I am pleased to report that 2021 was another successful, albeit another unusual year for Cockle Island Boat Club, during which the Committee adopted a very cautious approach to the health, safety and well-being of our members.
The Executive Committee held 12 regular monthly meetings using Zoom. John Winder was co-opted onto the committee in place of Frank Smyth. In addition to his other talents John is a published photographer and has contributed to CIBC publications.
Four newsletters were published under the guidance of the editor Brian Galbraith, who, as always, is on the lookout for articles and photographs that are of interest to our members.
Brian is also a keen photographer and drone operator and pictures and videos of CIBC activities have featured on the web-site and Facebook page.
The Cockle Island web-site and Facebook page provided useful and welcome additional ways of communicating with members and advertising Club activities. Our Webmaster Campbell Gardner continues to develop both the Facebook Page and the web-site to be of more interest to both members and visitors.
The Committee decided to cancel the face-to-face Wednesday evening Winter programme meetings planned in October, November and December. In their place one Zoom meeting was successfully completed in October, November and December, with thanks to the speakers, and Campbell and Brian who mastered the technology.
Unfortunately, COVID precautions and concerns meant that there were no social activities in 2021 other than a small sailing trophy presentation in the Groomsport Inn on 24th November.
Thanks to Terry Graham and his team the lift-in in April and the lift-out in October were completed smoothly and without incident.
This year the provisional date for the lift-in is (Easter) Wednesday 20th April H.W. 14:35, and for the lift-out Wednesday 28th September H.W. 13:25.
There has been no progress on the Ards and North Down Borough Council to install a disabled access pontoon in the harbour.
In July the County Down Spectator reported that Ards and North Down Borough Council was in discussions with potential operators of water-sports businesses that would be based in Cockle Row Cottages and use the harbour and/or beach.
This initiative had not involved Councillors, Cockle Island Boat Club, Groomsport Harbour Association or Groomsport Village Association.
In a written response to the Chairman of the Groomsport Village Association the Chief Executive of ANDBC confirmed ‘discussions never reached a stage where consultation was appropriate and there is no confirmation that the operator would wish to re-visit this in future. Council has agreed it will reconsider options for Cockle Row Cottages this Autumn, in its planning for 2022.’.
Cockle Island Boat Club is preparing to raise concerns about the threat to the future of the club of the ever-increasing silting-up in the harbour with ANDBC.
In 2021 55 races were scheduled, of which 44 were completed, 9 cancelled and only 2 abandoned.
Once again the sailors are very grateful to Herbert Lysk and the other Race Officers for their management of the Crowe Cup series and the Pursuit Race.
The Pursuit Race and all 5 multi-race series were keenly contested, and both the Glenarm Race and the Portpatrick Race were completed.
Relaxation of COVID restrictions allowed the club regatta to proceed in July. 31 keel boats but only 3 dinghies participated, with very good turnouts in races 5 and 6 from club boats. The event was another success thanks to the efforts of John Cleary and his family for race management, Joan D’Arcy and her team of ladies for the catering and all the members who assisted with setting up and tidying up.
The mayor of ANDBC, Councillor Mark Brooks presented the prizes.
Following the regatta, a donation of £250 was made to Belfast Lough Sailability.
The regatta this year will be on Saturday 16th July.
The Winter Programme will resume on Wednesday 19th January in the Boathouse and the Committee has planned to resume entertainments with a Cruising Supper on Wednesday 9th March in the Stables, followed by a Spring Supper on Saturday 23rd April in Donaghadee Sailing Club.

Honorary Treasurer’s Report

Comments on the Accounts for 2021


In late 2020 the Executive Committee took the decision that, in the light of the reduced facilities available during the latter part of 2020 and in the early part of this year, the Annual Subscription for the  forthcoming year would be waived for existing Members.  During this year the Club actually increased its Membership to 150 (from 137 last year), which is why some Subscription Income is shown but is a lot less than might otherwise have been expected.


Covid-19 prevented CIBC from holding its regular Wednesday evening talks and this meant that no payments were made to Speakers but an inevitable effect was that there was no income from the Charity Box at the tea table.  It also meant that the sales of merchandise dropped to £39.


A room was taken in the Groomsport Inn and there was a Presentation of Prizes for the sailing that had taken place during the year.  There were no dinners held during the course of the year and this resulted in a lack of income from ballots.  There were, of course, no trips, BBQs or quizzes and so there was no income from any of these.


On the expenses side, the RYA Affiliation Fee granted all Clubs a “Free” three months and so made their charge in April, as opposed to January previously.  The insurance was increased slightly to reflect marks and other equipment now owned by the Club and this increased the premium by around £50. 


The Marks, which had been laid for 2020, were lifted late and so the expense of lifting them was really a 2020 expense. When examined, CIBC’s Marks and tackle needed some attention and, under the watchful eye of Terry Graham, some of these were replaced.   If these amounts are taken out of the equation the cost is approximately the same as last year.


Throughout the year the Executive Committee met by ‘zoom’ each month and this has worked well, keeping the CIBC Executive Committee on top of the developments and dictates which have been issued by Stormont, to say nothing of keeping the Club going in the meantime.


Last year a donation was made to Belfast Lough Sailability as no regatta took place.  This year the usual collection was made at the Club’s Regatta and the proceeds were donated to Belfast Lough Sailability.


During the course of the year a total of four Newsletters have been produced and sent to the Members in order to keep them in touch with the Club.  In addition, the Website has proved to be a great asset to the Club and Brian Galbraith and Campbell Gardner are to be thanked for all of their hard work.


This has been another unusual year for all but CIBC started the year with sufficient ‘cushion’ to enable it to grant free membership to its existing Members while receiving no income from dinners, ballots or donations.  At the same time the Club provided sailing throughout the season (when permitted) and has, for the past three months, held talks by ‘zoom’ for all the Members.


The Annual General Meeting is being held in the Boathouse so that those who wish may attend in person and it is hoped to have ‘zoom’ available for others.  The normal 2021 “End of Year” processes have been carried out and the Accounts have been placed before the Executive Committee for scrutiny and for its Membership to ask any pertinent questions on behalf of the Club Members.


The Accounts have been audited as usual and the Club’s thanks go to Susan McNair for giving so generously of her expertise and time.


At a ‘normal’ Annual General Meeting those present would have been able to ask questions regarding the Accounts but, if you are unable to attend, any questions that you may have should be addressed to the Honorary Treasurer by email at


Ron Hutchieson

Honorary Treasurer


9th January 2022