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Displaying items by tag: UCD

With the Irish sailing community still getting used to the fact that University College Dublin Sailing Club opened its 2023 season with a first-ever overall victory for an Irish team at the high-powered Top Gun Series at Oxford, there were some who thought it was a late April Fool’s leg-pull when the news came through that they’ve topped that with a very convincing win in the recent British Universities Open Team Championship at Grafham Water.

So many top college squads were involved that it takes some time to decipher just how much quality competition and how many teams the Belfield boys and girls had to get through to reach the final. But it did mean that in the semi-finals, they came up against the ultimate maritime university of Southampton and beat them. And then they went into the final against Cambridge Blue, and in Races 193 and 195 in this enormous series, they beat the Fenland Flyers with exemplary scorecards of 1,3,5 against the 2,4,6 of Cambridge in both contests.

Of course, with hindsight, folk will say that this is as it should be, as UCD are a team of all the talents, with almost every member of the squad being an Irish national or regional champion helm or crew in some hyper-competitive class. But it’s a long and arduous process to keep your cool and steadily work your way through a Who’s Who of contemporary university sailing on this scale, and all power to the team of Jack Fahy, Liam Glynn, Tom Higgins, Kathy Kelly, Triona Hinkson and Cian Lynch for bringing it all back home at a time when sailing in Ireland welcomes all the international success it can get.

British Universities Open Team ChampionshipBritish Universities Open Team Championship results 2023

Published in Team Racing
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Jack Fahy of Dun Laoghaire and the University College Dublin Sailing Club Team Racing Squad hit the target spot on at the weekend, when they emerged as winners of the elite eight-team Top Gun Invitational Series, organised on the premier English team competition venue of Farmoor Reservoir by Oxford University.

It’s the first time that UCD have been invited to this exclusive “Championship of Champions”, but they rose to the challenge with style in a superbly-run series. It was of course very much a team effort, but in the time-honoured manner we make Team Captain Jack Fahy the Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Month (Team Racing) for February, while ensuring that the entire squad are up in lights, and they are: Jack Fahy & Emily Riordan, Liam Glynn & Triona Hinkson, and Tom Higgins & Cian Lynch.

 Bringing it all back home. Jack Fahy and the UCD team on Sunday after winning the Top Guns Invitational at Oxford at their debut appearance Bringing it all back home. Jack Fahy and the UCD team on Sunday after winning the Top Guns Invitational at Oxford at their debut appearance Photo: Nigel Vick s

But while they can celebrate for a day or two now, this weekend they’ll be very much the target themselves, as the Irish University Championship is being organised by Trinity College Dublin at Carlingford. That said, the last time the national college sailors were at Carlingford en masse was in October 2021, when UCD won and Jack Fahy was the nominated Sailor of the Month, so there’s form here.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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UCD Sailing Club made team racing history at the weekend when it won the Oxford Invitational Top Gun Trophy, the first Irish team to do so.

The top eight university teams from across the UK and Ireland competed at Farmoor Reservoir for a packed weekend of high-quality team racing across two flights of Fireflies.

The winning UCD team in Oxford were Jack Fahy, Emily Riordan, Liam Glynn, Triona Hinkson, Tom Higgins and Cian Lynch

Saturday saw a start at 10 am allowing for 53 races to be completed across the day in a fresh, but shifty 15 knots. Notable results came from UCD, who managed to finish the day having lost only one of the 13 races they competed in.

Overnight a black tie ball was held for the Top Gun Dinner at Oxford's St Edmund's Hall.

Oxford Top Gun Invitational Trophy 2023 Photo: Nigel VickOxford Top Gun Invitational Trophy 2023 Photo: Nigel Vick

Another prompt start on Sunday allowed the teams to get another 12 races in each before we ended the round-robin to head into a best-of-5 final between UCD and Cambridge.

A shifty 12 knots made racing extremely tight, and after two wins each, the final was a winner-takes-it-all final race. Good umpiring decisions saw almost all the boats in the final race spinning; however, UCD pulled through on the final beat and secured a win for an Irish team for the first time in Top Gun history.

Oxford Invitational Top Gun TrophyOxford Invitational Top Gun Trophy 2023 results

With the IUSA inter-varsities happening this week in Carlingford (organised by Trinity College), UCD looks to be in a strong position.

•The weekend result has earned the UCD team the February Irish Sailors of the Month award

Published in Team Racing
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Mercury levels of fish and shellfish landed by fishing boats at Irish ports are low and well within EU guidelines for human consumption, as underscored by a recent briefing from UCD’s Institute of Food and Health.

However, as Derek Evans says in his Angling Notes for The Irish Times this week, these catches do not include deep-water, often migratory species such as shark, swordfish and tuna — the latter of which is being consumed in Ireland increasing quantities in its canned variety.

It’s advised that young children as well as pregnant or breastfeeding people limit their intake to two 226g cans of tuna a week as a precaution.

