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Displaying items by tag: Ballyholme Yacht Club

Taking off from Ballyholme Yacht Club in Northern Ireland a day ahead of Storm Agnes' arrival, Mixed Catamaran Olympic Medalists, John Gimson and Anna Burnett sailing a foiling Nacra 17 have beaten the previous record (subject to ratification) for a cross-channel crossing between Ballyholme Yacht Club near Bangor on the North Down coast and Portpatrick on the Mull of Galloway in Scotland.

The new time recorded was 1hr 30 minutes 41 seconds, beating the 1995 record set by Ian Wilson and the late Johnny Mullan of Ballyholme Yacht Club in a Tornado catamaran in 1 hr 41 minutes 28 seconds.

Mayor Gilmore (right) with Anna Burnett and John Gimson at Ballyholme YCMayor Gilmore (right) with Anna Burnett and John Gimson at Ballyholme YC

The record attempt was made in association with Artemis Foiling Technology, a zero-carbon passenger ferry which is being developed in Belfast.

Ballyholme YC member Robin Gray, an RYA National Race Officer and Chair of the RYA National Race Management Committee acted as Judge of Fact for the attempt and is submitting the time to Guinness World Records.

The successful cross-channel record attempt was supported by the RNLI The successful cross-channel record attempt was supported by the RNLI 

Robin was on board the Artemis support vessel Pioneer and described mid-North Channel conditions as huge seas with 3m waves. The tide was ebbing north. The wind had been blowing from the South for three days beforehand, resulting in the big seas. Gimson and Burnett had to gybe downwind for a time and were at one stage within three-quarters of a mile off the Copeland Island just off Donaghadee.

Bangor RNLI also accompanied the pair.

The Mayor of Ards and North Down Council, Councillor Jennifer Gilmore, was at Ballyholme Yacht Club for the start of the record attempt, where she gave her best wishes to John and Anna.

The Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Steve Baker, showed his sailing skills on (August 22nd) on a visit to Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough.

On a previous visit to Bangor, the Minister heard first-hand about the exciting regeneration plans in development for the City, and as he enjoyed a tour of the waterfront area, it prompted the Minster’s desire to return, and with a particular interest in sailing, he visited the yacht club again.

Having celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019, Ballyholme Yacht Club has much to be proud of in terms of the important role it plays in Bangor and the wider North Down community. As an RYA-recognised training centre, it not only provides a hub of opportunity for all ages and abilities to enjoy a variety of watersports and social activities safely, but it also helps boost tourism to the area and puts Bangor on the map through our many national and international events.

Ballyholme Yacht Club Commodore Rob Milligan (left) with the Minister of State for NI, Steve Baker, and Mayor Jennifer Gilmour Photo: Simon GrahamBallyholme Yacht Club Commodore Rob Milligan (left) with the Minister of State for NI, Steve Baker, and Mayor Jennifer Gilmour Photo: Simon Graham

The club is fortunate to benefit from both Ballyholme Bay's safe waters and Belfast Lough's open waters. During his visit, Minister Baker enjoyed sailing a hydrofoiling dinghy and a catamaran, as well as taking the opportunity to meet children taking part in an RYA Youth Sailing Scheme.

Minister Baker said: “Sailing with local people in Bangor’s Ballyholme Bay has been an amazing experience, allowing me to enjoy first-hand the city’s great watersports infrastructure. This area has a bright future, with exciting projects such as The Queen’s Parade Development which will benefit from £10m of UK Government Levelling Up funding, and the £40 million Belfast City Region Deal Funding from the NI Executive set to redevelop assets such as Bangor Marina.

Chatting with children taking part in a Ballyholme Yacht Club youth sailing course Photo: Simon GrahamChatting with children taking part in a Ballyholme Yacht Club youth sailing course Photo: Simon Graham

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Jennifer Gilmour, said: “I am delighted that Minister Baker was so keen to visit Ballyholme Yacht Club and enjoy some of the water sports on offer. This is a very significant time for Bangor with the Queen’s Parade and Bangor Waterfront redevelopments offering the promise of £120M+ of investment into the area over the next ten years”.

The Yacht Club’s inclusion in the Bangor Waterfront Redevelopment is exciting for the club and the community. The Club has been identified as a premier location within Northern Ireland to develop sailing and water sports further.

Published in Belfast Lough
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Two Ballyholme Yacht Club Cadets have been praised for their quick action in helping a kayaker in trouble in Ballyholme Bay on Belfast Lough in Northern Ireland last Tuesday.

