Irish Sailing Performance Update, January 2022

Irish Sailing Performance Update, January 2022


Welcome to the first Performance Update of 2022. The team are already in Year 2 of a compressed Olympic cycle leading to Paris 2024 (with the sailing taking place in Marseille).

Quick recap - Finishing 2021 in style

2021 ended on a high with Finn Lynch winning Silver at the Laser World Championships in Barcelona in November. His result at World championship level is the best achieved by an Irish sailor in any Olympic discipline.

"Finn delivered an impeccable regatta and realised his full potential after years of dedication and hard work," commented James O’Callaghan, Performance Director with Irish Sailing.  The result came hot on the heels of Finn’s 7th place at the EurILCA Senior Laser European Championships in Bulgaria in October.

It was also a busy year end for Eve McMahon who moved up from the Irish Sailing Academy to officially join the Senior Irish Sailing Team on the back of her 15th placing at the senior European championships.  In December, Eve finished 4th in the Women’s ILCA6 (Laser Radial) at the Youth Sailing World Championships in Oman, just missing a medal.

Earlier in December Aoife Hopkins achieved a personal best outcome at the women's Laser Radial (ILCA6) World Championships in Oman and finished in 17th overall.

And at the 49er Sailing World Championships in Oman at the end of November, Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove ended in 8th place overall, with a 20th place overall for the new Cork pairing of Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan marking a strong debut performance.

A short but restorative break

Given the intensity of the year which did not let up until late December, a break was well deserved. The team got a chance to recover and catch up with family and friends. But by January 1st the team were once again scattered across Europe for training.

The 49ers (Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove, Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan) are now in Lanzarote with coach Matt McGovern training alongside the Dutch team and will remain there until mid March. Johnny took the chance to join the laser fitness camp in neighbouring island Fuerteventura, making sure he is in good shape for the windy conditions expected in Lanzarote.

The Laser Men (Finn Lynch and Ewan McMahon) started the year with a fitness camp in Fuerteventura before travelling on to Malta with coach Vasilji Zbogar for the rest of January. Joining them are Jamie McMahon (Ewan and Eve’s brother) and Tom Higgins with coach Sean Evans. In February they will move to Cadiz.

Aoife Hopkins (Laser Radial) and Greek training partner Vasileia Karachaliou are in Cadiz with Head Coach Rory Fitzpatrick. They will be joined when the school timetable allows, by Eve McMahon.

Revitalising the Academy

A pipeline of strong talent is at the bedrock of the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway Programme. This was probably the area that suffered most due to COVID so we are making efforts to kickstart it. A group of seven sailors are on trial in the Academy until April. Full membership will be confirmed after the 2022 Youth National Championships.  Jonathan O’Shaughnessy will now be joined by Sophie Kilmartin, Stephen Cunnane, Rocco Wright, Fiachra McDonnell, Luke Turvey and Oisin Hughes. They will be coached by Croatian sailor Milan Vujasinovic who rejoins the Irish Sailing coaching team having led the Academy between 2011-2013. Training will be based out of Valencia for the next three months as the athletes travel between Spain and school in Ireland.

2022 Youth National Championships

Ireland’s biggest youth regatta for almost 200 young sailors will be hosted this year by Ballyholme Yacht Club from 21-24 April. Competitors will compete across four different classes: the 420, Topper, ILCA 4 (Laser 4.7) and ILCA 6 (Laser Radial). They will be joined by the 29er and Optimist classes.

Upcoming events

More details to follow on events this quarter, but so far include:

  • Princesa Sofia Regatta                                                           2-9 April            Mallorca, Spain
  • World Cup, Hyeres                                                                 23-30 April         Hyeres, France
  • Laser World Championships                                                  21-28 May         Mexico

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