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Displaying items by tag: Galway Bay Sailing Club

A crew from Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) is gearing up to compete in the challenging Rolex Middle Sea Race from Malta, the renowned 600-mile annual sailing event set against the backdrop of some of the most spectacular coastlines and open water passages in the Mediterranean.

Most of the squad completed the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race in the Galway-originating Volvo 70 Green Dragon, and now they’re looking to the comparable classic in the Mediterranean on October 19th. But this time, it will be with the chartered race-optimised J/122 Noisy Oyster, a boat nearer to the sizes they’re accustomed to racing inshore and offshore in Galway Bay.

GBSC Middle Sea Challenge skipper Mark Wilson (left) and trimmer/navigator Paraig Dennison aboard the Sigma 33 ScorpioGBSC Middle Sea Challenge skipper Mark Wilson (left) and trimmer/navigator Paraig Dennison aboard the Sigma 33 Scorpio

The challenge is being managed by Fergal Lyons, while the skipper is Mark Wilson, best known for his many successes on the Atlantic seaboard with the Sigma 33 Scorpio, the full squad being as follows

  • Mark Wilson (Scorpio) : Skipper
  • Nigel Moss (Woofer) - Watch Leader
  • Conor Lyons (Out of the Blue)- Helm
  • Aaron O'Reilly (Koncho Buntz) - Helm
  • Padraig Dennison (Scorpio) - Trimmer/Navigation
  • Pat Dowd (Scorpio)- Trimmer/Navigation
  • Iso Inan (Scorpio)- PIt/Trimmer
  • Michael Fleming (Scorpio)- Trimmer
  • Paddy Hennelly (Out of the Blue) - Bow/Trimmer
  • Cronan Quirke (Scorpio)- Bow/Trimmer

The start of the Middle Sea Race from the historic location of Grand Harbour in Valetta in Malta sets the style of this classic eventThe start of the Middle Sea Race from the historic location of Grand Harbour in Valetta in Malta sets the style of this classic event

The race kicks off in the picturesque surroundings of Valletta, Malta, tracing a course north through the iconic Messina Straits between southern Italy and Sicily. Navigating past the renowned volcanic island of Stromboli, the boats will then follow the Sicilian coastline to the Egadi Islands. Keeping the islands of Pantelleria and Lampedusa to port, the race concludes back in Valletta. While the race is expected to span about four days, larger multihulls and some monohulls will be vying to complete the challenge in under two days.

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Undoubtedly a formidable test for any crew, the GBSC team is determined to do Galway proud, shining a spotlight on the rich sailing heritage of Galway Bay. The team is actively seeking expressions of interest for sponsorship opportunities, offering a unique chance to align with an ambitious team participating in a globally-watched event. For more details, please contact [email protected] .

The classic course of a great event – the Middle Sea Race even takes in a turn at the volcanic island of StromboliThe classic course of a great event – the Middle Sea Race even takes in a turn at the volcanic island of Stromboli

Published in Middle Sea Race

Galway Bay Sailing Club says it is developing a plan to prepare its dinghy boat park for the start of the season after Storm Debi caused enormous damage to up to 20 boats last November.

However, the club says it weathered without incident this week’s back-to-back storms, Isha and Jocelyn, which hit the west coast.

The severe conditions earlier this week were a contributory factor in several fatal road accidents, and caused widespread power disruption and delayed flights.

Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan said the Port of Galway recorded wind speeds of 71.3 knots (132.08km) at 1700 hours during the first of the two storms, Isha, on Sunday January 21st.

GBSC public relations officer Astrid Comerford says that junior sailing will soon resume with training for Optimists and 420 sailors, while cruisers are planning to launch in early April.

GBSC members Yannick Lemonnier and Dan Mill completed their first cruise of 2024 earlier this month on Yannick’s cruising catamaran KL28 "Paddy Rocket", she reports.

