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#RNLI - Union Hall RNLI were tasked yesterday evening (Friday 11 August) by Valentia Coast Guard to a 16ft pleasure craft with five teenagers aboard that suffered engine failure in West Cork’s Glandore Harbour.

The lifeboat was launched and underway at 6.05pm to go to the aid of the casualty vessel, whose passengers had been angling at the eastern entrance of the harbour.

In favourable weather conditions, the Union Hall lifeboat was on scene within a few minutes to assist the pleasure craft as its position was a mere 15 feet away from rocks.

Following the incident, the five teenagers and their parents called to the lifeboat station to thank the volunteer crew for coming to their aid.

Martin Limrick, Union Hall RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew member, said: “The teenagers did everything right. They rang for help, deployed their anchor and were all wearing lifejackets.

“We would urge people when heading out on the water to have a means of communication, always wear a lifejacket and to respect the water.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

With just twelve days to go to the start of the 25th Anniversary Glandore Classic Boat Regatta 2017 from July 23rd to July 28th, Glandore Harbour Yacht Club are swinging all systems into action with the extra muscle provided by sponsorship writes W M Nixon. As ever, the theme will be variety, with the pace in sheer style being set by elegant craft such as the 1970-vintage all-varnish 55ft McGruer ketch Cuilaun (Brian Smullen & Michael O’Flaherty).

She’s a fine ship which, in her day, has won her class in a Transatlantic Race to Cork. But then at the other end of the spectrum in terms of size and detail, there will be a host of boats representing the strong Traditional Boat theme which is central to West Cork sailing and rowing.

And this time round, there’ll be an unprecedented level of input from the Shannon Estuary, including the Theo Rye-designed CityOne dinghies from Limerick.

Internationally, the late naval architect and maritime historian Theo Rye was noted as the ultimate authority in everything to do with real classics right up to such giants as the Fife 23 Metre Cambria. But he was a man of many and inventive talents, and when his friend Gary MacMahon of the Ilen Boat-Building School in Limerick requested some ideas for an easy-to-build sailing dinghy whose construction would fit neatly into the school’s curriculum, Theo came up with the CityOne concept.

cityone dinghies2CityOne dinghies on the Shannon in Limerick. Designed by Theo Rye, built by the Ilen School, and with their sail colour schemes selected by international competition, they will be in Glandore to honour the memory of the late Theo Rye. Photo: W M Nixon

limerick gandelow3The late Theo Rye (centre) rowing one of the Ilen Boatbuilding School’s gandelows in the heart of Limerick. In the bow is Liam O’Donoghue, while the third oarsman is Hal Sisk. Photo: W M Nixon

With vivid sail colour design schemes which resulted from a global internet competition run from Limerick, the CityOnes are a visually-striking and functionally successful concept. Yet they’re probably not what many would have expected from Theo’s drawing board. But as it was typically generous of him to provide the very innovative design, and now the very existence of the CityOnes is a Theo memorial following his untimely death last year. Thus their racing at Glandore will be part of a celebration of the life and contribution of Theo Rye, both in the world of classics, and in his generous and often unusual ideas in all the areas with which he became involved.

Also coming to Glandore from the Ilen School in Limerick will be the flotilla of trainee-built 23ft gandelows, which have revived the Shannon Estuary’s fleet of these uniquely-local mud-sliding boats. But although their flat-bottomed mud-sliding capacity is key to their design, they’re attractive boats in their own right. As a result, Patrick Beautement from England was so inspired by the Ilen School’s ethos after working there as a volunteer that he has built a 15ft version of the gandelow in deepest Gloucestershire, and she’ll be making her debut at Glandore.

limerick gandelows4Although the gandelow was developed as a Shannon Estuary work and fishing boat capable of being slithered across mud, the Ilen Boatbuilding School’s scheme has resulted in the new fleet developing a racing programme. Photo: W M Nixon

mini gandelow5jpgThis “mini-gandelow”, just 15ft long, will be at Glandore. She was built in Gloucestershire in England by Patrick Beautement, who had worked as a volunteer in the Ilen Boat Building School in Limerick

But the influence of the Shannon Estuary doesn’t stop there, as another Glandore debutante will be the characterful 25ft cutter Sally O’Keeffe from Kilrush. She was built as a community project in Querrin on the south shore of the Loop Head Peninsula in a successful attempt to re-create the sailing hookers of the Shannon Estuary which served the many little local ports such as Querrin in times past. Naval architect Myles Stapleton gave the Querrin folk a wonderful design which draws its inspiration from the old vessels, but adds a little bit of its own magic stardust for a fine little ship which will be sailing from Kilrush to Glandore.

sally okeeffe6The attractive 25ft cutter Sally O’Keeffe of Querrin will be sailing the long oceanic haul from Kilrush to Glandore for the Classic Regatta

etchells 22 classic1 1etchells guapa7 The classics experts at Glandore will be keen to give their opinions on Guapa, the extraordinary re-configuration of an Etchells 22 by Bill Trafford of Alchemy Marine.

