Celebrate 2012 - Year of Sailing
Over the weekend of the 23rd and 24th of June, Sailing Clubs and Schools all over Ireland will take part in Sail Spree; a new initiative launched by the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) and helped in NI by RYANI to foster interest and participation in sailing and water sports.
During Sail Spree clubs and schools will open their doors to their local communities and invite them to take part in on the water ‘Taster Sessions’ across sailing, windsurfing, powerboating and jet skiing.
The national campaign aims to create awareness of the network of clubs and schools around the country which continually provide a range of activities suitable for all ages, interests and skill levels. Harry Hermon, ISA Chief Executive explains “Ireland is an island nation. We are surrounded by a beautiful natural resource which provides us with unlimited capabilities for recreation. The ISA are passionate about introducing new people to the excitement of sailing, windsurfing and motorboating. No matter what your age, location or budget, whether you want to join in a fun recreational hobby or competitive sport, there will be a club or school near you offering that very service. We hope that opening our doors for Sail Spree will encourage local communities to try something new and explore the possibilities on their doorstep”.
In an event similar to that of the nationally acclaimed ‘Culture Night’, Sail Spree gives anyone interested in trying a new sport the opportunity to get out on the water and try sailing, windsurfing, power boating or jet skiing. It also provides an opportunity to get to know the members of your local club in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. During the weekend many clubs will also provide on shore activities, entertainment, food, drink and music guaranteeing a great day out for all the family.
Sail Spree has been developed in acknowledgment of the increased interest in sailing over the past number of years. Events such as the Volvo Ocean Race and the Tall Ships Festival have brought sailing into the public eye and have undoubtedly sparked intrigue in this thrilling outdoor sport. With the Olympics less than three months away and with eight sailors representing Ireland at the Games, sailing will continue to capture the nation’s attention but the ISA want to showcase all aspects of the sport.
Probably the biggest event running during Sail Spree will be Seafest 2012, hosted in Rathmullan and Lough Swilly, Donegal. The event also coincides with the 200th Anniversary of the sinking of the HMS Saldanha and the launch of Sail West Projects new consumer facing brand, MalinWaters. It will incorporate all forms of sailing, from dinghies to cruisers as well as windsurfing and powerboating. Combined with this festival of the sea will be food festivals and a plethora of on shore activities and entertainment too numerable to mention. The event will offer spectators and participants the opportunity to join in the fun on and off the water.
Travelling south and the islands off the Cork coast will also be providing a host of activities in conjunction with the Sail Spree celebrations. Heir Island Sailing School, in Roaring Water Bay are providing a weekend of sailing, games, food and drink to keep their visitors entertained. With 14 venues already registered in Cork county, the public have plenty of options to keep them occupied. Kinsale Yacht Club will be hosting a special event on the Saturday to create awareness of the wonderful opportunities within sailing for children and adults with disabilities. As the home club for John Twomey, Anthony Hegarty and Ian Costello, Ireland’s ISA Paralympic Team, Kinsale Yacht Club are experienced in the areas of support, advice and information for anyone with a disability hoping to get into sailing.
On the East coast, Wexford Harbour Sailing & Tennis Club will be hosting their Sail Spree event to coincide with the John Barry Maritime Festival 2012. The weekend will play host to a number of activities and give attendees the opportunity to try sailing, power boating, windsurfing and Jet skiing.
2012 will be a big year for sailing in Ireland. One of the most prestigious events in world ocean racing; the Volvo Ocean Race is returning to Galway Bay once again and the Tall Ships will be hosted in the Dublin Docklands. Derry city will host the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in June, Cork Week takes place in July and the ISAF Youth World Championships will be held in Dublin Bay in July for the first time. There will be no shortage of international level competition on offer for spectators.
The pinnacle of the international season will be Ireland’s participation in the London Olympics where eight sailors in five boats will compete. The Providence Resources ISA Sailing Team has been identified as a ‘genuine prospect’ for a medal winning opportunity this summer. Many of those competing have come up through the ranks of the ISA Performance Pathway and Sail Spree will provide an opportunity for the next generation of Olympic contenders to discover the sport.
For more details of events in your area check out the website www.SailSpree.ie.