Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: RORC

Following on from the UK Government's Roadmap out of lockdown’ on Monday 22nd February, the RORC Committee, working with the RYA and Government, is confident that overnight racing will return for the 2021 RORC Season’s Points Championship. Some changes will be necessary for the early part of the season, but unless the recovery from the pandemic changes, the world’s largest offshore championship will go ahead, including the 49th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race.

“Whilst the RORC would like to run our full programme of races, the reality as a consequence of the pandemic is that the RORC Easter Challenge, Cervantes Trophy and North Sea Race are cancelled. However, with COVID-19 protocols in place, the club intends to organise a RORC Spring Series during April and May. We are also considering an additional longer race for Two-Handed Teams,” commented RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone.

Fastnet Race Likely to have COVID Protocols

“The Rolex Fastnet Race is expected to be a fully crewed race, but more than likely to have some COVID-19 protocols for crews to follow. Our meetings with immigration authorities in both the UK and France have been positive and productive, and we continue our discussions with the RYA and health professionals on minimising risk to our competitors. Throughout this pandemic, our partners in France have never wavered in their commitment to give all competitors a fantastic welcome when they arrive in Cherbourg,” continued Stone.

RORC racing is expecting to returns to the Solent with the 2021 RORC Spring Series Photo: Paul WyethRORC racing returns. 2021 RORC Spring Series in the Solent © Paul Wyeth

RORC Spring Series

The 2021 RORC Spring Series will consist of three long day races, starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line. Designed to last between 6-8 hours, the permitted crew is expected to be up to 80% of the IRC certificate allowance, which is to be confirmed in March following further consultation with the relevant authorities:-

  • RORC Spring Series 1: Saturday 03 April
  • RORC Spring Series 2: Saturday 10 April
  • RORC Spring Series 3: Saturday 01 May

The 2021 RORC Season’s Point’s Championship is scheduled to continue with regular offshore races from late May through to September, including the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race, starting from Cowes on Sunday 8th August.

Published in RORC
Tagged under

The Royal Ocean Racing Club in London has published new dates for its 2022 ORC/IRC World Championship

The second edition of this biennial event will be held from 23 June to 1 July 2022 in Porto Cervo.

After consultation between the Federazione Italiana Vela (FIV), the Unione Vela Altura Italiana (UVAI) and the Union Nationale pour la Course au Large (UNCL), the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC), the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS), the dates for the 2022 ORC/IRC World Championship have been changed.

The new dates for the event will be from 23 June to 1 July 2022.

A large fleet is expected to take part in Porto Cervo, with organisation provided by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.

The new dates will avoid any overlap with the Rolex Giraglia regatta scheduled for mid-June.

The Notice of Race for the 2022 ORC/IRC World Championship will be published in June 2021, one year ahead of the regatta.

Published in RORC
Tagged under

Johannes Schwarz’s Volvo 70 Green Dragon crossed the finish line of the 7th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race at 04:53 UTC in an elapsed time of 9 days, 18 hours, 53 mins and 40 secs. Green Dragon wins the IMA Trophy and takes Monohull Line Honours for the RORC Transatlantic Race.

Olivier Magre’s Class40 Palanad 3 was less than five hours behind, completing the 2735-mile race in a phenomenal elapsed time of 10 days, 1 hour, 43 mins and 18 secs. For the moment, Palanad 3 have scored the best corrected time under IRC for the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy.

Green Dragon becomes the seventh boat to win the International Maxi Association’s IMA Trophy. Whilst this year’s race is a different route, Green Dragon is the first monohull to complete the RORC Transatlantic Race in under 10 days. The Secretary-General of the IMA, Andrew McIrvine commented: “Congratulations and best wishes from the IMA to Johannes and the Green Dragon team. We are sorry not to able to greet you, as we would have in more usual times, but we hope you enjoyed the race.”

“It is an honour to win the IMA Trophy, as so many famous boats have done, but to finish the race in such a fast time is incredible. Although we finished in Antigua and not Grenada, the route we took was to the south, so there is not much difference in the miles we have raced,” commented Green Dragon’s Johannes Schwarz.

