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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: Sligo Yacht Club

County Sligo was a big winner in the Fisheries Local Action Groups awards announced today with Sligo Yacht Club getting €33,465.00 to improve the facilities and Sligo County Council were awarded €32,396.84 for a Temporary Pontoon Project.

On the East coast, Greystones Sailing Club got an 80% grant of €7,920.00 Junior and Adult sail training programme. And in North Dublin, Skerries Rowing Club got an 80% grant of 49,318.40 for Design Team Fees for its Rowing Club Boathouse.

Scroll down for the full allocations below

The Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., announced the award of further grants worth €1.2 million to 56 local community groups and micro enterprises by the seven Fisheries Local Action Groups established under Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Programme. The grants are co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union.

Announcing the grant awards, Minister McConalogue said: “I am delighted to announce today a further 56 coastal projects to benefit from EMFF funding through the seven Fisheries Local Action Groups established as part of my Department’s EMFF Programme supporting the development of our seafood sector and coastal communities. These latest grant awards mean a total of €2.7 million FLAG funding has been awarded this year alone to 155 coastal projects”.

Minister McConalogue added: “Many of the projects benefitting from EMFF FLAG funding are non-commercial projects benefitting the whole community in their coastal area. Such projects can often secure up to 80% of the project cost, making a real difference to the viability of such projects. This is just one of the ways in which my Department’s EMFF Programme is making a real difference for our coastal communities”.

Details of the individual grant awards are set out below for each of the 7 FLAGs.

 FLAG North

Applicant

Project Title

Support Rate

Total Cost

Grant Aid

Cumann Staire agus Seanchais na nOileán 

Cumann Staire agus Seanchais na nOileán (benches) Phase 2

80%

2,300.00

1,840.00

Inver Community Centre Company Limited by Guarantee

Inver Community Centre - Enhancing an Existing Community Asset Phase 2

80%

4,995.64

3,996.51

Forest View Lodges

Forest View Lodges Phase 2

40%

16,500.00

6,600.00

Uachtar Reoite Bunglas

Uachtar Reoite Bunglas Phase 2

40%

22,497.00

8,998.80

Croi na Farraige/Heart of the Sea - Digital Media Maritime Heritage Project & TV Documentary

Inishowen Community Media Network (ICMN) Phase 2

80%

12,250.00

9,800.00

Áislann Chill Chartha

Riverside Cáfe, The Áislann Phase 2

80%

12,755.50

10,204.40

Atlantic Coastal Cruises

Underwater Drone

50%

4,454.00

2,227.00

Niall Sweeney

Improving Local Services

40%

7,950.00

3,180.00

Gola Island Outdoor Education

Launch and retrieval of rescue craft / Transportation of equipment to main pier. (Trailer, Kayaks etc.)

50%

9,300.00

4,650.00

Seirbhísí Mara An Uillinn Teo

Provision of a crane on workboat

50%

12,000.00

6,000.00

Laurentic Legacy

The Ulster Canada Initiative

80%

9,066.00

7,252.80

Michael Bonner Engineering

Provision of a Mobile Sand Blasting Unit

40%

24,500.00

9,800.00

Donegal Bay Rowing Club 

Safety Boat Upgrade

80%

12,965.00

10,372.00

Donegal Bay Sub Aqua Club Search & Recovery 

St John's Point - railings

80%

17,600.00

14,080.00

Niall Mór Community & Enterprise Centre

Centre Upgrade

80%

€18,725.00

€14,980.00

Malin Head Fishermans Co-operative Society

Fork Lift

60%

€29,500.00

€17,700.00

LAN Ctr (Lárionad Acmhainní Nádúrtha Cuideachta faoi Theorainn Ráthaíochta)

Ag Leathnú Cumais (Added Capacity)

80%

€25,118.00

€20,094.40

Seabound Engineering Ltd

Mobile generator and other specialized engineering equipment

50%

€16,600.00

€8,300.00

Donegal County Council

St. John’s Pier Development

60%

€24,000.00

€14,400.00

Donegal County Council

Ice Making Equipment for Rannagh Pier

70%

€30,474.50

€21,332.15

Total Fitness PLC

Total Fitness Outdoor Project

40%

€39,640.00

€15,856.00

Killybegs Catch Ltd. Trading as Shines Seafood

Head office and storage unit refurbishment

50%

€63,000.00

€31,500.00

         
   

Total

416,190.64

243,164.06

       

 

FLAG NorthWest

Applicant

Project Title

Support Rate

Total Cost

Grant Aid

Eachtrai UISCE Teoranta T/A UISCE

U.I.S.C.E. Business Development Plan 2020/21

50%

35,504.00

17,752.00

Ballyglass Crew Yachtmaster

Ballyglass Crew Yachtmaster

50%

5,300.00

2,650.00

Sligo County Council

Temporary Pontoon Project

60%

53,994.74

32,396.84

Newport 300

Year long celebration of 300 year History

80%

27,043.00

21,634.40

Grainne Uaile Search & Recovery Unit

Dry suits & surface suits for diving & surface searching

80%

11,061.00

8,848.80

Bia Mara Inis Toirc

Bia Mara Inis Toirc

50%

23,655.98

11,827.99

Cumann Iascairí Chois Chósta Iorrais Teo

Mobile Boat Lifting Trailer

80%

90,000.00

72,000.00

Sligo Yacht Club

Improve the facilities at Sligo Yacht Club

60%

55,775.00

33,465.00

Muintir a' Chorrain Teo

Maritime Information Boards

80%

11,466.44

9,173.15

         
   

