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Displaying items by tag: Hong Kong

In light of the coronavirus situation effecting Ireland, Afloat.ie got in touch with Barry Hayes from UK Sailmakers Ireland, who has lived in three continents, to share his experience in Asia and what’s going on with Covid-19 in Hong Kong’s sailing community.

Barry says: “Having lived in HK for so long, I can tell you they have vast experience with viruses! For example, HK has had influenza, swine flu and the SARS virus. They hit very hard in HK and the people responded to it.

“Yes, clubs closed and people lost jobs. Racing stopped for a short time. It returned and they recovered quickly.

This year, Covid-19 really hit home in Hong Kong around Chinese New Year festivities on 24 January. “When HK started to go into lockdown schools were closed, and still are. From there all racing was stopped and the clubs closed.

“But this time the HK government felt it was better to keep the clubs going and get people out sailing. So they didn’t let the clubs stay closed for long — pushing them to reopen as soon as a low in the virus came so people got out and got active in the sun.

Racing in Kowloon Bay at St James’ Place Ladies Helm Day on 8 March (Photo: RHKYC/Guy Nowell)Racing in Kowloon Bay at St James’ Place Ladies Helm Day on 8 March | Photo: RHKYC/Guy Nowell

The upside of this, Barry says, is that “there is light at the end of the tunnel”.

“Last weekend HK returned to full racing. Just eight weeks after the virus hit the hardest. They held the Hong Kong IRC Nationals on 14-15 March.

“This virus will affect us but we will rebound. I am sure, having lived in both countries, we need to work super hard to reduce the contact between humans as much as we can. And Ireland seems to be working hard on doing this.

“I know in the short term it seems impossible, but I can tell you from experience we will be back racing with a delayed season.

One of the boats sailing in last week’s HK IRC nationals was Nick Southward’s modified J109, Whiskey Jack.

Whiskey Jack on day 3 of the Hong Kong IRC Nationals (Photo: ABC/Takumi Furuichi)Whiskey Jack on day 3 of the Hong Kong IRC Nationals | Photo: ABC/Takumi Furuichi

Nick, of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and who will be chartering Imp for Cork Week, said that with border restrictions imposed early on, the infection rate in HK has been very slow.

“The threat now appears to be infections from people flooding back into HK from Europe and the US, but there is now a travel restriction in place and all who arrive have to go into a compulsory fourteen day quarantine at home. This monitored by a smart bracelet, an app and the police to ensure enforcement.”

Beyond that, Alex Johnson, manager of HK’s Aberdeen Yacht Club, reports that life is “sort of normal, but restricted in terms of what you can do”.

“The population is also very clued-up after SARS which really has helped to combat the virus. Everyone wears face masks, liberally uses hand sanitiser and luckily the toilet roll supply is now constant!

“HK is not out of the woods yet but the infection rate on the mainland has dropped dramatically so everyone is hopeful.”  

Published in UK Sailmakers Ireland

#Rowing: Five Ireland entrants in the women’s solo single made it through heats into Sunday’s A Final of the World Coastal Rowing Championships in Hong Kong. Miriam Sheehan of Castletownbere placed best, taking third in the first heat, one place ahead of Sionna Healy. The Arklow sculler was one of three from her club to make it to the A Final in this class. Both women’s coxed quadruples, from Belfast and a composite of Castletownbere and Myross, also qualified for the A Final.  

 The Ireland men’s crews found the going tougher. Only the top five in the heats of the men’s double were guaranteed places in the A Final. John Whooley and Alan Goodison finished sixth in their heat - making it through. The three other Ireland crews missed out.

World Coastal Rowing Championships, Hong Kong – Day One, Heats (Ireland crews)

Men

Double (Five to A Final) – Heat One: 6 Arklow 19:04.39; 10 St Michael’s, Dublin 21:28.54.

Heat Three: 8 Kilmacsimon/Ring 21:15.37; 11 Courtmacsherry 22:53.45.  

Women

Quadruple, coxed (Eight to A Final) – Heat One: 7 Belfast BC 19:33.28.

Heat Two: 7 Castletownbere/Myross 20:40.31.

Solo (Eight to Final) – Heat One: 3 Castletownbere (M Sheehan) 22:07.48; 4 Arklow (S Healy) 22:16.07; 7 Galley Flash (N Hayes) 23:13.68; 8 Arklow (MA Kent) 24:41.77.

Heat Two: 6 Arklow (X Jordan) 24:02.30.

Published in Coastal Rowing

#VOR - Hong Kong will host the Volvo Ocean Race for the first time when the event visits in February 2018 during the 13th edition.

In a press conference today (Wednesday 13 April), VOR organisers announced a unique collaboration with the Hong Kong Sailing Federation to bring the race to Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour.

It is set to be the largest world-class sailing event ever staged in Hong Kong, already one of the world’s most prestigious sailing destinations.

The world’s premier offshore race will transform the old airport in Kai Tak, and introduce residents of Hong Kong to a wide range of race-related activities geared to educate as well as entertain both existing fans and newcomers to the race.

An in-port race will also be held in the port before the boats leave for the next leg.

Anthony Day, Council Member of the Hong Kong Sailing Federation, said: “This will go down in history as a milestone event for Hong Kong sailing and will provide a wonderful platform for us to engage more Hongkongers in the sport of sailing."

Antonio Bolaños Lopez, acting CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race before Mark Turner takes up the role later this year, added: “I am thrilled that the race is visiting one of the most beautiful ports in the world for the first time.

"We are delighted to welcome Hong Kong to the Volvo Ocean Race family and know that we will have a stopover that will be one of the highlights of the 2017-18 edition.

