Displaying items by tag: ISA
The ISA says it has been working over the past year to bring its Constitution, Formerly the Memorandum & Articles of Association, up to date in accordance with the Companies Act 2014 as well as to reflect the new direction of the association and the needs of its membership.
The proposed ISA Constitution is available to read or download at the ISA website (the current Memorandum & Articles of Association are also available for comparison). A summary of changes will be published by the ISA next month ahead of the AGM.
#ISA - It's shaping up to be a year of big changes for trainees, tutors and coaches with the Irish Sailing Association as the organisation evolves to meet the demands of 21st–century sailing.
After taking on board feedback from the training review that formed part of last year's five-year strategic plan, 2016 will see a number of new initiatives introduced – and trainee sailors will be among the first to see the benefits.
These improvements include the simplification of the Small Boat Sailing Scheme, and changes to instructor endorsements to better differentiate between training for specific skills and holistic coaching, as well as putting greater focus on gaining skills and logging time on the water rather than trainees simply collecting certificates.
One of the biggest shifts internally in the association is the introduction of new technological solutions to reduce administration time and associated costs to training centres throughout Ireland.
And for the ISA's current crop of trainee sailors, the public face of that will be the new 'Sailing Passport' scheme.
Essentially an online, cloud-based logbook – accessible from computers, tablets and smartphones anywhere there's an internet connection – the Sailing Passport will replace existing paper-based methods of recording on-the-water activities and achievements.
Whether racing, cruising or just having fun, trainees will be able to record their sailing activities in a format that allows them and their instructors to easily track their progress in acquiring and developing the skills needed for any particular course or module.
Trainees in the Small Boat Sailing Scheme will be the first to benefit from this initiative before it's rolled out to power boating, windsurfing, cruising and other activities across the board.
Patrick Blaney has been leading the research and development of the Sailing Passport for the ISA and is co-ordinating its introduction in association with the association's Regional Development Officers.
As he explains, the passport is a response to the perception expressed in feedback to the ISA's Strategic Review Group that the association's training schemes were too focused on certification landmarks over individual sailors' development of skills.
"It's also part of the ISA development strategy to grow the levels of sailing activity outside of the traditional structured courses, particularly for young sailors," he says.
"The passport, as an online logbook, is designed to facilitate this by focussing on skills and experiences, not on certificates, and to do so in the 'modern' way – dispensing with paper logbooks that are easy to lose or damage, while also enabling training programmes be distributed to users more efficiently online."
Inspiration for the Sailing Passport comes from a similar system in use by Sail Canada for the last five years. That project was developed by former sailing instructors with digital and sports management knowhow, and has since been adopted by skiing chiefs and other sporting organisations in Canada.
The ISA's version is licensed from a sister programme called ChecKlick, and is already fully operational for the Small Boat Sailing Scheme, loaded with all the relevant Joe Soap Cards for skills development that student sailors will see checked off by their club or instructor as they progress, whenever or wherever they access their secure passport online.
But the system also allows individual sailors to add their own records for activities, goals and achievements as they track their training steps with greater accuracy, making for a more holistic approach to sail training over the previous 'gotta catch 'em all' collection of certificates.
The end result also serves as a kind of 'sailing CV', says Blaney, particularly useful for those working towards accreditation as a coach or instructor.
Trialing of the system has lead to some early positive feedback including this from Aengus Kennedy, principal of Rathmullan Sailing and Watersports School in Co Donegal:
"We started to use the ChecKlick system in 2015. The system is straightforward to use and the online tutorials work well as training manuals. Staff were up to speed quickly. Instructors have the opportunity to update each students progress throughout courses from their smartphones or devices which they embraced. Being able to print either certificates or a list of tasks achieved for each student at our leisure is a distinct advantage. Having a database of all students work and not paper logbooks is a big improvement."
The Sailing Passport will mean reduced costs for sailors and administrators alike, with access to the system costing €3 per participant.
With current paper log books costing €5 a pop, and certificates at €2 each, the savings will be significant over time, Blaney underlines.
Yet the costs are secondary to the vision of a more nimble, focused ISA that this project represents, something also reflected in the streamlining of the Small Boat Sailing Scheme itself.
That sees the revision of its upper-tier modules into a single level for each of three streams – Advanced Boat Handing; Start Racing; and Kites & Wires & Adventure – and the introduction of a new single Advanced Instructor Endorsement which will enable more and more clubs and training centres to acquire the resources necessary to offer the full suite of training modules.
What this all ultimately means for trainees is more choice and more flexibility in terms of where they can go to learn the skills they need, and what paths they can take to hone their preferences on the water, without being discouraged by the need for certification in skills that may block their advancement.
The coming year will reveal whether the ISA's first raft of changes will indeed encourage a brighter future for Ireland's young sailors.
A sailing passport briefing document prepared by the ISA is downloadable below.
The Irish Sailing Association has been awarded €323,000 just €100 less than 2015 in the annual payout from Sport Ireland, formerly known as the Irish Sports Council. Rowing Ireland was awarded 210,000.
