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Irish sailors held their nerve over the final two back-to-back races on Saturday to win ILCA 7 silver and bronze at the World Masters Championships in Adelaide, Australia.

Irish champion Colin Leonard of Ballyholme Yacht Club in Northern Ireland won silver in the ILCA 7 Apprentice fleet (age 30 to 44) after a consistent series saw the Belfast Lough sailor finish the 12 race series with a string of second place scores ((2.0 [6.0] 2.0 2.0 1.0 6.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 6.0 2.0) against overall winner Luke Deegan of New Zealand in a 12 boat fleet.

In the ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters division (age 55 to 64), 1996 Olympian Mark Lyttle of the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay won bronze in his 35-boat fleet.

The National Yacht Club's Mark Lyttle won bronze at the ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters World Championship fleet in Adelaide, Australia Photo: Jack FletcherThe National Yacht Club's Mark Lyttle won bronze at the ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters World Championship fleet in Adelaide, Australia Photo: Jack Fletcher 

The 1996 Atlanta Olympian, who won the Grand Master title in 2018 on home waters, finished on 46 points and third overall, six points off silver won by New Zealand's Andrew Dellabarca.

With an incredible 11 race wins from 12 starts, Australia's Brett Beyer proved unstoppable in this fleet.

Belfast Lough's Conrad Simpson, competing in the same division, finished 29th but withdrew after race seven due to injury.

Royal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour competing in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters World Championships in Adelaide, Australia Credit: Jack FletcherRoyal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour competing on day five in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters World Championships in Adelaide, Australia Credit: Jack Fletcher

Royal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour finished sixth overall in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters category.

Scroll down the results sheet (below) to read the final scores.

Published in Laser

Two final back-to-back races on Saturday will decide if Ireland will be on the podium in the ILCA/Laser World Masters Championships in Adelaide, Australia, with Irish boats contesting medal places in two divisions.

In the ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters 35 boat fleet,1996 Olympian Mark Lyttle of the National Yacht Club lies third in Adelaide, Australia, after ten races sailed.

The 1996 Atlanta Olympian, who won the Grand Master title in 2018 on home waters, is on 27 points and third overall, five points off second held by New Zealand's Andrew Dellabarca.

With an incredible nine race wins from ten starts, Australia's Brett Beyer is unstoppable on nine points in this fleet.

Belfast Lough's Conrad Simpson, competing in the same division, is 25th.

Irish sailors are performing is both ILCA 6 and 7 divisions at the ILCA World Masters Championships, Australia Photo Jack FletcherIrish sailors are performing well in both ILCA 6 and 7 divisions at the 2024 ILCA World Masters Championships, Australia Photo Jack Fletcher

In the 12-boat ILCA 7 Apprentice fleet, Ireland's Colin Leonard of Ballyholme Yacht Club continues a consistent run in second overall.

In the ILCA 6, Royal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour lies sixth overall up one place from Thursday's seventh in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters category after ten races sailed but just four points off fifth.

The Irish champion took an early lead in last Sunday's opening two races, scoring two fourths, but is now on 54 points after ten races sailed, some 38 points off the lead held by Australia's Mark Tonner-Joyce.

Robert Jeffreys of Australia, who spends half his year in Cork Harbour and sails out of Monkstown and Royal Cork, dropped to sixth from fourth place in the ILCA6 Great Grand Masters division.

The competition concludes on Saturday (February 10th) with two final back-to-back races. 

Scroll down the results sheet (below) to read the latest scores.

Published in Laser

Ireland's assault on the ILCA/Laser World Masters Championships in Adelaide, Australia, continues into the penultimate day of competition, with Irish boats in podium places in two divisions.

In the ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters 35 boat fleet,1996 Olympian Mark Lyttle of Dun Laoghaire lies third in Adelaide, Australia, after eight races sailed.

