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The first Northern Ireland athlete selected for Mary Peters Trust funding is Belfast-based sailor, Lauren McDowell, who has received a £500 bursary.

Each of the ten athletes will be selected by Lady Mary and her Trust to receive a £500 bursary from Hughes Insurance to support them on their journey and realise their sporting potential.

Lady Mary Peters said: “I am proud that my Trust has chosen to partner with Hughes Insurance again on our 2022 bursary programme. Northern Ireland is a hotbed for sporting talent and last year’s scheme saw ten incredibly talented young athletes supported on the journey to reaching their goals.

“I am delighted that Lauren has been recognised. Her talent and perseverance are evident from her many sporting accolades, and I hope that this bursary will help her to realise her dreams.”

Lauren, 18, from East Belfast, has achieved multiple wins for sailing. These include the second female boat at the Royal Yachting Association’s British Youth Nationals in 2022, second Female team 29er in the 2021 Irish national championships, fifth female team 29er in the 2021 UK National Championships and fifth Female Team 29er in the 2021 Royal Yachting Association’s Youth National Championships. She will also participate in the upcoming 29er World Championships in Spain.

A 29er is a two-person, single trapeze dinghy with an asymmetric spinnaker. Designed By Julian Bethwaite and First Produced In 1998, the high-performance vessel is able to reach high speeds quickly due to its aerodynamic hull.

Lauren, who has been sailing for nine years, balances training in yacht clubs around Ireland with studying for her A-levels.

Commenting on her bursary, she said: “I feel honoured to receive this bursary from the Mary Peters Trust and Hughes Insurance. It is a real privilege to have my hard work and dedication recognised and to know that I have been chosen from a large selection of candidates right across the country.

“My greatest achievement to date was second female boat at the Royal Yachting Association’s British Youth Nationals in April 2022 and I simply can’t wait to represent Ireland in the 29er World Championships in Spain this year.

“I love competition and adventure and sailing provides me with both. Having the support of the programme is incredibly important and this funding will help me to get extra coaching sessions in the run-up to the World Championships.”

With the sailing season underway across the UK, many young athletes like Lauren are currently taking to the water to train and compete.

Bethany Carroll, Marketing Executive at Hughes Insurance said: “At Hughes Insurance, we are ‘here for the journey’ and as such, we’re delighted to renew our partnership with the Mary Peters Trust, which allows us to continue to support many of Northern Ireland young athletes on their sporting journeys.

“Last year’s bursary programme saw ten talented young athletes receive funding to help them on the path to realising their potential and it has been a privilege to meet with them and hear about their tenacity and achievements.

“We hope that this funding will help Lauren and the other athletes who will be selected this year to excel, and we are excited to follow their development in the years to come.”

The Mary Peters Trust is the only province-wide organisation to provide support to young athletes from all recognised sports. Along with Hughes Insurance, it is also supported by Alchemy Technology Services, who this year became a podium partner to support the Trust’s activities throughout 2022.

The further nine successful bursary recipients will be announced throughout 2022.

Published in Belfast Lough

Planting trees is very different to sailing at Ballyholme, but this month a team from the Belfast Lough club travelled to Glas Na Braden wood in the Belfast Hills behind Newtownabbey on the north shore of the Lough to take part in a Woodland Trust tree planting session.

The Woodland Trust is the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity and recently secured the future of 98 hectares in the Belfast Hills.

The team planted over 700 saplings to help carbon offset the RIB emissions during the Irish Youth Sailing Championships to be held at the club next week and as part of Sailors for the Sea Clean Regattas Award.

The Sailors for the Sea Powered by Oceana is the world’s only ocean conservation organization that engages, educates, and activates the sailing and boating community toward restoring ocean health.

The hilltop site, which has been named via public vote as Glas-na-Bradan Wood, will be transformed into a new native woodland and will be planted for the first time in the Woodland Trust’s history in Northern Ireland completely by the public.

Interestingly the name Glas na Braden does have a connection with the sea in that the historical translation of Glas-na-Bradan is The Salmon Stream.

Published in Belfast Lough

Lagan Search and Rescue is looking for new team members. Based out of Belfast Harbour and Lough, Lagan SAR operates an Independent Lifeboat, Type B Flood Team, Quayside Response, and Rescue Swimmer Corps.

