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Displaying items by tag: Irish Sailing Association

Howth Yacht Club has announced its first ever coaching development manager.
Graeme Grant has been appointed to the position to help enhance the skills of members across all levels.
The 36-year-old Scot comes highly experienced, with Irish Sailing Association (ISA) qualifications as an Instructor Coach, Adventure Instructor and Powerboat Instructor among others.
Past sailing successes include the Scottish 420 Nationals and the Hornet Youth Worlds. Grant was also part of the British Olympic 470 Development Squad in the build-up to the 1996 games in Atlanta.
Since 2005 he has filled various coaching spots throughout Ireland, and is also bosun of ISA's Sailfleet J80s, a position he retains with his new role.
Howth Yacht Club has more on the appointment HERE.

Howth Yacht Club has announced its first ever coaching development manager.

Graeme Grant has been appointed to the position to help enhance the skills of members across all levels.

The 36-year-old Scot comes highly experienced, with Irish Sailing Association (ISA) qualifications as an Instructor Coach, Adventure Instructor and Powerboat Instructor among others.

Past sailing successes include the Scottish 420 Nationals and the Hornet Youth Worlds. Grant was also part of the British Olympic 470 Development Squad in the build-up to the 1996 games in Atlanta.

Since 2005 he has filled various coaching spots throughout Ireland, and is also bosun of ISA's Sailfleet J80s, a position he retains with his new role.

The Howth Yacht Club website has more on the appointment HERE.

Published in Howth YC

A massive drop in some areas of the boat sales market is not reflected in other areas, particularly small dinghy sales, if registration figures released by the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) is anything to go by.

In the dinghy market, in 2009 65 Optimist dinghies were registered (57 of them new). Last year 43 Oppies registered (27 of them new). In bigger boats, 27 ISA cruiser numbers were issued (new or second hand boats) in 2009 and in 2010 there were 50 cruiser numbers issued. There were also 18 other registrations from the 420, Mirrors and Squibs classes.

Published in ISA

The new umbrella organisation Sail Training Ireland includes a number of key sailing people involved in sail training in Ireland including the chief executive of the Irish Sailing Association Harry Hermon and Seamus McLoughlin the head of operations of Dublin Port Company. The group also includes Kalanne O'Leary, a former member of Coiste an Asgard, the state board that ran Asgard II. The full group, chaired by Sheila Tyrrell, has been named as follows: 

Sheila Tyrrell, Chair
Harry Hermon, ISA Chief Executive
Philip Cowman ISA Director, Ex Harbour Master Waterford
Kalanne O'Leary, Irish Representative on Sail Training International
Seamus McLoughlin, Head of Operations, Dublin Port
Sean Flood, Sail Training International Ambassador – Ireland.

Looking for further reading on Tall Ships in Ireland? Click the links below:

Click this link to read all our Tall Ships Stories on one handy page

Previewing Ireland's Tall Ships 2011 Season

Can Ireland Get a New Tall Ship?


Published in Tall Ships

A sailing initiative aimed at Irish participation in next year's Tall Ships Races in Waterford has been announced by a newly formed national organisation Sail Training Ireland.

Since the sinking of the Asgard II and the decision to wind up Coiste An Asgard, the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) has been facilitating a steering group with the aim of establishing 'Sail Training Ireland'.

The steering group has been working with Sail Training International to establish a sustainable organisation that will work with training providers and host ports to build Ireland's Sail Training Programme in the future.

The Tall Ships Race that visited Belfast last year is due to return to Waterford in 2011 and Dublin in 2012 is clear recognition by the race organisers of Ireland's popularity as a destination, and a credit to the host ports who are able to facilitate such a great occasion.

The working group are preparing for the launch of Sail Training Ireland in a few weeks and are currently putting together a feasibility study and business plan for the organisation that may be presented to the Minister in the New Year.

Sail Training International has awarded a bursary to Sail Training Ireland which will provide funding to support the participation of young people in The Tall Ships Races 2011 and 2012.

