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Irish Sailing Association's Future To Be Heard At Galway Meeting

25th July 2014
Irish Sailing Association's Future To Be Heard At Galway Meeting

#irishsailing – The new broom of the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) board is expected to sweep clean in the coming weeks when it publishes a blueprint for an association struggling to show relevancy in a sport it claims to govern. At the heart of the matter is why approximately €1m in state and club funding is being absorbed annually to sustain ISA bureacracy. In 1998, the ISA had 16,000 members and 3.5 staff, today membership is somewhere between 16 and 18,000 with 14 staff.

A discredited 2012 strategic plan is now under the mircroscope as pointed questions are being asked about how the ISA got so far off course. Hints at what the future holds for the organisation are beginning to appear with, for example, the sale of state funded ISA assets such as Jet skis.

The five big Irish yacht clubs that each pay annual subs of up to €30,000 per annum into the national body have sought change and while some insiders are unhappy with the pace of reform (three former presidents confronted then president Niamh McCutcheon with concerns a year ago) it looks certain new president David Lovegrove will map out the essential changes envisaged at tonight's ISA board meeting in Galway.

Some of the country's leading sailing administrators are now board members drafted in especially to address the massive issue of dwindling participation including former president Roger Bannon, Royal St. George's Brian Craig and 2012 Olympic race officer Jack Roy. 

The imminent report into the ISA is discussed in today's Irish Times Sailing column by David Branigan and how Irish Sailing needs to confront new realities was discussed last week in W M Nixon's Sailing blog.  Who is to blame for the crisis in Irish Sailing was also featured by Tom MacSweeney in his Island Nation blog.

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Irish Sailing

The Irish Sailing Association, also known as Irish Sailing, is the national governing body for sailing, powerboating and windsurfing in Ireland.

Founded in 1945 as the Irish Dinghy Racing Association, it became the Irish Yachting Association in 1964 and the Irish Sailing Association in 1992.

Irish Sailing is a Member National Authority (MNA) of World Sailing and a member of the Olympic Federation of Ireland.

The Association is governed by a volunteer board, elected by the member clubs. Policy Groups provide the link with members and stakeholders while advising the Board on specialist areas. There is a professional administration and performance staff, based at the headquarters in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.

Core functions include the regulation of sailing education, administering racing and selection of Irish sailors for international competition. It is the body recognised by the Olympic Federation of Ireland for nominating Irish qualified sailors to be considered for selection to represent Ireland at the Olympic Games. Irish sailors have medalled twice at the Olympics – David Wilkins and Jamie Wikinson at the 1980 games, and Annalise Murphy at the 2016 games.

The Association, through its network of clubs and centres, offers curriculum-based training in the various sailing, windsurfing and powerboating disciplines. Irish Sailing qualifications are recognised by Irish and European Authorities. Most prominent of these are the Yachtmaster and the International Certificate of Competency.

It runs the annual All-Ireland Championships (formerly the Helmsman’s Championship) for senior and junior sailors.

The Association has been led by leading lights in the sailing and business communities. These include Douglas Heard, Clayton Love Junior, John Burke and Robert Dix.

Close to 100 sailors have represented Ireland at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Membership of Irish Sailing is either by direct application or through membership of an affiliated organisation. The annual membership fee ranges from €75 for families, down to €20 for Seniors and Juniors.

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