Total

313,800.16

209,748.18


FLAG NorthEast

Applicant

Project Title

Support Rate

Total Cost

Grant Aid

Fingal County Council

Fingal Operational and Technical Harbour Marine Supports Pilot Project

100%

30,000.00

30,000.00

Irish Commercial Charter Boats

Purchase of new workboat

50%

160,000.00

80,000.00

Skerries Rowing Club

Design Team Fees for Skerries Rowing Club Boathouse

80%

61,648.00

49,318.40

WSHI Limited trading as Howth Castle Cookery School


FLAG South

Lawrence Cove Ferries Ltd

Crane Upgrade for Vessel ‘An tOileanach’

50%

197,000.00

98,500.00

Fish Seafood Deli Ltd

The Fresh Fish Deli

50%

100,806.00

50,403.00

Cork County Council

Provision of Sweeper for collection of Net Repair Trimmings, Union Hall, Baltimore & Kinsale

100%

36,850.00

36,850.00

Aghada Sea Scout Group (Scouting Ireland)

Safety Boat Upgrade

80%

23,862.00

19,089.60

         
   

Total

358,518.00

204,842.60


FLAG South West

Applicant

Project Title

Support Rate

Total Cost

Grant Aid

Caherciveen Rowing Club

Seine Boat Restoration

50%

10,000.00

5,000.00

         
   

Total

10,000.00

€5,000.00

       


FLAG West

Applicant

Project Title

Support Rate

Total Cost

Grant Aid

Galway Bay Seafoods Ltd

Galway Docklands Experiences

50%

4,950.00

2,475.00

Ionad na Feamainne

Ionad Suathaireachta na Feamainne - The Seaweed Therapy / Holistic centre

80%

107,911.00

86,328.80

Bláth na Mara Teoranta - Aran Islands Seaweed

eCommerce development for new retail product line and tourism & education aspect

50%

20,992.00

10,496.00

M O Malley Shellfish

Upgrade access to and renovate existing grading shed and holding tanks

40%

29,224.00

11,689.60

Comharchumann Forbartha Árann Teoranta

Sales & Marketing & Branding Campaign for Bia Farraige Arann  - Seaweed Processing

80%

35,000.00

28,000.00

Killary Fjord Shellfish Ltd

Hard-framed weather proof long gazebo

50%

9,500.00

4,750.00

Comharchumann Forbartha Árann Teoranta

Up grading of seaweed processing facility

80%

63,000.00

50,400.00

         
   

Total

€270,577.00

€194,139.40

 

FLAG SouthEast

Applicant

Project Title

Support Rate

Total Cost

Grant Aid

Helen Blake Community Group

Preparation, Development and Marketing of Helen Blake Replica Lifeboat as a Major Tourist Attraction

80%

87,141.19

69,712.95

Rathangan Senior Citizens Housing Association CLG

McCall's Community Centre

80%

70,060.00

56,048.00

Waterford Institute of Technology (on behalf of the Creaden Project Steering Group).

Creaden Project

80%

72,399.10

57,919.28

Greystones Sailing Club

Junior and Adult sail training programme

80%

9,900.00

7,920.00

Ray McGrath

Gaultier Heritage Rambles book.   The book is entitled Heritage Rambles in Gaultier, Waterford's Maritime Barony

50%

6,925.00

3,462.50

Queen of Peace Adventure Youth Club

Upgrading/replacement of old canoes

80%

5,238.00

4,190.40

6th Wexford (Tuskar) Sea Scouts

Provision of Sea Scout Pontoon in Small Boat Safe, Rosslare Hbr

80%

7,767.83

6,214.26

Tintern Trails Committee

To purchase and install a suitable external sign at the entrance to Tintern site.

80%

4,867.00

3,893.60

Cheekpoint Development Group

Cheekpoint Lower Harbour Wall Painting

80%

9,380.00

7,504.00

         
   

Total

273,678.12

216,865.00

Published in News Update
Tagged under

The International Mirror Sailing Association Ireland (IMCAI) has announced that Sligo Yacht Club will host the Mirror World Championships in 2021.

The Rosses Point club will welcome the world’s top Mirror dinghy talent from 16-22 August 2021, preceded by the Irish Nationals from 13-15 August that year.

Sligo Yacht Club, which will also celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2021, previously hosted the Mirror Worlds in 1987. More recently it was the venue for the Mirror Europeans in 2010, and regularly hosts regional championships.

Further details are expected to emerge over the next few months.

