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Displaying items by tag: Skerries

Last weekend saw the annual Skerries Regatta take place over Saturday and Sunday the 15th and 16th of July. With an ambitious six races planned (3 per day), an impressive fleet of 18 Mermaids took to the water, completing 5 races in total. The Regatta offered a variety of conditions and consistency was key for the top winners.

With the Mermaid’s annual National Championship being hosted by Skerries Sailing Club this year from the 5th to the 11th of August, it’s not surprising that the turnout was so good as many availed of this perfect opportunity to get some invaluable practice in for the main event.

Saturday the 15th of July saw some competitors struggle to make it out to the starting area with a low tide that wasn’t filling in fast enough making it very difficult for a number of boats to launch, as a result some Mermaids missed the first race. Competitors were met with a strong, fresh breeze and relatively flat seas as they made their way out to the race area promising for some excellent conditions. Sharing the course were the Fireballs that zoomed around in their element racing for their Leinster Championship (see Fireball report here) as well as some yachts and various dinghies and e-boats. The first race got off to a clear start on schedule and it seemed that those that played the middle of the beat and then banked out to the right came out on top. Darragh Mc Cormack on 188 Innocence took 1st place with Sam Shiels on 189 Azeezy in 2nd and Vincent Mc Cormack on 119, Three Chevrons finishing 3rd.

Following the first race, the breeze picked up considerably and conditions were much more demanding for the second race of the day. The telltale sign was that, bar the top 3 boats, no other Mermaids flew their spinnakers once they had rounded the first windward mark. Frankie Browne on 135 Cara II was having a spectacular race and was lying 2nd, hot on Darragh Mc Cormack’s heels. Eye witnesses claimed the speed Frankie got up to on one of the reaches was the closest a Mermaid had ever come to foiling! The rush of it all must have went to his head as despite the breeze continuing to build on the next leg, Frankie again threw up the kite but unfortunately took a slip and ended up overboard knocking him out of Race 2! Three Chevrons who were right behind Frankie took up the challenge of catching Darragh Mc Cormack and a fantastic race between Uncle and nephew ensued. Three Chevrons managed to climb into the lead on the beat of the last triangle and under the impression that Darragh would most certainly be putting up the kite to get back into 1st place, Vincent threw his up without question (despite the breeze now being well up in the 20’s gusting higher). A bad squall at bad timing was one step too far for Three Chevrons and their 7 year old mast had had enough! A pretty clean break stopped the speed-hungry Three Chevrons in their tracks and Darragh went on to secure another bullet. 123 Vee helmed by Jim Carthy snatched up the 2nd place spot and a fantastic race out of up-and-coming Paul Browne on 146 Fugitive saw him finish in 3rd for what was a very demanding race to even finish. With the wind building and 2 mermaids now with broken masts, the Race Officer made the wise decision to call it a day and the fleet headed back to the club for a fantastic BBQ spread enjoyed on the sunny balcony overlooking the harbour.

Sunday the 16th saw somewhat calmer conditions but still with a great breeze for racing with lovely flat seas and plenty of sunshine. A strong fleet of Mermaids headed out for an 11am start and managed to get all 3 races in. Darragh Mc Cormack who was leading overall got another bullet in race 1 but it was closer racing with some great displays from the likes of Ross Galbraith on 185 who finished 2nd and reigning National Champion Sam Shiels who finished 3rd. Indeed Sam seemed to have found his rhythm as he went on to get 2 firsts in the remaining 2 races of the day pushing him up to finish 2nd overall. The racing in the fleet seems to have a great calibre of competition this year with a number of strong boats always appearing in the top 5 and plenty of others climbing the ranks so the Nationals should be very interesting to see who will claim the coveted title.

Having already won the Mermaid Munster title, ICRA Class 4 in both IRC and Echo on his J24 Stouche as well as the J24 Southern's, Darragh Mc Cormack from Foynes Yacht Club continued his winning streak with his Mermaid 188 Innocence finishing 1st overall at this year’s Skerries Regatta. All of these wins are hard fought and this event was no different, reigning National Champion and local boat, 189 Azeezy helmed by Sam Shiels finished 2nd place overall with only 2 additional series points behind Darragh. Third place overall went to 123 Vee helmed by Jim Carthy and 4th place overall went to 186 Gentoo helmed by Brian Mc Nally. The event overall was a great warm-up for the fleet and now it’s all eyes on the Nationals with volunteers, competitors and everyone in between busy in preparations for the 5th of August.

Mermaids 2nd Overall Azeezy 189Second place overall goes to reigning National Champion and local Skerries boat Sam Shiels on 189 Azeezy with his crew Doire Shiels and Peter Bissett

Mermaids 3rd Overall Vee 123Third place overall goes to 123 Vee helmed by Jim Carthy with crew Paula and Muriel Carthy from Rush Sailing Club

Published in Mermaid
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#RNLI - Skerries RNLI launched on Wednesday afternoon (5 July) after the coastguard received a report from lifeguards on Rush beach of swimmers in difficulty some 500 metres off shore and at risk of being pulled out to sea. 

The Skerries lifeboat launched with volunteer David Knight at the helm and crewed by Ian Guildea, AJ Hughes and JP Tanner to check on the group.

The crew made their way towards Rush and began a search of the area. After stopping to speak to a group of kayakers, it became apparent that the lifeguards on the beach had mistaken them for a group of swimmers.

Once it was established that there was nobody in danger, the lifeboat was stood down and returned to Skerries.

Speaking about the callout, Skerries RNLI lifeboat press officer  Gerry Canning said: “In this case it was a false alarm with good intent. But we would remind everyone, if you see someone in trouble in the water, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Skerries RNLI volunteers were tasked on three separate occasions last weekend with the pagers sounding once on Saturday (17 June) and twice on Sunday (18 June).

Shortly after 3pm on Sunday afternoon, Dublin Coast Guard received reports that a number of people were in the water having been cut off by the rising tide.

Skerries RNLI were tasked and the volunteers launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat with Conor Walsh at the helm and crewed by Stephen Crowley, Steven Johnston and Peter Kennedy.

The lifeboat was on scene within a matter of minutes and immediately located a man and woman struggling to make their way ashore.

The man was chest deep in water while the woman was holding on to his shoulders and kicking her legs to stay afloat.

They were assisted into the lifeboat where the crew began first aid assessments and protected them from the elements.

Once it was established that all others in their group had made it safely ashore, the lifeboat brought the man and woman back to the station where they were further assessed.

They were cold from having been in the water for a length of time, but were otherwise unharmed. After a period of monitoring, they left the station safe and well.

The previous afternoon, Skerries RNLI were tasked by Dublin Coast guard around 4.30pm after a member of the public reported a child in an inflatable boat drifting out to sea near Gormanston.

The lifeboat was launched and proceeded to make their way to the location given. However, while they were en route they received an update that some swimmers in the area had managed to help the child ashore and the lifeboat was stood down.

Late on Sunday evening, the pagers sounded for the third time in two days, after a call was received by Dublin Coast Guard informing them that a man in a distressed state had entered the water in Rush.

However, before the lifeboat could be put to sea our volunteers were stood down as the man had been safely assisted ashore.

Speaking about the callouts, Skerries RNLI lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “We’ve been enjoying some fantastic weather lately. This means we may have more people making the most of our coastline.

“We’d encourage anyone visiting the area to check the local tides and always be aware of their surroundings and the dangers they might present.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Skerries RNLI launched on Tuesday evening (30 May) after the Irish Coast Guard received reports of a distress flare fired from a trawler near Balbriggan.

The lifeboat — with helm David Knight and crew Stephen Crowley, AJ Hughes and JP Tanner — proceeded towards Balbriggan Harbour, where they soon spotted a fishing trawler with another fishing vessel alongside and went to investigate.

The fishing trawler had suffered a serious electrical problem and lost all power, lowering anchor and firing a flare to signal that they required help. The second fishing vessel had responded to the distress call and come to their assistance.

With the low tide making entrance to Balbriggan Harbour difficult, the broken-down trawler was taken under tow by the lifeboat and brought to the safety of Skerries Harbour.

Speaking after the callout, Skerries RNLI lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “It doesn’t matter how prepared you are, things can go wrong at sea. Thankfully they were carrying flares and didn’t hesitate to use them to raise the alarm.

“We’d also like to say well done to the other vessel that responded immediately to the call for help.”

The incident came just days after a fishing vessel sank off Skerries, taking the life of one of its two crew, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#MCIB - The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) will this week begin its inquiry into the sinking of a fishing vessel off Skerries last Friday (26 May) that claimed the life of a local fisherman, according to The Irish Times.

Garda divers recovered the body of 28-year-old Jamie McAllister on Saturday morning, not far from where the fishing trawler went down off the North Dublin coast as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

His crew mate and uncle Keith McAllister was rescued at the scene — and it’s expected that the MCIB will seek an interview this week regarding the circumstances of how their vessel sank while the pair were fishing for razor clams in Force 4 winds.

Earlier this year the five-strong crew of a razor clam vessel fishing in similar conditions were rescued off the nearby Balbriggan coast after their trawler ran aground.

The MCIB previously concluded that dredge fishing for razor clams carries a “high risk” of fouling gear or snagging heavy objects, in its report on the capsize of a fishing boat in Rosslare Harbour in 2015.

Published in MCIB

#RNLI - Skerries RNLI assisted a motor boat with two men aboard that was experiencing engine difficulties at Rockabill Lighthouse on Sunday afternoon (7 May).

Dublin Coast Guard tasked Skerries RNLI shortly after 12.30pm after receiving a call from a motor boat that was having difficulty getting their engine to start.

The lifeboat was launched with volunteer Philip Ferguson at the helm and crewed by Paddy Dillon, Steven Johnson and JP Tanner.

They proceeded on a course to Rockabill, and once on scene they located a 5m motor boat with two men on board that had become entangled in a lobster pot.

Following some troubleshooting advice from the lifeboat helm, a former RNLI mechanic, the men managed to successfully restart the engine. The lifeboat then stood by while they tested that everything was running smoothly.

With the men happy to be on their way again, the lifeboat returned to base and was made ready for the next call out.

Lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “Sometimes, even though you are fully prepared you can just be unlucky. In this case their luck changed quickly as Philip used his experience to get them moving again. Our volunteers are always ready to help in whatever way they can.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Skerries RNLI were tasked yesterday afternoon (15 April) to a small motor boat with three on board that had failed to return to port as expected.

Dublin Coast Guard tasked Skerries RNLI shortly after 1pm after receiving a 999 call from a member of the public who was concerned about a small motor boat that had gone to sea in the early hours of the morning.

There were three men on board the boat, and with the sea conditions changing and the wind increasing, there were concerns for their safety.

The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson was launched with Joe May at the helm and with crew members Stephen Crowley, Paddy Dillon and Jack Keane.

As the lifeboat made its way towards Rush Harbour where the men had been seen launching, they received a call from Eoin Grimes, a volunteer helm, who was at sea on board his on boat and had spotted a vessel fitting the description near Lambay Island.

Grimes soon after confirmed that the vessel was still in the area and located at the North Cardinal mark off Lambay.

The lifeboat made its way directly to the position indicated and spoke to the men on board the vessel. They agreed that the conditions had changed significantly and were going to make for the shore. The lifeboat stood by but after a few minutes, it became apparent that they were not making any progress under their own power.

The three men were taken on board the lifeboat and their boat was taken under tow for a safe return to Rush Harbour.

Speaking after the callout, Skerries RNLI lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “We would encourage anyone going to sea to always check the forecast, wear lifejackets, carry a means of calling for help and let somebody on shore know when you expect to return.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Skerries RNLI rescued a swimmer in difficulty yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 11 April) after he encountered a strong tide near Shenick Island and was unable to make his way ashore.

Dublin Coast Guard tasked Skerries RNLI shortly before noon after receiving an emergency call from a member of the public who had spotted a swimmer struggling to make any progress against the tide at the island off Skerries.

Volunteers launched the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson, with David Knight at the helm and crew Philip Ferguson, Joe May and Laura Boylan.

The lifeboat proceeded to the area indicated by the caller, where an Irish Coast Guard helicopter had also arrived on scene. They took the male casualty on board the lifeboat, protected him from the elements, and began first aid assessments as they made their way back to the station.

The casualty had swallowed seawater during his efforts to swim to shore and as a result, on the advice of the crew, he was transferred by ambulance to hospital for further assessment.

Speaking after the callout, Skerries RNLI lifeboat press office Gerry Canning said: “We’ve had a couple of tidal-related incidents in the last few days. We’d just like to remind people that the strength and height of the tide varies throughout the month.

“We would strongly recommend checking tide tables before engaging in any activity on or near the sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Skerries RNLI rescued a man and a woman and two dogs on Sunday evening (9 April) after they had been stranded on rocks by the rising tide in Loughshinny.

Dublin Coast Guard tasked Skerries RNLI shortly before 9pm on Sunday evening, having received a 999 call from two people who had been cut off by the tide.

The lifeboat was launched with volunteer Eoin Grimes at the helm and crewed by Paddy Dillon, Emma Wilson and Peter Kennedy.

Making their way directly to Loughshinny Harbour, the lifeboat crew began a search of the immediate area. They spotted the casualty on the rocks using the light on a mobile phone to signal for help.

The casualties were taken on board the lifeboat and dropped back to the harbour, where they were met by volunteers from Skerries Coast Guard unit.

Conditions at the time were moderate with a Force 3 to 4 northerly wind.

Speaking about the callout, Skerries RNLI lifeboat operations manager Niall McGrotty said: “We’d like to remind everyone making the most of the coast in the good weather to always check the tides and forecast for the area and to carry a means of calling for help.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Skerries RNLI responded to three calls for help since the weekend, bringing to safety three men, a woman – and a dog.

Dublin Coast Guard tasked Skerries RNLI shortly after 6.30am yesterday morning (Wednesday 1 March) after a call from a fishing vessel with two men on board that had run aground on the rocks south of Shenick Island.

The inshore lifeboat crew quickly located the fishing boat and determined that she was still aground, but not taking on any water.

As a precaution, Howth RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat was requested to assist, but as the vessel began to float no help was required and the Howth crew returned to station.

The Skerries lifeboat — with helm Eoin Grimes and crew Paddy Dillon, Steven Johnson and Peter Kennedy — stood by the fishing vessel as she returned safely to Skerries Harbour.

Two days previously, on Monday morning (27 February) shortly after 10.30 am, volunteers Conor Walsh, Joe May and Stephen Crowley manned the lifeboat to assist a woman who was stranded on the rocks after going to the aid of a trapped dog.

The woman was not the owner of the dog, but had waded out to help the distressed animal before being cut off by the tide.

Both were brought safely to the lifeboat station and the dog was taken to a local veterinarian, where she was later reunited with her owner.

On Saturday afternoon (25 February), the lifeboat was launched with Eoin Grimes, Conor Walsh and Simon Shiels on board after the coastguard requested assistance for a man who had lost power on his personal watercraft.

The man had been some way off shore when he ran into difficulty, and was exhausted after he had managed to paddle a long distance.

The lifeboat crew assisted the man ashore where he received further help from the Skerries Coast Guard unit. They then took the watercraft under tow and returned it to the beach.

Speaking about the callouts, Skerries RNLI lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “We’re very proud of our volunteers. This last few days they have shown just how much commitment and dedication is involved in being on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They are always ready to respond to a call for help.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Page 5 of 12

Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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