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“Regatta weather” has provided the perfect sunny racing conditions for Day 3 (Thursday 1 September) of the J24 Euros ’22 at Howth Yacht Club.

But any notions of lolling around in leisurely style were soon dispelled by the determination of race officer David Lovegrove to register three sets of results while the brisk east-to-nor’east breeze kept up. And by the time the fleet returned to harbour, they certainly knew that they’d been sailing through intensely competitive racing conditions.

With seven sets of results now in the can, they already have an acknowledged championship posted even if the expected deterioration in conditions through Friday and Saturday is so total that none of the remaining three possible races is sailed.

But some boats which have been finding the pace with more confidence as the championship progresses will undoubtedly be looking for further bites at the cherry.

However, the Greek star Jmania will probably be more than happy to leave things as they are, as they posted a solid 3,6,2 to put them on 24 points after the single discard, well clear of Germany’s Stefan Kersunke on 30, who won Race 7 after being very much among “the others” with a happily discarded 18th in Race 6.

By special arrangement with management, any clouds stayed over the land and the sun shone strongly at sea all day as the breeze kept up | Credit: Christopher HowellBy special arrangement with management, any clouds stayed over the land and the sun shone strongly at sea all day as the breeze kept up | Credit: Christopher Howell

The local multi-denominational talent in Headcase looked to be digging themselves out of something of a trough with 2,1 in the first two races. But just as things were looking hopeful for their nationwide support club, the wheels came off in Race 7 with a 19th — yet despite that they now lie fourth overall.

When you’re looking at a scorecard from seven races, fresh permutations emerge, and the “Kids from Kinsale” with Kinsailor logged a very respectable 5,11,3 today to move themselves up to 6th overall, putting them ahead of the defending champions from the Italian Navy in seventh. They in turn are on equal points with another navy man, that very seasoned sailor Admiral Denny Vaughan from Seattle, racing Easy Street.

Conor Haughton’s Jade from Wicklow dicing with Admiral Vaughan’s Easv Street from Seattle | Credit: Christopher HowellConor Haughton’s Jade from Wicklow dicing with Admiral Vaughan’s Easv Street from Seattle | Credit: Christopher Howell

It should be noted that the wonderful admiral is cheerfully racing on at 83 years old. So it’s likely that his personal age is only a few years short of the total combined age of the Kinsailor crew. This is decidedly thought-provoking, to say the least. But it’s altogether in keeping with the remarkable variety of people racing in this fascinating championship.

Results HERE.

Published in J24
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Racing continued today (Wednesday) in the J/24 Euros at Howth with a moderate-plus northeast breeze in which there was no doubting the north in northeast. In such relatively crisp conditions, you’d have expected the hardy souls from more rugged regions to set the pace. But on the contrary, it was Jmania from Athens - where the current daytime temperatures are comfortably above 30C - that was out in the Irish Sea making hay.

Owned by Konstantinos Tridimas and Kynthia Skotida with ace driver Selios Sotitiou on the helm, Jmania clocked an 8th and first to move into a one point overall lead ahead of Denny Vaughan of Seattle in Easy Street, who logged a very useful 11th and second. The international spread was emphasized by Germany’s Stefan Karsunke posting a 4th and 8th to move into third overall in a tightly packed leading group.

The Italian Navy’s defending champion La Superba (left) found form today (Wednesday) with a win in the morning race Photo: Annraoi BlaneyThe Italian Navy’s defending champion La Superba (left) found form today (Wednesday) with a win in the morning race Photo: Annraoi Blaney

The Italian Navy’s defending champions with the modestly-named La Superba lived up to the name in the first contest to take a win, but were crab-grassing in the second at 15th. Another star performer who was seeing how the other half lives was overnight leader Kurt Dammeier from Seattle, who had to face up to a 14th and 18th, which shifted him from first overall down to eighth.

One place ahead at seventh overall is Ireland’s current best, JP McCaldin from Lough Erne with Il Riccio, who rose through the ranks with a second in the first race, but was then brought back to earth with a 16th in the afternoon event.

On a vertical learning curve – Andrew Mannion’s Jeb Stuart from Lough Ree dealing successfully with Irish Sea conditions and a couple of international challengers. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyOn a vertical learning curve – Andrew Mannion’s Jeb Stuart from Lough Ree dealing successfully with Irish Sea conditions and a couple of international challengers. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

The Irish favourite, the syndicated Headcase, had a morning to forget with a UFD in the first race, but the mojo was back up and working in the afternoon to take second behind Jmania. However, Headcase currently lies 14th overall, and though there are in theory six races still to be sailed, sailing conditions for Friday and Saturday don’t look so good. Yet apparently it takes lot to shake the J/24s out of their belief that there should only be two races per day, but we’ll see how it goes.

Meanwhile, the racing in this series has already been extremely educational for the young Irish folk who have been encouraged into top level J/24 racing. And if by “extremely educational” you mean “hard lessons”, who are we to argue?

