*Please note in order to partake in any discussions on the ISA Forum you must login / register. You can do so here.

HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsGeneralGeneralMotion for discussion at the ISA AGM - *Please note you must login / register to commentMotion for discussion at the ISA AGM - *Please note you must login / register to comment
New Post
24/02/2013 11:53

I may be taking a too simplistic analysis of your response Harry but you seem to be saying that the absence of emphasis on dinghy racing is a result of
A) presssure from clubs who found that children werent interested in racing
B) Pressure from the cruising fraternity to get children interested in cruising
While this pressure is understandable it is not nesessairly very logical in the case of either party nor is the ISA's response necessairily the best one.

For the clubs who say "lets have the kids mucking around because they dont like racing anyway" the question has to be asked; whats the long term game plan?
The clubs are racing clubs. If the kids dont race whats the future for the club? Hope that they might some day come back to the sport?
For the cruising fraternity they need to look at how many children willingly partcipate in cruising. In all my time crusing I rarely met kids other than you ones who were brought because they were too young to be left at home.  Most cruising parents I know would freely admit that their children wanted to sail dinghies not yachts.

With regard to the ISA's reaction I would ask why abandon racing completely? (or almost completely). Why not make racing interesting?
 For example at last years Greystones Womens regatta (which has a big emphasis on getting people who havent a clue how to race on the water and having fun) I had two level 2 girls in a pico "fleet" which consisted of them and one other boat sailed by to women old enough to be their mothers. The girls had no experince of racing from their ISA training but a little from their fathers. Because there was an incentive (beat the oul ones) the girls stayed out for four races (about 5 hours) and had a great time. (winning the junior section of that fleet).

Most children like competition and so surely it is possible to teach them sailing skills while at the same time teaching them to race and trying to develop an enjoyment of the sport that the adults engage in and for which the clubs that are training them were set up.  I have dealt with people afraid of start lines and there are lots of ways of dealing with it (make the line longer, seperate starts, etc).

I understand the pressure the ISA is under but the solution is not the right one and is detrimental to the future of the sport. Perhaps the ISA should look, at the UK model? As a sailor in the RS fleet I am always amazed at the number of College aged girls in the UK sailing in the 200 fleet who are enjoying the sport and are extremely good at it. Perhaps there are lessons to be learned there?
New Post
25/02/2013 12:28
I see mention of the Junior class competitor numbers, I certainly think it would help to have all the senior sailing class championship data out in the public domain too, if only to inform the debate - and the ISA clearly has this data.  Not just to depress us either, there's a lot of success stories out there ; nationally there's great strength in GP 14s, Fireballs, Laser full rigs, RS classes, Mermaids, IDRA 14s and then local success stories like National 18s, 505s, SODs, Water Wags, Topaz.  I'm missing a few I'm sure.  And even if the Championship numbers in aggregate aren't massive,  remember all the regional events and club racing too.  Yes, the success stories are all down to individual and local effort but it's a constituency (as high as 2-3,000 I'd say nationally when you add one design keelboats in) that deserves SPECIAL extra representation and dialogue with the national body.  Why ?  Because they're real, core participants that come down to clubs two or 3 times  a week.  They're not just statistics in the JMS ISA membership database that could just be there 'cause their kids do a two week course.  If virtually everybody associated with these classes and activities says there's choked off supply of new, young  blood, it's time to sit down and sort it.  And not just accept it.  Remember also it can positively feeback into the elite scene too.  In the UK many of the current Olympic squad sailors also compete actively in classes like the GP and RSs.  It's the same here in a way, when you think of the Laser full rigs and Radials, Ger Owens in the GP14 and I hear Seaton/McGovern have bought an RS400 to race here to compliment their 49-er campaign.  The great racing is here and it's crying out for new generations.
New Post
27/02/2013 08:50
I have to congratulate the bringing of this motion by Normal Lee and Bryan Armstrong as it is a debate I have often heard at events around the country over the last decade and it deserves to be thoroughly thrashed-out.

I also freely admit that I support their central argument that dropping log-book requirements from the Junior Training Programme effectively ended the youth dingy racing circuit that I so much enjoyed as a teenager, and while I know the requirement was there ostensibly to sharpen the trainee's racing skills I believe in hindsight that it had a FAR more important role to play:

By requiring trainees to partake in a certain number of races between stages (of which some had to be away from home waters) this encouraged the parents to bring them to at least one weekend regional event. In my personal experience it was usually the social scene around these events that made me want to keep going back rather than the requirement to fill my logbook, and as a tag-along at events my brother sailed at I can attest there was a busy social scene for the parents ashore too (in the days before mass rib-ownership). By the time I went to college this meant I had friends in clubs scattered all around the country, and wanted to stay involved in sailing because it was fun & social, surely the foundation for life-long involvement?

The other advantage of mass fleets, of which only the front 20% were truely competitive, was that anyone with a flare for racing could quickly progress up through the class while those like me who were more socially minded could have great fun towards the back of the fleet and didn't feel we were failing just because a podium finish was out of our reach. I still relish just being afloat, and surely this is also a key foundation for life-long involvement in our sport?

And to prove our view of the good-old-days isn't just rose-tinted nostalgia I was able to dig out my old log book...

 Date Event
No of Boats
 11 - 12 July 1992
Optimist Leinsters
61 (main fleet)
 8 - 9 July 1995
Mirror Southerns
 15 - 16 July 1995
Mirror Easterns
 6 - 7 July 1996
Mirror Southerns
 27 - 28 July 1996
Mirror Easterns
 1 - 4 August 1996
Optimist Nationals
64 (main fleet)
 31 Aug - 1 Sept 1996
Mirror Westerns
 29 - 30 March 1997
Mirror Easterns

I fully agree that a racing-only logbook wasn't sustainable as the scheme was opened up to include the diversity of levels and courses that now exist, but surely some sort of time-on-the-water requirement must be part of any syllabus to both reinforce the skills learnt and foster a love of our sport as a social activity?

Gareth Craig
New Post
27/02/2013 08:50
New Post
27/02/2013 11:20
Well done Norman for addressing the elephant in the room. There is somewhere between 10,000 - 20,000 ? youths participating on ISA junior training courses every summer. However the follow through of youths into established senior dinghy classes is absolutely minmal. In an ideal funtioning system, there would be a continous stream of youth sailors progressing through year on year. Clearly we have good numbers at base level (people actually doing the junior training coures) but need to implement some of the suggestions above to ensure it becomes more than just a 2-3 week, annual training course.
HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsGeneralGeneralMotion for discussion at the ISA AGM - *Please note you must login / register to commentMotion for discussion at the ISA AGM - *Please note you must login / register to comment

Privacy Statement | Terms Of Use | Developed by Margin.ie | Copyright 2009 by Irish Sailing Association