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Displaying items by tag: inland waterways

The Naval Service OPV L.E. Roisin (P51) will be open to the public this afternoon (2-4pm) at the North Wall Quay, opposite The National Convention Centre Dublin, which celebrated its first anniversary last month, writes Jehan Ashmore.
L.E. Roisin recently returned from Russia and she berthed for the first time at the North Wall Quay at berth 16A. Normally she would visit Dublin Port by berthing on the south-side banks of the River Liffey along Sir John Rogersons Quay, this applies to other vessel types when mooring within the Dublin 'Docklands'. As such it was most unusual to have a large vessel like L.E Roisin berthing opposite the impressive landmark venue.

It is only in recent years that larger vessels can berth at this stretch of the waterfront following the completion of several major construction projects over the last decade. From the building of the Convention Centre and the Samuel Beckett Bridge which involved using the dredger Hebble Sand (click HERE) during its construction process.

In addition the refurbishment of Spencer Dock sea-lock entrance that for many years was closed is now re-opened. The dock entrance featured in the start of the new television series 'Waterways'-The Royal Canal. Episode two is this Sunday on RTE 1 at 8.30pm.

Aside the 79m L.E. Roisin, the last large vessel to berth close to berth 16A was the French 58m tallship Belem, which was chartered by Alliance Francaise to celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2010 and for the inaugural French Hoist the Sail: Market Festival. The three-masted barque built in 1896 was once also owned by the Sir Arthur Ernest Guinness under the name of Fantôme II.

Situated between where L.E. Roisin is currently berthed and where the Belem had moored, is home to the 'resident' M.V. Cill Airne, a floating bar and restaurant dining venue at berth 16B. Another resident is the former lightship Kittiwake at berth 17B, though sited much further downstream at the end of North Wall Quay, opposite the O2 Arena and next to the East-Link Bridge.

There is a fourth resident, again berthed on the north quays, though the Jeanie Johnston unlike her counterparts is moored closer to the city-centre at Custom House Quay. Apart from yachts, leisure-craft and occasional private motor-yachts using the Dublin City Moorings, she is the only vessel to permanently occupy a berth between Samuel Beckett Bridge and the Sean O'Casey foot-bridge.

Published in Navy
Waterways returns to RTÉ television after 16 years off the air this coming Sunday.
The original award-winning 1990s documentary series saw naturalist and poet Dick Warner undertake an epic journey traversing the canals of Ireland by barge.
This year filmmaker Stephen Rooke accompanied Warner as he returned to our inland waterways, this time to explore the newly restored Royal Canal and celebrate the reopening of the entire route from Dublin to the Shannon.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Warner travelled on the Rambler, an original canal tug barge, from Dublin to Lough Ree - the first time it had followed the route since 1923.
Along the way, Warner meets both experts and ordinary people who live along the banks, learning from them about its heritage, history and wildlife.
Filming is now complete on the new six-part series, Waterways - A Royal Canal, which begins this Sunday night.
According to Irish Film and Television News, Rooke re-assembled the core team from the original series, many of whom have gone on to work on successful films and TV shows.
The series begins on RTÉ One at 8.30pm on Sunday 2 October.

Waterways returns to RTÉ television after 16 years off the air this coming Sunday.

The original award-winning 1990s documentary series saw naturalist and poet Dick Warner undertake an epic journey traversing the canals of Ireland by barge.

This year filmmaker Stephen Rooke accompanied Warner as he returned to our inland waterways, this time to explore the newly restored Royal Canal and celebrate the reopening of the entire route from Dublin to the Shannon.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Warner travels on the Rambler, an original canal tug barge, from Dublin to Lough Ree - the first time it had followed the route since 1923. 

Along the way, Warner meets both experts and ordinary people who live along the banks, learning from them about its heritage, history and wildlife.

Filming is now complete on the new six-part series, Waterways - A Royal Canal, which begins this Sunday night.

According to Irish Film and Television News, Rooke re-assembled the core team from the original series, many of whom have gone on to work on successful films and TV shows.

The series begins on RTÉ One at 8.30pm on Sunday 2 October.

Published in Inland Waterways
Waterways Ireland is advising masters and owners that a marathon style canoe and kayak event will take place on Sun 18th Sep 2011from 1200hrs until 1500hrs on the Enniskillen to Culkey section of the Erne System.

Competitors will race from the Round "O" in Enniskillen, to a point 5km upstream and return to the "Finish Line" at the Round "O".

Masters are requested to note any advice or instructions given by the event organisers and marshals and to give competitors a wide berth at all times.

Vessels should proceed at slow speed and with minimum wash when passing canoes and kayaks.