Sport Ireland, the newly created agency for the development of sport in Ireland, announced a comprehensive package for sporting organisations in 2016. The announcement was made by Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring T.D. in Westport today.
To support Irish participation at the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games in August and September, a total grant package in excess of €10 million was announced. In addition, with the supports of the services of the new Institute of Sport High Performance Training Centre, at Sport Ireland's National Sports Campus, the total investment in High Performance Sport for 2016 will be well in excess of €11 million.
In addition, there was a package of €10.6 million invested in National Governing Bodies of Sport with a further €5 million investment through the National Network of Local Sports Partnerships.
Speaking at the announcement, Minister Michael Ring said:
"I am pleased to announce this significant investment in Irish sport for 2016, through Sport Ireland's package of grants for the National Governing Bodies of Sport and the Local Sports Partnerships. The grants announced today will not only support the core activities of sports bodies, including their administration, they will also support very important sport programmes such as the Women in Sport and High Performance programmes, and the full range of services provided by Local Sport Partnerships around the country. I am delighted to have been able to increase Sport Ireland's budget by €3 million this year, which has enabled Sport Ireland to support High Performance sport in what is a very important year, with the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place. In addition, it is envisaged that significant funds will be available through Dormant Accounts Funding for sports programmes in disadvantaged communities to support the recently announced National Physical Activity Plan. The increase in funding for this year is a recognition of the Government's commitment and my own personal commitment to Sport".
Chair of Sport Ireland, Kieran Mulvey, speaking at the announcement added:
"We are delighted to announce a wide range of grants for Governing Bodies which cover the critical period of 2016 towards Rio but also a wide range of important programmes which are covered by the National Governing Bodies of Sport and the Local Sports Partnerships. Sport has flourished over the past number of years despite financial difficulties and have continued to expand their services. Some of the highlights of the today's announcement include:
- Over €1.8 million invested through the International Carding Scheme (Details of which will be announced soon)
- Additional investment has been allocated to the Olympic Council of Ireland to support the training camps and their Rio activities
- Significant investment has been allocated to Paralympics Ireland to support their pre-games camp in Uberlandia and all their games activities
- Additional support was to Hockey Ireland and Pentathlon Ireland who delivered outstanding results in 2015 and are well placed to deliver excellence in Rio
- Support will be provided to the IRFU towards the Olympic Repechage Rugby 7s taking place in UCD in June
- €200,000 will be invested through the Team Ireland Golf Trust to provide direct financial support to a number of golfers as well as additional financial support to hosting the Challenge Tour event in Ireland which is a vital component of the development of Irish Golf and Irish Golfers
- Over €600,000 will be invested in NGBs towards Women in Sport Programmes to ensure opportunities for women across the sporting spectrum (with further investment to be announced across the FAI and IRFU) and a further €114,700 through Local Sports Partnerships
John Treacy, Chief Executive of Sport Ireland explained:
"It's a really exciting time for Sport in Ireland. The establishment of the new agency has given Irish Sport a new home at Sport Ireland's National Sports Campus and with the additional resources made available to us this year we will drive on and continue to develop the Irish Sports sector. While 2016 will be a vital year in relation to Rio, we are also focused on our other obligations including our participation initiatives, supporting events at home and our anti doping programme. 2016 will be an exciting year and I would like to thank the Minister for his support through the last number of years".
Liam Shanahan was named the 2015 Afloat Irish Sailor of the Year at the Irish Sailing Awards in Dublin. Drawn from a star-studded shortlist, which included Volvo Ocean race winner Justin Slattery; round-Ireland record-setting Sidney Gavignet; and 11-time Paralympian John Twomey amongst others, Shanahan had a remarkable year, including victory in the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race in June on his boat Ruth.
Kilkenny’s Doug Elmes and Malahide’s Colin O’Sullivan jointly took home the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) Youth Sailor of the Year award. The Howth Yacht Club sailors were hotly tipped following their recent Bronze medal success at the 2015 Youth World Championships in Malaysia, where they took Ireland’s first doublehanded youth worlds medal in 19 years. The shortlist for this tightly contested award included Tipperary’s Aisling Keller; Howth’s Aoife Hopkins and Ewan McMahon; and Waterford’s Geoff Power.
The Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year award was presented to the Royal Irish Yacht Club in honour of their success at local, national and international level. The award also takes into account satisfaction of club members; the club's impact in sailing development and training; the relationship with the local community, and relevant governmental and sporting bodies, both at local and national level.
Mullingar Sailing Club took home the ISA Training Centre of the Year award, having been nominated as winners of the western-region Training Centre of the Year. Dun Laoghaire’s Royal Irish Yacht Club (eastern region winners), and Limerick’s Foynes Yacht Club (southern region winners) were also shortlisted.
#SailorOfTheYear – Liam Shanahan has been named Afloat.ie Irish Sailor of the Year for 2015.
The Irish Sea yachtsman and June's Sailor of the Month was presented his award by Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy at the Irish Sailing Awards gala in Dublin's Royal College of Surgeons this afternoon (Thursday 4 February).