Published in Mirror

There were weekend tributes to J24 Class supremo Flor O'Driscoll who stood down as Class President to great acclaim and a standing ovation at Saturday evening's dinner not only for his service to the fleet but also his continuing success afloat, that has included national titles as well as Dun Laoghaire Regatta Boat of the Week in 2007. As an appropriate send–off, the weekend National Championship at Sligo Yacht Club fielded one of the big Irish fleets for some time.

Lough Erne Yacht Club's JP McCaldin emerged overall winner after a blustery three-day regatta.

The Northern Ireland victory follows a similar outcome at the J24 Western Championships in May on the Shannon Estuary at Foynes Yacht Club.

Sailing against a 26–strong fleet - a record turnout for recent times - plus a match-race challenge from runner-up Stefan Hyde, McCaldin scored all first and second places for the eight race series.

His principal challenger was almost as consistent with four wins as well but the Royal Cork skipper also had to count a fourth and a third to admit defeat by just three points.

The duelling leaders were followed by a closely bunched pack led by Sligo yachtsman Martin Reilly on Crazy Horse who comfortably secured third place going into the final thanks to a consistent run ofmostly top five results.

Howth Yacht Club Race Officer Derek Bothwell returned to Sligo with the J24's once more and delivered the series in challenging weather, particularly for the first two days that saw strong winds whip big seas that provided thrilling surfing conditions for the fleet.

Published in J24
Tagged under

Tomorrow's All Ireland Junior sailing championships looks like it will get off to a wet and windy start for the 16–nominated junior sailing stars drawn from seven yacht clubs from around the country.

The Under–18 championships is scheduled to race over two days in West Cork's own TR3.6 two handed dinghies but the weather forecast for the Schull venue shows winds topping 40–knots for Saturday and the same again on Sunday.  

xc weatherXC weather forecaster shows big winds in Schull, West Cork tomorrow

In a show of strength for Dublin's Royal St. George Yacht Club more than a third of the participants are drawn from the Dun Laoghaire club. RStGYC juniors are representing the RS200 (Toby Hudson Fowler), the RS Feva (Henry Start), Laser 4.7 (Peter Fagan), Optimist (Tom Higgins), Topper (Jack Fahy) and Kate Lyttle from the 420 class.

Tom HigginsMulti–champion in the Optimist class, Tom Higgins from the Royal St. George, is nominated for this weekend's All Ireland Juniors  in Schull

Royal Cork Yacht Club is the next biggest club on the water in Schull with four sailors involved. 29er skipper Harry Durcan and twin Johnny representing 29er and Laser Radials respectively. Harry Twomey represents the Optimist class and Sophie Crosby sails for the Toppers. 

The National Yacht Club's Clare Gorman represents the Laser 4.7 and will defend the girls title and the NYC's Leah Rickard sails for the Optimists.

TR3.6 dinghiesSchull's own TR3.6 dinghies ready for the junior all Ireland sailors. Photo: Fastnet Marine

The West coast is represented by three clubs.Topaz sailors Adam Byrne and Dylan Reidy representing Dingle SC and Foynes YC respectively and Sligo Yacht Club sends Mirror ace Sarah White.

The 420 class is represented by Geoff Power of Waterford Harbour Sailing Club

Full nominee list below

ClassNameSurnameClub
RS200 Junior Toby Hudson Fowler Royal StGeorge YC
RS Feva Henry Start Royal St George YC
Mirror Sarah White Sligo YC
Laser 4.7 Clare Gorman NYC
Laser 4.7 Peter Fagan Royal St George YC
Laser Radial Johnny Durcan RCYC/NYC
Topaz Adam Byrne Dingle SC
Topaz Dylan Reidy Foynes YC
Topper Jack Fahy RSTGYC
Topper Sophie Crosby RCYC
420 Geoff Power WHSC
420 Kate Lyttle RStGYC
OPTIMIST Tom Higgins RSGYC
OPTIMIST Harry Twomey RCYC&CHSC
OPTIMIST Leah Rickard NYC
29er Harry Durcan RCYC
Published in Youth Sailing

The Irish RS400 fleet took its first foray into the North West last weekend, dipping their toes, and in many cases their heads, in the strangely mild waters of Sligo Bay. Sligo Yacht Club, under the watchful eye of Mick Spain, welcomed the fleet for the first time, and despite the drizzly conditions, ran a superb event in what must be one of the best race areas in the country. Download results below.
In the absence of Alex Barry, Gareth Flannigan and Dave Fletcher in 1259 from Ballyholme were rather dominant, with only John Downey and Sandy Rimmington in 522 from Monkstown able to properly put them under pressure. Welcome too to Conor Clancy, who was giving it a first rattle in the fleet gypsy, Pinkie, brought up from Belfast for them to use.
Winds started lightish on Saturday, and Race Officer Robin Gray, who now knows the fleet well enough to get the Black Lady out rather quickly, managed to get three good three lap races off, and still got us back ashore to catch the Northern Ireland Wales match – strong work Robin. Matters were largely uneventful for the 18 tubs, with much place changing and congested mark rounding, and most folk seemed happy to save their more eccentric manoeuvres for the windy forecast on Sunday.

