Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Displaying items by tag: Transatlantic

Two decades after the first victory by a mixed duo, the iconic Transat AG2R La Mondiale is making a serious pitch for mixed two-handed crews to take part in next year's outing.

Entry will now be free for mixed crews, with AG2R La Mondiale saying it will cover the registration fee for all male-female duos who sign on for the 4,000-mile transatlantic challenge which was first raced 27 years ago.

The most recent edition of the Transat AG2R La Mondiale in 2018 saw Figaro sailor Tom Dolan and crew place 11th and first among the rookies after more than 19 days at sea.

With the next event scheduled just weeks ahead of Tokyo 2020, organisers are also touting the move as a great opportunity to set the foundation of a future Olympic campaign, providing invaulable experience in tactics, weather conditions and life offshore — as well as in racing one-design monohulls (namely the Beneteau Figaro 3), just like the Olympics where it's the sailor who makes all the difference.

The deadline for registrations is 31 January 2020. For further details and now to sign up, contact Marine Derrien of organisers OC Sport Pen Duick at [email protected]

Published in Figaro

When a Vimy Vickers bi-plane made a crash landing in Connemara a century ago, it not only marked the first transatlantic flight – but also the first such airmail delivery writes Lorna Siggins

Aviator John Alcock, who flew with Arthur Whitten Brown, had accepted a small bag of mail from a Newfoundland postmaster. After the sack reached Clifden, Alcock ensured it made its way to London.

That epic 16 hour and 28-minute transatlantic delivery was celebrated by An Post on Thursday when it published a stamp to commemorate Alcock and Brown’s achievement.

The stamp by Clare artist Vincent Killowry depicts the Vimy Vickers above an Atlantic swell, having emerged from a spiral dive through very turbulent clouds.

The stamp is ‘W’ or international rate, ensuring that it is valid as worldwide postage, according to An Post.

Its “unveiling” in Clifden, Co Galway is the first in a series of events over this weekend in Connemara as part of an “Alcock and Brown 100 Festival”.

The pilots had to write notes to communicate and flew the 1,900 miles in terrible conditions after they took off on June 14th, 1919 from Newfoundland.

After snow, sleet, and a stalling that took them so close to the Atlantic’s waves that they could taste sea salt, the pair spotted the masts of the Marconi wireless station at Derrygimlagh bog outside Clifden.

Marconi technicians who looked like they were welcoming them were actually waving them away.

The London Daily Mail presented the men with a £10,000 prize and they received a knighthood from King George.

Cork-born and Galway-based journalist Tom “Cork” Kenny also got the international “scoop”, beating the Daily Mail  journalist to it.

The Alcock and Browne 100 festival programme on Saturday (June 15) will start with a remembrance and wreath-laying ceremony at Derrygimlagh, and reception for relatives of the aviators in Foyle’s Hotel, Clifden. It will be followed by an Air Corps fly-over display over Clifden.

Sunday’s programme will include a search and rescue display at noon at Derrygimlagh and a traditional boat regatta off Clifden harbour. There are also photographic displays and talks with experts, including Brendan Lynch who is relaunching his book on the flight, Yesterday We Were in America.

The Central Bank is minting a 15 euro silver coin, and Waterford Crystal is producing a limited edition miniature replica of the Vickers Vimy biplane, made up of 51 individually hand-crafted pieces

Full details of the festival are on www.alcockandbrown100.com

Published in News Update
Tagged under

Ludde Ingvall's Australian Maxi CQS finished the 2017 RORC Transatlantic Race on Wednesday 6th December taking Monohull Line Honours in an elapsed time of 11 days 00 hrs 03 mins 08 secs. CQS committed to a southerly route for the 3,000 nautical mile race and despite sustaining sail damage in a vicious 40 knot squall, the canting keel 98ft Maxi led from start to finish. Ingvall is no stranger to taking line honours in prestigious offshore races, twice taking the honour in both the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. This was Ludde Ingvall's 16th transatlantic.

Once dockside at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Ingvall was full of enthusiasm for the RORC Transatlantic Race and his team:

"We have had a fantastic trip, even though the slow start meant we didn't have a fast race, but I love it. It is great to be back in the Atlantic and especially nice to be first. Much more fun than being last! We have a young crew on board and it is especially rewarding to give them this chance and 'pass it on'. Sailing is an amazing sport, but big boat opportunities for young sailors are few and they did really well. Just think, we have eight nationalities on one boat and everybody was focused on the same finish line. We worked as a team, looked after each other and it was tough at times."

