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Displaying items by tag: Team Racing

Gonzaga College was crowned as the Schools National Team Racing Champions 2022 at the event hosted by the Royal St George Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Since the event's inception in 2004, it is the first occasion that a Leinster School has taken this much-sought trophy.

Captained by Trevor Bolger, the Gonzaga Team attained a 100% race win victory over their competitors.

The team showed a first-class mastery of team racing tactics as they controlled all their races.

Schools National Team Racing Champions 2022Photo: Andrew Conan

On average, their winning positions were from the pre-start and by mark one were clear with a 1 and 2 position.

The third helm focused on covering their opponents, and from there on, the opposition was playing catch up.

The Gonzaga Team were Trevor Bolger Helm 1, Jacques Murphy Helm 2, Archie Daly Helm 3, and the crew were Ethan Hunt, Cathal O'Reagan and Jules Start.

13 Schools competed in the event, 6 Munster, 1 Connacht and 6 Leinster, which was an excellent turnout as the maximum number of qualifiers were 14.

Irish Schools National Team Racing Champions 2022 ResultsIrish Schools National Team Racing Champions 2022 Results

There was another event included in the weekend championships, the Munster Provincial event, which did not take place this year for several reasons.

Munster Schools

Rochestown College was crowned the Munster Schools Team Racing Championships for 2022.

Running racing proved to be very challenging for Race Officer David Bolger as, at minimum the event had to complete 80% of the Round Robin, which was a schedule of 85 races, to achieve a result.  Congratulations to David on achieving this, as the wind was not playing ball with us over the two days.

Schools National Team Racing Champions 2022Photo: Andrew Conan

Saturday started with the wind at 230 degrees at 6-8knots when racing commenced. The wind died entirely and swung to 130 degrees. Reset the course and swapped positions for start and finish boats. Later in the afternoon, the wind died again and reappeared at 250-270 degrees. This lost a minimum of 40 minutes of racing time. Max wind strength for the day was nine knots.

On Sunday, the course was set close to the Carlisle Pier with 250-260 degrees wind direction. On occasion, there were gusts of up to 12 knots, and the racing started at 9.42.

Schools National Team Racing Champions 2022Photo: Andrew Conan

There was a significant wind shift in the middle of race 53, with the direction being 010. It was allowed to settle at 310-320. The course was repositioned around the committee boats in a new direction.

The wind continued to shift left and organisers continuously shifted the course accordingly.

After race 63, repositioned the course to the centre of the harbour with consistent 6-8 knots from 250 to 270 degrees.

Finally, at Race 73, the event hit the magic number of 80% when the wind died off.

Schools National Team Racing Champions 2022Photo: Andrew Conan

No event takes place without the support and hard work of the volunteers. Organises say thank you to Team Leaders David Bolger Race Officer, Robbie Walker, P.R.O, Keith Start Beach Master/Changeover Coordinator and Lorraine O'Connor Results/Race Office, and their crew of volunteers, club members, and school representatives.

Schools National Team Racing Champions 2022Photo: Andrew Conan

The S.S.A.I. would like to thank the following Royal St. George Yacht Club and Flag Officers for hosting the event, Ronan Adams, Sailing Manager, Karin Ryan, Sailing Secretary, Catering and Boat House staff.

Eunice Kennedy elected as Chairperson Schools Sailing Association of Ireland

The Schools Sailing Association of Ireland held their Annual General Meeting on Saturday evening (30th of April 2022), and Eunice Kennedy was elected as Chairperson. 

Schools National Team Racing Champions 2022 Photo Gallery by Andrew Clonan

Published in Team Racing

After a hiatus of two years due to Covid, the Schools National Team Racing Championships are being hosted by the Royal St.George Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on Dublin Bay.

The Royal St. George Yacht Club, home to team racing in Ireland welcomes 13 School Qualifiers from Connacht, Munster and Leinster.

As part of its team racing history, the club has two flights of Fireflies and organises Team Racing Clinics for Schools, Transition Year Modules and any groups who wish to learn more on this aspect of sailing. Details can be found on the club website.

