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Displaying items by tag: Ballyholme Yacht Club

Way back in the mid -70s the well-known and recently retired Bangor sailor who was Chair of Irish Sailing's Racing Rules & Appeals Board, Ron Hutchieson, introduced Laser dinghies to Ballyholme Yacht Club and persuaded the now SailCoach head, Trevor Millar to forsake Newtownards Sailing Club and bring his Laser to join the fun.

The fleet grew quickly as the new-fangled owners, such as Willie Forsythe, Charlie Taylor, and the late Denis Finlay, wanted to get out racing in a maintenance-free boat. Ron got permission from the Sailing Committee to start a winter series, hence the Icebreaker. Its success is measured by the fact that the popular competition still runs, with sometimes up to 60 boats out on Sundays during what used to be the 'off' season. Ron tells me he bought the trophy – a silver Ice Pick, in Harrods in a sale!

In 2018, the Club saw the potential of keeping the Cadet members in practice, and so was born the idea of a Junior Icebreaker to cater for the many enthusiastic 10 – 16-year-olds who wanted to race during this time as well. The fleet of about 30 every week is made up of mainly Toppers but it is the Club hope that some Optimists will join them, as well as some Cadet members who have moved up to Lasers.

The 2020 -2021 sessions start tomorrow (Saturday 10th Oct) with the first gun at 14.30 hrs, the format being a series of short windward-leeward races each week. The event is designed for Cadets who have RYA Stage 3 and their own boats. There are though, two Club Toppers and two Club Fevas available to lease for a minimum three-month period.

The Junior Icebreaker will be run under the BYC Covid guidelines.

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The Irish Multihull Committee has postponed its Eastern Championships at Wicklow Sailing Club and the Irish Open Championships at Swords Sailing Club due to Covid 19.

Both events will now take place in 2021.

Ballyholme Yacht Club has agreed to upgrade the 'Weekend of Speed' on October 17th and18th to the Irish Open Championships for the multihull fleet. The weekend will also see 49er and 29er skiffs in action on Belfast Lough.

 Ballyholme Yacht Club‘s ‘Regatta’ last weekend went a long way in these ‘new normal’ times, to fulfil the usual criteria for a standard regatta, but minus the visitors and the usual socialising and tea and buns afterwards. It was a two-day event with adult and cadet racing, a Ladies race, Stand up Paddleboarding and open sea swimming for adults and children.

The curtailment due to the current COVID 19 restrictions had little effect on the enjoyment, with a respectable turnout of over 100 dinghies, plus 45 swimmers and 30 paddleboarders. Obviously something for all the family.

The weather was kind for the whole weekend, with the Cadets off first of in a fleet of 52 made up of 30 Toppers, six Lasers, both Radial and 4.7, three Bahias, one Saiqube and a Laser 2000. After four races the winner of the Toppers was Hannah Dadley-Young and Josh McGregor was first in the Lasers. Winner of fast dinghies was David Fletcher and family.

The main race in the afternoon drew over 40 lasers plus 11 in Fast Handicap and two others. Daniel Palmer was first in the slow handicap in a Topper 5.3, the Catamaran prize went to Pete and Dee McDowell, Fast Handicap was won by Dave Fletcher and Ryan Smith in the Laser 2000, and Joni Rock led the Laser Radials. Winner of the Lasers was Liam Glynn, whose record includes a World Junior Topper title and a U21 Bronze. Back in March, he had been preparing to battle for a place in the now-cancelled Tokyo Olympics.

It was a full house of 12 in the Picos for the two race Ladies event on Sunday morning. The overall winner was Jess Winton, who adds her name to that of her Mother Charlie, who won the same trophy last year.

The open sea swim saw 25 adults and 20 juniors taking to the water and this was followed by a big turnout of 30 Paddleboarders, including kids/teens won by Anicka Hunter; Jamie McCourbrey was first adult male, and the first lady was Carla Milne.

But moving fast wasn’t the be-all and end-all. Best dressed went to Nick West, Endeavor/Endurance to Sarah-Jane Flannigan and first to enter the water involuntarily was Claire Storey.

Rounding of a hugely successful weekend was the open sea swim by 25 adults and 20 juniors.

