Displaying items by tag: Belfast Lough
Jackie Patton, chair of RYANI and Donaghadee Sailing Club member, is on a mission. She used to crew a 505 and along with Thomas Anderson, ex 505 helmsman and crew and past Commodore of Royal North of Ireland YC, is organising a 505 Irish fleet reunion on Saturday 25th April in the RNIYC clubhouse at Cultra near Belfast.
The fleet disbanded in the mid-1980s. The well-known sailor and the retired owner of McCready Sailboats chandlery in Holywood, Wic McCready, and Jackie were the last to win an Irish championship. The class is still active in the rest of the UK and internationally.
As reported previously in Afloat.ie there was an august gathering of Irish 505 sailors at the National Yacht Club on Thursday 7th November to commemorate the second European Championships of the class, which was held in Dun Laoghaire in August 1969.
Former 505 sailors came from far and wide across the island of Ireland to remember the championships, which helped build a young and dynamic group who went on to contribute greatly to Irish Sailing over the following 50 years.
Jackie can be contacted at [email protected]
Today you couldn’t swim across Bangor Bay on Belfast Lough without skirting the Marina but from 1910 till the 80s the ‘Pickie to Pier’ annual sea swim saw many participants taking part in the 650-metre race from Skippingstone Beach, beside what is now Pickie Fun Park, to the then North Pier, now named the Eisenhower Pier, and back.
Now, in its Seaside Revival programme, the Open House Festival which runs in August every year in Bangor, the Pickie to Pier race is being held again, (in 2020 it is on July 4th) but sadly, the men’s prize, the Lyttle Trophy is missing! The ladies are lucky, however, as their prize is still intact. It is named the Connor Shield after a well-known old Bangor family.
So, the hunt is on for that trophy. Local businessman David McCullough won the race in the late 1960s when he was around 12 years old and remembers the trophy had three handles.
The swim to the pier pre-dates the Bangor swimming club – the 18th annual swim was organised by Donegall Amateur Swimming Club based in Belfast. By the time Bangor ASC was formed, there were inter-club races to the pier featuring Wellington, New Alliance and Northern swimming clubs. BASC swam the route weekly, and the Pickie to Pier race carried on through two world wars but met its demise in the late 1980s when a new heated indoor pool was favoured to the freezing cold, jellyfish-laden waters of Bangor Bay.
According to one of the local librarians who has done some research, it is probable that 1918 was the 18th year of the race but no evidence that it started in 1910 could be found in the local press. The race did continue through WWII but there is a gap in the library reels from 1916 – 25 so those years cannot be checked. Generally, the race was run for individuals in a handicap system according to how good a swimmer they were – the faster you were, the longer you had to wait before starting off. There was also a team event for the Gamble Memorial Trophy.
Before Pickie Pool was built in 1931, gentlemen swam in that area and the ladies swam just below the large mansion called Seacourt in what was called ‘Ladies Bathing Place”.
Many people who did the race remember how cold it was, even in August; the horrors of being touched by the seaweed and stinging jellyfish as well as the distance, all presented a huge challenge. One of the competitors remembers the coal boat leaving harbour during the race, creating chaos. But what amounts to a questionable memory is that of a competitor who did the swim with a bottle of Olde English (an American malt liquor) in one hand and a Rod Stewart album in the other!
So if you can help please contact Caroline McCoubrey [email protected]
Olympian Matt McGovern returned for the final race of part one of the Icebreaker Series on Belfast Lough and showed enough class and speed in the very light winds to show the rest of the Laser fleet the way home. Nearly 40 Lasers fought hard to get away at a compressed start line made worse by a right-hand bias. A black flag on the second attempted start kept them back enough but the wind dropped almost immediately to less than 5 knots.
Series leader Chris Boyd showed his light wind prowess to get a third place and the overall win. Conor Simms tried to make it back through the fleet but finished second overall with Johnathan Henry third. Cavan Fyans had an even better race with a third-place which propelled him to Silver fleet winner in his first series since coming back after children and a PhD. Alex Ward also showed unknown light wind skills to take the Bronze fleet overall prize.
Ollie Haig has a great start in the Laser Radials but was unable to keep Joni Rock and Ellen Barbour behind him. Jess Winton had already won the Laser Radial fleet overall. Special note must go to Sara Sofia Odiso who was sailing her final race at Ballyholme - Sara comes from BYC’s twin club Andora Yacht Club in Italy and has been staying with BYC members for the last 16 weeks but goes home on Boxing Day. She will be missed by the other sailors.