The catamaran crew sailed out of Oranmore Bay across to Newquay, County Clare, and enjoyed “tasty fish and chips” in Linnane’s pub, washed down with “some black stuff”.

The pair enjoyed seven hours of sailing, reaching speeds of up to 13 knots – “happy sailors”, Comerford says.

Published in Galway Harbour

Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) has shared with Afloat.ie photos of before and after its clean-up operation following the devastation caused by Storm Debi last week.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, some 20 boats and dinghies parked at the club were seriously damaged or destroyed during the storm on Monday (13 November).

And the juniors bore the brunt of the storm, with the club lamenting that their fleets “have been wiped out”.

After removing the damaged boats | Credit: Pierce PurcellAfter removing the damaged boats | Credit: Pierce Purcell

For one senior member now based in the US, John Buckley, it brought back memories of Hurricane Debbie in 1961 and its own trail of destruction.

On Saturday morning (18 November) some 50 club members turned up with their families to clear the wreckage and get boats home to start the repair and replacements lists.

GBSC Commodore Johnny Shorten and Vice-Commodore Pat Irwin praised the members coming to the rescue and said they are determined to get the place sorted. They are currently involved completing a building programme to enhance the training facilities and equipment storage sheds.

Published in Galway Harbour

Some 20 boats and dinghies parked at Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) have been seriously damaged or destroyed during Storm Debi.

boats and dinghies parked at Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) have been seriously damaged or destroyed during Storm DebiSome of the damage (above and below) suffered at Galway Bay Sailing Club last night during storm Debi

Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Hildegarde Naughton, a local TD, visited the GBSC base in Renville to examine the damage in the harbour area.

A waste oil tank was uprooted from its position on the pier and swept away, landing on the far shore. Galway Co. Council are working in the area to clear fallen cables and create access to the club, according to club sources.

boats and dinghies parked at Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) have been seriously damaged or destroyed during Storm Debi

The GBSC Club Secretary examines damage at the boat park in RenvilleThe GBSC Club Secretary examines damage at the boat park in Renville

Elsewhere in Galway Harbour, boats at Claddagh were lifted onto the pier by the Storm Debi sea surge.

Boats at Claddagh lifted onto the pier by the Storm Debi sea surgeBoats at Claddagh lifted onto the pier by the Storm Debi sea surge

Published in Galway Harbour

Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) swept the boards at the annual Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil (CSS) regatta at the weekend.

Conditions proved promising for the event off An Spidéil, Co Galway, with light winds for the Oppie fleet picking up to a westerly force of ten to 12 knots in the afternoon for the mixed fleet.

This allowed race officer Stephen O’Gorman to run three races for both Oppies and the mixed fleet.

Roisin Mitchell Ward and Killian Mathieu of GBSC, overall winners of the mixed fleet, with Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil (CSS) commodore Eoin Ó ConghaíleRoisin Mitchell Ward and Killian Mathieu of GBSC, overall winners of the mixed fleet, with Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil (CSS) Commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle

A total of nine Oppies competed, with GBSC’s Edward Fitzmaurice coming first, club mates Jake Molloy second, and Rossa Mitchell Ward taking third.

Liam Riggott was first CSS sailor in the Oppie class, and both he and Seán Ó Conghaíle competed in the mixed fleet in the afternoon.

Rossa Mitchell Ward of GBSC was third in the Oppies at the CSS regatta 2023Rossa Mitchell Ward of GBSC was third in the Oppies at the CSS regatta 2023

Roisín Mitchell Ward and Kilian Mathieu of GBSC were first overall, sailing a 420, in the mixed fleet, and were closely pressed by Charlie Donald and James Harvey of CSS, who came second overall.

Kate Barry and Eilí McMahon of GBSC, also sailing a 420, were third overall in the mixed fleet.

The first Pico home was sailed by Niamh Kearns and Diarmuid Canavan of CSS, followed by Sarah Donald of CSS (first junior in the Pico). Rory McHale and Sean Ó Conghaíle sailed the first Topaz home.