The Royal St.George Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire HarbourThe Royal St.George Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire Harbour

School team racing is increasing in popularity due to a successful government grant that provided a new national flight of Fireflies and a second order is on the way.

Team racing can be comprised of 2 boats v 2, 3 v 3 or as the Oppies class like to do it, 4 v 4.

"Team racing by nature is very inclusive as everyone has to work as a team, the races are short and the racing is very tactical", says Royal St.George Yacht Club's event organiser Eunice Kennedy, Royal St.George Yacht Club Event Organiser.

Team racing

"It is not about being the first to get a good start and to be the first over the finish line. It is all about teamwork, covering your opponents, and setting mark traps to assist your teammates into a winning combination. It is like a game of cat and mouse" she says.

"It enhances inclusivity between the stronger helms and the weaker ones, combined girl and boys teams, and time to make friends with other teams between races. The list is endless as to the value of Team Racing for developing young sailors and helps retain Junior involvement in the sport of sailing during their teenage years", Kennedy adds.

Team racing

The event this weekend is taking place in the harbour with the East Pier providing an idyllic viewing platform. It is a colourful sight, with green, yellow, red and orange sails.

Team racing

Published in RStGYC

The RYA National Team Racing Championship saw West Kirby Hawks successfully retaining their title and the Prince Philip Trophy for another year.

Hosted by West Kirby Sailing Club on the Wirral, it was the third consecutive win of the championship for the team (pictured below), which has now claimed victory at the event six times in total.

The sell-out national championship over the weekend of 26- 27 March 2022 had 24 teams of six competing in Firefly dinghies. Although the forecast was not promising - with sailors preparing for a day of reading newspapers and playing cards - after a short delay, a gentle breeze stabilised to enable a full and uninterrupted day of racing in glorious sunshine.

RYA National Team Racing Championship

With around 8-9 knots the race team rattled through a full round-robin schedule with 84 fast turnaround races for three flights of eight teams before the breeze started to wane.

Ideal conditions saw plenty of roll tacking and crews occasionally on the side, with incredibly close racing and a number of teams tied on points. All three qualifying leagues were completed, allowing the teams to progress into Gold, Silver and Bronze leagues on the Sunday.

At the end of day one, West Kirby Hawks had won all seven of their races to top their league, many other teams having won six of their seven races: Exeter Blue, Society Exodus, RTYC (Royal Thames YC) Red, Cindies Sailing Club, Rutland Raiders and Bristol Red. The top three from each league went into Gold and also included RTYC Blue and Paddington Bears. Day one results can be found here.

Final race decider

Sunday brought more sunshine and wind for a prompt start with the breeze gradually picking up to around 13-14 knots. By mid afternoon West Kirby Hawks had won 7 of their 8 races and all three leagues had almost been completed - but a re-sail was needed between RTYC Blue and Cindies to determine pole position and who would sail who in the knockout stage. The wind was beginning to vanish and in very light conditions, Cindies won the match, leaving RTYC Blue second overall in the Gold league.

West Kirby Hawks helm Dom Johnson explains: “From our point of view we were sailing well and winning our races. We’d had one loss to the Royal Thames team, who were also sailing really well all weekend, and that made their racing quite important towards the end because they likewise had one loss. Their very last race and the last race of the event in a dying breeze was a re-sail between them and Cindies. If Royal Thames won that re-sail then they would have topped the Gold league as we weren’t able to go to knock-outs because the wind went fragile. But they didn’t win it and so Cindies did us a favour! We only had one loss and they had two so it was all quite close.”

RYA National Team Racing Championship credit Dan Booth, West Kirby Sailing Club (11)[82]

With a failing breeze and a time limit of 15:30 for the semis and finals, the overall results from 87 races in the Gold, Silver and Bronze leagues proved final, giving the title to the West Kirby Hawks team of Andy Cornah, Dom Johnson, Ben Field, Fiona Harrington, Izzy Johnson and Tom Foster.

