Sailing World Champions Honoured at Volvo Irish Sailing Awards
Volvo Irish Sailing Awards, RDS, Dublin, Friday 8 February 2019
Tonight’s prestigious Volvo Sailor of the Year has been awarded to World U23 49er Champions Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove at a ceremony in Dublin tonight.
Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove of Howth and Skerries respectively were named tonight as joint Volvo Sailor of the Year at the Volvo Irish Sailing Awards. This annual event hosted by Irish Sailing (The Irish Sailing Association) drew a record crowd of over 500 people from across the country and sailing community to celebrate another eventful year of sailing. Robert and Sean have worked their way up from club sailing with Sutton, Skerries and Howth, to the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway coaching programmes and the 49er class (a two-handed skiff). Their progress has been quick and while they were aiming for a season best at the U23 World 49er Championships in Marseille (September 2018), their performance was stand-out. Despite only being 20 years old, they showed nerves of steel throughout, and closed out the championships with a race win, killing all hopes from the chasing pack and bringing home the Gold Medal.
Irish Sailing President Jack Roy commented: “I’m delighted that Rob and Sean have won this prestigious award. They’re now working with our coaches as part of the senior team preparing for an Olympic qualifier in December this year, and I would like to wish them all the best in their preparations”.
Nell Staunton of the National YC in Dun Laoghaire took home the Volvo Youth Sailor of the Year for her performance internationally in the Laser class, culminating in her new Irish record of 8th place at the World Youth Sailing Championships in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Jack Hannon of Bray Sailing Club was awarded the inaugural Volvo Irish Sailing Inclusion Award by 2.4 European silver medallist sailor, Gina Griffin, for his pivotal work building relationships between his club and local special needs sports club Bray Lakers, and developing a new programme ensuring people of all abilities get to enjoy sailing.
Volvo Irish Sailing Training Centre of the Year went to second-time nominee Bray Sailing Club. The two other nominees on the shortlist were Lough Swilly Yacht Club (West & North Region winners) and Kinsale Outdoor Education Centre (winner of the South Region).
This year a new award (the Volvo Irish Sailing Sustainability Award) was presented to joint winners Howth Yacht Club and Royal Cork Yacht Club for their innovative ideas when thinking about the environment and sustainability. From providing sailors with reusable water bottles at events, using compostable food and coffee containers, paper straws, online documents, to organising rubbish collections from their local waters and giving educational talks, both clubs invested much energy into reducing the impact sailing has on the environment, and worked with young sailors, members and their local communities to create sustainable sailing practices.
Ellen O’Regan of Fastnet Marine & Outdoor Education Centre won the Volvo Irish Sailing Senior Instructor of the Year. Ellen, a national school teacher, teaches sailing to children in West Cork and was given the award for her exceptional instructor management abilities and skills.
Finally, the Irish Sailing President’s Awards were given to business leader Colm Barrington (former CEO of Aer Lingus) for his instrumental work setting up the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway system and his stewardship of the Irish Sailing Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Irish Sailing. Also honoured was James McCormack, former Commodore of Foynes Yacht Club who galvanised the club into restoring and self-building their pontoons, saving them thousands of euro in the process.