the 49er slot in 2021, Dickson & Waddilove saw it as an opportunity to up their game, and as the final selection races came over the horizon, they were in a new place in terms of performance and potential.

Nevertheless, in that mid-March conversation with the great Tytus, there was still a huge element of the "what ifs" about the permutations which could make the breakthrough possible. And in the actual event when the pressure was palpable, the burden on the two young sailors was inescapable. Yet they managed it with the medal race to spare. And with the pressure off, their carefree performance of brilliance in the final race to leave so many top sailors behind them simply adds to our hopes that the 2021 Sailing Olympics at Enoshima will somehow take place.

The Fingal Flyers qualify for the Olympics – Sam Waddilove of Skerries and Rob Dickson of Howth in Lanzarote, with Rob wearing his lucky hat which reminded everyone of………The Fingal Flyers qualify for the Olympics – Sam Waddilove of Skerries and Rob Dickson of Howth in Lanzarote, with Rob wearing his lucky hat which reminded everyone of………

…..the sailing headgear which was the trademark of his famous grandfather Roy Dickson, seen here at the helm of his Corby 40 Cracklin Rosie at the start of the 1997 Fastnet Race. Photo: W M Nixon…..the sailing headgear which was the trademark of his famous grandfather Roy Dickson, seen here at the helm of his Corby 40 Cracklin Rosie at the start of the 1997 Fastnet Race. Photo: W M Nixon

Not least of the pleasures in their success in Lanzarote was that Rob Dickson took part in a post-race interview in his new "lucky hat", which fondly reminded all those who knew of it of the similar hat which was the trademark headgear of his legendary sailing grandfather, the late Roy Dickson.

This in turn reminds us that at its best, Irish sailing is just one great big family affair, even if it often involves putting an extremely broad meaning on what "family" signifies. But whatever it is, it's good. And while we hope very dearly indeed that our reading of the rules about the staging or not of the 2021 version of the 2020 Olympics proves to be wrong, should it be right we can only point to the next suitable date as being 24th July 2022.

Published in W M Nixon

Two Irish Tokyo rivals both now in the hunt for one of the final European Olympic berths have resumed their battle after COVID at a scaled-down Kiel Week Regatta 2020, in northern Germany this week.

With two races left to sail its Howth and Skerries duo Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove that lead Irish hopes in 15th in the 52-boat fleet with two final races left to sail today. The pair, who also recorded the top Irish result at the 2020 World Championships in Australia in February, are in the top 30% of the fleet and as such it makes a welcome return to the race track, except for a UFD penalty in yesterday's final race of the day.

The Belfast and Cork combination of double Olympian Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle will have probably been looking for more out of the week on the Baltic than their current 32nd position in the international fleet.

Both the 49er teams will head to Austria for the 49er European Championships, from 28 Sept – 4 October on Lake Attersee, a notoriously tricky venue.

As Afloat reported previously Irish campaigns chasing last places in the 49er, Laser and Finn classes were in turmoil in Spring when COVID-19 hit key final European qualifications in Italy and Spain, ultimately postponing the Games itself.

Ireland is competing with Belgium, Sweden and Italy for the one remaining European place. Form at the 2020 Worlds suggests that Irish sailors would be favourites for the place having finished ahead of the other three candidates but the final selection system has yet to be confirmed.

Published in Tokyo 2020

After a great first day of racing for Howth Yacht Club's Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove at the 2020 49er World Championships in Geelong, Australia the U23 pairing will be heading into a truncated qualifying series after day one was completely lost to weather.

With a first place, a fourth and 22nd scored, the north Dublin duo are 17th in the overall rankings so far.

As regular Afloat readers will know it is the second World Championship race win for the plucky pair, they notched up their first-ever win in Auckland last December at the 2019 championships. 

Rivals for the single Irish berth in Tokyo, Ryan Seaton of Belfast Lough and Seafra Guilfoyle of Royal Cork lie in 49th place.

Both Irish crews are in search of Olympic qualification and while it is not available for Ireland at this event, it is hoped form here should carry forward to the next (and final) qualifier, the Sailing World Cup event in Genoa, Italy, April 13-19 where whoever qualifies the nation (if either) will be sent to Tokyo.

