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The second Women on Water Festival will take place at Carrickfergus Sailing Club with Belfast Lough Sailability on 6 June 2020, bringing together women from right across NI as they take to the water.

The first festival was held in September 2019 and was a huge success. Around 50 women gathered at Strangford Lough Yacht Club, from first-timers to lifelong sailors.

The festival is open to like-minded women who have been involved in sailing from a young age or as part of the recent Women on Water programmes.

The Women on Water programme runs at clubs across Northern Ireland and sees women taking part in a four-week programme to learn the basics of sailing, as well as making new friends along the way. It is a low cost programme and is open to women of all abilities.

RYA Northern Ireland’s Active Clubs co-ordinator Lisa McCaffrey explains: “It is fantastic to now have the date for the next Women on Water Festival marked firmly in the diary. Last year was an uplifting and inspirational day with women coming together to share memories of their times on the water, and to make new ones.

“It is a fantastic way for women to try out sailing and to get involved in something which is not only good for physical health but also for mental health and for creating a new social circle with like-minded people.”

Feedback from last year’s festival was positive, with one participant stating: “Women on Water has been a changing point for me and is an amazing project. I’m heading out today with another Women on Water participant and I’m handing my membership papers into my club. I’m definitely at the start of something new.”

Lisa McCaffrey comments: “Following the feedback from last year’s festival, there was no option but to run another festival this year and we are looking forward to welcoming new and returning participants. We have decided to run it over summer so that the participants can return to their local club and get some more sailing done before winter.

“This programme breaks down many barriers and it is so good to learn about our participant’s stories, we are so glad that Women on Water has been an avenue for them to accomplish their goals.”

Debbie Nelson from Carrickfergus Sailing Club comments: " Carrickfergus Sailing Club and Belfast Lough Sailability are absolutely delighted to be hosting the second Women on Water festival. We have always thoroughly enjoyed past Women on Water sessions. This will be a fantastic opportunity for like-minded women to get together, experience sailing, meet new friends and most importantly laugh until our tummy’s ache!"

The Women on Water programme is the first step of the sailing pathway for females in Northern Ireland. Previous graduates are now part of their club committees and some are on the pathway to competing at national and world events.

There are a number of clubs running Women on Water programmes. For more information contact [email protected]

The Five Anchor Quay Marina in Bangor has announced that from Spring this year it will become part of a single marina group, boatfolk.

This development follows last year’s announcement from Quay Marinas that they would form, with Dean & Reddyhoff, a single marina group with a shared vision and shared name. So, in April the 11 marinas nationwide will be brought together under a new name and brand, boatfolk.

The name boatfolk, is explained by Quay Marinas Bangor to its berth holders.

“We’ve always tried to be a little different and have never underestimated the importance of our people and our customers in making every experience at our marinas great. We are unashamedly putting you at the heart of what we do and are celebrating the range of unique characters that make up our community of boaters. From racing sailors to motor cruisers, paddleboarders, anglers and divers, engineers and sailmakers. It’s our berth holders and visitors that make our marinas great. The new brand will be launched in the Spring with a new website, new look and feel and an extra special welcome pack to kick-off the 2020 season. You’ll begin to see more of the boatfolk name and brand from the beginning of April and we hope that you’ll help us celebrate the start of this first exciting chapter in the boatfolk”.

Bangor Marina has 530 berths and provides all the usual facilities, both afloat and shoreside, on a 24 hour service basis. It is conveniently situated as a stopover for passage north and south in the Irish Sea.

More here

The next generation of ferry travel proudly sailed into Belfast Harbour on Wednesday, with Stena Edda undertaking important final trials before it welcomes passengers on the Belfast Lough to Liverpool route in the coming weeks.

As Afloat reported earlier, the Stena Edda arrived at dawn after an epic four-week voyage and over six years’ in planning and construction, including design development in Sweden.

As part of this momentous occasion on its journey, the new advanced vessel took part in successful berthing trials at Belfast Harbour’s VT2 Terminal. A new access ramp has been specially built to accommodate the multi-million-pound ferry in Belfast.

