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When we remember that as recently as 1576, the most memorable visit to the Dublin area by the Connacht Pirate Queen Grace O'Malley resulted in her kidnapping of the heir to Howth Castle in a dispute about the hospitality - or lack of it - extended to the O'Malley crew, then perhaps we should be grateful that - so far - the only capturing caused by the arrival in Dublin Port for the first time of the Tall Ship Grace O'Malley has been of the hearts and minds of maritime-minded folk, who hope to see this new Atlantic Youth Trust initiative continue to develop towards complete success.

As reported in numerous articles in Afloat.ie for many months now, having been bought in Sweden the 164ft (153ft hull length) three-master has been gradually introducing herself to all of Ireland, via the Foyle Maritime Festival, followed by time in Belfast, and then Warrenpoint last weekend before coming on south this week under the command of Capt. Gerry Burns to Dublin, where she has berthed at Sir John Rogerson's Quay.

It will be 2023 before the ship has been fully re-configured to accommodate a throughput of a thousand trainees annually. Their learning experiences can be adapted to include much more than traditional sail training in a committed acknowledgement by the AYT that nowadays, tall ships have to be multi-purpose in order to earn their keep.

Published in Tall Ships
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In recent days, we’ve seen celebrations honouring the super-star young sailors who have brought major international sailing medals of gold, silver and bronze home to Ireland and their rightfully-delighted families and cheering local clubs. These are sailors whose special talent has been identified and encouraged at an early stage in a broadly maritime sociological environment, such that they almost automatically qualify for inclusion and support in what we might call the Fast-Track Flotilla.

But make no mistake about it, there has to be a very special talent present in the first place. And there has to be a preparedness for dedication to a level of hard work at fitness, combined with an almost continuous devotion to practice, which would arguably amount to cruelty were it not for the fact that it is usually the young Special Ones themselves who are setting this personal career pace, and where necessary ruthlessly dragging their supporting circle along with them.

Letting them start young. Laser Gold Medallist Rocco Wright in his Optimist-racing daysLetting them start young. Laser Gold Medallist Rocco Wright in his Optimist-racing days

Nevertheless, there’s no denying that often they start from relatively special positions in the first place, and thus it is timely to take an overview of one of the routes into sailing available to those who may not come from a sailing background or who even - though it is rare in Ireland – live at some distance from a place where sailing is regarded as just one of many parts of the local scene.

While noted sailing schools – of which the all-encompassing Rumball family’s INSS in Dun Laoghaire is the largest – play a very praiseworthy role in bringing people into the sport, as do clubs with an energetic local outreach programmes, there’s no doubt that when the Sail Training Brigantine Asgard II was in her prime, she was uniquely placed to bring young - and sometimes not-so-young folk – into a state of natural sea-awareness.

When the going was good. Captain Tom McCarthy (foreground) with the crew of Asgard II in Coruna in 1990 after being declared overall winners of the International Sail Training Plymouth-Coruna Race. Photo: Ted CrosbieWhen the going was good. Captain Tom McCarthy (foreground) with the crew of Asgard II in Coruna in 1990 after being declared overall winners of the International Sail Training Plymouth-Coruna Race. Photo: Ted Crosbie

For Asgard II ticked all the boxes. She had a natural historical position, she was just big enough to be seen as the national flagship, she was instantly recognised in whatever Irish or foreign port she was visiting, and aboard her there was true equality in shared seagoing experience and the learning process. She was the living breathing camaraderie of the sea in one attractive and accessible package.

So when she sank - for still not really satisfactorily explained reasons - in the Bay of Biscay fourteen years ago, to be followed to a watery grave in Rathlin Sound two years later by the Northern Ireland 80ft ST ketch Lord Rank, despite the absence of any loss of life the Irish maritime community north and south went into a state of grief of such profundity that some of us still haven’t really got through the denial stage.

There are times when we really do believe that it’s all a bad dream, that Asgard II will sail into port in the morning. And beyond that, we find it difficult to accept that it seemed the Civil Service and most of the Government were glad enough to see Asgard II gone in 2008, as running a sail training ship does not fit easily into any Irish government programme, and at a political level there are proportionately very few votes – even in coastal areas – in promising to provide such a service.

But happily there are those who - instead of sinking into gloom – steadily moved into action, and the recent certificate awards ceremony of Coiste an Asgard’s successor Sail Training Ireland reminded us that at a more modest size, there are private-enterprise craft as diverse as the Limerick ketch Ilen, the ex-MFV Brian Boru and the chartered-in Pelican which provide berths for Irish trainees.

