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30th September 2009

Dungarvan Harbour Sailing Club

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Dungarvan Harbour Sailing Club

Dungarvan has always been noted for its sailors and its great sea-faring families and the tradition of the bygone days of the coastal schooners is reflected there today in the strong active sailing club which was founded at a public meeting in the Town Hall on Friday 2nd August 1946. The first officers were Bernard Mulcahy, Commodore, Reveille Farrell, Vice Commodore, Maurice Kiely, Secretary and Joe Donovan, Treasurer.

Left: The Clubhouse

The inaugural race of the club, for the newly presented Mulcahy Cup, was held over a 6½ mile course with a fleet of four boats; Mairead built by Tyrells and owned by Bernard Mulcahy, Maise formerly of Dublin owned by Maurice and Peter Kiely, Naomh Breandáin owned by Gerard Walsh, and Jane Shore owned by James Villiers Stuart. The race was won by Maurice and Peter Kiely.

Helvick based boats then showed an interest and these craft, mostly gaff rigged salmon boats crewed by fishermen from the Helvick and Ring Gaeltacht, were usually well placed. Amongst these 'Pauls Boat' and 'Slatterys Boat' were outstanding, leaving the 'yachts' a poor second on more than one occasion.

In 1948 Reveille Farrell bought Susanna, a nine-ton Bermudan cutter designed by Norman Dallimore and built in 1936. She was to become well known for her many cruises to the West Coast of Ireland, in the English Channel, and Brittany. The most famous of these was in June 1957 when accompanied by Gerard Walsh and John Ballot she sailed to Spain and back. This was a considerable achievement at the time as it was believed that the passage across the Bay of Biscay and back again was beyond the capacity of the average cruising yacht in the normal holiday period. Coincidental with the arrival of “Susanna” some of the older boats changed hands and were lost to the club and big boat racing activity declined. They were replaced by a number of one man canvas sailing canoes, owned and frequently capsized by Col. Jack Hockin, Maurice Kiely, and Tim MacCarthy – which were the beginnings of dinghy sailing in Dungarvan Harbour.

During the winter of 1958, John and Austin Flynn built a 16’ hard chine Petrel class dinghy from plans in an American magazine. Because the design was ideally suited for home construction many Petrels quickly followed and dinghy sailing really became established in Dungarvan. There was great rivalry and competition in the fleet and each new boat came with a further refinement or new 'secret weapon' not seen on previous models. Construction methods changed from larch planking and cotton sails to plywood and terylene. In all 50 boats of the class are known to have been built, the later ones of GRP construction. An unfortunate drawback of the Petrel was the fact it was unique to Dungarvan and those interested in inter club competition had to look to other designs to compete nationally.

GP14s were popular for a while during which period the club hosted the Purcell trophy. Nowadays the dinghy fleet comprises of Wayfarers, Lasers, Mirrors and Toppers sailed by a very active junior section.

The cruiser fleet has also expanded and the burgee of DHSC has been carried far afield and its members have logged many miles from Cape Horn to the Northern Latitudes.

Although once a busy commercial port, Dungarvan in common with many other ports of its size suffered when changes in shipping practices led to a decline in the number of vessels using the port and with trade totally finished many of the old warehouses along the quayside became derelict. Reconstruction has injected new life into this area of the town and created the opportunity for Dungarvan Harbour Sailing Club to acquire a site on the quay front on which to build a clubhouse which is now the focal point of club activities.

The Town Council is currently progressing the construction of a marina, which together with the abundance of new restaurants and other onshore facilities available will firmly establish Dungarvan as a compulsory stopover for cruising yachts and greatly ease the current shortage of mooring space in the harbour.

DHSC is a family orientated club. Visitors by road and sea are welcome. Pontoons at quayside. Showers and toilets available in the Clubhouse to visitors. The Clubhouse and bar are open at the weekend from 5pm throughout the year, dinghy and cruiser racing and cruising in company during the summer. 

