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Displaying items by tag: Irish Sailing Association

David Lovegrove, President of the Irish Sailing Association, steps down in a week’s time. The conclusion of his three year period in office at the up-coming ISA Annual General Meeting relieves him of what is surely the most demanding voluntary position that Irish sailing can offer. W M Nixon has been finding out more about a busy life with a remarkable record of freely-given service to our sport.

Of all Ireland’s many sports, it is sailing and boating in its numerous forms which has most suffered attrition during the economic collapse after the crazy Celtic Tiger years. Despite efforts to make boat-oriented waterborne activities as affordable as possible through shared ownerships and other club and group schemes, there’s no escaping the fact that it is quintessentially a vehicle activity. It still depends to a large extent on the continuing personal enthusiasm of private boat owners. And expenses inevitably rise exponentially as boat sizes increase.

Yet as the downturn arrived with unprecedented suddenness in 2008-09, sailing and boating groups found themselves with fleets they could no longer afford. They’d clubhouses – many of them listed historical buildings - that seemed increasing like unnecessary luxuries. Recovery was slow, if it occurred at all. In some cases it ddn’t, and the national authority, the Irish Sailing Association, was heading into financial meltdown by 2012-2013.

During the boom years, its expansion had reflected the euphoric national mood. An increasing permanent staff with a rocketing salaries and wages bill led to an unwieldy management structure which was inevitably slow to respond to the new and rapidly-changing circumstances. It was clear that some dramatic gesture was needed to show that there was going to be a complete change of the attitude and ethos of the Association’s governance.

fireball simba2David Lovegrove (second right) in the family garden in his own-built Fireball Simba at the age of 18, with crewman Joe McKeever on the right. His father gave him £100 to build the boat, but with careful project management, he was able to return £3 to his dad when the job was finished

Under the constitution of the ISA, a new President was due for election at the AGM in the spring of 2014. Normally the new incumbent would be drawn from the ranks of the existing Board members. But there was a reluctance by anyone to allow their name to go forward for what would in effect be a full-time damage-limitation job carried out on a voluntary basis.

And in any case, there was an increasing feeling that things were in such a mess that the only way to show that they were serious about real change was to persuade a respected outsider to take on this thankless task, a poisoned chalice.

In a larger sailing country, the President of the National Authority is a position of dignity and considerable importance. But in terms of our own sailing history, the ISA is of only relatively recent formation. In Ireland, with our almost incomparably long sailing history, we’re in a country where it is thought natural that the senior club should be headed by an Admiral who is treated as an equal - at the very least - by the Admiral of the Naval Service itself.

However, the President of the ISA has not been automatically accorded the dignity his position should merit, unless he or she is a person of such standing in the sailing community nationally that their natural air of authority propels them into a position of equal respect. And in times past, in dealing with the senior flag officers of the major clubs, the ISA President could sometimes feel like a relatively weak mediaeval king dealing with a group of powerful warlords, each with a treasure chest which often out-matched the monarch’s central funds.

But for the ISA, the saviour has become international competition towards Olympic level, which is basically the only form of sailing that the Irish public and Irish government departments understand. The ISA controls this, and thus it is the conduit of a source of public funding which gives it a level of independence from the wayward clubs.

Yet in the final analysis, the ISA goes back to being reliant on the clubs, for it is only through clubs that the Association is able to ensure a ready supply of talented sailors, the best of whom will enable them to tap into the honeypot of central funding for performance athletes.

So there we were in 2013 with most of the clubs severely stretched, and the ISA living way beyond its means, yet in order to get things back on an even keel and bring sailing back to life, a completely fresh President had to agree to take on this hugely demanding job.

It’s not the first time that David Lovegrove of Howth has found himself being unexpectedly propelled into a position of national and international sailing significance from what was almost an outsider position. Back in the 1960s, he was one of the pioneers – led by the great Roy Dickson of Sutton Dinghy Club – who got the Fireball class going to national success. By 1966, Lovegrove had won through to be the Fireballs’ representative in the Helmsmans Championship, raced that Autumn in Enterprises in Kinsale.

The defending champion was James Nixon of Trinity College (DUSC), and though neither of them was to win in Kinsale, Nixon liked the Lovegrove approach to racing, and got to talking with him. He was amazed to find that although Lovegrove was also a Trinity student, he had not thought to get involved with the college’s successful team racing club, as his sailing attention was absorbed with the successful Fireball Simba, which he’d built himself.

“But it’s your DUTY to try and get a place on the Trinity team!” expostulated Nixon. As James Nixon is my brother, I can well imagine the scene.

The upshot of it was that this talented outsider was brought into the heart of the Trinity team-racing fold, and became one of that lineup of college superstars who, in the late 1960s, had won just about every trophy going, in one particular year holding the Irish title, the Northern Universities title, and the British title all at once.

trinity sailing team3The Trinity heroes. The all-conquering Dublin University SC team of the late 1960s were (left to right) David Lovegrove, Johnny Ross Murphy, Vincent Wallace, Owen Delany, John Nixon, Peter Craig, and Peter Courtney

From that time there emerged David Lovegrove’s reputation amongst a much wider grouping than Sutton sailing and the Fireball class. He was perceived as an almost diffident steady Eddy type, capable of complete dedication and total enthusiasm when it was most needed. In the Autumn of 2013, Irish sailing administration needed it very badly indeed. Although initially Lovegrove rejected out-of-hand the idea of being parachuted abruptly into the ISA Presidency, a friend from those very special years of the late 1960s, Brian Craig - the quintessential backroom operator of Irish sailing - eventually persuaded him that he was the only man for the job, and he took it on in the Spring of 2014.

So who is he, this man who stepped into this hottest of hot seats when it was a very cold place, and all within a very short period of retiring from a demanding international career, while his own personal involvement in sailing was increasingly committed to high level Race Officer activity?

nairobi dam4It was on Nairobi Dam in the 1950s that David Lovegrove started sailing, with International Cadets, Fireflies, and International 505s. His father was probably in charge of the track on which the old steam train is running on the far shore of the lake

aqua club5Sailing nursery. The Aqua Club on Nairobi Dam – David Lovegrove’s first sailing was with the International Cadet in the foreground, on its side for work on the mast

Although born in 1947 to a family living on the Sutton waterfront facing southwest into Dublin Bay, his father – a railway engineer – wasn’t into sailing, and in the early 1950s the stagnating Irish economy persuaded him to move his family to Kenya. It was there, at the age of eight or nine, that a school friend from a sailing family introduced him to the wonders of it all on nearby Nairobi Dam. He was completely hooked - “smitten” is the word he still uses today. In short order, his newfound enthusiasm took him through International Cadets, Fireflies, and on into the exalted heights of the International 505 class. But while the sailing on the lake was idyllic, the political position in Kenya was rapidly deteriorating. In 1963 the Lovegrove family returned to Ireland and the house in Sutton, and his mother, concerned at her sixteen year old son’s need to adjust to the Irish climate, bought him a classic duffle coat which he keeps for good luck to this day, though it’s now well-covered with glue and paint from his boat-building habit.