The former Brixham trawler Leader is a recent addition to the fleet in IrelandThe former Brixham trawler Leader is a recent addition to the fleet in Ireland

As well, from the north and lately seen in Dublin is the classic Brixham sailing trawler Leader, while for those whose offshore sailing ambitions are very specific, Ronan O Siochru’s Irish Offshore Sailing of Dun Laoghaire provides courses in Sunfast 37s which can culminate in the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race, the Round Ireland, and the Fastnet Race, in which in 2021 they were top-placed Irish boat, and second – by minutes – in their class.

But while all this is well and good, the size of vessel in the established Irish-based sail-training fleet means that they’re lacking in what sail-training Dermot Kennedy of Baltimore – one of the original inspirers of the eventual Jack Tyrrell design – described as the “eye-popping” factor.

Way back in 1972 when ideas for replacing Asgard I were being tossed about, Dermot bluntly dismissed those who sought a modest-looking utilitarian craft by declaring their attitude was nonsense - the new ship should be an instantly-recognised clipper-bowed craft of significant size and classic appearance setting as many square sails as possible, and lighting up every anchorage she visited. And in 1981, he got his way. But in 2008, she was gone.

Enda O Coineen understands many things, but he has no comprehension whatsoever of the meaning of the word “No”.Enda O Coineen understands many things, but he has no comprehension whatsoever of the meaning of the word “No”.

However, for some years now a contrarian who could match Dermot Kennedy any day for stubbornness has been beating the drum about a proper sailing training for the whole island, and that is Enda O'Coineen with what was originally the Irish Atlantic Youth Trust, but now seems to be the Atlantic Youth Trust plain and simple, overseen by a Board of Directors well peopled with the great and the good, with Peter Cooke recently succeeding Olympic Gold Medallist Robin Glentoran as President.

Nobody can accuse the AYT of being impatient, as they researched the project for years at every level to come up with proposals which would provide a ship well able to provide useful educational services beyond straightforward sail training. And from time to time, Governments north and south – when approached – made encouraging noises.

The Believer. Peter Cooke has taken on the demanding role of President of the Atlantic Youth TrustThe Believer. Peter Cooke has taken on the demanding role of President of the Atlantic Youth Trust

But in the uncertainties of pandemics and the current political situation, the need for leadership through action became increasingly evident, so when a suitable ship became available in Sweden on the second-hand market, they dropped the idea of building from new, and went for it.

And though pessimists would suggest that we’re probably at the least suitable time in at least ten years in which to bring a proposed all-island sail training vessel to Ireland, there’s something about the Grace O’Malley’s very presence which seems to generate goodwill, and while she looks impressive in harbour, she looks even better under full sail.

All of this you’ll have read in various disparate articles in Afloat.ie for several months and more now, but with the 164ft Grace O’Malley cleverly making her Irish debut in the recent Foyle Maritime Festival, the story is gaining momentum, and as Afloat.ie’s Betty Armstrong reported yesterday, she has since being making a quiet but favourable first appearance in Belfast.

Grace O’Malley – as seen in Belfast last week – looks very well in port……..Grace O’Malley – as seen in Belfast last week – looks very well in port……

…….but she looks even better under sail and heading seawards…….but she looks even better under sail and heading seawards

Her current duty commander is Captain Gerry Burns, who hails from a fishing background in West Cork but these days lives in County Down. He was a regular relief captain for Asgard II, and his passion for the realisation of the full potential of Irish sail training is a wonder to behold, so there’ll be a fervent atmosphere in Warrenpoint this weekend as Grace O’Malley will be in port.

Thereafter, what could become a circuit of Ireland’s main ports is the planned progression, and it would be only right and proper to include a visit to the Sea Queen Grace O’Malley’s island base of Clare Island, not least because the ship has two O’Malleys from there – Brian and Owen - in her crew, and they don’t deny direct descent from the woman herself.

The circle completed - Operations Manager Brian O’Malley hails from Sea Queen Grace O’Malley’s home place of Clare Island, and is of course descended from the famous mariner.The circle completed - Operations Manager Brian O’Malley hails from Sea Queen Grace O’Malley’s home place of Clare Island, and is of course descended from the famous mariner.

In time, when fully operational next year, the Grace O’Malley will turn heads wherever she goes, and the programme will have developed to have a throughput of a thousand trainees annually. In Irish sailing terms, that’s a lot of potential seafaring talents, so who knows what new names of national and international maritime significance will emerge from the voyaging of the good ship Grace O’Malley. We wish her well.

