A weekend of watersports for everyone 

Today Tuesday 29 May, the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) with the assistance of TV personality Kathryn Thomas launched SAIL SPREE a new initiative to encourage people to get on the water over the weekend of 23/24 June 2012.


The campaign is similar to the nationally acclaimed ‘Culture Night’ whereby clubs and training centres all over Ireland will open their doors to the public to try sailing, windsurfing, power boating or jet skiing.  Many clubs will also provide on shore activities including entertainment, food, drink and music guaranteeing a great day out for all the family.


Commenting on today’s launch ISA Chief Executive Harry Hermon stated “We are surrounded by a beautiful natural resource which provides us with unlimited capabilities for recreation. The ISA is 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”.


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 Festivals have brought sailing into the public eye and have undoubtedly sparked intrigue in this thrilling outdoor sport. With the Olympics only two months away and with eight sailors representing Ireland at the Games, sailing will continue to capture the nation’s attention.


Probably the biggest event running during Sail Spree will be Seafest 2012, hosted in Rathmullan on Lough Swilly, Donegal. The event 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 is providing a weekend of sailing, games, food and drink to keep its visitors entertained.


With 14 venues already registered in the 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 for children and adults with disabilities who would like to try sailing. As the home club for John Twomey, Anthony Hegarty and Ian Costello, the Providence Resources Irish Paralympic Sailors, 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 Boat & Tennis Club will be hosting its 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 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 Four Star Pizza 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 Irish Olympic Sailors have 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.