The large dinghy fleet has a mix of boats with RS Aeros’ of varying shapes (including IRO Robin Gray) and sizes, Rs200s, RS400s, 505’s but they have been largely following the Laser 2000 of Dave Fletcher and Ryan Smyth throughout the series. Recent Jacques Fabre sailor Chunky/Michael Gunning with a rare showing from Jeremy Tomalin shot away in their RS400 however followed by Garth Flannigan and Brian Spence who had to retire with equipment failure.
Rob Milligan and Paul Blamphin came second overall in an RS200 with Sandra Halliwell third in an RSAero5.
Richard Swanston and Matt McMurtry were able to break away in their F18 for the win in front of series winners Adrian Allen and Barry Swanston. Special note must go to Pete and Dee McDowell who come second in their Viper before celebrating their Gold Wedding Anniversary today - how many multihull or other crews can claim such a prize.
The Topper fleet was won by Charlie O’Malley with Dan Sheriff and Charlotte Eadie following him home and in similar positions in the series. Ian Moore and his young son Aaron won the small PY class in their Mirror beating the O’Tiarnagh and Harrington teams in their RS Feva’s
The prize-giving was held after racing followed by the infamous Icebreaker dinner which has been held for over 25 years with the usual merriment and a quiz. Over 90 dinghies have raced in this years Icebreaker showing the strength of dinghy racing at Ballyholme. The Laser Radial fleet expect even greater numbers in Part 2 in preparation for the Youth European Championships in July 2020 - the second series starts again on the first Sunday in February. Many thanks were given to Charles Hurst Jaguar Landrover who have sponsored the event for the first time as well as all the volunteers that help to make the series run - on and off their water.
Artemis Technologies, the world’s leading high-performance maritime design and applied technologies company, will collaborate with Tuco Marine Group to integrate its new electric eFoiler propulsion system into an 11m carbon fibre vessel.
This will serve as a demonstrator vessel as proof of concept for the innovative technology that will be marketed to the marine trade by Artemis Technologies and Tuco Marine Group, which supplies a range of different composite structures for the shipping industry.
The hydrofoils and propulsion system for the proof of concept vessel will be manufactured and assembled in Belfast Harbour, following a multi-million-pound investment in the project.
Artemis Technologies, Chief Executive, Iain Percy OBE, double Olympic Gold medallist and veteran of four America’s Cup challenges, said:
“This Joint Venture with Tuco Marine Group will introduce our unique foiling solutions to the workboat market which could now benefit from zero emissions and fuel savings of up to 90%.
“Last year when we announced our plans to create a new advanced manufacturing facility in Belfast, we laid out our commitment to developing technology that will decarbonise maritime and plans for the development of an ‘autonomous sailing vessel’. This electric foiling technology is the next natural stage of this project and a step in the right direction to realising our vision.
“As the first ever electric foiling solution for vessels, this is a truly transformative project and it is incredibly exciting to be part of one of the solutions to climate change.
“The technology is perfect for those requiring high speed vessels with minimal environmental impact. Initially targeted at the Aquaculture, Off Shore Energy, Water Taxi, Leisure and Defence sectors, the proof of concept for the technology will provide an immediate route to market.
“Integrating our new electric eFoiler propulsion system into a composite autonomously controlled hydrofoil presents a scalable solution that can be applied to much larger vessels such as high-speed passenger ferries.
“Belfast’s rich maritime history provides the perfect setting to play a role in the development of such technology and we’re incredibly excited as to what this project will mean for our future as a company and in Northern Ireland.”
In March it was revealed that the Artemis Technologies-led bid - “Decarbonisation of Maritime Transportation – a Return to Commercial Sailing” – was the only application from Northern Ireland and from the maritime industry to be selected for the next stage of the UK Research and Innovation’s Strength in Places Fund.
Recipients of the major seedcorn programme will be announced in spring 2020 and if successful, the Belfast Maritime Consortium will receive more than £30m towards its plans to decarbonise maritime transportation.
Since its establishment in 1998, Tuco Marine Group has established itself as a key player in developing the industry towards more environmentally sustainable vessels.
Jonas Pederson, Managing Director at Tuco Marine, said:
“We aim to manufacture world class workboats and adding Artemis Technologies’ superior foiling and propulsion technology will further improve our product offering.
