Top 11 Greatest Sailing Players in Ireland of All Time

Matt Reynolds

Welcome to the wonderful world of sailing in Ireland! Here we celebrate some of the greatest sailing players the country has produced. From Olympic medalists to world champions, Ireland has a long history of excellence in the sport of sailing.

We will explore some of the most successful and inspiring sailing players in Ireland and take a look at their achievements in the sport. We will also look at some of the lesser-known sailing players who have made their mark in the sport.

So, grab your sailing gear and join us on our journey through the best sailing players in Ireland.

1. Annalise Murphy

Annalise Murphy is an Irish sailor who made history at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She won a silver medal in the Laser Radial sailing event, becoming the first Irish sailor to win an Olympic medal in over a hundred years.

Murphy has continued to make her mark in the sailing world since her success in Rio, competing in events across Europe and around the world.

In 2020, she was one of the few athletes to qualify for the Tokyo 2021 Summer Olympics, where she will once again compete in the Laser Radial sailing event.

With her experience and talent, Murphy is sure to make a strong showing at the Tokyo Olympics and continue to make history for Ireland.

2. Finn Lynch

Finn Lynch is an Irish sailor who has achieved success in the sport of sailing on both a national and international level. His career highlight came in 2021, when he placed second at the ILCA 7 Men’s World Championship.

His impressive performance at the event has earned him a 3rd place ranking in the ILCA 7 men’s rankings, making him the highest ranked ILCA 7 sailor from Ireland. Prior to his success at the ILCA 7 Men’s World Championship, Lynch had already established himself as a top-level sailor.

He represented Ireland at the 2016 Summer Olympics in the Laser class, displaying his skill and dedication to the sport.

His commitment and determination has seen his ranking continue to rise, and he is now one of the top-ranked Irish sailors.In addition to his competitive success, Lynch is also an advocate for the sport of sailing.

He is passionate about promoting the sport to young people and making sure that the next generation of sailors are supported and encouraged. He is an inspirational figure for aspiring sailors around the world and a great ambassador for the sport.

3. Marshall King

Marshall King is a sailor from Ireland who achieved a great feat in 1996. He represented Ireland in the Summer Olympics held in Savannah, United States as the helmsman in the Soling class boat.

He had two fellow crew members Garrett Connolly and Dan O’Grady who accompanied him in this endeavor. Together they achieved a commendable 16th place in the competition. King’s background in sailing certainly helped him in this endeavor.

He had been sailing since his young age and was a part of Ireland’s sailing team for many years. His extensive experience in the sport enabled him to perform well in the Olympics. He was well-versed in the strategy and techniques required for the Soling class boat.

King’s team put in a great effort and hard work into the competition. The trio managed to stay afloat throughout the competition and eventually achieved a respectable 16th place. This was a great achievement for a country that was not well known in sailing.

It was also a great accomplishment for King and his team. King’s performance in the Olympics was a testament to his skill and determination. He was able to represent Ireland in a positive light and bring home a respectable ranking.

Through his efforts, he was able to inspire other Irish sailors to pursue their dreams and achieve success.

4. Harold Cudmore

Harold Cudmore is an Irish sailor who hails from Cork. He has gained worldwide recognition as a highly skilled skipper and match racer in the world of yacht racing. Growing up in Cork, Cudmore developed a passion for sailing which eventually propelled him to international fame.

He has since gone on to become one of the most successful and celebrated Irish sailors in the sport of yacht racing. Cudmore has achieved numerous accolades, including numerous victories in prestigious sailing competitions.

He is widely respected by his peers and is an inspiration for aspiring sailors around the world.

5. Ger Owens

Ger Owens is an Irish sailor born on July 13th, 1979 in Dublin. He has gone on to represent his country in three consecutive Olympic Games, starting in 2004. At each of these Games, Ger competed in the 470 class, which is a type of two-person dinghy.

This type of boat is primarily used in competitive sailing, and the Olympic class includes an array of different boat designs. At the 2004 Olympics, Ger’s performance earned him a place in the top ten. He went on to finish 8th in the 2008 Olympics and 12th in the 2012 Olympics.

His consistent success in the 470 class is a testament to his hard work and dedication to the sport. Ger Owens is a proud representative of his country and is a source of inspiration for aspiring sailors.

He is an example of how hard work and determination can lead to success, even at the highest level of competition.

6. Robert Dickson

Robert Dickson is an Irish sailor and is currently competing at the 2020 Summer Olympics in the 49er class with his partner, Sean Waddilove. Unfortunately, the Olympic dream of the Irish pair was cut short when they were disqualified from two races due to a technicality.

It was discovered that one of the trapeze harnesses used by them weighed 90 grams more than the maximum of 2 kilograms, which was against the rules. This meant that the team was not in compliance with the regulations and thus, were disqualified.

This was a major setback for the Irish pair, as it meant they were unable to move forward in the competition and had to face elimination. Despite this, the pair have shown great resilience and determination, and have vowed to do better in the future.

7. Tim Goodbody

Tim Goodbody is an Irish sailor who made his Olympic debut at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. He competed in the Finn class, which is a single-hander sailing dinghy with a large sail.