Second overall were Royal Thames Blue (Murray Hampshire, Scott Wallis, Jack Hanslope, Emma Baker, Harley Stone, Phoebe Warren) with Society Exodus (Peter Gray, John Platts-Mills, James Godd, George Clarke, Lucy Preston, Emma Mackeley) third.

Full overall results can be found here.

Team racing for all ages

Summing up their weekend for the West Kirby Hawks, Dom, for whom the victory was a 9th personal win at the event, said: “We benefit from being a team that was established a long time ago – we started sailing together in 2008 and have team raced pretty consistently at a lot of the big events since then, so we have a deep background that we can rely on and when we do get back together for the bigger events we have a good platform to be able to race on.

“One change this event though was that my usual team racing crew Holly was travelling so I had to recruit my daughter Izzy. We do Firefly sailing together but normally fleet racing and it was the first time we’d done team racing together, she’s only 13 and did a really good job in the front of the boat so it was great to be able to win the event with her. She had a great time and really enjoys team racing and the frantic nature of the sprint races.

“I’ve been in team racing for decades and you get brilliant boat handling and understanding of the rules from it, so it complements other sailing and it’s sociable, and that’s the bit my daughter enjoys and what we as the Hawks have always really enjoyed because we’re a team. That social element really encourages children and young people to continue in the sport.”

The RYA National Team Racing Championship was the first event in the UK to utilise the new World Sailing team racing rankings, which enables teams to create an id and for championship organisers to add an event. This pilot project for event grading and team rankings is supported by the Team Racing Sub Committee at World Sailing and open to all classes for 2v2, 3v3 and 4v4 team racing, offering three different ranking lists for countries, sailors and clubs/teams.

Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Dom said: “A lot of the teams were racing well and you can see that from the first rounds and the Gold league. We have some fantastic teams and it bodes well for the big events coming up like the Wilson Trophy in May, when we should have overseas teams who are now able to travel again, and hopefully some solid British teams who will do well.”

He added that for upcoming teams, there is “no substitute for boat speed in team racing which really helps win races… I would encourage any of the university or school teams looking to improve their boat speed to come along to the Firefly Nationals at Tenby this year. It will make a big difference to their performance on the team racing course.”

Published in Team Racing
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Eight teams with varied experience competed with Royal St. George organisers delighted to welcome new schools to the annual Leinster Schools Team Racing Championships at Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Racing in Firefly dinghies, the inter-schools match again proved very competitive.

Teams entered from St. Gerards, Blackrock College, Gonzaga, St. Andrews, St. David's/Holy Faith and Colaiste Rathlin.

Going into the knockouts, Gonzaga College and St. Andrew's College 1 were tied on four points, Andrews 2 on 3 points and St. Davids/Holy Child on 2 points.

In the first of the semi-finals between Gonzaga v St. Davids/Holy Child, Gonzaga won by two clear points.

St. Andrews 1 v St. Andrews 2 proved to be a more highly contested semi. St. Andrews 2 took the first race. The second race was very close, and it was on the last leg that St. Andrews 1 managed to take control close to the finish line and earn a win.

The third race once again was very close. Unfortunately, St. Andrews 2 had a capsize, which enabled St. Andrews 1 to take their second win and a place in the finals.

In the final, Gonzaga took control of race one at the start line and with a display of some exceptional team racing tactics covering their opponents, they eased to a comfortable win.

Unfortunately, with wind strength suddenly increasing, race 2 had to be abandoned just after the start and competitors were safely escorted to shore.

Leinster Schools Team Racing Championships Round Robin scoresheet was split into Gold and Silver. This was done when the competition completed 50% of the Round Robin.

According to event director Eunice Kennedy, a decision was made to return the Silver fleet ashore. The fleets were experiencing intermittent gusts, and conditions were becoming too trying for the sailors as they had not done any training before the event.

Colaiste Raithlin entered the event with zero experience of team racing, thoroughly enjoyed it and said they want to continue it in the future, Kennedy told Afloat.

