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Bangor's favourite band, Snow Patrol, are well known for the lines in their hit 'Run' - Light up, Light up. And that's what, in this year of endless restrictions, Kevin Baird Manager of Bangor Marina on Belfast Lough, would like berth holders to do for a competition in December.

It would be especially cheerful in these Covid 19 times, to make an effort, get out your Christmas lights and decorate your boat.

There will be a prize for the best-illuminated craft and equally appealing, is the gift of Mulled Wine for each participant.

Details will be posted on the Marina Facebook page in the coming days and judging will be on the evening of 18th December. Also, keep an eye out for information about another highlight on 18th December.

The usual Mince Pies, Mulled wine, tea, coffee and soft drinks served to you onboard your boat between 2 pm and 5 pm.

In response to the announcement by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson of a ten-point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, Dr Iain Percy OBE, CEO, Artemis Technologies said:

“The Prime Minister’s blueprint for a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ is a welcome boost to industries such as maritime as we aim to build a more sustainable future, and aligns with our plans to develop cleaner ships and maritime transport systems.

“With our vision to lead the decarbonisation of maritime, we are very much part of that revolution and are committed to helping the country meet its net-zero carbon target.

The electric hydrofoiling propulsion system, the Artemis eFoiler to be built in BelfastThe electric hydrofoil propulsion system, the Artemis eFoiler, is to be built in Belfast

“Our transformative electric hydrofoil propulsion system, the Artemis eFoilerTM, currently being developed with our partners in the Belfast Maritime Consortium, will enable the disruption of the market and power the high-speed green vessels of the future.

“The fast ferries to be designed and built in Belfast, will be capable of carrying over 350 passengers and will be zero-emission and require up to 90 per cent less energy than traditional high-speed ferries.

“This will have a huge impact, not just in maritime public transport, but also in sectors such as offshore energy, where the technology can be utilised to decarbonise operations.

”Together with the required increased investment on infrastructure at ports and across our cities, the UK can lead the world in clean energy and greener transport and we are proud to play our part.”

Published in Ferry
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Artemis Technologies has won the prestigious Maritime 2050 accolade at this year’s Maritime UK Awards.

The award, sponsored by the Department of Transport, recognises the firm’s efforts to capitalise on the opportunities presented within the Government’s Maritime 2050 Strategy.

Founded in 2017, Artemis Technologies, led by double Olympic sailing gold medallist Dr Iain Percy OBE has a mission to lead the decarbonisation of the maritime sector through innovative and sustainable technologies and products.

It is the lead partner in the Belfast Lough Maritime Consortium which aims to design and build zero-emission high-speed ferries in the city by creating a unique electric hydrofoiling propulsion system that will revolutionise the industry.

British maritime awards

David Tyler, Commercial Director, who accepted the award commented: “We are extremely proud to have received the Maritime 2050 Award as we continue to work towards developing our transformative electric hydrofoiling propulsion system, the Artemis eFoilerTM that will power green vessels of the future.

“With a recent report from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) indicating that approximately 30% of ship emissions come from domestic voyages – twice as high as previously estimated, it is clear the type of vessels we will develop will play a major part in cutting the release of CO2.

“We are proud that our efforts have been recognised and we appreciate the support and confidence invested in us so far.

“Huge congratulations go out to all of this year’s category finalists and winners.”

The vessels to be developed in Belfast, capable of carrying up to 350 passengers, will require 90 per cent less energy than traditional ferries and produce zero emissions during operation.

It is estimated the project will prevent 77 million cubic metres of CO2 emissions by 2026, helping the UK reach a number of its net zero objectives and realise ambitions set out in the Maritime 2050 Strategy’s Clean Maritime Plan.

Alex Easton, MLA has called on the Department of Environment, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DEARA) Minister to create Marine Protections Areas in Belfast Lough.

Belfast Lough is a long, wide, and deep expanse of water, virtually free of strong tides lying between County Antrim and County Down. The inner part of the Lough comprises a series of mudflats and lagoons, and the outer Lough is restricted to mainly rocky shores with some small sandy bays. The outer boundary of the Lough is a line joining Orlock Point on the County Down side and Blackhead on the County Antrim coast, giving about 30 square miles (78 km2) of open water.

