Although we all come from different backgrounds and have different levels of sailing knowledge and experience, we have all taken part in at least one Sail Training Voyage and developed an interest in sailing.
What is our Purpose
The Council was set up to support Sail Training Ireland in developing the activity of sailing within Ireland. Our main aim in this sense is to help promote the accessibility of Sail Training amongst young people in Ireland.
The Council also represents young people in Sail Training Ireland, through offering opinions and suggestions in any endeavours that involve young people. As well as this, the Council can be utilised as a pool of volunteers to help out at events where necessary, as well as representing the organisation at public events.
What is our Vision?
The vision of the Sail Training Ireland Youth Council is to become a steady supporter of Sail Training Ireland, inspire young people to take part in Sail Training and bridge the gap between the organisation of Sail Training Ireland and the young people of the country.
How is the Council Organised?
The Sail Training Ireland Youth Council comprises of 8 young people between the ages of 16 and 30, each of whom were nominated by youth groups which have worked in conjunction with Sail Training Ireland, and have all taken part in at least one Sail Training Voyage. The Council was originally formed in October 2016, during a Causeway Funded Weekend in Belfast. Modelled after the Sail Training International Youth Council, the Irish Council is represent by its Chairperson on the International Council.
When invited, up to two Youth Council members will attend Sail Training Ireland Board Meetings. The purpose of this is to provide updates upon request of any ongoing activities, offer opinions on projects concerning young people and to keep the remainder of the Youth Council updated.
Current Youth Council
Aoibhinn Lynch, Chairperson. I’m currently studying Athletic Therapy in Dublin. However, I grew up in the south of Cork beside the sea, so I’ve always had a keen interest in all sorts of water activities. In June 2016, I had the opportunity through the Irish Girl Guides to try out Tall Ships sailing. I sailed on board the Pelican of London for 11 days with a group of the most incredible young people from all over Ireland and Liverpool. Those few days provided me with an experience that will stay with me forever and I couldn’t wait to get back out to sea! Since then, I’ve sailed as a mentor and watch leader on board TS Pelican and have gone on to represent Sail Training Ireland on Sail Training International’s Youth Council.
Conor O Cadhla, Vice Chairperson. I’m 18 and I’m from Tramore, Co. Waterford. I am the Vice Chairperson of our Youth Council. I have taken part in numerous voyages throughout the summers of 2018 and 2019 aboard the Brian Boru and the Pelican Of London as a trainee, a crew member and a mentor. I’m an avid scout, swimmer… and now sailor! I can’t wait to work with the rest of the youth council and Sail Training Ireland to promote these experiences and open doors for more young people.
Dylan Nelson. I joined Sail Training Ireland in August 2012 when I took part in the Tall Ships Races from Spain to Ireland on The Lord Nelson. Sailing through The Bay of Biscay on that voyage was one of the toughest challenges I have ever faced. For the last four years I have been a Youth Ambassador for Sail Training Ireland and this year I have joined the Youth Council. I am looking forward to working with the other ambassadors and members of the youth council to promote Sail training Ireland and all the incredible work they do.
Odhran Doherty. I am 18 and a Leaving Certificate student from Donegal. My first voyage was a last-minute journey aboard the TS Maybe for a fun trip from Belfast to Derry. Since then, I have had many wonderful adventures on many different ships! I’ve always had a keen interest in watersports and the outdoors, so I count myself lucky to have discovered Sail Training Ireland. I would definitely love for more people to experience the joys of sail training!
Cian Lynch. I’m a history and politics student in UCC and a windsurfing instructor, but I also love getting out on the water any way I can- sailing, kayaking, surfing, or anything else! I’ve sailed aboard the Spirit of Oysterhaven, Maybe, and Pelican of London so far, and have had a fantastic time, made great friends, and learned so much, and cannot wait to get back out on the water for my next adventure. When not on the water or studying, I can be found in a barracks with the army reserve as a Gunner in a reserve artillery battery.
