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President's Report of the Irish Sailing Association AGM

13th April 2016
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Scroll down to read the full Powerpoint agm presentation Scroll down to read the full Powerpoint agm presentation Photo: ISA

Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the AGM of the Irish Sailing Association, now in its 70th year since its foundation in 1946, as the Irish Dinghy Racing Association. In 1946, when the sole requirement was to promote dinghy racing, little did our founding fathers realise what their brainchild would grow into. Today, it is the shear diversity of watersports in Ireland that is difficult to comprehend. Hardly a year goes by without some further extreme form of sailing being conceived and attracting its following. It is sometimes difficult for the Association to keep track of developments let alone find ways of representing them!

A quick look across the diversity of our sport gives some idea:
- Dinghy racing, covering the range from optimists to 49ers
- Keel boat racing from Squibs and Glens to top of the range Commodore Cuppers
- Cruising sailors, who by their very nature are lone sailors
- Surfboarders and Kiteboarders
- Power boating
- Add into that the administration of racing and handicaps, international representation, regulation and inspections, lobbying and complying with ever changing and evolving legislation, gives you some idea of the workload of the ISA.
Over the past two years, one thing that has struck me is the fact that each of these groupings is independent of the others and is really oblivious as to what the ISA is doing for the sport generally and for other groupings. This proves difficult, because into the mix you also have to add in the wide range of classes, clubs and training centres. So, if we have not implemented all the changes that your class, or club or training centre hopes for, please bear with us, we will get to you.
Having said that, we are making progress and 2015 has been another year of change and achievement. It must also be remembered that we are only in year one of a five year implementation plan as set out in the Strategic Plan, which was approved by last year’s AGM.

I, and indeed Irish sailing, is most fortunate in having a Board of dedicated Directors, who give tirelessly of their time:
Brian Craig: Training and Coaching
David O’Brien: Secretary
Paddy McGlade: Cruising and Risk and Governance
Sarah Byrne: Dinghy racing classes
Colm Barrington: Olympic Steering Group and High Performance
Robert Dix: Representation
Pierce Purcell: Access and Participation
Jack Roy: Racing
I would also like to thank Roger Bannon, our Treasurer for the past twenty months, who, due to pressure of work had to stand down a short while ago.

A quick review of the major achievements of the past year shows the following:

Dinghy Racing Classes:
One of the main objectives here has been to improve communications with the dinghy classes. However, there is still a lot more to be done in this area.
The Club Racing Classes survey, in addition to the communications issue, highlighted the large segmentation of dinghy classes, which, given the smallness of the Irish market, is a major issue
The Regional Development Officers have worked closely with clubs and classes to identify local Club ‘pathways’ that will build on local/regional penetration to improve competition.
The introduction of Dinghy Fest by Royal Cork Yacht Club was a very positive event and it is hoped that events of this nature will help promote dinghy sailing. The initiative has been taken up by Galway, who will run Dinghy West in 2016 and dates for Dinghy Fest 2017 are already under discussion. I would urge sailors to support this event and other such events where classes combine to run regional and national championships.

Looking to this year, there is a very extensive schedule of work planned:
- Consult with classes to examine fall out at youth level.
- Facilitate Event Calendar discussions with classes starting late August, November is too late.
- Renewed emphasis on promotion of double-handed dinghy sailing
- Carry out a junior and youth survey, with a target date of late April/early May. This will further inform on how the ISA as well as club and classes can formulate policy and initiatives to transition and retain more sailors into adulthood. It should be noted that while we have heard from parents and classes, we still have to hear from the youth themselves, this will be important as they are the lifeblood of our sport.
- The Racing Policy Competition Policy Group, as defined by the 2016 focus group, will be reformed to some extent to reflect representation from those who will deliver on the ongoing needs of the group as defined by the focus group and objectives reflected in the Strategic Plan.
- Promotion of third Level Sailing & Racing:
• Liaise with College Sports Administrations, we will look to provide support for organising events, event management, what is required, to run College Club and Intervarsity circuit successfully.
• Raise profile in the media, while this is up to college sailors themselves, we plan to give them guidance on how to proceed.
• Promote student transition and involvement in keelboat racing. Howth Yacht Club has been successful here with their K25 group. This concept to be explored and expanded where possible. Work with local clubs to identify opportunities to expand into keelboats on a more regular basis and build on the success in CIT and UCC last year with the 1720 event
• Club Pathway definition by Regional Development Officers to assist transition to ‘adult’ classes & encourage race formats for distinct groups of junior/learner racing to ensure:
i. Accessibility and sustainable participation at Club and local level.
ii. ICRA Crew Point initiative will assist in putting more keelboats on the water over time.

