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Displaying items by tag: Royal Cork Yacht Club

With many Royal Cork boats away competing at the Kinsale Yacht Club Spring league, as well as a large club contingent at the Ballyholme Youth Nationals this weekend, turnout was low for the opening white sail race of the 2022 season.

Four boats came to the line, however, in a brisk north easterly breeze.

Three 1720 sportsboats were also out from the Crosshaven club competing on their own harbour course.

Published in Royal Cork YC

The Royal Cork Yacht Club has appointed a long-time club member to a new full-time role as Head of Sailing Development

Eddie Rice has been a long time Crosshaven club member, competing and winning in the Laser, National 18 and Keelboat fleets and currently serves on the Irish Laser Association committee

He will work with club General Manager Gavin Deane, fellow club staff and the club Committees on the following areas;

Planning and orchestrating class coaching, including that of the Under 25 keelboat programme and the Adult Sailing Programme

Providing the schedule and programming for junior classes to include: training programs, target events and guidance on advancement from class-to-class for junior sailors with delivery of class racing in season.

Assisting youth sailors in identifying an appropriate class for their sailing desire and assist sailors’ transition through the classes and identifying suitable next moves at an early stage

Continuing development of Team Racing, Under 25 Keelboat Racing, Junior Sailing Academy, multi-handed dinghy sailing

Providing and delivering a structure for developing Club Coaches to achieve a best-in-class approach with our home-grown coaches. Welcome and support guest coaches in their requirements at clinics

Assisting the Junior Organiser with the recruitment of instructors for the sailing courses and the sailing course roll-out with the Senior Instructor appointed
In conjunction with the Club officials, managing the Club fleet of sailing dinghies and keelboats, ensuring they are maintained to an appropriate standard

Developing the process for members to access these boats through rental or programme.

Published in Royal Cork YC
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Joe Woodward of Cork, who has died aged 90, was the very personification of the spirit of Cork city and harbour as a place where the good things in life are there to be enjoyed, and enjoyed in style. This was to be achieved both ashore in pleasant surroundings and good company, and also afloat as frequently as possible, whether racing or cruising aboard an interesting sailing boat, on day sailing or well-planned longer ventures.

The Woodward name was already prominent in the city’s commercial and social life when the family company of fine art auctioneers, property agents and antique dealers was founded in 1883, making it now the city’s longest-established family firm of auctioneers. And Joe himself – the fourth generation in running the business - probably coined the firm’s mantra of “We’re not the best because we’re the oldest. We’re the oldest because we’re the best”. But even if he didn’t, he had the wit and sparkle to know a good thing when he saw it, and very quickly make it his own.

At a family level, he was the complete incarnation of the way in which the leading Cork professional, commercial and sailing families are all inter-related in an extraordinary matrix which makes it very perilous for an outsider to provide any comment – nautical or otherwise - about an absent third party, as you invariably find you’re making those possibly barbed remarks to a cousin or a niece or an uncle or whatever, and it will be all over town before the day is out. 


Joe’s sister Mary was married in a lifelong love-match to the legendary Denis Doyle – they were Cork sailing’s own international power couple long before the expression “power couple” had been coined elsewhere – and this meant that Joe was also related to the Donegans of Fastnet Race-founding fame, and to many other Munster sailing clans.

But despite the exalted commercial and nautical background in such a strong family environment, Joe was very comfortably his own man, with all the confidence of elegant good looks allied to an athletic yet slim build – he never carried an ounce of excess weight – and a ready wit in the best sardonic Cork style.

His earliest sailing under his own command was with a 14ft clinker-built gunter-rigged dinghy called Ripple for a few years around 1950, when he sailed from the up-harbour Cork Boat Club. But he quickly was drawn into the growing National 18 fleet in the then Royal Munster Yacht Club at Crosshaven, racing a boat called Fenella. With what one longtime friend has called “Joe’s flashes of brilliance, when he was unbeatable”, Fenella was one of three National 18s rated as scratch in the large fleet, the handicapper ranking Joe’s helming skills with an Eighteen as being equal to Somers Payne and Charlie Dwyer.

The National 18s of Cork in their first 1950s incarnation – the class handicapper ranked Joe Woodward as a scratch sailor in the class, on a par with Somers Payne and Charlie Dwyer. Photo courtesy RCYCThe National 18s of Cork in their first 1950s incarnation – the class handicapper ranked Joe Woodward as a scratch sailor in the class, on a par with Somers Payne and Charlie Dwyer. Photo courtesy RCYC\

And in one particular area of performance, he was in a league of his own. In his early days with Ripple at the Boat Club, other young sailors were very impressed by the fact that “he seemed to have no problem in pulling girls to crew”, such that in more recent times the term babe magnet might well have applied.