Ten years earlier, he’d been unaware of Sutton Dinghy Club, but now he went along to see what was happening, and met up with Ian Sargent who, even then, was promoting the IDRA 14 class with total single-mindedness. The class in Sutton had a boat with a girl owner, Eleanor Hazleton, who didn’t like steering. For three years through Sargent machinations, David Lovegrove helmed her boat while she crewed, and the boy just back from Kenya got drawn ever deeper into Irish sailing.

sutton dinghy6Simple spot. Sutton Dinghy Club as it was when David Lovegrove - recently returned to Ireland from Kenya - joined it in 1963.
The development pace was being set in Sutton by the ever-enthusiastic, always-obliging Roy Dickson whose workshop was available to anyone with boat plans, and in 1965 David Lovegrove’s father provided his son (aged 18) with £100 to build a Fireball. Always one to keep meticulous records, young Lovegrove built his new Simba as economically as possible, and when the boat was ready to sail, he totalled his final figures and was able to return £3 to his dad.

Crewed by the likes of Joe McKeever, Nat Healy, and then Vincent Wallace who was to be a team-mate in the stellar Dublin University all-conquering squad, young Lovegrove found himself competing in the Fireballs in a decidedly eclectic group of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. It gave him an unrivalled overview of the Irish sailing scene at its most diverse, and provided close friendships which have lasted to this day.

Meanwhile in life ashore he graduated from Trinity, married Kate Chillingworth who more than tolerated his sailing and boat-modifying enthusiasms, and started a family. They now have two daughters, Sarah and Joanne, both of them sailors. And David himself began a distinguished career with the Industrial Development Authority, helping to build a new Ireland which was remote indeed from the stagnating place he and his parents had left in the early 1950s.

While busy with his work at home and abroad, he continued sailing as much as possible, and in the late 1970s his focus shifted across the peninsula to Howth as he reckoned the rapidly-growing Squib class there provided the ideal boat for family use while also meeting the needs of the man of the house, who was mad keen on racing. Howth was in its rapid development stage, with the new marina opening in 1982, and the Lovegroves moved up in boat size in 1983 to the newly-introduced Puppeteer 22, a boat-with-a-lid, albeit a small one. As with their Squib, the boat’s name was Snowgoose, and many a trophy she added to the list.

puppeteers howth7The Puppeteer Class at Howth. One of the most successful local classes in the harbour, the Lovegrove family have owned one of them since the class’s inauguration in 1983. Photo: W M Nixon

Howth Yacht Club in its period of greatest expansion needed calm, capable administrators and negotiators, and David Lovegrove soon found himself drawn into various committees and sub-committees. But in addition to continuing as a keen sailor, he was further developing another of his interests afloat – as a Race Officer, where he acquired international status. He was involved in running the famous Admirals Cup trials of 1987 at Howth, where the Chairman of the Selectors, Clayton Love, insisted that racing continue despite the 50 knots-plus of wind. The race team of Jock Smith and David Lovegrove obliged, even if it did mean that at one stage the Dubois 40 Jameson was all over the place waving her legs in the air, while the committee boat rounded out their day by rescuing a capsized mark boat, a Dory, which had headed skywards over a steep breaking wave, and just kept on going until she’d looped the loop.

jameson Yacht heeled8The Dubois 40 Jameson struggling with 50-knot gusts at the Admirals Cup trials at Howth in 1987. Photo: Rick Tomlinson

dory capsized9The winds were so strong at the 1987 AC trials that a Dory heading into the waves looped the loop. David Lovegrove is at the helm of the Committee Boat now doing rescue duty. On the upturned boat is Brian Jennings, for whom David Lovegrove had built a Mirror Dinghy with which young Jennings won the Irish Mirror Nationals

With the new marina-side clubhouse completed in March 1987, Howth’s sailing potential had moved up several gears, and inevitably David Lovegrove’s talents were recruited towards the flag officer stream, with the powers-that-be positioning him so neatly that he was right on the starting grid to become Commodore as Howth YC’s Centenary came up over the horizon in 1995. Thus it was he and Kate who welcomed President Robinson to the Club for the Centenary Fleet Review, the highlight of a busy season in which Howth boats were achieving notable success at home and abroad.

mary robinson10It’s the Howth Yacht Club Centenary in 1995, and HYC Commodore David Lovegrove and his wife Kate welcome President Mary Robinson to the club. Photo courtesy HYC

Howth harbour aerial 11Fleet review. With President Robinson reviewing the Howth YC Centenary Fleet from the Guardship, the marina is almost empty. Photo courtesy HYC

While he continued as an avid race with the Puppeteer 22s – he’s a One-Design man through-and-through – he was ever ready to take on some boatwork task, and back in the day he’d built each of his daughters optimised Mirror dinghies. In fact, his workmanship was so impressive that the local GP, Damien Jennings, had asked him to build another Mirror for his son Brian, offering wads of cash. Yet all David wanted was the cost of the materials to be covered, as he found the task sufficiently rewarding in itself. But inevitably it ended up being done in the winter, and one night it was gone 9.0pm when he finally got stuck into the next task in the garage-cum-boatbuilding-shed, installing the boat’s tanks with the garage doors and windows sealed off, and the heaters going full blast.

Anyone who ever built a Mirror will recall that while most of it could be done alone, at certain stages a second pair of hands is essential, however briefly, and on that night this stage occurred at 1.30 am. There was nothing for it but to waken Kate who had been long asleep, and beg for her help. She hauled on her dressing gown, threw an old rug on the garage floor, and slithered in under the boat to provide that vital bit of back-up at the key moment, while glue dripped on her forehead.

The job done, her husband relaxed, and started smothering her with thanks in profusion. “What on earth were you thinking” he asked, “lying there on the cold floor of the garage with the glue dripping on your face?”.

“I was thinking” she said, “of Damien and Bernadine Jennings snug at home and well asleep in their warm bed”. But the boat was a winner – young Brian Jennings went on to win the Irish championship with her.

David Lovegrove took early retirement from the IDA at the age of 55, but that was only to enable him to set up an international consultancy which took him all over the world for the next dozen years, advising governments in countries as diverse as Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Colomibia, Peru, Surinam, every country Central America and many other places in the Middle East down to Sudan.

At home between these extensive travels, he became ever more immersed in the world of race management, and over the years built up a team around him, a team now functioning so smoothly like a well-oiled machine that they can simply transfer the entire squad to whatever location needs race management services. But given the choice, they prefer to operate from Howth’s own larger Committee Boat Star Point, which has been cleverly modified to David Lovegrove and his team’s suggestions, coupled with the suggestions of other top Howth race officers like Derek Bothwell, to provide a formidable race management platform.

star point12Star Point, the larger of HYC’s two Committee Boats, may not be the most handsome vessel afloat, but with clever modifications suggested by David Lovegrove and other experienced race officers, she is one of the most effective committee boats in the country.

Lovegrove race team13The Lovegrove Race Team on Star Point at last year’s ICRA Nationals at Howth are (left to right) David Lovegrove with his notorious 1963 duffle coast, Algy Pearson, Rupert Jeffares, Suzanne Cruise, Judith Malcolm, Kate Lovegrove, and Harry Gallagher
As to the day job with its extensive travelling, he’d made a deal with himself that when the homeward journey became more exciting than the outward journey, then he’d jack it in, and that stage started to arrive four years ago. But he’d barely settled in to his new more relaxed situation when the ISA came calling, and for the past three years life has been very hectic indeed.

