HYC Features in Sailor of the Year Awards
Author: Graham Smith Posted on: 18/2/07 Print Version

Mary O'Loughlin (third from left) receiving her award with
(from left): David O'Brien, Editor of 'Afloat', RTE's Kathryn Thomas (MC for the ceremony),
Andrew Fowler (joint winner) and Ciaran Tobin, Director of Irish Distillers.
Outstanding achievements in 2006 by nineteen Irish sailors in various aspects of sailing were recognised at the annual Cork Dry Gin Sailor of the Year Awards during the Irish Boat Show and four HYC sailors were among those honoured.

The awards ceremony followed monthly Cork Dry Gin awards run in conjunction with 'Afloat' Magazine and the 'Irish Independent' and the first Howth recipient was Mary O'Loughlin who was the top woman helm in the ISA National Match Racing Championship in Kinsale last April.

Mary, who shared the April award with the Championship's outright winner Andrew Fowler of Dun Laoghaire, was in fact the only Howth winner who was able to attend the awards ceremony in person.

Mary O'Loughlin
That intrepid cruising man John Gore-Grimes was joint winner of the August award for the 5,000+ miles cruise he and his crew undertook in Arctic Fern to within 1,000 km of the North Pole. John's award was received on his behalf by Paddy Barry, a previous Sailor of the Year Award winner.

September saw two Howth sailors sharing the award. Ciara Peelo, who is currently campaigning for Olympic qualification in the Laser Radial class, was the best Irish performer at a Pre-Olympic Regatta at Qingdao in China, venue for the 2008 Olympic Regatta. She won one race and was well in contention in a testing series. She is away on a physical training programme at the moment and was represented by her parents Brian and Ursula.

She shared the award with Peter Killen, another noted cruising man, who returned to Howth with his 54ft. ketch Pure Magic after a 24,000-mile voyage to Antarctica in what is regarded as one of the most remarkable Irish voyages of modern times. Peter also could not make the ceremony and his award was collected on his behalf by David Nixon.

The overall 2006 Cork Dry Gin Sailor of the Year Award went to Limerick owner-skipper Ger O'Rourke of Western Yacht Club whose remarkable 50ft. Chieftain won its class in the classic Sydney-Hobart Race and was overall winner of the Round Britain & Ireland Race and the Cowes to Cascais Race.