HYC awarded 'Mitsubishi Sailing Club of the Year!'
07 January 2019
Afloat Magazine has announced that the Mitsubishi Motors ‘Sailing Club of the Year’ will be awarded to Howth Yacht Club this year. The club is understandably delighted with this news which was made public on Friday evening last. The award was primarily achieved following HYC’s sailing successes in 2018, including winning performances from Conor Fogarty (ISA Sailor of the Year) in the Caribbean 600, Pat Kelly and his ‘Storm’ team in their J109, Dave Cullen and his team on Checkmate XV, Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove’s win in the U23 49er World Championship and Rocco Wright and Luke Turvey’s respective dominance of the National Junior and Senior Optimist racing.
But mention was also given to the club’s organisational successes including the innovative and hugely successful ‘Wave Regatta’, the year-long event and club racing schedule and also acknowledged to have contributed to the award were the many headline-making news stories highlighting the huge volunteer effort and resources that helped with the saving of the Howth 17 boats that had been damaged in the March storms, the continual effort to canvas for the overdue dredging of Howth Harbour and the close relationship that the club has with all of the local community, aligning a much bigger vision for Howth and synergising with the expansive resources and organisations that make Howth one of the most visited attractions in Ireland. The evolution of HYC’s own sailing school ‘Quest’ strengthened the club’s vision to extend sailing courses and opportunities beyond its members and to entice newer cohorts to the sport and eventually to the club.
Announcing the news Afloat Magazine said ‘The 1895-founded club’s busy programme afloat has been continuous since April 1974 thanks to long-established winter sailing events and comes complete with comprehensive training courses which contribute a stream of recruits for developing campaigns at all levels” and mentioned “a remarkable year of sailing achievement that well reflected the approach to running a successful sailing club which the Mitsubishi Motors award seeks to promote and encourage.
Mitsubishi Motors is Irish sailing’s most committed longterm sponsors, as they have supported the “Sailing Club of the Year” accolade for 33 years. This unique and informal competition was first inaugurated in 1979 and initially only covered Leinster, but after Mitsubishi Motors had become the enthusiastic sponsors in 1986, it went nationwide and the title of “Irish Sailing Club of the Year” became one of real prestige, based on a rigorous set of standards.
An underlying purpose of the award is to highlight and honour the voluntary effort which goes into creating and maintaining the unrivalled quality of Ireland's yacht and sailing clubs, and the dedication of their members. In making their assessment, the adjudicators take many factors into consideration. In addition to the obvious one of sailing success at local, national and international levels, considerable attention is also paid to the satisfaction which members in every branch of sailing and boating feel with the way their club is run, and how effectively it meets their specific needs, while also encouraging sailing development and training.
The effort and encouragement put into junior training is naturally a prime consideration, but the adjudicators also seek clear evidence of introducing newcomers from all age groups and backgrounds to sailing and encouraging them to share the friendly ambience that a healthy club provides.
The successful staging of events, whether local, national or international, is also a factor in making the assessment. The importance of dynamic and fruitful interaction with the local community is emphasised, as also is working effectively with the relevant governmental and sporting bodies, both at local and national level.
The adjudicators expect to find a genuine sense of continuity in club life and administration. Over the years, the assessment system has been continually refined in order to be able to make realistic comparisons between clubs of varying types and size. With the competition's expansion in 1993 to include class associations and specialist national watersports bodies, the "Sailing Club of the Year" competition continues to keep pace with developing trends, while at the same time reflecting the fact that Ireland's leading sailing clubs are themselves national and global pace-setters.
It has also been acknowledged that a healthy upward trajectory has been the theme in HYC in recent years and since the times of the financial crash. Various management re-structuring projects steered the club through those troubled times and gave it the strength to come back on course. This movement stepped up a gear when Joe McPeake became Commodore in 2016, and he made no secret of the fact that he felt Irish sailing needed to change its approach in attracting newcomers, and in positive support of this, he played the key role in establishing the Quest sailing school within the club.
Gerard Rice, Managing Director, Mitsubishi Motors Ireland, comments: "Mitsubishi Motors Ireland, part of the Frank Keane Group, was first introduced to Ireland in 1984 and since 1986 Mitsubishi Motors has proudly sponsored the Sailing Club of the Year Award. It is with great delight that the Ship’s Wheel Trophy passes to yet another exceptional Club and its hard-working sailing community, Howth Yacht Club, for 2019."
It is expected that an official presentation will happen at the club sometime in May. Read the full article here in Afloat Magazine