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BYC and the Bangor Community – 10 things you may not know about BYC

Home / General / BYC and the Bangor Community – 10 things you may not know about BYC
BYC and the Bangor Community – 10 things you may not know about BYC

Having celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019, Ballyholme Yacht Club has much to be proud of in terms of the important role it plays in Bangor and the wider North Down community. The club not only provides a hub of opportunity for all ages and abilities to safely enjoy a variety of watersports and social activities, but it also helps boost tourism to the area and puts Bangor on the map through our many national and even international events.

Here is a rundown of just 10 ways in which BYC helps to make Bangor a great place to live:


1. The perfect place to enjoy watersports

The club offers  a whole range of watersports including sailing, paddleboarding, kayaking, swimming, powerboating and windsurfing.

With our stunning coastline, Bangor is the perfect place to enjoy watersports and BYC provides a place for anyone in the community to do just that. The name might suggest the club is only about sailing, but the club offers access to a whole range of watersports including paddleboarding, kayaking, swimming, powerboating and windsurfing. There is also a busy calendar of social and land-based activities, such as Pilates, for members to enjoy.

2. Our courses are for the general public too

You don’t have to be a member to learn to sail, or powerboat, or windsurf, or paddleboard at BYC! We offer a range of courses for children and adults, with equipment and boats provided. See our complete range of courses.

3. A community club run by members

If you did want to join you’ll find that joining is easy and fees are reasonable. When the club was set up more than 100 years ago the goal even then was to establish an inclusive club for all local sailing enthusiasts. Thanks to the continued strong volunteer spirit of club members, membership fees are still economical and comparable to most other sports clubs. As an example, family membership is just £40/month for 11 months of the year. See membership fees and details on how to join.

4. Our annual Open Day means anyone can come have a try 


Discover Sailing Open Day - Kayaks and Paddleboards
Discover Sailing Open Day – Kayaks and Paddleboards in Ballyholme Bay

Not sure if you want to take up watersports? BYC welcomes the curious to the club for our annual ‘Discover Sailing’ day where members of the public can book themselves in to have a go at the range of watersports on offer including sailing, windsurfing, power boating and paddleboarding for free. The club, in association with the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), also runs a very attractively priced ‘Woman on Water’ programme every summer which is open to members of the public, giving women an introduction to a range of watersports.

Dolphins and Sharks logo5. A thriving junior programme

The safe waters of Ballyholme Bay allow for a thriving junior sailing programme with nearly 300 local children taking to the water every summer. For many families, this is their first experience of sailing and in some cases, the parents soon decide to have a go themselves seeing the fun their children are having.

6. Opportunities for youth

Our juniors soon become seniors, often graduating on to become club instructors themselves. They then train the next generation as well as run our adult courses too, feeding experience back into the community and building their own experience, confidence and résume.

7. Outreach in the community

Through the Sir Thomas Lipton Foundation’s ‘Bouyed-Up’ scheme 10- to 12-year-old children from the Borough who may not have the opportunity to try watersports are invited to spend a week at the club to experience a range of watersports every summer. The programme provides the children with unforgettable days on the water learning new skills from new role models, being inspired and having a whale of a time.


8. Year-long watersports

Year long sailing

Once you take to the waves, you’ll find you can sail all year round. BYC is one of the few sailing clubs in the area that continues to sail and race through the winter months with the aptly named Icebreaker Series. This gives our adult and junior sailors ample opportunity to test and perfect their skills in all conditions. This also makes BYC the perfect home for Queen’s University Sailing Club who keep their boats and sail out of BYC. For the brave, we also offer ‘safety first’ supervised winter swims!

9. Home of champions

With so much time on the water it will come as no surprise to learn that BYC is the home club for a number of Olympian sailors as well as national champions at both the junior and adult level. The club is also a training ground for race officials and again, we’re proud to say that BYC race officers are frequently called upon to officiate at national and international events including the last five Olympic regattas.

10. We boost tourism in the borough!

Our exhilarating sailing conditions and expertise in race management means that BYC is regularly selected as a venue for regional, national and even international sailing and windsurfing events including the World Police and Fire Games in 2013; the Topper Worlds in 2016 (with the second biggest turnout in the history of the event, 10 nations represented, 220 competitors including 30 sailors from China; the F18 Catamaran World Championships, the Irish Laser National Championships and the Open Ulster Windsurfing Championships to name a few.

These events bring sailors and their families to Bangor from far and wide, boosting Bangor’s economy through accommodation bookings, dining out and visiting our local attractions. Feedback from the recent Irish Youth National Championships 2022 indicated that the value to Bangor businesses was around £146K for that single four-day event!

To learn more about any of the activities or membership, please contact the BYC office during normal working hours on 028 9127 1467 or email at

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