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There was great excitement at Foynes Yacht Club on the Shannon Estuary for the return of their SRL Frostbite Open Dinghy Series, after a two-year hiatus writes FYC Dinghy Class Captain, Mary McCormack

Six races were held over four weekends. Conditions were somewhat perfect throughout apart from the second weekend where racing was abandoned due to a lack of wind.

Dylan Reidy led the Series through with picture-perfect results. Dylan was challenged by another local laser sailor Christopher McDaid and Killaloe’s RS400 with Govan Berridge and David Coleman on board, and his younger brother Killian and Conor Daly on their Topaz Omega. Other boats battled further down the fleet.

Class 2 was led by Kate O’Regan followed closely by Ivan Joyce in his Skipper 14, which unfortunately was demasted during week 3, as well as her younger brother Brendan and another local sailor Abbie Fitzgerald.

The month brought fantastic racing as well as fantastic fun and club spirit which was sorely missed over the two-year break due to covid.

The Series could not have taken place without Sponsors SRL Refrigeration Ltd, OODs Donal McCormack and Raymond McGibney, the club members, volunteers, both on the water and onshore, as well as the competitors, especially travelling boats.

Results

Class 1
Dylan Reidy - FYC - Laser
Govan Berridge & David Coleman - KSC - RS400
Killian Reidy & Conor Daly - FYC - Topaz Omega

Class 2
Kate O’Regan - FYC - Topaz
Ivan Joyce - FYC - Skipper 14
Brendan O’Regan - FYC - Oppie

Published in Shannon Estuary

A luxury cruiseship nickmamed the 'Elegant Explorer' celebrated its final call to Foynes, Co. Limerick by anchoring off the port on the Shannon Estuary.

The call of Prinsendam operated by Holland America Line was according to SFPC a welcome tourism boost for the mid-west region as cruise passengers arrived by tender to visit Foynes (via Foynes Yacht Club). The unique event to anchor off Foynes Island took place on June 13th. 

Prinsendam was making a nostalgic call after a career spanning 17 years sailing around the world under HAL colours. Afloat adds the ship was sold to German cruise company Phoenix Reisen and the acquistion actually took place last year. This saw the 37,938grt chartered back to HAL until expiring next week (Monday, July 1st).

The 204m ship with a capacity for 800 passengers took anchorage at 6.30am off Foynes Island and remained for 12 hours during. Hundreds of tourists were tendered ashore to visit the west Limerick town and attractions beyond among them west Clare and to Dingle in neighbouring Kerry.

Approximately 100 passengers stayed local, making their way to Foynes village where they enjoyed the must-loved, award winning Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum.

Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) CEO, Pat Keating said they were delighted to facilitate the cruise ship in the busy port. “We’ve had cruise ships dock in Foynes before but this is the first time a cruise vessel anchored specifically off Foynes Island. Passengers ferried by tender to the pontoon at Foynes Yacht Club where they boarded coaches for various destinations or simply enjoyed Foynes itself on foot. “It delivered a really nice tourism boost for the area, with the passengers visiting Limerick, Clare and Kerry. It was great to see the Flying Boat & Maritime Museum getting an extra boost. It’s a fantastic tourism attraction and deserves as much recognition as it can get and all those who visited it will pass on the good word about it.”

Mr Keating added that while cargo is the core activity, the port authority was delighted to welcome this business. “It was a busy morning and the cruise ship brought a great buzz to the area. From an operational perspective, all passengers were transferred safely and comfortably to and from the vessel. “By anchoring at Foynes Island, cruise liners can easily be accommodated at Foynes as it gives us more capacity in addition to the actual docks itself. Hopefully we will get to welcome many more cruise vessels to Foynes.”

Despite the relatively small size of Prinsendam and low height the cruiseship has during a career dating to 1988 (Afloat will have more) been able to navigate interesting routes where most other such ships cannot. The most recent voyages have included the Amazon, the Caribbean, South America, Antartica and now finally Europe where the ship with a crew of 340 will spend this week with the HAL fleet.

The last voyages include the Mediterranean, Iberian Peninsula, British Isles, Ireland before making her final farewell on a 14-day expedition to the Norwegian North Cape.

Another cruiseship is scheduled to dock on the Shannon Estuary next week on Friday, July 5th.

Published in Cruise Liners

Foynes Yacht Club boat Innocence, helmed by Darragh McCormack and crew Nigel and Jack Young, claimed their fourth Munster Mermaids title in a row at the regional championships held at their home club on the Shannon Estuary his past June Bank Holiday weekend, writes Patricia McCormack.

