Irish Sailing Cruising Conference 2023 – Report

This year’s Cruising Conference was a great success. It had a varied programme with great speakers and was very well organised. It was also full to capacity and there was a high level of engagement from the audience.

Gail McAlister and Vera Quinlan of Irish Sailing are excellent ambassadors for cruising. This was a really worthwhile day, and recommended for all our members.


Here is a list of the presentations. You can access the slides at the conference website:

  • Entering and leaving UK, GB, NI – up to date information from Revenue on the customs implications for visiting yachts to and from UK and GB, and quick reminder on the duty implications for permanent movement / purchase of vessels / goods.
  • Sailing Offshore in a Worldwide Pandemic – Darina Blackwell of the Ocean Cruising Club shared stories from the time when many Irish and International sailors found themselves literally ‘left at sea’ and unable to come ashore. She and her husband Alex provided amazing support from their home in Mayo.
  • Atlantic Crossing with family and friends – preparing for an Atlantic crossing. Can you leave later than the ARC? You can! Many attendees have crossed the Atlantic, an achievable goal these days. Tessa Kingston is from Kinsale and serves on the board of Irish Sailing.
  • Orca Interactions in the Atlantic – Marine Biologist Mónica González of CEMMA (Coordinator for the Study of Marine Mammals) travelled from Spain to join us in person. Mónica is currently working on a scientific study on the interaction of the orca population (Orcinus orca) on the Atlantic coast with vessels. This is a topical subject for those sailing down the West coast of Spain and Portugal!
  • Monitoring distribution of the Atlantic Right Whale – we went live to Song of the Whale, a purpose-built 21 metre research vessel on the east coast of America. Niall MacAllister from West Cork and Killian Glynn from Kilrush are working with Marine Conservation Research scientists and US colleagues in Florida to study the distribution of the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale from Florida to New England.
  • Windfarms, Mapping and Monitoring our Coast – we heard from Jared Peters, head of Marine Surveys at Green Rebel. He talked about the seabed mapping, survey and windfarm project work they do to protect our seas for us to enjoy our cruising. This presentation was full of interesting technology and a great way to end the day’s presentations.


So, what was it like from the CAI point of view?

As co-sponsors with Union Chandlery and Kilrush Marina our logo was prominently displayed. Simon, Sue, Catherine and I were keen to spread the word about how useful and fun our members found our Association and how easy and inexpensive it is to join!

We had a lot of interest, we had a table and banner on display and spoke to many attendees. It’s an ideal audience for our message and I feel it went down well amongst the Southern Cruising Community.

The attendees were predominately from the south and there is obviously a vibrant cruising scene which is unsurprising given the beautiful Cork and Kerry coastline and harbours.