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Displaying items by tag: David Harte

#youth sailing – David Harte of Schull Community College Sailing Club offers his views on how one secondary school in West Cork is contributing to youth sailing and the Irish dinghy scene.

I have taken on board, with interest, many of the recent letters, forums, and discussions on the present state of dinghy racing in Ireland. Whilst generating much food for thought, I would like to avail of the opportunity to mention the very positive input, that a small secondary school situated in the far south-west, contributes to the overall status of dinghy sailing, and, racing, in Ireland.

Schull Community College has 450 enrolled students, 98% of which, would come from a non-sailing background,. The College Sailing Club has 78 members. Introduction to sailing takes place in September when all 1st year students are afforded an opportunity to experience sailing. This would take the form of a fun day out with the goal that all students come back with a smile. Those interested in learning the skills, to whatever level or standard, are invited to become members of the Schull Community College Sailing Club.

The cost for membership is €100 for the year, or €150, for two, or more, family members. This fee covers Saturday sailing throughout the year (weather permitting), with instructors and coaches, and the use of a variety of dinghies to suit all skills.

Beginners are thought the skills of sailing without reference to the SBSS (ISA Small Boat Sailing Scheme). We intentionally do not use this scheme as we have found in the past, that students prioritise attainment of levels over skills.

The goals of each student are different, with some content to sail back and forth with their friends having fun, but using the proper skills to do so, while others are eager to advance to developing Team Racing skills. Progress to this stage can be achieved once the student has demonstrated a good understanding of the 5E's, and can sail around a course with little or no rudder. Saturday sailing, during the year, attracts an average of 30 sailors on a cold day to 50+ on a sunny day Team racing discipline is used at the school as it is an achievable goal with little or no personal resources required, with boats and coach supplied by the FMOEC.

"We intentionally do not use the ISA Small Boat Sailing Scheme as we have found in the past, that students prioritise attainment of levels over skills".

Students learn the advanced skills of sailing, an introduction to racing rules, and team work. A typical Saturday would involve, briefing, boat handling exercises, team racing, and de-briefing, as well as boat maintenance, and seamanship skills, etc. With team racing, students upskill rapidly, as competition for team places is continuous throughout the year. Most of the students would never have sailed outside of Schull Harbour, but, within a few years, clearly demonstrate a skill level, equal to, or above their peers from other clubs. When students reach transition year they have an extra days sailing on Wednesdays. At this stage students are divided into two groups, with one group learning to sail and the other learning the skills required to become a Dinghy Instructor. For instructorship, students attend VHF, First Aid, and Powerboat courses, and their pre-entry. At this stage, none of the students would have any SBSS levels, but, they would have the skills necessary to pass their pre-entry Most of these courses are subsidised by the FMOEC which allows the student to become an Instructor, without the burden of recourse to personal resources. Mainstream costs to fulfill all courses required to become an Instructor approximate in the region of €1,500, which, in my view, is completely ridiculous.

Most of the students who become instructors, are offered summer jobs at the centre, teaching the SBSS to the general public. Our courses run for nine weeks, and it is during this that our instructors see the downfall of the SBSS, with a sizeable percentage of students attending the courses showing more interest in the cert., rather than the skill. This in turn forces sailing clubs and centres to issue certs., as parents believe they have paid for the cert., and not the skills. Our team racing teams participate in many events throughout the year, ranging from the Munster Schools Team Racing Championships to the International Wilson Trophy.

A look at the results from last years 1st team, which consisted of six team members, of which, five came from a non-sailing background, demonstrates the achievement of the FMOEC syllabus. Irish National Champions, British U21 Champions British Schools Champions, Youth Helmsman Champion, Silver Senior Helmsman Championships, 4.7 National Champion and Silver Radial Championships. It would be easy to ascribe this success to 'an exceptional team', but, Schull teams have been Irish National Champions every year, except two, have won the British Schools Championships four times, and been in the top four over the last six years.

One may pose the question....'where do they go after they finish at Schull Community College, and, do they continue sailing?..... Follow up on team-racing participants, whether they go on to 3rd. level, or, otherwise, demonstrates a continuing healthy involvement in sailing activities. In 2011 the ITRA (Irish Team Racing Championships) were held in Schull and over 50% of the helms entered in the event were ex-Schull Community College.