Celebrations on board Johannes Schwarz’s Volvo 70 Green Dragon after winning the IMA Trophy and Monohull Line Honours in the RORC Transatlantic RaceCelebrations on board Johannes Schwarz’s Volvo 70 Green Dragon after winning the IMA Trophy and Monohull Line Honours in the RORC Transatlantic. Race. Green Dragon crew: Kees Bos, Alexis Duvernoy, Jonathan Florent, Florian Guezennec, Jens Lindner, Angel Lingorski, Jorge Lorenzo Roman, Elena Malakhatka, Peter Marchal, August Ruckman, Johannes Schwarz (Skipper), Anton Tajiev, Ada Westerinen.

“In the early part of the race we didn’t push too hard because we are a mixed pro-am crew and there were strong winds on the reach from Lanzarote to Tenerife,” explained Schwarz. “Later in the race we deployed the big kite and the conditions were just so fantastic. It was really special and very emotional for all the crew - we went faster and faster. I have to say that we are deeply impressed by the performance of the Class40s, they were so incredible! When we arrived in Antigua, it was not possible for the RORC team to meet us due to the curfew, but as if by magic, there was a cooler of cold beer on the dock!”

Green Dragon crew: Kees Bos, Alexis Duvernoy, Jonathan Florent, Florian Guezennec, Jens Lindner, Angel Lingorski, Jorge Lorenzo Roman, Elena Malakhatka, Peter Marchal, August Ruckman, Johannes Schwarz (Skipper), Anton Tajiev, Ada Westerinen.

Published in RORC
Tagged under

 (1200 UTC Sunday 17 January) Johannes Schwarz’s Volvo 70 Green Dragon is leading the RORC Transatlantic Race for Monohull Line Honours and is approximately 500 miles from Antigua

The race reaches an exciting stage on the ninth day with the leading boats closing in on the finish line in Antigua. Oren Nataf’s Multi50 Trimaran Rayon Vert, skippered by Alex Pella was under 400 miles from the finish and expected to take Multihull Line Honours on Monday 18th January.

Olivier Magre’s Class40 Palanad 3 was just 60 miles behind Green Dragon and is expected to finish the 2,735 nautical mile race in just over 10 days - lightning-quick for a 40-footer. “The boat is going fast!” commented Palanad 3’s Luke Berry. “The only problem we have is the seaweed. We clean the rudder after a gybe, but have also resorted to taking the kite down and trying to sail backwards! All is good, so we mustn’t complain.”

Half of the time, racing in the 2,735-mile RORC Transatlantic Race is conducted at night. Whilst moonlight can guide the way, it becomes much more difficult to see, let alone adapt to a sudden change in conditions. For this race, in messages sent back to the RORC Race Team, competitors have reported significant squall activity, especially at night.

Antoine Carpentier’s Class40 Redman looks unlikely to catch their sistership Palanad 3 in the race to the finish. In his recent blog, Carpentier describes the frustration at night on Day 8. “Last night was not good for us (Saturday 16 Jan.). A local cloud formed sucking the wind from 20 knots down to just six knots and shifting 90 degrees. In torrential rain we put in a series of gybes to get out of the position; there was no sleep for the Redman crew. When we looked at the race sched. updates and saw our friends on Palanad 3 had not lost any speed, we were green with envy. How to stay motivated? All our efforts to get the boat to move as quickly as possible will have been in vain if we give up.”

Class40 Redman also reports problems with Sargassum seaweed during the RORC Transatlantic Race © Antoine Carpentier Sailing Sebastien Saulnier’s Sun Fast 3300 Moshimoshi gybed on to starboard on Saturday evening. In the last 48 hours, Moshimoshi has turned a 16-mile deficit into a 40-mile lead on Benedikt Clauberg’s First 47.7 Kali.

