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Displaying items by tag: west cork

#MarineWildlife - Late summer brings fin whales flocking to West Cork in big numbers, with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group estimating at least 20 of the second-largest ocean species sighted between Seven Heads and Galley Head.

Indeed, as IWDG sightings officer Padraig Whooley writes, the gathering "is certainly the largest validated aggregation of this species so far this year" and comes some months ahead of the usual peak from October to December.

Recommended spots for watching these fin whale visitors - though you will need some decent binoculars to get the best views - are the aforementioned Galley Head and Seven Heads as eel as Cloghna Head, Dunworley and Sandscove.

Kerry has its own share of whale visitors, with a "lovely run" of humpbacks in recent weeks, while East Coast residents aren't left out, either, with a rare sighting of a minke whale in the Irish Sea some 20km off Bray Head over a week ago.

In other cetacean news, West Cork has become home to a new solitary dolphin in the form of Clet, a bottlenose who's been spotted in Glandore, Baltimore and Schull after time from Devon, Cornwall, South Wales and originally France.

Yet as IWDG welfare officer Paul Kiernan warns, Clet might appear cute but he's very much a wild animal, with reports claiming a swimmer off Sherkin Island was "aggressively pushed underwater by the dolphin".

Such stories, Kiernan writes, point "to the need for people to exercise common sense and extreme caution in how best to enjoy an interaction with this very large, apex predator."

He adds: "Bottlenose dolphins are not cute and cuddly, they are not our 'friends' and nor do they benefit in any meaningful or long term way from interacting with humans."

Published in Marine Wildlife

#calvesweek – There has been a marked increase in entries to Calves Week this year writes Claire Bateman. Entries are up 25% with boats coming to Schull from clubs around the coast for the 4 day regatta. Boats from Waterford and Kerry Sailing Clubs are joining the usual strong contingents from Kinsale, Crosshaven and Dublin, and a few new visitors from the UK completed the strong racing line up. With 15 boats competing in some classes, some great days' racing is promised in the Cork Dry Gin sponsored event.

With light winds from the south east backing south forecast for the starting day's racing, Race Officer Neil Prendeville kept the starts clean with separate guns for the four cruiser classes as well as the two Whitesail classes outside Copper Point. He chose a windward course for the fleets out around the Calf Islands. The cruisers were able to hoist their spinnakers from a laid mark south of West Calf Island with a leeward run back to the Amelia Buoy. Class 0/1 completed 3 rounds with the other classes completing fewer laps. A sailing breeze picked up, allowing the various fleets the opportunity to complete before the weather unexpectedly closed in.

With a spread of entrants from sailing clubs around the country, racing competitively against each other, winners were produced from around the country. Conor Doyle in Freya from Kinsale YC) took line honours and won Class 0/1, IRC ahead of Colman Garvey in True Penance (RCYC) and Rob McConnell in Fools Gold (Waterford Harbour SC). In Echo, Freya again took the honours, ahead of local boat Infinity with Dave Harte and Des Cummins in Dear Prudence (RStGYC). In Class 2 IRC while Dexterity from Foynes YC (McEneff/Madden/Hobbs) took line honours, on corrected time the day went to Frank Desmond, RCYC, on Bad Company ahead of Derek Dillon, Foynes YC, in Big Deal and Viking with Robert Dix/Brian McKernon (Howth YC). Big Deal took Echo honours, ahead of Val Kriss (Nigel Dann, KYC) and Bad Company.

Class 3 saw a 1:2 punch for Cobh SC, with Billy Burke and Danny McCarthy's Sigma 33, Muskateer, first over the line in Class 3 and rewarded with first in both IRC and Echo, ahead of Adrian Tyler on a Hunter Impala, Whyte Knight. Jimmy Nyhan on Outrigger (RCYC) and Padraig O Donovan on Chameleon (KYC) took third in IRC and Echo respectively.

