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Do you want to join us and be part of an unforgettable experience and help raise funds for Spinal Injuries Ireland? This is an adventure not to be missed.

May 2019 Spinal Injuries Ireland is embarking on their inaugural Tall Ships Challenge; their flagship, fully inclusive, fundraising challenge in aid of Spinal Injuries Ireland’s services. Lead by Ireland’s most decorated Paralympian athlete, John Twomey, Spinal Injuries Ireland is setting sail on an exciting and fully-inclusive expedition.

Spinal Injuries Ireland is putting a call out for people to join their SII Tall Ship crew this May. All participants will have an experience of a lifetime and can feel great in the knowledge that their participation will also enable support and services for the over 1900 people in Ireland who have suffered a spinal cord injury. It’s a chance to become part of a unique crew whom together will prove that anything is possible. 

"On this ship, everyone is given the respect, space and tools to achieve their personal and team goals. All that’s needed is determination"

John Twomey will take the helm with the SII crew of 6 people with spinal cord injuries, their 6 assistants, and 18 able-bodied people, sailing from John’s native Cork to Southampton, circling the Jurassic Coast and the Isle of Wight over 6 days. The voyage will take place aboard the ‘Lord Nelson’ Tall Ship; a specially designed fully accessible vessel. The facilities on Lord Nelson make it possible for each crew member to learn and work together equally regardless of ability. There will be no passengers onboard; everyone is a crew member. Each person will have their own role to play on the team with no assumptions made about ability. On this ship, everyone is given the respect, space and tools to achieve their personal and team goals. All that’s needed is determination.

Crewing the Tall Ship will mean full participation in a thrilling experience which is certain to impart a new belief in each person’s own abilities. The SII Tall Ships Challenge is an opportunity to say yes to adventure, yes to teamwork and yes to pushing yourself further than even you can imagine.

Each crew member will need to fundraise €3000 in the run-up to the event. Assistants costs will, however, be covered.

All funds will go to services provided by Spinal Injuries Ireland.

Fundraisers will receive a fundraiser’s info pack and will be supported with advice and tips on how to fundraise.

The sailing will take place from May 22nd to May 27th, 2019

As part of the crew, a doctor will be present and on call along with trained sailing instructors.

Sponsorship opportunities are available to companies who wish to support individual crew members or the team as a whole. 

Closing date for participation is April 1st, 2019. More here.

Published in Tall Ships
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Twenty four deaf and hearing impaired students along with four aided communicators from around Ireland have set out on the adventure of a lifetime on a 6-day Sail Training voyage aboard the Tall Ship Pelican of London.

The voyage organised by Sail Training Ireland follows on from a successful one day “taster” voyage held in 2017 for students from the Holy Family School for the Deaf in Cabra. This taster resulted in a request from the school to expand the scope of the voyage to include young people from all over Ireland. As a result, schools and deaf organisations have nominated their pupils as trainees on the upcoming voyage. The voyage will leave Dublin Port and sail around the Isle of Man and the Irish Sea before returning to Dublin.

Participating in this voyage involves the “Trainees” becoming part of the working crew. This experience provides an excellent environment for personal and social development. It is not so much learning to sail as learning from the vessel, crewmates, the sea and perhaps most importantly from the person themselves as they push themselves beyond their comfort zone. It is a medium for education outside the classroom, a non-formal approach where the emphasis is on facilitating learning through experience. A trainee’s first voyage often proves to be a turning point in their lives.

“We are delighted that so many deaf and hearing-impaired students have taken up the challenge of a tall ship adventure” said Sail Training Ireland CEO Daragh Sheridan

It is hoped that this voyage will become an annual event.

Published in Tall Ships
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It’s as if it were a mirage. For the last three days, Drogheda’s Town Quays have been lined with four Tall Ships, tugs, lifeboats and yachts while Tom Roe’s Point hosted three French Naval Vessels. For one weekend every year, Drogheda’s busy working port is converted into a festival site and is festooned with colour and buzzes with excitement. The annual Irish Maritime Festival runs from Friday to Sunday and by Monday morning, it has all disappeared and Drogheda Port returns to business as usual.

The visiting vessels mustered at the mouth of the Boyne before noon on Friday and what followed was a beautiful parade of sail. 

The banks of the Boyne were lined with people of all ages waiting to welcome the ships. Social media in the region was flooded with images of the river and the ships with people wanting to share the experience.

