Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Marine Clothing

The weekend of 24 June saw the inaugural Watersports Inclusion Games taking place in Dun Laoghaire at the Royal St. George Yacht Club with 125 volunteers providing activities for over 220 participants with various abilities on the physical, sensory, intellectual and learning difficulty spectrums and representing all ages, demographics and socio-economic backgrounds. The participants and their families had a chance to try sailing, rowing, canoeing/kayaking and fast boat rides.

Such was the popularity of Day One that Day Two saw many familiar faces and repeat attendees.

The Games aim was not just about showing participants that watersports are accessible, but also to show to watersports providers that with a little bit of training and planning, they can facilitate people of all abilities and backgrounds to get out on the water. The atmosphere during the weekend was fantastic, with participants queuing to sign up for as many different activities as possible – from rowing to 1720 keelboat sailing and yachting, to rib-tripping and kayaking under the piers.

The event would not have happened without the many volunteers who generously donated their time and expertise, and there was enthusiastic feedback from participants and volunteers – both groups saying how much fun the Games were.

The organisers were Irish Sailing, Canoeing Ireland, Dun Laoghaire Sea Scouts, Dun Laoghaire Sailability, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Spinal Injuries Ireland and Royal St George Yacht Club, with generous resource support from National Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, and Adventure Training Ireland. The event was funded by the Sport Ireland Dormant Accounts Sports Inclusion Fund and supported by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company.

Published in ISA

We live in a world swamped in acronyms, so much so that even a simple one like ISA has to be explained as “Irish Sailing Association” to all except those involved with or interested in our sport writes W M Nixon.

But we also live in a very crowded world where, if at all possible, the theme of “Less Is More” is increasingly desirable. So the announcement yesterday evening (Monday June 26th) by the Irish Sailing Association, that it is in the process of re-branding itself more simply as Irish Sailing, is in line with a distinct and generally desirable trend.

Like many who have been intimately involved with the ISA in its many manifestations, with it born out of the Irish Dinghy Racing Association and then mutating through the Irish Yachting Association to become the Irish Sailing Association, a first reaction was one of disapproval, but it changed.

There was something attractively personal about an Association, and as its constitution defines “sailing” as an “activity involving engine or sail-powered craft”, it was a recognizable coming-together of people with shared interests in a grouping with its own distinct identity under a very broad umbrella.

ISA provided a sense of belonging, and individual members could cherish their long personal links to it. Yet for outsiders – non-sailors who might be attracted into getting involved with some aspect of our diverse sport – the use of the acronym “ISA” and the defining word “Association” could be off-putting.

For longtime dedicated sailors, these might seem to be decidedly precious, nit-picking and very minor considerations. But you only get one chance to make a first impression, and the modern ideal is that the sense of something being a “movement” as much as an association is a significant factor in making a favourable first impression.

Then too, we’re trying to get away from acronyms, and reduce the number of syllables in a recognisable title to an absolute minimum. ISA as an acronym has only three syllables. But Irish Sailing Association arguably has seven syllables. This makes it quite a mouthful, thereby encouraging reversion to the acronym, which of itself tells us very little of what this organisation is all about

However, “Irish Sailing” has only four syllables. One more than “ISA” perhaps, but still few enough for people to gives it the full title when referring to it, rather than using the much-too-short and possible confusion-causing acronym IS.

So on balance, my response is that the re-branding as Irish Sailing deserves a guarded welcome. But I’m acutely aware that even though the announcement was made only last night, and on a very wet Monday night at that, heated passions are aroused, and there’s an equally tenable argument which sees it differently. That great contributor to Irish sailing afloat and ashore, Monica Schaefer of Greystones Sailing Club and the Wayfarer Class, speaks eloquently for those who feel a special personal link to our national authority:

“I find it incredible to think that the ISA is seriously going to change its name to the same initials/abbreviation as the worlds largest terror organisation. Surely someone must realise that using the initials I and S together will attract all sorts of problems with internet traffic, gaining attention from people not intent on enjoying sailing and from security systems designed to pick up internet / social media traffic that track that sort of thing.