“Whilst Tuco Marine has the knowledge and technology to build carbon fibre vessels, getting these boats foiling is a significant stride in reducing emissions on the water.
“Our lightweight structures are built for speed and even with this new technology, this is not compromised.
“Reducing emissions is a huge focus for the maritime industry and we’re thrilled that this partnership with Artemis Technologies allows us to play a role in shaping what is undoubtedly the technology of the future.
“We look forward to continuing our Joint Venture with Artemis Technology and marketing this technology to industries for which workboats are essential.”
An interesting take on wind-power made by Econowind has now been installed on DFDS container/side-port loader vessel Lysbris Seaways following recent tests in the Netherlands.
A metal sail in a box is a novel concept, but it could be a solution to save fuel and emissions for shipping by utilising the power of the wind that nearly all ships once relied on.
The prototype (view video) was installed on the deck of Lysbris Seaways last month in Amsterdam. The system is from Dutch company Econowind which created a foldable aluminium sail concept that sits on the deck of a vessel. It comes in a 40-foot container and is a far cry from historic sail designs, as two metallic 10-metre foils, or wings, fold out with the press of a button.
The design and software let the wings move to optimally catch the wind and help propel the vessel forward. Just last week the company received the Dutch Maritime Innovation award for the Econowind unit, which shows promise from earlier testing.
Poul Woodall, Director of Environment, and Vidar Karlsen, Managing Director in Norway, signed the agreement in September for the collaboration with Econowind and Green Shipping Programme (Grønt Skipsfartsprogram or GSP), a Norwegian programme for research into, and development of, green shipping solutions. GSP delivers a theoretical modelling of historic weather data, consumption, routes and more that we use for testing.
Vidar says: “Lysbris Seaways is perfect for testing such a concept. In theory it looks like a good idea, but we need to see if the estimated fuel savings are realistic for this type of vessel. We are going to measure fuel consumption with the sail and get a picture of the efficiency gained over time compared to the regular numbers.”
“The finalised design works automatically, meaning you can open the container from the bridge and open the sail, but for the prototype it’s a bit more hands-on with manual controls and a service engineer present to operate the system. After a successful installation we are now looking forward to seeing the outcome of the two months of testing,” Vidar adds.
Sofie Hebeltoft, Head of CSR, says: “With projects like this we take responsibility for developing new energy sources and methods of propulsion that can take us towards cleaner ships and eventually zero emission shipping. We are therefore extremely grateful for initiatives such as this taken on by Vidar and his team.”
Belfast Harbour has been named the best port of call in the UK and Ireland for cruise ships. The accolade was awarded by a global panel of cruise experts as part of the 2019 Cruise Critic Editors’ Pick Awards.
It follows a record-breaking 2019 cruise season for the city with 146 cruise calls and 280,000 visitors. The judges were particularly impressed by a £500,000 investment by Belfast Harbour and Tourism NI in the island’s first dedicated cruise terminal which was officially opened in July.
The welcome facility, which includes a Visitor Information Centre managed by Visit Belfast, also boasts new facilities for coaches and taxis, and an easily accessible deep-water berth to accommodate larger cruise ships. The judges also praised the location of the terminal for providing “easy access to the city’s world-class attractions, such as Titanic Belfast in the city's famous Titanic Quarter”.
Joe O’Neill, Belfast Harbour’s CEO, said: “With our partners Visit Belfast we’ve worked hard to market Belfast Harbour and Northern Ireland under the ‘Cruise Belfast’ initiative as one of the best cruise destinations in Western Europe. We’ve also invested in a new terminal with the support of Tourism NI to encourage further growth in this strategically important sector. Considering the quality of other destinations in the UK and Ireland, we’re delighted to win the award”.
If you had left Belfast twenty years ago (as many did) you would remember the city as having turned its back on the River Lagan. Not so today. The waterfront has developed beyond imagination with of course, the magnificent Titanic Belfast, the Marina and many office and apartment blocks, river cruises and maritime festivals. Belfast Harbour is Northern Ireland’s leading gateway and key economic hub for trade and tourism, handling more than 70% of the region’s seaborne imports and exports. The 2,000-acre Harbour Estate hosts more than five million annual visits, including 1.5 million ferry and cruise ship passengers. It’s home to a vibrant mix of 760 businesses working across multiple sectors, to include marine logistics and heavy engineering, commercial and residential real estate, retail, financial and IT services, tourism and leisure, media and creative industries.
