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“These are difficult times for the Association. While robust debate is welcome and encouraged, respect for all must remain in all of our dealings with each other,” the Commodore of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association, Simon McGibney, has said, in the midst of what has been described by other members as “a deep division” developing.

The Irish Cruiser Racing Association website has published the Notice of Race for the ICRA National Championships to be held in Galway Bay from August 16 to 18 and urges owners to REGISTER NOW. The notice includes the WIORA, West of Ireland Racing Association, West Coast Championships from August 15th to 17th.There is a strong list of sponsors, headed by Galway Port and both events will be run, the Notice says, in conjunction with Galway Bay Sailing Club. There is an offer of a reduced “early bird entry fee” and the Latest News Updates on the site declare that the Championships ARE A GO! And that “top-notch preparations are well underway…”

Perhaps, understandably, there is no word on the website about the dissension within the ranks of ICRA about the choice of Galway, nor that the disagreement has developed into wrangling between different members of the ICRA Executive and some outrage over comments made by one officer that the dispute within ICRA’s ranks was “a naked attempt to browbeat and intimidate officers in an effort to take over the Association by a small group…”

The Commodore of ICRA Simon McGibney called for an emergency meeting and indicated there would be a statement following that.

What appears to have happened, I have been told, is that “an attitude of aggression developed within ICRA” and that a number of members felt it was losing its way, there was concern expressed from some quarters that there was too much “fragmentation”, others that the Association had changed too much from a “fun organisation.. with a welcome into every club” into a bureaucratic, complicated structure.

While the source of disagreement appeared to arise from the choice of Galway for this year’s National Championships and an ICRA survey which showed a lack of support, sources have told me that there is more to the disagreement than just that….

Former Commodore, Norbert Reilly, whose resignation and comments that the Association may have reached its sell-by date, raised a lot of concern, had written to Executive members last June suggesting that everyone on the Executive would retire and hand-over to a new Committee. That didn’t receive much of a response and he resigned.

In the past few days I’ve been told that moves have been made to break the stand-off.

When ICRA was originally started I remember being told it would focus on national representation for boat owners, organising a national cruiser championship and getting an Irish team to win the Commodore’s Cup. All that has been achieved, so ICRA has been a success in that regard. But differences of opinion can emerge in a time of change. It is regrettable that this has led to some bitterness express in recent exchanges.

ICRA has been working on a five-year plan, but there is a view that a shorter-term approach is also needed.

At a time when it has been claimed, as in the annual report of the South Coast Offshore Racing Association, that interest in racing is increasing, the sport needs unity, not dissension at national organisational level.

• Listen to the Podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney

I love Irish history. It is the story of the Irish people, living in an island nation. But I have always wondered about a maritime, a shipping aspect of the Easter Rising, the commemoration of which has raised the profile of our evolution as an independent country. And that is – would it actually have been possible for the AUD, the German ship with weapons and ammunition for the Irish Volunteers, by arrangement with Roger Casement, to have landed its cargo in Tralee Bay, which is the accepted historical conception of that part of the plans for the Rising.
I have always wondered about the challenge and difficulties of getting 20,000 rifles, 10 machine guns and 3.5 million rounds of ammunition off that ship in the conditions and shipping facilities of Tralee Bay and the probably only realistic landing site at Fenit in 1916.
Was it to have been done at Fenit? In the facilities there for unloading in 1916 would that actually have been possible? Was it thought that the cargo might be got off into open boats in the Bay?
I got my opportunity to ask that question of an expert on the period last weekend, Dr. John Treacy, who was recently awarded his Ph.D. from Mary Immaculate College in Limerick for his doctoral thesis about the Naval Service.
He answered me very directly: “I would say absolutely not.”
He had a lot more to say about the AUD and the plan for it to provide weaponry for the Volunteers when I interviewed him at a seminar which underlined the huge public interest in Irish maritime affairs. “Revolution on an Island -The Maritime Aspects of the 1916 Rebellion,” was organised by the Irish Maritime Forum. It was booked out. People attended from all over the country. There was even a waiting list for places at the National Maritime College in Ringaskiddy on the edge of Cork Harbour where it was held.
Dr. Treacy spoke on ‘The Silent Shore – The Attempt to land arms at Banna Strand from the AUD.” It is a fascinating part of Irish history and the maritime involvement. If you have any interest at all in our history, I urge you to listen to him below on my programme, THIS ISLAND NATION.
It was also an unusual experience for me at that seminar to find myself being quoted at the outset. It was for my description of Ireland as an “island nation” which is accepted by the Forum, which is an independent think-tank on maritime matters. But the Forum had a qualification – “Ireland is not yet a maritime nation”
You can hear more about this from retired Naval officer, Capt. James Robinson, who discusses it with me on behalf of the Forum. Not a lot has been heard about the Forum in public, but this seminar was a revelation.
Simon McGibney, the new Commodore of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association, talks to me about his plans for this year’s sailing and the retirement of one of the country’s longest-serving lifeboatmen, from the RNLI Rosslare Station, is reported while there is also good advice on the programme about using vehicles to launch and recover boats from slipways in view of the Buncrana tragedy.
THIS ISLAND NATION reports on the marine traditions, culture, history and modern maritime developments of our island nation. I hope you enjoy it and would welcome your comments. You can Email to: [email protected]

