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Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

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Dear Reader,

At the end of another busy year at Afloat.ie in 2020, we want to express our thanks for your continued support.

Because of the generous backing from you and our other supporters, Afloat.ie is looking at another record year for visitors, with a significant 14% increase on 2019 figures.

Our website dedicated to Irish sailing, boating and maritime issues reached another high watermark, informing and entertaining a larger boating audience than ever before, and is now set to repeat that as we head into 2021.

The latest statistics show unique visitors to the site are over 1.6 million by year-end — a phenomenal number in what remains a challenging climate for online media.

2020 Stats for Afloat readershipsThe 2020 Statistics for Afloat readership showing unique 'visitors' to the site (top) and (above) the number of 'actions' or 'hits' of those visitors

Ironically, despite the challenges in 2020 with event cancellations due to COVID, interest in our boating and marine stories increased and this is reflected in many sections of the site. Afloat’s popular online format has a strong returning readership, with nearly half of daily visits being repeat readers, and with strong social media engagement.

Based on site analytics, 75% of our traffic is from Ireland, with a good geographic spread across the Irish Sea and into the west coast of Britain.

Most encouragingly, nearly two-thirds (65+%) of Afloat.ie traffic now comes from mobile devices — an important return on investment in the mobile site by our journalist and developer team.

What’s more, our website’s bounce rate (the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page) of 22% is well below the industry average of 40% to 60%, according to HubSpot.Together, those numbers make a strong argument for Afloat.ie growing as a go-to resource for an engaged audience with sailing, boating and marine interests.

Our high authority in the boating market is reflected, too, in Google and other search engines’ quick indexing of our stories, giving them valuable reach beyond our core readership.

All of this is a testament not only to our tight-knit and active community of readers, but also Afloat.ie’s combination of opinion, hard news and features which puts it at the very heart of the national — and increasingly international — conversation on sailing, boating and maritime affairs.

The growth this year is the fifth consecutive year of increase since the site broke the one million readers mark in 2015.

Last year marked the first time reader numbers broke the 1.5m barrier, and now that figure is climbing even higher. It’s proof positive that our mission — to provide Irish sailing and boating clubs, classes and the wider maritime community with a comprehensive, reliable and independent platform promoting our great sport to the wide and connected audience only the internet provides — is truly working.

This success, as we’ve said before, would not be possible without our full–time marine journalists and web developers, and indeed our advertisers and supporters who are dedicated to promoting Irish sailing and boating. Progress, like we have achieved to date, would not have been achievable without it.

As previously acknowledged, it remains a challenging climate for online media, particularly when it comes to monetisation.

Thanks to your support, however, we have not resorted to putting our content behind a paywall like other news websites — because we want to keep our marine journalism open to the widest possible audience, which we believe is one of the keys to our growth. The figures bear this out.

All of us at Afloat wish you the best for Christmas and 2021, and hope you will continue your valued support in the new year to come.

Stay safe

The Afloat team

Published in News Update
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There will be two Afloat newsletters over the Christmas period. One on Friday, December 27th and the other on Friday, January 3rd.

The e-news highlights the latest content from popular sections of our website. Read previous editions here.

The daily enews returns on January 7th. 

Keep an eye out for regular boating updates on Afloat.ie and our social media channels over the festive season.

Sign up for the enews in the right-hand column of Afloat's home page.

Happy Christmas to all our readers.

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This 64-page full-colour A4 magazine includes a review of 2019 plus all the details for 2020 Afloat and all your latest sailing news in time for Christmas! BUY IT HERE!

Order your copy online now at €8 plus €2.50 shipping fee in Ireland and UK – click HERE to order.

We'll post all orders received daily up til December 23rd! for Christmas delivery!

Published in News Update
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In a survey of competitors at the 2019 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta on Dublin Bay, 60% of respondents said the Irish boating portal 'Afloat.ie' was their 'go-to' website for Irish sailing & boating news.

Nearly 200 sailors were polled from the 500-boat international regatta fleet that attracts sailors from across Ireland and the UK.

In reply to the single question: 'What's your go-to resource for Irish sailing and boating news?', 117 or 60.31% responded 'Afloat'.

