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Displaying items by tag: Lough Erne

Carrybridge RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Douglas Euan & Kay Richards was launched on Tuesday afternoon (26 October) to assess a fishing boat with three people on board, which had broken down around a mile northeast of Knockninny on Upper Lough Erne.

Once on scene, the lifeboat located the casualty vessel which had blown onto an exposed shoreline on an island amid Force 4-5 southwesterly gusts.

The volunteer helm and crew assessed the vessel and the wellbeing of the persons on board from a close but safe distance, and found they were all well.

It was established that the casualty vessel had suffered engine failure, and due to the strong winds had been blown onto the shoreline of the island.

After a full review of the situation, and due to the large waves landing on the island shoreline, the helm deemed the safest option was to put two volunteer crew from the lifeboat onto the other side of the island which was sheltered from the waves.

The crew then walked the three persons across the island to this safer location to get onboard the lifeboat. They were brought back to the nearest safe marina which was Knockninny public jetty.

The volunteer crew of the lifeboat then went back and refloated the fishing boat from the shoreline and brought it to the safety of Knockninny.

Speaking following the callout, Carrybridge lifeboat operations manager Stephen Scott had advice for all boat users in Northern Ireland and elsewhere.

“Before setting out on your journey, please check the weather forecast for the day ahead, have a means of calling for assistance if you find yourself in trouble and have lifejackets for all onboard,” he said.

“If you see someone in trouble on the water or are in difficulties yourself the number to dial is 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

One young Northern Ireland couple have eschewed the heated land-based property ladder and put their savings afloat with a narrowboat, as ArmaghI reports.

Sophie Durand and Josh Boyd, both from Co Armagh and in their early 20s, have now adopted “slow, sustainable and also happier way of living” afloat on the inland waterways at Lough Erne.

Between them they raised the £53,000 (€62,000) to purchase the narrowboat Qisma — Arabic for ‘destiny’ — which has a permanent mooring at a monthly cost of £170 (€200).

And while their compact choice of home might not be to everyone’s taste, they’re now living mortgage-free after spending a fraction of the average deposit.

ArmaghI has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
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In late August, the Snipe dinghy Ranger, restored by Fred and George Ternan after sixty years lying abandoned on the Crom Estate, County Fermanagh, had her second outing on Upper Lough Erne at Crom.

Ranger was one of two Snipes found by Fred in the boathouse at Crom Castle and was restored over the last year. The other was Teal, and it is known that a third, Valkyria, is stored near Enniskillen.

Heading off in very calm conditions from the Visitor Centre slipway at Crom were Rob and Alice Armstrong from Bangor, later to be joined by Sarah Royle from County Cavan. Sarah confessed she hadn't sailed since she was ten; " Valkyria was owned by my father, Johnny Lucas -Clements, and when I was a young child, I used to sail with him at Crom on Sunday afternoons. That was back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and we always sailed from the boathouse. I enjoyed sailing at Crom back then. I was very grateful to be asked by Johnny Madden to attend the relaunch of Ranger in early August and then by Fred to sail in Ranger last Sunday. It brought back many happy memories for me."

Ranger approaching Trial Bay on Upper Lough ErneRanger approaching Trial Bay on Upper Lough Erne

Both Ranger and Valkyria came from Belfast Lough, where they regularly sailed for years. They formed part of a fleet of Snipes acquired by Major Madden of Clones, who was instrumental in establishing the class in Lough Erne. He introduced Teal about 1953, and his son Johnny Madden has much detail about the Snipe class at his fingertips.

The whole story of Snipe sailing in Northern Ireland can be found here

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The fact that Royal St. George Olympic 470 helmsman Ger Owens has won the Ulsters, Leinsters and Skerries Regatta, which are the three GP14 events sailed so far this season, means he is a clear favourite to take the Championship of Ireland when it returns to lower Lough Erne for its 2021 edition next week.

Lough Erne Yacht Club stages the event from Friday 13th – Sun 15th August. 

Half a dozen local boats will be joined by up to 45 visiting boats from all over Ireland for the eight-race championships. 

Despite his current form, Owens, who is sailing with Brendan Brogan (with no less than 10 Irish GP14 titles between them), will not have things all their own way. 2016 Word Champion Shane McCarthy and 2019 Irish Champion along with World Championship runner up Ross Kearney are set to test the Beijing and London Olympian. 

Royal St. George helmsman Ger Owens has already won the Ulster and Leinster Championships Royal St. George helmsman Ger Owens has already won the Ulster and Leinster Championships

Derek Bothwell from Howth is the national race officer in charge of the event. 

The event also includes the Irish Masters and Junior Championships, which are always hotly contested.

The last time the fleet visited Lough Erne was for the Hot Toddy event in October 2019, and the planned 2020 Championship of Ireland was postponed to 2021 due to COVID.  

Published in GP14
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​Waterways Ireland has announced the creation of a non-motorised ‘safe play’ zone at Castle Archdale Country Park on Lower Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh.

Echoing a similar scheme currently in operation at Muckross Bay in Kesh, Enniskillen, the new zone will operate until October and is located between the existing caravan park and Davy’s Island, delineated with floating buoys.

​In temporarily closing off a section of the navigation to motorised craft, the cross-border body for the inland waterways is exercising its powers under the Lough Erne (Navigation) Bye-laws (Northern Ireland) 1978 as amended by The Lough Erne (Navigation) (Amendment) Bye-laws (Northern Ireland) 1986.

​The aim of the proposal is to improve safety in the area, which has become increasingly popular with all types of waterway enthusiasts in recent years. It also comes after reports of a rise in personal watercraft infringements into swimming areas, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Inland Waterways

Enniskillen RNLI launched to the aid of four people on a speedboat adrift in shallow water in the vicinity of Castle Archdale yesterday (Sunday 13 June).

