Irish Sailing Association hope new tack will bring calmer waters

Proposals see governing body taking fresh approach to better serve clubs and sailors

Alex Thomson, skipper of Hugo Boss, dismasted off Brazil.

Alex Thomson, skipper of Hugo Boss, dismasted off Brazil.

 

Two years after a putsch against the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) a new five-year strategic plan has put the association on a new tack. It comes at a time when Ireland’s 100 yacht clubs are seeking a much needed lift.

If nothing else the blueprint serves as written confirmation the ISA no longer sees itself purely in a “national governing body” role but in the same boat as the clubs and classes it was set up to serve.

The plan is based on the views that were put to a “Strategic Review Group” in 2013 that assessed how the association needed to adjust to better serve the sport.

Underlying principle

Neil Murphy

It’s still just a plan on paper – not yet on water – and for this master plan to work it must first get the buy-in of a 17,000-plus strong sailing community, spread across a network of clubs on lakes, rivers and around the coast.

It’s a major step forward on previous strategic plans but Murphy warns “it can only work if there is a joint commitment between the clubs and the association”.

That should be easier to achieve now some former ISA ambitions have been thrown overboard but clubs will nevertheless be justified in asking if the new plan is just a consolidation of much of the work that the ISA say they currently do.

Next week, the ISA lays out its stall at a series of regional meetings, the first of which is in Dun Laoghaire at the Royal St George Yacht Club on Wednesday. Other meetings are scheduled for Cork and Galway. The aim is to adopt the plan at the agm in March.

Murphy says: “There will be a renewed emphasis on utilising the input of volunteers to harness the skills and knowledge of active sailors so that the ISA can evolve.”

The association lost a quarter of its members in the recession and key yacht clubs are still in choppy financial waters.

A massive fall off of junior sailors also presented an inconvenient truth that problems lay not with the children but with the paucity of guidance for newcomers.

The over elaborate structure of ISA training courses and the difficulties of qualifying, retaining and upskilling instructors was a widespread complaint when the ISA’s Review Group conducted their research. Strategies to resolve those problems are proposed in the plan.

Avoidance of clashes

Only this week Royal Cork announced a new 2015 “dinghy fest” regatta, a major small-boat fixture on the south coast for August 20th. A date that clashes with the east coast’s Laser National Championships off Dun Laoghaire.

In offshore news, a one-time massive 60-mile lead is no consolation to Alex Thomson and Pepe Ribes, joint-skippers of the IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss that was leading the non-stop Barcelona World Race until a dismasting on Wednesday evening. Two weeks into the race, the yacht was reaching in moderate conditions when it suffered rig failure.

Now clearly out of the race, the British-Spanish pairing are headed for nearest landfall that is likely to be Salvador de Bahia in Brazil, a significant distance from the boat’s current position.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.