Ciara Sunderland. I’m currently studying in the University of Limerick. I was first introduced to the world of sailing in 2018, landing a last-minute opportunity to sail aboard the TS Maybe. I’m so glad I did! That unforgettable experience, along with a similar one aboard the Pelican of London, inspired me to join the Youth Council in the hopes that it would help spread the word about Sail Training Ireland, and allow many others to witness the indescribable feeling of rushing through the waves, the wind in your sails and standing alongside a crew that feels more like family.
Eoghan Spillane. I study Software Development in CIT and I’m also a Sea Scout leader. I have sailed on both the Maybe and The Pelican of London. My favourite thing about sailing on board a tall ship is seeing new places that I never would have visited otherwise and traveling via the scenic route, sometimes escorted by dolphin’s. I think it’s really cool how different life is on board a tall ship. I’ve also met some wonderful people along the way. I can’t wait to get back out on the open ocean.
Lenny Hurley. I’m an 18-year-old student from Cork City. Since Cork is a coastal county I have never been far from the sea. Growing up my main hobbies were scouting, kayaking, rugby and anything that allowed me to spend my free time outdoors. In 2018 by pure chance I became a member of Meitheal Mara (Community of the Sea) where I have learned a lot of what I know, whether it be the upkeep of boats and equipment, how to be part of a team or how to handle myself on the water. In 2019 Meitheal Mara nominated me to go on a trip on the Brian Ború for a week with Sail Training Ireland where lots of those skills came in handy. Two weeks later I helped take TS Maybe from Cork to Dublin. Both of these trips stand as some of the best weeks of my life. There’s an E.E. Cummings quote I love to sum up my experiences “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It’s always our self we find on the sea.”
Patrick Gowran. I’m a 6th year student from Kinsale, County Cork. I started sailing on small dinghies with my dad in 2015. I began my adventures with Sail Training Ireland in 2019 on board Brian Ború as part of the Asgard Armada. Shortly after, I joined the Tall Ship Maybe for a trip up the Irish Sea. Since having these incredible experiences, and making lots of friends along the way, I was inspired to join the Youth Council. As a Youth Council member I try to spread the word about Sail Training Ireland at events such as the Sailability Inclusion Games.
Sarah El-Masry. I’m 17 and currently in 6th year. I’ve been sailing dinghies in Malahide since I was 9 years old and am an ISA dinghy instructor. I completed my first voyage on TS Maybe in 2017, sailing around the islands off the west coast of Scotland. Since then I’ve been absolutely hooked on Tall Ships sailing and have sailed on board TS Pelican of London and Brian Boru. I love the thrill and the excitement of tall ships sailing and look forward to my next adventure.
Annabelle Stafford-Johnson. I’m currently living in Westport, Co. Mayo in my final year of secondary school. Growing up by the sea, I’ve spent much of my time dingy sailing in my local club and recently became an instructor. My journey in Tall Ship sailing, however, began in the Summer of 2019, and it has given me a whole new perspective on the world that no other pastime could have given me. I’ve learned so many skills and grown so much as a person through my experiences so far. I have met some of the most amazing young people on TS Pelican and Maybe and I know that the bonds I’ve formed with my Sail Training Ireland family will last forever! I hope to work towards becoming a mentor, further my ability and take on many more adventures!
Ciara Kenny. I’ve been on Sail Training voyages over the last two years. I’m really glad I got a last-minute spot on my first voyage because Sail Training Ireland has given me some amazing opportunities. How else could I have sailed beside dolphins at midnight, with no light to block the view of the stars? I have always loved the sea and have been taking part in water sports since I was small so I knew I would be interested in Tall Ship Sailing when I first got offered a voyage. But the voyages have had much more of an effect on my life than just having a bit of fun on a ship. The voyages allowed me to learn so much about myself and others and to make some awesome new friends. I have grown as a person because of the voyages, and it has even changed what I want to do with the rest of my life. The new perspectives and personal growth that I’ve experienced with Sail Training Ireland is why I am now on the Youth Council; to create the opportunities for other young people to learn and enjoy all of the incredible things I have through Sail Training Ireland.