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RYA Northern Ireland Youth Forum Members Celebrate Another Successful Year

30th April 2022
RYA Northern Ireland's Jackie Patton and Margie Crawford with members of the Youth Forum
RYA Northern Ireland’s Jackie Patton and Margie Crawford with members of the Youth Forum

A group of young sailors recently came together to mark another successful year of the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Forum.

The celebration event took place at Carrickfergus Sailing Club with guests representing RYA clubs across Northern Ireland in attendance.

The event included an inspiring video from Eilidh McIntyre, Olympic gold medallist at Tokyo 2020. RYA Northern Ireland board members, staff and proud parents were also there to congratulate the Youth Forum members on their achievements. 

RYA Northern Ireland chair Susan McKnight said: “It is fantastic to see our young people being so proactive and focusing on developing their skills. 

“Young sailors play a vital role in developing our sport and I am delighted that this initiative is ensuring their opinions and ideas are being heard and taken forward. I am grateful to Jackie Patton and Margie Crawford for all the work they have put into the Youth Forum.”

RYA Northern Ireland Youth Forum Co-Ordinator Jackie Patton added: “We are extremely proud of our Youth Forum members. Throughout 2020-21 they have shown great determination and leadership as they acted as a voice for young people in our sport.

“It has been a pleasure to see them grow and develop and I look forward to seeing what they achieve in the years ahead.”

Throughout 2020-21 the Youth Forum members took part in 10 sessions, including a team building day and a residential at the National Outdoor Centre in Tollymore.

They also engaged with inspirational people within the sport including Jena Mai and Ryan Seaton, about their Olympic campaigns and how this led to Jena winning gold in Rio in the 49erFX class. Phil Johnston also talked about his experiences of working with The Ocean Race yacht team Turn the Tide on Plastic during the iconic race.

Louise Leonard from Carrickfergus Sailing Club is a participant of the Youth Forum. She said: “I joined the Youth Forum to build my confidence and over this programme I have gained the confidence to speak in public. It is fantastic to be here tonight to celebrate all our achievements.” Team

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About the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Northern Ireland 

  • The RYA is the national body for dinghy, yacht and motor cruising, all forms of sail racing, RIBs and sports boats, windsurfing and personal watercraft and a leading representative for inland waterways cruising.
  • The RYA is recognised by Government, the media and opinion formers as the representative body and voice for the activities that it represents. It continually fights for the rights and freedoms of its 112,000 personal members.
  • The RYA has more than 1,500 affiliated clubs and classes, which represent some 350,000 boaters throughout the UK. It is estimated that 4 million people in the UK take part in boating activity annually.
  • The RYA also sets and maintains recognised standards for training for both leisure and commercial boating through a network of more than 2,400 RYA Recognised Training Centres across 58 countries. More than 250,000 people per year complete RYA training courses.
  • The RYA is responsible for one of the UK’s most successful Olympic medal-winning sports. Our coaching and development schemes actively support 800 of our country’s top sailors, from talented juniors to Olympic and World champions.
  • The RYA is committed to promoting all forms of boating and making them accessible to everyone. For more information please visit
  • The Royal Yachting Association Northern Ireland (RYA NI) acts for the RYA in Northern Ireland (NI) and the Chairman of RYA NI is invited to join the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) Policy Review Committee.
  • You can find the RYA Northern Ireland at Sketrick House, GE8, Jubilee Road, Newtownards, BT23 4YH.
  • RYA NI is a company limited by guarantee – Registration number NI 51945
  • Contact RYA NI: Tel: 02891 827154 email: [email protected]



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