"The small group that has been working on this will put together a sensible, practical but ambitious plan to ensure the legacy of Coiste an Asgard...." explains Nigel Rowe, Chairman of Sail Training International, " will enable Irish youth to continue to benefit from the sail training experience".

Sheila Tyrrell, Chair of the steering group, who has a long history with sail training and in particular the Asgard remarks "The bursary from Sail Training International is very welcome and endorses the credibility of our plans to re-establish a national sail training programme. The steering group will be in a position to effect the launch of Sail Training Ireland this side of Christmas."

Looking for further reading on Tall Ships in Ireland? Click the links below:

Click this link to read all our Tall Ships Stories on one handy page

Previewing Ireland's Tall Ships 2011 Season

Can Ireland Get a New Tall Ship?

Published in Tall Ships

The re-run of the All Ireland Sailing Championships will take place in Kinsale and not Crosshaven on November 20th according to a press release from the Irish Sailing Association published today.

A minimum of three races must be completed for the competition to conclude and the ISA Helmsman's Trophy awarded.

The final, originally scheduled to take place in Royal Cork Yacht Club on the 26th of September, had to be abandoned due to an absence of wind.

The competition will be sailed in the ISA SailFleet J80's which are currently based in Kinsale Yacht Club. Due to the difficulty in safely sailing the fleet from Kinsale to Crosshaven the venue had to be changed, however the host club remains Royal Cork Yacht Club who are now kindly assisted by Kinsale Yacht Club.

8 teams will be competing for the ISA Helmsmans Trophy. As this competition is recognised as a new event, no previous points shall be carried forward. Each competitor begins with a blank score card.
The finalists are:
Anthony O'Leary
Ewen Barry
Garrett May
James Espey
Neil Kenefick
Niall Henry
Nicholas O'Leary
Nick Walsh

Who'll win? We're starting a readers poll on Monday. Click back to cast your vote!

Published in All Irelands

I have long admired the commitment and dedication to sailing of David Harte in Schull. With his design of the TR 3.6 he has achieved what may well prove to be the ideal boat for team racing. This aspect of sailing is proving very popular amongst younger sailors. In the past few months I have been watching and reporting on the development of the sport by Match Racing Ireland which is now an integral part of the Irish Sailing Association. There is an excitement and enthusiasm which is good for the sport.

Now Schull and David Harte are adding a new dimension with the TR 3.6 which seems a bit like a Firefly when you look at it first, but then there are clear differences in design. The 3.6, a two-person dinghy, is just that in length. "It is robust, cheap to produce and the first boat customised for team racing. This is a boat for people who don't own a boat. It is a boat made for a situation where different crews will be using it and it has to be able to stand up to that pressure. I looked at the concept of the Firefly and then adapted it to what will prove to be a good boat for team racing," David told me.

The boat was shown for the first time at the announcement that Schull will host the ISAF Team Racing World Championships which will be held in the West Cork harbour in 2011. Twenty-four teams from around the world will compete, with the Fastnet Outdoor Education Centre as the base. It has a proven record of success in teaching sailing as a curricular subject at the adjacent Schull Community College which, through the foresight of the Cork County Vocational Education Committee, established this approach several years ago.

David Harte manages the operation. The success of the Schull students in winning the British championships this year, as well as their progress in the sport elsewhere after they leave the college is a testimony to his success.

Next weekend the Irish Team Racing Championships will be held in Schull, with 18 teams from around the country competing "and 40 per cent of the helms will come from Schull," David told me with a satisfied smile, which he deserves to have.

It is intended to raise funding for a fleet of 25 new TR 3.6 boats which Schull will provide for the world championships. Afterwards the boats will remain there, providing more years of sailing for young people. A sponsorship project has been launched and already seven boats have been funded. It is intended to build the boats in Cork and to have the sails made there. The world championships are scheduled to start on Saturday, August 27, 2011.

