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Irish Optimist Dinghy Association of Ireland Elects New President

16th December 2022
The Irish Optimist dinghy class heads to Ballyholme Yacht Club for its National Championships in August 2023
The Irish Optimist dinghy class heads to Ballyholme Yacht Club for its National Championships in August 2023 Credit: Afloat

The membership of the Irish Optimist Dinghy Association of Ireland (IODAI) met through Zoom for their Annual General Meeting on Tuesday the 13th of December 2022.

With an outgoing President and three senior committee members, there was much change but firstly, Alex Walsh looked back at the past year and the overall achievements of the committee throughout its tenure.

It has been a busy twelve months and the class has grown from strength to strength. Event participation has grown by over 50% and with a spread of events nationally, this has seen general uplift in the class from around the Country. Initiatives such as the Racing Regatta Fleet and Development Squad and the very successful National Training Week have helped underpin this growth. Darragh Brady was roundly acknowledged for his significant contribution to the great success of the National Training Week.

A rundown of the events from 2022 by the Events Co-Ordinator Tom Mapplebeck painted a healthy picture of a class that built participation with each event. Aligned with that was the strong volunteer base the class and host clubs benefit from.
Honorary Treasurer, Dominic Byrne outlined the finances from the published accounts for 2021 and set out the income and expenditure for 2022. While the association is in a healthy financial position, like all clubs and associations, there was some tempering in expectation given the overall increases in costs which are likely to arise in the coming years.

Alex Walsh thanked the current committee for their hard work and dedication to the association and class. In this regard, he specifically acknowledged Tom Mappleback, John Scott and Derek Moynan who were all stepping down. Alex also acknowledged the work done by Aidan Staunton and Roger Conan as directors who stepped down. In their place, Andrew Crosbie and Alex Walsh were elected as directors to support Christina Arigho, who remained as a director. Before concluding, he gave ‘a very strong endorsement of the incoming committee who have great passion and drive for the Association and the IODAI is in very good hands going forward lead by Paddy Ryan’

A new Committee was then elected to ratify the appointments of Darragh Brady, Neil Spain and Steve O’Sullivan and identifying the roles of the various members within the group.

Newly elected President, Paddy Ryan first spoke to the tenure of the outing committee and specifically in relation to the hard work, dedication and commitment of Alex Walsh. Paddy said that ‘In any period, the work done by Alex would have been acknowledged as been significant but with the additional complications of Covid-19 his contribution to the association and class was simply immense’.

Paddy then addressed the membership with regards to the continuity which the new committee would work to and also what it hoped to achieve in the following year. Highlighting that it was important to continue to build on the strengths of previous committees and maintaining good governance, a health spread of high quality events around the country and to continue to support local club sailors, he also identified areas which would see the class continue its growth. After briefly touching upon the areas of sportsmanship, fair sailing, team racing, performance training and pathways and well as the development of sailors for life while continuing to make the class welcoming and appealing to all, the meeting was closed.

With Ballyholme Yacht Club now secured as hosts for the National Championships in August 2023 certainly sounds like it is going to be an interesting and exciting year for the class.

The Committee for 2023 is as follows;

  • President Paddy Ryan (MYC)
  • Vice-President Ross Gorman (NYC)
  • Hon. Secretary Ian Venner (RCYC)
  • Hon. Treasurer Dominic Byrne (LRYC)
  • Teams Stephen O’Sullivan (RCYC)
  • Communications Officer Brendan Foley (RStGYC)
  • Events Officers Flore Dion (NYC)
  • Neil Spain (HYC)
  • Training & Development Darragh Brady (LDYC)
  • Sailor Progression Gill Doig (EABSC)

Paddy Ryan has been involved with IODAI committee since 2020 and is an active member of Malahide Yacht Club, the Royal St. George and Howth Yacht Club. He has two children in the Optimist fleet and races regularly himself. He can be contacted at [email protected]

Published in Optimist Team

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