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Displaying items by tag: Strangford Lough Yacht Club

At Ballyholme Yacht Club, they call it the Icebreaker- it's for dinghies - and at Strangford Lough Yacht Club, they call it the Frostie Series (it's for big boats). The club lies on the eastern shore of Strangford Lough in Whiterock Bay in Northern Ireland and is looking forward to running the 2021 Frostie Series. Racing begins this coming Saturday (18th September) and ends on 16th October.

The long-running Frostie Series is one of the most popular events of the year, and it is hoped to have a big turnout to mark the end of another brilliant season sailing at Whiterock. There will be racing for IRC 1 (0.950 & over), IRC 2 (0.949 & under,) NHC 1 NHC 2, NHC 1 Restricted Sail, NHC 2 Restricted Sai, Sonatas and RS Elites.

The late entry fee has now kicked in, and registration closes at the end of this week. But with 35 boats entered already and 40 expected, there is still time to join this big fleet for some exciting racing to end the season.

For more information on the event here To enter follow this link here

The second club to be celebrated in RYANI’s Recognition 2020 initiative is Strangford Lough Yacht Club, whose volunteers jumped into action to ensure the club was safe and ‘Covid-ready’ for when everyone could get back on the water.

The club was originally due to open its season at the beginning of May, but with coronavirus restrictions in place across Northern Ireland this wasn’t possible.

Instead, the club’s most dedicated volunteers set about getting safety measures in place for whenever they could open.

Some of the first measures SLYC put into place were hand sanitising stations throughout the club and its grounds. In the early stages a slipway booking system was implemented so the club could control how many individuals were in the club grounds at any one time.

Communication with members was key and there was frequent guidance issued by the club.

A craning team spent a lot of time overseeing the craning in of over 30 boats, which meant that by late May and early June many members and their families were able to safely enjoy cruising on Strangford Lough.

In July, restrictions were eased further and sailing training was permitted — a very important part of the club.

Committee members and instructors worked hard to ensure the club was in a position to safely deliver sailing courses, giving younger people (both members and non-members) the opportunity to take part in water activities in a safe environment while developing their sailing skills.

Club racing also commenced in July, with representatives from all classes getting on the water — providing a much needed sense of normality in very uncertain times.

September saw the return of SLYC’s most popular sailing series, the Frostie. Sailors from all across Strangford Lough eagerly travelled to Whiterock to take part in this annual series.

‘Despite the uncertainty that we all found ourselves in, the determination of many individuals was phenomenal and humbling’

With over 40 boats entered, it was one of the largest entries the club had ever seen and with strict safety procedures in place, it was also one of the most successful.

As the Frostie series came to an end, Covid restrictions came back into play. The craning team were once again working round-the-clock and in difficult weather conditions, ensuring that every boat was successfully recovered.

SLYC senior instructor Jack Kennedy said: “As soon as we were aware that Covid was going to affect things at the club, we took action straight away to get measures in place.”

He added: “Looking back at this year, despite constantly changing restrictions, SLYC delivered a very popular sailing event, training, club racing and cruising to its members and visitors. This was as a result of a fantastic team effort from both the Commodore’s Committee and the general membership of the Club.

“Despite the uncertainty that we all found ourselves in, the determination of many individuals was phenomenal and humbling.

“One of the most fantastic things about this sporting activity is the volunteers it has. So many individuals give both their time and expertise and this year it was needed even more.

“At SLYC, we hope that 2021 brings more normality and that we are able to be fully functional again, hosting sailing events, social events, club racing and training.”

RYANI chief operating officer Richard Honeyford said: “Volunteers at SLYC worked extremely hard to ensure that all measures were taken to ensure the club was safe for members to return to the club and the water.

“While it has been a particularly difficult time for everyone in our sailing and boating community, it is both heartwarming and inspiring to see the dedication and innovative ways our volunteers work.

“I commend SLYC for their efforts and wish them luck for the year ahead.”

Last week Foyle Sailability was the first club to be recognised as part of the RYANI’s Recognition 2020 initiative in lieu of its usual Annual Awards.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland

In celebration of 85 years of sailing, 190 Strangford Lough Yacht Club members enjoyed a memorable gala ball in the Clandeboye Lodge Hotel in Bangor. Commodore Rosie Baird said “It was great to see so many members and their guests at our annual prize-giving dinner, where we also celebrated the club's 85th anniversary. It was a fantastic event and a really memorable occasion. SLYC has come a long way from its fairly humble beginnings when the first clubhouse was a small wooden hut on the shore of Whiterock bay.

Although it was not until the 1930s that a yacht club building was constructed at Whiterock, racing had been active in this part of the lough long before this. A key development in the 1920s was the establishment of the River Class in Strangford Lough. Originally raced at Bangor, the first River came to Strangford Lough in 1921.