Goodbody put in a hard fought effort at the Olympics, but ultimately finished in 21st place. Despite the disappointing result, Goodbody’s Olympic debut was a great achievement for the young sailor.

He proved himself to be a talented and determined athlete, and gained valuable experience that will help him in future competitions.

Goodbody is now looking ahead to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, where he will have the chance to make an even greater impact on the international sailing scene.

8. James Espey

James Espey is an accomplished Irish sailor. He has been competing in sailing events since a young age and has achieved great success in his career. In 2012, he competed in the Summer Olympics, representing Ireland in the Men’s Laser class.

He was among the top sailors of his class and gave a strong performance, making his country proud. His commitment to the sport and his impressive skill and technique have earned him recognition from both his peers and fans alike.

He continues to compete in sailing events around the world and is an inspiration to many aspiring sailors.

9. Saskia Tidey

Saskia Tidey is an accomplished sailor who has achieved great success in the international sailing community. She is from Ireland but has represented both Ireland and Great Britain in various regattas.

In 2016, she was chosen to represent Ireland in the 49er FX class at the Summer Olympics. This was a great honor for Saskia and she worked hard to compete for her country. She trained diligently and made sure she was prepared for the competition.

Her hard work paid off and she was able to prove herself as a capable sailor. Saskia’s accomplishments at the Olympics show that she has what it takes to compete at a high level and she is an excellent representation of both Ireland and Great Britain in the sailing world.

10. John Somers Payne

John Somers Payne was an accomplished sports sailor from Ireland. He was a renowned figure in Cork Harbour Sailing and was a double Olympian.

Payne was selected to compete in the Irish National sailing teams in 1956 and then again in 1960, thus earning the title of a double Olympian. He had a remarkable career in sailing and was respected in the sailing community of Cork Harbour.

Payne was a dedicated athlete who put in a lot of hard work and dedication into his sport. He was passionate about sailing and was determined to make a name for himself in the Irish sailing community.

Payne was successful in his endeavors and was able to achieve the highest honors in the sport. Payne’s accomplishments in sailing earned him the title of a double Olympian.

He represented Ireland in the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games, making him the first Irish sailor to compete in two consecutive Olympic Games. Payne was highly respected in the sailing world and was an inspiration to many aspiring sailors.

John Somers Payne’s legacy lives on in the sailing community of Cork Harbour. He is remembered as a dedicated athlete who was passionate about his sport and worked hard to achieve success.

Payne’s accomplishments have inspired many Irish sailors to reach for their dreams and strive to achieve greatness.

11. Bill O’Hara

William Patrick Thomas O’Hara OBE is an accomplished Irish sailor from Northern Ireland.

He has achieved great success in his sport and has been recognised for his achievements in the 2021 New Year Honours. O’Hara has participated in the Summer Olympics twice, firstly in 1984 and then again in 1988.

He has used his success in the sport to help inspire others and promote the sport of sailing. His dedication and passion for the sport has been acknowledged through his appointment as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2021 New Year Honours.

This honour is an acknowledgement of O’Hara’s outstanding contributions to sailing and the overall sport of sailing in Northern Ireland. O’Hara is an inspiring figure in the sailing world and has been an ambassador for the sport for many years.

He has shown that through hard work and dedication, it is possible to achieve great success in the sport. His appointment to the Order of the British Empire is a testament to the dedication and commitment he has shown to sailing and the sport in general.


Ireland is home to some of the best sailing players in the world. With a strong sailing culture and a vibrant sailing community, the country is a great place for sailing enthusiasts to hone their skills and compete against one another.

Some of the top sailing players in Ireland include Paul O’Donovan, Annalise Murphy, and Ryan Seaton, who have all achieved immense success in their respective fields.

Photo of author

Matt Reynolds

As a sports journalist and news reporter, my passion lies in covering Olympic sports and bringing the excitement of these events to readers around the world. With extensive experience in sports reporting, I have developed a deep understanding of the intricacies and dynamics of various Olympic disciplines. My goal as a journalist is to provide accurate, insightful, and engaging coverage of Olympic sports. From capturing the triumphs and challenges of athletes to analyzing their performances and strategies, I strive to deliver comprehensive stories that resonate with sports enthusiasts. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to journalistic integrity, I aim to go beyond mere reporting by delving into the human stories behind the athletes. By highlighting their journeys, sacrifices, and aspirations, I seek to create meaningful connections between readers and the world of Olympic sports. Whether it's track and field, swimming, gymnastics, or any other Olympic sport, I am dedicated to delivering timely news updates, captivating features, and thought-provoking analysis. Through my writing, I aim to inspire readers with the incredible feats accomplished by athletes on the global stage. Join me on this exhilarating journey as we dive into the world of Olympic sports together. Let's celebrate athleticism at its finest while uncovering compelling stories that showcase both triumphs and tribulations. Together, we can experience firsthand the thrill of sporting excellence in all its glory through my dedicated coverage as a passionate sports journalist and news reporter specializing in Olympic sports.