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Displaying items by tag: RYANI

The RYA Northern Ireland is looking to recruit a Performance Manager to lead on the performance aspects of its strategy and support racing development in Northern Ireland.

To support this ambition, the Performance Manager will:

  • Be responsible for the ongoing evolution of strong and sustainable performance pathway within Northern Ireland;
  • Work as part of the RYA British Youth Sailing team to deliver the UK wide remit of ‘developing the best young racing sailors in the world’; and
  • Ensure NI athletes have access to the best support programmes locally in order to help them perform on the international stage.

The successful applicant will be expected to perform the following tasks (not limited to this list):

  • Manage RYA Northern Ireland’s performance programme investment;
  • Work with colleagues within RYA, RYANI and with key stakeholders to secure and develop investment in high performance activity;
  • Oversee the delivery of the Open Pathway Training, Youth Performance Programme and Performance Academy, working closely with Performance Academy sailors and ensuring appropriate guidance and support is given;
  • Work closely with High Performance athletes to develop individualised programmes and to meet SportNI Sporting Winners objectives.

If you would like to join a dynamic team and help develop sailing in Northern Ireland, RYANI wants to hear from you.

The closing date for applications is noon on Thursday 12 March, with interviews expected to take place in late March. Full details and how to apply can be found at the RYANI website HERE.

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The RYANI is calling on sailing clubs across Northern Ireland to bid to become host of the 2020 Women on Water Festival.

Following the success of the first-ever Women on Water Festival at Strangford Lough Yacht Club as part of the 2019 programme, the RYANI has announced that the next festival will take place this summer.

Active clubs co-ordinator Lisa McCaffrey says: “We were delighted with the success of last year’s Women on Water Festival and are looking forward to another great weekend in summer 2020.

“We hope to run the festival in June, which will allow participants to continue boating at their local club throughout the summer. This will also provide an opportunity for clubs to gain new members.

Lisa says the Women on Water programme, which was launched in 2016, “is a fantastic programme to get more females out on the water trying different water based activities”.

She adds: “The festival brought females from all experiences, from first-timers to lifelong participants, and allowed them to try out five different activities including dinghy sailing, yachting, powerboating, stand up paddleboarding.

“There were also informative workshops which allowed the participants to gain more knowledge about our sport and Northern Ireland’s waters.”

Clubs looking to host the 2020 WOW festival are now being invited to complete the expression of interest form by Friday 28 February. For more information contact [email protected] or call 07788238083.

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The RYANI has congratulated Donaghadee sailor Oisin McClelland on his strong showing at the Hempel World Cup Series in Miami last week.

As previously reported on, the Finn sailor from Northern Ireland finished fourth, just shy of the podium, after Saturday’s (25 January) medal race on Biscayne Bay.

RYANI chief operating officer Richard Honeyford said: “Oisin sailed well throughout the week in Miami. He secured three top three finishes in the 10-race series and really showed his skill in the stronger breeze.

“While he narrowly missed out on the bronze and a podium place in the end, Oisin’s hard work and training throughout the year really paid off.

“He is a fantastic role model for our young sailors and at RYANI we look forward to supporting Oisin as he continues in his campaign for the Tokyo Olympics.”

McClelland will have one more last chance to claim a spot in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics at the final European qualifier, the Hempel World Cup series event in Genoa, Italy from 11 April.

Over 150 guests at the RYANI Annual Awards ceremony in Queen’s University Belfast’s prestigious Riddel Hall last Friday (17 January) saw many sailors, instructors, volunteers and coaches receive well-deserved praise for a job well done in 2019, writes Betty Armstrong.

Outside of the main categories of Club, Instructor and Volunteer of the Year — which went to Stranford Lough YC, Ballyholme YC’s Kate Pounder and Royal North’s Lindsay McCarty Nolan, respecively — were many others which recognised the contributions of the young and the not so young in the promotion of the sport of sailing in Northern Ireland.

Across the region there are 28 affiliated clubs and training centres all led by a board of six headed by chair Jackie Patton, who herself has a long history of involvement in sailing. There are also 10 staff led by chief operating officer Richard Honeyford.

With sports journalist and U105 radio presenter Denise Watson in charge of proceedings, the evening ran smoothly, with every nominee’s story ably told.