Gareth Flannigan Dave Fletcher

Winners Gareth Flannigan and Dave Fletcher from Ballyholme

After a very boisterous Saturday evening, which spilled into Austies pub in the next street, the locals being no doubt delighted to be serenaded by the RS400 choir in full voice, singing such classics as Eric Cantona’s “Will Grigg’s on fire”, a foggy looking fleet dragged themselves into their wet coldsuits, and drifted out onto the river to pay the penalty that they had earned the night before. As the winds topped out at a fruity 18 knots, Red Cards were handed out to Brian Holmes, Trevor Darcy, and in the last race, John Downey, with repair bills, and Liam Donnelly, Robbie O’Sullivan, Michael Ferguson, Dave Cheyne and Owen Laverty, with swimming lessons, generally at the wrong point in the race. In fact with the frequent kite trawling at the top mark (well, we haven’t raced in more than 3 knots of wind all year so far it feels, so a bit out of practice), matters were rather less professional looking than the previous day.
After a few cracks at starting under black, the viz went poor, and Robin Gray wisely declared a generalised drag race back to the slip, with kites popped and a full foam up back to the slip (needless to say all arriving at the same time, doh!) and some wave jumping in the standing waves at the river entrance. 
So Gareth and Dave continue to rise, and it looks like the Nationals will be a hard battle with Alex, and plenty snapping at their heels, with in particular Dave Rose and Ian Hef finally starting to get their act together, and John Downey going ever quicker. Next is off the Inlands at Lough Ree in July.

Published in RS Sailing
Tagged under

A Howth Yacht Club J24 team won last weekend's Northern championships at Sligo YC with a race to spare. The K25 team beat JP McCaldin's Jamais Encore from Lough Erne Yacht Club for the top slot in a 19–boat fleet. Flor O'Driscoll's HArd on Port from the Royal St. George YC was third. Results are downloadable below. 

Currently, the winning K25 team are in Poole in Dorset, a major J24 centre and are aiming to defend their ICRA title on home waters next month.

Published in J24

Lough Ree Yacht Club's Caoilin Croasdell & Alexander Farrel were the Overall and Gold Fleet Winners of the Mirror dinghy Western Championships at Sligo Yacht Club at the weekend.

Second place went to Oisin MacAllister & Rory MacAllister of Royal Cork Yacht Club. Silver Winners were Oscar Langan of Sutton Dinghy Club & Lughaidh Croasdell of Lough Ree Yacht Club.

Other placings

2016 Silver 2nd place Michael Broaders and Cian Lynch-Kealy of Sligo Yacht Club

2016 Silver 3rd place Sarah White and Eoghan Duffy of Sligo Yacht Club
2016 Bronze Winner Matthew White of Sligo Yacht Club and Niall MacAllister
2016 Bronze 2nd place Patrick Whyte and Jack Hayes of Mullingar Sailing Club GP14 & Mirror
2016 Bronze 3rd place Jack Curren and Ellen Curren of Sligo Yacht Club

Published in Mirror
Tagged under

#irishsailing – Ireland's national sailing authority has been going through turbulent times in recent years. With unprecedented expansion of ISA staff numbers as the country revelled in the boom years of the Celtic Tiger, the arrival of the inevitable and abrupt financial downturn found an Association bloated, unfit to cope, and out of touch with ordinary sailors.

High profile events, top level training and international participation had become so dominant in the ISA's range of activities that many of the ordinary sailors of Ireland already felt the Association was no longer relevant to their own low key personal pursuit of friendly sport afloat.

When the crash came, it led to a marked decrease in active sailing numbers as disposable incomes fell away. People focused on keeping their jobs and businesses afloat rather than their boats sailing, while many promising young sailors were forced to emigrate.

This new reality was reflected by the growing disillusion of club officers, who saw their membership subscriptions decreasing even while the ISA – which is largely reliant on subvention from the clubs for its own income – seemed always to be looking for more money. And at the height of the boom years, when all the major clubs had put through significant expenditure in developing their facilities to international standards, the ISA had shown its lack of contact with the reality of club life by proposing its own stand-alone National Sailing Centre in Galway, a facility which would in effect have been run in rivalry to the main clubs. To the mutterings in the grass roots were added the rumblings from above as major clubs threatened to withhold their annual payment to the ISA unless real reform was initiated. W M Nixon takes up the story.

In a classic grass roots revolution, club sailors Norman Lee from Greystones in County Wicklow and Bryan Armstrong from Sligo were at first rebuffed when they tried to voice their concerns about the ISA's increasing irrelevance to the needs of the vast majority of sailing enthusiasts, people at local level who were doing their very best to keep the sport alive through torrid times.

The Irish sailing community now owes these two men and their supporters a debt of gratitude, for they believed in what they were saying and they refused to be turned aside. Eventually, in November 2013 moves were in place to establish a Review Group for the urgent analysis of all ISA activities, and its personnel drew comprehensively on Ireland's remarkable pool of people with hands-on experience of running successful sailing events and organisations.

