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Displaying items by tag: Viking marine

Catching a small hole or tear now may save a lot of time and money down the line.

Drying your wetsuit inside and out after rinsing it with fresh water is the best way to keep it fresh and make it last longer.

In the latest in its Product Care video series, Viking Marine staff member, Antonia, from Dun Laoghaire Harbour on Dublin Bay explains how salt is the natural enemy of sailing wear and gives some tips on how to prevent salt from destroying your suit.

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We've all been there, forgetting to wash a sailing jacket only to discover the next time you pull it out of the bag, the zip is corroded. It's normally due to not being washed out thoroughly with fresh water that expensive marine clothing gets destroyed.

There are multiple tactics you can use to remove salt from zippers and keep your items in working condition.

Salt buildup often occurs on the zippers of sailing jackets and trousers, boots and bags. Zippers should be cleaned of salt buildup so that they don’t stick or corrode. 

In his latest product care video, Viking Marine's Ian O'Meara from Dun Laoghaire Harbour on Dublin Bay explains how salt is the natural enemy of sailing wear. Ian gives some tips on how to prevent salt from destroying your zips.

Published in Marine Clothing

Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Viking Marine has launched a series of short videos on how to care for your technical kit and tips and checks on safety kit to do in advance of any sailing season.

In the first of its Viking Marine product series on youtube, Dean Brien looks at the best ways of looking after and storing your sailing footwear.

If you're a dinghy sailor or yacht sailor check out the tips below on how best to care for your boots.

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Viking Marine in Dun Laoghaire Harbour are offering 15% discount off its 2020 Helly Hansen and Crew clothing range.

Large selection of Jackets, Mid-layers, fleeces and tops are included in the Black Friday Sale.

Shop now for nationwide delivery or click and collect in our shop in Dun Laoghaire.

For the Christmas Gift that is sure to please, click here

T & C's apply

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Dun Laoghaire Harbour marine retailer Viking Marine has made The Irish Times Irish retailers online Christmas shopping list edited by Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Conor Pope.

Viking Marine say they are delighted to be included in this list of top online retailers. Online sales continue to grow since the launch of the new website in August, according to Viking's Ian O'Meara. 

O'Meara and the team are delighted with the growth in sales and positive customer feedback and he says 'The growth in numbers of people taking to sea swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding has introduced a whole new community of shoppers to Viking Marine who enjoy both the on-line and the click and collect service, as we are located on the doorstep of some of Ireland's greatest swimming locations'.  And whilst we may be somewhat out of season for sailing more and more of our young dinghy sailors are still getting out on the water'.

As regular Afloat readers will recall from W M Nixon's piece about Viking from September, the re-shaping of the business has been noted for retaining customer loyalty while being a highly respected element in the development of Dun Laoghaire' commercial, civic and watersports life.

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At Viking Marine, we will continue to supply all our customers during the current restrictions in a number of ways.

Our shop remains open for safety equipment, PPE and essential boat repair supplies Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Our full range of products are available through our website here for nationwide delivery and for click and collect at our shop in Dun Laoghaire.

A happy Viking Marine shopper availing of the click and collect service at Dun Laoghaire HarbourA happy Viking Marine shopper availing of the click and collect service at Dun Laoghaire Harbour

And with our electric scooter, we can do local deliveries by arrangement too. And please do remember one thing has not changed and that is we are only ever a phone call away: Tel: 01 2806654.

Dean (in the vid below) explains how when shopping local and visiting Viking Marine your safety is our priority.

A Viking Marine customer tries on a lifejacket, part of the extensive Safety equipment range availableA Viking Marine customer tries on a lifejacket, part of the extensive Safety equipment range available

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Newstalk's' Bobby Kerr popped into the new look Viking Marine Store in Dun Laoghaire Harbour this week and he and Viking's Ian O Meara de-mystified the term 'chandlery' and discussed opportunities for the Irish marine industry, as well as business challenges and emerging trends in the world of marine leisure.