Following a request from Belfast Coastguard, the volunteer crew launched the station’s inshore lifeboat John and Jean Lewis at 7.35pm to go to the aid of the 16ft speed boat, which had engine difficulties and was adrift in the Castle Archdale area of Lower Lough Erne.

Weather conditions at the time were choppy with a south-westerly wind.

The crew quickly found the drifting boat on the western side of Crevinishaghy Island.

All four adults onboard were found to be safe and well and wearing the correct safety equipment.

The volunteer crew then established a tow between the lifeboat and the vessel and all casualties were brought to Castle Archdale marina safely.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The trial of a man accused of murdering his wife on a boating holiday in Co Fermanagh has heard the company that hired out the boat to the accused had failed to supply enough lifejackets on board, as BBC News reports.

Stephen McKinney of Fintona, Co Tyrone denies the murder of Lu Na McKinney, the 35-year-old mother of two whose body was found near Devenish Island on Lough Erne in April 2017.

It was originally suspected that McKinney slipped from the deck of the boat which was hired from Manor House Marine, a director of which was questioned during the second day of the murder trial at Dungannon Crown Court yesterday, Thursday 29 April.

The director admitted that the correct checks on paperwork for the boat rental had not been completed, and lifejackets were not supplied for the family’s two children.

He also denied that the so-called ‘boat acceptance certificate’ was filled in after the fact of the tragic death for insurance purposes.

BBC News has much more on the story HERE.

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Carrickcraft has announced that with the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland, it will start operating for the 2021 cruising season on Lough Erne from Friday 30 April.

The cruising firm’s website features a sample itinerary of the attractive sights and mooring points around Upper and Lower Lough Erne, from Enniskillen to Devenish Island, Belleek and Crom Castle, to name a few.

Home-holidaying families (and their four-legged members, as dogs as welcome, too) can enjoy these inland waterways from any of an extensive fleet of two- to 10-berth cruisers, which can be browsed on the Carrickcraft website.

Published in Inland Waterways
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As the RNLI continues to operate as normal during the Covid-19 pandemic, the charity is still unable to fundraise out in person in the community.

With more people needing the lifeboat crews as they stay home, support from the public is more important than ever — and Carrybridge RNLI in Northern Ireland is one unit that has risen to the challenge by making it easier for people to back their vital work.

The RNLI operates two lifeboat stations for Upper and Lower Lough Erne, at Carrybridge and Enniskillen respectively, and has seen a drop in funds raised locally in 2020 as traditional fundraising activities had to be cancelled.

In many cases, when the lifeboat pager goes off, volunteers will need to abandon homeschooling or work and head to the lifeboat station to answer the call for help.

Stephen Scott, lifeboat operations manager at Carrybridge RNLI, says: “We couldn’t do what we do without the support of the public. The RNLI has experienced a drop in funds locally, but we are rescuing more people than ever before.

“We are facing challenging times and are calling on people to consider making a donation this year to ensure we can continue saving lives on inland waters.

“We have moved our fundraising online in these challenging times and set up a JustGiving page for the lifeboat station where people can donate directly to their local lifeboat station in Carrybridge.”

To support the RNLI at Carrybridge, helping to ensure the charity’s brave volunteers can continue saving lives on Lough Erne, visit their JustGiving page HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Brian Osborne last sailed a dinghy in 1989 on the River Thames near Hampton Court so returning to a small boat this season on Lough Erne was something of a revisit for him.

Brian bought a classic 1973 Mirror dinghy recently in Donaghadee, only to find that its original home had been on Lower Lough Erne at Castle Archdale on the opposite shore to Tully Bay where he keeps the Mirror now.

Perhaps this is the start of a trend in County Fermanagh for giving old boats a second chance as Jonny Clements has done with his Ulster Boat as Afloat.ie reported on 8th September. With the encouragement of seasoned sailor Fred Ternan – who had also helped Jonny to get afloat, it took Brian little time to regain his confidence.

A light north-westerly breeze on Tully Bay offered an ideal opportunity to try out (initially without the jib), manoeuvres which Brian thought he had forgotten but as he says "Once you learn how to sail, you never lose the feeling of being at one with your boat - you have to feel the wind through the sail and act accordingly. I shall continue to sail at every opportunity".

The Mirror dinghy was born in 1963 when the Daily Mirror newspaper signed up TV DIY expert Barry Bucknell and designer Jack Holt to revolutionise small boat ownership. They came up with a craft that cost £63 11s – or £63.55 in decimal money – and could be built at home using copper wire stitching and glue. At just under 10ft she was big enough for two adults and a couple of kids to sail yet small enough to fit on top of a family car.

Double Olympic silver medallist and round-the-world yachtsman Ian Walker, 42, said he owed his career to the boat.

The Mirror is not new to Lough Erne. There was a fleet in the 1980s at Lough Erne YC on the eastern shore of Lower Lough Erne at Goblusk. Racing was enjoyed by both adults and children alike in superb family competition. Some members ventured farther afield. Michael Clarke's family Mirror, built in 1966, travelled round Ireland on the top of a VW camper van in 1976 as well as enjoying extensive cruising on Lough Erne and subsequently under new ownership, was cruised by a young family on the Upper Bann and Lough Neagh.

Asked if he would be competing in the Mirror Worlds which are planned, after a gap of 34 years, for Sligo Yacht Club at Rosses Point next year he said. "I'll be there but as a supporter. I really don't have any intention of racing, just enjoying pottering about the Lough". The event on the Club's 200th Anniversary will run from 2 – 8 August preceded on 30 July – 1 August by the Irish Nationals. It was last held there in 1987.

Published in Mirror
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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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