Benedikt Clauberg commented via satellite about encountering a squall in darkness, which has dramatically affected their performance: “At night without the moon it is so dark that we don’t see even one boat length in front of us, watching only the compass and wind instruments. If the clouds arrive it becomes more than black and the wind can pick up very quick. After surfing at up to 13kts we got hit hard by a strong gust with rain and ripped our spinnaker. With everyone clipped on we got it down and went into cruising mode for the rest of the night. Today the sun is back but we are now in ‘Schmetterling’ mode as we say in Swiss, or wing-on-wing. Otherwise, all is good on board. The crew had a salty shower and are having fun and we see birds and flying fish. Dinner is a Porcini Risotto with a tomato mozzarella salad caprese. We hope you all are fine and no bad news on the other side.”

News from Tim and Mayumi Knight, racing Pogo 12.50 Kai is that they have been racing conservatively due to a gear problem. However, the latest news from Tim is: “Much of our problem has been sorted out and we are back sailing less cautiously with a target speed of 7-8 knots. Kai was approaching halfway in the race and 1,560 miles from the finish.

Published in RORC
Tagged under

On the fifth day of the RORC Transatlantic Race, all of the competing yachts are fully offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. Life on board will have found a rhythm to the corkscrew motion of surfing downwind for days on end. Oren Nataf’s Multi50 Trimaran Rayon Vert, skippered by Alex Pella is leading the fleet and they will be celebrating having crossed the halfway mark in the 2,735-mile race from Lanzarote to the Caribbean. Rayon Vert’s skipper Pella is very much at home in the Atlantic. The Spaniard has won both the Route du Rhum and the Transat Jacques Vabre.

Olivier Magre’s Class40 Palanad 3 is the leading monohull, 18 miles ahead of Johannes Schwarz’s Volvo 70 Green Dragon. The leading boats in the RORC Transatlantic Race are hundreds of miles south of the rhumb line. High pressure has pushed the ENE trade winds further south and the front runners have raced the additional miles to hook into the bigger breeze to maximise their velocity made good (VMG).

Third in the monohulls is Antoine Carpentier’s Class40 Redman; currently, 114 miles behind Palanad 3 when they contacted the RORC Race Team: “Everything is going well. We have solved a problem with our starboard rudder and everything is working normally. We spent most of the nights gybing and changing sails. Now the weather is better- it’s a good time to get back in the kitchen.”

Palanad 3’s Olivier Magre commented via satellite link: “All is well onboard and much calmer than the first 48 hours. We did have an issue with the spinnaker when it fell completely into the water, but there is not too much damage and Luke (Berry) has been up the rig to untangle the halyards. The atmosphere on board is very good. We have to be careful of the squalls because the trade winds are quite active.”

The performance cruisers racing in IRC are positioned further north. For these boats the strategy for maximizing VMG has produced a different tactic. Racing further south does not improve their speed enough to warrant the extra miles. Benedikt Clauberg’s First 47.7 Kali and Sebastien Saulnier’s Sun Fast 3300 Moshimoshi maybe over 100 miles apart on the water, but they are both approximately 2,000 miles from the finish.

Sebastian from Moshimoshi reports that life is good on board and that racing across the Atlantic has magical moments, such as visits from tropical birds who are also making their migration!

As previously reported, the IRC56 Black Pearl retired on January 10th. Black Pearl’s bowsprit had broken just west of the Canary Islands. The crew sailed back to Lanzarote unassisted, arriving on January 12th. The team are disappointed, but safely ashore and received a warm welcome from Marina Puerto Calero.

Published in RORC

The IRC56 Black Pearl, sailed by Stefan Jentzsch, contacted the RORC Race Management Team at 11:30 UTC on 10th January to report that Black Pearl is retiring from the race and heading back to Lanzarote. All are well on board. Black Pearl was approximately 20 miles west of the island of El Hierro, some 250 miles from Lanzarote. The RORC Race Team and Marina Puerto Calero will be standing by should Black Pearl require any assistance.

At 1200 UTC on the second day of the RORC Transatlantic Race, the leading boats had left the Canary Islands behind and were at full pace, blasting into the open seas of the Atlantic Ocean. It will be many days before the sailors see land once more.

