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Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Irish Sailor of the Year 2012

31st December 2012
Irish Sailor of the Year 2012

Help us decide...

As in previous years, Afloat magazine is asking the public to help decide who should be crowned Ireland's Sailor of the Year for 2012.

The overall national award will be presented to the person who, in the judges' opinion, achieved the most notable results in, or made the most significant contribution to, Irish watersports during 2012.

This year voting will take place through from January the 1st.


The boating public gets to nominate their top three through the online poll, gets a vote too and the Sailor of the Year judges decide the final winner.

Cast your vote by midnight February 17, 2013. The awards are administered and judged by Afloat magazine and the Irish Independent. (UPDATE: VOTING IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS FOR YOUR VOTES!)

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Sophie Browne – Browne's an early riser

Sophie Browne of Tralee Bay and Royal Cork took the silver medal in the girls division in the Optimist Worlds in New Zealand. That's some going for the then 14-year-old, especially after a gold in the girls - and fourth overall - in Mallorca last December. But she's well aware of the sheer hard work and unglamourous dedication that goes into a podium place. For more:


Fergus and Kay Quinlan – Quinlans repeat their feat

Lightning strikes twice for Fergus and Kay Quinlan, who repeated their Sailor of the Month award in February 2011 with the same accolade 12 months later. And again they lifted the Faulkner Cup - Ireland's most senior cruising trophy - for their ventures across the Pacific in their 38ft sloop Pylades, which they purpose-built themselves for the journey. They finally ended their circumnavigation in their home waters of Co Clare this past July, yet the impression of their achievements lives on. For more:


Hal Sisk – Sisk celebrates the past

Boat enthusiast Hal Sisk is commendable for his work both in researching Ireland's seafaring history, making it accessible to less academic mariners, and in restoring ancient boats that provide an insight into the past. His work on the 1880s clipper Peggy Bawn in particular is a fascinating window into a time of rapid change in design, something he's also made the focus of his new company Peggy Bawn Press with a biography of Scottish boat designer George Lennox Watson. For more:


Stephen Hyde – Like son, like father

Usually it's children who follow in their parents' footsteps, but for Crosshaven's Stephen Hyde it's the other way round, matching his son Stefan's Sailor of the Month award in 2006 with his own honour this April. It's a well deserved one, too, in light Stephen and his wife Aileen's recently completed global voyage, joining ocean-crossing events stage by stage around the world, and even winning their class in this year's Oyster Caribbean Regatta. For more:


Team Toy Yacht – Smallest boat, biggest prize

Testing their part-time sailing skills and their self-restored vintage Julian Everitt design Evolution 22 to the limit, Team Toy Yot swept Class 4 IRC in the record-breaking BMW ICRA Nationals at Howth this May. But considering three of the four – Stephen Mullany, rigger Gavin Lavery, mechanic Dave Carroll and student Gavin Pitcher - work in the hands-on end of the marine industry keeping boats running throughout the season, this strong performance should really be little surprise. For more:


Peter O'Leary & David Burrows – Star pair's stellar year

It was a stellar year for the Star class pair of Peter O'Leary and David Burrows, as they followed their strong performance in June's Skandia Sail for Gold with a 10th place finish in the medal race at the London 2012 Olympics. Giving established duos such as Percy and Simpson of Great Britain and Scheidt and Prado of Brazil a run for their money, O'Leary and Burrows' results marked a new high for Irish sailing. For more:


Bernard Guoy – Guoy's one of our own

Bernard Guoy's enthusiasm for the West of Ireland even extends to the name of his Ker 39, Inis Mor, in which he and his family won the latest edition of the Round Ireland Yacht Race. But the Frenchman is no invader, as his kin have strong and lasting connections to sailing in the region, racing regularly for Clifden Boat Club. Their exemplary performance in the race was seen as a fine win by one of our own. For more:


Finn Lynch – Carlow's Captain Cool

Just 16 years of age, Carlow's Finn Lynch can already claim a silver medal at the 2012 Youth Worlds to his name. His style of winning - staying calm and finishing in control of the race - is something that many older sailors could learn from.

Racing Toppers from the age of eight, Lynch is now a world class talent in the Laser Radial for the National Yacht Club, the same that produced Olympic heroine Annalise Murphy. For more:


Annalise Murphy – Annalise is outstanding

It's a well deserved honour for Annalise Murphy following her outstanding performance in the Laser Radial at the London Olympic this summer. She produced Ireland's best Olympic result in 30 years in any class, only narrowly missing out on the bronze in the medal race - and raised the profile of the sport in Ireland immeasurably. Meanwhile, considering the NYC sailor and UCD student is still only 22, there's still so much sailing success awaiting in her future. For more:


Fionn Lyden – Lyden's runaway victory

Local boy Fionn Lyden was runaway winner against the best Ireland can produce at the Junior All-Ireland Nationals in Schull this September. The 17-year-old's nine wins fromnine races in the 21-strong fleet of the country's top helms marks him as a talent to watch among a rising crop of young sailors from the West Cork town. Lyden's success is a credit to those who have worked in the background to make it happen.

