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When a property doesn't have as many redeeming features as the developer would like, extra effort is put into talking it up by way of the promotional brochure. It could be said that the gloss of the brochure takes the place of the gloss of the property. It is to be earnestly hoped that this isn't the case with the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company's Consultation Masterplan. While a fine example of the graphic designer's craft, once the observer has penetrated the overly complex web presentation, the content is closer to the curate's egg – a mixture of good and, well, not so good.

The introduction to the plan does a fine job of setting the context, although the author loses some of the high ground by suggesting that Dun Laoghaire is "one of the most beautiful man-made harbours in the world".

The masterplan does recover from this and the other floral verbosity of the opening statements to identify the crucial roles played by marine leisure interests and the town of Dun Laoghaire in the sustainable development of the harbour. The plan regularly refers to the need for careful design to promote greater interaction between town and harbour, an area of failure of past administrations on both sides of the railway tracks.

In the detail, it is interesting to note that the plan shies away somewhat from the flawed concept, mooted in previous versions, that Dun Laoghaire can become a cruise liner port. This is clearly a non-runner in the short to medium term as there is very little to commend Dun Laoghaire over its larger, deeper and more commercially inclined foster parent to the north.

Another area that seems to be set up for failure is the idea that the Harbour Company, in their own words "custodians of this valuable national asset", could contemplate the private ownership of areas of the harbour through property development.

The plan hints at improved access for the watersports constituency, but a serious flaw is the lack of a stronger stance on establishing a safe, wide, non-tidally restricted slipway with easy access to open water, something that does not exist in greater Dublin area outside of the yacht clubs. Such a facility, with the appropriate management, could be self funding.

And in the pie-in-the-sky category is the suggestion of placing a public baths on the inside of the East Pier, a proposal that requires the reclamation of valuable sheltered water.

The plan refers extensively to the diaspora project, but outside of the masterplan itself, this idea has not caught the imagination. It does refer to a maritime element in the project, but does not see this as mainstream. This is a pity, because moving the National Maritime Museum 100 metres from its current location could provide Dun Laoghaire with the iconic attraction it needs to start making it a destination in its own right, changing from its traditional role as a bi-directional gateway. A museum project on the Carlisle Pier, with the potential for floating exhibits alongside, could bring in excess of 1/4 million visitors each year.

The plan refers to similar developments in Leith, near Edinburgh, where former royal yacht Britannia is moored, but curiously neglects to mention Falmouth, where a town of some 22,000 people attracts a similar number to its recently constructed maritime museum. And neither Leith nor Falmouth enjoy the considerable transport network, both marine and land based, that makes Dun Laoghaire so easy to get to.

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Published in Water Rat
Ocean to City, Cork Harbour's annual maritime festival, takes place this year from 3-12 June.
The yearly celebration of Cork’s maritime history and its unique harbour begins on Friday 3 June when members of the public can voyage through the city by kayak, enjoy the thrill of a sea safari trip around Cork Harbour or follow TG4’s Padraig Ó Duinnín as he presents a historical walking tour and talk on rowing in Cork.
The highlight of the festival, An Rás Mór, takes place on Saturday 4 June and will see boats of all sizes row 15 nautical miles from Crosshaven via Cork Harbour, Monkstown and Blackrock before finishing at the boardwalk in Lapps Quay in Cork.
Around 400 Irish and International rowers will compete in a diverse range of vessels including dragon boats, kayaks, currachs, Celtic long boats, Cornish pilot gigs and Irish coastal rowing boats.
Sunday 5 June will see a special 10km kayak race through the city centre. The Irish Naval Service flagship LE Orla will also offer free public tours, while Meitheal Mara will host a guided voyage around the island of Cork by a variety of small craft.
To mark the Cork Harbour School and Heritage Trails Weekend from from 9-11 June, a series of events highlighting the attractions of Cork Harbour, both water and land based, will take place.
Activities include a summer school on the theme of 'recreation in a working port', which will be held in the Port of Cork on Friday 10 June and opened by Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney.
For more details visit www.oceantocity.com.

Ocean to City, Cork Harbour's annual maritime festival, takes place this year from 3-12 June. 

The yearly celebration of Cork’s maritime history and its unique harbour begins on Friday 3 June when members of the public can voyage through the city by kayak, enjoy the thrill of a sea safari trip around Cork Harbour or follow TG4’s Padraig Ó Duinnín as he presents a historical walking tour and talk on rowing in Cork. 

