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Displaying items by tag: Laser

Racing at the ILCA7 (Laser Standard) World Championships was again postponed on Sunday 7th November 2021 due to light winds in Barcelona leaving just two races sailed out of the six originally scheduled for the series that began on Friday.

The fleet went afloat on Sunday morning as planned and while two races were started, both had to be abandoned as the already light breeze faded.

The qualification phase of the championship has now been extended into Monday for the 135-boat event that will eventually decide the Gold and Silver fleets for the final round that is due to conclude by Wednesday afternoon (10th November 2021).

Rio 2016 Olympian Finn Lynch of the National Yacht Club is currently fifth overall while Howth Yacht Club's Ewan McMahon is 19th overall from Saturday's two races.

Ireland also has two other sailors competing at Under 21 level. Tom Higgins of the Royal St. George YC lies 49th overall while Jamie McMahon (Howth YC), younger brother of Ewan is in 72nd place.

On Monday, the intention is to sail three races back-to-back for each fleet with a first warning gun at 0900hrs.

Published in Laser
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There was no wind or racing for day one of the Laser / ILCA 7 Worlds in Barcelona, Spain today. 

A four-boat Irish team, (details here) including 2016 Rio Olympian Finn Lynch, is hoping to break into the top 30 of one of the hottest fleets in the world. 

Lynch (National Yacht Club), Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) Ewan’s younger brother Jamie McMahon and Tom Higgins (Royal St George Yacht Club) are competing.

Three races are scheduled for Saturday with the first warning signal at 9:30.

Published in Laser
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The British Sailing Team have a strong Laser/ILCA 7 squad and have the last three European champions competing at the 2021 Laser /ILCA Standard Men's World Championship (ILCA 7)at the Barcelona International Sailing Centre starting on Friday.

Micky Beckett is racing fresh from his Euros win in Bulgaria in October and is joined by teammate and 2019 Euros winner Lorenzo Chiavarini. Team GB’s Tokyo 2020 sailor and 2020 European champion, Elliot Hanson, is also making his return to action following the Games. BST members Sam Whaley and Dan Whiteley are among five other Brits joining the start line.

The ILCA 7 fleet always boasts a stellar lineup from across the globe. The Brits will be looking to build on their phenomenal recent European Championships success and translate that on to the world stage coming up against a host of world and Olympic champions like Cypriot Pavlos Kontides and Germany’s Philip Buhl. The class has the strength and depth to put together a very strong start list for this event, and with mandatory chartered boats, the racing will be just as strong.

“I enjoyed a few days off after the Euros, the recovery time was really nice. This is the first World championships since Covid, so it's an exciting opportunity that I've been thinking about for a while. The ILCA Worlds are a 'mandatory charter' event so every competitor is provided a brand-new boat for the week, making it the levelest playing field you could imagine, the racing is really tough and unforgiving. Given the event is so late in the year and on the Mediterranean I think we're expecting lighter breezes, so the job for me is to try and get to the halfway point of the regatta in good shape and push from there.” – Micky Beckett.

“I'm excited to get back racing in Barcelona. I've only done one day in the boat since the Olympics a little under three months ago, so I have no expectations going in. For me, it's about hatching a plan from the ashes of my Tokyo campaign to try and win the Worlds next May. The fire inside is starting to burn again which is important before getting back in the boat, unfortunately, I suspect my legs will be burning more.” – Elliot Hanson

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Since the Laser/ILCA 7 dinghy made its Olympic debut 25 years ago, Ireland has sought a top 30 result at the annual World Championships.

There's the prospect of such a result at the Barcelona-hosted championship next week thanks to the current form of Irish Laser ace Finn Lynch, part of a new team bidding for Paris 2024.

Lynch, of the National Yacht Club, will be aiming to build on last month's seventh overall score at the European Championships in Bulgaria.

It's the first Worlds in this Olympic triennial. Hence, while the competition may arguably not be as red hot as the Olympic year itself, a Laser Worlds contest is never lukewarm. There are 139 entries from 44 countries.

The ILCA 7 fleet always boasts a stellar lineup from across the globe. The Brits will be looking to build on their recent European Championships success and translate that on to the world stage coming up against a host of world and Olympic champions like Cypriot Pavlos Kontides and Germany’s Philip Buhl. The class has the strength and depth to put together a very strong start list for this event, and with mandatory chartered boats, the racing will be just as strong.

As the number one Irish contender, Lynch is attempting to rebuild after his disappointment of failing to qualify for Tokyo 2020, so it's important he's on the right tack at the first opportunity.

