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Sailors Weather Testing Conditions at Spiddal's Annual Regatta in Galway Bay

20th September 2021
The annual Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil regatta on Galway Bay
The annual Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil regatta on Galway Bay

A fleet of 28 dinghies took to Galway Bay for the annual Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil regatta at the weekend.

In spite of freshening southerlies and sporadic rain, eight hardy Optimist sailors completed a series of three races over a course set by race officer Stephen O’Gorman.

Winner in the Optimist class was Rian Baynes of Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC), while second place also went to a GBSC sailor, Killian Mathieu, and third to fellow club mate Sean Lemonnier.

Niamh Baynes of GBSC took fourth place, and the first CSS club sailor home was Sarah Donald who recorded fifth place overall.

Preparations underway for the 2021 Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil regatta Photo: Dave CahillPreparations underway for the 2021 Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil regatta Photo: Dave Cahill

CSS Optimist sailors Realtín Boinnard, Padraic Halliday and Séadhna Ní Thuairisg also braved the conditions, with Boinnard and Halliday taking second and third club placings.

Conditions had freshened further in the afternoon when the mixed fleet took to the water, requiring a series of quick tacks to clear Spiddal’s rock-strewn coastal rim.

CSS Spiddal 2021 regatta race officer Stephen O'Gorman showing his county loyalties Photo: Dave CahillCSS Spiddal 2021 regatta race officer Stephen O'Gorman showing his county loyalties Photo: Dave Cahill

A crack shore team assisted visiting dinghies, with the rollercoaster launch off the Sean Céibh beach proving to be quite the spectacle from shore.

Classes for the mixed fleet series were 420/Laser 1 and Pico/Topaz.

There were several capsizes in the testing conditions during three timed races, with a fourth race requiring two laps of the course.

The first boat in overall on corrected time was a GBSC 420 sailed by Adam McGrady and Ally O’Sullivan.

CSS sailors Mac O’Brien and Eoghan Breathnach took second place in a 420, closely followed into third by a Galway City Sailing Club (GCSC) 420 crew of Colm Ó Fatharta and Rian de Bairéad.

CSS boats dominated the Pico/Topaz class, with James Harvey and Charlie Donald coming first, Aoife Ni Choncubhair and Hooriya Awan securing second, and Sarah Donald and Padraic Halliday taking third.

Awards for the first three CSS club boats in the mixed fleet went to O’Brien and Breathnach, Cathal and Méabh Mahon, and Orlaith and Liam Cahill – all sailing 420s.

Aoife Ní Chonchubhair of CSS, who came second with Hooriya Awan in the Pico/Topaz class at Spiddal regatta 2021, with commodore Dave Cahill. Photo: Jamie DonaldAoife Ní Chonchubhair of CSS, who came second with Hooriya Awan in the Pico/Topaz class at Spiddal regatta 2021, with commodore Dave Cahill. More prizegiving photos below. Photo: Jamie Donald

All the Oppie prize winners with CSS  commodore Dave Cahill ( from left) GBSC sailors Sean Lemonnier, Rian  Baynes, Killian Mathieu and CSS sailors Sarah Donald, Patrick Halliday and Realtin BoinnardAll the Oppie prize winners with CSS  commodore Dave Cahill ( from left) GBSC sailors Sean Lemonnier, Rian  Baynes, Killian Mathieu and CSS sailors Sarah Donald, Patrick Halliday and Realtin Boinnard

GBSC Dart 16 sailors Laurik and Killian Mathieu crossed the bay for the racing, while Galway City Sailing Club Topper sailors Ava McCarthy and Ava Halpin also participated - putting in very keen performances.

Last year, CSS initiated a new annual award in memory of late sea kayaker, mountaineer and circuit court judge John Hannan, who died in February 2020.

The Hannan trophy, a piece of glassware in the shape of a sailing dinghy on bog oak, was designed and made by Sue Donnellan’s glass craft design studio in An Ceardlann, An Spidéal.

This year’s award was presented by Marcus Hannan to the CSS 420 duo of Mac O’Brien and Eoghan Breathnach, who were the first club boat home.

Speaking at the prize giving, Marcus Hannan conveyed a special tribute penned by his mother, Stephanie Adams, who was CSS sail training organiser for many years before the family moved back to her native Australia in 2020.

CSS commodore Dave Cahill paid his own tribute to all the sailors, to the visiting clubs, and to the shore and RIB safety boat teams who were essential to the smooth running of the event.

CSS, founded in 2002, has no clubhouse, but was recently dubbed the "coolest place to sail" by Irish Olympic contest Sean Waddilove.

Published in Galway Harbour
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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

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