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Displaying items by tag: sunfast 3300

Quarter Tonner movements may have stolen the new boat headlines over the past month but that's not to say there haven't been some other new race boat arrivals around the Irish coast too. 

While the move certainly seems to be into the smaller boat sizes or Cape 31s, there is nevertheless some change in the 40-foot bracket too.

The  X-Treme 37 on the RIYC pontoonThe  X-Treme 37 on the RIYC pontoon

X-Treme 37

The Royal Irish Yacht Club on Dublin Bay has a new X-Treme 37 among its fleet. The X-Treme 37 (RP Design No. 142) was designed by Reichel/Pugh for G-Force Yachts. The new arrival is expected to join the DBSC racing fleet when the summer racing season starts next month. 

Howth Yacht Club J/122The J122e at Howth Yacht Club is the latest addition to the Irish race fleet

J/122

Howth Yacht Club has seen the arrival of a J122 to the North Dublin Harbour. It brings to three the number of J122s now racing in Irish waters. This latest version was trucked in from continental Europe in early February.

There are unconfirmed reports of another big boat coming to north Dublin too. A First 50 could be on its way subject to survey, Afloat understands.

For quite some time, Chris Power Smith's top ISORA contender Aurelia was the only J122 racing in Ireland but all that changed in 2021 with the arrival of Greystones sistership Kaya. 

J122 Jelly Baby 

J/122 Jelly Baby - ex Kaya - now flying the Royal Cork flag in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob BatemanJ/122 Jelly Baby - ex Kaya - now flying the Royal Cork flag in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

The performance of the Wicklow boat, which had a remarkable championship-winning season in 2021, meant it was snapped up when it went on the market last November.

It was sold to Cork Harbour and becomes the new 'Jelly Baby' of the Royal Cork's Jones family. As regular Afloat readers will know this move follows an accident last October where the original Jelly Baby (a J109) ended up on the rocks

Among improvements made by her new skipper, Brian Jones, is a revolutionary new antifouling system.

All is not lost for this J109 however with social media reports stating that the boat is now in Northern Ireland waters and undergoing repairs and hopefully a return to the race course in 2023?

It is reported that the Cork Harbour J109 Jelly Baby will be joining the Strangford Lough cruiser-racer fleet It is reported that the Cork Harbour J109 Jelly Baby will be joining the Strangford Lough cruiser-racer fleet this season or next

Sunfast 3300

As Afloat reported previously, Ireland will have a second Jeanneau Sunfast 3300 for next season's offshore yacht racing calendar.

As regular Afloat readers know, the first of the new range, Cian McCarthy's Cinnamon Girl, debuted at Kinsale Harbour in 2020 but this second one, a used and high specification one is coming into Dublin Bay. 

Due to its light, powerful hull, twin rudders and straight keel, this Sun Fast can combine speed and stability in most sea conditions.

It's not clear what Irish events the boat will compete in but as 2022 is a Round Ireland Race year and the boat is set up for double-handed sailing it might well take its place on the Wicklow start line next June.

Published in Boat Sales

Ireland will have a second Jeanneau Sunfast 3300 for next season's offshore yacht racing calendar.

As regular Afloat readers know, the first of the new range, Cian McCarthy's Cinnamon Girl, debuted at Kinsale Harbour in 2020 but this second one, a used and high specification one is coming into Dublin Bay. 

Due to its light, powerful hull, twin rudders and straight keel, this Sun Fast can combine speed and stability in most sea conditions.

It's not clear what Irish events the boat will compete in but as 2022 is a Round Ireland Race year and the boat is set up for double-handed sailing it might well take its place on the Wicklow start line next June.

The model was launched in Ireland just before COVID in March 2020 when agents MGM Boats of Dun Laoghaire Harbour and the Jeanneau design team unveiled the new marque at the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

Since then, McCarthy went on to hit speeds of 15 knots in early training runs. McCarthy was also runner up in the inaugural 2020 Fastnet 450 Race, an offshore from Dun Laoghaire to Cork Harbour.

Afloat understands the Dublin 3300 arrives from the UK next February, so it may yet make the DBSC Spring Chicken Series Season warm-up.

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The new Jeanneau Sunfast 3300 launched in Ireland last Spring will be among the marques competing in this weekend's RORC Transatlantic Race from Lanzarote.

As regular readers will know, its Irish debut at the Royal Irish Yacht Club by Irish distributors MGM Boats included a run-through of the boat's performance by its French design team at Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

The design has been shortlisted for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games Regatta as the proposed new mixed two-handed keelboat class.

