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Young sailors make a splash at Youth Rib Championships in Belfast

Kelly Patterson

The Belfast Maritime Festival was the venue for the Honda RYA Youth Rib Championships where ten of Northern Ireland's top young sailors battled it on the water.

Racers from Ballyholme, Carrickfergus, East Down and East Antrim all showcased their skills in the hope of earning a place at the National Championships in Southampton in September.

East Antrim's Joshua Kane (12) was the winner for the fourth straight year in the 8-12 category, taking top honours in a time of 1.12.37, which beat his own time from last year.

Eric McClernon (Carrickfergus) came second, with Conor Allen (East Down) finishing third.

"I feel like I did well today and I am proud of my performance," said Kane, who attends Larne Grammar. "I’m looking forward to competing at the national final in September."

In the 13-16 category, 15-year old Kelly Patterson, also of East Antrim, came first in a time of 1.04.91, beating out Andrew Byres (Carrickfergus) to second and Conn Finnegan (Ballyholme) to third.

Now in its 17th year, the Championship not only encourages young sailors aged 8-16 to compete, but it also encourages them to be safe and responsible when out on the water.

"Our powerboaters put in impressive performances at the Honda RYA Youth Rib Championships," said RYANI Chief Operating Officer Richard Honeyford.

"We have witnessed some top class talent this weekend and I am delighted to congratulate everyone that took part. I looking forward to supporting our winners as they go on to compete and do us proud at the national finals in September.

"I would also like to thank the many dedicated volunteers who worked hard behind the scenes to ensure everything ran seamlessly, along with Belfast City Council and Belfast Harbour for their support."

Belfast Telegraph