It was chaired by Brian Craig of Dun Laoghaire who has headed up the organising team on more major and notably successful international sailing events in Dublin Bay than probably anyone else, and its able personnel included two former ISA Presidents - Roger Bannon of Dun Laoghaire and Neil Murphy of Malahide and Howth - who had both been noted for their skill in running a tight ship when they were in charge. With them was highly regarded International Race Officer Jack Roy of Dun Laoghaire, and renowned sailmaker/activist Des McWilliam of Crosshaven, who each year is inevitably seen in busy involvement afloat in more Irish sailing centres - large and small - than anyone else in the boat world.

new_is2.jpg

Bryan Amstrong of Sligo on the helm for a Mirror race

Also on board was one of the men from the barricades, Bryan Armstrong of Sligo. His background in a relatively remotely-located club which nevertheless has a long and distinguished sailing history made him uniquely qualified to voice the concerns of the grass roots. And we have to remember that all these people were giving voluntarily and generously of their time to this project in a period when Irish life was largely a matter of just getting through each day, while staying economically afloat was something of an achievement.

Primarily, the Review Group's function was to analyse the Association work on behalf of ordinary club sailors, as it was agreed that the Olympic and High Performance Divisions of the ISA's activities – which receive direct Sports Council grants – were in effect functioning as a different entity.

The Strategic Review Group was still work in progress when the ISA acquired a new President in David Lovegrove in March 2014, but by August the SRG published proposals which led to the setting up of a more formal body, the Planning Group. If this seems like a case of kicking the can down the road, it was anything but - these were people in a hurry, they'd got through the first stage of analysing areas where action was required, now they had to be more structured in coming up with clearcut ideas and concrete proposals.

This new Planning Group, which went into action in early Autumn 2014, was chaired by Neil Murphy, and its members included ISA President David Lovegrove, ISA Board Member Brian Craig, Ruth Ennis, Peter Redden, Sean Craig, and ISA CEO Harry Hermon, with noted Dun Laoghaire events administrator Ciara Dowling to provide administrative support.

They had their draft plan ready by mid-December 2014, and on January 21st 2015 Neil Murphy and his group publicly unveiled their analysis and proposals for the first time at a well-attended and very representative meeting in the Royal St George YC in Dun Laoghaire.

is3.jpgNeil Murphy is a former ISA President who, in addition to extensive experience as a Race Officer, is a typical club sailor, racing a Puppeteer 22 out of Howth. Photo: W M Nixon

While those involved in setting the ISA on a healthier course are mostly working on a voluntary basis, it has to be said that the PowerPoint presentation and the printed material was of the highest professional class. In fact, it was much better than many professional shows I've been to, and the level of thought which went into a wide range of questions from the floor answered by Neil Murphy, Brian Craig and David Lovegrove generated a growing level of goodwill which concluded with Norman Lee voicing his congratulations and good wishes for this continuing process in which he and Bryan Armstrong had played such a key role.

So now we move on to the next stage – taking the ideas to the rest of the country. Doubtless you'll have noted the double meaning in titling this piece 'Just Who Do The ISA Think They Are?' In a first interpretation, that question is the one for which, let's hope, we are all now involved in working together in providing and implementing a satisfactory answer.

But equally, as the ISA Road Show gets out of Dublin to take this excellent presentation to a public meeting in Cork next week (it's in the Rochestown Park Hotel on Tuesday, Feb 17th, 7.0 pm to 9.0 pm) and then Galway the week after (Galway Bay Sailing Club, Tuesday 24th February 7.0 pm to 9.0pm), they'll be taking themselves into areas where experience of sailing administration long pre-dates the establishment of organised sailing on Dublin Bay.

is4_1.jpgCrosshaven in the summer time. When we look at the natural advantages to be found here, it's little wonder that structured recreational sailing on Cork Harbour long-pre-dated any organised sport on Dublin Bay. Photo: Robert Bateman

So you might well ask just just who do they think they are, these people from Dublin, going down to Cork to try to tell them how sailing should be organised? The nerve of them, doing it in a place where they've had organised sailing since 1720, and where the two biggest clubs – the Royal Cork and Kinsale – are both mighty establishments of international sailing repute which would remain so even were the ISA to disappear overnight in a puff of smoke...

And as for going west along the road to Galway, that will take them through Athlone where the Lough Ree Yacht Club dates back to 1770, while on the west coast the Royal Western of Ireland YC at Kilrush traces its origins back to 1828. Equally, further north along the Atlantic coast Sligo YC dates back to 1821, and in Lough Erne the club began in 1820. Yet the first club on Dublin Bay, the Royal Irish, only began as recently as 1831, and even then it barely hung in and had to be revived in 1846, with the pace being set in the meantime by the Royal St George YC, founded 1838.

is5_1.jpg
Kinsale is another harbour which seems to have been designed with sailing primarily in mind. Photo: Kevin Dwyer/courtesy ICC

is6_1.jpg
Kilrush on the Shannon Estuary had a club in being before there were any sailing institutions on Dublin Bay. Photo: W M Nixon

So in terms of sailing administration history, Dublin and Dun Laoghaire are only Johnny-come-lately places by comparison with just about everywhere else in Ireland. Yet thanks to the inevitable dominance of economic development, population growth and the strengthening centres of political power, we now find that sailing administration and decisions of national import are emanating from a place that, in terms of natural sailing advantages, lags far behind the rest of the country.