Published in W M Nixon

Dublin Port and the Embassy of Argentina in Dublin have welcomed one of the world’s largest Tall Ships, the 340-foot-long Libertad, on a two-day visit to Dublin. She is berthed at Berth 18, next to the 3Arena, and will be open to the public, free of charge, on Saturday 30th July, from 2 pm to 6 pm.

The Libertad last visited Dublin in November 2019 and is the first tall ship to be open to the public since before the pandemic.

Libertad lifts her anchor on Dublin Bay and heads into the Port for a two day visitLibertad lifts her anchor on Dublin Bay and heads into the Port for a two day visit Photo: Robbie Reynolds

Having arrived from Baltimore, USA, the Libertad will leave for Saint Malo, France, as part of its 149-day training voyage to 11 ports across nine countries (Brazil, Santa Lucia, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, USA, Ireland, France and Spain). Sailing with the crew are four Irish volunteers from the Atlantic Youth Trust. The volunteers boarded while the Libertad was anchored in Killala Bay and they have travelled with the ship to Dublin.

Libertad on the Liffey - the Libertad on the Liffey - This magnificent 340ft tall ship opens to the public to visit, free of charge on Saturday, 30th July 2022 from 2-6pm Photo: Robbie Reynolds

Led by Commanding Officer Captain Carlos Schavinsky Trinchero, the Libertad is the Argentinian Navy’s sail training ship and travels around the world carrying a message of goodwill. This will be the Libertad’s tenth visit to Irish waters since her maiden call in 1968. She subsequently visited the capital in 2012 as part of the Tall Ships festival and again in 2016 as part of her “bicentennial journey” to mark 200 years of Argentinian independence. This trip will include a trip to Foxford in Co. Mayo, the birthplace of Admiral William Brown, founder of the Argentinian Navy, to mark the 245th anniversary of his birth.

One of the world’s largest and fastest tall ships, the Libertad, arrived in the capital for a visit as part of the Argentinian Navy’s training voyage around the worldOne of the world’s largest and fastest tall ships, the Libertad, arrived in the capital for a visit as part of the Argentinian Navy’s training voyage around the world Photo: Robbie Reynolds

Members of the public visiting the ship on Saturday will be able to get a closer insight into life on board for the 289-strong crew and inspect the fine craftsmanship of the vessel.

Commenting on the tall ship’s visit, The Ambassador of Argentina to Ireland, Moira Wilkinson said; “This is a very poignant visit for everyone in our embassy, following the passing of my predecessor, Laura Bernal who passed away in 2020. For 75 years, Argentina and Ireland have enjoyed excellent diplomatic relations built on a shared sense of history and a mutual desire to strengthen our cultural, academic and trading ties. The arrival of the Libertad reminds us of the deep connection that exists between our two nations and symbolises the hand of friendship from Argentina to Ireland, and it is fantastic to begin another chapter of Argentinian-Irish relations. For most of the cadets on board, it will be their first visit to Ireland, which means it is a special opportunity to visit the birthplace of Admiral Brown and pay tribute to his service to Argentina and the Argentinian navy.”

Encouraging members of the public to visit over the weekend, Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive, Dublin Port Company, said; “Dublin Port welcomes the Libertad on her first visit to Irish shores since before the pandemic. The Libertad is a magnificent vessel and one of the finest tall ships at sea. I would encourage people in the city to take a trip to Berth 18 and visit the ship over the weekend. Argentina’s naval history has deep roots in Ireland and the Libertad’s visit provides the public with a unique opportunity to learn more about this fascinating piece of history.”

Moored at Berth 18, Dublin 2, just east of the 3Arena and the Tom Clarke Bridge, members of the public can hop on board and inspect this majestic vessel up close with 289 crew on board.  Pic. Robbie ReynoldsMoored at Berth 18, Dublin 2, just east of the 3Arena and the Tom Clarke Bridge, members of the public can hop on board and inspect this majestic vessel up close with 289 crew on board.  Photo: Robbie Reynolds

Built in the Rio Santiago shipyards in Buenos Aires, the Libertad was launched in May 1956. In 1966, she set a record for the fasting crossing of the North Atlantic using only sail propulsion (with a time of eight days and 12 hours) between Cape Race, Canada and the English Channel – a record that still stands today.

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Grace O’Malley or in Irish, Grainne Ni Maille, was the head of the O Maille dynasty in the west of Ireland. She is a well-known historical figure in sixteenth-century Irish history and in popular culture often referred to as "The Pirate Queen" as she is reputed to be one of the most famous pirates and was considered to be a fierce leader at sea.

