At the recent Annual Meeting of the International Optimist Dinghy Association Helen Mary Wilkes from Howth was elected President of Honour.
The honour celebrated her 25th consecutive Optimist World Championship since 1981. President of the Association from 1989 to 1998 she led the successful "IOD95" project which restored the one-design principle to the Class. Today 40 manufacturers world-wide build over 4,000 boats a year.
On her retirement as president in 1998 she was created a Member of Honour and has continued to represent the Association at ISAF Meetings together with her husband Robert who has been Class secretary since 1997. Member of various ISAF Committees for 17 years she was most recently a member of its working party on the Impact of High Level Sport on Youth Sailors. She is also past president of the Women's International Match Racing Association.