End of year awards for Royal Irish sailors

George Sisk’s Wow is boat of the year and Tim Goodbody leads a family clean sweep

Two senior Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC) sailors from Dublin Bay have been honoured this week at separate end-of-season awards to mark significant racing achievements in 2015, as well as enormous contributions to Irish and international sailing.

The Irish Cruiser Racer Association (ICRA) presented its Boat of the Year prize to George Sisk's Farr 42 Wow, while one design sailor Tim Goodbody has been saluted By Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) after a 16-year stint in the Sigma 33 class.

George Sisk’s 2015 campaign took in victory in Kinsale in June at the ICRA National Championships and Sisk also emerged top on Dublin Bay at Volvo Dún Laoghaire Week.

Wow faced competition from a selection of top cruiser racer campaigns for the top award. Shortlisted boats included David Cullen's Half Ton Classic World Champion Checkmate; Dermot Cronin's Encore, the Middle Sea Race victor in the Double-handed class. Also in the running was Irish offshore champion Ruth skippered by Liam Shanahan and Howth's X332, Equinox (Ross McDonald) the top performer at the 2015 ICRA Nationals.


Retiring champion

During a Sigma 33 class presentation to its retiring champion Tim Goodbody, class captain

Paddy Maguire

estimated the RIYC skipper had won 75 per cent of all races sailed at the helm of

White Mischief

. Even in his final season with the Sigma 33,

White Mischief

(Goodbody has now moved on to a J/109), won the JB Stephens Trophy, the Bective Lights Crystal Trophy, and the Fireseal Sigma 33 Trophy. And in a unique turn of events three generations of the Goodbody family were honoured by Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) when he, along with son Richard and grandchildren Max and Georgia, picked up awards at November’s DBSC prizegiving.

The Irish Paralympic sailing team skippered by Cork's John Twomey, that has qualified for Rio's 2016 Paralympic Games says it looks forward to receiving coaching support from the Irish Sports Council and the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) in its podium bid for Rio.

“We have achieved what we came to Melbourne for, which is qualification for Rio 2016, but we still have a lot of hard work to do.”

Twomey, with crew Austin O'Carroll and Ian Costello, took one of the six slots available at this week's Melbourne World Championships with a race to spare. Next September will be Twomey's 11th Games, but not all of them in sailing. The Ballinhassig man previously competed in the discus.

Top Irish youth pairing Douglas Elmes and Colin O'Sullivan got a boost before this month's important ISAF Youth Worlds in Malaysia when they won the UK's 420 End of Season regatta at Grafham Water Sailing Club. The weekend series was cut short when strong winds cancelled the second day of racing. Elmes and O'Sullivan are part of a three boat Irish team for Langkawi, departing on December 23rd. Belfast's Liam Glynn races in the boys' Laser and Tipperary's Aisling Keller races in the girls' Laser.

ICRA has moved the date of its annual cruiser-racer conference forward to March, just before the start of the 2016 season. The move from the traditional November ICRA pow-wow is to produce a more relevant pre-season agenda, according to new commodore Simon McGibney of Foynes Yacht Club.

The one-day event is also being designed to provide members with information on a bumper Dublin-based 2016 national championships on June 10th-12th in Howth.

The forum, provisionally set for March 5th, will include round table discussions on the future direction of the Irish sailing scene and a Commodore’s Cup briefing on plans for Ireland’s Cup defence in Cowes.



International Sailing Federation

(ISAF) recently appointed chief executive

Peter Sowrey

has resigned. It is the latest in a series of high level departures from the world’s governing body for sailing. An ISAF spokeswoman said Sowrey is set to to pursue other challenges after only five months in the job.

John Craig

, head of the Sailing World Cup, left on September 1st, and training and development manager,

Dan Jaspers

, departed last month.

French America's Cup skipper Franck Cammas, who had his right foot partially severed after he was run over by the rudder of his foiling catamaran after falling overboard, is recovering in hospital. Though his America's Cup challenge will stay on course, the same may not be the case for his Olympic bid. The French trial for the Nacra 17 Olympic berth is this coming February, and puts a question mark over the Lorient man's three-year campaign.

David O'Brien

David O'Brien

David O'Brien, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a former world Fireball sailing champion and represented Ireland in the Star keelboat at the 2000 Olympics