The crew is made up of dedicated volunteers from the local community, responding to emergencies 24 hours a day.

This is an independent charitable Lifeboat and Water Search, Rescue and Recovery Service.

If you’re over 18 and willing to respond to emergency calls day and night, live within 10 minutes of the SSE Arena in the Belfast Titanic Quarter, have a full UK driving licence and access to a vehicle, you may wish to consider joining the team of this vital service and save lives.

The dynamic and fast-paced environment helps grow potential and foster ability. Through regular sessions, LSAR provides all recruits with excellent training opportunities in a range of skills and specialisms.

More information here

Published in Rescue
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One minute it’s winter, and a socially-constrained pandemic-plagued winter at that. And next thing you know, it’s summer, freedom is declared, and our clubs are switching into instant overdrive as sailors go crazy trying to compensate for two years of social purdah and covid clampdown.

Oh for sure, there was as much sailing going on as was possible to hit the limits of permitted activity as they changed from time to time. And the thanks of all of us are due to the photographers who grabbed any chance to record the best of it whether there was sunshine or not, for the greatest test of maritime camera skill is making a sunless sailing scene as eye-catching as one where the sun highlights every last vivid detail.

But it was all happening as though everybody had one arm tied behind their backs. You zapped as quickly and as isolated as possible from the home bubble down to the boat bubble, and you did your sailing thing while trying to work out if you were getting near the limit of two kilometres or five kilometres from home, or whatever was law at the time. And then, even as things eased, your après sailing was very constrained, as scrupulously-regarded social-distancing was very inimical to the popular sailing habit of ingesting performance-enhancing drugs after the event in a crowded setting.

Life goes on – the much-anticipated Royal Cork YC 300 may not have happened as planned in 2020, but the Tricentenary + 2 will make Cork Week 2022 something very special indeed. Photo: Robert BatemanLife goes on – the much-anticipated Royal Cork YC 300 may not have happened as planned in 2020, but the Tricentenary + 2 will make Cork Week 2022 something very special indeed. Photo: Robert Bateman

You may well wonder why we’re recording all this at a time when everybody is fed up with pandemics, knows everything of its life-limiting effects only too well, and wants to think only of the changed present, the promising future, and peace in our time if Vladimir RasPutin will just allow us and everyone else to get on with our lives.

AWARENESS OF SPANISH FLU TAKEN FOR GRANTED

But the fact is that, in looking back to reports of the sailing seasons of 1919, 1920, and 1921, we haven’t yet found a single reference to the adverse effects of the highly fatal Spanish flu pandemic of the time, and with every week there was less and less reference to the dreadful toll of the 1918-ended Great War, particularly among the young men who’d been the backbone of the top amateur racing crews pre-war.

The Strangford Lough River Class of 1921 were a necessary response to the realities of life after the Great War of 1914-18. Photo: W M NixonThe Strangford Lough River Class of 1921 were a necessary response to the realities of life after the Great War of 1914-18. Photo: W M Nixon

Yet the inescapable effects were there, even if you had to find evidence in private correspondence or in recollections of long-ago conversations. Thus last year, when the River Class of Strangford Lough celebrated their Centenary with all twelve boats in fine racing trim, in producing a handsome history to coincide with the Big One Hundred they moved heaven and earth to try to find a record of one of the stipulations for the new 28ft 6ins One Design from Alfred Mylne, which was to become the world’s first Bermudan-rigged OD.

The Rivers were Bermuda-rigged because it was seen as more easily-handled than classic gaff, and an early requirement mentioned was of the need for a boat “which could be raced by a man and his daughters”. This was no sudden arrival of feminism. On the contrary, it was a stark realization that many of the best young sailors had tragically disappeared in the mud of the Somme. But it’s a stipulation that now has to be accepted as only having been mentioned at some stage in preliminary exchanges, for it wasn’t in the specification provided by the new Class Association to the designer.

BELFAST LOUGH STARS REVERT TO SIMPLICITY

Another telling illustration in the north was provided by the Belfast Lough Star Class, 20ft LWL gunter-rigged Mylne-designed sloops which originated in 1899, and in some ways were the precursors of the Dublin Bay 21s of 1902. But while the DB21s in their original form majored in complexity of rig with a cutter fore-triangle and an enormous jackyard topsail, the Belfast Lough Stars were the essence of simplicity in being gunter-rigged sloops.

