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Displaying items by tag: youth sailing

More than 30 youth laser sailors from 10 clubs across Northern Ireland travelled to Cushendall Sailing and Boating Club for the RYA Northern Ireland Performance selection weekend.

The event, which took place on 10 and 11 October, saw the young sailors taking part in two days of coaching and selections.

Strict Covid-19 arrangements were in place and sessions took place outdoors in three groups with Laser Head Coach Barry McCartin, Performance Development Officer James Farrell and Performance Manager Andrew Baker.

Commenting on the action-packed weekend, Andrew Baker said: "Saturday was all about boat handling and shaking off any rustiness form a season with less sailing than normal. Gusts of 20 knots were a rude awakening for some. By the end of the day the groups were showing real promise and becoming more competitive within themselves.

"Sunday put into practice the previous day of training with a drill focusing on boat speed and changing gears in a laser. These sessions were aided by the ever-changing weather which had the sailors working the boats through light drifting conditions right up to flat out hiking."

He added: "The weekend concluded with three large races bringing all the groups together giving additional pressure of performing among a larger number of boats, which is what the sailors can expect at future events."

Reflecting on the success of the event, Baker said: "It was a great weekend and I am very pleased given the current Covid-19 climate that we were able to run the Performance selection weekend.

"I am impressed by the enthusiasm shown by all the participants. This was my first selection weekend as Performance Manager and I am pleased to see the talent Northern Ireland has to offer and excited to grow and support our future sailors.

"I would like to thank everyone for understanding the circumstances and helping us run the weekend safely and in accordance with Covid-19 guidelines.''

The successful young athletes who have been selected by RYA Northern Ireland will now be invited to be part of the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Performance Programme and undergo six weekends on-water coaching, as well as other campaign support throughout the Winter period.

Despite Royal Cork Yacht Club's Seafra Guilfoyle's super efforts at the sharp end of Ryan Seaton's 49er campaign for Tokyo 2021 next year, there's been little in the way of Olympic skiff sailing going on in Guilfoyle's home port for the past two seasons. 

These fast and tricky skiffs are a handful for most and this has put them on a downward spiral in Cork Harbour

So it was interesting to spot Optimist and Laser 4.7 ace James Dwyer Matthews of RCYC trying out a 49er (one of two in active use), with Chris Bateman of Monkstown Bay as his crew. 

Guilfoyle, a 2014 world youth silver medalist, meanwhile, continues his campaign for selection in the 49er and is vying with a Dublin crew to win a single Irish berth against stiff competition for one of the final slots available for Japan.

Published in Optimist

Fifteen-year-old sailor Timothy Long spent his summer on a 1,600 nautical mile anti-clockwise voyage around the British coast. Now he has broken the record of Tom Webb, who sailed around Britain aged 17 in 2011. Timothy, from Aylesbury, has become the youngest person to sail solo around Britain while so far raising over £7,000 to support his heroine, Dame Ellen MacArthur's young person's cancer charity (Thursday 1 October).

Ellen MacArthur has been Timothy's greatest inspiration since reading her books as child. When he learned about the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust – the national charity that empowers young people aged 8-24 to embrace their future after cancer through sailing and outdoor adventure – he wanted to help. He was too young to volunteer so decided to fundraise. After plucking up the courage to email Ellen – having told his mum "I can't write to her, she's a Dame"- a copy of her book 'Full Circle' and an Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust baseball cap, both signed by Ellen with the words "Go for it!" arrived out of the blue.

Inspired by Ellen's encouragement and that she had sailed round Britain aged 18, Timothy donned his Trust cap to follow her lead on his 28ft Hunter Impala, 'Alchemy'.

Having set out from Hamble, Southampton on 16 July, Timothy's venture (See Afloat.ie 1st, 6th and 14th September) brought him in early September to Bangor Marina from where he left on 4th September, calling at Ardglass on the County Down coast on his way south. He arrived yesterday (Wednesday 30 September) in the Isle of Wight where he received a warm welcome from Ellen herself, ahead of his final leg to Hamble.

