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#Powerboats - An Irish-based powerboat racing team is aiming for a full 11 offshore endurance and speed records over the next three years.

“It’s ambitious, but it’s do-able,” as Red Bull hears from John Ryan, team driver and throttle man with Allblack Racing and an Afloat.ie Sailor of the Month in his own right for Team Hibernia’s record-smashing Round Ireland powerboat run.

The 11 challenges of the Union International Motonautique (UIM) offshore ocean endurance long distance and speed records represent a step beyond for Ryan and his team mates.

Allblack Racing will take to Irish waters again for the Cork-Fastnet loop and the Round Britain and Ireland challenge, as well as the Round Anglesey run in the Irish Sea and Menai Strait.

The team will also tackle various taxing European routes such as an Italian speed trial from Naples to Capri, a blast between the Channel Islands and the Isle of Wight, and a straight 60-hour run from London to Monte Carlo.

That’s not to mention the epic routes from London to St Petersburg and Miami to New York that will complete the list — all raced on the team’s Swedish-designed Allblack SL44 that's been specially adapted for extreme racing.

Allblack from Konjow Films on Vimeo.

What’s more, there’s an opportunity for additional passengers to join Ryan and his team mates Philip Fitzgibbon and Ant Middleton — if you can bring funding for the demands of each record, you could get trained up and listed as co-driver for the fourth seat on the boat.

Red Bull has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Powerboat Racing

#Angling - The Irish Specimen Fish Committee has just ratified two new Irish record fish.

Dublin angler Tom Lynch has broken the Irish twaite shad record with a 1.64kg specimen from the River Barrow at St Mullins, caught on 15 May last, while the new smooth hound record was broken by Gareth Murphy with an 8.62kg whopper from Wicklow Bay on 24 May.

Full details are in the Irish Specimen Fish Committee report for 2015 which just been released and is available on the ISFC website or from the Inland Fisheries Ireland website.

As well as the new record fish, detailed information on almost 450 specimen fish (ie large fish) taken by anglers from venues throughout Ireland in 2015 are presented.

Hard copies of the report will be available from 18 January from Inland Fisheries Ireland offices nationally.

The new report has details of 45 different species of specimen fish taken by anglers in 2015.

Thirty-two different species (including blue shark, pollock, several species of ray, gilthead bream, etc) were taken by sea anglers while freshwater anglers accounted for the remaining species.

Particularly large numbers of specimen thick lipped mullet (16% of total ratified) and smooth hound (14%) were caught, weighed and released, and in freshwater, carp (10%) dominated specimen returns. Large numbers of the exotic mullet species, golden greys and thin-lipped, were also ratified.

The ISFC Awards Day, when anglers will be presented with their awards and certificates, will be held on Saturday 20 February in Dublin in conjunction with the Irish Angling Show weekend.

Meanwhile, anglers both at home and abroad will be reading the report carefully to plan their angling trips to catch the big fish in Ireland in 2016.

Download a PDF copy of the Irish Specimen Fish 2015 report HERE.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Four Irish angling records set in 2014 were recognised at the recent Irish Specimen Fish Awards, as Derek Evans writes in The Irish Times.

Aaron Cummins, Ian Mulligan, Stephen O'Neill and Tom Walsh were all noted for their respective record landings of carp, thin-lipped mullet, golden grey mullet and spur dogfish between June and October last year, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

And the ceremony at Bewley's Hotel in North Dublin, with a keynote address by broadcaster and angler Derek Davis, also saw Conor Ward of Balintglass, Co Wicklow receive the Dr Arthur Went Award for young specimen angler of the year for his 5.75lb roach/bream caught at Lough Nablahy in Roscommon.

The Irish Times has more on the story and other angling news HERE.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Four new records dominate the record fish list for 2014 which has just been published by the Irish Specimen Fish Committee (ISFC).

The most recent is a new record carp of 14.24kg caught by Aaron Cummins at Loughgall in Co Antrim on 26 October.

In August a new thin-lipped mullet record was set by Ian Mulligan, who reeled in a 2.86kg specimen at Clonakilty, Co Cork on the 23rd of the month.

Also in Cork, Stephen O'Neill set the new golden grey mullet record with his 1.2kg catch in Cork Harbour on 16 July.

And Tom Walsh is in the books for his 11.06kg spur dogfish landed at Red Bay, Co Antrim on 3 June. 

The ISFC says 2014 was a very good year for anglers, with large numbers of specimen-sized fish caught besides the four new records established.

High water temperatures during the summer meant very good news for many sea anglers, with some of Ireland’s more exotic species like thin lipped mullet, golden grey mullet and gilthead quite prominent in the overall specimen fish listings. Specimen painted ray and thick-lipped mullet were also plentiful.

A total of 526 specimens were ratified in 2014, and the ISFC expects anglers both at home and abroad will be reading the report carefully to plan their angling trips in 2015, with the new year seeing tope, spurdog, smooth-hound and blue shark allowable as length-based specimens.

In other specimen fish news, the ISFC Awards Day will be held on Saturday 21 February to coincide with the Irish Angling Show weekend.