World Championship results can be highly dependent on the stage of the four-year (or three for Paris) Olympic cycle. The standard builds typically from the Olympic Games and then peaks in the next pre-Olympic year (or maybe in the Olympic year itself if places are still up for grabs).

Howth's Ewan McMahonHowth's Ewan McMahon

Keep improving

Ireland's 1996 Laser representative, Mark Lyttle, a race winner in Atlanta when the Laser made its Olympic debut, says a typical campaign strategy is to 'bang a result early in the cycle and then keep improving your performance to keep results at the same level as the overall standard [of the fleet] improves.  If you start behind the cycle, you have to improve quicker than the fleet during cycle".

So, as Paris hoves into view, successful campaigns are already well up and running.

The Irish competition for the single place on the Marseille start line is already taking shape, and there have been changes since Tokyo in the Irish camp.

Howth's Ewan McMahon continues as Lynch's main rival but absent from the Barcelona starting lineup is long-time running mate, Ballyholme's Liam Glynn.

Royal St. George's Tom HigginsRoyal St. George's Tom Higgins

The former Topper World Champion is replaced by two relative greenhorns, McMahon's younger brother Jamie, who sampled his first senior competition in the silver fleet in Bulgaria a month ago, and Royal St George's Tom Higgins.

Howth's Jamie McMahon, younger brother of EwanHowth's Jamie McMahon, younger brother of Ewan

Mediterranean sailing

Typically, as air temperatures dip and the water stays warm lighter winds tend to prevail in the Mediterranean city at this time of year. Experts predicted winds in the 7 to 12 knots range for Friday, but other weather models are now looking windier.

The lighter stuff would help Higgins, who is proving quick in sub ten knots; for example, the Dun Laoghaire Harbour helmsman won a race at the Radial Europeans in Poland in 2020. 

Two races per day are scheduled from Friday at the Barcelona International Sailing Centre until Monday 8 November, when the fleet splits into Gold and Silver. The final series then continues until Wednesday, 10 November.

Make the cut

Coach Vasilij Žbogar, who was ushered in in 2018 with great fanfare to boost Irish Tokyo medal chances (only for Ireland not to qualify), is coaching again with the hope that Ireland can make the cut, at least, this time.

It might not be too popular to air it in some quarters, but despite 25 years of trying, Ireland has never finished in the top 30 of the World Championships. You have to go right back to the 'eighties to find any higher Irish results. In 1983 Lyttle finished 19th and Bill O'Hara 13th, a record, albeit achieved in pre-Olympic times, that stands to this day.

Lynch's own best Worlds performance is 31, scored in Melbourne in 2020 a position he also got in Aarhus, Denmark in 2018. 31st is also a result also achieved by his predecessor James Espey in Oman in 2013.

Lynch's Euros seventh in Bulgaria last month indicates the Carlow man is on a mission, so could Barcelona 2021 be a breakthrough for Irish Laser interests?

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The cut short Investwise Irish Youth Sailing National Championships on Cork Harbour had produced some clear winners in five classes regardless of today's Yellow Alert weather warning at Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Five titles were divided between Dublin and Cork sailors with the host club taking two crowns, the biggest haul of any single club with the 29er and Topper titles won by local sailors.

Both Laser titles go to Dublin, with Howth Yacht Club taking the ILCA 6 and the National Yacht Club winning in the ILCA 4.

The 420 title is shared by a combined Malahide and Wexford duo.

McMahon wins ILCA 6 but Crosbie's Reinstatement Makes it Close

ILCA 6 Champion - Eve McMahon of Howth

As Afloat reported earlier, the final results from Saturday’s long day afloat weren’t initially confirmed as two titles were eventually settled ashore in the protest room this morning.

On Saturday evening, a protest by ILCA6 (Laser Radial) overall leader Eve McMahon saw the Howth Yacht Club sailor extend her lead over Michael Crosbie of the Royal Cork YC when he was disqualified from Race 10 due to a port and starboard incident.

However, the Crosshaven sailor returned to the protest room on Sunday morning to have his result reinstated as McMahon had not informed the race committee of her protest on Saturday.

McMahon still emerged as ILCA6 Youth National Champion after the tie-break with Crosbie.

O'Shaughnessy & Dwyer Lift 29er Skiff Title 

29er Champions Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer (Royal Cork YC) Photo: Bob Bateman29er Champions - Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer (Royal Cork YC) Photo: Bob Bateman

Ben O’Shaughnessy and James Dwyer (Royal Cork YC) won the 29er skiff national title by a single point as Afloat reported here after a close contest with Tim Norwood and Nathan Van Steenberge from the Royal Irish YC and National YC respectively in their eleven strong demonstration class that immediately followed a European Championships campaign on Lake Garda last week.

The runners-up were also in the protest room on Sunday morning seeking redress for equipment failure in their second race of the series on Friday but their submission was ruled out of time.

Collins top Toppers, Newcomer Ledoux Wins 4.7s

Rian CollinsTopper Champion - Rian Collins of Royal Cork Photo: Bob Bateman

As Afloat reported earlier, Crosshaven’s Rian Collins won the 38-boat Topper class with a 12-point lead over his clubmate Dan O’Leary taking the runner-up place in their seven-race series. Bobby Driscoll's third overall kept the Belfast Lough Topper flag flying.

Sam Ledoux of the National YCILCA 4 Champion - Sam Ledoux of the National YC Photo: Bob Bateman

The Topper fleet shared the same course as the ILCA4 (Laser 4.7) class, the second largest of the event with 31 boats where a newcomer to the class, Sam Ledoux of the National YC, emerged youth national champion. 

Five wins Give McDowell & Thompson the 420 Title

420  champions - Jack McDowell and Henry Thompson Photo: Bob Bateman420 champions - Jack McDowell and Henry Thompson Photo: Bob Bateman

The Malahide and Wexford Harbour pairing of Jack McDowell and Henry Thompson continued their three-day lead of the 420 class to win comfortably as Afloat reports here over Eoghan Duffy with Conor Paul of Lough Ree YC in a disappointingly small nine boat class.

Published in Youth Sailing

Not even a race disqualification can stop the march of Youth World Radial champion Eve McMahon at Royal Cork Yacht Club

The Under 18 star from Howth Yacht Club heads a mixed fleet of 30 boys and girls racing for youth national honours in Cork Harbour, where a place at the Oman World Sailing Championships this December is at stake.

After losing her overnight lead due to an opening day race disqualification, McMahon regained her overall lead of the ILCA6 (Laser Radial) division but only after a tiebreak from the chasing Michael Crosbie of the host club.

As well as an impressive scoreline that includes four strikes from ten races, McMahon has also found herself involved in three protests (either as an initiator or respondent) in the championships so far. Details here

Conor Galligan of the NYC rasing at the Youth Nationals Conor Galligan of the NYC rasing at the Youth Nationals

Crosbie was disqualified from the last race of the day, returning McMahon to a comfortable seven-point cushion at the top of the 30-boat fleet. 

Meanwhile, Jonathan O'Shaughnessy, the 2021 Radial National Champion who impressed at October's Eurocup, but got off to a poor star on Friday has moved up the rankings to third overall but still eight points behind Crosbie. Results below.

The fleet spent at least six hours on the water with racing delayed waiting for breeze to arrive, plus an extra race was added to the daily schedule.

The extra race was added in anticipation of strong winds on Sunday and fears of a blowout.

 ILCA 6/Radial Sailed: 10, Discards: 1, To count: 9, Entries: 30 ILCA 6/Radial Sailed: 10, Discards: 1, To count: 9, Entries: 30 

National's Ledoux Still leads 4.7s 

Sam Ledoux of the National YC leads the ILCA4 (Laser 4.7) fleet with 31 boats. After seven races sailed, the Dun Laoghaire Harbour campaigner has extended his lead on Royal St. George rival Matteo Ciaglia and now has a six-point margin. Royal Cork's Mauro G Regueral Nogguerol scoresheet has been updated to remove an earlier DNF from race two, a decision that puts the Spaniard into third overall. 

ILCA 4 Sailed: 7, Discards: 1, To count: 6, Entries: 32ILCA 4 Sailed: 7, Discards: 1, To count: 6, Entries: 32

Racing is scheduled for Sunday, but a forecast for strong winds looks set to cut the championships short.

Update Sunday 09.24: Due to current wind conditions and forecast, the race committee has decided to cancel sailing for the day. Prizegiving at 10 am in the marquee

ILCA 4 & 6 Day Three Youth Nationals Photo Gallery By Bob Bateman 

Published in Laser

Royal Cork's Jonathan O'Shaughnessy and Michael Crosbie, who put in a strong showing at the Laser Europa Cup in Hyeres, France, are the favourites for youth honours this Thursday in Cork Harbour.

O'Shaughnessy finished just outside the important top ten in 11th and Crosbie 21st in a tense edition of the Under-18 test.

More than 260 sailors participated in the French regatta, and full results are here.

Radial racing in Cork HarbourRadial racing in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

It's a result that confirms O'Shaughnessy, who took the Radial National title in August, and Crosbie, who was the winner of the Kinsale Laser end of Season Regatta in October, as favourites for the Investwise Youth Sailing Nationals at Royal Cork later this week. 

Rocco Wright (Howth YC)Rocco Wright (Howth YC) Photo: Bob Bateman

It'll be a new look Radial fleet in Cork with some new names into the fleet, including Rocco Wright (Howth YC), who dominated the 4.7 National Championships back in August.

Michael CrosbieMichael Crosbie Photo: Bob Bateman

New names into 4.7s

As well as some high profile departures from the ILCA4 (Laser 4.7s), there's also some new entries into the class.

Sienna Wright (Howth YC) and Hannah Dadley-Young (Ballyholme YC) are now racing 4.7s along with Daniel Palmer (Ballyholme YC), who's moved in from the Topper class, along with Mauro G Regueral Noguerol (RCYC).

Four-course areas will operate in Cork Habour Aghada, Curlane Bank, Cuskinny and Roches Point with an 11-race schedule for the ILCA 6/Laser class.

Racing begins on Thursday, October 28th, and as well as deciding national honours, the event serves as the second part of a qualifications system to determine Ireland's representative at the Youth World Sailing Championships in Oman this December.

Published in Youth Sailing

Michael Beckett has become the third Brit in as many years to claim the ILCA 7/Laser class European title.

Beckett, who has twice come runner up at the Euros, in 2018 and 2020, led the week-long regatta in Varna, Bulgaria, from the opening day and sealed victory with a race to spare.

It was turned out to be a top venue for Irish campaigner Finn Lynch of Dun Laoghaire who earned a top ten result, his best so far, as Afloat reported here. And for Howth youth sensation Eve McMahon who took a race win and finished 15th overall.

As well as being Beckett’s first European Championships title, it’s the third successive win for Brits in the ILCA 7 class (formerly the Laser), and the fourth in five years.

Rio 2016 Olympian Nick Thompson was the European champion in 2017 and 2019, while his Tokyo 2020 successor Elliot Hanson was top in 2020.

Beckett said he’d been spurred on after relinquishing the lead at a regatta earlier in the year in the final race.

“The last event I did I lost the event lead in the final race after leading all week, and I found it a very tough experience,” said Beckett, 26, from Solva in Pembrokeshire.

“Over the summer I’ve really pulled apart a lot about my technique, fitness and general approach to try and make myself better and more consistent in regattas like this.

“I couldn’t be happier with how this event has gone. It feels like a huge amount of vindication for those changes I decided to make.

“It’s always difficult to back myself to make changes without knowing exactly if it’s a good idea or not, but the way I sailed this week I never panicked despite some really loose conditions, I stayed calm and enjoyed it.”

Beckett paid tribute to long-serving coach Chris Gowers for developing a powerful squad that consistently performs at the highest level, as well as his British Sailing Team colleagues.

“Chris is a very discreet guy but he’s been fantastic this week helping me in the right ways – and now he can say he has coached four of his sailors to four European titles in just five years, which I think is an incredible thing,” he added.

“We have a fantastic squad culture, winning the Europeans this week is a great reflection of the work that everyone in the squad has done. Without the guys pushing me all the time I would never be able to develop the skills to pull off something like this so I’m also really grateful to them.”

2020 bronze medallist Lorenzo Chiavarini was seventh, while teammates Daniel Whiteley and Sam Whaley came home 13th and 22nd respectively, both posting their best ever results at a European championships.

In the ILCA 6 fleet, Daisy Collingridge scored a personal best finishing seventh and top Brit. Hannah Snellgrove was 16th and Matilda Nicholls 20th.

“I feel like I’ve been on the brink of putting in a good performance for a while and I’m so happy to see it all come together,” said Collingridge, 22, from Waldringfield, Suffolk. “It was a really tough week conditions-wise but I managed to stay relatively consistent throughout. I’m massively looking forward to seeing what the future holds.”

The focus now turns to the world championships, taking place in Barcelona in early November for the men’s fleet and in Oman in early December for the women’s fleet.

Full results from the regatta can be found here.

Published in Laser
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Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Laser dinghy class ended their summer season with a bang, hosting over 80-boats in a five-race one-day regatta where some exciting new talent emerged.