Results here

Published in J24
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The International J/24 European Championship getting under way this weekend in Howth leads inevitably to thoughts of a special drama afloat two months ago. The crunch finish period of the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race 2022 at Wicklow on Friday, June 24th, was a time of high tension.

Laurent Charmy’s SL Energies Fastwave from France had been the clubhouse leader for most of the afternoon. But in the final counter-tide beat to the finish, offshore tyros Mike and Richie Evans from Howth with their little Snapshot had managed to break away from a group of their closest competitors, and were wriggling along the beach with hyper-short tacks in a sharpening breeze to such good effect that the unthinkable became remotely possible. They might just snatch the lead.

In the end, they missed it by five minutes. But they were soon confirmed as unassailably second. It was a remarkable high seas debut. Yet, in all the excitement of the finish, little was made of surely the most significant aspect of the whole business. SL Energies Fastwave is a J/111, well proven in her short but successful offshore career. As for Snapshot, she’s a J/99, with recognised success in regattas, and now an offshore star as well.

Throughout the Round Ireland fleet – almost entirely in the leading groups – were other boats from the J range, and there isn’t a club fleet in Ireland, and at the main centres all round the Irish Sea, that won’t see this no-nonsense, versatile and effective American-originating marque well represented.


Yet despite the fact that their global commercial success relies on a continuous up-dating of their extensive range to keep their thousands of customers at the front of the fleet, the little boat which started it all, the J/24 of which more than 5,000 were built, continues to be highly popular, defying orthodox concepts of planned obsolescence.

J/24s racing at Howth, where the first boat appeared less than two years after the class’s debut in America. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyJ/24s racing at Howth, where the first boat appeared less than two years after the class’s debut in America. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

She’s a modern classic if you like. But there’s no denying a J/24 is now something of a cult object, not least because they fulfill the American dream in having been created in the designer-builder parents’ garage - so totally garage-bound, in fact, that they’re not the J/25 simply because there wasn’t enough space to build a 25 footer.

The story begins in 1975. Young Rod Johnstone, then an ad salesman for a sailing trade magazine and an active one-design sailor, decided to build a sailboat he had been working on since completing a Westlawn School of Yacht Design correspondence course in the 1960s.

With $400-worth of fibreglass and wood, plus some rigging and hardware left over from a Soling of his brother Bob, he built the 24' LOA x 9' beam sloop – eventually called Ragtime - during weekends in the three-car garage at his family home in Stonington, Connecticut. During the summer of 1976, with an all-family crew aboard, Ragtime beat everything in sight, and he realized he had created something special.

Enter Everett Pearson, the owner of Tillotson Pearson, Inc, a highly respected boat builder in Warren, Rhode Island. He was quite taken with Rod's design and agreed to produce the boat on spec in return for the U.S. building rights. Display ads in the sailing trade magazine got the word out. That winter, they set up a makeshift factory in an old textile mill in nearby Fall River, Massachusetts, and began popping out J/24s.

Enter the marketing experience of brother Bob, a Vice President of Marketing at AMF/Alcort , the makers of Sunfish sailboats at the time. He had seen the potential in the boat Rod had designed. From 1975 to 1977, Bob had helped to take Alcort from the red into the black, and then began trying to convince AMF to start producing a boat similar to the J/24. When AMF didn't jump, in February of 1977 at age 43, Bob did, and threw in his lot with J/Boats.

Signature of approval – Bob Johnstone of J Boats International signs a J/24 rudder in Howth in 2014. Photo: Brian TurveySignature of approval – Bob Johnstone of J Boats International signs a J/24 rudder in Howth in 2014. Photo: Brian Turvey 

5,400 BUILT

In all, 5,400 J/24s have been built since, plus hundreds and sometimes thousands of other boats to an extensive range of J Boat designs. It has been another case of the phenomenal commercial and creative power of American brothers working together. Think Gougeon Brothers with WEST Epoxy Systems, for instance, a company so successful that when the brothers retired, they handed it over to their employees as a very tangible way of saying thank you for their loyalty and dedication. And think too of Olin and Rod Stephens of designers Sparkman & Stephens. They were very much a team, and it was Rod's skill and ingenuity with rigs and rigging which persuaded the great Carleton Mitchell to transfer his design loyalties from Philip Rhodes to Olin Stephens, resulting in the 38ft Stephens-designed Finisterre which won the biennial Bermuda Race three times on the trot.
So in owning and sailing a J/24, you’re sharing in a sense in the most positive aspects of the American dream. And as it has been found that quality fibreglass just doesn’t wear out, the J/24 offers an inexpensive route into competitive sailing for impecunious young enthusiasts who aren’t afraid of doing their own maintenance work.


The J/24 very quickly came to Ireland, and while club and regatta racing and even some cruising was their main purpose in life, sailmaker Philip Watson in 1978 geared up his new J/24 Pathfinder for the ISORA circuit. After the Fastnet storm of 1979 had resulted in more stringent ballast keel requirements, the lightly-ballasted J/24 – which relies on considerable weight effort from her crew of five – was no longer eligible to go offshore, but in that one golden year of 1978, Watson and Pathinder swept all before them, winning their ISORA Class overall.