Published in Island Nation

I am a passionate believer in the concept that sailing is ‘a sport for all and a sport for life’. I took to heart a slogan to this effect promoted by the Irish Sailing Association a few years ago. I have advanced that concept since I first heard it. Nowadays I wonder if how many true believers there are in this concept. While I fully support the need for a national sailing association and believe that it means what was said about ‘a sport for all’ I don’t see that concept, simple, direct and embracing in its description advanced as a major focus of the Association. I may be missing something but when last did you see the ISA state this concept forcefully in a public message?
I do not want to be perceived as a critic of the ISA because I am not. I am committed to the essential necessity of sporting representation through a strong national organisation. However, having observed, listened to and received various approaches in recent years from those who have challenged the ISA and, in fairness to them and the ISA executive authorities, created a degree of change, I have a degree of concern that the effective level of national association relationships with and to clubs and ‘the ordinary’ club sailors (not a particularly nice description but perhaps apt), could do with more attention.
I chaired a debate on whether sailing is a welcoming sport at the annual conference of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association in Limerick and was encouraged by the response of delegates there, but they also raised questions about the Irish Sailing Association. It has launched a ‘Try Sailing Initiative’ through associated clubs and training centres. “This is building on last year’s inaugural success of this approach,” Gail McAllister, ISA Regional Development Officer for the Southern Region, told me. “The ISA is partnering with the Marine Institute in Galway and this will see a thorough implementation of initiatives and a strong promotional campaign introducing the public to the joys of sailing. We have a firm belief that you have to take your message to the people at least as much as you expect people to come to your club. We want to make it clear that all are welcome - and genuinely welcome at that.”
I agree with and support those comments. Effort is being put into raising participation levels in the sport. There are attempts to counteract falling membership numbers and an ageing profile amongst boatowners in many. It is my view that the sport is more popular than it was in past years, despite a fall-off in numbers in recent times. The challenge is to put in place plans to maintain growth for the future and to remove, once-and-for-all the, image of sailing as being an ‘elitist’ sport.
On my own boat I have a policy of trying to introduce at least one new crew member to the sport every year. May I recommend that to club members throughout the country? Meantime perhaps you would listen to my Podcast this week where I interview the new Commodore of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association, Simon McGibney, the first West of Ireland sailor to hold the post. I spoke to him in Limerick at the end of the annual meeting of ICRA. He is committed to expanding involvement in sailing and in racing and he believes this will happen. At the start of the interview I congratulated this member of Foynes Sailing Club on being the first West of Ireland Commodore of ICRA.
• Listen to Podcast below

Published in Island Nation

#sovscup – Counting four race wins Royal Irish Yacht Joker II (John Maybury) emerged as winner of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association's ultra–competitive division one fleet at Kinsale Yacht club today. It was one of five national championships decided at Kinsale that combined the Irish Cruiser Racing Association championship with the biennial Sovereign's Cup for the first time. Read more about the event here.

