10 Irish students from UCD have today (2nd November) won the most prestigious annual international student sailing championship; the Student Yachting World Cup in La Rochelle, France. The Irish team claimed victory by the largest margin ever recorded by an Irish team competing throughout the 32 year history of the event. Team Ireland dominated the regatta by consistently scoring podium places in almost all of their 13 races throughout the championship to finish on a total of 25 points while their closest rivals, Team Canada, finished on 37 points.
The regatta which was held in La Rochelle, France, saw the top 14 teams from around the world compete for six days in wide ranging sailing conditions and race course formats. Team Ireland set down a clear marker of their intentions on the first day of the regatta by carding two second places. Team Ireland took a little longer to find their grove on the inshore race course however carding an eighth place, leaving them in third place overall on the first evening.
From there, the team’s ability and confidence improved as they learned how to sail the boat most effectively in the varying wind and wavy conditions that La Rochelle produced on a daily basis. Team skipper Aidan Mc Laverty produced some breath-taking start line manoeuvres when jostling with the other nations trying to ensure the team started at the most favourable end of the start line on each occasion. Team Ireland’s tactician Barry Mc Cartin’s research on wind and tides in La Rochelle paid dividends as he frequently called the best lines and angles to sail the team around the course.
Day two of the regatta brought similar sailing conditions with a short chop and 12 knots of breeze. Team Ireland carded once again two second place finishes and an unfortunate “Did Not Finish” in the inshore race due to a navigational error. It was at this stage in the regatta where Team Ireland’s training began to show as sail trimmers Simon Doran and Cathal Leigh-Doyle ensured the team maintained the best boat speed in the fleet.
The regatta brought numerous twists and turns on day three as the team carded a third place finish followed by two first place finishes in race numbers 8 and 9. The team utilised their subs tactically by brining on Ben Fusco and Ellen Cahill for the night race. This six hour long race was started at 16.30 and provided a unique tactical challenge to the team who had to cope with pitch black darkness as they sailed around La Rochelle bay. The team fought extremely hard in the testing conditions and finished third only securing their place on the last 20 meters of the race. Team Ireland’s pit crew member Alyson Rumball, played a crucially influential role in ensuring our sail changes went smoothly and quickly throughout the night.
Going into the final three days of the regatta, Team Ireland had the smallest of cushions over second place Team Canada. Team fitness allowed the team to push on in the increased winds. Team mast man Theo Murphy and bowman David Fitzgerald excelled in the conditions and allowed them to out manoeuvre the other teams downwind while Bella Morehead trimmed brilliantly downwind.
Unfortunately, the last two days of the regatta had to be cancelled due to winds gusting 40 knots on the race course. However, Team Ireland’s lead of 12 points ensured they secured the prestigious trophy and won the regatta. As a result of their win, Ireland Sailing Team –UCD will return to defend their title next year in France.
The team have to thank everyone for their support in the lead up and during the event. Support from Ireland and across the world during the regatta has been amazing and kept the team motivated and focused on representing our country.
The team wish to give a special mention to the following people who without their help, support and encouragement they would not have made it to this event.
Training Yacht – “Adrenalin”: Joe Balfe and Joe Mc Donald
Team Coaches: Maurice O’ Connell, North Sails and Marty O’Leary
ISA: Rachel Solon
University College Dublin Sport Department
University College Dublin Head Strength and Conditioning Coach – Marcus Wehr
Title Sponsor: Miagen
Title Clothing Sponsor: Dubarry
Title Weather Forecasting Sponsor: Meteo Forecasting Group
Title Equipment Sponsor: CH Marine
Title Vehicle Sponsor: Martin Reilly Motors
Title Rigging Sponsor: Mast and Rigging Ireland
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23rd October 2012
On Thursday the 25th of November, the Ireland Sailing Team - UCD will travel to La Rochelle in France to compete at the 2012 Student Yachting World Cup. The annual regatta attracts the top student sailors from around the world including Australia, Canada, Japan, the UK and the USA. The UCD students earned the right to represent Ireland having won the Irish Student Yachting National Championships in Dun Laoghaire in March. The highly experienced team will not just be representing UCD but all corners of the island of Ireland. The 10 sailors hail from all over the country including Antrim, Cork, Down, Sligo, Wexford, Wicklow and Westport and between them share a wealth of skills and knowledge.
Since the team was launched by Irish sailing heroine Annalise Murphy back in September, the team has been carrying out an intensive training program both on and off the water. The team has trained nearly every weekend under the instruction of their world class sailing coaches Marty O'Leary and Maurice (Prof) O'Connell from North Sails. The Irish team have been training on board an A35 designed yacht in Dublin which is very similar to the "Grande Surprise" design boats which the team will be racing in La Rochelle, France. The yacht was generously lent to the team for their training program by the boats owners Joe Balfe and Joe McDonald to whom the team are extremely grateful. The team also frequently carried out two boat training sessions with another identical A35 named "Another Adventure" which was driven by the highly experienced sailor Kenny Rumball.
