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Both monohull and multihull Round Ireland record holders are part of a fleet of over 80 yachts expected for the ninth edition of the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600 in which 900 sailors from 30 different nations will race non-stop around 11 Caribbean islands, starting and finishing in Antigua.

Passionate corinthians will be rubbing shoulders with Olympic medallists, America's Cup winners and round the world sailors in a race to take home the coveted RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy. The 600 mile course is designed to offer a tactical, high speed race with stunning vistas at every corner.

"The RORC Caribbean 600 is very different to the other 600 mile races and definitely not a holiday race in the Caribbean," commented RORC Racing Manager, Nick Elliott. "The race has many tactical legs with land effects and wind-driven currents which are both difficult to predict. The heat of the day and the long nights are also unusual features for an offshore race making it every bit as challenging as the Rolex Fastnet Race, and just as exciting. It is interesting to note that the records for the Rolex Fastnet Race and the RORC Caribbean 600 are very similar."

Featuring a magnificent collection of yachts, an incredibly varied fleet will be racing under the IRC, CSA and MOCRA rating systems, as well as Class40s racing under class rules. Rambler 88, Phaedo3 and Maserati will be gunning for course records, however, the winner of the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy will be decided by the yacht with the best corrected time under IRC.

George David's American Maxi Rambler 88 is back with an impressive crew line-up for another tilt at the race record, the overall win and class honours. New Zealand's multiple America's Cup winner, Brad Butterworth is part of an impressive afterguard including fellow Kiwi, Brad Jackson and Australian navigator, Andrew Cape. Virtually the entire crew are America's Cup winners and stars of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Phaedo3 has assembled a phenomenal crew for the race and multiple world record holder, Brian Thompson is joined by Volvo Ocean Race winners Robert Greenhalgh and Damian Foxall. Extreme 40 champion, Pete Cumming and the formidable talent of Michel Desjoyeux, the only sailor to have won the Vendée Globe twice. Maserati's skipper, Giovanni Soldini is Italy's most decorated offshore sailor and Maserati has been fitted with foils which can provide a speed advantage over Phaedo3. A fascinating contest for multihull line honours is expected.

The winner of the Multihull Class will be the yacht with the best corrected time under MOCRA. Seven teams are entered including Shaun Carroll's Australian Modified Sea Cart 30, Morticia which is the smallest yacht competing in the entire fleet, and the head-turning all-carbon R-Six, skippered by Robert Janecki, which is the first ever entry from Belize.

IRC Overall for the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy

Overall winners of the previous eight editions of the race have all come from IRC Canting Keel and IRC Zero. Amongst this year's favourites are two Maxi 72s: Hap Fauth's Bella Mente - overall winner in the 2015 race, and current holder of the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy, George Sakellaris' Proteus.

Whilst the two Maxi 72s are firm favourites, the stellar cast racing in IRC Canting Keel and IRC Zero includes; Farr 100 Leopard and three Volvo 70s, Lionel Pean's SFS II from France, Trifork skippered by Dutchman Bouwe Bekking and Green Dragon, skippered by Austrian Johannes Schwarz. The dark horse of the canting keel class is Maverick, skippered by Oliver Cotterell. The Infiniti 46 with DSS side foils was class winner for the RORC Transatlantic Race and the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

In IRC Zero, the 182ft schooner Adela, skippered by Greg Perkins is the largest yacht taking part and making a RORC Caribbean 600 debut is Anders Nordquist's Shamanna. The 115ft superyacht is the largest of nine Swans competing this year and boasts a crew including many of Malta's best sailors from the Calascione, Podesta and Ripard families. RORC Admiral and IMA Secretary General, Andrew McIrvine is a guest aboard Grant Gordon's Maxi cruiser 72, Louise. Overall winner of the 2017 Cape to Rio Race, Stefan Jentzsch's German Carkeek 47, Black Pearl is the smallest yacht in IRC Zero. South African America's Cup sailors, Mark Sadler and Marc Lagesse form the afterguard.

With 17 yachts, the largest class competing this year is IRC One and a huge variety of yachts includes Giles Redpath's Lombard 46, Pata Negra, with RORC Commodore, Michael Boyd among the crew. Bernie Evan Wong's RP37, Taz will be proudly flying the Antiguan flag once again. Bernie is the life and soul of the race having competed in all nine editions as skipper.

The IRC Two champion, Ross Applebey's Scarlet Oyster is back attempting to win the class for the fourth consecutive race in a highly competitive field including; Ed Fishwick's Redshift on El Ocaso with a young, top-class crew including, 2012 Olympic Silver Medallist Luke Patience and Figaro sailors, Alan Roberts and Nick Cherry, as well as Volvo Ocean Race sailor, Nick Bubb.

Close racing is expected in IRC Three among four vintage Swans, including two Sparkman & Stephens designed Swan 48s, Jonty Layfield's Sleeper X and Andrew & Mia Schell's Isbjorn. Peter Hopps, skipper of the Sigma 38, Sam has competed in every edition of the RORC Caribbean 600.

Short-Handed Challengers
A number of young talented Figaro teams are expected from Guadeloupe and James Heald's British Swan 45 Nemesis will be racing Two-Handed. Five Class 40s will be competing including Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron's Campagne de France which won the Class40 division in the 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race, Catherine Pourre's Eärendil, Peter Harding's Phor-ty, Mikael Ryking's Talanta and Marc Lepesqueux's Saint-Pierre & Miquelon.