The highlight of the festival, An Rás Mór, takes place on Saturday 4 June and will see boats of all sizes row 15 nautical miles from Crosshaven via Cork Harbour, Monkstown and Blackrock before finishing at the boardwalk in Lapps Quay in Cork. 

Around 400 Irish and International rowers will compete in a diverse range of vessels including dragon boats, kayaks, currachs, Celtic long boats, Cornish pilot gigs and Irish coastal rowing boats. 

Sunday 5 June will see a special 10km kayak race through the city centre. The Irish Naval Service flagship LE Orla will also offer free public tours, while Meitheal Mara will host a guided voyage around the island of Cork by a variety of small craft.

To mark the Cork Harbour School and Heritage Trails Weekend from from 9-11 June, a series of events highlighting the attractions of Cork Harbour, both water and land based, will take place.

Activities include a summer school on the theme of 'recreation in a working port', which will be held in the Port of Cork on Friday 10 June and opened by Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney. 

For more details visit www.oceantocity.com.

Published in Cork Harbour
Mini sailboats could soon be spotted in Irish waters if a US school project goes according to plan.
The Bangor Daily News in Maine reports on the Educational Passages programme, through which middle school students will equip miniature sailboats with GPS trackers and set them out to sea to follow their progress across the Atlantic.
In previous years the programme - which is designed to give youngsters hands-on experience in maritime professions and skills such as oceanography and chart reading - has sent its self-steering boats as far as Portugal.
This year's students are hoping to catch the Gulf Stream to send their boats to Europe. The boats will be launched by trainees on the Maine Maritime Academy's training vessel State of Maine, which will also be retrieving a boat from a previous project that was recovered in Ireland.

Mini sailboats could soon be spotted in Irish waters if a US school project goes according to plan.

The Bangor Daily News in Maine reports on the Educational Passages programme, through which middle school students will equip miniature sailboats with GPS trackers and set them out to sea to follow their progress across the Atlantic.

In previous years the programme - which is designed to give youngsters hands-on experience in maritime professions and skills such as oceanography and chart reading - has sent its self-steering boats as far as Portugal. 

This year's students are hoping to catch the Gulf Stream to send their boats to Europe. The boats will be launched by trainees on the Maine Maritime Academy's training vessel State of Maine, which will also be retrieving a boat from a previous project that was recovered in Ireland.

Published in Marine Science

Dubin's Lord Mayor opened a Tall Ship and Youth Sail Training Workshop with an agenda to seek a solution to the current Irish Sail Training impasse caused by the loss of sailing's Asgard II and Lord Rank.

Over 70 delegtes including many of the 'top brass' of the Irish Tall Ship commuunity attended the meeting held at the offices of Dublin Port Company on Saturday (26th March). The meeting inlcuded members of Coiste an Asgard, port companies, education, tourism and other sailing interests.

The meeting was formally opened by Dublin Lord Mayor and Port Admiral, Gerry Breen who introduced the chairman Lord Glentoran and the Facilitator Michael Counahan.

Tallshipschairmen

From (Left to right)  Seamus McLoughlin, Dublin Port Head of Operations,  Enda Connellan, Chairman Tall Ships Dublin 2012, Des Whelan, Chair Tall Ships Waterford 2011,  Lord Glentoran (Robin Dixon) Chair Tall Ships Belfast 1992,  Dr. Gerard O'Hare, Chair Tall Ships Belfast 2009,  Ted Crosbie, Tall Ships Cork and  Enda O'Coineen, LetsdoitGlobal.

Des Whelan gave an excellent talk and presentation on Tall Ships Waterford which was followed by a discussion on the massive economic benefits of bringing Tall Ships Festivals To Dublin, Cork and Belfast. Chairman of Tall Ships Dublin 2012 Enda Connellan and Ted Crosbie of Tall Ships Cork and Dr. Gerard O' Hare of Tall Ships Belfast discussed the incredible success stories from their respective ports festivals.
Several presentations and discussions followed regarding the role of Tall Ships in Sail Training, the connection between a vessel for Ireland and running events here. The question of who are the stakeholders and how can benefits be quantified was also discussed.
The meeting was hosted by Dublin Port Company who provided a warm welcome, excellent facilities, refreshments and a wonderful lunch with senior management attending to everyone's needs.
After lunch there were further discussions on what is the most suitable vessel, who should run the organisation and what would work best for Ireland.

Jimmy Tyrrell gave a short, eloquent and emotional account of Asgard II and the realisation of his father's dream which was fulfilled beyond all expectation by that legendary vessel and those who were privileged to sail on her. He affirmed his own belief that the way forward was with an All-Ireland Tall Ship and even suggested that she be called Spirit of Ireland. There were other suggestions for a name inlcuding 'Ireland's Call'.