In early 2019 Dun Laoghaire sailor, O'Meara felt it in his gut that marine leisure was on the rise and so the Dun Laoghaire marine shop and chandlery embarked on a strategy for growth. And the harbour firm is eyeing opportunities post-pandemic as WM Nixon wrote here.

Listen to the podcast with Bobby Kerr here

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Dublin’s sailing community is reeling from the last-minute shutdown under Level 3 of the Government’s new coronavirus restrictions.

But safety remains paramount — especially at Viking Marine, where staff have gone above and beyond to ensure your visit to the recently revamped showroom at Dun Laoghaire’s Pavilion is a comfortable one.

For those who need or prefer to shop online, options include nationwide next-day delivery, local click and collect — and even prearranged waterfront/marina deliveries by electric scooter.

Either way, Viking Marine shoppers can sign up to the new loyal programme which not only gives a 15% discount on your first order but also advance noice of upcoming sales and promotions, and points to redeem for vouchers towards a wide range of products.

For more, visit the new Viking Marine website HERE.

Published in Viking Marine
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In early 2019 Dun Laoghaire sailor, Ian O Meara of Viking Marine felt it in his gut that marine leisure was on the rise and so the Dun Laoghaire marine shop and chandlery embarked on a strategy for growth.

This was to involve investment in their omnichannel business resulting in a full shop re-fit, launch of a whole new digital platform and the rebrand of the entire VIKING MARINE brand. While the Covid pandemic was not part of the strategic plan along with its challenges it has presented many opportunities for O'Meara and his experienced team.

Viking Marine has traded in Dun Laoghaire for over 35 years with O'Meara at the helm since 2000 having made the decision to leave the family business, follow his dream to be at the fore of the marine leisure sector in Ireland.

A local man with a lifelong love for the sea he was born and reared in Sandycove and hunted for crabs from the age of 5 on rocks behind the family home. A regular sailor with a very impressive sailing bio both nationally and internationally he is also a daily sea swimmer as Afloat's W M Nixon in his profile last week here.

At the launch this morning O'Meara explained the decision to choose the pavilion as the location for his business.

Dean Brien, Retail Manager at Viking Marine with Ian O'Meara

'As neighbours to all the Dun Laoghaire Yacht clubs, sailing schools, swimming areas and water access we literally are at the epicentre of marine leisure in Dublin. We also play a vital part in linking the waterfront with Dun Laoghaire town. Let's face it Viking Marine are unique. Where else in the world is your local Chandler right on the high street'.

He also added that recent changes in the structure of Dun Laoghaire Harbour will further improve access to the water for everyone. Covid has further highlighted the sea as one of the greatest resources for fun and leisure, competition both individual and team sport, staycation and not to mention personal wellness.

Ian O'Meara and Viking Marine's Alan UsherIan O'Meara and Viking Marine's Shop Manager, Alan Usher

A further endorsement of O'Meara's profile and reputation was his recent appointment by leading Yacht Builder Oyster Yachts as their Irish Representative for Oyster Yachts. (Ian sailed his first Oyster in 1980!)

Whilst many of Viking Marine customers come in search of expertise and advice it was evident in 2018/2019 that more and more customers were visiting the on-line store. And so the strategic decision was made in 2019 to embrace an Omni-channel approach and grow the digital side of the business. Today sees a whole new look shop designed with DDC Shop fit & Design and the launch of the new site created and developed by the young team at Socialify based in Cork.

Viking Marine Accounts Manager Halyna Kekosh and Ian O'MearaViking Marine Accounts Manager Halyna Kekosh and Ian O'Meara

The changing customer profile saw more and more younger customers coming in search of advice and expertise. Excited by this business opportunity little time was wasted in re-thinking the look and feel of the brand. Brand Central were appointed and the result is a vibrant new logo and brand suite both in-store and on-line. On the criteria for selecting the shop, brand and web design partner's O Meara said 'At the outset, we made the decision to work with small indigenous design and creative companies for this project and we are absolutely thrilled with the outcome'.

