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Displaying items by tag: Dinghy Sailing

#DunLaoghaire - An online petition to 'save Dun Laoghaire dinghy sailing' has attracted nearly 1,400 signatures.

Set up by local Fireball sailor Peter Doherty, the petition rails against recently unveiled plans by the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company to build a 400m berth for cruise liners.

It's feared that the increase in cruise traffic will "destroy dinghy sailing in the harbour", described as "Ireland's most celebrated dinghy sailing location".

Using the harbour all year round, and availing of the local amenities, the dinghy sailing community feels short shifted by the harbour company's plans.

That's especially when "at most, [cruise] passengers will spend a day in Dun Laoghaire town, assuming they don't bypass the area entirely on their way into the city centre."

See more about the petition HERE.

Published in Dublin Bay

#Dinghy - The big discussion on the fate of small boat sailing will have to wait another few weeks, with the deferment of the Irish Sailing Association's (ISA) Dinghy & One Design Keelboats Convention till 30 November at the earliest.

But the delay will be worth it if it means getting all the key figures in place for these necessary talks on plotting a new course for small boat sailing in Ireland.

It's undoubtedly a big task, attested by the highly charged classes forum in March this year that produced more than 300 suggestions for changes in the way the ISA handles small boat sailing.

That forum, which itself followed some intense discussion on, prompted the ISA to publish a number of recommendations - among them its conclusion that the move away from using the voluntary support of small boat sailing clubs towards a stricter organisational regimen in the 1998 strategic plan has been significant in the "perceived disengagement of the membership from the operations of the ISA".

In the wake of those recommendations, Dublin-based sportboat sailor Ric Morris contributed his own list of things the ISA could do to rejuvenate Irish dinghy sailing.

Among them was the formation of an 'Irish Dinghy Racing Association' that would ensure smaller club's interests aren't dwarfed by the bigger, elite sailing classes; making club fleet sailing - and club class captains - the heart of every club; and even offering group purchasing schemes to lower the cost of both entry to the sport and sustaining club sailing.

Cost is indeed a major issue, as events administrated by national bodies cost money - more than what many are willing to pay, as the fall in participation levels demonstrates, according to former ISA president Roger Bannon, who also points out creeping costs even outside of the big competitions, from new recruits being persuaded to purchase expensive new boats when second-hand vessels would do, and the expense in acquiring instructor qualifications at club level.

On top of that is what Bannon perceives as a blinkered focus on single-handed classes with elite-level potential like the Laser and Optimist "almost to the exclusion of multi-crewed alternatives" which has had the result "of not equipping youngsters with the basic skills of sailing in a team environment" - a contrast to Britain, where the RYA throws big support behind economical classes like the Topper and Mirror.

Bannon followed up those thoughts more recently with figures from the last two years of class championships for dinghies and keelboats, which for him show that the small boat sailing scene in Ireland "is clearly on its knees".

Yet even for strong critics of the handling of Irish dinghy sailing, there's some good news to savour.

Looking at the figures for 2013 provided to him by Roger Bannon, Ric Morris points out that the RS400 and multihulls "now reach the standard suggested for a National Class" while RS200 numbers are on the rise, and GP14s have had a "bumper year with 50 boats at their nationals" and a Worlds event on Strangford Lough in August 2014.

The new Moth Class, which sees its Irish Open in Howth this weekend, also spells good fortune for small boat sailing in a country where adult dinghies make up 32% of all boats and nearly half of all sailors competing in small boat title events.

And youth sailing is taking up the slack, with 68 boats - the majority of them Irish - fielding at the Mirror Worlds on Lough Derg.

All of this must of course be seen in light of the decline in day boats, says Morris, from the SB20, which "no longer has a club presence outside of Dublin Bay", to the Flying Fifteen, with only one club fleet in Ireland, while the Etchells "look to have died altogether".

However, it can't be ignored that the first two of these classes at least still have healthy traveler series, and the Flying Fifteen was represented by an impressive 30 boats at the class Nationals this year.

What nearly everyone agrees on is as Norman Lee comments: that the long-term decline in numbers is undeniable and must be reversed. And the key to that may well be putting sailing back in the hands of sailors, not bureaucracy.

There's sense to the notion that top-down management of sailing classes ensures consistency in training and abilities to help develop elite-ready competitors, but perhaps some types of sailing were never meant to be handled that way.

As Ric Morris comments again, we shouldn't "expect to create world class sailors from the domestic small boat environment. That's the High Performance team's problem.

"The idea of producing elite sailors from the domestic sailing scene was killed off in the mid '90s," he adds. "Elite sailors now come from sailing against other prospective elite sailors. That's a good thing. It means there should be no pretense over what needs to be done."

What's your take on the situation? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Published in ISA
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About boot Düsseldorf: With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. From 18 to 26 January 2020, around 2,000 exhibitors will be presenting their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

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40474 Düsseldorf
Tel: +49 211 4560-01
Fax: +49 211 4560-668

The first boats and yachts will once again be arriving in December via the Rhine.

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