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Plain sailing for Olympian Ryan as Carrick slipway project completed

Olympic sailor Ryan Seaton back training at his home club in Carrickfergus. Photos by Ryan Wilson

Olympic sailor Ryan Seaton is back training at his home club in Carrickfergus following the completion of a slipway widening project.

Part-funded by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, the new slipway means Ryan, who represented Ireland in the 49er Class at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, can now launch his high-performance dinghy and undertake his winter training on familiar waters for the first time as he prepares for next year’s games in Tokyo.

With qualification for the much-anticipated competition just around the corner, Ryan and his crew, Seafra Guilfoyle, are busy training and making plenty of use of the new slipway as he aims for this third Olympics in a row.

Ryan said Carrickfergus and Belfast Lough is one of the best sailing locations throughout UK and Ireland but I was unable to take full advantage of training on it due to the lack of a slipway suitable for my dinghy.

“This new facility is an absolute game-changer for me and will make a huge difference as I can now continue my professional sailing career at my home club and complete some vital training ahead of Tokyo 2021 qualification”.

“My thanks are extended to Carrickfergus Sailing Club and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for making this possible and improving my training opportunities.” Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston said the initiative will be a boost to the entire sailing community.

“As a Council, we are proud to be able to assist with this very worthwhile project and wish Ryan every success as he aims for next year’s Olympic games”.

“This new feature is a boost to both the Club and other users and will hopefully inspire others to get involved and may even produce a few future Olympians.”

Following the cancellation of several Championship events in 2020 due to Coronavirus, the Club is looking ahead to 2021 with great excitement as it plans to host two National and one European event.

In the meantime, the new slipway is getting plenty of use as the easing of Covid restrictions has seen regular junior sailing and training return to the Club.

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