Pioneering Pathfinder – in 1978, Philip Watson of Howth with Pathfinder showed the way for J/24s – and won his class in that year’s ISORA seriesPioneering Pathfinder – in 1978, Philip Watson of Howth with Pathfinder showed the way for J/24s – and won his class in that year’s ISORA series

All that is now 44 years ago. Since then, new J Boat designs of almost legendary status have come and gone from the headlines after dominating the sailing scene for a few years and sometimes more. Yet the little old J/24 is still very much with us with thriving national, regional and global associations, and this weekend in Howth they’re in the throes of final stages of preliminaries for the 2022 Europeans with Organising Committee Chairman Richard Kissane and his group ensuring the smooth running of an event which sees final measuring and test sailing over the weekend. The official practice race is on Monday under the direction of Race Officer David Lovegrove, with the Howth machine set in motion to continue the real racing from Tuesday through to Saturday (September 3rd).

Richard Kissane, Chairman of the Organising Committee, has been leading his team in extra preparations, as the J/24 Europeans have not been sailed since 2020, when they were staged in Greece.Richard Kissane, Chairman of the Organising Committee, has been leading his team in extra preparations, as the J/24 Europeans have not been sailed since 2020, when they were staged in Greece.


With the appropriately-named Pathfinder taking the first steps back in 1978, Howth has a long association with the class, a notable early participant in a J/24 championship at HYC quite a long time ago being a young American skipper called Kenny Read.

In fact, Howth has acted as a very effective linkpoint over the decades between the European and American J/24 fleets, with the latter keen to sail here after dominating the 2013 Worlds at Howth, when the American overall winner emphasised Irish-American connections, as he was Tim Healy from Newport, RI.

 Breezy action – the J/24 Worlds at Howth in 2013, when the overall winner was USA’s Tim Healy from Newport, RI. Breezy action – the J/24 Worlds at Howth in 2013, when the overall winner was USA’s Tim Healy from Newport, RI.

Then in 2014, Bob Johnstone himself was in Ireland. Ostensibly, he was on holiday, but as he was the guest of the late Robin Eagleson of Lough Erne, President of the Irish J/24 Class, they made a point of visiting Howth, where Bob obligingly signed the rudder of the J/24 belonging to HYC Hon. Sec. Emmet Dalton – the word is it hasn’t been painted since.

The current Euros are the first since 2020, and there’s interesting American participation in the 35-strong entry entry list, with the furthest-travelled being retired US Navy Admiral Denny Vaughn from Seattle, who is age-defying as he calls his boat Easy Street….


Admiral Vaughn is having himself a ball in Ireland as he has family links to Donegal, and last weekend during the J/24 Easterns at Howth in the boisterous Saturday night feasting, when the band heard they’d an American Admiral in the party, they trotted out their repertoire of John Denver and Johnny Cash.

As veteran J/24 sailor Flor O’Driscoll of Bray commented: “Only in Howth……”, to which Howth can reply “Only with the J/24s”, for it was in Howth that - at Nobby Reilly’s suggestion and with his energetic backing - the national U25 J/24 programme was instigated to produce some strong nationwide club entries in which young sailors have learned to team together to keep a J/24 in top internationally-competitive trim.

The 2022 campaign is successfully launched – the Headcase crew after winning the class at Kiel Week are (left to right) Ryan Glynn (Ballyholme YC), Sam O’Byrne (Howth YC), Cillian Dickson (HYC & Lough Ree YC), Louis Mulloy (Mayo SC) and Mark Ryan (MSC)The 2022 campaign is successfully launched – the Headcase crew after winning the class at Kiel Week are (left to right) Ryan Glynn (Ballyholme YC), Sam O’Byrne (Howth YC), Cillian Dickson (HYC & Lough Ree YC), Louis Mulloy (Mayo SC) and Mark Ryan (MSC)

Currently, the pace-setter in this is the all-Ireland-crewed Headcase, which in Howth is in just one of her home ports, but she’s back in town with an astonishing 2022 CV that started with winning the class at Kiel Week, then they won the UK Nationals, then they won their ICRA Class in Cork Week, and last weekend they took the Easterns.


It says something about national characteristics that the top home hope in the up-coming championship is cheerfully called Headcase, yet the boat they most definitely have to topple from the top of the pile is from Italy and unblushingly called La Superba.
Make of that what you will, but La Superba is the Italian Navy boat, and back in 2020 in Greece she won the Euros skippered by a young naval officer called Iganzio Bonnano. He has probably moved on to be an admiral by now, but La Superba is very much up for it again in Howth, with her skipper yet to be named.