 

Published in Inland Waterways
Waterways Ireland wishes to advise masters and owners of vessels that there will be a regatta of "DRAGON BOATS" in Grand Canal Dock on 10th and 11th September 2011 between 10:00hrs and 18:00hrs daily.

Racing will be on the North Side of the outer dock. Masters and owners of vessels operating in Grand Canal Dock should refrain from entering the race course and comply with guidance instructions from race officials.

Waterways Ireland apologises for any inconvenience caused by this restriction and thanks its customers for their cooperation.

Published in Inland Waterways
A triathlon swim event will take place on the Shannon Navigation in the vicinity of the recreational facilities in Lough Key on Sun 4th Sep from 0900 hrs until 1200 hrs.

Masters of vessels are requested to note the advice of marshals when passing near the course and to proceed at slow speed with minimum wash.

Published in Inland Waterways

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Mr. Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., today opened the new moorings and walkway on the Shannon Navigation in Killaloe. Developed by Waterways Ireland and jointly funded by Fáilte Ireland the €2m project involved the installation of 775 metres of moorings, the underpinning of the old canal wall, the installation of the flood control gates and the completion of a looped walk along the shore and canal wall.

Commenting at the redevelopment, Minister Deenihan said "The improvement works undertaken here at Killaloe Canal have been extensive and will prove important in increasing visitor numbers to this very scenic area of Co. Clare. The project, funded jointly by Fáilte Ireland and Waterways Ireland, will make an excellent facility for walkers, tourists and those who enjoy waterway activities. I have no doubt that this development will only add to this region's reputation as one of Ireland's most attractive and enjoyable destinations for visitors from both at home and abroad."

This project has been funded by Waterways Ireland and Fáilte Ireland under the Lakelands and Inland Waterways Strategic Initiative. This Initiative is a partnership jointly chaired by Fáilte Ireland and Waterways Ireland, with Shannon Development, Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Tourism Ireland as partners.

A key element of the Initiative is product development and Waterways Ireland along with its partners Shannon Development, Fáilte Ireland and the Local Authorities have formulated Product Development Studies for the Lakelands and Inland Waterways area including Lough Derg. These studies chart the future development of tourism, recreation and navigation in the Lakelands and Inland Waterways area over the short and medium term. The development at Killaloe is but one example of the development of top class facilities for boaters, tourists and the local community identified in the Studies.

John Martin, Chief Executive of Waterways Ireland stated "Killaloe/Ballina is a key destination and gateway in the Lakelands and Inland Waterways area for domestic and international visitors. The development here in Killaloe is part of our strategy in Waterways Ireland and is key in encouraging further economic activity in the town and indeed the wider Lough Derg and the Lakelands and Inland Waterways area".

Fiona Monaghan, Fáilte Ireland, explained the importance of developing tourism offerings in the area "While value for money and a high quality customer experience is an important part of selling Ireland as a destination both at home and abroad, ensuring our regions are fully equipped to cater for visitors is equally a crucial aspect to developing tourism in Ireland. Rivers and marinas form an important part of our tourism offering and this investment in the development of the Killaloe Canal signifies Fáilte Ireland's commitment, as the national tourism development authority, to ensuring that there are plenty of reasons for visitors to come, and indeed return to Co. Clare and the Lakelands & Inland Waterways region this year, and into the future".

Now in its fourth year, the Lakelands and Inland Waterways strategic initiative has also invested over €3m in the international and domestic marketing of the tourism and waterway corridor from Belleek to Limerick. The strategy has engaged communities and businesses from attractions, hotels, restaurants, boat hire, and activity providers in building an authentic Lakelands and Inland Waterways brand for this region, a brand which will draw visitors to the unique experiences the region provides.

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

Waterways Ireland wishes to advise all masters and users of the Royal Canal that the above National Championships will take place in Richmond Harbour on Sat 23rd. and Sun 24th. July.
The following timetable will apply:

DateTimeEvent
Fri 22 Jul 14.00hrs onwards Course set up
Sat 23 Jul 09.00hrs to 13.00hrs Competitions
  13.00hrs to 14.00hrs "Harbour open to through traffic
  14.0hrs to 19.00hrs Competitions
Sun 24 Jul 09.00hrs to 13.00hrs Competitions
  13.00hrs to 14.00hrs "Harbour open to through traffic
  14.0hrs to 17.00hrs Competitions

All vessels will be required to be clear of the harbour by 14.00hrs on Fri 22 July to facilitate the setting up of the course but may return after 17.00 hrs on Sun on completion of the event.Further information may be had from Mr Ciaran Clinton , North Kildare Canoe Club on 00-353-87-8482191.