Published in Caribbean 600

Michael Boyd of the Royal Irish Yacht Club is in the midst of a long, interesting and successful sailing career in which he first came to international prominence with the overall win in the 1996 Round Ireland Race on the J/35 Big Ears writes W M Nixon.

With the energy of ten men and widespread international business interests, he was the ideal and popular choice when he became Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club in London on December 4th 2014, and the two years since have been outstanding for the club, with the Commodore setting a prodigious pace both afloat and ashore.

Beneteau 44.7 Lisa Michael BoydThe Michael Boyd-skippered First 44.7 Lisa on her way to third overall, and best-placed Irish boat, in the Volvo Round Ireland race 2016. Lisa has since gone on to become RORC IRC Overall Points Champion 2016. Photo
This has been supported by having the hugely-experienced sailor and administrator Eddie Warden-Owen as the RORC’s Chief Executive Officer. The irony of it is that while Michael Boyd cut his sailing teeth in Dun Laoghaire where his father was a noted owner-skipper in the Dublin Bay 21 class, Warden-Owen learned his skills across channel just 54 miles away in Holyhead racing GP14s to international level, and at nearby Trearddur Bay sailing the local Seabird Half Raters.

Thus it’s a direct Irish Sea cross-channel linkup which is giving the RORC its current buzz, and the synergy and shared enthusiasm between these two dynamic people has seen the RORC moving on to greater achievement during the past two years, with the publication yesterday evening of the season’s overall Points Championship reinforcing the image of an international organization on top of its game.

Eddie Warden OwenEddie Warden Owen, CEO of the RORC

The RORC Season's Points Championship 2016 is the largest and arguably most competitive offshore yacht series in the world. Starting almost a year ago with the RORC Transatlantic Race, it consisted of 14 races where over 300 yachts from 15 different nations raced over 6,500 miles. The modern version of the championship is far from domestic as it includes the RORC Transatlantic Race, RORC Caribbean 600, Volvo Round Ireland Race, the brand new Ile d'Ouessant Race, and Rolex Middle Sea Race.

Irish interest naturally focused most directly on the Volvo Round Ireland Race in June, but we also had close links to the RORC Caribbbean 600 in February and the Rolex Middle Sea Race in October, with Conor Fogerty’s Sunfast 3600 Bam! from Howth winning Class 3 in the Caribbean (which has since helped her to place third overall in class in the points championship) while the Middle Sea race saw Carrickfergus’s Ian Moore navigate the Cookson 50 Mascalzone Latino to a very clearcut overall win.

Conor Fogerty’s BamConor Fogerty’s Bam! has placed third overall in the RORC IRC 3 Championship

But with the Volvo Round Ireland in June, it was the RORC Commodore himself who set the Irish pace, as he campaigned the first two-thirds of the season in partnership with Nick & Suzi Jones on the First 44.7 Suzi while he awaited delivery of his JPK 10.80 Audrey (named after his late mother). Racing Lisa in the Round Ireland, Michael Boyd gave a master-class in showing how to get the best out of a standard production boat when set up against some very special machines, and his third overall not only made him top Irish boat overall, but also contributed a mighty heap of points to help Lisa become the RORC IRC Overall Champion 2016. This is a prodigious achievement, as the other points were accumulated in steady, frequent and successful participation in the RORC’s regular programme of shorter events manageable within a long weekend.

This overall win and the IRC I win means that the Lisa team will, be leaving the awards ceremony in London on Saturday November 19th with a mountain of silverware, while another boat prominent in the prize stakes will be the IMOCA 60 Artemis Ocean Racing, overall points winner of IRC Canting Keel, which has been skippered through 2016 by Mikey Ferguson, who originally hails from Bangor in County Down, and has risen steadily through the ranks in the Artemis Academy.

IMOCA 60 ArtemisThe IMOCA 60 Artemis, skippered by Mikey Ferguson of Bangor to overall win in the RORC Canting Keel Class Championship.

And while we’re on the more extreme machines, another special award on Saturday November 19th will go to Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD 70 Phaedo 3 from America, overall winner of the Multi-hull Class and also winner of the Beken Trophy for Concours d’Elegance. We got to know Phaedo 3 very well in Ireland, as she took second in the MOD 70s in the Volvo Round Ireland, and found the Irish course such an attractive challenge that she was back in July to have another go at the new record which had been set by Oman Sailing in the Volvo Round Ireland race, and succeeded in shaving it by upwards of an hour or so.

However, with all fairness to the many star boats in the RORC season which graced our waters at some time or another, there’s no doubting that the people’s choice was Eric de Turckheim’s unusual-looking but extraordinarily attractive A13 Teasing Machine from France, which spent quite a while here as she did the Volvo Round Ireland and then went down to Crosshaven for Volvo Cork Week, through which she cut a mighty swathe.

For those of us who found teasing Machine irresistible, the great news is that she has been declared RORC Yacht of the Year for 2016. The citation says it all:

RORC Yacht of the Year: Teasing Machine, A13, Eric de Turckheim (FRA)

Somerset Memorial Trophy: Awarded for outstanding racing achievement by a yacht owned or sailed by a RORC member as voted for by the RORC Committee.

