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Displaying items by tag: Sport Ireland

The Government's phased easing of some Covid-19 restrictions during the month of April was welcome news but there was also some disappointment expressed in boating circles over a lack of clarity contained in the announcement that makes it difficult to plan the season, especially the staging of major summer regattas.

The Government aims to continue its cautious approach, gradually easing restrictions, while a substantial level of the population is vaccinated during April, May and June, after which, it should be safe to reopen society more widely.

In his address, the Taoiseach used the phrase ‘distance sports' to describe a sporting activity that was permitted but what does this mean for sailing, a low risk, outdoor, no-contact sport?

In a response to a query from Afloat, a Sport Ireland spokesman said 'At present, these are activities that can take place on a socially distanced basis and take place between a maximum of two households'.

SB20 Sportsboat racing on Dublin Bay pre-COVID Photo: AfloatSB20 Sportsboat one-design racing on Dublin Bay pre-COVID Photo: Afloat

Single-handers

An interpretation of this means that single-handers, double handers and crews from two households can go sailing if they can 'distance' themselves.

But 'distance' does not extend to competition at this point, it refers only to private social sailing and it would exclude yachts with large crews from different households. So, Like golf or tennis, two parties can have a social game. Likewise, two individuals can have a recreational sail.

The spokesman said Sport Ireland has been in touch with the various National Governing Bodies, including Irish Sailing, on this matter.

Overall then, what we know is: 

From 12th April

  • travel within your own county or within 20km of your home if crossing county boundaries

From 26th April:

  • Outdoor sports facilities can reopen and sailing clubs may remain open.
  • ‘Distance’ Sailing activities may take place between a maximum of two households
  • School-aged children may resume training using the pod system (pods of 15)
  • No matches or events may take place (other than exempted events)

By any interpretation, this does not appear to allow for cruiser-racer sailing, except for small crew numbers on board. Clearly, this could have a major impact on the most popular aspect of the sport, for early summer at least.

Even though we know that there is little difference between sailing in training and racing modes, the sport is reliant on the not so small matter of lockdown measures easing from Level Five to Level Two (when racing is permitted) but, as widely anticipated, this did not materialise in this week's announcement.

Still, on Dublin Bay, DBSC and ISORA, race organisers are both aiming for May starts in 'some form', subject to guidelines. In June, the Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race and the Sovereign's Cup at Kinsale are due to get underway.

Reduced Crews?

It raises the question, that if this situation is to be considered the norm for the next two to three months, then sailing should be looking at reduced crews for racing in the future, as they are doing in the UK? Such a move was previously explored on Afloat here

This weekend, for example, one design keelboats are sailing in the Solent for the first time this year and boats that normally allow five are only taking four crew. Likewise, cruisers crew numbers in the UK are limited. 

The first race starts this weekend, the JOG Race, and below is one of the sailing instructions:

  • 17.1 Crew numbers for this race are limited to a maximum of 6, irrespective of a family group or other considerations. This is a maximum and skippers may limit their own crew in line with social distancing and other requirements.

Coincidentally, the first RORC event also starts this weekend; long coastal day races over three weekends, with a maximum of 80% of normal crew numbers.

By reducing crew numbers it could help to comply with the 'distance sport' ruling and give sailing room to negotiate a return to competition because there is no way nine people sitting out on a 35-foot cruiser will meet these criteria.

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”.

Dun Laoghaire’s waterfront yacht clubs are among the sports clubs that may be eligible to apply for Covid-19 Club Small Grants of up to €1,500 through the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Sports Partnership.

The grants are part of a series of funding schemes from Sport Ireland following the announcement of €70 million of funding by the Government to support the sports sector in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Implemented by Sport Ireland’s network of Local Sports Partnerships, the grant scheme will provide assistance to local clubs with covering costs associated with the reopening of sports clubs.

Grants can be used to support Covid-19-related expenditure dating from 2 May, when the Roadmap to Recovery was published, onwards.

The scheme is needs-based, designed to support sports clubs that do not have the finances to implement the necessary hygiene and social distancing protocols.

As the total fund available is limited, clubs which already have the finances to implement Covid-19 protocols should not apply.

In addition, the scheme is designed and intended to support return to sporting activities only and cannot be used to support costs related to hospitality services.

There is a limit of one application and €1,500 per club on this grant scheme. Applications will be means tested and only clubs with the most need will be eligible for the full amount. Clubs should not feel that they have to apply for the full amount to be considered for support.

Sports clubs are advised to contact DLR Sports Partnership at [email protected] or 01 2719502 for further information on this scheme.

Funding applications must be submitted prior to Wednesday 26 August via the application form HERE.

Outdoor activities that allow for physical distancing will be the first priority when relaxing restrictions on organised sports, the chief executive of Sport Ireland has said.

Speaking at a press briefing with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Friday last (24 April), as The Irish Times reports, John Treacy suggested that sports such as golf, which are performed in the open air with significant distance between competitors, would be among the first for review.

Sports Minister Brendan Griffin also confirmed, according to The Times, that Sport Ireland has classified various sports depending on whether they are judged to be low, medium or high risk of spreading Covid-19.

Though there was no mention of single-handed sailing classes, canoeing was expressly cited along those classed as low-risk.

But Minister Griffin stressed that “planning is an an early stage and none of this has been cleared by the National Public Health Emergency Team”.

He added: “We want to be ready to go when we get the nod. It would be important for national morale if some sport could return.”

The Irish Times reported earlier this month that Irish Olympic medallist Annalise Murphy no longer has her direct funding support from Sport Ireland.

Performance in competition is a prerequisite for the €40,000-per-annum support under the international carding scheme, also known as the ‘podium’ grand.

However, 29-year-old Annalise moved on from the Laser Radial class after her silver medal win in Rio in 2016.

She spent a number of months in 2017 and 2018 sailing in the Volvo Ocean Race before taking up the 49erFX with a view to qualifying for the Olympics in Tokyo next year.

Annalise recently resumed winter trials with her new boat in Portugal, joined by sailing partner Katie Tingle now recovered from an arm injury sustained last year.

Their first competition as a duo is expected be the Sailing World Cup series regatta in Genoa, Italy this April.

And both will continue to be supported by Irish Sailing, with high performance director James O’Callaghan saying: “The important thing is that [Annalise is] full on campaigning for Tokyo, and we’re delighted to have her back.”

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in ISA

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