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Weekly Maritime News and Affairs with Tom MacSweeney
Now There is None
Island Nation

Now There is None

18th February 2011
I remember the pride I felt when describing on television the Parade of the Tall Ships down the River Suir from Waterford in 2005. Three Irish tall ships led it. First was ASGARD II, Ireland's national tall ship; followed by…
Ask the Candidates About Maritime Policy
Island Nation
Ireland needs jobs. From any source they would be welcome. This is the main topic of economic debate in the General Election. So why then have I not seen the publication by any political party of a plan for job…
Lifejackets and Many Kinds of Racing
Island Nation
Over the past few seasons the use of lifejackets by crews on racing yachts has increased. There was a time when jackets were bulky, awkward and difficult to use in racing situations. The arrival of lighter, collar-type jackets, with built-in,…
Going it Alone – or Short-Handed!
Island Nation
It was a sailor from Plymouth on the south-west coast of England, named Bob Salmon, who originally came up with the idea of a "mini" transAtlantic Yacht Race. In the late 1970s he wanted to develop a "relatively affordable" solo…
Would You Pay to Watch Sailing?
Island Nation
There are those who don't like sailing – and even some in the sport itself – who have described watching a sailing race as "about as interesting as watching paint dry. While exciting pictures have been available from the Volvo…
Giving Away a Billion from the Sea
Island Nation
I had to read the figures twice to make sure that I was seeing them correctly. The second reading made me even more angry than the first. They were, at last, a definitive figure of how much the stupidity of…
How Many Times Do I Have to Say the Sea is Vital to Ireland?
Island Nation
Ireland has the largest maritime area-to-land mass in the European Union, but derives only 1% of GDP from the maritime sector. At a time when the economy needs every benefit it can get this figure is startling, particularly when compared…
Damian Foxall is First Choice
Island Nation
"When Damian is on a project, it is often the winning one. As such, it is better to have him with us rather than against us." That tribute to Damian Foxall comes from Franck Cammas, renowned amongst the top sailors…
National 18s -72 Years Old and Still Sailing
Island Nation
My first experience of racing was in a National 18 wooden dinghy and it was rough. Inexperienced as a crewman during a race in Monkstown Bay, I slit the top of a finger across a chain plate while pulling in…
Island Nation
I am glad to see that efforts are being made to restore the national sail training programme, but less sanguine about reposing any confidence in the present Government to give practical assistance. I talked a few weeks ago with the…
Island Nation
My time on the water has been spent 'on the surface,' but those who like to go underwater tell me the attractions of diving are magnificent and that Cork Harbour, my sailing base atop the water, is one of the…
Remembering Seafarers Who Saved the Nation
Island Nation
City Quay in the centre of Dublin can be a cold place when the wind whips upriver from the open sea. There was a 'bite' in the wind as I stood there in late November last year, recording the sounds…
An Irish Maritime Foundation
Island Nation
I wonder whether there might be interest in forming an Irish Maritime Foundation? I raise the question having discussed the possibility with those who run the UK Maritime Foundation and whose views about the sea about the sea impressed me…
David Harte Sets Another Headline
Island Nation
I have long admired the commitment and dedication to sailing of David Harte in Schull. With his design of the TR 3.6 he has achieved what may well prove to be the ideal boat for team racing. This aspect of…
MacSweeney Receives British Honour for Maritime Journalism Work
Island Nation
For the first time an Irish maritime journalist was honoured by the British Maritime Foundation at its annual awards ceremony in London. The Desmond Wettern Award was presented to Afloat's Tom MacSweeney. It is made to the writer, broadcaster, journalist…
Living Beyond Our Means
Island Nation

Living Beyond Our Means

29th October 2010
That is not a title referring to the current economic situation, though it is certainly apt in that regard. I am using it to refer to the fact that as humans we live on relatively small pockets of land on…

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