And helping feed the economy is the successful cruise tourism sector which encourages new tourist and leisure projects, and further enhances Belfast’s reputation as a leading destination, including within the cruise market.
Gerry Lennon, Chief Executive of Visit Belfast, added: In the 20 years since Visit Belfast was established, we have worked with Belfast Harbour to attract cruise visitors to the city and region, and the result has been an enormous increase in the number of visitors and ships coming to the city. In total, Cruise Belfast has brought 784 ships to the city since 1999, and in the last five years alone, cruise visitor numbers have increased by 135%.
John McGrillen, Tourism NI Chief Executive, commented: “This is a great achievement for Belfast’s international visitor reputation and is a result of major investment in the cruise tourism market which saw the opening of our first dedicated cruise terminal in July. The new terminal can accommodate bigger cruise ships bringing visitors from key markets across Europe and ensure that once they are here, they are easily able to access all of our world-famous attractions and hospitality.
The awards are based on Cruise Critic editors’ impartial cruise expertise which draws upon first-hand experiences and industry knowledge. Adam Coulter, UK Managing Editor, Cruise Critic said: “The desire for more experiential holidays, especially amongst younger travellers is certainly helping to boost the UK cruise sector. There is more choice than ever before in ocean, river and expedition cruises as a result of an array of exciting new ships launched this year and next. Whether you are cruising as a multi-generational family, a couple or solo, there really is a cruise for everyone.”
In addition to its record-breaking cruise season, Belfast Harbour also welcomed several firsts during 2019. These included the visits of ‘Disney Magic’ and SAGA’s first ever new build vessel, the ‘Spirit of Discovery’. The port also welcomed 6,500 visitors and crew onboard the ‘MSC Meraviglia’, the largest ship by passenger capacity to ever visit Belfast. The Harbour has also invested in new facilities to market Belfast as a cruise embarkation port. Cruise & Maritime has already scheduled departures from Belfast for next summer including Norwegian Fjord and British Isles itineraries.
Another project in addition to the Bangor Queen’s Parade development on the County Down coast mentioned recently in Afloat, should see the enhancement of a two-mile stretch of the coast from the west of the Bangor Harbour all the way through to the eastern end of Ballyholme Bay writes Betty Armstrong.
Ards and North Down Council has appointed AECOM as consultant for this £60M Bangor Waterfront project to help establish Bangor as a thriving town and prime visitor attraction in Northern Ireland.
The project includes new public realm along the 2.2 mile stretch and new greenways and coastal paths that will better link people to both the town and the sea. Pickie Park, which is already immensely popular with residents and visitors alike, will be enhanced to become a family visitor attraction of national significance and compliment the re-imagining of Ballyholme beach that is also part of the project.
The potential for other innovative features that support the town’s aspiration to revive itself as an attractive, accessible, creative and diverse seaside town will be explored as part of the early work AECOM will undertake.
The AECOM team offers extensive visioning, design, environmental and economic expertise. AECOM was the master planner for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and has delivered a range of waterfront projects, including Liverpool, Blackpool and in Northern Ireland,the award-winning Newcastle public realm. AECOM has also worked on several projects in Bangor, such as the recent town centre public realm improvements. The AECOM-led team for the Bangor Waterfront project also includes Hemingway Design, Savills and Jettora.
Patrick Clarke, Director – UK & Ireland Masterplanning Lead, AECOM, said: “Building on the ambitious waterfront plan for Bangor, our team brings a breadth of multidisciplinary expertise to further develop this vision, creating a masterplan that will secure long-term tourism and economic benefits for the town and a business case to support future investment in Bangor” Wayne Hemingway, Hemingway Design, added: “We think that Bangor is a town with so many of the ingredients needed to really attract more visitors and be an even more lovely place to live and work, so we’re excited to be a part of this project”.
The Bangor Waterfront Project is one of several exciting tourism-led regeneration schemes due to receive funding from the Belfast Region City Deal. Approximately £40M will be secured via this bespoke package of funding from Westminster, with the remaining investment coming from both the Council and the private sector.
Mayor of Ards and North Down, Alderman Bill Keery, commented: “The appointment of AECOM, and its wider team, is a critical step forward in our plans to regenerate Bangor. They bring a wide range of experience, including the delivery of international coastal regeneration projects, to the table and I have no doubt will challenge and refine our thinking as we progress this very exciting project.”