Far from being a ‘pirate ship’, the Grace O’Malley is Ireland’s most recently acquired Youth Development Tall Ship and made its first appearance on the island last week at this year’s Foyle Maritime Festival following its purchase by the Atlantic Youth Trust charity.

The Grace O'Malley arriving in Derry Photo: Lorcan DohertyThe Grace O'Malley arriving in Derry. It is hoped the ship can become a floating embassy for Ireland Photo: Lorcan Doherty

She was greeted by hundreds of enthusiastic festival goers on Thursday last and moored alongside Meadowbank Quay.

The Atlantic Youth Trust Charity was set up to connect Irish young people with the ocean and adventure while developing sustainability and supporting and protecting the environment.

It was formed by private individuals and organisations throughout the island of Ireland to offer youths an introduction to life at sea and is chaired by Round the World sailor Enda O'Coineen,

The Grace O’Malley is a 164ft long tradewind schooner purchased in Sweden last month to introduce young people across the island of Ireland to a possible maritime career.

She was built as a timber merchant schooner in Denmark in 1909 and was launched in 1980 to host 100-day guests and 37 overnight passengers.

Trainees on the deck of the Grace O'MalleyTrainees on the deck of the Grace O'Malley

The Grace O’Malley left Sweden on the weekend of July 9th for its maiden voyage with its new owners. “It’s a stunning ship and even people who aren’t sailing enthusiasts will be very interested to see it,” explained Catherine Noone from the Atlantic Youth Trust.

“We’re delighted that the first appearance in Ireland is at an event as large and high profile as the Foyle Maritime Festival”.

The Grace O'Malley at Meadowbank Quay in DerryThe Grace O'Malley at Meadowbank Quay in Derry

“The Grace O’Malley has been bought for the young people of Ireland by the Trust to give them an experience of sailing and create a pathway to a wide range of maritime careers,” Catherine continued.

“We want the ship to be as accessible as possible and that is why events such as the Foyle Maritime Festival are so important in reaching out to young people and giving them their first introduction to life on board a ship. It opens up such a wide range of careers to young people and ten days on board a boat with us can also help develop key life skills and provide a much-needed change of perspective.”

Climbing the rigging of the Grace O'Malley at the Foyle Maritime FestivalClimbing the rigging of the Grace O'Malley at the Foyle Maritime Festival

After six days crossing the North Sea from Western Sweden, with 40-knot headwinds at times, the ship arrived in spectacular fashion in Lough Foyle and was piloted from the village of Greencastle on the north bank by Harbour Master Bill McCann, under the Foyle Bridge, the second longest on the island of Ireland.

O’Coineen asked the question, “ Would we fit under the Foyle Bridge?” With four metre clearance they did!

And the Grace O’Malley did prove a big draw at the Festival with a constant queue of people waiting to go aboard.

The schooner left Sweden on July 15 with 20 crew onboard. The ship was captained by experienced and renowned Irish Captain Gerry Burns for its voyage across the North Sea, North of Scotland and then southbound to Derry.

The Grace O’Malley is a Youth Development Ship for all of the young people of the island of Ireland. Young people will experience sailing, teamwork, a change of perspective and also create a pathway to a wide range of maritime careers. This is a project that can truly change lives. H77

As reported in Afloat in January, O’Coineen, a former Director of Coiste an Asgard, says "we have long since championed the need to replace Ireland’s lost sail training vessel the Asgard II in a dynamic and creative new way". It is hoped the ship can become a floating embassy for Ireland at events home and abroad, ranging from Tall Ships races to trade events while all the time fulfilling her core youth and reconciliation mission. It is understood that a " mini-refit" will be required to suit Irish purposes.

According to O'Coineen, she will need some cosmetic work on deck and will need to be repainted. Much of the running rigging, now several years old, will need replacement.

Published in Tall Ships

Seas Your Future (SYF), the youth development charity and owner of the tall ship Pelican of London that works closely with Sail Training Ireland has acquired a second tall ship, the Fridtjof Nansen, to satisfy the increase in demand in recent times.

Sail Training Ireland has worked with SYF since 2016/17.  In 2022 they are undertaking 13 partnership voyages on Pelican with 300-350 young people from the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Having the additional capacity of Fridtjof Nansen means more each year will benefit from their first sail training adventure, opening doors to possible careers in the maritime and environmental sectors.

Described as 'a huge and very historic step' for the charity it more than doubles the capacity for taking young people on sail training, maritime careers and ocean science voyages for personal and character development.