80 Lasers racing in Dublin Bay on a sunny Saturday afternoon in October is an unusual sight in a normal year. These past two seasons have been far from normal for most sailors, but the Laser dinghy class has gone from strength to strength nationally.

At times during lockdown in 2020, single-handed dinghies were the only access for sailors to local waters. The fifty-year-old Laser class benefited greatly from this and has continued to attract and retain new sailors throughout 2021. The Irish Laser Masters championship hosted by the Royal St. George Yacht Club in June broke records with the highest attendance in the event’s history. Other regional and national events throughout the season were also seeing record attendances.

The final event of the season in Dun Laoghaire was this weekend’s Grant Thornton Sprint Regatta hosted by the Royal St. George Yacht Club. This novel regatta format saw race officer Richard Kissane serve up five races in quick succession for each of the three Laser fleets. Light and shifty wind conditions made his job particularly challenging as his team set down a trapezoid course. Ever-calm, Kissane was not phased and he delivered 15 race starts in just over three hours.

Rocco Wright (right) with Royal St. George Commodore Richard O'ConnorHowth's Rocco Wright (right) with Royal St. George Commodore Richard O'Connor

The event saw some new talent emerge into the Laser fleet, most notably in the junior section. Howth’s Rocco Wright who raced for the first time this season in a 4.7, sat into the larger Radial rig for this event. The lighter airs clearly suited him and he took home Gold against a strong fleet including national champion Jonathan O'Shaughnessy from Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Royal St. George’s Matteo CiagliaRoyal St. George’s Matteo Ciaglia

Meanwhile, in the 4.7 fleet, the Royal St. George’s Matteo Ciaglia who also competed for the first time in this fleet took home Gold for the Dun Laoghaire club. Christian Ennis from the National Yacht Club took Silver, while the George’s Jessica Riordan took third overall and first female.

Peter FaganRoyal St George's Peter Fagan

The Standard fleet served up a real treat with local sailors Tom Higgins and Peter Fagan going head to head for the entire event. Higgins took first blood, winning the opening race with Fagan then taking the second race. By race three, it had become a spectacle in match racing between the pair. Ultimately, two third place finishes killed off Higgins’ chances. Fagan took Gold with Higgins in second and Tralee Bay Sailing Club’s Paddy Cunnane taking bronze.

Event organiser, Brendan Hughes of the Royal St. George Yacht Club suggested that the interest in Saturday’s event was as much to do with format as the overall growth of Lasers. “Sailors are really enjoying the sprint format and also having the opportunity to participate in a competitive fleet on a single day. Each race was between 25 and 30 minutes in duration which on a trapezoid course means there is intense competition and opportunity to win or lose places.” said Hughes. “Clearly the format is worth repeating with fleets travelling for this event from as far and wide as Tralee, Cork and Sligo. We’ll definitely be doing more of these in future.”

Full results available here.

Published in RStGYC

The National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch got his Laser/ILCA 7 campaign for Paris 2024 off to a flying start in Bulgaria this week by taking seventh overall – a personal best – at the European Championships in Varna today.

Lynch's rivals for the single Irish Olympic spot in three years time were also competing. Ewan McMahon of Howth finished in 21st and Liam Glynn of Ballyholme in 44th.

Lynch's result eclipses his owner personal best performance at a Euros. That, as Afloat reported here, is the 13th scored in Poland last year. 

Ewan McMahonEwan McMahon

Jamie McMahon competing in his first senior event in the Standard rig raced in the Silver fleet in VarnaJamie McMahon competing in his first senior event in the Standard rig raced in the Silver fleet in Varna

Jamie McMahon finished in 17th place in the Men's Silver Fleet.

It was the third Gold medal in a row for the British team at the Senior Europeans, with Michael Beckett GBR becoming the new 2021 champion. It’s the third medal for him at the Senior Europeans after winning Silver in 2018 in La Rochelle and also Silver the last year in Gdansk, where the Brits conquered the podium.

Silver this time was for Croatian Filip Jurisic CRO, winning a Senior European medal for the first time.

Jonatan Vadnai HUN completed the podium, taking the Bronze medal also the first one for him at the Senior Europeans.

Just 1.8 points far from the podium was Russian Maxim Nikolaev RUS on fourth. 2018 Senior European champion Pavlos Kontides CYP was fifth.

Lorenzo Chiavarini GBR, Lynch IRL, Duko Bos, Wannes Van Laer BEL and William De Smet BEL completed the 2021 EurILCA Senior Europeans Top 10.

Results are here 

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Page 3 of 61

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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