How will racing sailors who are not part of a club now be identified on a race results sheet if they are no longer members of the ISA? Ah yes we can just put down IS instead of ISA, that’ll sort it - LOL

Notwithstanding the problems the initials might attract, surely removing the association makes the organisation so much more impersonal and commercial sounding, if it is no longer an association, does that mean that those who subscribe to it are simply customers and no longer members? Has anyone thought about the fact that If we are not members anymore we will soon lose our sense of belonging? I wonder if we are no longer members of an association will the new organisation be scrapping the membership fee in line with it’s new identity (lol again) presumable the ISA members can now expect a refund of their paid up fee for the remainder of this year.

On hearing this announcement today I immediately feel disconnected with the new identity. I have been a proud member of the ISA since the time of the IYA and now I feel that we the members have just been jettisoned over the side to make way for “progress”, and that we are no longer a part of this supposedly more marketable commercial organisation that has taken over.

Surely a name change requires discussion and debate with the membership and a vote at an AGM or EGM at least? It’s a huge identity change that effects us all so surely we should have a say in it.

This move shouts of commercial interest and does not I believe reflect the interest of the members, but maybe the organisation doesn’t need or want members anymore, and the commercial side of the business wants to follow the lead of ISAF who started this trend with their move from the easily recognised and meaningful ISAF branding to the dull and bland branding of World Sailing.

This really is a shock and not something that ISA members should take lightly.

Regards,
Monica Schaefer”

Published in News Update

#IrishSailing - The Irish Sailing Association is now known as Irish Sailing.

The branding refresh comes on the foot of member feedback to Ireland’s national governing body for sailing, powerboating and windsurfing – and is intended to underline changes within the organisation as part of its five-year strategic plan.

The name change also echoes the ISAF’s switch to World Sailing in late 2015.

“Irish Sailing is more modern and welcoming, immediately understood by non-sailors and international audiences alike, and more appealing to those who might like to try our sports,” said the organisation in a statement.

As of yesterday (Monday 26 June), the new Irish Sailing logo appears on its website and social media feeds, and will gradually be rolled out across official documents, printed materials and products over the coming months.

Published in ISA

One of Jack Roy’s priorities for his presidency of the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) is to get more women involved in sailing.

As he wrote for Afloat.ie in April, the ISA wants to encourage greater female participation via a two-pronged approach.

That means both in the activity of sailing itself, via the Women on the Water programme, and through improving the gender balance in ISA governance.

Women on the Water — a network of Irish-based female sailors, windsurfers and powerboaters — was formed with the aim of raising not only the number of women getting afloat, but also their profile and level of skill.

And its continued success is now supported by the appointment of two more women to the ISA Board this year.

Fiona Bolger and Nikki Curran join Sarah Byrne, who has served on the board since 2015.

Byrne, an RS sailor from Greystones Sailing Club, is deeply involved in the Competition & Classes policy groups, no doubt ensuring the perspective of women in sailing is taken into account.

Her new board colleagues, who joined this past March, bring their own sailing pedigree.

fiona bolgerFiona Bolger has joined the board of the Irish Sailing Association

Fiona Bolger, a communications and PR guru, has a number of national and international events under her belt representing Baltimore Sailing Club in the competitive hotbed of West Cork.

As chief executive of Spinal Injuries Ireland, she has also been instrumental in organising the new Watersports Inclusion Games that are taking place in Dun Laoghaire.

Meanwhile, Nikki Curran will contribute to the Clubs & Participation policy group after many years heavily involved in junior sailing at Sligo Yacht Club, giving her a unique insight into what sailors wants from their clubs and their ISA.

Nikki curranISA Board Member Nikki Curran of Sligo Yacht Club

The presence of Curran, Bolger and Byrne brings female membership of the 11–seat ISA board to more than a quarter – confirmation that Roy is making good on his promises to steer the ISA to an inspiring new heading.

But it should also be clear that these are no mere token appointments, as all three bring to bear a wealth of experience both within and beyond sailing to promote a more inclusive sport for all.

Published in ISA

Jack Roy may have become the new Irish Sailing Association President for a three year term as recently as the end of March writes W M Nixon. But having spent a few weeks re-appraising the functioning of the ISA as seen from a Presidential viewpoint (for he had been a Board Member), he has been energetically implementing his policy of representing the ISA whenever possible at gatherings large and small throughout the country.

