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The best laid plans often go awry - despite what was set to be a great turnout for the annual Howth Yacht Club Round the Island Race last Saturday at Howth, the weather gods didn't play ball, and a decision was taken 48 hours before the event in the face of an expected easterly gale to cancel the day's sailing (it was a very accurate call – on the day, the waves were sweeping the Howth East Pier almost as if it wasn’t there – Ed.). It meant great disappointment, not only for the series regulars who have been racing in HYC nearly every Sunday since November, but also for the strong visitor turnout. The event was due to see a variety of boats from all over the country, including Fireballs from Cork, RS Aeros from the North and Mermaids from North Dublin.

Here’s success for Ukraine – Oleksandr Bezpalyi of the Obolon SC in Kiev is in the frame at HowthHere’s success for Ukraine – Oleksandr Bezpalyi of the Obolon SC in Kiev is in the frame at Howth

This one’s for West Cork – Rory Lynch of Baltimore SC made good on the East CoastThis one’s for West Cork – Rory Lynch of Baltimore SC made good on the East Coast

However, all was not lost, as the shore-side of the day's agenda could still proceed uninterrupted. The prizegiving for the both Frostbite series and the New Year's Day Race, followed by a lunch and the 6 Nations rugby matches on the big screen gave everyone plenty to look forward to on the day, but we’ll put the rugby down to experience


Commodore Neil Murphy said a few words to welcome everyone. The main thanks of the event go to the volunteer race officer team, who share weekly duties among themselves and have done so for many years. Harry Gallagher, Jim Lambkin, Liam Dineen, Dave Jones, Richard Kissane, Ronan MacDonell and Neil Murphy as race officers, along with many more volunteers who manage the results, and the RIB crews all do a great job of ensuring that everyone gets great, safe racing done all winter long.

Rising star. Andrei Samoilov collected the trophy for most improved sailorRising star. Andrei Samoilov collected the trophy for most improved sailor

Special mentions were also given to the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the Frostbite series and Laser/ILCA racing in HYC next Autumn, where there will be a number of on and off the water events to mark the special milestone. Winter sailing in HYC has lots to look forward to - a growing PY fleet including GP14s, B14s and RS Aeros out every week set to be joined next year by a fleet of Melges 15s.

“Gee thanks Dad!” Series organiser and prize winner Conor Murphy with Mr Big“Gee thanks Dad!” Series organiser and prize winner Conor Murphy with Mr Big

New talent - Charlie Robertson and crew took the Junior Title in PY.New talent - Charlie Robertson and crew took the Junior Title in PY

As the prizes were given out, great enjoyment was taken in identifying past winners of each of the trophies and reminiscing on years gone by, while also looking forward to the coming years. Most trophies saw new names being added to them this year, and there were many new visitors to the podium places in each class. While most of the prizes are given out for podium finishes in the series, one prize is given each year to recognise the most improved sailor among the participants. This year, Malahide's Andrej Samoilov won this prize in his second season at the HYC Frostbites, as this year he obtained podium results and led the fleet on occasion.

Ciara McMahon is yet another branch of the top sailing clanCiara McMahon is yet another branch of the top sailing clan

The tops! Daragh Sheridan led a successful solo charge with the RS Aero.The tops! Daragh Sheridan led a successful solo charge with the RS Aero.

All prizes awarded and photos are below.

2023 HYC Pre-Christmas Series

• ILCA 7 (Courtney Cup): Rory Lynch (Baltimore SC), Daragh Kelleher (SSC), Dave Kirwan (MYC)
• ILCA 6 (Stafford Trophy): Tom Fox (Rush SC), Darragh Peelo (Malahide YC), Peter Hassett
• ILCA 4 (Frazer Casey Firefly Cup): Oleksandr Bezpalyi (Obolon SC), Harry Dunne (Howth YC), Stan O'Rourke (MYC/HYC)
• PY: Daragh Sheridan (RS Aero, Howth YC), John Phelan (RS Aero, Howth YC), Jeremy Beshoff & Declan McManus (B14, Howth YC)
• PY2: Charlie Robertson

2024 New Year's Day Race

• ILCA 7 (New Year's Day Mug): Colm Cunningham (Malahide YC)
• ILCA 6: Peter Hassett
• PY: Daragh Sheridan

