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Shannon Estuary and River

Following an onshore briefing at 11am, a fleet of 118 Optimists headed on to the water for Day 1 of the Optimist Connaught Championships 2016 at Foynes Yacht Club. Lack of wind and very poor visibility due to constant heavy drizzle caused a postponement as the race committee monitored conditions for a pick-up in the wind to counteract the 3 knots of tide on the course.

Prevailing light winds of between 1.5 – 3.5 knots which were no match for the strong ebbing tide led to a long postponement with hopes of getting at least one race in. At 4.20pm, having consulted the Coaches, Safety team and other on the water team members, the Race Committee made a final decision to abandon racing for the day. A more promising forecast for tomorrow should mean at least 3 races for the Main Fleet, first gun is scheduled for 10.25am.

The Regatta fleet of 26 boats managed to successfully complete 4 races as their racing zone was well in out of the tide. Full results can be found on the Iodai website: http://iodai.com/results-files/core16os.html. Here’s to a great day of racing tomorrow for the 2nd and final day of the 2016 Connaughts.

Published in Optimist

#foynesairshow – One of the largest search and rescue (SAR) training exercises ever undertaken in Ireland will open the 2015 Foynes Air Show on Sunday, 26th July.

The Irish Air Corps, Naval Service (LÉ Samuel Beckett), Irish Coastguard, and Search and Rescue teams from all over the country will carry out their annual exercise in front of the estimated 15,000 people expected to attend the second annual air show.

Hosted by Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum, the Air Show will also feature aircraft displays from across Europe, along with some of the world's top aerobatic pilots.

Among the aircraft taking to the skies over West Limerick and the Shannon Estuary will be a Russian Mini MiG, authentic World War Two aeroplanes, a Hawker Hunter fighter, a P51 Mustang and James Bond's BD-5 Micro-Jet. Meanwhile, Aer Lingus' first plane, the Iolar, will be flying in formation for one of the first times ever at a public display with three de Havilland Chipmunks in Air Corps colours.

The Air Show will also feature the world's only formation wingwalking display team, The Breitling Wingwalkers who will perform a sequence of formation loops and rolls while wingwalkers perform acrobatics on the wings.

The Air Show, which gets underway at 1pm and continues until 6pm, will also feature live music, food stalls and children's entertainment. Organisers say that Park and Ride services will be provided throughout the event to enhance access to and from the Air Show site

The Foynes Air Show was first held in 2014 when the Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum marked the 75th anniversary of the first transatlantic commercial passenger flight that took place to the Flyingboat base, located 23 miles from Limerick City.

"We look forward to hosting a thrilling and exciting Air Show of an international standard which will feature even more aircraft and participants than our hugely successful inaugural show in 2014," commented Margaret O Shaughnessy the Director of Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum.

"Foynes has a strong association with international aviation and has the world's only Flying Boat Museum featuring the world's only replica of B314 flying boat. The Air Show not only provides a wonderful day out for aviation enthusiasts and people of all ages but it also celebrates Foynes' historic place in world aviation history," she added.

Gerry Humphreys, Foynes Air Show Director said: "We are very excited to bring this free air show to Foynes again this year. We would like to thank our many sponsors without whose support this event would not be possible."

Aircraft taking part in the 2015 Foynes Air Show include:

Cold War Russian Aircraft - The Somerset-based Yakovlevs will perform a specialist airborne display team flying authentic cold war Russian war-bird aircraft in precise combinations of tight formations and aerobatics, high-speed passes and crosses.
BD5 - Made famous in the opening sequence of the James Bond film, Octopussy, the BD5 is a single-seat homebuilt aircraft created in the late 1960s by US aircraft designer Jim Bede
Sukhoi Su-26 - A single-seater aerobatics plane from the former Soviet Union, flown by ond of Ireland's top aerobatic pilots and engineers Dave Bruton
Hawker Hunter - A UK jet fighter flown by highly experienced former RAF Harrier pilot and Airbus Captain Andy Hill
Christen Eagle - Described as a true sports car of the sky, the 2-seat Eagle flown by Andrew Fenton will perform aerobatics
CAP 231 – Top Aerobstic Pilot Eddie Goggins "The Flying Dentist" returns to Foynes to fly an aircraft designed for competition aerobatics
Aviatika-MAI-890 (Mini-MiG) – 21 year old Pilot Harry Humphreys will fly his Aviatika-MAI-890, a pod-and-boom, pusher configuration biplane designed and built by the Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI) in Russia in the 1980s
RV4/8 - UK-based Team Raven will perform a 5-ship RV4/8 Aerobatic formation display
Vans RV7 - Gerry Humphreys and Eddie Goggins, known collectively as AerDynamics, are the first ever Irish civilian aerobatic formation team and will be flying the versatile Vans RV7 and the Cap 231 in a unique display of low level formation aerobatics and exciting head-on passes.