Oren Nataf’s Multi50 Trimaran Rayon Vert, skippered by Alex Pella is leading the fleet, having raced 350nm in the first 24 hours. Johannes Schwarz’s Volvo 70 Green Dragon is second on the water, sailing close to the rhumb line, placing the Austrian Volvo 70 just five miles behind the multihull.

Sebastien Saulnier’s Sun Fast 3300 Moshimoshi Photo: James Mitchell/RORCSebastien Saulnier’s Sun Fast 3300 Moshimoshi Photo: James Mitchell/RORC

Olivier Magre’s Class40 Palanad 3 has fully lit the blue touch paper, revelling in the ideal conditions and wind angle for a Class40. A ballistic 340 nautical miles in 24 hours has put the French team 30 miles ahead of Antoine Carpentier’s Class40 Redman. “We have seen between 20-30 knots of wind with waves up to three metres. It is a wet and bumpy ride with the sea state on the nose!” commented Luke Berry on board Palanad 3.

Antoine Carpentier’s Redman was counting the cost of falling into a wind hole last night. “We were less than a mile behind Palanad when that friendly cloud gave us a big hug,” commented Carpentier. “It was more than an hour before the cloud stopped the embrace. It was horrible to watch our AIS and see Palanad disappear.”

Racing under IRC, two Corinthian teams have been reporting big conditions on the first night. Tim Knight racing Two-handed aboard his Pogo 12.50 Kai with his wife Mayumi, reported "horrible seas of Tenerife." There has been a culinary disaster for Sebastien Saulnier racing Two-Handed on Sun Fast 3300 Moshimoshi with Christophe Affolter. “The boat has so much mess,” commented Sebastien. “We have been airborne so much, there was minestrone soup everywhere – but otherwise it’s ok!"

Published in RORC
Tagged under

The 2021 RORC Transatlantic Race started in glorious conditions outside Marina Puerto Calero on Saturday 9th January. With the RORC Racing Management Team operating remotely, the race start was officiated by Manuel Torres, Sporting Director, Real Club Náutico de Arrecife. With a highly experienced team from the Royal Yacht Club, the RORC fleet got away to a spectacular reaching start for the 7th edition of the race.

An hour into the race, all of the competing boats had rounded Punta de Papagayo on the southern tip of Lanzarote. The IRC56 Black Pearl, sailed by Stefan Jentzsch, was leading on the water, followed by Johannes Schwarz’s Volvo 70 Green Dragon. Oren Nataf’s Multi50 Trimaran Rayon Vert, skippered by Alex Pella had a conservative start but was soon scorching along at close to 20 knots of boat speed.

In the Class40 duel, Antoine Carpentier’s Redman got away well at the Committee Boat end and was a mile ahead of Olivier Magre’s Class40 Palanad 3, passing Punta de Papagayo. However, Palanad 3 has taken a more northerly route and is posting a higher boat speed than their immediate competition. What is more, over the next 100 miles or so, Redman will need to point higher than Palanad 3 to pass north of Tenerife.

Two hours into the race, all of the fleet were experiencing exhilarating reaching conditions with double digit boat speed, blasting towards the sun as it sets to the west. Tonight will be the first awe-inspiring sunset of many to come. Two teams racing in IRC Two-Handed are side-by-side north of Fuerteventura. Sebastien Saulnier’s Sun Fast 3300 Moshimoshi and Tim Knight’s Pogo 12.50 Kai seem equally matched for speed. Benedikt Clauberg’s First 47.7 Kali has taken the most northerly line of the fleet and is going well.

José Juan Calero, Managing Director for Calero Marinas, affectionately known as ‘JJ’, watched the start from a spectator boat and commented: “It has been fantastic, probably the best start of all; sunshine with 16-22 knots and gusts of 25 from the NNW. It was a really competitive start with all the boats pushing hard. It’s amazing when you see teams really going for it right from the gun for a 2,735-mile race. It was great fun to see them race away. We have been involved in many regattas over the years, it is our passion. We started our relationship with the RORC in 2014 and the RORC Transatlantic Race has been increasing in popularity. The decision to move the start to January has been a good one. We have a fantastic relationship with RORC which has gone from strength to strength in the last seven years. We are particularly proud this year, with all of the issues and problems that everyone has had and we have to congratulate RORC for organising this race.”