Hunter Reddy and Joseph Robinson could see on the Club webcam that the man was clinging to his kayak after he had capsized. His lifejacket kept him afloat, and he called 999 for the Coastguard, but the call was garbled due to his mobile not being in a waterproof case.

The boys helped guide Bangor Coastguard onto the scene and helped the man ashore. Following a medical check by the Coastguard Rescue team and Northern Ireland Ambulance Service paramedics, he was given the all clear. Bangor RNLI was also tasked but stood down as the boys swiftly saved the man.

Commodore Rob Milligan praised the boy’s quick thinking, “Well done, Hunter and Joseph-great job!”.

The Ballyholme Yacht Club webcam is here

Published in Belfast Lough
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It was worth waiting for. Belfast Lough having suffered the same fate as the first day of the Dun Laoghaire Regatta, the Irish Topper Nationals got underway a day late at Ballyholme on the north Down coast last Saturday afternoon after a postponement. By lunchtime, the wind had quietened to about 20 knots, which came from the Southeast, meant the sea was relatively friendly. So, Race Officer Sheela Lewis from County Antrim Yacht Club got racing underway for the eighty Toppers in separate starts for the 20 4.2s and the 60 5.3s’

By the end of Sunday’s racing, they had seven races under their belts, but the dominant sailors certainly had emerged after Saturday’s four races. In the 4.2s with four firsts was Andrew O’Neill from Royal Cork and Royal St George, and five points behind was Paidi A’Coistealbha from Malahide. Tom Driscoll from the host club and Royal North at Cultra had three firsts and a discarded 6th, leaving him 2 points ahead of Craig O’Neill Jnr (RCYC/RSt GYC), elder brother of 4.2 sailor Andrew.

Sunday brought reduced fleets to the start line. After the last three races, Andrew O’Neill and A’Coistealbha kept their first and second places, but Adam Green from Lough Erne YC in the western County Fermanagh, who had tied overnight with Rian O’Neill from Royal Cork jumped into third overall. Overall winner Andrew O’Neill heads to Spain to compete in the 2023 Optimist Worlds and will return to his home club to compete in the Topper Worlds at the end of this month.

Tom Driscoll 49099 pulling ahead of Craig O'Neill 48119 and Luke Simpson Photo: Rob ArmstrongTom Driscoll 49099 pulling ahead of Craig O'Neill 48119 and Luke Simpson Photo: Rob Armstrong

After the Sunday races, Tom Driscoll held onto first overall, but the local Cormac Byrne, who also belongs to Strangford SC, counted two seconds and a first to take the runner-up slot. Luke Simpson of CAYC kept the third slot but Craig O’Neill dropped from second to fourth.

Topper 4.2s racing at close quarters Photo: Rob ArmstrongTopper 4.2s racing at close quarters Photo: Rob Armstrong

Among the special prizewinners, Isabelle Passberger from Waterford Harbour took 1st 5.3 Youth Female and the local Cormac Byrne the top 5.3 Male. Emily McAfee from the host club claimed 5.3 Junior Female and 1st Female and Tom Driscoll 5.3 Junior Male. In the 4.2s, Andrew O’Neill took home to Cork the Ist overall prize.

Commodore Rob Milligan was delighted to see so many visitors to the club; “The club was absolutely buzzing over the weekend, and our young sailors experienced some challenging but rewarding conditions. Without members giving up their time to organise and help out ashore or on the water, these events won’t happen. Well done to all involved and thank you once again.”

Many of the Toppers who sailed in this event will be on the road again soon for the Topper World Championships at Royal Cork YC starting on 24th July.

Results below

Published in Topper

Ballyholme Yacht Club’s online Baycam had a very prominent red line on Friday (7 July) with the southerly offshore wind forecast to reach 37 knots in the gusts, putting paid to the first day of the 2023 Topper Nationals.

In a strong southerly, the conditions inside Ballyholme Bay on the north Co Down coast in Northern Ireland looked friendly enough — except for the cat’s paws marking the strong gusts.

There are about 60 sailors in the Topper 5.3 and 20 more in the 4.3 keen to race and they have been asked to meet Saturday morning (8 July) at 11am for an updated briefing. It is expected the first warning gun will be at 12.55pm.

Published in Topper

With two more day’s racing to go in the Junior Icebreaker Ballyholme Yacht Club in Belfast Lough, Emily McAfee looks invincible in the Topper 5.3 fleet, which inclement weather has considerably reduced from the original 22. In the Feva division, only three points separate Emily and Annabelle Ridout and the other Ridout family members, Matt and Peter. The only Oppi contestant, Oliver Stevens, has no opposition. And the Topper 4.2, in the end, was reduced to just one.

