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#Rowing: Sanita Puspure says it was harder to defend her World Rowing Championship title that it was to win it for the first time. "Mentally I think [it was harder]. Everyone is looking at you. You're the one to beat and you're like 'oh stop now' but that's what it was. You just try to ignore it as best you can.”

Puspure, an ambassdor for Indeed, the partner of Team Ireland, was speaking in Dublin after her win in the singles sculls at the World Rowing Championships in Austria. She also qualified the boat for the 2020 Olympic Games.  

The world champion spoke about the programme which has brought her along. “We have a really good nutritionist, Sharon Madigan, working with us, making sure we're fueling properly for the loads we're doing. That's made a massive difference. I used to get ill quite a lot while training whereas now I occasionally get a head cold. The training is way more consistent."

 Her competition schedule during the summer was hit by the illness and subsequent death of her sister Inese. Puspure competed at the European Championships (she won), but missed the final World Cup regatta in Rotterdam.

 “(Inese) was getting worse rapidly, so I went over for a few days and then I was home for a little bit. And then I was in Latvia for three weeks and she passed away the same week the World Cup was on.

 "It was scary because I had very mixed emotions. I thought I should be at home training but at the same time, I wanted to spend some quality time with my sister because I knew she was going to pass away soon.

 "It was really hard being so conflicted within myself and not knowing what to do. Because of that, the medal has very high value. And we just needed something nice to happen."

 She paid tribute to her sport pyschologist, Kate Kirby.

 "Even if it was just to seal the qualifying place, I should be happy with that. And there were times when I thought if I just qualify I'll be fine. But then a few hours I'll be 'no I won't be fine, I don't want to just qualify. I want to repeat what I did last year or even just get on a podium.' It was a difficult time but I'm really glad we got on the other side of it."

 The new programme in this Olympic cycle also capitalised on the strengths she had and built her self-belief, which had not always been strong.

 “Yeh, I think a bit of a lack of self belief, definitely.” She was lucky to have  “great physiology” but it may have been better technique and the “harsh training we started two years ago that really kind of gave the confidence”.

 She also paid tribute to her family and her supportive team-mates.

 Team Ireland has updates and behind the scenes action: @IndeedIreland #TalentUnleashed.

Published in Rowing

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!