The ship is on its way from Germany to Albion Dock Bristol where it will undergo a refit throughout the Spring.

Daragh Sheridan, CEO of Sail Training Ireland said: “We have been delighted to work in partnership with Seas Your Future for six years. Their acquisition of Fridtjof Nansen will enable many more young people from Ireland to realise the benefits of a tall ship sail training voyage, which can be life-changing in some cases.”

Seas Your Future is a sail training charity founded in 2008 to support the development of young people, building resilience, self-confidence, and independence.

Its tall ship Pelican of London sails for 46-48 weeks each year with up to 35 young trainees and 12 professional crew and volunteers.

Fourteen years on it has purchased the Fridtjof Nansen, a ship of similar capacity and design as Pelican, to meet the growing demand for sail training, maritime careers and ocean science voyages. Sail Training enables young people to discover and extend their abilities, values, passions and responsibilities in situations that offer adventure, challenge and the unexpected. They take responsibility by becoming the ship’s crew, communicating and working together to ensure a successful journey, developing their character, resilience, self-confidence,
and independence.

SYF work closely with several strategic partners, the two most prominent of whom are:

• Ocean College for the 6-month winter transatlantic voyage: our fourth voyage on Pelican ended in Emden, Germany on Sunday 3rd April. The growing reputation of this annual voyage has increased demand massively, and the acquisition of Fridtjof Nansen will enable two ships to sail annually and twice the number of young people benefit from the educational adventure of a lifetime. It will also enable SYF and Ocean College to deliver shorter summer voyages for youngsters who may be considering the 6-month voyage.

• Sail Training Ireland: with whom SYF has worked since 2016/17. In 2022 they are undertaking 13 partnership voyages on Pelican with 300-350 young people from the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Having the additional capacity of Fridtjof Nansen means more each year will benefit from their first sail training adventure, opening doors to possible careers in the maritime and environmental sectors.

Since 2018 SYF has offered voyages to young people interested a maritime career, working with training and skills development leaders to provide pathways into employment, and ocean science research voyages of particular interest to students and graduates of environmental and marine science and those who care passionately about the future of our planet.

The Fridtjof Nansen was originally built as a gaff-rigged freight schooner in 1919 under the name ‘Edith’ and has changed both owners and names on various occasions. The ship has a history of different activities, including transporting fresh produce, leisure, and towards the end of World War II the ship was used to transport refugees. In 1992 she was converted into a three-masted topsail schooner christened Fridtjof Nansen at the Peene shipyard by the granddaughter of the Norwegian researcher Fridtjof Nansen, Margret Greve, becoming the ship we see today.

Since 1992 she has delivered sail training for young people, including long term voyages on a tall ship. The first of those consisted of an eight-month world voyage in 1993-94, which was a first for a sailing ship from Germany, since the times of the Pamir and Passat. She sailed through the Panama Canal to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. The homeward bound leg went via Cocos Island, Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba and Bermuda, crossing the Atlantic via the Azores and returned to Wilhemshaven. 

On the 21st of March 2022 ownership of the Fridtjof Nansen transferred to Seas Your Future, fulfilling the wishes of the previous owners that the charity continues to use her for youth sail training.

Seas Your Future CEO Adrian Ragbourne stated: “We are delighted and honoured to become the new owners of the historic tall ship Fridtjof Nansen, which for 30 years has given thousands of young people the opportunity of a lifetime. We will be welcoming her into Albion Dock Bristol next week for a refit, which will double our previous capacity, enabling Seas Your Future to offer sail training voyages to more than twice the number of young people over the coming years. We have a full programme of sail training, maritime careers and ocean science voyages scheduled for this year, and the Fridtjof Nansen will be sailing for us from July. We are extremely grateful to our strategic clients and funding partners for their financial support, without which this great step could not have been taken. Please come and visit while she is in Bristol, and especially over the weekend of the Bristol Harbour Festival on 16th and 17th July when Pelican will also be there.”

The family who has been looking after the vessel for the last 30 years was looking for a new owner, keen to ensure that the work with young people continues. They were delighted to be approached by Seas Your Future, who have shown through their work with young people on the Pelican of London, since 2008, to be a reliable organisation. Looking forward the family believes this achievement will be enhanced by SYF’s acquisition of the tall ship Fridtjof Nansen. “It is excellent news for everyone, that the ship is doing something again after the long break caused by Covid and we wish Seas Your Future every success and look forward to the coming years with confidence”.