The Northern Ireland Federation of Sea Anglers brings together all the sea angling people of Northern Ireland whether fishing shore or boat. Members recently met at Bangor Marina with DEARA Minister Edwin Poots, South East MP Paul Girvan and MLAs Alex Easton and Gordon Dunne. The meeting gave NIFSA the chance to highlight the federation's concerns, amongst which was the reintroduction of the Thornback Rays into Belfast and Larne Loughs, the setting of artificial reefs and the creation of Marine Protection Areas within the Lough.

Minister Edwin Poots (left) meets anglers Harry McKee (Secretary of NIFSA) and Barry Platt (right)Minister Edwin Poots (left) meets anglers Harry McKee (Secretary of NIFSA) and Barry Platt (right) Photo: NIFSA

Mr Easton has said "It is quite clear that commercial fishing in Belfast Lough over many years has decimated many types of fish and wildlife within the Lough. Having spoken to anglers, they no longer catch many of the different species they once did due to overfishing by commercial fishing."

He continued, "A clear example of this is the Thornback Ray which was once abundant in the Lough and is now extinct due to commercial fishing. I would love to be able to see these Rays reintroduced to Belfast Lough, but to do this we would need a survey done of the Marine life, the creation of artificial reefs to support and grow fish numbers and the creation of Marine protection areas around Belfast Lough that cannot be fished by commercial fishing".

Alex Easton intends to write to the Agriculture and Environment Minister, Edwin Poots, about these matters. He continued. "I believe we have time to fix and protect Belfast Lough in a way that we can reintroduce wildlife such as the Thornback Ray, which can be bred at our own Exploris Aquarium Visitor Centre in Portaferry and reintroduced to Belfast Lough. We can ensure that the area is sustained for anglers to fish, which ensuring we grow and protect our Lough but is done sustainably."

Published in Fishing
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With club sailing and fund-raising events sadly curtailed due to Covid 19, the members of Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough have devised a safe way of helping the many families and individuals in the community who are struggling to survive and are facing a bleak Christmas. Commodore Irene Aston is asking for donations to support the work of the North Down Storehouse and the Salvation Army's Christmas Present Appeal.

Every year Members and their guests generously support charities nominated by the Commodore and others. During 2019 the sum raised was over £11,500 for charities including the Mary Peter's Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support, Parkinsons UK Northern Ireland, and in support of the RNLI Holywood Branch.

"Every year Members and their guests generously support charities nominated by the Commodore and others"

Examples of useful items can be obtained from the club office by email to [email protected] or by phone on 028 9142 8041, and you can still access the Club during office hours until the end of November to leave donations in the Commodore's Room.

Commodore Irene Aston is appealing for support from the members: " Sadly, this year we have been unable to run any of our usual fundraising events including our Regatta, but this doesn't mean that we can't do something to help our local community in these very hard times. When you're next at the supermarket or just shopping for Christmas, please put something extra in your bag to help someone less fortunate and drop it off at the Club next time your passing. I look forward to proudly delivering our donations to Storehouse and the Salvation Army in good time for Christmas. My sincere thanks to you all for your support and please remember to stay safe".

Published in Belfast Lough
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Ferry company Stena Line has announced that Stena Embla, the last of its three new ferries destined for the Irish Sea, has successfully completed its sea trials in China’s Yellow Sea.

Stena Embla is the latest new Stena Line next generation RoPax vessel that is being constructed at the CMI Jingling Weihai Shipyard in China, marking the end of significant recent investment on the Irish Sea by the Swedish owned ferry company. The global pandemic did not delay the build of the vessel, which is being delivered to the agreed schedule.

The sea trials are designed to test the vessel at sea in order to ensure that all systems are fully operational and in line with strict specifications outlined by Stena Line. The tests include areas as engine performance and fuel consumption, navigation and radio equipment, emergency systems, speed tests, manoeuvrability, engine and thruster tests as well as safety tests.