The Belfast Lough Star Class of 1899 was the essence of simplicity in her rig……..The Belfast Lough Star Class of 1899 was the essence of simplicity in her rig…

…….but around 1906, the Stars were persuaded to upgrade their rig with a jackyard topsail.…….but around 1906, the Stars were persuaded to upgrade their rig with a jackyard topsail.

Yet some time between 1899 and 1914, the Stars were persuaded that they ought to carry a jackyard topsail, and they changed their rigs accordingly. But when sailing resumed in 1919, there wasn’t the manpower available to handle the big topsails, and they reverted to their original simple gunter rigs, and raced under them until the class was replaced by the new Glen ODs in the late 1940s.

After the Great War, shortage of crew meant the Belfast Lough Stars had to revert to the simpler gunter rig, as seen here in the 1920s.After the Great War, shortage of crew meant the Belfast Lough Stars had to revert to the simpler gunter rig, as seen here in the 1920s.

That’s how it was in the north of the country. But a hundred years ago in the south, while the Civil War in the new Free State wasn’t exactly raging, nevertheless in those parts of the country directly affected, it was certainly very much the big thing in everyday life. Yet it was very far from the contemporary concept of total war, and though everyone was acutely aware it was going on, life of sorts went on elsewhere, with the new Shannon One Designs having their first races in August 1922 largely as intended.

FANCY CAPS MAKE FOR MARKED MEN

This was despite a pair of potential contenders, who were wearing traditional semi-formal yachting caps, being detained for a while on Lough Ree by the local Irregular Forces, who were under the impression that yachting caps constituted the uniform of the newly-formed Irish Free State Army.

Yacht designer George O’Brien Kennedy recalled a happy early 1920s childhood when north County Wicklow seemed remote from all thoughts of a Civil WarYacht designer George O’Brien Kennedy

Meanwhile on the other side of the country in north County Wicklow, yacht designer O’Brien Kennedy in his memoir Not All At Sea! recalls an early 1920s childhood in which most things proceeded as normal, with regular picnics into the Wicklow Hills in his father’s beloved car, interspersed with racing the family’s Dublin Bay Water Wag which Kennedy Snr had built himself. In doing so he was typical of the growing interests of the early 1920s, for the father dearly loved his workshop where he built boats and maintained the car and did anything else rather than go into dreary round in the offices of family’s large, long-established and successful solicitor’s practice in the city, an approach shared by his brother which resulted in them being known as “Dublin’s Most Invisible Solicitors”.

For in those variously-disturbed days of the early 1920s, everyone was so aware of disruptive background circumstances that contemporary journalists – producing “the first draft of history” – didn’t feel the need to mention them. So who knows, but maybe by mentioning this weekend of The Great Change, we’ll be doing future sailing historians a favour - that is, if any of us has a future, and there are subsequent historians to record it.

Yet now, we’re living in a reversal of a hundred years ago. In 1918, pandemic came as war ended. In 2022, war comes as pandemic ends. The uncertainty affects us all, and we were reminded yet again of the very unpleasant new reality by yesterday’s announcement from the up-coming St Maarten Heineken Regatta, which in normal times is perceived as the ultimate fun event when Caribbean sailing is at its very best, while at the same time signalling that Spring is starting to arrive in Europe. But for 2022, it makes for sombre reading:

ST. MAARTEN HEINEKEN REGATTA STATEMENT CONCERNING THE SITUATION IN UKRAINE

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is an international sailing event that for over 40 years has welcomed sailors of all nations to share in friendly competition and celebration of the inclusivity of our great sport.

Due to the recent developments in Ukraine and hostilities on behalf of the Russian government, which our organization condemns, we cannot maintain the friendliness between all of our competitors without suspending the participation of teams registered as Russian and Belarusian. While we wish that sailing could be free from politics and we can all race together on the water, the current situation and feelings of the sailing community at large makes this impossible.

The St Maarten Heineken Regatta would have been though of as the ultimate away-from-it-all event, but this week’s announcement excluding Russian and Belarussian crews was a harsh encroachment of the new realityThe St Maarten Heineken Regatta would have been though of as the ultimate away-from-it-all event, but this week’s announcement excluding Russian and Belarussian crews was a harsh encroachment of the new reality

As a result, St. Maarten Heineken Regatta will not be hosting Russian or Belarusian affiliated teams for this year's regatta. This decision is not meant to punish or ostracize any individuals, but rather uphold the integrity of all competitors and the event as a whole. The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta stands in unison with the international sailing community and recommendations as per the official statements released by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and World Sailing.

