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Belfast Lough Sailability Celebrates Successful President’s Cup This Autumn

29th November 2022
Boats on Belfast Lough taking part in the 2022 President’s Cup, with a Stena Line ferry in the background
Sailability talent galore was to be found on Belfast Lough for the 2022 President’s Cup this past August

Belfast Lough Sailability has had a lot to celebrate in recent months with sailors taking part in the 2022 President’s Cup, Hansa Irish Championships and 2.4mR Irish Nationals.

In August, Belfast Lough Sailability hosted the 2022 President’s Cup which incorporated the Hansa Irish Championships and 2.4mR Irish Nationals. The event was organised in partnership with Carrickfergus Sailing Club, with significant planning, sponsorship and organisation required.

The President’s Cup is the only event of its kind where people with disabilities and able-bodied sailors sail together in competition and the helm of each boat must have a disability.

The event has representation from the four provinces across Ireland. Team Ulster consisted of competitors from Belfast Lough Sailability, Foyle Sailability and Lough Erne Sailability.

With favourable weather conditions, the 47 competitors across 25 boats were able to showcase their skills gained through training and delivered a colourful and eventful spectacle for supporters and spectators.

Boats at Carrickfergus Sailing Club which co-hosted the 2022 President’s Cup with Belfast Lough SailabilityBoats at Carrickfergus Sailing Club which co-hosted the 2022 President’s Cup with Belfast Lough Sailability

Racing was competitive, with Team Ulster successfully retaining the 2022 President’s Cup. The region also hailed success in the Hansa Irish Championships, with Sophie McClenaghan of Belfast Lough Sailability taking the Best Girl Helm (U18) trophy and Willie J Thompson (also Belfast Lough Sailability) the boys’ equivalent. Meanwhile, Belfast Lough’s John Patrick took first place in the 2.4mR Irish Nationals.

David Todd, chair of Belfast Lough Sailability said: “Sailing is an activity that is enjoyed by a variety of people but is not readily accessible to most of the community and certainly not to those members of the community with disabilities.

“Belfast Lough Sailability, based at Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, offers access to the sea to those in the community who would not normally have that opportunity and promotes equality of opportunity by providing education and training to people with disabilities in a safe and enjoyable environment.”

The spokesperson added: “This was a very successful event but it’s not all about winning. The benefits of having the opportunity to participate in an event representing your province or in a national event are far reaching for each participating individual. Competitors — both helms and crew — will benefit from increasing their skills through training and education to sail competitively. This includes significant positive impact on each individual’s confidence and self-esteem.

“They will aspire to represent their club, county, province and country at other levels of competition. They will also inspire others with disabilities and from disadvantaged backgrounds to participate in the healthy sport of sailing; and to undergo training and education to increase their skills.”

Published in Belfast Lough Team

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