Johan Kegler, CEO of Ocean College, Germany said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for many more young people to experience the educational adventure of a lifetime. Our partnership with Seas Your Future has grown so successfully over five years and the reputation of our six-month winter voyages means that many more ask every year to sail with us. Having the Fridtjof Nansen available means that many more dreams will come true”.

The ship will be sailing into Bristol on 12th April. The Fridtjof Nansen will be located in Albion Dock Bristol next to the SS Great Britain, and at times will be open to the public.

Voyages on the Nansen are currently planned to begin in July with our partners Sail Training Ireland (www.sailtrainingireland.com) and Ocean College (www.oceancollege.eu).

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Tonight RTE Nationwide will broadcast a feature on a planned new sail training tall ship for Ireland.

As Afloat first reported last October, the new ship is intended to replace the lost Asgard II.  

The 17-minute piece by Donal Byrne documents the first test sail by the Irish group in Sweden.

The Atlantic Youth Trust Charity chaired by Round the World sailor Enda O'Coineen, says the 164ft Tradewind schooner it has identified will act as the new ‘flagship’ for introducing young people across the island of Ireland to maritime and careers.

The ship is to be renamed the Grace O’Malley, after the so-called Mayo ‘Pirate Queen’. Built of steel in a modern structure, and elegant lines of a 19th century Tall Ship, she is considered fit for purpose to high safety specifications.

In addition, the Charity says the tall ship will have a key role to play in the areas of research, innovation, tourism promotion and providing a support outlet for vulnerable young people.

The charity is seeking funding from the British and Irish governments to finalise the purchase of the vessel.

Nationwide is broadcast tonight at 1900 hrs (Monday, 14th March).

Also read: WM Nixon's Ireland’s Hopes for a Tall Ship Are Running High

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The impressive 65-metres long tall ship Danmark was assisted on the final stretch of her journey to Dublin by a Dublin Port pilot and the tug Shackleton early on Friday.

As Afloat reported earlier, after a nine-day voyage from Frederikshavn in Denmark, STV Danmark anchored in Dublin Bay on Thursday prior to her journey up the River Liffey as our pictures illustrate. 

The 88-year old vessel, sailing under the flag of Denmark, is a fully equipped sail training vessel and weighs over 790 tons.  She has an overall length with a beam of 32 feet (9.8 m) and a depth of 17 feet (5.2 m).

Manoeuvres in the comparatively tight surroundings of the river required Dublin Port to carry out a careful evaluation of the draft of the vessel in relation to the depth of water available, the expected weather plus tidal streams before working out what Port resources to allocate.

Having assessed the risks in the manoeuvring capabilities of the vessel and the accessibility of her berth, the Harbourmaster and pilots decided one tug, the Shackleton, should accompany STV Danmark. (Above and below) Having assessed the risks in the manoeuvring capabilities of the vessel and the accessibility of her berth, the Harbourmaster and pilots decided one tug, the Shackleton, should accompany STV Danmark up the Liffey Photos courtesy: Finbar Harding 

The tug in this case, on the pilot's orders, and driven by tugboat diver Finbar Harding, would act as a brake if required as the ship approaches the East Link bridge and when approaching the berth. The tug also assisted in swinging the ship parallel to the berth.

Typically, the tug pushes the ship onto the berth, keeping the ship alongside until the ship's crew have made the mooring lines fast.

The full-rigged ship is owned by the Danish Maritime Authority.

Sail training voyages are offered onboard the vessel, not only to Danes but also to those of any nation interested in learning the basics of seamanship on a large sailing vessel.

The ship was one of the vessels that were used during the filming of the British BBC TV series Onedin Line (1971-1980).

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Youth development, education and cultural charity the Atlantic Youth Trust have made a direct appeal to An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin TD and Minister Simon Harris TD, to reinstate the €950,000 which came from the National Lottery to support the operational costs of a new tall ship for Ireland. The charity made the call against the clear commitment in the Programme for Government to develop Ireland’s ocean wealth, sustainability, and the environment.

As Afloat reported earlier, the group says it has identified a ship to replace the lost Asgard II. The ship, the trust says, will act as the new ‘flagship’ for introducing young people across the island of Ireland to maritime and careers. In addition, it will have a key role to play in the areas of research, innovation, tourism promotion and providing a support outlet for vulnerable young people.

