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#FOYNES – Next Sunday the Dublin Bay Mermaid fleet of Foynes Yacht Club will be in action on the waters of the Shannon Estuary for the 'Inaugural' golden jubillee race writes Gerry Ryan

Mermaid class captain, Darragh McCormack is hoping to have a full fleet of Mermaid's (10 in all) for the race. . A special trophy as been commissioned for the winner.

Last weekend the first cruise of the season took place down the estuary to Loughill, with a north-west wind force 3-4, it was certainly a cruise to get all skipper's and sailor's in the groove for the coming season. A total 10 craft sailed on this venture.

The cruise started at 2pm and finished at Cooleen Point at 4pm, where a Bar-B-Que in the clubhouse was organised for the hungry 'Pirates'.

Culluan Sailing Club will host its annual Spring Regatta on Sunday, April 29. This is a mixed fleet open event, and entry from travelling boat's are always welcome.

Three races are pencilled in to take place with a briefing at 12.30pm. The first race will be at 1pm with an approximate finish for all races at 5pm. A special junior race is organised on this event. The entry fee per boat is €15.

The P750 Class Association of Ireland will be holding a Powerboat Race in conjunction with Riverfest on Sunday, May 6. The race will be starting at 3pm and finishing at 6.30pm.

The P750 craft will be racing between Shannon and Sarsfield Bridge. These craft will be be travelling at approximately 40kt's, and it is requested that during this time no craft will encroach on the course and other river users are aware of this event.

Published in Shannon Estuary

#SAILING – It will be coast-to-coast coverage for Galway sailing in late June, as global interest starts to focus on the western port city and the finish of the Volvo Ocean Race in early July, while the student sailors of Galway University are making a strong pitch for the Round Ireland Race starting from Wicklow on June 24th.

Their campaign is shaping up very well, as they've chartered Martin Breen's Reflex 38 which – as Galway Harbour – was overall winner of last year's main offshore event, the Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race. The west coast sailing community have a good record in the biennial round Ireland, their most recent overall winner being Aodhan Fitzgerald skippering the First 40.7 Ireland West in 2008.

For this year's event, the status of the race has been up-graded – it now has the same standing in the RORC points championship as events of comparable length such as the Fastnet, and the Middle Sea Race. But in fact the 704-mile Round Ireland already has a special place among Europe's more discerning offshore sailors, and the current defending champion is Piet Vroon of the Netherlands with his Ker 46 Tonnere de Breskens.

Leading French offshore racing crews also like to record at least one bash at this classic circuit in their CVs, but as ever the bulk of the entries will come from Irish club sailors who see the Round Ireland as a rite of passage.

However, it is the west coast which has pioneered a new approach with this first university-based entry. The crew of 10, who represent many different areas of study and research in NUIG, will be skippered by Cathal Clarke, and already - despite the late arrival of some pleasant sailing weather - they have been actively training together on the boat.

Pat Morgan, Vice President of the Student Experience at NUI Galway, has voiced the University's active support for the challenge, which accords well with the college's approach to team-building skills and leadership development. The crew lineup is Cathal Clarke (skipper and trimmer), Ben Scallan & Eoghan McGregor (helmsmen), Joan Mulloy & Mark Armstrong (trimmers), Conor Kinsella & Ruaidhri de Faoite (mainsail trimmers), and Eoin Breen & Louis Mulloy (bowmen).

It's back into action for the Volvo Ocean Race boats this weekend at Itajai in Brazil, with the shore crews of damaged contenders working right down to the wire to be ready for today's in-port race. The International Jury have rejected a protest against the sails being carried by overall leader Telefonica, whose skipper Iker Martinez is keen to get on and get the programme completed, as he has recently confirmed that as soon as the Volvo is over in Galway, he is switching attention to becoming Spain's 49er helmsman in the Olympics just four weeks later – he won gold in 2004 and silver in 2008.

The narrowest window of repairs opportunity is being used by Ian Walker's Abu Dhabi, which has Ireland's Justin Slattery as bowman. Having been put aboard ship at Puerto Montt in Chile after sustaining structural damage in the murderous conditions racing across the Southern Ocean from New Zealand, the Walker boat Azzam was only offloaded in Brazil just two days ago. Amateur crews often use hair dryers to speed up the chemical curing of repairs to modern plastic construction, but even in sub-tropical Brazil, this job will have needed several industrial heaters.