While it was a shed in Querrin that produced the Sally O’Keeffe, another distant shed away to the eastward at Skenakilla Crossroads in north Cork near Mitchelstown saw the irrepressible Bill Trafford working away on what started as a standard Etchells 22 of a certain age, but has emerged a year later as the unique and very elegant Guapa, an astonishing transformation which will certainly find people in Glandore who will appreciate the time and talents that have gone into her creation.

But in addition to modern twists on classic themes, Glandore Harbour will be well populated by what we might call classic classics, with the pace being set by the locally-based fleet of Classic International Dragons, which set so many records in terms of racing longevity and major international trophies won far back in the previous Millenium that it’s arguable that they should be a listed species.

water wag murphy8Cathy MacAleavey (left) sailing a family Water Wag with her daughter, Olympic Silver Medallist Annalise Murphy. The lines of the current Water Wag fleet were drawn in 1900 by a woman designer, Maimie Doyle, daughter of builder James E Doyle of Kingstown.

Another even more vintage racing class of 100% Irish origins that has already been strutting its stuff big time in 2017 at both the Semaine de Morbihan in Brittany at the end of May, and the recent Dun Laoghaire Regatta in Dublin Bay, is the Water Wags from Dun Laoghaire. They expect to muster nine boats at Glandore. And in addition to including many noted women sailors with the Murphy/MacAleavey family in particular making a big input, it should never be forgotten that when the original 13ft Water Wags of 1887 vintage decided to trade up to a larger 14ft-plus dinghy in 1900, the new design was by a woman.

The order for their construction may have gone to noted Kingstown boatbuilder James Doyle, yet it was his talented daughter Maimie who actually designed the boats. But then, the Water Wags were always ahead of their time, and the word is that in Glandore they’ll be demonstrating their special skill at Synchronised Sailing. This may tempt the Ette Class visiting Glandore from Castletownshend next door to try something similar, but we’re told it’s not as easy as it looks.

chod elsie9No Classic Regatta would be complete without a design by William Fife, and Patrick Dorgan’s Cork Harbour One Design Elsie, which will be at Glandore, is of a Fife-designed class that first raced in 1896.

The great name of William Fife as a designer will also be present with the 1905 Clyde Thirty Brynoth, and the Cork Harbour One Design Elsie (Patrick Dorgan), of a time-honoured design which first appeared in 1895-96.

From time to time, these golden oldies benefit from the attention of sympathetic and highly-skilled boatbuilders who understand their special needs, and West Cork is well-filled with such talent, with Rui Ferreira near Ballydehob emerging at Glandore to show his skills with his restored 1936-vintage Flying Fish, which he somehow finds time to work on between skilled jobs for other people.

flying fish10This is Flying Fish as she was shortly after Rui Ferreira of Ballydehob started work on her.

flying fish11This is a more recent image of Flying Fish in Rui Ferreira’s workshop, but it is hoped that the finished restoration will be unveiled at Glandore in twelve days time.

A sailing vessel which has punched way above her weight on Ireland’s behalf for many years now is the 76ft training schooner Spirit of Oysterhaven, and she’ll be at Glandore, an eloquent reminder of the fact that while we await government decisions on a new sail training ship, the Spirit of Oysterhaven has been gallant in filling the role in an unofficial capacity.

And in a year in which there seem to be more whales off the Irish coast than ever before, it’s more than appropriate that the fleet at Glandore will include the Irish Whale & Dolphin Group’s Research Vessel, the ketch Celtic Mist. In Glandore of all places, the sense of sea and land intertwining in a dynamic interaction is at its strongest, and Celtic Mist’s presence is reminder that our boats don’t just share the sea with other boats, we share it with an entire maritime world.

Glandore harbour12The Glandore Classic fleet on a calm day, gliding through the entrance to one of West Cork’s most beautiful inlet

Published in Historic Boats

#TitBonhomme - Transport Minister Leo Varadkar says he will consider concerns over the handling of emergency calls relating to the Tit Bonhomme tragedy, as The Irish Times reports.

The minister commented after a meeting last week with the widow of the stricken boat's skipper Michael Hayes in Union Hall in West Cork.

Hayes and four of his five-man crew lost their lives when the trawler went down after striking rocks at the mouth of Glandore Harbour. The only survivor was Egyptian fisherman Abdelbaky Mohamed, who was able to swim to shore.