Two important issues which were raised in the Satisfaction survey with Classes are:
• Event management templates and documents to be developed for the ISA elibrary, which will be accessed through the website. These will be aimed at assisting classes, clubs and colleges to develop standard documents to maintain continuity when administration changes and give:
o Class specific event guidance to host Club and Race Officer
o Event management guidance documents and checklist
o Post event evaluation for clubs and debrief checklist for clubs and classes
o Classes coaching and clinic template guidelines

• Many clubs identified a gap between Try Sailing, formal courses and transition to racing for youth and adults alike across dinghies and keelboats. The policy group will work with Training Policy Group to build a simple, structured achievable learning program, with delivery by clubs, class sailors, instructors or coaches

Cruising Policy Group:
In promoting cruising, we have been very careful not to transgress into the domains of the Irish Cruising Club (ICC) and the Cruising Association of Ireland (CAI), both of whom represent cruising sailors. However, as there is a large group of cruising sailors who are members of the ISA, we felt that we had to actively support their activities.
The newly formed policy group decided to continue to develop some of the suggestions from 2014. The main one being, holding a Cruising Conference. The event went extremely well with good quality speakers, good range of topics and an oversubscribed attendance.
Naturally we have learnt from the event in terms of length of time speakers were given, need for fewer speakers, bigger venue etc. In the future, it is likely that there will be a half day conference in the odd years in the regions (Cork area 2017, Galway area 2019, for example) with a one day conference in the Dublin area on the even years. This ties in with RYANI on the odd years.
We joined the CoolRoute project to keep informed of their progress and to contribute where possible.
The group drafted and published Guidelines for running a Cruise in Company (1 day, weekend and weeklong cruises). They have also updated and added to the Cruise Routes around Ireland and plan to enhance these with better chartlets.
We continue to assist CAI and there have been discussions with their Commodore on activities they might consider to create more opportunities for CAI members to meet and interact.

Risk Management and Governance:
The Board re-drafted the Code of Conduct for ISA Directors from a Sport Ireland template.
We also have a new Risk Policy Procedure (with help from RYANI), and a new Risk Register.
During the year, in collaboration with Sport Ireland, the Board undertook a review of its workings and communications. This led to a detailed report being prepared by the Institute of Public Administration. This led to a document on the Roles and Responsibilities for ISA Directors and this is currently being studied by the Board to see how it can inform the work plans for 2016 and beyond.

Training – A Year of Transition:
2015 was a year of transition for ISA Training as the significant decline in activity and the reduced satisfaction, as recorded in the Strategic Review, in ‘the ISA training product’ necessitated the reorganisation of ISA Training in late 2014.
The Staff, Instructor Trainers and Training Policy Group had a busy 2015 bedding in the new structures put in place to improve the support to member clubs and centres; introducing changes to make Instructor qualifications more attractive and standards more consistent; while also planning some of the more fundamental changes for 2016.