W M Nixon's sailing column is in the Irish Independent on Saturdays 

Published in W M Nixon

Tweet, tweet! In case you missed them, here's a recap of the weekend's Irish sailing and boating top stories; An Irish superyacht steals the Show in France, Privateer does the same in Kinsale and there's a blustery start in Howth, NUI Galway enter the Round Ireland race, more humpback whales appear (we have the vid), an American sailor is looking for lost love in Ireland, the first cruise ship will arrive in Dun Laoghaire next week (and there's a new Dun Laoghaire dock installed to meet it) Young Finn Lynch from Blessington takes his place on the Irish Youth worlds team named here, there's a dramatic rescue on Fair head and tragically the search for two missing Irish sailors ends in San Francisco. Keep up to date via our twitter stream here

Published in News Update

If the crews in the eight classes competing in this year's Key Capital Private-sponsored Spring Warmer Series were looking to the early season event blow away the proverbial cobwebs, they probably got more than they bargained for last Saturday morning.

Fresh north-easterlies of over 22 knots greeted the fleets for the opening two back-to-back races and the conditions saw a number of boats retiring with gear damage and in the case of one J/24, a damaged crew member.

With the exception of SB3s, J/24s and Puppeteers with 9, 7 and 5 entries respectively, the entries were disappointing for the first weekend, with the Etchells, Squibs and Class 2 effectively enjoying two match-racing encounters.

Equinox and Storm each had a win and a second place in Class 1 while Maximus did the double over Sunburn in Class 2, as did Kerfuffle over Too Dee in the Squibs, while Starlet notched two wins in Class 3.

In the Etchells, Kootamundra and Fetching shared the spoils and Trick or Treat had two comfortable wins in the Puppeteers, firstly ahead of Harlequins and then Eclipse.

Lough Erne visitor Jamais Encore scored two second places in the J/24, firstly behind Hard on Port and then behind local boat Crazyhorse. The biggest fleet of nine SB3s saw Dinghy Supplies with an emphatic 3-min gap over Ruby Blue in race 1 and then just 9 seconds to spare over TBC in the second race.

The Key Capital Private Spring Warmer continues next Saturday with another two-race schedule.

Published in Howth YC
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#MISSING SAILORS - The US Coast Guard last night suspended its search for four yacht crew members - including two Irish sailors - who went missing after what's being described as San Francisco's worst ever sailing accident, Fox News reports.

Petty Officer Caleb Critchfield told the Associated Press: "There's a window of survivability and we searched well beyond that window."

Boats and aircraft had combed over 5,000 square miles of ocean in a marathon 30-hour operation before the search was halted at sunset last night. It is not expected to resume.

As previously reported on, the missing include Irish yachtsmen Alan Cahill, originally from Blarney in Co Cork, and his friend Elmer Morrissey, who had moved to the US for work only last year, according to friends and colleagues on Facebook.

The two men, along with fellow crew Jordan Fromm, Alexis Busch and Marc Kasanin, were thrown into the frigid water after their 38-foot yacht Low Speed Chase ran aground at the Farallon Islands, some 25 miles off the coast of San Francisco in northern California.

Three other crewmembers, including the boat's owner and skipper James Bradford, were rescued from the rocks shortly after the incident. The body of Kasanin, 45, was recovered from the water hours later.

The boat had been competing in the Full Crew Farallones Race with 40 other yachts between San Francisco and the islands when the tragedy occurred.

Known for its rough conditions with 14-foot swells and winds of up to 20 knots, the near-century old tradition has "never been for the faint of heart".

Published in News Update

#MISSING SAILORS – A second Irish sailor is reported among the crew missing from a yacht capsized onto rocks in San Francisco's worst sailing accident in recent times on Saturday.

The acccient has left one dead and four missing.

Cork professional sailor Alan Cahill who was based in the United States for over 15 years but who learned to sail at Royal CorkYacht Club has been named by the San Franciso Yacht Club as one of the missing crew here.

"It's a tragedy of unbelievable proportions," said yacht club director Ed Lynch. "It doesn't affect just this club, it affects sailors all over the world. It's going to hit us hard for a long, long time. "We're all deeply saddened."