The awards were followed by an inspirational presentation by Mikey Ferguson on his transatlantic Jacques Vabre ocean race with co-skipper Ari Huusela.

From left: RYANI development officer Mary Martin and COO Richard Honeyford with awards MC Denise Watson and Mikey FergusonFrom left: RYANI development officer Mary Martin and COO Richard Honeyford with awards MC Denise Watson and Mikey Ferguson

Having raced for most of the 18 days with a delaminated mainsail, his advice to parents was: “If your son or daughter asks for a new main, buy it!”

To start were three notable awards, for Outstanding Project which went to Women on Water, the Chairman’s Award presented to the Ulster Sailability Team, and Lifetime Commitment recognition for Colin de Fleury, a previous Instructor of the Year.

In other awards on the evening, Ethan McCormac of Cushendall S&BC was named Young Sailor of the Year, while Jess Winton of Ballyholme won Club Race Coach of the Year, and Sam Corbett (Royal North) and Josh Reddy (Ballyholme) shared the Young Powerboater gong.

And as previously reported on, Amy Armstrong and James Corbett of County Antrim Yacht Club were named Young Volunteers of the Year.

The event was sponsored by Carrick Marine, Garden Rooms NI and Whitenoise.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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Sailing and Cruising NI is RYANI’s newest affiliated body, and over the last two years has established what’s been described as a “one stop shop run by sailors for sailors” in Northern Ireland.

In a new interview with RYANI development officer Mary Martin, founder Chris Cardwell sings the praises of the predominantly online club — an impactful, open platform which “provides immediate access to the largest group of sailors in NI”, currently comprising more than 2,000 menders.

These members come from all the sailing clubs in Northern Ireland, keeping everyone in the loop on upcoming meetings and events, crewing opportunities and buy/sell deals.

But many are based further afield, in Ireland and across the UK. And the group is also open to members with various marine-related interests, from kayakers and cruisers to fishermen and emergency crews.

“We encourage members to post their activities on the group to inspire others,” says Cardwell. “This is particularly true over the winter period when many are out of the water.”

RYANI has more on the story HERE.

A group of young people have joined together to have their say on sailing and boating in Northern Ireland.

The RYANI Youth Forum group, which is being piloted for one year, has been formed as part of an initiative to empower young people, encouraging them to participate actively in society.

With 18 members registered, it is the first time that the initiative has been set up within the RYA regions.

The group are also being given the chance to improve their own lives by highlighting their needs and interests, as well putting forward their views to the governing body.

RYANI chair Jackie Patton said: “At RYANI we hope that this group will, as individuals, return to their clubs as ambassadors for their sport, perhaps even set up youth committees. Already, there are a few clubs across NI that are very successful with this model.”

Earlier this year, young people and adults were consulted on the idea of a youth forum.

“It was clear that there is a desire for a new approach to youth development within RYANI as an organisation,” said Patton. “The intention being that this will enhance what is currently on offer and not a disruption to any other programme.”

To help with the smooth running of the initiative, RYANI has partnered with the NI Youth Forum. A professional youth work team has been engaged which will provide input and support.

At the first session, which took place on 30 October at Sketrick House in Newtownards, 12 young people met to create terms of reference, discuss programme content, schedules and communications.

Through the Youth Forum, participants will be able to avail of fun activities, extended boating experiences, residentials and valuable links with other youth organisations.

Patton added: “We believe as an organisation that young people have an important role to play, they can be part of the solution and must be listened to.

“The Youth Forum has been created as a platform to facilitate them. The timing is perfect, as we look towards the creation of a new RYANI Strategy.”

In other news, nominations are now open for the new RYA Regional Youth Awards which recognise outstanding dedication, achievement and performance on the racecourse.

Launched in 2014 as the RYA Regional Youth Champion Awards, the rebranded Youth Awards “will also celebrate achievements within the sport including volunteering and overcoming adversity”.

All regional winners will be invited to take part in a “once in a lifetime” sailing experience with the British Sailing Team.

Along with their families, winners will also be invited to the RYA Dinghy Show for the official awards ceremony on 1 March 2020.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for clubs, class associations and individuals to reward the young people who are really making an impact in boating, whether it’s though performance, volunteering, instructing, coaching or adventure,” said RYA programmes manager Michelle Gent.