The Travellers – Headcase and crew about to depart Plymouth after winning the UK Nationals, with an overnight ferry trip in prospect to make the start of the first race in Volvo Cork Week where she logged a class win. Her all-Ireland credentials are further emphasized with the use of a Galway-registered towing vehicleThe Travellers – Headcase and crew about to depart Plymouth after winning the UK Nationals, with an overnight ferry trip in prospect to make the start of the first race in Volvo Cork Week where she logged a class win. Her all-Ireland credentials are further emphasized with the use of a Galway-registered towing vehicle


The defenders will find that the Irish J/24 fleet is on a bit of a roll at the moment, and there are interesting helms and crews coming up through the system. We’ve remarked in the past that Munster is the only Irish province not represented in Headcase’s crew, but this may well be because they’re developing their own J/24 U25 squads in Munster, with the Kinsale YC Kinsailors led by Michael O’Carroll coming through in the Easterns to take second overall, while Tadg O Loingsigh with his Tralee Bay squad in Janx Spirit went over to the UK Nats and were very much in contention, their scoreline including a first.

 The Howth Peninsula seen from the southeast. The Race Area for the J/24 Europeans 2022 will be just above the middle of this photo. The Howth Peninsula seen from the southeast. The Race Area for the J/24 Europeans 2022 will be just above the middle of this photo.

Munster is further represented by the Foynes YC U25 crew on Jasper led by Mary McCormack, while over on the east coast, after very many years Flor O’Driscoll of Bray (and formerly Cobh) has sold his well-used Hard on Port to his crew led by David Bailey, and they now sail out of Greystones where class leader Mark Usher sets the pace with Hedgehog.

This trans-club interaction is reflected in the northwest where Sligo YC and Lough Erne YC - and doubtless Mullaghmore too - all make input into Gossip with the combined efforts of Oisin Brennan, Declan Brennan, Michael Staines and Muireann Toibin.

Getting your boat and crew from Sligo or Lough Erne to other venues in Ireland can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. But an event like the Euros with an international entry puts it all in perspective, as they come not only from Seattle to the far west, but also from the island of Crete in the far eastern Mediterranean. The logistics of getting boat and crew as a private entry from Heraklion to Howth defies contemplation, but Nikolas Kapnisis of Heraklion Sailing Club has been game to give it a whirl with his boat Legal Alien. And such entries will feel right at home among the J/24s in Howth.

Entry List for J24 European Championships

Sail PrefixSail NoBoat NameOwner NameClubCorinthianOver 50YouthEntry Date
IRL 39 Jeb Stuart Andrew Mannion Lough Ree Yacht Club No No No 22 Feb
ITA 416 La Superba Marina Militare Italiana CVA Marina Militare Italiana No No No 12 Aug
IRL 680 Kilcullen HYC U25 2 Howth Yacht Club No No No 24 May
IRL 767 Jade Conor Haughton Wicklow Sailing Club Yes No No 31 May
IRL 1183 Red Flag Greystones Sailing Club Greystones Sailing Club Yes No Yes 08 Jun
USA 2810 Jigalo Joseph Murphy Howth Yacht Club No No No 08 Apr
IRL 3060 Headgehog Mark Usher Greystones Sailing Club Yes Yes No 09 May
USA 3746 Easy Street Denny Vaughan Corinthian Yacht Club - Seattle No No No 26 May
IRL 4084 Battling J Malahide Yacht Club Malahide Yacht Club Yes No No 31 May
GBR 4153 Jam Benjamin Maddaford Saltash Sailing club No No No 13 May
IRL 4188 Jasper 2 Mary McCormack - FYC U25 Foynes Yacht Club No No Yes 23 Aug
IRL 4191 Janx Spirit Tadhg O Loingsigh Tralee Bay Sailing Club Yes No No 12 May
GER 4202 Gossip Oisin Brennan, Declan Brennan, Michael Staines, Muireann Toibin Sligo Yacht Club/ Lough Erne Yacht Club Yes No No 11 Aug
IRL 4212 Scandal HYC U25 1 Howth Yacht Club No No No 24 May
IRL 4236 KINSAILOR KINSALE YACHT CLUB Kinsale Yacht Club Yes No Yes 15 Jun
GBR 4242 Hitchhiker Chris Randall Saltash Sailing Club Yes Yes No 21 May
IRL 4247 Headcase Louis Mulloy, Marcus Ryan, Cillian Dickson, Sam O'Byrne, Ryan Glynn Howth Yacht Club, Lough Ree Yacht Club, Mayo Sailing Club, Ballyholme Yacht Club Yes No No 25 May
GBR 4248 MaJic James Torr Saltash Sailing Club Yes No No 28 May
GBR 4260 Mojosi Nick McDonald RYA Yes Yes No 28 May
IRL 4265 Smugairle Róin Diarmaid mullen Sligo Yacht Club No No No 20 Feb
GBR 4266 NJO2 Tim Octon JOG Yes Yes No 02 Mar
GBR 4269 Cacoon David Hale Poole Yacht Club Yes Yes No 04 Mar
IRL 4384 Proud Mary Brian mc conville Carlingford Lough YC No Yes No 12 May
IRL 4532 Jelignite Finbarr Ryan Lough Ree Yacht Club No Yes No 22 May
IRL 4533 Crazy Horse Luke Mc Bride Lough Erne Yacht Club Yes Yes No 19 May
IRL 4794 Hard on Port David Bailey and crew Bray Sailing Club No No No 31 May
IRL 5159 Jibe Fergus & Tim Kelliher Tralee Bay Sailing Club Yes No No 30 May
IRL 5219 IL Riccio JP Mccaldin Lough Erne Yacht Club Yes No No 11 May
GRE 5239 Legal Alien Nikolas Kapnisis Heraklion Sailing Club Yes No No 30 May
IRL 5278 Hung Jury Brian Raftery Sligo Yacht Club Yes Yes No 20 Jul
IRL 5285 Yachtzee Diarmuid O'Donovan TBC Yes Yes No 27 May
USA 5352 Amuse Bouche Kurt Dammeier Corinthian Yacht Club! No No No 22 Jul
GRE 5367 JMANIA Konstantinos Tridimas/Kynthia Skotida Nautical Club of Palaio Faliro Yes No No 08 Mar
GER 5381 Schwere Jungs Stefan Karsunke Blankeneser Segel Club No No No 22 Jun
IRL 5475 Jedi Colm O'Flaherty Sligo Yacht Club No No No 26 May
Published in W M Nixon
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With a fleet of 20 boats and crews drawn from 15 different clubs, including Seattle to the far west and Poole to the nearer southeast, the Irish J/24 Easterns over the weekend at Howth set the ball rolling towards the J/24 Europeans at the same venue in a week's time, with the first championship race scheduled for August 30th.