A significant impetus in the early 1930s came from the formation of the Snipe Class, a 15’ 6” Crosby design dinghy. The first annual meeting of the Snipe Sailing Club at Whiterock was in 1934, by which time there were 44 members and 16 Snipes completed or under construction. In 1934, it was agreed that the club trustees could take a lease on a plot at Whiterock to build a clubhouse. This opened in May 1935, only to be destroyed by fire shortly afterwards.

In 1936, the Snipe Sailing Club and the River class came together as Strangford Lough Yacht Club. The original clubhouse was replaced by a more substantial building which opened in June 1937. Another boat racing at Whiterock in the 1930s was the Lough Erne No 2 class. After WW2, SLYC expanded rapidly, with more new classes, including the Clippers, Glens and Flying Fifteens. By 1953, the Snipe class had disappeared but that year the Flying 15 Class started and by 1958 there were 18 boats in the fleet.

By this time, club membership had risen to 583. In 1956, Cadet dinghies for juniors arrived at the club, and in 1958 Enterprises made an appearance. This was followed in Scorpions, 505s and Mirrors. Some members spent weekends and holidays in their caravans at the Caravan field in Whiterock and the Army Sailing Association was based at the club from the early 1970s for approximately 30 years with active dinghy training and sailing.

The 1937 clubhouse was replaced by the current building in 2000 and further funding in the mid-2000s enabled more development, with additional rescue boats, club dinghies, training facilities, infrastructure improvements and a dinghy pontoon.

SLYC remains one of the premier yacht clubs in Northern Ireland and it is unique in having two Alfred Mylne designed classic racing yacht fleets – all 12 Rivers ever built still race there and the Glen class remains strong. There are also active racing classes of Sonatas, Flying Fifteens and RS Elites, as well as a large fleet of cruisers. The Club has always placed major emphasis on training and development of novice sailors and offers sailing courses throughout the sailing season as well as competitive dinghy racing for Toppers, Lasers and other dinghy classes.

Strangford Lough Yacht Club that celebrates its 85th anniversary this weekend is celebrating its shortlisting as a finalist in the 2020 RYA Club of the year competition writes Betty Armstrong.

As Afloat reported earlier, two northern clubs have been selected as finalists in the 2020 RYA and Yachts and Yachting Club of the year competition. Strangford Lough YC on the island-studded Strangford Lough, and East Antrim BC on Larne Lough, are among the ten who have made it through to the final of this UK wide competition. EABC has also been named as one of five finalists in the category recognising Particular Achievements for ‘Embracing Modern Communications’.

Strangford Lough YC lies on Whiterock Bay on the west side of the Lough and this weekend celebrates its 85th Anniversary. Jack Kennedy, Communications Captain said “We are absolutely delighted for Strangford Lough Yacht Club to be selected as one of the ten finalists for the RYA Club of the Year. This recognition is a credit to all our members who make SLYC the great club that it is”.

East Antrim BC has been providing sailing for a wide variety of boats since 1950. Commodore Stephen Kirby, said” East Antrim Boat club is delighted to have been selected as a finalist for the RYA Club of the Year. It’s a fantastic recognition of all the hard work that has been done by committed members. As Commodore I am also extremely pleased that East Antrim Boat Club has been acknowledged for ‘Embracing Modern Communications’ and this gives me great confidence that the club will continue batting above its weight, enthusing new and existing members in the future”.

"There are 10 finalists and it all comes down to a public vote"

There are 10 finalists and it all comes down to a public vote which opens on 13th December and closes on 29th February.

“We’re delighted to be able to announce this year’s finalists". said RYA Programmes Manager Michelle Gent. “The Panel were inspired to see how much activity goes on in clubs all year round and the number of volunteers who go that extra mile to make it all happen”. Rob Peake, Editor of Yachts & Yachting said: “We had a tough time whittling down the high standard of entries this year to the shortlist you see here, but the tougher task is now yours!”

Awards will be presented, and the overall winner will be announced at the RYA Dinghy Show 2020 on Saturday 29 February. From the 13 December cast your vote here

Strangford Lough Yacht Club and East Antrim Boat Club in Northern Ireland have been named among the 10 finalists selected for the RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Award for 2020.

East Antrim Boat Club is also among five of the finalists recognised for particular achievements, with the Larne Lough club acknowledged for ‘Embracing Modern Communications’.

The annual RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Award, supported by Gallagher, recognises the outstanding achievement of sailing clubs across the UK and promotes the hard work and dedication that goes into running a successful club.