Niamh Kearns and Diarmuid Canavan of CSS, first Laser Pico home in the CSS regatta 2023 with commodore Eoin O ConghaíleNiamh Kearns and Diarmuid Canavan of CSS, first Laser Pico home in the CSS regatta 2023 with commodore Eoin O Conghaíle

Liam Riggott of CSS, first club Oppie home at the CSS regatta 2023, with commodore Eoin Ó ConghaíleLiam Riggott of CSS, first club Oppie home at the CSS regatta 2023, with commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle

James Harvey and Charlie Donald of CSS who were second 420 and second overall in the mixed fleet at CSS regatta, with commodore Eoin Ó ConghaíleJames Harvey and Charlie Donald of CSS who were second 420 and second overall in the mixed fleet at CSS regatta, with commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle

Edward Fitzmaurice of GBSC was first in the Oppies at the CSS regatta 2023Edward Fitzmaurice of GBSC was first in the Oppies at the CSS regatta 2023

Jake Molloy of GBSC was second in the Oppies at the CSS regatta 2023 Jake Molloy of GBSC was second in the Oppies at the CSS regatta 2023 

Galway City Sailing Club is hosting its junior regatta next Saturday, September 16th.

Published in Galway Harbour

An exhibition this autumn marking the golden jubilee Commander Bill King’s solo sail around the world is one of a number of events planned by Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) commodore Johnny Shorten to pay tribute to an “unsung hero”.

It is 50 years ago today, May 23rd, since King sailed into Plymouth in his junk-rigged schooner, Galway Blazer II, as recalled in accounts over the past five days on Afloat here.

 Bill King receives 'a little help from my friends to get moored' as a Royal Navy launch tows Galway Blazer II into Plymouth Harbour Photo Courtesy: King family archive Bill King receives 'a little help from my friends to get moored' as a Royal Navy launch tows Galway Blazer II into Plymouth Harbour Photo Courtesy: King family archive

King had been missing at sea for five months when he lost radio contact after leaving Australia, and a relayed telegram to his wife Anita and family in Oranmore, Galway, on May 13th was the first confirmation that he was alive.

Home at Last with Family (Anita and Leoine) Photo Courtesy: King family archiveHome at Last with Family (Anita and Leoine) Photo Courtesy: King family archive

Shorten, who has been working with Leonie King, the late commander’s daughter, on his log and other memorabilia for the Afloat reports, said that as commodore of GBSC, “it’s hard to ignore the profound legacy of Commander Bill King”.

Galway Bay Sailing Club Commodore Johnny ShortenGalway Bay Sailing Club Commodore, Johnny Shorten

“A lovely sketch of the great man hangs in our committee room, looking down across the table with a kind smile,” he says.

“ It is as if he were guiding us on from beyond the grave, a constant reminder of all of his extraordinary achievements. Sometimes, when tough decisions have to be made, we look and say “Well Bill, what would you have done?” in the hope that we might be enlightened,” he says.

“As you move outward from the committee room into the club facilities, towards the townlands of Oranmore, Galway and beyond, I have always had a sense that his memory and achievements fade with distance,” Shorten says.

“This was brought to my attention recently while doing an interview with our local radio station on sports in the general Oranmore area. When the principal of the local secondary school listed off with great delight all the sports that the school actively promotes, unfortunately, sailing was not on her list (and not for want of trying on behalf of the GBSC),” he says.

“When my turn came, I was quick to point out the considerable challenge of promoting sailing as a sport, ironic when the school is only 50 metres from the sea, and an even shorter distance from the home of one of Ireland’s and the world’s sailing greats,” he says.

“ One can’t help but think that our community fails to embrace the heritage that sits on its own doorstep,” he says, noting that he “may be soon summoned to the principal’s office for my comments, detention looms again!”