The 1996 Atlanta Olympian, who won the Grand Master title in 2018 on home waters, is on 27 points and third overall, five points off second held by New Zealand's Andrew Dellabarca.

With seven race wins from eight starts, Australia's Brett Beyer appears unstoppable on seven points in this fleet.

Belfast Lough's Conrad Simpson, competing in the same division, is 25th.

Irish sailors are performing is both ILCA 6 and 7 divisions at the ILCA World Masters Championships, Australia Photo Jack FletcherIrish sailors are performing well in both ILCA 6 and 7 divisions at the 2024 ILCA World Masters Championships, Australia Photo Jack Fletcher

In the 12-boat ILCA 7 Apprentice fleet, Ireland's Colin Leonard of Ballyholme Yacht Club continues in second overall.

In the ILCA 6, Royal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour lies seventh in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters category after seven races sailed but just two points off fifth.

The Irish champion took an early lead in last Sunday's opening two races, scoring two fourths, but is now on 42 points after seven races sailed, some 29 points off the lead held by Australia's Mark Tonner-Joyce.

Robert Jeffreys of Australia, who spends half his year in Cork Harbour and sails out of Monkstown and Royal Cork, continues in fourth place in the ILCA6 Great Grand Masters division.

The competition continues until Saturday, February 10th. 

Scroll down the results sheet (below) to read the latest scores.

Published in Laser

In the ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters 35 boat fleet,1996 Olympian Mark Lyttle of Dun Laoghaire lies fifth in Adelaide, Australia after six races sailed.

The 1996 Atlanta Olympian, who won the Grand Master title in 2018 on home waters, counts 4 (12) 4 5 2 4 to be on the same 19 points as third overall, Christoph Marsano of Austria.

With five races wins from six starts, Australia's Brett Beyer appears unstoppable on five points in this fleet.

Belfast Lough's Conrad Simpson, competing in the same division, is 21st.

In the 12-boat ILCA 7 Apprentice fleet, Ireland's Colin Leonard of Ballyholme Yacht Club continues in second overall.

Royal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour competing in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters World Championships in in Adelaide, Australia Photo: Jack FletcherRoyal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour competing in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters World Championships in in Adelaide, Australia Photo: Jack Fletcher

Royal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour continues in fifth in the ILCA 6 Grand Masters category.

The Irish champion took an early lead in Sunday's opening two races, scoring two fourths, but is now on 287 points after six races sailed, some 18 points off the lead held by Australia's Mark Tonner-Joyce.

Robert Jeffreys of Australia, who spends half his year in Cork Harbour and sails out of Monkstown and Royal Cork, is in fourth in the ILCA6 Great Grand Masters division.

The competition continues until next Saturday, February 10th. 

Scroll down the results sheet (below) to read the latest scores.

Published in Laser

Royal St. George's Sean Craig of Dun Laoghaire Harbour has lost the overall lead in the ILCA 6 World Championships Grand Masters Fleet in Adelaide, Australia.

The Irish champion took an early lead in Sunday's opening two races, scoring two fourths, but a four and discarded nine scored on Monday has dropped the sole Irish contender to fifth overall on 12 points.

Australia's Mark Tonner-Joyce leads on seven points from America's  Andrew Holdsworth on eight, with Australian Bruce Savage third on 11.

Ballyholme Yacht Club's Colin Leonard in action in the Apprentice division of the ILCA 7 World Championships in Adelaide, AustraliaBallyholme Yacht Club's Colin Leonard in action in the Apprentice division of the ILCA 7 World Championships in Adelaide, Australia

Lyttle Lying Fifth in ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters

In the ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters 35 boat fleet,1996 Olympian Mark Lyttle of Dun Laoghaire lies fifth, and Belfast Lough's Conrad Simpson is 18th.

The competition continues until next Saturday, February 10th. 

In the 12-boat ILCA 7 Apprentice fleet, Ireland's Colin Leonard of Ballyholme Yacht Club lies second.

