Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: 420

The cut short Investwise Irish Youth Sailing National Championships on Cork Harbour had produced some clear winners in five classes regardless of today's Yellow Alert weather warning at Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Five titles were divided between Dublin and Cork sailors with the host club taking two crowns, the biggest haul of any single club with the 29er and Topper titles won by local sailors.

Both Laser titles go to Dublin, with Howth Yacht Club taking the ILCA 6 and the National Yacht Club winning in the ILCA 4.

The 420 title is shared by a combined Malahide and Wexford duo.

McMahon wins ILCA 6 but Crosbie's Reinstatement Makes it Close

ILCA 6 Champion - Eve McMahon of Howth

As Afloat reported earlier, the final results from Saturday’s long day afloat weren’t initially confirmed as two titles were eventually settled ashore in the protest room this morning.

On Saturday evening, a protest by ILCA6 (Laser Radial) overall leader Eve McMahon saw the Howth Yacht Club sailor extend her lead over Michael Crosbie of the Royal Cork YC when he was disqualified from Race 10 due to a port and starboard incident.

However, the Crosshaven sailor returned to the protest room on Sunday morning to have his result reinstated as McMahon had not informed the race committee of her protest on Saturday.

McMahon still emerged as ILCA6 Youth National Champion after the tie-break with Crosbie.

O'Shaughnessy & Dwyer Lift 29er Skiff Title 

29er Champions Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer (Royal Cork YC) Photo: Bob Bateman29er Champions - Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer (Royal Cork YC) Photo: Bob Bateman

Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer (Royal Cork YC) won the 29er skiff national title by a single point as Afloat reported here after a close contest with Tim Norwood and Nathan Van Steenberge from the Royal Irish YC and National YC respectively in their eleven strong demonstration class that immediately followed a European Championships campaign on Lake Garda last week.

The runners-up were also in the protest room on Sunday morning seeking redress for equipment failure in their second race of the series on Friday but their submission was ruled out of time.

Collins top Toppers, Newcomer Ledoux Wins 4.7s

Rian CollinsTopper Champion - Rian Collins of Royal Cork Photo: Bob Bateman

As Afloat reported earlier, Crosshaven’s Rian Collins won the 38-boat Topper class with a 12-point lead over his clubmate Dan O’Leary taking the runner-up place in their seven-race series. Bobby Driscoll's third overall kept the Belfast Lough Topper flag flying.

Sam Ledoux of the National YCILCA 4 Champion - Sam Ledoux of the National YC Photo: Bob Bateman

The Topper fleet shared the same course as the ILCA4 (Laser 4.7) class, the second largest of the event with 31 boats where a newcomer to the class, Sam Ledoux of the National YC, emerged youth national champion. 

Five wins Give McDowell & Thompson the 420 Title

420  champions - Jack McDowell and Henry Thompson Photo: Bob Bateman420 champions - Jack McDowell and Henry Thompson Photo: Bob Bateman

The Malahide and Wexford Harbour pairing of Jack McDowell and Henry Thompson continued their three-day lead of the 420 class to win comfortably as Afloat reports here over Eoghan Duffy with Conor Paul of Lough Ree YC in a disappointingly small nine boat class.

Published in Youth Sailing

Malahide and Wexford Harbour duo of Jack McDowell and Henry Thompson continued their overall lead of the 420 class at the Investwise Youth Sailing National Championships at Cork Harbour.

Counting four race wins on the opening day of the championships, the pair ended the ten races five points clear of Eoghan Duffy and Conor Paul of Lough Ree. Lying third is Malahide's Imogen Hauer and Hugo Micka.

420: Sailed: 10, Discards: 1, To count: 9, Entries: 9

Racing is scheduled for Sunday, but a forecast for strong winds looks set to cut the championships short.

Update Sunday 09.24: Due to current wind conditions and forecast, the race committee has decided to cancel sailing for the day. Prizegiving at 10 am in the marquee

420 Day Three Youth Nationals Photo Gallery By Bob Bateman 

Published in 420

Four straight wins for the Malahide and Wexford Harbour pairing of Jack McDowell and Henry Thompson means they overtake the overnight leaders Imogen Hauer and Hugo Micka in the 420 Class of the Investwise Youth Sailing National Championships at Royal Cork.