Published in Inland Waterways
With sweeping lines the 54m private motor-yacht Fortunate Sun became the largest vessel to transit Dublin's Samuel Beckett swing-bridge, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The motoryacht (click PHOTO) which has luxurious accommodation for 10 guests and 12 crew had sailed from the Scottish western isles and made a lunchtime arrival on Wednesday, where the vessel initially docked at Ocean Pier, Dublin Port.

She remained alongside this berth which is normally used by large commercial ships until the vessel sought a berth much closer to the city-centre. This led to a shift of berths in the evening when the 2003 built vessel headed upriver to the Dublin City Moorings facility at Custom House Quay, but this firstly required transiting through two bridges.

With a beam of 10.6m Fortunate Sun entered through the East-Link toll-lift bridge followed by the Samuel Beckett bridge, the Liffey's newest crossing point which opened in late 2009. The €60m bridge was commissioned by Dublin City Council and designed by the Spanish architect engineer Santiago Calatrava. To read more on the bridge click HERE.

Fortunate Sun is registered in the Caymen Islands and is capable of over 17 knots on a range of 5000 nautical miles. She has a steel hull and an aluminium superstructure and interiors also by Tim Heywood Design. In the early hours of tomorrow morning the vessel built by Oceanfast is to depart through the 5,700 tonnes bridge which was delivered by barge after a five-day voyage from Rotterdam.

There has been previous transits of the bridge notably the annual Dublin Rally organised by the the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI). This year's Dublin Rally took place on 1 May when boats travelling on the Royal Canal descended via Croke Park and entered the Liffey at Spencer Dock. This required the Iarnrod Éireann bridge-lift and the water level in Spencer Dock to be lowered so to allow safe clearance under the Sheriff St. bridge.

From there the IWAI flotilla made the short passage downriver to re-enter another inland waterway system at the Grand Canal Dock, marking where the Liffey connects with the city's southern canal. The 2011 Dublin Rally was the first time since 1955 that boats could enter Dublin from the Shannon via the Royal Canal and the first time since 2004 that boats also joined from the Royal Canal.

Published in Ports & Shipping
27th April 2011

Trust In The Future?

As the cuts begin to bite, it may be time to look at the British direction for our waterways, writes Brian J Goggin

Foreign weather
The other night, I went to the inaugural meeting of a new lobby group called the Campaign for Real Irish Weather (CRIW). The group's aims are to secure a restoration of traditional Irish weather patterns, and it intends to lobby both local authorities (like the Irish Government) and central government (the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF).

As the new organisation's president, Francis Beaufort, put it forcefully: "For the last few years, foreign weather has been dumped in Ireland. Sunshine in May is all very well, but it's not very useful at that time of the year. And the price we pay is ice and snow in winter, which we definitely don't want. What we need is nice gentle rain all year round, giving just the right amount of water in the rivers, with neither drought nor flood."

I could see what he meant. In October we went up the Shannon and along the Shannon Erne Waterway (SEW) to Ballinamore: it was very cold and our newly-installed heating was essential. But there was even colder weather ahead: throughout the winter, owners had to worry about the effects of ice; several boats sank and no doubt there will be others with damaged engines. Bring back rain.

Rain returns
There was plenty of rain on the first weekend of February, when IWAI Lough Derg Branch members and people from the O'Briensbridge Community Group turned out to remove timber from the upper end of the Plassey–Errina Canal.
This was the old route between Limerick and Lough Derg. When Ardnacrusha was built in the 1920s, the headrace weir at Parteen Villa blocked the river, preventing boats from reaching O'Briensbridge and Castleconnell. The old weir at World's End, Castleconnell, still keeps up the level, so there is plenty of depth, but nowadays (with one exception) only small boats — mostly angling boats and rowing skiffs — use this stretch of river.

However, the Community Group has developed looped walks along the towing-path. The British Inland Waterways Protection Society visited in October, walking from the Limerick canal harbour to O'Briensbridge, and described the canal as a "national treasure". It has a wealth of artefacts, including seven milestones along the 12-mile route.

The group and the IWAI are now clearing the top section of the canal, so that small boats can travel from the river as far as the first lock at Errina. A small but select group turned out, with two boats, and has now reopened the navigation as far as the farm-house at Drummeen. Another couple of weekends are planned to complete the work, although silt inflow below a drain may pose a problem.

Tightening the belts
Other IWAI branches are active too: Dublin working on the Grand Canal graving docks, Newry & Portadown on the Newry Canal. And so are other groups: Drimnagh Friends of the Grand Canal in their area of Dublin, Breffnie O'Kelly and others further east in the city.