Photos of the new design afloat HERE

• This article is reprinted by permission of the EVENING ECHO newspaper, Cork, where Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website:

Published in Island Nation

The Irish Sailing Association (ISA) says it sees no value registering small craft that launch from clubs and training centres on inland waterways. The sailing body comments come as part of a Public Consultation programme on proposed new Bye-laws for all seven Irish waterways. Waterways Ireland has commenced the first Phase of a review of bye-laws under its remit. Bye-laws facilitate the management of a waterway, clearly outlining the roles and responsibility of Waterways Ireland and all the people involved in using the navigation, whether for recreational or commercial purposes. The association says the new bye laws alos place an added administrative burden on volunteers when organising events. "The requirement to apply for permission to run every event on a weekly basis will create significant administrative workloads on already over burdened volunteers", it said. The full ISA submission is below:

General Observations

1. Definition of Craft Types
There are no fewer then 14 definitions describing different craft types referred to in the bye- laws. Many of the definitions do not adequately describe the type of craft they are referring to, and have definitions within definitions. It difficult to understand which byelaws are referring to which type of craft – this will lead to confusion and as a result non compliance.
For example: a. 'Pleasure Craft' includes personal watercraft and fast power craft'. Pleasure Craft would imply a craft used for pleasure purposes, and there are already definitions for personal watercraft and fast power craft described – so why duplicate?
b. 'Vessel' means every description of craft including non-displacement craft and sea planes but does not include a boat or personal water craft' A non displacement craft is included under the definition of 'craft' so why mention it? You also need to look up the definition for a 'boat' and 'personal watercraft' before you understand which types of craft are being referred to as a 'vessel'.
2. Insurance
We are fully behind the principal that every craft should have suitable insurance. However we believe this is a matter for the users, owners and organisations. We can see no good reason why Waterways Ireland need to be sent policies in 'original certificate form'. This puts the responsibility and hence the liability of adequate insurance onto Waterways Ireland and will require a significant bureaucratic overhead. It could easily be made an offence not to have insurance and leave it at that.
3. Duplication of Existing Legislation
Much of the content of the draft byelaws proposed is already covered under existing legislation. (eg the wearing of personal floatation devices, age limits for driving powered craft etc.). Duplication of this legislation within the bye laws will do nothing to encourage compliance, and will mean a revision of the byelaws every time there is a change in legislation.
4. Over Regulation/confusion
The draft byelaws as presented contain 32 pages of 'small print' regulations. Some of the terminology and definition used is legalistic and confusing. It will be a very difficult task to educate the waterways users as to their responsibilities towards the byelaws, and an even bigger task to enforce them.
There has been no mention of a plan for implementing the byelaws, and we would have concerns that Waterways Ireland do not have a plan or adequate resource to communicate sufficiently the detail of the byelaws, or to enforce compliance.
5. Safety
It has been shown time and time again that regulation used to manage activity on the water does little or nothing to improve safety standards unless there is sufficient resource to enforce it. The attempt within the bye laws to incorporate a 'one size fits all' set of regulations to manage activities on the waterways is inappropriate, unnecessary and will be impossible to enforce. As such it will lead to confusion and non compliance.
There are some 'bottle neck' areas of congestion, where more stringent control measures may be necessary in order to encourage responsible participation and enjoyment. We recommend a different set of regulations be developed for known trouble spots, leaving the majority of the waterways relatively unrestricted.
6. Link with existing Local Authority byelaws
In recent years, Local Authorities around the country have developed byelaws of their own to manage access to and activity on the waterways, harbours and beaches under their jurisdiction.
We are concerned that there appears to have been little consultation or coordination with local authorities who already have byelaws established, particularly counties which boarder Waterways Ireland navigation. This could potentially lead to one set of regulations applying whilst launching your craft from a local authority controlled slipway, whilst another set of regulations applying once under way on the water.
We strongly urge waterways Ireland to liaise with local authorities to ensure their byelaws are consistent with those already established.