This happy talent continued to manifest itself at Crosshaven thanks to the National 18s’ three person crewing requirement, which meant that a relatively inexperienced third hand could be accommodated by a skilled skipper accustomed to juggling in all its forms.


All those bewitched females had the one term of endearment for Joe, so much so that those who raced against him used it as his nickname behind his back. Or at least they assumed it was behind his back, until some of the keener Cork dinghy sailors started to move to 505s in the late 1950s, and Joe showed them he was completely aware of the nickname situation by calling his new 505 Dotie Pet.

Life was hectic afloat and ashore, as for a while - in addition to his thriving professional and social life - he continued to have both a National 18 and a 505, and then in 1960 he allowed another string to be added to his bow. He stepped up to the plate to compete for the place as Ireland’s Olympic Finn representative in Rome, but was narrowly beaten in the trials by his old friend and regular sailing rival Somers Payne, who had already sailed as Ireland’s Finn helm in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

However, as 1964 approached, boat choice had to become more focused, as Cork Harbour had been selected as the venue for the 1964 International 505 Worlds, and it was abundantly evident that this was going to require a new level of seriousness.

Entry list for 1964 505 Worlds at CorkEntry list for 1964 505 Worlds at Cork

So Joe reduced his personal flotilla to one boat, a new 505 retaining the name Dotie Pet, and he and crewman John McCarthy put in some serious training. Naturally this approach by the “playboy sailor” caused some mirth in Crosshaven, but in a then-unprecedented international fleet of 96 boats, he put everyone firmly in their place by leading for much of the first race.

Joe Woodward’s Dotie Pet leads the 96-strong feet in the first race of the International 505 Worlds at Cork, August 1964Joe Woodward’s Dotie Pet leads the 96-strong feet in the first race of the International 505 Worlds at Cork, August 1964

This may have made Dotie Pet a marked boat for the rest of the championship, but it means that 68 years later, with Cork scheduled once again to host the 505 Worlds in 2022, all that anyone can remember from 1964 is that Joe Woodward had one of his flashes of almost supernatural sailing brilliance, yet the actual overall winner is long since forgotten.

Thereafter, as the Royal Munster through amalgamation became his home club of the Royal Cork YC in 1967, he was always a force to be reckoned with in 505 sailing locally, nationally and internationally. Nevertheless his debonair persona around boats was just one side of a balanced personality, on which the other was a very effective dedication to business – he was a founder member of the Irish Auctioneers and Valuers Institute (now the Irish Society of Chartered Surveyors), he was the man to go to for the sale of properties at the top end of the market in Cork, and his twice-yearly live and international telephone auctions devoted to Irish and English silver – particularly silverware with Cork Republican connections - acquired special renown to enhance his reputation as “The Magician With The Gavel” 


Meanwhile on the personal front he had married Mary Halpin and they became a stylish couple with a growing family of son Tom (who was to succeed him as the fifth generation of Woodwards to head the family firm) and daughters Janet and Laura, all of whom contributed to an impressive total of seven grandchildren.

But that was some way down the line. Meanwhile, with Mary sharing his interest in boats but inclined to keelboats rather than racing dinghies, Joe made another of his many shrewd purchasing decisions by acquiring the classic Laurent Giles-designed 40ft Salterns Salar Moshulu III.

The robust 40ft Laurent Giles-designed Salterns Salar proved a very sensible choice for Joe & Mary Woodward’s cruising programmeThe robust 40ft Laurent Giles-designed Salterns Salar proved a very sensible choice for Joe & Mary Woodward’s cruising programme

The Salar is sometimes described as a motor-sailer, but is actually a powerful sailing boat which happens to have an amidships deck shelter which almost amounts to a wheelhouse. Her attraction is further augmented by the fact that the designers did not try to cram as much in the way of coachroofs and accommodation into her as might be possible, and thus she has roomy decks, and there’s plenty of personal space down below.


This all suited Joe and Mary very well, as he always preferred to sail on his own boat in the time-honoured Cork style, and in as much comfort as possible now that he had moved on from flat-out racing. And for Mary, Moshulu was a welcoming home from home as they cruised southwest Ireland and then increasingly devoted their time to basing the boat and themselves in northwest Spain, where the climate, the Galician way of life, and the local food was very much to their taste – Joe would later claim that in Galicia he ate only fish, to which he attributed his lifelong vigour.

Home from home – for years, Joe & Mary Woodward with Moshulu III had Baiona’s Monte Real Yacht Club as their Galician base.Home from home – for years, Joe & Mary Woodward with Moshulu III had Baiona’s Monte Real Yacht Club as their Galician base.

Inevitably they became such a regular feature of sailing in the area that they were part of the local club scene, particularly in Baiona near Vigo where Joe and Mary and the Monte Real Club de Yates were so comfortable with each other that he became the club’s Honorary Ambassador in Ireland, where he’d become an Irish Cruising Club member in 1990.


From time to time Moshulu III was back in Irish waters, most notably in July 1996, when there was a combined Cruise-in-Company of all the senior international cruising clubs in West Cork.

With such a large and diverse fleet, some means of management co-ordination was required, and with his renowned semi-theatrical auctioneering skills, Joe took on the task of a morning news broadcast to the fleet from Moshulu. With his fearless wit and capacity for acquiring gossip at each night-time shore gathering, it was immediately required listening to start each day, even if some female participants of a certain age had mixed feelings about the entire fleet knowing that it happened to be their birthday.

 The Woodwards’ Salar Class Moshulu III in Baltimore during the 1996 Cruise-in-Company, with king-size fenders available to indicate a welcome to raft up. The Woodwards’ Salar Class Moshulu III in Baltimore during the 1996 Cruise-in-Company, with king-size fenders available to indicate a welcome to raft up.

As to his professional life, while his ability to delegate meant that he could take properly useful long periods of leave, he stayed actively interested in the family firm to the end, and was still chairman at the time of his death, such that, thanks to occasionally working in the business during school holidays, he could look back on eight decades of service to Woodwards.


His most spectacular deals continued to impress Cork. He put together the property package which enabled the creation of the hugely successful Hayfield Manor Hotel complex, designed by fellow sailor and architect Roddy Hyde to be a restful oasis in the heart of the university district and very much part of the city, and yet at the same time notably complete of itself.

The Oasis in Cork City – Joe Woodward started the process whereby disparate old properties were parcelled and transformed to become the haven which is Hayfield Manor Hotel in the heart of Cork’s university district.The Oasis in Cork City – Joe Woodward started the process whereby disparate old properties were parcelled and transformed to become the haven which is Hayfield Manor Hotel in the heart of Cork’s university district.

And then in 2004 he unveiled his most spectacular coup, the discovery of the Willem Van der Hagen 1738 painting of Cork Harbour with the fleet of the 1720-founded Water Club of the Harbour of Cork very much in evidence as they sailed down-harbour in their renowned flotilla formation.

While it lacks the technical detail and accuracy of the Royal Cork Yacht Club’s own two notable Peter Monamy paintings from the same period showing the fleet on manoeuvres, the Van der Hagen – despite some eccentricities – acquired immediate popularity through the fact that it located the Water Club very specifically in Cork Harbour, and thereby gave an immediate sense of personal connection to the pioneering club activities of 280 years earlier.

It has enormous charm, and thus the public auction on Wednesday 11th February 2004, with Joe on top form, attracted special interest. This was well justified, as it was sold into a private collection for €360,000, at that time a record for work of this type.

The placing of seven yachts of the Water Club in midst of the fleet heading seawards in this 1738 Van der Hagen painting of Cork Harbour gives it significant extra value.The placing of seven yachts of the Water Club in midst of the fleet heading seawards in this 1738 Van der Hagen painting of Cork Harbour gives it significant extra value.

It was just the kind of buzz which saw Joe at his best, and maintained his interest right to the end. In his later years, he became a widower with the loss of Mary, but equally his old adversary on the water, Somers Payne, had passed away leaving the Woodwards’ dear friend Eithne a widow, so she and Joe shared their new single lives.

In the best Cork style, there was no lack of the family banter which is familiar to any Cork sailing family. Joe’s 90th birthday in January of this year was a festive multi-generational affair, with special music and frequent laughter. And during it, the Woodward grandchildren cheerfully referred to Eithne Payne as “the woman whose husband prevented our grand-daddy from becoming an Olympic sailor”.

That’s the way it was in Joe Woodward’s world. He was a very special person, a real life-enhancer. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and many friends and numerous shipmates. May he rest in peace.

Published in W M Nixon

An Adult Sailing programme is being introduced for members at the Royal Cork in Crosshaven for the coming season. All the sessions will be followed by a debrief and a social gathering the club says.

It is a development to encourage more active involvement and follows the club's intention to widen interest in dinghy sailing in Cork Harbour.

The adult programme will include keelboats and kayaking.

"Keelboat sailing is available in both May and June, on Tuesdays or Saturdays. Dinghy sailing on Wednesday evenings in May and June. 'Kayak in company' on Wednesday evenings in May and June – free of charge."

