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Displaying items by tag: EAST ANTRIM BOAT CLUB

Members of the Larne club will welcome its General Committee’s decision to make the most of the lockdown easing, for hot on the heels of RYA NI advice that Step 2 of the Northern Ireland Executive’s Pathway to Recovery has now been reached, dinghy racing will re-start. Although indoor restrictions remain in place, groups of up to 10 people are now allowed to meet outdoors.

The RYA Volvo champion club was established in 1950 on Larne Lough and has been associated principally with the GP14 class. Among the well-known sailors in that class were Johnny McWilliam, Curly Morris, Paul Rowan, Tom Jobling and the Fekkes brothers. Mirrors and Optimists were popular with the young sailors and now the up and coming helms sail Lasers and Toppers. There is a cruiser-racer fleet as well, moored in the shelter lough just off the club.

The plan is to begin a new series on the first Sunday in July. Today (21st June) and the following Sunday (28th June) will be used as trial races to work through any issues that may arise.

Guidelines will include the size of groups starting at different times, ie juniors and adults, and double and single handers, with each start limited to no more than 10 competitors.

If more than 10 people wish to take part, priority will be given to those who have been involved in the most Sunday races in the last 12 months. Changing rooms will remain closed and competitors will arrive in their sailing gear or get changed in the yard if they are comfortable doing so.

The slipway will be split in two to allow for the use of both the dinghy and keelboat slipways simultaneously and there will be committee boat starts with safety boats manned by members of the same household where possible.

Racing will not take place if the Race Officer deems the conditions to be Inappropriate and competitors are urged to be more thorough in pre-race checks of their equipment to reduce the risk of failure.

The Committee stresses that Covid-19 is still a very real threat and says “We are far from returning to normal. We are fortunate in that dinghy racing is an outdoor activity that is socially distant by nature. We would ask that all members respect the measures in place which will hopefully mean that we can continue with an official series in July. The onus is on each of us as individuals to ensure that this is possible”. The Procedures and Risk Assessment are here

As the final days of voting for the UK's Sailing Club of the Year draw near, and as Northern Ireland's East Antrim Boat Club is for sure the minnow in the competition the Larne club is looking for every single vote available to bring this award across the Irish sea for the first time.

As Afloat previously reported, the Royal Yachting Association and Yacht&Yachting magazine's annual UK-wide 'Club of the Year' competition is now well underway with the final 10 finalist's destiny – as in 'Strictly' – resting with the public vote!

EABC has made it into that elite top ten. They have already scooped one of the special category awards having been recognised for its particular achievement in 'embracing modern communication'.

It was a jubilant Steven Kirby – immediate past Commodore – who broke the news to an expectant EABC membership just before Christmas. He said:  "Not only is it a tremendous feat to have made it into the finals but we've picked up one of the special category awards as well." He continued, "Moreover we are out to win, and bring this prestigious award across the Irish Sea for the first time. But to do so, we really need the support of the Larne public, whether that is from nautical types or land-lubbers: sporty or academic folk or weather you hail from the charity or industrial sectors. We need every available vote to pull this off!"

East Antrim Boat Club's new Commodore Richard Ford-Hutchinson also said. "Ours is a compact forward-looking vibrant organisation with a diverse membership. However in comparison to some of our cross channel opponents, the big South of England clubs for example; we are 'the minnows'. This is why we have put the call out to the Larne public and to you, the Mid., and East Antrim residents to get behind us. My club is awash with champion sailors and long-distance cruising yachtsmen so winning this UK-wide award would be the icing on the plate." Two former world sailing champions and EABC members Mark Fekkes and Andy Thompson have endorsed Commodore Ford-Hutchinson's call.

The voting for the' RYA - Club of the Year' will close on 27th January 2020. Time is slipping away. Here is how to vote, in five easy steps:

  • 1. Go to East Antrim Boat Club's website;
  • 2. On the home page locate the 'white triangular finalist pennant/button'.
  • 3. Click it. You will be transferred directly to the vote page of the magazine Yachts &Yachting.
  • 4. Follow the links and ...VOTE for EAST ANTRIM BOAT CLUB.
  • 5. No computer, smart phone or tablet! Call at the Book Nook or McFarland's Chemists on Larne Main Street; they'll help...
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Strangford Lough Yacht Club and East Antrim Boat Club in Northern Ireland have been named among the 10 finalists selected for the RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Award for 2020.

East Antrim Boat Club is also among five of the finalists recognised for particular achievements, with the Larne Lough club acknowledged for ‘Embracing Modern Communications’.

The annual RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Award, supported by Gallagher, recognises the outstanding achievement of sailing clubs across the UK and promotes the hard work and dedication that goes into running a successful club.