The all-Ireland resourced Headcase, whose crew of Cillian Dickson, Sam O'Byrne, Louis Mulloy, Marcus Ryan and Ryan Glynn count Howth, Lough Ree, Mayo and Ballyholme among their home places, maintained the steady progress already seen through the summer at several international majors, and came out first on 1,1, (8), 2,1. Next in line were the Kinsale team led by Michael Carroll with Kinsailor with a scoreline which included a first and two seconds to leave them on 9 points to Headcase's 5. Tadgh O'Loingsigh from Tralee Bay was third in Janx Spirit with the first of the overseas challengers, Dave Hale from Poole, fourth with Cacoon.

Full results here

Published in J24
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Howth RNLI’s volunteer crew launched both their all-weather and inshore lifeboats to two separate incidents on Sunday (7 August).

The larger lifeboat was launched shortly after 3pm to reports of a motorboat with three people on board which had suffered engine failure two miles north of Ireland’s Eye, the uninhabited island off the coast of Howth.

The lifeboat, under the command of second coxswain Ian Sheridan, located the broken-down vessel within 15 minutes of launching.

Once it was established that all on board were well, the crew passed a tow line from the lifeboat and the boat was towed back to Howth Harbour. Weather conditions were good with light southerly winds.

A few hours later, at 7.15pm a call came in from a concerned sailor regarding an inflatable dinghy in Howth Sound with three people on board who were attempting to row back to Burrow Beach.

Due to the southerly winds, the inflatable was being blown offshore.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were paged and the smaller inshore lifeboat was launched shortly after. The lifeboat RIB reached the inflatable in minutes, and it was observed that none of the three on board were wearing lifejackets.

The lifeboat crew took the three individuals onto the lifeboat and returned them to the safety of Howth Harbour.

Speaking following the incident, Howth RNLI inshore lifeboat helm Ian Martin said: “Although the conditions for heading out on the water were good today, things can change very quickly and with inflatables like these, even the slightest wind can take them out to sea. That is why inflatables are not suitable for Irish waters.

“It’s also really important that anyone going out on the water wears a lifejacket that is suitable for the activity they are doing and that it is in good working order and fits well.

“With the good weather forecast for the coming week, we expect a lot of people will be spending time on or near the water. If you do get into trouble, remember to Float to Live: Lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat. Control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety. In a coastal emergency call 999 or 112 for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer crew of Howth RNLI launched their all-weather lifeboat Roy Barker III on Sunday afternoon (24 July) to aid a father, son and their dog Billy on a boat drifting towards the cliffs off Howth Head.

The lifeboat, with a crew of seven, launched at 1.40pm following a request from Dublin Coast Guard to assist the boat, which had come across Dublin Bay from Dun Laoghaire and suffered engine failure close to the Baily Lighthouse.

Weather conditions were challenging with fresh southerly winds and, having lost power, the boat was being blown towards the cliffs on the south side of Howth Head.

The lifeboat reached the casualty vessel within 15 minutes of launching. Once it was established that all on board the boat were well, Howth RNLI coxswain Fred Connolly took the decision to take the father, son and their black Labrador on board the lifeboat and to tow their boat back to Howth.

Speaking following the incident, Connolly said: “The owner of the boat in difficulty did the right thing in calling the coastguard for help straight away. When the winds are blowing onshore and a boat is broken down, every minute counts. Our volunteer crew responded quickly once the pager went off and we launched the lifeboat within minutes. 

“Once on scene, we cast a line to the boat and pulled them alongside so that the father, son and their dog could be transferred to the safety of the lifeboat. Our crew then established a tow line and we were able to tow the boat back to Howth Harbour.”

