The ISA Academy has been developing Ireland’s most ambitious young sailors between the ages of 15 and 18 years for just over a decade. An appraisal of former Academy sailors (45 sailors since 2007) by Rory Fitzpatrick, ISA Academy Manager has given some interesting insights. Not all sailors wish to become Olympians, but for those that have tasted that desire the Academy has been conscientious to aim towards holistic personal skills and a lifestyle of sailing that can lend itself transferable in later life.
94% of former members are still active in the sport, sailing a large spread of classes from keelboats to foiling Moths and many have taken to returning the favour by coaching young sailors in Ireland. Others have been employed as coaches by clubs and federations overseas or in some cases have supported professional keelboat programs.
In 2006 as part of the ISA Performance department the Academy underwent a major revamp remodelling its objective to aide aspiring young sailors to "learn the skills to develop into independent Olympic campaigners by nurturing a culture of responsible athletes with a hunger for international performance".
Since that time a holistic approach to personal development has been at the core of the Academy’s philosophy. Its recognised that the best sailors in the world love sailing, and given that it’s a long term development sport (compared to most Olympic sports) appreciation of fun and enjoyment of the process of learning has always been fundamental to the Academy’s training.