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Displaying items by tag: Irish Sailing

Sailing benefits from a total of €745,000 in grants following a major funding boost for sports to recover and grow post-pandemic.

Minister for Sport Catherine Martin and Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers joined Sport Ireland today (Monday 13 December) to announce the almost €80m windfall for the sport sector under two separate support programmes.

These aim to support recovery and growth of sports organisations and club networks, and provide for new sports equipment including state-of-the-art equipment for high performance athletes.

Minister Martin said: “It’s important that the sport sector is on a firm financial footing. The additional funding, coupled with the increase in the budget for sport in 2022, will ensure the long-term viability of our sports organisations, high performance sport and will make sure sport remains accessible to all.”

Under the €73.6m COVID funding scheme, Irish Sailing receives €350,000 from the Club Resilience Fund to support Ireland’s sailing clubs — many of which also received a boost from Sports Capital Funding in August.

This funding is in addition to the COVID-19 contingency fund directed towards exceptional costs generated by the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, which were postponed for 12 months until this year.

Meanwhile, under the €5.3m equipment grants scheme, Irish Sailing receives €102,000 for general participation and €293,000 for high performance activities — totalling €395,000.

Other watersport bodies to benefit include Rowing Ireland, which receives €185,000 (€85,000 from the NGB Resilience Fund; €100,000 from the Club Resilience Fund) plus a further €385,000 for equipment (€60,000 general participation, €325,000 high performance).

Caneoing Ireland gets €118,000 (€18,000 from the Club Resilience Fund and €100,000 from the Restart Fund to support the return of sport and physical activity) and a further €213,000 for equipment (€143,000 general, €70,000 high performance).

Diving’s governing body the Irish Underwater Council receives €10,000 from the NGB Resilience Fund and €110,000 under the Club Resilience Fund, plus €35,000 to fund equipment for general participation.

Irish Surfing gets €20,000 from the Restart Fund and another €20,000 for general-use equipment, while the Angling Council of Ireland gets €10,000 from the Restart Fund and €60,000 from the equipment grants scheme for general participation.

Published in ISA

Contradictory advice has emerged in the wake of the latest update to maritime travel restrictions from the Department of Transport.

Following yesterday’s (Wednesday 23 June) update to Marine Notice No 16 of 2021, which can be downloaded below, Irish Sailing has said its understanding is that “the previous ban on foreign leisure vessels travelling to Irish ports has been lifted”.

However, this understanding is not shared by all — with at least one marina operator telling Afloat.ie that their business will hold off on lifting any COVID-19 travel restrictions until Government guidelines explicitly allow.

At time of writing, Government advice remains to “avoid non-essential travel” until at least 18 July.

Afloat.ie has contacted the Department of Transport for comment.

Irish Sailing maintains its NGO and high-performance funding in 2021 under Sport Ireland’s latest allocations, announced on Thursday (22 April).

The national governing body for sailing receives another €410,000 this year, with €800,000 awarded under High Performance Programme funding — also matching last year’s grant.

It shares in a total of €40 million being invested by Sport Ireland in NGOs and high-level athletes after a year which saw their livelihoods “significantly impacted by Covid-19 restrictions”.

In particular, this is predicted to be an expensive one for athletes with Olympic ambitions “as there remains a high level of uncertainty around competition and training camp plans”, Sport Ireland says.

It adds that it “will provide further support in 2021 to address the immediate and confirmed costs to high performance programmes in respect of the Olympic and Paralympic Games”.

For more details see the Sport Ireland website HERE.

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This is a crucial time for all those involved in sailing, with frustration clear because of uncertainty about the future of competitive events, including world championships such as the Topper Worlds, Laser 4.7 Worlds on Dublin Bay and other big events due to be held in Ireland this year.

As well as frustration amongst sailors and at clubs trying to organise these events, for those providing services to the sport - boatyards, chandleries, club staffs, there is also uncertainty and possible threats to jobs.

On this week's Podcast, I talk to the Chief Executive of Irish Sailing, which has been making the case for the re-opening of the sport.

Harry Hermon tells me that Irish Sailing has been negotiating a careful path to get the sport's position across to Government. He says that it has been direct and blunt enough in making its case.

He praises clubs for the careful and successful manner in which they have managed activities and says that Irish Sailing understands the pain of service providers and all those involved and the frustration they are feeling.

Clubs need a clear way forward for the season, he says and that he hopes there will be competitive club racing. He accepts that clubs are not getting that pathway forward identified to them. "Irish Sailing cannot do that because it has not been given a clear path from Government.