Scroll down the results sheet (below) to read the latest scores.

Published in Laser

Royal St. George Yacht Club ILCA 6-star Sean Craig has finished top of the Barcelona Masters Championships in Spain.

With no racing on Saturday, three on Sunday and two on Monday, conditions were very unstable (with lots of thunder and lightning), so it was a high-scoring regatta for the fleet apart from the winner, two-time Olympian Monica Azon.

Despite only finishing seventh overall, Craig earned his first Grand Master title in the biggest category racing, with 26 of the 53-boat fleet.

Spain is proving a successful hunting ground for the 58-year-old Dun Laoghaire ace who won a Bronze Medal at the EurILCA Masters Europeans at L’Escala in Spain last October.

John Curran, ex-Bray Sailing Club and now Wembley Sailing Club in London, came 32nd.

Download results below

The action moves up the Costa Brava next weekend May 4-7th for the Spanish Masters where a big Irish contingent of three more ILCA 6s and four ILCA 7s (all from the RStGYC) will join Craig and Curran.

Published in Laser
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When you see Dun Laoghaire’s Sean Craig (RStGYC) racing a solo dinghy, the last thing that springs to mind would be categorising him as a “Senior” or “Masters” sailor. Yet it was way back in 1993 – nearly thirty years ago – that he won the Helmsman’s Championship of Ireland in Larne while in the midst of an already prize-studded sailing career which has continued ever since.

These days he’s best known for being in the frame in various categories of international competition in the ILCA/Laser 6, his October 2022 achievement being to get on podium with the Bronze Medal at the EurILCA Masters Europeans at L’Escala in Spain on October 14th.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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A record number of ILCA Master class sailors are in L'Escala on the Costa Brava, Spain, to contest the 2022 EurILCA/Laser Master European Championships and two Irish sailors are among the 263 sailors aged over 30 years who will be competing for European titles.

The fleet will have representatives from 26 European countries but also from other parts of the world, such as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Morocco, the United States and Canada.

Among them are up to 11 participants over 75 years old and 21 women.

Royal St. George's Sean Craig from Dun Laoghaire Harbour is competing in the ILCA 6 division, which has 138 ILCA 6 entries, 48 of whom will race separately in Craig's GrandMaster (GM) division. Entry list here 

The flag is raised at the 2022 EURILCA European ChampionshipsThe flag is raised at the 2022 EURILCA European Championships Photo: Thom Touw

As regular Afloat readers know, when Craig took fourth in the Worlds last year, all three ahead of him were Europeans, but significantly the silver medal; on the occasion was Miguel Noguer-Castellvi from Spain, who has now moved on to a higher age division, so there is the prospect of a podium finish for Ireland, but nothing is guaranteed on the Costa Brava even though conditions are expected to be good next week, with 10-20 knots in warm water and air temperatures.

Craig did not compete in yesterday's practice race. 

Very eagle-eyed Irish sailors looking at the entry list may recognise Noguer-Castellvi as the Olympic Gold medalist in the Flying Dutchman class in 1980 in Tallinn when Wilkins and Wilkinson took silver for Ireland!

Current GrandMaster World Champion Gilles Coadou will compete for France, as will Belgium’s Pieter Van Laer, third at last year’s Barcelona Worlds and Father to Belgium’s Full rig representative at the Tokyo Olympics.

The GM fleet is boosted by non-European entries from Argentina, and other age divisions feature Australians, Americans, and Brazilians.

Ireland has one other entry, London-based ex-pat John Curran, a member of Wembley SC who travelled over to the Irish Masters in May, featuring quite strongly though his best place of a second was lost to a Black Flag infringement. Curran races in the Masters' division.

Most of the top ten from the World Championships are competing, including Ulf Myrin from Sweden, who beat Craig into second at the Malta Masters in March this year, and Dutchman Wilmar Groenendijk, who pipped him by one point for first GM at the Spanish masters in April.