Feedback on Specific Byelaws
(6) Registration The proposal set out in bye-law 6 needs a total revision.
a. Compulsory Registration
The ISA is not opposed to the principle of registration of vessels provided it is equitable, has a purpose (other than taxation) and is required only where necessary. Otherwise there will be a strong disincentive to register, and the cost of tracking down and seeking to make vessel owners compliant will exceed any possible benefit.
We do not see any value in the need for registering small craft that launch from clubs and training centres, which are under the control of and/or are participating in an organised activity.
b. ValidityPeriod
Where registration is required it is not sufficient to make it valid for a period to be decided by the Chief executive. A validity period should be clearly identified (5 years would seem appropriate) and communicated to all the keepers of registered craft.
c. Cost
Registration should not be seen as a revenue generator for Waterways Ireland. It should be administered at cost and fees set as such. Again this should not be at the whim of the Chief Executive.
d. Lettering
The proposal for all craft wishing to display their own print of the registration number to have 300mm high numbers (7)(b) port and starboard on the bow, and on the stern is completely ill-conceived. There is an assumption that the number issued by Waterways Ireland (7)(a) is the same size? For smaller craft it is simply not possible, and for larger craft will meet with huge opposition if it is implemented.
e. Insurance
We are fully behind the principal that every craft should have suitable insurance. This is a matter for the users and owners and we can see no good reason why WI need to
be sent this in 'original certificate form'. By checking an insurance policy Waterways Ireland is taking responsibility for ensuring all craft registered have adequate cover for any incident that they are involved with on the waterways. It could easily be made an offence not to have adequate insurance (putting the responsibility on the registered keeper) and leave it at that.
f. Visiting Craft
There are a number of craft that use the waterways occasionally when visiting the area. They are unlikely to have prior knowledge of the byelaws and often will not be in a position to apply for registration three weeks in advance. This will significantly restrict access, and/or encourage non compliance. Temporary visitors will need to be catered for.
g. On-LineRegistration
Waterways Ireland are proudly declaring the development of a 'computerised registration package', yet all registration applications must be submitted by hard copy 'snail mail'. This is not the modern way to do business.
h. Duplication of Registers
The ISA currently operates a Small Craft Register which is available on line and may be used to identify all types of craft. It may be has a five year validity and costs €15. We have the ability to process applications in a day. This is already being used by many local authorities that require permits to launch craft. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss the potential for combining the registers in order to help simplify registration system for the user.
(20) Zoning The ISA would ask Waterways Ireland to consult with us prior to implementing zoning, so we may help to ensure that congested areas are managed in a pro active way to encourage responsible participation, and will not cause confusion and/or unnecessarily restrict activity.
a. Restriction of Craft
Whilst we have no difficulty in 'Zoning' areas in order to pro actively manage use of the waterways in congested areas, it should be stressed that zoning may be required in congested areas in order to 'promote' responsible participation in activities. The current terminology used in the byelaws; 'restrict or prohibit craft from taking part' does not suggest Waterways Ireland is actively looking to promote activities on the waterways.
b. Consistent Markings
The ISA has been working with local authorities on implementing pro active management strategies for the management of beaches and harbours within their jurisdiction. The signage and buoyage for zoned areas need to be consistent with those used by local authorities and we would request that waterways Ireland consult with us prior to developing the infrastructure and management systems required for zoning.
(21) Commercial Operations
a. Voluntary Organisations
Byelaw 21 outlines the requirement to obtain permission to carry on any trade or business. It also mentions that there will be a charge levied in respect of this permission. There are a number of clubs and associations that organise training,
recreational and competitive events for which a charge is levied to the participants. This is not commercial activity, as the charge is to cover the costs of organising the said activity.
We believe it is not the intention of waterways Ireland that these clubs and associations will be charged for organising their activities, however this needs to be clarified.
b. Commercial Operators
The ISA has a number of accredited sailing schools and clubs that operate on the inland waterways. These organisations attract visitors and tourism to the area, whilst at the same time improving safety standards on the waterways.
There should be no charge levied for approved training activity that is carried out by an organisation that is accredited by a national authority and/or has been approved by Waterways Ireland.
(8) Owners, Masters and Crew of Craft
Paragraph (8). Carrying an anchor. It is not general practice in racing yachts to have an anchor stowed in such a position as 'to enable them to be dropped or weighed quickly'. This may incur a €150 fine depending on the interpretation of 'quickly'. This paragraph needs rethinking.
(25) Placing of objects
Clubs and training centres use temporary buoys to mark race courses, training areas etc. It is not reasonable to expect these organisations to apply for permission in writing every time they are involved in organised activity afloat.
(28) Miscellaneous Prohibitions
We note that there does not seem to be any prohibition on the causing of a nuisance for example by noise of engine, generator etc. in a public harbour to other users or any particular restriction on causing such annoyance. We believe such a prohibition should exist.
(32) Events If established organisations are forced to apply for permission for every event they organise their activities will not be sustainable.
a. Notification and Permission
An 'Event' is described as a 'regatta, race or any organised gathering of craft or people for the purpose of competition or display'.
Events in ISA organisations take place on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. They are often weather dependent and organised at short notice. It is unreasonable to expect clubs and associations to apply for permission organise every event, as this will severely restrict their ability to operate.
b. Insurance
ISA Clubs and Associations are fully aware of their responsibilities towards their liability for the organising of events, and carry insurance to cover all of their activities.
Should Waterways Ireland insist on receiving proof of insurance the liability may well be passed on to Waterways Ireland in the event the cover proves to be insufficient.
We recommend that paragraph 32. (6) (b) be removed.
c. Administration
ISA organisations are in the main run by volunteers. The requirement to apply for permission to run every event on a weekly basis will create significant administrative workloads on already over burdened volunteers.
We believe the intent of this bye law was not to restrict the activities of established clubs that organise regular events, and we recommend that for established clubs, training centres and associations affiliated to a recognised authority, a prior agreement be made between Waterways Ireland and the organisation concerned, to allow for the organising of events within agreed parameters without the need to apply for permission.

