On THIS ISLAND NATION this week... I take the view that every sport needs a national association to lead its development. So Ireland needs a national sailing association. How a national association serves its members must be the definition of its success. A national sport can also benefit from the oxygen of international competition, offering opportunities to raise the national reputation and the team and/or individual involved. The representative organisation must not lose touch with its base, the local club, the local member. Is there a dichotomy in this regard between the drive for international success and the state of sailing in Ireland?
Next Saturday's planned meeting in the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, following on the raising of issues about the development, future and existing state of sailing in Ireland at the annual general meeting of the Irish Sailing Association (ISA), has a lot to discuss.
The national sailing authority has been challenged on several fronts, ranging from whether the drive for international success has neglected the sport locally, to its administration, whether the ISA was correct to embrace motorboating power within its remit and other aspects of the state of sailing in Ireland today.
I have an open mind on the issues raised, but the challenges issued must be answered, one of which appears to be the relationship of the ISA to the local club member, which has been the subject of debate.
"What does the ISA do for me, as a club member?"
How often I have heard that question raised and also the answers given – amongst them that, without it, there could not be national championships; would not be international recognition of Ireland; matters of regulations; issuing of certificates and many others, as well as criticism that the ISA has moved too far from its base and become involved in matters extraneous to the sport of sailing.
Bring back buying fish locally
WHAT'S THE CATCH?
"This country is sodden with regulations" a comment I have heard quite often and which has a degree of truth. In the course of the present food controversy over horsemeat I remembered the days when it was possible in a fishing port to buy fresh fish off the boats as the landed. Regulations imposed by the omnipresent "health and safety," often seen as an abuser of freedoms, has prevented that opportunity, to which one can hearken, particularly in these times of industrial-food operations which have led to the horsemeat issue.
On Wednesday of next week, March 27, a "community-supported fishery" project is to be launched at Brighton in the UK. "Catchbox" is the first project of its kind, intended to provide local fish at a fair price to both fishermen and consumers, ensuring a sustainable market for a variety of local fish. Members of the scheme pay a fee to join the project at the beginning of the fishing season and are entitled to a share of participating fishermen's catches each week, based on a set weight. Local restaurants, fish shops, cafes and domestic consumers are entitled. Members will also get together for cookery demonstrations. The idea comes from North America where community-supported fishery schemes are popular. Could they spread so that we could get back to the days of local people being able to buy locally-caught fish rather than the present industrial-type food system which has produced situations such as the horsemeat controversy?
Salmon on the Blackwater - a catch by Terry O'Keeffe from Midleton
SALMON RISING ON RIVER BLACKWATER
Ian Powell of Blackwater Lodge down South in the Cork/Waterford border areas is in happy mood this week after some good catches of salmon, amongst them the one pictured here which Terry O'Keeffe from Midleton caught. Ian describes the catch: "Terry came to the Lodge at about 2.30 p.m. I sent him to Kilmurry. At 4 o'clock I had a call from him to say he too had a springer on fly after only an hour fishing. (Another angler had also taken a good catch earlier in the day.) I grabbed the camera and headed for the scene - the Hut Pool on Upper Kilmurry. Duly photographed, I brought the fish back to the Lodge where it tipped the scales at 10.3lbs. Terry's fish fell to a fly of his own tying fished on a Sink 1/2 Loop Custom Shooting Head made by Glenda. Both fish were extremely fresh but neither had sea-lice which could well mean that fish are moving through only very slowly and that there are probably a reasonable number about."
FIFTY YEARS OF DIVING
CFT, the Irish Underwater Council, is to make its 50th anniversary this year with a celebration dinner at the City North Hotel, Gormanston, Co, Meath, on September 15, which will also be the publication date of a special newspaper chronicling the history of the national diving association around the country. All clubs are being asked to provide "pictures and stories and we are also looking for old video or cine-camera footage covering any diving event."
Contact CFT at 78a Patrick Street, Dun Laoghaire, Co.Dublin – phone 01 2844601 or Email: [email protected] if you can help.
CRUISE LINES PROSPER DESPITE TROUBLES
Despite fears of a downturn after the Costa Concordia disaster the cruise ship industry has shrugged off bad publicity, dealt with the imposition of new regulations and survived a weak world economic situation to continue making profits. That is according to the Florida, USA-based Cruise Line Industry Association which has set-up a "one worldwide voice" for the industry. The United Nations' body for safety at sea, the International Maritime Organisation, is to implement a unified policy for lifeboat muster drills for passengers, but that may not come into effect until the middle of next year.
CLIMATE THREAT TO SEWAGE!
Sewage in the water is not pleasant and in the USA where issues can take peculiar turns, environmentalists are objecting in Miami to plans which the local authorities say are vital to impose because of fears that climate change could drastically affect sewage treatment plants in Miami in southern Florida. Scientists there have warned that the three major sewage plants serving the area could be "reduced to shrinking islands in less than 50 years" due to rising sea levels which will threaten the region's vital facilities. As a result local authorities have announced a $1.5 billion plan to improve protection of the existing plants. However the main objectors are environmentalists who want the plans moved inland, but residents in suggested alternative locations are in turn objecting to that!
Email: [email protected]
For regular Marine News follow on Twitter: @afloatmagazine @TomMacSweeney