Howth Yacht Club’s Junior Organiser for Sailing Sara Lacy is delighted that 2019 has exceeded all expectations for Quest Howth with record numbers of parents enrolling their kids for summer sailing camps she will be looking at opportunities to increase capacity next year to meet the high demand.
Established in 2018, Quest Howth was set up as the training and powerboat brand for Howth Yacht Club with the aim of making sailing more accessible to all ages and all levels with no requirement to own a boat or join a club to start sailing. ‘We’re delighted to see that there is a continued rise in the number of people getting out on the water and enjoying boating and water sports in general.’ ‘There is a clear trend emerging that people are looking to spend more time outside and, on the water, and this reinforces the need to offer more accessible and low-commitment forms of water sports as a stepping stone into more mainstream boating.’ We are constantly looking at and trialing trending water related opportunities such as SUP, kayaking and foiling in order to continue to attract as many people to get out on the water as possible.
Involvement with the Local Community
As part of our initiatives to get more people involved in sailing and water sports we successfully completed our second year of the STEM programme with 3 local junior schools plus the addition of a DEIS school involved this year. The Programme is run voluntarily by Club Members, some of whom are national schoolteachers themselves. The students enjoy hands-on learning focussing on topics such as: the effect of tides, the impact of plastic in the seas, safety and an experience on sailing boats among others. The courses cover Science – Living things, light, forces, materials, environmental awareness & care, History – pastime in the past, PE – Water Based Activities, SPHE – environmental care and Living in the Local Community and Geography covering local natural environment, weather and climate and the earth and sun. This acts as a good introduction for students, their teachers and parents into a fun and practical learning environment by the sea.
Foreign Language Sailing Students
Amongst the many social media posts that Quest Howth and Howth Yacht Club have been tagged in, the latest to hit the cyber world is that from Tokai Ireland. In association with ICE (Irish College of English) in Malahide, as part of their Intercultural student sports programmes, Quest Howth has worked closely with ICE to tailor a sailing programme to provide a sailing programme which also benefits the students language skills through their interaction with our instructors and other international students whilst enjoying their experience on our fleet J80 Sports Boats. Throughout the summer we host a large number of Foreign Language students. Every summer the demand for this has grown and the students really enjoy the benefits of getting out sailing in the scenic waters around Howth while they improve their English speaking skills. Pictured above are a few of our visitors from Japan, Russia and France who are currently doing afternoon sailing courses.
Transition Year Students
As part of our engagement with the local community we are also piloting a Transition Year Programme with 100 students from one of our local schools and these girls will be attending our venue for 28 weeks starting in September. All students will undertake two programmes, Programme A will relate to sailing, powerboating and navigational skills. Programme B will be provided by Hands-on-learning and will relate to citizen science, environmental and community skills. The hands-on learning will include first aid and guided educational hikes of the locality covering a range of topics including history of Howth, UNESCO Biosphere, Nature,
Howth/Dublin Bay, geology, human presence, monuments, habitats, heathland/woodland, coastal. We see this as a wonderful opportunity to involve TY students and their families and educate them with regards to the local environment and how to respect it, protect, preserve and enjoy it going forward.
Sailing Into Wellness
We also continued to expand our Sailing into Wellness initiative which is a community initiative that uses sailing to help those recovering from addictions. The programme helps participants develop key personal skills such as respect and esteem for self & others while taking part in a group physical activity which positively effects their physical and mental well-being.
Junior Sailing Courses
Our Junior Sailing courses are all Irish Sailing accredited and run to the highest standards with 1 instructor and 1 assistant for every 6 kids in the younger age groups and 1 instructor for every 5 or 6 kids in the older age group courses. With Quest Howth our emphasis is on people enjoying and having fun on the water whilst learning and developing their skills and making new friends. In line with this we run Fun Fridays as part of the programme for Junior Sailing course participants, these
Fun Fridays offer a range of water based fun activities and games to help encourage healthy friendships and lifestyles through these events. These Fun Friday’s offer Stand Up Paddle boarding, kayaking, football games, RNLI Obstacle Course, Pirate Island Adventure Trips, Splash-abouts in the Water and many other fun activities.
This year we introduced the provision of a healthy hot lunch and fruit for all sailing course participants which is really appreciated by the parents and eliminates the need for daily ‘junk food money’.
For our adult sailing lessons, Quest Howth now provides an online booking system for their Try Sailing Lessons, Learn to Sail Courses & Powerboat training courses. There has been very successful uptake this year with close to 300 adults of all ages and levels getting out on the water and participating in our courses. Many of these people have used their new skills and experience from their sailing courses through our Taste of Racing programme which introduces them to Club Racing on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Through this many have discovered their passion and have joined club member boats as crew and now enjoy sailing all year round! Others choose the option of repeat ‘pay and play’ sessions as their busier lifestyle doesn’t allow room for a greater commitment.
On the Corporate side we have been very popular with the tech companies (amongst others) and some of them have set up their own ‘sailing clubs’ and used Quest Howth and Howth Yacht Club as their partner. We love welcoming these groups many of whom are stationed in Ireland for a short term and have lots of sailing experience from their home countries such as Greece, Italy, Turkey, France & Spain. The groups go for a sail and then come in after for some Après Sailing Fun and Refreshments. They can tailor their post sailing experience from cocktails on the deck to fine dining or BBQs in the Club. We also host off-site meetings for corporate groups. We have a range of different size rooms to host their meetings in and we offer full day service from breakfast through to dinner and in the summer, BBQs. Many of the groups select activities they would like to do while they are on-site and they go out sailing or sometimes they go out on e-bike tours or hikes with Shane’s Howth Adventures which are located within the club grounds. W