Stena Embla - destined for Belfast Lough but on sea trials this week in China's Yellow SeaStena Embla - destined for Belfast Lough after successfully completing sea trials this week on China's Yellow Sea

“It is great to see that the shipyard has not missed a beat during this year’s final stages of the build. Today the last of our three next generation ferries achieved a very important milestone bang on time” said Stena Line’s Paul Grant, Trade Director, Irish Sea.

“Sea trials are a critical phase in a new ship’s development; it is our first opportunity to test a new vessel out at sea and put her through her paces to ensure that she is up to our high standards.

“We systematically go through all aspects of the new ship and I am pleased to say that Stena Embla has successfully completed every trial. We now look forward to the full handover of the vessel by the shipyard and starting her journey to the Irish Sea” he added.

Stena Line CEO Niclas Mårtensson said that the introduction of Stena Embla and her sister ships, Stena Estrid and Stena Edda, reflected the company’s commitment to the Irish Sea, as Afloat previously reported here.

“The Irish Sea is very important to Stena Line’s global business and represents a significant part of our overall revenue,” said Mr Mårtensson.

“We strongly believe that our ferry business on the Irish Sea will continue to grow. It remains a key region for the company, as evidenced by our continued investment and the addition of three new vessels. This is underscoring Stena Line’s commitment to our Irish Sea operations and our determination to deliver the best possible freight and travel experience to our customers. 

“It has been a very challenging year for our business. But I am proud that as Europe’s largest ferry company, Stena Line continues to shape the industry for life after the global pandemic and to put us into a position to support our customers after Brexit” he concluded.

Part of a multi-million-pound investment in the region, the new Stena Line ferries are amongst the most advanced vessels in operation. They are 25% more fuel-efficient than existing vessels and with 215 metres in length they are much larger than today’s standard RoPax vessels, providing 30% more freight capacity with 3,100 lane meters. They also have the space to carry 120 cars and 1,000 passengers and crew.  The roll-on roll-off design and the ability to load two vehicle decks simultaneously has reduced loading and unloading times, resulting in quicker turnaround times in ports.

The big, bright and airy design of the E-Flexer vessels has provided a safe travel environment during the COVID-19 crisis. With ample space to social distance, access to fresh air and the open plan design has meant large areas of the vessel can be sanitised easily. Giving customers the reassurance that travelling by ferry is the safest form of public travel during the pandemic.

Next up for Stena Embla is an official handover ceremony at the shipyard before she sets sail on the long journey from China to Belfast. Arriving home around Christmas in time start operating on the Belfast to Birkenhead route in early 2021 alongside sister ship Stena Edda, launched in March.

The new vessel replaces the Stena Mersey, which has successfully operated on the Belfast to Birkenhead route for 10 years. The Mersey will then head off to join sister ship the Stena Lagan in Turkey where both ships are being extended, before re-deployment on the Baltic Sea.

During the summer Stena Line also confirmed that the construction of two new larger E-Flexer ferries has begun in Weihai, China. Their keels were recently laid in the same shipyard in Weihai and the delivery is expected in 2022.

Published in Belfast Lough
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Less than 24 hours after posting that the Icebreaker event run by Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough, could take place on the scheduled date (tomorrow Sunday 18th), the club has had to cancel racing. Rear Commodore Rob Milligan informed members of the club's decision. "Unfortunately, as a result of the regulations published late last night, we have no alternative but to cancel racing tomorrow, Sunday 18th. RYA NI are meeting with the Minister for Communities and SportNI next week to discuss this turnaround in restrictions and we will keep members updated. In the meantime, the boat parks and slipways remain open and we would ask that when using the club, you continue to adhere to the guidelines".

The NI Assembly has published the Regulations that apply with IMMEDIATE effect over the 'Active Period' from 16th October. Key areas of note relating to boating activity are set out on Facebook by RYANI. They say that the implications for boating are that activity where gathering numbers can exceed 15 people – this applies both to training and racing/ competition, can no longer be allowed. A risk assessment in place no longer allows this number to be exceeded.