We hope that by the 43rd edition of the event, the international situation will be positively resolved and we can once again welcome teams from all nations to sail together in peace. Until then, we must stand by World Sailing and endeavour to make the best decisions for the community as a whole.

It’s when a notably light-hearted event like this has to go all serious that we become acutely aware of the reality of the times we live in. But life goes on - it must go on. And as yesterday’s positive March Newsletter from Kinsale YC made clear, life is very much going on, and it’s getting up to sailing speed at clubs all over the country. Indeed, the pace is almost too hectic in Dublin. Apart from knowing that every-day clubhouse use is resuming everywhere, let’s look at four specials taking place ashore in addition to DBSC’s Spring Chicken Race tomorrow (Sunday) morning.

BUSY WEEKEND FOR CLUBHOUSE ACTIVITY

Last night saw the generous presentation in Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club of the €18,000 raised by December's All In A Row oar-boat festival on the Liffey in December, with the money shared between the Lifeboats and the Underwater Search & Retrieval Unit.

HYC Commodores Ian Byrne and Paddy Judge demonstrating social-distancing as regulations began to easeHYC Commodores Ian Byrne and Paddy Judge demonstrating social-distancing as regulations began to ease

At the same time out in Howth, HYC Commodore Paddy Judge was hosting a celebratory dinner to say thank you to the many volunteers who had quietly made the extra effort to comply with pandemic regulations while making possible the staging of as much racing and sailing as could be fitted in within the changing regulations. The pace in this was set by his predecessor Ian Byrne, who made it his business to analyse completely each new set of regulations as they came into force under the changing circumstances, thereby providing a service for the entire Irish sailing community.

No sunshine but plenty of photographic action – Howth racing with Kevin Darmody’s X302 Viking nipping across ahead of Stephen O’Flaherty’s Sprit 54 Soufriere. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyNo sunshine but plenty of photographic action – Howth racing with Kevin Darmody’s X302 Viking nipping across ahead of Stephen O’Flaherty’s Sprit 54 Soufriere. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Today, the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire is Irish Sailing Central, with the management team headed by Commodore Conor O’Regan (a global sailing circumnavigation veteran) welcoming the Annual Conference of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association this morning, while this evening there’s the first Centenary Dinner of the Shannon One Design Association.

TOP OWNER-SKIPPER

With multiple nominations for the Committee, ICRA Commodore Richard Colwell of Howth may well be contemplating some sort of election process, but the highlight of the gathering will be the presence of Tom Kneen of Plymouth, currently the world’s most successful offshore racing owner-skipper. His JPK 11.80 Sunshine was RORC Champion in 2020, Fastnet Race winner 2021 and Middle Sea Race winner as well by any standards of reasonable fairness. Either way, she was the highly-acclaimed RORC Boat of the Year in 2021, and already this year she has kept up the pace by winning her class in the RORC Caribbean 600 in February.

Man of the Moment – Tom Kneen of Plymouth is currently the world’s top offshore racing owner-skipperMan of the Moment – Tom Kneen of Plymouth is currently the world’s top offshore racing owner-skipper

As for successful owner-skippers, they’ll be a dime-a-dozen at tonight’s First Centenary Dinner of the Shannon One Designs in the NYC. It has acquired the nickname of ‘First Centenary Dinner” because when the Centenary Year Programme was first being outlined by Class Chairman Philip Mayne and Honorary Secretary Naomi Algeo, they’d no idea what restriction would be in place as each major happening came up, so they pencilled in 5th March 2022 as “Centenary Dinner NYC”, as a Dublin venue makes sense early in the year, with so many SOD owners living in the Greater Dublin Area.

“Irish Sailing Central” – the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire is hosting two major events today“Irish Sailing Central” – the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire is hosting two major events today

But as they’d originally set a numbers limit at 110 to comply with the then-existing regulations, it was booked out within twelve hours. However, the National YC being renowned for its expandable feasts, apparently they’ve now been able to up the numbers while realising that some more Centenary Dinners will become necessary as the class reaches its traditional time of peak activity in August.

