All hands are on deck at Mullingar Sailing Club as they gear up to host the Irish Sailing All-Ireland Sailing Championship on Lough Owel over the weekend of October 7-8.
The All-Ireland Sailing Championships have been running since 1947 and this year marks the 70th anniversary of this unique Irish competition. The aim of the event is to find the “champion of champions” – pitting all types of sailors against each other in one type of boat. Scrolling through the past winners is a veritable who’s who of sailing, from Annalise Murphy, Anthony O’Leary and Mark Mansfield to Mark Lyttle, Brian Craig, and Robert Dix.
The 16 competitors who are all champions in their own class of boat, will arrive from all over Ireland to Mullingar to compete in the GP 14 (14 foot dinghy) which is the sailing boat adopted by Mullingar Sailing Club. These sailors, expert champions in their own class of boat, ranging from single handed dinghy to the larger keel boats accommodating multiple crew, will certainly be challenged and Mullingar Sailing Club will be on hand to ensure all runs smoothly.
Some interesting points to note about the list of competitors (full list below):
· Ronan Walsh will be competing in both the All-Irelands and Junior All-Irelands
· Alex Barry is last year’s winner and came 2nd and 3rd in the previous two years
· Fionn Lyden will compete, fresh from his bronze medal at the 2017 U23 Finn World Championships
· Also competing is Irish Sailing’s board member Colin Kavanagh
The nomination process for the All-Irelands is complicated, and draws from a variety of different pools including past winners, dinghies and keelboats, as well as ranking orders within affiliated classes.
Places at the event are allocated to classes pro rata the attendance at their national champs but with a bias built in to ensure representation of as many classes as is possible.
All-Ireland Championship Competitors (Class - Helm - Club - Crew Name):
Shannon One Design - Stephen O'Driscoll - Lough Derg Yacht Club - John O'Driscoll
J24 - JP McCaldin - Lough Erne Yacht Club / Sligo Yacht Club - Liz Copland
Laser Radial - Sean Craig - Royal St George Yacht Club - David Johnston
2016 Champion RS400 - Alex Barry - Monkstown Bay SC/Royal Cork YC - Richard Leonard
Puppeteer 22 - Colin Kavanagh - Howth Yacht Club - Conor Barry
Dublin Bay Mermaid - Sam Shiels - Skerries Sailing Club - Eoin Boylan
Squib - Greg Bell - Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club - Martin Weatherstone
IDRA14 - Alan Henry - Sutton Dinghy Club - Simon Reville
SB20 - Stefan Hyde - Royal Cork Yacht Club - tbc
RS200 - Neil Spain - Howth Yacht Club - John Downey
RS400 - Gareth Flannigan - Ballyholme Yacht Club - David Fletcher
GP14 - Shane McCarthy - Greystones Sailing Club - Andy Davis
ITRA - Fionn Lyden - UCCSC, BSC, Schull - Liam Manning
ICRA 3 - Paul Gibbons - Royal Cork Yacht Club - Grattan Roberts
Ruffian 23 - Chris Helme - Royal St George Yacht Club - Alan Claffey
Laser Standard - Liam Glynn - Ballyholme Yacht Club - Ryan Glynn
The competitors will be split into two fleets and each will have 3 races Saturday morning/afternoon. This will be followed by a dinner for all sailors in the Barlow Suite of the Annebrook House Hotel on the Saturday evening.
Sunday’s racing recommences on the Sunday morning and the final will be held on the Sunday afternoon. Prizes will be presented by the Irish Sailing Association at the Mullingar Sailing Club to the winner on Sunday evening.
Mullingar Sailing Club looks forward to accommodating all the competitors and supporters for what promises to be an exciting weekend of sailing.