Harry Hermon maintains that the national association has taken the correct approach in making its case.

I started by asking him for his reaction to the concentration put on golf and tennis by Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, but no mention of sailing or watersports.

More on my Podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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While sailing on Irish waters may have been curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Irish Sailing Association enjoyed a healthy financial year, recording a financial surplus of €295,927 for 2020 compared with just €16,650 a year earlier.

The organisation ended the year with €921,533 in cash, according to its latest accounts - an increase of almost 200% on the 2019 position. It was helped during the year by support from the Government Wage Subsidy Scheme, along with a contribution of approximately €100,000 from Sport Ireland’s Club Resilience Funding and NGB Covid Support.

The association's accounts anticipate that "much of [its] surplus will be expended in 2021 as restrictions continue and the postponed activities take place in 2021".

The association's financial statements note that severe restrictions on the organisation of sports in 2020 had "the potential to have a devastating financial impact on the organisation" but credits "aggressive cost-cutting measures on operations" for some of its surplus.

However, salary costs at the association rose during 2020 by €20,636 to €721,948, an increase attributed by ISA president David O'Brien to a "deferred cost of living increase granted in January" that year.

Irish Sailing does not publish the number of individual members it represents but its subscription revenue continues its long-term decline with a further drop of 6%, year on year, which undoubtedly reflects decreasing participation in affiliated clubs, regardless of the impact of Covid restrictions. However, the reduction in membership income was largely offset by a 6.5% increase in the Annual Core Sports Grant and the receipt of €73,815 in Government Covid payroll subsidies.

Irish Sailing's surplus of €179,044 recorded in High-Performance Activities arises as a direct consequence of curtailed activities from the impact of Covid and will undoubtedly be called on in 2021 for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics. In what was supposed to have been an Olympic year, the accounts reveal a sharp fall in income from sponsorship of €134,126 and a much-reduced contribution from the Irish Sailing Foundation of €10,000 compared to €159,126 in 2019.

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Although we’re all under Level 5 restrictions, Irish Sailing is kick-starting its Wednesday Winter Talk Series again with the aim of providing some fun and knowledgeable speakers to get you thinking about being active on the water — even though most of us can’t get back to the water yet.

The next talk on Wednesday 13 January from 6pm will turn our attention to healthy eating. Traditionally January is a time for planning, resolutions, and getting ready to be active on the water. And part of a day’s sailing is eating.

We want to stay as fit and healthy as possible, but how do you do that when you’re on the water all day, or packing a lunchbox for someone else who is?

In this talk, Ballymaloe-trained chef and National Yacht Club sailor Fiona Staunton will be taking us through what snacks to pack for an active day’s sailing, and how to make raw power bars. She’ll also be discussing how to boost your immune system by maintaining your gut health.

Registration for this free online event is available on Eventbrite HERE.

Published in ISA

Sailing should be marketed in the widest way possible to the public to increase participation. Clubs and the national association can do this together to emphasise its accessibility, the President of Irish Sailing, the national association, has told Afloat.

In a New Year's interview, David O'Brien, says that sailing provides a very wide opportunity for sporting participation, not just competitively.

"There is more to sailing than just racing and that needs to be emphasised as people look more to taking part in outdoor activities. While competitive activity is a niche part of the sport, so is just taking part, being active, getting on the water and enjoying what the water has to offer all around us.

"There is more to sailing than just racing"

He is my guest on this week's Podcast where he highlights the increased participation in sailing by young people, says clubs have done a great job during the year and been supportive of the national organisation. He stresses how important that joint approach is for the future of sailing and urges clubs to look to emphasise its accessibility to the public.

Dinghy sailing at Greystones Sailing Club this summerDinghy sailing at Greystones Sailing Club this summer

"Hope to see an end to the 'stop/go/stop/go' situation"

For 2021, David O'Brien hopes that the sport can get back to some normality and see an end to the "stop/go/stop/go" situation which caused so many cancellations and so much disruption this year.

I began our interview by asking him about reports that more people had become interested in sailing because of their desire to get outdoors due to Covid 19 restrictions.

Published in Tom MacSweeney

The pandemic could provide an opportunity for sailing. That is an interesting view and comes from Irish Sailing's Regional Development Officer, Gail MacAllister

"There is such a massive interest in being outdoors because of the imposition of the Covid restrictions, that the spin-off can be used to the benefit of sailing as a sport which provides an opportunity for everyone."

