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Displaying items by tag: Larne

It was back to dinghy racing at the Larne club, East Antrim, for the May Day regatta on Sunday 2nd under current NI Covid restrictions.

There was a good turnout of 21 in four classes – Optimist, Toppers, Single and Double Handers.

The Doig family dominated the Oppies and Toppers, with four members in the Optimist and Toppers. Freddie was the first Optimist with three bullets, and Fraser won the Toppers coincidentally with the same score. Tom Coulter took first in a Laser Radial with another Doig, Gavin, runner up in the ten single Handers. Zoe Whitford and Kelly Patterson in a 29er won the Double Hander fleet, which included three Flying Fifteens.

Tom Coulter racing in the Laser Radial at EABC Photo: Sue KitsonTom Coulter racing in the Laser Radial at EABC Photo: Sue Kitson

Sunday racing continues through until September.

With the Easter holidays now begun in Northern Ireland, Larne RNLI is encouraging anyone planning to visit the coast to know the risks to protect themselves and their families and to heed key sea safety advice.

Larne RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew have returned to training in the last month with Covid-19 protocols in place and have already seen an increase in the number of people using the coastline for exercise and using beaches and bays for open-water swimming.

The station has remained operational throughout the pandemic and will continue to launch around the clock where there is a risk to life.

Ahead of the Easter break, Allan Dorman, Larne RNLI lifeboat operations manager, reminded people who are planning to be by the sea to always respect the water.

“Coastal areas provide a great opportunity to enjoy fresh air and open space but it is important to remember it can be an unpredictable and dangerous environment, particularly during spring and early summer when air temperatures may be warm but water temperatures remain dangerously cold, increasing the risk of cold water shock,” he said.

“We are reminding anyone planning to enter the water to follow the latest government guidelines on what you are allowed to do and where and to take extra care and avoid unnecessary risks as early season conditions are more challenging.

“Basic precautions can greatly reduce the risk of getting into difficulty whatever your activity and improve your chance of being found quickly should you find yourself in trouble.”

For activities like kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, the RNLI recommends you carry a means of calling for help, such as a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch, and that you ensure you are wearing the right kit for the water temperature.

“A wetsuit will keep you warm and help you float in an emergency although wearing an appropriate buoyancy aid or lifejacket is still vital,” Dorman said. “For open-water swimmers and dippers, please also remember to acclimatise slowly and be visible with a brightly coloured hat.

“When you are going to visit a beach or are going near the water, we recommend that you go with a friend who can call for help should the need arise. If you plan on going into the water, we advise that you go as a pair with someone on the shore who can act as a spotter to call for assistance if needed.

“Always make sure that you have a means to contact someone on the shore if you are going out on a boat or kayak and ensure that your equipment is fully operational especially if it is the first time for it to be used this year after winter and the lockdown period.

“Should you get into difficulty or see someone in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

The RNLI’s key safety advice is:

  • Check weather forecasts, tide times and any local hazard signage to understand local risks
  • Take care if walking or running near cliffs — know your route and keep dogs on a lead.
  • Carry a fully charged phone
  • If you get into trouble in the water, float to live: fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs and float.
  • In an emergency, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard

For further information on how to keep safe by the sea, visit rnli.org/safety

Published in Water Safety
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Larne Harbour on the east coast of Antrim in Northern Ireland is currently the base for the MPI Resolution, the world's first purpose-built vessel for installing offshore wind turbines, foundations, and transition pieces.

The ship is working out of Larne to provide Operations and Maintenance services to the UK west coast wind farms and has been using Larne as the base port for these operations.

The 2003-built vessel is 130 metres in length overall and has a 38-metre beam.

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Two adults and a child were rescued this morning (Sunday 9 August) by Larne RNLI after their small RIB broke down near Magheramore in Co Antrim.

The volunteer crew launched the smaller in-shore lifeboat, Terry, at 11.05am and made their way in calm seas towards the scene.

All three on the casualty vessel were found to be safe and well, and a tow was establish to return the RIB to the harbour at Ballylumford.

Inshore lifeboat helm Chris Dorman said: “The casualties did the right thing. They were trying out this piece of equipment and realised that something wasn’t quite right with it, so they contacted the coastguard for assistance.