(The above information and image courtesy of Dungarvan Harbour Sailing Club) 

 
Dungarvan Harbour Sailing Club, c/o Andrew Corby, Davitt's Quay, Dungarvan, Co Waterford. Tel: 058 45663, email: [email protected]

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Published in Clubs

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Cumann Seoltóireachta An Spidéil

Providing sailing to the children and adults of the area since 2003. Hosts an Annual CSS Dinghy Regatta

left: Early morning at Spiddal pier

Páirc báid ag Sean Céibh an Spidéil. Seoladh gach deire eachtain agus trathnóna amháin i rith na seachtaine. Failte faoi leith chuig daoine agus atá taithí seol acu. Cursaí sheoil ar fáil i rith an samhradh.  

Cumann Seoltóireachta An Spidéil, or CSS, Cois n Tra, Coast Road, Spiddal Village, Co. Galway. Tel: 087 279 1095, email: [email protected]

or 

Contact: Billy Keady, Stripe, Furbo, Co. Galway. Tel: 087 263 9308, email: [email protected]

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Published in Clubs
30th September 2009

Bellacragher Bay Boat Club

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Bellacragher Bay Boat Club

Bellacragher Bay Boat Club was formed in 2003 by Seamus Butler, Claggan and Brian Masterson Owenduff, in response to interest from people in Achill, Mulranny and Ballycroy. In choosing a name, they picked the Bay that links all three areas together – Bellacragher Bay, pictured left.

A introduction to sailing week was held on the four days after the August Bank Holiday 2003. On completion of the training, five 14ft boats sailed 6 miles to innisbiggle for the Island Festival.

The sailing week has continued to the present and grown significantly. In 2008 approx 60 people took part and there was a fleet of 18 boats. The Club has had considerable success in obtaining training funding for commercial and leisure marine courses with Leader and MFG providing the funds.

The Club members come from varied backgrounds but many have strong marine backgrounds and experience in all manner of boating activities, cruiser sailing, dinghy sailing, canoeing, powerboating, commercial fishing and diving/sking/kiting.

In August 2008, the club was offered affilliation with The Irish Sailing Association, The ISA is responsible for most marine training in the country, their courses and certificates are recognised and approved by the Irish Government. Membership of The ISA was a major stepping stone in the advancement of the club, the ISA were very impressed with the club organisation and asked if they could use some of their techniques.

In 2009, the Club plans to introduce a weekly sailing session in Claggan. This will be on a weekday evening, to suit tides, starting in may and ending in October. Sailing will be on 420s 470s, Lasers, andToppers with a fully equipped and qualified safety boat and crew supervising the sailing. Any one that wishes to have a go is very welcome to come along, even if you just want to have a look. There is always a few on the shore, getting boats ready,repairing them or looking after the BBQ. The Sailing will follow the ISA syllabus and arrangements have been made for an ISA Examiner to visit the Summer Sailing camp to assess Sailors and test them for the various sailing levels.

The Sailing branch of the club is also home to the Sea Scouts of the 22nd Mayo Troop. The club provides the scouts with all the waterborne experience they need. In addition to dinghy sailing, short cruises to Clare Island, Inishturk and Inishboffin take place during the summer where possible.The boats used are sailing cruisers and powerboats/sports cruisers. There are usually crew places available.

There is so much to learn about the sea that a short article is barely able to touch on the subject but people are very welcome to join or visit one of the sessions. You may observe Navigation, ropework, capsize/survival techniques or first aid and may find that it appeals to you!

For further information contact Seamus Butler 087 657 9348 or email [email protected]

 
Bellacragher Bay Boat Club, Brian Masterson, Owenduff, Achill, Co Mayo. Tel: 087 237 0102, email: [email protected]

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Published in Clubs
30th September 2009

Ballinduff Bay Watersports Club

Ballinduff Bay Watersports Club

Ballinduff Bay Watersports Club, c/o Keith Collins, Grange, Corrandulla, Co Galway. Tel: 086 601 9862, email: [email protected]

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Published in Clubs
29th September 2009

Crookhaven Harbour Sailing Club

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Crookhaven Harbour Sailing Club

CHSC was founded in 1979 to provide sail training for junior sailors. ISA courses (level 1–5) are held every July. A new modern clubhouse with showers facilities available to all visitors. Pontoon berths available. Laser all rigs, Mirrors and 1720s. 

Dinghy courses offered up to Improving Skills, Advanced Boat Handling, and Racing 1.

