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#TALL SHIPS - Sail Training Ireland is seeking more volunteers to help out at the Tall Ships Races Festival information stand from next Thursday 23 to Sunday 25 August.

Michael Byrne of Sail Training Ireland for Youth Development says organisers need enthusiastic people that have an interest in sail training who are willing to spend a half day on the stand on Thursday afternoon from 4pm to 9pm or on Friday from 10am to 9pm.

The stand is located at the entrance to the Naval Service vessel LE Emer and will be a great location to get a feel for the festival.

It's also hoped that some of the trainees arriving on the ships will "bring some exciting tales to share of their crossing of the Bay of Biscay", says Byrne.

If you are interested, please call Michael Byrne at 01 887 6046 (office) 086 034 6038 (mobile) or send an email to [email protected] with your name and phone number and times of interest.

Published in Tall Ships

#TALL SHIPS - Celebrating the arrival of the Tall Ships to Dublin, the Allianz All-Aboard Liffey Cruise for St Michael's House invites the public to join its maiden voyage of the River Liffey next weekend 23-26 August for just €1.

The unique tour of the city includes a cruise along the Liffey to the new developments at Docklands and the IFSC, and will get you up close and personal with the Tall Ships at Dublin Port - which begin arriving in the capital over the next few days for this year's festival.

Hosting what promises to be fun day out for all ages will be Allianz’s very own Captain Pete, who will be handing out treats to the younger - and not so young! - seafarers on board.  

And what's more, your euro will go towards the great work done by St Michael's House for people with intellectual disabilities. St Michael's House is Allianz's chosen charity this year - find out more about its work.

The tour normally costs €12.60 but a limited number of places are available for booking for just €1 via the Allianz All-Aboard Facebook app HERE. Early booking is advised to avoid disappointment. See terms and conditions.

Published in Tall Ships

#tallships – Strong, unseasonal winds of 40mph are propelling the 43 strong fleet in The Tall Ships Races 2012 towards the finishing line ahead of schedule. The race start was delayed because of the strength of the winds, nonetheless the South Westerly gales mean that a race winner will reach the finishing line off the Tuskar Rock some time later tonight.

Currently "Cuauhtemoc" the 1982 Mexican naval vessel ship, that is over 290ft in length, leads the fleet and passed Lands End off the coast of Cornwall earlier today with some 129 miles to run. It is estimated that the first ship could reach Dublin Port this weekend, however, the final vessels are still 3 to 4 days from Dublin.

The full fleet of 40 plus Tall Ships will not all reach Dublin Port until Thursday morning, 23rd of August when The Tall Ships Races 2012 - Dublin Festival will commence.

Preparations are underway for the festival which will run for four days from Thursday the 23rd of August to Sunday 26th and promises to be the biggest free family fun festival in Ireland this year.

Mary Weir, Project Manager for Tall Ships Races 2012 - Dublin commented, "We are looking forward to welcoming The Tall Ships Fleet and are delighted that the race is ahead of schedule. We have arranged an amazing programme of events with the focus on free fun for all the family. The festival will open to the public at 10.00am on Thursday, 23rd of August. Dublin's Docklands have been transformed since the last race and is now very accessible with new Luas Line, two new bridges and the Port Tunnel. Our strong advice is to use public transport next week. We will be announcing the details of the event, transport and access arrangements on Monday, 20th August with our colleagues in Dublin Port and an Garda Síochána. We hope to make this event the biggest outdoor event in Ireland this year."

The Tall Ships Races 2012-Dublin Festival will include some 55 Music Acts including the Undertones, Ryan Sheridan, Gerry Fish, Ash and Scullion at The Bulmers Live Music Dock at George's Dock, over 100 performance acts from trapeze artists to wake boarding to food demonstrations at The Theatre of Food in Linear Park on the North Side of the Quays. Grand Canal Dock will play host to the imaginative Out of The Blue Family Zone while Hanover Quay will come alive with skateboarding, parkour, beatboxing and music with the spectacular Kings of Concrete. Visitors can also try their hand at cable kayaking, pedalo boats, wakeboarding and crazy golf on a pontoon at Grand Canal Dock with Waterways Ireland and Surf Dock.