Details are on the club website here where applications to take part can be made.

Published in Royal Cork YC
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Royal Cork Yacht Club's Club weekend cruiser-racer meeting on Saturday featured a discussion on IRC ratings and ECHO handicaps and start times for this summer's Cork Harbour racing from Crosshaven.

The meeting also proved an opportunity for the presentation of prizes that could not previously be presented due to COVID.

Annamarie Fegan and Denis Murphy's Grand Soleil Nieulargo received the international Boat of Year Award presented by RCYC Admiral Kieran O' Connell. 

Frank Caul's Prince of Tides took the White Sail Boat of the Year Award.

Annamarie Fegan and Denis Murphy's Grand Soleil Nieulargo received the international Boat of Year Award Annamarie Fegan and Denis Murphy's Grand Soleil Nieulargo received the RCYC International Boat of Year Award Photo: Bob Bateman

Fiona Young (pictured top), the helm of the Albin Express, North Star was awarded Club Boat of the Year.

Brian Jones' Jelly Baby was awarded National Boat of Year. 

Frank Caul (centre) skipper of Prince of Tides, is presented with the White Sail Boat of the Year Award from Daragh Conolly (left), Rear Admiral Keelboats in 2021 and RCYC Admiral Kieran O' ConnellFrank Caul (centre) skipper of Prince of Tides, is presented with the White Sail Boat of the Year Award from Daragh Conolly (left), Rear Admiral Keelboats in 2021 and RCYC Admiral Kieran O' Connell Photo: Bob Bateman

Published in Royal Cork YC
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ILCA 6/Laser sailor Jonathan O'Shaughnessy was the Class One winner of the PY1000 prize money at the Royal Cork Yacht Club on Saturday, March 24th. 

46 dinghies contested the annual event with 30 boats in class one and 16 dinghies in class two.

This year the event was sponsored by Asian Street Food, Ramen.

O'Shaughnessy came in ahead of James Dwyer and Oisin McSweeney in the 29er Skiff with Cove Sailing Club's Kieran Dorgan in third place in the ILCA 7. 

The winner of Class 2 (Toppers, ILCA 4, Mirrors, Topazs) was Darragh Collins in the ILCA 4 from Liam Duggan in a Topper 5.3. Third was Isabel McCarthysailing an ILCA 4. 

Both division winners share the prize fund of €1000. 

Full results are here.

Bob Bateman's 2022 PY1000 Photo Gallery 

Published in Royal Cork YC
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The Royal Cork YC is hoping to re-establish the ‘Mixed Dinghies’ Class at the Crosshaven-based club in Cork Harbour.

“Having been very quiet for a few years, the mixed dinghy fleet is making a comeback this season,” the club has told its, members, with an appeal for more support: “We would like to hear from everyone interested in getting on the water in double-handed boats, from beginners to advanced, young and old, from Topaz to RS400 and everything in between.”

“This fleet offers a great blend of social sailing with the opportunity to race and participate in events also,” says Maurice Collins, RCYC’s Rear Admiral Dinghies.“With a wide range of boats and age groups accommodated, it brings all our sailors together. It is an opportunity to explore sailing with friends usually in a multi-handed dinghy, but not confined to multi-handed dinghies.

Maurice Collins, RCYC’s Rear Admiral DinghiesMaurice Collins, RCYC’s Rear Admiral Dinghies Photo: Bob Bateman

“There is a limited number of club boats available for those starting out and for those with a boat and maybe looking for a crew, this is a great opportunity. If you have your own single-handed dinghy. but there is not a class in the club to join, please join in and sail along with the mixed dinghies.”

To gauge the level of interest and to explore what RCYC dinghy sailors are interested in, the club is carrying out a ‘Mixed Dinghy fleet survey.’

A 49er skiff and a GP14 compete in a mixed dinghy handicap fixture at Royal Cork Photo: Bob BatemanA 49er skiff and a GP14 compete in a mixed dinghy handicap fixture at Royal Cork Photo: Bob Bateman

“For those eager to get sailing and racing, we have the very social Ramen PY1000 race on Saturday, March 26,” says Maurice Collins,” with the Round Island and Coolmore races coming up later in the season.

“If we have enough interest, we intend to set up a mixed dinghy club racing series during the Summer months.”

With several dinghy classes already in the club, it will be interesting to see what response the appeal gets.

Published in Royal Cork YC

Last weekend saw Royal Cork Yacht Club Team Wildcard take another podium finish at the Monaco Sports Boat Winter Series, Primo Cup-Trophee Credit Suisse, the flagship winter event organised by Yacht Club de Monaco.