Local media are reporting this morning that another Irish sailor Elmer Morrissey is the fourth missing crew man but organisers, the San Francisco Yacht Club, say the final missing crewman's name will not be revealed until his family have been informed.

The Irish Independent reports that Morrissey is from Cork and was on board the 38-ft Low Speed Chase was competing in the race from San Francisco Bay around the Farallon Islands, some 27 miles off the US west coast.

RTE News is reporting that Alan Cahill is a married father of two young children, is originally from Cork, but lived in Tiburon, San Francisco. Cahil's friend Elmer Morrissey was on his second day visiting from Ireland.

A Mayday call reporting the accident went out at about 3 p.m on Saturday.

Three other sailors were rescued from the rocks on Saturday afternoon after the boat ran aground onto Southeast Farallon Island.

Forty-nine boats competed in this year's race, which started Saturday, taking the fleet out the Golden Gate Bridge and around the Southeast Farallones Island.



Published in News Update
Tagged under

#ISAYOUTHNATS – Dun Laoghaire sailors have filled three of the four slots on the Irish squad for July's ISAF Youth World Championship 2012 in 89 days time.  The selection was announced tonight after an intensive four day battle at the Mitsubishi Youth National championships on Dublin Bay. The 2012 Irish youth team is as follows:

Irish Team Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth World Championship 2012:

Laser Radial Boy: Finn Lynch (National YC)
Laser Radial Girl: Sophie Murphy (Royal St George YC)
420 Boys: Patrick Crosbie & Grattan Roberts (Royal Cork YC)
29er: Sean & Tadhg Donnelly (National YC)
Tagged under

#ISAYOUTHNATS – Four intense days of racing at the ISA Mitsubishi Youth National Championships on Dublin Bay out of Dun Laoghaire, involving 380 sailors across seven classes with 10 nations including GBR and Ireland, concluded today with world class racing.

This morning's racing started with all to play for in each class with some of the most exciting racing in the Laser Radial boys' class. All three top boats were within one point of each other going into the last race. ISA Academy Sailors Finn Lynch (IRL/ NYC) and Robbie Gilmore (IRL/ Strangford YC) punched the line well in the last race. Finn pulled in front and controlled the fleet well to win the last race and overall event ahead of Tomasgaard (NOR/ RNor YC) and Robbie Gilmore.

In the Laser Radial girls class, Sophie Murphy (IRL/ RStGYC) leapfrogged Georgina Povall (GBR/Hickling Broad SC) and Ellie Cumpsty (GBR/Chew Valley Lake SC) to take 'first girl' and secure her place on the Irish team for the Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Worlds this July.

In the 420 class, the French continued their dominance winning by 15 points and overall there was a tremendous international showing in this class. Patrick Crosbie and Grattan Roberts (IRL/ RCYC) were the first Irish boat coming in at 8th place with 84 points and taking the Irish 420 slot for the Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Worlds this July.

In the Topper class where the sailors battled changeable conditions, Liam Glynn (IRL/ Ballyholme YC) takes the Topper title with a large 12 point lead ahead of William Thomas (GBR/ Teifi YC). Dougie Power (IRL/ WHYC) placed 3rd just two points off the GBR boat.

In the Laser 4.7 class, Erica Ruigrok (IRL/ Rush YC) was the top Irish with a 3rd overall and first girl overall.

In the Optimist Championship class after the final two races, Peter Fagan from the NYC took 1st and Michael O'Suilleabhain from Kinsale YC took 2nd.

Sailing: ISA Mitsubishi Youth National Championship 2012

Laser Radial Class, after 11 races, inc 1 discard:

1 F Lynch (IRL/National YC) 43pts. 2 H Tomasgaard (NOR/ RNYC) 54 pts 3 R Gilmore (IRL/Strangford Lough YC) 50pts. Other top 10 Irish: 6 S Guilefoyle (IRL/Royal Cork YC) 109pts.