It's been an incredible year in distance travelled and success for Eric de Turckheim's French A13, Teasing Machine. After crossing the line in 11th place and a class win at the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the boat was shipped to Panama before being sailed 1,200 miles upwind to Antigua to be on the startline for the RORC Caribbean 600 in February. Another great achievement as the team clinched a class win in IRC One and finished third overall, only being beaten by two Maxi 72s. Teasing Machine was then shipped back across the Atlantic to compete in the Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race for yet another class win and finishing second overall to an unbeatable Rambler 88. Following the IRC Europeans at Cork Week, it was on to Cowes to help secure a French victory in the biennial Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup in July, before an overall win in the inaugural Ile de Ouessant Race. This incredible season finished with another class win in the Rolex Middle Sea Race last month.

ro rc6Neck and neck. Eric de Turckheim’s A13 Teasing Machine comes to the weather mark with Anthony O’Leary’s Ker 40 Antix during Volvo Cork Week 2016. Teasing Machine has been declared RORC Yacht of the Year 2016. Photo courtesy Volvo Cork Week/Tim Wright
Class winners for the 2016 RORC Season's Points Championship

IRC Canting Keel: IMOCA 60 Artemis Ocean Racing, Mikey Ferguson
IRZ Zero: Ker 46 Shakti, co-skippered by Christoph Avenarius and Gorm Gondesen
IRC One: First 44.7 Lisa, Nick & Suzi Jones
IRC Two: J/133 Pintia, Gilles Fournier
IRC Three: JPK 10.10 Raging Bee, Louis-Marie Dussere
IRC Four: JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew, Noel Racine
IRC Two Handed: JPK 10.10 Raging Bee, Louis-Marie Dussere
Multihull Class: MOD70 Phaedo³, Lloyd Thornburg
Class40: Concise 2, owned by Tony Lawson

Published in RORC

Ireland's Mark Mills, the Irish Cruiser Racer Representative (ICRA), was among forty delegates from 15 countries descended upon Cowes, Isle of Wight, the home of yachting in the UK, for the annual Congress of the Spinlock International Rating Certificate (IRC) Owners' Association. The weekend was hosted by the RORC Rating Office at the RORC Cowes Clubhouse and the Royal Yacht Squadron, with representatives travelling from all over the world including Australia, the USA, Europe, Japan and SE Asia. Discussions varied from technical aspects of the IRC Rule, which is jointly owned by RORC in the UK and UNCL in France, to race management, measurement, and certificate administration.

Technical Developments for 2017

Simplifying the rating of aft rigging
As racing yacht design becomes more complex and varied, the ethos of IRC is to keep the Rule as simple as possible, protect the existing fleet and try as much as possible to control costs. With this in mind one notable change for 2017 will be a development in the treatment of aft rigging. In recent years it has become apparent that the established definitions for backstays, running backstays and checkstays do not suit all types of modern rigging arrangements. For 2017 IRC will not distinguish between these different types but will count the total number of aft rigging stays, which will simplify the application process for owners.

Addressing undesirable trends
A second change for 2017 reflects the recent trend of moving lead from the bulb into the fin. The IRC Technical Committee does not consider this trend to be healthy for the sport, so in future will be asking for a declaration of the amount of lead in the keel fin for certain types of keel. Members of Congress agreed with both these changes which will come into force on January 1st 2017.

The 2017 Irish IRC championships, raced as part of the ICRA National Championships, will be held next June in Cork Harbour.  As previously reported by, the event is chaired by Paul Tingle of Royal Cork Yacht Club.

More details of the above mentioned technical changes, and the IRC 2017 Rule text and Definitions here

Published in RORC

Racing across the Atlantic evokes the primal desires of any offshore sailor and the Grenada-bound RORC Transatlantic Race, departing from Calero Marinas Marina Arrecife, Lanzarote on Saturday 26th November, has attracted a highly diverse range of boats and crews to compete in the third edition. 

Whilst the Atlantic is only half the size of the Pacific, Mid-Atlantic is as far away from land as possible, save Point Nemo in the depths of the Southern Ocean and Mike Slade's 100ft canting keel maxi, Leopard 3 is no stranger to the Atlantic. Leopard has accomplished five separate Transatlantic records over the last nine years and has crossed the Atlantic 12 times, with this race being Boat Captain, Chris Sherlock's 30th crossing. Leopard 3 is very capable of breaking the current monohull record for the RORC Transatlantic Race, set by Jean-Paul Riviere's Finot 100, Nomad IV in the last race in 10 days 07 hours 06 mins 59 secs.

"The RORC record is the one we have not had and we want to add this to our list of achievements," commented Leopard's Chris Sherlock. "We are close to finalising the crew which will include regular Leopard crew with Olympic, Volvo Ocean Race and America's Cup experience as well as eight guests who have a lot of racing experience and a big desire to race across the Atlantic. This combination works really well as it makes for a fantastic atmosphere on board.

"After a highly successful inshore season, winning at the Maxi Worlds and St. Tropez, Leopard is being put into offshore mode for the RORC Transatlantic Race. Transforming Leopard for the race is a big task and Lanzarote has everything we need for the preparation. The installation of all the safety equipment is mandatory and on top of that we have a different sail wardrobe and take spares and the tools to fix just about anything on board. Once we have started the race, the crew is on its own and we have to account for any eventuality. All of our guests are attending a sea survival course which is invaluable as well as a great way for the two groups of friends to bond together."

Maserati, synonymous with Italian flair and style, will be represented in this year's RORC Transatlantic by Giovanni Soldini's foiling MOD70. Maserati will be literally flying off the start line! This will be the first time the multihull in its new foiling set up has raced across the Atlantic, and it is something of a test bed for the international team.

