Classic regatta will be ‘maritime spectacle’

Carrick Marina. INCT 03-053-tc
Carrick Marina. INCT 03-053-tc

An on-the-water event featuring classic sailing vessels will be a ‘maritime spectacle’ for Carrickfergus, a local councillor has said.

Chair of the Mid and East Antrim Maritime Board, Councillor Jim Brown, made the comments after it was revealed that a classic regatta is to be held in the town next June.

It will be the first event of its kind since Carrickfergus hosted a classic sail 20 years ago- a move which drew thousands of visitors to the area, Cllr Brown said.

“The previous event in 1995 was a resounding success,” he added.

“I can also remember in 1987, we had a boat show on the water at the Marina which was also very successful.

“We didn’t even have the improvements at the Marina then that we would have now.

“Everything we have at the waterfront now, from the boathouse to the hotel will all contribute to the maritime spectacle.”

Building on the event would help put Carrickfergus Marina “on the map”, Cllr Brown added.

During last Friday’s meeting of the MEA Maritime Board, members were provided with more details of the upcoming event, which is due to be hosted by Carrickfergus Sailing Club from June 22-25, 2016.

“It is anticipated that this classic sail will include Hilditch yachts and other classic boats,” a member’s report read.

An invitation was extended to the local authority to partner with the sailing club for the event.

The club will also be advised to submit an application for funding support through the council’s grants programme.

“The whole flavour of Carrick is one that is based on the water and based on the sea; [the classic sail] would be very much in keeping with our maritime history,” Cllr Brown said.

Speaking at the meeting, Nigel Thompson, harbour master at Carrickfergus Marina added: “It would be nice to see if we could spread the attraction outside the sailing fraternity;

“We’re hoping to make it into a spectator event for the public.”