Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Northern Ireland ILCA Sailors Ring In the New Year at Valencia Training Camp

18th January 2024
Sailing downwind on an ILCA dinghy off Valencia in Spain
Several of RYA Northern Ireland’s ILCA squad spent the New Year break at a warm-weather training camp in Valencia, Spain from 27 December to 3 January Credit: RYANI

Several of RYA Northern Ireland’s ILCA squad spent the New Year break at a warm-weather training camp in Valencia, Spain from 27 December to 3 January.

Supported by RYANI performance manager Hammy Baker, the contingent comprised ILCA 6 sailors Lewis Thompson and Daniel Palmer from Ballyholme Yacht Club as well as Bobby Driscoll (RNIYC) and Zoe Whitford (East Antrim BC), who received support from Irish Sailing, and Cormac Byrne (Strangford SC) who received support as part of Liam Glynn’s ILCA 4 Development Squad.

While this was the second year that Northern Ireland sailors have make the trip to Valencia for winter training, it was the first time they were joined by their counterparts from RYA Scotland and RYA Wales.

“It was great to have the other home nations with us,” Performance manager Andrew Baker said. “Ahead of the Celtic Cup (3-4 February in Plas Heli, Wales) and The Europeans (27 July-3 August, Ballyholme YC) I feel it’s important for the sailors to meet each other and create new training groups that are logistically in reach. There also seems to be more enthusiasm for the Celtic Cup and some competitive rivalries forming.”

For more on the RYANI ILCA training camp in Valencia, see the RYA website HERE. 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]