The Festival Hub at CHQ will welcome guests who are seeking a more chilled out adventure with a beautiful black and white photography exhibition from the Dublin Docklands Preservation Society, a range of workshops including a yoga workshop, upcycling workshops, a mini comic workshop and a striking viking exhibition in the vaults at CHQ and much more. The quays both North and South will overflow with street performances, food and craft markets, walking literary tours and a funfair. As the sun sets on Dublin City the festival will continue with the Glow evening programme which will include a floating cinema on a barge with showings of Jaws, The Life Aquatic and Planet Ocean along with music, street performances and dusk walking tours.

Published in Tall Ships

#CELTIC MIST - The wait is almost over for the relaunch of the Celtic Mist, as The Irish Times reports on the completion of its 'make-under'.

Tomorrow 12 August will see the ketch formerly sailed by late Taoiseach Charles Haughey officially begin its new life as a research vessel for the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), as previously reported on

Apart from extensive work to the interior of the vessel to transform crew accommodation and make space for scientific instruments, the hull of the Celtic Mist has been beautifully repainted in different shades of blue, with details such as a dolphin on its bow and a fun whale along the beam contributed by Kerry artist Michael O'Leary.

Among the new gizmos installed on the yacht - which sailed a leg of last year's Tall Ships Races - is an automatic identification system that will allow internet users to track its position online.

Conor Haughey, whose family gifted the yacht to the IWDG for its marine wildlife conservation work, is expected to attend the relaunch ceremony at Kilrush marina at 2pm, hosted by's own Tom MacSweeney with a blessing by Fr Michael Sheedy of Kilrush.

Published in Tall Ships

#tallships – Ocean Youth Trust Ireland was recently presented with a cheque for £4,100.00 towards their work with young people throughout Ireland. The presentation was made by Mrs Janet Leckey, Trustee of the Lloyds TSB Foundation for Northern Ireland when she visited the organisation recently. Mrs Janet Leckey said:

"The Lloyds TSB Foundation for Northern Ireland is delighted to be able to support the work of Ocean Youth Trust Ireland. The money will be used towards the 'Sail to Success' project, which will deliver a diversionary five day camp to young people in July. We wish the organisation continuing success with their excellent work, supporting young people at risk within the community".

Bronagh Cappa-Campbell, Chief Executive of Ocean Youth Trust Ireland said:

"Ocean Youth Trust Ireland is delighted to receive this very generous donation from Lloyds TSB Foundation for Northern Ireland. It will greatly benefit our young people and communities and we are looking forward to working with them to enable them to access sailing and adventure and thereby enhancing their personal development and future prospects".

Lloyds TSB Foundation for Northern Ireland awards between £1.5 and £2 million annually in support of the Northern Ireland Community to enable people, especially disadvantaged or people with special needs, to play a fuller role in their community.

Ocean Youth Trust Ireland has developed a full programme of sailing and camp opportunities for young people, adults, schools and youth based organisations that to date has included try sailing in July & August at Lough Foyle, Derry/Londonderry as part of the Clipper Homecoming Festival, in Galway in July for the Volvo Ocean Race and sailing and coaching for residents and visitors to the Inishmore Aran Islands in July. During August and September the Trust are delivering daily sailing to youth based organisations and to the general public in Belfast and Castlewellan Forest Park where there is also the opportunity to book a residential sailing adventure. The Trust has also been at the forefront of providing twenty eight young people from across Ireland with the once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of the crew on board the Tall Ship – the Pelican of London for a three city ten day voyage from Dublin to Liverpool and back to Belfast as well as to be a part of the two Tall Ships festival.

There is something for everyone aged twelve years upwards this Summer with Ocean Youth Trust Ireland. No sailing experience is necessary. All safety gear and insurance is provided plus sailing instruction that is delivered by fully qualified sailing instructors. For details on all sailing and adventure camp opportunities visit

Ocean Youth Trust Ireland was granted the Inspire Mark by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. The Inspire mark is the badge of the London 2012 Inspire programme - a UK-wide participation initiative which recognises innovative and exceptional non-commercial projects which are inspired by the 2012 Games. The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure is responsible for delivering the Inspire programme in Northern Ireland, as part of its wider strategy to create a local legacy from the 2012 Games'.

Published in Tall Ships

#CELTIC MIST - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's (IWDG) new research vessel is finally set for its official launch three weeks from this coming Sunday.

As previously reported on, Celtic Mist - the yacht formerly sailed by late Taoiseach Charles Haughey - was gifted by the Haughey family to the IWDG to assist in its marine wildlife conservation work.

