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Displaying items by tag: Calves Week

#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

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#calvesweek– With a good sailing breeze, from the north west, forecast for the last day of sailing in the 2013 Cork Dry Gin Calves Week 2013 yesterday, Race Officer Neil Prendiville took the opportunity to send the fleets in an unusual triangular course. Photos by Bob Bateman below. A beat from north of the Calf Islands to Goat Island 3 nautical miles west of Schull Harbour, a fast spinnaker run down the smooth channel inside Goat and Long Islands and a broad reach out and around the Middle and Calf Islands was the set for some challenging and enjoyable sailing.

The wind, which was light onshore, built to a 17 to 18 knot breeze outside Copper Point, with gusts up to 25 knots, added interest to the spinnaker legs in particular. Classes 0/1 and 2/3, and the larger Whitesail boats, completed the circuit twice, with the smaller boats finishing after the run around the Calves.

Class 0/1 bunched around the Committee boat at the start with a few caught in the middle of a squeeze, but the fleet separated on the beat to Goat Island, with Kieran Twomey in Gloves Off leading the fleet down the sound under spinnaker. On the spinnaker leg, Dublin's Paul O'Higgins enjoyed a successful joust with Roy Darragh from Cork, with Rockabill V coming off the winner after luffing Fool's Gold up before hauling up its spinnaker. Many boats struggled however to hold their spinnakers in the gusts with a few generous broaches to add to the excitement, which may explain why in the final shakeup Fool's Gold were ahead of Rockabill V on corrected time in IRC. Both however were behind Kieran Twomey who completed a clean sweep in Class 0/1 IRC for the week.

As usual, the results in Echo had more variability. Local skipper Gabby Hogan took the lead again on Growler, ahead of Conor Doyle from Kinsale on Freya and Dave Harte in the Schull Outdoor Education Centre boat, Infinity, helmed by 15 year old Florence Lyden from Baltimore.

In Class 2/3 IRC honours were taken again by Derek Dillon on Big Deal, ahead of Brian O Sullivan on Amazing Grace and David Buckley from Tralee on Boojum. Local skipper Paul Murray won on Full Pelt in Echo ahead of local rival Frank O'Hara on Chinook and Diarmuid Dineen on Growler.

In Class 4, Shelly D won in IRC ahead of Saoirse. Waterford visitor Rene Wubben took the Echo prize on Seven Whistler, to also win that series. Whitesail 1 was won by Roche/O'Leary/Andrews, helmed by Tom Roche, on Act 2, ahead of Ciaran Geogheghan on Fizz in IRC and Morris Mitton on Albineta in Echo. Schull skippers James and Deborah Crowley on La Perle Noir won against a fleet of local rivals in Whitesail 2, by 9 seconds ahead of Colin Moorehead in Giggles.

Overall results: Class 0&1 IRC Gloves Off Kieran Twomey (RCYC). Class 0&1 Echo Freya Conor Doyle (KYC). Class 2&3 IRC Big Deal Derek Dillon (FYC). Class 2&3 Echo Amazing Grace Brian O'Sullivan (TBSC). Class 4 Shelly D Michael Murphy (SHSC). Class 4 Echo Seven Whistler Rene Wubben (WHSC). Whitesail 1 IRC Fizz Ciaran Geoghegan (DSC). Whitesail 1 Echo Act 2 Roche/O'Leary/Andrews (RIYC) Whitesail 2 La Perle Noire James and Deborah Crowley (SHSC).

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#calvesweek – There was a very mixed forecast for today's racing at Calves Week for the Fastnet Race writes Claire Bateman. The Race Officer sent Class 4 and Whitesail 2 straight to the Rock and back a distance of some fourteen miles. Classes 2 and 3 were also sent to the Rock but had to return via the Calf Islands while Zero and 1, having rounded the Rock, had to go round Cape Clear. This resulted in a mass finish of boats in the harbour all close together.

The weather was somewhat unkind starting out as sunny but on the way to the rock deteriorated into fog and rain and a very lumpy sea brought about by a flooding spring tide resulting in some gear breakage.

Once again there was no stopping Kieran Twomey in Gloves Off who took a third win of the three races sailed to date in IRC. Conor and Denise Phelan, as ever enjoying their annual West Cork trip, were second today and are lying second overall. Paul O'Higgins Rockabill had to be content with an eighth place but is lying third on equal points with Robert McConnell's Fools Gold.