The minimum requirement is Stage Three sailing ability (usually age 9/10 and the maximum age is 18, including ILCA and 29ers.

On Easter weekend, the turnout was lower than normal, with 12 boats heading out to the race area, but before the first race was completed several had to return to shore due to the strong wind gusts. Two classes were amalgamated into one start to ensure the quick running of races in the still-cold conditions.

RS Fevas and Topper dinghies on the slipway and set for the Junior Icebreaker Series at Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast LoughRS Fevas and Topper dinghies on the slipway and set for the Junior Icebreaker Series at Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough

The course was a short windward leeward with a Gate followed by a downwind finish. The first start was hotly contested with all boats on the line ready for the off but with such a strong breeze, staying close to the line stationary before the start was difficult and many competitors were over the line at the gun. This resulted in the first general recall of 2023 and a quick turnaround by the excellent Race Committee of Mike Cairns and Katelyn MacAfee enabled the second start to follow soon after, with all competitors being more cautious in their approach to the line.

Staying upright was difficult sailing towards the Ballyholme shore, with the gusts funnelling down the avenues towards the Promenade at more than 20 knots. That proved testing for all competitors, and two retired.

Places were lost and gained during the beat, with the right-hand side of the course paying off in the first round and the left-hand proving better in the second. The Fevas’ downwind leg was exciting, with Annabelle and Emily Ridout surfing with the spinnaker up, fully hiked out through the finish and off for a five-minute jolly towards Scotland, enjoying the speed and displaying exceptional boat handling and teamwork.

After two laps, in the Topper class, Cormac Byrne came first, followed by Emily MacAfee and Katie Brow.

Race 2 saw was a three-lap race, with boats favouring the right-hand side of the beat, Emily McAfee and Cormac Byrne traded first and second places throughout the race, with Emily coming through in first, closely followed by Cormac. Izzy Nixon suffered a capsize on the last leg and came in fourth position after Katie Brow, who made it around the course closely after Cormac.

The final race had only six boats competing over the Fevas and Toppers, with the now stronger breeze forcing the young sailors to work hard to keep the boats flat and performing upwind. In the Topper 5.3 final upwind leg, Cormac had a lead of five boat lengths which was given away after a death roll in a strong gust. He showed great skill and strength, quickly righting his boat and sailing again but he was just beaten by Emily MacAfee. In the Topper 4.2, Alex Eadie worked very hard to finish the last lap and recover from a capsize to cross and finish the race

Saturday’s race conditions highlighted the skills and capabilities of the young cadets, some of whom are only 11, to manage their boats in such tough conditions. Dave Nelson from the Training Committee appreciated the help running the series; “many thanks to Rescue and Shore crews who helped the sailors get out onto and off the water safely, particularly on such a challenging day. Good luck to the seven Cadets from BYC travelling to Howth Yacht Club in the week ahead for the Youth Championships”.

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The Icebreaker Series has been running in the winter at Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough since about the time the Laser dinghy was introduced to the Club by Ron Hutchieson and Trevor Millar in 1974. It was originally mainly racing for Lasers, but for many years now, it has encompassed other classes such as Toppers, Fevas and Multihull and, more recently, a Junior Icebreaker on Saturdays.

Race 6 of 10 was held in light to medium weather last Sunday, with thirty-six out in six classes. In the five-strong Large Dinghy class, the winners were Dave Fletcher and Ryan Smith in a Laser 2000 but Christina Cunningham’s second place in the RS Aero 6 was enough to keep her in the lead by one point from Robin Flannigan and Diane Burges in the RS 400.

The largest turnout was 21 in the ILCA 7 class, and in the Gold fleet, Colin Leonard’s first place and Gareth Flannigan’s second is keeping them level on 7 points going into the seventh race. Of the two starters in ILCA 6, Howard Massie’s win wasn’t enough to knock the leader Ian Taylor of first place. After the general recall of the overeager fleet, a windshift made the first beat a bit of a drag race with Jonny Henry first round the windward mark, but by the end, it was Leonard and Flannigan first and second. Mark Mackey was first in Silver at 5th, beating a number of Gold fleet sailors, and Jonathan McAlister leads the Bronze fleet at 17th.

Adrian Allen and Barry Swanston had a sail over in the Multihulls and lead the three-strong fleet by five points. In the Small dinghies, Shaun Doran in the RS Feva XL leads Annika Hunter in the ILCA 4 by one point.

The next meet is on Sunday, 19th March, with still lots to play for in the last few races.

