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Galway Bay Sailing Club Winds Down the Main Season With Everything from Optimists to Oysters

6th October 2021
Successful end to the summer season – the crew of Woofer who came through in the last race to win the ECHO Division in the Galway Bay SC Aquabroker Series are John Preisler, Nigel Moss, Ronan O'Conghaile and Professor Michael O'Sullivan
Successful end to the summer season – the crew of Woofer who came through in the last race to win the ECHO Division in the Galway Bay SC Aquabroker Series are John Preisler, Nigel Moss, Ronan O'Conghaile and Professor Michael O'Sullivan

Flexibility has been the keynote at Galway Bay Sailing Club as they wind down their traditional season at a time when activity generally is seeing a stepping-up of the pace as the pandemic recedes. Thus when the time-honoured Junior Regatta scheduled for Sunday 26th September was faced with deteriorating weather and perhaps a fixtures clash, the lines of communication burned red-hot to transfer it to Saturday, September 25th, and despite the widespread locations of sailing clubs along the western seaboard, they were rewarded with a good turnout for four classes drawn from four different clubs.

Overall, it's reckoned the top performers were Adam McGrady and Ally O'Sullivan who scooped the 420 class, reflecting the strength of this important international junior two-person boat at sailing centres around the City of the Tribes. The Fevas were won by Isabel Schumacher and Isolde Hannon, while the Topaz group was led in by Lauren Irwin.

The GBSC Junior Regatta managed to sidestep impending bad weather with some nifty footwork in shifting the date by 24 hours.The GBSC Junior Regatta managed to sidestep impending bad weather with some nifty footwork in shifting the date by 24 hours.

The Optimists, racing in a separate course, had the Gold Fleet won by Micheal Minogue, while the Silvers were headed by Niamh Banes – full results here 

EVENING RACING

In socially-distanced evening racing throughout the season, the club was very lucky in getting an almost unbroken pattern of summery evenings for the keelboats' 12-boat Aquabroker Series, in which Joker was dominant under IRC, while Woofer came through in the final race to win on ECHO.

September in Galway is of course Oyster Festival Time afloat and ashore, and the club's cruisers raced to Galway Docks in the final race of the King of the Bay series for a nautical nosh-up sponsored by Galway Maritime. However, they'd to earn their pints and bivalves, as the course took them on a spectator-impressing circuit of the inner bay, with a final run along the Salthill waterfront until they arrived with neat timing at the finish with a flurry of sail just as the dock gates were opening.

Mark Wilson's Sigma 33 Scorpio has had a good season on Galway Bay, winning the Round Aran Race in August, and the Renville-Galway Race which concluded the King of the Bay series.Mark Wilson's Sigma 33 Scorpio has had a good season on Galway Bay, winning the Round Aran Race in August, and the Renville-Galway Race which concluded the King of the Bay series.

The Kings of the Bay – Ibaraki crew of Eugene Burke, Mike Guilfoyle, Aoife Macken, John Collins, Paddy Ryan and Ciaran Moran with Pierce Purcell Jnr and Piece Purcell III of Galway Maritime.

The winner on the day was the Sigma 33 Scorpio (Mark Wilson) which also won the hugely-successful Pursuit Race round Inismor in the Aran Islands back in August. But overall the King of the Bay series winner is John Collins' Ibaraki, with Scorpio second and Out of the Blue (Lyons brothers) third.

Celebration of this high point of the season continued in the sociable shelter of the dock, with GBSC Commodore John Shorten turning his boat Galypso into Hospitality Central for liquid dispensation, while ashore under the Galway Maritime mega-parasol, it was mussels and oysters galore. But despite these festivities, sailing at GBSC for 2021 is by no means over - their annual Sunday Series is now under way.

"The Brains of the Bay": Out of the Blue crew of Conor, Lisa and Fergal Lyons came third overall in the King of the Bay series , and it was also Fergal who proved to be the ace handicapper when setting the start times for the phenomenally successful Round Aran Pursuit Race in August."The Brains of the Bay": Out of the Blue crew of Conor, Lisa and Fergal Lyons came third overall in the King of the Bay series , and it was also Fergal who proved to be the ace handicapper when setting the start times for the phenomenally successful Round Aran Pursuit Race in August.

Published in Galway Harbour
WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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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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