The Geelong championships have had a frustrating start, with all racing suspended on day one on Monday.

There’s at least one more day of qualifying races before the fleet is divided into Gold and Silver fleets.

Results are here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Irish Olympic Sailing Team

Ireland has a proud representation in sailing at the Olympics dating back to 1948. Today there is a modern governing structure surrounding the selection of sailors the Olympic Regatta

Irish Olympic Sailing FAQs

Ireland’s representation in sailing at the Olympics dates back to 1948, when a team consisting of Jimmy Mooney (Firefly), Alf Delany and Hugh Allen (Swallow) competed in that year’s Summer Games in London (sailing off Torquay). Except for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Ireland has sent at least one sailor to every Summer Games since then.

  • 1948 – London (Torquay) — Firefly: Jimmy Mooney; Swallow: Alf Delany, Hugh Allen
  • 1952 – Helsinki — Finn: Alf Delany * 1956 – Melbourne — Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1960 – Rome — Flying Dutchman: Johnny Hooper, Peter Gray; Dragon: Jimmy Mooney, David Ryder, Robin Benson; Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1964 – Tokyo — Dragon: Eddie Kelliher, Harry Maguire, Rob Dalton; Finn: Johnny Hooper 
  • 1972 – Munich (Kiel) — Tempest: David Wilkins, Sean Whitaker; Dragon: Robin Hennessy, Harry Byrne, Owen Delany; Finn: Kevin McLaverty; Flying Dutchman: Harold Cudmore, Richard O’Shea
  • 1976 – Montreal (Kingston) — 470: Robert Dix, Peter Dix; Flying Dutchman: Barry O’Neill, Jamie Wilkinson; Tempest: David Wilkins, Derek Jago
  • 1980 – Moscow (Tallinn) — Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson (Silver medalists) * 1984 – Los Angeles — Finn: Bill O’Hara
  • 1988 – Seoul (Pusan) — Finn: Bill O’Hara; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; 470 (Women): Cathy MacAleavy, Aisling Byrne
  • 1992 – Barcelona — Europe: Denise Lyttle; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; Star: Mark Mansfield, Tom McWilliam
  • 1996 – Atlanta (Savannah) — Laser: Mark Lyttle; Europe: Aisling Bowman (Byrne); Finn: John Driscoll; Star: Mark Mansfield, David Burrows; 470 (Women): Denise Lyttle, Louise Cole; Soling: Marshall King, Dan O’Grady, Garrett Connolly
  • 2000 – Sydney — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, David O'Brien
  • 2004 – Athens — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, Killian Collins; 49er: Tom Fitzpatrick, Fraser Brown; 470: Gerald Owens, Ross Killian; Laser: Rory Fitzpatrick
  • 2008 – Beijing (Qingdao) — Star: Peter O’Leary, Stephen Milne; Finn: Tim Goodbody; Laser Radial: Ciara Peelo; 470: Gerald Owens, Phil Lawton
  • 2012 – London (Weymouth) — Star: Peter O’Leary, David Burrows; 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; Laser Radial: Annalise Murphy; Laser: James Espey; 470: Gerald Owens, Scott Flanigan
  • 2016 – Rio — Laser Radial (Women): Annalise Murphy (Silver medalist); 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; 49erFX: Andrea Brewster, Saskia Tidey; Laser: Finn Lynch; Paralympic Sonar: John Twomey, Ian Costello & Austin O’Carroll

Ireland has won two Olympics medals in sailing events, both silver: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson in the Flying Dutchman at Moscow 1980, and Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial at Rio 2016.

The current team, as of December 2020, consists of Laser sailors Finn Lynch, Liam Glynn and Ewan McMahon, 49er pairs Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle, and Sean Waddilove and Robert Dickson, as well as Laser Radial sailors Annalise Murphy and Aoife Hopkins.

Irish Sailing is the National Governing Body for sailing in Ireland.

Irish Sailing’s Performance division is responsible for selecting and nurturing Olympic contenders as part of its Performance Pathway.