Small Boat Sailing Scheme:
A number of changes were made following feedback on the Small Boat Sailing Scheme (SBSS):
The changes initiated for 2015 were:
• Instructor revalidation period extended from 3 to 5 years.
• Instructor Revalidation Courses reduced from a two-day into a one-day ‘practical skills’ course organised directly with training centres.
• VHF Licence no longer a mandatory prerequisite for dinghy instructor
• Outsourced the provision of Emergency Care course element at reduced cost to aspiring instructors
• Pre entry Course - theory elements put online by way of sample background papers.
• Instructor Pre entry and Revalidation Courses - developed an Explanatory Guide with the Instructor Trainers to ensure each element of the assessments are marked consistently across the Instructor Trainer panel.

Instructors:
The availability of qualified Instructors to clubs and centres remains a key area of attention. While progress was made in 2015 we continue to focus on improving the skills, the consistency in standards and the availability of Instructors and Senior Instructors. In this key area of ISA Training we:
• Certified 485 instructors (45% Increase on 2014)
• Certified 79 Senior Instructors (44% Increase on 2014)
• 68 Instructor Courses and 18 Revalidation Workshops run around the country (similar number to 2014).
• Developed a Senior Instructor assimilation programme to bring long time-lapsed senior instructors back into the fold.
• Partnered with clubs to run 5 Senior Instructor Courses to ensure adequate supply of courses in each region.

New Initiatives:
Last year was also spent planning for the more strategic changes and the piloting of some new initiatives. Thanks to the excellent support received from the Instructor Trainer Panel the considerable work involved has been completed to enable the roll out of a number of fundamental changes, for example:
• The top level SBSS has been revised and streamlined for 2016 with a view to increasing participation and then link with the new Coaching Programme which is under development.
• New Advanced Instructor Qualification is being introduced to reflect the SBSS Course changes.
• The importance of the logbook to be re-established through the introduction of an electronic logbook and Sailing Passport which was piloted last season.

But ISA Training is not only about the Small Boat Sailing Scheme.
On the Cruising side an expert group from the Cruiser Trainers following a consultation process made recommendations to the Training Policy Group on how the ISA and RYA could best work together to provide quality practical and shore based certification to our sailing and motor boat members. As a result, Irish centres providing ISA and RYA practical and shore based courses both now use, as a common standard, the RYA training materials and instructor training processes rather than both organisations resourcing dual systems.
A new Cruiser Working Group has recently been formed under the Training Policy Group to undertake a review of the existing schemes and the wider issues affecting Cruiser Training. We expect these findings and recommendations to be finalised before the year end.

International Accreditation:
Arrangements are underway to have the ISA Training Schemes formally accredited by World Sailing.

A Training Guide for Clubs to assist junior organisers and a Guide to ISA Junior and Youth Classes to help members decide what class best suited their needs were both published on line during the year.

Work is also ongoing on the Windsurfing side and a full review of the National Powerboat Scheme will be undertaken in 2016.

High Performance:
2015 has been a busy year for the High Performance area, especially with Rio on the horizon. In addition, there have been a number of other notable achievements:
• More than 100 young people participating in the High Performance pathway programmes, from all over the country.
• Break-through year for the 420 Academy with our best ever results at Kiel (3rd and 5th) followed up by Douglas Elmes’ and Colin O’Sullivan's Bronze medal at the ISAF Youth Worlds in December.
• Stunning success of youth sailors over the summer, multiple top 10 positions, including Ewan McMahon's Silver at the U17 Laser Radial Europeans and Bronze at the U17 Laser Radial Worlds .
• Inaugural 49er Development squad set up and two teams competed at the Junior Worlds.
• Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern's 49er Medal Race Finalists at Olympic Test Event and Gold Medal at the recent Princess Sofia 49er Olympic Qualifying Regatta
• Four teams qualified for Rio Olympics: 49er, 49erFX, Laser and Laser Radial. Trials for Laser and Laser Radial places ongoing.
• Successful re-negotiation of carding criteria with Sport Ireland to include results from Under21 championships, ensuring smoother transition from youth to senior
• Confirmation of sponsorship from Providence, GUL and High 5 Nutrition.
• Formation of Irish Sailing Foundation with initial seed capital from Sport Ireland and a private donation enabling the appointment of Jack Gleeson as Foundation Director.