“In 2020, GBSC celebrated its 50th anniversary, and we had great plans to centre a lot of the events around Commander Bill King, with exhibitions and talks in the club, coupled with some educational programmes in the local schools to promote the club, sailing and Commander King,” he recalls.

“ Then came the cursed Covid, and the focus had to be on making sure the club made it to the 51st year and beyond,” he says.

“The idea of celebrating the legacy of Commander King had never left my mind, and we had tossed around some ideas of getting television and media coverage around the club, its thriving junior membership and its greatest member,” Shorten continues.

“ I was also acutely aware that there was a treasure trove of artefacts and documents associated with Commander King dispersed across various members of his family. There was also a shared vision among all concerned to bring this unique and historic collection into the public domain, such that his legacy would be preserved and available to future generations,” he says.

“Over the past months, I have attended many meetings with museums, universities and institutes on how best to mount an exhibition in this, the 50th anniversary of Commander King’s completion of his round-the-world adventure,” he explains.

Commander Bill King’s solo sail around the world

“ Many times, across different groups and individuals, a comparison between Tom Crean and Commander King has been made. While from different sides of the track, they both were unsung heroes who lived life to the full on their own terms and of their own choice. They both faced the prospect of death on many occasions, overcame extreme challenges and lived to tell the tale,” he says.

Commander Bill King’s solo sail around the world

“I hope that we can start that same process that brought Tom Crean in from the cold, applying those same learnings to promote and keep the Commander Bill King story alive,” he says.

“In the same heroic manner that Tom Crean sailed off for Elephant Island, Commander King hung by his toenails off the lifelines of Galway Blazer II for three days, attempting to patch a major hole in the hull with whatever bits and pieces he could find, while alternately bailing out the ever-rising water in order to stay afloat and more importantly, to stay alive,” Shorten recalls.

“These are the qualities that capture the imagination of children; that can-do attitude that anything is possible; it’s yours for the taking; never give up -qualities I feel that are sometimes lacking in today’s generation,” he says.

“Over the coming months, we will be embarking on an effort to ensure that the qualities, the legacy and the sense of adventure that made Commander King the legend that he is, endures,” Shorten says.

This plan includes:

  • Working with the King family to gather much of the artefacts and documents associated with Commander King;
  • The Marine Institute has made substantial progress in cataloguing the many documents they have received from the King family;
  • Scanning the recently received logs for 1970, 71, 72 and 73;
  • The Galway Museum will mount an exhibition in October to mark the 50th anniversary;
  • The Galway Museum will also start planning for a more permanent exhibition in their new extension, due 2025;
  • Possibility of the exhibition going on tour to other locations, nationally and internationally;
  • The national broadcaster, RTE, has committed to doing a Nationwide feature in September to be broadcast in October;
  • Creating the Commander King experience online at www.commanderbillking.com ;
  • Fundraising to support the above.

“The great hope is that in years to come, when we celebrate future milestones, his legacy will precede him and that a new generation will carry the torch, keeping the Commander Bill King story alive,” Shorten says.

“ Who knows, someday the town of Oranmore may erect a statue in his honour, a fitting tribute to this unsung hero…”

Published in Solo Sailing

Flowers on the water and burgees and flags flying from a fleet of mixed vessels are reflected in a sensitively filmed recording of the mariners’ memorial service hosted by Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) earlier this month.

The video (below) was made by Conor Lyons and Elana Torrent from Valencia, Spain, and has been described as a “lovely memory” by GBSC founding member Pierce Purcell, who planned the event.

Over 200 people on sea and shore participated in the memorial to fishers, rescuers, sailors, and all those lost at sea, along with their families and those who support them.

The special programme recorded a list of names of those who have passed, including the late Caitriona Lucas of Doolin Coast Guard, and the Rescue 116 search and rescue helicopter crew, Capt Dara Fitzpatrick, Capt Mark Duffy, winch crew Ciarán Smith and Paul Ormsby.