Hyper-sociability of times past……Shannon One Designs passing through Athlone Lock during their Long Distance Race down-Shannon from Lough Ree to Lough Derg.Hyper-sociability of times past……Shannon One Designs passing through Athlone Lock during their Long Distance Race down-Shannon from Lough Ree to Lough Derg.

And as for successful owner-skippers being a dime-a-dozen in any gathering of Shannon One Design owners, believe me you’re a successful owner-skipper if you can just manage to finish a race on Lough Derg or Lough Ree in a SOD when the big winds from the Atlantic are galloping in across Connacht…….

When the big winds come in from the Atlantic…….hairy sailing for Shannon One Designs on Lough DergWhen the big winds come in from the Atlantic…….hairy sailing for Shannon One Designs on Lough Derg

Published in W M Nixon
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The RC35 class look like putting up a great show at Royal Ulster Yacht Club’s Bangor Town Regatta in June. At the moment the regatta website says, “We look forward to seeing all the entries and will be posting the entry list as soon as possible”, but thanks to Robin Young, Chairman of the RC 35 Class who has listed his “current best idea” of boats planning to attend, we do know already that eight Scottish competitors plan to make the trip along with, he reckons, two Co. Down boats and possibly one from Dublin Bay. Competition in IRC 2 will be top class.

J109 No Worries (Jim Dervin) competing at Largs RegattaJ109 No Worries (Jim Dervin) competing at Largs Regatta Photo: Marc Turner

Among the eight Scottish visitors will be the 2021 winner of the RC 35 season-long Championship, Kevin and Debbie Aitken’s First 36.7 Animal, also 3rd at the last Town Regatta in 2018. John Stamp’s Corby 33, Jacob was runner up last time and Robin and Christine Murray’s First 35 Triple Elf, who finished 4th in 2018 is also hoping to be in Bangor. Fifth in 2018 was Charlie Frize’s Corby 33 Banshee and Robin Young’s J109 Jings, third in Class 2 at last year’s Scottish Series plans to be part of the strong Scottish contingent which includes Jono and Ben Shelley’s J109, so new to the class that it hasn’t been named yet, the J109 No Worries owned by Jim Dervin and John Mill’s Elan 37 Vamp. Taking on that formidable contingent will be the local Archambault 35, John Minnis’s Final Call II, and probably the Strangford based Ker 32 Hijacker (Stuart Cranston). Yet to show his hand is the 2018 IRC 2 winner Pat Kelly from Howth in the J109 Storm.

Final Call II (red genoa) and the IMX 38 ExcessionFinal Call II (red assymetric) and the IMX 38 Excession

John Minnis and the Final Call II team are pleased and excited to be racing in the June regatta; “I’m very proud to see RUYC host such a top-end event and all credit to the BTR team for their organisation of an exciting programme of racing over three days. The waters of Belfast Lough provide some of the very best yacht racing and it’s fantastic to see so many Scottish and Irish competitors making their respective passages to be at this event. I understand there will be more entries across the classes from Southern waters which is fantastic, I’m thrilled to see the RC35 Class creating such great competition”.

Robin Young’s J109 JingsRobin Young’s J109 Jings

And Robin Young says; “The RC35 class and owners are looking forward to getting back to Bangor for some great close racing in a fantastic piece of water and the fun shoreside hospitality."

Published in Bangor Town Regatta

County Wexford based company Marine Specialists Ltd completed mobilising their new 26-metre barge Cliodna in Bangor Harbour on Belfast Lough on Monday, February 7th.

Over the coming weeks, it will be inspected by the Maritime Coastguard Agency and prepared for sea. Cliodna will become a familiar sight off Ballywalter where she will be used to dig a trench through bedrock to accommodate the new 550m wastewater outfall.

Ballywalter lies on the North Down coast about eight miles east of Donaghadee. It has an amenity harbour with a few small fishing boats kept alongside the quay.

Marine Specialists Ltd have completed mobilising their new 26-metre barge Cliodna for works on Belfast LoughMarine Specialists Ltd have completed mobilising their new 26-metre barge Cliodna for works on Belfast Lough

The Ards North Wastewater Improvement Project represents an £18m investment by NI Water to upgrade the existing wastewater collection and treatment systems serving a large part of the Ards Peninsula. Wastewater will be treated to strict environmental standards at the new state-of-the-art wastewater treatment works being constructed off the Ganaway Road in the village and this will ensure excellent bathing water quality at local beaches.