The ISA has had to be slimmed down, shedding projects like the J/80 Sailfleet flotilla, and he went strongly with the idea that a Strategic Review should be undertaken, run by key people like Brian Craig and former President Neil Murphy.

That review came down firmly in favour of re-emphasising the role of clubs in the ISA support structure. Though it didn’t meet with total approval throughout the sailing community, particularly among those who run commercial sailing schools, at least a marker could be put down, and work could begin on improving relations with every area of sailing, for things had come to such a sorry pass that various specialist groupings were at each other’s throats, and also frequently into loudly attacking the ISA when they felt so inclined.

With his patient ready-to-listen attitude, and his willingness to travel in pursuit of opinions, David Lovegrove was the right man for the long slow progress of peace-making and creative negotiation, which will continue. He insisted that the Board meet monthly, and that it move its meeting place around the country in order to give every area a sense of direct involvement and promote Try Sailing projects.

All this was time consuming and decidedly unspectacular, but it was very necessary, and even as this sometimes dull but essential work continued, things were happening to give Irish sailing a fair wind. In 2014, Ireland re-took the Commodore’s Cup under the inspired captaincy of Anthony O’Leary, and as he was at the time also the ISA All-Ireland Champion, the stardust rubbed off on everyone.

Despite the lingering effects of the setbacks of the recession, people were getting out and winning major events in boats which were no longer in the first flush of youth, but were all the better sailed for that, and almost invariably it would be noticed that the President of the ISA, in addition to his many duties, was as usual working aboard a Committee Boat making sure that races were run with punctilious precision.

Gradually a greater level of civility returned, and the mod was good as 2016 came upon us to provide the greatest Irish sailing season ever, starting with a bronze medal in the Youth Worlds for Dougie Elmes and Colin O’Sullivan, going on with success for everyday Irish sailors at home and abroad, then too we’d a fabulous Volvo Round Ireland Race from Wicklow, there was a brilliant innovation with the Beaufort Cup series in Cork, an international dinghy regatta to top all others with the Laser Radial Worlds in Dublin Bay when our own Ewan MacMahon won Silver, and then an excellent all round showing in the Rio Olympics topped by Annalise Murphy winning the Silver Medal.

No-one deserved this overall success more than the patient and dutiful David Lovegrove. Typically, though, he wasn’t there on the beach in Rio when Annalise Murphy brought Ireland and the world to a halt with her cliff-hanger win of the Silver Medal. On the contrary, he was in Plymouth in southwest England, fulfilling a longterm commitment to be Race Officer at the J/24 Europeans.

That’s the way it is with David Lovegrove. Duty will always come before celebration. But apart from steadying the ship at a time when the ISA and the Irish sailing community were going through a very rough time, he has brought an extra dignity to the role of ISA President. He may be small in stature, but David Lovegrove is a big man in his approach to the problems of life. He quietly withstood some seriously vindictive yet totally undeserved personal attacks when he first took over the post of President. For a while, things were very unpleasant. But he has stood his ground and has listened with courtesy to all points of view.

Thanks to his approach, the position of President of the ISA is now beginning to receive the respect it deserves as a special position, regardless of the personal situations which may arise from time to time. For that alone, Irish sailing should be very grateful to David Lovegrove. But we’ll continue to be grateful to him for many years yet, for as soon as the new season swings into action, he’ll be there on the starting line with a season’s programme of race organisation which would be beyond many men half his age.

Throghout all this, his wife Kate has been the rock on whch has been able to rely. Late in the Spring of last year, she realised it was all in danger of becoming overwhelming, so she whisked him away for five weeks clear of everything to do with Irish and international sailing. She did this with the trip of a lifetime to China on the Trans-Siberian Express, which does indeed get across Siberia, but “express” is stretching it bit. However, the President returned to Ireland completely refreshed to see out one marvellous sailing season which he very richly deserved.

david lovegrove14With his three year ISA Presidency completed in a week’s time, David Lovergore is looking forward to a busy season as a Race Officer at home and overseas – and he might even get to do some racing himself on his Puppeteer 22 Snowgoose. Photo: Judith Malcolm

Published in W M Nixon

Sailing is in recovery mode after six or seven years of famine. That is the opinion of the Chief Executive of the Irish Sailing Association, Harry Hermon.

This week he told me frankly that the sport had struggled over the past few years, particularly from the effects of the recession. Yacht clubs had suffered and the larger clubs had been hit hard he said. But over the last year or two more boats and more people have come into the system.

“There is more positivity out there now and that is really good. Things are looking good at the moment.”

Sailing has been bedevilled by the image of being an elitist sport and he said that the ISA was dealing with this.

Listen to my interview with Harry Hermon here on this Podcast edition of THIS ISLAND NATION maritime radio programme below which also hears from a company on the East Cork coastline that is setting new trends in the design of special boats including one with “stealth” capabilities to conceal its presence when used by security, Naval and military forces Safehaven Marine at Youghal is also planning to set a new speed record around Rockall this Summer, which are outlined by the man who set it up, Frank Kowalski.

Published in Island Nation

The 70th Anniversary of the IDRA 14ft OD dinghy class has been marked in spectacular style throughout the 2016 season writes W M Nixon, with the latest newly-built classic clinker boat (no 166) being launched in June, a well-supported and hard-raced Annual Championship at Lough Derg Yacht Club at Dromineer in August, and a two day celebration afloat and ashore at one of the class’s spiritual homes, Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club, in September. This convivial event was well attended by IDRA 14 sailors past and present - some from very far back – together with a boat and support team from the IDRA 14’s sister class, the Dragonfly OD at Waldringfield Sailing Club in Suffolk. Read Afloat.ie's review here.

However, in the final analysis it’s arguable that the genesis of the class was born within the Royal St George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire from the productive minds of Billy and Jimmy Money, together with Douglas Heard.

Douglas Heard was later RStGYC Commodore in addition to being founding President of the Irish Dinghy Racing Association, owner of IDRA 14 Number 1, and winner of the first Helmsman’s Championship in 1947. So all the logic pointed to rounding out the 70th Anniversary Season with a Gala Dinner this Saturday (October 15th) in the Royal St George Yacht Club, and although it’s already well-booked, we’re told there are still some places left which will be of interest to the hundreds of people who have been involved with this remarkable class at some time during the past 70th year.

One of these is Irish Sailing Association President David Lovegrove who raced IDRA No 107 Spray at Sutton Dinghy Club during the 1960s, and he and his wife Kate will be mingling with fellow enthusiasts who will all be talking clinker nine to the dozen on Saturday night. If you’re comfortable with the technology you can make your dinner bookings on line through the RStGYC website, if any queries please ring Ian Sargent at 087 6791069 or Suzanne McGarry at 087 2425331.

Those already booked for the dinner are bringing along IDRA 14 memorabilia including photos going back seventy years, and if you happen to have something in that line yourself you’ll be doubly welcome.

Published in IDRA 14

The Irish Sailing Association is inviting class associations to make nominations for the ISA All Ireland Sailing Championship and ISA All Ireland Junior Sailing Championships 2016.

The ISA All Ireland Junior Sailing Championships on September 24th – 25th at Fastnet Marine & Outdoor Education Centre, Schull, Co. Cork. The event will be sailed in FMOEC TR 4.2 class two person dinghies.