Published in Team Racing
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Eleven teams found weather windows to drive to Budworth SC in Cheshire for the RYA/BUSA Women’s Team Racing Nationals - and were rewarded with a weekend of great sailing.

Saturday saw a true Manchester style of weather conditions from light winds to big gusts - sun, rain and just a little snow. The expected high winds from Storm Eunice held off and the races were sailed in full rig Fireflies with the round-robin completed on the Saturday and the Gold/Silver leagues started.

With a wet and windy forecast for Sunday, race officer Eilidh Millar sensibly called a late finish on Saturday and an early start Sunday. With another named storm, Franklin, now on its way, the first race started in cut downs at 8am but the winds continued to build over the morning until a big gust tracking down the course blew over 5 boats across the two fleets.

The race committee brought all the boats ashore to wait for a break in the wind. Unfortunately, this did not emerge and it was not felt safe to send the sailors back out so the results thus far and from the completed first Gold League round robin were used to announce a winner.

Rutland SC retained their title with a team this year combining the longstanding Ladies What Launch group and the successful youth HYDRA group. Reigning BUSA Women’s champions Cambridge University showed their experience, combining good boat speed with strong team racing skills to finish second overall and dominate the university championship.

The Geordie Girlz and Scottish Sailors included some strong ILCA sailors, who showed great speed around the course. Another club team taking part was Leigh and Lowton SC, who finished an impressive third overall. They started as fast sailors and finished as team racers - proving to be the nemesis of the ultimately winning Rutland team.

Fiona Tylecote of the Rutland Raiders said: “It was great to see the wide range of ages and experience taking part, including the Event Director and PRO from last year’s event. With I think a difference of approximately 40 years between the youngest and oldest taking part, team racing really is a sport for life.”

One of the local Budworth teams had an ‘in at the deep end’ start, meeting reigning champions Rutland Raiders in the very first race of the event. In light winds they put up a good fight. They lost but drew on this experience with Budworth Red going on to win the Silver Fleet for the club, which has a long history of team racing and Firefly sailing.

Richard Moxey, RYA Keelboat Development Manager, said: “On behalf of the RYA, a big thank you to Budworth SC and the club’s fantastic volunteers who enabled the event to go ahead. It was great to see BSC historical team racing pedigree re-emerge for this championships. We had some really great feedback from the competitors.”

The near sell-out championship over the weekend of 19-20 February 2022 would have had 15 teams but for Storm Dudley and then Eunice, which prevented two teams from the south coast from attending along with two teams from Dublin - University College and Trinity College – whose ferries were cancelled.

Budworth SC Commodore Bill Kenyon added a massive thank you to the army of Budworth volunteers who came together prior to the event and then worked together to support the RYA organising team: “Our member volunteers managed to pull out all the stops to showcase a first class event despite the gales of Eunice brought to us by the jet stream. It was brilliant to see Firefly team racing at Budworth Sailing Club once again. All the competitors showed a mastery of both sailing skills and rules observance in extreme conditions.”

A full breakdown of results from the event can be found here

Next up on the national team racing calendar is the RYA National Team Racing Championship for the Prince Philip Trophy, 26-27 March 2022, at West Kirby SC.

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University College Dublin (UCD) Sailing Club's first team have had a very successful two weeks on UK waters at team racing events.

First, they travelled to Southampton for the Wessex Winter Warmer, an event where only university first teams and strong alumni/club teams may enter.

In Saturday's racing, they won all their races on the water, however a controversial OCS call and missing a race meant that they finished the day on 8/10, costing them a spot in the semi-finals after the round-robin concluded on Sunday morning. The team finished sixth overall out of 20 teams and second university, an impressive finish considering most of the best UK universities attended.

University College Dublin (UCD) Sailing Club team racing

The team then went to the Oxford "Top Gun" regatta a fortnight later, an annual invitational hosted by Oxford University where the best eight university teams in the UK and Ireland are invited to compete.

As the only Irish team invited, UCD wanted to do Ireland proud. The breeze was very strong with gusts averaging at 25 knots which made for challenging team racing, however, UCD were well up to the challenge ending the first day of racing in second place with a race in hand.

