Results for 2001
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Irish Sailing Association August 2002
Achievements and Challenges
Developing Our Sport
Improving Racing Standards
The standard of racing at club, regional and national level has improved significantly in recent years. We need to identify how we can further build on developments, particularly in areas relating to race management and handicapping as well as the recruitment and training of race officials and judges.
The improvements in our high performance strategies and support mechanisms, enabled our talented sailors to have a realistic chance of Olympic medals in Sydney. We need to harness the experiences to further develop the academy for talented young sailors, and use it to improve our chances in future games.
The ISA has evolved from a background of promoting racing. There is evidence of increasing demand nationally for the development of recreational boating. Increasing numbers of Irish sailors are travelling abroad to participate in sailing activities. The bureaucracy associated with such travel is quite complex, and varying in consistency even within the same jurisdiction. How shall we respond to this demand and harness it for the betterment of our sport?
High quality, relevant and accessible training courses play a vital role in introducing newcomers to the sport and developing skills and safety awareness in more experienced boaters. Can more ways be found to further support the affiliated course providers, whether they are clubs or commercial schools?
School and University Sailing
There is no doubt that youngsters represent the future of sailing. We must consider further how we can attract more youngsters into the sport through schools and 3rd Level educational establishments. How can this be best delivered?
Dinghy Sailing has in the past, not only been enjoyed by many, but also the nursery for our most successful sailors. There is however evidence that participation in adult dinghy sailing has gone into serious decline at club level. This is an issue that needs to be addressed urgently.
Welcoming Other Water Sports
The development of our training schemes in recent years has increased participation in many different water sports disciplines including power boating, windsurfing, inland waterways and personal watercraft. It is important therefore that we consider how we respond to this growth in participation. What are the best ways to integrate and promote these developments within ISA activity?
Promoting our Sport
Thanks to the promotion strategy of our existing plan, the profile of our sport has never been higher, and the perceptions of 'elitism' and perceived barriers have been broken down to make the sport more accessible. Continuing this promotional activity is the key to further increasing participation in the future. A key challenge for us is how to do this effectively to grow awareness of sailing and boating?
ISA Structure Services and Benefits
The current ISA structure enabled the objectives of the existing plan to be realised. It is appropriate to consider its effectiveness in the context of the challenges facing ISA over the next five years. Since the adoption of the Joint Membership Scheme, the ISA has been working with their Affiliated Clubs to grow their membership. The challenge will be to continue to provide the service to clubs, and also to look at services and benefits that may be provided for individual club members. In funding our future operations we need to consider what is the appropriate and attainable combination of public, commercial and membership related income.
Development of physical Infrastructure
Facilities for water sports have increased significantly in recent years. The infrastructure is being developed mainly on a commercial or public/private partnership basis. Where can facilities be developed further and what ways are available to capitalise on these for the benefit of all boaters?
Clubs/Recognised Teaching Establishments
The implementation of the last plan has shown that the network of Recognised Teaching Establishments combined with that of Affiliated Clubs, is an excellent partnership in the introduction and retention of newcomers to the sport. We must look at these relationships further to ensure their combined resources are maximised.
The ISA has made significant improvements in its communications with its affiliated organisations. The task now is to manage the growth in information and to reach a wider audience.
Volunteers have traditionally carried out organisation of our sport. This ethos is under threat due to peoples increasing work pressures and the demand for professionalism in the services and sports that we enjoy.
Many clubs are now experiencing significant demand to change to meet the needs of both existing and potential members. There is evidence that some clubs need to modernise their structures and strategies if they are to successfully meet this challenge. It is essential that clubs are encouraged to constantly review their operating environment and develop structures that enable them to respond rapidly and effectively.
Relationships with Government and Agencies
The size and operation of the ISA makes it a credible and respected organization when liasing and making submissions to statutory bodies, concerning matters that affect our activities. Our challenge is to increase our knowledge and continue to be the experts, to whom government agencies and other organisations may turn to for advice.
Relationships with International Organisations
The ISA works well with European and International organisations, whose activities have an interest in the leisure industry. We must look at ways we can further develop and improve our relationships, to ensure foreign strategies compliment our own, for the benefit of our members.
The culture of safety that currently exists within the participants and organisations associated with ISA activities commands a deserved respect from other adventure sporting bodies. The challenge is to develop initiatives that serve to make participation in our sport safe, whilst at the same time retaining the allure of it's adventurous nature.
Every Marine accident attracts media attention, and government are sensitive to this, leading to regulation and legislation, that may impact adversely on the traditional freedom that leisure sailors enjoy. The challenge to ISA is how to position ourselves to ensure that correct balance between safety, training, enjoyment and regulation is achieved. To what extent will "traditional freedoms" need to be sacrificed in pursuit of safety?
The ISA currently works well with other organisations involved with the promotion of water sports safety (RNLI, Coastguard, Irish Water Safety Association, BIM, Health & Safety Authority). We must look further at how best we can utilise the resources of these organisations, to further create a strong safety culture within our organisation.
Because of the credibility and respect the ISA commands with statutory agencies, we have been able to protect our members from the worst aspects of proposed regulation, which would have had a negative impact on participation in our activities. When there are proposals for future legislation we must continue to ensure we are at the forefront of discussions.