The ISA All Ireland Sailing Championship on October 1st – 2nd at Royal Cork Yacht Club, Crosshaven, Co. Cork. The event will be sailed in National 18 three person dinghies.

The ISA is seeking three nominations from each of the senior classes. The junior and youth classes will be advised on the number of places allocated for that class as per notice of race.  Nominations will be only accepted from classes whose affiliation fee is paid for 2016.

Class associations are also invited to suggest candidates for a wild card place; these would be members who have excelled at an International competition in the class during the year.

The age limit for the Junior Sailing Championships is under 19 years on December 31, 2016. If a class holds a junior/youth national championship for eligible sailors they may nominate to the Junior championship in the same way and enclosing a copy of the relevant Notice of Race. Please see the Notice of Race for both events below.

The ISA says its policy of a National Race Officer managing racing at a class’s national championship will be strictly applied.

The deadline for nominations is: ISA All Ireland Junior Sailing Championship is 1500hrs on the 12th of September, 2016 and 1500hrs  on the 19th of September for the ISA All Ireland Sailing Championships

Published in All Irelands

In one of our quarterly reviews, ISA President David Lovegrove shares his views on the incredible “spring” into 2016 and the effect Try Sailing is having on participation

A key goal of the ISA is to attract more people into sailing. The “Try Sailing” initiative which was launched in late 2015 is a fundamental part of the ISA’s programme to encourage more people to get involved in sailing and I am very pleased to report that it has been embraced by Clubs and Centres all around the country.

Try Sailing is exactly what it says. It provides opportunities to get out on the water and experience sailing for yourself, and 2016 has seen a fantastic increase, with 80% of clubs organising open days and taster sessions aimed to make sailing more accessible to newcomers. Along with these open days, there are schools programmes, support from Local Sport Partnerships, “Women on the Water” programmes and numerous new initiatives nationwide. One new programme to give new Try Sailors the chance to enter a high adrenalin event and try cruiser racing, is the new initiative of the ISA Try Sailing Invitational Challenge which ran during Volvo Cork Week with Royal Cork Yacht Club using 1720s.

There is no better ambassador for sailing than a sailor. So next time you go out on the water, invite a friend, relation or neighbour to get on board and “Try Sailing”. Just imagine if every one of us converted one person to becoming a sailor this year!

All of this activity takes place against the backdrop of this being an Olympic year and the profile of our elite sailors performing in Rio will give our sport added impetus over the summer months and will act as a beacon, particularly for young people. We have a very exciting team representing Ireland and competing in five disciplines including John Twomey, Ian Costello and Austin O’Carroll in the Sonar class at the Paralympics. This will be John’s 11th Paralympic appearance and we are honoured that he has been selected as the Paralympic flag bearer during the opening ceremony. Annalise Murphy gave an incredible performance in Weymouth in 2012 and will be representing Ireland in the Women’s Laser Radial fleet again this year. Men’s skiff sailors Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern will be in the 49er fleet, their second Olympic campaign, and they will be looking to push past their 14th place achieved in Olympics 2012, especially considering their recent great results. First timers to Olympic games performance are the impressive duo Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey with the 49erFX and, of course, the youngest helm to represent Ireland, Finn Lynch at 20 years old, will be sailing in the Laser Standard Men’s fleet. It is marvellous to have such a balance of gender and experience representing Ireland this year. Their hard work and dedication over these past four years to gain qualification for Rio is an inspiration. 66% of this team are graduates from the ISA Academy programme, which continues to help our young sailors improve their performance sailing skills. So, I hope you will all join me in getting behind our sailors and giving them your full support as they enter the lions’ den. On behalf of the ISA, I wish them every success – go Ireland.

Is it all this inspirational activity, favourable sunshine or a change in the world economy that has so many sailors coming out of hibernation this spring and travelling to events? The Volvo Round Ireland Race had a huge increase in boats entering this year, as well as a selection of truly impressive vessels. I was particularly delighted to see a number of Irish Cruising Schools enter the event, introducing novice sailors to offshore racing.

The ISA recently renewed its long–standing agreement with the Irish Cruiser Racing Association and agreed a plan to support one another in a campaign to develop Cruiser Racing in Ireland. ECHO and IRC handicap fees are being reinvested into the development of Cruiser Racing and “Crewpoint” (promoted to help bring skippers and crew together nationally) and new crew opportunities made available through Try Sailing Try Crewing, should all help to rejuvenate this sector.

If all this talk of racing on our horizon has you exhausted then the ISA has a new coastal cruising routes guide to help you decide where to escape for a leisurely sail. This guide will give ideas on where you may like to anchor up, fill up or venture ashore, all given by local experienced sailors and edited by Norman Kean of the Cruising Policy Group. Cruising sailors will also be pleased to hear there are plans afoot to bring a Cruising Conference to Cork in early 2017.

We are entering a very exciting period for Irish sailing and we can look forward to a very positive summer of competitive and leisure sailing. Enjoy the sailing, and hopefully the weather, and I’ll catch up with you all again shortly.

Published in ISA

After a weekend of poor Irish performances at the British round of the Sailing World Cup, the Irish Sailing Association has acknowledged results from Weymouth were 'far from ideal'. 

The Sailing World Cup on the Dorset coast, billed as the 'final opportunity for sailors to lay down a marker before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games', was attended by 380 Olympic sailors from 44 nations.

Men’s skiff sailors Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern from Belfast reached the medal race final which they led for its entirety before sailing the wrong course to the finish line. 

London 2012 veteran Annalise Murphy, Ireland’s most successful sailing athlete in the last 30 years, had one of her most disappointing results of the season when she placed 34th in the 39–strong Laser Radial fleet.  Murphy has been concentrating on preparations for her second appearance at the games but the Rio venue offers much lighter winds to four years ago when she narrowly missed a podium result.

Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey in the women’s skiff placed last in the 49erFX event.

“We have two months to focus on the things we can improve before starting the Olympic regatta in Rio', Team Manager James O'Callaghan said yesterday.

Men’s single-hander Finn Lynch, the youngest ever Irish helm to be selected for Team Ireland did not take part in the regatta due to training-camp commitments in Croatia.

The 49er pair have one further regatta at Kiel Week in Germany later this month before final preparations begin for their second Olympic appearance at Rio 2016 in August.

The first race in the Rio 2016 regatta begins on Monday 8th August when Murphy and Lynch begin their respective events.

A facebook campaign update from the 49er crew:

Published in Olympic

The Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) and the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the two associations to work closely together to support cruiser racing efforts. Initiatives such as ICRA's crew training 'Crewpoint' resource will be developed further to help give crew and boats an easier path to matching up opportunities to race together.

Crewpoint will help to unite crew with skipper and boat, as well as create a greater awareness of access to sailing. For non boat owners ICRA, Crewpoint and the ISA are linking up with the Try Sailing campaign to create access points for more people to give sailing a try and to encourage more sailors to give racing a try in open days, crewing opportunities and events.

To help support the development of Cruiser Racing in Ireland all ECHO and IRC handicap fees are reinvested in the development of Cruiser Racing.