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Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough has taken a big step and will hold a two-day club regatta this weekend, (1st and 2nd August), for members only, but it will be an adapted ‘regatta’, run to the new normal within both government and RYA guidelines.

It won’t, therefore, be a regatta in the usual sense in that while there will be plenty of on the water activity, there will be no regatta tea or bar in the clubhouse – so no mass sandwich-making the night before!

Prizes will be awarded in the form of vouchers for the BYC Bar, or local chandlery prizes and to make up for the lack of the all-important regatta tea, it is suggested you bring deckchairs and sandwiches. The outside bar will be open.

On Saturday morning, there will be a Cadet Regatta and Saturday afternoon will see a similar format to the current Sunday racing, but with a Committee Boat windward start. On

Sunday morning there will be a Ladies Race using the Club Picos with a briefing at 0930 and start at 1030. This must be booked online.

And for those who have any energy left, there will be a Regatta swim at 1330 and at 1500 a Stand-Up Paddleboard race starting from the South Slipway. The course will be dependent on the weather conditions, again with prizes for the speedy (and perhaps even stylish) paddlers.

Details and online booking will be available from today (29th) on the club website. At present entry appears to be for dinghies only.

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The Cadets at Ballyholme Yacht Club in Bangor Co Down on Belfast Lough are split into two sections; the beginners called Dolphins and those who have completed Stage 3 – Sharks. In order to reduce the numbers on the slipway and afloat at any one time, the Sharks had their turn last Saturday.

After the much-delayed return to the water due to COVID, a great turnout of 18 Toppers enjoyed a perfect morning practising racing in two groups.

In charge were RYA club coaches Colin Robinson and Andrew Dadley with RYA Instructor Russell Finlay and the safety boat was manned socially distanced by John Bell and Coach David Nelson on board.

Neighbouring clubs Royal Ulster and Ballyholme at Bangor in County Down on Belfast Lough are both due back on the water soon.

The RUYC sailing committee has decided that in line with further guidance from the RYA that competitive sport can’t start until the 17th July at the earliest, that the club will start sailing on the Saturday 18th July in the first of a series of Round Belfast Lough type courses. In August a new one round the Copeland Islands is planned. The updated sailing programme and sailing instructions for the new series of races will be available here on 10th July.

Thursday night racing has been cancelled for this month (July) but as events are moving very quickly now, the August points racing will be reviewed should there be a further easement. The annual Regatta will now not be possible this Saturday (11th) as competitive sailing cannot happen until later in the month. It is hoped that a smaller-scale event will be held during September.

Short cruises in company around Belfast Lough are on the books with a start this Sunday (12th) with a short trip to Helens Bay where anchoring is possible.

Sailing Secretary Jim Coffey said “The sailing committee would like to thank members for their patience and understanding whilst we try and work our way through these difficult times; ultimately the safety of members is paramount as the pandemic is still with us".

At Ballyholme the bar will open this evening (9th)with drinks served outside with the now usual restrictions. See

And there is good news for cadets. Paul Prentice RTC (Recognised Training Centre) Principal is delighted to be able to run courses. “ Thanks to our dedicated training team, with support from RYANI, we are delighted to release our Programme for 2020”. He adds “ As you will see there are a number of changes to the format, and unfortunately, due to restrictions we are unable to offer beginners courses.

The team is excited to welcome you back on the water”.

Courses are available to book, for Members only until Friday 17th July, after which they will be opened to non-members. Please take some time to read the information online and particularly the cancellation policy and ifIf you have any questions or concerns, please give Lyn a call at the club on 028 9127 1467.

Ballyholme Yacht Club is planning to form a Sub Committee to ensure members who are interested in Standup Paddleboarding, Sea Swimming, Kayaking and Windsurfing have a voice.

Before the Lockdown the club had plans in place for a new Social SUP night on Wednesdays and were at early stages of planning a number of Open Water Swim Events over and above the Monday Night Swims.

So as a result of Zoom meetings in the meantime, a new initiative is under consideration, so the call is out for people to join the group and help shape the future of these sports at BYC.

The Rear Commodore Sailing, Rob Milligan, is a keen SUPer and Windsurfer and he has agreed to be the link between the new Sub-Committee and the Sailing Committee. The Rear Commodore Shore, Keith Storey, is an avid supporter and wants to see more events.