Timothy said: "The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust does amazing work with young people to rebuild their confidence after cancer treatment, and the experience of being together on a boat can be a real turning point for people who have been through the worst of times".

Reflecting on his voyage Timothy said "My 20-hour passage between Eyemouth to Stonehaven in Scotland made me think of being in the shoes of the young people the Trust supports. I can't even imagine being diagnosed with cancer at this age, but people are and have to go through years of treatment, it's crazy. How can you return back to normal life after such a terrible experience without the support of the Trust?"

Timothy's first sailed a dinghy on a reservoir near Swindon aged nine. During his voyage, he sailed an average 50 miles per day, with several passages of up to 100 miles. He battled giant waves, gale force winds, 17 hours in thick fog in the Bristol Channel and on occasions sailed for 24 hours straight, sleeping for just 20 minutes at a time. There have been wonderful moments too; of perfect sailing, magical sunrises and sunsets and beautiful scenery and wildlife including dolphins, seals, birds and even a pilot whale.

Ellen said: "It is an incredible achievement for anyone to sail single-handed around Britain, but to do it at 15 really is something else. While Timothy will always have the personal satisfaction of that achievement, the legacy of what he's done will be even more far-reaching in terms of helping to change the lives of young people in recovery from cancer. I send Timothy my warmest congratulations and thank him on behalf of every young person the Trust supports."

To support Timothy go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/roundbritain2020 and for more information about the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust visit www.ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org

In Royal Cork's September Saturday League for Toppers and Lasers, Cork Harbour youth sailors have enjoyed some great sailing conditions this autumn with eight races sailed so far for Laser Radials and 4.7s and six races for the Topper class.

Radial

After two discards, Michael Crosbie leads the Laser Radial by five points from Dorothy Matthews on 13.0 points. Third is Hugh Lynch on 26.0 points.

Topper

Max Tolan leads by five points after six races sailed from Julie O'Neill on 13 points with Craig O'Neill third on 18.

See results here and Bob Bateman's photo gallery below

Published in Royal Cork YC

More than 90 of Northern Ireland’s Youth and Junior sailors have taken part in the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Championships, which were hosted by Ballyholme Yacht Club.

Racing took part of over two days on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 September and the fleets were split to reduce overall numbers on site each day to mitigate risk in accordance with COVID – 19 guidelines.

The ILCA 6 and 420s took to the water on Saturday for five races in perfect conditions of 15 knots and sunshine.

Ellen Barbour from County Antrim Yacht Club showed good form early on to lead the way in race one, only to fall foul of being over at the start. This gave Coleraine Yacht Club’s Tom Coulter the win followed by Colin Crichton of Quoile Yacht Club in 2nd.

Race two saw Erin Mcllwaine from Newcastle Yacht Club was fast out of the blocks and took the win for race two with Crichton again runner up and Coulter in 3rd.
By race three Coulter started to show some dominance with his second win of the event followed by Ballyholme’s Oliver Haig.

The girls led the way in the fourth race with Mcllwaine doing her best to close the gap to Coulter with another win and Barbour a close 2nd to prove her performance in race one was not a one-off.

ILCA 6

ILCA 4

1st Overall

Tom Coulter

1st Overall

Hannah Dadley-Young

1st Boy

Tom Coulter

1st Boy

Conor McVeigh

1st Girl

Erin Mcllwaine

1st Girl

Hannah Dadley-Young

2nd

Erin Mcllwaine

2nd

Eva Briggs

3rd

Joseph Karauzum

3rd

Conor McVeigh

 

420 – Northern Championship

1st Overall

Ben Graf & Alexander Farrell

2nd 

Jack McDowell & Harry Thomson

3rd

Garrett Leech & Conor Paul

 

TOPPER

TOPPER 4.2

1st Overall

Zoe Whitford

1st Overall

Hugo Boyd

1st Boy

Dan Palmer

1st Boy

Hugo Boyd

2nd Boy

Max Killiner

1st Girl

Jessica Dadley-Young

3rd Boy

Charlie Patterson

2nd

Freddie Doig

1st Girl

Zoe Whitford

3rd

Mateo Moore 

2nd Girl

Autumn Halliday

3rd Girl

Sophia Cahill

 

