Following the incident in Dun Laoghaire last year involving Irish Sailing’s High-Performance Optimist Squad and the subsequent investigation and report, Irish Sailing established a working group to consider the recommendations of the report, assess how best Irish Sailing could address them, and to help with the implementation.
The working group comprises David Turner (National YC), Ciaran McSweeney (Monkstown Bay SC & RCYC) Brian Craig (Irish Sailing Board), Harry Hermon (Irish Sailing CEO) and James O’Callaghan (Irish Sailing Performance Director). The group set about developing a simple, practical and fit-for-purpose Safety Resource Pack for ensuring safe coaching events.
The Safety Resource Pack is intended to set the framework for the various functions and principles by which staff, contractors, volunteers and other representatives should discharge their responsibilities as an organiser of coaching events. The objective is to achieve a high standard of safety within Irish Sailing coaching events, without unduly constraining the sailing activities. The aim is not to dictate or restrict activity in any way, but to provide a framework for organisers to identify responsibilities, and make informed and finely judged decisions around safety.
The Safety Resource Pack has been tested by the Irish Sailing Performance squad training, along with club coaching events from three clubs of varying size and resources. The feedback is that the Resource Pack is simple and practical, and has been welcomed by those who have used it so far. The system is now being used by Irish Sailing’s coaching events, and it is anticipated that clubs and classes will adopt it when organising their own coaching activities.
The Safety Resource Pack identifies:
- key functions/responsibilities for organising coaching events
- protocols for dealing with emergencies
- coach pre-requisites for Irish Sailing Coaches
- a practical checklist for planning a coaching event
- a risk assessment to be used for the decision to launch
The Safety Resource Pack (and particularly the risk assessment) will be most effective as an interactive tool maintained as an ‘app’ on a phone, tablet or laptop. In this way, the decision-making process for each coaching event may be recorded online, and negate the need for paper records. Irish Sailing is currently exploring options for using Irish Sailing’s Passport system for this purpose. With some modifications to the software which will be completed in the autumn, it is anticipated that the pack will become available to organisers of coaching events as a live system. In addition, we hope to extend the pack to incorporate racing events in the future.
Irish Sailing says, although the end result is deliberately short and simple, there has been a great deal of research into other systems, both nationally and internationally, along with input from a multitude of people with relevant experience.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Howth Yacht Club sailor and former ICRA commodore left the organisation on the eve of a crucial symposium at the weekend to decide its future, citing disagreements with its direction over the previous year.
Reilly also referred to the decision to make Galway the host venue of the 2018 ICRA Nationals was not passed by the executive, and that the first he learned of it “was on Facebook”.
Commenting to Afloat.ie on Friday, IRCA commodore Simon McGibney said that Reilly had been given a fair hearing regarding his complains, adding that decisions “are always done by majority”.
But Reilly has hit back at assertions that there is “democracy” in the organisation, claiming that no minutes of meeting have been produced where Galway was agreed as this year’s venue.
Following the announcement, Reilly says there was “a storm of protests” from Dublin-based cruiser racers.
A survey was sent out to all members to gauge whether or not they sailed in the 2017 ICRA Nationals at the Royal Cork, the results of which have yet to be officially published.
“All summer ICRA received emails and calls protesting about Galway,” adds Reilly. “I requested that same be made available to [the] ICRA exec but reply received [was] “These were personal to the commodore.’”
Reilly says there was a push within the organisation for an EGM to review the danger of becoming irrelevant to the Dublin fleet, which constitutes the majority of IRCA’s membership.
Instead, a full executive meet was arranged, but Reilly claims that its members had not all been made aware of the complains from the Dublin membership, and that the resulting meeting only saw 50% attendance.
Reilly says his pitch to the executive that IRCA talk with Galway with a view to keeping Dublin as a host venue for the 2018 calendar was voted down — and he was further shot down over his request that Dublin keep a slot by running an East Coast IRC.
“The exec in ICRA is just irrelevant,” adds Reilly on his decision to resign. “Recently two new members [were] added with no discussion or prior notice.”
The historic 70th Anniversary staging of the All Ireland Sailing Championship has seen the famous silver salver depart for a long journey to its new home in Baltimore, as the winner is Baltimore SC’s Fionn Lyden, who was crewed to the win – raced in GP 14s – by Liam Manning.
Although Lyden is currently best known as the 2017 Under 23 Bronze Medallist in the Olympic Finn, he was racing at Mullingar as the nominee of the Irish Team Racing Association, for it was through inter-University team racing that his name first registered nationally as a sailor to watch.
He and Liam Manning had their work cut out against a formidable field in the final, with defending champion Alex Barry of Monkstown Bay and the RS400 class, and GP14 World Champion Shane McCarthy of Greystones, both on top form.