Killorglin based Approved Productions are the event managers for the upcoming Air Show, which is being supported and sponsored by Limerick City and County Council, The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), Avolon, Wild Atlantic Way, Shannon Foynes Port Company, Irelandia Aviation, AerCap, Air Contractors, Rusal Aughinish and CPL Fuels.

Published in Shannon Estuary

#foynesyachtclub – After a late start getting the boats launched, the members of Foynes Yacht Club made the most of the month of May on the water, despite the mixed conditions. 
The sailing season kicked off with the annual Cruise to Limerick for the Limerick Riverfest on the May Bank Holiday weekend where 9 cruisers headed off to spend the weekend in the city. The oppie fleet travelled by road to meet them and the young sailors, aged 8 - 14yrs, braved the cold, rain & wind to go for a sail in the city. The cruise in company spent two nights in Limerick docks and had their annual catch up and a few drinks with the Inland Waterways Cruising Club and took in many of the activities going on for the Riverfest.
Commodore's Day was a family affair as Darragh McCormack took 1st place in IRC on his J24 Maximus, while his sister Mary won the dinghy race in the morning and followed that up with a win in the cruiser race in White Sails on their Dufour 35, Alpara. No nepotism involved, honestly! The Competent Crew Course run by Alan McEniff which started with a dry sailing evening in April with 16 participants continued throughout the month during the May Series on Wednesday evenings. Darragh kept the trophy cabinet full by also taking 1st place in IRC for the May Series while Tom Murray, who was relishing the heavy winds, was 1st in White Sails on his Kerry Sloop, Kerry Dream.
The Estuary Rugby Club had their end of year prize giving ceremony in the clubhouse early in the month. The young rugby players also got a taste of sailing as many of the cruiser fleet turned up to take them out in what started out a pleasant enough 15kts westerly before a squall bringing 35kt winds and lashing rain passed through. Luckily enough all the visiting crews were safely ashore by then. After a BBQ (& the rain), the point outside the clubhouse was turned into a rugby pitch for a game of tag rugby. The rugby club extended an invitation to the members for a follow up game at their club.... but I think I'de rather be out in the 35kt winds!!! The local St Senan's Youth Club also concluded their season by bringing about 70 youngsters down to the club for a sail around Foynes Island. For a change the sun peaked its head out & we had a lovely 12-15kts NW, just right for a nice leisurely sail & it was back to the clubhouse after that for another BBQ. Again, many thanks to all the boat owners who made their boats available and gave up their time to take our visitors out. These were two particularly enjoyable evenings in the club and it's great to see so much integration amongst the different clubs in the community.
The dinghy fleet returned to the club after participating in an April Series in Tralee Bay Sailing Club and the TBSC Spring Regatta in early May. FYC held its own Open Dinghy Event on the 3rd weekend in May in 15-18kts WNW breeze with 27 entries. 1st place for Adults in the Open Dinghy Fleet went to Tadgh O'Loinsigh from TBSC while Paddy Cunnane from DSC took 1st in the Junior fleet. 1st in the Oppies went to David McDaid from FYC.
The month concluded with the Munster Mermaid Championships. FYC will host the Mermaid National Championships in August so this was an opportunity for visiting boats to get some practice in local waters before the main event. There were 19 entries with three races scheduled over two days and as anyone who ventured out on the June Bank Holiday weekend knows, conditions were very challenging! Day one brought cold & very blustery 20-25kts winds gusting over 30kts and so the fleet was much depleted by day two which brought saw even stronger winds and even more nasty squalls! 1st place went to Paddy Dillon on Wild Wind (couldn't have been more aptly named!), Darragh McCormack (another trophy!) was 2nd on Innocence and Jim Carthy was 3rd on Vee.
Sailing will continue every Wednesday in June. First gun 1925. Let's hope for better and more consistent weather!

Published in Shannon Estuary

#CruiseCallers – A pair of cruiseships from the high-end of the luxury market, are to visit the Shannon Estuary with calls to Foynes Port in the 2015 season, writes Jehan Ashmore.

According to Shannon Foynes Port Company, the cruise calls will both take place in May with Compagnie du Ponant's mega-yacht styled cruiseship Le Boréal followed within the same week by the six-star Silver Whisper.

Le Boréal only takes a maximum of 264 passengers pampered in luxurious and intimate surroundings from the hand of French designer Jean-Philippe Nuel. The 142m vessel built by Italian shipbuilding group Fincantieri has up to 132 cabins and all are outside.

