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I’m wondering why Government officials, the civil servants, don’t listen to advice from people who know more than they do about the maritime sphere…..

Two issues which cause concern are the contradictory attitude of the Department of the Marine which, on the one hand proclaims the importance of the blue economy and pushes the Ocean Wealth Plan as evidence of its maritime commitment, but on the other hand – denies that fish in Irish waters are a natural resource which Ireland owns … Hard to believe perhaps, but that is what the Department has said and a leading maritime lawyer challenges it, as you’ll hear on the Podcast.

The second issue is maintaining the communities on our offshore islands where there is a belief that the Government is not helping sufficiently … President Higgins agrees with them and in the Podcast you’ll hear the Islands’ Federation point to the success of WIORA held on the Aran Islands and a shipping achievement for Bere Island as evidence of what the islands can do.

Listen to the Podcast here

Published in Island Nation

The WIORA Championships concluded yesterday in the Aran Islands. First gun time was delayed on the final day to 1155 to allow competitors to see the Lions match before heading out racing. The forecasted light winds thankfully didn’t materialise and racing took place in beautiful sunshine with about 10–kts south westerly breeze in a race area just north of the islands.

In IRC One, Liam Burke’s Farr 31 Tribal fought off a late challenge by Glen Cahill’s Joie de Vie to close out a perfect result with five bullets with Lauren Heskin’s Now What in third. In ECHO One, renowned Galway man, Enda O’Coineen on Kilcullen Flyer managed to steal Tribal’s glory by clinching victory in the last race of the series with Adrian O’Connell’s Hero from the Royal Western Yacht Club in third.

In the light breeze Johnny Callanan’s Corby 25, Stonehaven Racing dominated the race course finishing well ahead of the competition to secure a hard fought championship beating Ian and Ann Gaughan from Mayo Sailing Club’s Xena and Aidan Breen’s Port of Galway for the podium places in both IRC and ECHO Two.

Despite the series already secured by Brian Raftery on Gossip from Sligo Yacht Club, the battle between the two J24’s continued with Martin MacNamara’s Gala Racing finding their form to take the win in the last race. Conn Lavelle’s Movita sailed a consistent series to secure third overall. In ECHO Three Gala Racing finished in first place ahead of Aine Nolan’s Rhocstar with Gossip in third.

Frankie Leonard’s Roamar secured his second win of the event and first overall in White Sails ahead of Owen Cunningham’s Woofer and Cormac MacDonncha, the main organiser of the event, in third.

The overall winner of the Volvo West Coast Championship from across all IRC classes was Liam Burke’s Tribal from Galway Bay Sailing Club.

Published in WIORA
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Day three of the Volvo WIORA Coast Championships continued off the Aran Island of Inís Mór with the Coastal Race with racing taking place around the spectacular cliffs of the Aran Islands, in fantastic conditions, through the Gregory Sound and in towards the mainland. The 10-12kt northerly breeze provided perfect conditions to surf down the Atlantic swell back through Foul Sounds for Classes 2 and White Sails and South Sound for classes 1 and 2. 

With rocky shores, sandy beaches and a myriad of lobster pots to be negotiated it provided a challenging days racing and quite a contrast to the previous day’s windward leewards.
In IRC 1 Tribal has been knocked off the top of the leaderboard by Glen Cahills’ Joie de Vie sailing a very impressive race. In IRC 2 Stonehaven Racing are holding onto first position while in IRC 3 J24 Gossip from Sligo Yacht Club are continuing their good run and with just one race scheduled for tomorrow have their West Coast Championships secured. White Sails have had a different winner in each race with local sailor from Club Seolteoireachta Arann, Michéal Ó Flatharta on An Tesicinn Mór taking first place.
The Tommy O’Keeffe Memorial will be awarded tonight to the winners of the Class Two Coastal Race, Ian & Ann Gaughan from Mayo Sailing Club on Xena.

Full results here

Published in WIORA
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Day one of the Volvo WIORA Championships dawned with a final entry of thirty nine boats and was to begin with one race and an afternoon start to facilitate crews arriving to the island of Inishmore on the morning ferries. The midday briefing was a straightforward affair with PRO Alan Crosbie, in his twelth year with the West Coast Championships.

At the briefing Jack Roy, President of Irish Sailing spoke about volunteerism and participation and gave credit to event organisers Cormac MacDonnacha and Míchéal Gill of Club Seolteoireachta Arainn for bringing the event to the island for the first time.