Voting opens on Friday 13 December, and the award presentations and overall winner announcement will be made at the RYA Dinghy Show 2020 on Saturday 29 February.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland

A septuagenarian yachtsman has scooped the top award at the recent East Antrim Boat Club prize-giving event, writes Tom Jobling.

Maurice Adams, who has Parkinson’s, received the solid silver trophy — presented to EABC by the Gingles family in the mid 1970s — at the gala awards evening at the Larne Lough club over the Halloween weekend.

What makes Maurice’s achievement memorable is that Larne has no marina pontoon facilities so, just as his competitors do, he must get out to his craft, a Nova 27, via an inflatable dinghy, and scramble aboard.

Owner Eddie Cameron remarked: “Even with his dual walking aids, Maurice is not the most mobile man ashore these days, but each evening, regardless of the conditions, and as we draw alongside Sahure, he’’s up over the guard-wire and into her cockpit like a ship’s cat up a pole.

"Then with tiller clutched, he becomes ‘made-over’ … back into yacht-racing mode.”

As well as winning the top award, the Sahure crew, with Maurice driving, also won their class within the club’s points racing season.

But Maurice is no stranger to success. Formerly a member of the now-defunct Larne Rowing & Sailing Club, he has raced various sailboats over his long career afloat on Northern Ireland waters: Flying 15s, Highland 18s and number of cruisers.

“Maurice Adams,” Commodore Steven Kirby remarked, as he held ready the trophy, “is not famed for his time-keeping these days — well, other than on the starting line.”

Totally unaware of his award, Mr Adams arrived at the Boat Club as the final prizes were being handed out. His trophy, however, was already in the safe hands of his ever-caring crew.

To say that East Antrim Boat Club's 'Mid-Week Sessions' closed with a bang would be something of an understatement writes Thomas Jobling. The hugely successful programme of talks, presentations and demonstrations at the Larne Lough club did indeed come to dramatic conclusion when EABC junior and Topper sailor, Zoe Whitford pulled the cord and deployed an RFD branded life-raft ... within the compact clubhouse! (The club's defibrillator was not required...)

Richard Kerrigan, Survitec Group's senior engineer at their Belfast manufacturing facility provided another packed house with an intriguing talk. It covered not only the history of the Belfast plant but the forward development of life-saving equipment: giant life-rafts capable of 'housing' hundreds of survivors to a new local RFD service facility and, a futuristic alternative to the traditional ship's lifeboat.

The entire Mid-Week Session programme has averaged an audience of 42 attendees over ten evenings. it has run every other Wednesday evening from November 2018 through to March this year.

Event organiser Tom Jobling speaking at the end of the final evening confirmed that MID-WEEK SESSIONS would return later in the year. That the opening night would be on Wednesday 4th September. "Same place, same time, same formula." Whilst hinting at what to expect, he was tight-lipped about who has already been signed up.

The club's Commodore Steven Kirby thanked Tom, as well as the membership who have fully supported the programme. He then offered a further thank you to the representatives from visiting clubs and finally to the Larne public who have also regularly dropped by.

If you would be interested in bringing a talk/presentation/demonstration to East Antrim BC during September, October and/or November 2019, please contact Tom either on mobile (07809691585) or by email; [email protected]

Published in Clubs
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Hosted by East Antrim Boat Club as part of their hugely successful Mid-Week Sessions programme of illustrated talks, the ‘Prof’ Maurice O’Connell himself will be on stage from 7.30pm next Wednesday 6 March to present North Sails Ireland’s popular upwind trim seminar.

Event organiser Tom Jobling says: "When one hugely successful event meets another hugely successful event … get there early and not only for the posh seats, because this promises to be a big night — we’re expecting a full house at EABC."

Using North U Sail Trim simulation and supporting software, the Prof will be demonstrating the theory and practice of upwind sail trim and how to optimise your set-up for differing winds and sea states.

He will also be delivering techniques on how to escape from starts, and hints on how not to lose time on the race course.

At the previous Mid-Week Sessions night in mid February, Olympic 49er athlete Matt McGovern provided a captivated dinghy audience at the Larne Lough club with tips, for example, on how to explode from a crowded start, too. The Prof will be taking questions at the end of his already famed presentation.

“It’s going to be the event of the year,” said an enthused EABC Commodore Steven Kirby. “As with all the Mid-Week Sessions events this, too, will be no charge and open to non-members.”

For more information see the new EABC website and Facebook page, or call Tom Jobling on 07809 691585.


Published in North Sails Ireland

East Antrim Boat Club's inaugural run of its Mid-week Sessions programme of 'ashore' talks and presentations concluded on 28th November with the ITN broadcaster and high latitudes adventuring yachtsman Brian Black sharing his experiences of Arctic waters...