The coxswain added: “This type of call out for the RNLI provides a good opportunity to remind boat owners to have a means of calling for help at all times and if you do get into difficulty that you're prepared. We were delighted to be able to return Billy and his owners safely ashore.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer lifeboat crew of Howth RNLI launched both their inshore and all-weather lifeboats to three separate incidents today (Monday 18 July), the hottest day on record in Dublin.

The inshore lifeboat was launched at 2.20pm to reports of a missing child on Portmarnock beach. The Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 from Dublin and the Howth Coast Guard unit were also tasked to assist.

As the first incident was unfolding, a ‘Pan-Pan’ or urgent message was broadcast from a yacht with three people onboard that was in difficulty five miles North East of Howth. The Howth all-weather lifeboat which was launching to the missing child at the time was re-directed to this incident.

Once on scene at Portmarnock beach, the crew of the inshore lifeboat were informed the missing child was located on the beach and was placed into the care of the Howth Coast Guard team. The inshore lifeboat was then requested to accompany the all-weather lifeboat to the yacht in difficulty.

The yacht was located five miles offshore with rigging problems and unable to make way due to the moderate winds . The crew of the yacht were directed to hold the boat steady on a particular compass heading while the Coxswain of the all-weather lifeboat manoeuvred the lifeboat alongside to transfer a crew member on board.

The RNLI crew member worked with the yacht’s crew to secure the rigging. Once safe, the all-weather lifeboat escorted the yacht to Howth harbour.

While on its way to the yacht in difficulty, the inshore lifeboat was again requested by Dublin Coast Guard to another incident. A powerboat with a family of four onboard had suffered engine failure and was being blown ashore off Portrane. Once on scene a passing boat had come to the family’s assistance and secured a tow. The crew of the inshore lifeboat then escorted the boat to the safety of Malahide marina.

Speaking following the three incidents, Howth RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Colm Newport said: 'Thankfully the outcome of all of these incidents was positive with the missing child located safe and well and the crews of both the yacht and powerboat returned safely ashore.

Our volunteer crew train regularly to deal with all types of incidents on the water. As the sun shines and more people spend time on the water it’s the charity's busiest time for its lifeboat crews.

When going to the beach, it’s important to swim where lifeguards are present and to swim between the red and yellow flags.

For boat owners, it’s important to ensure you have undergone the right training so that you can develop your skills to be prepared for when things go wrong. Your engine should be well maintained and if you do get into difficulty, make sure you have an anchor on board and a means of calling for help.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer lifeboat crew of Howth RNLI launched both their Inshore and All-Weather lifeboats on Saturday (9 July) to reports of a yacht with a family of four on board who had ran aground at the entrance to Malahide harbour.

The pagers went off at 11:45 while the crew of Howth Inshore Lifeboat were preparing to launch on a training exercise and responded immediately.

Howth All-Weather Lifeboat launched shortly after with five crew on board. Weather conditions were good with light easterly winds.

Both Lifeboats made their way to Malahide to assess the condition of the yacht and its crew.

Once on scene, the crew of Howth Inshore Lifeboat established that the yacht was aground but otherwise undamaged. The inshore lifeboat crew assisted the skipper of the yacht in deploying its anchor and a decision was taken to transfer three of the yacht’s crew onto the All-Weather lifeboat to return them to Howth.

The skipper of the yacht remained on board awaiting the rising tide to free the yacht.

Speaking following the call-out, Howth RNLI inshore lifeboat helm, Fin Goggin said, ‘Although the weather is perfect for enjoying time on the water this weekend, it’s important to be aware of the weather forecast and the tide times and ensure it's suitable for your activity.

The yacht's skipper was well prepared but unfortunately, incidents like this can happen. The skipper did the right thing in calling the Coast Guard for help.

As we were preparing for our weekly training exercise at the time, the inshore lifeboat crew were able to quickly respond. Our fellow crew from the All-Weather lifeboat launched minutes later to assist us. Once the pagers go off our volunteer crew drop what they’re doing and make their way to the lifeboat station to help save lives at sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The lifeboat crew at Howth RNLI are joining the circus for one night only to kick start their Mayday campaign to raise funds for the RNLI. Circus Gerbola, which is running at Howth Castle until 2 May is holding a special Gala performance this Friday, 29 April where 50% of the ticket sales will be donated to the RNLI.

The circus will feature a very special guest, Howth RNLI’s very own Ian Sheridan who will be the Circus Ringmaster on the night.

Speaking today, Second Coxswain of Howth Lifeboat (and trainee Ringmaster) Ian Sheridan said: ‘Friday night is going to be one to remember, as the RNLI take you ringside for a night of great family fun and entertainment!

It will be a great start to the May Bank Holiday weekend, and we hope a great start to the RNLI’s Mayday national fundraiser which runs for the entire month of May. Summer is our busiest time of the year, as people who spend more time by the coast and on the water can sometimes get into trouble and need our help. Mayday is our own call for help, as we rely on the generosity of the public to support events like the Circus fundraiser that raise funds to allow us to be there when we’re needed most.

