21 March 2013 16:09
I believe the problems are many fold.
1/ Is the ISA pathway faulty? Perhaps sailors and parents need more guidance during transition? Many parents are not sailors so they haven’t got a clue what a mirror is! The direction that kids are sent very much depends on the personal opinion of parents who quite often don’t have a clue, the senior instructor or junior manager of their club.
Kids are different shapes and need direction or recommendations as to what direction they should go.
E.g. 14yo child of 45kgs… not laser, Feva? Topper? 420?
The pathway from dinghy to cruiser is also a difficult one to cross. Many of our young sailors would like to try big boat sailing and big boat owners need crew!
Perhaps we need to have a cruiser racing section in the ISA syllabus… The standard of Cruiser racing in Dublin is pretty poor!
The RYA have a cruiser academy…can we afford one? Can ICRA help by having and OPEN Weekend?
2/ Yacht Cubs cease to be of relevance to kids of 17 – 20. I my case there is nothing of interest in the RSTGYC for my kids (14,16 and 17) except that one works as an instructor in the club.
They don’t want to be hanging around with the “babies” and really don’t want to be hanging around with the embarrassments that most parents are...me included!
3/ Money and time. Parents just don’t have the loot or the time! Sailing IS an expensive sport. How can we make it less expensive? The direction that kids go sailing wise is very much dependent on what their parents can afford! Perhaps the ISA should get manufacturers to supply a pool of boats for transitional kids to try. Perhaps the ISA or Clubs could charter boats to transitional sailors for trials?
Sails are VERY expensive… what can the ISA do to help?
Wishful thinking in these difficult times!
4/ Miserable weather… can we turn up the thermostat or move the whole shebang to the med?
5/ The focus is on winning as opposed to fun. There should be more focus on fun in the syllabus.
6/ Team racing allows a mix of abilities to compete together as a team. It is also a sport where Irish sailors can and have excelled. Perhaps Team racing should be on the syllabus!
7/ Can the ISA focus on a number of events in the future calendar (e.g. Feva Worlds, Mirror Worlds etc.) and promote participation in these events with a focus on sending an Irish team with sailors of mixed ability.
The ISA need to BRAND sailing in Ireland. For example sailing clothing IS cool. Can the ISA make sailing cool too?
We need to get away from the elite image that sailing has and bring sailing to the masses very much in the way that it is in Schull…. David Harte has many of the answers already.
9/ Schools Programs
EVERY sailing club should be encouraged to have a schools program and the ISA should lobby the dept. of education to encourage participation in boating for students in this island nation! We have no shortage of water and kids love doing something different!