Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race champion Liam Shanahan emerged overall winner of the annual Irish Sailing Awards in Dublin yesterday.
The citation for the skipper from the National Yacht Club included his defence of the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association overall season title for a series of distance races around the Irish and Welsh coasts.
He was selected from a list of more than 20 monthly award winners from last year in the Afloat Magazine awards scheme. They are then assessed by online votes and a judging panel.
Among the other notable achievements recognised in 2015 was Justin Slattery’s second overall win of the Volvo Ocean Race, this time with skipper Ian Walker on Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.
Another professional sailor who received a monthly award was French skipper Sidney Gavignet who set a new round-Ireland sailing record in May onboard trimaran Oman Musandam.
Fionn Lyden’s leadership of the successful UCC team in the Intervarsity Team Racing Championships in Schull earned him the March award. Living in nearby Baltimore, he was practically racing on home waters as he was coached at the Fastnet Fastnet Marine Outdoor Education Centre, under David Harte at Schull Community College.
Rob McConnell from Waterford Harbour Sailing Club and his crew on Fool’s Gold received the May Sailor of the Month award for winning the Scottish Series on Loch Fyne after placing second in 2014.
Ogden brothers Nathaniel, 23, and Fergus, 16, from Baltimore were recognised in July after they successfully concluded their circuit of Ireland on their 18ft Drascombe Lugger Lughnasa over eight weeks as a fundraiser for the RNLI.
Keeping with the offshore theme in August, Ronan O’Siochru was the August winner for the best sailing school performance in the 975km Rolex Fastnet Race.
Veteran Irish Paralympian and former Commodore of Kinsale Yacht Club John Twomey was recognised in December for qualifying Ireland for the Rio Games, which will be his 11th appearance.
Meanwhile, in other awards at the ceremony, Mullingar Sailing Club emerged best of the ISA training centres for 2015. As winner of the western region centres, the club then pipped Foynes Yacht Club and the Royal Irish YC in Dun Laoghaire for the top award.
Meanwhile, the RIYC emerged winner of the coveted Mitsubishi Motors Club of the Year award for the first time.
Two club members were counted in the Sailor of the Month awards: George Sisk as overall ICRA national champion and Tim Goodbody for services to sailing. The club’s shortlisting for training centre of the year also counted.
The ISA Youth Sailor of the Year award went to Howth YC’s Colin O’Sullivan and Douglas Elmes who took bronze at last month’s ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in Malaysia.
Waterford Harbour’s Geoff Power and Olympic contender Aisling Keller from Lough Derg were also shortlisted for the prize.
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