In Class 2/3 IRC it was Foynes entry Derek Dillon took first place and now leads overall followed in second place by Ernie Dillon from Royal Cork in overall second while in third place was Brian O'Sullivan's Amazing Grace from TBSC who has now climbed to second overall. In Class 4 Michael Murphy of Shelly D is smiling tonight as he leads overall in both IRC and ECHO. Second in ECHO to day was Rene Wubben's Seven Whistler followed by Richard Hanley's Saoirse in third.

The final race of the Cork Dry Gin Calves Week will take place tomorrow (Fri) followed by the prize giving.

Additional report from Calves week PR:

On day 3 of racing in the Cork Dry Gin Calves Week 2013 and with the wind backed from south easterly to south westerly overnight and forecast to get up to 18 knots forecast in the afternoon, all boats knew that they would face very different weather conditions for the scheduled run around the Fastnet Rock. A heavy swell from the southwest and a forecast for a front to pass over in midafternoon added to the challenge of deciding which route to take in the beat out to the Rock for skippers.

The simplest course - "Fastnet, Port" - was set for the smallest boats, Class 4 and Whitesail 2, who left first. Class 2/3 returned via the Calf Islands, now a familiar sight. The largest boats, in Class 0/1 and Whitesail 1, had the added challenge of a run around Clear Island and through the Gascanane Sound after rounding the lighthouse, and a beat back around Western Calf before the reach for the line.

The fleet divided on the way out, with some choosing to head south to Cape Clear, and others heading west along the southern shore of Long Island before tacking south towards the Fastnet. The front came through earlier than expected and the result wind shift benefited those who had gone west.

Perhaps reflecting their detailed knowledge, local boats did well in the results. The first boats finished in a little under 3 hours with Kieran Twomey in Gloves Off from the Royal Cork completing a hat trick in IRC, ahead of Jump Juice. He was trumped in ECHO by Gabby Hogan in local boat Growler , ahead of Frank Whelan sailing Wavetrain (Royal St George). The Dillon brothers on Big Deal and Silk Breeze divided IRC and Echo honours in Classes 2/3, with Big Deal less than a minute ahead on corrected time from Silk Breeze after 3 hours of racing. Micheal Murphy in Shelly D, from Schull won both Class 4 prizes.

In the Whitesail 1 fleet, Ciaran Geoghegan from Dungarvan, skippering Fizz, again took the IRC prize, with Tom McCarthy in Ashanta picking up his first prize in Echo. The Ronan famil y in Kopper Two won in Whitesail 2.

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#calvesweek – The light conditions obviously suited Kieran Twomey in Gloves Off from the Royal Cork YC on the second day of racing at Cork Dry Gin Calves Week.

He won again in both IRC and Echo, again ahead of Cork boat Jump Juice in IRC and local boat Infinity, helmed by David Harte from the local sailing centre. Derek Dillon in Big Deal (Foynes YC) won combined Classes 2/3 in IRC, with John Bourke in Northside Dragon from the Royal St George securing his first win in ECHO. Simon Nelson from Schull won Class 4 Echo in Witchcraft.

The racing was delayed slightly but with the south-easterly breeze forecast to reduce further over the afternoon, Race Officer Neil Prendiville started the racing outside Copper Point. Other than the light wind, there was an incoming tide all afternoon and a rolling swell from the South West.

Each fleet was sent on a windward course through the Calf Islands, and having rounded Western Calf, north to the Amelia. The larger competitors, Class 0/1 were able to complete two circuits of the course before the dying breeze forced an early close by the Amelia for all classes.

In the Whitesail 1 fleet, Ciaran Geoghegan from Dungarvan, skippering Fizz and Philip Smith from the Royal Irish YC swopped winning honours Colin Moorehead took the prize in Whitesail 2 ahead of yesterday's winner Martin Lane in Chatterbox.

Full set of racing results at

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#calvesweek – The first day of sailing in the Cork Dry Gin Calves Week 2013 was conducted in light to moderate winds and in warm, fair conditions.

This is the 29th time this well-loved sailing festival has been organised by the volunteers from Schull Harbour Sailing Club. The racing schedule was revamped last year to better meet the needs of skippers and crew, who generally bring their families and stay in the local area. The successful new 4 day format, and the recent good weather, helped to persuade a dozen additional new crews to travel to the West Cork village. Travelling Dublin boats include Leslie Parnell on Black Velvet, Paul O'Higgins on Rockabill V, Frank Whelan on Wavetrain and Declan Hayes on Indecision. Substantial contingents based in Tralee and Waterford, and a large number of Royal Cork boats also made the journey.

Two 1720s from the CIT Sailing Club joined Infinity from Fastnet Outdoor Education Centre.