Access and Participation:
2015 saw a new concept and new branding of "TRY SAILING", with banners and flags containing youthful colours and fonts, this has created a strong brand helping to promote the Association’s initiative in attracting new interest in trying sailing, joining clubs and completing courses. It is a warm and welcoming brand receiving a very encouraging response by all establishments in its first year. Over 3,000 people participated in events nationwide in 2015.
This was achieved with a very small budget, and as a result of the initial success, the ISA is increasing the funding considerably for 2016. We are pleased to announce The Marine Institute have agreed to support our campaign for 2016, promoting the sea and its environment.

Full details of the 2016 programme are contained in the appendix to this document.
In addition, we are delighted to be linking up with ICRA’s Crew point initiative, which together, with Try Sailing will provide a complete range of activities from children’s programmes to crewing on cruisers for the more mature person.
However, the ISA can only drive the concept so far and it’s then up to clubs and training centre’s to work with the numbers participating in the various activities and put in place attractive packages to make joining a club or taking a sailing course attractive

Early events will be kicking off with:
• Royal Cork Yacht Club on the 23rd April in Crosshaven,
• DunLaoghaire at the Royal St. George Yacht Club on Sunday 24thApril
• The Irish National Sailing Centre on 15th May
• Galway on 23rd May

Representation Policy Group:
The group’s primary aims for 2015 were to:
• Represent the interests of Irish sailors in respect of statutory affaires and legislation
• Identify strategy for the ISA’s representation on the various committees of ISAF, now World Sailing for the period 2016-2020
• Develop a strategy to effect change in the way Government and state agencies view sailing and lobby to promote safe & responsible participation

Effecting change within the statutory agencies through lobbying is by its nature a slow process and a number of issues are currently under discussion with the relevant departments, for example:

Small Craft Register:
Since the Department of Transport’s request for the ISA to withdraw the ISA’s Small Craft Register on the grounds that it was being used illegally, the ISA has continued its discussions with the Marine Survey Office in introducing the statutory registration system that has been promised. Unfortunately there appears to be little sign that the statutory register will be operational in the short term. The policy group is continuing to work towards a solution.

Green Diesel:
Following the lifting of the EU derogation that Ireland enjoyed for use of tax free diesel for pleasure craft, the solutions that were approved by the Department for buying marked (green) diesel at the rebated (tax-reduced) price still remains. Consumers are obliged to make an annual declaration of the quantity purchased and pay the extra tax by the following March. The ISA is continuing to monitor this issue to allow us to be proactive in the event there are any changes being suggested.

Passenger Boats regulations:
This continues to be a major issue particularly for ISA Cruising Schools. The feedback the ISA is receiving from members is that the implementation of the regulations are inconsistent depending on the interpretation of the surveyors.

ICC’s and Commercial Endorsements:
The Department of Transport conducted an audit of ISA’s systems for the training, assessing and issuing of ICC’s and Commercial Endorsements. Our authority to continue to issue the certificates has been renewed until May 2019.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour Submission:
The ISA sent in a submission to An Board Pleanala and presented at the subsequent hearing in support of the Dun Laoghaire Combined Clubs. The outcome of the hearing is due to be published sometime later this month

World Sailing Representation:
World Sailing is the International Governing Body for Sailing, which was formerly called ISAF. The ISA currently has representation on some of the World Sailing committees. Committees run on a four year Olympic Cycle at the end of which, Member National Authorities put forward their nominations for committee representation. The policy group has revised our strategy for our representation within World Sailing with aims of:
• Identifying and securing the opportunities for hosting international events in Ireland
• Appointment and progression of Irish International Race Officials (Race Officers, Judges and Umpires)
• Establishing and maintaining a network of relationships with international sailing administrators
• Influencing decisions affecting Irish Sailing at all levels; training, racing, race management and Olympic sailing.
All ISA nominations will be made in an open and transparent manner.