2024 Post-Christmas Series

• ILCA 7 (Rowan Trophy): Conor Murphy (Howth YC), Dan O'Connell (Cobh SC), Rory Lynch (Baltimore SC)
• ILCA 6 (Elliot Cup): Tom Fox (Rush SC), Vikor Samoilov (MYC/HYC), Ciara McMahon (Howth YC)
• ILCA 4 (Fitzpatrick Cup): Stan O'Rourke (MYC/HYC), Oleksandr Bezpalyi (Obolon SC), Charlie Power (Howth YC)
• PY: Daragh Sheridan (RS Aero, Howth YC), Alan Blay & Hugh McNally (GP14, Howth YC), Sam Street & Josh Lloyd (GP14, Blessington LSC)

Peter Hassett was in the frame in ILCA 6sPeter Hassett was in the frame in ILCA 6s

All welcome. Commodore with Daragh Peelo of MalahideAll welcome. Commodore with Daragh Peelo of Malahide

Dave Kirwan was another of the Estuary Invaders from MalahideDave Kirwan was another of the Estuary Invaders from Malahide

Young Stan O’Rourke successfully carried the banner for a renowned Dublin sailing nameYoung Stan O’Rourke successfully carried the banner for a renowned Dublin sailing name

Commodore with John Phelan, whose successes come inshore and offshore, winter and summer.Commodore with John Phelan, whose successes come inshore and offshore, winter and summer

Published in Howth YC
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Mark Lyttle’s devotion to the Laser/ILCA class is truly world league, as he has continued to race the boat for decades, from success at junior level right up to becoming World Grand Master Champion on Dublin Bay in 2018. There’s no sign of letup, as February’s ILCA World Masters in Australia saw him regularly on the podium, and he finished a sunlit but extremely demanding series with the Bronze in the main division to make him an “Sailor of the Month”.   

Published in Sailor of the Month
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The ILCA European Championships in Athens has experienced another day without racing due to light winds.

The event, which began on Sunday, has completed just three out of the planned eight races for the women's ILCA 6 class, while the men in the ILCA 7 have had two races so far.

Three Irish sailors, Finn Lynch of the National Yacht Club and Ewan and Eve McMahon of Howth Yacht Club, were among the 300 sailors hoping for wind but were left disappointed.

Lynch and McMahon posted nearly matching scores in the only races so far. Eve McMahon has had a consistent showing in the ILCA 6 division.

Due to the calm weather, organisers have cancelled the Olympic format medal race final on Friday instead of focusing on the fleet races. The championship requires four completed races to determine a winner, but the hope is that the qualification round will be completed on Thursday, allowing for Gold fleet racing on Friday to decide the event.

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Irish Masters ILCA/Laser champion Sean Craig of the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour shot straight to the top of the ILCA 6 Masters World Championship with two fourth places scored in breezy conditions in the opening races of the Adelaide, Australia-based regatta. 

Craig, on eight points, leads Australian Colin Beashel by one in the Grand Master division after two races sailed back to back.  Lying third is American Andrew Holdsworth on 10 points. 

The competition continues until next Saturday, February 10th. 

The event follows last week's exploits at the same venue, where Finn Lynch and Ewan McMahon competed in the first of three trials at the 2024 ILCA 7 World Championships.

ILCA Grand Master Sean Craig competing on his home waters of Dublin Bay Photo: AfloatILCA Grand Master Sean Craig competing on his home waters of Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

As regular Afloat readers know, Craig earned his first Grand Master title last May when he finished top of the Barcelona Masters Championships in Spain.

Spain proved a successful hunting ground for the 59-year-old Dun Laoghaire ace, who won a Bronze Medal at the EurILCA Masters Europeans at L’Escala in Spain in October 2022.

Scroll down the results sheet (below) to read the latest ILCA 6 (Radial) Grand Master scores.

Published in Laser
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Howth Yacht Club's heavy weather specialist Eve McMahon conquered strong Moroccan wind and waves to win the single race of day three and move into the overall lead of the ILCA U21 World Championships in Tangier.

The Paris 2024 campaigner is one of five Irish sailors competing. 

Trademark Atlantic waves and Mediterranean winds over 25 knots produced exciting conditions for the Mens ILCA 7 and ILCA 6 Women U21 racing.

The ILCA 6 fleet had two starts, the first being called back on a general recall, and the second good start was held under a black flag.

As the race progressed, the wind was gusty at the top mark, giving momentary respite before a tough downwind leg.

In first position at mark 1 was McMahon (IRL 216111), who was also today’s winner, closely followed by SUI 220286.