420 Class, after 11 races, inc 1 discard:

1 G Pirouelle/V Sipan (FRA/SNPH) 25pts, 2 J Poret/L Chevet

(FRA/SNPH) 40pts, 3 A Vose/ K Urwin (GBR/RLYC) 40pts. Leading Irish: 8 P Crosbie/G Roberts (IRL/Royal Cork YC) 84pts, 9 A Hyland/ B Staunton (IRL/ RStGYC) 87pts 12 R Dickson/S Waddilove (IRL/Howth YC) 105pts

RS Feva Class, after 8 races inc 1 discard:

1 C Totterdell/C Maguire (IRL/Royal St George) 10pts, 2 D Johnston/L Flynn-Byrne (IRL/Howth YC) 20pts, 3 J Tingle/C Guilfoyle (IRL/Royal Cork YC) 23pts

29er Class after 11 races inc 1 discard:

1 J Hawkins/C Thomas (GBR/Restronguet SC) 15pts, 2 T Rippey/A Munro (NZL/Tauranga YC) 18pts, 3 O Bowerman/M Peach (GBR/Hayling Island SC) 24pts

Topper Class after 8 races inc 1 discard:

1 L Glynn (IRL/Ballyholme YC) 17pts, 2 W Thomas (GBR/Teifi BC) 29pts, 3 D Power (IRL/WHSC) 31pts

Laser 4.7 Class after 8 races inc 1 discard:

1 M Whitfield (GBR/Penarth YC/CBYC) 15pts, 2 R Auger (FRA/CN Claouey) 20pts, 3 E Ruigrok (IRL/Rush SC) 63pts

Optimist Championship Class: after 8 races:

1 P Fagan (IRL/National YC) 7pts, 2 M O'Suillebhain (IRL/Kinsale YC) 9pts, 3 C Gorman (IRL/ NYC) 15pts

#ISAYOUTHNATS – A hard won victory in the third of today's three races just tips the balance in favour of Strangford Lough's Robbie Gilmore in a very hotly contested 68 boat Laser Radial fleet at the ISA Mitsubishi Youth Nationals Sailing Championship.

Racing on Dublin Bay out of Dun Laoghaire, the stakes for Gilmore extend higher than just vying for the Radials National title.

Selection for Ireland's Radial spot in July's Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships to be raced on these same race areas, amounts to a first-past the-post-battle at these four day championships and Gilmore arrived ashore this afternoon feeling that his fifth, second and win today may prove conclusive in what still looks to be a duel with long time rival and fellow ISA Academy sailor Finn Lynch.

The National YC's Lynch, championship leader this morning, could not match Gilmore as the conditions turned breezier. He returned 3,7,3 for the day to drop to third overall.

After two days of fickle sub-8 knots winds, the five classes which raced today enjoyed brisk, chilly NE'ly breezes of over 20kts accompanied by choppy seas.

Gilmore's slight speed edge, which he attributed to good fitness and concentrated training in today's weight of breeze, proved key as he stepped two points clear of Lynch.

He ties New Zealand's Andrew McKenzie at the top of the international fleet.

" It was pretty breezy, up to 20kts, but really nice sailing." Recalled Gilmore, " The first race I did not have a great one but got a fifth. The second race I was leading most of the way around but on the last leg the Norwegian sailor caught me. But the last race I won and so it really was a good day."

"I am feeling pretty good now. It was nice to feel like I had a little bit of a speed edge today, which is probably down to good fitness and training in that breeze, so it puts me in a good position for tomorrow when hopefully I will be able to finish things off. I was not particularly watching out for anyone today, just trying to keep on it in that breeze."


A competitor capsizes after racing yesterday in the choppy conditions

Lynch was less pleased with his three races:

" Nothing really went wrong or happened but I just did not sail as well as I could have. I sailed well, but I could have sailed better. My speed was really good but my tactics could have been a bit better, especially in the second race. But I will be back tomorrow, it is still very, very close."

The French duo of Guillaume Pirouelle and Valentin Sipan, from Le Havre, are primarly here on a training mission in advance of their trials series which will select for their Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Worlds team, but they are proving to be the class act in the 26 boat international fleet. They lead the class comfortably after winning all three races today, but crew Sipan cautioned that their regatta is far from won yet.

"We have not won the regatta yet, we still need another good day, but today really set us up." He said, adding: " It is not decided yet whether we will be here in July, there are two weeks of trials. But we are the only French boys team who are here, along with the girls."

In the battle for Worlds selection among the Irish 420 crews, the odds moved in favour of Cork's reigning ISA Optimist Youth National Champion, Patrick Crosbie with crew Grattan Roberts. They improved race by race, scoring 7,6,5, to move up to sixth overall in the international fleet but crucially gaining themselves a 17pts cushion on their nearest selection rivals Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove of Howth YC.

