Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Galway Port is Round Britain & Ireland Race Stopover for 2022

4th February 2021
Racing in a past edition of the Round Britain & Ireland Race Racing in a past edition of the Round Britain & Ireland Race Credit: Royal Western Yacht Club

Galway Bay Sailing Club in conjunction with The Royal Western Yacht Club (Plymouth) has announced that Galway Port has been selected as a stopover port for The Round Britain and Ireland Race in 2022.

This classic Round Britain and Ireland race which will be entering its 56th year will see over 40 boats competing in various classes over a three week period in May 2022. Starting in Plymouth, The Round Britain and Ireland Race has compulsory stopovers in Galway, Lerwick, and Blyth before finishing back in Plymouth.

Acting Rear Commodore Oceanic and Race Director, Adrian Gray said, “We are excited to announce the new format for this classic, well-known race. We are also delighted to announce our new stopover host, the Galway Bay Sailing Club, where we are assured to receive a very traditional Galway Céad Míle Fáilte”

The Round Britain and Ireland race sees an amazing assortment of yachts taking part. The Round Britain and Ireland race sees an amazing assortment of yachts taking part.

Galway and the Galway Bay Sailing Club are no strangers to hosting International Sailing events, having previously hosted the 2005 and 2009 Volvo Ocean Race stopovers.

Galway is also the spiritual home of the Green Dragon Irish entry in the race is perfectly placed on The West Coast of Ireland to provide a welcome respite before taking on the leg to the Shetland Isles.

Johnny Shorten, Commodore of Galway Bay Sailing Club commented, "We are proud and excited to be hosting the Round Britain and Ireland's race's stopover for the first time. A warm welcome and great Craic is awaiting all involved during the first stopover of the event. We hope it will be the first of many”.

Galway Docks is used to welcoming visiting fleets to the West Coast including the ICRA cruiser-racer fleet (above) in 2018Galway Docks is used to welcoming visiting fleets to the West Coast including the ICRA cruiser-racer fleet (above) in 2018 Photo: Afloat

Galway Harbour Master, Captain Brian Sheridan said he was delighted that the Port of Galway had been successfully selected as a stopover in the RB&I Race in 2022. “We are no strangers is hosting major maritime events and we look forward to rolling out the ‘blue’ carpet when competing yachts arrive in Galway bay for what I am sure will be a very successful race”.

The race is a combination of competitive sailing and enjoyable social gatherings. The course, around all the islands of Britain and Ireland except the Channel Islands and Rockall, can be a severe test of navigation and seamanship in the heavy weather that is often experienced. By contrast, the hospitality shown by the host Yacht Clubs and communities in the four stopover ports, in which the competitors must spend at least 48 hours, can be much more enjoyable and often just as exhausting. Team

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Galway Port & Harbour

Galway Bay is a large bay on the west coast of Ireland, between County Galway in the province of Connacht to the north and the Burren in County Clare in the province of Munster to the south. Galway city and port is located on the northeast side of the bay. The bay is about 50 kilometres (31 miles) long and from 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) to 30 kilometres (19 miles) in breadth.

The Aran Islands are to the west across the entrance and there are numerous small islands within the bay.

Galway Port FAQs

Galway was founded in the 13th century by the de Burgo family, and became an important seaport with sailing ships bearing wine imports and exports of fish, hides and wool.

Not as old as previously thought. Galway bay was once a series of lagoons, known as Loch Lurgan, plied by people in log canoes. Ancient tree stumps exposed by storms in 2010 have been dated back about 7,500 years.

It is about 660,000 tonnes as it is a tidal port.

Capt Brian Sheridan, who succeeded his late father, Capt Frank Sheridan

The dock gates open approximately two hours before high water and close at high water subject to ship movements on each tide.

The typical ship sizes are in the region of 4,000 to 6,000 tonnes

Turbines for about 14 wind projects have been imported in recent years, but the tonnage of these cargoes is light. A European industry report calculates that each turbine generates €10 million in locally generated revenue during construction and logistics/transport.

Yes, Iceland has selected Galway as European landing location for international telecommunications cables. Farice, a company wholly owned by the Icelandic Government, currently owns and operates two submarine cables linking Iceland to Northern Europe.

It is "very much a live project", Harbourmaster Capt Sheridan says, and the Port of Galway board is "awaiting the outcome of a Bord Pleanála determination", he says.

90% of the scrap steel is exported to Spain with the balance being shipped to Portugal. Since the pandemic, scrap steel is shipped to the Liverpool where it is either transhipped to larger ships bound for China.

It might look like silage, but in fact, its bales domestic and municipal waste, exported to Denmark where the waste is incinerated, and the heat is used in district heating of homes and schools. It is called RDF or Refuse Derived Fuel and has been exported out of Galway since 2013.

The new ferry is arriving at Galway Bay onboard the cargo ship SVENJA. The vessel is currently on passage to Belem, Brazil before making her way across the Atlantic to Galway.

Two Volvo round world races have selected Galway for the prestigious yacht race route. Some 10,000 people welcomed the boats in during its first stopover in 2009, when a festival was marked by stunning weather. It was also selected for the race finish in 2012. The Volvo has changed its name and is now known as the "Ocean Race". Capt Sheridan says that once port expansion and the re-urbanisation of the docklands is complete, the port will welcome the "ocean race, Clipper race, Tall Ships race, Small Ships Regatta and maybe the America's Cup right into the city centre...".

The pandemic was the reason why Seafest did not go ahead in Cork in 2020. Galway will welcome Seafest back after it calls to Waterford and Limerick, thus having been to all the Port cities.

© Afloat 2020