Sunfast 3300 Cinnamon Girl

The new 33-footer, named Cinnamon Girl, then went on to have a great high-speed first season on the south coast from her homeport of Kinsale under skipper Cian McCarthy, including runner-up in the inaugural Fastnet 450 Race

Cian McCarthy's Kinsale-based 'Cinnamon Girl' at the start of August's Fastnet 450 RaceCian McCarthy's Kinsale-based 'Cinnamon Girl' at the start of August's Fastnet 450 Race

Sunfast 3300 Moshimoshi

Now, a French amateur team, Sebastien Saulnier and Christophe Affolter,  have sailed a Sun Fast 3300 from St Malo, Brittany to the Canary Islands in order to race across the Atlantic. RORC race reporter Louay Habib spoke on Skype to Sebastien Saulnier who was on board his boat Moshimoshi in Calero Marinas Puerto Calero in Lanzarote ahead of Saturday's start.

“The dream started about three years ago,” explained Saulnier. “It was wonderful to sail across the Atlantic with friends and family, but I wanted to do it in a race. Two years ago, I met Christophe who has done a lot of RORC racing. We felt good together from the first moment and this is the first race that we can do and it was not easy to get to Lanzarote.

Due to government restrictions, we could only sail from L’Orient on the 12th December and we saw 48 knots of wind in the Golfe de Gascogne.

We did make it past La Coruna, but the weather was so bad we had to turn back. We waited six days for the storm to pass and then it was a better sail to Lanzarote.” 

Hear more in Louay's interview below

Published in RORC
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Cian McCarthy's brand new Sunfast 3300 Cinnamon Girl has been hitting some top speeds in training off the Kinsale coast recently.

In this video clip (below) the Irish debutante is clocked doing 15 knots in 25 knots of wind. In other south coast training runs, boat speeds have hit 20-knots downwind in flat water in just 30-knots of breeze. 

The video shows the new design blasting past Kinsale's Old Head at the same time as the McCarthy crew would have been expecting to be off there if the 2020 Round Ireland Race had started last Saturday (June 20) as originally scheduled. The only difference, of course, is that the crew were heading southeasterly with the Code 0 flying as opposed to hard on the wind if they were in the race due to the strong prevailing southwesterly winds.

As regular Afloat readers will know, the new marque that got a special MGM Boats unveiling at the Royal Irish Yacht Club in March is now being widely tipped as the new Olympic keelboat double hander for Paris 2024 but for the moment, at least, McCarthy is sailing with a four or five-man crew for the 700-mile Round Ireland.

Published in Round Ireland
Tagged under

Cian McCarthy's brand new Sunfast 3300 'Cinnamon Girl' from Kinsale Yacht Club is the latest entry into the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Yacht Race in ten weeks time.

As regular Afloat readers will know, the recently arrived Kinsale-based 3300 supplied by MGM Boats is currently being worked up to speed in her home port in West Cork. And progress appears to be very good. Keen observers saw the boat hit full speed under spinnaker at the weekend when breezes topped 30-knots in flat seas of Kinsale Harbour.

Sunfast 3300

The new marque that got a special MGM Boats unveiling at the Royal Irish Yacht Club in March is now being widely tipped as the new Olympic keelboat doublehander for Paris 2024 but for the moment, at least, McCarthy is sailing with a four or five-man crew for the 700-mile Round Ireland.

Cian McCarthy's brand new Jeanneau Sunfast 3300Cian McCarthy's brand new Jeanneau Sunfast 3300 Photo: Afloat

The Sunfast 3300 has twin rudders Photo: AfloatThe Sunfast 3300 has twin rudders Photo: Afloat

As Afloat sources recently previously revealed, this West Cork entry brings with it the prospect of a UK sistership entering the race too, in what would be a buoyant turnout for the Sunfast range if quarantine rules can be met.

The entry is the 44th and the third Kinsale boat for the ocean classic that has been rescheduled for August 22nd.

Class 40

It was some 11 years ago, when McCarthy launched his previous Cinnamon Girl, a Class 40 yacht, in preparation for the 2009 Route de Chocolat, a transatlantic race from France to Mexico as Afloat reported back then with photos here.

Published in Round Ireland

If the prospect of a fleet of four Sunfast 3600s for this summer's Round Ireland Yacht Race is not enough of a sign of Jeanneau's potency offshore these days, the race debut of at least two brand new Sunfast 3300s is also another exciting aspect of the postponed 700-mile race that looks set to attract an international fleet for its 21st edition.

