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ICRA Conference Focus on 'More Sailors More Sailing'

6th March 2016
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ICRA Commodore Simon McGibney presents the 'Boat of the Year' Award to winning skipper George Sisk ICRA Commodore Simon McGibney presents the 'Boat of the Year' Award to winning skipper George Sisk

A buoyant ICRA conference at the Castletroy Park Hotel in Limerick yesterday saw Simon McGibney of Foynes Yacht Club succeed Norbert Reilly of Howth Yacht Club as Commodore. It is the first time ICRA has elected a Commodore from the west coast.

An attendance of 80 sailors representing all the major sailing clubs on the east, south and west coasts participated for the first time in a round table format to encourage ideas from the floor on the future direction ICRA should take in order to grow the cruiser racing sector in Ireland.

In an enthusiastic gathering, Reilly summarised initiatives needed to achieve 'more sailors/more sailing' or as McGibney described it 'more bums on boats'.

John Leech gave a strong safety awareness talk and Afloat.ie's Winkie Nixon entertained with his views on ICRA's role and its positive approach to listening to its market.

Leading sailing school Alistair Rumball of the Irish National Sailing School in Dun Laoghaire and sailmaker Des McWilliam from Crosshaven made excellent presentations on their training initiates for the cruiser racing sector that are attracting increasing numbers and improving skills and feeding members to Clubs

Reilly also highlighted the ICRA crew point project which it is hoped will lead to identify areas within clubs of people who would like to go sailing and link them up with owners. 

ORC gave an informative update on its developments worldwide and an insight in to its rating rule progression.

In the absense of ICRA's ECHO handicap guru, Denis Kiely, who was unable to attend for personal reasons, former commodore Barry Rose and Ronan Enright, commodore of SCORA, gave the meeting an insight in to the evolving of the system over the last seven years to a Progressive ECHO model starting from an IRC base and being totally transparent and computerised analysing performance in a measured way to re adjust ratings automatically after every race. This model has produced great results and has been used during this period at ICRA Nationals, Volvo Cork Week, Volvo DL Week, WIORA, SCORA and by clubs on the south and west coasts.

ICRA is encouraging its use nationally as it is a very effective dual scoring system alongside IRC to encourage spreading the prizes and interest through the fleet and represents a credible performance alternative to the fixed number rating systems.

Afloat.ie's Tom MacSweeney ran an inciteful interreactive session with those present on how to present a welcoming approach to encourage new entrants to the sport.

The ICRA Nationals are in Howth Yacht Club this year from 10th to 12th June and arrangements are well advanced and it promises to be another high calibre event

Volvo Cork Week, the Round Ireland race and WIORA were also promoted at the event

The Irish Sailing Association (ISA) were represented by Jack Roy and Harry Hermon and the ICRA executive are in advanced discussions with the ISA to attract the support needed to grow the sector.

The conference concluded with presentation of ICRA Boat Of The Year trophy to George Sisk and his crew on Wow who had a fantastic season winning the ICRA Nationals in the process.

Published in ICRA
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