Shanahan was recognised for his comprehensive victory in the 280-mile Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race at the helm of Ruth, his family's J/109, marking the highlight of a busy June in Irish sailing.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Shanahan – and his dependable crew, especially so since they're family – would go on to retain the James Eadie Trophy in the ISORA Offshore Championship, fending off the strong challenge of Andrew Hall's J/125 Jackknife and Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox's J/109 Mojito in the season's final race from Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire in September.
And what's more, Shanahan was the clear choice of both the judging panel and Afloat.ie readers alike from the field of 17 individual and joint nominees, garnering 1,359 votes out of nearly 6,500 cast.
In accepting his prize, Shanahan said it was "an award for Corinthian and family sailing", which he regards as the heart and future of the Irish sailing scene.
Hosted by entrepreneur Bobby Kerr along with Afloat.ie's WM Nixon and Irish Sailing Association (ISA) president David Lovegrove, the Irish Sailing Awards also recognised the ISA Youth Sailor of the Year and Training Centre of the Year, as well as the Mitsubishi Motors Club of the Year.
Guests at the event included members of the ISA's Olympic and youth sailing squads, national senior and youth champions, class captains and club commodores, and a number of past Sailor of the Year awardees, such as 2012's winner George Kenefick.
The recently-published ISA Survey of Club Racing commissioned and supervised by Board Member Jack Roy has started the process of putting together a realistic picture of how we sail and go afloat for recreation, and it was analysed on publication here in Afloat.ie.
It’s logical to have made the beginning with club racing, as racing provides its own narrative and a straightforward set of entry numbers and results. But it will become more complex as the national authority tries to provide realistic figures for day sailing’s less competitive aspects. And of course, once we enter the world of cruising as defined by sailing and boating projects which include passage making, both coastal and offshore, together with overnight on-board stops, then it can become much more difficult to get meaningful data.
Yet with the ISA’s Cruising Conference for February 20th already booked out within a few days of being announced on Afloat.ie, clearly that is an area in search of services and support, a section of sailing which is difficult to quantify yet obviously of strong interest to a significant number of boat enthusiasts. W M Nixon takes a look at how the complexity of our sport’s many specialities makes it difficult to provide a clearcut picture for possible recruits to sailing.
Where would we be without the International Optimist Dinghy? The little solo-sailing boxes and their attendant support teams of mum and dad and the dog and the old 4X4 or station wagon or people carrier or whatever may seem to take up an awful lot of space and time, and all just so that one little person can go sailing.
But at least that one little person does go sailing. The ISA figures are brutally straightforward. In terms of genuine turnouts afloat at clubs throughout Ireland, in boat numbers the active Optimists are exceeded only by the Lasers, and this is arguably because Lasers aren’t age-limited, whereas the Optimists most definitely are.
Optimist airborne. This is Ireland's second most popular class
Ireland’s most popular dinghy class, the Laser is seen here at the Zhik Irish Nationals at Ballyholme
So we give a qualified cheer for the success of these two little boats. But it’s qualified because they’re single-handers which fail to provide any crew-relating sailing skills. Leading sailing figures as diverse as Des McWilliam of Crosshaven and Norman Lee of Greystones have been eloquent in promoting the notion that we should be doing more – much more – to encourage two-handed boats, and if we can persuade people into three-handed boats, well, so much the better.
Certainly that’s one of the reasons why our header photo says so much. A lone sailor in an Optimist or Laser promotes too much of a solitary, even an isolated image. And a two-handed boat like the GP 14, whose strong fleet figures in the ISA survey show the class’s vigour, is arguably just an act for a dynamic duo – it’s Strictly Come Dancing goes sailing…..
But getting three together to race a characterful boat like the National 18 with style – now that’s something special, that really is a superb combination of people skills interacting with sailing talent. And it’s a joy to behold. Yet anyone can see that for a complete beginner to sailing, this extraordinary silhouette of Tommy Dwyer’s National 18 against the November sky above the Hill of Howth will have an otherworldly air about it – “That’s not for me” is as likely a response as “Let’s have a go at that”.
Even those of us who have been in sailing for longer than we care to remember find the image decidedly thought-provoking, for we have some idea of what has been involved in creating the circumstances for this seemingly effortless balancing act, this lighter-than-air effect in the unlikely setting of a November afternoon.
Over the past year or so we have been recounting in Afloat,ie how the Cork Harbour National 18 Class, with very tangible backing from the Royal Cork Yacht Club, have been in the forefront of the development of the new ground-breaking Phil Morrison take on the long-established National 18, which is a developmental class which from time to time takes a leap in hull design, and moves forward in order to keep the spirit alive.