For further information on the project click here

Published in Belfast Lough
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Forty years has passed since the first Spring Series in Ireland took place at Quoile Yacht Club in Northern Ireland. The club lies in the southwestern corner of Strangford Lough and at that time the event was shared with Down Cruising Club at Ballydorn just north of Whiterock in the northwest of the Lough. Since the 1980s the series has been held annually at Quoile Yacht Club.

Traditionally, the series started on the last Sunday in March and ran over five consecutive weekends, with an extensive social programme organised ashore. Spring weather was typically mixed with lovely sunshine one weekend and then snow flurries and sleet the next. Sailing Secretary Lucy Anderson says “This year we are delighted to be hosting the first racing on Strangford Lough on 30th April and 1st May at Quoile Yacht Club and sailors are pleased and excited to get afloat”. There will be two races on the Saturday and one on the Sunday.

Quoile Yacht Club lies in the southwestern corner of Strangford LoughQuoile Yacht Club lies in the southwestern corner of Strangford Lough

In the past, the event was hugely popular with some 30-40 boats. Lucy continues; “I would say 40-50 boats this year. There is always a good turnout for the first racing of the year and it is also after the Easter break so all the sailors will have plenty of time to work on their boats”.

"The event is open to IRC, NHC, NHCRS and Squibs"

In the past local boats were also supported by yachts from Belfast Lough, Lough Neagh, and Lough Erne. At that time there were no marinas in Belfast Lough, and traditionally many of the yachts came to Strangford at the end of August and spent the winter at anchor in Ringhaddy and other winter moorings. Today, Quoile Yacht Club Spring Series has been consolidated into one weekend. The event is open to IRC, NHC, NHCRS and Squibs - and the surging one design Impala fleet will be out in force on the Lough this year. Lucy adds “We expect a huge response from the nine other clubs around the Lough. It would be fantastic if we had boats from Belfast Lough participating”.

There will be a dinner on the Saturday night in the clubhouse for the visitors staying over and members, and breakfast will be served for everyone on the Sunday morning.

Artemis Technologies has opened a new facility in Belfast as it prepares to commence testing of its transformative new Artemis eFoiler(R) electric propulsion system.

The 42,200 sq ft facility in Titanic Quarter’s Channel Commercial Park, will house the company’s manufacturing and engineering teams as it brings to market a range of green technologies and vessels including workboats, passenger ferries, leisure craft, as well as Crew Transfer Vessels for the offshore wind sector.

The first test vessel to be powered by Artemis Technologies’ revolutionary Artemis eFoiler(R) electric propulsion system, an 11m workboat, is expected to take to the water in a matter of weeks.

Artemis Technologies Commercial Director David Tyler said:

“It’s incredibly exciting to announce a major milestone for Artemis Technologies, moving into our new facility here in Belfast Harbour. Right in the heart of the Titanic Quarter, and next to several of our Belfast Maritime Consortium partners.

“It is an important step forward in our mission to help deliver a sustainable maritime future and brings us closer to returning commercial shipbuilding to Belfast - one of the key drivers behind our decision to locate in Northern Ireland.

“From this new facility, we will be able to directly launch our first prototype vessel into the waters of Belfast and begin the crucial phase of real-life testing.

“What we will create here in Northern Ireland, we hope will create an impact on a global scale, providing commercially viable solutions that will help not just the UK, but countries across the world to realise their net zero targets.”

James Eyre, Commercial Director, Titanic Quarter added:

“We are delighted to welcome Artemis Technologies to Channel Commercial Park, which is one of Belfast’s largest and most versatile business parks. Situated in the heart of the city’s Innovation District, Titanic Quarter is home to a growing cluster of leading businesses who are pioneering solutions to combat global climate change and decarbonisation. We wish Artemis every success in their new facility here.”

Artemis Technologies Technical Director, Romain Ingouf commented:

“The Queen’s Island facility is going to allow us to turn our prototyping activities into a production line for the Artemis eFoiler(R) propulsion system. Over the next year or so we’ll need to double our workforce to support this activity.

We currently have two vessels here, our first Artemis eFoiler(R) propelled prototype, an 11m workboat, as well as an 11m sister ship, enabling us to bench mark our green propulsion system against a conventional gasoline propelled vessel.”