The Dublin Bay J/109 yacht with four time Olympian Mark Mansfield onboard was chased hard by May's Scottish Series winner, Fool's Gold (Rob McConnell). 

Maybury's Joker 2 was initially challenged by Ian Nagle's Royal Cork YC entry Jelly Baby and then towards the end of the series by Waterford Harbour Sailing Club's McConnell. It gave the Division 1 national championship title to Maybury as well as ICRA's J109 title.  In the end, McConnell came within a point of beating Maybury but had to settle for second. The J109s next big event is the Irish National Championships that will be sailed early in July as part of Dun Laoghaire regatta.

Howth Yacht Club's Ross McDonald and the crew on Equinox emerged winners of the Sovereigns Cup at Kinsale after an intensive eight race series in a full range of conditions. The Dublin 32-footer won the 17-boat Division 2 and became the ICRA National champions for the class in addition to the Sovereign's Cup at the four-day event.

McDonald's Equinox was part of a 15-strong flotilla from Howth that featured in the top places of half the racing divisions on the two race courses between the Old Head of Kinsale and the Sovereigns Rocks close to the coast.

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 (Above and below) ICRA division 2 champion and Sovereign's Cup winner Equinox from Howth. Photo: Alan O'Regan 

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Equinox won six of the eight races in Division 2, a factor that assisted the decision to award the Sovereign's trophy when Maybury had a matching score but with fewer race wins in a bigger class.

But there was more cause for Howth victory celebrations including Paddy Klyne's Maximus that won the Portcullis Trophy for the best boat on ECHO handicap.

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 Maximus (Paddy Klyne) from Howth was the winner of the Portcullis Trophy for the best boat on ECHO handicap. Photo: Alan O'Regan

In a continued sweeping up of the results, Richard Colwell and Ronan Cobbes' Corby 25 Fusion - also from Howth YC - won the Division 3 national championship. Tim Goodbody of the Royal Irish YC came close the taking the title but the north Dublin crew recovered from two fifth places on the penultimate day and a race win and fourth place sealed the win.

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Division 3 national champion Fusion of Howth (Richard Colwell and Ronan Cobbes). Photo: Alan O'Regan

A Howth YC-owned J24 Kilcullen with an Under 25 crew won Division 4 IRC and is likely to represent the fleet at the annual ISA All-Ireland sailing championships in the Autumn.

The Irish Quarter-ton championship was won by Tony Hayward's Blackfun from Cowes with fantastic scores throughout the event. This championship was held as part of the event with Barry Cunningham's Quest from the Royal Irish YC taking second overall in the five boat class.

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ICRA class zero champion WOW. Photo: Alan O'Regan

Meanwhile, George Sisk's WOW from the Royal Irish YC became national champion for Class 0 after hitting form in the bigger breeze of the second half of the series. A win and second place on the final day deposed Norbert Reilly's Crazy Horse from Howth who had led the class for the opening half of the series.

That win came in part from the absence on Saturday of Conor Phelan's Jump Juice from the Royal Cork YC who suffered broken steering gear in race five and was out of action for the day. Second and first places in the final day was not enough to overcome Sisk's performance for the week.

In the two non-spinnaker classes, more boats competed under the ECHO handicap system than under IRC with Kinsale boats topping the standings in both divisions. Anthony and Brian McCarthys' Baccarat won Division 1 counting all top three places in the four race series. Howth's Colm Bermingham won the IRC fleet with three race wins.

In Division 2, straight wins took Windsor Laudan on Demelza from Howth to the podium to collect the overall trophy under IRC and though he led the ECHO stakes early in the series, Kinsale's Dermot Lanigan on Privateer won overall under ECHO, beating clubmate David Riome on Valfreya into second place.

"We were delighted with sailing conditions and competitive spirit in Kinsale Yacht Club over the past four days and many congratulations to all competitors, race management and countless volunteers on and off the water. Special thanks to Cork Co. Council, CH Marine, Anderco, Olimpic Sails and the Kinsale Good Food Circle for their sponsorship and support," said Regatta Director, Mike Walsh. Cork Co. Council was represented by Cllr. Joe Carroll, Deputy Mayor and ICRA was represented by Norbert Reilly.