It works two ways, as it puts a human face on the national authority, and at the same time he can take on board local opinions on everything to do with the Association’s work. This past week has seen him at the award to Wicklow Sailing Club of the Mitsubishi Motors “Sailing Club of the Year 2017” accolade on Tuesday, then on Thursday he was fulfilling a double bill in his first official visit to Galway, following which on Saturday afternoon he was in his familiar race officering duties for Dublin Bay Sailing Club in decidedly contrary race organising conditions, and then on Saturday night he and his wife Rosemary (who is also a member of his race organising team) were at the Golden Jubilee Dinner in the National Yacht Club to celebrate Carmel Winkelmann’s key role in setting up the NYC’s Junior Section fifty years ago in 1967, a pioneering move in developing the Junior Sailing Programme for what was then the Irish Yachting Association.

The visit to Galway – with Galway’s own Pierce Purcell setting the guidance pace - he found to be uniquely interesting, as it gave a fresh insight into how the western city sees itself in its special relationship with the sea, which has a long and distinguished history dating back to the time it used to be one of the most significant ports in Europe.

jack roy galway2At the opening of the Marine Institute’s Marine Science Exhibition in Galway City Museum were (left to right) Pierce Purcell, Helen McCormack of the MI, Jack Roy (President Irish Sailing Association) and Caroline Bocquel, Director of Corporate Services, Marine Institute
This is going to be celebrated with the popular Seafest in the western capital from July 30th to 2nd June, and it all came together in Galway City Museum on Thursday, with the Seafest details announcement, and the the Marine Institute launching its Marine Science Exhibition, which is on the top floor of the Museum with the bonus of superb views over the ancient Claddagh - Galway’s original port - and across Galway Bay to the Clare hills.

Up there, with intriguing exhibits and displays giving a sense of the past and thoughtful visions of future development and discovery, the special Galway buzz from the city and harbour below is palpable, and the entire experience comes with the most enthusiastic Presidential recommendation.

Published in ISA

I am very honoured to be elected as the new President of the Irish Sailing Association – a post which brings with it the need for vision and rigour as well as the potential for ongoing improvement.

The first ISA President was elected in 1945. Over the past 72 years, we have grown to become the national governing body for sailing, powerboating and windsurfing and, along with clubs, classes and training centres, we are committed to developing the interests of our sport at all levels, from day trips to ocean voyages, recreation to cruising, dinghies to keelboats and all those who enjoy activity on the water, be they young or old, beginners to Olympians.

The main aim during my tenure is to highlight the relevance of the ISA to our membership as well as increasing the number of people sailing and becoming members of the organisation. It is vital to stress that it is only through the work of the ISA that freedom on the water is retained, that training at all levels is of the best quality, queries are answered knowledgeably, and racing standards are maintained and recognised internationally.

My term begins in the aftermath of a harsh recession, but there is cause for optimism. Our 2020 strategic plan is being implemented well; ISA membership is increasing; we had a wonderful Olympic success last year; and the economic outlook in many parts of the country is improving. The ISA has a solid and positive plan for the future, but I would like to set out my own key priorities as President:

  1. To better understand the demographics and culture of the ISA’s membership and build a fuller picture of our sport and community. This, combined with a more robust set of statistics, means we can create and share a story of who we are to all stakeholders
  2. Our new ISA Club Coaching Programme is rolling out in clubs this year and aims to fill a gap between our core training and the ISA Performance Pathway. The advantages are threefold: a) to convert “summer-course-only” sailors into those who take part in club activity all year round, b) to broaden the talent pool of potential Performance Pathway sailors, c) to expand the circle of club coaches. We will take Olympic expertise from the Pathway programme and use it to develop a stronger coaching culture in clubs
  3. The “Try Sailing” campaign has run successfully since 2015. Last year, over 3,500 people took part, but now we’d like to focus on how “Try Sailors” convert to club members. The first signs are promising, (almost 50% of clubs who undertook a Try Sailing event in 2016 saw a rise in membership), but how can we ensure that an end-to-end approach is taken, and that we understand and share all the necessary steps to get life-long participants?