Hauer and Micka are now third overall on 15 points, with Lough Ree's Owen Duffy and Conor Paul squeezing into second place on 12 points after seven races sailed. 

The 420 fleet sailed trapezoid coursesThe 420 fleet sailed trapezoid courses Photo: Bob Bateman

This year, the 420 numbers are reduced at the Nationals, a disappointment for double-handed followers, especially given the impressive 21-boat showing at Howth for the National Championships in August. 

Racing continues tomorrow, with more trapezoid courses expected off the Whitegate refinery in Cork Harbour.

420: Sailed: 7, Discards: 1, To count: 6, Entries: 9420: Sailed: 7, Discards: 1, To count: 6, Entries: 9

 420 Youth Nationals Photo Gallery by Bob Bateman - Day 2

Published in 420

The top performance of James Dwyer Matthews and Ben O'Shaughnessy at the 29er Europeans in Italy this week will add extra spice to proceedings at the Investwise youth sailing championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club on Thursday. 

The Under 18 pair are lying in fourth place on Lake Garda as Afloat reports here and are within touch of the podium after seven races sailed. 

It makes them obvious favourites for Irish youth honours on home waters, especially since the pair also recorded a top 15 finish at the 29er World Championships in Spain in September. 

Royal Cork's James Dwyer Matthews and Ben O'Shaughnessy in action on Lake GardaRoyal Cork's James Dwyer Matthews and Ben O'Shaughnessy in action on Lake Garda this week

The majority of a fledgling Irish 29er class are racing at Riva del Garda, this week only returning to Ireland the day before the youth nationals test at RCYC. 

Five Irish boats are racing in Italy, with at least three also planning to compete in Crosshaven, so there will be no doubting the new skiff class is up to speed in Cork Harbour.  

Royal St. George Yacht Club's Emily and Jessica RiordanRoyal St. George Yacht Club's Emily and Jessica Riordan

Also competing in Italy and expected in Cork are Royal St. George Yacht Club's Emily and Jessica Riordan and Clementine van Steenberge and Chiara Carra. 

As well as Dun Laoghaire, entries from the 29er Fleet hail from Crosshaven, Blessington Sailing Club and a single entry from Northern Ireland.  

Double handed turnout

There will undoubtedly be some disappointment over the low turnout of the double-handed dinghy fleet (420 & 29er) for this year's Youth Nationals with only nine 420s and ten 29er entries based on provisional entries for the Royal Cork YC event starting this Thursday. 

In particular, the 420 entry is low given it had a record of 21 entries at their National Championship at Howth Yacht Club in August.

The reduced numbers may be accounted for since double handers have only recently attended a Lough Ree Yacht Club symposium designed especially for their needs.

Ben Graf on helm and Alexander Farrell on wire as they shape their champion International 420 for a start. Graf will try out a 29er at the youth nationals at CrosshavenBen Graf on the helm and Alexander Farrell on wire shape their champion International 420 for a start. Graf will try out a 29er at the youth nationals at Crosshaven.

Entries from the 420 fleet hail from; Malahide Yacht Club, Lough Ree Yacht Club, Blessington Sailing Club, Waterford Harbour Sailing Club & Wexford Harbour Sailing Club.

In an outcome from the Lough Ree symposium, perhaps, there's some experimentation between the two fleets going to take place in Cork with 420 National Champion, Ben Graf, crossing over to try his hand in a 29er skiff.

Four-course areas will operate in Cork Harbour Aghada, Curlane Bank, Cuskinny and Roches Point.

Racing begins on Thursday, October 28th, and as well as deciding national honours, the event serves as the second part of a qualifications system to determine Ireland's representative at the Youth World Sailing Championships in Oman this December.

Published in 29er
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Garrett Leech reports on the inaugural Youth Double Handed Sailing Symposium was held at Lough Ree Yacht Club last weekend.

Just over 60 sailors from all over Ireland descended on the Club Saturday morning for this anticipated event, many not really understanding what lay in store for them but liking the sound of what they had heard! There were 31 boats and the fleets consisted of 420, 29er, Mirror & RS Feva. Event organiser, Garrett Leech had dreamed up the concept during the Summer and it began slowly to take shape. Most Youth fleets have the opportunity to receive coaching, normally the Coach sets out the objectives for the on-the-water activity to the group, it is then executed on the water and there is normally a debrief ashore to discuss how things went.