As regular Afloat readers will know, the recently arrived Kinsale-based 3300 supplied by MGM Boats  'Cinnamon Girl' is signed up and, as Afloat sources now reveal, this West Cork entry brings with it the prospect of a UK sistership entering the race too.

2 sun fast 3300 dun laoghaire2 1The new-style stem on the MGM Boats-imported Sun Fast 3300 Cinnamon Girl as seen in March in Dun Laoghaire. Photo: Afloat

As Afloat's WM remarked in March, weeks before lockdown, the launch of the 3300 will make Irish sailing fun again, let's hope he is right! 

Sunfast 3600

Three Hamble based 3600s are registered now for the August 22nd start with Donal Ryan's Team Fujitsu, Deb Fish's regular Bellino as well as Black Sheep (T Middleton) all slated for the Wicklow Head start.

They'll be joined by local John O'Gorman's Hot Cookie. The National Yacht Club Sunfast 3600 took third overall on IRC in last year's Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race, so the offshore hardened crew will be a force to be reckoned with in August. Although not Round Ireland registered so far, there is always the prospect of Dun Laoghaire Harbour sistership Yoyo (Brendan Coghlan from the Royal St George Yacht Club) taking on the challenge too? 

ISORA Jeanneau Sunfast 3600 0554Two Dun Laoghaire Harbour Sunfast 3600s – Hot Cookie Sunfast 3600 (John O'Gorman) to weather and Brendan Coghlan's YOYO (also below) from the Royal St George Yacht Club competing in a 2019 ISORA race Photo: Afloat.ie

Sunfast 37

Meanwhile, three older Sunfast 37s are also flying the Jeanneau flag in this 21st edition of the race. John Conlon's Sun Fast 37, Humdinger from Arklow Sailing Club is registered as are two Irish Offshore Sailing School entries from Dun Laoghaire Harbour too.

Published in Round Ireland

We were having one of those brainstorming discussions the other day about how best to promote sailing in Ireland, when some still small voice suggested that we were going at the challenge entirely the wrong way. We were thinking in terms of promotional campaigns and more sociable events afloat and various outreach projects and targeted material and focus groups and role models and - so help us all - celebrity involvement and endorsements.

But the trip-everyone-up-counter-thought was based on the fact that – as we’ve repeated here ad infinitum – sailing is first and last and foremost a vehicle sport. Get the vehicles right and get them in a sociable race format, said the still small voice, and the people will come and get involved.

And what is the right sailing vehicle? It’s a sporting boat which optimizes the amount of performance and fun that you get in relation to the effort involved, with that effort expended in a user-friendly set-up in which the proven protocols of ergonomics are not merely acknowledged, rather they are regarded as the Sacred Scriptures.

It’s all very well for fit and agile young folk to sport around in demanding classic craft in which every feature seems to be hard angles and vertical seatbacks, awkward sail controls, conspicuously absent footholds and hand grabs, and badly-designed companionways. But when the years pile on, and you’re coping with various chronic conditions all of which end in “is” (though admittedly there’s no sign of myxomatosis so far, it’s early days yet), you become very appreciative when a lot of thought has been put into how a boat’s layout is going to work.

2 sun fast 3300 astern2Very much a cruiser-racer cockpit with the emphasis on racing, yet within those limits, the ergonomics are sensible for comfortable sailing, and the foot-bars for the helm are of a sensible size
3 sun fast 3300 gen view3Ideas from outside the box become mainstream – “fascinating” is just the beginning of it as you contemplate the new Sun Fast 3300. Photo: W M Nixon

And there’s every sign that a properly functional user-friendly set-up has been a priority in putting the new Sun Fast 3300 together, as became apparent during a shoreside appraisal at the MGM Boatyard in Dun Laoghaire early this week where the first Sun Fast 3300 to arrive in Ireland was being prepared for launching by Sales Director Ross O’Leary and Simon Litwin. 

4 simon litwin and ross4Simon Litwin and Ross O’Leary of MGM Boats with their new baby – the Sun Fast 3300’s apparent bulge amidships underwater is not an optical illusion, it’s very much part of the concept. Photo: W M Nixon

Traditionalists will need to take a bit of time getting used to her, with her reverse stem and rounded deck edge. For traditionalists will have a fondness for great big bursting bow-waves and lots of flying spray. But those great big bursting bow-waves and clouds of flying spray are evidence that the sea is doing everything it can to slow the boat back. So if you can manage to come up with a design which zips along leaving barely a trace, with minimal bow-wave and spray which just creams across the deck with no fuss at all, then you have yourself the makings of a fast boat.