8. Irish Maritime Festival 2018 Mission to Seafarers 2Parade of Sail at the Viaduct at Drogheda Port

Friday night saw the deck of the Earl of Pembroke transformed into a stage for the Stowaway Sessions. The intimate sold-out gig featured Eve Belle and The Lost Brothers performing to 100 lucky guests at sunset with the Boyne Viaduct as the backdrop. The format was repeated on Saturday night to another 100 guests with Pilgrim St supporting headliner Declan O’Rourke.

images/banners/6.-Irish-Maritime-Festival---The-Stowaway-Sessions.jpgThe Stowaway Sessions

8. Irish Maritime Festival 2018 Mission to Seafarers 28. Irish Maritime Festival 2018 Mission to Seafarers 28. Irish Maritime Festival 2018 Mission to Seafarers 28. Irish Maritime Festival 2018 Mission to Seafarers 28. Irish Maritime Festival 2018 Mission to Seafarers 28. Irish Maritime Festival 2018 Mission to Seafarers 2

The festival proper, hosted by Louth County Council and Drogheda Port Company, kicked off on Saturday morning with visits to all of the ships inc. The Phoenix, The Earl of Pembroke, The Johanna Lucretia, The Brian Boru and the beloved motor tug Brocklebank. Crews happily welcomed visitors aboard and told the stories of each of the respective vessels. An Irish Coast Guard helicopter flyover caused surprise and delight all round.

On-shore the festival offered 2 live music stages, artisan local food and loads of family-friendly activities. The Maritime Education Zone included displays by The Irish Coastguard, Inland Waterways Ireland, RNLI, Seastainability, Education through Recreation, Boyne Boats and the Irish Power Kite and Sand Yachts.

8. Irish Maritime Festival 2018 Mission to Seafarers 2Sand yachts were on display

The Water Wags sailed by on Saturday morning on a visit to the historic Oldbridge House, mooring at the lock gates of the Boyne Canal. After being obsolete for over 80 years, the Boyne Canal is being painstakingly and beautifully restored by the volunteers of the Inland Waterways Association Boyne Navigation Branch. Following their visit to Oldbridge, the Water Wags delighted festival goers with a display on the water on Saturday afternoon.

Water Wag racing on the BoyneWater Wag racing on the Boyne

Over 200 participants in the annual Boyne Swim competed for glory on Saturday afternoon. The 2.7km course starts at Mell, passes the Irish Maritime Festival site at Drogheda Port and concludes at the Boyne Fisherman’s Rescue. The 2018 winner was Isaac Fitzmaurice finishing in 32 minutes and 23 seconds. The other winners were Colin Lowth (32 minutes and 52 seconds, male, wetsuits category), Rosie Giglia (37 minutes and 12 seconds, female, skins category) and Lauren Archer (37 minutes and 21 seconds, female, wetsuit category). The competition was fierce with a mere 29 seconds between the male first and second place and just 9 seconds between the female first and second.

The Festival's Colette Moss and Capt Martin Donnelly of Drogheda PortThe Festival's Colette Moss and Capt Martin Donnelly of Drogheda Port

The Boyne was a hive of activity both days with the rescue services and lifeboats on the river throughout. The Howth-Drogheda Yacht Regatta saw yachts racing up the Boyne on Saturday afternoon, mooring for the weekend at Drogheda’s Fiddle Case Pier, opened in June 2017.

After the Festival Gates closed for the day on Saturday evening, the Mariners Shindig saw 200+ visiting crews enjoy dinner, drinks and live music on the Port. The late night was followed by an early start as Piper Paul McGowan visited the Port at 08.00hrs to rouse everyone from their slumber. He led a procession to the Mission to Seafarers Church (St. Peter’s Church of Ireland) for a beautiful service. 

The Mission-to-Seafarers March at Drogheda Port (Above and below) The Mission-to-Seafarers March at Drogheda Port

Presentations to the Mayor of Drogehda

It was followed by official presentations to the French Navy by Mayor of Drogheda Cllr. Frank Godfrey on behalf of Louth County Council and Drogheda Port.

The final day of the festival started with drizzle but soon cleared to be a bright dry day and families flocked to the festival to enjoy all it had to offer. Visits to the 3 French Minesweepers, M770 Antares, M771 Altair and M772 Aldebaran were hugely popular, over-subscribed on both days. On Sunday afternoon, to mark the first visit of the French Navy to Drogheda, the Alliance Francais choir sang on the deck of The Phoenix.