The situation in the ILCA 7 yellow fleet was similar as the first sailor to round mark 1, UKR 222721, was also the winner of race 1. In the ILCA 7 blue fleet, the top position went to ITA 221725.

Results are here

Published in Laser
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Howth Yacht Club's Eve McMahon is lying second overall after four races sailed at the 2023 ILCA U21 World Championships in Tangier, Morocco.

The Paris 2024 campaigner is one of five Irish sailors competing. 

Wednesday started cloudy, with rain showers coming and going over the racecourse and the city of Tangier.

The sea conditions were slightly different today as there was a swell from the northwest and the wind from the southwest. The wind conditions were quite unstable across the racecourse, as the wind at the start line was more substantial than at mark 1, which was significantly weaker. The wind intensity ranged from 6 knots at the top marks and up to 12 knots at the start line, with gusts up to 15 knots.

In the first race of the day, the ILCA 6 fleet had three starting procedures, starting with a general recall, followed by a cancelled start due to a wind shift, and a final good start under a black flag. The ILCA 6 first race was the outer course, with Josephine Heegaard from Denmark arriving first to mark one. The race was very close until the last moment when the race was won by Italian Emma Mattivi. In the second race, the winner was again Emma Mattivi; nonetheless, with one discard after four races, the top female sailor was Josephine Heegaard.

In the male ILCA 7 yellow fleet, the racing was tight, and each sailor demonstrated their skill and expertise in the very technical swell and shifty conditions. In race one, the first place went to Italian Attilio Borio, and in race 2 Haruto Kuroda from Japan took the top spot. In the blue fleet, Finley Dickinson of United Kingdom won both races of the day. The top Irish sailor is Royal St. George's Ficachra McDonnell in 66th.

Results are here

Published in Laser
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Royal Cork ILCA (Lasers) hosted the grand finale of the ILCA summer sprint series on Sunday 17th. The series, including ILCA racing across five venues throughout the summer, saw twenty-seven ILCAs compete in three different classes from five clubs on the Curlane Bank in Cork Harbour.

The favourable weather throughout the day from the east held well, allowing the sailors to complete four races on the day. There was some very tight racing in a strong ILCA 4 fleet, making for an exciting competition.

In the ILCA 6 class, three sailors finished on the same points tally, making it even more exciting to decide the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place. The tri-series trophies were presented based on the best three results from the five regattas.

ILCA Summer Sprint Series racingILCA Summer Sprint Series racing

The series started in June at Glandore Harbour Sailing Club and was followed by Kinsale Yacht Club in July, Bantry Bay Sailing Club in August, Iniscarra Sailing and Kayaking Club, and the finale in Royal Cork. It allowed local sailors to explore some of Cork's great sailing venues throughout the summer.

Each regatta used the sprint format with five quick 20-25-minute races with a single discard on the day. A social barbeque was then hosted at each club for sailors, parents, and helpers. Over fifty ILCA sailors raced in at least one of the regattas throughout the summer.

Special appreciation was given to Harriet Emerson in Glandore, John O'Sullivan in Kinsale, Kathryn Kingston in Bantry, and Aoife O'Herlihy in Iniscarra for hosting the previous events in the series. 

Royal Cork's Rear Admiral Dinghies, Maurice Collins expressed his joy for the successful conclusion of the series, as he was pictured with tri-series winners Eolann Miles (ILCA 4), Jonathan O'Shaughnessy (ILCA 7), Andrew Kingston (ILCA 6), and class captain Eddie Kingston at the Triseries prizegivingRoyal Cork's Rear Admiral Dinghies, Maurice Collins expressed his joy for the successful conclusion of the series, as he was pictured with tri-series winners Eolann Miles (ILCA 4), Jonathan O'Shaughnessy (ILCA 7), Andrew Kingston (ILCA 6), and class captain Eddie Kingston at the Triseries prizegiving

For those who missed the summer sprint series, more ILCA sailing is coming up at the RCYC Frostbite League in November.

Published in Laser
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Three sailors from the Dun Laoghaire Harbour ILCA fleet recently competed in Douarnenez, France, showcasing their skills against a formidable field of over 270 competitors across 31 countries at the 2023 ILCA European Championships, with all three Irish sailors achieving at least one top-20 result.