Saoirse, under Richard Hanley from Kinsale YC won Class 4 IRC and Echo respectively, ahead of local boats Witchcraft (Simon Nelson) and Barossa (Edmund Krugel) in Echo.

In the fleet of larger whitesail boats, John Dowling in Samba (RCYC) crossing the line first and getting both IRC and Echo honours. Ger Hayes' First 36.7, Y-Dream took second in both handicaps. Dufour 425 Act 2 (Roche, O'Leary, Andrews) took third place in IRC, and new entrant Samatom, a UK based

XC45 sailed by Bob Rendell, was third in Echo. In Whitesail 2, Ashanta took IRC honours, with local boats Aoife under Hugh O'Donnell, and Giggles under Peter Morehead, first and second in Echo, ahead of Calypso, another UK based boat under John McCarthy (MBSC).

In keeping with friendly nature of the club, any newcomer to Schull has been offered a "buddy boat" – a local captain to share important details like the need for attention to the local sailing hazards and where to get a good meal after an

Published in Calves Week
Tagged under

#ribs – At 20:48 last night Baltimore's RNLI all weather lifeboat was alerted to a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) adrift four miles south of Glandore in West Cork. The lifeboat proceeded to rendezvous with the two young men who had been en route from Cork to Baltimore when their engine failed.

Crew member Diarmuid Collins went aboard the RIB to establish a tow. The lifeboat then towed them to the safety of Baltimore Harbour.

On board the 'Alan Massey; lifeboat were Coxswain Kieran Collins, mechanic Brian McSweeney, Pat Collins, Diarmuid Colllins, Tadhg Collins, Jim Baker, John O'Flynn.

Published in RIBs
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The sailing paradise of West Cork on Ireland's south-west coast is at its best right now, and the south coast fleets are already heading that way for the traditional West Cork regattas in August. WM Nixon reflects on the magic sailing region of West Cork. 

West Cork is as much of a frame of mind as a specific place. Officially, we might suppose it to extend all the way along the Rebel County's coast from the Old Head of Kinsale to Dursey Island away in the far nor'west, up at the north side of the wide entrance to Bantry Bay. But this doesn't necessarily mean that all the folk in the hinterland north of this coastline see themselves as being in West Cork.

As for boat people, our limits are much more narrowly defined. If you're afloat down there, West Cork is that sublime but compact bit of coastline between Galley Head and Mizen Head, just 38 miles as the gannet flies. It's the ultimate lotus land, with an interesting scattering of islands, blessed moreover with an abundance of sheltered natural harbours each with its own port town or village vying with its neighbours in colourful character. And visible from much of it is the Fastnet Rock, mysteriously a place of the remotest ocean despite being only a matter of four miles from the nearest land at Cape Clear.

In this magic land, the local mini-capital is of course Skibbereen, the very essence of a rural market town. But on the coast, the very different harbours of Schull, Baltimore, and sometimes even Glandore have been seen over the years as the sailors' capital of West Cork. Recently, however, it is Baltimore which has gone from strength to strength to affirm its position as the sailing capital of the southwest, and spending a June night there as summer settled comfortably over Munster reinforced the impression of its pre-eminence.

We were on a bit of a land cruise, so the bed for the night was in the Waterfront, the hotel where Room 12 is just about as near to the beating heart of Baltimore as you can get. Aboard a cruiser in Baltimore, you can enjoy that splendid isolation which a boat so easily confers. But in Room 12 on top of the Waterfront's northwest corner above the square, the busy life of the little port town bubbles about you, and the views across to Sherkin Island and over the country to Mount Gabriel get even more perfect with the approach of sunset.

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The view from Room 12 at the Waterfront in Baltimore. The sun has set beyond Mount Gabriel, but somebody is busy launching a newly-arrived RIB by floodlight, and the buzz from the square below is still rising. Photo: W M Nixon

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It has to be one of the best arrivals in world sailing. A cruiser enters Baltimore beneath the Baltimore Beacon, aka Lot's Wife. Photo: W M Nixon

It was fifty years ago when I first sailed in to Baltimore, coming in from the west on a round Ireland cruise, and entering port close under the beacon – Lot's Wife they call it – to find a quiet little place which showed some signs of a former prosperity, and hinted at better times to come. Back in 1964, it still had its railway station, but the West Cork Line was in its final year and was soon to be totally closed. Before that happened, later that summer when Baltimore Sailing Club hosted Dinghy Week for the Irish Dinghy Racing Association, the Firefly Class in Dun Laoghaire – mostly university boats – had been able to have a Tuesday night race. Then they'd towed their boats into Dun Laoghaire station on the launching trolleys, put them onto a CIE flat truck, and found them on Friday night safely delivered by rail the entire way to West Cork, offloaded ready at the harbourside station in Baltimore, and waiting for the arrival of thirsty crews keen for a bit of sport.

Mostly, they'd got themselves there by overloading some little car belonging to somebody or other's mother, so the fact that they disdained to use the railway themselves would help to explain why such a charming amenity was doomed. Since then, of course, Baltimore Railway Station from 1969 until recently had become Ireland's first Glenans base. But life moves on, the Glenans model doesn't seem to work any more in Ireland, so now the former station is for sale by the powers-that-be, and there are ructions being raised about it all which should keep everybody nicely exercised through the rest of the summer.

It was another French import which currently sets the pace in Baltimore. Around 1980 a young Breton fisherman, Youen Jacob, came into the harbour, and in time he settled there. To say that Youen Jacob has played a major role in Baltimore life is understating the case. It is he and his family who have developed the Waterfront – quite a challenge in somewhere as conservative as West Cork – and with Youen Jnr's Jolie Brise restaurant and guest house beside it to provide an alternative aspect of good Breton cuisine, the Jacob family's establishments have given a healthy new configuration to Baltimore's miniature harbourside square, and have settled in so well you could be forgiven for thinking the little town was built around them.

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The Waterfront (right) and Jolie Brise at the south side of the mini-square in Baltimore bring a welcome breath of Brittany to West Cork. Photo: W M Nixon

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It's party time in Baltimore. The al fresco lifestyle is expected in West Cork in summer. Photo: W M Nixon

There are times when you'd understandably think this is the hub of the maritime universe, and why not? But if, during a quiet cruise, you think you might find it too hectic at night when the joint really is jumping, the sensible thing is to call by at lunchtime when everybody is out at the islands and Baltimore is refreshed and catching its breath for the next night's partying. Then in the evening, you can pop over to Sherkin Island where peace will reign while Baltimore ramps up the socializing.

Up in our eyrie above the square, we savoured the life of this busy little port. It's not quite a 24-hour town, but late at night boats were still being launched by floodlight, and conviviality continued in the square. Finally, peace descended, and though most folk were slow to stir early in the morning, the first ferries were coming in, and a workboat headed out for the islands, going past Graham Bailey's Peel Castle, the remarkable bisquine-rigged variation on a 50ft 1929-built Cornish lugger which is seen at her best on her mooring in Baltimore harbour. This is only right and proper, as the restoration and re-configuration of Peel Castle took place nearby, just up the Ilen River at one of the boatyards at Oldcourt.

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Good morning Baltimore, how are you? The first ferry arrives in from Sherkin Island. Photo: W M Nixon

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Getting the day's job started. A workboat heads out towards Sherkin past Graham Bailey's distinctive Peel Castle. Photo: W M Nixon

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Peel Castle in all her glory in the middle of Baltimore Harbour. Restoring this 1929-built 50ft Cornish fishing boat and giving her a bisquine rig took Graham Bailey eight years of dedicated work at Oldcourt. Photo: W M Nixon

Another Baltimore revival which gets our approval is the restoration of the castle right in the middle of town, the "tigh mor" which presumably gives the place its name. We suffer from a widespread ruins overload in Ireland, so it's refreshing to find that somebody upped and took action, brining a ruin back to life and giving Baltimore a very effective signature focal point with a useful function. You could do the same to good effect at Dromineer on Lough Derg, where the ruined castle is an eyesore.

But you don't even have to leave the Baltimore area for a worthwhile restoration project, as just across the harbour beside the pier on Sherkin is the roofless ruin of the 15th Century Franciscan friary which we know looks much better with its roof back on, even if it has been missing since the 1770s.

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The restoration of the castle at Baltimore has given welcome and useful new life to a former ruin. Photo: W M Nixon

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The Cove on the south side of Baltimore Harbour has some very desirable real estate. Photo: W M Nixon

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Thanks to its use as a film set in 1973, we know that the friary on Skerkin Island looks much better with it roof in place. Photo: W M Nixon

We know this because, in 1973, the makers of a TV film managed to get permission from the OPW to put a temporary but very convincing roof in place, and it looked so utterly right. The film was the unfairly forgotten Catholics, based on the novel of the same name by Belfast-born Brian Moore, and memorably starring Trevor Howard as the troubled Father Abbot. Even in this usually overlong blog, there isn't space to go into the details of the story, but it's worth viewing Catholics at the very least to see how well Sherkin friary looks with a roof. Alas, when filming was done the production company religiously (how else?) adhered to the OPW's demands to return the very attractive little old building to its ruinous state, and there it sadly sits.

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This year's work on Baltimore Sailing Club has made it even more of a local asset. Photo: W M Nixon

But as regular readers of Afloat.ie will know, other refurbishment and extension work has been under way in Baltimore, with the Sailing Club in fine fettle in its extended premises which look so well you'd think it's all new. It's certainly all of a piece with Baltimore's vitality, which contrasts with other little West Cork ports. In Baltimore, the key to it all is the fact that the Waterfront gallantly stays open all year round. But at present in Schull and Glandore, the main hotels don't even open in summer.

Doubtless in time, and sooner rather than later, both establishments will be brought back to life. But for people genuinely cruising, the absence of a hotel or two doesn't matter that much in an area where the abundance of cruising options and hospitable pubs with good food is almost bewildering. And around Baltimore in particular, there's always something going on.

The wholesome 1893-built cutter Eva (later known as Guillemot) was restored at Oldcourt, which is only a few miles from her birthplace 121 years ago on the Baltimore waterfront. Brian Marten's project to have Eva re-born and continue as Guillemot has come to a successful conclusion after she went through several vicissitudes before he happened upon her, but a visit to Oldcourt will reveal many other boat restoration, re-build and re-birth projects at various stages, including some which - as our accountancy friends would insist on putting it - are no longer going forward.

Be warned, however, that any visit to Oldcourt in any capacity whatever is likely to take longer than you expect, as there's simply so much to see. And they're at every stage, from projects just starting, through projects stalled, to projects nearing completion, while inspiration was being provided by a visiting boat, Darryl Hughes' immaculately-restored 1937 43ft Tyrrell ketch Maybird, which was berthed for a while at Oldcourt to let boatbuilder John Hegarty take off measurements in order to build a traditional clinker dinghy which will fit on board.

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Boats in a row at Oldcourt. The further from the quay, the more ready for sea you are. Furthest out is the 1937 Tyrrell ketch Maybird, with which owner Darryl Hughes regularly attends the annual Yeats Summer School in Sligo. He's the only participant to arrive by sea, and he lives on board at the pontoon in Sligo during the Yeats festival. Photo: W M Nixon

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A new traditional clinker dinghy, built by John Hegarty of Oldcourt, awaits her first coast of varnish. Photo: W M Nixon

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The new dinghy shares space with Conor O'Brien's Ilen, which continues to be a major work in progress. Photo: W M Nixon

Just to show what the result will be like, there was another recently-completed Hegarty dinghy in the Ilen shed, and very well it looked too. As for the restoration of Conor O'Brien's Ilen herself, that can best be described as ongoing. It has become such an absorbing task that the restoration process might best be thought of as an end in itself. Trying to work out what could most usefully be done with this hefty big lump of a boat if she ever is restored to seagoing condition is something which will require many brainstorming sessions, but it surely doesn't need to be considered in too much detail just yet.

The problem with the Ilen is she's too small for some things, and too big for others. She's of the same sort of in-between size which made the first Asgard of limited use as an official sail training vessel. Asgard was fine for teaching young people to sail, but she was simply too small to keep up with the tall ships which also completely overshadowed her in port, where Ireland's little ketch also failed to provide the necessary space and impressive setting for entertaining local bigwigs.

Manageability is the keynote to successful boat restorations. But Oldcourt is such a maritime universe that it can provide examples of what you'd think might have been eminently manageable restoration projects, yet they've ground to a halt. One such is Englyn, the creme de la crème of the boats amateur-designed by Harrison Butler, the English opthalmologist. In the 1930s, he was designing boats which successfully anticipated the highly-regarded designs of Lyle Hess more than forty years later, and the 26ft 6ins Englyn was so highly thought of by cruising guru Eric Hiscock that he included the design in his seminal book Cruising Under Sail, first published 1950.

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Plans of the Harrison Butler-designed Englyn, as featured in Eric Hiscock's Cruising Under Sail.

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A little boat that may have missed the boat. Englyn as she is today. Photo: W M Nixon

If anything, the designs of Harrison Butler are more cherished than ever, and in this blog on May 10th we featured photos of the Harrison Butler Khamseen class cutter which ace boatbuilder Steve Morris is creating near Kilrush. It's heart-breaking to see the lines of Steve's healthy boat palely reflected in the weather-beaten remains of Englyn as she is today. But sometimes boats really can be brought back from the near-dead, and at the two-day Glandore Classic Boat Summer School in mid-July, the entire Sunday afternoon was given over to presentations about boats in various stages of restoration in and around Oldcourt.

Despite some unpleasantnesses visited upon it by the lingering death of the Celtic Tiger, Glandore gallantly soldiers on. Glandore Harbour Yacht Club's new headquarters in a cleverly rebuilt two-storey cottage up a side street (the only side street, as it happens) is appropriate to the good taste which prevails in this sweet place, whose name in Irish can mean either the golden harbour, or the harbour of the oaks - either will do very nicely.

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Glandore Harbour YC's clubhouse is now this cleverly re-built two-storey cottage beside the harbour. Photo: W M Nixon

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The outboard dinghies waiting at the pontoon at Glandore Pier give a good indication of the number of boats based in Glandore and across the harbour at Union Hall. Photo: W M Nixon

The Summer School packed in an extraordinary variety of topics, and even this blogger was wheeled out to develop his thesis based around the ambiguous question: Why shouldn't the Irish be a seafaring people? Don't worry, for those who missed it, we'll push it out again here some time in the depth of winter. But we cannot hope to convey the full wonder of the best event in the Summer School, the question-and-answer session between ocean voyaging and offshore racing legend Don Street and his son Richard.

The old boy hasn't half been around. And if at some time your only experience of Don Street has been a high-pitched New England rant about some iniquity of modern yachting (fibreglass dismissed as "frozen snot", for instance) it's my happy duty to assure you that, as he delved into his extraordinary memories, the pitch of Don Street's distinctive voice became deeper and more resonant, until by the time he concluded all too early, we could have been listening to Captain Ahab himself.

From such a treasure trove of recollection, there were many gems, perhaps the best being about how he came to make his profession in writing about the sea and sailing. In his early days in the Caribbean before he'd put pen to paper, on one run ashore Don and his shipmates met up with Nobel Laureate John Steinbeck, and they'd a convivial time together. Later, heading back along the islands, they'd another dinner with the great writer, and during yarning at table, Don's shipmates insisted he'd so many good stories to tell that he should write them down.

"But I don't know how to spell, and I know nothing about grammar" complained Don.

"But you've a story to tell" said Steinbeck, "and you tell it well. Just you write it down, and the editors will sort out the spelling and the punctuation and the grammar. That's their job."

God be with the days......

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The old man of the sea – Don Street's reminiscences were the highlight of this year's Glandore Classic Boat Summer School. The school sessions were held in the harbourside church, and Don is seen here with his son Richard while he recalls his days in submarines in the US Navy. On the screen is his legendary 1905-built yawl Iolaire, in which he cruised the Caribbean and crossed the Atlantic. Photo: W M Nixon

Published in W M Nixon

#baltimore – The village of Baltimore in West Cork was en fête yesterday (20th July 2014) with the opening of the newly-rebuilt clubhouse for Baltimore Sailing Club by Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food, the Marine & Defence.

The opening follows a proposed Fáilte Ireland sale of the former Glenans sail training school premises in the West Cork town.

As Afloat.ie reported in April the new West Cork club house has been greatly welcomed by Irish sailing and yesterday, the scenic fishing village played host to hundreds of local and national sailors, visitors to the region and the local community, who were hugely supportive of the development of new Clubhouse and its facilities, which embraces all levels of sailing and encourages activity in the waters of the Carbery's 100 isles surrounding Baltimore. St. Fachtna's Silver Band from Skibbereen added to the carnival atmosphere, performing in the open air, with the stunning backdrop of Baltimore and the islands behind and boats of all shapes and sizes rafted up to complete the picture.

Minister Coveney stated: 'Baltimore is a very special place in West Cork, and the vibrancy is palpable from the moment one arrives here. There is an obvious high level of co-operation between the various groups in the village and its hinterland, culminating in the re-building of this impressive structure, offering outstanding facilities for locals and visitors. The Government and its agencies including West Cork Development Partnership, and Cork County Council, are delighted to lend support to the project, in the knowledge that it is significantly improving marine infrastructure in Baltimore. The Government has also supported the building of the new pier and service buildings in Baltimore, and I feel sure that, in the future, this harbour will see many new developments for the better in this wonderful part of west Cork'.

'This project is a testament to a fantastic volunteer effort by our members, supported by the people of Baltimore, and supporters and friends from many walks of life. In particular I'd like to pay tribute to Tony O'Driscoll, my predecessor as Commodore of the Club, whose relentless enthusiasm and hard work saw this project cross the line in jig time.' said Joan Collins, Commodore of the Baltimore Sailing Club.
Joan added: 'Baltimore has retained its friendly village atmosphere and this new clubhouse adds to the offering, with year round activity to encourage people to get on the water and enjoy the freedom of the waters of West Cork. The re-furbishment will be a great boost for our sailing fraternity, and we now have an option to host our events with style, while encouraging additional events which can only be of definite benefit to the Baltimore and greater West Cork area.
The Club is a vibrant and active summer club and has, and will, host several prestigious sailing events. With sailing every weekend throughout the summer and additional events out of season including at Easter (Laser Munsters), the National 18ft Class over June bank holiday weekend this year, and the Optimist Coaching week in February, we will hold many other great events later this year.'

Designed by architect John McCarthy and built by local builder, Michael Joe Leonard, the new Clubhouse space incorporates enhanced facilities for members and visiting sailors, including a new shower block (15 showers) and spaces facilitating events, training, seminars and storage and improved dingy parking. Totally transformed, and re-built at a cost of €400,000, the Club was supported by Cork County Council and West Cork Development Partnership, with match funding provided by the Club itself and by donations from members and the general public. Founded in 1952, Baltimore Sailing Club has over 600 members drawn from the locality and other regions, including several overseas members.

Baltimore is renowned for its sailing courses for children of all levels (85 children availing of this currently), and the Rambler Team Racing for junior club members is very popular again this year. Junior sailors from Crookhaven, Schull, Glandore and Baltimore are also involved in the inter-club Marconi Cup team racing event bringing communities closer together in the region. There is a course for adults in train this year also, and it is hoped to build on this offering into the future.

Sailing events in Baltimore include Baltimore Sailing Club Regatta will take place over the August bank holiday weekend, as will the 1720 Club. The inaugural WOMEN ON THE WATER (WOW) event on August 12th in aid of Breakthrough Cancer Research (part of Cork Cancer Research Centre) will see craft of all shapes and sizes on the water, with onshore fun for all the family. Sponsorship cards are available at the clubhouse and Commodore Collins is confident this event will raise a substantial amount for cancer research.

The Club will also participate in Bart's Bash, one of the first clubs in Ireland to register for this massive world-wide charity event. The clubhouse will also be used by local organisations such as the Baltimore Bridge Club, RNLI, local festival groups and defibrillator personnel, truly embracing all strands of society in the area.

Published in News Update

#Diving - Search teams have found the body of a diver who went missing off West Cork early yesterday (2 July) after an incident that lead to the death of another diver.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, a major search and rescue operation was launched after the accident at a wreck site off the Baltimore area.

According to Independent.ie, the two deceased men were in their 60s and understood to be experienced diving enthusiasts, who had been exploring the wreck of a German U-Boat that sank off Castlehaven in 1945.

Both men, from England, were described as regular visitors to the Baltimore area since the late 1970s.

Independent.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Diving
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#maritimefestival – There will be a number of maritime themed events at the 2014 West Cork Literary Festival in Bantry, Co. Cork which runs from Monday, July 7th to Friday, July 11th with many free events.

On Friday July 11th in Bantry Library Rose George, the winner of the 2013 Mountbatten Maritime Award for Best Literary Contribution, will give a free talk about her fascinating journey into the hidden world of shipping. Her pursuit of the shadowy truths behind the industry that brings us almost everything we eat, wear, and work with, took her across the globe. "Deep Sea and Foreign Going: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry that Brings You 90% of Everything" is essential reading for anyone curious about the complex systems behind our convenient modern world. She follows the routes travelled by mercantile and naval fleets, pirate gangs, and illegal floating factories.

Philip Hoare will read from his yearlong adventure through the world's oceans. "The Sea Inside" on Thursday, July 10th. In colourful prose and lively line drawings, he sets out to rediscover the sea and its islands, birds, and beasts. Starting at his home on the shores of Britain's Southampton Water and moving in ever widening circles—like the migration patterns of whales—Hoare explores London, the Isle of Wight, the Azores, Sri Lanka, Tasmania, and New Zealand. Philip, winner of the 2009 Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction, is a broadcaster and author, he wrote and presented the BBC Arena film, "The Hunt for Moby-Dick", and directed three films for BBC's Whale Night.

On Saturday, July 12th there will be a special event on Whiddy Island, starting with the ferry across we celebrate Bantry Bay, the sea beyond and the lore and poetry of West Cork. John Mack, author of "The Sea: A Cultural History" draws on histories, maritime archaeology, art history and great literature to provide an innovative account of the great blue yonder and his own love for Whiddy. Philip Hoare will read from "Leviathan or, The Whale" his award winning book and film, which is also the story of our own obsessions. Leanne O'Sullivan from the Beara Peninsula will read from her poetry collections "Cailleach, The Hag of Beara" and "The Mining Road". She is the recipient of The Rooney Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary and Lawrence O'Shaughnessy Awards.

Of course, younger readers are looked after too with the interactive Monster Sea Doodle! Travel 50 leagues under the sea with Captain Olivia Golden, illustrator extraordinaire, and learn how to draw some of the creatures that tickle, wriggle and swim in the salt water off the Bantry coast. Monster Sea Doodle! Takes place on Tuesday, July 8th, in St Brendan's School Hall

Ben Okri, Jonathan Miller, Blake Morrison, Karen Joy Fowler and Jennifer Johnston are just some of the guests announced for the renowned West Cork Literary Festival this July. The West Cork Literary Festival runs from July 6th to 12th and is generously supported by The Arts Council, Cork County Library and Arts Service and Fáilte Ireland. Booking on www.westcorkliteraryfestival.ie, Telephone: 027 52788/9 

Published in Maritime Festivals

#MarineWildlife - A tip of the hat to @BestBaltimore on Twitter for this video of a dolphin 'superpod' that congregated outside Baltimore Harbour in West Cork yesterday (Thursday 15 May).