"We were just concentrating on keeping clear air and following the gusts as much as possible. We are certainly better in the stronger breeze but so we are also grand in the light stuff. We only started sailing together in August last year and would love to do the Worlds here in the summer. I don't want to say how confident we are, not wanting to jinx anything. We have a friendly rivalry between us all, but for sure there is more pressure this year with the Worlds here, but I like to think we are rising to it." Said helm Crosbie.

After two more races in the 15 boat RS Feva class, the local duo Conor Totterdell and Conor Maguire effectively maintain their perfect scoreline by virtue of discarding their one second place, leading overall by four points.

Topper class leader Liam Glynn from Ballyholme YC has a virtually unbeatable lead after a first and second today, lying 16 points clear at the top of the 40 boat class, whilst Welsh helm Matt Whitfield from Penarth also took a first and second, leading overall by seven points.

In the 29er Class GBR's Jack Hawkins and Christopher Thomas have now won three back to back races in a small fleet which is primarily here to train for the worlds, both the British duo and New Zealand's Trent Rippey and Alex Munro already know that their worlds selection is secured:

Sailing: ISA Mitsubishi Youth Nationals 2012, standings after Day 3 of 4:

Laser Radial Class, after 8 races, inc 1 discard:

1 A McKenzie (NZL/Tamkai YC) 30pts, 2 R Gilmore (IRL/Strangford Lough YC) 30pts, 3 F Lynch (IRL/National YC) 30pts. Other top 10 Irish: 6 S Guilefoyle (IRL/Royal Cork YC) 68pts.

420 Class, after 8 races, inc 1 discard:

1 G Pirouelle/V Sipan (FRA/SNPH) 13pts, 2 N Horwitz/F Fuentes

(CHI/CNP) 20pts, 3 J Poret/L Chevet (FRA/SNPH) 28pts. Leading Irish: 6 P Crosbie/G Roberts (IRL/Royal Cork YC) 50pts, 10 R Dickson/S Waddilove (IRL/Howth YC) 67pts, 11 A Hyland/B Staunton (IRL/Royal St

George) 68pts.

RS Feva Class, after 5 races inc 1 discard:

1 C Totterdell/C Maguire (IRL/Royal St George) 4pts, 2 D Johnston/L Flynn-Byrne (IRL/Howth YC) 8pts, 3 J Tingle/C Guilfoyle (IRL/Royal Cork YC) 14pts

29er Class after 7 races inc 1 discard:

1 J Hawkins/C Thomas (GBR/Restronguet SC) 9pts, 2 T Rippey/A Munro (NZL/Tauranga YC) 10pts, 3 O Bowerman/M Peach (GBR/Hayling Island SC) 14pts,

Topper Class after 5 races inc 1 discard:

1 L Glynn (IRL/Ballyholme YC) 5pts, 2 N Hemeryck (IRL/National YC) 17pts, 3 W Thomas (GBR/Teifi BC) 17pts,

Laser 4.7 Class after 5 races inc 1 discard:

1 M Whitfield (GBR/Penarth YC/CBYC) 6pts, 2 R Auger (FRA/CN Claouey) 13pts, 3 M Hassett (IRL/Baltimore SC) 19pts

Optimist classes did not race today, standings as per yesterday

#TORNADO – A mini-twister, a  tornado or waterspout made a spectacular appearance off Bray Head, County Wickow this morning and was captured on tape and posted on youtube by user oifeno1 at the same time as a lightning, thunder and hail storm hit Dublin Bay.

The UK Met Office warned earlier this week that a combination of warm ground temperatures and cold wind passing from the north west could create the perfect conditions for funnel clouds but little did we relaise it would turn up on the East coast of Ireland and only a short distance from where over 200 youths are competing in the Irish Youth Sailing Championships on Dublin Bay.

The YouTube clip above was captured by user 'aoifeno1' (East Coast Kayaks) and uploaded this morning under the summary: "Just about to take a photo of sunrise when I spotted this twister!"

Another clip was caught on tape at 6:40 after a sudden storm passed right overhead, the poster said 'hail came pummeling down and this waterspout went right past the beach and broke up when it hit land on Bray Head'.


Published in Weather
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