The leadship of a quartet was rewarded 'Best New ship of the Year 2010' by the European Cruiser Association.

Silver Whisper, a Millenium class vessel of the SilverSeas Cruises accommodates for 382 guests. The operators of 28,258 tonnes cruiseship, offers a highly individualized service.

The floating resort includes shopping experiences to that of a boutique hotel. In The Telegraph - Ultratravel 100 Awards, the company were awarded 'Best Small Luxury Cruise Line' 2014.

Published in Cruise Liners

The September series of racing concluded at Foynes Yacht Club on Sunday last writes Gerry Ryan.

The south-easterly wind with 15 knots of breeze ensured that superb racing took place east of Foynes Island. The Officer of the Day, vice commodore, James McCormack set a challenging course for the competitors. In Class 1 the boats raced to the 8 metre mark and back down to Sturamus and back up river to the 8 metre and back to the club finish line.

In the White Sails division the boats were sent to the 8 metre mark and down to Sturamus and home. In Class 1 Darragh McCormack in Maximus received the Dan O'Sullivan Cup; second was Dis-A-Ray, with Ray McGibney at the helm, and third was Battle with John-Paul Buckley as skpper. In the White Sails division, Pat Finucane in Marengo received the John Maher Cup; while Kerry Dream with Commodore Tom Murray on the helm.

The October series for Mermaids will be starting on Sunday next with first gun at 1pm. Racing will take place for the three Sunday's in October and on the Monday of the October bank holiday weekend.
Skipper and crews are asked to be at the clubhouse at 12noon on Sunday for a briefing.

The Royal Western Yacht Club will be hosting the annual October series from next Sunday. Details on this event are available on www.royalwesternyachtclub.com

Published in Shannon Estuary

#sailforcancer – Two Foynes Yacht Club (FYC) Sailors on the Shannon Estuary, Chris Egan and Dave Bevin, will sail around Ireland this summer to raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society.
Both men are facing their own personal Cancer challenges and are determined to do something positive to support the amazing work currently being done by the Cancer Society in Ireland.
Over the summer months, the voyage around Ireland will cover up to 1200 nautical miles and the sailors will be visiting over thirty coastal safe havens, keeping the average distance per day sailed to around 40 nautical miles.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution are collaborating closely on the planning of the trip the yacht "Inizi" is a 30ft Jeanneau Rush and is currently on the hard stand at FYC and being prepared for the trip.
The yacht will undergo a full RNLI Sea Safety Check before launch.  The two intrepid voyagers are experienced coastal and offshore sailors and a third crew spot will be filled in rotation by the members of Foynes Yacht Club as the journey progresses.
A promotion and fundraising organisation will be in place to support the crew of Inizi and will be coordinated by Foynes Yacht Club, the Irish Cancer Society and the RNLI.
This website will be the key hub for all fundraising and communication.
The sailors will publish on the webpage a Cruising Log of each leg.  This will give an entertaining and detailed account of the journey and will be of interest to anybody who might take such a trip in the future or indeed to anybody who might simply like to enjoy reading about the experiences of a crew of small boat sailors making their way around the amazing Irish Coast.

Email: [email protected] Mobile 087 2264661

Published in News Update

#RNLI - Kilrush RNLI launched on Thursday afternoon (21 February) after pagers were set off by Valentia Coast Guard to the Foynes area, where it was reported that a boat had lost engine power with five people on board.

Within minutes the crew assembled and set out to the location to investigate. Within 25 minutes they located the vessel and quickly set up a long tow. Tides were running and weather conditions were reaching force 7 to 8.

For their safety the five men were taken on board the lifeboat, while a lifeboat crew member was transferred onto the casualty vessel to oversee the tow. On establishing that the men were fine, the lifeboat proceeded to Tarbert Pier. At this stage the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 from Shannon was also on scene.

Within an hour the Kilrush RNLI lifeboat reached Tarbert Pier, where the lifeboat crew assisted the men in tying up their vessel.

Lifeboat helm Tom Blunnie praised the work of his crewmen in this rescue, stating that “under such conditions it’s great to know that our training pays off when calls like this occur.”

The crew on the day were helm Tom Blunnie, Pauline Dunleavy, Fintan Keating and Charlie Glynn.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Shannon - The Shannon Foynes Port Company has launched its master plan for the development of port infrastructure and services along the Shannon Estuary.

RTÉ News reports on the 30-year plan, titled Vision 2041, which will involve the construction of a new deepwater birth at Foynes, the development of warehousing and facilities across 300 acres of additional land - and the potential reopening of the Foynes-Limerick railway line, which has lain dormant since 2001.