With 40% more deck capacity, 40% more cabins and 30% more fuel-efficient than current vessels on the route, it will accommodate up to 1,000 passengers, 120 cars in its dedicated garage deck and 3,100 lane metres of freight.

It is more spacious inside with a Sky Bar and Scandinavian design providing new levels of comfort for both freight and travel guests. Despite the 215 metres length of the ferry, the new port infrastructure will deliver easier and faster loading and unloading for all passengers.

Stena Edda is part of a nine-figure investment by Stena Line in three new vessels and port upgrades, redefining ferry travel in the Irish Sea. Stena Edda is the first of two new ferries that will run on the popular Belfast to Liverpool route.

Published in Ferry
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Belfast Lough-based Artemis Technologies - a world-leading high-performance maritime design and applied technologies company - has announced a partnership with Creative Composites in Lisburn to make parts for a revolutionary new foiler system – the world’s first commercially viable electric propulsion for marine vessels.

Lisburn-based Creative Composites will collaborate with Artemis Technologies, the world’s leading high-performance maritime design and applied technologies company, to create components for its revolutionary new electric eFoiler Propulsion System (eFoiler).

The system, to be manufactured in Belfast, forms part of Artemis Technologies’ plan to lead the decarbonisation of the maritime industry.

David Tyler, Commercial Director, Artemis Technologies said: “This is an incredibly exciting collaboration that marks a major milestone on our journey to help the maritime sector reduce carbon emissions by developing new green technologies that will power the vessels of the future.

“With a commitment by the UK government that all-new maritime vessels must be fitted with zero-emissions technology by 2025, solutions such as our eFoiler system will play a key role in realising that goal.

“Using truly transformative and complex technology, the eFoiler will reduce the drag of modern fast vessels by up to 90%, making electric propulsion at high-speed and range commercially viable for the first time.

“With extensive experience making composite structures for the transport industry and a commitment to advanced manufacturing, Creative Composites is the perfect partner for Artemis Technologies and will form part of the growing maritime cluster in Northern Ireland.”

Creative Composites will manufacture a range of component parts for the eFoiler.

Jonathan Holmes, Managing Director, Creative Composites added: “It is a tremendous honour to partner with Artemis Technologies on a project that will not only contribute to the next wave of development in the maritime sector but will also make a huge impact on global efforts to combat climate change.

“It will further diversify the range of sectors we serve as we constantly innovate and expand our expertise, to satisfy the growing demand for advanced composite manufacturing.”

As part of the collaboration, staff from Artemis Technologies will be based at Creative Composites to work alongside the team, sharing knowledge and helping to build new skills and provide insights into the maritime sector.
Welcoming the announcement, Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said:

“Creative Composites is one of our most innovative and fastest-growing local businesses. Already working with countless leading global brands, this latest partnership announced with Artemis Technologies will further enhance its expertise, marking the firm’s first foray into the maritime sector.

“The collaboration forms part of Artemis Technologies’ wider plans to lead the decarbonisation of maritime transport – and Northern Ireland will be at the forefront of these exciting developments.”

Artemis Technologies, a sister company to the Artemis Racing professional sailing team is the lead partner in a Belfast consortium bidding to return shipbuilding to the city.

The collaboration showcases Belfast’s existing research excellence and high-quality innovation capability encompassing academia, industry and local government.

It is the only applicant from Northern Ireland and from the maritime industry to be selected for the next stage of the UK Research and Innovation’s Strength in Places Fund.

If successful, it will see more than £30m in funding go towards the consortium’s strategy to decarbonise maritime transportation, while also creating new commercial opportunities and laying the foundations for future product development pathways.

Founded in 2000, Creative Composites manufactures advanced composites for customers across the globe, leading innovations in the rail and automotive sectors and beyond.

