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Displaying items by tag: Shannon Estuary

When it came to painting the new St Ayles skiff Ealu built by Seol Sionnas (the owners of the much-admired traditional cutter Sally O’Keeffe) under the direction of Steve Morris in Kilrush Boatyard, it was “No Contest” as regards décor choice. For County Clare the Banner County shares the same distinctive blue and bright yellow colours with beleaguered Ukraine.

And as it happens, there are three Ukrainian girls staying in Kilrush who were keen to help with the painting job. The result is one very smart-looking craft whose attractive handling characteristics and performance potential eloquently explain why the numbers of this special Iain Oughtred design have reached more than 400 boats worldwide.

The new St Ayles skiff Ealu makes the traditional Kilrush maiden voyage of a sunwise circuit of the Holy Island of Scattery in the Shannon Estuary, rowing at “a comfortable four knots”. Photo: Trea HeapsThe new St Ayles skiff Ealu makes the traditional Kilrush maiden voyage of a sunwise circuit of the Holy Island of Scattery in the Shannon Estuary, rowing at “a comfortable four knots”. Photo: Trea Heaps

Ealu recently had the traditional Kilrush maiden voyage of a sunwise circuit of Scattery Island, and demonstrated that she can comfortably maintain a cruising rowing speed of four knots, so now “some fairly serious expeditions” are being planned with the able Sally O’Keeffe as support vessel.

The ultimate multi-tasker – Kilrush master shipwright James Madigan worked on the restoration of the Ilen and sailed on her, he is currently involved in the restoration of the Dublin Bay 21 Class, and he took time out to work in building Ealu, and is seen here rowing on the bow oar. Photo: Trea HeapsThe ultimate multi-tasker – Kilrush master shipwright James Madigan worked on the restoration of the Ilen and sailed on her, he is currently involved in the restoration of the Dublin Bay 21 Class, and he took time out to work in building Ealu, and is seen here rowing on the bow oar. Photo: Trea Heaps

Published in Coastal Rowing

Last weekend, the J24 National Championships took place at Foynes Yacht Club on the Shannon Estuary. 18 boats took part in the event drawn from all over the country.

Thursday evening was very busy with boats being launched and some final adjustments being made. Registration and Weigh-in also took place that evening, with a few having to run a marathon and have saunas to make the final cut, but perseverance prevailed, and everybody was at their target weight of 400 kgs in time for the first race on Friday morning!!

Foynes Yacht Club's U25 J24 team were very busy making and selling sandwiches every morning before racing, with the proceeds going towards the upkeep of their J24 Jasper.

Friday was an extremely tricky day on the water for the J24sFriday was an extremely tricky day on the water for the J24s

At the outset, Commodore John Paul Buckley welcomed everyone to Foynes Yacht Club and wished fair and safe sailing to all competitors and hoped that it would be an enjoyable event both on and off the water. Mark Usher, President of the J24 Association, said a few words on behalf of the J24 Association, and Derek Bothwell, Race Officer, gave the briefing.

Race Officer Derek Bothwell from HowthRace Officer Derek Bothwell from Howth

Eight races were held over the weekend, three races on Friday, four races on Saturday and one on Sunday. Friday was an extremely tricky day on the water. The wind was light and shifty, making it difficult for OOD Derek Bothwell and his Mark Layers to set courses. However, they did prevail and managed to run three races. Saturday and Sunday brought a much steadier breeze.

Sam Byrne and the Howth Headcase crew with the J/24 National Championship Trophy at Foynes Yacht ClubSam Byrne and the Howth Headcase crew with the J/24 National Championship Trophy at Foynes Yacht Club

Headcase (Howth Yacht Club) were the overall winners of the J24 National Championships 2022.

It has been a great year for Headcase so far this year, winning the UK J24 Nationals and the Kiel Regatta in Germany. In their prizegiving speech, Sam Byrne stated that they loved coming to Foynes Yacht Club, and that the standard of racing was one of the best. He complimented the Race Management, the onshore support, and the great hospitality.

Taking second place were the Kerry boys, Janx Spirit from Tralee Bay Sailing Club, and third place went to El Rico, Lough Erne Yacht Club, all the way from Enniskillen.

Silver fleet winners Kinsalor (Kinsale Yacht Club) won the U25 categorySilver fleet winners Kinsalor (Kinsale Yacht Club) won the U25 category

Kinsalor (Kinsale Yacht Club) won the U25 category and took first in the Silver Fleet. Foynes Yacht Club's U25 Jasper came second in the U25 category.