“We are ever thankful that we can get a race away and a special thanks must go to JJ and all the staff at Calero Marinas. We could not have put on this race without their tremendous support,” commented RORC Race Manager Chris Stone. “As with all RORC races, we will be monitoring the progress of the fleet and we wish every competitor fair winds to Antigua and that they enjoy their time in the Caribbean.”

The course for the RORC Transatlantic Race sets the fleet north of the Canary Islands for the first 150 miles. Conditions are expected to be lively with the wind forecast from the NNW at 20-25 knots with a sea sate in excess of 2 metres.

Race Tracker here

Published in RORC
Tagged under

The new Jeanneau Sunfast 3300 launched in Ireland last Spring will be among the marques competing in this weekend's RORC Transatlantic Race from Lanzarote.

As regular readers will know, its Irish debut at the Royal Irish Yacht Club by Irish distributors MGM Boats included a run-through of the boat's performance by its French design team at Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

The design has been shortlisted for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games Regatta as the proposed new mixed two-handed keelboat class.

Sunfast 3300 Cinnamon Girl

The new 33-footer, named Cinnamon Girl, then went on to have a great high-speed first season on the south coast from her homeport of Kinsale under skipper Cian McCarthy, including runner-up in the inaugural Fastnet 450 Race

Cian McCarthy's Kinsale-based 'Cinnamon Girl' at the start of August's Fastnet 450 RaceCian McCarthy's Kinsale-based 'Cinnamon Girl' at the start of August's Fastnet 450 Race

Sunfast 3300 Moshimoshi

Now, a French amateur team, Sebastien Saulnier and Christophe Affolter,  have sailed a Sun Fast 3300 from St Malo, Brittany to the Canary Islands in order to race across the Atlantic. RORC race reporter Louay Habib spoke on Skype to Sebastien Saulnier who was on board his boat Moshimoshi in Calero Marinas Puerto Calero in Lanzarote ahead of Saturday's start.

“The dream started about three years ago,” explained Saulnier. “It was wonderful to sail across the Atlantic with friends and family, but I wanted to do it in a race. Two years ago, I met Christophe who has done a lot of RORC racing. We felt good together from the first moment and this is the first race that we can do and it was not easy to get to Lanzarote.

Due to government restrictions, we could only sail from L’Orient on the 12th December and we saw 48 knots of wind in the Golfe de Gascogne.

We did make it past La Coruna, but the weather was so bad we had to turn back. We waited six days for the storm to pass and then it was a better sail to Lanzarote.” 

Hear more in Louay's interview below

Published in RORC
Tagged under

Ireland's former Round the World race Green Dragon will start as favourite in this weekend's 2021 RORC Transatlantic Race. Run in association with the International Maxi Association, the race is scheduled to start from Puerto Calero, Lanzarote on January 9th, 2021. Ten teams have sailed from European destinations to take part in the 2,735-mile race across the Atlantic Ocean. Due to travel restrictions from the UK, the Royal Ocean Racing Club is operating remotely, relying on the expert abilities of the Calero Marinas’ team and the race officers of Real Club Náutico de Arrecife in Lanzarote.

As regular Afloat readers will know, Ireland's Volvo 70 finished fifth out of seven entries in the 2009 Volvo Ocean Race. Attempts to sell her Green Dragon for two million euros in 2009 after the race did not materialise. She then spent some time in dry dock in Galway, rendered obsolete because her hull was heavier and keel lighter than her rivals.

In spite of the disappointing performance, the boat was welcomed into Galway after the 2009 Transatlantic leg by a huge crowd and a week-long celebration that subsequently set the bar for all other stopover ports in subsequent races. 