Not only is the scenery idyllic but the weather was also playing ball with a light southerly breeze and a windward leeward course was chosen.

In IRC 1 and ECHO 1, Liam Burke’s ‘new’ Tribal Farr 31 was to the fore with Galway Bay Sailing clubmates Glen Cahill on Joie de Vie and Now What hot on their heels after an hour and twenty minutes of racing.

In IRC 2 it was the young guns from Galway Bay Sailing Club headed up by Aideen Breen sailing Port of Galway, the Dehler 37CW owned by well-known Martin Breen. The two Corbys, Thomas Whelan of the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland on Stonehouse Racing& representing the Daffodil Foundation and Rob Allen on Smile filling the other spots on the podium. Ray McGibney’s Dis-A-Ray was also in the hunt finishing third in ECHO.

In IRC 3 and ECHO 3 the class is headed up by Brian Raftery’s J24 Gossip with Foynes’ J24 Gala Racing in second and the Club 8 from Galway Bay Sailing Club in third.
White Sails which has been sailed on progressive ECHO has Simon Trezise on Leonidas in first, Frankie Leonard on Roamar in second and Euphanzel III sailed by Gerry Morgan in third. 

The fleet is also joined by a mini transat class with two mini’s match racing with Yannick Lemonnier to the fore.

Published in WIORA
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The President of Irish Sailing, Jack Roy, is on a busy schedule at the moment. Today he is in Cill Ronan in the Aran Islands for the opening ceremony and first day of racing in the West of Ireland Offshore Racing Association’s Annual Championship. And tomorrow, he’ll be in Dun Laoghaire for the opening festivities and first day of racing in Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017.

With 45 boats entered in the western event, and an additional 20 traditional Galway Hookers expected to be visiting the Aran Islands during the course of the weekend, Kilronan will be busy. But with the turnout in the East Coast’s main event in Dublin Bay now thrusting towards the 490 mark, Dun Laoghaire will simply be heaving.

WIORA fleet by night2By last night, the full WIORA fleet had assembled at Cill Ronan in the Aran Islands

Published in ISA

The first annual championship ever to be staged in the Aran Islands in the forty year history of the West of Ireland Offshore Racing Association gets under way tomorrow at Cill Ronan on Inish Mor. There’s a busy programme afloat and ashore from Wednesday 5th to Saturday 8th July, and the harbour will be well filled as the fleet gathering will also see twenty traditional Galway hookers venturing across to the islands from their many harbours along the Connemara coast, as well as Kinvara and the Claddagh in Galway.

Last year’s WIORA Championship at Kilrush on the Shannon Estuary was won by the Galway Bay SC GK34+ Ibaraki (ex-Joggernaut) skippered by John Collins, with second going to clubmate Liam Burke’s Corby 25 Trial, while third was taken by Ray McGibney’s Dehler Optima 101 Disaray from Foynes YC.

The unique islands venue has proven a strong attraction, and already 33 contenders are berthed at new pontoons in Aran, while a further 12 are expected by tomorrow, with some trailed boats being launched at nearby Rossaveal on the mainland today (Tuesday).

So much about the combined fleet venture and the unusual venue is completely new that WIORA Championship Organiser Cormac Mac Donncha is keeping his fingers crossed that all will run smoothly. But with longtime WIORA Race Officer Alan Crosbie of Cork on station to provide his usual efficient race organisation, the omens are good.

galway hooker2Galway hooker making knots along the Connemara coast. The WIORA Championship 2017 in the Aran Islands will see some real maritime cross-cultural inter-mixing, as around 20 hookers from Connemara and Kinvara will also be visiting Cill Ronan

Published in WIORA
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Cormac MacDonnacha describes himself as “one of the busiest men” in Galway this week as he strives to bring traditional boats and the modern GRP racing variety together in a major sailing event at a fledging club, writes Tom MacSweeney.

That’s his aim as he leads the organising committee of WIORA for the West Coast Championships which will be held for the first time in the Aran Islands, by decision of the twelve clubs whose racing fleets from Kerry to Donegal comprise the Association.

They voted in favour of Aran two years ago in support of Club Seoltóireacht Árainn, the only Gaeltacht sailing club in Ireland, recognised as a Category 1 Sailing Club by the ISA in April. WIORA will start on Wednesday, July 5 and conclude on Saturday, July 8, with a very serious bit of sailing planned on the final day.

Cumann Huicéirí na Gaillimhe has joined forces with WIORA to include the Galway Hookers with ‘modern yachts’ – planned to race side-by-side, on Saturday, July 8.