Results – ICRA Nationals & Sovereign's Cup 2015 Day 4 after 8 races sailed (27th June 2015)

Division 0 IRC

1 WOW George Sisk,(Royal Irish YC)
2 Jump Juice, Conor Phelan (RCYC)
3 Crazy Horse, Norbert Reilly/Alan Chambers (Howth Yacht Club)

Division 0 ECHO

1 Godot, John Godkin (Kinsale YC)
2 Roxstar, Jonathan Anderson, (CCC)
3 Meridian, Tom Roche (KYC)

Division 0 Restricted

1 WOW George Sisk,(Royal Irish YC)
2 Roxstar, Jonathan Anderson, (CCC)
3 Forty Licks, Jay Colville, (East Down YC)

Division 1 IRC

1 Joker 2, John Maybury, (Royal Irish Yacht Club)
2 Fool's Gold, Robert McConnell (Wicklow Harbour SC)
3 Jelly Baby, Ian Nagle, (Royal Cork Yacht Club)

Division 1 ECHO

1 Adrenalin, Joe McDonald (National Yacht Club)
2 Indecision, Declan Hayes (RIYC)
3 Gringo, Tony Fox (NYC)

Division 2 IRC

1 Equinox, Ross McDonald, (HYC)
2 Checkmate XV, DaveCullen (HYC)
3 Harmony, Jonny Swan/James Freyne, (HYC)

Division 2 ECHO

1 Lisador, Henry Hogg, (Garrykennedy SC)
2 Equinox, Ross McDonald, (HYC)
3 Graduate, PJ Barron, (RIYC)

Division 3 IRC

1 Fusion, Richard Cowell, (HYC)
2 White Mischief, Timothy Goodbody, (RIYC)
3 Bad Company, Desmond, Ivers, Deasy (RCYC)

Division 3 ECHO

1 Maximus, Paddy Kyne (HYC)
2 Monkey, Liam Lynch, (Tralee Bay SC)
3 White Mischief, Timothy Goodbody, (RIYC)

Division 4 IRC

1 Kilcullen, (HYC)
2 Quest, Barry Cunningham (RIYC)

Division 4 ECHO

1 Seven Whistler, Rene Wubben (WHSC)
2 White Magic, Donal Harding (Waterford Harbour SC)
3 No-Gnomes, Leonard Donnery, (RCYC)

J109
1 Joker 2, John Maybury (RIYC)
2 Storm, Pat Kelly (Rush SC/HYC)
3 Jelly Baby, Ian Nagle (RCYC)

Quarter Tonner

1 Blackfun, Tony Hayward (Cowes)
2 Quest, Barry Cunnigham (RIYC)
3 Anchor Challenge, Paul Gibbons (RCYC)

White Sail Division 1 IRC

1 Bite the Bullet, Colm Bermingham, (HYC)
2 White Lotus, Paul Tully, (Dun Laoghaire Motor YC)
3 Baccarat, Brian & Anthony McCarthy (KYC)

White Sail Divison 1 ECHO

1 Baccarat, Anthony/Brian McCarthy (KYC)
2 Cimarron VI Dave O'Sullivan (KYC)
3 White Tiger, Tony O'Brien (KYC)

White Sail Division 2 IRC

1 Demelza, Windsor Laudan, (HYC)
2 Loch Greine, Tom O'Mahony (RCYC)
3 Guinness Khan, Caroline Forde (KYC)

White Sail Division 2 ECHO

1 Privateer, Dermot Lanigan (KYC)
2 Valfreya, David Riome (KYC)
3 Demelza, Windsor Laudan, (HYC)

Published in Sovereign's Cup

#icra – The biggest Half Ton event of the year gets underway this morning as part of the Irish Cruiser Racing Championships at Kinsale Yacht Club. 

The annual (ICRA) Championship that combines the club's Sovereigns' Cup event runs until Saturday. Forecasted moderate to fresh south–westerly winds gusting up to 25 mph look set to provide perfect racing conditions.

There has been an exceptional response by sailing crews from almost every coastal county in Ireland and many from the UK, as 112 boats have entered the event. The four-day event will decide four national titles as well as the coveted Sovereign's Cup, ensuring close competition in each class.

