Volunteer of the Year Shortlist

Volunteer of the Year Shortlist

Irish Sailing’s Volunteer of the Year Shortlist 2023!

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:

First up we have Ann Kirwan. Ann was Commodore of DBSC for most of the Covid 19 Pandemic. She not only pushed to get as much racing held as possible but also led an inclusivity drive to increase participation. As 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.  Hving stepped down as Commodore, Ann 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 key supporter of the dinghy fleet 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!

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