J24 2022 Irish Championships results are below

Published in J24
Tagged under

Sally O'Keeffe, the 25ft re-interpretation of the Shannon Estuary's traditional sail-driven cargo-carrying cutters which could usefully find their way into the smallest ports along both sides of the majestic waterway, is this year celebrating ten years of quietly useful service afloat.

It takes an effort to accept this time span, for her very complete and jaunty appearance still seems as fresh as a daisy. Yet it's a decade and more since naval architect Myles Stapleton of Malahide put his own characterful and stylish interpretation on the brief from the Querrin Community Group on the Loop Head Peninsula. They hoped to re-capture the spirit of a little ship which had been key to their area's well-being, and with Steve Morris of Kilrush to guide the building project in a farm
shed at Queerin, the result exceeded all expectations.

A well-balanced hull shape. Regardless of the sail trim, Sally O'Keeffe remains light on the tiller. Photo: Con EganA well-balanced hull shape. Regardless of the sail trim, Sally O'Keeffe remains light on the tiller. Photo: Con Egan

As a "Boat of the People", Sally O'Keeffe has become a familiar sight at many Shannonside ports large and small, and she has been much-admired when taking part in the Wooden Boat Festival at Baltimore, and the Cruinnui na mBad at Kinvara in Galway Bay. These photos taken by Con Egan while on mark-boat duty at the recent WIORA Championship at Kilrush tell us why people like sailing the Sally so much. There are some gaff cutters which hang heavy on their helm when there's a bite to the breeze. But in these images, you'll note that despite the varied conditions and the different rig set-ups, Sally's tiller is sweetly fore-and-aft as evidence of her well-balanced hull.

Smokin' along....Sally cutting a dash with a bone in her teeth near a couple of contenders in the WIORA Championship at Kilrush. Photo: Con EganSmokin' along....Sally cutting a dash with a bone in her teeth near a couple of contenders in the WIORA Championship at Kilrush. Photo: Con Egan

Published in Shannon Estuary

The final day of racing in the WIORA West Coast Championships in Kilrush, Principal Race Officer, John Leech, postponed the start of racing by one hour to allow a front to pass through. When racing did get underway on the Shannon Estuary it was decided to run one long race with each class doing four rounds, the spinnaker classes on an Olympic course and the white sails classes on a triangle course.

It was tough and challenging conditions both for the race management team and competitors and John Leech must be commended for getting in the third race to constitute the series. Winds were westerly in excess of 20kts with strong gusts and passing squalls throughout the day. Racing took place in some shelter east of Scattery Island which provided a beautiful spectacle for the many spectators lining the shore.

In Class One it was John Gordon’s X-332 X-Rated at the fore in the heavy conditions taking the Echo Overall prize home to Mayo Sailing Club and they also won the Aki Trophy for the long race. The well campaigned Farr 31, Tribal, from Galway Bay Sailing Club, owned by Liam Burke, took home first place in Class One IRC for the second year in a row.

Class Two was dominated by Darragh McCormack from Foynes Yacht Club on an Albin Express, Relativity, who won in both IRC and Echo classes.

Janx Spirit Overall WIORA winners at KilrushJanx Spirit Overall WIORA winners at Kilrush

In Class Three there was a tie at the top going into the final race betweenTadgh O’Loinsigh’s J24 Janx Spirit from Tralee Bay Sailing Club and clubmate Fergus Kelliher’s J24 Jibe. The young crew on Janx Spirit were reeling in the heavy conditions and for their efforts took the Class Three win in IRC and Echo and also won the Ita McGibney Trophy for the Overall Winner of the West Coast Championships.

On board YachtzeeOn board Yachtzee

In Class Four Division A, Ed Enright’s Beneteau First 375 Liberty on its first outing at the West Coast Championships took the class win. In Class Four Division B, the wooden Cutter, Sally O’Keeffe from Kilrush, built by local boat builder Stephen Morris and Seol Sionna, powered through the fleet in the heavy conditions and was a spectacular sight on the water. The Overall Class Four trophy was raised by Donal McCormack and John Paul Buckley and crew on Battle, from Foynes Yacht Club.

Results are here

Published in WIORA
Tagged under

The Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland at Kilrush on the Shannon Estuary opened its sailing season with a ‘Splash & Sail’ day of celebration to launch the dinghy sailing fleet and club kayaks.

The event was attended by many members, particularly the junior section eager to try out the brand new fleet of Topper Topaz training dinghies.