So much research showing the positive impact of the sea on our mental health and wellbeing sees more and more people using the water on a more regular basis for sea swimming, paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking etc. Viking Marine have extended their product range to service this growing demand with the added bonus of already being experts in the area of staying safe while having fun on the water.

Ian O'Meara and Gerard Whelan of Brand Central Design

Viking Marine has successfully built a very strong and loyal customer base with very high levels of repeat business. O'Meara modestly describes this as good ol' fashioned retail - Excellence in customer service, expertise in sourcing and testing the best technical products on the market and a team actively involved in water sport themselves.

'One thing I am especially happy about with our new digital platform he continues 'is that we can recognise and reward our customers in so many ways now through our new and innovative CRP'.

Over the years Viking Marine have received Government support for business development and most recently for the digital project. This grant was doubly appreciated during the months of shut down as without it the project may well have been put on hold. O 'Meara finished with some encouraging words for other business owners 'Whilst the application process can be daunting it is worth it in the end, not just for the financial support but the thinking behind the application part forces us, business owners, to take ourselves out of the day to day and think blue sky and big picture. And where better to be inspired than on the water'

Published in Viking Marine
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The only way to face the future is with optimism, energy and enthusiasm. That's the philosophy of Ian O'Meara and the team at Viking Marine in Dun Laoghaire, as they implement the re-shaping of a business which is noted for retaining customer loyalty while being a highly respected element in the development of Dun Laoghaire' commercial, civic and watersports life.

Their ambition is to demonstrate how a fashionably-located and very contemporary marine retail experience - allied to an advanced online marketing service and a range of quality agencies - is in the ideal position to thrive in the changes of the post-pandemic world, while also playing an important role in providing part of the solution to the long-running problem of creating a more meaningful and dynamic relationship between Dun Laoghaire town and its harbour.

Viking Marine's Dun Laoghaire shop is exactly at the centre of this photoWhere town and harbour meet – Viking Marine's Dun Laoghaire shop is exactly at the centre of this photo

Viking Marine has been in Dun Laoghaire as a chandlers and marine suppliers for some time. Yet when - in 1999 - Ian and partners Shane and Leighton Gray (grand-nephews of the highly-regarded local shipwright Skee Gray), took it over and relocated to a brand new shop in the smart Pavilion Quarter in the heart of the waterfront, the process whereby the fashionable retail section of the harbour town was moving steadily from its traditional town-centre location towards the waterfront was still at a relatively early stage.

The township's boat and yacht chandlers had often in times past been hidden up narrow side streets in quaint shops which admittedly had some of the charms of Aladdin's Cave. But it was not a retail model which suited the needs of the 21st Century, with Dun Laoghaire boat numbers increasing rapidly with the availability of the new marina.

Thus Viking Marine was ideally located to harness the spirit of the developing mood. To do this, however, it needed undivided personal attention. Originally, it was part of the Rumball family's Irish National Sailing School conglomerate. But as the INSS's waterborne activities expanded rapidly, trying to find the extra spark of a very different sort of energy to run a topline marine store was becoming a step too far. Thus Ian and Shane were exactly the right people at the right time to step in, take over the business, and provide that vital spark.

As the leading chandlery in Dun Laoghaire, Viking Marine in its new location was already a natural destination along the way for anyone making a journey to get to their boat in the harbour or marina. But underlying the Viking management's decision was their quiet confidence that the town's retail focus was moving steadily harbour-wards as prime sites along the waterfront were re-developed to provide an extensive range of up-market apartment and office blocks, interspersed with smart shops and hospitality outlets.

Pavilion in Dun Laoghaire is a flagship building The Pavilion in Dun Laoghaire is the flagship building for the movement of the town's retail focus towards the waterfront

Each of these residential apartments was vying for a sea view, and many of them were inhabited by sailing and boating enthusiasts who expected the retail choices in their immediate neighbourhood to include a quality marine store where they could find the best of equipment for their boat, together with a comprehensive selection of quality sailing wear with the attractive alternative of a choice of good outdoor and leisurewear generally, and where – most importantly of all – they could find friendly and knowledgeable staff who shared their enthusiasm and fully understood their requirements.