Racing:
Sailfleet:
The fleet of J80’s continues to be based in Howth Yacht Club.
The Irish Match Racing Championships were held early in the 2015 season and all 8 boats were used for this event. The entire fleet was used again in Dun Laoghaire in late September for the Senior All Ireland Championships.
The Sailfleet Board continues to monitor the fleet and have recently engaged a professional survey of the each boat to establish what maintenance issues need to be allowed for, this report is currently under review. The fleet will be 10 years old next season and maintenance is a growing issue, the Sailfleet Board continue to look at options for the future of the fleet.

All Ireland Championships:
The Senior All Irelands were hosted by the National Yacht Club. On the water Anthony O’Leary from the Royal Cork Yacht Club, and reigning 2014 Champion, sailed superbly to win back to back titles. It is worth nothing that this is 7th time out of the last ten years that the O’Leary family name appears on the trophy, an outstanding achievement!
The Working Group operated a totally transparent selection process in 2015, this along with better communication with the classes in general, has helped greatly in everyone’s understanding of who and how nominees are selected.
By establishing the last weekend of September for the Juniors and the first weekend of October for the Seniors, classes now know each season what the dates are so conflicts can be avoided. The 2016 Junior‘s are being hosted by the Fastnet Marine Outdoor Education Centre in Schull utilising their TR4.2 class a move away from the ISA Topaz fleet. The Senior’s will be hosted by the Royal Cork YC where we are delighted to announce that the National 18 class have enthusiastically offered a fleet of their exciting new designed boats for the event.

ICRA:
The ISA continues to work closely with the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) in all aspects of the very important cruiser racing sector of our sport. We have recently concluded an agreement with ICRA which will lead to closer cooperation and understanding between the two bodies. This will be important in the areas of developing a cruiser racing coaching scheme, linking Crew Point and Try Sailing and possibly developing a keel boat academy.

Race Officials:
The Race Officials Policy Group continues the duties of managing officials, including all disciplines, who officiate at our racing events. Within this Policy Group, all aspects of training and education of our race officials is coordinated.
During this last year we have built on already good relationships with our neighbours in the RYA, who are rightly accredited with having the best experience and training courses, in relation to all aspects of Race Management. We will continue to work closely with the RYA Race Management team which will be of great benefit to all our officials. In the same vein we have re-engaged with the Eurosaf Officials Exchange program which promotes a system whereby National Judges, Umpires and Race Officers can get experience at European events.
In addition to running courses on Race Management, Jury, Protests procedures, and Rules, throughout the year, a most successful Race Officials Conference was held in Dublin in February with 85 attendees. There was a full day of workshops and lectures which was very well received by all. There are new courses available to clubs and individuals on Mark Laying and an updated Race Management Course for Regional and National Race Officers.

Certificate of Identity:

The ISA is consolidating the various details currently held on boats belonging to ISA members in order to streamline the ISA’s several databases of craft, and to build a complete database of craft owned by ISA members. We will encourage members to apply for a Certificate of Identity which will incorporate all the services ISA members avail of in respect of their craft into a single document. This will include racing handicaps administered by ISA, racing sail numbers issued by ISA as the member national authority for World Sailing and other services.

More details on the Certificate of Identity will be available soon on the ISA website

So, as I think you will have seen, there has been a lot of activity during the past year.

In conclusion, there are a number of people, whom I want to thank:
Firstly, my board of Directors, all of whom have put in a lot of hard work over the past year.
Next, the staff of the ISA, ably led by our CEO, Harry Hermon. I know from personal experience that the staff put in very long hours and are completely committed to work of the Association.
And finally, I want to acknowledge and thank most sincerely all those who have joined our policy groups and who are contributing to help shape the policies and thinking that will drive the ISA and Irish sailing forward. Thank you.

Appendix:

Try Sailing 2015
52 clubs and centres Nationwide with over 3000 participants.