Soldini has over 25 years of ocean racing experience and is probably the most decorated Italian offshore sailor of all time winning the Around Alone, Québec-Saint Malo, OSTAR and Transat Jacques Vabre. Soldini has completed over 40 oceanic crossings and since 2011 has been the skipper of the VOR70 Maserati, setting records for the Cadiz-San Salvador route and the New York-San Francisco Gold Route. However, the MOD70 Maserati is a new project only conceived this year.

"We are studying how this new concept will work and we have made some progress, but we are in research mode." explained Giovanni Soldini. "Our goal will be to try to fly as much as possible, but there are some conditions where it will be impossible. We went around the world nearly two times with the VOR70 but it was time to change and to do something different. Personally for me, this is a bigger challenge and foiling in the middle of the Atlantic is certainly challenging. This race presents a great opportunity to try to understand more about the concept.

"On the tiller, when Maserati is flying, is just fantastic. It is very fast but you feel safe and in control and it is something very new; to fly with a big boat is something that is very special. During the race we will be studying and trying many different solutions to see where our performance is good or not so good, but it is not always black and white. This year we will be investing in the concept for the future. Our first step will be to achieve stable flight in the open sea with waves, so that will be a big job."

Innovative foiling flyer
Infiniti 46 Maverick, skippered by Oliver Cotterell will be one of the smallest yachts in the race, but her innovative design means that Maverick is capable of tremendous speed. DSS foils, like short airplane wings protrude from the side of the hull, producing both righting moment and lift. Maverick also has a canting keel and the combination of these allow the boat to sail faster than the wind speed, in certain conditions.

"I have been watching the RORC Transatlantic Race since its inception. I think it's a brilliant ocean race that's been growing year on year. I have heard great things about its implementation, organisation and the back-up RORC provides for the teams involved," commented Skipper, Oliver Cotterell. "Maverick has been entered for the RORC Transatlantic Race because it is designed for performance racing vessels. Just looking at the entries and the interest so far shows that this is a serious race with some serious teams. We want to compete against high performance elite racing yachts and the best teams on the circuit.

"The speeds we are maintaining whilst foiling on Maverick are unprecedented for a 46ft monohull, but it is actually a very stable feeling. The DSS foils mean she not only stays flat, but she also lifts her bow so that as we navigate through Atlantic swells, the boat should remain surprisingly dry. Maverick was always designed with long distance competitive offshore racing in mind. Preparation for CAT.1 racing was incorporated in the design from the very beginning. The boat has watertight bulkheads and has been built with the required inventory since her inception."

Published in RORC

Despite three more inshore races being held on day five of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event for three boat teams with Corinthian crews, France Blue leads with a similar 11.5 point margin to yesterday, but Flanders North Sea is now the team that has relieved France White of second place overall.

Today racing returned to the central-eastern Solent with two windward-leeward races and one round the cans course. The day started in July-like sunshine and a light southwesterly, but the arrival of an occluding front early afternoon brought cloud, light rain and an ultra-shifty breeze and fog thick enough to make spotting marks hard - more October-like conditions.

The first race saw a pair of wins for GBR Red: The Henning family's Mumm 36, Alice, won in Class 1 and the J/35, Bengal Magic, claimed the small boat race - the first bullets for both boats.

For Alice, it was well timed. This was after a recent fight with a pontoon in Cork that required intense repair work only completed last Friday, and followed a grounding on the Hampshire shore yesterday and another long night in the shed.

"It hasn't been great this last couple of weeks," admitted Simon Henning. As to today's race win: "The wind was right for us - nice and light on the first beat. We had a good start and went left, where the tide was better."

The lighter, flatter water first race favoured the 20+ year old designs, Bengal Magic skipper James Chalmers agreed: "The wind was a bit lighter and everything just seemed a lot easier. We had to spin around the back because we were over early, but we knew the direction we wanted to go in and give that a push." They too benefitted from hitting the left.

However GBR Red has 184.5 points, just 4.5 away from the podium, but is struggling for consistency. La Réponse's normally immaculate starting left them today - in all three races they were over early. "The team thing is great," continued Chalmers. "You have good days and you have bad days. In the last race, we went the wrong way up the first beat and paid for it. In this event you get punished for the slightest mistake."

Today's top scoring boat was Noel Racine's JPK 1010 Foggy Dew, the 'small' boat in France White with a 5-1-1. Their team mate, the First 40.7, Pen Koent of Emmanuel le Men, is the top scoring 'big' boat, however their performance is offset by Didier Gaudoux's JND 39, Lann Ael 2, which scored three of today's biggest results. Mention should be made of Andrew Hurst's sistership, Stamina, which had her best day finishing third the two final races.

Race two saw a win for GBR Blue's and the Blair family's King 40, Cobra, but they sandwiched this between an 10th and an 8th. Spokesman and mastman, Richard Moxey, described their winning race: "We nailed the start and the first beat, going left. We made smooth manoeuvres, no muck-ups. Then we hoisted and did a quick gybe and had clear wind for the run."

In the Israeli team, placed fifth overall, it was the turn of the JPK 1010, Carlton, Tel Aviv, to perform best, posting a 2-7-5.

Omer Brand, upwind trimmer and Team Israel manager commented: "All in all, I think we are doing well for our first attempt bearing in mind that most of the guys [and girls] have never sailed on these types of boats nor done a serious regatta before. They are loving it and are never giving up."

