In his resignation letter submitted yesterday (Thursday 18 January), the Howth Yacht Club stalwart and former ICRA commodore suggested that it is “probably a good time to wind up” the association, on the eve of a symposium to determine its future direction.
Reilly accused ICRA of “getting in the way of its own plan” since a memorandum of understanding signed in 2016 with the ISA, now Irish Sailing, led to a boost in its finances for cultivating and promoting cruiser racing in Ireland.
Of its €50,000 budget for 2017 — four times ICRA’s revenue in 2015 — allocations of €11,000 were made for training and €8,500 for recruitment via CrewPoint.
But Reilly claims only €2,000 of the former was spent in clubs (Howth YC and the Royal Cork) which already have training programmes in place, with little spend or results for the latter.
Fixture clashes, disputes over venue selection, a drop in crew numbers and a poor return from its communications/web and social media budget are some of the other issues cited by Reilly in influencing his decision.
Specifically, Reilly says that the selection of Galway as host venue of this year's ICRA Nationals was not passed by the executive, and that the first he knew of the decision “was on Facebook”.
Speaking to Afloat.ie on Reilly’s resignation, ICRA commodore Simon McGibney paid tribute to his contributions to cruiser racing, but added that the departing executive’s comments should not affect plans for the weekend symposium, which starts tomorrow morning in Limerick.
“Strategically what we’re trying to do is to take a good look and review where we [as ICRA] want to see ourselves in the next five years, and that has always been the case going forward.”
McGibney added that he believes Reilly was given a fair hearing from the ICRA board, but decisions “are always done by majority”.
Regarding the ICRA Nationals in Galway this August, McGibney dismisses suggestions that the event would not be a ‘true nationals’ without the presence of Dublin boats because “there is a rotation of where the Nationals will be hosted” as bound by the ICRA constitution.
“Galway is an ideal location to bring it to the West Coast,” he added, urging people to “look at the bigger picture” of the event as “a promotion for cruiser racing on a national level.”