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'Irish Sailing Recovering Following Years of Stormy Seas' – ISA

29th June 2015
Howth’s Aoife Hopkins, Siobhan Farndon, Paralympian John Twomey, Simon Coveney TD, Minister for the Marine and Brian Keenan at the launch of 'Try Sailing’ on the River Liffey. Photo: David Branigan
'Irish Sailing Recovering Following Years of Stormy Seas' – ISA

#sailing –  Irish Sailing Association (ISA) President David Lovegrove on the summer ahead

The sun is finally showing its face on Irish waters, and just in time as the summer sailing season is now in full swing, with boats taking to the water in higher numbers than previous years. I am in regular contact with Clubs across the country and they speak of the positive mood coursing its way through their sailing communities.

Much of this of course has to do with the resurgence of the Irish economy following years of austerity, cutbacks, and a drop in sailing participation. The marine industry now reports that sales of boats coming into the country are on the up; handicap applications are increasing following a lull in requests, and this can only mean one thing – more boats on the water. The Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) Nationals, Sovereigns Week and Dun Laoghaire Week are all benefitting, with buoyant numbers reported as boats come out to compete in what should be a bumper summer season.

This summer will also see DinghyFest hit the shores of Crosshaven, Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC) creating a new event - could this herald the resurgence of Dinghy Week? I note the cooperation between the ISA and the dinghy classes, which I hope will lead to an upsurge in the numbers of dinghy sailors, which fits with our policy of growing this area within Irish sailing.

In other positive news, it was great to hear that the ISA has won the National Inclusion Award under the category of National Governing Body of Sport for the commitment and focus displayed in respect to providing sport and physical activity opportunities for people with disabilities.

I am also pleased to announce that SafeTrx, the ISA app that monitors your boat journeys and alerts Emergency Contacts should you fail to return on time, has been shortlisted for the Maritime Industry Awards in the categories of Innovation in Maritime Safety and Innovation in Marine Technology.

On 18 June, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney launched Try Sailing on board the Jeanie Johnston in Dublin. Try Sailing is a national initiative, designed to drive participation in sailing locally through open days and events at centres and clubs across the country. For more information, visit

Spring saw the ISA AGM adopt the Strategic Plan 2015-2020 – the blueprint for the future of sailing in Ireland. This plan is now being implemented across the key areas within sailing. The AGM elected two new officers to the Board, and said goodbye to Mike O'Connor and Phillip Cowman, who both retired after seven years on the ISA Board. I would like to thank them for their service and welcome to the Board Robert Dix, former ISA President and Chairman of the Government Taskforce on Harnessing our Ocean Wealth; and Paddy McGlade, ex-RCYC Admiral and member of the Irish Cruising Club and Cruising Association of Ireland.

On the Performance side of the house, Providence Team IRL has been competing on a number of fronts, notably at the World Cup series and significant international-class regattas, such as the Delta Lloyd, where Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial claimed a Silver medal in trying conditions amidst a fleet of top sailors, including Olympic Silver and Bronze medallists. I was also delighted to see 16–year–old Aoife Hopkins from my own Howth Yacht Club secure an invite to the World Cup Series event at Weymouth in the Laser Radial class. Aoife has put in a series of impressive performances this year, including a big week at the Delta Lloyd Regatta in late May.

On the Paralympics front, the ISA is working with the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) to lobby the International Olympic Committee to reinstate Paralympic sailing at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Enjoy your summer sailing.
David Lovegrove
President, Irish Sailing Association.

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