The majority of boats in the 55 boat fleet had signed up well before the launch on Monday night 5th August 2013, sponsored by Cork Dry Gin. Other returning sponsors include Landrover, ASECO, A&L Castors, and Charts Latitude in Kinsale. The festival has always been strongly supported by local businesses such as Rossbrin Boatyard. With the assistance of Schull Tourism, the sailing has now been integrated with an onshore festival with music organised each evening in the village and a farmers market on the pier on Thursday.

Experienced Race Officer Neil Prendiville, taking account of the slightly fresher breeze in Long Island Bay, sent the 4 fleets on a triangular course around a windward mark, through the Calf Islands and past the Amelia Buoy. Combined Classes O/1 and 2/3 followed a further windward/leeward leg.

The lack of a breeze inshore led the Race Officer to shorten the course for all Classes to finish offshore by the Amelia with a spinnaker finish for all cruiser classes.

Kieran Twomey in Gloves Off (RCYC) started the honours list in Class 0&1 in both IRC and Echo, ahead of Jump Juice (Conor, Denise Phelan) and Freya (Conor Doyle) respectively. June's Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race winner Amazing Grace (Brian O'Sullivan, Tralee Bay SC) took both prizes in Class 2/3, ahead of Derek Dillon in Big Deal (Foynes YC) in IRC and Donagh Russell in Bedlam (Cove SC). Local boat Shelly D took line honours in IRC in Class 4, with Rene Wubben in Seven Whistler taking the Echo prize.

In the Whitesail 1 fleet, Dublin boats Zephyr (Ross Cahill O'Brien, NYC) swopped places with Andrew Knowles in Sandpiper of Howth (HYC) in the 1:2 stakes in IRC and ECHO. Martin Lane in Chatterbox scooped the ECHO honours in Whitesail 2 from an entirely local fleet.

Calves Week 2013 at Schull Harbour Sailing Club Overall (after day one):

WHITE SAIL 2 ECHO: 1. Chatterbox Oceanis 331 (Martin Lane SHSC); 2 La Pearl Noire First 27.7 (James Crowley SHSC); 3 Cu na Mara Norfolk Smuggler (David Kiely SHSC)

WHITE SAIL 1 IRC: 1. Zephyr J100 (Ross Cahill O'Brien NYC); 2 Sandpiper of Howth Jeanneau S.O.37 (Andrew Knowles HYC); 3 Act Two Dufour 425 (T Roche & M O'Leary & D Andrews RIYC)

WHITE SAIL 1 ECHO: 1. Sandpiper of Howth Jeanneau S.O.37 (Andrew Knowles HYC); 2 Zephyr J100 (Ross Cahill O'Brien NYC); 3 Act Two Dufour 425

Class 4 ECHO: 1. Seven Whistler Albin Ballad (Rene Wubben WHSC; 2 Chinook First 210 (A Bradley & P Morgan SHSC); 3 Shelly D Moody 30 (Michael Murphy SHSC)

Class 0 & 1 ECHO: 1. Gloves Off Corby 38 (Kieran Twomey RCYC); 2 Freya X-422 Conor (Doyle KYC); 3 Endgame West A35 (Frank Doyle RCYC)

CLASS 0 & 1 IRC: 1. Gloves Off Corby 38; 2 Jump Juice Ker 37 Custom (Conor & Denise Phelan RCYC); 3 Rockabill V Corby 33 (Paul O'Higgins RIYC)

CLASS 4 IRC: 1. Shelly D Moody 30 (Michael Murphy SHSC); 2 Saoirse GK 24 (Richard Hanley KYC)

1720 CLASS: 1. Warrior 1720 CIT (Sean O'Riordan CITSC); 2 Scholar 1720 CIT (Paul Gallagher)

CITSC Class 2 & 3 ECHO: 1 Amazing Grace Oyster 37 (Brian O'Sullivan TBSC); 2 Bedlam Impala 28 mod (Allister & Russell & Doyle CSC); 3 Valkriss First 345 (Hennessy & Murphy & Dann KYC)

CLASS 2 & 3 IRC: 1 Amazing Grace Oyster 37 ; 2 Big Deal Dehler (Derek Dillon FYC); 3 Bedlam Impala 28 mod (Allister & Russell & Doyle CSC)

For further results please check out

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#calvesweek – The Fastnet Marine Outdoor Education Centre saw a lerge turnout yesterday evening for the opening party of the 2013 Cork Dry Gin Calves Week. Commodore of Schull Harbour Sailing Club, Frank Murphy launched the festival of sailing, thanking the entire Community of Schull for their amazing support, "We are really delighted with the turnout this evening and look forward to a great week's sailing."
The first race kicks off today at 12.25pm when Schull Harbour will be a spectacular sight not to be missed, filled with 60 yachts at full sail. Racing will continue each day Tuesday to Friday with the Round the Fastnet Race starting on Thursday at 11.55am. Prize giving and live entertainment will take over the town each evening from 6pm until late.

