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Places are still available for the latest powerboat training course at the Royal St George Yacht Club later this month.

The two-day course, on Saturday 29 February and Sunday 1 March from 8.45am to 5pm, provides the ideal way to get afloat for the first time, or to build on skills you already have.

The Irish Sailing syllabus Powerboat II course (National Powerboat Certificate) will formally teach you the fundamentals in the safe operation of a powerboat, its preparation and allied aspects, while helping you to build your confidence on the water and get the most from your RIB or powerboat in a safe and comfortable manner.

This weekend course (which will also run in May) is priced at €260 which includes all course materials, instruction and certifications. Book online via the RSGYC website HERE.

Published in Power

Irish Sailing’s regional development officer Gail McAllister is among the jury for this year’s Blue Flag awards programme.

The national jury met last month to consider a total of 88 sites around Ireland comprising 80 beaches and eight marinas.

Their decisions will now be presented for evaluation to the Blue Flag International Jury and the results will be released in advance of the coming summer season.

Last year’s awards saw 80 out of 83 beaches retain their Blue Flag from 2018, while the number of rated marinas rose to eight with the inclusion of Rathmullan in Donegal.

“It is an honour to be part of this international scheme and I am excited to bring some new ideas to the Irish Sailing Sustainability Awareness programme,” said McAllister, who has also joined An Taisce as a ‘Climate Ambassador’.

Published in ISA

Irish Sailing’s Class Coaching Grant for 2020 is now open for applications.

The grant allows sailing classes to apply for €400 for approved Irish Sailing coaches and €200 for non-approved coaches.

Currently approved coaches are displayed on the Irish Sailing website and will be updated regularly.

Approved coaching grants for 2019 were for the Wayfarer, E-Boat, Water Wag, 420, Mirror, IDRA, GP14, 2.4mR, Topper, Fireball, Laser 4.7, Laser Radial and Laser Standard.

Over 200 sailors benefited from the training in 2019 — 38% of whom were women and girls.

Details on how to apply, and all relevant terms and conditions, are available HERE.

Published in ISA

Next weekend’s Irish Sailing Cruising Conference is now fully booked, with delegates looking forward to a day of exploration and discovery.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the full programme of talks and sessions on Saturday 15 February will take in everything from exciting polar adventures to practical advice for more local cruisers.

Damian Foxall, Niall MacAllister and Lucy Hunt will share footage from the far side of the world — the team still have a small number of places for guests to join them in Antarctica’s waters.

And one lucky delegate will take home the Union Chandlery spot prize of a Seago 190 Pro Lifejacket currently valued at €210.

Published in ISA

Irish Sailing has published guidance on the use of WhatsApp by its members following recent concerns over GDPR issues.

As reported last week on Afloat.ie, privacy concerns prompted a call for Irish sports clubs to stop using WhatsApp for group chats — with experts in the field suggesting the popular smartphone messaging service “does not comply” with GDPR rules for official communications.

The governing body for sailing in Ireland says: “Similarly to the GAA, Irish Sailing is a data controller. We oversee all clubs that process information on membership and must ensure that this is compliant with legislation.”

Irish Sailing’s WhatsApp guidance can be downloaded as a Word document HERE.

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Saturday 21 March is the date for Irish Sailing’s 2020 National Conference, AGM and Irish Sailing Awards at the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire.

This year the governing body is bringing all aspects of sailing here under one roof, with a choice of three conferences taking place simultaneously throughout the day.

Firstly, the Race Management and Support Conference will cover the promotion of racing, policies and race management training. It is open to anyone involved in events, not just race officials.

Meanwhile, the Training Conference has sessions that include preparing for the sailing season, developing instructors, improving standards and making the most of the Irish Sailing Passport. This conference is open to all training management, volunteers and instructors.

And all club management and volunteers are invited to the Club Symposium, for the sharing of ideas to promote sailing and with sessions on sustainability, inclusion and diversity, grant applications, bursaries, and new programmes from Irish Sailing.

Following the conferences, Irish Sailing’s AGM will take place at the Martello Suite, which in turn will be followed by a reception and the Irish Sailing Awards — decided from Afloat.ie’s Sailors of the Month in 2019 — in the Carlisle Suite.

