Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Rio 2016
Joy and delight for Jacob Ziemkiewicz (standing) from Poland as Bibi floats after launching his Mini yacht in Cork Harbour for testing in advance of the Mini Globe Race
Jacob Ziemkiewicz from Poland, who says he was “born to sail,” and whose plan to build his own boat of plywood construction to compete in the Mini Globe Race we reported on last June, has launched and is sea-trialling…
Barry Andrews MEP; Councillor Mary Hanafin; Councillor Denis O’Callaghan, Cathaoirleach, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council; Councillor Marie Baker; Ed Totterdell, RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager; Councillor Carrie Smyth; Cormac Devlin TD; Harry Duggan, Harbour Master, Dún Laoghaire Harbour; Colette O'Sullivan; with RNLI crew members Nathan Burke, Andrew Sykes and James Traynor at rear
A record of the trust which was established to help bereaved families in the lifeboat disaster on Christmas Eve 1895 off Dun Laoghaire has been published digitally by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown (dlr) archive services. The Kingstown Life-Boat Disaster Fund Letter…
Dubin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) Water Wag racing is cancelled at Dun Laoghaire Harbour
Dubin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) Water Wag racing for the second Wednesday in a row tonight (May 29) is cancelled due to gusty offshore winds inside Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The 30-boat dinghy class was due to race its 2024 Women…
Grey Wagtail declined by 67% between 1998 and 2016,” BirdWatch Ireland says. The independent conservation organisation seeks citizen scientists for records of raptors and river birds in Dublin city this summer
BirdWatch Ireland is seeking citizen scientists for records of raptors and river birds in Dublin City this summer. The Dublin City Raptor Survey is seeking records of Peregrine Falcon, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Buzzard, Long-eared Owl and Barn Owl, while the Dublin…
Some of the crew and volunteers of Dún Laoghaire RNLI acknowledged for their bravery and commitment in saving lives at sea. Organised by Dún Laoghaire Senator Barry Ward, twelve members of the Dún Laoghaire RNLI were presented with certificates of appreciation by An Taoiseach, Simon Harris TD, in Government Buildings, Dublin
Some of the crew and volunteers of Dún Laoghaire RNLI were acknowledged yesterday for their bravery and commitment in saving lives at sea. Organised by Dún Laoghaire Senator Barry Ward, twelve members of the Dún Laoghaire RNLI were presented with…
File image of two orcas breaching
A team of marine experts believe they have cracked the mystery of why a pod of orcas have been ramming boats in the Mediterranean in recent years. Following one of the most recent incidents, in which a 15-metre yacht was…
Waterways Ireland logo
Tarmonbarry’s lifting bridge on the Shannon Navigaton has finally reopened after an extended closure for essential maintenance, Waterways Ireland has confirmed. Diversions had been in place since early February when the bridge in Co Roscommon was closed for works that…
The French Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Mr Vincent Guérend, on board the RV Tom Crean with Marine Institute CEO Dr Rick Officer and Captain Colin McBrearty
Today, His Excellency Mr Vincent Guérend, the French Ambassador to Ireland, paid a visit to the Marine Institute, where he was warmly welcomed on board the RV Tom Crean. This visit is part of an official engagement aimed at strengthening…
The rise in the number of distressing cases of seafarers globally has become a humanitarian crisis, says maritime charity Stella Maris, which is providing support for, for example, (as above) abandoned fisher crew in Mombasa, Kenya. Closer to home, a recent issue involved an Indian crew who were abandoned in Troon, south-west Scotland, and had not received their wages for several months.
An increase in cases of affected seafarers abandoned by shipowners without money, support, or the means to get home has reached alarming levels around the world, according to maritime charity Stella Maris, which is providing support to some of those…
A four-star hotel on the Isle of Arran, on the Firth of Clyde, has introduced a new policy amid concerns over Summer disruption of the ferry connecting the mainland. Above: Caledonian Isles at the older ferry terminal in Brodick, Arran, where the hotel is located nearby the town on the scenic island, the seventh largest in Scotland.
In south-west Scotland, a popular island hotel has announced a new policy for visitors affected by ferry disruptions on the Firth of Clyde amid warnings of a "Summer of more chaos". The four-star Auchrannie Resort on the Isle of Arran,…

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