University College Dublin (UCD) Sailing Club team racing

It's worth mentioning that racing was abandoned earlier than scheduled on Saturday due to an incident that happened in the UCD vs Cambridge race, one Cambridge boat T-boned another during a particularly strong gust whilst attempting a manoeuvre at mark 4, putting a large hole through a teammates boat.

The team attended the annual Oxford sailing dinner that night, a far more extravagant Saturday night than they are used to during sailing events, according to reports.

Sailing on Sunday was even windier than the first and UCD ended up slipping out of the top two spots and did not qualify for the final.

The team is looking forward to putting the experience of these two regattas into practice at the Irish varsities in two weeks time.

Published in Team Racing
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Entries have opened for the RYA and BUSA Women’s Team Racing Championships, which will take place at Budworth Sailing Club over the weekend of 19/20 February 2022.

Budworth SC in the heart of Cheshire is looking forward to welcoming teams from across the UK for what is expected to be one of the biggest team racing events of the year.

The RYA Women’s Team Racing National Championship, incorporating the BUSA Women’s Team Racing Championship, is for teams of six sailors who identify as female, with racing in Firefly dinghies which will be provided for the event.

Teams are invited to represent their club, locale or sailing organisation in the RYA Women’s Team Racing National Championship. University or higher education teams may also compete for the BUSA Women’s Team Racing Championship.

Competitors will be battling it out to see if anyone can take either or both trophies, which last year saw Rutland HYDRA youth team crowned national champions and Cambridge University winning the BUSA title, after Oxford University claimed the double at the previous event in 2019.

Online entry is now open and limited to 18 teams allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, with would-be competitors urged to enter as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Richard Moxey, RYA Keelboat Development Manager, said: “I’m delighted the RYA & BUSA Women’s Team Racing Championships is being hosted by Budworth SC this year, it has taken a lot of work from all three parties to ensure this prestigious event can go ahead and I’m looking forward to watching the action on the water next month!”

Budworth SC is a finalist in this year’s RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year awards and has a long history of team racing, hosting for many years the hugely popular inter club Budworth pairs competition.

The club is getting set to host a memorable event for competitors with great racing on the water and a warm welcome on shore, including a full galley service throughout the weekend. The club hopes the event will inspire entries from both experienced and newer teams.

Commodore Bill Kenyon said: “We’re encouraging participants from clubs in the North West alongside university teams and competitors from across the country. We also have a number of existing and former club members now at university who have learned to team race and we would love to see them bringing a team to compete at their home club!”

Racing will comprise a series of round-robin races, followed if possible by a knockout stage. The team entry fee is £360 until the deadline for entering, midday on Friday 21st January. Late entries, if accepted, will be £450 from the entry deadline until midday on Friday 4th February.

Keen team racer Emily Robertson, who has taken part in four previous editions, added: “The RYA Women's Team Racing Championships is one of my favourite events which I keep coming back to for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it is one of the most important platforms for encouraging more women to get involved in team racing at a high level. Although I have always helmed, I love that it's a great opportunity for those who might not choose to helm otherwise to get involved - they usually surprise themselves! Apart from this, though, it tends just to be a brilliantly fun event both on and off the water, with a relaxed environment which encourages the joy of competitive team racing.”

Find out more about this year’s event, including the Notice of Race and entry, here.

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Team Racing makes for great sailing sport, and is unrivalled in its effectiveness in honing close-quarters boat-handling skills. But it’s an especially unforgiving type of contest, for although everyone is mutually reliant for success, at the very end it often comes clearly down to the relative individual showing of one helm at the tail end of the final race.

Niamh Henry of Royal St George YC, sailing for Technical University Dublin in the maelstrom of the Irish Team Racing Championship at Royal Cork in Crosshaven, found herself in this unsought yet key role. Despite capsizes being part of a volatile mix in the final, she kept her cool to maintain a two boat lead over her Baltimore SC rival to produce a tied four points apiece finish, but with TUD on track to win the tie break and the title.