Nominations are open until Monday 6 January 2020. Those nominated must have been under 19 years of age on 31 December 2019. Each of the RYA’s regional committees will select a regional winner from nominations received.

Published in Youth Sailing
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RYA Northern Ireland is celebrating the achievements of a successful year, following its AGM on Monday 28 October.

During the event, Jackie Patton was re-elected as chair and elected directors were appointed.

Susan McKnight was appointed as vice chair, David Williams as treasurer, James Ogg as chair of the Development Committee, Peter Kennedy as chair of Performance Committee, and Andy Corkill and Roy Totten were also welcomed.

Patton paid a special thanks to three board members who have stepped down: PJ Gault, Paul Bunting and Geraldine Duggan.

It was an action-packed year for the governing body, with many successes and highlights for Northern Ireland throughout 2018/19.

High performance sailors had a thrilling year with Liam Glynn from Ballyholme Yacht Club securing a third at the U21 World Laser Championships in 2018.

Newcastle Yacht Club’s Erin McIlwaine also made huge strides when she clinched first place at the Female Topper Worlds in 2018.

Meanwhile, Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle, who are in the midst of their Olympic campaign, finished 17th in the 49er European Championships.

RYANI had a busy and fruitful year working with clubs to develop initiatives and membership opportunities.

The governing body was awarded an Inclusive Sport Award by Disability Sport NI, ran a successful Sea Bangor initiative, and club membership increased by 450 to 9,474 members. RYA’s membership also increased by over 6%.

Significant investment was made to allow clubs to develop their offering and to help boost sailing and boating right across Northern Ireland.

Over £8,000 was invested into 16 Focus Clubs which allowed the clubs to run Push the Boat Out, Bright Night Sailing and Women on Water events.

The investment paid off and through Push the Boat Out, clubs gained 90 new members. Three of the clubs were also able to run a school programme, which saw 70 young people taking to the water to try sailing and boating.

Throughout the year five new windsurf instructors were qualified, five sailing clubs were recognised as Sailability Foundation Sites and six clubs achieved Pathway Club status.

RYANI’s chief operating officer Richard Honeyford said: “It has been a very busy but extremely successful and rewarding year for RYANI. We have watched our sailors compete at a high performance level and achieve many of their goals and we have also been proud to support our clubs, helping them to find new ways to improve their offering and attract new members.

“The success of the last year will spur us on as we undertake another exciting year of sailing and boating in Northern Ireland.”

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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Youth sailors from all over Northern Ireland are getting ready for RYANI’s Youth Championships weekend at Strangford Lough Yacht Club from today, Saturday 21 September, with over 160 sailors competing for the coveted Northern Ireland Schools Cup and Club Trophy.

As previously reported on, this is the 30th year of the popular competition — and this year there is a focus on reducing plastic and ensuring the event is more environmentally sustainable in line with The Green Blue Charter.

In 2018, The Green Blue and RYANI delivered a series of workshops to educate clubs and instructors in Strangford Lough on the importance of protecting marine habitats and species in this area of natural beauty.

A new-look website has also recently been launched which provides useful resources as well as educational activities for young boaters that can be delivered on the water and onshore.

The most popular of these is Marine CSI, which gives young people the chance to become marine ‘special agents’ by analysing fingerprints, unscrambling puzzles and testing water samples.

By working towards an environmentally self-regulating boating community, The Green Blue aims to help boaters minimise the impact they have on the environment and protect wildlife and its habitats so they can enjoy the marine environment far into the future.

Published in Youth Sailing

Charlie O’Malley from Donaghadee Sailing Club has spent the last six months getting on the water as much as he can in his Topper awarded by the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) and RYA OnBoard partnership.

Since its launch in 2013, the partnership has supported youth sailors who display enthusiasm, drive, talent and commitment to the sport but may not ordinarily have had the opportunity or financial backing to achieve their goals.

In its six years, 76 boats and boards have been donated across the UK — with 10 of these awarded in Northern Ireland, and some remarkable success stories.

Charlie first got into sailing when he joined his friends to take part in Bright Night Sailing — an initiative where young people learn the basic skills of sailing while meeting new friends along the way.

