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Selection for All Ireland Sailing Competition Leaves 20 Classes Fighting for 3 Places

11th September 2012

It is important that all classes can aspire to participate in the All Ireland Championships but it needs to be seen to be fair and equitable. Giving pre-emptive qualification rights purely on the basis of numbers attending a class's championships when many are struggling for numbers is the wrong tack says Water Rat because it does little to enhance the stature of the event.

Having looked at the selection of participants from different classes for the All Ireland sailing competiton (formerly theHelmsman's Championships), I wonder if the ISA, the organiser of the event, is concerned at the consequences of the changes they made to the qualification process? There will be obvious delight for some in the pre qualified-entry into the finals but as a regular participant in several other classes I have to observe that important qualitative issues seem to have suffered as a consequence of the new politically correct process. (See below for ISA arrangements).

Without denigrating the abilities of representatives from classes such as the Mermaid, Squib, Water Wags, ICRA, 2 & 3, it is patently silly to determine priority eligibility on a purely numeric fleet size only basis. This is political correctness gone completely mad! For example ICRA Cruisers Zero, the class of our Commodore's Cup squad would never be in with a chance of pre-qualification as the Cruisers Zero fleet of forty foot boats could never muster the same numbers as say a dinghy class.

Expecting people from other competitive classes to make a significant three day commitment for accommodation, entrance fees and damage deposits with the prospect of being eliminated after an afternoon's competition seems grossly unfair and will inevitably discourage attendance by many of the most talented sailors coming from less numerically strong fleets with perhaps the greatest depth of talent.

Under these circumstances it will not be a surprise if many so called 'second' and 'third' tier nominees from extremely competitive but smaller classes ignore participation in the event because of cost and uncertainty of ultimate participation for the last phase. This is because only three places are available from 20 potential candidates from classes such as the highly competitive SB20, Flying Fifteen, 1720, Fireball, J24, RS 200, RS 400, and Dragon, and does not include other strong classes such as the Etchells and J109 who are on a waiting list for an opportunity to qualify. The competitive National 18s (who had fifty boats for a 2011 anniversary event) don't even get a mention!

The event also known as the 'All Ireland Sailing Championships' and 'the Champion of Champions Event' has had many changes over its 60–year lifespan but change needs to be made carefully and for the right reasons.

If ever there was an example of unexpected consequences from well intentioned changes to what was acknowledged as a system which was not working, is this it?

Please let us know your views in the comments box below

ALL IRELAND SAILING 2012 (from ISA Website on September 7th 2012)

The ISA is delighted to announce that the ISA Senior All Ireland Sailing Championship will take place in Lough Derg Yacht Club from the 5th to the 7th of October.

Invitations have also been sent to selected nominees as follows:

The first group have been invited directly to the final series on Saturday from Stage One:

Stage One

2011 Champion George Kenefick

Wild Card (TBA)

Wild Card (TBA)

Top 3 Dinghy & Keelboat Classes

Laser Radial *

Laser *

Mermaid *

Squib *

ICRA '2' *

ICRA '3' *

Next 4 from combined Dinghy & Keelboat Classes


Shannon OD


Water Wag

Stage Two Qualifier - Friday

Junior Champion

Laser SB20




ICRA '1'




RS Elite

Sigma 33


First 31.7




Waiting for Qualifier place:

Howth 17


ICRA '0'



The names with an * are from the top three dinghy and keelboat classes by number. Only these classes are allowed to pass an invite to the next nominee from their class as far as third place. The next group are in the qualifier with at least three places available. Followed by the waiting list who will move up as those become available.

Published in Water Rat Team

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