Published in Belfast Lough
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Bangor has more of a link to the prestigious SSE Renewables Round Ireland Yacht Race than is at first obvious writes Betty Armstrong. This year Royal Ulster Yacht Club looks forward to tracking the progress of father and son duo, Johnny and Jamie Ritchie in their Dufour 41 Classic, Mingulay, who have, after the last race when they had to retire to Dingle, forensically sorted out the sea cock problem, and kitted out the sail locker with two new sails having discovered their large full genoa and spinnaker wasn’t quite the solution for close reaching.

The RIR website tells us that the first race took place in 1980 with only thirteen boats. That indeed is the case for the race in its current format with the Wicklow start, but in 1975 Ballyholme Yacht Club had jumped on the increasingly two-handed race offshore scene and ran what was, in fact, the very first Round Ireland Race starting at Ballyholme with stopovers in Crosshaven and Killybegs.

Mingulay 3 Dufour 41 Classic, Mingulay

Four yachts took part. The names will ring a bell with the more senior members of the Irish sailing fraternity; Eamonn Crosbie and the late Jim Poole from Dun Laoghaire in the little Ruffian 23 Ruffino; Brian Law from Strangford Lough with Brian Daniels (ex-Great Britain 11) in Sai See, a 38 ft Finnisterrre class yawl; Robert Mollard and Dick Watson in an S&S 34 Korsar from Dun Laoghaire, and the late Brian Coad and Derek Wyndham’s Folkboat, Shoestring from Waterford. Korsar won in a time of nearly seven days. And Coad won the 1980 race in Raasay of Melfort.

Sadly, Ballyholme let go of the idea and following the success of Wicklow SC’s Round Ireland Rally in 1979, a race starting from and finishing in Wicklow, leaving Ireland and all its islands to starboard, was proposed and under the stewardship of the late Michael Jones, the first Round Ireland took place in 1980.

But Belfast Lough’s association with the race was renewed from time to time. In 1986 Fiona Hicks reminds me that she was part of an all-women crew, which included Enda O’Coineen's sister, Ann Marie Bowring, racing in a Sigma 41 called Electra. And again in 1988, Fiona was in the crew of Twenty Twenty, an MG RS 34 owned by Jimmy Mackey.

ArmstrongRoyal Ulster Yacht Club father and son duo, Johnny and Jamie Ritchie in their Dufour 41 Classic, Mingulay are Round Ireland bound this June

So now the Ritchies are renewing that association, determined to go the distance this year, hopefully without mishap.

In 2018 all began well, and they were mid-fleet between the Tuskar and the Fastnet, but within four hours of rounding the Fastnet in calm conditions at 1800 on 1st July, the wind was gusting 40 knots. They admit they were over canvassed, heeling and taking in water through galley and toilet sinks.  They were unaware of the ingress of water as both were in the cockpit. Discretion being the better part of valour, they retired, along with a couple of others to Dingle for repairs. Mingulay did, in fact, complete the passage round Ireland – well nearly – they stopped in Belfast Lough. The father and son hope for better things this time round.

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Ballyholme Yacht Club will be the venue for the Irish Multihull Association’s Weekend of Speed in mid-May.

The club has extensive experience of hosting national and international sailing events on the virtually tide and hazard free waters of Belfast Lough and it was here in 2014 that the F18 Worlds came to town. Winners then were Gunnar Larsen and Ferdinand van West from the Netherlands. The event also attracted America’s Cup sailor Glenn Ashby (afloat.ie 15/6/14).

So, over the weekend of 23rd and 24th May, the Multihulls will return in numbers, this time hopefully joined by the 49er and 29er fleets, an innovation introduced in 2018. The catamaran fleet race as an Open fleet with Dart 18, Dart16, Hurricane 5.9 SX and a highly competitive F18 fleet.

F18 Worlds Friday 11 07 2014 3825

Due to the huge interest and success the event is being developed into an annual meet in association with one of the I.M.A. Regional or National calendar events, this year the Northern Championships.

The organisers welcome any high-performance skiffs with a Portsmouth Number no lower than 900, as well as RS400s, Fireballs and 505s. This could be the event of the year, a chance to see young potential Olympic talent along with Olympians and Olympic contenders on show.

PRO will be International Race Officer, local man, Robin Gray so competitors can be assured of full and fair racing.

A full social programme is planned, and visitors will find smart refurbished and extended changing facilities which include a spacious changing area for disabled people.
There is ample car parking and with the dinghy park extension, plenty of boat space. Camping on site is also available.

Further enquiries to Ballyholme Y.C. +44 (0) 28 9127 1467 or email [email protected], +44 (0)7878 643426.

Published in Belfast Lough

Among the craft in Bangor Marina on Belfast Lough who have made it their home since it opened thirty years ago, are the rowing boats belonging to the Bangor Sea Cadet Unit, T S Decoy. Their shore base is an ex-Scout hall in Ward Park in the town. The unit’s sailing dinghies are kept at the Outdoor Centre at Killyleagh and the paddleboards at their HQ. Officer in Charge is Philip Atwell.

The Bangor unit has a great record in local and national competition. It prides itself on winning last year, the Sea Cadet burgee with Shamrock as best overall unit in Northern Ireland, and the Amaryllis Trophy for the best sporting unit in the region.

Bangor Sea Cadets Junior girls rowing team winning at District RegattaBangor Sea Cadets Junior girls rowing team winning at the District Regatta

Skilled rowing is high on the trophy list with the under 15 girls’ team winning bronze in London at the national finals. And the unit’s football teams excel also, the under- 15 girls having competed in 5 a-side football, winning Gold in the district competition and bronze in the national competition.

Three of the District team boys took silver. And the junior section cadets (10 - 12-year olds) won bronze in the same competition. A force to be reckoned with.

The 58 strong group, about half of which are girls, is one of several in the region with a total of 380 cadets. The others are Carrickfergus, Larne, Portrush, Belfast (where there are two), Lisburn, Newtownards, Kilkeel, Ballymena, Cookstown and a planned one in Enniskillen.

Bangor Sea Cadets Girls at national football competitionBangor Sea Cadets Girls at a national football competition

The Sea Cadets are a national charity with 400 units across the UK. T S Decoy welcomes “young people to a different kind of adventure. We're helping to launch local young people for life today, transforming them into confident, resilient young people who thrive in a complex world.

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The regeneration of the waterfront in Bangor as detailed on 25th November in Afloat.ie, reached another crucial stage in its progress when the developer Bangor Marine Ltd. submitted a comprehensive planning application for the site at Queen’s Parade and Marine Gardens overlooking the Marina.

Announcing this next step, the Department for Communities flagged it up as a significant milestone towards seeing the major £50 million regeneration project delivered in the town. Bangor Marine Ltd. is a consortium made up of several leading companies including the Karl Group and Farrans.

Bangor Regeneration1An artist's impression of the new Bangor Harbour area

The proposed scheme is made up of; Marine Gardens Public Realm combining external events space, cafes, sheltered promenade and kiosks, beach, seafront lawns, children’s play area and water feature, a hotel, a destination/cinema building, residential units, commercial/retail/restaurant space, office space, a play zone, refurbishment of existing commercial properties, basement car park, and marketplace & courtyard squares.

With several key shops quitting the town centre for outlying retail parks and the only shopping centre closing its doors some years ago, it is hoped that this project will go some way to restoring confidence in the town.

Welcoming the application, the Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey MLA, said: “This is a huge step in the right direction for the redevelopment of Bangor’s town centre. We are one step closer to the £50 million investment in Bangor, which will create much-needed jobs, shops, offices and homes, and will create an attractive place for people to visit”. She went on to say, “Now that the developer has submitted the Planning Application, I am encouraging everyone in Bangor to get involved, share their ideas, and make their voices heard in the consultation that follows”.

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Alderman Bill Keery said: “The regeneration of Queen’s Parade is critical to the future of Bangor and working with Council’s plans to help regenerate the Bangor Waterfront will help to maximise the economic growth potential of the wider Borough of Ards and North Down”.

