Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Nominations Open for RYA Northern Ireland Annual Awards 2022

16th January 2023
Winners at the most recent RYANI Annual Awards for 2019
Winners at the most recent RYANI Annual Awards for 2019

RYA Northern Ireland has announced the return of its annual awards, including a brand new category, which will recognise the region’s unsung heroes of sailing and boating.

The awards, which had been on hold since 2019 due to COVID, are are back with a bang this year and promise to be bigger and better than ever.

Voting is now open with a simplified application process and two new categories: Race Official of The Year and Chair’s Award. See the RYANI website for more details.

Nominations will close at midnight on Friday 17 February, with the awards event will then taking place in April 2023. Nominations should focus on impact that was made between January and December 2022.

RYANI’s chief operating officer Greg Yarnall says: “We are excited to restart the RYA Northern Ireland awards again this year and get 2023 off to a celebratory start.

“We are also taking the opportunity to introduce a new category, Race Official of the Year. Many of our participants enjoy competing throughout the year and without our race officials, these events just wouldn’t be able to happen. We wanted to ensure they too were recognised, alongside our volunteers, instructors and coaches.”

Susan McKnight, chair of RYANI, added: “I am delighted that this year we will have a Chair’s Award. I would ask our sailing and boating community that if they know of a club, centre, person or group who deserve recognition — but do not fall within the other categories — to get in touch and let us know.

“The award will be decided upon by myself and we want to ensure that we recognise someone very special who has achieved something exceptional or gone above and beyond.”

Liz Baker, chair of the RYANI development committee said: “Volunteers are the bedrock of our sport — without them, we simply would not be able to do any of our events and many of our clubs would not exist. There are people right across Northern Ireland who give up their time each and every week to ensure that sailing and boating continues to thrive.

“It is fantastic to be able to celebrate these unsung heroes and I am delighted that this year we will have the Annual Awards and recognise those who do so much for our sport.”

The full list of categories is as follows:

  • Chair’s Award nomination
  • Race Official of the Year
  • Volunteer of the Year
  • Instructor of the Year
  • Club Race Coach of the year
  • Young Powerboater of the Year
  • Young Volunteer of the Year
  • Young Sailor of the year (this will be decided in house by the performance committee)

The Club of the Year will be awarded but will be run separately from the Annual Awards so that they can be aligned with the RYA Club of the Year process. 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]