The Irish Sailing Association is setting its course inland this year for the 2019 Irish Sailing Cruising Conference on Saturday, 16 February 2019 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The conference invites sailors from all around the country for a day of motivational speakers, informational presentations and enlightening story-tellers at the Lough Ree Yacht Club in Co Westmeath.

Irish Sailing Cruising Conference

This conference will host a top-notch line-up of inspirational speakers keen on sharing their experiences in the field and giving professional advice to fellow sailors.

Speakers include Irish professional sailor Damian Foxall, who has competed in nine round-the-world races (placing first in four), and was the 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Manager in the 2018 Volvo Ocean Race. Damian will speak on sustainability improvements made to the Volvo Ocean Race this past year.

Niall Hatch of Bird Watch Ireland will discuss Ireland’s wide range of coastal birds and will be giving tips on identification strategies while at sea.

Paul Scannell and Mary Healy will be sharing their account of their epic cruise around Ireland in a 41-year-old waterways vessel, and sailor Kylie McMillan will recount her terrifying experience of one of her own crew members falling overboard during a race around Ireland.

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Requests from last year bring Technical Crew Manager of CHC Helicopter Keith Devaney and Chief Crewman Benny Meehan to the conference, where they will be presenting on how to manage a helicopter lift.

Sailors will be intrigued as Vera Quinlan discusses her plans to sail the Atlantic circuit with her two children under 12-years-old, and, Toni O’Leary of Union Chandlery will give advice on battery and electronic equipment management on-board. Also, Irish Cruising Club’s Norman Kean will be lecturing on the most recent developments in leisure craft diesel and the impact it has on coastal sailing.

Tickets are €25 for members and €30 for non-members. They can be purchased on Eventbrite. Lunch, teas and coffees are included in the conference ticket, and every attendee will be entered in a chance to win a Standard Horizon HX300E Handheld VHF (handheld radio) from Union Chandlery.

For more information, contact Gail MacAllister at


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By Heather Snelgar

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