After the Australian Maxi had safely moored at the impressive Superyacht Dock, CQS received a warm welcome from RORC Race Officer Steve Cole and Glynn Thomas, General Manager at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina. Patricia Maher, Chief Executive Officer at Grenada Tourism Authority presented Ludde Ingvall and his team with a basket of Grenadian produce.

CQS has now set the bar for the best corrected time under IRC for the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy. The defending champion, Marten 72 Aragon, skippered by Jochen Bovenkamp and Canadian Southern Wind 96 Sorceress, skippered by Daniel Stump are likely to be the next yachts to finish. The Maxis have close company from two high-performance offshore racing yachts, Tilmar Hansen's German Elliott 52 Outsider and the provisional overall leader, Eric de Turckheim's French Nivelt-Muratet 54 Teasing Machine. All four yachts are expected to finish the 2017 RORC Transatlantic Race on Friday 8th December.

Published in RORC
Tagged under

Cork University Hospital (CUH) is to receive vital funds as four Irish men compete in a 5,500km (3,000 nautical miles) rowing challenge across the Atlantic on December 12th to raise over €20,000 for the hospital’s Children’s Unit. The team, dubbed the ‘Relentless Rowers’, hopes to break the current world record by completing the Talisker Whiskey Challenge from the Canary Island of La Gomera to the Caribbean island of Antigua in under 35 days.

If successful, the group comprising of junior doctors Seán Underwood and Patrick O’Connor, Cork-based podiatrist Eoin O’Farrell and young Dublin entrepreneur Thomas Browne, will also be the first all-Irish four-man crew to complete the challenge. Funds raised will go to the CUH Children’s Unit. To make a donation, visit www.relentless.ie.

The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is known as the world’s toughest row, and the team will take part in a specially-designed small 28ft ocean rowing boat, named Saoirse. They will receive no outside assistance and no re-supplies of food, drink or equipment during the race, surviving solely on what’s on-board.

Speaking about the upcoming challenge, Miriam Forde, CUH Charity said: “Everyone at CUH is extremely excited for the team, and we wish them the best of luck as they take on one of the world’s most difficult challenges. Their efforts will have a significant impact on our services and facilities in our Children’s Unit at CUH, which will directly affect the level of care that we can provide to our youngest patients and their families.”

Sean Underwood added: “Fewer people have crossed the Atlantic than have climbed Everest, so we’re well aware of the challenge we’re undertaking, but quite simply, we believe that you only get one shot at life, everybody dies but not everybody lives.

“In the hospitals we work in, we are faced almost daily with the fragility of the human condition. To put a dream on hold in the hope of affording a better time to do it is a dangerous thing. Life fleets past us. There is and will never be a ‘good’ time to row an ocean, so we’re acting on our dreams here and now.

“If we can make a difference to just one child in the CUH Children’s Unit by competing in this race, then it will all have been worth it.”

While their primary goal is to raise funds for the Children’s Unit at CUH, the team is also hoping to raise awareness for suicide prevention charity Pieta House.

Published in Coastal Rowing
Tagged under

#ARC - Ripped sails and breakages caused by chafe were the most common repairs required by transatlantic cruisers in last year’s ARC rally.

That’s according to a survey by Yachting World to detail the kinds of breakages experienced at sea — and what solutions skippers recommend to deal with them.

The magazine polled all 290 yachts that took part in the rally from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean last November and December, which also featured a number of Irish skippers and crew.

And the findings were a mix of the expected and the surprising.

More than half the fleet — 167 out of 290 yachts — experienced some kind of breakage or malfunction in last year’s rally.

Predictably enough, some of these are par for the course when it comes to long-distance ocean crossings, from issues with steering and rigging to blocked toilets.

But the magazine also found that “worrying number of yachts” had problems with their kicking straps and gooseneck fittings — issues it sees “time after time”.

Overpowered yachts, sometimes sailing with old sails, led to sail damage in several cases, while lack of routine maintenance was noted as the common thread between a number of generator problems.

Yachting World has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Cruising

#Lancer - An American high school student this week made the trip across the Atlantic to meet the Galway schoolgirl who found her marine science project mini-yacht last year.

Kaitlyn Dow from Waterford High School in Connecticut met eight-year-old Méabh Ní Ghionnáin for the first time at the Marine Institute in Galway for the official handover of the unmanned Lancer sailboat, which is set to be relaunched from the RV Celtic Explorer in the Atlantic later this year.

