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Irish Sailing Association to prepare new three year Strategic Plan

 The Irish Sailing Association (ISA) is to prepare a new three year Strategic Plan. The new plan will establish the policies to be pursued and the actions required to deliver them successfully.

Announcing the initiative, ISA President Niamh McCutcheon explained that the ISA sees the new plan as being critical to the ISA’s ability to provide leadership in satisfying the aspirations of existing members and in attracting new participants to the sport. “Earlier plans gave us the tools to grow the sport but our current plan was done in Celtic Tiger time. The Directors recognise that events have overtaken it and the ISA needs a new plan.”

The Board has asked Brian Craig to chair a Strategic Review Group (SRG) to undertake the task and select the Group’s members. Brian is recognised as one the most committed and experienced Irish devotees of the sport and played a critical role in establishing the two-yearly Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, the best attended sailing event on the island. Despite his status as a sailor and organiser, he will bring an outsider’s view of the ISA to his new task. He has invited Roger Bannon, Neil Murphy, Jack Roy, Des McWilliam and Bryan Armstrong to join his Group, with the option to add others as the process continues.

The SRG will examine the ISA’s current policies and activities before moving on to recommend future strategies. Olympic and High Performance activities, where it is believed that current international successes endorse the strategies in place, will not form part of the SRG brief.

Spring 2014 is scheduled as completion date for the Group’s assessment of the current position. Brian knows that a major challenge awaits “This will be a major undertaking but I am confident that, with the support and engagement of all interested parties, we will chart a course for the sport suited to this new environment.  I feel that, as an independent group, we are ideally placed to seek suggestions. We want to hear from anyone with a view to offer and I assure you that we will listen”.

Detailed report and observations on this subject can be seen  here

The SRG can be contacted by email through

SRG Members:

Bryan Armstrong lives at Rosses Point County Sligo. Keen if not overly successful dinghy sailor since the late 1960s with an interest in home boat building in wood – Mirrors, GP14 and (for the 2011 Worlds in Sligo), a Fireball. Committee member of Sligo Yacht Club several times over the years and Commodore 1978. Chaired organising group for 2006 GP14 Worlds in Sligo which was intrinsically linked with the construction of the new Sligo clubhouse. Always interested in junior sailing in Sligo and nationally. Committee member Irish Mirror Class Association 2004 to 2011 and President 2008 to 2010. Currently actively sailing a GP14. Practicing partner solicitor in a Sligo based firm.
Bryan can be contacted at

Roger Bannon, a member of the National Yacht Club, was President of the Irish Sailing Association when the Joint membership Scheme was established and the current Olympic /Elite model was devised in the mid 90’s.  He has always been a keen small boat sailor and has won multiple national titles in the 420, Mermaid, Flying Fifteen and J24 classes.  He was the first Irish sailor to pioneer racing in the Olympic Star Class and more recently was one of the innovators in the establishment of the SB20 fleet in Ireland. He continues to have an active interest in the sport and still regularly sails his venerable 53 year old  Mermaid “Endeavour” and when creaking bones allow, occasionally a J70 or a National 18.
Roger can be contacted at

Brian Craig, a former flag officer of the Royal St George, a member of the Irish Cruising Club, Lough Derg and Kinsale yacht clubs. Was a keen dinghy sailor competing on the Firefly, Fireball and Team Racing national and international circuits. Currently racing a SOD, he has a motor cruiser on Lough Derg and a cruising yacht based in Dun Laoghaire. Since retiring from business, he has played a key role in attracting and organising major championships on Dublin Bay. He worked closely with the waterfront clubs and local bodies in Dun Laoghaire to develop the biennial Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta and more recently led the Irish team that ran the ISAF Youth Worlds 2012. He was a recipient of the 2010 National Award to Volunteers in Irish Sport from the Irish Sports Council.
Brian can be contacted at

Des McWilliam (Royal Cork Yacht Club and Royal Irish Yacht Club). A regular participant in Irish and international sailing. He is in constant contact with customers in dinghy and keelboat sailing – racing and cruising.
Des Sailed for Ireland: Admiral’s Cup on five occasions, Sardinia Cup twice, the Southern Cross and 1/2 Ton Cup twice. He is the owner of McWilliam Sailmakers Ltd / UK Sailmakers Ireland and President of 50-loft UK Sailmakers International Group 2010-12. Co-owner UK Sailmakers International Group 2012-present and was a member of the Oireachtas Task Force on Small Business in mid ’90’s. He was a guest lecturer in Entrepreneurship UCC late ’90’s and is still in business after five years of recession.
Des can be contacted at

Neil Murphy (Howth Yacht Club and Malahide Yacht Club). Enterprise dinghies and Laser frostbiting (when wet suits were a novelty) were Neil’s intro to the sport.  Small boats are still his favourites and he races a Puppeteer 22 in Howth.  As a National Race Officer, he gets to see and enjoy racing in a variety of Classes. As one of the ISA’s youngest Presidents (1996 to 1998), he launched its first Strategic Plan, which plotted priorities and set out its targets coming into the current millennium.   He chaired the 2012 ISA review of the All Ireland (formerly Helmsman’s) Championship and, most recently, was Race Officer when Howth YC hosted the 2013 event.  Apart from racing, his main area of interest is in increasing participation levels, both by recruiting newcomers and retaining those already involved.
Neil can be contacted at

Jack Roy (National Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Kinsale Yacht Club). Started sailing Mirrors in 1967 from Greystones Sailing Club. Over the years he has raced in 420s, 470s, Flying Fifteens, J24s, Dragons, J109s and Squibs. He has also cruised for many years and currently keeps a cruising boat in Kinsale from where he sails the southwest coast and further afield. When Jack’s not sailing he’s very involved in race management and has been an International Race Officer since 1998. He was honoured to be the first Irish Race Officer at an Olympic Regatta in the London 2012 Games. When not on the water, he is Managing Director of Fagerhult Irl Ltd, the Dublin office of a Swedish PLC specialising in energy efficient lighting solutions to the commercial sector.
Jack can be contacted at

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