RYANI Youth Championships Overall

1st Junior 

Zoe Whitford

1st Youth

Tom Coulter

1st Lady 

Erin Mcllwaine 

Club Trophy

Ballyholme Yacht Club

School’s Cup

Larne Grammar 

The Commodore of the South Coast Offshore Racing Association believes there are yachts "out there waiting for budding enthusiasts to give them a second or third chance" and which could be used to encourage the next generation of young sailors into cruiser racing.

"There are many boats lying idle, young people could get together to buy a boat, work on it as a project and get out sailing – another one to add to the fleet," says
Johanna Murphy.

It's an idea suggesting how boats not being used, seen in boatyards and on moorings. could be brought into the sport through the interest and encouragement of young sailors. As I've said, I believe in giving young sailors the opportunity to move into cruisers. On my own Sigma 33, Scribbler, this is the policy and has been quite successful. It is encouraging to see young sailors putting into effect, with natural ability, the training they've received in clubs and sailing schools.

Tom MacSweeney's Sigma 33, Scribbler Photo: Bob BatemanTom MacSweeney's Sigma 33, Scribbler Photo: Bob Bateman

Twenty-year-old George Radley Junior from Cobh is my Podcast guest this week. Son of Johanna and well-known George Radley, he has brought a Sadler 25, Creamy Beam, into the Cove Sailing Club fleet. While a new boat to the fleet, it's an older boat, in reality, one which he acquired for not a lot of money, but with a lot of work as part of a sales deal and which required refurbishment. He outlines how this was done.

George Jr. has put into practice what his mother suggested as a way of getting more young sailors into cruiser racing. Of his crew of three, two are aged 21 and the other, like him, 20 years old. He tells me that it's better on a cruiser than being "wet and cold" in dinghies, which he has also sailed and that there haven't been any bad days afloat.

It's a Podcast to lift the spirits, hearing the enthusiasm of young sailing.

Listen to the Podcast below

Published in Youth Sailing

The fact that over 50% of the competitors and organisers would be travelling from Dublin - a city and county currently under COVID restrictions - means the Junior All Ireland Sailing Championships scheduled to be sailed at the Fastnet Marine Outdoor Education Centre in Schull, West Cork next weekend (September 26) have been cancelled for 2020. 

It is the latest in a series of sailing events that have fallen victim to the pandemic, not least four key Dublin events this weekend as Afloat reported here.

The FMOEC has agreed to host the Junior All Irelands in Schull in 2021.

Published in Youth Sailing

Lough Ree Yacht Commodore John McGonigle on his plans for this month's 'Double Ree' youth sailing regatta at the end of August to showcase double-handed dinghy racing

The first edition of Double Ree was held in Lough Ree Yacht Club in 2018. The concept was to bring the main double-handed youth classes together in order that they could run one of their respective regional championships at the same venue. It was intended to highlight the benefits and fun of double-handed sailing and to showcase an alternative to the usual route of single-handed sailing.

This year, Double Ree was intended to form part of Lough Ree Yacht Club's 250th-anniversary celebrations. It had originally been scheduled for the weekend of the 18th– 19th of July. Then COVID 19 came along and the event was postponed.

It has now been rescheduled for the weekend of the 29th and 30th of this month.

The Mirror Northern Championship, 420 Connacht Championship and 29er Western Championship will all be decided on Lough Ree. While it's fantastic to be able to restore the event, we had to limit numbers in order to comply with the 200 person limit as dictated by the HSE and Irish Sailing. A host of measures have been put in place to ensure social distancing, sanitizing and contact tracing in order to keep everyone as safe as possible.

These measures have been well tried and tested at our annual regatta last week.