Oh for sure, Dun Laoghaire Harbour is a fabulous artificial amenity, and the advent of the new marina at Greystones has already been seized upon as greatly increasing the "cruising" options of Dublin Bay. But let's face it, Dublin Bay is really only good for racing, specific day sailing and training, whereas Cork Harbour and Kinsale provide such a variety of opportunities for interesting race courses, mini-cruises with multiple destinations and what have you, that in effect they're not just in a different part of the country – they're a different country altogether.

is7.jpg
Dun Laoghaire is a totally artificial facility, and sailing options on Dublin Bay are limited. But it's inescapable that this is the primary point of leisure access to the sea for Ireland's largest and most affluent population. Photo: Kevin Dwyer/courtesy ICC

All of which adds to the difficulties of creating a meaningful national authority with which every sailing person can identify.
This business of Dublin v The Rest is not unique to sailing, of course, but when you have a specialist sport with multiple sub-branches of activity, the problem is exacerbated.

So please bear this in mind if you take yourself along to the meetings in Cork or Galway during the next ten days. This really is a genuine attempt to base the ISA within the sailing community at an everyday level of usefulness to all, with scope for growth while enhancing existing structures, and input from the sailing community at this stage will help in developing the ideas and initiatives proposed.

While the draft ISA Strategic Plan 2015-2020 very definitely puts the emphasis back on to the need for healthy well-run clubs as the basis for the sport, there was initially a feeling at the meeting on January 21st that the new-look ISA is not supportive of commercial sailing schools. In fact, what the new-look ISA hopes to do is encourage training schemes within clubs, while at the same time supporting commercial sailing schools where the demand is such that no club could realistically cope while maintaining its essential club ethos.

Going into this in more detail in a personal meeting this week with Neil Murphy, who is a Chartered Quantity Surveyor, we talked around the fact that a thriving club scene is central to the spirit of Irish sailing, and he was musing on the success of Sutton Dinghy Club where Hugh Gill heads up what is in effect a commercial sailing school within a club setting.

In fact, what Murphy would hope to see emerge at larger population centres is sailing's equivalent of the public golf course. Anyone who has used a public golf course will be aware that the proprietors are usually mustard keen to encourage the formation of a "club" within their customer base, and there is no reason why this shouldn't eventually take root in Irish sailing, providing access to sailing at a fraction of the cost of joining an established club.

It's not something which can realistically be objected to by established clubs trying to protect their own membership, as the people who would use a "public sailing club" would be those who simply couldn't afford to go sailing at all in the current traditional club setup.

Nevertheless support for the established club setup is central to the new Strategic Plan, and the provision of Regional Development Officers to serve clubs directly is very much to the fore in the new thinking. But in looking over the figures published with the report, it's good to note that the ISA works with no less than 80 recognised training centres, while an encouraging statistic is that there are now 24 secondary schools in Ireland which include sailing as a regular part of their curriculum. Admittedly it's a long way from the French setup where every schoolkid is entitled by law to one week of sailing and one week of skiing per year, but in a country where an aversion to being on the water used to be thought inevitable, it's a step in the right direction.

All these considerations of inexpensive sailing are a whole world away from the stories of recent weeks and days about the ISA's High Performance Division seeking a fund-raising executive who will be tasked with finding €2.75 million per annum through philanthropic and other donations in order to help the funding of top level campaigns which we're not allowed to call Olympic campaigns, as apparently that is copyrighted by the Olympic Council, so we call them High Performance instead.

But apparently Government departments aren't restricted by this limitation on the use of the word Olympic, for it was bandied about like nobody's business in this week's news that the government is spending mightily through the Sports Council, with sailing being number three in all Ireland in terms of current Sports Council funding, with a total tag of €1,289,900.

Of course it's not all for specifically Olympic sailing, but it covers 103 sailors from Optimists to the Olympics. Which is fine and dandy for those who are mad keen to race at the highest level, but most sailors in Ireland are much more interested in performing well within their chosen area and boat class, but with sailing being just part of a reasonably civilised and well-balanced life.

And as became evident at the meeting on January 21st, there's an increasing number of people who feel that sailing needs to realise that there's a sizeable population out there of folk who'd like to go sailing, but don't feel the almost religious vocation to own a boat.

With the rapid expansion of sunshine sailing holidays with boats and equipment readily available for hire at the destination, there's a strong feeling there's a real need for more of this in Ireland, even if we can't guarantee the sunshine. The suggestion brings us back to both the "public sailing club" concept, and the growing realisation by established clubs that they have to reach out to potential members by having boats available for sailing on a trial basis.

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The Affordable Sailing Team – Norman Lee (right) with his brother Ken beside their campervan at last year's GP 14 Worlds at East Down YC on Strangford Lough. Photo: W M Nixon

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With their own very high can-do standards of boat maintenance, Norman and Ken Lee can keep their GP 14 in the competitive frame. Photo: W M Nixon

That said, the need to own one's own boat and tune and tinker with her to your heart's content is what sailing is all about for many of us, and Norman Lee is a classic case in point for this approach. He claims that his sailing costs him just €600 per year, though that of course is after he has paid for his well-tuned GP14, and he has long since written off the cost of the vintage camper-van which is home to the Lee Equipe when they hit the campaign trail.

