Irish Sailing Hero David Harte

Irish Sailing Hero David Harte

Irish Sailing Hero - David Harte

Olympic Coach, Irish Sailing Dinghy Trainer, Mentor, Professional Racing Crew, Race Official, Boat Builder ………

What is your current role within the sailing industry?

Manager of the Fastnet Marine Outdoor Education Centre, under the ETB (Education Training Board).  I also do some mentoring for Olympic sailors, racing coaching, Irish Sailing instructor and coach training.  I also have a particular interest in Team Racing coaching and development.

How did you start sailing ?

After finishing school I trained as a Shipwright (boatbuilder). The day I qualified I went to the Caribbean and that was the start of ten years pro sailing. I finished in the late 1980s when I was involved the NCB Whitbread Round the World Race. It was a great lifestyle, but it was life out of a bag. Then Irish Sailing (ISA at the time) offered me a job as National Coach in 1990 and I started working with the Olympic team. It was a fantastic job as it gave me an opening to the Optimist Class where I coached for over ten years and became the first Protype measurer for the new IODA one design. I then married Lorna, moved to West Cork and got the job as Manager of the FMOEC. I still like to keep the foot in the door and travel at least once a year to an international regatta, sailing on large classics.

Tell us a bit more about your coaching technique

My philosophy is that sailors need to be responsible for their boat, rigging and decision making. A holistic approach to coaching is a big part of the way I like to work. Understand the person and how they tick, then know how to work with them and help them develop.

What makes you happy ?

Helping students that don’t have buckets of cash to discover our wonderful sport and what it can do for them as a life skill … now that is what makes me glow with happiness. One example that really shines out is a kid that was struggling with school and home, he discovered sailing and loved it. Sailing gave him the lift in confidence and a new pathway in life.

The biggest thrill for me is fast downwind on large yachts. I would love to be “teleported” on to a Volvo Ocean boat as she flies downwind and be “teleported” back off before bed time.  I also get satisfaction out of working out good tactics in a race.

Any advice for young sailors on the circuit?

Sail on the feel, not your measurements every time. Get out early and do some on-the-water tweaking of your rigging. But the biggest thing is the fun side of it. If you are enjoying yourself then you will learn. The biggest achievers are the ones that have enjoyed it.

If you have been inspired by David, take a look at and choose a venue near you to take that first step on your sailing career.