To say that Ian and Shane fitted the role to perfection is something of an understatement. While their personal retail experience was strongest on the active consumer side, they were noted as being people who were clear in their own minds about their priorities. Ian's business experience was mostly in textiles while Shane had put himself through college looking after racing yachts. But the extra special factor they brought to the new challenge was a long and popular position at the heart of the Dun Laoghaire and Irish top-level sailing community – when you get advice and equipment from Viking Marine, you're getting it from a team headed by someone who really knows what he's talking about.

Ian O'Meara in Viking Marine A fund of knowledge and experience with a relaxed presence – Ian O'Meara in Viking Marine

For Ian O'Meara had taken over the sole leadership of the Dun Laoghaire operation in 2010 when the business was re-structured, with Shane standing down from the partnership, while Leighton Gray concentrated on running the firm's workshops at Kilcoole in County Wicklow, where a parts and backup service is provided for Viking Marine's agencies, which include Topper sailing dinghies and Rigiflex Rescue Boats, while they're also main dealers for Mercury RIBs and inflatables, Waveline inflatables, and a very comprehensive range of outboard motors through the Mercury, Mariner and Suzuki ranges.

Viking Marine's Chandlery manager Alan Usher (left) and Shop Manager Dean BrienExperience and enthusiasm – Viking Marine's Chandlery manager Alan Usher (left) is one of the most experienced in the business in all Ireland, while Shop Manager Dean Brien brings a fresh perspective

Viking Marine's Antonia O'RourkeService with a smile – Viking Marine's Antonia O'Rourke has so many customers within easy reach that she'll nip out with personal deliveries on the company scooter……

With this rationalisation of operations clarifying the emphasis on retail services in the Dun Laoghaire premises, Ian O'Meara's role is now even more clearly defined as an able and eloquent spokesman for the town's marine industry. Yet his enthusiasm for the development and positive possibilities of Dun Laoghaire's relationship with its harbour, which is being completely re-focused since management of the harbour passed to Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, is not the enthusiasm of a newcomer who has arrived fresh into the place during the past twenty years, and is filled with extravagant notions of change.

On the contrary, he is Dun Laoghaire born and bred, having grown up in Sandycove – where they still live - with his earliest memories being of childhood fishing for crabs "out the back of the house'. Yet his effervescent joy in the place is undimmed, as he and wife Jacquie are among that hardy group who take a refreshing open-sea plunge at the Forty Foot each morning to get them started into the day.

As for sailing, Ian's father Roger moved his focus between the Royal St George YC and the National as his interests shifted between racing Dragons and Glens, while Ian likewise found his early sailing needs depended on what was on offer at each club. So although he was "George" focused, his first serious steps afloat were with an Optimist in the Junior Programme pioneered at the National by Carmel Winkelmann and Paddy Kirwan.

Dean Brien putting a new customer on a sound footingDean Brien putting a new customer on a sound footing. Never let it be forgotten that the breathable yet watertight modern seaboot, - which has transformed sailing comfort - was invented in Ireland by Dubarry of Ballinasloe

In time he moved on to active Mirror racing with his own boat, and while there were other dinghies to be sailed, and also Sportsboat experience when the 1720s arrived, his affable nature, enthusiasm, under-lying competitiveness and natural ability in a boat meant that he soon found his niche as a sought-after crew member on cruiser-racers, with his early and wide experiences being with Barry O'Donnell and his remarkable family on the keenly-sailed Oyster 37 Sundowner, which gives a long-term symmetry to his sailing career, as Ian is now the Oyster Yachts representative for Ireland.

 Ian O'Meara on the mainsheet of Andrew Algeo's J/109 Juggerknot A good man in a boat – Ian O'Meara on the mainsheet of Andrew Algeo's J/109 Juggerknot in Dun Laoghaire within sight of the Viking Marine premises. Photo O'Brien

However, with a growing family – he and Jacquie have three now-grown-up children – there was a need for a family boat purely for cruising and pottering, and they were to solve this neatly by going into partnership in 2004 with two other families in a Harmony 38.