Published in Belfast Lough
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Ballyholme Yacht Club's Junior Icebreaker series came to a conclusion with prize giving on Saturday, 17th December, for ILCA, 29er, Feva, Topper 5.3, Topper 4.2 and Optimist classes.

The series is open to all cadets and particularly aims to support those new to racing. A mainly parent-led team of volunteers, including RYA Race Coaches, was available from the start of October until the middle of December to provide racing accompanied by on-the-water coaching.

Several days were lost due to the windy autumn weather and two extra days were added in December to compensate. There was a fantastic turnout, with close to fifty boats over the series. The first-ever Junior Icebreaker was almost all Toppers, and BYC have now seen the fleets expand to include double-handers like the Feva and 29er as well as the single-handed Optimist, ILCA 4 and ILCA 6.

Ballyholme Yacht Club's Junior Icebreaker series prizegiving Photo: Adele McafeeBallyholme Yacht Club's Junior Icebreaker series prizegiving Photo: Adele Mcafee

The biggest fleet was the Topper 5.3 rig, with 20 boats out across the series. The winner who consistently finished in the top few over all the races was Hannah Archer. Jack Ives was a close second, and in third was Zoe Westhurst, who did enough to get on the podium even though she had some weekends away on RYANI Squad training.

As with the Topper 5.3 fleet, the Topper 4.2 fleet had several new sailors taking part, but Polly Robinson continued her form from last year and took the top place on the podium. Second place went to Alex Eadie, with her brother James rounding off the podium in third.

The Optimist fleet also had another past winner take the first spot, with Matthew Holden winning convincingly from Oliver Stephens and Job Wong competing in their first-ever racing event.

The final single-handed class was the ILCA (Laser), won by Hunter Reddy, with Annika Hunter in second and Hannah Dadley in third.

The biggest of the double-handers fleets was the Fevas, with seven boats competing. This class has increased from the two we had last year. The “old hands“ of Emily and Annabel Ridout won with a long string of first places; second place was Jessica

Dadley and Sally Nixon chose the Feva above the Topper this year, and the final podium place went to Peter and Mat Ridout.

Finally, the 29er class was won by Joseph Robinson and Henry Nelson, with Hannah Dadley and Toby Hughes in second. The club has gone for 15 years with no 29ers, and with Hunter Reddy actively looking we hope to have three in the fleet for next spring.

Published in Youth Sailing
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Northern Ireland's Ballyholme Yacht Club and County Antrim Yacht Club have both been announced as finalists in the RYA Club of the Year 2023.

Although six miles apart on opposite sides of Belfast Lough, the clubs were formed within about twenty years of each other, CAYC emerging with the twentieth century in 1902 and Ballyholme in 1919. But one keelboat class connects the two, the Waverley class, designed by John Wylie and first raced in 1903 at Whitehead, the home of County Antrim YC. By the end of WW1, the class was no longer exclusive to CAYC, and two boats were built at Ballyholme. By 1961 when the class had been reformed as a racing class at BYC, there were Waverleys at most Belfast Lough Clubs. Now the class has moved on again, this time to Strangford Lough Yacht Club at Whiterock.

As Afloat reported earlier, both clubs are passionate about youth sailing.

Ballyholme Yacht Club

In 2018 the Ballyholme club had one Topper racing regularly, and at a recent Topper event, 35 of the competitors were BYC cadets. The club is known both locally and internationally as expert at hosting big events and in the past those have included not only its local regatta but the ISA Youth Championships, ILA Masters, RS 400/200/Feva Nationals, the RYANI Youth Championships and Optimist Ulsters. Many of the youth sailors are in the RYANI Topper and ILCA squads, and among its members are past Olympians such as Bill O’Hara and Matt McGovern. Also, John Driscoll, Chris Boyd, and Conrad Simpson have all represented Ballyholme at Olympic Games in the Finn class, and the club hosted the Finn Gold Cup (World Championship) in 1992. Other club activities are open-water swimming and Stand Up Paddleboarding.

RS Feva racing at Ballyholme Yacht Club Photo:Simon McIlwaineRS Feva racing at Ballyholme Yacht Club Photo:Simon McIlwaine

Commodore Dougie Rennie commented, “It is, of course, a privilege to be nominated again for this award and is a testament to the members of BYC who volunteer to help BYC host all the events and activities that the club puts on for the benefit of all sailors and the wider community”.

