Smiles are all you see and a big welcome is what you get.

There is a buzz of excitement and activity around Wicklow Sailing Club that hums along steadily, building to a crescendo every second year for the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race. The WSC volunteers are what make the SSE Renewables Round Ireland the event that it is, one known for the ‘WWW’, the Warm Wicklow Welcome, one that people don’t forget when they leave.

Our club members, along with family and friends get drafted in, even from other clubs, and do so with unfailing good humour, multi-tasking and juggling their other lives. Always committed and often covering 24 hours a day, and for many months before the race, planning, organising, emailing and lining the ducks in a row. The volunteers are young, old and in-between, nobody escapes!

Why do they do it? For the buzz of the event, the craic, the bellyaching laughs, the sense of family from all getting stuck in together, complete with grumbles and teasing, feeling part of a big team who deliver and can be proud of their achievement. That sticks for life.

They are everywhere! Helping behind the Bar, working 24 hours a day in the Race Office and in the catering tent, they’re on the slip and in the RIB, they’re behind the BBQ, in front of the cooker, at the computer, cleaning cobwebs, they’re out on the pier or up along the quay wall, organising berthing and decals, fuel and water, ferrying across the river, they’re power-hosing and painting, planting the flowerbeds, putting in new floors or fixing the door, sorting out the shed, directing the parking, laying marks and pumping bilges, they’re everyone that says ‘can I help you with something?’.

It is for this reason that in 2017 Wicklow Sailing Club were honoured with the award of Mitsubishi Club of the Year Award. This award was presented on the strength of the volunteers in our tiny club. We are very proud to have been given this award, proud of our events, proud of our effort and most of all proud of our volunteers. Thank you to everyone who helps.

This a selection of photos of our volunteers from the 2016