The Symposium was not supposed to be this, it was conceived firstly to bring together the main double-handed Youth fleets, as a larger sailing family & to promote mutual appreciation of each other’s classes. Single-handed dinghy sailing is relatively safe in Ireland with the Laser & Topper’s, commanding large fleets at events, double handed racing probably needs a bit more attention.

The next objective of the gathering was to try and address the more fundamental issues that arise in competitive racing and then specifically, double handed racing whilst getting the participants to think through the issues. What else could be done but to gather the best Coaches in Ireland to Lough Ree! The inimitable David Harte, late of FMOEC, Schull, immediately bought into the concept and took the lead. As did Graeme Grant, Honorary Irish man, and Life Coach! Graeme travelled from Germany to attend. Olympic Sailor, Robert Dickson who arrived in from Marseille on the Friday evening, travelled down, joined by Cara McDowell (Malahide Yacht Club) who is well known for her dedication in promoting/coaching double handed racing, in particular, the 420 fleet.

Ceremonies were opened by means of “Ice Breaker’s” developed by Graeme & Cara which sought to break down barriers between the diverse fleets, ages & geographic dispersion. Graeme’s enthusiasm in particular, was enough to melt icecaps! By the time proceedings kicked off, there was a relaxed atmosphere. The modules that David Harte had prepared got the kids thinking, interaction was encouraged and there were break out groups where crews discussed issues such as improving communications & how to set realistic goals for themselves, facilitated by the Coaches. The classroom-based modules included (amongst others) the following:

  • Setting Individual Goals & Objectives
  • The Importance of Self Coaching
  • Partnership & Good Communication
  •  How to “Iron out issues”
  •  Learning to Lose, Learning to Win

Robert Dickson spoke at length about his “Journey” to becoming an Olympic Skiff Sailor with Sean. He connected well with the kids and they waited on his every word, from Rob & Sean’s many early defeats to winning the Youth Championships in 2018 and of course, the Tokyo Olympics. Many were unaware that Rob had learned to sail at Lough Ree Yacht Club. His talk neatly led into the “Learning to Lose, Learning to Win” presentation. You would have been forgiven if you thought you had walked in on an IMI Programme for kids, lots of life skills!

The on-the-water activity was also with a difference, first thing was to practice what the kids had learned in the “Importance of Self Coaching”. Then David & the Coaches had the Sailors swapping positions (Helm/Crew), so as appreciate the difference in their roles but also swapping fleets where 420 Sailors quickly learned to appreciate the importance of balance/trim! And 29er Sailors to cope with the array of strings & a symmetrical spinnaker!

The weekend culminated on Sunday with racing but of course nothing ordinary! David Harte ran two races under Average Lap Time (Portsmouth Yardstick), 30 boats off the same start line and sailing around a square directly outside the Club House! It was exciting to watch and no boats were damaged in the making of the movie! Thankfully, the wind was light (though the 29er Sailors might not have agreed!) and the overall victory went to 420 Sailors, Alex Leech & Conor Paul of Lough Ree Yacht Club.

A big thanks to the Coaches; Dave Harte, Graeme Grant, Rob Dickson & Cara McDowell. The experience that Dave & Graeme (in particular) brought to the weekend was fantastic, these guys are a lot more than sailing coaches.

The feedback from the event was very positive, it is likely that the event will be run again next year.

Published in Youth Sailing
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The weekend's 420 Nationals at Howth enjoyed blissful sunshine but not quite enough easterly breeze on Saturday, and a reasonable-for-sailing but otherwise utterly grey northerly yesterday (Sunday) to get in the full quota of races for a fleet of 21 boats from six clubs

Either way, as far as the first six places were concerned, it was Lough Ree and Malahide pretty well rampant. So much so that we should hear it loud and clear for Adam McGrady and Allister O'Sullivan of Galway Bay SC – they managed to break the Lough Ree-Malahide hegemony by slipping into the listing at seventh overall, supported by clubmates Isabella Irwin and Mattie Kennedy at eighth.

