New term, new start for the Irish Sailing Team
September is a month of fresh starts, and it’s no different for the Irish Sailing Team. For the Olympians, it’s time to assess, regroup and look ahead to the big competitions in the autumn. The athletes who didn’t travel to Tokyo spent the summer on alternative activities – from internships to foiling to big boat sailing. For all of them, this week marks the return to base and full commitment to the programme. They will be joined by Johnny Durcan, now partnering Seafra Guilfoyle in the 49er.
It’s also time to take stock and learn from the experiences, and challenges faced in the last Olympic cycle culminating at the Tokyo Games. There are three different external reviews in the works: one each from the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI), Sport Ireland, and Irish Sailing. All three reviews will deliver learnings and recommendations to be incorporated into the Performance Pathway Programme.
The reviews offer the opportunity to re-energise and revitalise not just the senior programme, but the full Pathway Programme. A pipeline of strong talent is at the bedrock of the programme. Identifying and training up future team members is a key driver for the coaches and the reviews give them a chance to assess the current systems in place and see what supports are needed. Sailors on the Pathway classes still have a lot of sailing left this season, including the Irish Sailing Youth National Championships taking place in Cork in late October.
2021 is a different kind of year. Although the Tokyo Olympics have just finished, there are only three years left until Paris 2024, with year 1 and year 2 of the Olympic cycle now merged. Competitions that normally don’t run in an Olympic year are now back on. This autumn the Laser Men and the Laser Radial Women have both World and European Championships, and 49ers have World Championships.
- EURILCA Senior Laser Men European Championships 2-9 October Varna, Bulgaria
- EURILCA Senior Radial Women European Championships 2-9 October Varna, Bulgaria
- ILCA Laser Standard Men’s World Championships 3-10 Nov Barcelona, Spain
- 49er World Championships 16-21 Nov Mussanah, Oman
- 2021 ILCA 6 (Radial) Women's World Championship 29 Nov-6 Dec Mussanah, Oman
Photo credit: Clare Keogh