The weekend got off to a bit of a slow start with racing postponed ashore for an hour in the hope that more breeze would fill in. Thankfully a breeze of 12-15 knots arrived, making for perfect racing conditions for the Mermaids.

Nine boats took to the start line for the first warning signal as 12.25pm. The first upwind proved to be very competitive with 121 Red Seal, helmed by Darragh Dineen and crew Conor and Louise Magner, and 188 Innocence rounding the windward mark first and second respectively.

There was a bit of a change-up in races on the first downwind with Innocence taking the lead and holding it comfortably for the rest of the race.

Meanwhile, there was a serious battle going on for second, third and fourth place between 100 Zest, helmed by Anna Lowes and crew Bev Lowes and Conor Clifford; 135 Cara II, helmed by Frankie Browne Snr and crew Frankie Browne Jnr and Brendan Dunne; and 119 Three Chevrons, helmed by Vincent McCormack and crew Michael Lynch and Roisin McCormack. The first race was definitely an exciting start to the championship.

ActionPhotoWinnersInnocence

The second race saw 10 boats on the start line with 54 Hycilla, helmed by Mark McCormack and crew Cathal McMahon and Luke McCormack, making its way to the start line for its debut after nine years out of the water.

The rest of the day didn’t fall short with excitement. The close racing was a magnificent sight for spectators and fantastic fun for everyone taking part.

With the forecast for Sunday not looking great the OOD Raymond McGibney made the executive decision to hold all four races scheduled for the weekend on Saturday. This came with no bother with swift mark layers and a good crew around the OOD.

The last race was certainly an interesting one for Three Chevrons and 134 Jill, helmed by Paul Smith and crew Anne Smith and Pat Mangan, battling for third overall. 161 Pearl helmed, by Noel McCormack and crew Tadhg O’Loinsigh and Mary McCormack, managed a second in Race 4.

Meanwhile, 165 Seafox, helmed by Oisin Finucane and crew Christopher McDaid and Sean Finucane, and 191 Maybee, helmed by Paddy Archer and crew Packer Thorne and Breda Magner, continued to battle with one another.

Overall it was a clean sweep for Innocence with four bullets on the day, and their fourth Munster title in as many years. Second place went to Cara II followed closely behind by Three Chevrons. Once again a fantastic weekend of racing for the Mermaid fleet.

Published in Mermaid

#marinescience - One of Ireland’s maritime commercial hubs, Foynes, in Co Limerick was where innovation was in rich supply as schools presented ground-breaking concepts for sustainable energy sources of the future.

The schools congregated at the biennial Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) ‘Compass’ Transition Year Competition that was held last Friday.

Laurel Hill Secondary School was the overall winner which walked away with the honours thanks to their ‘Working Waves’ presentation. This is based on generating energy from ships on the move through a pressure pad system that feeds into an electricity generator and battery in the hull.

But, as judges highlighted, the competition was the most tightly marked, the most competitive and delivered the highest standards in its six-year history.

The Limerick city school, who were presented with their award by Minister of State at the Department of Finance Patrick O’Donovan, was one of five finalists who presented in front of 300 people at the Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum.

They walked away with the top prize of the perpetual trophy, a €2,000 cheque for their school and iPads & COMPASS gold medals for each of the team members. All runners up received a COMPASS silver medal and a sailing day on the Shannon Estuary sponsored by the Foynes Yacht Club Sailing Academy.

Published in Marine Science

The J24 Western Championship weekend was characterised by great racing, sailing conditions and fantastic hospitality in Foynes Yacht Club.
The Championship - which saw boats from all around the island of Ireland take part - culminated in a great two final races in southerly breeze of 25 knots with gusts up to 30 knots.
Principal Race Officer Raymond McGibney chose Race Area Two and set a course east of Foynes Island.

The penultimate race got underway on schedule with JP McCaldin on Jamais Encore from Lough Erne / Sligo YC and Flor O’Driscoll, Hard on Port, from Royal Saint George Yacht Club duelling for the championship title. After a difficult first beat, only about 25% of the fleet flew spinnakers on the first downwind leg resulting in a big change in the leaders on that leg. In the testing conditions, Hard on Port fell outside the top three giving the title to the Lough Erne boat with one race to spare.