Voting opens on Friday 13 December, and the award presentations and overall winner announcement will be made at the RYA Dinghy Show 2020 on Saturday 29 February.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland

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

Thirty years after its Youth Championships first began, RYANI has committed to reducing plastic and making the youth sailing event more environmentally sustainable as sailors gear up to compete just over seven weeks from now.

The two-day championship will run 21-22 September at Strangford Lough Yacht Club and as part of the competition, sailors will also compete for the highly coveted Northern Ireland Schools Cup and Club Trophy.

This year’s event also recognises the Green Blue Charter, a UK-wide environmental awareness initiative developed by the RYA and British Marine to work towards promoting a sustainable boating community.

RYANI has this year committed to ensuring the Youth Championships have an environmental focus which will ultimately save money and safeguard the waters and habitats for the future.

Last year the Green Blue and RYANI delivered a series of workshops to educate clubs and instructors in Strangford Lough, an area of natural beauty, highlighting the importance of protecting marine habitats and species, including birds.

RYANI’s high performance manager Matt McGovern said: “We are really looking forward to this year’s event. It is a particularly special milestone as we celebrate 30 years of the RYANI Youth Championships.

“We are always looking for ways to help protect the environment and this year we are focusing on reducing single-use plastic, paper communications and many other initiatives, in line with RYA’s Green Blue Charter.

“We are encouraging competitors to bring their own water bottles and food bags so that we can reduce plastic and protect our beautiful surroundings.”

The RYANI Youth Championships event is renowned for its inclusivity, allowing sailors to experience their first major championship as well as being an important event for sailors who have made the podium at world and European championships.

Among previous winners is Olympic competitor Ryan Seaton, who is campaigning towards Tokyo 2020 with crew Seafra Guilfoyle in the 49er Class. Seaton, from Carrickfergus Sailing Club, has won medals at World Cups and races at the Olympic Games with former sailing partner Matt McGovern.

The John Merricks Sailing Trust is once again on board for the event and will be supporting young sailors who may not normally have the opportunity to buy their own boat.

Last year, over 150 sailors from 24 sailing clubs competed across nine disciplines in the RYANI Youth Championships.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland

#flyingfifteen – The Flying Fifteen Northern Championships hosted by Strangford Lough YC in Whiterock took place in perfect conditions at the weekend and was won by Dave Gorman & Chris Doorly (NYC) who sailed a very consistent series, Ian Mathews & Keith Poole (NYC) were in second place with Roger Chamberlain & Simon Murray from the local club in third place. There was also a great performance from Lee Statham & Andy Paul (WHSC) who finished fourth in their first event.

On Saturday three races were held in 10-15 knots of breeze from the northwest, the weather mark was out in the Lough so the usual tidal streams had to be negotiated but the PRO PJ Gault set great course's with good start lines. In the first Race Gorman was quick out of the blocks and headed left to stay out of the ebbing tide. He was first at the weather mark but was closely followed by Mathews, Chamberlain and Lawson, this was the way it stayed over the race to the finish.
Race 2: Mathews led the way but on the second beat current Irish Champions McCleery & Dougan took the lead and won the race, behind it was very close with Mathews pipping Gorman on the line for second place. Roger Chamberlain led all the way in Race 3, Gorman had a poor start at the pin end and managed to get back in touch by the weather mark finishing second holding off Lee Statham (WHSC) and Shane McCarty fourth.

After racing most of the competitors had food and refreshments in the club and then adjourned to Daft Eddies for more refreshments. Some visited the Down Cruising Club on board their club the old lightship Petrel which is 100 years old this week.

Sunday was again sunny with a slightly more northerly breeze. There were three boats in contention for the title, Gorman, Chamberlain and Mathews- all to play for! The tide still had an hour to come in, Gorman started at the boat end as there was more breeze on that side of the course and he had the option of tacking in the shifts. This he did and he led at the weather mark but it was all very close, Statham and McKee were close and the lead changed several times with McKee taking the gun, Gorman second, Statham third and Malcolm Crichton fourth. With Mathews fifth and Chamberlain sixth this was enough to give Gorman & Doorly the title. They sailed the last race which was a great race, Statham led the way sailing well but on the last reach he had a problem with the spinnaker and this allowed Gorman through, Statham didn't give up and as they approached the line Gorman lee bowed him to stay in front and take the gun, after over an hours racing there were second between the first five boats, great racing!

At the prize giving local class captain Roger Chamberlain thanked the many volunteers including the PRO and his team, Dave Gorman did likewise but included his long suffering crew Chris. Charlie Boland & Rob McConnell (WHSC) won the Silver Fleet. 

The next event is the South Coast Championships which will be held in Dunmore East in July.

