Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Betty Armstrong

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

Squawk, Paul and Emma Prentice's Belfast Lough Sigma 33 will travel to the Scottish Series 2023
For many years, Northern Ireland has had several entries in West Highland Week, and hopefully, that will be the case this year. But so far (though the event isn’t till the end of July), of the fifteen listed entries, there…
There are free pancakes and refreshments on 21st February from 1100 till 1400 in the foyer at Bangor Marina
Did you know that Shrove Tuesday was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before embarking on the Lenten fast and Pancakes is the perfect way to do this? Not that Kevin and the Bangor Marina staff on…
The Tall Ship Phoenix has been lying in Belfast Harbour for a year and is now offering the opportunity to take to the high seas on a famous old vessel, reports Belfast Live. Built in 1929 in Denmark, Phoenix carries…
The reconstructed Insect dinghy Grasshopper pictured in 2022
Insect dinghies are like buses. You wait for ages (in this case, years), and then two (or more) turn up at once. The exciting aspect of this is that Insect dinghies are over seventy years old and a testament to…
The Sonata is a well-known and much-loved cruiser racer in the Lough, as is the growing Impala fleet, which numbered 11 at EDYC early last year. 
East Down Yacht Club welcomes Impala and Sonata keelboats to a two-day combined racing event on the 27th and 28th of May. The club is situated near Killyleagh on the west side of Strangford Lough on a nine-acre site, including…
Skiffiefest 2023's schedule on Strangford Lough is for 33 races covering several age categories
A country park doesn’t readily come to mind as a venue for a weekend of St.Ayles Skiff racing, but Delamont lies on the shores of Strangford Lough near Killyleagh and has proved an ideal base for this activity in the…
The aim of the East Antrim Boat Club 'Ladies That Launch' initiative is to engage with existing female club members and get them back to dinghy sailing
A new ladies' sailing initiative at East Antrim Boat Club on Larne Lough in Northern Ireland got underway at the end of January when Ladies that Launch dusted off the wetsuits and had a fun afternoon trying to find the wind.…
The Foyle Punt evolved from the generic Donegal Punt and was the workhorse of fishing Communities along Lough Foyle. The craft was raced by their owners at local regattas along the shores of the Lough. A new punt will be built by student Orlagh Thompson at the Basque Maritime Heritage Association in Pasaia, Spain as part of her boat-building studies
The Portaferry and Strangford Trust (PAST) is a charity, based in Portaferry at the mouth of Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland, which aims to promote an awareness of the rich maritime heritage and natural environment of the Lough and the…
There are plans to develop an international watersports facility at a new-look Ballyholme Yacht Club and Watersports Centre
Bangor Waterfront Development will receive £40 million in funding as part of the Belfast Region City Deal. Ards and North Down Borough Council welcomed the news a year after the UK and NI Executive Ministers signed the first-ever City Deal…
Northern Ireland ice swimmer Grace McLaughlin
A County Down swimmer has broken a world record and claimed two gold medals at the ice swimming world championships, reports The Belfast Telegraph. Grace McLaughlin from Bangor defied freezing temperatures to triumph at the International Ice Swimming Association’s (IISA)…
Waszp sailors at Ballyholme (l to r )Luke McIlwaine, Daniel Corbett, Jeremy Tomalin, Matt McGovern, Mike Kimber and Rob Espey
It’s amazing what can be achieved if you put your mind to it. In September 2021 Rob Espey of Ballyholme Yacht Club bought a Waszp and at that time, his was the only one at the Club. Having a vision…
Stuart Cranston’s Ker 32 from Strangford Lough Yacht Club will compete again on Dublin Bay at July's Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2023
The first Northern Ireland boats to enter the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in July are Stuart Cranston’s Ker 32 from Strangford Lough Yacht Club and John Minnis’s Final Call II, an Archambault A35 from Royal Ulster on Belfast Lough. By…
Last year's RS Elite Irish Championship at Royal North of Ireland YC
Belfast Lough will be awash with boats over the weekend of 24th and 25th June when the RS Elite Irish Championship coincides with an RC35 open event. Both fixtures will be hosted by Royal Ulster Yacht Club in Bangor on…
Stuart Cranston's Ker 35 Hijacker from Strangford Lough Yacht Club competing at the 2022 Portaferry Town Regatta
The last time the RC35s raced in Belfast Lough was in the 2022 Bangor Town Regatta. And so successful was the class that it can look forward to a stand-alone event in June this season. Hosted by the Royal Ulster…
The crew of Optimistic  relaxing in Cape Verde (from left to right)  Matt Ruiz, Anna Richmond, Elwyn Agnew, Michael Browne and Emily Agnew
Ballyronan Boat Club is a small club on the Northwestern shore of Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland, the largest body of inland water in the British Isles, and it was from this small outfit that the Commodore, Elwyn Agnew and…
First look - Curly Morris and Rachel Stewart racing in a GP14 dinghy at the East Antrim Boat Club Christmas Regatta on Larne Lough
Luckily for East Antrim Boat Club the weather for its Christmas Regatta in Larne Lough didn’t live up to the forecast and there was a lot less wind than expected. Despite the constantly shifting breeze the race officer Richard Doig…
100 Baywatch keen swimmers took to the water for the Christmas Eve Dip at Helen's Bay on Belfast Lough
Helen’s Bay is a small village on the Belfast to Bangor railway line on the south shore of Belfast Lough and is named after Helen Blackwood, Baroness Dufferin and Clandeboye, who lived in the early nineteenth century. It’s not recorded…
Youth Rangers going afloat on Strangford Lough
The Strangford and Lecale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is looking for Youth Rangers. Lecale is a peninsula in the east of County Down and lies between Strangford Lough and Dundrum Bay. It was designated an AONB in 1967…
Erin McIlwaine (left) of Kilkeel and Ellie Cunnane of Tralee are teaming up in an Irish skiff partnership for Los Angeles 2028
Erin McIlwaine is an 18-year-old sailor from Kilkeel on the South Down coast and a member of the nearby Newcastle Yacht Club and Royal St. George in Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay. Erin has recently teamed up with Ellie Cunnane…
Belfast Kayak Club gets ready to launch for the Christmas Paddle
A Viking burial site was discovered at Ballyholme Bay on the North Down coast in 1903 suggesting that the Vikings landed there. Although the Belfast Kayak Club landed there, too last weekend on their Christmas outing, they certainly didn’t grab…
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