As one of the deepest waterways in Europe, the estuary is also in prime position to take advantage of the new 'post-panamax' supertanker shipping era, and talks on securing future foreign direct investment as a priority.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, submissions for the accompanying strategic plan for the development and management of marine-related industry and tourism in the Shannon Estuary region closed last week.

The Draft Strategic Integrated Framework Plan (SIFP) for the Shannon Estuary, the first of its type to be developed in Ireland, identifies a number of strategic sites along the estuary for future possible development in the areas of industry, tourism, energy, fishing and aquaculture and marine-related industry.

Published in Shannon Estuary

#foynes – The Foynes Flying Boat Museum took a major step toward receiving full accreditation from the Heritage Council under a programme that aims to raise minimum standards in the sector.

The County Limerick tourist attraction, which entered the Museum Standards Programme for Ireland (MSPI) in 2010, was presented with interim accreditation by Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs, Jimmy Deenihan at a ceremony in the Architectural Archive in Dublin this week. Minister Deenihan said the accreditation was being presented for excellence in caring for the collection, museum management, education, exhibitions and visitor services.

Administered by the Heritage Council, the voluntary programme includes seven categories consisting of 34 standards, 25 of which are interim standards and nine are full. Nationally to date,15 museums have achieved full accreditation and 10 have received interim accreditation.

'Museum Standards for Ireland, working towards the care of Ireland's heritage, certify Foynes Flying Boat Museum has been awarded Interim Accreditation in the Museum Standards Programme for Ireland

Cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council, Cllr. Jerome Scanlan congratulated the staff and Board of Foynes Flying Boat Museum for their continued efforts to further enhance the West Limerick museum's status as one of Ireland's leading visitor attractions.

"In receiving this accreditation, the management and staff of the Museum have once again underlined their commitment and creative approach to remembering and celebrating Limerick's and Ireland's unique position in aviation history. As a result, the story that this museum first told remains as fascinating today as it did when the facility was established in 1989," stated Cllr. Scanlon.

He added: "From the installation of the replica Yankee Clipper to the completion of works on the reinstated control tower, those involved with the Museum have helped to conserve and protect a key part of the history and heritage of the local area. Limerick County Council is committed to continuing its support for a project that has produced huge dividends for the local economy and the tourism product that County Limerick has to offer."

Reacting to the news, Museum Director Margaret O'Shaughnessy said: "I'm absolutely delighted we have achieved this accreditation. It presents further recognition of the quality museum that is operated by staff and the Board of Directors. It is especially pleasing that we have secured interim accreditation under the MSPI less than two years after we commenced our participation in the programme."

Ms. O'Shaughnessy explained that the Museum will seek to receive full accreditation before the end of 2013.

"The 25 interim standards that we have already achieved are wide ranging and have helped to further enhance the product on offer at the museum. They include a strategic management plan for next three years, a financial plan, safeguarding the condition of the museum collection, the cataloguing of the collection, presentation of collections, development of community education initiatives, and the development of a comprehensive visitor care and access plan."

Last March, the Museum launched the country's First National Aviation Hall of Fame Award. Dr. Tony Ryan, who as founder of Guinness Peat Aviation became the museum's first sponsor, was the first recipient of the National Aviation Award.

Published in Shannon Estuary

#WIORA – In an ebb tide the West of Ireland Offshore Racing Championship's hosted by Foynes Yacht Club got off to a terrific start yesterday on the Shannon Estuary. Race Officer, Liam Dineen set a challenging course for some of the classes. Competitors who travelled from Sligo to Mountshanon, enjoyed fine sailing in a steady north-westerly winds of 30 knots that kept the four fleets entertained for the passage race, which was raced east of Foynes Island to the Loughill navigation buoy.

Results:

Class 1 IRC: 1st Joyrider, 2nd Mustang Sally, 3rd Dexterity.

Echo: 1st Mustang Sally, 2nd Joyrider. 3rd Dexterity.

Class 2 IRC: 1st Dis-A-Ray. 2nd 2602. 3rd Golden Kopper.

Echo: Dis-A-Ray. 2nd 2602. 3rd Golden Kopper.

Class 3 IRC: 1st Reconnaissance. 2nd Jaws. 3rd Battle.

Echo: 1st Reconnaissance. 2nd Jaws. 3rd Battle.

Whiite Sails Division One: 1st Serendipity of Solent. 2nd Wyte Dolphin. 3rd Kerry Dream.

White Sails Division Two: 1st Alpara. 2nd Jabiru. 3rd Sea Saw.

Published in WIORA
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