But the science experts adds that the general population need not fear any fish products as part of a healthy balanced diet.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
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The approach by the UK Government to Brexit trade policy and negotiations protocol is causing “potentially irreparable damage” to Wales’ (ferry) ports, researchers have said.

Colin Murray of Newcastle University and Jonathan Evershed of University College Dublin warned (see LSE) that the “disregard” for Welsh ports during Brexit negotiations was “part and parcel of Wales’ wider marginalisation within the political economy of the UK”.

The barriers to trade between Great Britain and the EU expanded considerably when the UK government choose not to align with EU product standards, they said. Meanwhile, the arrangements for Northern Ireland continue to involve far fewer barriers to trade.

“While this has been to Belfast Harbour’s benefit, it has proven extremely damaging to Wales’ Ireland-facing (ferry) ports – Holyhead, Fishguard, and Pembroke Dock – in ways that may yet have profound political and even constitutional implications,” they said.

Before Brexit, about 50% of Northern Ireland’s trade with Great Britain was done via Dublin and Holyhead, they said in an article for the London School of Economics.

But since January 2021, goods coming from Holyhead into Dublin “have been subject to the full weight of new barriers to trade between the UK and the EU”.

Nation.Cymru has more on the joint University researchers article. 

Published in Ferry

It was mixed results for Trinity rowing crews in the coin toss for the annual Colours Boat Races yesterday (Sunday 27 February).

Round Ireland sailor and adventurer Mark Pollock was on hand to flip the coin at the steps of TCD’s Dining Hall, with the Dublin University Boat Club losing the toss for the men’s race — they will take the south station for the Gannon Cup and Dan Quinn Shield against UCD Boat Club.

Trinity’s women faired better, with the Dublin University Ladies Boat Club winning their toss — they chose to race on the south station for the Corcoran Cup and the Sally Moorhead Trophy against UCD’s women.

The 2022 Colours Boat Races, which return after a two-year break amid the COVID-19 pandemic, take place on the River Liffey from O’Connell Bridge to St James’ Gate on Friday 18 March.

Published in Rowing
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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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#Rowing: UCD won only their second senior men's eights Championship of Ireland since 1973 at the National Rowing Centre today. They last won in 2011. They had a clearwater lead by half way and never let it go.

The senior women's eight saw NUIG/Castleconnell also win well. The stern pair of Sadhbh O'Connor and Fiona Murtagh were taking their fourth titles of the weekend.

The final session of the Irish Championships started with a UCD win in the men's novice eight and continued with Ruth Morris of Commercial moving well clear to win the women's intermediate sngle sculls.

Colaiste Iognaid won a battle with Commercial in the men's junior pair, while Lee's junior women matched their junior men by winning the quadruple.

The final race of the whole event, the men's intermediate double, was won by Skibbereen.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: UCD made a good start in the semi-finals of the Visitors’ four at Henley Royal Regatta, but could not match the power of their opponents and made their exit. The crew listed as Cambridge University and Leander Club are, most likely, on their way to the World Under-23 Championships representing Britain. UCD stayed in touch with them until Fawley, about half way, but then saw them pull away. The verdict was one and three-quarter lengths.   

Henley Royal Regatta, Day Four (Selected Results; Irish interest)

Silver Goblets (Men’s Pairs, Open): A Diaz and A Haack bt M O’Donovan and S O’Driscoll (Skibbereen) 2¾ l

Visitors (Men’s Four, Club and University): Cambridge University and Leander Club bt UCD 1¾ l

Published in Rowing
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#Rowing: Irish crews had two remarkable wins in quick succession at Henley Royal Regatta on Friday evening.

 Commercial came from behind to beat Cercle de l’Aviron de Lyon by three-quarters of a length in the Thames Cup. The French seemed to have a strong hold on the race, but stroke Colm Dowling and his crew rowed through them. The Irish champions then repulsed a late charge to win.

 UCD seemed set for a grim battle with RG Dusseldorf and Crefelder in the Visitors’ and there was little between them in the middle stages of the race. But the Irish four – also national champions in this boat – sped away from the Germans across the flat water to win well.

 Both crews joined Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll, who won in their round of the Silver Goblets, in Saturday’s draw.

Henley Royal Regatta, Day Three (Selected Results; Irish interest)

Thames (Men’s Eight, Club): Commercial bt Cercle de l’Aviron de Lyon ¾ l

Visitors (Men’s Four, Club and University): UCD bt Dusseldorf and Crefeld 2¾ lengths

Hambleden Pairs (Women’s Pairs, Open): G Prendergast, K Gowler bt S O’Connor, N Long 2¼ l

Silver Goblets (Men’s Pairs, Open): Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll (Skibbereen) bt H Hogan and H Elworthy 2¼ l

Double Sculls (Men’s Double, Open): J Collins, G Thomas bt Nathan Hull and OJ Dix (Queen’s, Belfast and Leander) 1l

Published in Rowing
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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