It took him a while to find the Finn class but Oisin Mcclelland has the makings of a top class Finn sailor. He towers over most of his contemporaries and enjoys the intense physicality of sailing the Finn, comparing a hard day’s sailing in high winds as more demanding than a tough rugby match.
Name: Oisin Mccleland
Date of Birth: 17/07/1993
ISAF ID: IRLOM9
“I am from Bangor, which is just outside Belfast in Northern Ireland. Throughout school I sailed a Laser and every year I got in the boat I felt a bit more cramped. I came to the Dinghy Academy for a week to try out the Finn and it was everything I had been waiting for. I now had plenty of room to work and it was a nice technical boat, which I enjoy, but it’s also a physically demanding boat.”
“I got myself a boat in February and trained by myself in Ireland throughout the winter. I moved down to Valencia with Luca in June and have been training there most days since.”
Tougher than rugby
“I played rugby throughout school and that is a very physical sport, so coming into the Finn felt like it transferred well and I could really use my physicality to sail the boat well. I played in the second row and I was always one of the biggest in the team, and also a lot heavier. When I saw the ideal weight for a Finn it worked out well. I fit pretty well.”
“When you come off a rugby pitch and you have given absolutely everything you have and you’ll not be able to walk the next day, after a long day on the water in the Finn in windy weather with free pumping you pretty much get the same feeling, if not worse.”
“The camaraderie in the boat park with the people I have met so far has been nothing but friendly and you also get that camaraderie when you come off the water after a windy day. You’ve all been in it together. It’s the power of the boat. You are all levelled by it. You all share a similar feeling.”
“When I first stepped in the boat and came off the water after a long day, it was like “wow”; I never got that in the Laser.”
On the Olympics
“Since I started sailing I always had the Olympics as the goal as the pinnacle of our sport. In the Laser I never quite got there because I grew out of it quite quickly. With my age, I have a long-term goal of Toyko 2020, not just to qualify for but to do well, given the amount of time I will have to prepare myself properly. With the right funding and help from the Dinghy Academy I do believe that’s definitely possible.”
“If I were to benefit from any crowdfunding it would really help my chances of getting the right equipment and enable me to train full time and ideally go to Takapuna*. The first target is either Takapuna or Palma* next year to gain a spot at the Olympics.
* The 2015 Finn Gold Cup is being held in Takapuna, New Zealand. That event and the Palma regatta in 2016 are the two events where Oisin can qualify his country for Rio.