Athlone man shortlisted for major sailing award

A local man has been shortlisted for one of the Irish Sailing Association’s (ISA ) prestigious annual awards. Vincent Rafter, from Athlone, earned his nomination in the Volunteer of the Year categoryfor his contribution to the Lough Ree Yacht Club.

Vincent has been an extremely active member of Lough Ree Yacht Club for 25 years. He is a retired Commodore (club president ) and has held most, if not all, of the committee positions within the club throughout his decades of voluntary involvement.

In 2011 Vincent took on one of his most challenging roles - turning around the club’s finances. Dedicating countless hours over the past 12 months, Vincent singlehandedly transformed the accounts from running at a deficit, to the club once again being profitable - not an easy task in today’s climate. Thanks to his expertise, the club can once again focus on growing the sport of sailing within the local community.

A total of 25 nominees have been announced across six categories in the Irish Sailing Association annual awards. The winners will be announced at the ISA Seventh Annual Awards Ball in the Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin on Saturday March 2, as hundreds of members and supporters of the Irish sailing community come together for an evening of celebration.

Other awards on the night include the premier accolade of the Irish sailing community, the ISA Sailing Achievement of the Year award. The female star of Irish sailing Annalise Murphy will go head-to-head with two other outstanding nominees for this award. Fellow ISA Olympic teammates Peter O’Leary and David Burrows earned their nod when they won gold at the pre-Olympic ‘Sail for Gold’ regatta which took place less than two months before the Games at the Olympic venue in Weymouth. But both contenders will face stiff competition from the third nominee, offshore sailor Damian Foxall who was Watch Captain on Groupama, winner of the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Yacht Race.

As the most exciting annual social event for the Irish sailing community, the ISA Seventh Annual Awards Ball provides a platform for the ISA to officially acknowledge and commend some of the outstanding contributors to sailing over the past 12 months.

ISA chief executive Harry Hermon remarked, “We’re delighted to host this event for the seventh year to honour Ireland’s talented and dedicated sailors. 2012 was a phenomenal year for us and we’re proud to publicly recognise the accomplishments made by some of our champions”.

For more information on the event see www.sailing.ie/AwardsBall

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