The 1.5m boat provided by Educational Passages was used as part of Kaitlyn's year-long research project studying wind and currents in the ocean.

Fitted with a GPS transmitter, the boat was released in May 2016 by NOAA ship Neil Armstrong off the coast of Cape Cod and successfully crossed the Atlantic.

In September, Kaitlyn made an appeal to Afloat.ie readers to keep a look-out for Lancer as it was tracked as far as Galway Bay.

And when it was eventually washed up in Connemara on 20 September, Méabh was the first to find it after following its GSP signal to a spot near her home in Lettermore.

Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan congratulated Méabh and Kaitlyn on their endeavours, adding: "We are thrilled to be involved with the continued voyage of the Lancer sailboat where it will be launched from the research vessel RV Celtic Explorer during its up and coming transatlantic expedition in April.

"This story is a wonderful example of both science literacy and citizen engagement with the oceans – themes which are a priority for the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance between Canada, the EU and USA.

“Seeing new friendships formed across the Atlantic at an early age highlights the value of international partnerships that are essential for sharing marine science.”

Dr Heffernan added: “With the Atlantic being the second largest ocean in the world, it is important to increase our awareness of the value, opportunities and societal benefits the ocean provides us.”

Michael O'Connor, Kaitlyn's science teacher from Waterford High School, also made the trip to Ireland wit her and her family.

"I am thrilled to see this project to the next stage bringing Méabh and Kaitlyn together,” he said. “Although this started as a science project, the social connections and the sea that binds them are just as important as the data collected.

"Kaitlyn learned to design a study from the ground up, figure out how to fund it, make the social and professional connections to further the project and foster an international dialog about the ocean.

“She has a love for sailing and turned that love into a science project with great social impact and a great story. She will carry that combined social service and love of the sea to the Coast Guard Academy next year for college.”

Lancer was repaired by Ciaran Oliver and James Rattigan from Port of Galway Sea Scouts, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The Sea Scouts recently visited the RV Celtic Explorer with Méabh and will also be attending a seashore safari with Galway Atlantaquaria and the Explorers Education Programme team later this month.

Published in Coastal Notes

Solo Sailor Tom Dolan from County Meath has booked his place in October's Mini–Transat Race from La Rochelle to Martinique.

The sole Irish entry was in Dublin last night to talk about his exploits at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. This will be Dolan's second Mini–adventure having successfully competed in 2015.

For this 2017 edition of the race, organised by Collectif Rochelais pour la Mini Transat, the race will host a full contingent as the number of applicants signed up for the adventure already exceeds the 84 places available. Download the full entry list below.

- The Mini Transat 2017 will set sail from La Rochelle
- Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Le Marin (Martinique) the stopover and finish venues
- 84 competitors expected on the start line on 1 October 2017

Forty years on from its first edition, the Mini Transat remains on the crest of the wave. A maiden voyage for some, a stepping stone to further sporting challenges for others, the Mini Transat holds a very special place in the world of offshore racing. In an era of new technologies and intensive communication, it is still the only event where each racer is pitted solely against themselves during a transatlantic crossing. No contact with land, no other link to the outside world than a single VHF radio, at times the Mini Transat is a voyage into solitude.

Boats: minimum length, maximum speed

With an overall length of 6.50m and a sail area pushed to the extreme at times, the Minis are incredibly seaworthy boats. Subjected to rather draconian righting tests and equipped with reserve buoyancy making them unsinkable, the boats are capable of posting amazing performances in downwind conditions… most often to the detriment of comfort, which is rudimentary to say the least. In the Class Mini, racers can choose between prototypes and production boats from yards. The prototypes are genuine laboratories, which frequently foreshadow the major architectural trends, whilst the production boats tend to be more somewhat tempered by design.

Racers: from the amateur to the future greats of offshore racing

There are countless sailors of renown who have made their debut in the Mini Transat. From Jean-Luc Van Den Heede to Loïck Peyron and Thomas Coville, Isabelle Autissier and Sam Davies, a number of offshore racing stars have done the rounds on a Mini. However, the Mini Transat is also a lifelong dream for a number of amateur racers who, in a bid to compete in this extraordinary adventure, sacrifice work and family to devote themselves to their consuming passion. Nobody comes back from the Mini Transat completely unchanged. This year, there will be 84 solo sailors, 10 of whom are women! The Mini Transat is also the most international of offshore races with no fewer than 15 nationalities scheduled to take the start.

