The winter evenings are dark, Christmas is coming and the long hot summer of 2018 has passed. While personally, I am already looking forward to the 2019 season, there are many sailors still enjoying racing in various winter leagues around the country. Fun sailing at this time of year is proving very popular time for our sport.
Taking up where my last blog left off: In August we hosted the second Watersports Inclusion Games in Galway and I’m delighted that the Games won “Project of the Year” at the Cara National Inclusion Awards.
Our Performance Teams had a successful summer, bringing home three world medals. Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove won gold at the U23 49er World Championships in Marseilles in September. Liam Glynn took bronze at the U21 Laser World Championships in Gdynia, Poland; and Tom Higgins won silver at the U17 Radial Youth World Championships in Kiel. Both Finn Lynch and Aoife Hopkins made Gold Fleet at the World Championships. Our next chance to qualify for the Olympics is July 2019. Good luck to all involved!
The Performance HQ units, (funded by the Irish Sailing Foundation) arrived at the end of October at their Irish Lights site in Dun Laoghaire and will be fully operational for the Senior and Development teams in the New Year.
The Irish Sailing All Ireland Senior Championship took place in October at Lough Ree Yacht Club. Close racing over two days resulted in the Helmsman’s Silver Salver being won by SB20 nominee and former Olympian Peter Kennedy (Strangford Lough YC). The Junior All Irelands were held a week earlier at the Royal St George YC, and won by Atlee Kohl (RCYC). Watch the videos here on the Irish Sailing YouTube channel: http://bit.ly/2Dxb8jb
Other highlights this summer included the SB20 European Championships held in August in Dun Laoghaire where Michael O’Connor (RStGYC) finished third. The Laser Master World Championships in September saw 301 boats from 25 countries take over Dun Laoghaire for a week. Mark Lyttle finished first in the Grand Master Class. Also competing was Shirley Gilmore, Ireland’s only female competitor. One of our regular “Sailing Hero” articles was dedicated to Shirley here: http://bit.ly/2A89WiY
Some of the projects and programmes will impact sailors. Twenty-three Clubs are actively engaged in our Club Coaching Programme. The response has been very positive and reaffirms our belief that there is a strong cohort of coaches in the country who want to formalise their training and receive the recognition they deserve in the form of official qualification.
We are still pursuing a number of regulatory issues including ICCs, Green Diesel, Small Craft Register, Passenger Boat licencing, and VHF licencing and are we actively engaged on the advisory committee of the Government’s Marine Spatial Planning group.
The Club Symposium in early 2018 hosted by Irish Sailing saw 30 clubs from around the country represented. Discussions centred on social media, communications, marketing, and learnings from individual clubs on their successes and challenges. These discussions resulted in an action plan for Irish Sailing, and we’ve spent time this year implementing changes triggered by this.
The Race Officials Policy Group alongside an active volunteer base ran several courses in all key disciplines of race official management during the year with over 100 attendees. Having qualified specialists in all areas raises the standard of event delivery, which ensures top-class racing for sailors.
Dates for your diary
The Volvo Irish Sailing Awards:
February 8th, RDS, Dublin.
2019 Irish Sailing AGM:
March 30th. Venue tbc.