But the call of the racing was always there, and Ian O'Meara's sailing CV at the sharp end of local, national and international offshore racing reads like a Who's Who of the top end of the Irish scene, as his skippers have included Cormac Twomey whose First 44s7 Sarah J was at the front end of the fleet in the late 1990s with a string of successes which included Ian's first Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race win.

Paul O'Higgins' JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI Paul O'Higgins' JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI (with Ian O'Meara in her crew) may have been dwarfed by Mick Cotter's Southwind 94 Windfall at the start of last year's Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race, and Windfall may have taken line honours with a new course record, but Rockabill VI was overall winner to provide Ian O'Meara with yet another Dun Laoghaire-Dingle victory. Photo: O'Brien

He was on most of the "Gloves" programme on both sides of the Atlantic on various hyper-competitive boats with Colm Barrington. while also being with the same enlarged team on the Volvo Jeep Cherokee to set the Round Ireland Race record and overall win. He shipped with Peter Wilson on the all-conquering J/35 Jumpin' Jack Flash, while more recently he has been the man to go for if you want an all-rounder in a J/109. And as of now, he's most closely associated with Paul O'Higgins in a winning progression with the Corby 33 Rockabill V and the much-admired JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI , which was Ireland's top offshore racer in 2019 in all significant categories.

Rockabill VI does her thing

So not surprisingly Viking Marine has fitted well as a sponsor of ISORA Races. But Ian's scope has been further broadened by the addition to the firm's agencies of top international company Oyster Yachts, with recent experiences including racing with Liam Shanahan Jnr on the Oyster 625 Ruth II at the Palma Oyster Regatta. And then, as last Autumn phased into winter, he was with the FitzPatrick family aboard the elegant and successful Beneteau 50 Mermaid VI in the DBSC Turkey Shoot series.

Yet even with all this sailing, he still arrives full of vim into the Viking Marine Pavilion premises with its staff of seven on a Monday morning, fresh from the Forty Foot and brimful of ideas to take the business forward as we move from the time of lockdown into an uncertain future in which – despite all the uncertainties – the Team are excited about new possibilities as they apply modern marketing technology, further develop their social media presence, up-grade their online offer, and yet at same time retain what is best in their existing setup.

In addition to the strategically-located Dun Laoghaire retail operation, this is augmented by the growing RIB and Outboard Engine sales/service business in Kilcoole Industrial Estate in County Wicklow where fellow-founder and business partner Leighton Gray continues as a respected expert at engineering and mechanics in support of the firm's impressive agencies and dealerships.

experienced paddleboarder, Viking Marine shop manager Dean BrienAs an experienced paddleboarder, Viking Marine shop manager Dean Brien found his knowledge and advice was highly valued as the demand for paddleboards and kayaks soared during the Lockdown

The Lockdown provided a fast learning curve, as Viking Marine met an entire new cohort of people who wanted to escape the shoreside limitations by going afloat in sheltered location in kayaks and paddleboards – "we sold more paddleboards, kayaks and tenders in two weeks than we did in all of last year".

It has been an experience which has increased Viking Marine's enthusiasm for the potential of what a closer link - with easier access to the harbour and the sea - could do for Dun Laoghaire's general communal vitality. That enthusiasm is expressing itself in a whole new look for Viking Marine – which will be fully unveiled next week – and their appreciation for their remarkably high level of customer loyalty.

They have encouraged this by their range of starter kits, and their ability to give friendly and genuinely useful and experienced advice to young people who may not be cradle sailors, and who - in today's fast-moving and rapidly-changing world - see a user-friendly shop like Viking Marine as being their first point of contact with the strange yet wonderful world of waterborne sport and recreation.

Ian O'Meara spotted in battle kit as he heads down Dun Laoghaire marinaWhat boat is he headed for today? Ian O'Meara spotted in battle kit as he heads down Dun Laoghaire marina for a spot of racing

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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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