Aran Blackbourne, from Bangor Marine Ltd, said: “We are delighted to submit our exciting plans for the transformation of Queen’s Parade and Marine Gardens in Bangor. Submission of these plans follows a period of extensive and meaningful engagement with Ards and North Down Borough Council, the Department for Communities and, most importantly the people of Bangor.

Jackie Patton, chair of RYANI and Donaghadee Sailing Club member, is on a mission. She used to crew a 505 and along with Thomas Anderson, ex 505 helmsman and crew and past Commodore of Royal North of Ireland YC, is organising a 505 Irish fleet reunion on Saturday 25th April in the RNIYC clubhouse at Cultra near Belfast.

The fleet disbanded in the mid-1980s. The well-known sailor and the retired owner of McCready Sailboats chandlery in Holywood, Wic McCready, and Jackie were the last to win an Irish championship. The class is still active in the rest of the UK and internationally.

As reported previously in Afloat.ie there was an august gathering of Irish 505 sailors at the National Yacht Club on Thursday 7th November to commemorate the second European Championships of the class, which was held in Dun Laoghaire in August 1969.

Former 505 sailors came from far and wide across the island of Ireland to remember the championships, which helped build a young and dynamic group who went on to contribute greatly to Irish Sailing over the following 50 years.

Jackie can be contacted at [email protected]

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Today you couldn’t swim across Bangor Bay on Belfast Lough without skirting the Marina but from 1910 till the 80s the ‘Pickie to Pier’ annual sea swim saw many participants taking part in the 650-metre race from Skippingstone Beach, beside what is now Pickie Fun Park, to the then North Pier, now named the Eisenhower Pier, and back.

Now, in its Seaside Revival programme, the Open House Festival which runs in August every year in Bangor, the Pickie to Pier race is being held again, (in 2020 it is on July 4th) but sadly, the men’s prize, the Lyttle Trophy is missing! The ladies are lucky, however, as their prize is still intact. It is named the Connor Shield after a well-known old Bangor family.

So, the hunt is on for that trophy. Local businessman David McCullough won the race in the late 1960s when he was around 12 years old and remembers the trophy had three handles.

Picke to Pier swim winners 2019 Julie MCabe and Gary RobinsonjpgPickie to Pier swim winners 2019 Julie McCabe and Gary Robinson

The swim to the pier pre-dates the Bangor swimming club – the 18th annual swim was organised by Donegall Amateur Swimming Club based in Belfast. By the time Bangor ASC was formed, there were inter-club races to the pier featuring Wellington, New Alliance and Northern swimming clubs. BASC swam the route weekly, and the Pickie to Pier race carried on through two world wars but met its demise in the late 1980s when a new heated indoor pool was favoured to the freezing cold, jellyfish-laden waters of Bangor Bay.

According to one of the local librarians who has done some research, it is probable that 1918 was the 18th year of the race but no evidence that it started in 1910 could be found in the local press. The race did continue through WWII but there is a gap in the library reels from 1916 – 25 so those years cannot be checked. Generally, the race was run for individuals in a handicap system according to how good a swimmer they were – the faster you were, the longer you had to wait before starting off. There was also a team event for the Gamble Memorial Trophy.

Pickie to Pier poster re missing trophyPickie to Pier poster appeal for the missing trophy

Before Pickie Pool was built in 1931, gentlemen swam in that area and the ladies swam just below the large mansion called Seacourt in what was called ‘Ladies Bathing Place”.

Many people who did the race remember how cold it was, even in August; the horrors of being touched by the seaweed and stinging jellyfish as well as the distance, all presented a huge challenge. One of the competitors remembers the coal boat leaving harbour during the race, creating chaos. But what amounts to a questionable memory is that of a competitor who did the swim with a bottle of Olde English (an American malt liquor) in one hand and a Rod Stewart album in the other!

So if you can help please contact Caroline McCoubrey [email protected]

Published in Sea Swim
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Page 6 of 24

Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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