Things get serious at the windward mark for Isabella Irwin & Mattie Kennedy (left, GBSC, eighth overall) and Matthew Fallon & Jenny Paul (LRYC, 13th overall). Photo: Annraoi BlaneyThings get serious at the windward mark for Isabella Irwin & Mattie Kennedy (left, GBSC, eighth overall) and Matthew Fallon & Jenny Paul (LRYC, 13th overall). Photo: Annraoi Blaney

But up at the sharp end, the first race was a clear declaration of intent with Jack McDowell and Henry Thompson of Malahide taking the bullet from Ben Graf and Anna Goerg of Lough Ree. Thereafter, regardless of wind amounts or sunshine quantities, it was almost entirely these two slugging it out for the win with the Graf und Goerg duo becoming dominant with four wins in the nine races while discarding a couple of thirds, though in fairness their Lough Ree clubmates Eoghan Duffy and Luke Johnston took third overall with a couple of firsts and a second.

Port tack assessment – Adam McGrady & Allister O'Sullivan (GBSC, 7th overall) weighing their chances Photo: Annraoi Blaney Port tack assessment – Adam McGrady & Allister O'Sullivan (GBSC, 7th overall) weighing their chances Photo: Annraoi Blaney 

As for the Malahide stars McDowell and Thompson, their scoreline was 1,2,2, (5), 2, (3), 1, 2 to give them 13 to the winning 10 of Graf and Goerg – full details here

Campaigning a 420 is a much greater logistical challenge for young sailors and their support teams than doing the circuit with the solo-sailed Optimists, Lasers or Toppers, so it's interesting to see how club involvement waxes and wanes. For instance, there were no boats from the host club, where much attention is now focused on U18 and U25 groups. But obviously for now Lough Ree and Malahide are giving it their best shot, and so too are Galway Bay, Waterford Harbour at Dunmore East, and Blessington up in the Wicklow Hills. It will be intriguing to see how this current pattern pans out in the next couple of years.

Saturday bliss - let us hope it wasn't the last real day of Summer 2021. Photo: Brian James MaguireSaturday bliss - let us hope it wasn't the last real day of Summer 2021. Photo: Brian James Maguire

420 Irish winners

1st overall Graf and Goerg 1st overall Graf and Goerg

2nd overall - McDowell Thompson2nd overall - McDowell and Thompson

3rd - overall Duffy Johnston3rd - overall Duffy and Johnston

420 Irish silver fleet winners

1st Silver Fleet - Sweetman and Jephson 1st Silver Fleet - Sweetman and Jephson

2nd Silver Fleet - Passberger and Maree2nd Silver Fleet - Passberger and Maree

3rd Silver Fleet - Dunne and O'Reilly 3rd Silver Fleet - Dunne and O'Reilly

Curraghbinny Cup Sarah Whyte and Sean Cronin with Tokyo 2020 sailor Sean Waddilove Curraghbinny Cupwinners -  Sarah Whyte and Sean Cronin with Tokyo 2020 sailor Sean Waddilove


Best Female Crew -  Campion and Soffe. Best Female Crew Campion Soffe

Published in 420
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The 420 class powered through their fourth event of 2021 when the 2021 420 Leinster Championships were sailed at Malahide Yacht Club with 15 entries enjoying the idyllic conditions of cloudless skies, warm temperatures and a good sea breeze that allowed a full quota of six races to be completed.

The high pressure stationed over Ireland made the Saturday morning mill pond condition look ominous, but by the time the first gun was signalled on schedule a 9-10 knot sea breeze allowed the principal race officer Richard Kissane from Howth Yacht Club to not only sail the three scheduled races for the Saturday but also an extra race. Day 1 wins were shared by McDowell/Tompson and Graf/Goerg who were tied on 5 points each after two wins apiece.

Gold Fleet 2nd Place - Jack McDowell MYC/Henry Thompson WHBTCGold Fleet 2nd Place - Jack McDowell MYC/Henry Thompson WHBTC

Gold Fleet 3rd Place -Alex Leech LRYC/Conor Paul LRYCGold Fleet 3rd Place -Alex Leech LRYC/Conor Paul LRYC

Day 2 provided a slight increase in breeze and Graf/Goerg tightened their grip on the title with another two wins. Campion/Soffe sailed a solid series to win the Silver Fleet and finish well up the Gold Fleet placings.

