Irish Sailing launched the first ever high-performance base for the senior Irish Sailing Team last Friday in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The HQ was officially opened by Mary Mitchell O’Connor, local TD and Minister of State for Higher Education.

The facility was entirely funded by the Irish Sailing Foundation and cost €300,000. The Performance HQ is entirely mobile and consists of three converted shipping units with space for briefings and athlete education, a gym, gear storage and a boat maintenance area. The athlete briefing room can be shipped directly to international competitions and will provide a base for Ireland’s sailing athletes overseas. This will be shipped to Japan ahead of next year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics, putting Ireland on a similar facility level.

Thirteen sailors from throughout Ireland will be based there, including 2016 Olympic Games silver medalist Annalise Murphy, her new sailing partner, Katie Tingle, from Cork, and six other world championship medalists.

“Having this new base is fantastic,” said Annalise Murphy. “For the first time we have a home, somewhere we know we can train, share experiences and focus as a group on how we can make our sailing performances better.”

“We’ve got a saying, ‘Leave home stronger’, which is there to remind us that we’ve got a home to come back to where we can recover, gain strength and prepare for the next campaign. That’s what the new HQ gives us – it means we don’t need to rely on the nomadic overseas campaigns of the past.”

The new HQ will improve both training and educational opportunities for the sailors. It has been instituted with the specific aim of maximising Ireland’s medal potential in international competitions and qualifying for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“The creation of the Performance HQ is great news – there is no doubt that we’re at the beginning of a new chapter in the story of Irish Sailing, delivering on the medal-winning potential that the facility will help shape and focus,” added Irish Sailing CEO Harry Hermon.