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Displaying items by tag: Louay Habib

Two-time Etchells World Champion, 5.5 Metre World Champion and Olympic sailor - Andrew Palfrey delivers a keelboat masterclass in an interview for RORC.

Andrew has coached World Championship-winning teams in the Farr40, Farr30, RC44, Etchells and Star class. In recent years Palfrey has coached a wide variety of teams from Maxis to Quarter Tonners.

For the RORC Time Over Distance Series Andrew presents a live interactive show covering planning, goal setting, teamwork and equipment. The presentation also covers increasing performance through speed, starts, and also upwind and downwind techniques.

Published in RORC
Tagged under

#corkweek – Thrilling conditions welcomed an international fleet of yachts from all over Europe and the United States to Volvo Cork Week. 100 yachts racing in Cork Harbour produced a magnificent spectacle writes Louay Habib. Cork Harbour is one of the largest natural harbours in the world and provides stunning scenery and tricky wind and tidal conditions. The gusty north easterly breeze tested the boat handling skills of the international fleet, with several yachts reporting a boat speed of up to 20 knots on the surf.

The first race of Volvo Cork Week started just outside Roches Point, the wind speed piped up to 17 knots with a short sea state. The beat into Cork Harbour had the fleet swapping tacks past Spike Island, before negotiating close tight reaching legs along the picturesque town of Cobh. For many it was a race of over three hours, before returning to the Royal Cork Yacht Club to enjoy the full facilities of the exclusive race village.

Michael Boyd racing Grand Soleil 43, Quokka (Royal Irish YC) had an outstanding race, winning IRC Two by a landslide 15 minutes on corrected time. Tony Ackland's Dubois 37, Dark Angel (Swansea YSC) was second in IRC Two, just seven seconds ahead of Jim Macgregor's Elan 410, Premier Flair (Poole YC), which made an impressive comeback after starting prematurely.

For Volvo Cork Week, Mark Mansfield (Royal Cork YC) is at the helm of Quokka. Mark sailed at four consecutive Olympics from 1992 to 2004, for Ireland, in the International Star Class.

"We got a great start, there was a wind shift just before the gun, which favoured the pin end and we had a nice approach and tacked soon after into clear air." Explained Mark. "The wind speed was up and so was the sea state and Quokka just loves those sort of conditions. Heavier than the Ker 40s, she goes well through the waves but downwind Quokka doesn't plane, so the Ker 40s got away. The crew work today was very good, especially after some last minutes calls; it's obvious that this team has been training well together for the Commodores' Cup."

Anthony O'Leary's Ker 39, Antix (Royal Cork YC) started well and played the current and the wind acceleration through Roches Point to lead on corrected time at the top mark off Cobh. Marc Glimcher's Ker 40, Catapult (Baltimore SC) helmed by Royal Cork's Olympian Peter O'Leary, took Line Honours by 27 seconds from Richard Matthews' Hakes 42, Oystercatcher XXX (Royal Burnham YC) . However, after time correction, Antix won the class by less than a minute from Catapult with Andy Williams' Devon based, Ker 40, Keronimo in third.

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Victory in IRC Three went to Pat Kelly's J/109, Storm (XXYC). Paul O'Higgins Corby 33, Rockabill V took line honours but after time correction Storm won by nearly three minutes from Robert McConnell's A35, Fools Gold with Rockabill V third.

The IRC Four Class winner for 2012 was in fine form today. former Royal Cork YC Admiral, Peter Deasy driving Bad Company scored a slender win from Paul Tingle's Corby 25, Alpaca (Royal Cork YC). Tim Cunliffe and his team from Falmouth, racing Half Tonner, Insatiable was third.

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Bad Company won by just 49 seconds on corrected time. "Beautiful conditions and a really competitive race, what a great start to Volvo Cork Week." Smiled Peter Deasy. "We are delighted to see Insatiable back, we had a great battle with them last time and Paul's new boat, Alpaca, is sailing very well indeed, so we will have to be at our best to win this class."

It was a long day on the water in IRC Five, Jason & Domonic Losty's Quarter Tonner, Illes Pitiuises was the winner by just under five minutes from Dave Lane & Sinead Enright's J/24, YaGottaWanna. Christine Willis's Westerly Fulmar, Rodmar was one of the last yachts to finish today, after over four hours of racing, the team from Aberaeron SC showed great tenacity taking third in class after time correction.

In White Sail IRC One, Bryan Hefferan's Dufour 36, Aisling (Royal Cork YC) took Line Honours and the class win on corrected time from John Downing's Sunfast 32, Samba. Peter O'Donavan's X-372, Xtension (Royal Cork YC) was third.

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In the Sportsboat Class, Robin & Ben O'Mahony's 1720, Spiced Beef was the winner with Mike Relling's Viper 640, Viper taking second place and David Pitman's Viper 640, The Black Adder was third. Viper could have won the first race but for a navigational error. "We over stood a mark, which cost us the lead and ultimately the race." Admitted Viper's skipper, Mike Relling. "We had a real blast though, hitting 19 knots on the reach and it has been great to race against the 1720s. They definitely have us upwind but downwind the Viper is much quicker, so we expect a regatta-game of snakes and ladders, pardon the pun!" David Pitman's Viper 640, The Black Adder was third.