“I would like to pay special tribute to the Hong Kong Sailing Federation and the Hong Kong government for making our dreams of bringing the race here a reality.”

Hong Kong brings the confirmed list of stopovers so far for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 edition to nine, which includes Alicante, Auckland, Cape Town, Cardiff, Newport in Rhode Island, Lisbon, Gothenburg and The Hague, which will host the finale after a successful pit-stop on the final leg of the 2014-15 race.

The Hong Kong stopover will mark the fourth time the Volvo Ocean Race has visited China, after Qingdao in the 2008-09 race and Sanya in the 2011-12 and 2014-15 competitions.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

#jobsinboats – The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, one of the oldest sailing and rowing clubs in Hong Kong, is looking for a talented and youthful dinghy sailor to fill the post of Race Coach / Bosun.

This is a full-time contract based in Hong Kong commencing July or August 2015. Reporting to the Middle Island Sailing and Marine Manager, the successful applicant will coach up and coming cadets to higher levels of racing expertise. Classes of boats include the J80, Optimist, Laser, 420 and 29er. Coaching and mentoring at international events will be involved. Off-water there will be basic fibreglass repairs and maintenance of sailing craft and RIB's to be completed. Middle Island has a clubhouse, sailing academy, hardstand, marina and launching areas serviced by a regular club ferry.

We are looking for people with:

- Extensive dinghy racing experience.
- Graduation from an internationally recognised sail training academy.
- Race Coach qualification is essential with Keel Boat Instructor preferred.
- Excellent interpersonal, team and leadership skills.
- Fibreglass repair experience and confidence to install small boat rigs and deck equipment to a professional standard.
- Flexibility to work weekends and midweek shifts.

We offer attractive remuneration and excellent fringe benefits to the right candidate. Closing date for applications is 15 June 2015. Interested parties should submit a comprehensive CV together with a recent photograph to The Human Resources Manager, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, Kellett Island, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong or e-mail to [email protected]

Published in Jobs

#Seafood - Donegal's oyster industry has been hit by an import ban in Hong Kong over an outbreak of food poisoning.

According to The Irish Times, food safety investigators in the Chinese territory were notified by Irish authorities two weeks ago that the presence of norovirus was confirmed at a raw oyster processing plant in the north-eastern county that services the crucial Asian market.

Hong Kong subsequently banned the import of raw oysters from Donegal "for the sake of prudence". More HERE.

Published in Fishing
Ireland's 2010 Commodore's Cup winning captain showed his relief at the news that Hong Kong have been tipped as favourites for next July's event, The Irish Times reports.
The announcement was made this week at the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) in London, and should lift a burden off an Irish squad which has long suffered under the weight of being pre-event favourites.
Ireland's concerns instead have turned to whether a team can even be assembled for next summer's event in light of the difficult economic environment - and despite the RORC opening the rating bands to allow for more flexible combinations of boat sizes.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) is seeking expressions of interest to form an Irish team and remains hopeful of mounting a serious defence of the title won by last year's Anthony O’Leary-captained squad.
The next Commodore's Cup - which also has a new title sponsor in Brewin Dolphin - takes place from 21 to 28 July 2012 in Cowes.

Ireland's 2010 Commodore's Cup winning captain showed his relief at the news that Hong Kong have been tipped as favourites for next July's event, The Irish Times reports.

The announcement was made this week at the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) in London, and should lift a burden off an Irish squad which has long suffered under the weight of being pre-event favourites.

Ireland's concerns instead have turned to whether a team can even be assembled for next summer's event in light of the difficult economic environment - and despite the RORC opening the rating bands to allow for more flexible combinations of boat sizes.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) is seeking expressions of interest to form an Irish team and remains hopeful of mounting a serious defence of the title won by last year's Anthony O’Leary-captained squad.

The next Commodore's Cup - which also has a new title sponsor in Brewin Dolphin - takes place from 21 to 28 July 2012 in Cowes.

Published in Commodores Cup
An Irish fishing vessel was detained for alleged breaches of the fishery regulations by the navy's OPV L.E. Niamh (P52) some 65-miles off the west Galway coast, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The detention took place just after midnight on Wednesday and the trawler was escorted into Castletownbere and handed over to the Gardai.
The LE Niamh is an offshore patrol vessel (CPV) that was built in 2001 by Appledore Shipbuilders near Bideford. Her elder sister LE Roisin (P51) was also built at the north Devon shipyard in 1999. 

Less then a month ago the Naval Service detained a Northern Irish registered fishing vessel the Lynn Marie seven miles east off Bray Head. Onboard was a crew of 4 UK nationals who were taken into custody to the Gardai after the trawler was escorted by the CPV L.E. Orla to Dun Laoghaire Harbour. To read more about this detention click here.

Ironically the L.E. Orla was a former Royal Naval vessel, HMS Swift (P241) which was deployed on her first assignment to the Hong Kong Patrol Squadron for a four-year period. In 1988 Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party Government disposed HMS Swift and HMS Swallow (P242) to the Irish Naval Service. The pair were built by Hall Russell Shipyard of Aberdeen as part of an eight 'Peacock' class coastal patrol vessel (CPV).

The 'Peacock' pair were commissioned into the Naval Service and renamed L.E. Orla (P41) and L.E. Ciara (P42) in a ceremony attended by An Taoiseach Charles J. Haughey at the Naval Base in Haulbowline, Cork Harbour.

This weeks' detention is the second conducted by the Naval Service in 2011. Last year the Naval Service carried out 1,666 vessel boardings which resulted in 70 warnings and eight detentions.

Published in Navy

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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