Since Victorian times until about thirty years ago, Queens Parade in Bangor was a thriving seaside thoroughfare with shops, hotels, a cinema, and ice cream vendors all colourfully set in a row, attracting hundreds to that part of the town writes Betty Armstrong.
Sadly, most of the buildings have gone, many are derelict and only artistic type ‘pods’ on waste ground relieve the boredom. In 1989 on the seaward side, the Council built the marina replacing the open bay and the little beach at the bottom of Main Street with a 500-berth haven and associated facilities, a Coastguard station and beside it a boatyard.
But the siting of two huge retail complexes on the outskirts of the town has ruined business in the town centre. Now the Ards and North Down Council, after many proposed and discarded redevelopment plans, has appointed Bangor Marine as the developer to take forward a major £50m regeneration project of Queen’s Parade.
The proposed scheme is made up of; Marine Gardens Public Realm combining external events space, cafes, sheltered promenade and kiosks, beach, seafront lawns, children’s play area and water feature; a 70/80 bed hotel; a destination/cinema building; residential units; commercial/retail/restaurant space; office Space; a play zone; refurbishment of existing commercial properties; 200 space car park; and marketplace and courtyard squares.
Making the announcement the Department for Communities Permanent Secretary Tracy Meharg said: “This development and the £50m investment in Bangor will generate new jobs, new shops, new offices, new homes and make this area Bangor a place to see and visit. It will help to support a number of areas that we know are important to the vitality of our town centres, especially employment and tourism”.
The then Mayor Councillor Richard Smart said “The regeneration of Queen’s Parade is critical to the future of Bangor and to maximising the economic growth potential of the wider borough of Ards and North Down. With the appointment of Bangor Marine – a consortium made up of a number of leading companies including the Karl Group and Farrans – we are taking a very significant and exciting step forward”.
Aran Blackbourne, Managing Director of the Karl Group commented “The Bangor Marine team are delighted to have signed the Development Agreement to deliver this prestigious and life changing development for the people of Bangor and beyond”.
Belfast used to turn its back on the River Lagan. Not anymore writes Betty Armstrong. Within the city much development, both commercial and urban, has taken place around the river – a weir, Belfast Harbour Marina, riverside walks, a new footbridge, many cultural events and maritime gatherings and farther upstream, improved towpaths, rowing, kayaking and angling. All this has resulted in a huge increase in the number of people using the waterway and consequently, an increase in incidents.
Lagan Search and Rescue is an acute water rescue and independent lifeboat charity serving the city. It is a voluntary emergency service set up in 2011 responding to incidents in and around the river 24/7, under the direction and control of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
A dedicated and highly trained group of volunteers make up the Lifeboat crew, Quayside Responders, Rescue swimmers and Flood Response unit. Last year members put in over 11000 hours on behalf of the Charity.
So if you’re over 18 and physically fit, have time to dedicate to the charity and would like to be part of a dynamic team, you can express interest here
Adverse weather with strong gusts in the lead up to this week’s racing threatened to spoil the day again for this week’s Charles Hurst Jaguar Land Rover sponsored Junior Icebreaker at Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough. Saturday morning however brought warm weather and light winds and a fleet of 18 junior sailors in their Topper dinghies were able to take to the water for their first training session followed by racing.
The course was set close to the clubhouse, which lead to tricky conditions in the light and shifty winds that were blowing from the shore. Race 1 saw Daniel Palmer lead from start to finish with Katie Brow in second and last year’s overall winner Faye McCartan rounding off the podium.
The second race saw a big shift on the left side of the course favour all those who had ventured in that direction seeing Daniel Palmer once again take line honours from Charlie O’Malley with Hannah Archer in third and Katie Brow staying in contention overall in fourth.
The third and final race was started in lighter winds but this time both sides of the course were even. Daniel Palmer made it a hat trick of first places but had to work this time to overtake Katie Brow who led at the first mark. Charlie O’Malley was third in this breakaway group and these three now lead the series overall.
Tight racing in the chasing pack was led by Romy Maguire ahead of Rex Claney in fifth place and Isobel Nixon in sixth.
Three of the entries were using the smaller 4.2 sail. This group is led by Hannah Bell with Charlotte Cairns second and Desi Gillespie in third. Even with the smaller sails this group were in the mix beating some of the sailors with full rigs.
The Junior Icebreaker takes place on Saturdays in October and November. Young sailors take to the water for training from a group of dedicated coaches. Training is followed by racing which is taken by these sailors as seriously as the adults in the main series on Sunday.