Published in Flying Fifteen

#flyingfifteen – The Irish Flying Fifteen fixtures for 2015 has been announced for 2015. There are two events in Northern Ireland and two in the Republic with the premier event, the Championships of Ireland, confirmed for the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire on September 11th.

There is no announcement yet on a return to Lough Derg's for the Freshwater Regatta in October. The Fifteens travelled to Dromineer for the first time in 2014 but came away with no races sailed after a drubbing at the Tipperary venue. 

The full fixtures are as follows:

East Coast Championship, County Antrim YC, Whitehead, 16th-17th May

North Coast Championship, Strangford Lough SC, Whiterock, 13th-14th June

South Coast Championship, Wateford Harbour SC, Dunmore East, 4th-5th July

Championship of Ireland, NYC, Dun Laoghaire, 11th-12th-13th September

Published in Flying Fifteen

#rselite – Strangford Lough Yacht Club were hosts over the 28th-29th June for the 2014 Cardinal Analytics RS Elite Irish Championships writes Mark Fletcher. This was the first Irish championship to be held outside Belfast Lough, due to the newly established SLYC fleet emerging last year. As an added bonus, the event organizers were able to keep the sun shining all weekend. Racing got underway in light conditions on Saturday, and two of the local boats were so keen off the start line they came back for another look after the gun had gone. Thankfully for these two – and without money changing hands – the PRO Davy Young abandoned the race. Within minutes the wind had shifted left and a great breeze filled in which was to stay for the rest of the day.

Results are available to download below as a jpeg file.

In race one Tiffany Brien on Kin took line honours, closely followed by her uncle Mark in Full Marks and Stephen Polly of Storm in third. The rest of the finishes resembled match races, with nothing separating the remainder of the fleet. Race two was a reversal of race 1, with Mark Brien in Full Marks taking line honours from Tiffany Brien in Kin, and Mike Vaughan locking out the final place on the podium. Yet again the following pack was extremely tight, with gains or losses of 3-4 places being spread over several seconds. After a slight break for lunch Race 3 got underway, and it was local boat Tuppence helmed by Brian Corry to cause an upset by holding off the Briens to take line honours. Despite this being their first event, Tuppence had great speed upwind and managed to get in sync with the shifts to hold on for their maiden win. Kin came in second and Storm rounded off the top 3. With the wind forecast for Sunday not looking too exciting, Davy Young wisely opted to sail a fourth race on Saturday when the wind was with us.

The Full Marks boys managed to stay out of trouble all the way round the course and get clean air – no mean feat in such a closely bunched fleet. Jeff Ralston in Upfront sailed a consistent race to come home in second, with fellow RNIYC boat Sea Breezes II helmed by John McDowell coming in third. By this stage the committee boat were getting tired after having to write all the sail numbers down in quick succession, and it was homeward bound for some beer and the championship dinner. Onshore Mark Brien was able to update the Full Marks fans over the phone of their overnight lead.

We weren't privy to the entire conversation but Mark's reply of "don't sound so surprised" must be a quote of the season. General merriment continued all the way to Daft Eddy's, with the Full Marks boys of Marks Brien, Ennis and McNeill confirming they were in full "regatta mode". Day 2 started with no wind, and those who sampled Gerry Reid's concoction/drink the night before were grateful of the delayed start ashore. At least the sun was still shining. After another large wind shift, Race 5 got underway. John McDowell on Sea Breezes II was fast out of the starting blocks and held on to the lead all the way round the course – despite this race being one of the most shifty and patchy in terms of wind of the whole series.

The Full Marks boys had a "sub – optimal" start, and dug deep to recover to 4th, with Jeff Ralston's Upfront taking second and Stephen Polly on Storm rounding out the top three. Unfortunately time ran out and we didn't manage to fit in the final race, but Full Marks had done enough to secure their first Irish Championship win, having sailed an incredibly consistent and fast series. Kin had to settle for second this time round, and Storm were pushed into third by a point. Second to fifth place overall were separated by only 5 points, and further down the overall results were equally tight. This must have been one of the tightest Irish Championships on record, and with multiple Squib, Dragon, Flying Fifteen, Sonata and Laser II champions gracing the start line, the fleet is highly competitive.

SLYC had donated a perpetual trophy to the best placed travelling boat, which went to Carl Allen's More T Vicar of Edinburgh. It was great to see Carl again, who is always a loyal supporter of the Irish fleet. In the first chapter of his acceptance speech Mark Brien thanked the event organizers, PRO, committee boat crew, mark layers and sponsor for putting on a great event. Having said his thank yous and made a move towards his seat he then commenced the second chapter of his acceptance speech when he proposed that SLYC should host the British Championships in the not too distant future – I'm sure that can be arranged!

Published in RS Sailing
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