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Crosshaven RNLI Lifeboat report that they have recovered the body of a missing fisherman from the sea at Ringabella Bay after information received from a person on shore. The fisherman was lost when the fishing boat sank almost four weeks ago.

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Published in RNLI Lifeboats

There will be no match racing on the south coast this year following a rejig of the fixtures calendar.

After two years of expansion for match racing in terms of events the theme for 2011 is consolidation.

Changes to the ISA SailFleet schedule for the boats mean that we have had to go through a rejigging of the match racing calendar.

The major impact is that Royal Cork YC are to take the boats latter than originally hoped meaning that they will be unable to host a leg of the Tour.

With Kinsale not taking part in the SailFleet scheme this year that means no match racing on the south coast for the first time in a couple of years.

With no tie up with the Dun Laoghaire Festival of Cultures available this year a date of July 23rd and 24th has been settled on for the Ireland vs The World International.

The highlight of last year this event will once again pit Irelands 6 best match racers against 6 teams from the rest of the world. Once again National and Tour champion John Sheehy will captain the Irish team.

The Leinster Match Racing Open, to be hosted by the Royal Irish Yacht Club, has been moved to July 16th and 17th to allow it to act as qualification for the Irish team for the following weekend and to give Laura Dillion and the Gladiators (Sam Hunt, Paddy Blackley, Peter Bayly, Richard Murphy) competitive practice immediately before heading over to Poland to represent the country at the ISAF Nations Cup.

Howth Yacht Club's, Dublin Match Racing Open stays with a date of September 3rd and 4th before we head for Lough Derg and the Womens (October 15th and 16th) and Open National Championships (November 5th And 6th).

All of the above means that here will be no Munster Match Racing Open this year and work continues to find a host for the IUSA Student Match Racing Nationals with Galway a potential for early April. There has been considerable work on the cost of entry for events over the winter and the majority of events will have a basic entry of €330 this year. All events will be run at ISAF grade 3.

Revised calendar

July 16-17th – Leinster Match Racing Open, Royal Irish Yacht Club
July 23-24th – Ireland vs The World International, Royal St George Yacht Club
September 3rd and 4th – Dublin Match Racing Open, Howth Yacht Club
October 15th and 16th - Womens Match Racing Championships, Lough Derg Yacht Club
November 5th and 6th – National Match Racing Championships, Lough Derg Yacht Club

Published in Match Racing

Ciaran Cuffe TD of the Green Party has spoken out in support of small boat owners in a submission to the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Masterplan. Cuffe, a candidate in the General Election, says the prioritisation of space within the harbour for surface car parking and marshalling yards for ferry services has reduced the space available for small boat owners. Cuffe says the masterplan should specifically enhance facilities and storage space for small boat owners, such as the Coal Harbour Users Group (CHUG) and local yacht and water sports clubs. He also says consideration should be given to the development of workshops to promote traditional boat building and small craftrepair and restoration.

The full submission from Ciaran Cuffe is below:

"I welcome the preparation by the Dún Laoghaire Harbour of a masterplan for the harbour area. Dún Laoghaire harbour is a major recreational and amenity resource for the locality andwider Dún Laoghaire area and a long-term strategic vision underpinned by a plan-ledimplementation framework is vital in order to secure the harbour's future for the benefit of both the Harbour Company and the local community.

Maintaining a ferry link to the UK
I welcome the proposal to redefine Dún Laoghaire Harbour as a leisure harbour. However, Ibelieve that future opportunities to keep a ferry link with the UK should not be lost. As we have seen during recent incidents when airplanes were grounded, travelling by ferry is still aviable means of travel and may become increasingly so in the future. A seasonally ferryduring the summer months could be considered and the infrastructure needed for a ferryservice should be maintained. The Harbour Company should work to secure INTERREG funding to provide better linked-in ferry and train services between Ireland and the UK.

Cruise Ships & Tourist Development
There is considerable scope to attract the cruise liner market to Dún Laoghaire. Dún Laoghaire is a fantastic harbour location with a unique built and natural heritage. Its location immediately adjacent to the Dún Laoghaire DART station makes it an ideal gateway locationfor tourists to explore Dublin City and hinterland. We have seen the positive impact of large cruise liners docking at Dublin Port with thousands of visitors disembarking, visiting Dublin's tourist attractions and spending money in local businesses. Dún Laoghaire Harbours offers a much more pleasant and suitable docking location for cruiseships and there is a major opportunity to exploit this economic potential for the benefit of the wider locality. Any physical works required to facilitate the mooring of large cruise liners in Dún Laoghaire should be carefully designed so as to avoid any adverse impact on local builtand natural heritage, including the Dublin Bay Special Area of Conservation.

Built Heritage
The unique physical fabric and built heritage Dún Laoghaire Harbour is an important assetand must be conserved and enhanced. In particular, the historic Carlisle Pier now has thepotential to provide a high quality outdoor public amenity space. I understand that elements of the 1890's Victorian railway building have been retained and I believe that these elements should be reconstituted as part of multi-functional covered space to, for example, host an ice-rink in winter, the Festival of World Cultures in summer and occasional outdoor events andmarkets.

Open Space & Public Accessibility

In recent years significant areas of the Harbour Company land was converted to revenuegenerating surface car parking. This has created a car dominated environment and adisconnect between the harbour area and Dún Laoghaire town. The long-term future of theharbour is much better served by opening up the harbour area to pedestrians and cyclists, enhancing accessibility for the general public, improve directional signage, reducing surfacecar parking and delivering more green spaces. In order to achieve this, the Masterplan shouldinclude a detailed design framework for the public realm including further measures to removethe barriers to accessibility due to the rail line.

Views
The sensitive built, natural and visual environment of the harbour requires a very carefulapproach to any future infill development. Particularly, infill development should be in keepingwith the existing building heights of the town to protect the harbour setting and views fromDún Laoghaire to Dublin Bay and Howth Head and sensitively designed to conserve thecharacter of local built heritage and the numerous important protected structures.

Small Boat Owners
The prioritisation of space within the harbour for surface car parking and marshalling yards for ferry services has reduced the space available for small boat owners. The masterplan should  specifically enhance facilities and storage space for small boat owners, such as the CoalHarbour Users Group (CHUG) and local yacht and water sports clubs. Consideration should be given to the development of workshops to promote traditional boat building and small craftrepair and restoration.

Conclusion
Dún Laoghaire is extremely fortunate to have a unique historic harbour resource, which is a central part of the local identity and a much loved and valued social, recreational, and amenity resource. However, the future economic viability of the harbour is dependent on creating appropriate synergies with the wider economy of Dún Laoghaire. The imaginative redevelopment of the harbour can contribute significantly to the local economy, particularly inthe development of heritage and tourism initiatives, The Masterplan must focus on how the future development of the harbour can contribute to cultivating these synergies in a manner, which is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable."

Published in Dublin Bay

A massive drop in some areas of the boat sales market is not reflected in other areas, particularly small dinghy sales, if registration figures released by the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) is anything to go by.

In the dinghy market, in 2009 65 Optimist dinghies were registered (57 of them new). Last year 43 Oppies registered (27 of them new). In bigger boats, 27 ISA cruiser numbers were issued (new or second hand boats) in 2009 and in 2010 there were 50 cruiser numbers issued. There were also 18 other registrations from the 420, Mirrors and Squibs classes.

Published in ISA

City Quay in the centre of Dublin can be a cold place when the wind whips upriver from the open sea.

There was a 'bite' in the wind as I stood there in late November last year, recording the sounds of remembrance. Men, women and children stood in front of a monument where, on most days, traffic pours past and the great majority of people in those vehicles may not realise they are passing a hallowed spot which remembers men without whom this nation would have ground to a halt. This nation may be in a state of "economic war" at present, it was in a real state of war when those men died.

Every year, on the second last Sunday of November, this gathering takes place, when the men of the Irish mercantile marine who lost their lives at sea during the Second World War are remembered. Mass is celebrated in the City Quay Parish Church. Then there is a short walk to the Seamen's Memorial where wreaths are laid. That is followed by tea, coffee and a chat in the parish hall where it is a time of memories for former seafarers and their families. Friendships are renewed as the "family of the sea" gathers. In the afternoon, there is another Memorial Service St. Patrick's Cathedral.

These are poignant occasions which, in recent years, have been extended to embrace, remember and honour all Irish seafarers who have died at sea. The Maritime Institute of Ireland organises the event. Its Cork Branch also holds a remembrance service in November.

The month of November is an important one in the history of Irish maritime affairs.

It was on November 14, 1984 that the then Irish Government, a Fine Gael/Labour Coalition delivered a shattering blow to the Irish maritime industry. They put the national shipping company, Irish Shipping, into liquidation.

Those who took that decision have since put distance between themselves and the maritime sector. Garrett Fitzgerald was Taoiseach; Alan Dukes was the Minister for Finance in the Fine Gael/Labour Coalition Government which made that controversial decision, putting the first Irish State company into liquidation. Seafarers who had rallied to the call to help save the nation when the company was set up in World War Two were abandoned to their fate. Politicians did not want to remember that, at a time when neutral Ireland was being denied vital supplies by warring nations, seafarers saved the nation from disaster. The politicians who ruled the nation in 1984 abandoned them.

Shortly after they abandoned Irish Shipping, the Government was quick to rescue Allied Irish Banks and protect shareholders over the consequences of rash investment in insurance. Banks were more important than seafarers. It seems that not a lot has changed today in the attitude the Government takes towards banks, in comparison with the way it treats the people of this island nation.

• The Annual National Commemoration Services for Irish Seafarers will be held at 11.30 am this Sunday, November 21, in the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, City Quay, Dublin. Wreaths will be laid afterwards at the Irish Seaman's National Memorial on City Quay. There will also be a memorial ceremony of Evensong at 3.15 pm in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.

• This article is reprinted by permission of the EVENING ECHO newspaper, Cork, where Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie

READ MORE ISLAND NATION BLOGS HERE

Published in Island Nation
A lone sailor had just enough time to send out a Mayday Call last night before abandoning his blazing 28-ft pleasure craft nine miles east of Ballycotton Lighthouse on the Cork coast.

Youghal and Ballycotton lifeboat stations responded to the call and Ballycotton lifeboat station spoke of how they could see the black smoke in the distance as they rushed to the lifeboat station. An angling boat in the vicinity recovered the lone sailor from the sea. He was transferred to another angling boat and was immediately taken to Youghal where his condition was assessed by medical personnel.

Youghal and Ballycotton lifeboats were requested by the Coastguard to remain on scene while the pleasure craft blazed. Approximately an hour later the boat sank and the lifeboats returned to station.

Related Safety posts

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Water Safety News from Ireland

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Published in RNLI Lifeboats

It has been confirmed that Ireland will have a second entry in the Volvo Ocean Race. Fastnet winner, twice Afloat sailor of the year, and national offshore-sprint hero Ger O’Rourke will use the title-holding boat, ABN Amro 1 (aka Black Betty) to take on the new generation of VO70s. Let speculation commence, says Markham Nolan.

The Irish Times reports this morning has confirmed that a second Irish entry in to the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) will be made this week following the purchase of the winning boat from the 2005/6 race by offshore sailor Ger O'Rourke.

O'Rourke was crowned Afloat sailor of the year in 2007, becoming the first sailor to win the coveted trophy twice.

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