Club Treasurer, Monica Roche, welcomed everyone to the occasion and spoke briefly about plans for the coming season.

The event was attended by Clare County Councillors, Gabriel Keating and Ian Lynch, who spoke about his delight to see the legacy of past sailors being continued in Kilrush and complimented the club and especially the junior sailors and wished them well in the coming season.

Fr. Pat Larkin officiated over the Blessing of the Boats with a short service which was also attended by the Kilrush RNLI and he walked through the dinghy park and the marina to bless all the boats.

The club are very grateful for the Government Sports Capital Grant which assisted the club immensely by providing grant funding for six new topaz training dinghies and a Whaly boat, and Clare County Council who assisted with a grant for six new kayaks.

Published in Shannon Estuary

Estuary operator, Shannon Ferries have been forced to cancel sailings due to a stranded passenger ferry operating from Tarbert to Killimer.

An incident at Tarbert Pier saw the ferry, Shannon Dolphin become stuck at low tide on Sunday afternoon (3 April).

According to individuals at the scene, “The tide went out as the ferry was pulling in and it had to let a coach off” at which point the boat stuck at the Pier.

This resulted in lengthy delays for some ferry passengers of up to four hours and the cancellation of other services.

Clare passengers among the waiting crowds were among those impacted with some turning their cars around and travelling by road instead.

The Clare Echo reports more including a statement from the ferry operator.

Published in Ferry

There was great excitement at Foynes Yacht Club on the Shannon Estuary for the return of their SRL Frostbite Open Dinghy Series, after a two-year hiatus writes FYC Dinghy Class Captain, Mary McCormack

Six races were held over four weekends. Conditions were somewhat perfect throughout apart from the second weekend where racing was abandoned due to a lack of wind.

Dylan Reidy led the Series through with picture-perfect results. Dylan was challenged by another local laser sailor Christopher McDaid and Killaloe’s RS400 with Govan Berridge and David Coleman on board, and his younger brother Killian and Conor Daly on their Topaz Omega. Other boats battled further down the fleet.

Class 2 was led by Kate O’Regan followed closely by Ivan Joyce in his Skipper 14, which unfortunately was demasted during week 3, as well as her younger brother Brendan and another local sailor Abbie Fitzgerald.

The month brought fantastic racing as well as fantastic fun and club spirit which was sorely missed over the two-year break due to covid.

The Series could not have taken place without Sponsors SRL Refrigeration Ltd, OODs Donal McCormack and Raymond McGibney, the club members, volunteers, both on the water and onshore, as well as the competitors, especially travelling boats.

Results

Class 1
Dylan Reidy - FYC - Laser
Govan Berridge & David Coleman - KSC - RS400
Killian Reidy & Conor Daly - FYC - Topaz Omega

Class 2
Kate O’Regan - FYC - Topaz
Ivan Joyce - FYC - Skipper 14
Brendan O’Regan - FYC - Oppie

Published in Shannon Estuary

The Shannon Estuary's RWYCI October Series concluded this weekend on the 30th of October. The series had scheduled races over the first four Sundays and the final Saturday in October.

Racing was cancelled due to bad weather on the first weekend, the series got underway on week two in sunshine and light north-westerly winds of 6-10 knots, under the excellent race management of Aoife Lyons and David Vinnell.

The on-the-water team got in three races in each class with windward-leeward courses for the spinnaker fleet and triangular courses for the white sails fleet.

In the spinnaker fleet, it was Tadhg O'Loingsigh and crew on their J24, Janx Spirit topping the spinnaker fleet in both ECHO and IRC. In white sails the very impressive traditional sailing craft, Sally O'Keeffe, built by Steve Morris and operated by Seol Sionna, won race one, and race three was won by Pat O'Shea's Malo 36, Amergin, however, Elaine O'Mahoney & Simon McGibney's newly acquired First 265 lead the class after week one with a 2nd – 1st – 2nd.

Diarmuid O'Donovan's J/24 Yachtzee crew were the IRC winners of the Royal Western Yacht Club October Series winnersSeries organiser Simon McGibney (left) with Diarmuid O'Donovan's J/24 Yachtzee crew, the IRC winners of the Royal Western Yacht Club October Series 

On the third Sunday of racing, OOD's Aoife Lyons and David Vinnell, ran two races in beautiful sunshine with a southerly 10-12 knots. In the spinnaker fleet Janx Spirit continued their great form with a further two wins in IRC while Rob Allen's Corby 25 lead the spinnaker fleet in ECHO. In white sails, Adrian O'Connell on his modified Seawolf 26 claimed two wins to put pressure on the leaders.