The course: from La Rochelle to the West Indies via the South face

Two legs are offered to make Martinique from Europe’s Atlantic coasts. The leg from La Rochelle to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is a perfect introduction to proceedings before taking the big transatlantic leap. The Bay of Biscay can be tricky to negotiate in autumn while the dreaded rounding of Cape Finisterre on the north-west tip of Spain marks a kind of prequel to the descent along the coast of Portugal. Statistically, this section involves downwind conditions, often coloured by strong winds and heavy seas. Making landfall in the Canaries requires finesse and highly developed strategic know-how.

The second leg will set sail on 1 November. Most often carried along by the trade wind, the solo sailors set off on what tends to be a little over two weeks at sea on average. At this point, there’s no way out: en route to the West Indies, there are no ports of call. The sailors have to rely entirely upon themselves to make Martinique, where they’ll enjoy a well-deserved Ti Punch cocktail to celebrate their accomplishments since embarking on the Mini adventure.

Published in Offshore

When Kaitlyn Dow of Waterford High School in Connecticut put a shout–out through Afloat.ie last September for people to look out for her unmanned yacht off the Galway coast, little did she realise she would be travelling across the Atlantic to meet those finders and be reunited with her school project.

The 5ft mini–sailboat, The Lancer, was washed up in Connemara on September 20 last year. Sent by Dow of Waterford High School in Connecticut, it travelled all the way across the Atlantic, and was picked up by Méabh Ní Ghionnáin (aged 8) on Garumna Island, Co. Galway.

Since then, the Connemara Sea Scouts, who are affiliated with the ISA’s Galway Sea Scouts, have patched up The Lancer and are preparing to send it on another voyage.

Visitors from Waterford High School are due in Connemara in late February – so more updates to come.

Connemara Sea ScoutsThe Connemara Sea Scouts with the American mini yacht

Published in Coastal Notes

At 12:19:41s GMT today, Thursday 28th July, Comanche passed Lizard Point (UK) to complete the 2,880 nautical miles from West to East across the Atlantic and smashed the monohull transatlantic record*. This illustrious record had been held by Mari Cha IV since 2003 and stood at 6 days 17 hours 52 minutes and 39 seconds. The talented crew of world class sailors beat the previous record by 1 day, 3 hours 31 minutes 14 seconds in a total elapsed time of 5 days, 14 hours, 21 minutes 25 seconds at an average speed of 21.44 knots.

Comanche’s owner Jim Clark said: “Comanche was built to break ocean records and the guys have once again powered our fantastic fat-bottomed girl to another title. I am so proud of the entire team and everyone involved in the entire program from top to bottom, the best in world, getting the best out of Comanche. Perfect harmony, and Kristy and I are over the moon.”

The experienced team left New York (USA) on Friday evening July 22nd at 20:58 UTC and headed East aiming for the South West tip of England.

Comanche had been on standby for a number of weeks waiting for optimum conditions to slingshot across the Atlantic, managing a fluid rota of over 30 world class sailors on standby over a three month period, primed to be ready at a moment’s notice. On Thursday the team were moved to a ‘green’ as world class navigator Stan Honey alongside skipper Ken Read, agreed that this was the time to go.

With Comanche skipper Ken Read committed to TV commentating at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in England, the world class crew was led by team leaders Casey Smith, Tony Mutter, Richard Clarke and Navigator Stan Honey. Due to other commitments, Comanche was also missing regular crewmen such as Kelvin Harrap, Warwick Fluery, Jimmy Spithill and Ryan Godfrey (see full crew list below).

Ken Read concluded: “This latest record is testament to Jim and Kristy’s vision. This is the culmination of six years of hard work and a huge team of experts offshore and onshore all working as one. I never had any doubt this crew would deliver the goods – the boat was in perfect condition and the only thing that would scupper the record would be Mother Nature. Luckily she didn’t throw a spanner in the works and this team have once again proven why they are some of the best in the business.”

The weather window promised fast conditions with strong winds, great angles and flat seas all the way to Europe. And overall it delivered, enabling the team to tear across the Atlantic in record time, using only manual powered winches and hydraulics. But it wasn’t all plain sailing, the crew encountered some cold, foggy and squally weather with some nail biting lighter patches that kept them all guessing and hoping that they could stay in the same weather system for the duration of the crossing. They also encountered the danger of ice ensuring the team remained on high alert making the trip, and the record, even more of an achievement. Stan Honey used all his experience to identify this unique weather window, once again showing his colours as the best navigator in offshore racing.

Quotes from the boat:

Casey Smith: "What a boat! Now we have got the 24 hours record, the Sydney Hobart, and now the transatlantic. What a boat! Awesome!"