Alongside these three priorities, the ISA will continue to develop and support, among others, two specific groups. Third level students are an active group, and we want them to continue sailing after graduation. We will also encourage the participation of women in sailing – through both ISA governance and our “Women on the Water” programme.

Together with the dedicated and professional team at the ISA, our policy group volunteers and our hard working Board, I believe we can create real change, inspire newcomers, and make our sport one that is truly a sport for all, and a sport for life.

I welcome all feedback and I’m happy to discuss issues at all levels. I can be contacted at [email protected]

Published in ISA

Ballyholme Yacht Club has released a video of all the weekend action from Bangor Bay, the largest entry ever for the ISA youth national championships.

Read our full report here and see the latest video moments below: 

Published in Youth Sailing

Day Two of the ISA Youth Sailing Pathway National Championships and Optimist Trials saw all of the fleets afloat for the first time with over 200 sailors visiting Ballyholme Yacht Club

With a stronger breeze than yesterday averaging 12-14 knots but peaking just over 20 knots, fitness and stamina were important especially in the Laser Radial fleet where Ewan McMahon and Johnny Durcan showed the form expected with Ewan winning the first 2 races and Johnny the latter. The Radial fleet were a bit excitable in the first race of the day with 3 general recalls and Johnny earned himself a BFD dropping him to third overall. Henry Higgins splits the two of them overall. Sally Bell continues to lead the ladies although she copied Johnny's BFD in the first.

There was lots of tight racing in the 420 class with little separating the first few at the finishes. Wexford Harbour's duo of Geoff Power and James McCann however managed to escape at the end of each race with three bullets for the day, and now leads overall.

420 Geoff Power James McCann IMG 2469420 leaders Geoff Power James McCann from Waterford Harbour Sailing Club Photo: Simon McIlwaine

The Optimist fleet had four races today which tested all of the youngsters especially with a squall at the start of the last race with all but only a few getting too tired in the testing conditions to finish the last race.

Optimist Justin Lucas IMG 1142Optimist sailor Justin Lucas. Photo: Simon McIlwaine  Photo: Simon McIlwaine

The Laser 4.7 fleet started their racing today with Sally Bell's younger brother Harry from Royal North Ireland winning the first race. Jack Fahy won the second race and Clare Gorman the last but the most consistent and now leads overall with a 4,2,1

Laser 4 7 Clare Gorman IMG 7102Clare Gorman of the National Yacht Club leads the Laser 4.7s  Photo: Simon McIlwaine

Another family affair, Jack Fahy's sister Kate showed great form in the Topper fleet which was also racing for their first day lying second overall from East Down's Sarah Jennings. Rob Keal won the first two races however and leads overall with 1,1,4. The Topper 4.2 fleet saw a local fight between Lewis Thompson, Hannah Dadley-Young and Josh McGregor with Lewis also getting 3 bullets for the day.

Top 5 3 Rob Keal IMG 1580Rob Keal of Royal Cork is the Topper leader  Photo: Simon McIlwaine

Full results are here. Optimist trials results may be found here.

In the evening, Rio Olympic Silver medallist Annalise Murphy gave the young audience some great reflections of her journey from the Optimist Trials through the various Pathway Championships in her Laser Radial and what it took to medal in Rio after the disappointments of London. There were lots of tidbits for the competitors to remember and Annalise revealed the level of commitment required with some of the extracts from her training diary started at the age of 13.

Day 3 of the racing starts tomorrow at 11:00 for all classes. The Championships finish on Sunday.

Published in Youth Sailing

With four days of an intensive programme getting under way tomorrow (Thursday) on three different course areas off Ballyholme Bay on Belfast Lough, the ISA Youth Sailing Nationals is making a spectacular debut in Northern Ireland writes W M Nixon.

The north in general, and Ballyholme in particular, have produced so many talented sailors that it seems surprising this is the first time the vibrant Ballyholme club, or indeed any club north of the border, has hosted the Youth Nationals in their contemporary guise.