He says that winning the boat meant a lot to him: “I was speechless for the first time ever! I was so excited, I was jumping up and down in joy. Especially when I saw the delivery truck coming down the street towards me.

“When I started racing I borrowed a club Topper. It was pretty basic but it got me started and I was coming last every time.

“When I got my own boat from JMST and RYA OnBoard, I had it out for the first day and I did very well. That made me feel very grateful and made me more confident in the water.”

Charlie hasn’t wasted a moment since he was awarded the boat, he says. “I sail five times a week — sometimes six — with my boat at different clubs. I sail mostly at Donaghadee but I also enjoy trying different waters at different clubs.

“It has helped me lots because now I can go to different places to sail and to sail in national events such as the Youth Nationals and the Irish Topper Nationals.”

He says that he enjoys the social side of sailing and meeting new people but he also enjoys competing.

“I had achieved a lot since I got the boat. I won a series in Donaghadee Sailing Club and won the [Centenary] Regatta in Ballyholme Yacht Club. I also did my first three-day event in my boat at the Nationals.

“Sailing gives me something to do in my spare time that I really enjoy and something that I can carry on throughout my life.”

After meeting one of his sailing heroes at the RYANI Annual Awards earlier this year, Charlie says he is inspired to follow in his footsteps.

“My inspiration would be Ian Walker because he started in a Topper and slowly worked his way up to Olympic level, meeting new people and sailing with friends. I want to do the exact same thing when I grow up.”

Charlie has got big plans before he gives the boat back next year and hopes to continue on his winning streak.

“Before I give back the Topper I would like to have competed in the worlds and get a few more trophies elsewhere,” he says.

RYANI’s high performance manager Matt McGovern said: “I have met Charlie several times since the JMST awards, at several different sailing clubs, and I have been extremely impressed with his attitude and keenness to get out on the water.

“Getting enthusiastic young sailors access to boats and helping give them time on the water is what this award is all about.

“I can think of no better example than that of Charlie. I will not be surprised if we see him rising through the ranks of the RYANI Performance Programme over the coming years.”

Applications for this year’s John Merricks Sailing Trust are now open and further information can be found HERE.

Published in Youth Sailing

The RYANI is calling on clubs across Northern Ireland to nominate their sporting heroes for its the Annual Awards, sponsored by Garden Rooms NI.

This year’s awards evening will be held on 17 January 2020 at Queen’s University Belfast’s Riddel Hall.

For the last few years, the awards recognise all the good work by volunteers in clubs and centres across the province.

Richard Honeyford, RYANI chief operations officer, said: “I am very pleased to be launching the awards, which have been growing from strength to strength since becoming a standalone event in 2015.

“The event has gained the support of Garden Rooms NI. The family owners are sailors themselves with a daughter who recently completed her RYA Dinghy Instructor award, and they want to give back to a sport that means so much. We are, of course, very pleased to have them on board.”

RYANI chairman Jackie Patton added: “This event is the highlight of the year, reflecting growing participation in our sport. The growth is due to hard work and good practice in our clubs and beyond, by the plethora of volunteers and workers. It is a great opportunity for us all to meet and celebrate.”

Nominations can be made in the following categories:

Also awarded on the night will be Young Sailor of the Year, nominated by the RYANI Performance Committee, and regional Club of the Year.

Following on from last year’s awards, clubs wishing to be considered as Club of the Year must nominated themselves via the RYA’s national competition, in association with Yachts & Yachting and supported by Gallagher.

The Club of the Year awards recognise the outstanding achievement of sailing clubs across the UK, and all 1,000 sailing clubs in Great Britain and Northern Ireland are eligible to apply.

The RYA Awards Panel will select a finalist for each of the 10 RYA regions and Home Counties, as well as two ‘wild card’ entries.

During this shortlisting stage, the panel will provide five clubs with recognition for particular achievements in the following five areas: boosting membership; innovation and forward thinking; inclusivity; facilities; and embracing modern communication.

All finalist clubs will then go through to a public vote, with the overall winner selected by RYA members, Yachts & Yachting readers and the panel. The 2020 Club of the Year will be announced at the RYA Dinghy Show at London’s Alexandra Palace from 29 February to 1 March 2020.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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