The last race of the day got underway with a clear start with the boats taking the right hand side of the course gaining at the top. Three rounds of the course were completed with the HYC K25 Team leading from the start to the finish followed in second place by Flor O’Driscoll, and Finbarr Ryan on Jelignite in third. Battles continued throughout the rest of the fleet with Jumpin Jive from Greystones YC representing the east coast on the podium in third place. After finishing the fleet sailed to the safe haven of FYC where all were quickly lifted from the water by BCS Crane Hire LTD.

Gold Fleet 1st Place Jamais EncoreFirst place for the Jamais Encore crew from Lough Erne Yacht Club

J/24 Class Association of Ireland President, Flor O’Driscoll, commented with delight about the rejuvenation in the J/24 fleet. This event had two newcomers to their regional events, the new HYC K25 Team on Scandal sailing a superb event and finishing first in the Silver Fleet, three points ahead of another newcomer Fergus Kelliher on Jibe from Tralee Bay Sailing Club. Third place went to Dave Lane & Sinéad Enright on YaGottaWanna from the Royal Cork Yacht Club.

The local contingent was led by Gala Racing from Foynes YC, coming in fifth in Gold & seventh place overall.

The prizegiving took place in the club with all competitors in attendance. Sponsors Yachtsman Euromarine, UK McWilliam Sailmakers, North Sails, Quantum Sails, BCS Crane Hire LTD and Cliffords Cash and Carry were thanked. A special thanks went to the members of FYC for all their help over the weekend.

Yachtsman Euromarine J24 Western Championships Overall -

Gold Fleet
1st IRL5278 Jamais Encore JP. McCaldin Lough Erne / Sligo Yacht Club
2nd IRL4794 Hard on Port F. O'Driscoll Royal St. George Yacht Club
3rd IRL3060 Jumpin Jive M. Usher Greystones Sailing Club

Sliver Fleet
1st IRL4212 Scandal HYC K25 Team Howth Yacht Club
2nd IRL4252 Jibe F. Kelliher Tralee Bay Sailing Club
3rd IRL5098 Ya Gotta Wanna D. Lane / S. Enright Royal Cork Yacht Club

Published in J24

Day one of the Yachtsman Euromarine J24 West Coast Championships at Foynes Yacht Club dawned to overcast skies with a westerly force 8-10 knots of breeze writes Elaine O'Mahoney. Last minute tweaking on the pontoon was followed by a procession of J/24’s out of the main channel. Race area one, west of the club house was chosen, which paid dividend for anyone travelling the coast road during the races as they were sailing close to the shore at Mount Trenchard which made for a spectacular sight between Foynes and Glin.

“The first Championships of the 2017 for the Irish J/24 fleet showed a high level of skill from the teams, matched by a very competitive spirit. The racing was physical but fun with new J/24 crew (press ganged at the last minute) getting a baptism of fire. The close racing, typical of the class, gave the newcomers an experience they will remember for some time. The fourteen year old on our boat didn’t know racing could be so scary and fun at the same time. I think we have a new convert! The future of the J/24 is looking good!”

Finbarr Ryan of LRYC/HYC
“Race one, after battling with the pin end, the fleet headed left up the beat, hugging the shore, which led to several port-starboard incidents across the fleet. Both windward marks were incident-rich, with many suffering from tide and port raiders.
Race two Hard on Port nailed the pin end, hugged the shore, and led from start to finish, oblivious to the battles going on astern. A similar format at the front followed for race three.
In race four, with an ebbing tide, eager beavers led to a general recall. Hard on Port was taken out at the start, leaving Jelignite, Scandal and Jamais Encore in a battle up the first beat. With the breeze shifting right and the tide having turned, the right side of the course was favoured, catching much of the fleet off guard after the swelling flood tide. More pressure and an early gybe allowed Jamais to move from third to first & dominated the rest of the race to take the bullet.
All the fleet were met with a pontoon beer reception which was a perfect finish to a great day’s sailing.” 

Jeff Harrison of LEYC
The night finished off with over one hundred sailors sitting down for the championship dinner followed by a live band.
The day’s racing concluded with Jamais Encore, JP McCaldin from LEYC leading from Hard on Port, Flor O’Driscoll RStGYC in the Gold Fleet and in third place Mark Usher on Jumpin Jive from Greystones Sailing Club.
The Silver Fleet is all tied with HYC U25 Keelboat Team joint first with Fergus Kelliher on Jibe from Tralee Bay Sailing Club, with YaGottaWanna, Sinéad Enright and Dave Lane from RCYC in third.
Full racing results here

Published in J24

Eighty five sailors from around Ireland have gathered in Limerick with all province’s being represented at the two day Yachtsman Euromarine J/24 Western Championships. Looking east from the Foynes Yacht Club clubhouse the sixteen J/24’s gently move tied to the club’s new pontoon.