But last summer’s successful Topper Worlds 2016 on Belfast Lough, and before that the F18 Worlds, have clearly shown that Ballyholme’s strong dinghy participation emphasis can confidently transfer itself into superb race management. And they’re certainly pulling out all the stops to deal with a total fleet numbers which should top the 250 mark by the time entries are finalised tomorrow tonight.

Yet even with entries finalised, it’s keeping pace with the new names in the rapid turnover of super-sailors in the junior divisions which test any analysis system. When you’ve a situation where you’re no longer a Youth Sailor after the age of 19, things happen very quickly. And though they’ll allow you to race a Topper at any old age you like (and some do), you’re only in the racing game if you’re under 16, while Optimists draw the serious line at 15, and all classes have further age sub-divisions.

Still and all, we’ll be looking forward to a real ding-dong in the Lasers between Johnny Durcan of Cork and Ewan MacMahon of Howth, who were first and second in last weekend’s 125-boat Munster Laser Championship at Baltimore. Let battle commence.

The ISA add: 

Starting tomorrow Ireland’s largest Youth Sailing regatta is the ISA’s primary talent spotting event. The first time the event is being held at Ballyholme Yacht Club and it has over 200 sailors registered – the largest entry ever.

Racing will be held over three race courses and five classes. Organsiers say there will be great racing on the water and good fun at the club ashore.

Evening talks as well as the races are open to all young sailors who sail in the five ISA Youth Pathway Classes (Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, 420, Topper, Optimist).

The ISA squad programmes will resume this summer in the Laser 4.7 and Topper classes, and these classes will have a squad trial to identify future ISA Pathway sailors. In addition, ISA spotters are out to assess sailors for Academy trials for the Laser Radials and 420s. (The Optimists will have separate Class-organised talent spotters).

Eight places on the ISA Topper Squad : In the Topper class up to eight sailors will be selected to join the ISA Topper Squad. The Squad coach and programme will be announced following the event. The programme aimed at developing young Topper sailors will provide training and also support at the 2017 Topper World Championship to be held in Brittany, France in July. Entry to the World championship is independent of ISA squad selection and through the International Topper Class Association.

Five places on the ISA Laser 4.7 Squad: Up to five sailors will be chosen at the ISA Youth Pathway Nationals to join the ISA 4.7 Squad. A further two sailors may be chosen at the 2017 Laser 4.7 Ulster Championship. The ISA 4.7 squad will provide training to help young sailors transition in the Laser 4.7 class. It will also aim to prepare and support the squad for the Laser 4.7 World Championship to be held in Nieuwpoort, Belgium in July. The squad coach and programme will be announced following event. Entry to the 4.7 Worlds is independent of ISA squad selection through the International Laser Class Association.

At 5.30pm each evening there will be a talk and Q&A session at the Ballyholme Yacht Club with speakers who have a deep knowledge of racing. The talks are open to all sailors and parents.

Full list of Evening Speakers:

Wednesday 19th April, BILL O'HARA will discuss “What to consider when preparing for an event - Rules Strategy for racing”. Bill is the current Principal Race Officer for the Volvo Ocean Race, International Umpire and Rules adviser to the Irish Olympic Team.

Thursday 20th April, MATTY MC GOVERN (Double Olympian 49er Class) will talk on “Team Work in Sailing – Preparing a Professional Approach”

Friday 21st April, ANNALISE MURPHY (Olympic Silver medalist) will share her insights in a talk entitled “Beat the Best: Preparing for Competitive Gains at the Olympics”.

Saturday 22nd April, Ross Killian & Russell McGovern (ISA Performance Coaches) will give video analysis and coaching tips from the day’s racing.

Published in Youth Sailing

#Tokyo2020 - Funding for Irish sailing and other watersports remains broadly unchanged in Sport Ireland’s allocations for National Governing Bodies in 2017 — though programmes encouraging women in rowing have received a boost.

However, the accompanying review of the Irish Olympic performance in Rio acknowledges that Ireland's medal target was not reached – raising questions of expectations for Tokyo 2020.

The report highlights that Ireland “does not fund sport seriously”, according to Irish Times sportswriter Johnny Watterson, who cites the absence of long-term funding in favour of annual, non-guaranteed allocations.