‘We’d like to thank Circus Gerbola for their support of Howth RNLI in holding this special performance. I’m learning my lines and getting ready to entertain – let’s hope the pagers don’t go off mid-performance!’

Jane Murray, Event Producer of Circus Gerbola said: ‘The RNLI is an amazing charity with amazing volunteers who drop everything at a moment’s notice to save lives at sea. While in the beautiful coastal town of Howth, we at Circus Gerbola wanted to use our platform to help fundraise for a local charity – what better than Howth RNLI. The volunteer crew have been such great sports, especially Ian Sheridan who will join us as the Circus Ringmaster at this special gala performance on Friday, for great fun and entertainment, and some surprises thrown in as well!

We are donating 50% of our ticket sales from the show on Friday to Howth RNLI and the RNLI fundraisers will be on site shaking their buckets for any further donations that the public wish to make.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The King Sitric Seafood Bar raised €35,634 over the past four years for the RNLI as part of the charity’s Fish Supper campaign.

Head of Engagement for the RNLI, Pete Emmett visited Howth to present a plaque and a letter of thanks signed by Mark Dowie, the Chief Executive of the RNLI to the owners of the King Sitric in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the fundraising efforts of the RNLI.

Speaking following the presentation, Pete Emmett said: “I am delighted to be in Howth to visit The King Sitric alongside my colleague Danny Curran and the local fundraising branch of Howth RNLI. It is important to be here today to make this presentation to Joan, Aidan and Dec and thank them personally for the amazing contribution they have made to the RNLI.

The funds raised by supporters like The King Sitric equip our lifeboats with the best kit and train our crews to the highest standards so that they can save lives at sea.”

Joan Mac Manus of The King Sitric said: “The RNLI is such an important part of the community here in Howth and provides an invaluable service to all who take to the sea whether it’s our suppliers catching us the freshest fish, or our customers who enjoy a sail or a swim nearby.

We are delighted to be able to support the Howth RNLI fundraising branch and host such fantastic Lifeboat Dinners at the restaurant. Over fine food, wine and a lively auction, we’ve managed to raise over €35,000 in the past four years. The dinners have been great fun and we look forward to hosting more in the future!”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Irish Fishing industry 

The Irish Commercial Fishing Industry employs around 11,000 people in fishing, processing and ancillary services such as sales and marketing. The industry is worth about €1.22 billion annually to the Irish economy. Irish fisheries products are exported all over the world as far as Africa, Japan and China.


Over 16,000 people are employed directly or indirectly around the coast, working on over 2,000 registered fishing vessels, in over 160 seafood processing businesses and in 278 aquaculture production units, according to the State's sea fisheries development body Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

All activities that are concerned with growing, catching, processing or transporting fish are part of the commercial fishing industry, the development of which is overseen by BIM. Recreational fishing, as in angling at sea or inland, is the responsibility of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

The Irish fishing industry is valued at 1.22 billion euro in gross domestic product (GDP), according to 2019 figures issued by BIM. Only 179 of Ireland's 2,000 vessels are over 18 metres in length. Where does Irish commercially caught fish come from? Irish fish and shellfish is caught or cultivated within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but Irish fishing grounds are part of the common EU "blue" pond. Commercial fishing is regulated under the terms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983 and with ten-yearly reviews.

The total value of seafood landed into Irish ports was 424 million euro in 2019, according to BIM. High value landings identified in 2019 were haddock, hake, monkfish and megrim. Irish vessels also land into foreign ports, while non-Irish vessels land into Irish ports, principally Castletownbere, Co Cork, and Killybegs, Co Donegal.

There are a number of different methods for catching fish, with technological advances meaning skippers have detailed real time information at their disposal. Fisheries are classified as inshore, midwater, pelagic or deep water. Inshore targets species close to shore and in depths of up to 200 metres, and may include trawling and gillnetting and long-lining. Trawling is regarded as "active", while "passive" or less environmentally harmful fishing methods include use of gill nets, long lines, traps and pots. Pelagic fisheries focus on species which swim close to the surface and up to depths of 200 metres, including migratory mackerel, and tuna, and methods for catching include pair trawling, purse seining, trolling and longlining. Midwater fisheries target species at depths of around 200 metres, using trawling, longlining and jigging. Deepwater fisheries mainly use trawling for species which are found at depths of over 600 metres.

There are several segments for different catching methods in the registered Irish fleet – the largest segment being polyvalent or multi-purpose vessels using several types of gear which may be active and passive. The polyvalent segment ranges from small inshore vessels engaged in netting and potting to medium and larger vessels targeting whitefish, pelagic (herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting) species and bivalve molluscs. The refrigerated seawater (RSW) pelagic segment is engaged mainly in fishing for herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting only. The beam trawling segment focuses on flatfish such as sole and plaice. The aquaculture segment is exclusively for managing, developing and servicing fish farming areas and can collect spat from wild mussel stocks.

The top 20 species landed by value in 2019 were mackerel (78 million euro); Dublin Bay prawn (59 million euro); horse mackerel (17 million euro); monkfish (17 million euro); brown crab (16 million euro); hake (11 million euro); blue whiting (10 million euro); megrim (10 million euro); haddock (9 million euro); tuna (7 million euro); scallop (6 million euro); whelk (5 million euro); whiting (4 million euro); sprat (3 million euro); herring (3 million euro); lobster (2 million euro); turbot (2 million euro); cod (2 million euro); boarfish (2 million euro).

Ireland has approximately 220 million acres of marine territory, rich in marine biodiversity. A marine biodiversity scheme under Ireland's operational programme, which is co-funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Government, aims to reduce the impact of fisheries and aquaculture on the marine environment, including avoidance and reduction of unwanted catch.

EU fisheries ministers hold an annual pre-Christmas council in Brussels to decide on total allowable catches and quotas for the following year. This is based on advice from scientific bodies such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. In Ireland's case, the State's Marine Institute publishes an annual "stock book" which provides the most up to date stock status and scientific advice on over 60 fish stocks exploited by the Irish fleet. Total allowable catches are supplemented by various technical measures to control effort, such as the size of net mesh for various species.

The west Cork harbour of Castletownbere is Ireland's biggest whitefish port. Killybegs, Co Donegal is the most important port for pelagic (herring, mackerel, blue whiting) landings. Fish are also landed into Dingle, Co Kerry, Rossaveal, Co Galway, Howth, Co Dublin and Dunmore East, Co Waterford, Union Hall, Co Cork, Greencastle, Co Donegal, and Clogherhead, Co Louth. The busiest Northern Irish ports are Portavogie, Ardglass and Kilkeel, Co Down.

Yes, EU quotas are allocated to other fleets within the Irish EEZ, and Ireland has long been a transhipment point for fish caught by the Spanish whitefish fleet in particular. Dingle, Co Kerry has seen an increase in foreign landings, as has Castletownbere. The west Cork port recorded foreign landings of 36 million euro or 48 per cent in 2019, and has long been nicknamed the "peseta" port, due to the presence of Spanish-owned transhipment plant, Eiranova, on Dinish island.

Most fish and shellfish caught or cultivated in Irish waters is for the export market, and this was hit hard from the early stages of this year's Covid-19 pandemic. The EU, Asia and Britain are the main export markets, while the middle Eastern market is also developing and the African market has seen a fall in value and volume, according to figures for 2019 issued by BIM.

Fish was once a penitential food, eaten for religious reasons every Friday. BIM has worked hard over several decades to develop its appeal. Ireland is not like Spain – our land is too good to transform us into a nation of fish eaters, but the obvious health benefits are seeing a growth in demand. Seafood retail sales rose by one per cent in 2019 to 300 million euro. Salmon and cod remain the most popular species, while BIM reports an increase in sales of haddock, trout and the pangasius or freshwater catfish which is cultivated primarily in Vietnam and Cambodia and imported by supermarkets here.

The EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983, pooled marine resources – with Ireland having some of the richest grounds and one of the largest sea areas at the time, but only receiving four per cent of allocated catch by a quota system. A system known as the "Hague Preferences" did recognise the need to safeguard the particular needs of regions where local populations are especially dependent on fisheries and related activities. The State's Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, based in Clonakilty, Co Cork, works with the Naval Service on administering the EU CFP. The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and Department of Transport regulate licensing and training requirements, while the Marine Survey Office is responsible for the implementation of all national and international legislation in relation to safety of shipping and the prevention of pollution.

Yes, a range of certificates of competency are required for skippers and crew. Training is the remit of BIM, which runs two national fisheries colleges at Greencastle, Co Donegal and Castletownbere, Co Cork. There have been calls for the colleges to be incorporated into the third-level structure of education, with qualifications recognised as such.

Safety is always an issue, in spite of technological improvements, as fishing is a hazardous occupation and climate change is having its impact on the severity of storms at sea. Fishing skippers and crews are required to hold a number of certificates of competency, including safety and navigation, and wearing of personal flotation devices is a legal requirement. Accidents come under the remit of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, and the Health and Safety Authority. The MCIB does not find fault or blame, but will make recommendations to the Minister for Transport to avoid a recurrence of incidents.

Fish are part of a marine ecosystem and an integral part of the marine food web. Changing climate is having a negative impact on the health of the oceans, and there have been more frequent reports of warmer water species being caught further and further north in Irish waters.

Brexit, Covid 19, EU policies and safety – Britain is a key market for Irish seafood, and 38 per cent of the Irish catch is taken from the waters around its coast. Ireland's top two species – mackerel and prawns - are 60 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, dependent on British waters. Also, there are serious fears within the Irish industry about the impact of EU vessels, should they be expelled from British waters, opting to focus even more efforts on Ireland's rich marine resource. Covid-19 has forced closure of international seafood markets, with high value fish sold to restaurants taking a large hit. A temporary tie-up support scheme for whitefish vessels introduced for the summer of 2020 was condemned by industry organisations as "designed to fail".

Sources: Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Marine Institute, Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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