The Icebreaker usually attracts at least 50 participants.

The post continues " Our current understanding through communications received from the Minister of Communities means that our Participant Guidance for Sailing and Racing in Mixed Households is not currently applicable. Any such activity must ensure participants keep a distance of 2 metres as well as ensuring public health sanitising guidelines are adhered to." It continues " We are due to meet the Minister for Communities on Monday, with a subsequent meeting with Sport Northern Ireland next Thursday. We hope these will provide more clarity of restrictions over the 'active period' and we will share these as soon as possible with the boating community going forward. This has been shared with relevant clubs and centres".

Thank you, September. You did your best to provide us with good sailing as ingenious moves were implemented to run modified pandemic-compliant events which gave proper meaning to the season, and to our sailing traditions. It was neither your fault - nor ours - that in some places a situation beyond everyone's control caused a severe foreshortening of programmes carefully tailored to deal with circumstances which then seemed to change on a daily or even hourly basis.

For sure, some fortunate sailing centres managed to have limited sailing all month, scraping weekly sport out of the last of the daylight as the evenings rapidly closed in, and working the weekends with skill. But in other locations, the guillotine slammed down at mid-month, and people found that whatever good sailing they might have experienced now had to become recalibrated in the memory bank as highlights of their very truncated sailing year.

ROYAL CORK MAKES THE BEST OF IT

No club more thoroughly deserved a final full month of good fortune in September than the Royal Cork in Crosshaven, as they emerged battered but unbowed from what should have been their globally-focused Tricentenary. Most appropriately it was that renowned backbone-of-the-club, the National 18s, which saw September out with a flourish on its very last day, racing up and down the Owenabue River off the clubhouse on Wednesday evening as the twilight settled gently until this all-important month of September had only a matter of hours to run.

Twilight for the Gods…..the National 18s at Royal Cork managed their last evening race – an in-river event off the clubhouse – on Wednesday September 30th. The winner was Nick Walsh's Fifty Shades. Photo: Robert BatemanTwilight for the Gods…..the National 18s at Royal Cork managed their last evening race – an in-river event off the clubhouse – on Wednesday, September 30th. The winner was Nick Walsh's Fifty Shades. Photo: Robert Bateman

With some more good luck, the club will be able to continue its Autumn League this weekend, but meanwhile like other sailing centres, Crosshaven and Cork Harbour found that September presented unusually meaningful opportunities to stage events which celebrated the places of sailing and its people, and in Cork Harbour, the come-all-ye event which best does this is Cove SC's annual Cobh to Blackrock Race.

Even though the Royal Cork had experienced its 2020 highlight in being the finish point for the successful pop-up Fastnet 450 Race in August, the Cobh-Blackrock Race is an ancient piece of the harbour's fabric, and September obligingly provided the conditions for a fast race and a real sense of occasion with life going on regardless.

The Golden Oldie comes to town. The restored 1898 Cork Harbour One Design Jap, raced by Royal Cork Admiral Colin Morehead, reaches the finish of the Cobh-Blackrock Race. The CHODs are renowned for their pleasant steering characteristics - even on this gusty day, Jap's tiller is still in a very manageable fore-and-after position.  Photo: Robert BatemanThe Golden Oldie comes to town. The restored 1898 Cork Harbour One Design Jap, raced by Royal Cork Admiral Colin Morehead, reaches the finish of the Cobh-Blackrock Race. The CHODs are renowned for their pleasant steering characteristics - even on this gusty day, Jap's tiller is still in a very manageable fore-and-after position. Photo: Robert Bateman

DUN LAOGHAIRE'S COMPACTED SEASON DEALT SUCCESSFULLY WITH REALITY

In Dun Laoghaire, Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club's annual Kish Race is something that should in time be seen as a celebration of Dublin Bay, and in September 2020 is was shaping up that way as other events got the chop because of their inevitably high sociability quotient. Entries were flying up as racing round the Kish became more desirable than ever, but with a couple of days to go, the latest set of regulations wiped the race off the blackboard. That said, now that we know how much it can mean to the Dun Laoghaire sailing community, it's surely an all-comers cruiser-racer event which deserves more oomph in the future.