That should be interesting and there is a belief around Galway and the West Coast that bragging rights are up for grabs!

The hope around Galway is that this year’s WIORA will revive the event following some years of a downturn after the economic crash. It would be appropriate that this should mark the 40th anniversary of an overnight race that was run to Kilronan by Galway Bay Sailing Club back in 1977 when its Commodore was FF minister Bobby Molloy. The late ex-minister remains popular in Aran for his work to develop the islands. To commemorate the event, the WIORA Committee is dedicating a race to his memory. His widow, Phyllis will present the prize.

A 100-metre marina of floating pontoons is being installed for the event. Draft plans have been presented to Galway County Council for a permanent marina. BIM has announced 50% funding to install 16 moorings in Kilronan for the event.

Published in WIORA

Class two yacht Ibaraki skippered by John Collins from Galway Bay Sailing Club has been declared overall winner of the 2016 WIORA Championships after a six race series at Kilrush Marina on the Shannon Estuary. Download results below.

Collins continued his overall lead into the final two races on Sunday, emerging a clear winner with a four point margin. The modified GK34 beat Liam Burke's Corby 25 Tribal on 13.5 points with Ray McGibney's Dehler 34 Disaray from Foynes Yacht Club third on 15 points. 

In class one at the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland event, Yannick Lemonnier's Galway Flyer, an SJ320, from Galway Bay Sailing Club, beat the First 36.7, 2 IRL1514 Zallaq (Duncan & Emmet Kerin) from the host club in a five–boat fleet.

WIORA prizegiving

The WIORA prizegiving at the Haven, Kilrush with John Collins's Ibaraki crew lifting the overall trophy. Photo: WIORA/Facebook

In a five boat class three made up entirely of J24s, Darragh McCormack's Maximus from Foynes Yacht Club was the overall winner. Simon McGibney's Carpe Diem was second ahead of third placed Jibe sailed by Fergus Kelliher of Tralee Bay Sailing Club.

In a white sails fleet of 13 boats, the overall winner was Tom Murray's Kerry Sloop, Kerry Dream, with Pat Keating on Excalibur in second. James McCormack on Alpara finished in third place. The top three were all from Foynes Yacht Club.

30–boats competed in three classes in the 40th anniversary of the event. 

Additional reporting by Elaine O'Mahoney, WIORA: 

The event took place over four days in heavy winds which even in the ‘lulls’ hardly dropped below 15 knots.

Looking ahead at the forecast the race officers made the decision to have three races on day one as a contingency in case any of the subsequent days were blown out. The IRC racing on day one was windward leeward courses west of Scattery Island where OOD Alan Crosbie and his team did a fantastic job in shifty conditions requiring moving of marks between legs to keep the beats true. Winds of about 25 knots and strong tides were a certainly challenge with some of the bigger boats reefed down and the smaller boats all with jibs but the general consensus of the competitors was hugely enjoyable racing.

It was decided to have the longer coastal race on day two which had the IRC classes beat about six miles west in the estuary towards Carrigaholt. Trusting the weather forecast the OOD handed out the race course to all competitors prior to leaving the Kilrush Marina. As the start time approached the first ‘beat’ was looking more like a ‘fetch’ but as if Alan Crobie flicked a switch just as he sounded the first warning signal the wind backed about 25 degrees to make the first beat a proper one. And for anyone not familiar with sailing in tidal waters, one boat commented afterwards it took them nearly two hours to beat to the windward mark and twenty five minutes to get back. Welcome to sailing in tides! The contingency decision made earlier paid off as Friday saw winds of between 35 and 40 knots blow though. The shelter provided in the recently refurbished, and I must say looking smashing, Kilrush Marina was much appreciated by all the boat owners.

The final day of racing winds brought winds gusting up to 30 knots and wind shifts of 30 degrees to contend with and the race organisers did very well to get in a final two races which brought a discard into play for all competitors.

Across all the classes racing was hugely competitive. In the six race series the most races won by any of the overall winners was three races, which was Yannick Lemonnier’s Galway Flyer in Class One while Emmet & Duncan Kerin’s First 36.7, Zallaq came in 2nd and 3rd place went to Liam Madden’s X332 Dexterity.

In Class Two, the eventual overall champions, John Collins’ GK34, Ibariki had two wins out of six claiming the class ahead of last years’ winner Liam Burke’s Corby 25 Tribal with the Dehler 34 Dis-a-Ray under the new helm of Fionn McGibney finishing 3rd.

In class three, an all J24 affair, there was nothing between the fleet who, no matter what tactics employed or what side of the course taken, seemed to converge together at every single mark! At the end of the first day the top three boats were level on points. With just one win throughout the series it was the consistency of Darragh McCormack’s J, Maximus, which kept them at the top. 2nd and 3rd place, who both had two wins each, finished level on points but on countback Martin McNamara on Carpe Diem took 2nd ahead of Fergus Kelliher on Jibe in 3rd.

In what has been hailed by the White Sails fleet as a huge success, WIORA for the first time brought in a second OOD, Peter Moore from Tralee Bay Sailing Club, to officiate the White Sails racing. The 13 boat fleet stayed further east along the estuary between Scattery Island and Tarbert. While at the pre-race briefing the competitors spoke of White Sails ‘going out to have fun’ nothing could be further from the truth once the first gun was sounded. The courses were Round The Cans and competition was fierce with the series leader changing many times throughout the four day event. In the end the experience of the Foynes Yacht Club boats in sailing in the strong tidal waters came through as first, second and third places all went to the Shannon Estuary based club. Tom Murray’s Kerry Sloop, Kerry Dream, was relishing the heavy weather taking first place overall with Pat Keating on Excalibur, competing in his first West Coast Championships on his Westerly Fulmar, but with a few crafty and well-seasoned sailors on board came in second. James McCormack’s Dufour 35 Alpara, finished in third place. The two White Sails boats that came down from the lake thanked the West of Ireland Offshore Racing Association and the Irish Cruiser Racing Association for their generosity in helping them get lifted and transported down for the event due to the lower River Shannon being closed at Ardnacrusha.

WIORA Commodore, Simon McGibney congratulated Adrian O’Connell and the members of The Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland and Thomas Whelan, Chairperson of the Organising Committee for hosting what was widely agreed was a fantastic event. He also thanked the OOD’s Alan Crosbie and Peter Moore and their teams for exceptional racing in testing conditions and finally thanked Kilrush Credit Union, Kilrush Marina and all the other sponsors of the event.

Overall Winners:

Class One IRC :
Galway Flyer (Jannick Lemonnier, Galway Bay Sailing Club)
Class One ECHO:
Dexterity (Liam Madden, Foynes Yacht Club)

Class Two IRC:
Ibaraki (John Collins, Galway Bay Sailing Club)
Class Two ECHO:
Ibaraki (John Collins, Galway Bay Sailing Club)

Class Three IRC:
Maximus (Darragh McCormack, Foynes Yacht Club)
Class Three ECHO:
Carpe Diem (Martin McNamara, Foynes Yacht Club)

White Sails:
Kerry Dream (Tom Murray, Foynes Yacht Club)

Full Results can be found below.

Published in WIORA

After four races sailed in WIORA at Kilrush Marina, John Collins Ibaraki from Galway Bay Sailing Club contiunes his lead in the week's biggest class on the Shannon Estuary in County Clare. The modified GK34 leads Ray McGibney's Dehler 34 Disaray from Foynes Yacht Club after three races sailed in the 10–boat fleet class two fleet.

In class one at the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland event, Yannick Lemonnier's Galway Flyer, an SJ320, from Galway Bay Sailing Club, has the narrowest lead of .25 points over the First 36.7, 2 IRL1514 Zallaq (Duncan & Emmet Kerin) from the host club in a five–boat fleet.

In a five boat class three made up entirely of J24s, Darragh McCormack's Maximus from Foynes Yacht Club leads Fenit's Jaguar sailed by Gary Fort of Tralee Bay Sailing Club.

30–boats are competing in three classes in the 40th anniversary of the event. Racing continues today. 

WIORA results

Published in WIORA

It was in 1828 – 178 years ago - that a regatta sailed at Kilrush led to the formation the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland writes W M Nixon. Ten years later, the new club was thriving with a fleet of 18 substantial yachts based in Kilrush Creek. While the members sailed and cruised on the Irish coast southeast around to Cork Harbour and north to Galway, their focus was mainly on northwest Kerry, with the club maintaining a “Station” at Tralee
One of the families most prominent in the RWTC of I’s establishment were the O’Connells of Tralee, Cahirsiveen and Derrynane, the leading role being taken by Maurice “Hunting Cap” O’Connell. He was the prime mover in creating the 1828 gathering at Kilrush, while his nephew Daniel O’Connell of Derrynane, The Liberator, was also an active member.
The depredations of the Great Famine of the 1840s wiped out virtually all yachting activity on the west coast, but a few yachts of the old RWYCoI were moved in very reduced circumstance to Ireland’s east coast. By this stage Daniel O’Connell’s political work in combatting the Famine was taking up much of his energy, but when on the 4th July 1846 a meeting was held in a Dublin hotel to re-establish Dublin Bay’s Royal Irish YC of 1831, Daniel O’Connell was one of those present to ensure that the club in its reborn form had moved on to properly accommodate the most ancient Irish aristocracy, together with the rising Dublin Catholic middle class, and other religions whose adherents were hampered in their sailing by not being of the Established Church, people like Quakers and Presbyterians.

