ICRA’s second year of supporting the U25s
While for most the past year and a half will be remembered without much joy, in a number of clubs across Ireland enthusiastic U25 squads are preparing their boats for the opportunity to compete against each other and the established keelboat fleets.
The Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) U25 Support programme, now in its second year, has committed support to a total of twelve clubs, with offers to support a further number of clubs once their U25 programmes are ready. There are capital funds ring-fenced for a further two clubs once they find suitable boats for their programmes. Our trickle funding is assisting seven U25 programmes fund their annual sailing campaigns, at local, regional, and national level.
The U25 programmes being supported by ICRA and Irish Sailing currently straddle a number of different keelboats namely J80’s, J24’s and Ruffians with clubs choosing the platform that best suits the needs of the local fleet. With the recent addition of Saoirse Reynolds onto the ICRA Executive, we are looking at additional measures that may offer support and encouragement for clubs to further their keelboat offering, and in particular, initiatives that help retain our younger adults sailing and keep them active in our sport.
What is the ICRA / Irish Sailing U25 Support programme?
The ICRA U25 Support Programme is funded by Irish Sailing and will be provided directly to clubs to assist in developing their ongoing U25 development system.
ICRA will provide the club with Mentoring and advice on how best to structure their U25 programme. This knowledge is drawn from the real experiences of clubs with already established U25 development programmes.
The ICRA support programme has Capital Grants available of up to €1,500 available. These grants must be used for the purchase of a club owned keelboat that will be used for a U25 development programme. To date we have assisted in the purchase of three new U25 keelboats.
Follow On Trickle Funding:
Once a club secures a capital grant or has an existing U25 programme, ICRA can support their programmes by providing “Trickle Grants” for up to three years. These grants are tapered allowing the U25 squad to become more independent over the period to raise or provide their own funds for sailing.
Coaching & Cross Club Communication:
ICRA supported U25 programmes will be offered additional coaching and training opportunities. They will be encouraged to meet and exchange ideas with other U25 programmes so that they can all grow and develop from each other. This area has been most affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic and the limitations and restrictions we have all been placed under during the past 18 months. However, it is our intention to bring on stream more initiatives in these areas as we are allowed to do so.
Where does the funding come from?
The ICRA / Irish Sailing U25 support programme is funded directly from the IRC and EHCO certification fees paid by keelboat owners to Irish Sailing each year. Reinvesting these fees directly back into the future development and sustainability of cruiser sailing in Ireland will help to ensure the growth of our sport nationwide.
In the initial round, all of the clubs that already had U25 programmes were invited to join as “existing teams”. Each of the following clubs already had a club boat or boats, primarily dedicated for a U25 development squad. These clubs were Howth YC, Foynes YC, Sligo YC, Mullaghmore SC, Malahide YC, Rush SC and Royal St George YC. For the duration of the programme, the U25 squads in each of these clubs now receive a “trickle grant” each spring to kick-start their annual sailing budget.
In addition, during 2019 and 2020 a number of additional clubs have availed of the ICRA / Irish Sailing Capital Grants. Royal Cork YC, Lough Ree YC and Greystones SC have already purchased J24s for their U25 programmes. Royal West of Ireland YC and Mayo SC are currently seeking suitable boats to start their programmes. All of the above U25 squads are now active within their clubs’ cruiser fleets and many of them are training to attend regional or national regattas throughout the season.
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