Eve McMahon Reflects on Her Extraordinary Journey...

09 January 2024
Eve McMahon Reflects on Her Extraordinary Journey...

Howth Yacht Club hosted its annual Achievers awards ceremony, kindly sponsored by Celtic Candles on 06 January to recognise outstanding contributions and successes by members, on and off the water.

Olympic hopeful, Eve MacMahon won the prestigious International award which was graciously accepted, on her behalf, by her dad Jim McMahon.

Eve was unable to attend in person as she is currently racing in the 2024 ILCA 6 Women's World Championship in Mar del Plata, Argentina where she is hoping to secure Ireland’s place in the 2024 Olympics.

Cormac Farrelly, HYC Communications Officer, had an opportunity to catch up with Eve before she headed to Argentina.

Sailing Towards New Horizons

In the interview, Eve McMahon, the under-21 world champion in the ILCA6 class, reflected on her extraordinary journey in 2022, a year marked by unprecedented success. She detailed her experience of winning the Youth Europeans, the Youth Worlds in The Hague, and finally the ILCA 6 Youth World Championship in Texas, a feat she described as both incredible and demanding. McMahon emphasized the unseen hard work behind her achievements, including balancing her sailing career with academic commitments like the Leaving Cert. Looking ahead, she spoke about transitioning from youth to senior divisions, a move she has been preparing for since she was 15, and her aspirations for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

McMahon also recounted a nerve-wracking moment during the ILCA 6 Under 21 World Championship in Tangiers, Morocco, where she capably handled a capsizing incident, showcasing her resilience and skill under pressure. The interview ended with McMahon expressing her gratitude for the support from Howth Yacht Club and her pride in representing it on international stages.

Watch the full interview with Eve McMahon here:

Full Interview Transcript:

Cormac HYC: I'm here with Eve McMahon in Howth Yacht club. Eve is the under 21 world champion for the ILCA6 class. Eve, let me dial you back to 2022. It started, I think, with you winning the Youth Europeans, then it was the youth worlds in The Hague, and then finally you were crowned ILCA 6 youth world champion in Texas. As far as I know, no other sailor, male or female, managed to do “The Triple”, winning all three championships in the one season. Tell us a little bit about what that was like.

Eve McMahon: Yes, it was an incredible year. There was a lot of hard work put into it and I suppose with support, a lot of people don't see the behind the scenes work that it takes to be on the podium and to be winning gold medals. And they don't really see the highs and the lows. So I just had to put my absolute all into the events. And I obviously had my Leaving Cert to sit, which was just a week before, but I just went into the events knowing that I did the most preparation that I could do. And I really just had to let the work, the hard work, kind of speak for itself. And to come out with three gold medals, it was absolutely incredible and a moment that will kind of always stick with me and it'll always make me very proud. But sport moves on and I'm coming up now with hopefully some bigger and better goals that I'm trying to work towards.

Cormac HYC: 2022 was obviously an amazing year, but then this year you had to step up a class. So you went from youth division up to senior division. And I know the expectations are huge and it's not an easy transition. So tell us a little bit about that.

Eve McMahon: Yes, so I have actually been competing in the youth, the under 21 and the senior division since I was 15. I did my first senior event in Australia. I went out to Australia for three months for the senior world championships. So I was really just trying to get all the experience that I can get from all the Olympic girls. So that was a huge stepping stone for me. But to be able to transition in and to be winning and being tipped as a known entity is really amazing.

Cormac HYC: Many of us were watching you back in Tangiers in Morocco, and my recollection is that there were eight days of grueling racing. You're there on the last day, the last race, everything is up for grabs. You're very well positioned to become the ILCA 6 Under 21 World Champion, and then you capsize! What was going through your mind when that happened?

Eve McMahon: Listen, we're doing twelve races in a series and every race, it really can't be perfect when we're dealing with Mother Nature. So that's why we do so many training hours, to deal with those situations that go wrong and the adrenaline just kicks in and you just really had to get the boat back up quick. And I knew, although I wasn't looking at the results, I had somewhat of a comfortable lead, but there definitely was still a bit of panic. But that's sport. Things go wrong. So I really just had to get the boat back up quickly and finish right.

Cormac HYC: You're obviously very good at handling pressure! OK - I have to ask you about the Olympics. So I think it's no secret that your ambition was to get the nomination for Ireland, ILCA 6, for Los Angeles, 2028. But what about Paris 2024? Is that now a possibility?

Eve McMahon: Paris for sure. Listen, it's one of my ultimate goals to qualify for Paris. And as much as winning gold medals at youth and Under 21 are huge achievements for myself, they're for sure stepping stones for qualifying for Paris. So I'm heading off to Argentina. That's where I'll be while this whole awards (HYC Achiever’s awards) is taking place, and I'll be racing to the best of my ability and I'm loving absolutely every minute of it. And I'm really proud to be representing Howth.

Cormac HYC: Super. Just wrapping up on last year, you were Afloat Irish Sailor of the year. You were nominated twice by RTE for Young Sportsperson Of The Year… and now, which we're very proud of, you are the winner of the Howth Yacht Club 2023 Achiever Award for international sailing. I mean all of us in the club here are so proud of all your achievements to date, and you're such an inspiration, especially for the younger sailors. Can I ask you what it means to you to have won the Achievers award?

Eve McMahon: It really is huge to me and I really want to thank Howth Club for their continued support. I go out into international regattas and I really am proud to be representing Howth Yacht Club. This is where I grew up to sail with my two brothers when I was five or six, and it's just a fantastic club to represent while I'm away and I really want to thank everybody for their support. And, yes, I'm absolutely delighted to win and I'm really, really looking forward to hopefully representing Howth Yacht Club at the highest level.

Cormac HYC: Well, fantastic. So very well deserved. And we'll all be rooting for you in Argentina.

For those of you who would like to follow Eve's progress in Argentina, follow the 2024 ILCA 6 Women's World Championship event website