Invitations will be issued to anglers from Ireland next week. If any angler plans to attend, contact [email protected] as soon as possible.

Overseas anglers are also very welcome to attend. Certificates, etc will be posted to anglers who cannot attend, and it is intended to present anglers in the Netherlands with their awards at the VISMA 2015 angling show in Rotterdam.

The 2014 Irish Specimen Fish report is available as a PDF to read or download HERE.

Hard copies of the report will be available free of charge from the Inland Fisheries Ireland offices in Citywest Business Campus, Dublin 24 in early January. For further information contact ISFC secretary William Roche at 01 884 2600.

Published in Angling

#Surfing - A trio of Galway windsurfers completed the 95km round trip to and from the Aran Islands last weekend - setting a new Irish record for stand-up paddle boarding in the process.

The Irish Times reports on the successful adventure by Dan Gardner, Daniel King and Joe Gallagher, who embarked on the challenge to raise funds for the Galway RNLI lifeboat service.

Setting out before 5.30am on the morning of Saturday 8 June, they returned to the Galway Docks before 11pm that night - stopping at the halfway mark for lunch on Inis Mór.

The trio are each believed to have covered some 4,000 strokes an hour to make their record time of 17 hours 33 minutes. The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

In other surfing news, the Sunday Independent reports on a website that's seeking to connect surfers of all levels with the right waves for them.

Waterford-based Liam Sinnott set up Swellseekers.ie with business partner James Hassey two years ago, filling a gap in the market for booking surfing trips online at a time when Ireland was only just emerging as a world-class surfing destination.

Though the site currently only takes bookings for surfing and other watersports in the Waterford area, Sinnott says he hopes to expand his site's scope nationwide by next year to serve a growing wave-riding community of "50,000 surfing all year round".

Published in Surfing

#MarineNotice - Marine Notice No 17 of 2013 from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises on two minor amendments to ship security plans and on-board retention of security records, in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 725/2004 and the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code).

Firstly, and with immediate effect, there is no requirement to inform the Marine Survey Office of minor amendments to ship security plans.

Such minor amendments include amendments to contact details of shipping company personnel, and may also include other minor adjustments to the text. Minor amendments are such that the structure, scope and implementing measures contained in the plan are not amended.

If in any doubt the company security officer should contact the Marine Survey Office for further guidance. All amendments should be recorded appropriately.

Secondly, the DTTAS advises that, with immediate effect, the minimum period for the retention of security records on board (relating to drills, exercises, declarations of security, etc) is reduced to three years.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group has confirmed the sighting of a humpback whale off Achill Island in Co Mayo last weekend.

Surfers off Keel Beach were credited with the discovery, after spotting a large whale of 30-60ft breaking the surface multiple times, lifting its tail fluke vertically.

The sighting is only the fifth validated record of a humpback whale off the coastal area from Galway to Donegal.

"It remains something of a mystery as to why sightings of this species remain such relatively rare events along our west and northwest compared to our south and southwest coasts," says IWDG sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley.

"This latest sighting is a timely reminder that species such as humpbacks can and do turn up in places that are well outside what we perceive to be the known 'hotspots'."

Humpback whales tend to feed in inshore waters, which should make them increasingly easier for the public to spot from the shore, he added.

The IWDG has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
The crew of the Sara G have begun their latest attempt on the world record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic by an ocean rowing boat.
The six-man crew - skippered by Sara G owner Matt Craughwell and featuring Irishmen Adam Langton Burke from Skerries and Bray native Rob Byrne - set off from Tarfaya, Morocco on Wednesday afternoon, headed for Barbados.
The 11.1m boat has a storied history, smashing the record for the fastest row across the Tasman Sea from New Zealand to Australia with its previous owner Steven Gates.
Last year the Sara G crossed the Atlantic for the first time from Agadir to Barbados in 57 days, 20 hours.
This year's crew must beat a time of 38 days, 1 hour and 22 minutes to take the record held by Team La Mondiale since 2008.
Sailing southwest to take advantage of the trade winds, the Sara G is presently off the coast of north-west Africa near the Canary Islands.
Click HERE to track their live progress across the Atlantic.

The crew of the Sara G have begun their latest attempt on the world record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic by an ocean rowing boat.

The six-man crew - skippered by Sara G owner Matt Craughwell and featuring Irishmen Adam Langton Burke from Skerries and Bray native Rob Byrne - set off from Tarfaya in Morocco on Wednesday afternoon, headed for Barbados.

The 11.1m boat has a storied history, smashing the record for the fastest row across the Tasman Sea from New Zealand to Australia with its previous owner Steven Gates. 

Last year the Sara G crossed the Atlantic for the first time from Agadir to Barbados in 57 days, 20 hours. This year's crew must beat a time of 38 days, 1 hour and 22 minutes to take the record held by Team La Mondiale since 2008.

Rowing southwest to take advantage of the trade winds, the Sara G is presently off the coast of north-west Africa near the Canary Islands.

Click HERE to track the crew's live progress across the Atlantic.

Published in Coastal Rowing