“Everyone onboard was wearing a lifejacket and they had means to contact the shore in case of emergency.”

He added: “If you see anyone in difficulties at sea, the dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Larne RNLI rescued a jet skier who had fallen into the water off the Co Antrim coast and couldn’t get back onto his craft.

The volunteer crew launched the in-shore lifeboat Terry just after 8pm on Tuesday evening and reached the casualty just north of Tweeds Port slipway within minutes.

The man, who had been in the water for 30 minutes, was recovered into the lifeboat and checked to make sure he wasn’t suffering from his time in the water.

He was then brought back to shore at Tweeds Port and handed over to the care of the NI Ambulance Service. The lifeboat crew then returned to the water to recover the jet ski.

Philip Ford-Hutchinson, Larne RNLI’s deputy launching authority, said: “The casualty was lucky as cold water shock can set in when you are submerged for any amount of time and in any season. Please, when using the water, respect the water.”

Elsewhere, Skerries RNLI had a busy start to the week as they responded to two separate callouts within two hours.

Skerries RNLI towing a broken-down jet ski ashore (RNLI/Gerry Canning)Skerries RNLI towing a broken-down jet ski ashore | RNLI/Gerry Canning

The lifeboat first launched on Sunday (26 July) shortly after 2pm to return two men on a jet ski safely back to shore after they suffered mechanical difficulties off Colt Island.

Then just two hours later the volunteers were called upon alongside the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 and Skerries coastguard unit to carry out a search for a swimmer in distress in the same area, between Colt Island and St Patrick’s Island.

Following a thorough search, and the crew speaking to numerous kayakers in the area, Dublin Coast Guard was satisfied that it was a false alarm with good intent and the helicopter and lifeboat were stood down.

Speaking later, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “It’s days like this that you really see the dedication of our volunteer crews.

“Some of them were still on the harbour following the first call out when their pagers sounded the second time. This meant that we could launch quite quickly to what was potentially a serious incident. Thankfully in both cases it was a good outcome.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Members of the Larne club will welcome its General Committee’s decision to make the most of the lockdown easing, for hot on the heels of RYA NI advice that Step 2 of the Northern Ireland Executive’s Pathway to Recovery has now been reached, dinghy racing will re-start. Although indoor restrictions remain in place, groups of up to 10 people are now allowed to meet outdoors.

The RYA Volvo champion club was established in 1950 on Larne Lough and has been associated principally with the GP14 class. Among the well-known sailors in that class were Johnny McWilliam, Curly Morris, Paul Rowan, Tom Jobling and the Fekkes brothers. Mirrors and Optimists were popular with the young sailors and now the up and coming helms sail Lasers and Toppers. There is a cruiser-racer fleet as well, moored in the shelter lough just off the club.

The plan is to begin a new series on the first Sunday in July. Today (21st June) and the following Sunday (28th June) will be used as trial races to work through any issues that may arise.

Guidelines will include the size of groups starting at different times, ie juniors and adults, and double and single handers, with each start limited to no more than 10 competitors.

If more than 10 people wish to take part, priority will be given to those who have been involved in the most Sunday races in the last 12 months. Changing rooms will remain closed and competitors will arrive in their sailing gear or get changed in the yard if they are comfortable doing so.

The slipway will be split in two to allow for the use of both the dinghy and keelboat slipways simultaneously and there will be committee boat starts with safety boats manned by members of the same household where possible.

Racing will not take place if the Race Officer deems the conditions to be Inappropriate and competitors are urged to be more thorough in pre-race checks of their equipment to reduce the risk of failure.

The Committee stresses that Covid-19 is still a very real threat and says “We are far from returning to normal. We are fortunate in that dinghy racing is an outdoor activity that is socially distant by nature. We would ask that all members respect the measures in place which will hopefully mean that we can continue with an official series in July. The onus is on each of us as individuals to ensure that this is possible”. The Procedures and Risk Assessment are here

Larne RNLI searched for a dog today (Thursday 9 April) when it was reported missing after falling over a cliff near Muck Island, close to Islandmagee in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard to search the area north of the Gobbins cliffs.

The inshore lifeboat, Terry, under helm Dave Sommerville and two other crew members, launched at 9.39am and made their way to the requested search area.