Published in ISA

Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the AGM of the Irish Sailing Association, now in its 70th year since its foundation in 1946, as the Irish Dinghy Racing Association. In 1946, when the sole requirement was to promote dinghy racing, little did our founding fathers realise what their brainchild would grow into. Today, it is the shear diversity of watersports in Ireland that is difficult to comprehend. Hardly a year goes by without some further extreme form of sailing being conceived and attracting its following. It is sometimes difficult for the Association to keep track of developments let alone find ways of representing them!

A quick look across the diversity of our sport gives some idea:
- Dinghy racing, covering the range from optimists to 49ers
- Keel boat racing from Squibs and Glens to top of the range Commodore Cuppers
- Cruising sailors, who by their very nature are lone sailors
- Surfboarders and Kiteboarders
- Power boating
- Add into that the administration of racing and handicaps, international representation, regulation and inspections, lobbying and complying with ever changing and evolving legislation, gives you some idea of the workload of the ISA.
Over the past two years, one thing that has struck me is the fact that each of these groupings is independent of the others and is really oblivious as to what the ISA is doing for the sport generally and for other groupings. This proves difficult, because into the mix you also have to add in the wide range of classes, clubs and training centres. So, if we have not implemented all the changes that your class, or club or training centre hopes for, please bear with us, we will get to you.
Having said that, we are making progress and 2015 has been another year of change and achievement. It must also be remembered that we are only in year one of a five year implementation plan as set out in the Strategic Plan, which was approved by last year’s AGM.

I, and indeed Irish sailing, is most fortunate in having a Board of dedicated Directors, who give tirelessly of their time:
Brian Craig: Training and Coaching
David O’Brien: Secretary
Paddy McGlade: Cruising and Risk and Governance
Sarah Byrne: Dinghy racing classes
Colm Barrington: Olympic Steering Group and High Performance
Robert Dix: Representation
Pierce Purcell: Access and Participation
Jack Roy: Racing
I would also like to thank Roger Bannon, our Treasurer for the past twenty months, who, due to pressure of work had to stand down a short while ago.

A quick review of the major achievements of the past year shows the following:

Dinghy Racing Classes:
One of the main objectives here has been to improve communications with the dinghy classes. However, there is still a lot more to be done in this area.
The Club Racing Classes survey, in addition to the communications issue, highlighted the large segmentation of dinghy classes, which, given the smallness of the Irish market, is a major issue
The Regional Development Officers have worked closely with clubs and classes to identify local Club ‘pathways’ that will build on local/regional penetration to improve competition.
The introduction of Dinghy Fest by Royal Cork Yacht Club was a very positive event and it is hoped that events of this nature will help promote dinghy sailing. The initiative has been taken up by Galway, who will run Dinghy West in 2016 and dates for Dinghy Fest 2017 are already under discussion. I would urge sailors to support this event and other such events where classes combine to run regional and national championships.

Looking to this year, there is a very extensive schedule of work planned:
- Consult with classes to examine fall out at youth level.
- Facilitate Event Calendar discussions with classes starting late August, November is too late.
- Renewed emphasis on promotion of double-handed dinghy sailing
- Carry out a junior and youth survey, with a target date of late April/early May. This will further inform on how the ISA as well as club and classes can formulate policy and initiatives to transition and retain more sailors into adulthood. It should be noted that while we have heard from parents and classes, we still have to hear from the youth themselves, this will be important as they are the lifeblood of our sport.
- The Racing Policy Competition Policy Group, as defined by the 2016 focus group, will be reformed to some extent to reflect representation from those who will deliver on the ongoing needs of the group as defined by the focus group and objectives reflected in the Strategic Plan.
- Promotion of third Level Sailing & Racing:
• Liaise with College Sports Administrations, we will look to provide support for organising events, event management, what is required, to run College Club and Intervarsity circuit successfully.
• Raise profile in the media, while this is up to college sailors themselves, we plan to give them guidance on how to proceed.
• Promote student transition and involvement in keelboat racing. Howth Yacht Club has been successful here with their K25 group. This concept to be explored and expanded where possible. Work with local clubs to identify opportunities to expand into keelboats on a more regular basis and build on the success in CIT and UCC last year with the 1720 event
• Club Pathway definition by Regional Development Officers to assist transition to ‘adult’ classes & encourage race formats for distinct groups of junior/learner racing to ensure:
i. Accessibility and sustainable participation at Club and local level.
ii. ICRA Crew Point initiative will assist in putting more keelboats on the water over time.

Two important issues which were raised in the Satisfaction survey with Classes are:
• Event management templates and documents to be developed for the ISA elibrary, which will be accessed through the website. These will be aimed at assisting classes, clubs and colleges to develop standard documents to maintain continuity when administration changes and give:
o Class specific event guidance to host Club and Race Officer
o Event management guidance documents and checklist
o Post event evaluation for clubs and debrief checklist for clubs and classes
o Classes coaching and clinic template guidelines

• Many clubs identified a gap between Try Sailing, formal courses and transition to racing for youth and adults alike across dinghies and keelboats. The policy group will work with Training Policy Group to build a simple, structured achievable learning program, with delivery by clubs, class sailors, instructors or coaches

Cruising Policy Group:
In promoting cruising, we have been very careful not to transgress into the domains of the Irish Cruising Club (ICC) and the Cruising Association of Ireland (CAI), both of whom represent cruising sailors. However, as there is a large group of cruising sailors who are members of the ISA, we felt that we had to actively support their activities.
The newly formed policy group decided to continue to develop some of the suggestions from 2014. The main one being, holding a Cruising Conference. The event went extremely well with good quality speakers, good range of topics and an oversubscribed attendance.
Naturally we have learnt from the event in terms of length of time speakers were given, need for fewer speakers, bigger venue etc. In the future, it is likely that there will be a half day conference in the odd years in the regions (Cork area 2017, Galway area 2019, for example) with a one day conference in the Dublin area on the even years. This ties in with RYANI on the odd years.
We joined the CoolRoute project to keep informed of their progress and to contribute where possible.
The group drafted and published Guidelines for running a Cruise in Company (1 day, weekend and weeklong cruises). They have also updated and added to the Cruise Routes around Ireland and plan to enhance these with better chartlets.
We continue to assist CAI and there have been discussions with their Commodore on activities they might consider to create more opportunities for CAI members to meet and interact.

Risk Management and Governance:
The Board re-drafted the Code of Conduct for ISA Directors from a Sport Ireland template.
We also have a new Risk Policy Procedure (with help from RYANI), and a new Risk Register.
During the year, in collaboration with Sport Ireland, the Board undertook a review of its workings and communications. This led to a detailed report being prepared by the Institute of Public Administration. This led to a document on the Roles and Responsibilities for ISA Directors and this is currently being studied by the Board to see how it can inform the work plans for 2016 and beyond.

Training – A Year of Transition:
2015 was a year of transition for ISA Training as the significant decline in activity and the reduced satisfaction, as recorded in the Strategic Review, in ‘the ISA training product’ necessitated the reorganisation of ISA Training in late 2014.
The Staff, Instructor Trainers and Training Policy Group had a busy 2015 bedding in the new structures put in place to improve the support to member clubs and centres; introducing changes to make Instructor qualifications more attractive and standards more consistent; while also planning some of the more fundamental changes for 2016.

