Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Sailing is in a Very Healthy State Says National President

27th March 2024
President of Irish Sailing, John Twomey
President of Irish Sailing, John Twomey Credit: ISA

Sailing is in a very healthy state the President of Irish Sailing told the organisation’s annual general meeting in the Royal Cork Yacht Club at Crosshaven in Cork Harbour.

“We’re growing the membership and participation on the water in Ireland is growing generally. We reckon there are between sixty and ninety thousand people actively involved in sailing and watersports,” John Twomey told the meeting. “They’re not all documented. We have 27,000 members, which is an increase again over the past years. We don’t always catch all those people on the water in club membership. There are people doing their own thing on the water, but the main thing is that the water facilities in Ireland, the seas, the lakes, the rivers, are being enjoyed by the people of the country. There is great potential.”

John Twomey, who is now heading into his second year as President, confirmed unanimously at the meeting, praised young sailors and said that for a country of about five million people to be second in the table of youth medals internationally was a wonderful achievement. “We punch above our weight in terms of resources.”

The meeting was told by Irish Sailing CEO, Tim Bourke, that there had been “much change” in the organisation last year, with many of the team departing. “Change is the opportunity for the team to restructure the organisation into specific areas of expertise. An evolution rather than revolution. These changes should allow us to work more effectively. A common theme amongst those I have met is the surprise realisation at how much is done by Irish Sailing in the background of the sport, the sheer passion of the team, the complexity of its activities and the absolute value of both the institution and the sport’s volunteers on the ground and on the water. With a restructured organisation we look to the future with optimism and determination.”

Irish Sailing Annual Report

After a lengthy debate, the meeting agreed to defer the proposed increases in membership and club affiliation fees, which would be re-examined at management and board level for further discussion and action.

It was announced that this year’s Watersports Inclusion Games will be held at Ramor Watersports Club in Co.Cavan on Saturday and Sunday, June 22 and 23.

I spoke to John Twomey for this week’s Podcast, about the state of sailing now, the development of the National Watersports Campus at Dun Laoghaire in which Irish Sailing is one of the national organisation governing bodies which has committed funding towards the project, the involvement of more women in sailing, youth sailing and Ireland’s prospects for this year’s sailing in the Olympics.

Listen to the Podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney, ISA
Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a column for He is former RTE Marine Correspondent/Presenter of Seascapes and now has a monthly Podcast on the Community Radio Network and Podcast services

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