Silver Fleet 1st Place - Kate Campion MYC/Amelie Soffe MYCSilver Fleet 1st Place - Kate Campion MYC/Amelie Soffe MYC

Silver Fleet 2nd Place - Fodhla Dunne WHSC/Sinead O'Reilly WHSCSilver Fleet 2nd Place - Fodhla Dunne WHSC/Sinead O'Reilly WHSC

Silver Fleet 3rd Place - Sean Cronin MYC/ Sarah Whyte LRYC   

Gold Fleet 1st Place - Ben Graf LRYC/Anna Goerg LRYC
Gold Fleet 2nd Place - Jack McDowell MYC/Henry Thompson WHBTC
Gold Fleet 3rd Place -Alex Leech LRYC/Conor Paul LRYC
Silver Fleet 1st Place - Kate Campion MYC/Amelie Soffe MYC
Silver Fleet 2nd Place - Fodhla Dunne WHSC/Sinead O'Reilly WHSC
Silver Fleet 3rd Place - Sean Cronin MYC/ Sarah Whyte LRYC

The next Irish event for the 420 Class will be the 2021 National Championships to be held at Howth Yacht Club on the 27th to the 29th August.

Published in 420
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This weekend saw the much-anticipated return to racing for two youth sailing fleets; the Mirror & 420 fleets. This joint event held at Lough Ree Yacht Club, was a Mirror Regional Championship and a 420 "Warm Up" Regatta.

The first 420 Regional is scheduled for the 26th & 27th of this month at Waterford Harbour Sailing Club, giving time for the Leaving Cert Sailors.

Nineteen boats competed, ten Mirrors and nine 420's and the conditions were sublime! Breeze on Saturday was fresh at times, enabling the 420's planing upwind. Lake sailing without sea swell offers dinghy Sailors a different experience however, when light conditions prevail, local knowledge can be useful! Race Officer Garrett Leech got 6 races in over the course of the weekend.

The start of a Lough Ree Yacht Club Mirror dinghy raceThe start of a Lough Ree Yacht Club Mirror dinghy race

In the Mirror Fleet, the Championship was dominated by Sligo Sister & Brother team, Jessica & Mark Greer who got bullets in 5 out of the 6 races. Second place overall again went to Sligo Sailors, Mia Canham & William Draper, and third overall went to Blessington Sailors; Jack McNaughton & Saoirse Lawley. A big shout out to local sailors (and first time racing!); Mathew Turner & Donnacha Dullea, who finished fourth overall and first in Bronze Fleet.

In the 420s, the "Warm Up" regatta was dominated by Jack McDowell (Malahide Yacht Club) & Harry Thompson (Wexford Harbour Boat & Tennis Club), who like their Mirror counterparts, won 5 bullets out of the 6 races. Second & third places overall went to local duo's; Eoghan Duffy & Luke Johnston and Alex Leech & Conor Paul, respectively.

Two of the competing 420 Teams will be travelling to Yacht Club San Remo in Italy for the 420 World Championship, which starts at the beginning of July and runs for almost two weeks. These teams are McDowell/Thompson & Hauer/Micka.

Mirror and 420 results from Lough Ree Yacht Club

Published in Youth Sailing
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Teenage skipper Ben Graf of the 250-year-old Lough Ree YC is September's Junior "Sailor of the Month" on the strength of a remarkably varied lineup of successes which reached a new level during the late season. Having won the 420 Nationals at Dunmore East crewed by Alexander Farrell, he repeated the performance of gaining top slot at the 420 Northerns at Ballyholme, and then immediately transferred back to Lough Ree for another bout of successful helming in the SB20 Class.

He has also figured in Shannon One Design racing, and in a new departure for 2020, he and Farrell made their impressive debut in the Fireball Class in anticipation of the Worlds in Ireland in 2021.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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Following hot on the heels of the Irish 420 National Championships held in Dunmore East the Connaught Championships were held last weekend at Lough Ree Yacht Club as part of the clubs Double Ree regatta celebrating double-handed youth sailing. The adrenalin rush of the open seas and big waves was replaced with two contrasting days of excellent lake sailing. Home advantage lay with the Lough Ree Yacht Club crews who had claimed both the Gold and Silver fleet honours at the nationals with some dominant displays. But this event featured contrasting results to the National Championships where Graf/Farrell previously had such a dominant display, Lough Ree, in contrast, produced five different race winners across the six-race starts.