A view was also expressed that politics and religion have no place in Sail Trail Training and the future lay in an All-Ireland Commercial/Charitable Trust Venture.

The prohibitive nature of current legislation and the total lack of awareness of the maritime sector by the Government was mentioned several times.

Ocean Youth Club NI provided four young sail trainees to address the gathering on the benefits of Sail Training from their perspective and representatives from education, tourism Tall Ships International and "Association Of Tall Ships Organisations" also contributed.

The general consensus was the need to develop and promote, as a matter of urgency, a plan for a Tall Ship For Ireland linking Youth, Maritime Education, Business and Tourism.

Another workshop will be held in Belfast in April and the collective input of both meetings will be considered going forward.

A Tall Order for Ireland? HERE

Regular updates on Irish Tall Ship sailing news HERE

More on Asgard II HERE

Published in Tall Ships

Cork sailor Simon Coveney (38) has been appointed as Minister of Agriculture, Food and Marine in the new cabinet of the Fine Gael/Labour Government formed yesterday.

The announcement has been welcomed by various marine interests pleased to see Marine back at the cabinet for the first time since the Department was dismantled by Fianna Fail's Bertie Ahern in 2002.

Coveney_Howth_Harbour

Marine Minister Simon Coveney TD

The appointment means Taoiseach Enda Kenny has kept good an election promise to reinstate the Marine department. A decade of lost opportunties has meant the sector has suffered through lack of infrastructure and coastline planning.

_coveney81Y4848

Simon Coveney at the helm of his yacht Wavetrain. Photo: Bob Bateman

"Simon is someone who understands the Sea as a sailor himself but also in his work as an MEP where he was involved in a number of major European maritime projects. This is a great opportuinty for the Marine. We look forward to working with him to develop this untapped resource." said David O'Brien of the Irish Marine Federation.

Simon was first elected to the Dáil in 1998 as one of Fine Gael's youngest TD's aged 26. He replaced his father Hugh Coveney TD following his untimely death.

Simon follows his father in to the post of Marine Minister. Hugh held the post in 1994.

Simon holds a B.Sc. in Agriculture and Land Management from Royal Agriculture College, Gloucestershire. He was also educated at Clongowes Wood College, County Kildare; University College Cork, and Gurteen Agricultural College, County Tipperary.

A keen fan of all competitive sport he has worked as a sailing instructor at his club Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven and been involved in many sailing regattas.

In 1997/8 he led the "Sail Chernobyl Project" which involved sailing a boat 30,000 miles around the world and raising €650,000 for charity.

In 2006 he contributed to RTE's series The Harbour and in a memorable quote, the Cork TD and former MEP said: "When somebody asks me the question, what's the one thing that's special about Cork?, I'd say the harbour."

Published in News Update
The new Government's plans to merge marine responsibilities into a single department has received a guarded welcome from Ireland's maritime bodies.
In today's Irish Times, the Irish Marine Federation is quoted as saying a "single maritime authority is essential for an island people".
Federation of Irish Fishermen chairman Seán O'Donoghue also welcomes the merger plans, but not if it becomes a subset of a larger department.
Fergus Cahill, chairman of the Irish Offshore Operators' Association, which represents oil and gas companies, said the splitting-up of the Department of Marine in 2002 was a "disaster".
He welcomed the new programme's promise to promote offshore drilling and "streamline" the regulatory process for developing mineral resources.

The new Government's plans to merge marine responsibilities into a single department has received a guarded welcome from Ireland's marine trade bodies.

In today's Irish Times, the Irish Marine Federation is quoted as saying a "single maritime authority is essential for an island people".

Federation of Irish Fishermen chairman Seán O'Donoghue also welcomed the merger plans, but not if it becomes a subset of a larger department.

Fergus Cahill, chairman of the Irish Offshore Operators' Association, which represents oil and gas companies, said the splitting-up of the Department of Marine in 2002 was a "disaster". 

He welcomed the new programme's promise to promote offshore drilling and "streamline" the regulatory process for developing mineral resources.

Published in Marine Federation
As I write this week's blog there is still no definite word emanating from the closed cloisters inhabited at present by the leading negotiating lights of Fine Gael and the Labour Party on the future governing of this island nation. It is unlikely that the future of the marine sphere is foremost in the minds of the negotiators and I wonder what will be the priority attached to the marine when the new Government is announced.