Stan Honey: "There are only about two weather windows a year where a monohull can make it all the way across the Atlantic in one system, and we found one of them. Beating this record by more than a day is above my expectations and I am delighted."

Tony Mutter: "To achieve something like that, it is important to be fast and reliable. I am happy for all the people involved in this project from the very beginning up to now."

Richard Clarke: "Delighted. Awesome trip, I have been loving every minute of it. Now I am proud of the accomplishment for the boat and for the team."

Pablo Arrarte: "I think this is something big. I don’t think anyone will beat it in the near future."

Shannon Falcone: "This was sort of the Everest of the whole Comanche program, and I am both proud and delighted to be part of it."

The record continues to illustrate Comanche’s pedigree since the Supermaxi was launched in October 2013. Comanche has taken line honors in all races but one entered and currently holds four ocean records.

*Record still to be ratified by the WSSC (World Speed Sailing Council)

Published in Offshore
Tagged under

With 1,548 nautical miles left to sail to the finish of the Transatlantic record (as of 08:30 GMT today) at Lizard Point, UK, Comanche remains on course to break Mari Cha IV’s 2003 record.

Stan Honey, Comanche navigator, noted this morning: Chilly here. Set the A-3 Gennaker to go deeper. Very flat water. Smooth sailing. Not much wind down low near the cold water. Visibility 10 meters. Keeping careful radar watch.

Boat Captain, Casey Smith also sent an update from onboard this morning: “Everyone on board is doing great. Tony, Richard and Dirk are all over the sail selections and we are managing to keep the boat going fast with fresh drivers. We are doing four on, four off watches and everyone is getting good rest. The boat is in great shape with no issues to report. Looks like we have a period of lighter air to navigate over the next 24 to 36 hours, which should give us a good chance to have a full check over. Water ingress is very low. The new bow drains are doing the trick with only a couple of buckets pulled out of up front in the first 36 hours.

The Offshore Dodger will never come off again if the crew has their way - such a game changer. Hatches open the whole time and the pit area of the boat so much safer during high-speed maneuvers. We hit one log with the keel and snapped it in two but it missed the rudders thank goodness. Now we just need to miss the ice and we should be in great shape.

Everyone is great. Life is good. Go the Comanche.”

Meanwhile, watching the record run from the TV compound at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth, Comanche’s skipper Ken Read believes the next 24 hours are crucial for two reasons: “Firstly, Comanche is crossing a bit of ridge and this will bring some of the lightest air they will see on this whole trip. And if you aren't careful you can get quite bogged down in it and miss the window. When you do these record attempts you sort of ‘hop on the train’ and hope that the train takes you all the way to the next station. They need to get through this next light air zone to get back on the train again and rip it across the ocean.

“Secondly, they are right in the possible projected ice zone literally with zero visability – I don’t need to tell anyone that carbon fibre and ice do not like each other and it doesn’t go well if they meet. The guys are very aware; it’s cold and very foggy. They have a great radar system on board the boat, which they are quite confident in. I have talked to them a lot and in fact, I think they are pretty sick of me by now but I now know how hard it is to watch these things from dry land, especially when you see the fantastic pictures of glamour sailing.”

Comanche’s owners, Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark, are naturally following the record run extremely carefully. As Ken Read concludes: “It’s funny, Jim and I have both also become armchair navigators during our many text message banters, discussing whether the best navigator in the world [Stan] is actually doing the right thing. But I think at the end of the day he and I are going to give way to Mr Honey. Not only that, Ken Campbell and Commanders weather are supporting Stan to help make sure he is making all the right decisions. Stan has a programme set up from the boat whereby on the half hour it pings all the key information off the boat e.g. latitude, longitude, boat speed, wind speed and wind direction, to several of us including Ken Campbell so he is monitoring it very carefully and making sure that a tired Stan Honey is still paying attention. This is a different sort of situation for all of us (other than maybe Stan) as in a race you can’t have any outside assistance but here you can have people making sure that all of the sudden a tired mind doesn’t miss anything. Ken has been awesome up to now, watching over things and offering suggestions to help support Stan out there. And also looking at some high altitude weather that could affect things - so the combination means Comanche has the best chance, so let’s see what the next little phase brings.”

To follow the progress of Comanche, please visit here

Published in Offshore
Tagged under
Page 1 of 4

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.

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

Featured Webcams

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

tokyo sidebutton
sovscup sidebutton
vdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating