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Irish Sailing Finances Improve During Pandemic

8th April 2021
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While sailing on Irish waters may have been curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Irish Sailing Association enjoyed a healthy financial year, recording a financial surplus of €295,927 for 2020 compared with just €16,650 a year earlier.

The organisation ended the year with €921,533 in cash, according to its latest accounts - an increase of almost 200% on the 2019 position. It was helped during the year by support from the Government Wage Subsidy Scheme, along with a contribution of approximately €100,000 from Sport Ireland’s Club Resilience Funding and NGB Covid Support.

The association's accounts anticipate that "much of [its] surplus will be expended in 2021 as restrictions continue and the postponed activities take place in 2021".

The association's financial statements note that severe restrictions on the organisation of sports in 2020 had "the potential to have a devastating financial impact on the organisation" but credits "aggressive cost-cutting measures on operations" for some of its surplus.

However, salary costs at the association rose during 2020 by €20,636 to €721,948, an increase attributed by ISA president David O'Brien to a "deferred cost of living increase granted in January" that year.

Irish Sailing does not publish the number of individual members it represents but its subscription revenue continues its long-term decline with a further drop of 6%, year on year, which undoubtedly reflects decreasing participation in affiliated clubs, regardless of the impact of Covid restrictions. However, the reduction in membership income was largely offset by a 6.5% increase in the Annual Core Sports Grant and the receipt of €73,815 in Government Covid payroll subsidies.

Irish Sailing's surplus of €179,044 recorded in High-Performance Activities arises as a direct consequence of curtailed activities from the impact of Covid and will undoubtedly be called on in 2021 for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics. In what was supposed to have been an Olympic year, the accounts reveal a sharp fall in income from sponsorship of €134,126 and a much-reduced contribution from the Irish Sailing Foundation of €10,000 compared to €159,126 in 2019.

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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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