RORC Transatlantic Race

The RORC Transatlantic Race is a World Sailing Category 1 offshore event with RORC Prescriptions. All competing boats will undergo compliance checks and, in addition, all crew will be required to produce a negative test result for COVID-19 prior to departure.

The monohull line honours favourite is Johannes Schwarz’s Volvo 70 Green Dragon, whilst the multihull line honours will be contested by just one entry, Oren Nataf’s Multi50 Rayon Vert, skippered by Alex Pella. The overall victory under IRC for the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy is difficult to predict. However, Stefan Jentzsch’s new Botin 56 Black Pearl, skippered by Marc Lagesse, will be difficult to beat. Three teams will contest the IMA Trophy for Maxi Yacht line honours: Green Dragon, Richard Tolkien’s IMOCA 60 Rosalba and Open60 Somewhere London, skippered by Gunther de Ceulaerde. An exciting duel is expected between two of the latest Class 40s from the design board of Sam Manuard; Antoine Carpentier’s Redman and Olivier Magré’s Palanad 3.

Corinthian teams racing under IRC include Benedikt Clauberg’s First 47.7 Kali, which will be talking part in their third RORC Transatlantic Race. Two other teams will be taking on the race Two-handed: Tim & Mayumi Knight’s Pogo 12.50 Kai and Sébastien Saulnier & Christophe Affolter’s Sun Fast 3300 Moshimoshi.

After lengthy consultation with Camper and Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada Tourism and the competing teams, it was agreed that the safest option was to move the 2021 RORC Transatlantic Race finish to Antigua. It remains the intention of the RORC to finish the 2022 edition in Grenada, as it has done since the first race in 2014.

Published in Offshore
Tagged under

The 2020 RORC Yacht of the Year, winning the Somerset Memorial Trophy is the British JPK 10.10 Jangada, owned by Richard Palmer. Racing with Jeremy Waitt as crew, Jangada was the overall winner of the RORC Transatlantic Race and winner of the Two-Handed Class for the RORC Caribbean 600.

Only two other Two-Handed teams have won the award before; Shaun Murphy with Slingshot in 2006 and Nick Martin with Diablo-J in 2012.

For the first time in the history of the club, the RORC Season's Points Championship had to be cancelled. Health restrictions made it impossible to run overnight races for all IRC classes. Whilst Richard Palmer was recovering from a knee operation, Jangada was raced Two-Handed by Jeremy Waitt and Shirley Robertson, winning the newly organised Two-Handed Autumn Series.

Since 1965, the Somerset Memorial Trophy has been awarded for outstanding racing achievement by a RORC Member. Despite most of the 2020 season being cancelled, the RORC Committee thought it appropriate to continue with the history of the trophy in highlighting the outstanding racing achievement of Jangada in 2020.

Jangada is planning to come back racing next year in the 2021 RORC Season's Points Championship, including the Rolex Fastnet Race.

RORC Yacht of the Year 2009-2020 winners - Somerset Memorial Trophy

  • 2020 - Jangada, JPK 10.10, Richard Palmer
  • 2019 - Wizard, Volvo 70, Peter and David Askew
  • 2018 - Ichi Ban, TP52, Matt Allen
  • 2017 - Lisa, First 44.7, Nick & Suzi Jones (skippered by Michael Boyd)
  • 2016 - Teasing Machine, A13, Eric de Turckheim
  • 2015 - Azzam, Volvo Ocean 65, skippered by Ian Walker (Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team)
  • 2014 - Antix, Ker 39, Anthony O'Leary
  • 2013 - Courrier Vintage, MC34 Patton, Sam Marsaudon & Gery Trentesaux
  • 2012 - Diablo-J, J/105, Nick Martin
  • 2011 - RAN, JV 72, Niklas Zennstrom
  • 2010 - Tonnerre de Breskens 3, Ker 46, Piet Vroon
  • 2009 - Puma Logic, Reflex 38, (skippered by Philippe Falle)
Published in RORC
Tagged under
Page 5 of 43

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

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating