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The sailing season in Cork Harbour is getting underway - slowly it has to be said - the effects of the long Winter weren’t encouraging owners to get their boats ready…… That is happening and launching is underway, but owners of moorings have received a final warning which has annoyed quite a few of them, to judge from my emails and calls….

If you have a harbour mooring, the Port of Cork is going to remove it in the next fortnight if you haven’t paid your annual fee of €95 to them ….. “and your space will be immediately reallocated” say final warning letters issued at the weekend which have been reaching owners in the past few days.

"If you have a harbour mooring, the Port of Cork is going to remove it in the next fortnight if you haven’t paid your annual fee of €95"

It hasn’t endeared the Port to ‘slow season starters’ who have been complaining to me that the Port could have shown a bit more “cop on” – some said - as the season is only slowly getting underway, “Bad PR … not showing much understanding” have been amongst the comments.

Capt. Paul O’Regan, the Harbour Master, whose name appears on the letters told me the port had to stick to procedures. Invoices were issued at the start of the year and a follow-up ‘reminder’ was sent to those who hadn’t paid. The system is “fair and transparent,” he said and added that if anyone has real difficulties or didn’t get the first letters, they should contact the Port who will be helpful.

There’s a separate charge for using a boat in the harbour, varying with length, to be levied also on non-mooring holders another €95 for a 33-footer for example. Don’t know what the penalty is for not paying that…..

Gas Rigs Race


And, as the season begins, a major change has been announced on the South Coast… The Kinsale Head Gas Rigs, Alpha and Bravo, are to be removed, though not for a few years yet. Kinsale Energy, the subsidiary of the Malaysian oil and gas company, PETRONAS, which took over the Kinsale Head Gas Field from Marathon has said the natural gas will run out in 2020 so the rigs will be removed after that.

"The Gas Rigs Race dates back to the 80s"

A mark for boats heading outwards or inbound will be no more and one of the most famous of RCYC races may have to find a new name….. The Gas Rigs Race dates back to the 80s when it started on a Friday night to a laid buoy or anchored vessel just north of the rigs. It was a long race, but was reduced in length over the years. The 300th anniversary of the RCYC will be celebrated in the year when the gas runs out… maybe the occasion for the last Gas Rigs Race… Who knows?

Published in Tom MacSweeney

MV Astoria arrived into Cobh today, the first of 94 cruise liners to visit the Port of Cork in 2018, a 30% increase on 2017 calls. The Port of Cork anticipates with 94 cruise calls the total passenger numbers to be 188,844 and 80,000 crew.

Up to eight cruise liners will make their maiden calls to Cork, including Disney Cruise Lines ‘MV Disney Magic’ in September and the largest of the MSC Cruise Lines fleet, MSC Meraviglia carrying a maximum of 4,500 passengers. Royal Caribbean’s MV Royal Princess will call ten times in 2018.

In 2017 the Port of Cork carried out cruise research on both passengers and crew arriving into Cobh and Ringaskiddy. The aim of the research was to get a sense of passengers shore excursions experiences and to determine any areas are in need of improvement. According to the research results many passengers who take the pre-booked shore excursions reported high experiences, while the ‘independent’ passengers seem to be looking for alternative more active experiences in both the City and the County.

The results of the cruise research also highlighted an increase in passenger and crew spend. On average, cruise ship passengers spend €81 during their time in Cork; with 42% of this money being spent on shopping, 32% on excursion travel and 17% on food and drink. Typically crew spend approximately €29, with most of the money being spent on food and drink and/or shopping.

Commercial Manager Captain Michael McCarthy said: ‘We have seen a massive surge in cruise calls for 2018 with a 30% increase in calls. These calls will bring outstanding economic growth to Cork City and County between March and September, with over 180,000 passengers stepping ashore and 80,000 crew.’ 

He continued: ‘We are absolutely delighted with the growth in the cruise sector and so far we are seeing a high volume of calls for 2019 also. It’s very encouraging to see cruise lines bringing their newest vessels to Cork on maiden calls and choosing Cobh as part of their cruising route.’

As well as Cork the Port of Cork also operates Bantry Bay Port Company which will see ten cruise liners calling to the West Cork area this summer. Bantry Harbour and Glengarriff can accommodate the smaller boutique cruise liners whose passengers tend to look for active expedition cruises. In 2017 just five liners called West Cork, showing a 50% increase in 2018 calls.

Published in Port of Cork

Cork Harbour will have a new name in sailing this season - the Great Island Sailing Club, formed to ensure the continuance of sailing at Cobh, following difficulties which arose in Cove Sailing Club as it attempted to build a marina at Whitepoint.

The development is on an amicable basis between the two clubs, according to both.

“The aim is to ensure that sailing continues and develops in Cobh and the new club is open for membership and registration,” said Johanna Murphy, Commodore of the new club where the Sailing Secretary is Pat Coakley

Kieran Dorgan, Commodore at Cove Sailing Club, said that club is continuing to pursue the completion of the marina. “The Committee are working to resolve the situation and wish to support sailing/boating activities in any way it can. We are fully committed to getting the club through the current situation, the marina completed and to continue with sailing/boating in the coming years. The centenary anniversary of the club is due to happen next year and our aim is to have the marina in place for the people of Cobh.”

“Everyone is working together to ensure that sailing continues and develops. That is what we all want for the harbour and for Cobh. Concentrating on that is what the Great Island Sailing Club will be doing,” said the Great Island SC Commodore, Johanna Murphy. “Things are progressing after the difficulties which arose, which it was necessary to resolve to ensure the continuance of sailing activities.”

Meetings were held over the past few months to resolve the situation, when members expressed concern that sailing activities were being affected by the demands of developing the marina.

The outcome is a decision to form the new club, to which cruiser and dinghy sailing is moving, while Cove Sailing Club continues in existence, with its focus on the marina. Cove SC is making its resources of support boats and dinghies available to the new club.

Developing a marina is a challenging and financially demanding business. The plans of Cove SC were hit when an expected and, it is understood, promised financial support grant from the public body, SECAD, did not materialise. The Port of Cork, which encountered public opposition to its own plans for major development at Ringaskiddy amidst concerns, particularly at Monkstown, for its possible impact on sailing, expressed objection concerns about the Cove SC marina plans, apparently because of its own expansion of cruise line berth facilities at Cobh.

A formal launch is planned in May, with a programme for both cruiser and dinghy sailing and the continuance of junior training.

The new club will be involved in joint sailing with the Royal Cork YC and Monkstown Bay SC, the Naval sailing Squadron and Eddie English’s Sail Cork, according to Johanna Murphy.

• Podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney

Bord Pleanala has deferred for a tenth time a decision on the Ringaskiddy Incinerator in Cork Harbour. A decision, originally due by July 2016, following nine subsequent deferrals was listed for 28 February 2018.

Bord Pleanala now say that a decision will be delivered within three months.

Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (CHASE) Chairperson Mary O’Leary said “CHASE is certain that a refusal is the only correct decision and while we are prepared to wait for that outcome, we believe that decision could have been delivered immediately after the 2016 hearing in time to meet statutory obligations and the July 2016 deadline.

This community engaged in full and in good faith in a process that presented us with brutally incorrect dioxin figures which, if Bord Pleanala is competent, must have been known to them. The Bord needs to understand how very hard it is for our community to maintain faith in this process.”

In a press release CHASE says, with each delay, issues with both the application and the site escalate. The site is no longer zoned for industrial use, having been rezoned for Educational purposes by Cork County Council in Local Area Plans agreed in July 2017. Figures released by the EPA in December 2017 show that Ireland is already meeting its EU Waste framework obligations, so granting permission to build this incinerator would directly contravene recommendations made by the European Commission in it’s January 2017 report on the implementation of a the Circular Economy Plan in which it warns heavily against the construction of new incinerators, to the extent that it recommends the phasing out of public money from incinerators, the introduction of a moratorium on new facilities and the introduction or increase of incineration taxes.

CHASE is writing to Bord Pleanala today requesting justification for the 'endless' deferrals.

Published in Cork Harbour

Another three race wins at the Monkstown Bay Sailing Club Laser League in Cork Harbour on Saturday means Kinsale Yacht Club's Darragh O'Sullivan has it all sewn up before the final race and he'll claim the traditional 'Yard of Ale' first prize next weekend writes Bob Bateman.

A bitingly cold, and gusty north-west wind and a strong ebb tide greeted a somewhat depleted fleet that saw local Chris Bateman maintained second place. Third overall is Ronan Kenneally.

Results below after 15 races. 

monkstown laser league results


Published in Laser

Since Friday (2nd February 2018) planned heavy lift operations at Cork Dockyard involve the loading of cargo onto the vessel ‘HHL Lagos’.

Last February, as reported at the time here, the same Cork Harbour dockyard was the site selected for loading massive Liebherr cranes onto an equally massive ship bound for Puerto Rico.

Current operations with HHL Lagos will occur at multiple times, for periods of up to five hours, according to the Harbourmaster. These operations are planned to be completed within 1 (one) week.

During the lifting operations, commercial vessel traffic may be restricted from navigating in the vicinity of Cork Dockyard to facilitate safe operations. Vessels navigating in the area must contact Port of Cork Operations on VHF Channel 12 for details of any lifting operations, and associated navigation restrictions.

Once the cargo has been loaded onto the HHL Lago, this cargo shall overhang into the navigation channel.

Vessel Masters & operators are requested to pass HHL Lagos at a minimum safe speed and producing no visible wash for the duration of the HHL Lagos’s stay at Cork Dockyard.

Furthermore, vessels are requested to keep a sharp lookout for any potential overhangs and obstructions from the HHL Lagos, and to closely monitor VHF Channel 12 at all times for information updates.

Published in Port of Cork

Combined total traffic through the Port of Cork and Bantry Bay Port Company reached 10.3 million tonnes in 2017, a very good increase of 8.6% compared to 2016. Total imports increased by 6.4% while exports increased by 12.3%. The Port of Cork total container volumes through both Tivoli and Ringaskiddy Container Terminals grew by 3.7% compared to 2016 figures, with a total of 217,763 TEU’s handled in 2017.

Oil traffic, predominantly handled through Whitegate Oil Refinery now owned by Canadian company Irving Oil, saw an increase of 2%. Trade in dry bulk cargos such as animal feed, fertilisers and cereals saw increases throughout the year.

In 2017 the Port of Cork handled 68 cruise liners bringing over 140,000 passengers and crew to the region, while in Bantry Bay five cruise liners visited the harbour, with MV Prinsendam making her maiden call to Bantry, the first liner to do so in 30 years.

Brendan Keating, Chief Executive said: ‘We are encouraged by the increase in trade traffic through the Port of Cork and Bantry Bay Port in 2017. An 8.6% increase in total trade traffic shows the positivity in the markets which were showing a marginal decrease in 2016. We are particularly encouraged by the growth in container traffic through both Tivoli and Ringaskiddy which increased by 3.7%. This increase is a clear indication that consumer markets are beginning to open up with both imports and exports on the rise through Cork.’

He continued: ‘In 2017 the Port of Cork saw over 34,000 trade vehicles imported through Cork. The trade car market is very important for Cork, however unfortunately we saw some decreases in the volume of cars imported. With regards to tourism, the Port of Cork had a very positive year with 68 cruise liners calling bringing over 142,000 passengers and crew to visit the Munster region. Furthermore, in 2017, for the second year running, Cobh was named the second Best Cruise Destination in the British Isles & Western Europe in the Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards, a further endorsement of our cruise business.’

Commenting on Bantry Bay Port Company, Brendan Keating said: ‘In August 2017, we successfully completed and opened Bantry Harbour Marina, part of the inner harbour development. This new sheltered harbour facility will be of great benefit to both commercial and leisure users bringing increased activity to Bantry Harbour and Town. The cruise business has doubled with ten cruise liners expected to call in 2018.’

Following the recent announcement by Brittany Ferries on their new twice weekly Ro-Pax route from Cork to Santander due to commence in April 2018, Mr. Keating said: ‘In 2018 Brittany Ferries celebrate 40 years operating in Ireland and we are very pleased with the announcement of this new route both in terms of tourism and trade. The current weekly route from Cork to Roscoff continues to strengthening with Brittany Ferries carrying over 80,000 passengers in 2017 and we look forward with great optimism to additional passengers availing of Brittany Ferries new service and the second call to Roscoff per week.’

In 2017 the Port of Cork Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NextDecade Corporation (NASDAQ: NEXT), a U.S.-based Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to explore a joint development opportunity for a new Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) and associated LNG import terminal infrastructure in Cork Harbour 

Mr. Keating said: ‘As an entry point into the Irish energy market, the Port of Cork is an attractive location for an FSRU-based LNG import terminal. Surrounded by existing marine infrastructure and industrial facilities, the proposed site is less than 2 km from Gas Networks Ireland Grid and would benefit from relatively benign and attractive conditions.’

He continued: ‘Discussions are ongoing with the Port of Cork and NEXTDecade, as well as other key industry players, who are supportive of this project and we are excited by the opportunities that this project could present.’

In 2015 An Bord Pleanala granted a 10-year planning permission to Port of Cork for the redevelopment of the existing port facilities at Ringaskiddy and in 2017 An Bord Pleanala granted permission for alterations to the terms of the Ringaskiddy Port Development. The permission will enable the Port to deliver more efficient container handling facilities, replacing the existing container terminal at Tivoli, and securing Cork Container Terminal as an international gateway for trade well into the future. 

Ringaskiddy Port Redevelopment will future proof Cork trade and Port of Cork look forward to the project progressing in 2018.

Published in Port of Cork

The competitive instinct of Laser sailors is tightening the battle for honours in the Winter League in Cork Harbour being run by Monkstown Bay Sailing Club.