Small Boat Sailing Scheme:
A number of changes were made following feedback on the Small Boat Sailing Scheme (SBSS):
The changes initiated for 2015 were:
• Instructor revalidation period extended from 3 to 5 years.
• Instructor Revalidation Courses reduced from a two-day into a one-day ‘practical skills’ course organised directly with training centres.
• VHF Licence no longer a mandatory prerequisite for dinghy instructor
• Outsourced the provision of Emergency Care course element at reduced cost to aspiring instructors
• Pre entry Course - theory elements put online by way of sample background papers.
• Instructor Pre entry and Revalidation Courses - developed an Explanatory Guide with the Instructor Trainers to ensure each element of the assessments are marked consistently across the Instructor Trainer panel.

Instructors:
The availability of qualified Instructors to clubs and centres remains a key area of attention. While progress was made in 2015 we continue to focus on improving the skills, the consistency in standards and the availability of Instructors and Senior Instructors. In this key area of ISA Training we:
• Certified 485 instructors (45% Increase on 2014)
• Certified 79 Senior Instructors (44% Increase on 2014)
• 68 Instructor Courses and 18 Revalidation Workshops run around the country (similar number to 2014).
• Developed a Senior Instructor assimilation programme to bring long time-lapsed senior instructors back into the fold.
• Partnered with clubs to run 5 Senior Instructor Courses to ensure adequate supply of courses in each region.

New Initiatives:
Last year was also spent planning for the more strategic changes and the piloting of some new initiatives. Thanks to the excellent support received from the Instructor Trainer Panel the considerable work involved has been completed to enable the roll out of a number of fundamental changes, for example:
• The top level SBSS has been revised and streamlined for 2016 with a view to increasing participation and then link with the new Coaching Programme which is under development.
• New Advanced Instructor Qualification is being introduced to reflect the SBSS Course changes.
• The importance of the logbook to be re-established through the introduction of an electronic logbook and Sailing Passport which was piloted last season.

But ISA Training is not only about the Small Boat Sailing Scheme.
On the Cruising side an expert group from the Cruiser Trainers following a consultation process made recommendations to the Training Policy Group on how the ISA and RYA could best work together to provide quality practical and shore based certification to our sailing and motor boat members. As a result, Irish centres providing ISA and RYA practical and shore based courses both now use, as a common standard, the RYA training materials and instructor training processes rather than both organisations resourcing dual systems.
A new Cruiser Working Group has recently been formed under the Training Policy Group to undertake a review of the existing schemes and the wider issues affecting Cruiser Training. We expect these findings and recommendations to be finalised before the year end.

International Accreditation:
Arrangements are underway to have the ISA Training Schemes formally accredited by World Sailing.

A Training Guide for Clubs to assist junior organisers and a Guide to ISA Junior and Youth Classes to help members decide what class best suited their needs were both published on line during the year.

Work is also ongoing on the Windsurfing side and a full review of the National Powerboat Scheme will be undertaken in 2016.

High Performance:
2015 has been a busy year for the High Performance area, especially with Rio on the horizon. In addition, there have been a number of other notable achievements:
• More than 100 young people participating in the High Performance pathway programmes, from all over the country.
• Break-through year for the 420 Academy with our best ever results at Kiel (3rd and 5th) followed up by Douglas Elmes’ and Colin O’Sullivan's Bronze medal at the ISAF Youth Worlds in December.
• Stunning success of youth sailors over the summer, multiple top 10 positions, including Ewan McMahon's Silver at the U17 Laser Radial Europeans and Bronze at the U17 Laser Radial Worlds .
• Inaugural 49er Development squad set up and two teams competed at the Junior Worlds.
• Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern's 49er Medal Race Finalists at Olympic Test Event and Gold Medal at the recent Princess Sofia 49er Olympic Qualifying Regatta
• Four teams qualified for Rio Olympics: 49er, 49erFX, Laser and Laser Radial. Trials for Laser and Laser Radial places ongoing.
• Successful re-negotiation of carding criteria with Sport Ireland to include results from Under21 championships, ensuring smoother transition from youth to senior
• Confirmation of sponsorship from Providence, GUL and High 5 Nutrition.
• Formation of Irish Sailing Foundation with initial seed capital from Sport Ireland and a private donation enabling the appointment of Jack Gleeson as Foundation Director.

Access and Participation:
2015 saw a new concept and new branding of "TRY SAILING", with banners and flags containing youthful colours and fonts, this has created a strong brand helping to promote the Association’s initiative in attracting new interest in trying sailing, joining clubs and completing courses. It is a warm and welcoming brand receiving a very encouraging response by all establishments in its first year. Over 3,000 people participated in events nationwide in 2015.
This was achieved with a very small budget, and as a result of the initial success, the ISA is increasing the funding considerably for 2016. We are pleased to announce The Marine Institute have agreed to support our campaign for 2016, promoting the sea and its environment.

Full details of the 2016 programme are contained in the appendix to this document.
In addition, we are delighted to be linking up with ICRA’s Crew point initiative, which together, with Try Sailing will provide a complete range of activities from children’s programmes to crewing on cruisers for the more mature person.
However, the ISA can only drive the concept so far and it’s then up to clubs and training centre’s to work with the numbers participating in the various activities and put in place attractive packages to make joining a club or taking a sailing course attractive

Early events will be kicking off with:
• Royal Cork Yacht Club on the 23rd April in Crosshaven,
• DunLaoghaire at the Royal St. George Yacht Club on Sunday 24thApril
• The Irish National Sailing Centre on 15th May
• Galway on 23rd May

Representation Policy Group:
The group’s primary aims for 2015 were to:
• Represent the interests of Irish sailors in respect of statutory affaires and legislation
• Identify strategy for the ISA’s representation on the various committees of ISAF, now World Sailing for the period 2016-2020
• Develop a strategy to effect change in the way Government and state agencies view sailing and lobby to promote safe & responsible participation

Effecting change within the statutory agencies through lobbying is by its nature a slow process and a number of issues are currently under discussion with the relevant departments, for example:

Small Craft Register:
Since the Department of Transport’s request for the ISA to withdraw the ISA’s Small Craft Register on the grounds that it was being used illegally, the ISA has continued its discussions with the Marine Survey Office in introducing the statutory registration system that has been promised. Unfortunately there appears to be little sign that the statutory register will be operational in the short term. The policy group is continuing to work towards a solution.

Green Diesel:
Following the lifting of the EU derogation that Ireland enjoyed for use of tax free diesel for pleasure craft, the solutions that were approved by the Department for buying marked (green) diesel at the rebated (tax-reduced) price still remains. Consumers are obliged to make an annual declaration of the quantity purchased and pay the extra tax by the following March. The ISA is continuing to monitor this issue to allow us to be proactive in the event there are any changes being suggested.

Passenger Boats regulations:
This continues to be a major issue particularly for ISA Cruising Schools. The feedback the ISA is receiving from members is that the implementation of the regulations are inconsistent depending on the interpretation of the surveyors.