In times past, fast boats went quickly through the water by having hollow waterlines forward to facilitate the progress of their heavy displacement hulls. But the Sun Fast 330 has rounded waterlines, yet in profile there’s a slight hollow after of the forefoot and forward of the fin keel. She will be going over the water as much as possible, which will reduce the inevitable spray across the deck 

5 sunfast 3300 model5Full waterlines forward ingeniously combined with a hollow profile underwater, while the notion of stepped sides in the coachroof with forward-outlook windows is becoming mainstream.

Technically speaking, we’re told these hollows on the centre line underwater “enable an improved distribution of dynamic pressure while limiting drag on the hull and minimizing the surface below the waterline for greater performance”. As for the fin keel, it rejects the use of a lead ballast bulb and other complications in favour of a simple shape to provide a reduction in drag and an optimized centre of gravity.

You’ve heard of modern fusion cuisine? Well, this is modern fusion yacht design, with outside-the-box ideas becoming mainstream. The two great talents involved in creating the very satisfying end result are no slouches when it comes to providing completely new ideas themselves, as the boat emerges from a collaboration between longtime Jeanneau associate Daniel Andrieu (who may be 73, but he thinks very young indeed), and Guillaume Verdier, who is in the flush of youth by today’s standards, as he’s only 49. But he has been in the sharp end of the design department of some very successful big global campaigns, and is refreshingly frank about his creative approach: “My desk is messy but my mind is clear”.

6 daniel andrieu6Daniel Andrieu has designed 16 boats for Jeanneau, yet he is still bursting with fresh ideas at the age of 73.
7 guillaume verdier7Rockstar designer Guillaume Verdier – “my desk is sometimes messy, but my mind is clear”

The very first prototype Sun Fast 3300s appeared last year just as everyone was notching up the excitement dial about the woman/man two-handed offshore boat for the 2024 Olympics, and they made such a favourable impression that many are already thinking of her in Olympic terms.

But some of us view sailing’s inevitable reliance on the four-year Olympic searchlight with very mixed feelings. While acknowledging that it’s one of the few ways in which our complex and quirky sport can make itself of attention for fickle global public interest, it would be a sad business if a boat as fascinating as the Sun Fast 3300 was seen mainly in the narrow yet distorting focus of the Olympic priority.

For she seems to be much too good a boat for just that one blinkered purpose. Here you have a boat which will undoubtedly provide optimum performance for a crew of two, yet will be rewarding and fun for a larger ship’s complement. She may be only 32ft 10 ins in overall length, but she’s all boat, and with that rounded bow - which pedants will ultimately trace to Ian Lipinsky’s pioneering MiniTransat boat Griffon 2 or even to the Buddy Melges American Lake Scows – she behaves like a bigger boat as she moves over rather than through the water.

8 griffon 2 sailing8The full-bowed concept carried to its ultimate – Ian Lipinsky’s successful MiniTransat boat Griffon 2.
Yet while you will need extra-efficient foul weather gear to see off any unhindered spray which will come swiftly across the deck - for fast boats are usually wet boats - in every other way you’ll be as comfortable as possible in the cockpit, on deck, and particularly in the accommodation.

You’ll immediately notice the stepped side in the coachroof, which has become best known through its success on the all-conquering JPK 10.80. But while someone will doubtless claim that the idea was there before that particular great boat appeared, we’ll happily give all credit to Jean-Pierre Kelbert and his designer Jacques Valer for a design feature which confers multiple benefits.

9 sun fast 3300 deckplan9 The deck plan indicates the potential which is released for better utilization of space when the stepped-side configuration is used in the coachroof design.

It leaves space on deck where it is most needed, yet provides space below where it is of added value. And while you may think that the ability to see clear ahead from down below is of limited benefit, believe me you’d be surprised the difference it makes. In my own case, it was during ten very happy years with a Hustler 30 which – unusually - had a porthole in the forward end of the coachroof, a feature which - on at least two occasions while anchored in a gale - made us readily aware that another boat was dragging down on top of us while there was still time to take avoiding action.

As for the great big “bee’s eyes” which are the forward-looking side windows on the Sun Fast 3300, they really do give remarkable vision so long as you’re sufficiently disciplined to also keep a proper on-deck lookout most of the time.