The development of the vessels is complemented by Artemis Technologies’ advanced simulator located at its Lisburn facility, which informs the design process pre-build to ensure a streamlined and efficient manufacturing project.

Established in 2017, Artemis Technologies is the lead partner of the Belfast Maritime Consortium, a 13-member syndicate which has brought together a range of established and young firms, academia and public bodies to design and build zero-emission high-speed ferries in the city.

The consortium was awarded £33 million by UKRI’s flagship Strength in Places Fund for the £60m project.

Published in Belfast Lough

Not too long ago the City of Belfast had turned its back on the River Lagan which enters Belfast Lough on the border between Counties Antrim and Down. But since 1989 when the Laganside Corporation began redevelopment of the surrounding area the transformation has been immense.

And this transformation has enhanced the location of The Belfast Barge, a visitor attraction with a maritime theme, as it lies at Lanyon Quay close to the Belfast Waterfront Hall and minutes from the city centre.

The vessel was built in the Netherlands in 1960 and named MV Confiance. In 2006 the Lagan Legacy charity brought it to Belfast (not without some difficulty as it’s flat bottomed) and after considerable work it opened in 2012 as a museum. But now, with the name changed to The Belfast Barge, it is much more than that, with events space, the museum, gallery, and dog-friendly café.

The Belfast Barge Photo: Susan DohertyThe Belfast Barge Photo: Susan Doherty

The world-renowned Harland & Wolff shipyard which since its establishment in 1861 has built over 2000 ships, offshore vessels and various stell structures, was situated downriver of the two bridges spanning the Lagan and after the shipbuilding ended the Barge managed to acquire many items such as archived plans which would otherwise have been dumped and these formed the basis of the museum collection.

BBC News has reported that manage Susan Doherty said the space would host maritime events, new bands and weddings. She added, “It’s a bit more of an event going on to a boat as to a run of the mill venue”.

The Belfast Barge is funded by the Heritage Lottery fund, Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Published in Belfast Lough
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The Clarendon Docks are the oldest remaining docks in Belfast Harbour, built in the 1800s by Belfast’s first commercial shipbuilder, William Ritchie. He originally set his shipyard up at the Old Lime Kiln Dock (inland from the present location) but Ritchie needed a dry dock, so Belfast Harbour agreed and Ritchie built it himself, completing it in 1800. Known as Ritchie’s Dock for years, it was later renamed Clarendon Dock No 1. The second Clarendon Dock was completed in 1826. These Victorian dry docks are no longer used but remain an important link to Belfast’s maritime past.

The docks lie on the west side of the River Lagan which flows through Belfast, opposite Titanic Belfast, and Belfast Harbour is bringing forward plans to develop an iconic Waterfront for the city which will border the Clarendon Docks and provide a safe year-round destination space for the people of the city and visitors. It is called City Quays Gardens.

Belfast City Quays Gardens

City Quays Gardens will integrate Belfast’s rich maritime heritage as a Port city into the design, creating a new green space. Features will include extensive planting and landscaping, events lawns, amphitheatre style seating and leisure and outdoor workspaces. It is understood that the proposed City Quays Gardens project will begin development in 2022 subject to planning approval.

Belfast Harbour says that the maritime-inspired design is influenced by the site’s unique industrial and shipbuilding heritage and the River Lagan waterside location. A series of feature seats and benches within the gardens will tell the story of Belfast Harbour. They will form focal points and form the beginnings of a City Quays Heritage Trail which will complement the wider Maritime Mile activity and improve connectivity to the city. The Maritime Mile is an award-winning initiative developed by Maritime Belfast Trust in association with the Belfast Harbour, Odyssey Trust and Titanic Quarter Limited. It connects the waterfront physically, recognising that the sum of its parts is much greater than the individual components.

City Quays Gardens will help create a ‘Clean, Green Port for Everyone’ and support the delivery of Belfast Harbour’s ‘Green Port’ ambitions. It will seek to fulfil sustainable travel objectives such as cycle connections and cycle parking/facilities and encourage sustainable transport use through the integration of public transport.

It is the first in several landmark developments which will be delivered in future phases by Belfast Harbour and will be the first One Planet Living development in Northern Ireland. One Planet Living seeks to create a world where everyone lives healthy happy lives within the limits of the planet.

Published in Belfast Lough
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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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