The National 18s are part of the fabric of Cork Harbour sailing. Before the new Morrison boats arrived in July, the old fleet were seen here in May 2015 after their annual race to Ballinacurra in northeast Cork Harbour in company with the Dwyer brothers’ cruising ketch. Photo: W M Nixon
Acceptance of this is something which seems to be bred into Cork’s National 18 enthusiasts, many of whom have the advantage of being firmly of the opinion that a proper dinghy needs three people to sail it. But the social matrix which has built up around Cork Harbour over many decades with this concept at its heart is not something which will necessarily travel easily to other areas, and although the six boats of the National 18 flotilla which visited Howth for the Open Day got a great reception and gave many people from other classes a marvellous time afloat, it’s probable that the very different mood around sailing in Dublin means that something so technically and socially challenging as a three man dinghy is a step too far.
Sailing in the greater Dublin area seems to exist within a framework of independent balloons. While there are those who will happily move from one boat type to another and cheerfully spread their talents and enjoyment about, by contrast there’s the Dublin Bay Sailing Club Thursday Evening Phenomenon.
Thursday is when the DBSC cruiser classes go out to race. And there’s an entire cohort of people, mostly folk who work in offices in the city, who on a Thursday evening go straight to Dun Laoghaire, get aboard a pontoon-based cruiser owned by someone else, go out and race in some very specific crewing job, then come back in and have supper in club or pub with their shipmates, and then that’s it until next Thursday. Just one evening each summer mid-week is their entire sailing programme. Weekends are for something else. And as for the hassle and mixed joys of boat ownership and maintenance, that’s not their department at all.
It’s a very metropolitan, very citified yet specialized way of doing things, and Dublin is one of the very few cities whose location facilitates it. It will be fascinating to measure it, for Dublin’s way of sailing is steeped in history and tradition. But for now it’s refreshing to look at a place which has had a sailing tradition in times past, but somehow lost it, yet it’s coming back again, and one of the good news stories towards the end of 2015 is that the new Youghal Sailing Club has been accepted into the ISA fold.
Youghal at present is a difficult place for sailing, as the tidal power of the mighty Munster Blackwater sweeps straight through the estuary and along the old town’s waterfront, and the creation of any meaningful modern facilities will have the immediate difficulty of silting by incredibly adhesive black mud.
With the sun out, and the tide in, Youghal looks to be an ideal location for the easy installation of a marina….....Photo: W M Nixon
….but with the sun in and the tide out, the mud problem is revealed. Photo: W M Nixon
Thus, as dedicated Afloat.ie readers will have recently observed, no sooner had one group announced that a marina in Youghal was on the way than another longer-established group quietly suppressed the story, as they’re well aware of the engineering and dredging difficulties involved, and premature announcements will only slow any project in the long run.
In the fullness of time, a marina at Youghal will be a godsend for any cruiser plugging along the south coast. It’s not always the easiest coast in the world to make a passage along, sometimes it can seem an awfully long way to Cork from Dunmore East or Kilmore Quay even if you do make stopovers at Dungarvan or Helvick, and there are times when the hardiest seafarer is glad enough to get his boat secured to a good big pontoon.
But that’s for the future. Meantime, the locally-based keelboats are using either the restless anchorage off the town, or the more serene pool across the estuary at Ferry Point on the east shore, while the new club’s flotilla of GP 14s are stored in spare warehouse space during non-sailing time, and when they do go sailing it turns out their clubhouse is a moveable feast - it’s a caravan which can be towed to a choice of sailing locations.
A moveable feast. Members of the newly-affiliated Youghal Sailing Club with their caravan HQ, Adrian Lee in doorway. Photo: W M Nixon
On the national stage, it is young Youghal GP 14 sailor Adrian Lee who has been among those flying the club’s flag, and there’s hope in the air. When we were there in May on a fine day that promised a summer which never arrived, we couldn’t help but think that when they do get their facilities and maybe even a clubhouse, they’ll look back to the days of the caravan and ad hoc racing arrangements with sweet nostalgia. For sometimes, it’s much better to be travelling than it is to arrive.
But for the rest of us, the message from Youghal is simple. The sea is for sailing. Use it or lose it. By all means get proper people surveys done which indicate the way numbers are shaping up and things are going. But really, if you want to persuade people to go sailing, the best way is by example, getting afloat as much as possible yourself. And maybe then you’ll find the time to welcome aboard newcomers too.
Reviving Youghal sailing – on race days, the club’s caravan is simply towed down to the pier and the races are started from there. Photo: W M Nixon
Youghal’s massive public slip provides launching for the YSC sailing dinghies, but during 2015 the boats had to be stored at the other end of town when not in use. Photo: W M Nixon
The pace-setter. Adrian Lee of Youghal SC with his Duffin-built GP14. Photo: W M Nixon
Click to download: ISA Survey of Club Racing
Keelboat racing accounts for about two thirds of active racing sailors, a thriving junior single-hander dinghy ‘pathway’ scene is the envy of all other fleets and it makes up 31% of all dinghy sailors (51% of dinghies), according to a new Irish Sailing Association (ISA) club racing survey published recently. A pdf of the full report is downloadable below.
The first snapshot of Irish club racing reveals little new of the 'segmented' national racing fleet, but provides a welcome and robust basis for the ISA, clubs, classes and sailors alike, on which to build and evolve.