But even the toughest offshore campaigner needs to get in out of the elements now and again, and it’s good to see that the adjustable sea berths in the saloon have proper grown-up adjustment tackles. When the boat is at her optimum performance, comfortably sailing at an angle of 15 to 20 degrees thanks to the high level of control conferred by the twin rudders, it does no harm to remember that a crewman below tucked comfortably into the weather cot adjusted to the optimum angle actually has his or her body weight further outboard than some unfortunate perched on the weather rail with their legs over the side, exposed to the elements and straining every sinew to maximize leverage.

10 sun fast 3300 interior10While the accommodation is basic, it’s comfortable within its limits and makes clever use of the extra space and localized extra headroom provided by the stepped-side coachroof.
11 sun fast 3300 bunk11 The easily adjusted cots optimize the usefulness of the weight below of the off-watch crew.

12 sun fast 3300 heeled12The effectiveness of twin rudders when the wedge-shaped hull is well-heeled is effectively demonstrated in this photo, but so too is the fact that the weight of the crew on the weather deck would actually be further outboard were they securely in the weather side adjustable cot below
Having twin rudders has two disadvantages. As they’re located under each quarter, there’s no doubt that they’ll more easily get fouled by a trailing line than a centre-line rudder. But in most cases, that’s a lesson which is learned once and remembered forever.

The other disadvantage is that when manoeuvring into or out of a confined berth, you don’t have the instant boat-spinning power of prop thrust working directly on the rudder. But as the Sun Fast 3300 can spin like a top with the slightest way on, this is not the problem it would be with a boat with a longer keel.

As for the standard centre-line shaft-driven propeller, it indicates just how many experienced marine engineers still distrust SailDrive arrangements and other fancy set-ups where the entire propeller unit retracts into the boat. In the Sun Fast 3300 you’ve a time-tested shaft arrangement through a P-Bracket, but it has been usefully tidied up by having everything external enclosed within a neat housing which, apart from reducing turbulence, also reduces the number of ways in which floating lines and other detritus can become fouled in the external propshaft arrangement.

13 propshaft housing13While the Sun Fast 3300 has a “traditional” propeller shaft operating through a P-bracket, all the externals are in this turbulence-reducing housing. Photo: W M Nixon
14 sun fast 3300 from ahead14No matter which viewing angle is taken, this is one unusual-looking boat. Photo: W M Nixon
This is almost all by the way. The real story with the Sun Fast 3300 is how she sails, and though as we write this she will be making her debut in a reception at the Royal Irish YC clubside pontoon this Friday, March 6th from 2 pm with a Jeanneau presentation in the club at 7 pm, as the Irish boat’s new sails are currently being tested in the Solent, the first proper sailing experience afloat won’t be available for a few days yet.

This is because the boat has been developed in a detailed process which involved half a dozen prototypes being built, tested and re-developed by a range of experts before production started in September. One of the prototypes has gone to big-time multi-hull legend Brian Thompson, who created the long-standing round Ireland record on the 60ft trimaran Lakota back in September 1993 with our own Con Murphy and Cathy MacAleavey and owner Steve Fossett, and this weekend he’s trialling what will become this first Irish Sun Fast 3300’s sails in Solent competition.

15 lakota brian thompson15After establishing a round Ireland record in September 1993 which was to stand for 22 years, the Lakota crew celebrating in the National YC are (left to right) Con Murphy, Cathy MacAleavey, the late Steve Fossett, Dave Scully and Brian Thompson. Brian Thompson is this weekend trialling a Sun Fast 3300 in the Solent with sails which – when approved – will go to the new boat in Ireland.

In a month or so the new boat currently in Dun Laoghaire will be sailed to her home port of Kinsale, where’s she’ll be known as Cinnamon Girl. The waiting list for a fresh-out-of-the-wrapper Sun Fast 3300 is now pushing towards the six months mark, so the Kinsale owner (who remains anonymous for the moment) deserves every congratulation on placing an early order for what is now one of the hottest boats on the block.

Meanwhile, the fact that we can’t get to sail one in Ireland just yet gives us another opportunity to run the vid showing Ken Read and Suzy Leech racing one of the first Sun Fast 3300s in America to two-handed victory in the Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race at the end of January.

If we really want to promote sailing, this brief movie should be required viewing. The sun shines, the breeze is steady, and two very experienced sailors are effortlessly getting the best out of a perfectly set up and very interesting boat with helming skills which minimize sail trim effort and conserve energy for when it is really needed. In a distance race, conditions are inevitably going to change at some stage. But while they are briefly steady, you make the best of it, and the boat moves sweetly along in a style which is a joy to behold.

Published in W M Nixon

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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