With another weekend cancelled due to weather, the final weekend of racing took place on the last Saturday of the month, in this enjoyable series. There was plenty of wind from the south-west and luckily the rain held off during the mid-afternoons racing. White sails completed their full schedule of races with another two races, both won by Fintan Keating's Halberg Rassy, Passade, who enjoyed the heavier winds. The spinnaker fleet added three more races to their series with two wins for the Corby 25, Smile and a race win for Ray McGibney's J24, Lady J in ECHO and two wins for Diarmuid O'Donovan's J/24 Yachtzee, with Smile taking the final race win in IRC.

At the overall prize-giving event on Saturday evening event organiser, Simon McGibney thanked all the volunteers especially the OOD's David and Aoife for superb racecourses and efficient running of races each week. 

Overall results:

  • Spinnaker IRC: 1st Yachtzee, 2nd Janx Spirit, 3rd Smile
  • Spinnaker ECHO: 1st Smile, 2nd Yachtzee, 3rd Janx Spirit
  • White Sails: 1st Lucita, 2nd Sally O'Keeffe, 3rd Amergin

Full results here

Published in Shannon Estuary

Wildlife service staff released 21 white-tailed sea eagle chicks to the wild over the weekend at four sites in Munster, including Lough Derg and the Shannon estuary.

Chicks were also released in Waterford and Killarney National Park as part of the second phase of the State’s re-introduction programme.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) said the chicks had been kept in purpose-built enclosures at the four locations while they “grew, matured, and developed the feathers and muscles necessary for flight”.

“They were carefully monitored and tagged by NPWS staff leading the collaborative reintroduction programme, which began in 2007,” the NPWS said.

Satellite tagging facilitates monitoring of their progress and their integration into the existing Irish breeding population, it said.

The chicks were collected under licence in June of this year from nests throughout the Trondheim area of west-central Norway by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research.

The white-tailed sea eagle once bred on the Irish coastline and near large freshwater lakes, living on fish, waterbirds and dead animals, until driven to extinction in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Twenty-one Norwegian-born White Tailed Eagle chicks were released into the wild at the four Munster sites - on the Shannon Estuary, Lough Derg, Waterford and in Killarney National Park (pictured). It is hoped they will bolster Ireland’s existing White-Tailed Eagle population. Overseeing the Release in Killarney National Park, from left, Regional Manager National Parks and Wildlife Service, Dr Allan Mee, Advisor, White Tailed Eagle Project Phase 1, Danny O'Keeffe, National Parks and Wildlife Service district conservation officer, Philip Buckley, Project Site Manager, Shannon Esturary. The chicks have been kept in purpose-built enclosures at the four locations while they grew, matured, and developed the feathers and muscles necessary for flight. They will continue to be carefully monitored and by NPWS staff leading the collaborative reintroduction programme, which began in 2007. The satellite tags will allow the project to monitor their progress and their integration into the existing Irish breeding population. Photo: Valerie O’SullivanOverseeing the Release of the chicks in Killarney National Park, from left, Regional Manager National Parks and Wildlife Service, Dr Allan Mee, Advisor, White Tailed Eagle Project Phase 1, Danny O'Keeffe, National Parks and Wildlife Service district conservation officer, Philip Buckley, Project Site Manager, Shannon Esturary. The chicks have been kept in purpose-built enclosures at the four locations while they grew, matured, and developed the feathers and muscles necessary for flight. They will continue to be carefully monitored and by NPWS staff leading the collaborative reintroduction programme, which began in 2007. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan

The birds are particularly vulnerable to illness and poison in winter when they rely more heavily on carrion.

Most of the birds re-introduced to Ireland over the past 13 years – in a programme pioneered by the Golden Eagle Trust - have remained, while some were reported in Northern Ireland and at least seven birds were identified in Britain.

At least ten white-tailed eagle pairs held territory across four counties last year - in Kerry (7 pairs), Galway (1), Tipperary (1) and Cork (1).

A white tailed sea eagle chick Photo: Valerie O'SullivanA white tailed sea eagle chick Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

The NPWS says at least nine pairs laid eggs in Kerry (6 pairs), Cork (1), Tipperary (1) and Galway (1).

The NPWS says that “restoring this lost flagship species to Irish skies will be a significant step in restoring Ireland’s natural heritage and will bring great benefit to Irish biodiversity”.