For more:


Barry Hurley – All down to Hurley

Barry Hurley's victory in the two-handed division in the Rolex Middle Sea Race off Malta earns him his second Sailor of the Month award since June 2009. As the race judges themselves declared, Hurley's dedication and determination ensured his JOD 35 Dinah was in full racing trim and ready to go in the record fleet in this year's Mediterranean marathon - an experience he described as "the most intense" race he has ever sailed. For more:


UCD Sailing Team – Top of the Class

Never before have we had ten Independent "Sailors of the Month" in the one month. But with Christmas approaching it's time for gifting all round, and the adjudicators have agreed the entire UCD team that clinched the Student Yachting Worlds in France four weeks ago are Sailors of the Month for November. UCD Sailing Club Captain Cathal Leigh-Doyle made best use of the extensive resources of talent available in Ireland's largest university by taking along a squad of ten, even though the boats used are actually raced by eight. More here.


Brian Craig – Super Organisation Brings Home the Goods for Dun Laoghaire

Only with a very exceptional administrator and delegator leading an inevitably complex organization can such a satisfactory outcome be achieved. Irish sailing in general, and Dublin Bay in particular, is fortunate in being able to call on the services of Brian Craig to lead the administration in events as demanding as the ISAF Worlds. Not only did he put in the long hours necessary to ensure its smooth running, but long beforehand he gave generously of his time to ensure that Dublin Bay's claim to stage this event was internationally acknowledged and approved. Brian Craig is the "Sailor of the Month" for December in celebration of his unrivalled contribution to the sailing season of 2012. More here.


Published in Sailor of the Year Team

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Ireland's Sailor of the Year Awards

Created in 1996, the Afloat Sailor of the Year Awards represent all that is praiseworthy, innovative and groundbreaking in the Irish sailing scene.

Since it began 25 years ago, the awards have recognised over 500 monthly award winners in the pages of Ireland's sailing magazine Afloat, and these have been made to both amateur and professional sailors. The first-ever Sailor of the Year was dinghy sailor Mark Lyttle, a race winner at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

And since then it's gone on to read like a who's who of Irish sailing.

The national award is specially designed to salute the achievements of Ireland's sailing's elite. After two decades the awards has developed into a premier awards ceremony for water sports.

The overall national award will be announced each January to the person who, in the judges' opinion, achieved the most notable results in, or made the most significant contribution to, Irish sailing in the previous year.

A review of the first 25 years of the Irish Sailor the Year Awards is here

Irish Sailor of the Year Award FAQs

The Irish Sailor of the Year Awards is a scheme designed by Afloat magazine to represent all that is praiseworthy, innovative and groundbreaking in the Irish sailing scene..

The Irish Sailor of the Year Awards began in 1996.

The awards are administered by Afloat, Ireland's boating magazine.

  • 1996 Mark Lyttle
  • 1997 Tom Roche
  • 1998 Tom Fitzpatrick & David McHugh
  • 1999 Mark Mansfield
  • 2000 David Burrows
  • 2001 Maria Coleman
  • 2002 Eric Lisson
  • 2003 Noel Butler & Stephen Campion
  • 2004 Eamonn Crosbie
  • 2005 Paddy Barry & Jarlath Cunnane
  • 2006 Justin Slattery
  • 2007 Ger O'Rourke
  • 2008 Damian Foxall
  • 2009 Mark Mills
  • 2010 Anthony O'Leary
  • 2011 George Kenefick
  • 2012 Annalise Murphy
  • 2013 David Kenefick
  • 2014 Anthony O'Leary
  • 2015 Liam Shanahan
  • 2016 Annalise Murphy
  • 2017 Conor Fogerty
  • 2018 Robert Dickson & Sean Waddilove
  • 2019 Paul O'Higgins

Yes. The boating public and maritime community can have their say to help guide judges in deciding who should be crowned Ireland's Sailor of the Year by using an Afloat online poll). The judges welcome the traditional huge level of public interest in helping them make their decision but firmly retain their right to make the ultimate decision for the final choice while taking voting trends into account. By voting for your favourite nominee, you are creating additional awareness of their nomination and highlighting their success.

Anthony O'Leary of Crosshaven and Annalise Murphy of Dun Laoghaire are the only contenders to be "Sailors of the Year" twice – himself in 2010 and 2014, and herself in 2012 and 2016.

In its 25 year history, there have been wins for 15, offshore or IRC achievements, nine dinghy and one designs accomplishments and one for adventure sailing.

Annually, generally in January or February of the following year.

In 2003 Her Royal Highness Princess Anne presented the Awards.

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