Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and Carrickfergus Sailing Club are working together to widen the sailing club slipway which will enable a number of significant open sailing events to take place this year.

This will also create the opportunity for much more open Regional and National Championships to be attracted in future years to Carrickfergus.

The work is due to commence on 3 February and is expected to be completed by early May.

The three open Championship events confirmed for later this year are the J24 Championships, the President’s Cup and Hansa Irish Championships and the RS 400 Northern Championships.

Elected Members were informed at the recent monthly meeting that Council would fund 50% of the work being carried out on the slipway.

The Sailing Club have progressed the procurement of a contractor and the price to undertake the work is within the upper approved limit of £160,000.

Alderman Billy Ashe MBE welcomed the project and said it would be of great benefit to Carrickfergus and the Borough.

“I want to congratulate the Sailing Club and the Council because it has taken a long time to work in true partnership with the club.

“Not only are we getting an enhanced facility but we are getting it well within the initial projected costs.

“I look forward to the final results and the evaluation of the impact on the town.”

A spokesperson from Carrickfergus Sailing Club said they were “delighted” to finally be in a position to improve the slipway which was constructed over 30 years ago as part of the marina development.

“It had proven to be a challenge for club members to use due to its position and restricted width which was unsuitable to attract major sailing events to Carrickfergus and the development of the Clubs youth dinghy programme.

“The Club has worked closely with both Councillors and officers over the past four years to deliver this project and are extremely thankful for their invaluable assistance and financial support to ensure this project finally became a reality.”