It says the project “underlines in practical terms Ireland’s commitment to implementing the UN Convention on Biological Diversity”.

Published in Marine Wildlife

In the decidedly unsettled weather of this 2021 Spring and early Summer, the restored 56ft trading ketch Ilen of Limerick is acquiring the reputation of being a lucky ship in finding gentler conditions when sea work has to be done in periods of storms. Thus although we're currently in three or four days of meteorological mayhem, as recently as Tuesday Ilen found idyllic conditions in her Community & Cargo Programme to get from her berth at Foynes up to Limerick for the collection of barrels of Thomond Gate Distillery's Limerick Whiskey for delivery to Cappa, the all-tide quay for Kilrush in County Clare. And then a sunny evening westerly swept her back up the Estuary to Foynes and further cargo discharging. Skipper Gary Mac Mahon takes up the story.

Westward bound – the whiskey for West Clare on Steamboat Quay. Photo: Ivan O'RiordanWestward bound – the whiskey for West Clare on Steamboat Quay. Photo: Ivan O'Riordan

Focus of attention – Ilen at Steamboat Quay in Limerick. The quay is so called because the passenger & freight steamships serving the Shannon Estuary berthed here at high water to take on people and cargo for prompt departure towards ports down the estuary as the ebb started to make. Limerick's very big tides mean that ships wishing to stay longer have to go through the sea lock into what is now the Ted Russell Dock. Photo: Ivan O'RiordanFocus of attention – Ilen at Steamboat Quay in Limerick. The quay is so called because the passenger & freight steamships serving the Shannon Estuary berthed here at high water to take on people and cargo for prompt departure towards ports down the estuary as the ebb started to make. Limerick's very big tides mean that ships wishing to stay longer have to go through the sea lock into what is now the Ted Russell Dock. Photo: Ivan O'Riordan

"The elemental pull of a favourable tidal current is a motive power source a lively sailor will never let slip by his ship. And on Tuesday, the spritely Ilen on a cargo voyage took the Lower Shannon tidal current of two floods and one ebb to sail east and west for a logged distance of ninety nautical miles.

Tuesday's Lower Shannon Cargo Voyage enjoyed many cultural and historical synchronicities;

  • 100 years since a cargo of whiskey was loaded on a vessel 
in the city to be sent downriver towards a West Clare bonded stores.
  • 50 years since a commercial vessel got loaded at Steamboat Quay, Limerick.
  • 70 years since the last Lower Shannon cargo sailing vessel 'Alzina' sailed west from 
Limerick, never to return.


And it was all done by Ireland's only surviving wooden sailing trading Ketch 'Ilen'. 
In the early morning, Ilen slipped her lines at the Port of Foynes and - with a tidal flood - made her way to Limerick City, arriving at high water-noon. At Steamboat Quay, Limerick City, she firstly discharged her cargo from Foynes - a cultural gift to Limerick.

A pet day and reflections galore….Ilen approaching Limerick from Foynes in the morning calmA pet day and reflections galore….Ilen approaching Limerick from Foynes in the morning calm. Photo: Dermot Lynch  

With the ebb well made at Cappa, an extending forklift was a help in getting the valuable cargo ashore. Photo: Ian Riordan   With the ebb well made at Cappa, an extending forklift was a help in getting the valuable cargo ashore. Photo: Ian Riordan  

Skipper Gary Mac Mahon looking thoughtful – "You'd look thoughtful if you'd seven thousand euros-worth of whiskey swinging around aloft…" Photo: Ian Riordan   Skipper Gary Mac Mahon looking thoughtful – "You'd look thoughtful if you'd seven thousand euros-worth of whiskey swinging around aloft…" Photo: Ian Riordan  

Loading a cask of whiskey and cargo boxes for discharge at Cappa Quay, West Clare, was an efficient process delaying Ilen no more than 20 minutes. 
Soon she was making downriver toward the west on a Lower Shannon ebb - coming alongside Cappa Quay at 4.30 pm. With crew efficiency matching that displayed at Limerick City, the whiskey cask and cargo boxes were soon discharged onto the magnificent 1830 extension to Cappa Quay, a living relic of the great days of the Shannon steamers.


The final run - Cappa to Foynes, some 20 nautical miles, was covered with a soldiers breeze from west, and tide making east, rounding out a gloriously long and fulfilling day concluding with an evening cargo discharge at Foynes.

Published in Ilen
Tagged under
Page 1 of 17

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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