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Displaying items by tag: RYANI

As RYA Northern Ireland marks its 50th anniversary and reflects on a fantastic year for sailing and boating in Northern Ireland, it’s time to submit nominations for its end-of-season awards and celebrate the best of the region in 2023.

The award ceremony will take place on Friday 19 April 2024 at Queen’s University Belfast’s Riddle Hall.

Alongside the regular categories of Race Coach, Race Official, Volunteer, Young Powerboater, Young Volunteer, Instructor and Young Sailor of the Year, as well as the RYANI Chair’s Nomination, this year there is the new category of Club Project of the Year, which replaces Club of the Year to align more closely with RYANI’s five-year strategy Navigating the Future.

The closing date for nominations on Wednesday 31 January 2024. For the different awards criteria and how to submit your nomination, visit the RYA website HERE.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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RYA Northern Ireland’s new five-year strategy, Navigating the Future, recognises that volunteers are one of the main driving forces behind sailing and boating in Northern Ireland.

Now the organisation has announced a pilot scheme, We’re All In, which aims to reduce the impact of “volunteer burnout” and ensure the long-term sustainability of sailing in NI.

Clubs and centres will be able to apply for a small amount of funding aimed at increasing engagement, either via training of volunteers or holding a volunteer engagement day before the end of April 2024.

In addition to financial support, RYANI says it will work with clubs on a one-to-one basis “as we appreciate that each club is unique”.

Clubs who are part of the scheme will receive direct support from RYA staff about how to reach out to new volunteers most effectively and they will be supported through interactive workshops.

For more details on the pilot scheme, see the RYA website HERE.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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This month, RYA Northern Ireland marks 50 years since its formation as the Ulster Branch of the Irish Yachting Association.

And to celebrate all aspects of sailing and boating in the region, a series of commemorative events will be held over the next year, culminating in a special evening in Autumn 2024.

RYANI chief executive Greg Yarnall said: “When we launched the Navigating the Future five-year strategic plan this year, we made a promise to celebrate the people and places in the sport and tell the stories of their accomplishments, dedication and commitment to the sport in Northern Ireland. The 50th-year anniversary gives us the perfect opportunity to do this.”

As part of this initiative, RYANI will be working closely with clubs and individuals around the country, encouraging them to share their stories to build a better understanding of Northern Ireland’s boating history during this period.

For more on this story, see the RYA website HERE.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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Two of Northern Ireland’s most committed volunteers were recognised at the RYA Volunteer Awards in London last Friday (10 November).

Richard Robinson of County Antrim Yacht Club received an Outstanding Contribution award, while Jack Kennedy of Strangford Lough Yacht Club received a Young Volunteer award.

The event was attended by The Princess Royal, president of the RYA, and highlighted the amazing work of volunteers from all sections of the United Kingdom.

Commenting on the contribution of volunteers, RYA chief executive Sara Sutcliffe MBE said: “I am blown away by the commitment and dedication shown by our volunteers. I’m immensely grateful for everything you do, which simply put, keeps our sport and communities afloat.”

Jack Kennedy of Strangford Lough Yacht Club received a Young Volunteer award from Princess AnneJack Kennedy of Strangford Lough Yacht Club received a Young Volunteer award from Princess Anne

Richard Robinson supports County Antrim Yacht Club’s Training Centre as a qualified senior instructor, advanced powerboat instructor, safety boat instructor and windsurfing instructor. Over many years as a volunteer, he has taught hundreds of people to sail, led dozens of power and safety boat courses and facilitated thousands of races. Robinson is also the RTC principal for Belfast Lough Sailability.

Jack Kennedy, meanwhile, began volunteering aged 14, helping at Sunday sailing sessions for young children at Strangford Lough Yacht Club where he was also an assistant instructor. He soon progressed to become a senior instructor and powerboat instructor, helping to coordinate other activities including the regional RYA Women on Water festival and Discover Sailing days.

For more background on NI’s winning volunteers, see the RYA website HERE.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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RYA Northern Ireland has officially named its performance squads for the ILCA and Topper classes ahead of the 2023/24 season.

According to RYANI, selection for both squads was based on the performance throughout the year across various events, both international and local — including the RYANI Youth Championships, which took place in September at Ballyholme Yacht Club.

RYANI performance manager Andrew Baker said: “The squads are great way to support committed sailors in their progression and it’s a critical step towards helping them at national level competition.”

For more details, including the full list of both performance squads, see the RYA website HERE.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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Peter Gilmore has joined RYA Northern Ireland as its new marketing and communications executive.

The Cardiff University graduate, who was born in Dublin and grew up in NI, has most recently been freelancing as a journalist and a reporter with ITV and Greatest Hits Radio.

And he comes with a sailing pedigree too, having spent time on various RYA performance squads in his teens and also sailed across the Atlantic with his seagoing family.

For more on Gilmore and his appointment, see the RYA website HERE.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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Hear from the RYANI’s performance manager Andrew Baker in the second RYA Connected Online session on Monday 27 November, where the focus will be on the talent and performance pathways for sailing in Northern Ireland.

The evening session will provide an update on selections for the 2023-24 performance squad — one of the pathways that’s helped the likes of current NI Overall Youth Sailing Champion Daniel Palmer to reach great success.

For more details and how to book your place, see the RYA website HERE.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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Applications are now open for RYA Northern Ireland’s Youth Performance Programme.

In addition, the regional body for sailing and boating in Northern Ireland will run selection weekends in the form of open training at East Antrim Boat Club, on the weekend of 7-8 October for Toppers and 14-15 October for the ILCA class.