Since last May the team has been searching for a number of service and financial sponsors in order to cover some of the costs associated with the regatta. The team contacted over 70 companies all over Ireland however the team were unable to secure a title financial sponsor until this week. A number of companies across Ireland agreed to provide their specific services free of charge which has covered a large proportion of the costs associated with the event and effectively enabled the team to travel to the event. Funding issues has been a worldwide problem for teams hoping to compete at this event this year as only as of two weeks ago, Team Scotland and Team Singapore had to pull out of the event due to lack of funding and sponsorship.
The team has also been carrying out an intensive fitness and strength training in UCD's High Performance Gym. These training sessions were specifically designed and tailored for each team member specific roles on the boat.
Team skipper Aidan McLaverty, who competed at the event last year with Cork Institute of Technology when they came in third place, remarked "Training has gone really well, our coaches have been amazing and the team has really come together well. The next big issue for the team is the boat draw in France on Friday night. Last year we [CIT] had the worst boat in the fleet and it really affected our overall result - but we will have to wait and see".
Team captain Cathal Leigh-Doyle thanked all the team’s official sponsors and today formally announced that the team had finally secured a title sponsor "Miagen". Cathal added "Miagen's signing today as the teams title sponsor adds perfectly to the great group of sponsors the team has secured over the last four months. We are delighted and honoured to have Dubarry, Martin Reilly Motors, CH Marine, Mast and Rigging Ireland, Meteo Forecasting Group, North Sails and Fotosail supporting the team. Without our sponsors we would not be going to this event".
Follow the team through their Facebook page www.facebook.com/Irelandsailingteamucd
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6th September 2012
Irish sailing heroine Annalise Murphy was in Dun Laoghaire today supporting 10 of her fellow UCD students as they launched the team that will represent Ireland at the 2012 Student Yachting World Cup. The prestigious event which began in 1979 will be held in La Rochelle, France from the 27th of October to the 3rd of November. The annual regatta attracts the top student sailors from around the world including Australia, Canada, Japan, the UK and the USA. The UCD students earned the right to represent Ireland having won the Irish Student Yachting National Championships in Dun Laoghaire in March.
Annalise first attended UCD four years ago but subsequently put her degree on hold for three years to focus on her Olympic campaign. She has returned to UCD this week and was delighted to attend the launch and offer her university peers some words of encouragement. Annalise remarked “I’m great friends with the guys on the team from either sailing or my first year in UCD. They’re a really strong team and have a really good chance of winning at the World Cup. I wish them the best of luck“.
The highly experienced team will not just be representing UCD but all corners of the island of Ireland. The 10 sailors hail from all over the country including Antrim, Cork, Down, Mayo, Sligo, Wexford and Waterford and between them share a wealth of skills and knowledge. The team’s skipper Aidan McLaverty competed at the event last year when he and the team from Cork Institute of Technology took home the bronze. The Health and Performance graduate also trained on the Irish Sailing Association’s Academy with Annalise Murphy and has won silver and bronze at world championships. The tactician for the team, Barry McCartin holds nine Irish National Sailing Championship titles across six different classes and has also competed internationally on the Olympic 470 class circuit.
Team Captain Cathal Leigh Doyle, a UCD Business and Law graduate and Bowman David Fitzgerald have won numerous Irish national titles between them whilst medical students Simon Doran and Theo Murphy spent years competing in the Laser Radial class at international level. Ben Fusco has 9,000 miles of offshore experience and in 2009 won the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race with a record setting time. He also skippered the youngest team ever to sail around Ireland non-stop in 2010. The three girls on the team also have both national and international experience in spades. Isabella Morehead and Alyson Rumball both began sailing in Optimists from a very young age and quickly progressed to international regattas in Optimists, Fevas, 420s and 29ers. While Ellen Cahill has spent the past 18 months in California studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of California San Diego where she partook in both Team Racing and yacht racing,
This incredibly talented team know that experience isn’t enough, they must train as much as possible over the next six week if they are to effectively challenge the reigning champions from Euromed Arthur Loyd in France. Utilising the UCD High Performance Gym, the team will be working on their strength and conditioning a minimum of two days per week with the gym’s trainers. They will also spend every weekend, and evenings during the week on an ad hoc basis, on board their training yacht ‘Adrenaline’. Under the instruction of coaches Nicholas O’Leary, brother of Olympian Peter O’Leary and past Student Yachting World Cup competitors John Downey and Marty O’Leary, the team hope to ensure their best chances of bringing home the gold to Ireland, something which has not been repeated since 2008.