Booking for each conference and for the Irish Sailing Awards is now available online, and special rates have been arranged at local hotels for those who wish to make a night of it.

Published in ISA

Irish Offshore Sailing has extended its sail training and yacht racing programmes for 2020 with a full range of motor cruising courses on a specially fitted-out and coded motor yacht.

Skippered by Yachtmaster Instructor Peter Beamish, the training boat is a Lochin 333 Harbour Pilot named Gaviota. Fitted with twin Perkins 300 HP engines, she has a cruising speed of 16 knots and a top speed of 24 knots.

Fully equipped with modern instruments and electronic engine controls, Gaviota is commercially coded in Ireland and the UK, and has all the safety equipment required for up to 10 people

Irish Offshore Sailing is now the only Irish Sailing and RYA recognised training centre in Ireland that can offer motor cruising courses which include Start Motor Cruising, Helmsman, Day Skipper, Advanced Pilotage, Coastal Skipper, and Yachtmaster Offshore Power.

See IrishOffshoreSailing.com for the full schedule of all motor cruising courses in 2020. And for more information please contact Peter Beamish on 087 672 9999.

Published in Cruising

This is my last blog as Irish Sailing President; where did that three years go? There have been both challenges and successes but what I have enjoyed most has been getting to visit sailing centres around the country and meeting the people who are the mainstays of our sport – the volunteers, organisers and sailors who make sailing accessible, safe and, above all, fun for anyone who wants to take part.

At the start of my presidency, my hope was for Irish Sailing to be more relevant to members and I hope I have gone some way towards this, as outlined below.

1720 blogSchool children enjoy a taste of sailing in a Royal Cork 1720 in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

Converting “Try Sailors” to Members

Since 2017, through our Try Sailing programme, nearly 12,000 people have done just that. Also in that period membership of Irish Sailing has grown by 10% to 20,375, and while many factors drive membership, we believe this programme has played a significant part.

Our Database

The introduction of the EU’s GDPR in May 2018 meant that our databases had to be built again from scratch, but it now means that our data is “clean” and people are active and willing subscribers to our services, membership and information. Numbers now stand at just over 10,000, so there is still work to be done. Despite the new GDPR giving us the position of “joint controller” of membership data, a number of clubs have not returned data to us which is disappointing. It’s important to stress that the more data we have allows us to create a clearer picture of our membership which, in turn, gives sailing a stronger voice for the future when attracting sailors, new members, funding and sponsorship.

Club Coaching Programme

The newly developed Club Coach course aimed at providing certified coaches for entry-level programmes at club and inter-club level is now underway with two courses. Next year sees a further roll-out of the programme with at least one course per region.

Team Racing Dun LaoghaireTeam Racing at Dun Laoghaire Photo: Afloat

‘Keeping’ Third Level Students sailing

In July, Rory Martin joined the team implementing a new Team Racing initiative aimed at clubs and training centres. The programme aims to increase participation in club sailing amongst under-represented groups, including those at third-level, and to retain sailors at this level and beyond. Fifteen clubs have expressed interest with four clinics delivered to date.

More involvement of Women in Sailing

The first Irish Sailing Pathfinder Women at the Helm regatta was such a big success this year. Over 200 people took part and all the helms were women. Sport Ireland has endorsed this success by funding our new “Take the Helm” campaign next year as part of their Women in Sport Strategy.

Watersports Inclusion Games

This event, superbly hosted by the committed membership of Kinsale Yacht Club, saw 250 people from the physical, sensory, intellectual and learning ability spectrums take to the water each day in a variety of sports. A volunteer base of over 400 was a reflection of the incredible effort by so many to make this event a spectacular success. Anyone present knows what a privilege it is to be part of this event.

chris on the water 1Cork Harbour brothers Chris and Olin Bateman became 2019 All Ireland Junior Champions in September. Photo: INPHO/Bryan Keane

All Ireland Championships

The 2019 Irish Sailing All Ireland Championship, hosted by the National Yacht Club in October, was won by Michael O'Connor of the Royal St George YC, representing the SB20 class. The Junior Championship hosted by Dave Harte and his team in Schull was won by Chris Bateman of Monkstown Bay Sailing Club representing the RS200 class.