Fine Gael can, logically from the support which the party garnered in the General Election, be expected to dominate a Coalition Government. In that context, the question arises as to whether they will deliver on their pre-election manifesto commitment to re-establish the Department of the Marine?

The promise to do so was unequivocal, a clear undertaking that the situation created by the former Fianna Fail and Green Party Coalition which had decimated maritime issues by spreading them over several Departments of State, would be changed and all would be contained in one Department.

In the event of a Coalition being formed will we hear that "circumstances" have changed and adjustments must be made in the context of Coalition arrangements?

I had the opportunity to question Joan Burton of the Labour Party, one of the party negotiators, prior to the election at an event organised by the European Association of Journalists. She accepted that politicians had not paid enough attention to the marine sphere and said that this attitude should be changed and accepted that the nation could benefit economically as a result.

I hope that I am not being overly cynical towards politicians, born of long years of journalistic experience, in fearing that pre-election promises may be subjected to change.

• This article is reprinted by permission of the EVENING ECHO newspaper, Cork, where Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie
Published in Island Nation
Barry Conwell from Killybegs, Co. Donegal is the National Maritime College of Ireland Best Bachelor Degree Student and the Best Honours Degree Student is Ian Ray Heffernan from Crosshaven, Co. Cork.

CIT's Dr Barry O'Connor, Registrar and Vice President for Academic Affairs, congratulated the students on their outstanding academic achievements across undergraduate and postgraduate level programmes which are nationally, internationally, and professionally accredited.

Published in Jobs
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is holding a public meeting in Belfast on Thursday 3rd March 2011, about the proposed Coastguard modernisation programme.

The meeting will provide an opportunity for the community around the existing Belfast Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) to hear more about the proposals, ask questions of MCA representatives and air their views.

The meeting at Marine Court Hotel, 18-20 Quay Street, Bangor. BT20 5ED will be independently chaired and begin at 7:30pm. The meeting is expecting to draw to a close by 9:00pm.

The proposals for Coastguard modernisation, together with the consultation documents, can be found on the MCA website at www.mcga.gov.uk  and www.dft.gov.uk

Published in Coastguard
18th February 2011

Now There is None

I remember the pride I felt when describing on television the Parade of the Tall Ships down the River Suir from Waterford in 2005. Three Irish tall ships led it. First was ASGARD II, Ireland's national tall ship; followed by the DUNBRODY from New Ross and then the JEANIE JOHNSTON from Kerry.

What a magnificent sight it was as the three Tall Ships, each flying the Tricolour, headed the fleet of the gracious ships of sail from all over the world.

How different it will be in July when the world's Tall Ships again parade down the Suir. There will be no Irish national sailing ship to lead the parade. A number of private Irish entries are expected at Waterford from June 30–July 3 amongst the 70 vessels from around the world when the city has the honour starting the race. In 2005 about half-a-million people visited the city while the Tall Ships were there.

The lack of a national tall ship is another example of governmental maritime neglect, directly due to the decision of former Defence Minister Willie O'Dea, T.D. After the sinking of ASGARD he publicly committed the Government to its replacement, but after receiving insurance compensation money for its loss, he put the money into coffers of the Department of Finance and closed down the national sail training programme. There was a big difference between what he promised and what he did, a disregard for the maritime sphere which it is hard to forgive. I also recall how former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern did not visit Waterford during the 2005 race, when it was the biggest tourist event in the country. When I broadcast my report expressing astonishment at this snub government sources and Fianna Fail didn't like it. Truth in the news can be painful!

The organisers made contacts about the DUNBRODY, which continues to earn income at the New Ross quayside where it is moored as a tourist attraction and with the JEANIE JOHNSTON, moored at the Dublin Docklands.

However, neither will be taking part, the organisers have confirmed, tough they said that it was expected that about 100 young Irish trainees would sail aboard tall ships in the race, half of them with funding support from local authority, business and other sources. A group of Irish sailors have also indicated they are making arrangements to charter a UK-registered vessel the JOHANNA LUCRETIA for the event.

Once again the Irish Government has sunk to the bottom where maritime matters are concerned.

It was announced this week in Waterford that Fáilte Ireland has made a significant financial and marketing commitment to this year's event, though the financial figure was not disclosed .A free festival programme will feature street acts; comedy; international and home-grown artists, nightly fireworks, an artisan food village and an atmosphere which the organisers say "will thrill people of all ages and nationalities."

• This article is reprinted by permission of the EVENING ECHO newspaper, Cork, where Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie

Published in Island Nation
Page 8 of 9

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