Published in Inland Waterways

The Irish Sailing Association has told the Government that Ireland is being left behind in marine development because of the way the State has neglected the maritime sphere. I applaud the national sailing authority for making it clear that while other countries are capitalising on their natural marine assets in coastal and inland waterways, Ireland is being left behind at a significant cost to the State in lost revenue and employment opportunities.

Irish sailors have raised the profile of the sport worldwide, the Volvo Race in Galway brought international attention to Irish sailing, but the Government has failed to capitalise on this sporting success. The ISA has offered a three-year development strategy to the Department of Transport, one of five Government Departments with marine responsibility.

"As we see a decline in some of the traditional marine-related industries," says the ISA, "there is an opportunity to develop the maritime recreational sphere, to grow and attract employment opportunities in rural areas that are struggling and bring significant national and international revenue if there is greater investment in marine leisure infrastructure."

Having been advised to do so at its national conference earlier this year, the national sailing authority has also reviewed its own operational structures. From next month it will put more emphasis on providing regional support for clubs and training centres, as well as improving communications with the membership.

Two Regional Development Officers have been appointed. Denis Dillon who has been Motorboat Development Officer is taking up the role of Regional Development Officer for the Southern Region. He will work with clubs, training centres, local authorities and local sports partnerships to increase interest in sailing. Ciaran Murphy is joining the ISA as his counterpart for the Northern Region which will include Dublin. Pamela Smithwick, who has been the ISA's "Women on the Water Development Officer," is taking responsibility for club membership and liaison. Rachel Solon, the Association's Training Administrator, has been assigned the role of Communications Officer.

Harry Hermon, ISA Chief Executive, anticipates the changes will "raise the profile of the sport, resulting in a significant increase in people participating in club and training centre activity. Our aim is to increase interest amongst the wider boating community and the general public."

The Association's strategy document tells the Department that more boating usage by the public should not be restricted by unnecessary regulations, which should only be imposed where "necessary, appropriate and enforceable."

While safety must always be uppermost in sailing, there does come a time when people must take responsibility to look after themselves. The Department has not helped the sport by regulation of short-handed, single-handed sailing in Irish waters, unique in world sailing and imposed without reasonable consultation.
It is good to see the ISA standing up for the sport and its document points to what I believe is a core problem ... "As there is no longer a Department of the Marine, we have in recent years seen marine leisure interests fragmented across different Government Departments which include, Transport, Sport and Tourism, Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries and Education. The result is that there is little or no co-ordinated strategy to promote or develop the sector.