Looking ahead to 2020

Nearly 1000 people have engaged in the Strategic Review 2020-2025 process and I look forward to hearing their findings in the Spring. This review will be preceded by our National Conference and AGM on Saturday, March 21 in Dun Laoghaire with details to follow.

To those still sailing in the various winter series around the coast safe sailing; to those who have their boats winterised like myself enjoy the seasonal refitting plans.

As always you can find out more on our various channels (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), via our website, or our weekly newsletter www.sailing.ie

Date for your diary: National Conference & AGM on Saturday, March 21st in Dun Laoghaire

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Irish Sailing has announced its new ‘Take the Helm’ programme for female sailors aged 16+ which is supported by Sport Ireland’s Women in Sport Programme, the campaign to increase female participation and progression in sport.

Take the Helm will provide training, competition and infrastructure opportunities to encourage and enable women to take the helm in a variety of areas:

  • A flexible training fund for women providing bursaries for a choice of training to encourage regional programmes, develop participation and increase roles of leadership.
  • Race official development for women to Take the Helm in the many roles involved in race management and support.
  • Irish Sailing’s Pathfinder Women at the Helm will continue to support and highlight women’s sailing, encourage competition, retain young sailors and entice returning sailors.
  • Promotion of participation: showcasing role models of all levels through storytelling, photography and videography.

The flexible training fund for women provides 24 bursaries of up to €400 each available on a first come, first served basis for all Irish Sailing clubs, classes and centres.

This bursary can be used to fund fully or partially any of the following for women aged 16 and over:

  • The provision of an Irish Sailing certified women’s racing coaching programme, national powerboat training course and safety boat training course.
  • The attendance of female instructors on the Irish Sailing courses for Senior Instructor; Advanced Sailing Instructor; Windsurfing Go With Style and/or Go Foil Instructor; and Powerboat and/or Safety Boat Instructor.

To give an expression of interest in receiving the fund, complete the short online survey HERE. For full details and how to apply, contact Gail MacAllister at [email protected]

Published in ISA

With only seven weeks until the ban on the use of green diesel for private pleasure craft comes into force, the Revenue Commissioners have yet to formally declare to oil suppliers what changes are required under the new legislation, according to Irish Sailing.

Come 1 January 2020, marked (or ‘green’) gas oil will no longer be permitted for use in private pleasure navigation, bringing Ireland into line with EU law in the wake of a ruling by the European Court of Justice last year.

The penalty for having green diesel in a pleasure boat tank could be as much as €5,000, which Irish Sailing suggests is double the average penalty for cars.

And it adds that details of the new regime — which means such vessels must be powered by unmarked or white diesel — have yet to be revealed to the leisure boating community.

“It has been pointed out to the Revenue that some boats refuel at longer than annual intervals and will therefore likely have some green in their tanks for a long time to come,” it explains.

“It is not known at this stage how this will be policed and while it is possible to measure the proportions of white/green through a test, rather than a simple colour check, it is not known what type of checks will be made — where or when.

“The enforcement may come in at the point of sale, making the providers responsible for policing the sale of green, and we have to assume that suppliers will refuse to put green diesel in a leisure vessel.”

Irish Sailing has provided a guide for leisure boaters on white diesel refuelling sites around Ireland, as compiled by Norman Kean.

As of now, the ports of Howth, Dun Laoghaire, Greystones, Crosshaven have confirmed the switch to white diesel with two or three pumps, while Kinsale will have one or two. No decision has been made at Malahide and Kilmore Quay.

Other ports will be less convenient. Carlingford, Arklow and Dingle will have white diesel in cans, though customers may have to provide the cans at Carlingford and Arklow.

Castletownbere, Bantry and Dingle will have white diesel by tanker available “in modest quantities and at relatively short notice”, as is traditionally the case for green diesel at these ports.

Elsewhere, local filling stations will be the only available source for white diesel.

Roundstone in Connemara has a filling station within 200m of the pier, but Sligo will require a 500m walk, while boaters at Killybegs will face a 2km round trip on foot to refuel.

The advice for now, Irish Sailing says, is to “keep receipts when you fill, so you that you can prove you have ‘gone white’”.

Published in ISA
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