The recent inquest into the incident criticised the handling of 999 emergency calls from the fishing boat prior to its sinking, as it emerged that neither the Irish Coast Guard nor the Marine Casualty Investigation Board were aware that not one but two calls were made by crewman Kevin Kershaw.

It emerged during the inquest that the coastguard was only notified of the event on the second call, three minutes after the first.

Barrister Elizabeth O'Connel, who represented Hayes' widow Caitlín Uí Aodha at the inquest, described the dearth of details taken by the operator on the first call as "extraordinary".

Ireland's emergency call service, operated by BT Ireland from three locations, is currently under review by the Department of Communications.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#TitBonhomme - The "extraordinary" lack of information solicited by the operator who took the first of two emergency calls from the sinking Tit Bonhomme has been taken to task at the inquest into the loss of the trawler's crew.

The Irish Times reports that it only emerged last week that two emergency calls were made from the vessel by its youngest crew member Kevin Kershaw, though the Irish Coast Guard and the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) were previously aware of only one.

The first - and previously unreported - 999 call from Kershaw's mobile phone at 5.46am was transferred to Bandon Garda Station rather than to the coastguard. Barrister Elizabeth O'Connel, representing the widow of skipper Michael Hayes, described the dearth of details taken by the operator on that call as "extraordinary".

It was only on the second call placed three minutes later that the Irish Guard was notified of the incident by 5.53am.

The Department of Communications has since announced it will conduct a review of the 999 service provided by the Emergency Call Answering Service (Ecas), operated by BT Ireland from Ballyshannon, Navan and Dublin.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, five fishermen lost their lives when the trawler Tit Bonhomme went down after striking rocks at the mouth of Glandore Harbour.

The only survivor, Abdelbaky Mohamed, gave testimony to the inquest two weeks ago of his last moments aboard the stricken vessel.

Published in News Update

#TitBonhomme - The inquest into the Tit Bonhomme tragedy has heard testimony from the sole survivor of the incident that took the lives of five fishermen.

As The Irish Times reports, Abdelbaky Mohamed explained how he and three other crew had been asleep below deck their trawler hit Adam Island at the mouth of Glandore Harbour on the morning of 15 January 2012.

Mohamed said there was no 'big bang' when the vessel hit the rocks but it began taking on water very quickly has he, his brother Wael, Attia Shaban and Kevin Kershaw made their way to the bridge to join Saied Ali Eldin and skipper Michael Hayes.

The boat was rolling in heavy seas as Hayes handed out lifejackets to each crewmen which they then put on, he recalled, adding that conditions made it impossible for them to put on their immersion suits.

The Irish Independent has published a harrowing transcript of the crew's frantic calls to the emergency services as the Tit Bonhomme was assaulted by the waves and eventually capsized.

Mohamed said his lifejacket was ripped from his body by the force of the water crashing into the bridge, but he was able to grab onto it to reach the surface and swim towards the shore, where he was found by a search party two hours later.

Last month's report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) found that crew fatigue was "the single overriding casual factor" that contributed to the tragedy, pointing out that the crew had less than five hours' sleep during their 40-hour fishing trip.

But Mohamed told the inquest that he had had sufficient rest at the time of the incident.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE as the inquest continues.

Published in News Update

#MarineNotice - A recent Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) raises importance of maintenance as highlighted in the MCIB report into the scuttling of fishing vessel Jeanette Roberta in Glandore Harbour in late 2011.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the prawn boat was returning to port on 11 December 2011 when the skipper had difficulty switching the helm from auto-pilot to manual due to a known issue with "sticky solenoids". The boat subsequently veered off course without warning and was holed on rocks on Adam's Island.

The official report into the incident castigated the owner/skipper for continuing to sail the vessel with persistent navigation issues - and Marine Notice No 04 of 2013 reminds all fishing vessel operators to ensure that deficiencies with their vessels are rectified without delay.

It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure that a vessel is maintained and operated at all times in accordance with the requirements of the agreed Code of Practice. Owners of all vessels also have a legal obligation to operate their vessels in accordance with the law.

Meanwhile, the latest Marine Notice is directed at passenger vessel owners and operators - encouraging them to continue voluntary efforts to improve accessibility on their vessels.

A new questionnaire has been made available to inform the DTTAS about the extent of accessibility improvements introduced to maritime passenger transport services in the State.

Full details are included in Marine Notice No 05 of 2013, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Published in News Update

#MCIB - The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) has again advised recreational boat users to prioritise safety while on the water following the death of an angler on Lough Corrib earlier this year.

Clarifying the story previously reported on Afloat.ie, Michael Ruane died by drowning after he and angling partner Donal Coyle were knocked overboard from their small craft when it heeled over on a large wave off Annaghdown on 19 March 2012.

