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Howth Hosts International Students from Japan for Sailing Instruction

26th August 2019
A perfect day for their first sail - pupils of Tokai School in Japan were introduced to sailing in Quest’s J/80s at Howth, in this case with instructor Alex Delamer. A perfect day for their first sail - pupils of Tokai School in Japan were introduced to sailing in Quest’s J/80s at Howth, in this case with instructor Alex Delamer.

With all eyes on the pre-Olympics and the Rugby World Cup in Japan, Quest Howth has recently proven a big hit in the Land of the Rising Sun. While the focus in recent days may have been on the Olympic sailing at Enoshima with anticipation now shifting to Ireland playing rugby in Shizuoka in Japan next month, Quest Howth – which teaches sailing from the Howth Yacht Club marina complex - welcomed 17 pupils from an international background from the globally-renowned Tokai School at Nagoya, and introduced them to their first ever experience of sailing. And the students certainly enjoyed the fresh cool airs of Howth - unlike their hometown, which regularly hits temperatures of over 40 degrees.

As part of their curriculum with the 1962-founded Irish College of English (ICE) in Malahide, the students have a busy programme combining English lessons with cultural and sports activities. Their chosen activity was a Quest Howth Sailing Programme, which offers a different kind of learning through teamwork and individual specialities on the HYC’s own J/80 Sports boats.

group sailing with instructor2Thomas Natin is Instructor with three of the Tokai group

Tokai is a highly-regarded international academic school in Nagoya, renowned as an educational powerhouse which has many kids who not only study hard during the school day, but often go to cram school straight afterwards. The school itself is in an urban environment close to the famous Toyota Motor Company, so the legendary Japanese work ethic is in the very air they breathe.

diarmuid brodie student3Instructor Diarmuid Brodie with a Tokai student – though most are Japanese, the school draws in pupils from all over the world, and the throughput at Quest included Russian, French, Chinese and others
They work hard, so they play hard, and this is the twelfth year they have been coming to Ireland, Scotland and England to have fun and sport while developing their communication skills. Ian McIlhinney is the Social Activities Officer, and it was his idea to introduce sailing into the curriculum. He is delighted with how well the programme went, and confirmed that: “Coming to Howth to sail has been the highlight of their time in Ireland.”

mcdowell tatsuya4Brian McDowell, Training Manager at Howth, with Tatsuya Ito, co-ordinator of activities at Tokai School. Brian McDowell has made a remarkable contribution to the development of junior sailing in Ireland in addition to the Quest project. Last weekend, he stood down after a successful Presidency of the Irish J/24 Class Association in which the expansion of the U25 scheme – which was started in Howth by Noel Davidson in 2011 and then Fergus O’Leary in 2012 before HYC hosted the J/24 Worlds in 2013 - has come to play a central role in the J/24 class countrywide. The conclusion of the McDowell Presidency came on the weekend that one of the Howth U25 crews – skippered by Cillian Dickson – won the well-supported Irish J/24 Nationals on Lough Erne
Speaking about Quest Howth’s sailing, Manager Tatsuya Ito, the Japanese coordinator of the trip, says that: “Brian McDowell, the Training Manager in Howth, is excellent. He is always very kind to the students and teachers. His daughter Lizzy is also a good coach, and she has been in Kyushu to teach sailing. In Howth, our boys were very excited and enjoyed the sailing and the coast with its islands.”

Lizzy McDowell with her Japanese teaching experience particularly enjoyed meeting with the Tokai boys, and hearing and learning more about their life and hometown. Risako Oya, one of the teachers with the group explained: “It was a very good opportunity for students from many countries to interact by spending time together on the boats. I was amazed to see students raise and lower sails by themselves, and also with good cooperation. I'm sure they developed a certain bond through the four-day sailing course. We really appreciate having such a good opportunity.”

j80 irelands eye5The fascinating island of Ireland’s Eye became a central feature of the Tokai school’s sailing programme at Howth……

irelands eye prayer6……so much so that one of the Japanese students felt it had earned a daily prayer dedication

Patrick Jackson of Howth, who taught in Japan at Tokai and made the introductions to ICE, says he is: “Very happy to see these guys enjoying the beautiful environment of Howth and all the fun and camaraderie that sailing offers. It’s been great to get them out on the water. And they became so involved in the life of the harbour and our coastline that we even had them actively engaged in a beach-clean……..” 

many nationalities7Global outlook – Quest instructor Andrew Coyle with a Tokai school trainee crew of many nationalities
beach clean tokai students8Environmental awareness and positive action is high on the priorities for the overall programme – the Tokai students after a successful Irish beach clean, with Patrick Jackson and Andrew Ralph (Activities Leader at ICE) in middle of back row, and Tatsuya Ito, co-ordinator for Tokai, at right.

Published in Howth YC
WM Nixon

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WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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Howth Yacht Club is the largest members sailing club in Ireland, with almost 2,000 members. The club welcomes inquiries about membership - see top of this page for contact details.

Howth Yacht Club originated as Howth Sailing Club in 1895. In 1968 Howth Sailing Club combined with Howth Motor Yacht Club, which had operated from the West Pier since 1935, to form Howth Yacht Club. The new clubhouse was opened in 1987 with further extensions carried out and more planned for the future including dredging and expanded marina facilities.

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