The fleet has been joined by some of Cork’s leading dinghy sailors. They include John Durcan, 49er sailor and Nick Walsh, 2017 National 18ft British and Irish Championships winner.

Despite their pressure the series leader, Darragh O'Sullivan, is holding his position as the sailors face into the third race of the series this Saturday.

There are three races each day. Last Saturday the weather was calmer than the opening day of the previous weekend. A higher-than-average morning temperature, sunlight and a light Southerly breeze were the conditions when OOD Alan Fehilly set race marks in the middle of Monkstown Bay for racing from Raffeen, to Ringaskiddy and back again.
In the light, changeable breeze, with a very strong tide, consistency was hard to achieve. Only Chris Bateman managed to stay in the top three places in each race, with a hat-trick of seconds. John Durcan was fourth in the first race of the day, but won the second and third races. Charles Dwyer, placing third in the third race of the day, moved into second place overall.
There is a fleet of sixteen boats racing.

O’Sullivan leads on 10 points, Bateman has 12 and Dwyer is on 18. Just behind him, in fourth place on 19 points is Ronan Kenneally. There is a ten-point gap then to Paul O’Sullivan who is fifth on 29 points, followed by John Durcan who, on his first outing, moved into sixth place overall by winning two of the day’s three races.
First Gun this Saturday will again be at 10.15 a.m.

Published in Laser

Monkstown Bay Sailing Club had what the sailors taking part described as a “tremendous start” to its Laser Winter League in Cork Harbour, sponsored by CH Marine.

A forecast of 30 knots didn't put anyone off, as sailors were greeted by a sunny Monkstown Bay, the sun compensating for the low temperature. High Tide and a fresh North Easterly meant Officer of the Day Alan Fehily set a start line in Monkstown Creek, racing towards Monkstown Marina, then returning to Monkstown Creek for the finish. The entire racecourse was overlooked by the historic Victorian houses of Alta Terrace, the setting being a pleasant sight for the Saturday morning walkers on Strand Road.

After an initial general recall, last year’s winner, Ronan Kenneally, led the fleet into the top mark for Race 1. Kenneally just stayed clear of a noisy collision between Paul O'Sullivan and Charles Dwyer, with Paul O'Sullivan being forced to take a 720 degree penalty to exonerate himself. Kenneally was eventually overhauled by Laser National Champion, Darragh O'Sullivan, who held first place to the finish. Kenneally had to deal with local Radial sailor, Chris Bateman, who showed great consistency to come in 3rd place.

Race 2 was where Darragh O'Sullivan started to show his class and he led the race from Charles Dwyer, Ronan Kenneally and Chris Bateman who were all battling for 2nd place. Kenneally fell victim to one of the heavier gusts and capsized, allowing Charles Dwyer to take second from Bateman, in third.

The small race area and lively fleet, meant there were two general recalls before Race 3 got underway and Darragh O'Sullivan broke free from the fleet early. Former UK Olympic Laser squad member, Rob Howe, held second for most of the race, until he too capsized, as some of the forecast breeze started to emerge from the direction of the old Verolme Dockyard. Dwyer took second after a collision, his second of the day, with Kenneally who fell back, but was able to hold 3rd.

Racing continues for the next 5 Saturdays. First Gun 1015 this Saturday, January 13.

Published in CH Marine Chandlery

Laser sailors will kick-off the New Year’s sailing season this Saturday in Monkstown Bay in Cork Harbour where the local club will start its Laser Winter League writes Tom MacSweeney. First Gun for the first race on Saturday morning will be at 10.15 a.m. - a Boat Start

“Full Rig Laser Sailors young and old are welcome,” says Charles Dwyer of Monkstown Bay Sailing Club which is organising the series. “We had up to 18 full rigs racing every Saturday last year and hope to exceed that number this year.”

The attraction of this league is that it is based on three short races each Saturday until February 10. The organisers guarantee that competitors will be ashore by noon, with soup provided, showers ready and the rest of the day available for other pursuits.

“We are arranging this event so that sailors who have families and who would like to get out and race, but also want to have weekend time with their children, can get their ‘quick fix’ of racing and still be with the family,” Dwyer says. “Celebrity sailors and Olympic hopefuls like Johnny Durcan, Ronan Walsh, Eddie Rice and Darragh O’Sullivan will be coming. We have great interest with 15 boats entered already, which is getting close to the numbers achieved in Howth’s Frostbites. Surely we can beat the Dubs again.”

Entry fee for the series is €20 per boat and entries will be taken on Saturday morning at the Sand Quay.

For more information, contact Charles Dwyer: 0861703289 or Email: [email protected]

Published in Cork Harbour
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