The popular UK magazine site 'Yachts and Yachting' accounted for 30 or 15.46%.

Club or association websites totalled 26 or 13.4%.

Last December, Afloat reported statistics showing unique visitors to the site were heading for 1.3 million per annum.

Afloat’s popular online format has a strong returning readership, with half of daily visits being repeat readers, and with strong social media engagement.

Based on-site analytics, 70% of Afloat web traffic is from Ireland, with a good geographic spread across the Irish Sea and into the west coast of Britain. It is a result that tallies with the weekend survey at Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

Read more on Afloat here.

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#Rowers of the Month: Paul O’Donovan and Gary O’Donovan are the Afloat rowers of the month for June. Both brothers showed outstanding form at Cork Regatta. Paul O’Donovan won the single sculls. In the heats, Gary had not been the next fastest, but come the final the elder O’Donovan brother was second only to Paul. The two raced in the double, where they were tested by Fintan and Jake McCarthy, but came through with the win.

 The O’Donovans were run close by David O’Malley and Shane Mulvaney. The UCD pair were outstanding at Cork Regatta. They won the pairs title, beating world lightweight champions Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan, and they slotted into the UCD four which also won. O’Malley and Mulvaney form the Ireland lightweight pair in a strong team for the World Under-23 Championships this month. The O’Donovans, who went on to reach the final at Henley Royal Regatta, head for the World Cup in Lucerne next weekend (July 13th to 15th). Good luck to all those competing in this busy month.

Rower of the Month awards: The judging panel is made up of Liam Gorman, rowing correspondent of The Irish Times and David O'Brien, Editor of Afloat magazine. Monthly awards for achievements during the year will appear on afloat.ie. Keep a monthly eye on progress and watch our 2018 champions list grow.

Published in Rower of Month

#Rower of the Month: The Afloat Rower of the Month for February is Paul O’Donovan. The Skibbereen quartet of Mark O’Donovan, Shane O’Driscoll, Paul O’Donovan and Gary O’Donovan warmed slowly to their task in competing in the New Zealand Rowing Championships. The arrival of coach Dominic Casey helped. When finals came around, they won a bronze medal as a four. But topping this achievement was that of Paul O’Donovan in the Premier Single Sculls. The lightweight world champion mixed it with two of the top heavyweights in the world: O’Donovan finished third, just a few boat lengths behind Robbie Manson, who in 2017 set the world’s fastest time, and ahead of Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale.

 The achievement makes Paul O’Donovan the Afloat Rower of the Month.

Rower of the Month awards: The judging panel is made up of Liam Gorman, rowing correspondent of The Irish Times and David O'Brien, Editor of Afloat magazine. Monthly awards for achievements during the year will appear on afloat.ie. Keep a monthly eye on progress and watch our 2018 champions list grow.

https://www.facebook.com/WorldRowing/videos/10160199271930651/

Published in Rower of Month

#Rowers of the Year: The Afloat Rowers of the Year for 2017 are Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan. The two formed the Ireland lightweight pair which won European and World Championship gold. They also won gold in each of the three World Cup regattas, in Belgrade, Poznan and Lucerne. Their glorious run was the pay-off for enormous amounts of work – and a drive which came from their determination to make their mark after coming up short the in 2016, when they finished fourth at the World Championships.

 The two have opted to move up to heavyweight with the aim of competing at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. Afloat wishes them every success.   

Afloat Rower of the Month awards: The judging panel is made up of Liam Gorman, rowing correspondent of The Irish Times, and David O'Brien, editor of Afloat magazine. Monthly awards for achievements during the year appeared on afloat.ie.

Published in Rower of the Year

#Rowing: The Ireland team which brought the country glory at the World Rowing Championships in Florida are the Afloat Rowers of the Month for September. In that month, Ireland took two gold medals through Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll in the lightweight pair and Paul O’Donovan in the lightweight single sculls.

 The pair crowned the perfect season with their victory. They won gold at the three World Cup regattas and the European Championships. The pressure was on in World Championship final, with both Brazil and Italy rowing well on the day. But O’Donovan and O’Driscoll were peerless. They set a very high stroke rate, took the lead – and saw off their challengers.