More than €20 million for sporting bodies and athletes, in line with last year’s allocations, was announced by Minister of State for Sport Patrick O’Donovan this week as Sport Ireland also published its review of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

The 2017 investment comprises €1.8 million in direct athlete investment; €7.2 million in high performance programme funding; €10.8 million in National Governing Bodies core funding; and €600,000 for the Women in Sport Programme.

The Irish Sailing Association (€323k), Rowing Ireland (€210k), Irish Surfing Association (€65k) and Irish Underwater Council (€60k) will get sums unchanged from 2016, though Canoeing Ireland sees a cut in its allocation by €10,000 (€205k to €195k).

Sailing (€18k) and surfing (€7,000) also see unchanged sums for their Women in Sport programmes, but Rowing Ireland receives a boost to €45,000 from €35,000 in 2016.

Sport Ireland highlights that more than 15,000 women and girls participated in Rowing Ireland’s ‘Get Going Get Rowing’ programme last year, while over 300 took part in the Irish Surfing Women in Sport initiative, and more than 9,000 availed of the Swim Ireland programme for female participation.

In allocations for high performance programmes, the ISA’s share rises by €100,000 to €735,000 for 2017, while Rowing Ireland sees an even bigger boost in its HP grant from €400,000 last year to €525,000.

Canoeing Ireland, however, sees its HP allocation cut by almost 40% to from €65,000 €40,000.

Welcoming the increase in sailing investment, ISA high performance director James O’Callaghan called for perspective on the figures involved.

“We’re pleased with the €100,000 increase but the truth of the matter is we started off the year with a €60,000 deficit because of the cost of [competing in] Rio. So really, it’s status quo for sailing,” he said.

Athlete investment

In direct athlete investment, 16 international athletes are awarded ‘Podium’ funding for 2017 under the International Carding Scheme.

In rowing, Rio Olympic medallists Gary and Paul O’Donovan, along with Sanita Puspure, will each receive €40,000 in Podium funding, while Rio’s Laser silver medallist Annalise Murphy is the only sailor to qualify for that funding level.

Sinead Lynch, Claire Lambe (€20k each), Mark O’Donovan, Shane O’Driscoll and Denise Walsh (€12k each) round out the rowing recipients in the 2017 funding round.

Among other sailing recipients, Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern each receive €20,000, Finn Lynch gets €12,000 and €16,000 goes to crew/transition athletes.

In canoeing and kayaking, Patrick O’Leary (para canoe), Tom Brennan, Liam Jegou, Jenny Egan and Michael Fitzsimon will each get €12,000 of International level funding.

Sailing ‘must diversify’

Meanwhile, Sport Ireland says its Rio Review provides a “blueprint” for campaigns heading into the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

In sailing, two of Ireland’s four classes competed in Rio “performed at or near expectations”, with the others cites for “credible results”.

The report adds: “Given it has been 36 years since Ireland last won an Olympic medal, this is an extremely exciting achievement and provides evidence of the success of the longer term strategy that ISA has been following for many years now.”

In its recommendations for sailing going forward, the report says work is underway “to diversify income to support the performance programme.

“In sports like sailing with significant capital needs, allocating funding on an annual basis is unhelpful. The sport and the athletes would be far more able to launch and deliver credible and performance based campaigns if funding was known over a longer period.”

However, the report also suggests that care must be taken by the ISA to remain within its budget allocation or “consider how difficult decisions might be made to invest in classes
with realistic chances of medalling” or other significant success.

Sailing would also benefit from more class competition within Ireland, the report adds.

“The review has identified the timescale to remedy the problems [within sailing],” said the ISA’s O’Callaghan. “But when are we going to see action to fix it?”

The picture for rowing is also less rosy, as Sport Ireland says “a lack of development structure and pathway is preventing the identification and progression of rowers to international
level”.

Despite that warning, Sport Ireland remains confident that “the current situation of recent history and success within this Olympic cycle represents a very strong position to be in.”

Consistency in training camps and post-training sessions is recommended by the report, which also suggests the use of biometric data to inform team performance.

The full Sport Ireland Rio Review is available as a PDF to read or download HERE.

Published in Tokyo 2020
Page 1 of 16