2020 Connaught Championships - Winners of Gold Fleet - Jack McDowell of Malahide Yacht Club and Harry Thompson of Wexford Harbour Sailing Club2020 Connaught Championships - Winners of Gold Fleet - Jack McDowell of Malahide Yacht Club and Harry Thompson of Wexford Harbour Sailing Club

2nd place Gold Fleet - Ben Graf and Alexander Farrell of Lough Ree Yacht Club2nd place Gold Fleet - Ben Graf and Alexander Farrell of Lough Ree Yacht Club

3rd place Gold Fleet - Harry Shackelton and Cara McDowell of Malahide Yacht Club3rd place Gold Fleet - Harry Shackelton and Cara McDowell of Malahide Yacht Club

Saturday delivered a moderate breeze with winds strength ranging from the low teens into the low twenties blowing down the length of the lake from the north. The choppy lake waves provided a new challenge in contrast to the rollers at Dunmore east the previous week. The Race Officer David Dickson was able to run three excellent races before calling a halt to proceedings with Graf/Farrell holding a one-point lead over Rickard/Pank who held a further two-point lead over McDowell/Thompson in third. Each crew had one race win with the leader board looking like a game of snakes and ladders through the day, but Graf/Alexander were the more consistent crew on the day allowing them to hold the overnight lead.

Sunday dawned with clear blue skies and not a breath of wind as the sailors prepared for an early start. A light lake breeze soon settled in time for racing to commence. The light shifty breeze give the sailors plenty to think and the first race on day two went to McDowell/Thompson parachuting them into the lead temporarily. The next two races say two new race winners with race five won by a country mile by Leech/Paul and race six won by Shackelton/McDowell. Leader positions in both fleets changed frequently but the more consistent performance of Graf/Farrell and McDowell/Thompson saw both crews etch out a small advantage over the rest of the fleet. The pair were separated by half a boat length at the finish of race five handing the advantage to the Graf/Farrell crew heading into the last race. Shackelton/McDowell took the early lead of race 6 with Graf/Farrell tucked in with the leading boats and McDowell/Thompson trailing in 7th place. Steady improvements up the fleet during the race say McDowell/Thompson reach the top of the final beat just behind Graf/Farrell who had the misfortune to get a twist in their spinnaker in the reach across the top of the trapezoid course. With the spinnaker problems ironed out a game of cat and mouse began down the final leg towards the leeward mark before the final turn for home and a reach to the finish where the winners crossed the finish line a sweaty palm one boat length ahead of the Graf/Farrell team. The winning crew of McDowell/Thompson got the title on a tie break with a score of 10pts. Positions three to five were separated by only one point with Shackelton/McDowell in third on 16pts and Richard/Pank plus Leech/Paul both on 17pts.

The podium for the silver fleet saw new names stepping up to take first and third-place positions. McMullan/Smyth took the title with McGrady/O’Sullivan in third and second place again going to Hauer/Micka as they did in the nationals the previous week.

Winners of Silver Fleet - Sam McMullan and Daniel Smyth of Lough Ree Yacht ClubWinners of Silver Fleet - Sam McMullan and Daniel Smyth of Lough Ree Yacht Club

2nd place Silver Fleet - Imogen Hauer and Hugo Micka of Malahide Yacht Club2nd place Silver Fleet - Imogen Hauer and Hugo Micka of Malahide Yacht Club

3rd place Silver Fleet - Adam McGrady and Aly O'Sullivan of Galway Bay Sailing Club3rd place Silver Fleet - Adam McGrady and Aly O'Sullivan of Galway Bay Sailing Club

Gold fleet

1st Place Gold Fleet – Jack McDowell, Malahide Yacht Club & Harry Thompson, Wexford Harbour Boat and Tennis Club.

2nd Place Gold Fleet – Ben Graf & Alexander Farrell, Lough Ree Yacht Club

3rd Place Gold Fleet– Harry Shackelton and Cara McDowell, Malahide Yacht Club

Silver fleet

1st Place Silver Fleet – Sam McMullan & Daniel Smyth, Lough Ree Yacht Club

2nd Place Silver Fleet – Imogen Hauer & Hugo Micka, Malahide Yacht Club

3rd Place Silver Fleet – Adam McGrady & Ally O’Sullivan, Galway Bay Sailing Club

Published in 420
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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.


The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

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