Boyd resigns as chief executive of ISA


Sailing:  In a pre-Christmas announcement that will shock Irish sailing administrators Paddy Boyd (49), stepped down as chief executive of the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) last night after a tenure of 16 years. But he will continue as its secretary general until the association's a.g.m. next April.

Yesterday evening Boyd and ISA president John Crebbin moved to separate the resignation from the current wrangle the ISA faces over the management of its Olympic sailing affairs.

"It was never going to be a good time for me to leave but I have a new challenge waiting for me and it was important to give the association as much notice as possible. I will be staying with the ISA in my capacity as secretary general until its a.g.m. in April in any event" Boyd told The Irish Times.

In the past month Athens team members have revolted over moves to carry out changes in Irish Olympic sailing structures and a potentially damaging report into the Athens performance by Wharton Consulting remains to be published. "These are the normal ups and downs of any sports management and Paddy's departure is totally unconnected. We wish him the very best for the future," Crebbin said.

The 16-year tenure has come to a halt after a period of considerable growth. Boyd, who has served under six different volunteer presidents, is credited as the mastermind behind the "professionalisation" of Irish sailing, which has more than tripled the size of the administration.

He joined the then Irish Yachting Association in 1988, as its first full-time training and development officer and as part of the body's sail training policy under IYA president Paddy O'Neill. He became its secretary general within two years. Starting with a staff of three, a membership of 4,000 and a turnover of less than €100,000 in 1988, the 2003/'04 accounts now show a turnover of €1.5 million and a full-time staff of 11.

The ISA was one of the first sports to begin operating under a published strategic plan which is now in its second phase. The association is set to grow further in 2005 and new appointments as well as a significant sponsorship package will be announced next January.

"Quite apart from replacing Paddy as quickly as possible the management team will be strengthened in the very near future with an Olympic coach and also a marketing a communications manager," Crebbin said.

Last night in Dún Laoghaire ISA staff admitted the news had come "out of the blue". They had been briefed on a confidential basis with an official announcement planned for tomorrow, but the news was rushed on to the association website last night as the announcement leaked.

A master mariner by profession, Boyd had previously worked as chief officer on the sail training vessel Asgard II and joined the IYA after the completion of the Irish Maxi yacht NCB Ireland where he was a member of the construction team.

Within two years of joining the association he oversaw, with treasurer Roger Bannon, the implementation of an innovative joint membership scheme (JMS), a blueprint that automatically made every member of a yacht club a member of the ISA. It was a scheme that boosted membership of the national authority to over 22,000 almost overnight.

In 2001 he acted as election agent for sailing's unsuccessful candidature of Richard Burrows in the Olympic Council of Ireland's presidential elections.

It was an episode that was clearly an unsuccessful move for sailing and further soured the poor relationship between Boyd and Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey.

Boyd is also founder member and current president of the Federation of Irish Sports (FIS).

In his various positions with the ISA, he has represented the interests of the Irish Sailing Community at the Department of the Marine (specifically as a member of the Irish Coastguard Marine Search and Rescue Committee and the Irish Coastguard Marine Safety Working Group), the Commissioners of Irish Lights and the European Boating Association.

In November, 2002, his role in Irish Maritime Safety was recognised by the International Life Saving Federation. Boyd attended the Atlanta and Sydney Olympics in a managerial role and was also the manager of the 1989 Irish Admiralís Cup Team.