8. Irish Maritime Festival 2018 Mission to Seafarers 2(Above and below) French Navy visitors to Drogheda

8. Irish Maritime Festival 2018 Mission to Seafarers 2

The Festival closed on Sunday evening with the second crew of trainees coming aboard The Brian Boru. The award-winning Drogheda Sail Training Bursary each year offers 20 local young people the life-changing opportunity to learn to sail. The first crew departed on 10th June and sailed into Drogheda on Friday as part of the Irish Maritime Festival. The second crew depart Monday 18th and head north for Warrenpoint, Portaferry, Ardglass and Kilkeel before returning to Drogheda.

The festival may be over for another year, but the work continues in Drogheda Port to make the River Boyne an integral part of daily life in the town and an attractive destination for leisure sailors and commercial operators.

Published in Drogheda Port
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A flotilla of yachts and pleasure craft including sailing dinghies, RIBs and angling craft gathered off Dun Laoghaire Harbour today to wish Bon Voyage to 16 Tall Ships who visited Dublin Bay over the Bank Holiday weekend and are now en route to France.

As Afloat.ie reported earlier, a Parade of Sail of Tall Ships came down the River Liffey and out into Dublin Bay under full sail in light winds to be the final spectacle in a festival that has attracted an estimated 100,000 visitors to the Port area over the 4-day stopover in Dublin.

Organised by Sail Training International the stopover in Dublin was hosted by Dublin City Council, Waterways Ireland & Dublin Port Company. 450 crew, 50 of whom were Irish trainees, took part in GAA games, Water kayaking, paddle boarding, as well as turning their boats out in ship shape for public visits.

"Up to 100,000 visitors came into Dublin Docklands; Grand Canal Dock and Sir John Rogersons Quay"

Up to 100,000 visitors came into Dublin Docklands; Grand Canal Dock and Sir John Rogersons Quay to visit the splendid ships over Saturday and Sunday.

With temperatures soaring, visitors enjoyed free public tours of the ships, street animation and got to know their capital city a little better. 

See our gallery of Tall Ship Photos departing Dublin below: 

Tall Ship Lord Nelson 3147Tall Ship Lord Nelson Photo: Afloat.ie

Tall Ship Belle Poule 3169Tall Ship Belle Poule Photo: Afloat.ie

Tall Ship DeGallant 3231Tall Ship DeGallant Photo: Afloat.ie

Tall Ship Morgenster 3256Tall Ship Morgenster Photo: Afloat.ie

Tall Ship Maybe 3261Tall Ship Maybe Photo: Afloat.ie

Tall Ship Pelican of London 3284Tall Ship Pelican of London Photo: Afloat.ie

Tall Ship johanna lucretia 3316Tall Ship Johanna Lucretia Photo: Afloat.ie

Tall Ship arawak 3332Tall Ship Arawak Photo: Afloat.ie

Tall Ship Atyla 3360Tall Ship Atyla Photo: Afloat.ie

Published in Tall Ships
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After a successful three day Tall Ship festival of sail in Dublin Port, up to 17 Tall Ships will depart as a fleet this morning, raising the prospect of a spectacular sight off Dun Laoghaire on the south side of Dublin Bay.

Earlier this week, organisers advised that a planned Tall Ships Parade of Sail would not take place but, according to Afloat.ie sources this morning, it is now the intention for all the Tall Ships presently in the Port to 'depart at 12:00 hours and proceed south-west towards Dun Laoghaire Harbour'. 

This means the fleet should be off the Pier about 13:00 hours, subject to weather.

On Thursday last, Southsiders were treated to views of the Tall Ship fleet anchored in the Bay prior to the festival, albeit shrouded in fog.

The Navy ship LE Orla will anchor off the East Pier (approx one mile off ) and the Tall Ships will round her before proceeding South.

UPDATE: Click to see the Parade of Sail Gallery on Dublin Bay

Published in Tall Ships
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The Tall Ships that have been anchored in Dublin Bay and Dun Laoghaire since Thursday have arrived in Dublin City Centre this evening for the start of the Tall Ships Regatta. Read more about the event here

The Sail Training International regatta is hosted by Dublin City Council with support from Dublin Port Company.

This two-leg event sees a fleet of 17 ships sail from Liverpool to Dublin, and then to Bordeaux in an exciting passage race through the Irish Sea, Celtic Sea and Bay of Biscay.

The ships will be berthed in Grand Canal Dock and on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay over the bank holiday weekend, and maritime enthusiasts and members of the public are welcome to visit some of the ships on Saturday and Sunday.

