2022 was a remarkable year for Irish Sailors on the water across the globe, with major achievements and adventures being explored all year.
There are 11 nominees this year, ranging from dinghy’s to keelboats to windsurfing:
Finn Lynch, Irish Team ILCA 7 Sailor:
Finn has been nominated of the back of his world ranking status in 2022. Finn came in ranked at World No. 2 in the newly published World Sailing rankings, this is the highest ever ranking for a male Irish Laser Sailor. The rankings are due to his silver medal at the ILCA7 World Championships in Barcelona last November 2021, his 4th place at the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma in April this year, and his 6th place at the 2022 ILCA 7 Men's World Championship in Mexico in May.
Jones Family, J122 Jellybaby:
The Jones Family own ‘JellyBaby’, a family-run J122 40 footer campaigned at local, regional and national events throughout Ireland. All the crew are family or club friends. At the helm is dad Brian or son Cian along with Mary and David. The family have had an amazing year of racing in Cork and around the country winning both RCYC boat of the year and SCORA boat of the year.
Oisin Van Geldren, Windsurfer:
Nominated for his new speed record in windsurfing. At the Lüderitz Speed Challenge 2022 in Namibia he reached speeds of 49.89knots 500m reading on the official GPS (new Irish Record subject to ratification by WSSRC.)
Laura Dillon, keelboat sailor:
Laura is passionate about promoting sailing and ensuring that many others can enjoy the lifelong passion that she has enjoyed. Laura is an Overseas Rear Commodore at the RORC and very keen to encourage more participation at all levels of our sport. In August she won both the Women's Trophy in Cowes Week and skippered the Class 1 overall winner in the Irish Sailing Women at the Helm event in Dublin Bay.
Pamela Lee, Offshore Sailor:
Pamela has been nominated for her dedication to offshore sailing throughout the year and for her guidance and inspiration on the Irish Sailing Women Take the Helm programme where she mentored three women sailors in 2022. Pam lives and works in France, with her latest roles as Co. Skipper and boat captain of ‘Influence’ Class40 campaign and on ‘Team Technique’ for the Primonial Ocean50 and aims to build her international Class40 campaign.
Pat Lawless: Golden Globe Race Sailor:
Pat is nominated for his incredible and relentless passion on his racing journey. Pat had a very impressive performance in the Golden Globe Race before having to take an early retirement to the race.
Ger Owens: Champion’s Cup winner:
Three-time Olympian Ger Owens was 2022’s winner of the newly named Irish Sailing Champions Cup (formerly All Ireland’s or Helmsman’s). This was the 75th anniversary of the Champion’s Cup, and Ger’s third time winning the event. He also won in 2021, and this second consecutive win he secured with long-time GP14 crew Melanie Morris. The event was hosted by Sutton Dinghy Club.
Hannes Louet-Fiesser, WindFoiling:
Nominated for his record-breaking windfoil around Ireland. Many have sailed or walked around our island, but this was the first time for a windfoiler. Hannes raised just shy of €12,000 for the RNLI in the process.
Kinsailor: Kinsale YC's U25 J24 Team
Kinsale-based under 25 team of ‘Kinsailor’ are nominated for their 3rd place in the J24 Europeans in their first season on the water together. This was a highly impressive achievement for a young team moving into their first keelboat event, and amongst a very competitive class.
Tom Dolan, Offshore Racer:
Nominated for his top ten finish in the Solitaire Du Figaro. He finished in 7th place in the overall ranking and for the third time in a row in the top 10 of the most difficult race of the season. Congratulations Tom!
Zoe Mulvey, Powerboating:
Zoe is a young disabled sailor and is the only person to participate fully in every Watersports Inclusion Games since its inception. Her true passion is powerboating and she provided rescue boat support for the Irish Sailing Winter Inclusive Series. She is currently working towards her completing her National Powerboat Licence.
Congratulations to all and we look forward to seeing you at the awards!