ICC’s and Commercial Endorsements:
The Department of Transport conducted an audit of ISA’s systems for the training, assessing and issuing of ICC’s and Commercial Endorsements. Our authority to continue to issue the certificates has been renewed until May 2019.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour Submission:
The ISA sent in a submission to An Board Pleanala and presented at the subsequent hearing in support of the Dun Laoghaire Combined Clubs. The outcome of the hearing is due to be published sometime later this month

World Sailing Representation:
World Sailing is the International Governing Body for Sailing, which was formerly called ISAF. The ISA currently has representation on some of the World Sailing committees. Committees run on a four year Olympic Cycle at the end of which, Member National Authorities put forward their nominations for committee representation. The policy group has revised our strategy for our representation within World Sailing with aims of:
• Identifying and securing the opportunities for hosting international events in Ireland
• Appointment and progression of Irish International Race Officials (Race Officers, Judges and Umpires)
• Establishing and maintaining a network of relationships with international sailing administrators
• Influencing decisions affecting Irish Sailing at all levels; training, racing, race management and Olympic sailing.
All ISA nominations will be made in an open and transparent manner.

Racing:
Sailfleet:
The fleet of J80’s continues to be based in Howth Yacht Club.
The Irish Match Racing Championships were held early in the 2015 season and all 8 boats were used for this event. The entire fleet was used again in Dun Laoghaire in late September for the Senior All Ireland Championships.
The Sailfleet Board continues to monitor the fleet and have recently engaged a professional survey of the each boat to establish what maintenance issues need to be allowed for, this report is currently under review. The fleet will be 10 years old next season and maintenance is a growing issue, the Sailfleet Board continue to look at options for the future of the fleet.

All Ireland Championships:
The Senior All Irelands were hosted by the National Yacht Club. On the water Anthony O’Leary from the Royal Cork Yacht Club, and reigning 2014 Champion, sailed superbly to win back to back titles. It is worth nothing that this is 7th time out of the last ten years that the O’Leary family name appears on the trophy, an outstanding achievement!
The Working Group operated a totally transparent selection process in 2015, this along with better communication with the classes in general, has helped greatly in everyone’s understanding of who and how nominees are selected.
By establishing the last weekend of September for the Juniors and the first weekend of October for the Seniors, classes now know each season what the dates are so conflicts can be avoided. The 2016 Junior‘s are being hosted by the Fastnet Marine Outdoor Education Centre in Schull utilising their TR4.2 class a move away from the ISA Topaz fleet. The Senior’s will be hosted by the Royal Cork YC where we are delighted to announce that the National 18 class have enthusiastically offered a fleet of their exciting new designed boats for the event.

ICRA:
The ISA continues to work closely with the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) in all aspects of the very important cruiser racing sector of our sport. We have recently concluded an agreement with ICRA which will lead to closer cooperation and understanding between the two bodies. This will be important in the areas of developing a cruiser racing coaching scheme, linking Crew Point and Try Sailing and possibly developing a keel boat academy.

Race Officials:
The Race Officials Policy Group continues the duties of managing officials, including all disciplines, who officiate at our racing events. Within this Policy Group, all aspects of training and education of our race officials is coordinated.
During this last year we have built on already good relationships with our neighbours in the RYA, who are rightly accredited with having the best experience and training courses, in relation to all aspects of Race Management. We will continue to work closely with the RYA Race Management team which will be of great benefit to all our officials. In the same vein we have re-engaged with the Eurosaf Officials Exchange program which promotes a system whereby National Judges, Umpires and Race Officers can get experience at European events.
In addition to running courses on Race Management, Jury, Protests procedures, and Rules, throughout the year, a most successful Race Officials Conference was held in Dublin in February with 85 attendees. There was a full day of workshops and lectures which was very well received by all. There are new courses available to clubs and individuals on Mark Laying and an updated Race Management Course for Regional and National Race Officers.

Certificate of Identity:

The ISA is consolidating the various details currently held on boats belonging to ISA members in order to streamline the ISA’s several databases of craft, and to build a complete database of craft owned by ISA members. We will encourage members to apply for a Certificate of Identity which will incorporate all the services ISA members avail of in respect of their craft into a single document. This will include racing handicaps administered by ISA, racing sail numbers issued by ISA as the member national authority for World Sailing and other services.

More details on the Certificate of Identity will be available soon on the ISA website

So, as I think you will have seen, there has been a lot of activity during the past year.

In conclusion, there are a number of people, whom I want to thank:
Firstly, my board of Directors, all of whom have put in a lot of hard work over the past year.
Next, the staff of the ISA, ably led by our CEO, Harry Hermon. I know from personal experience that the staff put in very long hours and are completely committed to work of the Association.
And finally, I want to acknowledge and thank most sincerely all those who have joined our policy groups and who are contributing to help shape the policies and thinking that will drive the ISA and Irish sailing forward. Thank you.

Appendix:

Try Sailing 2015
52 clubs and centres Nationwide with over 3000 participants.

2016 Try Sailing Activity

Try Sailing Initiatives

1. ISA Try Sailing Launch – Monday 2nd May, Kinsale Yacht Club, incorporating -
• Schools Try Sailing and Sailability Try Sailing with -
i. Media invite,
ii. Linking with local fishing community & infrastructure,
iii. Story board for the day “embracing our waters for all they have to offer”.
• Linking –
i. Cork Sports Partnership support,
ii. ISA bursary support,
iii. ISA Sail Fleet,
iv. Sports Capital Funding club boats,
v. Marine Institute objective of embracing the sea.

2. Promotion plans for 2016
• Flags and banners for all participating clubs and centres.
• Try Sailing bumper stickers.
• #trysailing Instagram.
• #trysailing and #adventureireland twitter tagging.
• Bespoke gif for all participating clubs on line advertising.
• ISA search map included Try Sailing events.
• Exhibiting at Seafest 2016 in Galway.
• Outdoor signage for shared use.
• Facebook promotion.
• PR and social media outreach to Irish outdoor adventure market place.

3. ISA Try Sailing Bursary
• New bursary for a total of 75 applicants of €200 (total €15000).
• Forms have gone out to each club and training centre
• Currently awaiting applications
• Closing date for application 5pm on 15th of April 2016
• Try sailing Toolkit & info here http://www.sailing.ie/clubs/trysailingeventplanning/
• RDO responsible Gail MacAllister

4. Schools Try Sailing
• The Local Sports Partnerships will be funding clubs to run a primary and secondary school events in Category 1 clubs (3hr event)
• The target is children who are NOT club members
• LSP will provide each club with €300 to run both events (covering instructor and fuel costs)
• ISA RDO team have designed a flyer/poster, the LSP’s are printing and distributing these to each school in their area.
• Each poster has contact details and the dates of when the Try Sailing session it to happen in their areas clubs.
• Participants must register their interest with a club appointed contact and pay €5 on the day to take part
• If a club can cater for 20 children in each of the two sessions (morning and afternoon) it would be €500 for the club.
• Waterford, Wexford, Fingal, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, Wicklow, Dublin City, Louth and Fingal Local Sports Partnerships are supporting the programme with 20 Cat 1 clubs participating in this in the East region in or around April 23rd 2016.
• The East Coast area alone will include distribution of ISA information up to 1008 primary and secondary schools and the East and South East coasts.
• Cork, Clare and Kerry Sports Partnerships also supporting same programme with 10 Cat 1 clubs participating on variety of dates that suit the regions.
• Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway also supporting same programme with 8 Cat 1 clubs participating on variety of dates that suit the regions.
• Linked in with Schools Active Week programme – all dates published on line.
• East Coast RDO responsible Sarah Louise Rossiter
• South West RDO Gail MacAllister
• North West RDO Ciarán Murphy

