The 32nd Student Yachting World Cup is set to take place between the 27 October and the 3rd November 2012 and the Ireland Sailing Team - UCD will travel to La Rochelle in order to compete. The annual regatta attracts the top student sailors from around the world including Australia, Canada, Japan, the UK and the USA.
ISA CEO Harry Hermon with the UCD Student Yachting World Cup Team
The UCD students earned the right to represent Ireland having won the Irish Student Yachting National Championships in Dun Laoghaire in March. The highly experienced team will not just be representing UCD but all corners of the island of Ireland. The 10 sailors hail from all over the country including Antrim, Cork, Down, Sligo, Wexford, Wicklow and Westport and between them share a wealth of skills and knowledge.
Since the team was launched by Irish sailing heroine Annalise Murphy back in September, the team has been carrying out an intensive training program both on and off the water. The team has trained nearly every weekend under the instruction of their world class sailing coaches Marty O'Leary and Maurice (Prof) O'Connell from North Sails. The Irish team have been training on board an A35 designed yacht in Dublin which is very similar to the 'Grande Surprise' design boats which the team will be racing in La Rochelle, France. The yacht was generously lent to the team for their training program by the boats owners Joe Balfe and Joe McDonald to whom the team are extremely grateful. The team also frequently carried out two boat training sessions with another identical A35 named 'Another Adventure' which was driven by the highly experienced sailor Kenny Rumball.
Since last May the team has been searching for a number of service and financial sponsors in order to cover some of the costs associated with the regatta. The team contacted over 70 companies all over Ireland however the team were unable to secure a title financial sponsor until this week. A number of companies across Ireland agreed to provide their specific services free of charge which has covered a large proportion of the costs associated with the event and effectively enabled the team to travel to the event. Funding issues has been a worldwide problem for teams hoping to compete at this event this year as only as of two weeks ago, Team Scotland and Team Singapore had to pull out of the event due to lack of funding and sponsorship.
The team has also been carrying out an intensive fitness and strength training in UCD's High Performance Gym. These training sessions were specifically designed and tailored for each team member specific roles on the boat.
Team skipper Aidan McLaverty, who competed at the event last year with Cork Institute of Technology when they came in third place, remarked 'Training has gone really well, our coaches have been amazing and the team has really come together well. The next big issue for the team is the boat draw in France on Friday night. Last year we [CIT] had the worst boat in the fleet and it really affected our overall result - but we will have to wait and see'.
Team captain Cathal Leigh-Doyle thanked all the team’s official sponsors and today formally announced that the team had finally secured a title sponsor 'Miagen'. Cathal added 'Miagen's signing today as the teams title sponsor adds perfectly to the great group of sponsors the team has secured over the last four months. We are delighted and honoured to have Dubarry, Martin Reilly Motors, CH Marine, Mast and Rigging Ireland, Meteo Forecasting Group, North Sails and Fotosail supporting the team. Without our sponsors we would not be going to this event'.