Once again France Blue was the star performer, but even they are having a mixed set of results, as yacht designer Daniel Andrieu, skipper of their 'small' boat, Cifraline 4, explained: "Yesterday we had a very, very poor day with bad starts, laylines and spinnaker sets - everything was bad. Yesterday night we had a big meeting - we didn't change anything, but we decided how to improve everything. This morning we went out early and did a lot of manoeuvres with spinnakers, gybes, tacks, laylines, etc and after that we were better prepared."

Cifraline's seven crew, five of whom, Andrieu admits, are closer to 70 than 60 years old, also preferred being back in the central eastern Solent, even though conditions were still tricky. "The wind is more shifty. You get a lake of wind and then a shift of 20°. It is great fun!"

Racing continues tomorrow with the traditional race around the Isle of Wight which will score with a 1.5x co-efficient.

Published in Commodores Cup

The third edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's RORC Transatlantic Race will start on Saturday 26 November 2016 and the line-up will include MOD70s and Maxi yachts vying for the prestigious IMA Transatlantic Trophy awarded to the line honours monohull winner. The usual diverse range of highly competitive, experienced offshore RORC racers will also be on the start line. Their focus will be competing for the RORC Transatlantic Race antique silver trophy and the new RORC Caribbean Series Trophy for the best combined result in the RORC Transatlantic Race and 2017 RORC Caribbean 600.

The 2,995 nm RORC Transatlantic Race will be welcomed back to Marina Lanzarote, situated in Arrecife where the 'lunar-like' volcanic mountains provide a spectacular backdrop to the start of the race from the most easterly Canary Island. Race hosts are the well-known Calero family who are no strangers to race boats and major regattas. They have organised a full week of hospitality and parties before the start of the race which will keep the race crews fully entertained.

Grenada welcomes back competitors
The highlight for most crews is the arrival and warm welcome received in Grenada, where Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina will be hosting the fleet once more, along with the continued support of the Grenada Tourism Authority. The beautiful tropical spice island is also famed for its dive sites, including the world's first underwater sculpture gallery at Molinere Bay. The prizegiving will be held on Friday 16th December, giving crews enough time to enjoy everything the island has to offer before Christmas, or to join in the Caribbean regatta season on their way to the RORC Caribbean 600 in February 2017.

Super-Maxis return
Several yachts have expressed their interest in the race and intend to compete in the 2016 edition. Returning for the third consecutive race will be the Southern Wind 90, Windfall and Jean-Paul Riviere's 100ft Finot-Conq, Nomad IV who won IRC overall in the 2015 race, along with the IMA Trophy for monohull line honours. Nomad IV also set a new monohull record for the RORC Transatlantic Race in the same year.

Other notable Maxi's include the largest on the entry list, Peter Harrison's Farr 115ft (35m) ketch, Sojana, and current holder of 5 World Speed Sailing records and 7 course records, Mike Slade's 100ft Farr (30m), Leopard:

"Full congratulations to the RORC for promoting an east to west transatlantic race which has proved a success in the last two years. Leopard is hoping to compete in the event and would be keen to attack the record set last year by Nomad IV of 10 days 07 hours 06 minutes and 59 seconds to add to our other Atlantic records," exclaims Slade.

Multihull battle for line honours
The on-the-water MOD70 battle looks set to continue between Lloyd Thornburg's unstoppable Phaedo3 and Tony Lawson's Concise 10, skippered for the past eight years by 28-year old Ned Collier-Wakefield of Team Concise. Both record-breaking crews have registered their intent to repeat the MOD70 duel after match racing across the Atlantic in last year's race.

Hotting things up is the possibility of Sidney Gavignet's Musandam-Oman Sail joining the race. Oman Sail's flying machine recently claimed multihull line honours, taking over 2 hours off their existing record and setting a new world record for the fastest-ever sail round Ireland in the Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race - with Phaedo3 and Concise 10 minutes behind them!

Following the recent launch of Giovanni Soldini's newly refitted semi-foiling MOD70, Maserati, the Milanese navigator seems to also have his sights set on smashing records such as the RORC Transatlantic Race in a bid to continue his record breaking campaign. Watch this space, as it will be huge battle by the four MOD 70's for the first to arrive in Grenada.

Diverse fleet
It's not all about super-maxis and trimarans though, as the last two editions of the race have attracted highly competitive boats from the smaller end of the fleet, such as Class40s and several Two Handed teams. This third edition is set to follow in the same mode.

The first boat to enter the 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race was James Heald's Swan 45, Nemesis and he will have good competition from Ossie Stewart's Dufour 45, Island Girl. Veteran Olympic sailing medallist, Stewart last crossed the Atlantic in 2014 with the ARC. This time they are hoping to cross with the RORC Transatlantic Race and have big aspirations of a podium position before taking on another season of racing in the Caribbean. Rónán Ó Siochrú's Sun Fast 37, Desert Star is also hoping to be on the start line and the Principal at Irish Offshore Sailing has a wealth of offshore experience.

Two new boats to watch out for will be the DSS equipped Infinity 46, Maverick and a brand new Marc Lombard designed IRC 46, Pata Negra for Giles Redpath. Redpath is planning a full RORC Offshore Championship season and the 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race will be the first event of his 2017 campaign.

