A group of Moville parents and children are attempting to recreate an old popular pastime on the Foyle.
Moville Model Yacht Club aims to bring back the competition of model yacht racing to our shores which was a regular pastime on the Foyle until the early ‘Sixties.
The group formed less than eight months in November when local man Robert Kelly thought it would be a “good idea”, and since then, the club members, men, women and children alike have been working hard to get their boats on the water in Moville Community College every weekend.
Now the group are almost ready to release fourteen expert model boats onto the Foyle to coincide with the arrival of the ten Clipper Yachts next week.
Robert, whose impressive model of the Atlantic Challenge boat is on display in Greencastle’s Maritime Museum, soon enlisted the help of Moville man, Paddy Gillespie who, he said, was vital to the group’s success.
“I know about boats,” explained Robert. “But Paddy is an engineer and he was able to put them together so we can release them in the water.”
Whilst researching the history of model boats in Inishowen, Paddy contacted an American man in Florida who was able to tell him more.
“We knew nothing about model boats at the start,” said Paddy. “But I got in contact with an 83-year-old man in America who does this regularly as a hobby, but they can take it very seriously over there.
“I told the man we wanted to include parents and children in making the boats, which he liked the thought of so he sent us the kits we needed for free. From that we were able to make 14 boats. Although he sent them for free we gathered up the money and sent it back to him as a goodwill gesture.”
Despite the success of the group so far, the local men hope to build on their achievement and go even bigger next time around.
“People are already expressing an interest in joining the club next year which is great. I’m hoping we can take it bigger and make remote control yachts because they will go faster and make a good spectator sport and maybe attract more people.
“I think Moville has been wasted for a long time for water sports, it is only recently the kayaking and rowing clubs have been set up so we’re hoping maybe model racing will catch on.”
As well as educating themselves and some local children new skills, the group are [planning to help out some local business by displaying their logos on model yachts sail completely free when they are completed.
“People know that all businesses have taken a hit,” said Paddy. “This is a way of giving them something back. I’ve approached a few businesses already and they are happy to be getting involved.”
The Club will now take their finished products to the Foyle next week to coincide with the Clipper yachts arriving in the area and they also plan to showcase them along the shore. However the two men maintain the project would never have happened without a few key sponsors.
“We really want to thank the Moville Family Resource Centre for helping us receive some funding for the project from the VEC Grant and the IDP,” said Robert. “But as well as that, Anthony Duggan, principal of Moville Community College, has been very kind in letting us use the woodwork room here in the school. Without all their help, this would never have happened.”