Foxall announces Olympic campaign

Irish multihull sailor heads for Beijing

Sunday August 24th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom
Damian Foxall, maxi-multihull and 60ft trimaran crew, former Team Tyco crewman and an Irish professional sailor with some 22 years of ocean and dinghy racing experience and over 159,000 nautical miles and 14 Transatlantics to his name has today launched Project Celtic Tornado.

The 34 year old intends to campaign a Tornado at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. In order to achieve this Celtic Tornado will focus on intensive training, and on a professional and comprehensive link between on and off the water, the public, the press, the sponsors and supporters.

Commenting on the launch of the campaign, Garrett Connolly, Olympic Performance Manager for the ISA’s (Irish Sailing Association) Athens 2004 team noted: "The Irish Sailing Association and Team Ireland Sailing welcome Damian’s commitment to a long term Olympic campaign in the Tornado Class. I have known Damian personally and professionally for several years and we have spoken frequently in the build up to this launch.

"I know Damian will bring to his campaign just the sort of professionalism, hard work, patience and attention to detail that it now takes to succeed at Olympic level. The ISA wish him and his team every success and we look forward to having his tornado as part of our squad in the near future."

Sp why launch now? "Tornado Catamaran sailing is a spectacular way of testing the skill of the sailors," says Foxall. "The Tornado Class has a long history of excellence, both in terms of design and technology, and in terms of the champion sailors that have competed in the class. The crew must work together very closely to ensure the boat maintains maximum speed through the water while flying on one hull as well as ensuring the boat does not capsize at great speed. It requires discipline, organisation, planning, training, and preparation to achieve excellence in the catamaran class. "

Launching the project early will give Team Celtic Tornado the opportunity to progressively build up the skills needed. It will also allow Celtic Tornado to put together the perfect crew. The synchronicity on board is essential.

Therefore Celtic Tornado has a strong schedule ahead, which will include a fine balance of specific training, minor regattas and championship events. The programme will stretch across the globe as the team takes on the challenging Tornado calendar.

In 2001 the training aimed at making the Celtic Tornado Project successful began. Damian started racing Hobie Tiger F18. The Tiger has become one of the most exciting one-design racing fleets in the world attracting also most of the Olympic Tornado sailors. It provides excellent crossover experience. By 2002 Damian had continued to produce promising results in both the Tornado and F18 fleets whilst also having had the opportunity to sail with different crews.

In 2003 Celtic Tornado competed in the International Olympic weeks of Barcelona (Spain), Hyeres (France) and Kiel (Germany). Irishmen Sean Nunes and John McKenna joined the team for some training sessions and Sean said it all: "…my only fear is that the speed was so great that I might have trouble re-adjusting to more traditional style of Olympic racing."

Team Celtic Tornado is currently training in Quiberon, France for the 2003 ISAF Combined Olympic Classes World Championship (Cadiz, Spain, 11-24 September), the most important event of the season. Jeff Condell, Damian’s crew for the Worlds, will be also sailing the French Nationals as part of the program.

Almost 2000 sailors from the 11 different Olympic classes are expected to attend the Worlds in Cadiz. For Team Celtic Tornado it will be a unique opportunity to be sailing among the best sailors in the world and will just be a stepping stone to becoming the 1st Irish Tornado to make it to the Olypmics… for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

In November Foxall will be crewing for Karine Fauconnier in the two handed Transat Jacques Vabre on board the 60ft trimaran Sergio Tacchini.

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