Published in RORC

French teams dominated the 2016 RORC Cowes Dinard St Malo Race, with seven classes and the overall win going to French teams. Ironically it was the multihull class, for many years dominated by the French, that Great Britain had its only victory.Tony Lawson's British MOD70 Concise 10, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield took multihull line honours in an elapsed time of 10 hours 32 minutes 50 seconds and was the winner after time correction.

Lionel Péan's Volvo 70, Sfs II took monohull line honours, in an elapsed time of 14 hours 33 minutes 03 seconds and after time correction was declared the overall winner. Although he grew up in La Rochelle, St Malo was home when Péan skippered L'Esprit d’Equipe to victory in the 1985 Whitbread Round the World Race.

“It is normal for us to take line honours, as we are the fastest boat but to win overall is very special for me and the crew” commented Lionel Péan. “It was a beat all the way to Guernsey with the wind getting up to about 20 knots and then the wind just died at the moment we needed to tack around the islands, so that was frustrating. However, the wind came back up to about 10 knots which was enough for us to finish at a good speed. It was great to be back in St Malo, with all the classic boats I remember from years ago. 30 years ago, almost to the day, we sailed into St Malo as winners of the Whitbread. For this race, Eric Sendra was on board, as he was for the Whitbread 30 years ago and Sébastien Audigan, who is incredible. However, most of the team are young and we are looking to build up a team for the 2020 Volvo Ocean Race.”

In IRC One, Jacques Pelletier's Milon 41 L'Ange De Milon was the winner, ahead of former RORC Commodore, Mike Greville, racing Ker 39, Erivale III. Alan Hannon's RP45 Katsu was third in class, putting his team up to second overall for the RORC Season's Points Championship. Nick Jones’s First 44.7 Lisa was fifth in class and still leads the series overall. The RORC Team of Katsu and Lisa also walked away with the John West Trophy for the best 2 boats from a club in IRC Overall.

In IRC Two, Gilles Fournier's J/133 Pintia, enjoyed their fourth class win of the season. Ross Applebey's Scarlet Oyster, returning to RORC action for the first time since the RORC Caribbean 600, finished just under two minutes behind Pintia after time correction to hold on to second. Herve Benic's French First 40 Iritis was third.

In IRC Three, Marc Alperovitch's JPK 10.80 Timeline, which will be representing France in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, was the victor. Arnaud Delamare and Eric Mordret's JPK 10.80 Dream Pearls was second but still retains the class lead for the championship.

Jean-Eudes Renier's JPK 10.80 Shaitan was third in IRC Three and the winner of IRC Two Handed Class after a terrific battle with Chris Frost and Elin Haf Davies J/120 Nunatak. The British pair crossed the finish line just in front of Shaitan but after time correction, the class win went to Jean-Eudes Renier's team. Chris Schram's J/120 Maverick was third having led both Shaitan and Nunatak for most of the race but sailed into a wind hole near |Les |Minquiers and watched the others sail around them.

In IRC Four, Noel Racine JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew was the runaway winner, taking line honours for the class and the corrected time win by several hours. Racine was very pleased with the win which he put down to their negotiation of the tricky tidal conditions at Les Casquets, wriggling through just before the wind dropped. Cooper & England's Dehler 38 Longue Pierre was second with Jonathan Rolls' Swan 38 Xara. Foggy Dew now leads IRC Four for the season.

Halvard Mabire's Class 40 Campagne De France completed the rout for France winning the Class 40 division. Adriaan van Oord Dutch team racing Moonpalace was second with Christophe Coatnoan's Partouche is third.

The RORC Season's Points Championship continues with the Channel Race starting on the 30th July from Cowes around marks with a Solent finish, the race will be between 100-140 miles.

Published in RORC

With the deadline for entries into the 2016 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup now passed, eight three boat teams are set to contest the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial championship for Corinthian crews, taking place out of Cowes over 23-30th July.

Teams for the 13th Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, comprise three from Team France, two from Team GBR and others from Flanders North Sea and, for the first time, Israel. The last to raise its head above the parapet is the Celtic Team, comprising two boats from Scotland and one from France.

The Celtic Team has been masterminded by Scottish adventurer, Jock Wishart, who is campaigning Jean-Eudes Renier's JPK 10.80, Shaitan. Shaitan is joined by the Corby 37, Aurora, which co-owners Roderick Stuart and Bill Ram's raced in the Scottish team in 2014 and originally, when new was Eamonn Rohan's Blondie III and competed for Ireland in 2006. The Celtic team's small boat is a new JPK 10.10, Space Oddity, campaigned by St Malo-based sailmaker, Marc Noël.

Once upon a time a grinder on Lionheart in the  America's Cup, Wishart is best known for his epic expeditions. Way too numerous to list in full, these have included rowing across the Atlantic, the fastest circumnavigation of the globe in a powered vessel (Cable & Wireless Adventurer), rowing to the geomagnetic North Pole, various other expeditions to the North Pole, including, last year, the Arctic Rugby Challenge, a trek there to play the 'most northerly rugby match in history'.

Wishart has previously crewed in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, but this is the first campaign of his own. He admits: "It has always been one of those things that I've always wanted to do. Everything came together - I haven't got a big expedition on this year, so it was time to do a bit of sailing."

He took delivery of Shaitan just four weeks ago and, after two training weekends, has taken to the race course and in the recent RORC IRC Nationals, finishing ninth in the 19-boat IRC Two class. 

As to this year's Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, Wishart observes: "There are no weak teams - they're all strong. It is going to be very, very competitive and that is good for the event."