County Antrim Yacht Club

County Antrim YC is a relatively small club delivering a varied and successful programme of activities on the water and ashore, planned to benefit club members and the local community, including charities. The club has a strong volunteering culture and encourages members from all backgrounds to access the water, free-of-charge or low-cost dinghy loans and courses are offered. The club’s junior development pathway resulted in 2022 successes at regional and national, and world championship levels. In addition, the club hosts regional and national events, most recently the Flying 15 Northerns. The club provides race management and mark laying/safety boat teams to support events across Northern Ireland, including Irish Sailability and the RYANI Youth Championships. CAYC introduced ‘try sailing’ days and a ‘get to know your club’ day, with targeted communications resulting in significantly increased membership.

Flying Fifteen keelboat racing at WhiterockFlying Fifteen keelboat racing at County Antrim Yacht Club Photo: CYCA

The club believes it can have a cohesive role in its relatively small community and has worked with local stakeholders to host community events coming out of the pandemic. It has bulk-purchased SUPs and kayaks so there are now around 30 and 40, respectively available, enabling non-sailing members to get on the water and reach out to non-members. Due to 2022’s new-member successes, the club is providing additional training and coaching efforts – it also identified a Covid-related age gap in junior sailors and is planning additional confidence-building coaching sessions for the 2023 pre-season.

Commodore Peter Darragh is delighted that his club will be one of 12 clubs shortlisted for RYA Club of the Year. “This is significant given over 1,000 other diverse clubs across the UK are in the running for this accolade. A successful club is built on its members, so we see this as a great recognition of the hard work, expertise, and commitment our volunteers put into operating a very full calendar of sailing and other water-based activities. Support for our members ranges from structured training for those new to sailing to coaching and assisting those experiencing racing success on a world stage. We also play an important role in supporting the wider sailing fraternity in Northern Ireland and love being at the heart of our local community: encouraging young and old to give sailing a go and be safe on the water. We’re a small club with a big impact and are very proud to have this validation of our efforts.”

 A year to the day after a successful inaugural windsurfing event last year, Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough is running, in association with the Irish Windsurfing Association, the Open Ulster Championships on 22nd October, and a Coastal windsurf or wing foiling and Novice races on the following day, Sunday 23rd.

This will be the first time a ranked event will have been hosted in Bangor and follows the success of an IWA event last Autumn.

Event Organiser, Aidan Pounder has been liaising with Nick Fletcher, who runs the annual IWA event in Downings, Co Donegal and he is delighted that Ballyholme has been offered the opportunity to host this event this year. “We are really looking forward to a fun and enjoyable event for all concerned. Hopefully the weather and sea state conditions will be favourable to the competitors and spectators alike”.

Coastal windsurf and wing foiling will also be held on Ballyholme BayCoastal windsurf and wing foiling will also be held on Ballyholme Bay

The event will take place off Ballymacormick beach on the east side of the Bay. It is expected that the competitors will be assembling and registering at the nearby Banks Lane car park from 0730 hrs, with racing starting 1055 hrs.

This is an IWA ranked event and will have Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets on a slalom/figure of 8 courses with up to 11 races, either on fin or foil for Gold and Silver fleets only on Saturday.

There will be Coastal races on Sunday, for windsurf or wing foiling only. At the same time, there will be racing for the Novice class, alongside try-a-windsurf activity.

Irish Windsurfing Association, the Open Ulster Championships

Published in Belfast Lough
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boot Düsseldorf, the International Boat Show

With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. Around 2,000 exhibitors present their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

boot Düsseldorf FAQs

boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair. Seventeen exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology.

The Fairground Düsseldorf. This massive Dusseldorf Exhibition Centre is strategically located between the River Rhine and the airport. It's about 20 minutes from the airport and 20 minutes from the city centre.

250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair.

The 2018 show was the golden jubilee of the show, so 2021 will be the 51st show.

Every year in January. In 2021 it will be 23-31 January.

Messe Düsseldorf GmbH Messeplatz 40474 Düsseldorf Tel: +49 211 4560-01 Fax: +49 211 4560-668

The Irish marine trade has witnessed increasing numbers of Irish attendees at boot over the last few years as the 17-Hall show becomes more and more dominant in the European market and direct flights from Dublin offer the possibility of day trips to the river Rhine venue.

Boats & Yachts Engines, Engine parts Yacht Equipment Watersports Services Canoes, Kayaks, Rowing Waterski, Wakeboard, Kneeboard & Skimboard Jetski + Equipment & Services Diving, Surfing, Windsurfing, Kite Surfing & SUP Angling Maritime Art & Crafts Marinas & Watersports Infrastructure Beach Resorts Organisations, Authorities & Clubs

Over 1000 boats are on display.

©Afloat 2020

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
40474 Düsseldorf
Tel: +49 211 4560-01
Fax: +49 211 4560-668

The first boats and yachts will once again be arriving in December via the Rhine.

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