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Another Big Night For Contributions To Northern Ireland Sailing At RYANI Annual Awards

20th January 2020
RYANI’s Young Sailor of the Year Ethan McCormac with his mum Lisa RYANI’s Young Sailor of the Year Ethan McCormac with his mum Lisa Photo: RYANI

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 Afloat.ie, 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.

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down.

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