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Redbay Boats ‘At Your Service’ for TV Hospitality Ace John Brennan

12th May 2020
The plans for John & Adam Brennan’s new Redbay Stormforce 1450 as they were in March. But with a third eco-friendly centreline economy engine since added to the specification, the boat has now become the Redbay Stormforce 1650, 54ft long with an additional 0.5 metres of beam, and due for delivery in April 2021 The plans for John & Adam Brennan’s new Redbay Stormforce 1450 as they were in March. But with a third eco-friendly centreline economy engine since added to the specification, the boat has now become the Redbay Stormforce 1650, 54ft long with an additional 0.5 metres of beam, and due for delivery in April 2021

Renowned hospitality specialist John Brennan of Dromquinna Manor and the Park Hotel in Kenmare in County Kerry is best known for his entertaining and informative “At Your Service” double act on television with his brother Francis. In it, the brothers bounce ideas off each other as they bring their unrivalled expertise to bear on some difficult challenges in product-improvement across a wide range of problematic hospitality establishments all over Ireland.

Yet as anyone who has ever enjoyed the superb food and glorious location of his Boathouse restaurant down by the harbour at the Dromquinna Manor wedding venue and glamping holiday set up on the shores of the beautiful Kenmare River will know, John Brennan has a secret life as a serial boat development enthusiast. His Dromquinna-based flotilla does offer hotel guests the possibility of a speedy voyage down the Kenmare River for some unexpected lunch venues. But those who know him are well aware that really it’s all about John’s abiding impulse to create the perfect fast multi-purpose boat and in pursuit of that he and his son Adam have been working with the specialist RIB development team at Redbay Boats at Cushendall in County Antrim.

boathouse dromquinna2 The Boathouse Restaurant at Dromquinna Photo: W M Nixon

It’s intriguing that father-and-son boat connoisseurs from the distant southwest of Ireland should be so closely linked to a design and production unit in the far northeast of the country. But the reality is that the development of big multi-purpose high speed RIBs is simply a world apart from the humdrum existence of most of us, and we can only watch in wonder as it attracts folk like infrastructure construction magnate Kevin Lagan, who has steadily worked his way up through the Redbay Stormforce size range such that his current machine – with very comfortable cruising accommodation for six - is all of 58ft long.

John Brennan for his part is particularly interested in the detailed technical side and every aspect of planning, designing and creating a boat which provides good performance and onboard comfort with the maximum eco-friendly credentials. And in Tom McLaughlin’s creative team of Gary Fife and designer Owen McKinley, the Dromquinna duo have found kindred spirits with whom to push the envelope of boat development for John’s requirement for “a serious long-distance cruiser”.

john brennan3Hospitality guru John Brennan of Kenmare in Kerry has a secret life as a serial boat design-and-build developer, using the scope offered by the variations possible in the large Redbay Stormforce RIBs built at Cushendall in County Antrim.
In fact, with a Redbay Stormforce RIB, pushing the envelope is what it’s all about, as the company are cheerfully flexible about size changes as the specification develops. Thus although the Brennans’ Redbay 1150 Dromquinna is now nicely run in and functioning just as planned, even as she was nearing completion John and Adam were well aware that John’s busy mind already had the next boat taking shape in concept form, so the Redbay 1150 Dromquinna is now for sale as progress accelerates on a bigger and more sophisticated craft, due for delivery in April 2021.

redbay 1150 dromquinna4Home berth – the Redbay Storm 1150 Dromquinna at Dromquinna quay in Kerry
The most recent set of drawings for the new boat date from March 3rd and illustrate a customised version of Redbay’s Stormforce 14.50. But with a clear programme now in place to guide Dromquinna Manor through the lockdown, the boat team have gone back to the drawing board and we’ll be looking at a Stormforce 16.50 (that’s just over 54ft) with three engines, as an extra two metres length and an additional 0.5m beam were required to accommodate a smaller eco-friendly centre-line engine which will drive her at a gentle 5-7 knots of hyper-economy and minimal pollution for a range of 1800 miles.

However, if you’re in a hurry the big beasts either side will give a top speed of 38 knots, but that only provides 400 miles range, whereas 750 miles is available at 20 knots.

At this boat size, you’re able to provide a second layer of accommodation under the deck saloon, which is an irresistible challenge for someone with John Brennan’s turn of mind. Full-size three-dimensional jigsaw puzzles that would bewilder many of the rest of us are just his thing.

redbay 1150 dromquinna speed5Dromquinna shows her speed and style – after meticulous planning and attention to detail, this special machine is now for sale as the project is very successfully completed, and her owner seeks a fresh challenge in his new Redbay Stormforce 1650
With almost all waterborne life in Ireland on hold, it’s top creativity time for designers and concept developers to do their thing. At a time when sailboat designer Mark Mills of County Wicklow is our “Sailor of the Month” for his success in designing both successful racing machines and highly developed sailing superyachts, it’s good to know that the lines of communication are red hot between the Mountains of Kerry and the Glens of Antrim as another ingenious Brennan powerboat takes shape.

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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