The Performance Pathway is Irish Sailing’s Olympic talent pipeline. The Performance Pathway counts over 70 sailors from 11 years up in its programme.The Performance Pathway is made up of Junior, Youth, Academy, Development and Olympic squads. It provides young, talented and ambitious Irish sailors with opportunities to move up through the ranks from an early age. With up to 100 young athletes training with the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway, every aspect of their performance is planned and closely monitored while strong relationships are simultaneously built with the sailors and their families

Rory Fitzpatrick is the head coach of Irish Sailing Performance. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and was an Athens 2004 Olympian in the Laser class.

The Performance Director of Irish Sailing is James O’Callaghan. Since 2006 James has been responsible for the development and delivery of athlete-focused, coach-led, performance-measured programmes across the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway. A Business & Economics graduate of Trinity College Dublin, he is a Level 3 Qualified Coach and Level 2 Coach Tutor. He has coached at five Olympic Games and numerous European and World Championship events across multiple Olympic classes. He is also a member of the Irish Sailing Foundation board.

Annalise Murphy is by far and away the biggest Irish sailing star. Her fourth in London 2012 when she came so agonisingly close to a bronze medal followed by her superb silver medal performance four years later at Rio won the hearts of Ireland. Murphy is aiming to go one better in Tokyo 2021. 

Under head coach Rory Fitzpatrick, the coaching staff consists of Laser Radial Academy coach Sean Evans, Olympic Laser coach Vasilij Zbogar and 49er team coach Matt McGovern.

The Irish Government provides funding to Irish Sailing. These funds are exclusively for the benefit of the Performance Pathway. However, this falls short of the amount required to fund the Performance Pathway in order to allow Ireland compete at the highest level. As a result the Performance Pathway programme currently receives around €850,000 per annum from Sport Ireland and €150,000 from sponsorship. A further €2 million per annum is needed to have a major impact at the highest level. The Irish Sailing Foundation was established to bridge the financial gap through securing philanthropic donations, corporate giving and sponsorship.

The vision of the Irish Sailing Foundation is to generate the required financial resources for Ireland to scale-up and execute its world-class sailing programme. Irish Sailing works tirelessly to promote sailing in Ireland and abroad and has been successful in securing funding of 1 million euro from Sport Ireland. However, to compete on a par with other nations, a further €2 million is required annually to realise the ambitions of our talented sailors. For this reason, the Irish Sailing Foundation was formed to seek philanthropic donations. Led by a Board of Directors and Head of Development Kathryn Grace, the foundation lads a campaign to bridge the financial gap to provide the Performance Pathway with the funds necessary to increase coaching hours, upgrade equipment and provide world class sport science support to a greater number of high-potential Irish sailors.

The Senior and Academy teams of the Performance Pathway are supported with the provision of a coach, vehicle, coach boat and boats. Even with this level of subsidy there is still a large financial burden on individual families due to travel costs, entry fees and accommodation. There are often compromises made on the amount of days a coach can be hired for and on many occasions it is necessary to opt out of major competitions outside Europe due to cost. Money raised by the Irish Sailing Foundation will go towards increased quality coaching time, world-class equipment, and subsiding entry fees and travel-related costs. It also goes towards broadening the base of talented sailors that can consider campaigning by removing financial hurdles, and the Performance HQ in Dublin to increase efficiency and reduce logistical issues.

The ethos of the Performance Pathway is progression. At each stage international performance benchmarks are utilised to ensure the sailors are meeting expectations set. The size of a sailor will generally dictate which boat they sail. The classes selected on the pathway have been identified as the best feeder classes for progression. Currently the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway consists of the following groups: * Pathway (U15) Optimist and Topper * Youth Academy (U19) Laser 4.7, Laser Radial and 420 * Development Academy (U23) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX * Team IRL (direct-funded athletes) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX

The Irish Sailing performance director produces a detailed annual budget for the programme which is presented to Sport Ireland, Irish Sailing and the Foundation for detailed discussion and analysis of the programme, where each item of expenditure is reviewed and approved. Each year, the performance director drafts a Performance Plan and Budget designed to meet the objectives of Irish Performance Sailing based on an annual review of the Pathway Programmes from Junior to Olympic level. The plan is then presented to the Olympic Steering Group (OSG) where it is independently assessed and the budget is agreed. The OSG closely monitors the delivery of the plan ensuring it meets the agreed strategy, is within budget and in line with operational plans. The performance director communicates on an ongoing basis with the OSG throughout the year, reporting formally on a quarterly basis.

