Dublin, 26th July: With the first sailing event in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games set to begin in just two weeks time, the four boat crews for Team Ireland gathered at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club at Dublin port prior to departure for Brazil. The sailors are in Dublin to support the Irish Sailing Association’s ‘Try Sailing’ campaign, a new initiative to attract newcomers to the sport. A network of 200 clubs and centres around Ireland are involved in providing taster events for both competitive and general boating activities.
Competing in four disciplines, the squad representing Ireland includes both veterans and first-timers at an Olympic regatta.
“This is an incredibly exciting moment for all us. Rio is probably the most unique venue for an Olympic regatta as it has seven different course areas, each markedly different to the other ,” commented Annalise Murphy, ISA sailing squad captain. “All of us have spent months training there, getting to know the place on and off the water so we feel very comfortable and at home.”
The sailors include Murphy competing in the women’s single-handed dinghy, Finn Lynch in the counterpart men’s event and, at 20 is the youngest ever Irish helm, Ryan Seaton with Matt McGovern in the men’s skiff event and Andrea Brewster with Saskia Tidey in the women’s skiff.
Murphy is first into action on Monday 8th August in the Women’s Single-handed event in which she placed fourth at London 2012 to deliver the best Irish performance in thirty years. Lynch competes on the same day and will be the youngest competitor in his event in a fleet of 46 sailors. Both men and women are scheduled to sail two 50-minute races each on each day of competition.
Seaton and McGovern competed in London 2012 and will be aiming to capitalise on podium places in the build-up to Rio 2016 in a class where they have beaten every other competitor except the five-time world champions. Brewster and Tidey were a late campaign and have made rapid progress in the 49erFX skiff including qualification for Rio 2016 and overcoming a three-month injury break earlier this year.
“Our sailors are about to realise a lifetime ambition and the high-point of four years of intense work,” commented James O’Callaghan, ISA Performance Director. “The six sailors represent another 100 young athletes on our performance pathway as well as thousands of sailors around our coast who have given them massive support and encouragement.”
Their message is simple “Try Sailing“. Here are the inspirational personal messages the sailors have been sending out on a series of postcards available throughout the country for free –
“Teamwork and understanding gets us where we want to be – on and off the water”. Ryan Seaton. Helm 49er.
“I can’t imagine my life without sailing …” Annalise Murphy. Laser Radial.
“There is no finish line. It’s a continyous journey.” Andrea Brewster, Helm 49erFX.
“As a young boy sailing was my passion, now it is my life.” Finn Lynch. Laser Standard.
“Sailing brings me freedom.” John Twomey, Helm. Sonar. Paralympics.