The Irish Sailing Youth Sailor of the Year Award is given to a young sailor 18 or under who has achieved an excellent performance representing Ireland internationally. 2022 was a stellar year for our young sailors competing across the world with our national anthem being played nearly eight times over the summer alone.
Here are your 2022 Youth nominees...
Eve McMahon, Irish Sailing Team ILCA 6:
Three time Irish Sailing Youth Sailor of the Year winner Eve McMahon gathered a hat-trick of gold medals this summer. The Howth Yacht Club sailor retained her gold at the ILCA6 Youth World Championships in Houston, Texas. The victory added to the gold medals she won at the Youth Sailing World Championships in the Netherlands, and at the European Youth ILCA6 Championship in Greece earlier in July. She also claimed silver at the U21 ULCA Youth World Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal.
Rocco Wright, Irish Sailing ILCA 6 Academy:
Another familiar name on the nominee list is Rocco Wright. The Irish Sailing’s Academy sailor, also a product of Howth Yacht Club, closed out 2022 with a neck full of medals. Rocco began his success claiming gold alongside teammate Eve McMahon at the Youth World Championship in the Netherlands in July. He then went on to emerge overall winner of the ILCA6 Men's European Championship in Hyeres, France.
Lucia Cullen and Alana Twomey, 29er Team:
Lucia Cullen (Royal St. George YC) and Alana Twomey (Royal Cork YC) the 29er sailing duo took home gold at the U17 World Championships and overall 3rd place World Champions in Spain this summer. They then added to this with the 29er National Championship title.
Bobby Driscoll, Toppers:
Bobby of Ballyholme YC and member of the Irish Sailing Topper Squad missed gold narrowly to take home the silver medal at the Topper Worlds in Lake Garda after winning the majority of races throughout the event. He then went on to finish second in the British Nationals a week later - an impressive feat for a strong wind sailor in a full week of 5 knots sailing in Weymouth. These results (to be confirmed) gives him the best overall performance for an Irish sailor at the two top Topper events in one season. To round off his year, Bobby finished 1st at the National Championships winning six out of eight races.
Calum Pollard, Toppers:
Another rising star in the Topper Class, Calum claimed gold at the Topper Worlds in the 4.2 class in Riva del Garda. Calum impressed, winning four bullets over 11 races. Calum is from Country Antrim YC.
Carlow sailor and Olympian Finn Lynch wins prestigious Sailor of the Year with Eve McMahon winning Youth Sailor Award for third year running.
Annalise Murphy, Olympic silver medallist, was honoured at the Irish Sailing Awards on Saturday 26 March with the presentation of the President’s Award to mark the end of her stellar Olympic sailing career. Presenting the prize, Patrick Coveney, Greencore CEO and outgoing chair of the Irish Sailing Olympic Steering Group commented: “Annalise is perhaps the greatest Irish sailor of all time and has changed the way sailing is seen in this country”.
Carlow sailor and Olympian Finn Lynch won the prestigious Sailor of the Year for his silver medal at the ILCA 7 Laser World Championships in Barcelona in November 2021. His result was the best achieved by an Irish sailor in any Olympic discipline and came hot on the heels of his 7th place at the ILCA 7 Laser European Championships in October.
James O’Callaghan, Irish Sailing Performance Director commented: “Finn’s progression since his Olympic qualifying disappointment has been phenomenal. He’s responded like a true champion winning a World Championship silver medal. The recognition from the Irish sailing community and his status as Irish Sailing Sailor of the year is truly deserved”.
Eve McMahon of Howth Yacht Club won Irish Sailing Youth Sailor of the Year for the third year in a row. It was a successful year for the teenager who moved up from the Irish Sailing Academy to officially join the Senior Team at the end of 2021. In July she won gold at the ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) Youth World Championships in Italy, followed swiftly by a silver medal at the EURILCA Laser Radial Youth Championships in Croatia. In December she finished in 4th place at the ILCA6 Youth Sailing World Championships in Oman, just missing a medal. Eve is currently studying for her Leaving Cert.
