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Displaying items by tag: Relentless

#Rowing: A crew from Cork and Dublin, Relentless, have set a new record for rowing the Atlantic for a Republic of Ireland team. Sean Underwood, Pat O’Connor and Eoin O’Farrell and Thomas Browne crossed the finish line in Antigua this morning after taking just 32 days, 22 hours and four minutes to row from La Gomera in the Canary Islands. They finished sixth in the Atlantic Challenge race, just over three days behind winners The Four Oarsmen, who became the fastest crew ever to row the Atlantic. Ireland had two good placings in the race: on Sunday, Northern Irish crew Home to Portrush finished one place ahead of Relentless in a time of 31 days eight hours and 57 minutes.  

Published in Rowing

The first boats have finished the Atlantic Challenge ocean rowing race. The Four Oarsmen from Britain won in a record time of 29 days and 15 hours, which the organisers say is the fastest time ever for a row across the Atlantic Ocean. Team Antigua and Swiss Mocean also finished on Saturday in the race from the Canaries to Antigua in the West Indies which is sponsored by Talisker Whisky.  

 These three fours will be followed in by solo oarsman Mark Slats in Row4Cancer.

Two boats from Ireland are next in line. Home to Portrush is set to take fifth place, most likely arriving on Sunday. Relentless, a four drawn from Cork and Dublin, should finish on Monday or Tuesday.  

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Home to Portrush and Relentless, from Cork and Dublin, look set to finish the Atlantic Challenge race in under a week. The Northern Irish crew has taken a clear fifth place and are putting in good mileage each day – they covered 88 nautical miles (163 kilometres) moving into the 27th day of the race from the Canary Islands to Antigua. The crew of George McAlpin, Ally Cooper, Gareth Barton and Luke Baker had 459 nautical miles (850 km) to the finish.

 One place behind them lie another four, Relentless. The Cork/Dublin crew have also benefitted from the favourable winds. If they continue their fine progress they will land in English Harbour in Antigua just one day after Home to Portrush, on January 15th.

 Solo oarsman Damian Browne has crossed the 1,000 nautical mile mark and has been punching in very steady times after coming through capsizes, an injured face and a damaged steering system. The Galway man, who rows as Gullivers Travels, is projected to finish on Valentine’s Day, February 14th.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Damian Browne is back on track in the Atlantic Challenge rowing race. The solo oarsman covered 36 nautical miles (67 km) in the 24 hours to midday on Saturday and heads into the third week of the race from the Canaries to Antigua with a good chance of bettering his 20th place by overtaking some of the pairs. Browne, who competes as Gullivers Travels, was hurt during a set of capsizes just after Christmas but vowed to race on.

 Near the head of the 21 boats which are still in the race, Relentless, from Cork and Dublin, and Home to Portrush have swapped places. Both are fours. The Northern Ireland crew covered a remarkable 74 nautical miles (137 km) in the day to midday Saturday and took over in fifth from Relentless, which has taken a more southerly route. The leading crew is the Four Oarsmen, with Team Antigua third. Solo oarsman Mark Slats in Row for Cancer holds on to third. Swiss Mocean, which is also taking a southerly course, lies fourth.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Christmas has been productive for the Relentless and Gullivers Travel crews taking part in the Atlantic Challenge rowing race. The four-man Relentless crew covered 84 nautical miles (156 kilometres) in the 24 hours to 4pm on St Stephen’s Day. They had rowed 993 nautical miles, and are set to pass the psychologically important 1,000 nautical-mile staging post today. They stand fourth of the fours and fifth overall.

 Damian Browne, the solo oarsman who rows as Gullivers Travels, posted a Facebook message on Christmas Day. After tricky times early in the race he has locked in a steady race rhythm. He is 17th of the 21 boats at sea in the race from the Canary Islands to Antigua. Two crews, Team O2 and Team Tenzing had to be rescued in recent days after capsizes. The race organisers report that all the rowers are well.

 Home to Portrush, a four, stands seventh overall.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Irish boats are making progress in the Atlantic Rowing Race. Damian Browne, who was tested by difficult conditions and seasickness in the first two days, reported on his Facebook page that he has recovered. By 6pm on Monday he had rowed 154 nautical miles (285 kilometres) of the 2,700 nm/5,000 km journey from the Canary Islands to Antigua.

 Relentless, the Cork/Dublin four, were making good speed closer to the head of the field. They were adjudged to be sixth overall. Home to Portrush, tracking further south, placed eighth.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Irish crews competing in the Atlantic Challenge race from the Canaries to Antigua have had to battle seasickness and strong winds in the first two days. Relentless, a four, and Gullivers Travels (crewed by Damian Browne) both started well. However, Browne had to deploy the para anchor and was very disappointed with his progress in the first 24 hours when he struggled with blisters, cramps and dehydration. Relentless were reported to have deployed an emergency beacon, though this was apparently done inadvertently.

 The crews were showing steady progress on Saturday, as was the third boat from Ireland, Home to Portrush, which has taken a more southerly course.  

Published in Rowing

#OceanRowing: Damian Browne has just set off to row the Atlantic. The former professional rugby player, in his boat Darien, left today from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to embark on the Atlantic Challenge race to Antigua. The fours, Relentless, from Cork and Dublin, and Home to Portrush, went off before solo oarsman Browne, who was the last of the 25 boats to leave today.

 The start of the race had been delayed for two days because of high winds.

Published in Rowing

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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