But Lyden kept his cool and finished the series with 16 points to the 18 of Alex Barry and the 19 of Shane MacCarthy, who came through to third overall in a tie-break with Laser sailor Sean Craig (Royal St George) also on 19.
Read our All Ireland preview by WM Nixon here
Irish Sailng adds (on Monday, October 9 at 1300): Fresh from winning bronze at the U23 Finn World Championships earlier this summer, Baltimore’s Fionn Lyden has won the All Ireland Sailing Championships at Mullingar Sailing Club today.
The series was decided on a knife-edge finale that saw Lyden match-race to the finishing-line with GP14 World Champion Shane McCarthy from Greystones who was denied victory by the tie-break in the series.
Lyden’s crew was fellow West Cork sailor Liam Manning from Schull and the pair represented the Irish Team Racing Association who were Wild Card entries in the championship that is celebrating 70 years.
Two very different days of racing tested the sailors: Saturday was a typical autumnal afternoon on Lough Owel – strong and quite blustery but manageable conditions apart from a few capsizes.
Sunday morning saw the repechage races to decide the last two places in the final, but then the wind dropped and the lake turned into a mirror. Patience from Jack Roy’s Race Management team was rewarded in the late afternoon when a light breeze picked up enough to allow three races in quick succession.
The going was slow, but in the final race a strategic decision by Lyden resulted in a two-boat match race between him and Shane McCarthy that took place at one side of the race area, while the rest of the fleet including last year’s winner Alex Barry battled it out for a podium place.
The final results were Fionn Lyden with crew Liam Manning of Baltimore SC; in second place were Alex Barry with crew Richard Leonard of Monkstown Bay SC , and in third was Shane McCarthy and crew Andy Davis of Greystones SC.
The weekend of 24 June saw the inaugural Watersports Inclusion Games taking place in Dun Laoghaire at the Royal St. George Yacht Club with 125 volunteers providing activities for over 220 participants with various abilities on the physical, sensory, intellectual and learning difficulty spectrums and representing all ages, demographics and socio-economic backgrounds. The participants and their families had a chance to try sailing, rowing, canoeing/kayaking and fast boat rides.
Such was the popularity of Day One that Day Two saw many familiar faces and repeat attendees.
The Games aim was not just about showing participants that watersports are accessible, but also to show to watersports providers that with a little bit of training and planning, they can facilitate people of all abilities and backgrounds to get out on the water. The atmosphere during the weekend was fantastic, with participants queuing to sign up for as many different activities as possible – from rowing to 1720 keelboat sailing and yachting, to rib-tripping and kayaking under the piers.
The event would not have happened without the many volunteers who generously donated their time and expertise, and there was enthusiastic feedback from participants and volunteers – both groups saying how much fun the Games were.
The organisers were Irish Sailing, Canoeing Ireland, Dun Laoghaire Sea Scouts, Dun Laoghaire Sailability, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Spinal Injuries Ireland and Royal St George Yacht Club, with generous resource support from National Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, and Adventure Training Ireland. The event was funded by the Sport Ireland Dormant Accounts Sports Inclusion Fund and supported by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company.
We live in a world swamped in acronyms, so much so that even a simple one like ISA has to be explained as “Irish Sailing Association” to all except those involved with or interested in our sport writes W M Nixon.
But we also live in a very crowded world where, if at all possible, the theme of “Less Is More” is increasingly desirable. So the announcement yesterday evening (Monday June 26th) by the Irish Sailing Association, that it is in the process of re-branding itself more simply as Irish Sailing, is in line with a distinct and generally desirable trend.
Like many who have been intimately involved with the ISA in its many manifestations, with it born out of the Irish Dinghy Racing Association and then mutating through the Irish Yachting Association to become the Irish Sailing Association, a first reaction was one of disapproval, but it changed.
There was something attractively personal about an Association, and as its constitution defines “sailing” as an “activity involving engine or sail-powered craft”, it was a recognizable coming-together of people with shared interests in a grouping with its own distinct identity under a very broad umbrella.
ISA provided a sense of belonging, and individual members could cherish their long personal links to it. Yet for outsiders – non-sailors who might be attracted into getting involved with some aspect of our diverse sport – the use of the acronym “ISA” and the defining word “Association” could be off-putting.
For longtime dedicated sailors, these might seem to be decidedly precious, nit-picking and very minor considerations. But you only get one chance to make a first impression, and the modern ideal is that the sense of something being a “movement” as much as an association is a significant factor in making a favourable first impression.
Then too, we’re trying to get away from acronyms, and reduce the number of syllables in a recognisable title to an absolute minimum. ISA as an acronym has only three syllables. But Irish Sailing Association arguably has seven syllables. This makes it quite a mouthful, thereby encouraging reversion to the acronym, which of itself tells us very little of what this organisation is all about
However, “Irish Sailing” has only four syllables. One more than “ISA” perhaps, but still few enough for people to gives it the full title when referring to it, rather than using the much-too-short and possible confusion-causing acronym IS.
So on balance, my response is that the re-branding as Irish Sailing deserves a guarded welcome. But I’m acutely aware that even though the announcement was made only last night, and on a very wet Monday night at that, heated passions are aroused, and there’s an equally tenable argument which sees it differently. That great contributor to Irish sailing afloat and ashore, Monica Schaefer of Greystones Sailing Club and the Wayfarer Class, speaks eloquently for those who feel a special personal link to our national authority:
“I find it incredible to think that the ISA is seriously going to change its name to the same initials/abbreviation as the worlds largest terror organisation. Surely someone must realise that using the initials I and S together will attract all sorts of problems with internet traffic, gaining attention from people not intent on enjoying sailing and from security systems designed to pick up internet / social media traffic that track that sort of thing.
How will racing sailors who are not part of a club now be identified on a race results sheet if they are no longer members of the ISA? Ah yes we can just put down IS instead of ISA, that’ll sort it - LOL
Notwithstanding the problems the initials might attract, surely removing the association makes the organisation so much more impersonal and commercial sounding, if it is no longer an association, does that mean that those who subscribe to it are simply customers and no longer members? Has anyone thought about the fact that If we are not members anymore we will soon lose our sense of belonging? I wonder if we are no longer members of an association will the new organisation be scrapping the membership fee in line with it’s new identity (lol again) presumable the ISA members can now expect a refund of their paid up fee for the remainder of this year.
On hearing this announcement today I immediately feel disconnected with the new identity. I have been a proud member of the ISA since the time of the IYA and now I feel that we the members have just been jettisoned over the side to make way for “progress”, and that we are no longer a part of this supposedly more marketable commercial organisation that has taken over.
Surely a name change requires discussion and debate with the membership and a vote at an AGM or EGM at least? It’s a huge identity change that effects us all so surely we should have a say in it.
This move shouts of commercial interest and does not I believe reflect the interest of the members, but maybe the organisation doesn’t need or want members anymore, and the commercial side of the business wants to follow the lead of ISAF who started this trend with their move from the easily recognised and meaningful ISAF branding to the dull and bland branding of World Sailing.
This really is a shock and not something that ISA members should take lightly.
The branding refresh comes on the foot of member feedback to Ireland’s national governing body for sailing, powerboating and windsurfing – and is intended to underline changes within the organisation as part of its five-year strategic plan.
The name change also echoes the ISAF’s switch to World Sailing in late 2015.
“Irish Sailing is more modern and welcoming, immediately understood by non-sailors and international audiences alike, and more appealing to those who might like to try our sports,” said the organisation in a statement.
As of yesterday (Monday 26 June), the new Irish Sailing logo appears on its website and social media feeds, and will gradually be rolled out across official documents, printed materials and products over the coming months.
As he wrote for Afloat.ie in April, the ISA wants to encourage greater female participation via a two-pronged approach.
That means both in the activity of sailing itself, via the Women on the Water programme, and through improving the gender balance in ISA governance.
Women on the Water — a network of Irish-based female sailors, windsurfers and powerboaters — was formed with the aim of raising not only the number of women getting afloat, but also their profile and level of skill.
And its continued success is now supported by the appointment of two more women to the ISA Board this year.
Fiona Bolger and Nikki Curran join Sarah Byrne, who has served on the board since 2015.
Byrne, an RS sailor from Greystones Sailing Club, is deeply involved in the Competition & Classes policy groups, no doubt ensuring the perspective of women in sailing is taken into account.
Her new board colleagues, who joined this past March, bring their own sailing pedigree.
Fiona Bolger, a communications and PR guru, has a number of national and international events under her belt representing Baltimore Sailing Club in the competitive hotbed of West Cork.
As chief executive of Spinal Injuries Ireland, she has also been instrumental in organising the new Watersports Inclusion Games that are taking place in Dun Laoghaire.
Meanwhile, Nikki Curran will contribute to the Clubs & Participation policy group after many years heavily involved in junior sailing at Sligo Yacht Club, giving her a unique insight into what sailors wants from their clubs and their ISA.
The presence of Curran, Bolger and Byrne brings female membership of the 11–seat ISA board to more than a quarter – confirmation that Roy is making good on his promises to steer the ISA to an inspiring new heading.
But it should also be clear that these are no mere token appointments, as all three bring to bear a wealth of experience both within and beyond sailing to promote a more inclusive sport for all.