It may have looked chaotic to a casual observer. But right at the heart of it, Niamh Henry knew precisely what was needed to carry the day, and she did it.

1968 is the last occasion that a female helm was on the winning team of the Irish Team Racing Championships. After a 53 year gap, Niamh now joins an elite group in the history of Irish Team Racing.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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At the Irish Team Racing Championships 2021, organised by the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the Technological University Dublin won the Championship for the first time.

108 Sailors forming 18 teams vied for the title and trophy of the Irish Team Racing Association, whose history goes back 73 years.

The event attracted a diverse and important range of sailors including youth teams from the Royal St.George Yacht Club combined with the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the Royal Cork Yacht Club, a full female team (in an event where 50% Of the competitors are female) as well as the recently crowned Laser World Championship silver medalist Finn Lynch and Olympic silver medalist Annalise Murphy.

 Irish Team Racing Championships 2021

The event began on Sunday with cold, but otherwise fantastic team racing conditions, shining sunshine and a 6 to 8-knot breeze. Race Officer Ben Fusco, with years of team racing under his belt, laid the S-shaped course just on the banks at Curlane Bank.

The Race Management team were able to complete the HLS league stage which determined which teams would qualify for the Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets. He then commenced the stage 2 Round Robin, but alas due to the approaching signs of darkness at 16.30 he signalled the end of the days racing, with 30 races to complete the stage.

 Irish Team Racing Championships 2021

Bright and early Sunday morning after a sumptuous dinner provided by the Royal Cork Yacht Club catering team the previous evening, the competitors were keen to take to the water, in the hope of putting their hands on the coveted trophy.

With northwesterly winds over 20 knots, a decision was made to relocate the course to the channel of Curabinny Pier in the expectation to get some shelter that allowed the event to progress.

Race Officer Ben Fusco, with his local knowledge of the tides and winds, managed to lay a course around moorings and boats at anchor. This was a major challenge for the sailors from the previous day. Now they had to contend with an ebbing tide, risk of getting stuck on the mud banks or entangle on moorings. Not a course for the faint-hearted, but the majority prevailed.

 Irish Team Racing Championships 2021

Increasing gusts of 20 to 21 knots were hitting the fleets and on a tight short team racing course, which demands brilliant boat handling control from the crews to execute their tactics, the top teams started to come to the top. It took every ounce of a helms ability to navigate the S shape course which saw numerous capsizes.

Unfortunately, as the round-robin was completed the wind turned to a northerly direction, with gusts reaching 25 knots. The Race Management team faced with the increasing risk of damage to the boats made a wise decision to finish racing and not proceed with the knock out stage.

The Technological University Dublin triumphed in these conditions with an outstanding helm on their team Niamh Henry. Niamh proved to be extremely capable of handling the gusts to navigate the course. She has an inherent instinct for calling the correct team tactics to achieve a team win. A Lady helm on the winning team was in 1968, and now after a 53-year gap, Niamh joins an elite group of Lady Helms in Team Racing.

Winning Team and Irish Team Racing Champions 2021: Technological University Dublin
Helms: Niamh Henry, Dan Little and Glebe Romantchik.
Crews: Max Pocock, Isobel O'Grady and Trudy O'Hare

Event Manager Tom McGrath
Race Officer Ben Fusco
Umpires Cxema Pico, Chris Lindsay, Gordon Davies, Eunice Kennedy, Dave Sheahan, Derek Moynan and Richard McGlade.

Published in Team Racing
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When 144 sailors descend on a club like the hospitable but relatively small (numerically-speaking) Carlingford Sailing Club for a festival of team racing, the pressure is on, both afloat and ashore. That pressure is in no way lessened by the 24 teams being drawn from nine universities all over Ireland.

All six members of the winning team have to keep their cool to make it to the top. But the pressure for this is most challenging on the winning team captain, and in October's highlight of the 2021 Irish Universities Eastern Championship, it was a University College Dublin team captained by Jack Fahy, which took the trophy.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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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.

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