Nevertheless the entire setup has to be outstandingly good value, and doing it in such economical style is part of the fun of it all. So when someone with Norman Lee's approach to sailing is prepared to get up at the big ISA public meeting in Dun Laoghaire and congratulate the team who have been working on the reforms which he and Bryan Armstrong set in train, then that is approval of a high order.

And as for just who or what is the ISA, can we maybe agree that ideally we all are the ISA, every last one of us who goes sailing or is even just interested in the sport, and it's up to us to keep it in line and encourage it to identify with and serve the ordinary sailor every bit as much as the high-flyer.

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Private pleasure.....the 2014 GP 14 Worlds at East Down YC is about as high as many Irish sailors would expect or want to aim, and many are content with much lower-key regular club sailing. Photo: W M Nixon

Published in W M Nixon

#mirror – The 2014 Mirror National Championships were held at a resplendent Sligo Yacht Club from August 7th to 10th. Twenty three Mirror Class Dinghies gathered for what proved to be an action packed four days of sailing on the enchanting waters of Sligo Bay.

The fleet faced very tricky sailing conditions over the four days in relatively light and shifty winds, not the norm for Sligo Bay. Conditions notwithstanding, the event was a major success with not a single general recall throughout the four days. A big thank you to all the competitors and families that made the trip to Sligo.
Shane Mcloughlin and his crew Oscar Langan from Sutton Dinghy Club mastered the conditions best, demonstrating some excellent sailing skills to take overall honours. Fast improving locals, Samuel and Imogen Wray took the honours in the silver fleet while Muiris Fitzgerald and Ellen O' Dwyer, also local, topped the bronze fleet.
Ten races were held over the four days. Forty six eager sailors set out on Thursday to do battle in hellishly tricky winds. One could not but have sympathy for OD Brendan Brogan as winds varied over 90 degrees, playing havoc with course laying. In the end, patience proved a virtue and Lough Ree's Tiernan Dickson took the first race with Shane Mc Loughlin and Jack Maye filling second and third spots. Lough Ree Yacht Club was again to the fore in the second race as the rapidly improving pair, Caolan Crossdell and Schull Harbour's very own Oisin MacAllister took line honours in a tight finish from Tiarnan Dickson and Alex Leech, in what was surely the performance of the weekend.
Day two was again frustrating for sailors as the shifting winds caused quite a few delays. Some sailors learned the hard way about the strong tides in Sligo Bay, while racing in the calm conditions. Shane McLoughlin from Sutton Dinghy Club turned the heat up, winning two races and finishing second in the last race to claim the overnight lead. Sligo's Beth Armstrong took the honours in the last race shooting right into contention behind Shane Mc Loughlin and the ever consistent Tiarnan Dickson. The two Jack's, Maye and Ryan kept their hopes up with a second place each.
Day three brought more shifty wind conditions to challenge the fleet. It was Tiarnan Dickson's turn to pile on the pressure with two wins and a third place finish. Ominously though, Shane Mcloughlin had two seconds and a win. The gap between the pair was just two points entering the final day. Beth Armstrong put in a very consistent shift and went into the last day right in contention should there be any slip ups.
Day four saw somewhat more consistent winds during which the final two races were sailed. Shane Mc Loughlin took the first from Beth Armstrong with Jack Maye in third. The final race turned into a local duel between cousins Beth Armstrong and Jack Maye, Jack taking an extended lead before Beth came through to take line honours and bring the shutters down on a thoroughly enjoyable 2014 National Championship.
And so it was, a splendid four days for the Mirror fleet soaked in the famous hospitality of Sligo Yacht Club. Those lucky enough to be present were reminded of the glory days of Irish sailing. Mingling with sailors, parents and club members, it was easy to understand how the Mirror Class has contributed so much to so many in Irish sailing down through the years.
Results:
Gold Fleet:-
1] Shane Mc Loughlin / Oscar Langan 12 points Sutton Dinghy Club [SDC]
2] Tiarnan Dickson / Alex Leech 18 points [LRYC]
3] Beth Armstrong / Dylan Shaw 20 points [SYC]
Silver Fleet:-
1] Samuel Wray / Imogen Wray [SYC]
2] Helen Smith / Noah Canham [SYC]
3] Rory Mc Allister / Lughaidh Croasdell [Schull Harbour & LRYC]
Bronze:-
I] Muiris Fitzgerald / Ellen O' Dwyer [SYC]
2] Sarah White / Matthew White [SYC]
3] Hannah Raftery / Ben Kelly [SYC]

Published in Mirror

#gp14 – With the upcoming GP14 World Championships in August, this year's Irish Nationals was shortened to a two day event and held under the burgee of Sligo Yacht Club. A fleet of 41 boats (including 12 boats from the host club) set up camp at Rosses point, just north of Sligo to compete for the 2014 GP14 Championship of Ireland. Despite light & variable conditions, the weekend didn't disappoint and with some masterful sailing, Olympian Ger Owens sailing with Melanie Morris retained the GP14 Championship title they won in Sutton last year.

