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#glenans – A 'financially struggling' Les Glenans association is considering closing the doors on its operation in Ireland, according to president Michael O'Meara who signalled the potential move to members in a letter last Friday. No decision has been made yet, but it looks likely at least one of two Irish bases will close at the end of the year. 

The popular sail training club has been one of the largest such organisations in the country over the past 44 years, training up to an estimated 40,000 in that period, O'Meara told Afloat.ie.

The association currently has 1,500 members in Ireland and was reintegrated with its French counterparts in November 2010, a move Les Glenans said at the time would underpin its future.

Its 2013 season brochure was launched with some fanfare in April by Leo Varadkar TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in Dun Laoghaire, but a lack of demand for courses since has caused it to review its Irish operation. It is looking at closing bases in Collanmore, County Mayo and Baltimore in West Cork.

 'There are a number of reasons for this, including (but not exclusively) the repayment of GISC [Glenans Irish Sailing Club] debt and the current economic situation in Ireland as well as in France', O'Meara said in his letter last Friday.

Though the total numbers of trainees increased in the immediate year after reintegration this initial increase was in French trainees not in Irish ones, and this has not been sustained.

Despite large investment, the 'Secteur' has continued to make a loss, O'Meara said:

Some of the reasons cited for the decline include:

· Economic crisis in Ireland and across the EU

· Very poor summer weather since 2009 - people preferring to travel abroad. This has added to the continued decline in adult dinghy and catamaran sailing.

· Prohibition on paid advertising and marketing since the integration

· Website and translation issues

The total Glénans association has also experienced poor financial performance in recent years. 2010 was the last year in which the association made a positive result.

Unfortunately,a large fraction of this cost and loss is pertaining to the Irish Secteur. The poor performance and financial results are not sustainable and if not significantly improved (i.e. increase in trainees and course sales) will jeopardise the future of the overall organisation.

As a result, there are a number of solutions presently being discussed by management and the board of directors. Whilst no decisions have yet been made, it is likely that one of the Irish bases (Collanmore) will close permanently at the end of the 2013 season.

There is also the possibility that without a swift major upturn in Irish activity Baltimore will also close at the end of the current season - thus ending the Glénans activity and presence in Ireland.

There are a number of external factors to be taken into account before any further discussion by the Les Glénans board (Conseil) can take place and before any decision can be made.

Meanwhile, the Secteur Committee has formed a working group to explore all solutions to the situation and to formulate a proposal to the board in order to ensure the continuation of operations in Ireland.

O'Meara has urged members to give their 'continued support' for the association. 'Booking in for courses and raising the profile by word of mouth and other means will increase our activity level, provide tangible support to our proposal and may have an influence in the decision making process'.

In 2009, the Irish club raised in excess of €80,000 from members and supporters. The fundraising, undertaken to help secure the clubs future, and allowed Glenans to upgrade its fleet and continue to offer high quality RYA and ISA approved sail training at its bases in Baltimore in west Cork and Collanmore in Clew Bay.

But in November 2010, members of Ireland's biggest sail training organisation, Glenans Irish Sailing Club voted unanimously to reintegrate with the French-based sailing association Les Glenans as a means of stemming losses.

The decision was designed to allow the Glenans sailing school activity to continue in Ireland at both bases in Collanmore and Baltimore, and it secured the financial future of the Irish organisation which has experienced an increasingly difficult trading environment

It was thought at the time the reintegration would reunite the two associations which share the common aim of bringing people together through a love of sailing and the sea. The idea was to give the Irish members access to Les Glenans' Europe wide sailing activities and allow Les Glenans to offer a unique Irish sailing experience to its 14,000 members.

Under the 2010 agreement Les Glenans took over the assets and liabilities of Glenans Irish Sailing Club. The Club's two Irish sail training bases at Baltimore, County Cork and at Collanmore Island, in Clew Bay, County Mayo continued to operate .

The Irish bases become part of Les Glenans network of sailing bases across France and Italy. Ireland formed one of Les Glenans five administrative sectors, with Irish members having full voting rights in the enlarged association.

Published in News Update
Members of Ireland's biggest sail training organisation, Glenans Irish Sailing Club have voted unanimously to reintegrate with the French-based sailing association Les Glenans.
The reintegration will reunite two associations which share the common aim of bringing people together through a love of sailing and the sea. It will give the Irish members access to Les Glenans' Europe wide sailing activities and allow Les Glenans to offer a unique Irish sailing experience to its 14,000 members.
The decision will allow the Glenans sailing school activity to continue in Ireland at both bases in Collanmore and Baltimore, and it secures the financial future of the Irish organisation which has experienced an increasingly difficult trading environment since the start of the recession.
Paul Rossiter, Chairman of Glenans Irish Sailing Club welcomed the unanimous vote in favour of the reintegration. "This sends a clear signal to Les Glenans that our members are strongly in favour of reuniting our interests", he said. "Les Glenans is the perfect partner," he added. "We share the same values and objectives, and the same DNA."
Luc Fourichon, the President of Les Glenans said "One of our main aims is to create, by sailing, links between members from various countries and various walks of life. Our Irish friends are very welcome on board. Let's sail together"
Under the agreement Les Glenans will take over the assets and liabilities of Glenans Irish Sailing Club. The Club's two Irish sail training bases at Baltimore, County Cork and at Collanmore Island, in Clew Bay, County Mayo will continue to operate with new investment in equipment and facilities planned.
The Irish bases will become part of Les Glenans network of sailing bases across France and Italy. Ireland will form one of Les Glenans five administrative sectors, with Irish members having full voting rights in the enlarged association.
Published in Cruising

Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

© Afloat 2020

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