During the awards process, representatives from RYA Northern Ireland, RYA and Yachts and Yachting representatives, considered the nominations.

Both Northern Ireland clubs highlighted the inspirational work that they have carried out over the last year and were chosen to go through to the National Final. Ballyholme also received a particular merit for boosting membership.

As two of just 11 finalists, the clubs will now compete for the overall title, which is decided by a public vote and panel decision. 

Congratulating both clubs, Chief Operating Officer of RYA Northern Ireland, Richard Honeyford, said: “Both applications were so close that the local and national panels could not make a call on who should receive the RYA Northern Ireland award and go forward to the National Final. 

“With such great work taking place to grow membership and activity, it was agreed that both Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club and Ballyholme Yacht Club will be named joint Northern Ireland winners and go forward to the National Final to showcase the work being done in Northern Ireland. I would urge everyone from Northern Ireland to back both of our clubs and vote to give them the best chance in March!”

The clubs will be presented with the Northern Ireland Club of the Year award at the RYA Northern Ireland Annual Awards on 15 February 2019, supported by Sunsail and Belfast Harbour. 

The winner of the RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Award supported by Gallagher, will be announced at the RYA Dinghy Show in March. The public vote will open on Monday 26 November.  To find out more about the finalists and to cast your vote please visit www.rya.org.uk/go/cluboftheyear