Representation from the local fishing fleet was led by the Oliver and Bailey families, and up to 30 boats arrived at Renville harbour to take a salute by Minister of State and Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton, when she fired the GBSC canon.

Purcell and GBSC commodore Johnny Shorten have paid tribute to all those who supported the memorial - including CHC chief pilot Andrew Rees who facilitated a flyover by the Irish Coast Guard Shannon-based rescue helicopter flown by Capt Cathal Oakes, along with representatives of the RNLI, Civil Defence, Inland Fisheries Ireland and Oranmore Maree Coastal Search Unit.

Brian Corcoran of the Oranmore coastal search unit recorded drone footage which contributed to the film made by Lyons and Torrent.

Purcell said the Oranmore search unit provided everything from parking support to food for over 100 people in the clubhouse, while a florist contributed flowers and local taxi companies assisted with transport to keep traffic moving.

Representatives of Galway Sub Aqua Club, City Sailing Club, the Galway Hooker Sailing Club, Badoirí an Cladaigh, the Irish Sailing Association, and Oranmore Garda station were also involved, along with ten past GBSC commodores and members.

“The event reminded me of the early enthusiasm when the club had started, and now with younger crew on board the club is growing at a pace both on and off the water,” Purcell said.

Published in Galway Harbour

Laid up the boats

Do they dream of the silken sea

The rage of storms.

The men that sail in them

Or in their fraternity?

Do they dream of their heroes

The great tall ships moored to their quay

Straining at their hawsers

Longing to be free

Aha they might say in their dreams

The sea, the sea

A poem entitled “Renville” by the late Mavis Buckley set the tone at a moving memorial service for mariners hosted by Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) earlier this week.

A large and diverse fleet of vessels, the Irish Coast Guard Shannon-based helicopter, the RNLI and over 200 people on the shore participated in Monday’s event, which aimed to pay tribute to mariners who had passed on, or were lost at sea.

Among those remembered was late submarine commander Bill King, formerly of Oranmore Castle, who circumnavigated the world in his yacht Galway Blazer.

Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton when fires the Galway Bay Sailing Club cannon at the memorial service for mariners Photo: via TwitterGalway West TD Hildegarde Naughton fires the Galway Bay Sailing Club cannon at the memorial service for mariners Photo: via Twitter

The sextant which he used was presented by his daughter Leonie King to Rev Anthony Previté, who conducted the prayer ceremony along with local parish priest Fr Diarmuid Hogan.

Up to 30 boats arrived into Renville harbour to take a salute by Minister of State and Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton when she fired the GBSC cannon.

As the Irish Coastguard Sikorsky S-92 helicopter hovered overhead, flowers were scattered on the water below by five yachts to remember sailors, fishermen, RNLI volunteers, and Irish Coastguard members lost at sea.

The list on a special programme included the late Caitriona Lucas of Doolin Coast Guard, and the Rescue 116 search and rescue helicopter crew, Capt Dara Fitzpatrick, Capt Mark Duffy, winch crew Ciarán Smith and Paul Ormsby.

Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) Commodore Johnny Shorten, Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton, GBSC's Pierce Purcell and John Killeen Photo: via Twitter(From left) Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) Commodore Johnny Shorten, Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton, GBSC's Pierce Purcell and John Killeen at the memorial service for mariners Photo: via Twitter

Organiser Pierce Purcell said that the 10-12-year-old junior sailors “showed their very competent skills in front of over 200 people on the shore, with a nice force four wind and five-metre tide lapping the shore”.

Ten past Commodores of GBSC and representatives of the Civil Defence, Inland Fisheries Ireland, the Irish Coastguard, RNLI and Oranmore Maree Coastal Search Unit attended, Purcell said.

He paid particular tribute the role played by Oranmore Maree Coastal Search Unit, in providing everything from parking support to food for over 100 people in the clubhouse.

