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Displaying items by tag: canoe

The Irish canoeing C1 men's team today took a silver medal in the team race, behind the Slovenian team, the newly crowned European Champions.

The three-man team of Liam Jegou, Jake Cochrane and Robert Hendrick put together a very solid run to take Ireland's first team medal in a long time, doing so on what was a very difficult course. Having been the second team off in the race the three Irish athletes had a nervous wait, watching teams including World, European and Olympic Champions fall victim to the difficulty of the course in Prague, and only being beaten to the gold by a strong Slovenian team featuring the newly crowned individual European Champion, Benjamin Savsek.

The three-man team of Liam Jegou, Jake Cochrane and Robert Hendrick put together a very solid run to take Irelands first team medal in a long time, doing so on what was a very difficult courseThe three-man team of Liam Jegou, Jake Cochrane and Robert Hendrick put together a very solid run to take Irelands first team medal in a long time, doing so on what was a very difficult course

This result came off the back of further strong performances from Jake Cochrane and Liam Jegou, Ireland's Olympian for the 2021 Tokyo Games, who finished 12th and 15th respectively in the individual C1M race earlier in the day. The third boat in the team Robert Hendrick had a disappointing race but was no doubt buoyed up by the team's medal success.

Elsewhere in the competition, the Irish K1M had great performances, with Noel Hendrick finishing 21st in the semi-final, and Eoin Teague finishing in 36.th

This silver medal performance comes during what is a resurgence in the sport of canoe slalom in Ireland, with medals again being won and athletes qualifying for the upcoming Olympic Games after a brief drought.

Published in Canoeing
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A lone kayaker who died on Sligo’s Lough Gill last year may have become separated from his Canadian canoe in bad weather, an investigation has found.

A Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) report into the incident on January 29th, 2019, has found that wellington boots worn by the kayaker would have weighed him down on immersion.

The incident is believed to have occurred sometime between 18.27 hours on January 26th and the next evening, January 27th, before darkness fell.

The man had set out from a pier in Trawane Bay opposite Inishfree on the southwestern corner of Lough Gill and planned to camp overnight near Slish woods.

His body was found by Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter about 0.75 km from his campsite on the morning of January 29th, after the alarm was raised by his partner.

His canoe was found later on the shore by his partner approximately 0.4 km east of the campsite which he had established.

Weather conditions were not suitable for a small craft, and the personal flotation device (PFD) worn was designed to aid a person to stay afloat and swim to safety.

“The PFD would not keep him afloat as an inflatable life jacket would have done,” the report states.

The report says the canoe and the casualty “were found in two different locations indicating that the casualty entered the water and became separated from the canoe due to some incident”.

“There were no grab lines attached to the canoe to assist recovery,” it says.

The kayaker had a mobile phone but did not carry any other means of signalling for help, such as flares or a marine VHF handheld transceiver, the report states.

The report notes the man’s partner advised that he had bought the canoe within the past 12 months, and was inexperienced in using this type of craft or any craft on the water.

“He was, however, a competent swimmer having gained several certificates for achievements in swimming,” the report states.

An autopsy recorded cause of death as freshwater drowning.

The MCIB report recommends that a marine notice should be issued, highlighting the requirements set out in Chapter 7 of the Code of Practice for Recreational Craft for canoeing/kayaking.

It says particular attention should be paid to the code’s section 7.1 on training, 7.2 on carrying a mobile phone or marine VHF radio in a suitable watertight cover, and that the hull is fitted with grab loops/towing lines, and that the person is a competent swimmer.

It also recommends that canoeists/kayakers should “ensure that they wear clothing and footwear that will not affect their chance of survival in the water”.

Published in MCIB
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Canoe Slalom racer Liam Jegou has become the first Team Ireland athlete to be selected for the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer. Originally from Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare, the France-based Jegou has already stamped his mark on the international stage, winning silver in the 2014 Junior World Championships and bronze in the 2019 U23 World Championships. The 24-year-old will compete in the C1 category at the Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre in Tokyo from the 26-27 July 2020.

 Jegou is the second Irish athlete ever to compete in the C1 Canoe Slalom at the Olympic Games, with the only other athlete being Mike Corcoran, who last competed in Atlanta 1996, the year in which Jegou was born.

 Jegou said he was intent on seizing his opportunity in Tokyo. “Being an Olympian has always been one of my biggest dreams. I started training when I was 11 or 12, the past month has been unbelievable knowing that I am going to compete for Team Ireland in the Olympics.

 “In my sport the Olympics is everything, it’s what everyone works for in their sport. It’s such a select thing; there’s only one athlete per nation that gets to go and when you to go you just want to give it your all. Most people only get to go to the Games once or twice in their lives, and I’m certainly not going to let the opportunity pass me.”

 Olympic Federation of Ireland Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, Tricia Heberle said: “It’s very exciting, this is our first athlete to be approved as part of Team Ireland for the 2020 Olympics – it’s great for the sport and great for Liam.

 “There is a tremendous amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to support sports and our athletes to qualify and perform at the Games. It’s a real team effort with our National Federations, the Sport Ireland Institute and a range of other support groups working together with the athletes as our priority. Liam has his own story and we are so pleased to be supporting the next chapter in his journey as he prepares for the Tokyo Olympic Games.”

 Canoeing Ireland Performance Director Jon Mackey described the significance of this for his sport: It’s big for any sport to qualify for an Olympic Games. For canoeing, it’s great for the exposure of the sport, we are relatively small, and it’s great to tap into the proud tradition of Irish canoeing at the Olympic Games.”

 Jegou was nominated for the 2020 slot after finishing on top in the three-race selection criteria, which included the World Championships in Spain, the event in which Ireland qualified the coveted Olympic berth courtesy of Robert Hendrick.

 The difference between C1 and K1 in Canoeing is that the C1 category involves the athletes using a single-bladed paddle to propel the boat forward while kneeling in the canoe. The K1 athlete is seated and uses a double bladed paddle. C1 Canoe Slalom has been on the Olympic programme since 1992 as a men’s event, and 2020 is the first year that a C1 women’s event is included, in the IOC move towards a gender-balanced games. 

 Ireland has a rich history in K1 Canoe Slalom, with Ian Wiley and Eoin Rheinisch competing in the event for three Olympic Games each between 1992 and 2012. Eadaoin Ní Challarain was the first Irish female canoe slalom racer, competing in the K1 in 2000 and 2004, and in London 2012 Hannah Craig raced in this event also.

 This is the first official Team Ireland Tokyo team announcement. Many sports have ongoing selections and competitions with team announcements expected to come more frequently as we approach the summer, with the final announcement scheduled for the beginning of July. 

Published in Canoeing

The Canoeing Ireland Awards Gala on Saturday night, which marked achievements in the sport in 2019, had plenty to celebrate. Liam Jegou, who will represent Ireland in canoe slalom at the Tokyo Olympics and Robert Hendrick, who qualified the boat, were both honoured.

 Paralympian Patrick O’Leary, who also qualfied for Tokyo, was presented with his award by Miriam Malone, the chief executive of Paralympics Ireland. Malone and Karen Coventry of Special Olympics Ireland were keynote speakers at the event in the Spa Hotel.

 The roll of honour on the night was long: Jenny Egan was chosen as best senior female paddler of the year in both canoe marathon and canoe sprint; Peter Egan was the chosen senior male in marathon canoeing. The senior Freestyle winners were Aoife Hanrahan and David McClure; Aisling Griffin and Michael Barry took the honours in the Paddle Surf category; Ciara Gurhy and Oisin McKay took the Canoe Polo honours. In the Wild Water category Odhran McNally (kayak) and Darragh Clarke (canoe) were honoured.

 Oisin Feery, who starred for Ireland at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, won the Special Achievement award; the Event of the Year was Meelick Riverfest; the Team of the Year, the Ireland under-21 women’s Canoe Polo team. The Community Impact prize went to McMahon Cup.

 The Volunteer of the Year award went to a man behind many of the medals won by Ireland in Canoe Marathon and Canoe Sprint, the indefatigable Tom Egan.   

Published in Canoeing

“Stop for a quick apple and orange drink. Paddle on in flat water. Stop for cake and try throwing a lifebelt onto a beach...”

“ Arrive Courtown at about 11.15 to champagne and a congratulations cake reception! A lifetime trip was over....”

Timmy Flavin’s understated diary entry on June 16th, 1991 was recorded after a 942-mile paddle around the coast of Ireland with his fellow kayaker Donal Dowd.

Enduring stinging armpits, swelling fists, cracked lips, missing Raybans, endless storms and unplanned capsizes, the pair set out from Courtown pier, Co Wexford on May 11th, 1991.

After paddling through phosphorescent waters to the Saltee islands, they spent their first night with an orphaned chick in a nestbox provided by the Irish Wildbird Conservancy – as Birdwatch Ireland was then.

The pair paddled an average of just over 31 miles a day until they reached Courtown again four weeks later. The log kept by Flavin - in his best broad Cork accent- has now been published as an illustrated book by his wife Bríd Farrell as a tribute to her late husband’s epic adventure.

Flavin records both indispensable details for the kayaker contemplating a similar circumnavigation, and memories of people that he and Dowd met along the route. As Dowd says, “the ever-changing sea provided us with both tranquillity and white-knuckle fear..”

There are the peaks and troughs of an Atlantic swell, and there is also much humour. Leaving Ballywalter for Annalong, Co Down, on the final leg down the Irish Sea, Flavin reached for his Raybans, couldn’t find them, “and nearly collapsed with shock...” Somehow he survived squinting in the bright sunlight. By the time they pair reach Howth, north Dublin, their fragile hands could grip a paddle but could barely hold a litre of milk or orange juice.

The log includes an equipment list with useful comments on what was and wasn’t required. A silk scarf was “invaluable and essential, while a helmet “ was never used, not carried from Malin onwards”.

“Loose leaves” from a diary were “posted home regularly”, Flavin wrote, and “postage-paid cards were used”, but there was no reading material packed – “no book, no space”. There is also advice on food in the “menu” section, where the nightcap was “white coffee, sugar, Ovaltine, biscuits..”

Timmy Flavin died four years ago of cancer, and the book includes moving tributes to him penned by Donal Dowd, Tony Noctor and by Michael O’Sullivan, a colleague in the ESB where Flavin worked.

“A gentle quiver of a breeze must have passed over the MagGillycuddy’s Reeks and across the Atlantic waters to the Sceiligs, Blaskets, Bull Rock and down the channel of the Blackwater on the 28th May 2015, when Timmy Flavin took his last breath on earth,” O’Sullivan writes, charting the career of a “giant of a man”, proficient at both kayaking and orienteering and a volunteer instructor at Cappanalea outdoor pursuits centre in Co Kerry.

It was at Cappanalea that his future wife, Bríd, met him. All profits from her late husband’s log are being shared between the Kerry University Hospital’s Palliative Care Unit, and the RNLI Valentia lifeboat station, in Co Kerry.

At the Water’s Edge: Two Boats – Around Ireland by Kayak by Timmy Flavin is priced €15 and copies are available directly from Bríd Farrell at email address: [email protected]

Published in Book Review
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The State’s Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) has been unable to identify the precise circumstances which led to the death of an experienced canoeist on the river Suir in Cahir, Co Tipperary in November, 2017 writes Lorna Siggins.

However, next of kin and a witness to the incident have taken issue with several key aspects of the MCIB report, published on Wednesday.

The canoeist, who was a medal-winning slalom competitor, drowned after he capsized below a weir close to Cahir Castle while leading a group of paddlers.

The 185km-long river Suir rises just north of Templemore, Co Tipperary passes through Cahir, Clonmel and Carrick on Suir, Co Waterford.

Canoe MCIBThe canoe that capsized Photo: MCIB

After he capsized, the canoeist was initially seen not to be in any difficulty but disappeared out of sight around a bend.

The MCIB report concludes that was unable to rescue himself and floated over 4 km downriver before he was recovered by emergency services.

The canoeist had been equipped with a buoyancy aid during the expedition, but was not wearing it when recovered from the water, and did not respond to first aid.

The incident occurred after a group of 12 kayakers, varying in age from nine years to 67 years and of different skill qualifications, left the town mall slip in Cahir at about 10.30 am on November 11th, 2017.

“Some of the group had their own kayaks and safety equipment and others had kayaks and safety equipment provided by the adventure organisation set up by the casualty and a partner,” the report states.

The group split in two, and one group of four planned to navigate a weir on the western side of the Suir’s main channel, and then join the others.

“As the group of four approached the weir the casualty, the most experienced member of the group, gave verbal instructions as to how best to navigate the weir. He stated he would go first and be followed by the two teenagers and the man following last,” the report states.

The canoeist, described by the MCIB as a level 2 trainee kayak instructor, capsized and surfaced on the right-hand side of the river.

“ He was seen standing facing against the wall on the western downriver side of the weir and making his way downstream,” the report states.

“ He did not appear to be in any difficulty. He did not acknowledge or communicate in any way with the three remaining kayakers. He quickly went out of sight of remaining kayakers due to a bend in the tributary,”it states.

“The person was unable to rescue himself and get to safety and floated approximately 4.18 km down the River Suir where rescue services recovered him from the water. He did not respond to first aid,” it says.

The canoeist had been wearing his buoyancy aid prior to shooting the weir, and the MCIB concludes it was either “removed by the casualty or lost between the time of the incident and the time of the recovery”.

It notes that the buoyancy aids “ may be suitable in instances where the wearers remain capable of helping themselves” but “ should not be used in rough conditions or when there is wave splash”.

The report does note that this is “the standard buoyancy aid used for kayaking in Ireland”.

The canoeist was spotted at 11.30am by a passerby, and the Irish Coast Guard Waterford-based helicopter was tasked at 11.33am and Garda at Cahir was informed.

However, due to poor visibility, the helicopter had to request permission to stand down at 12.31

A local fire brigade unit tried to reach the casualty without success, and he was recovered at 12.38 from a location near Garnavilla House with the help of Suir River Rescue.

Next of kin of the canoeist, along with a witness, have taken issue with several aspects of the MCIB report, as outlined in correspondence published with the document.

The report states that there was “no documented record of a risk analysis of the potential dangers prior to setting out on the course over the weir” as per the code of practice for the safe operation of recreational craft.

The MCIB report also concludes that the canoeist’s adventure organisation was not affiliated to Canoeing Ireland – which, it acknowledges, is not a legal requirement.

Canoeing Ireland oversees training and qualification standards for the sport. Canoeing Clubs are affiliated to and regulated by the Irish Canoe Union.

“This is misleading as the members of the organisation were members of Canoe Ireland and were trained through Canoeing Ireland,” next of kin correspondence, which is included in the report’s appendices, states.

“ The members of the adventure club abided by the rules of Canoeing Ireland, so it is misleading and hinting that the association was less than official. They had applied for membership and were waiting for reply,” the correspondence says.

A witness also attests to the canoeist’s experience and to his membership of Canoeing Ireland and notes that the canoeist and other members of the club ran the sluice weir regularly and were very familiar with it in a variety of conditions.

In relation to a documented risk analysis, the next of kin correspondence also states that “the course had been studied for hidden dangers, snags, currents, etc before the boat was put on the water” and there was “also a plan of action on who would go in which order and how to go down”.

“ I do wonder where it says this risk analysis needs to be documented in writing and how many different passages and waterways are risk assessed in this way if it actually is required,”the next of kin correspondence says.

“This passage and river were well travelled by this group and this group was quite experienced. The risks had been assessed previously,”it says, and observes the MCIB seems to be “picking on a documentation issue”.

The next of kin correspondence says that the report “draws a strange and problematic conclusion”.

“I honestly cannot identify anything from this report that is useful or sheds some light on the situation or what would have helped avoid the situation,” the correspondence states.

The MCIB report, which did include amendments, “notes” the points raised in the correspondence.

It recommends that the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport issue a marine notice reminding kayakers, kayaking and canoeing organisations of obligations to comply with the code of practice for safe operation recreational craft and the relevant chapter dealing with canoeing/kayaking.

The full report can be downloaded here

Published in MCIB
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#Canoeing: David McClure finished fifth in the final of the K1 Surface event at the canoe freestyle World Championships in Sort in Spain. At the canoe slalom European Under-23 Championships, Noel Hendrick reached the semi-finals and finished 26th in Liptovsky Mikulas in Slovakia. The Irishman had touches on gates three and 17, incurring four seconds in penalties.

Published in Canoeing

Leading Irish Marine Firm CH Marine has taken over the interests of Bantry Bay Canoes, one of Ireland’s largest and best known canoe and kayak suppliers.

This Bandon-based company was previously owned by the major UK canoe and kayak chain - Canoe Shops Group. Although Bantry Bay Canoes now joins the CH Marine Group of companies, it is the intention of the new owners to keep it as a separate trading entity while employing combined buying power to bring better value to the market.

“We are delighted to have acquired Bantry Bay Canoes” says Nicholas Bendon, CEO of CH Marine. “They hold significant experience and expertise in the kayak world and we are very happy to have retained the expert services of Ciaran, the general manager. We look forward to supporting Ciaran as he continues to advance the company with more great ranges, exciting new products and, of course, the expertise and customer service that Bantry Bay Canoes is known for.”

Bantry Bay Canoes offers one of the most comprehensive ranges of kayaks and equipment available in the country, covering all disciplines. The vast range includes leisure sit-ons, touring, sea kayaking, fishing, whitewater, funboats and rescue kayaks. Bantry Bay Canoes sells top brands such as Perception, Hobie, Feelfree, Ocean, Wavesport, Dagger, Werner, Palm & Yak and many more quality names.

For more information contact Ciaran on 023-8829771 or at [email protected]

Published in Marine Trade
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Canoe facilities and services blocks are being provided at various locations around Lough Derg as part of a new inland waters initiative aimed at promoting water-based activities on Ireland’s third largest lake.

Clare County Council has confirmed that the proposed Lough Derg Canoe Trail, which is scheduled for completion by January 2017, will see facilities installed in Killaloe, Ballycuggeran, and Scarriff, Mountshannon and Dromaan harbours.

The Trail project is an initiative of the Lough Derg Marketing Group and is being funded under the Lough Derg Stimulus Fund. Waterways Ireland is leading the design and development of the project in partnership with the Clare County Council, Galway County Council and Tipperary County Council.

Trail information signage is being provided at Canal Bank, Killaloe, where upgrade works to the existing slipway are also being undertaken. Works underway at the Mill Yard, Killaloe include the provision of trail information signage, a canoe storage rack and planting/screening of same. The works to Scarriff harbour include trail information signage, a canoe storage rack and screening and the installation of a new floating landing/launching step.

The works at Ballycuggeran include the provision of trail information signage, a canoe storage rack and screening, while Mountshannon will benefit from trail information signage, a canoe storage rack, and screening and the refurbishment of the existing service block. Dromaan harbour will see the provision of trail information signage, a canoe storage rack and screening and the construction of a new 3-unit service block and holding tank.

Published in Canoeing
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#Canoeing: Odhrán McNally finished eighth in the K1 men's sprint final at the ICF Wildwater World Championships on the Vrbas river, Banja Luka, Bosnia. The 19 year old was competing in his first senior wildwater Competition. He placed 17th out of 71 boats in the Classic race.

 The heats for the Sprint final were hotly contested by world ranking paddlers. McNally placed 7th and 10th respectively winning him a place in the individual sprint final night race. McNally's time in the final, 54.98 seconds, was just 2.35 seconds off the race leader and 2016 WWR World Champion Maxime Richard of Belgium. 

 McNally now moves on to Celje in Slovenia for to race at the ICF Wildwater Canoeing World Cup Series which takes place June 9th to  11th. 

Published in Canoeing
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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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