5. Scouts Try Sailing initiative
• Working with the Scouts
• Programme not fixed yet, details to be announced
• RDO responsible Ciarán Murphy

6. Surf ‘n’ Turf (local rugby club with boat club event)
contact [email protected]
• Event: Wexford Wanderers and Wexford Harbour Boat & Tennis Club
• Target Market: Other sports club members and corporate day
• Preparation: Meeting with local rugby team, posters in local businesses and clubs involved in the day
• Promotion: Posters designed with information. €50 per team of min 7.
• Minimum of 3 females on each team. One liaison for booking teams.
• On the Day: 10-10:30am meeting. Start tag rugby at 10:30am – 12:30pm. BBQ at 1pm in sailing club, on the water 2-4pm.
• Next Step: Introductory membership and dual club membership specials. Information on clubs summer courses, adult courses etc. Encourage continued groups or a tag rugby/sailing monthly session.
• Top Tips: Good connections can be made with any local sports club whether golf, GAA or cycling. The same principle of this initiative applies.
• RDO responsible Sarah Louise Rossiter

7. Women on the Water
• Cork Sports Partnership and Clare Sports Partnership are supporting Women on the Water programmes of €200 towards running a Women on the Water programme in 2016.

Published in ISA

I am a passionate believer in the concept that sailing is ‘a sport for all and a sport for life’. I took to heart a slogan to this effect promoted by the Irish Sailing Association a few years ago. I have advanced that concept since I first heard it. Nowadays I wonder if how many true believers there are in this concept. While I fully support the need for a national sailing association and believe that it means what was said about ‘a sport for all’ I don’t see that concept, simple, direct and embracing in its description advanced as a major focus of the Association. I may be missing something but when last did you see the ISA state this concept forcefully in a public message?
I do not want to be perceived as a critic of the ISA because I am not. I am committed to the essential necessity of sporting representation through a strong national organisation. However, having observed, listened to and received various approaches in recent years from those who have challenged the ISA and, in fairness to them and the ISA executive authorities, created a degree of change, I have a degree of concern that the effective level of national association relationships with and to clubs and ‘the ordinary’ club sailors (not a particularly nice description but perhaps apt), could do with more attention.
I chaired a debate on whether sailing is a welcoming sport at the annual conference of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association in Limerick and was encouraged by the response of delegates there, but they also raised questions about the Irish Sailing Association. It has launched a ‘Try Sailing Initiative’ through associated clubs and training centres. “This is building on last year’s inaugural success of this approach,” Gail McAllister, ISA Regional Development Officer for the Southern Region, told me. “The ISA is partnering with the Marine Institute in Galway and this will see a thorough implementation of initiatives and a strong promotional campaign introducing the public to the joys of sailing. We have a firm belief that you have to take your message to the people at least as much as you expect people to come to your club. We want to make it clear that all are welcome - and genuinely welcome at that.”
I agree with and support those comments. Effort is being put into raising participation levels in the sport. There are attempts to counteract falling membership numbers and an ageing profile amongst boatowners in many. It is my view that the sport is more popular than it was in past years, despite a fall-off in numbers in recent times. The challenge is to put in place plans to maintain growth for the future and to remove, once-and-for-all the, image of sailing as being an ‘elitist’ sport.
On my own boat I have a policy of trying to introduce at least one new crew member to the sport every year. May I recommend that to club members throughout the country? Meantime perhaps you would listen to my Podcast this week where I interview the new Commodore of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association, Simon McGibney, the first West of Ireland sailor to hold the post. I spoke to him in Limerick at the end of the annual meeting of ICRA. He is committed to expanding involvement in sailing and in racing and he believes this will happen. At the start of the interview I congratulated this member of Foynes Sailing Club on being the first West of Ireland Commodore of ICRA.
• Listen to Podcast below

Published in Island Nation

ISA President, David Lovegrove on an enhanced get started initiative

Spring is traditionally the time when most sailors’ dreams turn with eager anticipation to the approaching season. However, the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) has used the dormant months to plan and prepare for the forthcoming season. Shortly we will be launching a number of exciting new initiatives which we hope will help increase participation and also improve the skills of existing sailors.

Following on the success of the pilot programme in 2015, the 2016 Try Sailing programme will see a greatly enhanced package of assistance available. This will include: a Try Sailing Bursary, the Schools Try Sailing Initiative for Primary and Secondary Schools as part of Active School Week, the Corporate Cup Training Programme for new sailors to try Keelboat and Cruiser racing, the Round Ireland Trophy, Volvo Cork Week Try Sailing Invitational Cup and the Scouting Ireland Try Sailing Programme. There will also be Sailability Programmes catering for those Clubs who specifically want to facilitate people with disabilities to enjoy sailing and Family Fun initiatives to encourage club members to bring their family along and try the full extent of what the Club has to offer. The Try Sailing Programme is supported by the ISA’s dedicated Try Sailing website and PR Toolkit and by the Regional Development Officers team who will be on hand to help each Club develop their own Participation Programme.

On the Training side, the new simplified Small Boat Sailing Scheme (SBSS) syllabus and Advanced Instructor Endorsement will be introduced for the 2016 season in conjunction with the electronic logbook and Sailing Passport. These changes are in response to the feedback to put more focus on the development of skills and the logging of time on the water than on the acquiring of certificates. The SBSS will now focus on introducing sailors to the sport, their acquisition of basic skills and encouraging them to experience a broad range of sailing activities. The higher level racing aspects will from now on form part of a new Coaching Programme aimed specifically at those who wish to progress further into competition.

The new Coaching Programme will help existing sailors improve their skills so as to get more enjoyment from their participation in racing. The scheme will be based around Clubs and Classes with the objectives of providing them with a framework to provide a high standard of affordable coaching for their members, the creation of training structures to develop the pool of suitable coaches and the provision of course materials, aids and mentoring to assist this pool of qualified coaches. The objective of this is to help those sailors at club or class level who are not part of the ISA Performance activities.

We will be assisting Classes and Clubs with the introduction of the programme and running a number of pilot projects during the season and look forward to hearing from Classes and Clubs wishing to be involved.

This time of year is also the time of conferences. The Cruising conference was held in Howth Yacht Club on 20 February and was a sell-out success. We were fortunate in having some top class speakers who delivered excellent presentations. The main priority for the representation policy group is the ongoing issue which is causing frustration to many cruising sailors, and that is the current lack of a statutory registration system for small craft. The ISA will continue to lobby hard to try and speed up the process to establish the registration system for pleasure craft. Other areas being addressed include the passenger boat regulations which continue to restrict the activities of our cruising schools. The tax on green diesel and the foreshore licensing issues are also on the policy group's agenda.

The race officials held their conference on 28 February. It was an interesting event with Anthony O’Leary giving the “view from the tiller”. This is always a fascinating session as it gives race officials first–hand feedback of what sailors are looking for in race management.

The new website, which is focused on how the ISA can assist clubs and classes in improving their range of services to their members, is divided into four sections, which reflect the main thrust of ISA activities under the Strategic Plan. The four areas are: Try Sailing, Racing, Cruising and Training. The site will undergo further development in the coming months.

So with all this activity taking place, it only remains for me to wish you well in your preparations for the new season and hope that we all have fair weather.

Published in ISA
Page 2 of 10

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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