OD, Gus Henry, took his fleet of rescue and mark boats out on the water early on Saturday despite a forecast of low winds. The fleet were initially held ashore but after a short 30 minute postponement due to the fickle wind, were told to take to the water. Stephen Boyle was unable to make this event but it was great to see crew Eanna Lawless take over the helm of his boat and with Sinead Dickson crewing they had the bragging rights of being first boat to the first weather mark in race 1. However as the wind continued to veer and the first reach turned into run the race officer made the decision to call the fleet back and restart the race.

This time it was Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken who led at the first mark followed by Curly Morris & Laura McFarland. On the second upwind however, places changed with Ger & Melanie taking the lead which they held for the rest of the race. Second were Tim Corcoran & Brendan Brogan who up to now had been taking a year's sabbatical but showed that this hadn't affected any of their boatspeed. Third place went to recent Ulster champions Alan Blay & David Johnston.

Race 2: With the fleet starting under the black flag, there were a number of recalls and subsequent casualties. It seems a combination of over enthusiasm and strong tidal current caught out many crews. After 2 general recalls there were 10 who were deemed to be over and had to sit out and watch the race which eventually got away at the 3rd attempt. Local sailors Damian Mullen & Sam Wray seemed to benefit from the ebbing tide on the left hand side of the beat and came in to the first mark with a big lead. Ultimately they were overhauled by both Ger & Melanie and Sligo pairing Paddy O'Connor & Colm O' Flaherty.

Race 3: Race 3 saw the breeze again move to the west but gain in strength and become more constant. The OD decided to move the course more out to sea. Another black flag start and two more victims included the pairing of Paddy & Colm who were leading at the windward mark before being hauled out of the race. This left Tim & Brendan to take over the lead and they sailed a great race to take the win from Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty.

So after day 1 with three races completed the overnight leaders were Ger & Melanie followed by Alan Blay & David Johnston and John & Donal McGuinness in third. The silver fleet was led by Cathal Sheridan, with Ronan Armstrong leading the bronze fleet.

On Sunday morning the fleet launched to what initially looked like more breeze but which subsequently started to ease off again. Race 4 saw the fleet split upwind, hitting both the left and right corners of the beat. Ultimately boats that went right benefitted hugely from more pressure and a right hand shift. Local sailors Niall & Ossian led at the first mark and were never challenged. They were followed home by Coleman Grimes & David Lapin and Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken.

Race 5 was a close fought race between the lead boats of Ger & Melanie, Tim & Brendan, and Alan & David, and this is the order they finished in. The race win cemented the stranglehold that Ger & Melanie had on the event, as they showed great skill and speed in the prevalent light winds of the weekend.

Race 6 a further wind shift led to yet another resetting of the course for the final race of the event. At which point some crews decided they had had enough of the pernickety winds off Rosses Point and headed ashore. Of the remaining fleet, first around the weather mark was Norman & Ken Lee, who had a good lead over the event leaders Ger & Melanie. Norman was even able to extend his lead over the first two laps. On the upwind leg of the sausage, there was another wind shift which Ger & Melanie made the better use of to emerge around the weather mark in first place, which was maintained to the end of the race. Norman & Ken finished the race in second place with Shane & Damian crossing the line in third. The wind then died completely leaving about half the fleet stranded on the run. The SIs allowed for all to be given their position at the weather mark as their finishing position rather than a DNF. The majority of the fleet having been towed ashore due to the wind dropping anxiously awaited the results of the event although there were to be no surprises as to the overall winner!

After the numbers were crunched the 2014 GP14 Champions of Ireland were Ger Owens & Melanie Morris with a points total of 7. In second place was local sailor and rear-commodore Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty who beat Shane McCarthy & Damian Bracken by virtue of their win in race 4.

Winner of the silver fleet was Katie Dwyer & Michelle Rowley of Sutton Dinghy Club sailing in their first event together and finishing a very impressive 10th overall. Winner of the bronze fleet was Simon Jeffery crewed by Rebecca Jeffery of East Down Yacht Club.

Winner of the Championship Junior Helm (u19) was Dan Gill from Sutton Sailing club.

At the prize giving Ger Owens said a few words on behalf of the sailors highlighting that all three GP14 events this year have been won by different crews and that with excellent turnouts, the fleet is in good health and should be confident of doing well in a couple of weeks at the World Championships in East Down YC

GP14 Overall Results:

1. Ger Owens & Melanie Morris (7 points)
2. Niall Henry & Ossian Geraghty (25 points)
3. Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken (25 points)
4. Alan Blay & David Johnston (30 points)
5. Dan & Mairin O'Connell (36 points)
6. Tim Corcoran & Brendan Brogan (38 points)
7. John McGuinness & Donal McGuinness (38 points)
8. Paddy O'Connor & Colm O'Flaherty (39 points)
9. Alastair Duffin & Brendan McGrenaghan (44 points)
10. Katie Dwyer & Michelle Rowley (48 points)

Published in GP14
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