Dara sets sail for top yachting prize

Dara OMalley and his team. Picture: Marc Turner

Dara OMalley and his team. Picture: Marc Turner

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A SAILOR from the Port Edgar Yacht Club at South Queensferry has been shortlisted for a top honour at the Royal Yachting Association Scotland Annual Awards.

Dara O’Malley will have to wait until January 28 to find out if he’s among the prizes at the awards dinner in the Glasgow Science Centre.

Relatively new to sailing having just started in 2009, Dara formed his crew at the club and went on to sail a perfect weekend of racing at the Scottish Series in Tarbert last May. Finishing six points clear at the top of the results table they had good reason to celebrate after winning both their class and the overall event.

During the season he won all of the 707 UK regional events and the UK Nationals, an impressive haul which has seen him shortlisted for the RYA Scotland Performance of the Year award.

Dara, who is originally from Westport in County Mayo, left Ireland straight from school around 1994 to study chemistry at Aberdeen University and has built his career in industry in Scotland and his sailing has taken off at the Port Edgar Yacht Club.

Asked about his performances and being shortlisted for the award, Dara commented: “Over the moon if somewhat shocked.

“To be nominated along with Luke Patience and Daniel Smith is somewhat embarrassing considering all these guys have achieved. I have been lucky to sail with some brilliant and experienced sailors in my short career and my achievement is down to sailing as part of a great team”.

Dara added: “I started sailing in 2009 thanks to Scott Graham and Nick Elder, the lads were needing some rail bait for their sb3 for a windy Wednesday night on the Forth. I had a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) at the time so was used to the sea but had never sailed before. This did not put the guys off as they were obviously desperate and were comfortable I would know how to hold on. After the third broach of the evening I was hooked, sold the RIB, bought a 707 and enjoyed every minute on the water since. We have an experienced crew and for Scottish series Andy Marshall was on the stick, with Hugh Watson on tactics, Nick Elder on trim, Kat Marshall in the pit and myself on the bow.”

Also putting in great performances was Jamie Calder aged 17 from Balerno, shortlisted for the RYA Scotland Youth Sailor of the Year award.

“Jamie started the year on a high winning the Laser Radial Youth Nationals in Pwllheli against stiff competition. He also achieved a 9th Under 19 at the Laser Standard Worlds in the summer as well as selection to the RYA Podium Potential Pathway programme,” said RYA Scotland Performance Manager Tim Ellis.

Nominations were open to the public and a judging panel brought the shortlist down to three nominees per category.