Chair of the Atlantic Youth Trust, Enda O'CoineenChair of the Atlantic Youth Trust, Enda O'Coineen

Chair of the Atlantic Youth Trust, and former Director of Coiste an Asgard, Enda O’Coineen was introduced to the ocean and adventure on the original Asgard. He advocates for how this opportunity changed the course of his life and is joined by a high-level group of youth workers, people in business and academics behind the project. Commenting Mr O’Coineen said: “With a large research-led support base, we have long since championed for the need to replace Ireland’s lost sail training vessel the Asgard II in a dynamic and creative new way.

“This would be a strategically important move for ensuring we are well-positioned to maintain our island’s rich maritime heritage, skill set and knowledge. This will be vital for connecting future generations with the ocean and adventure who might normally never get the opportunity. As we emerge from the Covid 19 pandemic, the urgency for supporting projects like this has never been more important as we seek to address growing mental health challenges facing our young people.”

In looking for a solution to this, the Atlantic Youth Trust has identified, a 164ft Tradewind schooner lying in Sweden which is an ideally suited replacement for delivering youth maritime development and sail training.

The 164ft Tradewind schooner lying in SwedenThe 164ft Tradewind schooner lying in Sweden

The ship is to be renamed the Grace O’Malley, after the so-called Mayo ‘Pirate Queen’. Built of steel in a modern structure, and elegant lines of a 19th century Tall Ship, she is considered fit for purpose to high safety specifications.

Mr O’Coineen added: “In our recent pre-budget 2022 submission to the Office of An Taoiseach and other Government Departments, we called for the reinstatement of an annual Government subsidy to assist with the day-to-day operational costs of a new vessel.

This funding was previously channelled through the National Lottery. Given the strong training and education remit planned for the new vessel, we believe it’s pertinent that Government funding, if reinstated, is directed via the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, under Minister Simon Harris.

“To support our pre-budget submission, we also included a comprehensive business proposal outlining how the purchase of the identified successor ship will be funded through private and philanthropic sources. This can only happen if the State commits to reinstating the former Asgard II National Lottery funds to support the new ship’s operations budget. We believe the reinstation of these funds would go a long way in supporting a clear commitment made in both the Programme for Government and the Ocean Wealth Strategy to develop Ireland’s ocean wealth, sustainability, and the environment, integrated through the National Marine Co-Ordination Group”

In addition, the Atlantic Youth Trust are seeking a once-off commencement grant from Government of €880,000 to support refit costs, ensuring the ship is fit-for purpose with disabled access as well as the establishment of an organisation to run the ships operation. This commencement budget would represent approximately 20 per cent of the insurance funds retained by the State when the Asgard II was lost.

Head of the National Maritime College of Ireland and Atlantic Youth Trust advisory board member, Cormac Gebruer said: “To have a tall ship back in Ireland repurposed to introduce our younger generations to the maritime would be a significantly important and strategic development for the College. There are huge opportunities to utilise this initiative for research purposes linking in with human behaviour and marine sciences which would complement the work we are doing here in the College.

“The Atlantic Youth Trust has been an exemplary resource in leading a world-class solution for youth development integrated with the maritime across Ireland together with its focus on research and partnering with other colleges, such as NUI Galway. We at the National Maritime College of Ireland very much support the endeavours to secure a suitable replacement tall ship training vessel following the loss of the Asgard II.”

As Afloat reported at the time Asgard sank off the French coast in 2008. More details on the background to the sinking, campaign to raise and then replace her are in Afloat's dedicated Asgard II section

Co-founder of Sailing into Wellness and Atlantic Youth Trust advisory board member, James Lyons said: “Following a recent visit to Sweden to see the proposed successor ship in lying, I’m convinced that she will fire people’s imagination if brought to Ireland renamed as the Grace O’Malley. Built with submarine steel to the highest specifications and modelled on a classic wooden tall ship, she will make an ideal tall ship for Ireland with some small modifications.”

Once the Irish Government commits to the reinstatement of the Asgard II funding, additional financial support for the project will then be sought from the Northern Ireland Executive, with the initiative marked as a North-South venture. It’s envisaged that the ship will act as a fantastic promotional platform for tourism, enterprise, culture and the marine across the island of Ireland.

Chair of Tall Ships Belfast 2009 & 2015 and Atlantic Youth Trust advisory board member, Dr Gerard O’Hare said: “While there is an onus on the Irish Government to honour its commitment to supporting the maritime through the reinstatement of the Asgard II funding, there is also scope to seek support from the Northern Irish Executive once the project is up and running. This could include part-funding the initial fit-out planned for early 2022 in Belfast.”

Published in Tall Ships

Cobh had a Tall Ship visitor this week and the sight of her in Cork Harbour last night evoked memories of times past when brigantines such as Tres Hombres were common place in the harbour in the 1800s.