Crews were welcomed by their host with a complimentary bottle of beer/soft drink supplied by Gala Supermarkets. BCS Crane Hire LTD. made short work of lifting the boats in. The breakdown of the Gold and Silver Fleets has been made and can be found here.

“After the three hour drive - the smooth operation of the crane and the welcoming committee were second to none & rumour has it the Guinness is good in the clubhouse. Looking forward to the racing”, commented Harry Cronin of the K25 Team from Howth Yacht Club.

Proceedings get underway with a briefing at 0930hrs followed by First Gun at 1130 with four races scheduled on day one.

A report of day one’s racing & results will follow

Published in J24

With five days to go to First Gun, Seventeen J24’s representing nine clubs have entered for the first of their regional events this year, the Yachtsman Euromarine J24 Western Championships being hosted by Foynes Yacht Club on the Shannon Estuary will take place next weekend the 20th & 21st May .

Local Race Officer, Raymond Mc Gibney will take charge of proceedings on the water with National Race Officer Geoff O’ Donoghue lending his years of experience to assist.

The J24 Association of Ireland is availing of the Irish Sailing Association coaching grant at this regional event. Graeme Grant of Howth Yacht Club who has been coaching J24’s for a number of years will be onsite on the Friday evening to assist with rigging and tuning and will be coaching on the water between races on the Saturday and Sunday. This will be of huge benefit to the new owners who have joined the J24 fleet in recent times.

The first visiting J24 arrived at Foynes Yacht Club last week all the way from Lough Erne Yacht Club, its owner Diarmuid O’Donovan, himself a former National Champion of the class, who hasn’t had his J24 in the water for the past few years due to work commitments and his circumnavigation of the globe in the Clipper Yacht Race.

Some very well known names will be in attendance such as the J24 Class President Flor O’Driscoll sailing his well know J24 Hard On Port, Dave Lane & Sinead Enright from Royal Cork Yacht Club sailing YaGottaWanna, Steve Atkinson from Carrickfergus Sailing Club sailing Bád, Mark User from Greystones Sailing Club sailing Jumpin’Jive (Mark has already a prize to collect before hitting the water as he was the winner of the early entry draw for a North Sails kit bag), Martin Reilly from Sligo Yacht Club sailing Crazy Horse, JP McCaldin (previous J24 National Champion) from Lough Erne Yacht Club sailing Jamais Encore and the HYC U25 Keelboat Squad to name a few, it will be a very completive fleet.

The Yachtsman Euromarine J24 Westerns are also proudly sponsored by BCS Crane Hire LTD, North Sails, Quantum Sails, UK Sailmakers and Clifford’s Cash & Carry ‘Gala Supermarkets’. “Events like this would not be possible without the very generous support of sponsors and we owe them huge thanks” commented Darragh McCormack of Foynes Yacht Club.

Plans are well underway at the club to make it a very special event, with four races scheduled for Saturday, post racing debrief with video footage by Graeme Grant, and a sit-down Championship Dinner followed by a live band ‘The Irresisitibles’.

A late start has been pre-planned for Sunday morning with First Gun at 1155hrs with two races scheduled. BCS Crane Hire will have two cranes on hand to ensure efficient lift out immediately afterwards. The Gold and Silver Fleet winners will be announced at the prizegiving in the clubhouse at 1630hrs.

Published in J24
Tagged under

Four years after he sailed around Ireland as part of a fundraising campaign, Limerick cancer survivor Chris Egan will take to the seas again - only this time he's battling a debilitating sight condition writes Andrew Carey.

In 2013, Chris Egan and David Bevan, who were both cancer patients, completed a remarkable 1,200 nautical mile journey that included stopovers in Dublin and Cork for treatment.

However, Chris' health problems are far from over and two years ago, he was diagnosed with a retinitis pigmentosa which will eventually lead to the complete loss of his sight.

The Rathkeale postman is losing all peripheral vision and whatever remaining vision he has is affected by light.

"I only see shadows now most of the time”, the avid yachtsman said as he announced details of his new sailing challenge.

