Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Strong Need for Dinghy Sailing Event Safety Says Race Officers Group

24th January 2023
Capsizing is part and parcel of dinghy racing, especially in strong winds, such as above during the 2023 Monkstown Bay Sailing Club Laser League in Cork Harbour
Capsizing is part and parcel of dinghy racing, especially in strong winds, such as above during the 2023 Monkstown Bay Sailing Club Laser League in Cork Harbour Credit: Bob Bateman

There is a “strong need for safety considerations at dinghy events”, according to a Race Official Policy Group (ROPG) that has issued a new set of policy recommendations for those responsible for planning club or class events.

The national sailing authority says that its Race Official Policy Group (ROPG) has been “working very hard to build safety teams, qualifications and presence at events for a number of years and want to pass on this experience and learning to all clubs and classes.”

According to David Lovegrove, Chairman of the ROPG: “As part of its ongoing review of policies relating to the running of dinghy races, the Race Officials Policy Group (ROPG) has developed a number of recommendations relating to the running of dinghy events.

“While these recommendations are primarily aimed at larger multi-fleet events, the ROPG feels that there are many recommendations that can equally be applied to running any dinghy event.”

The recommendations are listed in ‘Recommendations for Dinghy Event Safety.” The document is published on and available from its website.

The Chairman says: “It is hoped that this document, along with other Irish Sailing guidelines, will be of assistance in promoting the running of safe dinghy events.”

“Overall greater consideration needs to be given to the strength of wind and the prevailing sea conditions before bringing junior dinghies afloat. While recommendations will assist, Race Committees should always err on the side of caution. It is not imperative that racing takes place,” say Irish Sailing.

Published in ISA
Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for He presents the monthly programme Maritime Ireland on Podcast services and Irish radio stations.

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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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