Published in Tall Ships
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Up to five Tall Ships arrived into Dublin Bay overnight and are moored off Dun Laoghaire this morning in anticipation of this weekend's Dublin Tall Ships Regatta on the River Liffey at Dublin Port.

As Afloat.ie previously reported, the regatta sails into Dublin Port today and runs until to Monday, 4th June.

Organised by Sail Training International, the stopover in Dublin is hosted by Dublin City Council & Dublin Port Company. This year, the Regatta features seventeen ships racing from Liverpool to Dublin. They will then continue on to the historic Bay of Biscay, finishing up in Bordeaux, France. While this event is not on the scale of the Tall Ships Races of the past, it will give maritime enthusiasts a flavour of what these majestic ships are like, up close.

Over the June Bank Holiday weekend, the smaller ships can be viewed in Grand Canal Dock and the larger ships will be berthed on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay. The public is welcome to visit some of the ships on Saturday and Sunday.

Read more about the Tall Ship visit here

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The hoped-for Parade of Sail at the end of Dublin's Tall Ships Regatta on the June Bank Holiday weekend will not be taking place. Instead, the ships will leave earlier on Bank Holiday Monday Morning. 'The Ships will leave together from Dublin but a parade of sail is unlikely and low key', according to a spokesperson.

As Afloat.ie reported earlier, the Tall Ships Regatta sails into Dublin Port from Friday, 1st June to Monday, 4th June. Organised by Sail Training International, the stopover in Dublin is hosted by Dublin City Council & Dublin Port Company.

This year, the Regatta features seventeen ships racing from Liverpool to Dublin. They will then continue on to the historic Bay of Biscay, finishing up in Bordeaux, France. While this event is not on the scale of the Tall Ships Races of the past, it will give maritime enthusiasts a flavour of what these majestic ships are like, up close.

More information here

Published in Tall Ships
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If you have been bitten by the Tall Ships bug, here is the opportunity to get your ‘fix’ - The Tall Ships Regatta sails into Dublin Port from Friday, 1st June to Monday, 4th June. Organised by Sail Training International, the stopover in Dublin is hosted by Dublin City Council & Dublin Port Company. This year, the Regatta features seventeen ships racing from Liverpool to Dublin. They will then continue on to the historic Bay of Biscay, finishing up in Bordeaux, France. While this event is not on the scale of the Tall Ships Races of the past, it will give maritime enthusiasts a flavour of what these majestic ships are like, up close. 

Over the June Bank Holiday weekend, the smaller ships can be viewed in Grand Canal Dock and the larger ships will be berthed on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay. The public is welcome to visit some of the ships on Saturday and Sunday.

"The larger ships will be berthed on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay"

Welcoming the Tall Ships to Dublin, Ardmhéara Bhaile Átha Cliath/ Lord Mayor of Dublin Mícheál Mac Donncha said “As Admiral of Dublin Port, I would like to welcome the Tall Ships and their crews to Dublin city. I am delighted that over 50 trainees from the North East Inner City have been given the opportunity to take part in the race with the support of Sail Training Ireland. Events like the Tall Ships Regatta help to showcase the River Liffey as an amenity for leisure and recreation activities and strengthen the links between Dublin city and the port. Cuirim fáilte roimh na longa seoltóireachta go Baile Átha Cliath agus ta súil agam go mbainfidh daoine taithneamh as an chúirt.”

A planned highlight of the event, a Parade of Sail when the ships will sail out of Dublin Port will, however not now take place, according to organisers. See update here.

Eamon O’Reilly, Chief Executive, Dublin Port Company said: Dublin Port Company is proud to welcome the Tall Ships Regatta to Dublin. “We’re passionate about celebrating Dublin as a port city and supporting leisure and recreation on the River Liffey. Our Masterplan 2040 includes a commitment to greater port-city integration and initiatives such as Tall Ships Regatta reminds us all of Dublin’s rich maritime past and continued relevance today”.

He added “This is the perfect time to discover the wonderful opportunity Sail Training provides for the 50+ Dublin crew participating in this race that range in age from 19 to 67. They are testament to how appealing this activity is to all ages! Sail Training Ireland works closely with youth organisations and, this time worked directly with the North East Inner City (NEIC) Taoiseach’s Task Force, to provide life-changing experiences for people of all ages”.

Also welcoming the ships to Dublin, Terre Duffy, Development Manager of Waterways Ireland said “As the custodians of over 1,000km of Ireland's navigable waterways, we especially welcome the Tall Ships Regatta to Grand Canal Dock. This stopover will inspire people to discover and enjoy recreational activities on the water, thus optimising the opportunity for growth in this important area of Ireland's heritage.”