The question now is whether Waterways Ireland should start thinking about some more formal arrangement with groups of volunteers, to build them into its plans and its structures.

The Sunday Tribune of 9 January 2011 said that Waterways Ireland's staff increased from 355 last year to 367 this year. It said that the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs (to which Waterways Ireland reports in the southern state), or rather its minister, was "among the worst offenders when it comes to increasing staff numbers in the agencies under his remit".

Waterways Ireland did well from Fianna Fáil's budgets: it has many new vessels in its fleet, new offices and new and improved systems and procedures. But the days of high spending may be over. The budget, in December, showed that the Department's current expenditure allocation to Waterways Ireland in 2011 would be down from e25,585,000 to e24,335,000 (a cut of just under 5%) while capital expenditure would be down from e8,000,000 to e6,000,000 (25%).

Admittedly, Waterways Ireland is now starting from a high base, but remember that we are facing several years of further cuts to get government expenditure back somewhere close to revenue. As it is, the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs has been trying to get Waterways Ireland to pay for the Ulster Canal by selling surplus property, but it has missed the boat (or rather the boom).

British move to trust
Changes are under way in Britain. British Waterways pulled out of the Cotswold Canals Partnership in 2008, a decision that seemed to signal the end of the era of big restoration projects.

Furthermore, BW needs more money than it has been getting. As WATERWAYS WORLD puts it, "Its commercial activities are flat-lining at best, the growth in boat numbers has slowed, and the Government grant is heading downhill fast."

Her Majesty's Government doesn't want to be bothered with all this when it's carrying out a cull of quangos, so it intends to transform BW into a charitable trust by 2012. Charitable status would allow BW to raise money from other sources (e.g. funding trusts, individual donations, legacies). It would have some tax advantages and it would also allow BW to borrow.

One major component of the plans is that BW would use the services of volunteers more. Some would work as individuals but in other cases voluntary bodies would work with BW. There is a sort of pilot scheme on the Kennet & Avon, where BW and the Canal Trust have formed a Waterway Partnership.

Needs must?
Now, I don't expect the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs to greet with glad cries this — or any other — suggestion for change. Waterways Ireland was set up with no board, no formal involvement of any outside persons or bodies, just a chief executive reporting directly to the two government departments, north and south, and their ministers. It's hardly likely, therefore, that proposals for popular involvement will be welcomed.

But if the British solution works, and if financial cuts continue north and south, the powers that be may have to consider a new business model.

Published in Afloat March//April 2011

Published in Brian Goggin

With the boat laid up for winter, there's a chance to think about some of the smaller and less-well-known navigations on our inland waterways.

In winter, when the vegetation has died back, it's easier to see hidden features, and (if it's not raining) the light is often very good for taking photographs.

Several of these navigations could be tourist attractions. The Irish tourism product needs to be revitalised — and that includes the waterways product. Shannon traffic figures this year are down about 25% on 2006 and registrations of new boats are down about 50%. One market that hasn't really been tapped is that for industrial heritage, and the waterways have lots of it, but even abandoned waterways also offer activities (walking, kayaking) and opportunities to get away from it all.

In some cases, though, the powers-that-be don't realise what they have and what they could (at low cost) do with it, while in others the powers seem determined to block public access to the waterways. Here are some of the problems and the opportunities.

The Maigue through Adare
The Maigue flows north through Adare into the Shannon Estuary. In bygone days it was regarded as a separate navigation and the annual Board of Works reports covered it separately.

There was a plan to link Limerick to Cork by canal, but it got no further than making the Maigue navigable to Adare. A short canal ran from the river into the centre of the town. When the railway came, it cut off the entrance to that canal; the old harbour is now beneath an iron works and a new quay was built downstream of the railway bridge. You can walk down the bank from there; you can also visit the Maigue at Ferrybridge on the N69.

Although commercial traffic was confined mostly to turf boats, and not many of them, the navigation continued in use until the 1920s. However, I have found no evidence — in Oireachtas records, in legislation or in statutory instruments — that the navigation was ever formally closed or that the Office of Public Works ever passed over its responsibilities to any other organisation. I have been pestering an unfortunate official of the OPW for some time now; he has found no relevant records.

Accordingly, I believe that the OPW is still the navigation authority for the Maigue, and it might perhaps give some attention to dredging and to the installation of aids to navigation.

In Clonmel itself, flood prevention works have resulted in the construction of walls all along the river, with no provision (as far as I could see) for access to the river. I saw one group of people launching boats on planks laid down a flight of steps; couldn't a slipway have been provided somewhere? And what about providing somewhere safe for boats to be tied up, with a gated pontoon so that people wouldn't have to clamber over walls to get to their boats? Sixty foot wooden yawls (shallow lighters) used to carry goods to Clonmel, but the town seems determined to turn its back on the river and to make it hard for people to use it for pleasure.

The Limerick Navigation
The Limerick Navigation, the old route between Limerick and Killaloe, was abandoned in 1929 when the new route through Ardnacrusha was opened. However, the towing-paths remain in public hands, although Limerick City and County Councils leased parts of them from the Office of Public Works.

In the early nineteenth century, the Limerick Navigation was the scene of operations of the most remarkable inland waterways fleet ever seen in Britain or Ireland. And the navigation itself is packed with unusual features, some of which are unique but most of which are still accessible. It is possible to walk the old towing-path from Limerick to the university grounds at Plassey, then across the river and along the canal to Gillogue. There is a break in the accessible stretch there, but you can walk by road, or along the headrace, to Clonlara, and regain the towing-path there. The route continues along the canal to the Shannon, then by the river through O'Briensbridge to Parteen Villa Weir. The Flooded Area covers the navigation from there to Killaloe, but the old canal at that point has a great wealth of artefacts.

But nowhere is there anything to tell you that you are walking the Limerick Navigation or that these stretches of towing-path were all part of one route. There is nothing to identify and explain the various features or to discuss the boats, the people and the cargoes that went along this route. It would cost very little to make the Limerick Navigation into a tourist attraction: interpretation and marketing are the main needs.

And now the route itself is threatened. The Black Bridge, built by Thomas Rhodes in the 1840s to allow towing horses to cross the river, bears on its parapets the grooves worn by the tow-ropes. It was damaged by last winter's floods and has been closed off. It is possible to cross the river using the university's road bridge, but the Black Bridge itself should be saved, repaired and re-opened as a part of this tourist route.

Plenty to pick from in Estuary
If you want a quick lesson in transport history, get in your car and spend a weekend driving around the Shannon Estuary (a ferry links the Kerry and Clare sides). Some of the attractions (those that charge fees) close for the winter, but there is still lots to be seen.

If you like traditional boats, look for the gandalows from Limerick down (and on the Cashen in north Kerry) and the canoes (currachs) in west Clare. Note the large number of stone piers, built for the estuary steamers and now largely abandoned.

The main steamer ports were Cappa (outside Kilrush) and Tarbert; you can see how the piers were built and extended — and you can think about the early iron steamer Garryowen: when it survived being cast ashore in a gale, the news went around the world and convinced many shipowners to adopt iron for their fleets.

In the summer, you can add the West Clare Railway at Moyasta (between Kilrush and Kilkee), the reproduction monorail Lartigue Railway at Listowel, various stations on the Limerick and North Kerry lines and the flying-boat museum at Foynes.

The individual attractions in this area are fine by themselves, but put them together as an industrial heritage (transport) package and you have something that will bring enthusiasts from overseas — and as the attractions are already there, the cost would be minimal.

Hidden treasures
You never know where you're going to come across a trace of an old canal. The most surprising I've found so far was in Johnstown, Co Kilkenny. It is marked on the 1840 Ordnance Survey map as "Old canal" and the bridge shown in the photo is on a road called "Canal Road": that's what we call a clue. The canal seems to have served a single estate, probably allowing farm materials to be moved around and perhaps brought to and from the road.

There was also a canal system in the bogs on the Dublin side of Roscrea, near Racket Hall. Turf was carried by boat, hauled by donkey, to Birch Grove distillery, where the Equality Authority now has offices. A visit to the area should also take in the small but remarkably atmospheric ruins of Monaincha Abbey.

Several waterways books mention the Rockville Navigation, a series of small lakes linked by cuts near Hillstreet in Co Roscommon. One of the cuts is spanned by a fine, but recently damaged, bridge which bears the date 1765, but I have found no written information about who built the navigation or what it was used for. It is still navigable by small boats, though: I went down it myself last summer, from the bridge to the Silver Eel at Grange, and a group from the Heritage Boat Association carried out a more extensive survey.

The Mayor of Roscommon, Cllr Luke Ming Flanagan, kayaked down from the bridge with a companion; with a slight flow on, they reached Grange in a couple of hours. A small investment — perhaps a launching ramp, a bit of tree-trimming and some signposting — could create a new visitor attraction for the county, appealing to those who want a not-too-strenuous kayak or boat trip.

The era of big waterways projects is probably over. For the future, we need to think small.

Published in Afloat December 2010

Published in Brian Goggin
Page 23 of 28

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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