Named with a tongue in cheek reference to the famous Cowes Week, this event is not to be missed for lovers of sailing and for those with a passing interest in boats. The regatta has been an annual event since 1884, the big attraction at the time being the fierce rivalry and epic battles between the local fleet of fishing yawls and the visitors from Baltimore, Sherkin, Cape Clear and Crookhaven.
Schull is in a very beautiful part of West Cork, a charming village popular with visitors at the best of times, but for this week it is thronged and the place is humming. There are cruiser and dinghy racing every day with a race around the Fastnet rock on Thursday the 8th.
With street entertainment and other events throughout the festival, Cork Dry Gin Calves Week is as legendary for its on shore partying as it is for the on the water racing.

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#calvesweek – This year's Calves Week feeder race from Crosshaven, in Cork Harbour to Baltimore in West Cork will take place on Saturday, August 3rd with a warning signal at 8 a.m. as per the Sailing Instructions and a start from Cork Harbour's Grassy line in  writes Claire Bateman.

An opening reception will be held on Monday, August 5th at 6.30pm and racing will commence on Tuesday and continue until Friday. Thursday is the designated day for the race around the Fastnet.

The event will have an abundance of trophies and the organisers are busy with preparations for the nightly prize giving and entertainment. If last year is anything to go by a carnival atmosphere will pervade the town for the duration of the event. One also hears on the grapevine that the sea water temperature at Schull is really warm after the recent hot spell.

Over sixty boats are expected and with Neil Prendeville on Mary P doing the honours as Race Officer, and Denis Kiely with lap top in hand to deal with handicapping matters, all is set for an excellent week of racing under the Chairmanship of Tadgh Dwyer.

Rockabill and Jump Juice are already West and other well known names expected from Royal Cork include Gloves Off, Senator Incatatus, Yanks & ffrancs with White Knight from Cove Sailing Club also expected to attend.

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Calves Week 2013 was launched in style at Blackrock Castle in Cork Harbour tonight. Scroll down for photos by Bob Bateman!

The August 6th-9th event will feature around the islands racing in Roaringwater Bay as well as a race around the Fastnet rock.

Some 60 boats took part in 2012 Calves Week to celebrate the annual West Cork festival of sailing, which featured racing for six classes.

Last year’s feeder races provided ample opportunity for skippers and crews to familiarise themselves with Roaringwater Bay, for which principal race officer for Calves Week, Neil Prendeville, had drawn up a new course card featuring over 40 different courses taking in the many islands and natural marks.

Details of the 2013 Festival were announced at a reception tonight.

This Festival of Sailing has become a very important date in the National Racing Calendar. The Week, run by Schull Harbour Sailing Club begins with an opening reception and skippers briefing at the Fastnet Marine Centre on Monday August 5th and the first "Round the Islands" race will kick off on Tuesday 6th. The series will finish Friday 9th with the final race from Schull to the Fastnet rock and back.

The overall presentation of prizes, closing ceremony and live entertainment will take over Schull Main Street each evening.

The festival will feature nightly fun and live entertainment around the village for both adults and children. There are plenty of activities during the day for the non-sailors to ensure everybody has a thoroughly enjoyable week.

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Cork Dry Gin Calves Week at Schull, West Cork, certainly kept the best til the last writes Claire Bateman. Scroll down for Photos.

Given the fog and poor visibility experienced during the early part of the regatta week, the organisers made the wise decision to switch the Fastnet race to Friday and what a day it turned out to be. There was a beautiful warm easterly breeze force 4/5 with non stop sunshine. Race Officer Neil Prendeville reversed the order of the start so that the lower handicapped boats started first and off went all the classes of the sixty boat fleet to enjoy a day the like of which has not been experienced for a long, long time and certainly not this year. The wind, which was coming from the east, meant that instead of a start directly into the wind what they had was a reaching start and by the time it came to the Class Two and Three start they charged the line some believing that the buoy safeguarding the stern of the committee boat was an inner distance mark.

Both the Corby 25 Allure and the quarter tonner Per Elisa returned to start again before proceeding on a course that took them up Long Island Sound under spinnaker, seven and eight abreast, and what a sight that was, before taking Goat Island to port and then a fetch to the Fastnet which course was also followed by the Class One boats. Being a Fastnet race with the magnet of rounding the famous rock, the boats as usual were packed with not only racing crews but there were also a lot of families on board from Grannies and Grandads to babies and even some canines, all having the time of their lives in the brilliant sun and white capped seas.

