Hansa Championship report

Belfast Lough Sailability welcomed Sailors with Disabilities to the Hansa 303 Irish Championship 2015, which took place at Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Northern Ireland on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd August 2015.

The event was hosted by Belfast Lough Sailability (BLS) in partnership with Carrickfergus Sailing Club and Carrickfergus Marina.

Two days of competitive sailing and warm hospitality were offered to the ‘Hansa’ Sailors accompanied by their families and friends from all over Ireland. This was the first time the Championships took place in Northern Ireland offering competitive sailing to sailors with disabilities of all ages.

Over 500 people were involved in the event over the two day period with spectators able to view the racing at vantage points around the harbour, marina and at Carrickfergus Sailing Club grounds. Accompanying the hansa 303 racing fleet were support boats, safety ribs and spectator boats. With strong wind conditions in Belfast Lough part of the sailing event took place in Carrickfergus Harbour each day, offering the best vantage point for the spectators ashore.

The Commodore of Carrickfergus Sailing Club, Trevor Kirkpatrick, welcomed everyone and introduced Debbie Blachford, Manager of RYA Sailability nationwide, who said

‘It was a privilege to attend such a well organised and well attended event. The quality of the racing was brilliant and gave disabled sailors from all over Ireland the opportunity to both compete and enjoy a great social programme. A massive thank you to the huge team of selfless volunteers who made every aspect of the event perfect. I just wish I could bottle the event and take it home with me’

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Councillor Billy Ashe, handed out the trophies at the prize giving ceremony welcoming everyone to the town of Carrickfergus and said

‘Thanks to all of the sponsors who have been so generous: – Ashleigh Contracts, Henderson Group, McKenzies (NI) Ltd, MGM Boats, the Royal Yachting Association, Sainsbury’s supermarket and Ciaran Murphy, Irish Sailing Association.

I have been a supporter of Belfast Lough Sailability for many years, and I know what efforts go in to growing and running the charity and spreading the word about sailing for the disabled. I want to say thank you to all of the volunteers who have worked so hard and continue to be ambassadors for BLS, this area and much further afield.

Finally, and most importantly, thank you to all of the competitors, their families, supporters and carers. I hope that you have enjoyed our sailing waters and will come back in the future. Mid and East Antrim Borough Council would be delighted to see you again.’

The crews on the safety boats were also thanked for all their hard work over the two day event, mentioning the Race Officer Sheela Lewis with her team from Co. Antrim Yacht Club.

Anne Taylor BLS Chair closed the proceedings thanking the Mayor and everyone for attending and also thanking Mid and East Antrim Council for their sponsorship of the event.

‘There were trophy winners from all the provinces throughout Ireland but everyone who took part was a winner’

For full event results CLICK/TAP HERE.

Gallery of images from the event CLICK/TAP HERE.