Shaitan RTJPK 10.80, Shaitan in the recent RORC IRC Nationals Photo: Rick Tomlinson/RORC

According to Aurora's Rod Stuart, their aim had been to field another Scottish team as in 2014, but they were unable to muster a small boat. He is pleased with the new arrangement: "Scots and French sailing together, it's an old alliance and should be a lot of fun. I don't think it will be as 'stiff upper lip' as being part of GBR!"

In his youth, Stuart raced a 30ft trimaran solo the 'wrong way' across the North Atlantic in the 1988 OSTAR, convincingly winning his class ahead of a young Royal Marine called Pete Goss.

His present campaign began six years ago aboard an Elan 410, EOS. "In the front of the boat were all young Laser sailors in their late teens from the RYA centre at Cumbrae," Stuart recounts. "We started pretty awfully, but four years later we were on the podium in the Scottish Series and in Dun Laoghaire, etc." 

They also raced numerous offshores such as Round Ireland, the Rolex Fastnet Race and the 2013 Middle Sea Race, in which they finished second in a 30-strong IRC Two. They acquired Aurora for the 2014 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup and have been 'learning the boat' ever since.

Stuart is a big fan of the Brewin Dolpin Commodores' Cup: "There are lots of special things about it - it is very intense and very tiring and you are sailing against a selection of the best boats from all these different countries."

The team aspect is also interesting. With Scotland two years ago "we all lived together, had our own briefings and our own weather guy and that made a big difference. We are planning to do the same again.

"For us this is a continuation of our learning process. We finished two years ago feeling that we could do better. On the way back home we decided we were going to come back again."

 However as Stuart observes: "Since the boat's called Space Oddity, he [Marc Noël] is clearly a Bowie fan, so he's got to be alright..."

AuroraRoderick Stuart and Bill Ram's Corby 37, Aurora competed as part of the Scottish team in the 2014 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup Photo: Rick Tomlinson/RORC

 Eddie Warden Owen, CEO of the RORC welcomed the eighth team: "As a Welshman I am delighted to see a Celtic team, which is the initiative of my good friend Jock Wishart. There is a good mix of teams this year; the standard is high and there's no stand-out team, so predicting a winner is impossible which is very good for the teams and the event. For sure I'll be rooting for the Celts."

Published in Commodores Cup

Royal Cork's Antix (Anthony O'Leary) is sailing in the Fast 40 class and Jump Juice (Conor Phelan) is sailing in Class 1of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's IRC National Championship on the Solent. After race six, Jump is lying sixth and Antix is lying eighth. Results on RORC's facebook page are here.

With micro-storms, intense, frequent deluges, thunder and lightning, conditions for day two of the IRC Nationals resembled an episode from the Old Testament; the Great Flood perhaps.

This made for a "very testing day," recounted Race Officer, Stuart Childerley. "It looked really good for half an hour, but then very quickly, shower cells developed, creating havoc."

The 61 strong fleet was initially packed off on a windward-leeward course. However, as Childerley explained: "For those, you expect half decent conditions to make it fair, while we were seeing a number of shifts and the wind was up and down. Then the wind just dropped out completely. So the decision-making process wasn't in their hands and I abandoned that one."

Unfortunately from then on, conditions turned 'biblical' as a stream of storms cells rolled across the Solent, causing the wind range to span nothing to 20 knots, with giant shifts.

During a momentary break, one round the cans race, where the wind direction was less critical, was successfully completed, albeit with a few stop-starts. While the intention was to hold three races, in fact after some patient waiting by increasingly soggy crew, the decision was made to send the fleet in, after the conditions failed to stabilise.

Today's race was special as its winners, across each of the five classes, were awarded a 'Tiny Mitchell trophy' named after the founder of the club that is now RORC Cowes.

In the FAST40+ class, Peter Morton's Carkeek 40 Mk3, Girls On Film, scored her third bullet today and now holds a four point lead over Sir Keith Mills' Invictus. Coming second today, and now third overall, is South African Mike Bartholomew's GP42, Tokoloshe II.

"We had a lucky break," admitted Bartholomew. "The wind was all over the place and positions were changing frequently." Tokoloshe was OCS and then found the wrong end of a shift on the first beat. "But then we were in the right place at the right time on the last leg and got a private little breeze in the middle and pulled away as it shut down behind us, Bartholomew continued. "It was as simple as that."

In IRC One, Rod Stuart, skipper of the Scottish Corby 37, Aurora, was delighted to have won today's race, as he thought they had been fourth. This leaves Aurora second overall, tied with Seb Blair's King 40, Cobra.

As to how he found today, Stuart said: "It is just like sailing in Scotland - wet, wet, wet! There were a lot of different conditions all of the time and the thunder and lightning added a different dimension to it, as did the frequently diminished visibility!"

In IRC Two, the largest class at the IRC Nationals, today's surprise winner was Andy Theobald's J/122, R&W, which in yesterday's four races had been unable to finish a race better than 13th. However today they were on fire, winning the race and the Tiny Mitchell trophy.

Adam Gosling's JPK 10.80+ Yes!, finished third to retain the lead overall in IRC Two, three points ahead of the Dutch team on Frans Rodenburg's Elke, the highest rated of five First 40s competing.

Rodenburg said he is enjoying the high level of racing at the IRC Nationals, especially among the First 40s and in particular against La Réponse, of RORC Admiral Andrew McIrvine.