Of the Half Ton boats listed to compete in Kinsale this morning, Checkmate won the international Half Ton Cup (HTCC) in France in 2013, and Harmony won it when the event was in Dun Laoghaire in 2009. Kinsale will prepare the crews for the big event of the season, the HTCC in Nieupoort, Belgium in late August.

An Irish boat has never won this event although Shay Moran had a third place in Nieupoort in 2003 and could have won in 2005 in Blue Berret Pi except for a technical hitch with a folding propellor.

Many believe it would be great to bring the HTCC back to Ireland, as the idea of holding a biennial Half Ton event was hatched by Shay Moran/Didier Dardot and Vincent Delany at Cork Week in 2001.

IRC 2 of the ICRA's is an ultra-competitive division. All eyes will be on the half Tonner 'Checkmate', that will be very well sailed. Others to watch will be 'Equinox,' 'Slack Alice,' 'Harmony' and 'The Big Picture.' Lighter/medium airs will favour the half tonners so it will be interesting to see how the weather affects this fleet.

The Half Tonners in action in Kinsale this morning are:

Checkmate XV- IRL2016- Dave Cullen- A Mills modified Humphreys MGHS30 of 1985.(formerly Blue Chip).

Big Picture - IRL5522- Michael and Richard Evans- A Mills modified Humphreys MGHS30 of 1987. (Formerly Red Eye).

Demelza - IRL100- Windsor Laudan- A Holland Shamrock of 1977.

Harmony - IRL1484- Johnny Swan- A modified Humphreys one-off in red cedar of 1980 vintage.

Maverick - GBR5369- Rene Koomen- A Humphreys MGHS30 of 1983.

King One- IRL8094- Pat Boardman- A modified Berret First Evolution of 1980. 

No Gnomes - IRL78- Leonard Donnery- A Holland Jubilee Shamrock. (formerly Silver Mite) 1978.

Meanwhile, in Division 0, the highest rated boat is the Ker 40 'Keronimo,' that is expected to plane at speeds in the high teens if the wind speed rises, so she will take some beating- particularly on the round the cans courses. 'Roxy' will worth watching also as she was on the 2010 commodores cup winning team and is expected to be well crewed. Conor and Denise Phelan's 'Jump juice' is also consistent and one to watch.

IRC 1 is a very competitive mix; the highest rated boat 'Bam' - a Sunfast 3600 - is somewhat of an unknown entity but her chined hull will suit the reaching around the cans courses. It will be very interesting to see how she stacks up against proven IRC performers such as the J109s and A35s.

Notable J109s include 'Jelly Baby' who is currently on fire having won the UK J109 nationals last week and the Vice Admirals Cup late last month. The A35 'Fools Gold' was overall winner of the Scottish series at the end of May and is expected to feature as is the D2D entrant JPK 9.60 'Alchimiste' and former ICRA Boat of the Year Pat Kelly's 'Storm.'

IRC 3 is no less competitive: all the Corby 25's will feature. However given good breeze is expected, word has it that 'Bad Company' and 'Dis a Ray' will be in the running for places.

IRC 4 features some strong quarter tonners that are expected to feature this year.

'Quest' and 'Black Fun' enjoy medium/heavy air, not forgetting a challenge from 'Anchor', a super all rounder.

If conditions favour planning, Flor O'Driscoll's J-24 is expected to do well, having come second at the J24 southerns held last weekend in RCYC.

It is hoped that the new divisions will make the event more competitive and enjoyable for all although the weather, as always, will be a major factor. As the current forecast suggests medium plus conditions, boats moded for such breeze or the larger boats in each division are expected to come to the fore.

Published in ICRA

#islandnation – Heir Island, which is mistakenly called 'Hare Island' and in Irish is known as 'Inishodriscol' is one of "Carbery's Hundred Isles," that are "scattered," as some descriptions put it, throughout Roaringwater Bay on the West Cork coastline. It is two-and-a-half kilometres long, with spectacular flora and fauna.

Historically the island formed part of the O'Driscoll clan territory and was known as Inis Ui Drisceoil or Inis an Oidhre. The English version of the name has been traditionally misspelt as "Hare" ---- since 1694 at least, so the islanders claim.

It is also the location of Heir Island Sailing School, a Training Centre approved by the Irish Sailing Association and which for the past two weeks has been training future keelboat sailors amongst a coterie of interested youngsters.

Encouraging young people into sailing is very important for the future of the sport so it is good to hear positive reports about the innovation introduced on Heir Island in to teach young sailors the skills of keelboat racing.

"We can't take credit for the natural environment," John Moore who, with Patricia, runs Heir Island Sailing School, told me. "But what we can do is develop an interest in sailing as an active, enjoyable for sport for everyone and widen the interest of young people in aspects of the sport."

With residential accommodation available at the centre the Irish Cruiser Racing Association which has overseen the running of racing for keelboats, chose it as the base for a new initiative "Keel Boat Race Week." ICRA has the job of bringing together the various aspects of Irish handicap racing. Since its inaugural meeting in 2003 when sailors, primarily from Cork and Dublin, met in Waterford to establish the Association it has built a solid core of interest among cruiser racing enthusiasts. It has also led the successful Irish winning of the top UK international trophy, the Commodore's Cup.

With Heir Island Sailing School the initiative, open to all junior sailors in the country was launched, aimed at Transition Year students in particular, to run two week-long courses for young sailors keen to broaden their sailing and racing experience. The school year schedule for 'Transition' provided the way to do this and those committed to the future of the sport took the opportunity.

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Twenty-five young sailors took part in the first of the two weeks and sixteen were involved on the second week, all keen to broaden their sailing and racing experience. A team of expert coaches, using six, matched, open keelboats taught them to develop skills associated with racing keelboats including handling the mainsail, headsail trim, bow work, helming, tactics and spinnaker handling. Ben Fusco, Head Coach at the Royal St George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, a student yachting world champion, was chosen by ICRA to be involved in this project as well as Ben Lynch, an offshore sailor, who has raced aboard Volvo Open 70s and competed in some of the world's most challenging offshore races.

"At the end of the course they have gained familiarity with the various roles on keel boats as well as an appreciation of the tactics and strategy used throughout keel boat races," John said. The youth sailors came from areas around the coast. "They have also learned how to adapt the dinghy approach, in the boats they would have been sailing up to now, to bigger, more powerful boats".

There is a near-permanent difficulty in getting and keeping crews for cruiser racers, as I know from personal experience, so building up a reservoir of future sailors is important for the sport. One of the biggest problems has been the loss of young sailors after they leave dinghies. Many of them do not to remain in the sport.

Encouraging them to do so and developing the youth interest is important. In this regard Whitesail racing has provided an opportunity for families to race together. At the Friday evening racing in the RCYC in Crosshaven we adopted a youth policy aboard my own boat, a 33ft. Sigma and put our youngest crew member on the helm, a 10-year-old sailor from the Optimist bronze fleet. The training young sailors get in those little boats is impressive.

Conditions were mostly light enough during the three-race series for Oisin, my grandson, to helm our boat with tactical advice from the senior members of the crew. We won the series with a 1st and 2nd in a tie-breaker with the next boat, Micheál Lynch's, Lady T, both finishing on 9 points. Micheál deserves a lot of praise for his commitment to whitesail which has encouraged more people to take their boats out racing and enjoy the experience. It was good to see the way in which the RCYC sailors encouraged our young helm. The future of sailing will depend heavily on those who race for enjoyment. Without them, the highest competitive level of the sport will not have a foundation upon which to develop.

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Heir Island

So let's give more encouragement to the youngsters. They will take over eventually, one way or the other (!) But helping them along will benefit the sport – and perhaps more boats and owners! When Oisin took over on the helm I went to where I have been on other boats - sitting on the rail. There is a different perspective there. It didn't lessen my overall concerns, because being owner I still have to sign the cheques when equipment and replacements are needed (!) but I did take a lot of satisfaction from seeing a youngster from the Optimist fleet handle the helm of a 33ft. cruiser effectively and I did learn – that we can all be replaced !

'COOLEST' SHIP IN THE NORTH SEA

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There are not too many ships as brightly painted as the one pictured here, the new vessel launched for the Norwegian offshore supply shipping company Atlantic Offshore, Ocean Art PSV, in Stavanger. It was built at the Kleven shipyard in Myklebust, Norway and named during the ONS offshore energy conference in Stavanger, which coincided with the Nuart street art festival. A Polish street artist, Mariusz "M-City" Waras, painted the ship. It is the second of two VS 485 MKIII L designs ordered by Atlantic Offshore from Kleven and is to go on a six-year contract with Statoil in the North Sea. They claim it is the "coolest looking" ship in the North Sea! It certainly won't be un-noticed.

THE NAVY CALLS BACK!

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John Hegarty, skipper of odd job at MBSC, his son Morgan and Lt. Cdr. Tony Geraghty, Commander of LE  Samuel Beckett at the Naval base

I described, back in July in this blog how I was crewing aboard a yacht out of Monkstown Bay in Cork Harbour in that club's Thursday night cruiser league when the VHF came alive with the first radio call I had heard from the new Naval vessel, 'SAMUEL BECKETT' which had come up astern of us, returning from sea patrol. The Naval voice courteously requested if 'ODD JOB,' the yacht on which I was crewing, would alter course in the 'narrows' as the water area off Cobh and between Haulbowline Island is called by sailors, so that the State warship could make her approach to the Naval Base. Our Skipper, John Hegarty, acknowledged with equal courtesy and called a tack so 'ODD JOB' came about to go astern of 'L.E SAMUEL BECKETT' which then went into her berth at the Base. We brought 'ODD JOB' about again and returned to the racing fray, but the alteration cost us first place on handicap by two minutes and forty seconds. However, this incident showed the value of courtesy and good seamanship. The Navy showed equal courtesy in making contact after they read the story here on the Afloat website. We were invited to visit the ship and were shown over it by her commander, Lt.Cdr.Tony Geraghty. She is an impressive vessel. I recorded an interview with Lt.Cdr. Geraghty which will be transmitted on my THIS ISLAND NATION radio programme and which you can hear next week here on afloat.ie

130 YEARS OF DUBLIN SAILING

As a Southern sailor, I have to admire the sight of all the sails in Dublin Bay out of Dun Laoghaire which I have seen over the past two Saturdays when my journeys took me along the seafront. It was very impressive, a great panorama of the sport and an indication of just how big the marine leisure sector is and its potential importance to the national economy. Congratulations to Dublin Bay Sailing Club which celebrated its 130th Anniversary at the weekend. The club has made a great contribution to the development of sailing since it was founded in 1884 and has co-ordinated racing in and out of Dun Laoghaire harbour. It has also influenced the development of yacht design through classes such as the Dublin Bay 25s, the Dublin Bay 21s, the Dublin Bay Mermaids and the Dublin Bay 24s. When marine correspondent with RTE I saw the efficiency of the DBSC in running sailing events. Long may it continue.

GETTING RID OF A SPY SHIP

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November 5 should be an interesting day on the web. Rosatom which is a Russian State Corporation, will be holding an auction for bids to demolish the warship, SSV-33 Ural, that was launched in 1983. Nuclear-powered, it was regarded as a "spy" ship but hadn't a successful career. After less than two years in operation, there was a fire aboard and, with the fall of the USSR, there wasn't enough money for repairs, so she was taken out of service. The ship must be disposed of within the Bay of Bolshoy Kamen in the Primorsky region by November 30, 2017. Nuclear fuel was unloaded from the ship's reactor and removed for recycling in 2009. Parts of the ship are to be used to repair other nuclear-powered Russian naval vessels.

THIS ISLAND NATION EXPANDING

From next week my THIS ISLAND NATION radio programme is moving from monthly to fortnightly transmission. It will be broadcast here on the afloat website, so I hope you will tune in.

Until next week, the usual wish of .....
"fair sailing..."