In a race like this taking in the Fastnet with the tidal sweep around it throwing up a lumpy sea it was inevitable there would be one or two incidents and one of these saw the Travers/Rohan quarter tonner Per Elisa doing a pirouette much to the astonishment of her helm and crew only to find their rudder had loosened and one of the other boats came to her assistance. There were one or two other coming togethers in the tight racing and Pat Barret/Cathal Conlon in Y knot came in to the finish on a tight spinnaker reach and experienced great difficulty in dropping their big red kite trying everything from going backwards and forwards and even sending a crew member up the mast to try to free it which they eventually succeeded in doing.

In the midst of all this enjoying the glorious weather and sailing spectacle of the sixty boat fleet the cruise ship Hebridean Princess was arriving in Schull Harbour and the gentlemanly Master called the Race Officer to ascertain the situation and having it explained to him the race would last approximately anther hour, brought his ship around Long Island through the Gascanane Sound to anchor at the mouth of the harbour thus enabling his passengers to have the unexpected treat of viewing the racing in the unbeatable scenic surroundings.

In Class One IRC Kieran Twomey's "Gloves Off" returned to her winning form with a tight twenty second victory over Martin Breen's "Lynx Clipper.This result confirmed " Gloves" as IRC One overall boat of the week.

In Class One ECHO it was another popular win for Gabby Hogan's "Growler" that also saw him take the overall trophy.

In Class Two IRC Jason Losty finished a fantastic week in runaway style with a comprehensive victory to take both the day prize and overall trophy, when his closest competitor the Travers/Rohan "Per Elisa" had to retire due to the already mentioned gear failure.

In Class Three IRC Derek Dillon posted another perfect score to comfortably win the overall from Dan O' Donovan's "Second Count",while in ECHO victory went to local Schull boat Paul Murray's "Full Pelt".

In Class Four it was a clean sweep in both divisions for the Murphy family in "Shelly D" while the overalls went to Richard Hanley's "Saoirse"in IRC and the Molloy/O' Shea duo on "No fixed Abode", who despite a disqualification in the final race, won the ECHO trophy.

In White Sail One Michael O Leary's "Act Two" revelled in the fresh conditions to win in both divisions and also took the ECHO overall while William Lacy and Charles Blandford in "Sojourn" collected the IRC trophy.

In White Sail Two Michael Hearn in "Summerfly" had a brilliant trip around the rock to win from Brian Ronan's "Kopper Too" with the overall going to Peter Morehead of the sponsor company, Cork Dry Gin, in "Giggles".

All in all a perfect ending to Cork Dry Gin Calves week 2012.

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#calvesweek –The new compact format for Calves week 2012 did not have much help from the weather on day two of the regatta today writes Claire Bateman.

With a continuation of light weather and poor visibility, Calves Week Race Officer Neil Prendeville, must be wondering how he had upset the Weather Gods as he struggled to lay his start line off Copper Point, having had to fly the postponement flag for the second day.

After a short delay, the fleets disappeared into the fog all heading for the No 4 offshore mark in Long Island Bay. As the race progressed, the eerie silence of the fog was occasionally broken by the cheers of the crews, listening to the results of Katie Taylor's Olympic boxing results on their radios.

In Class One IRC Kieran Twomey's "Gloves off" had a comprehensive victory with more than five minutes to spare over Paul O Higgins "Rockabill V" while the ECHO prize went to Barry Heskins "Now What" ahead of Leslie Parnell in "Black Velvet"

In Class Two IRC it was a dramatic day for Jason Losty in "Illes Piteuses" who reversed yesterday's results by beating the Rohan/Travers "Per Elisa" into second place, while the ECHO result went to William Despards "Obsession" with Ernie Dillions "Silk Breeze" in second.

In Class Three it was a clean sweep for Cove sailing club boats, with the Allister/ Kenny /Kavanagh combination winning IRC ,while the ECHO result went to the Ryan/Tyler duo in "Away on Business" .

In Class Four Richard Hanleys "Saoirse" took the IRC trophy, while in ECHO the Molloy/ O'Shea crew in "No Fixed Abode" took the spoils.

In White Sail One the prizes all went to Dublin crews, with "Empress 111 owners Tom Fitzpatrick and Des Glennon winning IRC, while Phil Smiths "Just Jasmin"won in ECHO and Class Two White Sail produced a very popular local winner when event secretary Dave Waters in "Genevive" took first place, ahead of Michael Hearns "Summerfly" and Peter Moorheads "Giggles".

Racing will continue tomorrow with first gun at 12 noon.

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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.

©Afloat 2020

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