Some of East Antrim’s most talented sailors and dedicated volunteers have been honoured at the prestigious Royal Yachting Association (RYA) NI annual awards.
Internationally successful sailors, rising stars and volunteers were all presented with their awards during a ceremony at the Belfast Harbour Commissioners tonight (Friday).
At just 14 years old, Cameron Date from Carrickfergus Sailing Club was crowned Young Volunteer of the Year. Cameron has dedicated all of his free time to sailing and has worked throughout the sailing season on safety boats, providing cover for club racing three evenings every week and also giving up many weekends to cover Regattas, Championships and providing support for training and coaching programmes, as well as many other events.
Alistair McCarlie of County Antrim Yacht Club was announced as Club Race Coach of the Year, delivering race coaching every weekend as well as supporting and coaching sailors at events away from the club. One of Alistair’s many achievements has been helping club member Ellen Barbour with a transition from an Optimist to a Topper 4.2. She went on to become Irish Topper 4.2 Champion in 2005.
The night ended on a high with Belfast Lough Sailability announced as Club of the Year. Making a positive impact on the lives of many people in Northern Ireland, BLS continues to work hard to offer sailing to people with a disability and their entire family unit. The organisation provides respite for parents, carers and siblings and promotes activities that the whole family can take part in.
Speaking at the awards, Chair of RYA NI, Sheela Lewis said: “This is an excellent occasion to recognise the commitment of so many people to sailing and boating in Northern Ireland.
“We have had many successes over the last year and our clubs and athletes have done us proud.”
Other local successes on the night included:
NI Winners of National Events
Ellen Barbour, Topper 4.2 Irish Champion – County Antrim Yacht Club
Aled Duffin-Murray - Hansa 303 Irish Champion – Belfast Lough Sailability
NI Youth Champs Overalls
Ellen McCarlie – Overall Junior Champion – County Antrim Yacht Club (Whitehead)
County Antrim Yacht Club - Club Cup
Larne Grammar – Schools’ Cup
RYA National Award winners
Christine Harper – Belfast Lough Sailability
Cameron Date – Carrickfergus Sailing Club