For Team Wildcard there were two prizes to aim for as the Primo Cup doubles as the fourth and final act of the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series of monthly regattas.

The last event of the four event series’ saw 81 J70s from 16 nations compete in Monaco for the final regatta in the principality prior to the 2022 J70 worlds which will take place there next October.

After four events over the winter months and three final days of very close racing in a variety of conditions, team Wildcard finished in 7th place overall and 2nd Corinthian team in the Primo Cup. Some big names were at the event and these included past J70 world champions and Americas cup sailors scattered across the highly competitive fleet.

This meant team Wildcard won the 2022 J70 Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series in the Corinthian division and came 4th overall for the series.

The result is a major result for the Irish team who had to keep a cool head going into the last event of the series in first place. Their competitors kept the pressure on but in the end, the Irish team showed their strength and knowledge of the J70 and delight at being back out competing after two years of Covid.

William Twomey said, “I am thrilled with the win and looking forward to the Europeans and Worlds”.

The team now go onwards to the Italian J70 summer series in Punta Ala and Lake Garda to name a few stop-offs before the Europeans in France and the Worlds next October also on the med in Monaco.

Wildcard will be hoping for continued success in the Corinthian category at these two major regattas that will have 100 teams.

Published in Royal Cork YC

With Irish sailing life struggling to return to normality, we find we are facing it without someone who could put it all into perspective.

Dermot Burns, Honorary Archivist to the Royal Cork Yacht Club for many years, passed away peacefully in February after a lifetime in which any spare moments were devoted either to sailing, or in placing the story
and memorabilia of Cork sailing and the maritime life of Cork Harbour in its proper historical context.

We first became aware of this special talent many years ago on one of several occasions when the Royal Cork YC became what was then the Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year. The presentation party included people from Mitsubishi headquarters in Japan, and Dermot as ever rose to the occasion by giving them chapter and verse on how, in the 1860s, a shipbuilding company on the shores of Cork Harbour had constructed a 690-ton steamship for the Mitsu Bishi Company of Japan.

On other similar occasions, he always enriched the evening with his store of fascinating and appropriate facts which, quite rightly, put Cork Harbour at the centre of the maritime world. He was the "marine archivists' archivist", and while he will be much missed, what he achieved means he will always be remembered.

Our thanks to the Royal Cork YC for permission to publish this appreciation of Dermot Burns from their club website:

Former club Archivist Dermot Burns passed away peacefully on February 6th. Dermot served as club Archivist from 1991 to 2019, it’s said history was his passion and sailing his hobby.

Dermot’s enthusiasm for the club’s history was infectious and it was matched by a careful and meticulous approach to the cataloguing and care of any documents and items that came into the club. He delighted in discovering new aspects to the club’s history and left no stone unturned in trying to track down much-needed information.

He brought his skills as an engineer to his study of the archives and soon realised that there was wonderful material contained within and potentially more information elsewhere, all of which would be vital in telling the history of the club. So, the idea of publishing a book about the club began to take shape and over the ten years leading up to 2005 he worked closely with Dr. Alicia St. Leger, the author of the book. Peter Crowley, Admiral in 2005/2005, also realised that as Cork was to be European Capital of Culture, it would be appropriate to release a book on the history of the oldest yacht club in the world, and indeed gave his wholehearted support for the project. 

His own love of sailing and his knowledge of Cork Harbour was of huge assistance in compiling the history of the club. In fact, that publication would not have happened without his enthusiasm, dedication and sheer hard work. But his input certainly did not stop there. He continued to research the origins of the club and to interact with people (both within and outside the club) who shared his interest in the history of sailing.

He has left a remarkable legacy in the club Archives which he built up so carefully over the years and which will be a vital resource for future researchers. His role in the 2005 book and his ongoing contributions to publications, to interested individuals and groups, and to the media, have been immense and were rightfully acknowledged when he was made an Honorary Member of the Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Dermot will be greatly missed by all in the Royal Cork and our sympathies are with Fran and their wide circle of family and friends.

Published in Royal Cork YC

Classic boats from across Europe will take part in July's Volvo Cork Week Regatta for the first time as they join the celebrations of the Royal Cork's Tricentenary.

Sir Edward Heath's Morning Cloud, since renamed Opposition, is amongst one of the early entrants in the historic boat fleet.

Morning Cloud was the name given by the former British Prime Minister to a series of five yachts that he owned between 1969 and 1983.

Royal Cork organisers have also confirmed The Atlantic Yacht Club of France will be strong supporters of the event, committing 20 boats through their GoToCork campaign.

The Notice of Race for the Classic fleet is currently being finalised.


Published in Cork Week
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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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