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @Tom MacSweeney

Published in Island Nation

#commdorescup – Although Ireland will be setting sail for Cowes as a potent Commodore's Cup force this July it will only be a single team as a second 'corinthian' team could not be mustered. At the Spring meeting of the ICRA executive, Commodore's Cup team manager Barry Rose made a detailed report on preparations. The meeting heard the team will sail without the support of sponsorship, in spite of major effort by the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) to secure a team sponsor none had been found.

Anthony O'Leary has been confirmed as team captain, a position he also held in the 2010 Commodores' Cup winning Irish team.

As has been widely reported the three boat Irish team consists of Catapult, a US based Ker 40 which had been shipped to the Solent and was due to be enter the water to start her training programme on the 1st May.

Quokka, a Grand Soleil 43, had been chartered by Royal Irish sailors Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling. O'Leary's Antix, a Ker 39, completed the line-up.

The services of meteorologist Mike Broughton had again been secured on an exclusive basis to provide local tactical and Solent tidal support to the team. 

Published in Commodores Cup
Ireland's 2010 Commodore's Cup winning captain showed his relief at the news that Hong Kong have been tipped as favourites for next July's event, The Irish Times reports.
The announcement was made this week at the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) in London, and should lift a burden off an Irish squad which has long suffered under the weight of being pre-event favourites.
Ireland's concerns instead have turned to whether a team can even be assembled for next summer's event in light of the difficult economic environment - and despite the RORC opening the rating bands to allow for more flexible combinations of boat sizes.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) is seeking expressions of interest to form an Irish team and remains hopeful of mounting a serious defence of the title won by last year's Anthony O’Leary-captained squad.
The next Commodore's Cup - which also has a new title sponsor in Brewin Dolphin - takes place from 21 to 28 July 2012 in Cowes.

Ireland's 2010 Commodore's Cup winning captain showed his relief at the news that Hong Kong have been tipped as favourites for next July's event, The Irish Times reports.

The announcement was made this week at the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) in London, and should lift a burden off an Irish squad which has long suffered under the weight of being pre-event favourites.

Ireland's concerns instead have turned to whether a team can even be assembled for next summer's event in light of the difficult economic environment - and despite the RORC opening the rating bands to allow for more flexible combinations of boat sizes.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) is seeking expressions of interest to form an Irish team and remains hopeful of mounting a serious defence of the title won by last year's Anthony O’Leary-captained squad.

The next Commodore's Cup - which also has a new title sponsor in Brewin Dolphin - takes place from 21 to 28 July 2012 in Cowes.

Published in Commodores Cup

On Friday night last Barry Rose Commodore of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association launched the ICRA Corinthian Cup at the Royal Cork Yacht Club when Club Admiral Paddy McGlade was presented with the new trophy writes Claire Bateman. This cup will be the ultimate trophy for the non spinnaker fleet and carrying the same status of 'National Championship' at the ICRA National Championships. These events, to be sailed side by side, will give due recognition to both events and will add an element of fun and family competition to the whole scene.

ICRACorintihancup

Royal Cork Admiral Paddy McGlade receives the new trophy from ICRA Commodore Barry Rose. Photo: Bob Bateman

It was felt by ICRA that the idea of a Corinthian Cup event would reflect the spirit of inclusiveness being displayed by the non spinnaker sailors and means there are now two identical Cups offering equal status to both ECHO and IRC champions.

Admiral Paddy Mc Glade has placed the trophy on display in the Club Bar to encourage all the local non spinnaker (whitesail) fleet to enter the event to be hosted by the Royal Cork Yacht Club from 17th to 19th June.

Douglas Deane will be Race Officer for the non-spinnaker class so an event of the highest calibre is assured.

 

Published in ICRA
The Irish Cruiser Racing Association is getting behind Kinsale's Sovereign's Cup to promote the fact that for Cruiser sailing racer fans there will be two great regattas in a 10 day period on the South coast in June.

The ICRA National Championships is being staged at Royal Cork YC from Friday 17th to Sunday 19th June and the Sovereign's Cup at Kinsale YC from Wednesday 22nd to Saturday 25th June.

Dublin boats heading south for these events can race down to the event as part of the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race (it's the tenth anniversary race) from the National Yacht Club starting on Saturday, June 11th next.

Entry form for ICRA and Notice of Race available to download below.

Published in ICRA
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