The visiting Tres Hombres is reviving this tradition and pointing the way towards a more sustainable future. She has no engine and travels the world's oceans exclusively under sail power, bringing non-perishable commercial cargos between ports.

As Cork Beo reports this is her second visit - and her second time picking up a delivery of several tonnes of Irish-brewed craft beers for delivery to Les Sables-d'Olonne on the northern Atlantic coast of France.

The ship is part of the Fair Transport Shipping and Trading Line which uses sail power - both classic and modern - to transport cargoes in a carbon-neutral, sustainable fashion.

Bob Bateman captured the ship on its departure from Cork last night for Afloat

Published in Cork Harbour
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It's 7000 km from the Caribbean island of Grenada to London and somewhat farther if you travel via Den Helder in the Netherlands, Carlingford Lough, the County Down village of Killowen and Bangor in North Wales. And this is how the Chocolate Maker NearyNógs on the edge of the Mourne Mountains forged close ties with Fortnum & Mason of Piccadilly in London, one of the oldest and most luxurious department stores on the planet, to help produce a 99% emission-free sailboat chocolate.

It is thus named because to transport the 25kg blocks of chocolate in a sustainable way as possible, the company looked back to its early 18th century roots and combined some old methods with modern green thinking to enable the 99% emission-free chocolate to be carried that 7,000 km. The chocolate's epic journey begins in the Grenada Chocolate Company's solar-powered factor in the West Indies, where the Trinitario cocoa beans are processed using zero emissions.

The Tres Hombres Tall ShipThe 30-metre engineless brigantine, the Tres Hombres Photo: courtesy Fair transport

So the first stage across the Atlantic used a 30m engineless brigantine, the Tres Hombres to carry the 350kg of chocolate, in 25kg blocks The ship is owned by Fair Transport. This company carries sustainable and organic cargo between South, Central and North America and Europe. Tres Hombres has become a shining example of the existing possibilities for alternative shipping methods, and she is the ambassador for sail-powered cargo shipping worldwide. Its destination was Den Helder in the Netherlands from where the chocolate began its second voyage on the T/S Britta, with Silvery Light Sailing under Capt Chris Wren, to Carlingford Lough on the east coast of Ireland where it moored close to Killowen on the northern shore.

But that was only part of the story. How to get the chocolate to NearyNógs? Now a team of volunteers heeded the call to transport the chocolate to the Neary family factory. The name NearyNógs comes from children's stories written by Johnnie Neary. Neary is the family name, and Nógs comes from the Irish Gaelic word Tír na nÓg, which means the land of the youth. This passionate team of volunteers used a Boyne Currachs Heritage Group's traditional open-ended clinker-built Drontheim rowing boat. After several trips ashore with the 48 boxes of chocolate, it was a bumpy 9 km by horse and cart to NearyNógs. There the chocolate was broken down into slates, tempered and packaged in recyclable, biodegradable packaging before the final leg of its adventure to Piccadilly.

Danish built ketch the Klevia The Danish built ketch the Klevia Photo: courtesy Anglesey Traditional Sail

The crew of the TS BrittaThe crew of the TS Britta

That final leg began with return horse and cart, and Drontheim trips to another boat, the Danish built ketch the Klevia skippered by Scott Metcalf, which transported the cargo to Port Penrhyn, in Bangor, North Wales. And to complete the virtual emission-free the final leg of this sustainable journey was entirely on land, using Fortnum & Mason zero-emission electric vans to Piccadilly.

Shane Neary, Neary Nógs chats to Gerry Brennan, Silvery Light SailingThe rowers (and the ship's dog) get ready to deliver another load of Chocolate slabs bound for NearyNógs Photo: Columba O’Hare

The mission was made possible with the help of the local charity Silvery Light Sailing and a hard-working rowing crew at Killowen. Silvery Light Chairman Gerry Brennan was delighted to help in the arrangements. "As a Newry based sailing charity, we were pleased to be asked help local Mournes business NearyNógs organise the emission-free transportation of their chocolate using traditional sailing ships. Being a part of the story of the journey from the Caribbean to the shelves of Piccadilly is beyond our normal outreach. Still, it was great to help promote the maritime potential and scenic beauty of Carlingford Lough and the Mournes."

Shane Neary, Neary Nógs chats to Gerry Brennan, Silvery Light SailingShane Neary, (right) of NearyNógs chats to Gerry Brennan, Silvery Light Sailing Photo: Columba O'Hare

Published in Tall Ships
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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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