In conclusion, it is my belief that the present state of dinghy racing in Schull (Ireland) is strong, and, demonstrably, getting stronger.

More on this subject of dinghy sailing here

Published in ISA

With the advent of 2011, preparations are now well under way for the holding of the ISAF World Team Racing Championships at Schull from August 27th, 2011 to September 23rd, 2011 writes Claire Bateman. It is a major triumph for the village of Schull, Co. Cork to host the World Championships. The organising committee on behalf of the Fastnet Marine and Outdoor Education Centre (FMOEC) was set up in 1997 and is an adjunct of Schull Community College and the facilities function under the auspices of the Cork County Educational Committee. As Schull is a village community this event will be seen as a community undertaking and the Schull Development Association will be a co-operating organising authority.

The event will be sailed in TR3.6 dinghies which are not too dissimilar to a firefly and 26 boats will be built locally at a cost of €5000.00 each. The hulls will be manufactured in Midleton and the sails will be built by the local sailmaker, Fastnet Sails, in West Cork. So far twelve boats have been sponsored. One of these has been sponsored by Schull Harbour Sailing Club where members have come up with a novel idea to sponsor a second boat. This is a one hundred club where members and their friends each contribute €50.00 towards the project.

Team Racing is a very popular branch of sailing where everything happens very quickly and there is no better school for tactical decision making and understanding of the rules with six boats at a time performing an intricate and aggressive dance where two teams of three race to try and achieve a winning combination of places – with the lowest score winning.

ISAF wish to invite 28 teams to participate at the event in August with teams coning from as far away as Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. with the host country having three teams. Teams are also expected from Italy, Japan, Poland, the U.K. France and Croatia.

Further information or queries regarding sponsorship for this exciting World Championship can obtained from Mr. Tim O'Connor, Principal, Schull Community College at [email protected] or Mr. David Harte, Manager, FMOEC at [email protected]

Schull is a unique part of Ireland for sailing and socialising. The scenery is breath taking, the sailing waters are magnificent, the reputation for organisation of major events is second to none and all our good wishes for the successful running of this major undertaking are with the organisers.

Published in Team Racing

I have long admired the commitment and dedication to sailing of David Harte in Schull. With his design of the TR 3.6 he has achieved what may well prove to be the ideal boat for team racing. This aspect of sailing is proving very popular amongst younger sailors. In the past few months I have been watching and reporting on the development of the sport by Match Racing Ireland which is now an integral part of the Irish Sailing Association. There is an excitement and enthusiasm which is good for the sport.

Now Schull and David Harte are adding a new dimension with the TR 3.6 which seems a bit like a Firefly when you look at it first, but then there are clear differences in design. The 3.6, a two-person dinghy, is just that in length. "It is robust, cheap to produce and the first boat customised for team racing. This is a boat for people who don't own a boat. It is a boat made for a situation where different crews will be using it and it has to be able to stand up to that pressure. I looked at the concept of the Firefly and then adapted it to what will prove to be a good boat for team racing," David told me.

The boat was shown for the first time at the announcement that Schull will host the ISAF Team Racing World Championships which will be held in the West Cork harbour in 2011. Twenty-four teams from around the world will compete, with the Fastnet Outdoor Education Centre as the base. It has a proven record of success in teaching sailing as a curricular subject at the adjacent Schull Community College which, through the foresight of the Cork County Vocational Education Committee, established this approach several years ago.

David Harte manages the operation. The success of the Schull students in winning the British championships this year, as well as their progress in the sport elsewhere after they leave the college is a testimony to his success.

Next weekend the Irish Team Racing Championships will be held in Schull, with 18 teams from around the country competing "and 40 per cent of the helms will come from Schull," David told me with a satisfied smile, which he deserves to have.

It is intended to raise funding for a fleet of 25 new TR 3.6 boats which Schull will provide for the world championships. Afterwards the boats will remain there, providing more years of sailing for young people. A sponsorship project has been launched and already seven boats have been funded. It is intended to build the boats in Cork and to have the sails made there. The world championships are scheduled to start on Saturday, August 27, 2011.

Photos of the new design afloat HERE

• This article is reprinted by permission of the EVENING ECHO newspaper, Cork, where Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie

Published in Island Nation

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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