"As an island nation we have undoubtedly some of the best coastline and waterways in the world. Where other countries are capitalising on their natural assets, Ireland is being left behind at a significant cost to the State in lost revenue and employment opportunities."

A greater political awareness of the potential of sailing as a significant contributor to the economic is needed. The ISA says this requires education and awareness programmes to raise interest.

These are good proposals but Departmental bureaucrats sitting on their fat salaries, behind desks which have never felt the roll of the sea, will not like being challenged, so they may ignore the ISA.

The full ISA submission is below as a downloadable PDF.

• This article is reprinted by permission of the CORK EVENING ECHO in which Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website:

Published in Island Nation

Today is the last day for applications for the Irish Sailing Association development officer post, to be based in its Dun Laoghaire offices. The role involves supporting clubs and teaching establishments in growing their activities and membership and promoting the ISA's training agenda nationwide.

Details are here.

Published in ISA
4th November 2009

Learn to Sail

Cruise with confidence

Push the boat out with a training course under the ISA’s cruising scheme

Have you found that your cruising is being restricted by your lack of knowledge and confidence? 

Would you like to go a longer cruise next year or to feel more confident and relaxed when you are supposed to be on your holidays?

Are you tired of just crewing, want to be able to skipper the boat, but never get a look-in because the skipper always does the navigation?

Would you like to charter a boat in Ireland, or even in the sun, but don’t have any of the certificates that charter companies demand?

Have you always wanted to go sailing on a yacht and didn’t know how to get involved?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you should consider brushing up your skills with one of the ISA’s training courses aimed at cruising sailors.

The ISA’s National Cruising Scheme has been developed over many years to assist sailors in learning and developing their skills from absolute beginner to those required to skipper a yacht on ocean passages. The courses are offered in either sailing or motor yachts according to what you think you will be sailing on, and are run right around the country all year around. This article aims to identify the courses and certificates that are available and to help you choose a course that will make your cruising more fun and enjoyable, wherever you are doing it and on whatever you are doing it. Courses are run on sailing yachts and on motor yachts.

Sea-based Training

There are a number of 'sea-based' training courses in the scheme. These are all run at sea, aboard cruising yachts. On the lower level course such as Competent Crew, you will learn how to sail or handle the boat under sail and engine as well as simply getting to grips with living aboard a cruising yacht. On the more advanced courses, you will act as skipper and navigator for the boat while on passage and when entering and leaving harbours, marinas and anchorages. Of course, all this is done under the watchful eye and guidance of your instructor. You will be amazed at how fast you pick up the skills and find out how easy all those daunting passage plans and calculations really are.

Shore-based Training

The shore-based training courses in the Cruising Scheme compliment the sea-based training by allowing participants to learn and develop skills in the relative comfort of a classroom and by allowing time to absorb and practice the course material away from a boat and all its distractions. On the three shorebased courses, sailors will learn how to plan and implement passages, working up from short coastal hops on the Yachtmaster Coastal Course to extended ocean passages on the Yachtmaster Ocean Course. It covers course plotting, tide calculation, developing passage plans and identifying where you are, as well as the principles of safety. Many of these courses are run over the winter months, often as an evening class.

Certificates of Competency

Those successfully completing the Competent Crew, Helmsman Certificate and Day Skipper Courses all receive their certificate of competency at the end of the course. If you want one of the ISA’s Yachtmaster Coastal, Offshore or Ocean certificates, you need to apply to the ISA to be assessed by one of the ISA’s Yachtmaster Examiners. The Coastal and Offshore assessments can usually be arranged on your own boat, if you have one, otherwise the ISA will slot you in on an assessment with a boat owner. The assessments vary in duration according to the level and number of candidates on board and are an opportunity for you to demonstrate to the examiner that you can manoeuvre, pilot and take charge of a yacht at the level required. The examiners have all been trained by the ISA and, as sailors themselves, know that you go boating for fun so while being professional and thorough, your examiner will do his or her best to ensure that you enjoy the assessment. The ISA’s Yachtmaster certificates are recognised and approved by the Department of Transport.


What to expect

Competent Crew

The ISA Competent Crew course provides the beginner with an introduction to the world of sail cruising. As well as learning to sail your boat, you will get to grips with living aboard a cruising boat and by the end of the course you will be able to take your place as a competent, safe member of crew aboard a sailing yacht. No previous experience or knowledge of sailing is required for this five-day training course, which may be run together or split up over weekends.

Helmsman’s Certificate

The ISA Helmsman’s provides the basic boat handling and seamanship skills necessary to safely and effectively handle and manoeuvre your motor yacht both at sea and within harbours and marinas. No previous experience or knowledge of boating is required for this course which may be completed in as little as two days.

Day Skipper

The ISA Day Skipper course is a sea-based training course provides participants with the basic skills and knowledge necessary to skipper a sailing yacht by day in waters with which they are familiar or, in other words, local day trips from your home harbour or moorings. It’s a five-day course which may be broken up over weekends. Participants should have some boating experience, equivalent to the skills and knowledge covered in the Competent Crew course if you are sailing and Helmsman’s Certificate if you are using a motor yacht. During the course you will be developing your boat handling skills as well as starting to get to grips with basic weather, navigation and pilotage.

ISA Yachtmaster Coastal

Holders of the ISA Yachtmaster Coastal certificate have proven their ability to skipper a sailing or motor yacht on coastal passages during daylight and at night. In order to do so, you will be comfortably devising passage plans, calculating tides for primary ports, plotting a course to steer and estimated positions as well as filling the role of skipper and crew when taking your boat into (and out of) a wide range of conditions and situations.

There three elements to the certificate. The shore-based training course (45 hours), the sea-based training course (five days) and then the assessment. You may complete any one of these on their own.

ISA Yachtmaster Offshore

Holders of the ISA Yachtmaster Offshore certificate have shown that they can skipper a sailing or motor yacht on coastal and offshore passages and crossings by day and night. In doing so, you will need to complete tidal calculations for secondary ports, offshore passage planning and boat stability.

There two elements to the certificate. The shore-based training course (45 hours) and then the assessment. You may complete any one of these on their own.

ISA Yachtmaster Ocean Shore-based Course

The ISA Yachtmaster Ocean Certificates shows that a sailor can skipper a sail or motor yacht on ocean passages without the use of electronic aids, where they are out of sight of land for extended periods. This will include the use of a sextant for position fixing, offshore communications, world weather and great circle routes. There two elements to the certificate. The shore-based training course (45 hours) and then the assessment. You may complete any one of these on their own.

What does it all cost?

A five-day sea-based training course will cost between €650 and €840. This will include your accommodation (on-board) and food.  Extras usually only include meals and drinks consumed ashore.

Shore-based training courses cost between €400 and €600. This includes all of your course materials.

A Yachtmaster assessment with the ISA will cost between €155 and €310, depending on whether it is for coastal, offshore or ocean and whether you are willing to be assessed alongside other candidates.

Where to get more information

More details on the National Cruising scheme are available on the ISA’s website including a full list of all the courses being run around the country with dates and venues. Your local cruising school will be able to help with any technical enquires, their contact details are included here and on the website. Of course, all this information is also available from the ISA Office who may be contacted on 01 28 00 239 or [email protected]



Take the plunge

Feedback from a range of Yachtmaster course participants

Shorebased Courses

When I received an ISA Yachtmaster navigation course as a Christmas present from my wife, I was a little apprehensive to say the least. After all, it was ten years since we sold our yacht which we sailed extensively in the Clyde and around the Scottish Islands. I always wanted to study the rudiments of navigation but got by mostly keeping land in sight except for a few occasions in fog when I had wished I knew more to ensure the safety of my crew. As the course material began to arrive in my inbox, I began to think that I had taken on more than I had bargained for. I was signed up to the very intensive eight-day course, with material which is normally set out over a more relaxed 22 week at 2½ hours per night.