Meanwhile, as we write this there's still hope that some more racing will be squeezed out of Dun Laoghaire before the year is out. But for now, the image which best expresses the year and September in particular in its own special style is our header photo, which came our way on Thursday, September 17th from Cathy MacAleavey, and showed the finish of the previous evening's Water Wag Race, when 24 boats sailed in what might just turn out to be the last regular official race in Dun Laoghaire in 2020.

Thus what is already a richly atmospheric photo acquires extra meaning as Tim Pearson and his son Marcus in their 1995-built Little Tern cross first, narrowly ahead of Ian & Judith Malcolm in the 1915-built Barbara, while Martin and Triona Byrne in the 2019-built Hilda come in toward a third-place on port tack. There's a whole universe in that photo and it's one of the gifts which September's sailing has given us.

The Goodbody family's J/109 White Mischief was one of the most successful contenders in Dublin Bay SC's compacted but very busy season. Photo Afloat.ieThe Goodbody family's J/109 White Mischief was one of the most successful contenders in Dublin Bay SC's compacted but very busy season. Photo Afloat.ie

But another gift in Dun Laoghaire Harbour was the way Dublin Bay SC managed to keep things going from mid-July to mid-September, with evening and weekend racing for cruisers, keelboat and dinghies pushing comfortably over the hundred boat mark in a successfully-controlled operation which was a model of compliance.

HOWTH FINDS HEART IN LAMBAY

Round the corner in Howth meanwhile, although their time-honoured annual race round Lambay was to disappear in the cancellation of the Wave Regatta in which it now plays a central role, when the carefully-monitored Aqua Double-Hander was staged in July with 38 boats, it was raced round Lambay on a day of sublime sunshine which eventually may result in the summer weather of 2020 being remembered as even better than it actually was.

Howth 17's Leila and Anita in the race round LambayThis was September 2020 – the Howth 17's Leila and Anita in the race round Lambay. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Yet it was back to classic Atlantic westerlies in on some days in September when the heroically curmudgeonly veterans of the 122-year-old Howth Seventeen Class decided they'd race round Lambay on September 5th, with the winning 1907-built Deilginis seeing off the 16 miles course in a record time. This was in a race which was started in sunshine captured by rising photographic star Annraoi Blaney in a striking shot which will now be one of the style-setting photos of this brief but sweet sailing season.

They'd a longer burst of September sunshine in Howth at mid-month when the Autumn League got underway, each weekend's racing spread over both days but only one day of racing for each class, which helped social distancing as they'd 79 boats entered in all for what turned out, alas, to be just one weekend before the chop.

Simon Knowles' J/109 Indian in hot pursuit of the Classic Half Tonners Mata, King One and Big Picture in the first (and so far only) weekend of the Howth Autumn League"Just the best day's sailing ever". Simon Knowles' J/109 Indian in hot pursuit of the Classic Half Tonners Mata, King One and Big Picture in the first (and so far only) weekend of the Howth Autumn League. Photo: Judith Malcolm

If the Dublin Shutdown really does become just a three-week imposition, then it will be everything up and running again after midnight on Friday, October 9th. But we don't see anyone betting on that, and for now, the Howth recollections of September sailing are best summed up by J/24 National Champion Sam O'Byrne, who was racing in Howth with father-and-son superstars Darren and Rocco Wright on the winning Classic Half Tonner Mata in that one opening race, with Sam subsequently commenting: "It was the best and pleasantest day of sailing I've ever had, full stop".

BELFAST LOUGH CELEBRATES DIVERSITY WITH LUFRA CUP

Up on Belfast Lough the celebration of the local sailing waters used to happen on the 12th July, when folk ashore had marching business on their mind, but those afloat at Ballyholme traditionally had a day-long race right round the lough. This was easily done thanks to conveniently placed navigation markers at every corner, such that you'd to face a course which could seem very long indeed if you were racing it in one of the 18ft Waverley Keelboats, or the 22-footers of the Bay Class.

However, that's a classic of the olden days which no longer seems to be sailed, but another Ballyholme tradition which is still going strong to celebrate the local sailing water is the Lufra Cup, which Betty Armstrong of this parish was reporting a couple of weeks ago. Nobody knows when this pursuit race – they called it the Menagerie Race until Howard Finlay presented the Lufra Cup after his 12-ton Watson cutter of that name had won in 1943 to find there as no proper cup – and ever since the Lufra Cup has been Ballyholme YC's September Classic, a race officer's nightmare and a handicapping anorak's dream, with boats streaming across the starting line in an endless procession of different starting times, and the finish seeing half a dozen boats of very different types trying to get across that line first, with a 15-ton gaff cutter winning one year, and an International Cadet winning it the next with the 15-tonner's bowsprit right over her very junior helm as he crossed the line.

the Lufra Cup at Ballyholme, the 1893 Dun Laoghaire-built Marie was designed by Maimie Doyle, who later designed the transom-sterned Water WagsOnce a winner of the Lufra Cup at Ballyholme, the 1893 Dun Laoghaire-built Marie was designed by Maimie Doyle, who later designed the transom-sterned Water Wags. Photo: W M Nixon

This September it was won by Gareth Martel in his Beneteau First 40.7 Pippa, and he found himself the custodian for a year of a trophy which is a significant historical record in itself, for the inscribed list of winners going back 77 years is a history of the development of sailing of the last three-quarters of a century.

Every conceivable boat type seems to have figured at some stage, including Lasers sailed by Chris Boyd and Wic McCready, and the venerable 26ft gaff cutter Marie, designed by Maimie Doyle in Dun Laoghaire in 1893, built by her father J E Doyle, and now owned by Roy Ashton of Groomsport after a lifetime of epic sailing history which included being the first boat to be awarded the Irish Cruising Club's Faulkner Cup back in 1931.

LOUGH REE, CONNEMARA & GLANDORE

Thanks to September's sailing, we were reminded of such things, but equally, September 2020 brought together past and present and future in dynamic ways, a good example being the Jonny Swan-organised Homecoming Regatta at the 250-year-old Lough Ree Yacht Club which saw cruisers, dinghies, Shannon One Designs and SB20s finding brisk breezes and sunshine.

SB20 racing on Lough Ree with September 2020 Junior Sailor of the Month Ben Graf on the helmSB20 racing on Lough Ree with September 2020 Junior Sailor of the Month Ben Graf on the helm. Photo: Alex Hobbs

Then too, September reminded us that a thriving Flying Fifteen Class continues to develop in the heart of Connemara at Casla, with 27 boats appearing for an on-going league from all the hidden places in that totally inter-twined Land of the Sea, and Ronan O'Briain winning the two last races of September at the weekend.

A new tradition in the heartland of traditional boats? September racing for the growing fleet of Flying Fifteens at Casla in ConnemaraA new tradition in the heartland of traditional boats? September racing for the growing fleet of Flying Fifteens at Casla in Connemara

The Flying Fifteen is not a boat type you would automatically associate with the very traditional waters of Connemara. Yet equally not everybody would think that the International Dragon is a useful youth trainer. But Don Street of Glandore on the south coast is firmly of the opinion that they are, and as Don celebrated his 90th birthday with some style among his beloved Dragons in Glandore at the end of July, his opinions deserve respect, and his programme of youth training with Dragons continued into September with some helms as young as thirteen.

You may see the Dragons racing at Glandore, but veteran skipper Don Street also sees a useful sail training flotillaYou may see the Dragons racing at Glandore, but veteran skipper Don Street also sees a useful sail training flotilla….. Photo: Kathleen Hayes

However, as they lie to moorings off that most picturesque village, the Glandore Dragons have a set season, and last weekend they raced on Saturday morning, and then lifted in the afternoon to bring their season to a close. Meanwhile, for places with marinas, there are all sorts of possibilities of being able to fit in some sailing provided regulations don't become totally strict across the board.