The boat relocated to its new home berth in the Shannon Estuary at Kilrush, Co Clare in July last year - after one last hurrah in its former guise by completing a leg of last summer's Tall Ships Races from Waterford to Greenock in Scotland.

Celtic Mist entered dry dock last November for its necessary refit as a maritime research vessel, while the IWDG sought funding to complete the more than €60,000 project.

With a year gone by since the IWDG first took over the yacht, she is finally back on the water and undergoing the last few finishing touches before her first mission - which may involve tracking the elusive blue whale in Irish waters.

Internally, she is a very different vessel to the one that Charles Haughey sailed, with the aft cabin stropped out and replaced by berths for skipper and crew.

According to IWDG co-ordinator Dr Simon Berrow, there is also "a science area where towed and dipping hydrophones and environmental logging software will be run."

The engine room, meanwhile, has been "completely cleaned out and painted including opening and de-greasing of the fuel tanks".

Berrow adds that there is "still considerable work to be done", explaining that the masts and rigging require inspection, aside from all the "painting, sanding, varnishing and more painting to be completed".

The plumbling and electrics also need to be finished, but Berrow says the refitting team is "making rapid progress".

All are welcome to the official launch of the Celtic Mist on Sunday 12 August at 2pm at Kilrush Creek Marina in Co Clare. For more details visit the yacht's official website at

Published in Tall Ships

#tallships–The Tall Ship, Georg Stage, a 180-foot (57m) full-rigged Danish sail training vessel will arrive into Dublin Port tomorrow until Monday, 19th June and will give Dublin a preview of the ships that will be visiting for The Tall Ships Races 2012 –Dublin, 23rd – 26th August.

WHY: The Georg Stage is a preview to the Tall Ships that will be crossing the finish line in Dublin for The Tall Ships Races in August. The city will burst alive as Dublin plays final host port to the world-renowned maritime festival where these magnificent ships will provide an unforgettable backdrop and transform the city.

Published in Tall Ships
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#TALL SHIPS - Celtic Mist - the yacht once owned by the late former Taoiseach Charles Haughey - will soon take to the waves in its new guise as a research vessel as its refit nears completion, today's Sunday Independent reports.

As reported last year on, the 52-foot yacht was gifted by the Haughey family to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) to assist in its marine wildlife conservation work.

After completing a leg of the Tall Ships Races from Waterford to Greenock in Scotland, the boat sailed to its new birth at Kilrush in Co Clare last July while the group raised the necessary funds to enter dry dock for refurbishments and refitting as a marine research vessel.

By January of this year the IWDG had reached 75% of the more than €60,000 required to complete the work, which involved stripping out the main cabin to increase space for equipment and crew berths.

"We are finishing off the renovations at the moment and we're hoping to have it back on the water in the next few weeks," said the IWDG's Simon Berrow. "We estimate it will cost around €80,000 by the time it is finished."

The refurbished yacht includes a fitting tribute to its previous owner in the form of a clock over his former cabin with a photo of Haughey in his skipper's cap on the background.

Berrow also hailed Haughey's love of the sea, which prompted his declaration of Irish waters as a whale and dolphin sanctuary.

The IWDG will use the Celtic Mist to train and teach its members how to survey and record whales and dolphins. As well as research projects, it will be used for educating schoolchildren about marine conservation and the abundant life in Ireland's coastal waters.

It is also hoped that President Michael D Higgins - who became patron of the IWDG in February - will be on hand to officially launch the vessel this August.

The Sunday Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Tall Ships

#THIS ISLAND NATION – The best news for maritime Ireland this week, in my view, was the abandoning of a proposal which could have wiped out the Irish family tradition in fishing.

European bureaucrats have made a shambles of the fishing industry with convoluted regulations and proposals. Fishermen were not properly consulted and the result has been the present mess of the Common Fisheries Policy. There are reasons to believe that EU fisheries officials would prefer a single, centrally-registered and controlled European fishing industry. Introducing ITQs - tradeable fishing quotas - would have facilitated this, allowing big fishing companies to buy up quotas and force smaller, family operators out of business.

Denmark has first-hand experience of this happening. It introduced the system in 2003 and today, according to figures from the Institute of Food and Resource Economics at the University of Copenhagen, 106 fishing vessels catch 90 per cent of all Danish fish. It was the Danish Presidency which went against the Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki and her officials this week, recommending that each Member State should implement its own management structure for quotas and ITQs should be abandoned.