I've known Gail for quite some time through the West Cork Sailing and Powerboating Centre which she and Niall established back in 1997 at Adrigole a lovely spot on the West Cork coastline. Irish Sailing is asking members to help "unlock the potential of new opportunities and find a new audience" for the sport. That call will go out this Thursday night at 7 p.m. in Irish Sailing's 'Zoomposium' which is intended to "reconnect, review and reinvigorate".

Jessy of Adrigole, A West Cork Sailing Centre yachtJessy of Adrigole, A West Cork Sailing Centre yacht

Gail, who has organised the association's annual Cruising conference is focussing her attention this week on the 'Zoomposium' which is this year's annual gathering with members, online like so many things, because of the pandemic.

The approach being taken, it seems to me, is to a large extent the organisation's response to the views of members over recent years, looking for more interaction to develop sailing. The 'Zoomposium' session on the topic - 'How can active engagement with the current membership of the national association be increased and how can new membership be obtained?' could be of particular interest. Nikki Curran from Sligo YC and Ciarán Murphy, Irish Sailing's Western Regional representative will be leading this session.

Brian Carlin of the Volvo Race; Jamie Boag, currently Head Coach for the Hong Kong Sailing Federation and Sports Institute; Pamela Lee from Greystones YC,, one of the two women who set the all-female sailing speed record around Ireland in the past few weeks and Vera Quinlan of the Marine Institute, currently working on INFOMAR, Ireland's seabed mapping programme, who completed a 14-month Atlantic circuit sailing adventure with her family, are speakers on the opening panel.

After a year in which the sailing season suffered so much restriction, there should be pent-up feelings about opportunities to develop the sport. So I was interested when Gail MacAllister highlighted what she sees as "the opportunities inherent in the greater numbers of people exercising outdoors." Around Cork Harbour where I live, more people have been expressing appreciation of the riverside and the marine.

Registration for the 'Zoomposium' is free and available on the Irish Sailing website.

Listen to the Podcast here where I started by asking Gail about the interest, or perhaps anxiety, to achieve a widening of public interest in sailing.

Published in Tom MacSweeney

Sailing in Ireland is set to benefit from an “unprecedented” €85 million funding package for the sports sector.

Sport Ireland chairman Kieran Mulvey said the announcement — made today (Monday 2 November) by Sport Minister Catherine Martin and Minute of State for Sport Jack Chambers — represents “the largest ever investment package for sport”.

It follows a €70 million package approved over the summer as the Government aims to address some of the extended challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

John Treacy, chief executive of Sport Ireland, said: “The initial schemes announced in June were designed to support organisations with Covid-19-related losses in 2020.

“However, having engaged with our funded bodies, we understand that the current Level 5 restrictions present additional challenges.

“As such, we are ring-fencing finances to address any immediate needs that may arise in the sector in the coming weeks.”

Among the allocations to national governing bodies, Irish Sailing will receive €650,000, while Rowing Ireland gets €149,000, €70,000 goes to the Irish Underwater Council, €50,000 to the Irish Surfing Association and €48,000 to Canoeing Ireland.

The Olympic Federation of Ireland has welcomed the funding “which will provide much needed support for a wide variety of Olympic sports, many of which have been severely impacted by Covid-19”.

It adds that the package will also “provide some stability to protect performance programmes for those elite athletes currently preparing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo next year”.

Published in ISA

Dublin Bay Sailing Club’s final Saturday race of the truncated summer season remains a possibility if the capital is lifted out of Level 3 coronavirus restrictions on Friday 9 October.

Earlier today (Thursday 1 October), Irish Sailing provided an update on the current situation for sailing under the new five-level plan, confirming that the sport will have no exemption from the current NPHET advice which has tied up boats in Dublin and Donegal.

Irish Sailing says it made representations to Sport Ireland and the Expert Group in respect of the relatively low risk activities that sailing encompasses.

But the current guidelines remain — despite exceptions being made for high-level rugby and GAA competitions.

Sailing’s governing body in Ireland also moved to clear up confusion of the changing definition of a ‘pod’ in the revised health guidelines.

“Under Level 3, Sport Ireland uses the term ‘non contact pods’ to counteract the risk of people being close contacts, and that people within a pod must not ‘spend more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of someone either indoors or outdoors. Where sports can’t achieve this, they should modify activity appropriately.’

“For sailing this means we can only do single-handed or same-household sailing unless social distancing can be maintained while aboard.”

Irish Sailing added: “Sport Ireland are working with all sporting bodies to clarify any confusion and ensure consistency across the sporting sector is maintained within the Government’s five-level plan.”

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