After racing, hundreds of competitors enjoyed a few glasses at the Royal Cork Yachjt Club with live entertainment. The SLAM Crew Games kick off tonight in the Marquee with a giant screen showing the FIFA World Cup Semi-Final between Brazil and Germany. Racing continues at Volvo Cork Week tomorrow Wednesday 8th July, with the international fleet enjoying a variety of courses both inside and outside of Cork Harbour.

For full results here

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Published in Cork Week

By sunset tonight all of the competitors racing in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race will have rounded Muckle Flugga. For many of them it has been a long hard slog up the North Sea writes Louay Habib.

The leaders are literally at the other end of the course. At 1200 BST, Volvo Open 70, Groupama is just 65 miles from the Scilly Isles. They have chosen a course north of the rhumb line, presumably to take advantage of any new breeze that may emanate from the Bristol Channel. Teléfonica has gybed south and it is anticipated that Groupama will cover them. Groupama have 290 miles to go to the finish of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race; Teléfonica are 20 miles behind. Both are expected to finish in Cowes by Sunday afternoon. Obviously this estimated time of arrival will be dependent on the wind strength.

The overall lead under IRC has changed yet again, Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens is back in the lead. The Dutch yacht is blasting down the west coast of Ireland trying to hang on to the coat-tails of the British Keelboat Academy's TP52, John Merricks II. Before the start of this epic race, the young team were desperately short of funds and up until the last minute, they did not know if they could afford to enter. None of the crew is paid to race, but maintaining and provisioning a TP52 is an expensive business; feeding 18 people for over a week is a huge amount of food. Before the start, they got a helping hand: "This is a tough race and when we heard that the young talented sailors on John Merricks II needed a hand, we were delighted to help," commented ICAP Leopard's Boat Captain, Chris Sherlock. "Racing a TP52 1800 miles takes some doing, but they won't be going hungry. John Merricks are really tight on budget, so with the compliments of ICAP Leopard, they have enough freeze-dried meals to get them around the gruelling course. Best of luck to them."

Doug Innes' First 40.7, Cheeki Rafiki rounded Muckle Flugga in the early hours of the morning. Crewman Ken Allison sums up what it was like to be so far north: "The coldest night so far, up the northwest coast of Shetland, round to Muggle Flugga (isn't that a name you want to spell badly). The phones and internet all sprang into life as we got close to Shetland and civilisation. This gave our first glimpse at how the race has been going for three days. It's great to receive emails and texts from friends and loved ones, wishing us well and offering advice. Plan A seems to be: try to break things less often, trim things more often and keep pushing south. That works for me."

High pressure is working its way across the racecourse from the southwest, giving the fleet far more pleasant conditions. However, for the competitors approaching the west coast of Ireland, there is still a decent moderate breeze from the northwest, pushing them on to finish this challenging race.

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland
25th August 2010

High Speed Dash to Scotland

The Volvo Open 70, Telefonica Azul, is scorching along at a blistering speed. After the first 24 hours of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, the Spanish yacht has covered 440 miles of the1800 mile course writes Louay Habib.

Hurtling along behind them is Groupama and they are pushing hard. If anything, the wind speed is due to increase during the night. The crews on board will be soaking wet and beginning to feel the effects of fatigue. Food will only be fuel and boat speed will be their primary concern.

To put this amazing 24 hour run into context, the two rocket ships are now north of Edinburgh, and could well be north of mainland Scotland by tomorrow morning!

Several hours behind the two front runners, Jonny Malbon and his crew on IMOCA 60, Artemis Ocean Racing, are reveling in the fast reaching conditions, (You can watch video, from on board, in the Competitor Blogs http://sevenstar.rorc.org/newsblogsphotos/competitor-blogs.html).

The overall leader on handicap is the RYA Keelboat Academy's TP52, John Merricks II. The average age of the team is under 24 and they have been training hard all season, as skipper Luke McCarthy explains; "It is a tough call to take on this course in a TP52, but this team has been working hard and should we have any problems we know how to fix just about anything. It is very wet, even down below, but we have made some modifications to the bulkheads, so that John Merricks II is a bit more user-friendly offshore."

After 24 hours, Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens, leads Class Zero. Tonnerre de Breskens loves heavy weather and is absolutely flying up the North Sea. They are now north of Vroon's homeland, Holland. Vroon claims that after a lifetime of racing, including 25 Fastnets as skipper, this race will be his swan-song. But after this incredible ride, he might just change his mind.

In IRC One, Philippe Falle's Reflex 38, Visit Malta Puma is first in class after 24 hours. Averaging over nine knots, the sailing school team is just north of Norwich, having covered 225 miles of the course. Astounding for a boat of only 38 feet.

However only a few miles astern are their team mates. Peter Robson skippering the First 40.7, Playing Around Logic is leading Class IRC Two after 24 hours - a great recovery after a drama at the start when a crew member had to climb the rig in very difficult conditions. They have been enjoying champagne surfing conditions, surfing at over 14 knots.

Tonight before the sun sets, the crews taking part in this challenging race will be using the last of the light to check lines and equipment on deck, before settling into their night watches. The wind is forecast to change to a more northwesterly direction, heading the fleet and the sea state may well become rough. It could well be a bumpy night in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.

The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is being tracked with OCTrackers. Each boat is supplied with an OCTracker beacon, a self contained unit that transmits the position of the boat at regular intervals using GPS. You can watch the race as it unfolds by visiting: http://sevenstar.rorc.org/tracking.html

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

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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