royal western2
The McGibney family’s Dehler Dis-a-Ray from Tarbert in the Shannon Estuary is expected to be one of the favourites

This re-birth of the RIYC was a remarkable declaration of faith and national optimism in a very dark period, and the fact that its iconic new waterfront clubhouse had been built beside Dun Laoghaire harbour by 1851 was symbolic of the slow emergenece from the horrors of the famine.
Yet despite this successful new development, some members of the old Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland kept the faith with their ancient if now decidedly threadbare and homeless club. Although some reports would assert that the RWYC of I was wound up in Cobh, of all places, in the 1870s, in Kilrush the Glynn family continued to maintain that the RWYC of I had never died, and they continually added to their already significant collection of old club memorabilia, minute books and other documentation.
So when a near-miracle occurred with Shannon Development bringing Kilrush Marina into being in 1991, securely sheltered within its tide-retaining breakwater and accessed via a sea-lock, a club of some sort was needed by the sailing cruisers using the welcome new facility. While they initially called it the Western Yacht Club, it soon became the Royal Western of Ireland, complete with the authentic colours of 1828 as cherished by the Glynns, and from tomorrow (Wednsday June 29th) through to Saturday July 2nd, the RWYC of I is hosting the WIORA West of Ireland Championship, with a fleet of 30 boats mostly from the Atlantic seaboard competing.
The visitors will find that the host club can provide an unusual link with its distant past, as current Commodore Adrian O’Connell is directly descended from people related to the founders. A distant but direct ancestor was a second cousin of Daniel O’Connell, and that ancestor’s sister Mary O’Connell became Mrs Daniel O’Connell.
Families are very much the thing in Shannon Estuary sailing, as the renowned McGibney family of Tarbert, whose home club is at Foynes, will have three boats racing. Irish Cruiser Racing Association Commodore Simon McGibney tells us that the McGibney campaign will be spread across all three, with the family’s well-known Dehler 0ptima 101 Dis-a-ray being supported by a J/24 and a GK24.

royal western3
Barry Heskin & partners with the Dubois 34 Nowwhat (GBSC) were runners-up in Division 1 IRC in the 2015 WIORA Championship

WIORA will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary with this championship, which over the years has been staged as far south as Tralee Bay SC, and as far north as Mayo SC on Clew Bay. Kilrush is looking well for the brithday celebrations, as the harbour complex has been bought over and re-furbished by noted marine-specialising civil engineering firm L & M Keating, with Kim Roberts as Marina Manager. L & M Keating is headquartered in nearby Kilmihil, but is active on projects throughout Ireland, and the firm is supporting the WIORA Championship with Kilrush Credit Union as main sponsors. Racing starts tomorrow, meanwhile here’s the results of last year’s breezy championship in Galway Bay:

WIORA West of Ireland Championship 2015

Division 1 IRC
1 Joie De Vie, Silvie Blazkova/Cahill G, (J/109 Galway Bay Sailing Club)
2 NowWhat, Barry Heskin (Galway Bay Sailing Club)
3 Xena , Ian Gaughan, (Mayo Sailing Club)
Division 2 IRC
1 Tribal, Liam Burke, (Corby 25 Galway Bay Sailing Club)
2 Dis-a-Ray, Raymond McGibney, (Foynes YC)
3 Treyona, Finbar O'Connell (Tralee Bay SC)
Division 3 IRC
1 Jaguar, Gary Fort, (Tralee Bay SC)
2 Battle, JP Buckley, (FoynesYC)
3 Running Tide, Michael Mulloy (MayoSC)
White Sails
1 Jabiru, Pat O'Shea, Jim Lawlor (Royal Western YC)
2 Poitin, Bev Lowes ( Foynes YC)
3 Zephyr, Kieran Ruane, (GarrykennedySC)

Published in WIORA
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