 Paul O’Donovan retained the title he had taken with such an extraordinary set of performances in Rotterdam in 2016, just weeks after he had taken a silver at the Olympic Games in a lightweight double with his brother Gary. This time, Gary had to drop out of the lightweight double, as illness had restricted his training (he supported the team as a reserve). Paul was back in the lightweight single in a boat which was new to him. He won all four races (heat, quarter-final, semi-final and final), seeing off a new set of challengers in the lightweight single, including Matthew Dunham of New Zealand, who took silver, and Kris Brun of Norway (bronze).

 The rest of the Ireland team also gave the suppporters plenty to shout about. Sanita Puspure went on to take fourth in the single sculls and Denise Walsh reached the A Final of the lightweight single sculls, where she finished sixth. Two new heavyweight pairs gained experience of the top level as the team targets Tokyo 2020. Aileen Crowley and Aifric Keogh finished eighth and there was a 16th place for Patrick Boomer and Fionnán McQuillan-Tolan.

 Well done to all the members of the Ireland team, the Afloat Rowers of the Month for September.  

Rower of the Month awards: The judging panel is made up of Liam Gorman, rowing correspondent of The Irish Times, and David O'Brien, editor of Afloat magazine. Monthly awards for achievements during the year will appear on afloat.ie. Keep a monthly eye on progress and watch our 2017 champions list grow.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: July 2017 was one of the most successful months for Irish rowing. There were multiple medals at international regattas: the World Cup in Lucerne, gold and bronze; the Under-23 World Championships, two bronze medals; Coupe de la Jeunesse, five gold medals; six wins at the Home International Regatta; a good showing by the Clonmel junior quadruple at Henley Royal Regatta.

 The Irish Rowing Championships regatta was the biggest ever. NUIG took nine titles. Enniskillen won the junior women’s and men’s eights (and fours) and the junior 16 women’s and men’s eights. Three Castles, with two wins, and UCC with a breakthrough win at novice level, had reasons to celebrate. Cork Boat Club and Bann could boast the champion junior single scullers as part of their three wins.

 Skibbereen’s top-rank rowers, usually ruled out by the international programme which sees them bring glory to their country, came to the show and helped the club to seven titles. Two Olympians, Sanita Puspure and Claire Lambe, took titles for Old Collegians and also helped UCD/Old Collegians to take the women’s senior eights crown. UCD had also won the women’s senior pair and the men’s intermediate eight.

 Year after year, the men’s senior eights final is the highlight of the Championships. This time out the Skibbereen eight could call on some of the best lightweight rowers in the world. The race was magnificient. In the closing stages, NUIG looked like they might revive the days of their domination; Skibbereen charged to the line. Commercial won. A crew of club rowers had put everything on the line and gained their reward.

 They are the Afloat Rowers of the Month.

Rower of the Month awards: The judging panel is made up of Liam Gorman, rowing correspondent of The Irish Times, and David O'Brien, editor of Afloat magazine. Monthly awards for achievements during the year will appear on afloat.ie. Keep a monthly eye on progress and watch our 2017 champions list grow.

Published in Rowing

Johnny Durcan tops fleet of 50 to cash in at Royal Cork’s PY1000, 1720s take Spring Chicken 1-2, girl power triumphs at Leinster Schools champs, and four Irish 49ers launch Olympic bid in 

Roy takes over the helm of Irish Sailing

Former Olympic race officer Jack Roy is voted in as new ISA President, ISORA will trial ECHO for a ‘better spread of prizes’, & Winkie Nixon calls on VDLR to seize chance for in-harbour drama.

Progress in Rescue 116 recovery op

Marine Institute’s Holland 1 ROV plays key role in recovery of Rescue 116 pilot Mark Duffy and black box, Norway plans world first ship tunnel, & Greenway to Waterford Copper Coast opens.

New Irish rowing chief vows shake-up

Rowing Ireland critic Eamonn Colclough lands top job at dramatic agm, Gary O’Donovan hits mark atIrish trials after heats scare from clubmate, and Irish crews are left high and dry in London.

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