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Displaying items by tag: Solo Sailor

Disappointment is always hard to take, but Peter Lawless is determined, even though he has, this time, failed in his ambition to become the first Irishman to sail around the world non-stop.

The Kerry solo sailor left Kilrush Marina in Clare with high hopes in August, estimating that he would be, he told me, about eight months at sea alone aboard his yacht, Waxwing, a Rival 41, which he had "upgraded for the challenge".

"She is perfect for this circumnavigation," he said but told me that the two things he feared most were mast or rudder trouble.

West of Portugal, one of those happened.

Waxwing departs Kilrush Marina on the Shannon Estuary in AugustWaxwing departs Kilrush Marina on the Shannon Estuary in August

He had a problem when something hit the rudder, and the result of that was the end of his voyage.

He has decided not to continue his voyage.

Sailing along on Waxwing in the Shannon Estuary

"Very disappointed but determined," he told me from Teneriffe, where he was making repairs. But there was a lot to be considered, particularly with the timing of the voyage and the weather. This weekend he decided that the voyage couldn't continue.

It was not an easy decision, but he says he made it for safety reasons. He will be returning home, but next year is to be considered, as you can hear on this week's Podcast.

• Lawless has left for Tenerife and is now en route to Portugal. He expects to arrive there next week.

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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Peter Lawless hasn't time for anxiety as he makes final preparations for his solo sail around the world.

He has set Saturday, August 21, for his departure from Kilrush Marina in the Shannon Estuary.

Amongst those giving support to Peter is Cork-based artist Siobhan Fleming who says she was fascinated by his story of how he grew up sailing and describes herself as "artist not in residence" on his journey. She plans to create a series of art pieces in response to Peter's experiences, which he will be detailing via satellite phone and internet for supporters following his voyage.

The first piece, titled "And That Is Why We Go" reflects the journey into the unknown that Peter is taking.

This is the prize of a draw on Peter's website (peterlawlesssolocircumnavigation.com) that will be made on the evening before he leaves, Friday, August 20.

I last talked to 53-year-old Peter in June. He comes from a family of sailors, son of the late Pat Lawless from Limerick. The Golden Globe Race has been focused on by his brother, Pat.

Lawless estimates the trip will take approximately eight months nonstop. His yacht Waxwing is a Rival 41, she is a standard production offshore cruising yacht that he has upgraded for the challenge.Lawless estimates the trip will take approximately eight months nonstop. His yacht Waxwing is a Rival 41, she is a standard production offshore cruising yacht that he has upgraded for the challenge

At that stage, Peter worked hard to prepare his 41ft. yacht Waxwing for the voyage, which he is expecting to take about eight months. He is hoping to become the first Irishman to sail non-stop around the world and, since our last chat, has been putting in long days of preparation, determined to get everything right before leaving, which, he says, " will make life at sea that bit easier."

Lawless at Kilrush Marina in the Shannon EstuaryLawless at Kilrush Marina in the Shannon Estuary

He is my Podcast guest this week.

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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Lough Neagh Rescue was paged on the 9th April to the aid of a lone yachtsman whose vessel had engine difficulties just outside Kinnego Bay on the southern shore of Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland.

On scene, the lifeboats found the solo sailor safe and well and he was able to continue in his boat for a short time under its own power. He was escorted into Kinnego Bay but a tow was needed when the vessel lost power again at the entrance of the Marina, the largest on the Lough.

The vessel was brought safely to the jetty and moored before the lifeboats were stood down and returned to base.

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County Meath solo sailor Tom Dolan is confident he will be fighting fit for the double-handed Transat en Doible Concarneau to Saint Barthelem which starts May 9th. This is despite an ankle injury sustained by Dolan in the Season Opening Solo Maître Coq at the weekend.

As Afloat reported earlier, the Irish Sailor of the Year sustained the ankle injury midway through the 340 nautical miles long offshore race curtailed Dolan’s chances of a top 10 overall finish in the first solo race of the French Figaro season.

At the Ile de Ré, the southernmost turning point of the course, the skipper of Smurfit Kappa was comfortably racing among a strong breakaway group of ten leading the 29 strong fleet, when he overbalanced while stepping back into the cockpit of his Figaro Beneteau 3 and landed heavily, hurting his ankle and injuring his hand.

At first, in the light airs he tried to carry on but as the wind and seas built with the arrival of a front, the pain was scarcely bearable and it became obvious to Dolan that he had no alternative but to retire into Lorient. A medical examination has subsequently confirmed his ankle is badly sprained with some nerve damage. He has been told to rest his leg for three weeks to one month.

“It is just one of these things. I had had a problem with the tack line and had been up to the bow to fix it and I just stepped awkwardly back into the cockpit. I hurt my left hand and right foot. It is a lesson to be more careful in the future. I’ll lose a little bit of training time before the Transatlantic Concarneau Saint Barths but I am staying positive. I had sailed well in the opening races and was up with the top group when it happened so I am not despondent.” Dolan reported today (Monday) after finally being reunited with his phone which was left (according to the race rules) in Les Sables d’Olonne, the start and finish port.

“Initially I was determined to go on and finish but as the wind and seas built up it was apparent how immobile I was and it was clearly dangerous to go on.” He recalled, “I will be so much more careful in the future.”

Having finished seventh and 13th in the two inshore races last Monday and Tuesday, Dolan had started the offshore race in ninth place. Even counting the ‘RTD’ (retired) from the offshore race he still finished 18th, still his best result in the season opener yet.

“Look I am pretty happy nonetheless. I was good all round and was with the breakaway group and was going well. Overall I have good speed. I am still not very quick under gennaker and so that is a work in progress, I am not slow but neither am I the fastest. Meantime I have two or three weeks of physiotherapy to get on with and will be taking it carefully.” Tom Dolan concluded today.

Published in Tom Dolan

Mayor of Ards and North Down Councillor Trevor Cummings, visited teen solo sailor Timothy Long onboard his yacht Hunter Impala yacht, Alchemy to welcome him officially to Bangor.

As Afloat reported previously, fifteen-year-old Timothy aims to become the youngest person to sail solo around Britain. Throughout his challenge, Timothy will be fundraising for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

He began his voyage south to his home port of Southampton at the weekend.

Timothy with left, Rear Commodore RUYC Maurice Butler and Peter Eagleson  - Hunter Impala Association

Timothy's Mum, Sue Elder, who is looking after publicity for his voyage, is full of praise for the welcome he has received. "He has certainly had a wonderful welcome in Bangor! At this rate, he may not want to leave...all of you have been so kind and supportive of him, which means a lot to us as parents, as I'm sure you'll appreciate".

Timothy has been paddleboarding, been treated to lunch, had help with his mast maintenance from another sailor, had dinner on board another boat and been shown round Royal Ulster Yacht Club by Rear Commodore Maurice Butler. Sue Elder adds " Please pass on our heartfelt thanks to the Bangor network for making him so welcome".

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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.

FAQs

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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