Published in Laser
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Twelve Dun Laoghaire Harbour Laser/ILCA sailors competed last weekend at the XIV edition of the Spanish ILCA Masters, at picturesque Calella de Palafrugell on the Costa Brava coast.

Racing in nine ILCA 6’s (Radials) and three ILCA 7’s (Full rigs), the sailors came from RStGYC, NYC and the Coal Harbour.

Ireland was also represented on the water by our International Judge/Umpire Michael O’Connor, from Kinsale.

This is one of the most popular regattas on the popular EuroMasters circuit which attracts over 700 ILCA sailors to various wonderful venues each year. For this regatta, hosted by the hospitable Club Vela Calella, there were 64 ILCA 6s and 34 ILCA 7s.

The Spanish ILCA Masters at picturesque Calella de Palafrugell on the Costa Brava coast(Above and below) The Spanish ILCA Masters at picturesque Calella de Palafrugell on the Costa Brava coast

Sailed in glorious sunshine throughout and very pleasant temperatures, the regatta began on Thursday, April 28 with an epic practice race in 15-20 knots, followed by Day 1 proper with 3 races in 10-14 knots but, by the weekend, competing weather systems left the venue windless and only one more race was possible on the Sunday. So Friday was key and, despite a very one-sided first beat, results were very up and down as starts were congested (especially with the 6’s) and finding lanes on the favoured port lay line was absolutely treacherous.

The Spanish ILCA Masters at picturesque Calella de Palafrugell on the Costa Brava coast

The Irish squad proved that the vibrant local Masters' scene means our sailors are very competitive and all acquitted themselves well. Off the water too, where the team represented the second-largest contingent after the hosts, among the 13 countries represented!

In the ILCA 6’s, Monica Azon claimed first overall for Spain, proving her pedigree as a dual Olympian from 2004 and 2008. She was pushed hard by Max Hunt (GBR), very well known for his specialist ILCA parts business. Next were Dutch and Mexican competitors (the latter preparing for the Master Worlds in Mexico in June) and the top 5 was rounded off by Sean Craig (RStGYC), a result which also gave him a podium 2nd in the 28-boat Grand Master category. The next best of the Irish was Judy O’Beirne in 28th overall (and 6th lady overall), followed by Sean Flanagan in 32nd, Shirley Gilmore in 34th and Michael Norman in 37th.

In the ILCA 7’s, the Spanish dominated, taking the top 6 overall and the great Jose Luis Doreste (470 Gold in 1984 Games and Flying Dutchman Gold in 1996 Games) didn’t actually make top three. Best of the Irish was Theo Lyttle in 17th overall who had the satisfaction of a win in the Practice race.

The Irish competitors were ; Alison Pigot (NYC), Ali Robinson (RStGYC), Judy O’Beirne (RStGYC), Shirley Gilmore (RStGYC), Michael Norman (Coal Harbour/Wicklow SC), Hugh Cahill (Coal Harbour/DBSC), Sean Flanagan (RStGYC), David Cahill (NYC), Sean Craig (RStGYC), Theo Lyttle (RStGYC), Conor O’Leary (RStGYC), Chris Arrowsmith (RStGYC)

The 2022 ILCA Master European Championships will take place not far up the coast from Calella de Palafrugell, in October, at L’Escala. A strong Irish team is expected to compete.

Results of the 2022 Spanish Masters are downloadable below

Published in Laser

Laser ace Sean Craig has been on top form in June. In addition to his usual input into racing and sailing administration, he's in the frame in both the two Laser local weekly series currently being staged by DBSC.

Meanwhile at national level, he retained the Laser Masters Radial title at his home club of Royal St George in mid-June from a record fleet, and then in the final weekend of June in brisk conditions at Whitehead on Belfast Lough, he became the winner of the Laser Radial Ulster Championship hosted by County Antrim YC, the oldest winner (at 57) of any open Laser regional event in Ireland.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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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