(The above information and image courtesy of Crookhaven Harbour Sailing Club) 

 
Crookhaven Harbour Sailing Club, c/o Vivian Nathan, 4th Floor, The Atrium, Blackpool Business Park, Blackpool, Cork. Tel: 021 421 7940, emails: [email protected] or [email protected]

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Published in Clubs
29th September 2009

Bantry Bay Sailing Club

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Bantry Bay Sailing Club

It is not known when Bantry Bay Sailing Club was founded, but it is thought to have been in the late 19th century. The club was active during the 1920s and ‘30s but lapsed during the Second World War, probably in 1946, but has been continuously active ever since.

The club was always based near the Abbey area due to the location of the sheltered mooring (inside the Abbey Point), the availability of the Bantry House slipway (known then as Curleys/Cons Slip) and convenience to the town. There was no clubhouse until about 1970, when a prefabricated wooden structure was obtained from Whiddy Island after the terminal construction work.

During the 1960s club membership had increased dramatically, especially among young members owning their own boats and it was necessary to provide better facilities. The plot of ground between the cemetery and the strand was donated by the late Paddy O’Keeffe on condition that a slipway be built suitable for launching and hauling ashore larger boats. The Abbey slip was built by the County Council and Bord Failte. The plot adjoining was designated a leisure area for public use and the temporary clubhouse was sited there until it was burned about ten years later.

At that stage the club decided to build a permanent structure and the only suitable location was the old Bantry House boatyard. After the Whiddy Disaster in 1979, the Government provided funds to the Bantry area to compensate for economic loss, provide jobs and fund projects and facilities. The Club availed of this and a lease of the boatyard was acquired, the old boathouse demolished and the new clubhouse was built (facing stone from old boathouse). It was officially opened in June 1988 by the late Denis Doyle.

The club would like to acknowledge the generosity of the Shellswell White family (Bantry House).

Visitors welcome!

Facilities include storage (temporary with temporary membership), shower and toilet facilities, navtext, phone, waste bin, water and free visitors moorings provided by Bantry Harbour Commissioners.

(The above information and image courtesy of Bantry Bay Sailing Club)

 

Bantry Bay Sailing Club, Abbey Road, Bantry, Co. Cork. Tel: 027 51724

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Published in Clubs

Inniscarra Sailing and Kayaking Club

Inniscarra Sailing and Kayaking Club was set up in 2002. We operate from a recreation area called Innisleana with the kind permission of the ESB. In 2004 the club put in its own dedicated slipway and boat holding area and plans further improvements in the years ahead.

logo2_copy-1.jpgThe club is just three miles from Ballincollig (six from Cork City) on the Lee Valley reservoir. We have a small but very keen local membership. Kayaking and sailing events take place throughout the year, mainly at weekends, with some mid-week sailing.

The flagship event of the year is the Commodore's Cup. Kayak races in the morning are followed by a sailing race up the lake from Innisleana to Farran.

The Inniscarra Sailing Club runs ISA accredited sail training in the summer months. 

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(The above information and images courtesy of Inniscarra Sailing & Kayaking Club) 

 
Inniscarra Sailing & Kayaking Club, Innisleana, Ballincollig, Co. Cork. For membership information contact: 021 4873994

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Published in Clubs

Inland Boating and Sailing Holidays

Experience the freedom of the Shannon and Erne waterways. Captain your own cruiser and discover the hidden corners of Ireland. Over 800 kilometres of navigable waterways are awaiting your arrival, with rivers to explore, towns and villages to discover and acres of lakes to relax on.

Heritage and cultural sites are around every corner, from ancient standing stones, castles, sixth century universities, cathedrals, round towers, monasteries and industrial archaeology sites. Witness at first hand the engineering marvels of Ireland’s canal systems and experience time travel through a forgotten age, at a leisurely pace.

Discover the country and the local culture, admire the passing scenery and experience traditional music and arts.

Engage in a variety of active pursuits from golf, walking, cycling, archery to horse riding and trekking. Why not do some relaxed fishing as you travel through the centre of Ireland.

Freedom to come and go as you please. An inland waterways holiday allows you to set the pace. Stop and take a break when you want, see the sights, put the rod in the water and fish a little or hit a golf ball.

Relaxation, stretch your legs on a forest walk or simple put your feet up and watch the world pass by.

