A Co. Down sailor has been named as Technical Official of the Year at the Sport NI Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards.

Robin Gray from Ballyholmne Yacht Club, has been the Royal Yacht Association Regional Race Management Co-ordinator in Northern Ireland for over 10 years. In his voluntary role, he has delivered the Regional Race Officer training sessions annually over that period of time. However, Robin has gone over and above in his role as Race Officer and there is a rarely a weekend when he is not volunteering on race management from club to national events.

Robin has been a keen sailor for a number of years and received his International Race status back in 2015. In July 2016, he became the Principal Race Officer for the Topper World Championships at Ballyhome Yacht Club and in this new role, he was responsible for the 200 competitors racing in Bangor over three race courses which also includes the managing the race management team and three other race officers responsible for each course. Robin, then took on the same role for the Irish Sailing Association Youth Championships held for the first time in Northern Ireland in April 2017 at Ballyholme Yacht Club.

Within his role at the club, he has developed the race management team building up a number of qualified race officers and mark layers to ensure that the club can continue to deliver quality racing.

Mary Martin, Development Officer for RYANI said “The staff and board of RYANI would like to put Robin forward for recognition of the time and effort that he has put into race management that has come on leaps and bounds over recent years thanks to the effort that Robin has put in – he is known through the province and beyond for his professionalism and, knowledge and supportive approach”

Robin received his award from Sport NI Vice Chair Jay Colville on Sunday (29th October) atBallyholme Yacht Club before the club’s Icebreaker series.

Congratulating Robin on his award, Sport NI Vice Chair, Jay Colville said:

“On behalf of Sport NI, I am delighted to be presenting this award to Robin, celebrating his contribution to RYANI, Ballyholme Yacht Club and the yachting community throughout Northern Ireland. Officials are at the heart of making sport happen and helping people to engage with clubs to enjoy all the benefits that come from involvement in sport. Robin is a shining example of this and the vital role that he plays, with guiding and inspiring budding sailors is clearly valued by his colleagues at RYANI who nominated him for this award. I congratulate Robin on this achievement and thank him for his contribution to local sport.