2016 Try Sailing Activity

Try Sailing Initiatives

1. ISA Try Sailing Launch – Monday 2nd May, Kinsale Yacht Club, incorporating -
• Schools Try Sailing and Sailability Try Sailing with -
i. Media invite,
ii. Linking with local fishing community & infrastructure,
iii. Story board for the day “embracing our waters for all they have to offer”.
• Linking –
i. Cork Sports Partnership support,
ii. ISA bursary support,
iii. ISA Sail Fleet,
iv. Sports Capital Funding club boats,
v. Marine Institute objective of embracing the sea.

2. Promotion plans for 2016
• Flags and banners for all participating clubs and centres.
• Try Sailing bumper stickers.
• #trysailing Instagram.
• #trysailing and #adventureireland twitter tagging.
• Bespoke gif for all participating clubs on line advertising.
• ISA search map included Try Sailing events.
• Exhibiting at Seafest 2016 in Galway.
• Outdoor signage for shared use.
• Facebook promotion.
• PR and social media outreach to Irish outdoor adventure market place.

3. ISA Try Sailing Bursary
• New bursary for a total of 75 applicants of €200 (total €15000).
• Forms have gone out to each club and training centre
• Currently awaiting applications
• Closing date for application 5pm on 15th of April 2016
• Try sailing Toolkit & info here http://www.sailing.ie/clubs/trysailingeventplanning/
• RDO responsible Gail MacAllister

4. Schools Try Sailing
• The Local Sports Partnerships will be funding clubs to run a primary and secondary school events in Category 1 clubs (3hr event)
• The target is children who are NOT club members
• LSP will provide each club with €300 to run both events (covering instructor and fuel costs)
• ISA RDO team have designed a flyer/poster, the LSP’s are printing and distributing these to each school in their area.
• Each poster has contact details and the dates of when the Try Sailing session it to happen in their areas clubs.
• Participants must register their interest with a club appointed contact and pay €5 on the day to take part
• If a club can cater for 20 children in each of the two sessions (morning and afternoon) it would be €500 for the club.
• Waterford, Wexford, Fingal, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, Wicklow, Dublin City, Louth and Fingal Local Sports Partnerships are supporting the programme with 20 Cat 1 clubs participating in this in the East region in or around April 23rd 2016.
• The East Coast area alone will include distribution of ISA information up to 1008 primary and secondary schools and the East and South East coasts.
• Cork, Clare and Kerry Sports Partnerships also supporting same programme with 10 Cat 1 clubs participating on variety of dates that suit the regions.
• Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway also supporting same programme with 8 Cat 1 clubs participating on variety of dates that suit the regions.
• Linked in with Schools Active Week programme – all dates published on line.
• East Coast RDO responsible Sarah Louise Rossiter
• South West RDO Gail MacAllister
• North West RDO Ciarán Murphy

5. Scouts Try Sailing initiative
• Working with the Scouts
• Programme not fixed yet, details to be announced
• RDO responsible Ciarán Murphy

6. Surf ‘n’ Turf (local rugby club with boat club event)
contact [email protected]
• Event: Wexford Wanderers and Wexford Harbour Boat & Tennis Club
• Target Market: Other sports club members and corporate day
• Preparation: Meeting with local rugby team, posters in local businesses and clubs involved in the day
• Promotion: Posters designed with information. €50 per team of min 7.
• Minimum of 3 females on each team. One liaison for booking teams.
• On the Day: 10-10:30am meeting. Start tag rugby at 10:30am – 12:30pm. BBQ at 1pm in sailing club, on the water 2-4pm.
• Next Step: Introductory membership and dual club membership specials. Information on clubs summer courses, adult courses etc. Encourage continued groups or a tag rugby/sailing monthly session.
• Top Tips: Good connections can be made with any local sports club whether golf, GAA or cycling. The same principle of this initiative applies.
• RDO responsible Sarah Louise Rossiter

7. Women on the Water
• Cork Sports Partnership and Clare Sports Partnership are supporting Women on the Water programmes of €200 towards running a Women on the Water programme in 2016.

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