The first day at the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, 15 enthusiastic ‘would-be navigators’ introduced themselves to the tutor, John Leahy. He said he would explain the reasoning but it was down to us to take it in and do the homework. The feeling of being in the trenches created an ‘esprit de corps’ and ensured they were no laggards over the eight weeks. John was good to arrange additional classes to ensure we all got across the line and we enjoyed a well deserved celebratory dinner in the club with our partners/spouses to commemorate our achievement. I’m glad I did it!

Damien O’Sullivan (Damien completed a Yachtmaster Offshore Shorebased training course with Oceanmaster Sail Training)


I found the course intensity ideal for keeping up the momentum of interest in learning which was greatly enhanced by the teaching style of John Leahy. John's style suited the various levels of experience of the students in the class and by arranging the students to working together in small groups and assisting each other with the course work exercises. The students were not only varied in experience but also in age and gender and the competition and friendly banter made the course that much more enjoyable.

Overall, a great learning experience.

John Davies (John completed a Yachtmaster Offshore Shorebased training Course with Oceanmaster Sail Training)


Seabased Training

Jane and I completed the ISA Competent Crew course with Richard and Eady McGoveren at Malahide Sail Training on their Hallberg-Rassy 34. The course ran over  two weekends earlier this July. We attended the Lombard On the Water Boat Show in Malahide in April, where Malahide Sail Training had a stand.

Having booked the dates, the only variable that was a cause of concern was the Easterly wind that were forecast on the first weekend of the course. Both weekends turned out well with 15–20 knots winds and only a little rain.

While we covered the various comptencies over the two weekends it never felt like work. We learned a lot of sailing theory and how to begin to put it into practice. We enjoyed several days of good sailing, a particular highlight was sailing across Dublin Bay to Dalkey on a beam reach with 15 knots breeze, both of us taking turns on the tiller. We are already planning to do our Day Skipper certificate with Richard and Eady when we have gained more experience crewing.

David and Jane Browne (David and Jane completed an ISA Competent Crew course with Malahide Sail Training)


After recovering from a serious operation on his back, which almost left him paralyzed, my dad Tony said he wanted to take up an active sport, something he had never tried before. So for his 60th birthday in 2007 I decided to buy him some sailing lessons, logged onto and found details for South East Cruising School run by Charlie Kavanagh.

We boarded the Saltee Dog in Wicklow town for six days (three weekends) sailing up and down the east coast of Ireland. Our main aim was to get an introduction to sailing but it soon became much more than that. In our first few hours at sea we were tacking our way up the east coast, past Bray, Killiney and Dalkey, across Dublin Bay and on our way to Howth Marina.

My dad finished the course with a Competent Crew Cert while I went on to receive the ICC certification. Completing this course with Charlie gave us the passion and confidence to take newfound love of the sport to the next level. In August last year, we made the decision to purchase our own boat Shamrogue.

We are now full members of Arklow Sailing Club and just this summer we competed in the Kilmichael Challenge and won our first race on board Shamrogue. This should prove to everyone that, even at 60 years of age, it’s never too late to take up sailing. Just book yourself on a course and get out there!

Ken and Tony O’Toole (Ken and Tony completed an ISA Competent Crew Course with South East Cruising School)

I did the ISA Day Skipper course along with a group of friends with Oceanmaster Sail Training on board their Rival 41. We all really enjoyed it. It helps when you are staying on a beautiful yacht and eating excellent meals for the five days. We sailed around Dublin Bay (Dun Laoghaire, Dalkey Island, Ringsend, and Howth) for the week and were amazed at how we felt like tourists in our hometown because we were seeing it from a completely different perspective. It felt like a holiday.

John makes his courses very enjoyable and also worthwhile – he does take his teaching seriously, so you can't switch off your brain for any length of time, even while having your sandwich at lunchtime. He has a way of explaining sailing theory that is second to none and he even managed to enlighten us regarding the dark art of navigation.

I can thoroughly recommend the course, having since skippered a yacht on a number of occasions without any (major) mishaps, including one on a trip in Australia.

Dee Carroll (Dee completed an ISA Day Skipper course with Oceanmaster Sail Training)


Published in How To Sail
Page 10 of 10
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