Marine Minister Simon Coveney saw the dangers which ITQs would have caused to Ireland and fought against their introduction from the outset, having been briefed by the fishing industry. "Privatising fish quotas would have been a serious threat to the economic survival of our coastal communities," he said. "If quotas were traded on the open market they could be bought by international corporations and would no longer be landed into Ireland. This would directly threaten economic activity in our main fishing ports with loss of jobs not only in the fleet but also in fish processing."

EU fisheries officials and their desire for conformity contradict another EU commitment - to the preservation of peripheral communities. Coastal, fishing communities are vital to this nation as is the fishing industry.

Denmark has reduced the maximum share a single fisherman may hold to five per cent of the cod quota and 7.5 per cent of plaice to prevent quotas becoming too concentrated in the hands of too few fishermen. This followed advice that the transferable quota system had reduced competition and allowed a handful of companies to wield too much control.



The International Harbour Masters' Association met in Cork this week, discussing whether ports could be managed without marine experience.

The role of the Harbour Master in port management and development, the legal powers of the office in today's commercial environment, the decline of nautical expertise in shipping and the port industry, competition between ports,

International harmonisation of port rules, regulations and procedures, cost-cutting and its effects on safe operations in the ports, were amongst the topics debated.


Harbour Masters' work reviewed in Cork

The Nautical Institute, which is celebrating 40 years' in existence, is the international representative body for maritime professionals and has a strong presence in Ireland.

Captain Jim Robinson, retired from the Naval Service here, is the Institute's President.

It operates a distance learning certification scheme for Harbour Masters and has published the third edition of its book, 'The Work of the Harbour Master,' which reflects the diversity of the job.


Writing in the May edition of SEAWAYS, the journal of the Nautical Institute, a former UK Royal Naval Commander calls for an inquiry into passenger safety at sea, following the several incidents this year aboard cruise ships.

"About a year ago I drew attention to the increasing size of cruise ships, leading to passenger numbers that had increased to a level which could not be managed in an emergency," says Cdr.J.A.Holt, MBE., in an interesting letter to the journal reflecting increasing concern about the issue.

"The concept of the ship being its own lifeboat has been utterly discredited. There is no such thing as an unsinkable ship, nor a shipping company who can guarantee immunity from human error or equipment failure. A thorough enquiry into passenger safety at sea is now demanded and perhaps it would be appropriate for The Nautical Institute to lead such an enquiry," he writes.


The Panama Canal Authority is to hold a public hearing next Wednesday, May 23, about its proposal that is being opposed by shipowners, to increase canal tolls by 15 per cent for large ships and over 60 per cent and up to as much as 100 per cent for smaller vessels. The increases would be from $500 to $800 for smaller ships of less than 15 metres and from $1,500 to $3,200 for the largest, more than 30 metres.

The increases are likely to eventually affect consumer prices for products carried aboard vessels transiting the canal. The increase is due to take effect from July but cannot be imposed until approved by the government of Panama. This is likely to follow the public hearing.



Knots, ropes and splicing are just some of the craftwork which a sailor needs to know, bearing in mind the advice of Alvin Smith that: "A good knot on a bad rope is no better than a bad knot" and they can be difficult to learn. So at Cronin's Pub in Crosshaven in Cork Harbour 'crafty men' have been gathering tonight to develop these skills.


Tom Archer presenting his 'monkey first' to proprietor Sean Cronin in the company of RCYC sailor Nicholas O'Leary on right and Darryl Hughes, owner of the classic boat Maybird on left. Photo: Joleen Cronin

Traditionally scruffy rope ends on deck were the sign of a carelessly run ship, boat or yacht. So being good at rope work indicates a better quality vessel, I am told! In Cronin's the walls are adorned with historical artefacts and pictures of old sailing boats and shipwrecks. It is a maritime location and, like many mariners I occasionally ramble into the premises, whose history dates back to 1892. 'Crafty Mensday,' actually a maritime evening was started there by the 'guys of Crosshaven' as an alternative to ladies' Knit and Natter' sessions.

"The guys were getting a bit jealous of the ladies up-skilling themselves and decided to Knot instead of Knit," proprietor Sean Cronin told me.