Due to the specialised nature of Performance Sport, Irish Sailing established an expert sub-committee which is referred to as the Olympic Steering Group (OSG). The OSG is chaired by Patrick Coveney and its objective is centred around winning Olympic medals so it oversees the delivery of the Irish Sailing’s Performance plan.

At Junior level (U15) sailors learn not only to be a sailor but also an athlete. They develop the discipline required to keep a training log while undertaking fitness programmes, attending coaching sessions and travelling to competitions. During the winter Regional Squads take place and then in spring the National Squads are selected for Summer Competitions. As sailors move into Youth level (U19) there is an exhaustive selection matrix used when considering a sailor for entry into the Performance Academy. Completion of club training programmes, attendance at the performance seminars, physical suitability and also progress at Junior and Youth competitions are assessed and reviewed. Once invited in to the Performance Academy, sailors are given a six-month trial before a final decision is made on their selection. Sailors in the Academy are very closely monitored and engage in a very well planned out sailing, training and competition programme. There are also defined international benchmarks which these sailors are required to meet by a certain age. Biannual reviews are conducted transparently with the sailors so they know exactly where they are performing well and they are made aware of where they may need to improve before the next review.

©Afloat 2020

Tokyo 2021 Olympic Sailing

Olympic Sailing features a variety of craft, from dinghies and keelboats to windsurfing boards. The programme at Tokyo 2020 will include two events for both men and women, three for men only, two for women only and one for mixed crews:

Event Programme

RS:X - Windsurfer (Men/Women)
Laser - One Person Dinghy (Men)
Laser Radial - One Person Dinghy (Women)
Finn - One Person Dinghy (Heavyweight) (Men)
470 - Two Person Dinghy (Men/Women)
49er - Skiff (Men)
49er FX - Skiff (Women)
Nacra 17 Foiling - Mixed Multihull

The mixed Nacra 17 Foiling - Mixed Multihull and women-only 49er FX - Skiff, events were first staged at Rio 2016.

Each event consists of a series of races. Points in each race are awarded according to position: the winner gets one point, the second-placed finisher scores two, and so on. The final race is called the medal race, for which points are doubled. Following the medal race, the individual or crew with the fewest total points is declared the winner.

During races, boats navigate a course shaped like an enormous triangle, heading for the finish line after they contend with the wind from all three directions. They must pass marker buoys a certain number of times and in a predetermined order.

Sailing competitions at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are scheduled to take place from 27 July to 6 August at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour. 

Venues: Enoshima Yacht Harbor

No. of events: 10

Dates: 27 July – 6 August

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Dates

Following a one year postponement, sailing competitions at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are scheduled to take place from 23 July 2021 and run until the 8 August at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour. 

Venue: Enoshima Yacht Harbour

No. of events: 10

Dates: 23 July – 8 August 2021

Tokyo 2020 Irish Olympic Sailing Team

ANNALISE MURPHY, Laser Radial

Age 31. From Rathfarnham, Dublin.

Club: National Yacht Club

Full-time sailor

Silver medallist at the 2016 Olympic Games, Rio (Laser Radial class). Competed in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/2018. Represented Ireland at the London 2012 Olympics. Laser Radial European Champion in 2013.

ROBERT DICKSON, 49er (sails with Seán Waddilove)

Winner, U23 49er World Championships, September 2018, and 2018 Volvo/Afloat Irish Sailor of the Year

DOB: 6 March 1998, from Sutton, Co. Dublin. Age 23

Club: Howth Yacht Club

Currently studying: Sports Science and Health in DCU with a Sports Scholarship.

SEÁN WADDILOVE, 49er (sails with Robert Dickson)

Winner, U23 49er World Championships, September 2018, and recently awarded 2018 Volvo Afloat/Irish Sailor of the Year

DOB: 19 June 1997. From Skerries, Dublin

Age 24

Club: Skerries Sailing Club and Howth Yacht Club

Currently studying International Business and Languages and awarded sports scholarship at TU (Technology University)

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