Lough Ree Yacht Club has invested a lot of effort into double-handed sailing. As in most clubs, our sailors generally start in Optimists. We quickly encourage them to try crewing in Mirrors while still developing their skills in the Optimist. Mirrors are particularly suited to very young crew as they do not have to manage the hoists and drops of the spinnaker. The helm does that. They absorb experience from the older more experienced helms and get to experience conditions that might be a bit too much for them were they in a single-handed boat.

As they grow older and develop their skills they moved to the back of the boat as a helm.

It's not unusual for a sailor to sail in a Mirror from age 9 to 15.

The 420 is the Lough Ree YC's choice of boat for the next step. It's a natural progression from a Mirror, where our sailors get to expand their skills with the addition of a trapeze and a highly tuneable rig.

Once the challenge of pairing crew and helm is overcome, it's a lot more friendly than single-handed sailing. This is very appealing for many.

Our main focus with youth sailors is to develop skills and to keep them in sailing for as long as we can.

We have found that if we can attract sailors into competitive double-handed sailing, they will generally keep sailing until their college years.

Double Ree is a fantastic opportunity to showcase double-handed sailing and for sailors to see other classes in action, as all the classes will be raced in the same location.

We hope that that the various fleets will come to appreciate the merits of each other's fleets.

Camping and mooring facilities are available at the club. There will be food available on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Registration will be open on Monday here

Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under

Despite the many cancellations of major events which sailing has suffered this season due to the pandemic, there are positives and one of those is what has been happening in the youth sector. The cancellation of the Youth National Championships was a big disappointment, but on the positive side it can allow young sailors to concentrate on their Class Championships, which could help to build up dinghy classes. As well as that, clubs and training centres in several parts of the country have been reporting a big demand for their annual training courses. A number of them have told me that they are operating to full capacity.

Topper sailing in Cork Harbour - Young dinghy sailors are well-trained in their clubs, a tribute to clubs Photo: Bob Bateman

Taken with the increased commitment by many clubs to developing the Under 25 keelboats academy approach and the backing which the Irish Cruiser Racing Association has given to that concept, there is an increased focus on youth involvement.

This is crucial to the future, because the loss to sailing of younger sailors, particularly as they move into and through third-level education and the early years of employment, for example, has been to the detriment of the sport. Getting more interested at younger age is important. It is a step to securing the future of sailing.

I believe in that and aboard my own boat, Scribbler a Sigma 33, four of our crew are 16 and under. One is our designated whitesail helmsman. Young dinghy sailors are well-trained in their clubs, a tribute to the clubs. Given active roles aboard a cruiser, they are enthusiastic, energetic, with skills which put more fun and enjoyment into the sport. It has to be about more than just racing, important as that is.

This week I discussed these aspects of youth sailing with the CEO of Irish Sailing, Harry Hermon. I started by asking him about the disappointment of the cancelled youth championships and what effect that will have on youth sailing.

Listen to this week’s podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney
Tagged under

The 2020 Irish Sailing Youth National Championships that was originally scheduled for April 2020 in Howth Yacht Club will not now be held. Irish Sailing has been working closely with stakeholders to find an alternative date for the expected 200 young sailors and their families. However, it became clear it would be too difficult to implement pandemic guidelines with an event this size, and the decision has been taken to cancel the event for 2020.

The annual Irish Sailing Youth National Championships were started first as a means for Irish Sailing coaches to spot burgeoning young talent, and pick members for the Performance Pathway Teams and further coaching. The event has now grown in size and purpose to be Ireland’s largest youth regatta. This was the first year that the 29er class were invited to take part. The growing class reflects the interest young Irish sailors have in this particular boat.

Irish Sailing Academy Coach and lead organiser of the event Sean Evans said “we’ve worked really hard with all the stakeholders involved to find a new date for the Youth Nationals. We didn’t take the decision to cancel lightly and we’re really disappointed not to go ahead. But the health and safety of our sailors remains our number one priority and we’re already planning the event for Easter 2021”.

The 2021 Irish Sailing Youth Nationals is scheduled for 8-11 April next year with the venue yet to be confirmed.

Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under
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Ireland's Commercial Fishing 

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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