Rope splicing, knot-tying and other marine handy work is taught to anyone who turns up on every second Wednesday night and the learning process is succeeding as our photograph shows of Tom Archer presenting his 'monkey first' to proprietor Sean Cronin in the company of RCYC sailor Nicholas O'Leary and Darryl Hughes, owner of the classic boat Maybird. The "crafty men's" get-togethers will continue every second Wednesday night until August. The next dates are May 30; June 13/27; July 11/25 and August 8/22

Sessions are open to all who would like to attend. They operate on a 'skills-exchange' format, with essential knots and other rope skills like splicing being shared around the table. Despite the name, ladies are welcome I am told.


The British tall ship Pelican went on sale this week for an asking price of stg£2.45 million. She has a steel hull and is 148ft.long overall. The insurance money for ASGARD II would have bought Pelican. Willie O'Dea, Minister responsible for the ship at the time promised to replace ASGARD, but handed the money over to the Department of Finance. The national sail training programme was closed in subsequent cutbacks.


Pelican for sale

Can you ever believe what politicians say?

Once again Ireland will be without a State sail training vessel when the Tall Ships Race comes to Dublin from August 23-26.

Another legacy left behind by Fianna Fail and Willie O'Dea in particular!



The World Wildlife Fund, WWF and its partners have announced that the first-ever Coral Triangle Day will be held on June 9 at several locations around the Coral Triangle region to highlight the importance of marine conservation and raise awareness on this global centre of marine biodiversity.

The Coral Triangle is a six million square-kilometre ocean expanse that contains the highest number of reef building corals on the planet, spanning across six countries in Asia and the Pacific including Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Timor and Solomon Islands. Its spectacular coral reefs systems are home to thousands of whales, dolphins, rays, sharks and six of the world's seven species of marine turtles. The Triangle is also a nursery ground for tuna and reef fish species. It sustains the lives of an estimated 120 million people who depend on marine resources for food and income.

Coastal development, overfishing, unsustainable tourism, illegal trade in endangered species and climate change are reported to be taking a heavy toll on this fragile marine ecosystem.

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Published in Island Nation

#TALL SHIPS – The Tall Ships Races 2012 Dublin is organised by Sail Training International in partnership with Dublin Tall Ships Event 2012 Limited and the key lead agencies are Dublin City Council and Dublin Port Company. The Dates for The Tall Ships Races 2012 are:

St Malo, France – Thurs 5 – Sun 8 July

Lisbon, Portugal – Thurs 19 – Sun 22 July

Cadiz, Spain – Thurs 26 – Sun 29 July

A Coruña, Spain – Fri 10 – Mon 13 August

Dublin, Ireland – Thurs 23 – Sun 26 August

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Naval Visits focuses on forthcoming courtesy visits by foreign navies from our nearest neighbours, to navies from European Union and perhaps even those navies from far-flung distant shores.

In covering these Naval Visits, the range of nationality arising from these vessels can also be broad in terms of the variety of ships docking in our ports.

The list of naval ship types is long and they perform many tasks. These naval ships can include coastal patrol vessels, mine-sweepers, mine-hunters, frigates, destroyers, amphibious dock-landing vessels, helicopter-carriers, submarine support ships and the rarer sighting of submarines.

When Naval Visits are made, it is those that are open to the public to come on board, provide an excellent opportunity to demonstrate up close and personal, what these look like and what they can do and a chance to discuss with the crew.

It can make even more interesting for visitors when a flotilla arrives, particularly comprising an international fleet, adding to the sense of curiosity and adding a greater mix to the type of vessels boarded.

All of this makes Naval Visits a fascinating and intriguing insight into the role of navies from abroad, as they spend time in our ports, mostly for a weekend-long call, having completed exercises at sea.

These naval exercises can involve joint co-operation between other naval fleets off Ireland, in the approaches of the Atlantic, and way offshore of the coasts of western European countries.

In certain circumstances, Naval Visits involve vessels which are making repositioning voyages over long distances between continents, having completed a tour of duty in zones of conflict.

Joint naval fleet exercises bring an increased integration of navies within Europe and beyond. These exercises improve greater co-operation at EU level but also internationally, not just on a political front, but these exercises enable shared training skills in carrying out naval skills and also knowledge.

Naval Visits are also reciprocal, in that the Irish Naval Service, has over the decades, visited major gatherings overseas, while also carrying out specific operations on many fronts.

Ireland can, therefore, be represented through these ships that also act as floating ambassadorial platforms, supporting our national interests.

These interests are not exclusively political in terms of foreign policy, through humanitarian commitments, but are also to assist existing trade and tourism links and also develop further.

Equally important is our relationship with the Irish diaspora, and to share this sense of identity with the rest of the World.