Representatives of Galway Sub Aqua Club, City Sailing Club., the Galway Hooker Sailing Club, Badoirí an Cladaigh and Oranmore Garda station were also involved.

Purcell read “Renville” by the late Mavis Buckley, while Aonghus Concannon read “Crossing the Bay” by Alfred Lord Tennyson and Henry Van Dyke’s poem “Standing on the Shore”.

“We have had a great reaction, we saw members we hadn’t seen in 30 years, and it was a highly successful event to remember past members and the camaraderie of the sea,” Purcell said.

Published in Galway Harbour

A flotilla of yachts and fishing boats will converge on Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) this Monday evening for a memorial service for mariners.

The event is scheduled for 7 pm at GBSC on May 8th, just a day after An Tóstal’s regatta off Salthill.

The service, which is being organised by Pierce Purcell, aims to remember former members, supporters, fishermen who died at sea and to pay tribute to the rescue agencies.

The RNLI will lead the flotilla from Renville Point, and Oranmore Search and Rescue, Galway Bay Sub-Aqua Club and junior sailors will also take part.

Prayers and poetry readings onshore will be conducted by Oranmore’s parish priest, Fr Diarmuid Hogan, and Rev Anthony Previté of the Church of Ireland.

“It was difficult during Covid to acknowledge members' and supporters’ contribution,” Purcell said.

“This is a real community event, and we welcome everyone to come along and experience how sailing has grown in recent years and the participation and interaction on the bay,” he said.

He advises those attending to arrive at GBSC by 6.30 pm on Monday evening, May 8th, for the event from 7 pm.

The Irish Coast Guard has requested that no drones be flown in the area between 7 pm and 8 pm on Monday for safety reasons.

For more information, contact Pierce Purcell at 087-2793821.

Published in Galway Harbour

Dublin Bay's Hal Sisk and Fionan De Barra talked at Galway Bay Sailing Club on the Dublin Bay 21 Class restoration project and the history of the World's oldest cruiser racing class (1903 - 2023).

As regular Afloat readers know, thanks to Sisk and De Barra and a team of boat builders in Kilrush Co. Clare, the Alfred Mylne designed class is now racing again as part of Dublin Bay Sailing Club fixtures. 

The well-attended GBSC event at Oranmore heard Sisk and Debarra recount the story behind the innovative restoration of the 120-year-old hulls that has secured the class for generations to come.

Dun Laoghaire, as the birthplace of the original Dublin Bay 21 class, welcomed home the first of the restored craft in 2021 after 40 years, thanks to an ambitious boat-building project completed on the Shannon Estuary that saved them from completely rotting away.

The Dublin Bay 21 Footer Class Association was formed in 2017 with Fionan as Secretary and Hal as Chairman. As the owner of all six boats, the Association is now engaged in reviving this historic class.

In 2022, Sisk received the International Classic Boater of the Year Award in London for his decades of inspired service to classic craft and sailing history, while his colleagues Fionan de Barra of Dun Laoghaire and Steve Morris of Kilrush Boatyard were also personally awarded - at a ceremony in the Royal Thames Yacht Club - for their exceptional work in the trio's current shared project, the restoration of the DB21s.

Maritime Historian Hal Sisk (left) and Fionan De Barra (right) are presented by Johnny Shorten Commodore of the Galway Bay Sailing Club and Olga Scully with a copy of the Coastal Atlas of Ireland, after a talk on the restoration of the World's oldest cruiser racing class 1903 - 2023, the Dublin Bay 21s, at Galway Bay Sailing ClubMaritime Historian Hal Sisk (left) and Fionan De Barra (right) are presented by Johnny Shorten, Commodore of the Galway Bay Sailing Club, and Olga Scully, with a copy of the Coastal Atlas of Ireland after a talk on the restoration of the World's oldest cruiser racing class 1903 - 2023, the Dublin Bay 21s, at Galway Bay Sailing Club

Published in Galway Harbour
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