"In the Netherlands there are less racing boats, so we come here to find competition. We are pleased to be doing so well," said Rodenburg.

In the abandoned race, the Dutch team had been out in front and were confident they were winning before the plug was pulled on it. Finishing second in the race that was then completed, came as compensation. "I think overall we made good calls," explained Rodenburg. "We had to decide which sail to use - we were thinking 'Code 0', but we used a jib, which was good and we gained some distance upwind. On the last leg we tried to overtake R&W, but they kept covering us and we couldn't pass them."

Another Dutch team won today in IRC Three: In the five races held to date, Willem Schopman's Bashford Howison 36, Intention, has yet to finish off the podium. Yet they remain third overall, behind Benoit D'halluin's A35, Dunkerque-Les Dunes de Flandre, and the British J/35, Bengal Magic, with two bullets apiece.

Finally in the five boat HP30 class, today's winner was Malcolm Wootton's Farr 30, Pegasus, leaving her second overall to John Reivers' Melges 32, Drop Bear M32.

To make up for today's lost races, the aim is to start half an hour earlier for tomorrow, the final day of competition, with a warning signal at 0955. The intention is to run two windward-leewards and one round the cans race. The forecast is for 8-12 knots from the southwest.

Published in RORC

Following on from last week's Irish IRC Nationals at Howth, the cream of the British IRC fleet, from both the UK and abroad, will include several brand new race boats going head to head over 24-26th June at the Royal Ocean Racing Club's IRC National Championship.

The three day long regatta will include a mix of windward-leeward and round the cans courses on the Solent to determine the 2016 IRC National Champion.

At the regatta, attention will be particularly on the two new IRC-based box rule classes making their debut this year: the Fast 40+ and the HP30.

Leading the charge will be the ten Fast 40+ yachts. This new breed is already providing some of the most competitive home-grown grand prix-level handicap keelboat racing the UK has seen since the height of the Admiral's Cup - but this time at high speed.

The class Fast 40+ made its formal debut at the RORC Easter Challenge, which was won by American William Coates' Ker 43 Outra Vez. Since then Peter Morton's Carkeek 40 Mk3 Girls on Film has claimed the Vice Admiral's Cup and appears the campaign to beat.

Making her debut in the class at the IRC Nationals is Andrew Pearce's Magnum 4 - a Ker 40+ and near sistership to Sir Keith Mills' Invictus.

Pearce is the only 'second generation' owner to date in the FAST40+ class. His highly successful Magnum III was the older version of the Ker 40, in which he won the Morgan Cup in 2012 and finished third overall in the RORC's 2013 Season's Points Championship, including being top British boat in the Rolex Fastnet Race.

Pearce is very much looking forward to taking his new speedster out at the IRC Nationals: "This is everything we didn't have when I had the last Ker 40." When he was campaigning Magnum III, the FAST40+ class was proposed, but it only gained traction last year. The new class, and the prospect of ten or more similar high performance boats competing, is what prompted Pearce to commission his latest Magnum.

Having first sailed her last weekend, Pearce says Magnum 4 is already proving lightning fast: "She does slip along beautifully. On Saturday, it was very light, but we were moving along at 5 knots in 5 knots of wind speed. On Sunday, there was 18 knots of breeze and kite up downwind, she was doing 21.5 knots. In the old boat, if we hit 18 knots we were thrilled. So first weekend out and we've already hit 20 knots with no fuss, no bother."

So early on, Pearce warns that his expectations for the IRC Nationals aren't high - he would be happy finishing in the top half of the fleet.

If the FAST40+ class was created to satisfy an appetite among owners to race fast boats, the same is also true, albeit at a lower price point, of the even newer HP30.

The HP30 is defined as having a minimum IRC Time Correction Coefficient of 1.030, must be 5-9.15m long, have a displacement length ratio (DLR) of 100 and maximum weight of 2000kg, although pre-September 2015 boats can be up to 9.7m, with a DLR of <118 and maximum weight of 2135kg. It varies from the FAST 40+ rule in that asymmetric spinnakers are compulsory and boats must be 'production', ie coming from a series of three or more, carrying a Craft Identification Number in compliance with the EU Recreational Craft Directive. This latter feature, for cost containment, aims at preventing modifications of any of a boat's major features, such as hull, rig, keel, etc.

Integral in setting up the class has been 'Boatspeed Doctor' Jochem Visser who says that it came about after lengthy discussions with the RORC Rating Office examining why small fast boats were leaving IRC: "People's attitudes are changing - they like boats that are easy to use, they like small crews, straightforward logistics, so they can park it away. Also the faster sportsboats were having a hard time under handicap racing. So the only way forward was to put them all together - not based on a size of boat, but on a type."

Having lined up for the very first time at last month's Vice Admiral's Cup, the IRC Nationals will be the HP30's second event. Competing are two Farr 280s, including Fomo, campaigned by American Lloyd Thornburg, owner of MOD 70 Phaedo. There is a Melges 32, John Reivers' Drop Bear M32, at the top end of the rating spectrum and the Farr 30, Malcolm Wootton's Pegasus, at the bottom.

Visser helps campaign Dane Thorkild Juncker's Cool Runnings, an Open 7.50 with IMOCA 60 lineage, featuring a rotating wingmast and twin rudders. Cool Runnings finished the Vice Admirals' Cup second behind Fomo.



Published in RORC
Page 4 of 12

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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