According to the report, there is a total of just under 7,000 sailors actively racing in Ireland. Junior single-handers get four times the coaching of everyone else. Senior dinghy sailing is almost non existent in the major sailing centres. One fifth of clubs have no club racing and 25% have no interest in hosting visiting events. These are just some of the conclusions of a report where, the ISA say, the detail of input from some of the clubs was 'varied'.
As sailing clubs and classes found out in 2013, the ISA, charged with developing the sport, had little idea about what type of boats clubs had or what sort of activities they got up to. Fast forward three years and this situation has changed with the publication of this worthwhile fact finding exercise revealing what is really going on.
Part of the reason behind the survey was to deal with ongoing concern that nominated dinghy classes form an elitist High Performance (HP) pathway that 'exclude' strong sailors in other fleets.
The survey, commissioned by International Race Officer Jack Roy, an ISA Director, was sent out in March 2015 with data to be based on the 2014 season. The survey was emailed to the Commodores and Sailing Secretaries of the 57 affiliated clubs that have sailing activity. A total of 52 responses were received, a response rate of over 90%.
Recently appointed ISA director Sarah Byrne, an RS sailor, says the report gives a picture of the 'segmented' Irish fleet and the current overall situation is 'unfortunate' and 'does not serve competition well, without the critical mass to sustain so many classes on active circuits'.
The report is far from perfect but as a first cut at what boats are actually sailed in Ireland and where and roughly how many people are actively sailing it represents an important piece of work. There are acknowledged gaps in the information such as:
a. Northern Ireland – this information was pursued through the RYANI albeit in October/November, but has not been received to date. The ISA say they will pursue a more complete picture of all-Ireland sailing in the future.
b. Non-affiliated Clubs and independent groups of sailors are also excluded (eg GP14s in Youghal)
c. Those that do not participate in club racing but just event.
The survey reveals some other interesting facts too, such as how many clubs don't have racing at all and those clubs not interested in organising events.
The report is therefore a valuable and deserving of wide distribution and plenty of discussion.
The survey shows that 20% of clubs have no club racing and 25% no interest in hosting visitors. Deciding on how to deal with this scenario is the next step, should they be left to their own devices or does the ISA need to visit them and explain how club racing and event running pulls clubs together and keeps people involved and showcases them to possible new members and is important for their continued viability?
Also among the findings it is reported that in the major sailing centres approximately 60% of juniors are trained in single handers and 60% of senior dinghy sailors are single handers.
There is localised depth and strength of some one-design classes where there is a strong social scene and good class association (eg 1720, Waterwags and Shannon OD).
Single–hander v Double–hander
Senior dinghy sailing is almost non–existent in the major centres but relatively good outside of them. In the main sailing centres, keelboat racing prevails. Where the ISA is strongest and 'Development Squads' exist, single handers predominate and club racing flounders, in other areas the scene does exist.
Greystones dinghy sailor, Norman Lee, a long time advocate of the need to reformat current ISA thinking, has read the report and points to a need to change the training emphasis from juniors in single handers to double handers. Lee suggests where possible using double–handers also used by seniors to aid integration and transition.
Appendix 4 in the report is drawn from the classes forum of 14/11/15 and it notes the 'upside down' nature of training and coaching for sailing in Ireland; the junior pathway being heavily weighted towards single–handed sailing where very little or no club racing is done in single handers. Club racing virtually all done in double or multi handers.
Lee estimates this 4:1 coaching ratio is backwards and needs to be reversed more in favour of double handed sailors. 'If the sport is serious about bringing on the sort of sailors we need in club racing this needs to be predominantly done in multi handed dinghies and keelboats'.
'This seems blindingly obvious to me and I feel it needs to be brought to the attention of everyone interested in growing club participation' he says.
The data also illustrates that participation rates are higher where there is a one design or club pathway policy.
Sarah Byrne of the ISA says: The single-hander youth training bias and the ‘elitist’ high performance pathway, against a background of ‘adult’ double-hander preference, are held up by some as agents of death for sailing. However there is nothing extraordinary in the attrition rate from sailing when compared to other sports, whether in Ireland or abroad. We certainly punch way above our weight in terms of international performance and it is clear Annalise Murphy has been an inspiration to our junior females and no doubt, despite a very small active Irish class, recent 420 Youth Worlds success, HYC Doug and Colin too, have and will continue to, enthuse their peer group in turn.
Molly Coddled Youths?
But getting youths to transition from 'molly-coddled' junior and youth classes (coaches, rib support, ISA squads, foreign racing/coaching trips) to the independent world of racing a GP14, Fireball, RS 200 or whatever, is perhaps like asking Johnny Sexton to politely give it all up and turn out for his local Rugby Club on a Saturday afternoon, where the only perk would be the slice of orange at half time!
If we are all to 'sail double handers and have fun'. What more can be done to achieve this? Where's the incentive?
Byrne says 'the exceptional aspect of sailing in that you can remain at the top of your game well into and beyond middle age and often compete in multi-generational fleets. What’s not to love?'
But, how realistic is a €400 a year coaching grant for a senior class to do anything (roughly €20 euro a boat at a 20–boat coaching weekend)?
In the report, combining events to get numbers up to a viable level also comes in for mention but the perceived wisdom of combining fleets for events – a nostalgic throwback to IYA Dinghy week perhaps – plus clubs whingeing about low profits from events, depresses turnouts in total over a season because it takes the pressure off individual classes to do the ring–a–round, get boats onto trailers and car roofs and get people to the events. More needs to be done to empower classes to do this for themselves.
Classes are Mini Cults
A class is like a mini cult, driven by passionate aficionados. Once you mix brands, dilute the passion, well then the next stop is PY. That’s been the experience in the UK from trying to combine Laser 2s, ISOs, Hornets and Albacores for example where ultimately racing is compromised.
Instead supply side bottle necks have to be tackled or at least the status quo challenged aggressively.
The big bottleneck is youths not transitioning because of 1. Burnout and 2. The adult racing scene is seen as 'boring', 'unglamorous' and 'unsupported' (eg no RIB or coach support).
The status quo challenge is for the ISA to take a macro rather than a micro approach to the scene.
For example is it time to stand up to parents, clubs, private coaches and say "Actually, little Johnny is not good enough and should not be anywhere near an ISA HP squad"! This will ruffle feathers in certain quarters and there will also be the short term sacrifice of a good chunk of the €94k annual squad fees generated, almost as much as the cash from its Olympic sailing sponsor.
The ISA also needs to reduce its footprint on domestic junior/youth race coaching and this way it will help tear down barriers of pathways, squads and general all round exclusivity in this tiny sport.
The big numbers in College team racing (Trinity College Dublin have seven teams of 6 plus 10 subs while in the 1980s it was hard to get a second team) show if sailing is fun and sensibly competitive even the burnt out re-engage in some way, but these guys won't go back to one design fleet racing the way things are and given their traumatic experience of over training and trying to get on Irish teams.
The status quo must be questioned in order for things to develop more organically based on the two simple ideas that 1. many kids like going on the water and 2. many kids are competitive and will eventually fancy bit of a race around the cans and let's see where it takes them.
In fairness, the's ISA strategy to 2020 document touched on these issues but there have yet to be any macro moves to change the supply and type of sailors coming through.
The tiny supply from youths is a shame because older age groups (i.e. over 40) are potentially staying longer and that's a positive supply variable.
Globally people are beginning to realise youth sailing needs to change. You only have to check out Volvo Ocean Race winner Ian Walker's recent quotes about overtraining of youths to discover the world wide issue.
In the coming weeks, the ISA promise that input from current and former junior sailors will be sought to establish the underlying reasons for erosion and lack of transition into adult fleets. The ISA say it is looking to exploit all avenues to encourage youth ‘self-motivation’ to harness some of those leaving the sport, while also looking to attract old-hands and novices into the fold. It is hoped that this, with other initiatives, will further inform guiding principles and policy. Some clubs across the country are successfully investing time and funds in their youth sailors, introducing new experiences beyond training to expand the appeal and accessibility of sailing and sustain interest and participation through the ‘age of attrition’.
Only 17 of the 40 classes took up an invitation to attend last year's ISA class forum. Some clubs have commented that this exercise has already prompted discussion among their ranks. If a properly promoted and attended forum in 2016 could address the issues set out in this report, some worthwhile conclusions could be drawn and a plan made.
As always, Afloat.ie is seeking YOUR views in the comment box below.
ISA President, David Lovegrove on the year past, and his plans for 2016
2015 began with huge momentum for change in the ISA. The re-evaluation of the organisation's strategic vision, which was led by Neil Murphy, culminated in an extensive national consultative process which was finalised with the approval of the ISA Strategic Plan 2015-2020 at the AGM in March. The ISA now has a blueprint to guide the organisation through the acknowledged serious challenges confronting sailing and boating in Ireland.
2015 saw a number of stalwart and energetic Board members resign at the end of their term; Mike O’Connor, Muriel Rumball and Phillip Cowman. It is important to record our appreciation of the immensely effective effort all these directors made over several years. We have been fortunate to attract new blood of the same high calibre such as Robert Dix, Paddy McGlade and Sarah Byrne. Each brings a wealth of unique specialist experience.
The year started with our inaugural annual awards scheme, jointly held with Afloat, when unsurprisingly, Anthony O'Leary won the Sailor of the Year Award, and Royal Cork Yacht Club deservedly took the 2014 Mitsubishi sponsored accolade for Club of the Year. Youth Sailor of the Year was earned by the National Yacht Club’s Finn Lynch who had a stunningly successful season and finally, Mayo Sailing Club took the Training Centre of the Year award.
Early summer saw the launch of Try Sailing, an initiative devised by Board Directors Muriel Rumball and Pierce Purcell. The plan was to attract at least 3,000 newbies to get out on the water in Clubs and Training Centres all around the country. It was an outstanding success and there are high expectations of the plans to significantly extend the reach of Try Sailing in 2016.
2015, aided by great breezes, witnessed many successful National and International events in Ireland, including the ICRA Nationals, superbly hosted in Kinsale; the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, with over 400 boats on the water and 1,000s ashore enjoying the atmosphere and the craic. Dinghyfest, was, as always, expertly managed by the Royal Cork Yacht Club in mid-August. On the international front, there were some outstanding achievements, such as Shane McCarthy and Andy Thompson winning the highly competitive British GP14 championships in July and in the Fastnet in August, which proved once again, that Ireland can punch above its weight internationally with a number of great results in very difficult conditions.
At the risk of inadvertently omitting other worthy racing achievements, it would be remiss not to mention Justin Slattery’s win on Abu Dhabi in the Volvo round the world race and Dave Cullen’s great result in winning the Half Ton Classic Cup with Checkmate XV.
We cannot look forward to 2016 without mentioning our Olympic Athletes who are all presently travelling the world to participate in the toughest competitions to prepare for Rio 2016. We wish them well and confidently expect them to fly the Irish Flag in Rio with pride and hopefully some success.
2015 was a year when a lot of back–room energy was expended on preparing fresh initiatives which are planned to reinvigorate sailing activity, particularly amongst young adults. Presently, a consultative process will shortly be underway to brief all clubs and training centres on these changes. In 2016, Brian Craig hopes to announce the establishment of a National Coaching Programme which will be accessible to every sailor of whatever skill level or interest.
Changes to the small boat sailing scheme have been made to encourage a lifelong love of the sport with less emphasis on the acquisition of “certificates”.
The ISA continues to lobby Government on a range of issues, such as the urgent need for a replacement to the Small Craft Register, rationalisation of the system for granting foreshore licenses, etc. The list is endless!
I trust you are already making your sailing plans for next year and I wish you all safe and enjoyable times on the water in 2016.
|06/02/16||07/02/16||IUSA Westerns||Fireflies||Killaloe SC|
|26/03/16||27/03/16||Munster Championships||Laser||Baltimore Sailing Club|
|10/04/16||10/04/16||Traveller 1||Topper||East Down YC|
|23/04/16||24/04/16||Mirror Westerns||Mirror||Sligo YC|
|23/04/16||24/04/16||Ulster Championships||Laser||Coounty Antrim Yacht Club|
|23/04/16||24/04/16||RS400 Easterns||RS||Royal St George YC|
|23/04/16||24/04/16||RS200 Easterns||RS||Royal St George YC|
|24/04/16||24/04/16||Traveller 2||Topper||Lough Derg YC|
|08/05/16||08/05/16||Traveller 3||Topper||Wexford Harbour B&TC|
|14/05/16||16/05/16||Leinster Optimist Championships||Optimist||Royal St George YC|
|14/05/16||15/05/16||Optimist Leinsters||Optimist||Royal St George YC|
|21/05/16||22/05/16||Ulster Championships||Topper||Donaghadee SC|
|21/05/16||22/05/16||GP14 OT & Purcell||GP14||Swords Sailing & BC|
|21/05/16||22/05/16||J/24 Northerrns||J/24||Sligo YC|
|21/05/16||22/05/16||RS400 Northerns||RS||Cushendall Sailing & Boating Club|
|27/05/16||29/05/16||Sportsboat Cup 2016||Various||Howth YC|
|27/05/16||29/05/16||Dragon East Coast Championship||Dragon||Royal Irish YC|
|28/05/16||29/05/16||Squib Northern Championship||Squib||Killyleagh SC|
|04/06/16||04/06/16||Lambay Races 2016||All Classes||Howth YC|
|10/06/16||12/06/16||ICRA National Championships 2016||Cruisers||Howth YC|
|10/06/16||12/06/16||Wayfarer National Championship||Wayfarer||Ramor Watersports Club|
|11/06/16||12/06/16||Optimist Connaughts||Optimist||Foynes YC|
|18/06/16||Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race||Cruisers||Wicklow SC|
|18/06/16||18/06/16||Royal Alfred Bloomsday Regatta||All Classes||National YC|
|18/06/16||19/06/16||Leinster Championships||Topper||Skerries SC|
|25/06/16||26/06/16||GP14 Ulsters||GP14||East Down YC|
|25/06/16||26/06/16||RS400 Westerns||RS||Sligo YC|
|25/06/16||26/06/16||RS200 Westerns||RS||Sligo YC|
|01/07/16||01/07/16||Optimist VP Team Racing Cup||Optimist||Malahide YC|
|01/07/16||03/07/16||White Sails and Non Spinnaker Team Challenge||Cruisers||Royal St George YC|
|01/07/16||03/07/16||Dingy West 2016 - Sailing the Wild Atlantic||All Dinghies||Galway Bay Sailing Club|
|02/07/16||03/07/16||Connaught Championships||Laser||Lough Derg YC|
|02/07/16||03/07/16||Optimist Ulsters||Optimist||Malahide YC|
|02/07/16||03/07/16||J/24 Southerns||J/24||Royal Cork YC|
|02/07/16||03/07/16||Fireball Leinsters||Fireball||Wexford Harbour B&TC|
|02/07/16||04/07/16||Irish Nationals||Topper||Royal Cork YC|
|10/07/16||15/07/16||Volvo Cork Week & IRC European Championships||Various||Royal Cork YC|
|15/07/16||17/07/16||Ruffian 23 National Championship||Ruffian 23||Dun Laoghaire MYC|
|16/07/16||17/07/16||Optimist Crosbie Cup||Optimist||Lough Ree YC|
|16/07/16||17/07/16||Leinster Championships||Laser||National YC|
|17/07/16||17/07/16||Traveller 4||Topper||Carrickfergus SC|
|22/07/16||24/07/16||Mirror National Championships||Mirror||Sutton Dinghy Club|
|23/07/16||30/07/16||Laser Radial World Championships (Men's & Youth's)||Laser||Royal St George YC|
|23/07/16||24/07/16||GP14 Leinsters||GP14||Sutton Dinghy Club|
|23/07/16||24/07/16||RS400 Southerns||RS||Lough Ree YC|
|23/07/16||24/07/16||RS200 Southerns||RS||Lough Ree YC|
|23/07/16||29/07/16||World Championships||Topper||Ballyholme YC|
|27/07/16||30/07/16||WIORA 2016||Cruisers||Royal Western YC|
|30/07/16||01/08/16||Arklow Maritime Festival||All Classes||Arklow SC|
|06/08/16||07/08/16||J/24 Westerns||J/24||Lough Ree YC|
|07/08/16||07/08/16||Sutton Dinghy Regatta||All Classes||Sutton Dinghy Club|
|07/08/16||12/08/16||Mirror Europeans 2016||Mirror||Royal Cork YC|
|09/08/16||11/08/16||420 Nationals||420||Howth YC|
|12/08/16||13/08/16||Sailability President's Cup||Various||Kinsale YC|
|12/08/16||14/08/16||Fireball Nationals||Fireball||Howth YC|
|15/08/16||19/08/16||Optimist Irish Nationals||Optimist||Lough Derg YC|
|19/08/16||21/08/16||Squib Irish National Championship||Squib||Kinsale YC|
|20/08/16||23/08/16||National Championships||Laser||Galway Bay Sailing Club|
|26/08/16||28/08/16||RS400 Irish Nationals||RS||Schull Harbour SC|
|26/08/16||28/08/16||RS400 Irish Nationals||RS||Schull Harbour SC|
|27/08/16||29/08/16||GP14 Irish & Masters||GP14||Skerries SC|
|27/08/16||28/08/16||Munster Championships||Topper||Kinsale YC|
|27/08/16||28/08/16||Mirror Northerns||Mirror||Royal North Of Ireland YC|
|27/08/16||28/08/16||Topper Munster Championship||Topper||Kinsale YC|
|28/08/16||28/08/16||Taste of Greystones Cruiser Regatta||Cruisers||Greystones SC|
|31/08/16||04/09/16||Dragon Irish Championship||Dragon||Kinsale YC|
|02/09/16||04/09/16||J/24 Nationals||J/24||Royal St George YC|
|03/09/16||04/09/16||Wayfarer Inland Championship||Wayfarer||Callaun SC|
|10/09/16||11/09/16||Optimist Munsters||Optimist||Royal Cork YC|
|10/09/16||11/09/16||Fireball Munsters||Fireball||Killaloe SC|
|11/09/16||11/09/16||Traveller 5||Topper||Killyleagh SC|
|17/09/16||18/09/16||All Ireland Inter-Schools Championship||All Classes||Sutton Dinghy Club|
|24/09/16||25/09/16||GP14 Autumn & Youth||GP14||Sligo YC|
|24/09/16||25/09/16||ISA All Ireland Youth Championships||TBC||TBC|
|01/10/16||02/10/16||ISA All Ireland Senior Championships||J80||TBC|
|15/10/16||16/10/16||Squib Inland Championship/Freshwater Regatta||Squib||Lough Derg YC|
The Leinster Laser Radial team will comprise Sally Bell, Tara Coveney, Loghlen Rickard, Aaron Rogers, Nell Staunton, Rory and Jenny Fekkes, Patrick Coyle and Rob Salters.
The same province's Laser 4.7 squad includes Hugh Perrette, Peter Fagan, Henry Higgins, Heather Spain, Evie Byrne, Ros Morgan, Greg Arrowsmith and Eoghan Byrne.
Munster's Laser Radials will be sailed by Johnny Durcan, Ronan Walsh, Charlie Moloney, Richard McGinley, Luke McGrath, Jamie Tingle, Billy Duane, Jack Carroll and Eoghan O'Regan.
And Brian Fox, Rebecca O'Shaughnessy, Paddy Cunnane, Chris Bateman, Tom Keal, Cian Jones, Caoimhe Foster and Molly Murphy will make up the Munster 4.7 contingent.