Paul Bishop, Race Director, Tall Ships Regatta Dublin 2018 said, “It’s great to come to a city where Tall Ships and their trainees are the key element of the event. The Tall Ships visit to Dublin in June presents a great opportunity to support the development of young people through sail training and Dublin Port will be the perfect host for our international crews.”

This year the Tall Ships Regatta replaces the Dublin Port Riverfest which, historically, has taken place on the June bank holiday weekend.

In addition to the regular water based activities that take place in the Docklands, such as City Kayaking, Viking Splash Tours, Dublin Bay Cruises, Surf Dock and Wakeboarding in Grand Canal Dock, this weekend will also feature the colourful ‘Old Gaffers’ race, as well as some animated street performances on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

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Sail Training Ireland (STIRL) held their sixth Annual Prize Giving and Season Launch event on Saturday 27th January 2018, in the Oak Room at the Mansion House in Dublin, courtesy of Lord Mayor of Dublin Mícheál Mac Donncha.

The event was a celebration of Sail Training in Ireland involving those involved in every aspect of Sail Training, Port companies, City and County Councils, sponsors, vessel operators, nominating organisations, mentors and trainees. These diverse groups are all blended together with the support of Sail Training Ireland to produce something very special. The stars of the show were as ever the trainees and their fantastic stories of how their sail training experience has such a significant impact on their lives.

We heard from Lord Mayor of Dublin Mícheál Mac Donncha and from Sail Training Ireland Chairman Seamus Mc Loughlin. Daragh Sheridan, CEO of Sail Training Ireland also announced the launch of the 2018 Voyage Schedule. The highlights of which will be:

Sail Training Ireland 2018 Awards

  • the Tall Ships Regatta from Liverpool – Dublin – Bordeaux
  • A Voyage for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired
  • The Ability Voyage which will see six wheelchair users take part in a tall ship adventure
  • An Asgard II Reunion Voyage and Ball
  • The prize giving followed featuring seven very deserving and popular winners. (full details of prize winners below).

Then to the highlight of the afternoon as we heard the stories of three trainees.

Roisin Hackett a self-confessed Tall Ship addict who having suffered a spinal cord injury told us how she counted on the fantastic friendships established on previous voyages to get through her ordeal including an extended stay in hospital. She told us of her latest voyage, which she went on this Summer thanks to support from Spinal Injuries Ireland, The Irish Cruising Club and Sail Training Ireland.

Richard Pepper Mentor of The Year AwardRichard Pepper won the Mentor of The Year Award

We also heard from Conor Keogh who told of his trans-Atlantic adventure on board the Tall Ship Blue Clipper. It was of great interest to all present how he explained that the experience allowed him to disengage from screens and other modern distractions and to really connect with himself and his crew mates aboard. He also expressed his belief that the experience had a big impact on his success in gaining a place on a course in Colaiste Dhulaigh.

The third trainee we heard from was Faye Kennedy. Fay’s amazing story had many reaching for the tissues as she spoke from the heart of her invisible disability and how Sail Training Ireland had accepted her for who she was and enabled her to fully partake in the experience.

Nessa Lally awardNessa Lally won a special contribution award

Sail Training Ireland is a charity that promotes youth development and education from all backgrounds and abilities on the island of Ireland by providing access to sail training voyages. In this challenging environment the trainees learn about themselves, leadership, communication, responsibility, team work, overcoming adversity, friendship and cooperation. As a bonus almost, they learn about sailing and the sea.

Chatting to the various participants at an event like these you hear just how powerful a vehicle for change sail training can be.

“We sailed alongside dolphins as we learnt how to navigate, all the time growing in confidence in our own abilities, not disabilities. If we continue to define ourselves by what we cannot do or where we cannot travel, we will destroy our spirit” commented seventeen year old trainee Faye Kennedy.

Sail Training Ireland Host Annual Awards

1. Youth Ambassador 2018 Dylan Nelson

2. Watch Leader/ Mentor of the Year Richard Pepper

3. Special Contribution Award: Nessa Lally

4. Volunteer of the Year: Nathan Shivers

5. Outstanding Achievement Award: Killian Borland

6. Perpetual Asgard Award: Manor St John Youth Service

7. Trainee of the year: Eoghan Spillane

8. Overcoming Adversity: Amy Kinsella

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