With the experience of reconnaissance visits to three consecutive ISAF Youth World Sailing Championships including Zadar, Croatia in the summer, the organising team which is charged with delivering a memorable 2012 event on Dublin Bay are presently concentrated on the key building blocks which they are sure will contribute to the best possible regatta for competitors, visitors and the large army of volunteers who are already anticipating what Ireland will offer in 2012. Andi Roberston Reports.
Top of the agenda presently is fine tuning the comprehensive infrastructure set up and the logistical processes which will are the foundation of the event. Many of the small details which are being integrated into the programme now are the result of experience of previous ISAF Youth World Sailing Sailing Championships, especially Croatia as well as the large number of major events which have been hosted by the constituent host clubs the Royal St. George and the National Yacht Club.
Brian Craig, chair of the organising team recalls some of the observations in Croatia that the Irish hosts have been able to act on: "I have been to three youth worlds now and they are always different because of the venues, what the constraints of the sire were, but we had our PRO Peter Crowley out there, we had Lucy Grant who will look after our ceremonies out there and Ciara Dowling and Don O'Dowd who will look after the shore side. People came and went at different stages. Our main guys have all been there and so all have a really good feel for the event." Craig explains.
"What was good in Croatia and is a target for all events is I think for the first time in a couple of years they got in all the races for all the classes. They had had more flexibility built into the race programme this time and I think that worked well. It was a challenge in the 420's where they did not have a full fleet, so in fairness it was handled well. We are confident we will have a full complement of boats for everyone and we have been working well with the Nautivela guys on that and we want to make sure that we are getting boats into the territory as well."
Administration and processes
The initial interface with the event is vital. First impressions are lasting ones and Dublin Bay 2012 have been working hard on streamlining the administration processes so that they are largely all on line, entry, registration and boat allocation all being significantly streamlined:
Event secretary Ciara Dowling explains: "We are working to have the entry and registration process all on line, we see a lot of things that we can do there to make life a lot easier for everybody. The NOR was approved at the ISAF Conference and will be ready with an online entry imminently. That will streamline everything, entry, reservations, boat allocations I think that has been a source of a lot of efforts and ambiguity in the past."
"Our real focus is to have that communication with the MNA's, coaches and team leaders on a good level from the outset. So we are actively in touch and we will got with streamlined processes we hope. So far so much has been passed down from year to year on a 'this is how it was done before basis' but I think there are ways we can improve on. Next time around there will be an ISAF solution to all that I think. So we are happy to pilot that this time around. There is a lot of experience
out there and we have had a lot of good help from the RYA with that side of things."
Being on site and active in Croatia and at previous youth events means the team have already built a strong, two way relationship with a core group of international youth coaches who have been an invaluable source of advice and information, and allowed the early flow in information:
" There are a very strong group of 12 or 15 guys who go to the Youth Worlds every year and we get on well with them and so we are working well with them to evolve this thing, trying to improve the communication with them. We have been in touch with them regularly already and we are going to stay in communication. There is real wealth of knowledge there and that was a good opportunity for us who were there for the whole time, so we got to know them well." Explains Craig.
Building a strong supplier relationship and future legacy
The full scale buy-in of the boat and equipment suppliers is essential in ensuring that the boat availability is maximised in each of the classes. Dublin 2012 have been diligent in cultivating relationships which work for all parties. One key driver is ensuring that a maximum number of virtually new youth classes boats remain in Ireland, a strong platform for future success.
" Equipment manufacturers we are good with, we are well organised with them and they are committed and we have seen them all again since the last event, and so we are in good shape. That side has worked well." Continues Craig.
" We are working with manufacturers and making really sure of the supply of the boats so we have a legacy and a lot of the boats remain in Ireland and so running clinics during the regatta with the manufacturers, that sort of thing, that'll be part of the legacy."
Complementary preliminary events at Easter in Pwllheli and Dublin Bay The Irish Youth National Championships are a four days event. Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th April and are being run to dovetail with the RYA British Youth Nationals which will be in Pwllheli, Wales – a ferry journey away.
"It will be Pwllheli week before easter and ours the week after and so there is a lot of the overseas nations interested, we are marketing both events in tandem so that teams will do the RYA British Youth Nationals the week before and then come to us, and vice versa."
"Some countries, like the Kiwis for example and the whole British squad have already committed to come here. That'll be great for us, as it gives a great dry run. We had 350 boats last year, it will be bigger this time. It is a four days event. There is a good ferry link across and we are working with the ferry companies, and we have a host programme for sailors who want to stay with local families
Media and commercial aspects given a boost
A challenge in Croatia was taking up the baton of running the first event with no major global sponsor, such as previous sponsors Volvo:
"One difficulty in Zadar was the media and commercial side with no Volvo as sponsor so that left a hole on that side for them. We would hope to wind up that side of a lot more. It felt more local event which has its positive sides for sure, it went very well and felt like a very good atmosphere, within a yacht club feel."
"Ours will still have a very strong yacht club feel. We will have a meet and greet programme with families and sailors meeting teams as they arrive to really make them feel at home and there is a big opportunity to develop that side'.
On a local basis at the moment Dublin 2012 are working on the commercial and sponsorship side of the event, rolling out publicity and communication with all the yacht clubs and junior organisations around Ireland, building the programmes for clubs and organisations to come to the event and get involved.
"One thing we see a real opportunity for is bringing in some of the youth squads and coaches into the event." Concludes Craig, " So we aim to bring top coaches from around Ireland and place them on the water with international coaches, and things like that, get some young Irish sailors integrated with the event a lot more, in small numbers and in a selective way, so that the youth sections of the clubs around the country really are involved and there is a good, lasting legacy. They can be inspired and really feel part of the event and we have seen loads of ways of doing that.
We are building those programmes, we are building the awareness around the yacht clubs, we are buttoning down our sponsorships and really getting the technical side in place and signed off by ISAF so that we are ready to go at the end of the month.
By Christmas we should have information to all the MNA's with on line entries and everything ready to roll."