Slow tourism – the eco-friendly way to tour
  With our modern boat fleet equipped with the latest diesel engines you and your family can still cruise the Lakelands and inland Waterways of Ireland, visit new and exciting venues, engage in active pursuits yet leave only a small carbon footprint.

Clean Boating  Charter to ensure that your holiday is as green and ecofriendly as possible the Irish Boat Rental Association members have introduced a Clean Boating Charter. See www.boatholidaysireland.com for details.

Experience the Unique  With over 800 kilometres of navigable waterways the Shannon-Erne system of lakes and rivers offer the visitor one of the longest but least crowded waterways in Europe.

With a minimum of locks, a simple but comprehensive navigation system, the Shannon Erne Waterway offers the discerning boat cruiser a trouble free holiday and a safe cruising environment in which to enjoy the unspoilt natural amenity which is the Shannon Erne. The waterway system is a boat holiday cruising paradise, unmatched throughout the world for beauty, heritage and the unique culture of the area. Ireland’s waterways can be a place of absolute solitude and peace, or a lively holiday region where activity opportunities abound – the choice is yours.

Ireland’s waterways give you the choice and freedom to do as you please at what ever pace you want to go. The hundreds of moorings, quiet harbours, marinas, bustling towns and tranquil villages along the way provide you with the opportunity to tie up and enjoy the unique cultural experience that is Ireland.

If you are looking for a 'get away from it all' boating holiday, to float in isolated tranquillity surrounded by breathtaking scenery and fascinating heritage, you will find it in Ireland.

Lough Erne in the North, Lough Ree in the Midlands and Lough Derg in the South offer vast cruising grounds with rarely another boat in view. However, if you should want a lively choice the Upper Shannon offers you idyllic cruising waters with great waterside pubs and restaurants, nightlife and a chance to meet other cruising parties who are enjoying a boat holiday in Ireland. 

 

 

Weave together a perfect holiday through the Heart of Ireland

The interconnecting rivers and lakes stretch from Belleek, the most northerly point of the vast Lower Lough Erne to Killaloe, the southern-most navigation point on Lough Derg.

The Shannon Erne Waterway can be divided into three sections;

• Lower and Upper Lough Erne. Lough Erne is connected to the River Shannon via the Shannon/Erne Waterway.
• The Upper Shannon from Carrick on Shannon to Athlone including Lough Ree and Lough Key.
• The Lower Shannon, the area from Athlone to Killaloe which includes Lough Derg.

Lower Lough Erne
Above this handsome lake the Cliffs of Magho provide a rugged contrast with wooded islands, sheltered bays and open waterways. West of the Broad Lough the hills of Donegal are a reminder of the Atlantic Ocean beyond. 29 kilometres of varied navigation meander between Belleek, the Erne system’s western most port at the Atlantic’s gate above the town of Ballyshannon and Enniskillen, the fortified island town at the heart of the Erne lakes.

Upper Lough Erne
Around Upper Lough Erne the intricacies of combining land and water work very well together. The woods, forests and farmland are in harmony with the river in this extensive inland navigation. There is a sense of privacy and individuality. Exploring the many inlets and islands is a boating enthusiast’s dream and a wonderful destination for nature lovers.

The Shannon Erne Waterway
The waterway is an intriguing region with boating and angling in abundance and history and folklore at every turn. This modern waterway is based on the line of the old Ballinamore and Ballyconnell Canal, with automated locks and other user friendly refinements reflecting the investment and planning that have gone into re-connecting the Shannon and Erne waterway systems. It leaves Upper Lough Erne through the Woodford River near Belturbet and heads southwest and then west to Leitrim Village and the Upper Shannon. The waterway has opened up an area of Ireland that was relatively unknown and this tranquil link with its gentle pace has grown in popularity.

Lough Allen and Lough Key
Lough Key and Lough Allen are both inland seas but are very different to each other. Lough Key is an islandstudded lake, while Lough Allen is determinedly rugged with the iron mountain of Sliabh an Iarainn to the east, the old coal hills of Arigna along its western shore. Lough Allen is a majestic lake, 12 kilometres long and almost 6 kilometres across on the wide northern shore. Lough Key is arguably the most beautiful lake on the Shannon System with the fine town of Boyle at its western corner. The Curlew Mountains along the lake’s northern shore seem like high mountains rising above the lush countryside and ancient woods which reach down to the shore line.