“Selections are an interesting time,” says RYANI performance manager Andrew Baker. “Established sailors are looking to move to the next step of their pathway and often look to change class.

“But also new sailors from our clubs and classes turn up for their first attempt to be recognised for their efforts and be selected for our programmes.” The RYA website has more details HERE.

In other news, RYANI’s 20th Annual General Meeting will take place on Saturday 11 November at Carrickfergus Sailing Club. The meeting will be held as part of RYANI Connected 2023. To book your place, and for other details, see the RYA website HERE.

RYANI has also recently appointed three new members to its board.

Gavin Nelson, Owen Waters and Linda MacHugh have recently joined and will help to deliver the aims of the Navigating the Future strategy.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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RYA Northern Ireland has been reviewing its governance structures for the delivery of its strategic plan, Navigating the Future.

RYANI chief executive Greg Yarnall says: “The proposed changes are being put forward to help provide greater organisational stability and put us in the best position possible to support members, whilst opening up opportunities to develop and grow the organisation in the future.”

The RYANI board is proposing to change the length of term that a chair holds, as well as a move to charitable status, as previously reported on

RYANI is required to have 75 per cent of affiliated clubs in Northern Ireland vote in favour of the changes, which will be made through its Articles of Association. These will be issued to affiliated clubs in the coming days, Yarnall adds.

For more on this story, see the RYA website HERE.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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RYA Northern Ireland has hailed the success of its junior sailors in the recent Topper Worlds as well as the Irish and British Nationals in the region’s largest junior single-handed class.

In early July, four out of the top five sailors in the Irish Nationals at Ballyholme Yacht Club were from the Northern Ireland fleet — with Cormac Byrne of Strangford Sailing Club in second, Luke Simpson from County Antrim YC in third and Ballyholme YC’s Emily Macafee fifth overall, while in the 4.3 Class, Adam Green of Lough Erne YC placed third.

As previously reported on, CAYC’s Luke Simpson and Tom Driscoll from the Royal North and Ballyholme provided NI’s best performances at the Royal Cork in the Topper Worlds later in July.

After a long week at the Worlds, only five NI sailors made the trip to Plas Heli Sailing Club in North Wales for the British Nationals last week but again put in a fantastic effort.

Cormac Byrne hit out with an incredible first day posting a 2, 1, 2 to lead overall, only to then suffer a Black flag in race two and have the scores amended. A tough blow but these things happen in championship racing.

Lighter winds played a part in the qualifying rounds as likely candidates struggled and some even missed the cut for the gold fleet. Consistency would prove invaluable and Like managed the event very well to make the podium in third overall.

With more wind on the last day, others managed to find form, posting several top three results, but after a tough start to the week had to settle for places just outside of the top ten: Tom 12th, Emily 15th and Cormac in 20th.

“Congratulations to our sailors on a great competition season. And hats off to the parents and coaches who supported them and drove them around the country and further afield to realise their goals,” RYANI said.

Published in Topper
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About the 29er Skiff Dinghy

The 29er is a one-design double-handed, single trapeze skiff for youth sailors.

There is an active class in Ireland, just one of the 38-countries from across all continents now racing the high-performance skiff.

The 29er is one of the latest dinghy classes to arrive in Ireland and has a 50/50 split between boys and girls.

The class like to describe the boat as "The most popular skiff for sailors who want to go fast!".

Derived from the Olympic class 49er class and designed by Julian Bethwaite the 29er was first produced in 1998.

Two sailors sail the 29er, one on trapeze.

The class is targeted at youth sailors aiming at sailing the larger 49er which is an Olympic class.

The 6.25-metre high rig features a fractional asymmetrical spinnaker; a self-tacking jib decreases the workload of the crew, making manoeuvres more efficient and freeing the crew to take the mainsheet upwind and on two-sail reaches.

The 15.00 m2 spinnaker rigging set-up challenges crews to be fit and coordinated, and manoeuvres in the boat require athleticism due to its lack of inherent stability and the high speed with which the fully battened mainsail and jib power up.

The 74kg weight hull is constructed of fibreglass-reinforced polyester in a foam sandwich layout.

The fully battened mainsail and jib are made from a transparent Mylar laminate with orange or red Dacron trimming, while the spinnaker is manufactured from ripstop Nylon.

The mast is in three parts - an aluminium bottom and middle section, with a polyester-fibreglass composite tip to increase mast bend and decrease both overall weights, and the capsizing moment a heavy mast tip can generate. Foils are aluminium or fibreglass.

About the ILCA/Laser Dinghy

The ILCA, formerly known as the Laser, is the most produced boat in the world, with 220,000 units built since 1971.

It's easy to see why the single-handed dinghy has won the title of the most widely distributed boat of all time.

The Laser is a one-design dinghy, the hulls being identical but three rigs that can be used according to the size and weight of the sailor.

The class is international, with sailors from 120 countries. The boat has also been an Olympic class since 1996, being both the men's and women's singlehanded dinghy.

Three rigs are recognised by the International Laser Class Association (ILCA):

  • ILCA 4: sail of 4.70m2
  • ILCA 6: sail of 5.76 m2
  • ILCA 7: sail of 7.06 m2

29er skiff technical specs

  • Hull weight 74kg (163lb)
  • LOA 4.45m (14.4ft)
  • Beam 1.77m (5ft 7in)
  • Crew 2 (single trapeze) 
  • Spinnaker area 15.00 m2 (181.2sq.ft)
  • Upwind sail area 12.5 m2 (142.0 sq.ft)
  • Mast length 6.25m (20.5ft)

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