Despite the Breton coast typically experiencing a steady 15-17kts sea breeze, the sailors faced challenging conditions due to the unprecedented hot and humid weather, which produced a combination of light and shifty conditions along with heavier sea breezes and 1.5m swells.

Hugh Delap, Brendan Hughes, and Ali Robinson began their campaign last October at the start of the local DMYC Frostbite series. They competed in provincial events and ultimately ended up in Howth at the end of August, where they raced in 30 knots of wind. 

This proved hugely beneficial to all three in terms of strength and conditioning ahead of the Europeans.

Brendan Hughes rounding the windward mark at the ILCA European Championships in FrancBrendan Hughes rounding the windward mark at the ILCA European Championships in France

The Irish sailors competed in the Apprentice and Masters fleet, which included John Emett, coach of Lijia Xu, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist. Also in this fleet were the current female European champion, a number of previous Olympic sailors, and national and ex-world champion ILCA sailors.

Ali Robinson defending on the downwind at the ILCA European Championships in FranceAli Robinson defending on the downwind at the ILCA European Championships in France

All three sailors spoke about their incredible learnings from the event and emphasised the intense but physically and mentally enhancing experience of having six days of racing in a row. The sailors plan to build on their learnings and continue to develop physically, technically, and mentally, with their sights set on the 2024 Europeans in Portugal and the 2025 Worlds to be held in Hayling Island, UK.

The beauty of the ILCA Masters sailing format is that anyone over the age of 35 can compete against gold medallists, and World and European champions, and continue to compete for as long as they can get into the boat.

Published in Laser
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The Howth Yacht Club (HYC) hosted International Laser Class Association (ILCA) National Championships and saw sailors from three different clubs take the top spots across the three fleets.

Despite losing a day of racing due to strong winds and rough seas, the remaining two days provided plenty of action.

On Saturday, the start of the races was delayed due to the remnants of Friday's storm, but the wind eventually moderated to 15-23 knots, allowing the ILCA 7s to complete four races and the ILCA 6 and 4 fleets to complete three races each. The choppy conditions from the south-easterly breeze made it a challenging race course.

Sunday saw more manageable conditions, with a 12-20 knot breeze welcoming the sailors to the race course. Scorie Walls and her team completed four races for each of the fleets.

Local sailor Jamie McMahon, who had just returned from a summer in the USA, took the crown in the ILCA 7s, narrowly beating Australian Isaac Schotte by one point.

Jonathan O'Shaughnessy from the Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC) had remarkably consistent results and came in third, while Ballyholme's Colin Leonard was the first master and came in fourth.

In the ILCA 6s, East Antrim's Tom Coulter won by one point from RStGYC's Fiachra McDonnell, despite McDonnell's storming day two with three of four race wins. HYC's Sienna Wright was first lady and secured her spot to represent Ireland at the World Sailing Youth Championships.

Carlingford Sailing Club's Lucy Ives showed the rest how it's done in the ILCA 4s, winning the fleet, followed by Liam Duggan (RCYC) and Patrick Foley (RStGYC).

The team trophy was awarded to the club with the best result across the three fleets, which went to RCYC for the second year in a row. HYC and RStGYC were also contenders, but RCYC was the strongest across the fleets.

The event was sponsored by Rooster, who provided prizes for the event, as well as bibs for competitors. HYC played host well, providing food and entertainment ashore for all sailors, with photos from the day's racing displayed on a big screen and music playing, creating a great atmosphere for all involved.

Results here

Published in Laser
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Hungary's Maria Erdi won the final gold medal at the 2023 Allianz Sailing World Championships in The Hague in a tight medal race.

The 25-year-old moved up from third place to claim her first world title in the ILCA 6 medal race.

Australian sailor Matt Wearn confirmed his own world title in the ILCA 7, adding to his Olympic gold won in Tokyo 2020.

The Netherlands finished as the most successful nation, with gold medals for Luuc van Opzeeland in the iQFOiL and Bart Lambriex and Floris van de Werken in the 49er, retaining the IOC President's Trophy for the best nation.

Australian sailor Matt Wearn is carried ashore after winning the ILCA 7 division at the Allianz Sailing World Championships in The Hague Photo: Sailing EnergyAustralian sailor Matt Wearn is carried ashore after winning the ILCA 7 division at the Allianz Sailing World Championships in The Hague Photo: Sailing Energy

As Afloat readers know, Ireland's Finn Lynch from the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire won Ireland a place at the Paris 2024 Games at The Hague in the ILCA 7 class.  

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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