Such superpods can comprise as many as 1,000 or more dolphins - so the vast numbers seen here breaching the surface may only have been a fraction of a much larger group.

Early last year researchers captured video of a superpod hundreds of dolphins strong in the Irish Sea, with one describing the scene as "boiling" with the gregarious marine mammals.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#calvesweek – Schull Harbour Sailing Club has opened entries for the 30th Cork Dry Gin Calves Week and will formally launch this year's regatta next week at Blackrock Castle in Cork. A regatta entry form is downloadable below as a pdf file.

Well known as a hybrid of high quality cruiser racing and shorebased family-oriented festival in the first week of August, Cork Dry Gin Calves Week has worked hard to sustain its high level of entries particularly for travelling boats over the last few years.

Club Commodore Tadhg Dwyer said that to maintain participation in the regatta over the last few years, the Club had taken the decision to rework the racing timetable in 2011. "In the end simple changes to the racing schedule meant that travelling crews are now able to sail in the same number of high quality races and get back to their home base after one week. We were also very conscious that the old format caused problems with families finding renting houses for more than 1 week very expensive and, for an event that is as much about bringing the family and enjoying all West Cork has to offer, that was a big concern. With simple changes to the overall timetable, we were able to address that."

This year, Schull Harbour Sailing Club is working to bring more travelling boats down for the week. "We have always had a mix of travelling and local boats. It would be great to get the message out to crews that might travel from clubs around the coast about the mix of both racing and on shore entertainment.

Cork Dry Gin Calves Week is great for amateur cruiser crews who want to test their racing skills against a bigger fleet and boats from around the coast. "We want to get the message out that if you come, you will have good quality racing without facing the pressure and costs of the bigger events."

For boats travelling from the South Coast, the offshore race from Crosshaven to Schull and the Calves Week Fastnet Race also forms part of the annual Scora Championship calendar.

The core format is now a four-day regatta from Tuesday to Friday of the 1st week in August, using both laid marks and the islands of Roaringwater Bay, including a race around the iconic Fastnet Rock.

As it is centred around the traditional village of Schull, there is also evening events and live entertainment around the village for both adults and children.

Dwyer noted that this year will be particularly special because it will be the 130th Schull Regatta on the Sunday after Calves Week. "There are very few sailing or sporting events in Ireland that can trace an unbroken lineage back to 1884. The Club is working with the local committee in Schull to mark this very historical event. So the week in Schull this year promises to be very, very special indeed."

Cork Dry Gin Calves Week 2014 will be announced at a reception to be held at Blackrock Castle on Wednesday the 8th of May from 6.00pm to 7.30pm. Registration forms are available on www.shsc.com.

Published in Calves Week

#baltimoresc – West Cork's Baltimore Sailing Club has been redeveloped over the winter months thanks to the support of the West Cork Development Partnership and the generosity of members and local businesses. 

The new club house and Comoodore Joan Collins welcomed its first event at the weekend when regular visitors, the Irish Laser Class sailed for Munster honours.

Commenting on the first event in the newly renovated facilities, Commodore Collins said: 'We are delighted to host the Lasers again. The Easter weekend in Baltimore is a stable in the Laser calendar for over 20 years and sailors of all ages from all over Ireland congregate here this weekend every year.

All the contractors worked hard to ensure that the new clubhouse was finished in time and I would like to thank Danske Bank for supporting us in our inaugural event in our new clubhouse. We look forward to welcoming more National and International events to Baltimore over the coming years.'

Published in Racing
Page 11 of 21

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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