Jack Roy may have become the new Irish Sailing Association President for a three year term as recently as the end of March writes W M Nixon. But having spent a few weeks re-appraising the functioning of the ISA as seen from a Presidential viewpoint (for he had been a Board Member), he has been energetically implementing his policy of representing the ISA whenever possible at gatherings large and small throughout the country.
It works two ways, as it puts a human face on the national authority, and at the same time he can take on board local opinions on everything to do with the Association’s work. This past week has seen him at the award to Wicklow Sailing Club of the Mitsubishi Motors “Sailing Club of the Year 2017” accolade on Tuesday, then on Thursday he was fulfilling a double bill in his first official visit to Galway, following which on Saturday afternoon he was in his familiar race officering duties for Dublin Bay Sailing Club in decidedly contrary race organising conditions, and then on Saturday night he and his wife Rosemary (who is also a member of his race organising team) were at the Golden Jubilee Dinner in the National Yacht Club to celebrate Carmel Winkelmann’s key role in setting up the NYC’s Junior Section fifty years ago in 1967, a pioneering move in developing the Junior Sailing Programme for what was then the Irish Yachting Association.
The visit to Galway – with Galway’s own Pierce Purcell setting the guidance pace - he found to be uniquely interesting, as it gave a fresh insight into how the western city sees itself in its special relationship with the sea, which has a long and distinguished history dating back to the time it used to be one of the most significant ports in Europe.
This is going to be celebrated with the popular Seafest in the western capital from July 30th to 2nd June, and it all came together in Galway City Museum on Thursday, with the Seafest details announcement, and the the Marine Institute launching its Marine Science Exhibition, which is on the top floor of the Museum with the bonus of superb views over the ancient Claddagh - Galway’s original port - and across Galway Bay to the Clare hills.
Up there, with intriguing exhibits and displays giving a sense of the past and thoughtful visions of future development and discovery, the special Galway buzz from the city and harbour below is palpable, and the entire experience comes with the most enthusiastic Presidential recommendation.
I am very honoured to be elected as the new President of the Irish Sailing Association – a post which brings with it the need for vision and rigour as well as the potential for ongoing improvement.
The first ISA President was elected in 1945. Over the past 72 years, we have grown to become the national governing body for sailing, powerboating and windsurfing and, along with clubs, classes and training centres, we are committed to developing the interests of our sport at all levels, from day trips to ocean voyages, recreation to cruising, dinghies to keelboats and all those who enjoy activity on the water, be they young or old, beginners to Olympians.
The main aim during my tenure is to highlight the relevance of the ISA to our membership as well as increasing the number of people sailing and becoming members of the organisation. It is vital to stress that it is only through the work of the ISA that freedom on the water is retained, that training at all levels is of the best quality, queries are answered knowledgeably, and racing standards are maintained and recognised internationally.
My term begins in the aftermath of a harsh recession, but there is cause for optimism. Our 2020 strategic plan is being implemented well; ISA membership is increasing; we had a wonderful Olympic success last year; and the economic outlook in many parts of the country is improving. The ISA has a solid and positive plan for the future, but I would like to set out my own key priorities as President:
- To better understand the demographics and culture of the ISA’s membership and build a fuller picture of our sport and community. This, combined with a more robust set of statistics, means we can create and share a story of who we are to all stakeholders
- Our new ISA Club Coaching Programme is rolling out in clubs this year and aims to fill a gap between our core training and the ISA Performance Pathway. The advantages are threefold: a) to convert “summer-course-only” sailors into those who take part in club activity all year round, b) to broaden the talent pool of potential Performance Pathway sailors, c) to expand the circle of club coaches. We will take Olympic expertise from the Pathway programme and use it to develop a stronger coaching culture in clubs
- The “Try Sailing” campaign has run successfully since 2015. Last year, over 3,500 people took part, but now we’d like to focus on how “Try Sailors” convert to club members. The first signs are promising, (almost 50% of clubs who undertook a Try Sailing event in 2016 saw a rise in membership), but how can we ensure that an end-to-end approach is taken, and that we understand and share all the necessary steps to get life-long participants?
Alongside these three priorities, the ISA will continue to develop and support, among others, two specific groups. Third level students are an active group, and we want them to continue sailing after graduation. We will also encourage the participation of women in sailing – through both ISA governance and our “Women on the Water” programme.
Together with the dedicated and professional team at the ISA, our policy group volunteers and our hard working Board, I believe we can create real change, inspire newcomers, and make our sport one that is truly a sport for all, and a sport for life.
I welcome all feedback and I’m happy to discuss issues at all levels. I can be contacted at [email protected]