Weather conditions were favourable with a calm sea and good visibility.

The Portmuck mobile coastguard team were searching from the top of the cliffs but were unable to get a clear view of the rocks nearer the water.

A volunteer crew member was put onto these rocks, where it was safe to do so, in order to conduct a search of the area. In places it was not possible to put a crew member onto the rocks, so a shoreline search was conducted.

After searching roughly one mile north and south of the location, the decision was made to stand down by the coastguard as nothing had been sighted.

Speaking following the callout, Larne deputy launching authority Philip Ford-Hutchinson said: “The concern always for a callout of this nature is that owners will try and rescue their pets themselves and in turn get into difficulty and get hurt.

“With the current Covid-19 pandemic, we would urge people who live near the coast and wish to exercise there to be cautious and watch their footing.

“Our lifeboat remains on call and operational, but our lifeboat crew are not training with the current restrictions and the station remains closed to visitors.

“Therefore, we would advise people to stay away from the water and carry out the Government’s advice.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Larne RNLI’s volunteers diverted from their crew assessments on Sunday morning (2 February) to assist a person on a nine-metre motor boat which had broken down near Ballygally in Co Antrim.

Launching at around 10.15am into a calm sea, the all-weather lifeboat Dr John McSparran made its way to the casualty boat where a volunteer crew member was put aboard to assess its pilot, who was safe and well.

A tow line was then established so that the casualty boat could be towed into East Antrim Boat Club to be put onto a mooring.

Larne’s inshore lifeboat Terry met the casualty vessel in Larne Harbour, where the tow line was passed across and an alongside tow was carried out to allow the casualty to tie up on its mooring at the boat club.

Speaking following the callout, Larne RNLI lifeboat operations manager Allen Dorman said: “We had a good turnout from our crew today as we had been planning to do some assessments, but it was great to see how the crew reacted when the call came in.

“Everyone knew what they had to do and acted accordingly and were delighted to help the vessel's owner. I’m also pleased to say that the assessments were carried out after the call out and everyone passed.”

Larne RNLI coxswain Frank Healy added: “I was pleased to see the casualty was wearing appropriate safety equipment when we arrived and would like to remind anyone thinking of going onto the water to check that their boat is fully operational and that they have appropriate safety equipment onboard.

“If you do get into trouble at sea remember to call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Larne RNLI launched at 3.50pm on Saturday (18 January) to assist a RIB which had lost engine power half a mile south of Muck Island.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard to the nine-metre RIB with three people on board which had been losing engine power.

The all-weather lifeboat, Dr John McSparran, launched into a slight swell with light levels decreasing as the night closed in.

The lifeboat reached the anchored casualty boat and a volunteer crew member was put on board to establish a tow rope so that the lifeboat could bring the casualty boat into Carrickfergus Harbour.

One of the casualties from the boat was transferred to the lifeboat for some respite from the cold conditions of the open water.

Upon reaching Carrickfergus, the casualty boat was handed into the care of the Portmuck Coastguard team.

Larne RNLI lifeboat operations manager Allan Dorman said: “The casualty boat did the right thing by dropping their anchor and calling for help at the earliest opportunity.

“Being able to find the boat in daylight made it much easier for our volunteer crew to establish the tow and bring them into the safety of Carrickfergus Harbour.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#Rowing: Ireland international Monika Dukarska won in the women’s single, double and coxed quadruple for Killorglin at the Irish Offshore Rowing Championships in Ballygally, Larne, on Saturday. Rough weather in the morning forced the organisers to alter the course. The men’s coxed quad was won by a composite crew which featured Niall O’Toole. Patrick Boomer of Loughros Point won the men’s single.

Irish Offshore Championships, Saturday, Ballygally, Larne (Selected Results; winners)

Men

Quadruple, coxed: Wicklow, Killurin, Ring 16 min 54 sec.

Double: UL Tyrian 19:41.

Single: Loughros Point (P Boomer) 20:27.

Women

Quadruple, coxed: Killorglin 19:05.

Double: Killorglin A (M Dukarska, R O’Donoghue) 19:50.

Single: Killorglin (M Dukarska) 20:39.

Mixed

Double: Arklow A 20:17.

Published in Coastal Rowing
Page 1 of 7

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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