The 'Mid-week Sessions' were held on every Wednesday evening during November at the Larne Lough club. In due course over 100 members, as well as visitors from other Northern Ireland clubs, yachting and otherwise, made the journey - regardless of the foul weather at times - to enjoy EABC's innovative programme.

Robin Gray, the international race officer, got proceedings underway with his superb reveal on the happenings behind the scenes at the 2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race. Next up, and in contrast, it was the performance story-teller and writer, Jane Talbot. With her tales of wild-hearted wonder, of faeries, selkies & headless horsemen: she had her audience in the palm of her hand... On the 21st Nov., Dr David Hume MBE the eminent historian and broadcaster, took to the lectern to tell a packed clubhouse of the shipwrecks which litter the Antrim coast line.

A jubilant event organiser, the nautical novelist Tom Jobling said. "In many ways it was a risky project, but by bringing to our members, their guests and visiting non-members such a variety of speakers, we seem to have, as they say, 'squared the circle'. Robin Gray for example, really set the bar high with his illustrations and anecdotes, but Jane, cleared it! David's night caught us out - we ran out of chairs... As for Brian Black, well, we received a presentation of a standard expected of a professional broadcaster. It was, at times a 'nail-biter' while his slides touched the audience with the sheer beauty of the region. However, and as a climate campaigner and film maker he also showed us the ugly side - the pollution, and indeed the scary effects of changing climate... "

As something of a bonus, Brian had also waived his fee in favour of a collection towards a little known charity; Club commodore Steven Kirby announced later that the collection which was topped off by EABC, raised £170.

The MID-WEEK SESSIONS return on 9th January 2019 with the maritime historian Guy Warner and his illustrated talk on the front-line role that Larne Harbour played in defeating the W.W.1 U-boat menace of the North Channel and Irish Sea.

Published in Sailing Clubs
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Hosted by East Antrim Boat Club over three days in July - 7th to 9th - the Blazin Digital sponsored Topper Class Irish National Championship was sailed on Larne Lough in testing conditions writes Tom Jobling.

Headed up by local R. O. Richard Doig the race committee got the full programme away despite having to overcome lengthy periods of dead calm, and several course 'realignments'.

In the 53 strong 'full-rig' Topper fleet it was British Team member Lorcan Knowles from Leigh & Lawton SC, a hot-bed of Topper competition, who emerged as the clear victor. Maidenhead's Leo Wilkinson was the runner-up with Aoife Byrne of Royal Cork YC third overall. In the 4.2 fleet, the local girl Zoe Whitford was squeezed into second place overall by Christian Houlihan of Blessington SC. Carrickfergus Sailing Club's Mathew McClernon was third.

Topperr EABCToppers close at a gybe mark at Larne

In total 63 competitors entered the event - now in its 30th year - and the following sailors won special category awards: first under 17 sailor was Conor Horgan RCYC.

Best under 14 sailor went to British Team member, George Vincent of Parkstone SC and the under 12 award was collected by Co. Antrim YC sailor Daniel Corbett.

Summing up the championship ITCA's Simon McIllwaine said; "Already established as one of the premier Topper venues with their Winter Series, East Antrim Boat Club lived up to and exceeded all expectations at this year's Irish National Championships. The management of the racecourse under very challenging and shifting wind conditions was executed seamlessly and although at times," he continued, "the competitors found the wind just a little frustrating, there was a great spirit between all of the sailors and their parents both on and off the water. Thank you to the club for all their hard work and for making everyone feel so welcome during those three days on and around Larne Lough. A very memorable 30th anniversary of the championship."


Published in Topper

With only days to go, the countdown towards the Topper Irish National Championships - now in its 30th year - has started in earnest. 

East Antrim Boat Club are the hosts and the leading LED signage and marketing company Blazin Digital are the sponsors for this all-Ireland youth extravaganza.

The championship, which will be sailed on the expanses of Larne Lough, runs from 7th to 9th July. It has already attracted huge interest with over 50 online entries already confirmed. Competitors will be travelling from across the provinces of Ireland, as well as from various GB based Topper fleets.

At the launch of this Topper championship East Antrim's Commodore Stephen Craig said; "We are honoured to be awarded this prestigious event and delighted to be alongside the Topper family again. We of course welcome aboard our principal, and very generous sponsor, Blazin Digital." He continued, "EABC's Topper fleet will be led out by Rory Williamson, our newest champion sailor.

Rory brought home the Topper Southern title recently. Finally, and on behalf of the membership here at EABC, I send a welcome to the competitors their families and supporters. Let me also take this opportunity to thank all of our club volunteers, and indeed the support of our neighbouring clubs, without whom this event would not be possible." 

