Belfast Lough Sailability has had a lot to celebrate recently with sailors taking part in the 2022 President’s Cup, Hansa Irish Championships and 2.4mR Irish Nationals.
In August, Belfast Lough Sailability hosted the 2022 President’s Cup, incorporating the Hansa Irish Championships & 2.4mR Irish Nationals.
Belfast Lough Sailability organised the event in partnership with Carrickfergus Sailing Club, with significant planning, sponsorship and organisation required.
The President's Cup is the only event of its kind where people with disabilities and able bodied sailors sail together in competition and the helm of each boat must have a disability.
The event has representation from the four provinces across Ireland. Team Ulster consisted of competitors from Belfast Lough Sailability, Foyle Sailability and Lough Erne Sailability.
With favourable weather conditions, the 47 competitors, in 25 boats, were able to showcase their skills gained through training and delivered a colourful and eventful spectacle for supporters and spectators.
Racing was competitive, with Team Ulster successfully retaining the 2022 President’s Cup.
David Todd, Chair of Belfast Lough Sailability said: “Sailing is an activity that is enjoyed by a variety of people but is not readily accessible to most of the community and certainly not to those members of the community with disabilities.
“Belfast Lough Sailability, based at Carrickfergus Co. Antrim, offers access to the sea to those in the community who would not normally have that opportunity and promotes equality of opportunity by providing education and training to people with disabilities in a safe and enjoyable environment.”
The spokesperson added: “This was a very successful event but it’s not all about winning. The benefits of having the opportunity to participate in an event representing your province or in a national event are far reaching for each participating individual. Competitors - both helms and cew - will benefit from increasing their skills through training and education to sail competitively. This includes significant positive impact on each individual’s confidence and self-esteem.
“They will aspire to represent their Club, County, Province and Country at other levels of competition.
“They will also inspire others with disabilities and from disadvantaged backgrounds to participate in the healthy sport of sailing; and to undergo training and education to increase their skills.”
2022 President’s Cup
Winners Team Ulster
2022 Hansa Irish Championships
1st Place Rory McKinna, Ayreshire
Best Girl Helm trophy (U18) Sophie Mc Clenaghan, Belfast Lough Sailability
Best Boy Helm trophy (U18) Willie J Thompson, Belfast Lough Sailability
2022 2.4mR Irish Nationals
1st Place John Patrick, Belfast Lough Sailability