Chris, who recently qualified in independent living skills training with the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, is retracing his round Ireland sailing challenge when he leaves Limerick during this May's Riverfest.

Explaining his condition, Chris said that "if I was to look a person’s face, I would just see either their right eye or the left eye, not both. In saying that, the sight I have is good, but limited - just like looking down a tunnel and not being able to see anything outside of that".

He is determined to do one last round Ireland fundraising campaign as a gesture of thanks to those who have helped him in his latest struggle. He says that he is undertaking the round Ireland challenge in a bid to repay that help and to raise awareness and funds.

"There have been moments when it has been tough and realising the challenge of dealing with this because it is a condition that only worsens," Chris explains.

Chris, who uses a long cane to overcome obstacles like kerbs and steps, says that his ability to cope is helped by learning new skills and tapping into his memory of when he had full sight.

In 2010, he was diagnosed with lymphoma and Hodgkins Disease that required surgery and chemotherapy.

“You just keep going one day at a time - but you have moments. Thankfully I have a huge interest in sailing and that helps with lots of very good people around when you need them.

"Facing a cancer battle, as many know, was a challenge but visual impairment is different because it is a worsening condition. There is no light at the end of this tunnel, if you pardon the pun," he adds.

James McCormack, Commodore of Foynes Yacht Club, who will assist Chris in his latest sailing challenge along with fellow club members, said that he knows the postman to “be always hugely positive for almost 30 years.

"This is another hurdle in his life and he will overcome it and I will support him whatever way I can."

Mr McCormack said that his yacht will be used for the sailing challenge with Chris and two other crew members from the County Limerick yacht club.

Chris’ sailing challenge will raise money for Irish Guide Dogs for the blind and the RNLI.

“Anything we do on the water is hugely dependant on the RNLI and we want to support them but the Irish Guide Dogs will be the main benefactors.

"We will sail around Ireland and leave Riverfest on May 1 and hit off down to the bottom of the River Shannon, turn right (at Loop Head) and keep going around until we come back again", he said.

Fundraising events have been planned for March and April in the lead up to the May Bank Holiday departure.

Published in Shannon Estuary

Leading figures in sailing, national politics and regional industry and commerce joined with many members at Foynes Yacht Club on Sunday in honouring its award of the Volvo ISA Training Centre of the Year title for 2016 at the FYC base on the south shore of the Shannon Estuary.

The club was already a hive of activity in the morning with a fleet of upwards of twenty dinghies taking to the water in a freshening southwesterly breeze to compete in the Foynes Pharmacy February Chill Series. Boats from UL, Killaloe Activity Centre, Tralee Bay Sailing Club and the home club took part. In a gesture of hospitality, the local fleet allowed visitors to claim victory in the first race, the win going Tadgh O’Loinsigh from Tralee Bay SC, but Mary McCormack of Foynes took the bullet in the second contest.

foynes volvo2Pre-start manoeuvres on Sunday morning at Foynes for two races in which the honours were evenly spread among the clubs of the region

In the afternoon the members of the club were joined by members of other local sailing clubs, junior sailors past and present and other dignitaries including Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan in the celebration with ISA President David Lovegrove, ISA CEO Harry Hermon, Tom Neville TD, Adam Teskey and Stephen Keary of Limerick County Council, Philip Madigan from Lyons of Limerick Volvo Dealers, and Pat Keating, CEO Shannon Foynes Port Company.

Making history for the club Foynes Yacht Club Sailing Academy Principal Patrick Finucane presented all the instructors with specially commissioned jackets to mark this momentous achievement. From one hundred and five training centres, FYC Sailing Academy received the national award as the “best of the best” as remarked by ISA CEO Harry Hermon to the huge gathering of juniors and adults at the club.

Commodore James McCormack paid tribute to all the hard work put in by the volunteers that has brought the club to this momentous point. ISA President David Lovegrove, after a tour of the club facilities which includes new showering units and new state of the art pontoons built by the members in the past twelve months, echoed the sentiments of Patrick Finucane at the Volvo ISA Sailing Awards of the great work being done through “volunteerism and hard work”.

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan, commenting on the success of the water sports at the Rio Olympic Games last August, spoke of the need to promote and develop sailing and water sport activities on our Island Nation. TG4 and Irish TV were on hand interviewing members of the Sailing Academy on what the award means to the club, and the day’s activities drew to a close with entertainment and treats for the junior sailors of the Sailing Academy.

 

Published in Shannon Estuary
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