Many of you will be aware that the Club had both Alan Henry (IDRA14) and Hugh Gill (GP14) nominated and invited to attend the All Ireland Sailing Championships taking place this weekend in Royal Cork YC. The event formerly known as the Senior Helmsman’s Championship is an event that Sutton Dinghy Club has very strong ties and history with back to the start in 1947 including former winners including Ruan O’Tiarnaigh, Gerry Sargent, Muiris Walsh, Neville Maguire and John Weaving.
This year the event is back in dinghies with Royal Cork YC’s incredible new National 18 fleet being used. This is great for the event and will certainly be something our own Alan Henry and his crew Simon Revil were delighted to see. Dinghies and trapeze is something to be relished if there is a bit of breeze and the Club wishes the guys the very best in the weekends event.
The history and essence of this event lies in celebrating the achievements of Ireland best sailors. In recent times the event has been sailed in keel-boats which caused much disquiet amongst the dinghy community. While the move back to dinghies is to greatly welcomed other aspects of the event continue to be an issue and concern and raise questions in many dinghy sailors eyes as to the relevance of the event and of the ISA to the wider dinghy sailing community. Breaking news is that our own Hugh Gill and current GP14 World and UK National Champion Shane MacCarthy (Greystones SC) have decided not to take up their nominations due to personal issues with the events entry conditions and so will not be competing at the weekend.
This is a shame as a Club we were delighted to have 2 nominees for the first time in a while. While it is nigh on impossible with an event of this nature to please everyone, Hugh’s feelings on how the realities of dinghy classes and dinghy sailing appear not to be reflected in the way the event is organised have to be respected. I know for Hugh it is a huge disappointment as he has put so much effort into promoting dinghy racing at all levels in Sutton Dinghy Club and with the GP14 Class and was looking forward to the challenge especially with it being back in dinghies and having an an Olympic medallist in the mix.
I understand however that the issues raised with the ISA by Hugh and indeed others including many who accepted the invitations has led to ISA Board level commitment to revisit the format and event entry conditions with a view to returning it to being the ISA’s showcase event celebrating and acknowledging the sailing talent in the country, both in high profile international classes and the domestic classes sailed by the majority of Irish sailors. That is something we would all welcome and like to see happen quickly.
Lastly good luck to Alan and Simon representing the IDRA14 fleet in this its 70th season. We will keep you posted on progress over the 2 days here and on our Facebook page.