Coyle was treated for hypothermia after an unsuccessful attempt to search for his colleague, whose body was recovered by the Irish Coast Guard more than two hours after he entered the water.

The MCIB report into the incident found that the revolving seat used by one of the two men on board meant that "both his height above the gunwale and his position right forward may have had an influence on the handling and stability of the boat", which was not compliant with the EU Recreational Craft Directive.

It also found that while both were wearing personal flotation devices (PFDs), they were only loosely fitting - explaining why Ruane became separated from his lifejacket shortly after going overboard.

Moreover, the kill cord on the boat's engine was not used by either man, which caused them to be separated from their vessel. "The consequence of this," the report said, "was a long period of immersion in cold water which led to the death of one of the men and hypothermia of the other".

There was also a delay of more than an hour in raising the alarm as the men in the water had no means to indicate their distress. Coyle had a mobile phone but it was rendered useless by immersion.

The MCIB has recommended that owners and operators of recreational craft should be aware and follow the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport’s (DTTAS) Code of Practice for the Safe Operation of Recreational Craft. The complete report is available to download below.

Meanwhile, problems with the auto-pilot system were judged to be the trigger of events that caused the scuttling of fishing vessel Jeannete Roberta in Glandore Harbour last December.

The prawn boat was returning to port on 11 December 2011 when the skipper had difficulty switching the helm from auto-pilot to manual due to a known issue with "sticky solenoids".

While the skipper addressed that issue, the boat suddenly altered course without warning - another issue known to occur randomly - and was holed on rocks on the southern side of Adam's Island before eventually sinking.

While castigating the owner/skipper for continuing to sail the vessel with persistent navigation issues, the MCIB also noted that all six crew survived the incident uninjured, finding that all stayed calm and organised as they abandoned ship, and that all safety and communications equipment functioned as required.

Published in MCIB

#NEWS UPDATE - The body of the last missing crewmember of the stricken Tit Bonhomme was recovered in Glandore Bay in West Cork on Friday, The Irish Times reports.

The remains of 23-year-old Egyptian national Saied Ali Edlin were discovered floating on the surface to the west of the bay off Long Point, almost a mile from the wreck site and close to a month after the tragedy occurred.

It also comes just two days after the body of skipper Michael Hayes was found close to the mouth of the harbour, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The fishing vessel Tit Bonhomme ran aground in rough seas near Adam's Rock, at the mouth of Glandore Harbour, on Sunday 15 January.

Five of the six-person crew - Eldin, Hayes, Attea Shaban (26), Kevin Kershaw (21) and Wael Mohammed (35) - lost their lives when the boat went down.

Only 43-year-old Abdul Mohammed, the brother of Wael Mohammed, survived the sinking after he was able to reach the shore.

"Some of those lost were Egyptian, some were Irish but if you fish the sea, you’re all part of the same family," commented harbour master John Minihane. "We’re all the same, we’re one fishing family and we brought them home.”

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#NEWS UPDATE - RTÉ News reports that a body found in Glandore Harbour today is that of Tit Bonhomme skipper Michael Hayes.

The body of the 52-year-old from Helvick Head in Co Waterford, who went missing more than three weeks ago, was discovered floating close to the mouth of the harbour around lunchtime by his brother, Garda Chief Spt Tom Hayes, according to The Irish Times.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the search operation in Glandore is being wound down this week after the remains of three of the five missing crew were recovered. Egyptian crewman Said Mohammed (23) - also known as Saied Ali Eldin - is still missing.

The fishing vessel Tit Bonhomme ran aground and went down in rough seas near Adam's Rock, at the mouth of Glandore Harbour, on Sunday 15 January.

Only one crewmember, 43-year-old Abdul Mohammed, is confirmed alive after he was able to reach the shore.

Published in News Update

#NEWS UPDATE - The search for two fishermen still missing after their boat went down off West Cork nearly three weeks ago will be wound down next week, The Irish Times reports.

Search teams have been combing the area for any trace of Michael Hayes (35), skipper of the Tit Bonhomme, and crewman Said Mohammed (23) after the fishing vessel ran aground in rough seas near Adam's Rock, at the mouth of Glandore Harbour, on Sunday 15 January.

The bodies of Kevin Kershaw (21), Attia Shaban (26) and Wael Mohammed (35) were recovered in the days and weeks following the tragedy. Only one of the six-person crew - 43-year-old Abdul Mohammed – is confirmed to have survived.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, last weekend saw more than 90 divers embark on an extensive search of the wreck site and the Glandore bay area, with hundreds more volunteers searching the coastline and on land.

Published in News Update
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