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Royal Cork Optimist Sailors Set for Foreign Shores

Royal Cork Ireland Team Members 2010Ten young Optimist sailors from the Royal Cork have been selected to represent Ireland at the forthcoming European Championships in Poland and at the French National Championships in La Rochelle. Royal Cork Admiral, Paddy McGlade, was on hand to present them with mementos from the Club to mark their selection and to give a few words of praise for their achievements to date and give encouragement for their performances in these prestigious events. Robert Bateman was there to record the event in pictures.

The International Optimist Dinghy Association in Ireland ran a series of selection trials in April and May with 70 sailors competing for the right to represent their country at these regattas. Four boys and three girls make up the team for the European Championships. An unprecedented five sailors from the Royal Cork qualified for that team from the trials process.

European’s Team

Boys: Peter McCann, Seafra Guilfoyle, Patrick Crosbie (all Royal Cork YC) and Sean Donnelly (National YC).

Girls: Sophie Browne, Jil McGinley (both Royal Cork YC), Erica Ruigrok (Skerries/Howth/Rush)

The International Development Squad for the French Championships includes five Royal Cork sailors out of the ten selected as follows:

John Durcan, Daire Cournane, Philip Brownlow, Harry Whitaker, Eoin Lyden (all Royal Cork YC); Sean Gambier-Ross (Kinsale YC);  Adam Hyland, Sandy Aplin, Niamh Henry (all Royal St George YC); Megan Parker (Skerries SC).

Paddy McGlade said that the success of these sailors was a testament to the commitment and skills of the sailors and that it reflected very well on the Club and the structures it provides to encourage junior sailing.

The Club provides an introduction to Optimist sailing for children from the age of 8. Saturday mornings in April and May regularly see up to 40 new sailors taking to the water for the first time under the watchful eye of a number of parents with the help of a number of recently retired Optimist sailors (you are too old at 16!). It is not necessary to own a boat to take part in these sessions. The only requirement is that the child must join the Club which is available at a very attractive price.

The Club runs regular league racing throughout the summer months on Tuesday evenings (June, July & August) and on Saturday afternoons (April to September). This racing is open to all members and different levels of ability are catered for with Gold, Silver, Bronze and Copper fleets. These races regularly attract over 40 sailors which would be the envy of many national championships in other classes!

An extensive coaching programme is provided in the summer months and during the winter. The Club has been fortunate to have been able to attract some of the best coaches from all over the world who come and train all the children. One particularly pleasing aspect of the programme has been the success of sailors from families who have no tradition of sailing.

The success of the sailors in achieving selection for these teams is not a one-off event. Optimist sailors from the Royal Cork are the current holders of the following titles: British Junior National Champion; Irish Senior National Champion; Irish Junior National Champion; Connacht, Leinster & Ulster Regional Champions in both Senior and Junior Divisions and Munster Junior Champion.

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