The ask is not a big one and to get started the club needs a group of people to help. These events don’t run themselves and if it is to work help is needed. So if you’re interested contact Lyn in the office on 028 9127 1467 or email [email protected]

The club is also working away in the background to secure equipment and provide training to offer something new in 2020.

Published in Belfast Lough

In what will be a welcome decision by the Ballyholme Yacht Club, members will now be able to proceed, albeit slowly and patiently, towards a return to watersports.

Commodore Aidan Pounder has emailed members with the news that SportNI has specified in its Framework to guide progression towards a resumption of sport and physical recreation in Northern Ireland, that this includes swimming in open water and all forms of water - sports practised on open waterways – sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, paddle - boarding and the use of motorised craft (in line with navigation authority guidance. He goes on to say “ I and indeed your Executive Officers fully appreciate that everyone wants to get back to some form of normality, but unfortunately, I don’t envisage this for some time. In the interim we will be embarking on a start towards this new normality with small steps, starting tomorrow (24th May) at 0900 hrs with the opening of our grounds and slipways”.

"A booking system to limit the number of sailors at the club has been implemented"

In order to make this safely workable, a booking system to limit the number of sailors at the club has been implemented within this link for 24th May, Monday 25th May and Tuesday 26th May. And within this document is the ability to book for other watersports sessions such as sea swimming, paddleboarding and windsurfing at specific times on Monday 25th and Wednesday 27th May.

In particular, sailing will be available for small groups in sessions, up to 12 can book per session, to be split between North and South parks and slipways. This is required in accordance with NI Executive guidelines. There will be no safety cover for the session

The Commodore continued “I must reiterate the guidance from the RYANI, who are correctly advocating patience to allow the necessary actions as required to be taken so that the environment is as safe as it can be for our Members, Staff and visitors”. And concludes by saying that “The Return to Water Team and Executive Committee are working hard for you and I hope that you can be patient with us as we move forward”.

Published in Belfast Lough

In response to the pathway to recovery strategy published by the NI Executive on 12th May, the Executive Committee at Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough is planning a return to water-based activities. With the dinghy parks dormant and the marina still closed, members will be rarin’ to get afloat as soon as possible.

Stay at Home is still the current advice and the committee supports the Five Stage plan. Therefore, the club approach to getting members back on the water will be based on both guidance provided by the NI Executive and the RYA. The priority will always be the safety of members and staff.

Ballyholme Lockdown 3Ballyholme during Lockdown

RYA has set up working groups and is consulting with clubs. A BYC member, Robin Gray, sits on the National RYA Return to Racing Working Party which is tasked with writing detailed guidelines for the clubs on restarting racing. A BYC COVID-19 working group will look at all club activities to assess risk, implement controls and policies, and regularly review guidelines and our procedures.

Step one of the NI Executive’s plan will allow for a return to some on-water activity which it is hoped will include sailing and will allow the slipways and dinghy parks to be opened to facilitate ‘social sailing’.

The clubhouse will not be available at this stage and sailing will be for single or double-handed boats (crewed only by members of the same household). As safety cover will not be available so sailors must be realistic about their abilities and importantly consider the sea state and weather conditions to minimise risk. Other club activities such as open water swimming, windsurfing, paddleboarding and kayaking should also be able possible under the same conditions. If all goes well and the NI Executive progresses to step two, which increases participant numbers to 10, some form of racing and cadet sailing can take place.

In the meantime, online quizzes and events for all ages have proved popular but it recognised that so much dependent on the public following the guidelines to reduce the spread of the virus and get the R number down in our community to allow us to progress through the steps.

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Yet another event at Ballyholme has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation. Richard Swanston, one of Ballyholme’s long time members and Chair of Irish Multihull Association, tells me that the May Weekend of Speed had to be withdrawn from the calendar.

As reported previously by Afloat, the weekend of 23 rd and 24th May should have welcomed a big fleet of Multihulls to Belfast Lough, racing as an Open fleet of Dart 18s, Dart16s, Hurricane 5.9 SXs and a highly competitive F18 fleet.

Also cancelled is this weekend’s Westerns at Galway Bay SC but Swanston is hopeful that the Eastern Championships at Wicklow in August along with the Nationals at Swords in County Dublin in September will survive.

Published in Belfast Lough
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