Spotlight Stories - Quoile Yacht Club

Quoile Yacht Club is the next Club in our series of Spotlight stories. Vicky Bridges tells us about the club trying something different, attracting a crowd of canoeists and becoming a real hive of activity…
25 Feb 22
People sailing and canoeing at Quoile Yacht Club
As a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, events around the lough had dwindled somewhat, and the activity around the club was generally quieter.

To give the club a boost and also to inject a bit of excitement and energy back into our Quoile Yacht Club (QYC) weekends, we decided to get in contact with the Ulster Canoe Club, to offer them an opportunity to hold The Ulster Canoe Festival at our club. This event took place from 3rd-5th September 2021 and was a roaring success. 

This not only created visibility for the club – in that it meant that lots of advertising was taking place – but it also demonstrated to a whole new group of water sport enthusiasts that QYC was not just a one-sport club.

Not only did we welcome 85 canoeists and their families, we also provided camping facilities for those who had tents, and made room for 20 camper vans. We hired catering and even had a local water sports shop set up a pop-up shop in the clubhouse. 

We were able to demonstrate that QYC is not just about sailing – but is a weekend away, a family holiday, a peaceful break from your working week. As the sun went down on a marvellous weekend, our visitors could be seen sitting round the fire with our members, having drinks by caravans and sharing contact numbers. 

Overwhelmingly, feedback from members to the Commodore was that the event had been a delight to host and that it had been thoroughly enjoyed. 

Events such as this one have a positive impact on our club not only financially, but also socially. QYC has now made valuable connections with like-minded clubs and organisations, who will support and work with the club in future. 

As the pandemic has prompted many to focus more wholeheartedly on their mental health and wellbeing, we are seeing a wider range of ‘water-lovers’ move to sports such as open water swimming, paddle boarding and canoeing. An event such as this encourages the sustainability of the club as it creates enthusiasm, boosts accessibility and ultimately means that we end up with more membership applications. 

Going forward, QYC is keen to consider the various different water sports that we may be able to offer, and to continue to engage in partnerships such as these. We are currently considering any other sports that could be managed from our setting. 

Boating is that which we all have immense passion for and are very enthusiastic about – but we have learned from this experience that it is incredibly important to consider new trends and interests, and to move forward with these. This keeps our club current, attractive, growing, and therefore thriving.