Oysterhaven Centre in Cork took home the popular Irish Sailing Training Centre of the Year award, having been nominated as winners of the South Region. The two other nominees were Courtown Sailing Club (East Region winners) and Royal Western YC and Kilrush Marina (winner of the West Region).
The Sustainability Award was won by Malahide Seascouts in Dublin for their innovative Gear Grab scheme. The scouts, who range in age from 12 to 17, set up a kit-sharing system to pass on and reuse pre-loved gear.
Skerries Sailing Club won the Irish Sailing Inclusion Award for their work with Skerries Autism Friendly Town Group to introduce children with additional needs to sailing.
The Leadership Award went to Mary Duffy of Bray Sailing Club, a sailor with no arms who represented Ireland at the Hansa World Sailing Championships and finished in 14th place despite only starting sailing in 2018.
Volunteer of the Year went to Elaine O’Mahoney of Royal Western YC and Kilrush Marina, and Senior Instructor of the Year Award went to Kris Long of Crookhaven Harbour Sailing Club in Cork.
The Volunteer of the Year Award recognises the incredible and selfless work and time that an individual invests in giving back to their club or local community. We simply could not enjoy our days on the water without them, whether it be race officer, junior organiser or a mentor in the club; these are the people giving their time for the rest of us.
Ann Kirwan, of Dublin Bay Sailing Club:
Ann Kirwan was Commodore of DBSC for most of the Covid 19 Pandemic. During this time she not only pushed to get as much racing held as possible but also led an inclusivity drive to increase participation in our sport. The second female commodore in the club's long history, Ann championed Irish Sailing’s Women on the Water events by successfully competing in, committing DBSC support to, and encouraging others to join the events. Ann, having stepped down as Commodore, has left a legacy in racing on Dublin Bay and DBSC which will bring racing to more people and encourage those at all levels to participate in our sport.
Brian Stewart, Malahide Yacht Club
After many years of hard work and commitment both on and off the committee, Brian took on the newly created role of Club Bosun on his retirement from work. Effectively "living" in the dinghy park, he has become the constant ‘go to’ helper. From saving the club money to innovative systems for the club, he now mentors the next generation of young sailors on practical aspects of boat maintenance. An all round rock for Malahide Yacht Club.
Suzanne McGarry, Dublin Bay Sailing Club
Suzanne is an excellent mentor, particularly for women. She has been a keen supporter of dinghy sailing in DBSC, is always available to encourage others and was one of the key supporters of the 2022 Women at the Helm in Dublin Bay.
Sharon De Bhaldraithe, Galway City Sailing Club
The epitome of a volunteer, 2022 was Sharon’s fourth year as the club’s Public Relations Officer and third as Safeguarding Liaison Officer. She was extremely proactive in promoting sailing for everyone and started the club’s programme for children in direct provision. Always going ‘above and beyond’, Sharon is always the last one there the night before any event and the first to show up the very next day!
Brendan and Sarah Foley, Royal St. George Yacht Club
Brendan and Sarah have been instrumental in driving youth participation as Oppie class captains, IODAI committee members and heavily promoting RS Aero and Feva fleets. They have grown their Optimist class to be the largest in the country.
Colman Grimes, Skerries Sailing Club
Colman is wildly enthusiastic about sailing and getting people on the water. He organizes and administers sail training for Juniors and Seniors and was the major driver of the very successful GP14 Worlds in Skerries. He is a veritable powerhouse for promoting sailing.
Colum McCaffrey, Scouting Ireland Malahide Sea Scouts
Colum has invested hundreds of hours in putting sailing back at the heart of the Sea Scouting movement. Through his work in Malahide, hundreds of young people have gone afloat. In particular he has built a strong pipeline of sailing and powerboating instructors in order to multiply his impact. He lives and breathes sailing and never rests in his quest to spread the message around the country through the Sea Scout network.
Here’s to all our nominated volunteers and to the many more across the country, whom without our sport would not quite be the same!