But for now, let's just be very grateful that September has done the business to be such a very valuable part of this difficult 2020 season.

Published in Dublin Bay

It's 76 years since the Lufra Cup was first presented to the winner of Ballyholme's Menagerie Race, a pursuit event run traditionally to mark Closing Day when there was no such thing as Winter, let alone Autumn racing in Belfast Lough. And that winner was Howard Finlay in his cutter, Lufra, who had himself given the cup to the club in 1944 as the Menagerie Race was trophyless.

Howard Finlay (second left) and crew on board Lufra 1938 Photo: courtesy Paul FinlayHoward Finlay (second left) and crew on board Lufra 1938 Photo: courtesy Paul Finlay

This year it was won by Gareth Martel in his Beneteau 40.7 Pippa, in a mixed fleet of 50 keelboats and dinghies. The strong southerly gusting 25 knots didn't bode well for the dinghies but provided exciting sailing, giving at least one, Robin Gray in his Aero, 13. 5 miles with an average speed of 5 knots on his tracker!

The Lufra Cup todayThe Lufra Cup today

The name of the cup derived from the 40ft 12-tonner gaff-rigged cutter Lufra designed by GL Watson in 1894 and built by P R Maclean of Rosneath for T K Laidlaw of Glasgow. Lufra was brought to Northern Ireland in 1937 by Howard Finlay whose descendants are still associated with Ballyholme. He won the 1943 Menagerie Race.

Lufra in her youth, tearing along on the Clyde in the 1890s Photo: courtesy Iain McAllisterLufra in her youth, tearing along on the Clyde in the 1890s Photo: courtesy Iain McAllister

Afloat's WM Nixon relates here " but as there was no decent prize available, Howard put up the Lufra Cup for the 1944 race which he won. But some Bay Class types weren't quite so chuffed and suggested that as Howard Finlay had presented the new cup, the right thing to do would be to hand it on to the boat which finished second. He told them very precisely what they could do with that notion".

During the 50s Lufra became expensive to run and unsellable, and as the keel was worth more than the boat itself, this was sold and the boat left to rot and sink in the Quarry Hole harbour in Donaghadee, from where it was sadly dumped when the new marina was built there in the 60s.

Gareth Martel's First 40.7 Pippa Photo: courtesy Yachting ImagesGareth Martel's First 40.7 Pippa Photo: courtesy Yachting Images

Gareth Martel's Pippa couldn't be more different from Lufra and he joins the long list of winners which includes boats as diverse as a Hurricane, a 505, a Laser and last year's winner, an RS Elite. But one winning boat which was similar to Lufra, in age anyway, was the two berth 5 tonne 25 ft gaff cutter, Marie, built-in 1893 in Howth, reputedly designed by a Miss EW Doyle of the builder's family.

Marie won the Lufra Cup in 1961 with Martin Imrie and his son, also Martin, on board. Unlike Lufra and despite being washed ashore in an early 1960s gale, she was saved and restored but is laid up today.

Marie (built 1893) pictured circa 1960Marie (built 1893) pictured circa 1960

  • Built: 1893, Howth, of yellow pine on oak. Designed by a Miss EW Doyle of Howth, I think, of the builder's family.
  • Rig: Gaff Cutter. Tonnage: 5 T.M. Length overall: 25 feet 7 inches.
  • Beam: 7 feet 1 inch. Length on waterline: 24 feet. Draft: 4 feet 6 inches.
  • Sail area: 360/420 square feet. Engine: none. Berths: two.

She was wrecked sometime between 1962 and 1965, I think, when she broke her moorings (or was she just anchored?) in the usual early Autumn NE gale, around the time of that year's Menagerie race. We salvaged her from the beach on the next tide and got her into the shipyard. She was then sold to Mike McKee, who had her refastened and she is still sailing somewhere.

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Bangor on Belfast Lough is hoping to secure through Ards and North Down Borough Council, around £40m from the Belfast City Regional Deal to fund the Bangor Waterfront Development and will submit the Outline Business Case to the Belfast Region City Deal in October. The outcome of the bid will be confirmed by the end of 2020 and if successful, the Council will contribute a further £20M approximately and the private sector about £4M to the project.

The Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD) offers a bespoke package of funding from Westminster to help achieve inclusive economic growth across the Belfast region, and the business case will detail concept proposals for five key regeneration projects.

This plan aims to redevelop a two-mile stretch of the seafront to re-establish Bangor as a thriving town and prime visitor attraction in Northern Ireland by connecting the waterfront to the rest of the town and, in so doing, provide a unique range of opportunities for residents and visitors to have their lives and businesses enriched by a mix of public spaces, creative events, activities, attractions and experiences that speak of local stories to a global audience.

This plan aims to redevelop a two-mile stretch of the seafront to re-establish Bangor as a thriving town and prime visitor attraction in Northern IrelandThis plan aims to redevelop a two-mile stretch of the seafront to re-establish Bangor as a thriving town and prime visitor attraction in Northern Ireland

The projects encompass sections of the coastline. Skippingstone Beach, popular with sea swimmers, at the west end of the area and overlooking the entrance to the Harbour, will benefit from multi-use pods for beach activities, accessibility features, feature lighting/benches; Pickie Family Fun Park will be enhanced with new all-weather attractions for both children and young adults, and an extension to the Pickie Puffer train ride, which will take visitors from Pickie to the Queen's Parade area closer to the town centre. For Bangor Marina, the 530 berth Five Anchor facility right in the town centre, the proposals recommend redeveloping Bregenz House which houses the Coastguard Station and Marina office and facilities with, on the upper floors, bars, restaurants, an artisan corner and roof garden and a public deck offering views across the marina. Better public access around this building was a clear ask when the public surveys and stakeholder workshops on the development on Bangor Waterfront were undertaken.

 In a comment about this particular part of the proposals, a spokesperson for the Council said "We have recognised this in the Outline Business Case (OBC) proposals but would stress that there are a number of steps to work through and matters to be considered before we can confirm whether Bregenz House will be redeveloped or not - most significant being approval of the OBC and provision of funding support from the Belfast Region City Deal. It is our hope that any redeveloped facility will include a range of users - new and existing, including the Coastguard. Initial discussions with the Coastguard indicate that they are keen to be part of the Bangor Waterfront Development plans and we will be engaging with them further as we move this exciting project forward".

Proposed changes to the Bangor coastlineThe Bangor town coastline

The regenerated Bangor Court House opposite the Harbour is earmarked for the Music Hub, a permanent home for the Open House Festival and a much-needed multi-purpose venue serving the town.

Moving east Kingsland, which began life as an amusement park in the early 20th century, is another green area between Bangor town and the suburb of Ballyholme currently with tennis courts, pitch and put and a dog park – here it is aimed to have café kiosks, a skate park and accommodation;

Nearby is Ballyholme Yacht Club which has been identified as the preferred location in Northern Ireland for major sailing and water sports events by the Royal Yachting Association. The redevelopment of BYC would provide Bangor with a world-class facility for water sports and the ability to host international events.

Welcoming the plans, Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings said: "Bangor has great potential. We need to build on its strengths, particularly its leisure and cultural assets, high-quality environment, and accessibility, to deliver sustainable regeneration. I would stress that these are proposals, rather than confirmed final plans".

Wayne Hemingway of Hemingway Design is part of the design team working on the Waterfront Development. He is co-founder of the fashion house Red or Dead and on the Design Council Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE) Committee. He commented " I was struck immediately on coming to Bangor by the beauty of the coastline and the potential in the town.
In designing the Waterfront Development, our research indicated that a series of attractions would offer more sustainable and inclusive benefits for Bangor than a single iconic attraction - particularly for those who live and work in the town".

Kevin Baird, Harbour and Marina Manager are enthusiastic." We are delighted with these concept proposals; they will ensure that the Bangor Waterfront will become a prime attraction for residents and visitors to Northern Ireland. Our vision of allowing safe access to the water for everyone is becoming a reality".

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