The final words are from the thirteen-year-old Topper Southern Champion, EABC's Rory Williamson; "I am really excited that the Irish Nationals are being held at East Antrim Boat Club. To get a good result at my own club would be fantastic so I will be trying my hardest to place well. I am looking forward to not only racing with my fellow Irish sailors but also some of my friends from England, Scotland and Wales. I think it is going to be an amazing few days of racing. BRING IT ON!"

Published in Topper
20th September 2015

Larne RNLI Launches New Lifeboat

Volunteers, supporters and friends of Larne RNLI gathered this weekend at the East Antrim Boat Club to attend the official Naming Ceremony and Service of Dedication for the lifeboat station’s new D-class lifeboat Terry. The new inshore lifeboat was provided through the Pistol Benefit Fund, which was set up in memory of Frederick (Fred) and Theresa (Terry) Pistol and named Terry in memory of Fred’s beloved wife Theresa.

The Pistol Benefit Fund has its origins in Frederick Pistol’s incredible life. Fred came to the UK from Austria, as a 19-year old refugee fleeing the Holocaust. He arrived with nothing more than the clothes on his back and worked as a fitter until the Second World War started. He joined the army, eventually becoming a Major and returned to England in 1946 after serving abroad. He married Theresa (Terry) a concert pianist born in Westcliff-on-Sea and discovered a passion for sailing, one that has been passed down through the family. Every boat Fred bought was named Terry after his wife and Larne RNLI’s new D-class lifeboat now proudly bears the name.

Attending the ceremony were members of the Pistol family, who have supported the work of the RNLI for many years. Fred and Theresa’s son Neil and his wife Viveca were special guests along with their two sons, Ben and Josh and their friend Simon Perlmutter. Their daughter Gabriella was unable to attend as she is currently travelling but she was being kept up to date with the proceedings by her brothers. Close friends of the couple, Alan and Shirley Shalet, also made the journey on what would have been Fred’s birthday.

Allan Dorman, Larne RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, who accepted the lifeboat into the care of the station said; ‘Every naming ceremony for a new lifeboat is a special occasion and this is no exception, as we honour the Pistol family and their generous life-saving gift to the Institution and the people of Larne. We will remember Frederick and Theresa through the work of this lifeboat and the volunteer crew and we will be the proud custodians of it for many years to come.’

Speaking during the ceremony Neil Pistol said, ‘Thank you for honouring my family and allowing me this privilege. Thank you to the RNLI for being there. Thank you for going out into conditions when others are safe in harbour. Thank you for risking your lives to save others. You, all the members of the RNLI, make a difference. You do not discriminate; you solely take action to save others.

Neil also expressed his pleasure on learning, during an earlier tour of the lifeboat station, that the name of the RNLI rescue mannequin, lifeboat crew use during training, is named Fred. He concluded his speech by acknowledging this, to the delight of the crowd;

‘It will bring us all great pleasure to know that in real life as in previous real-life, Terry will continue to rescue Fred, during the station’s regular training sessions. In the end we make our own destiny. Good luck and Godspeed to all the Larne crew. It gives me great pleasure to hand this lifeboat into the care of the RNLI.’

The D-class lifeboat remains the workhorse of the RNLI as it has for nearly 50 years. Built at a cost of £48,000, the inflatable craft is highly manoeuvrable and specifically suited to surf, shallow water and confined locations – often working close to cliffs, among rocks or even in caves. Importantly it can also be righted manually by the crew in the event of capsize.

It is the smallest class in the RNLI lifeboat fleet but its impact on search and rescue has been huge. The D class carries out some of the most difficult and dangerous rescues lifeboat crews have faced.

The platform party at the service were Mr. Tommy Hutcheson, retired Deputy Launching Authority for Larne RNLI who welcomed guests and opened proceedings; Mr Neil Pistol, who presented the RNLI with the new lifeboat, Christopher Brooke, RNLI Irish Council member who accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the RNLI and handed her into the care of the station; Mr. Allan Dorman, Larne RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, who accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the station; Darren Byers RNLI Divisional Operations Manager for Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man who spoke on the capabilities of the new lifeboat and Ms Karen Black, one of the founding crew members of Larne RNLI who recently retired and who officially named the lifeboat.

The Very Reverend Aidan Kerr, the Venerable Stephen Forde, Reverend Tommy Stevenson and Reverend Doctor Colin McClure lead the Service of Dedication with specially chosen hymns and readings. Music was provided by
Magheramourne Silver Band.

Last year Larne RNLI celebrated 20 years of lifesaving during which time the volunteer lifeboat crew launched 411 times, saving 31 lives and rescuing 326 people. Larne RNLI operates both a D-class inshore lifeboat and a Trent class all-weather lifeboat.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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