Carrick-on-Shannon to Tarmonbarry
The lordly Shannon, the longest river in Britain and Ireland, is beginning to get a sense of itself as it meanders south through Carrick on Shannon, the northern capital of this history laden waterway. The prosperous county town of Leitrim is a thriving boat centre and a welcoming place with a real buzz and an active cultural life. South of Carrick the river’s long stretches of water weave between pretty towns. On through the picturesque towns of Jamestown and Drumsna, the river widens through Lough Boffin past Dromod and narrows again through the busy town of Roosky before flowing through Tarmonbarry and onwards to Lough Ree.

Lough Ree
Lough Ree is one of the Shannon’s three main lakes, 32 kilometres long and gradually widening to 10 kilometres across. This much indented lake has a generous scattering of islands and although it is the geographic centre of Ireland, it maintains an attractive air of remoteness. The shoreline varies – in the relatively unpopulated northeast of the lake along the Longford shore there is quality bogland. Along the eastern shore, County Westmeath has lush farmland and thriving woodland. The south of the lake is very much a water playground for the large town of Athlone. To the western shoreline lies Roscommon and the quiet town and harbour of Lecarrow, reached from the lake by its own small canal.

Mid Shannon
South of Athlone the Shannon enters its most distinctive phase becoming a wide stream moving silently under a vast sky. For 50 kilometres the river falls through river meadows, the Callows to Portumna at the head of Lough Derg. The regular flooding of the Callows is a vital part of the ecosystem, enriching the water and sweetening the land. The rising ground at Clonmacnois, 20 kilometres downstream of Athlone, had prominence along the river and throughout Ireland. This was the site of the great monastery which became a university and the ancient Christian capital of Ireland. Although it was raided by the Vikings, it has endured as the greatest of the monuments along the Shannon.
The Shannon continues to meander south to Shannon Harbour where the Grand Canal connects Dublin and the east coast with the Shannon. You are now on the old water borne trading route connecting the capital of Ireland with a series of midland and Shannon towns such as the Georgian town of Banagher and then on to Limerick via Lough Derg.

Lough Derg
Lough Derg is a handsome inland sea set in an attractive blend of mountain and hillside, woodland and farm. The mountains surrounding this fine stretch of water have their own beauty and variety. The shoreline has many small sheltered harbours at strategic intervals. There are 13,000 hectares of spectacular waterway, ideal for all kinds of watersports. The beautiful countryside around the lakeshore is perfect for walking, cycling, horse riding and other visitor pursuits. Lough Derg is contemporary in outlook, yet comfortable with its traditions. It is a place blessed by nature for sport and recreation. The extensive shoreline changes wonderfully in its nature between three large counties – Galway to the northwest, Clare to the west and southwest and Tipperary along the entire eastern shoreline. The lake is big enough to provide total seclusion yet there is always a bustling spot nearby.

 

Captain your own cruiser

Experience is not necessary and no licence is required. Training will be provided by our experienced staff.

When you book your boat holiday in Ireland your operator will send you a 'Captains Handbook' which will contain details of all you need to know about operating your cruiser.

The handbook contains details on how to prepare for your cruise, vital information on how the boat works, navigational information and how to pass through a lock.

On arrival at your operator’s base you will be shown a training video and then given on-the-water training by a fully trained, experienced instructor.

Many of our customers choosing a boat holiday in Ireland have never handled a boat before. Mastering the controls of your cruiser and understanding the navigation is quickly learnt. All of our cruisers are fully equipped with the necessary safety equipment and navigational charts to ensure that you have a safe holiday cruise.

Our fleet of modern cruisers offer accommodation from two to twelve adults.

Our operators have a boat to suit your boat holiday needs. As you will spend more time in your boat than you would in a traditional holiday cottage we recommend that you book a boat that has more space/berths than the number of people in your group. This will give you more space to live and relax in. Our operators have extensive fleets of different classes of cruisers all with their own individual characteristics and designed to suit the needs of parties of two, four, six or eight people and we can even supply boats for up to parties of twelve.

All the cruisers that are offered by our operators are designed for the Irish waterways and are fitted out to the highest standards to ensure maximum cruising comfort. We have illustrated a typical Shannon cruiser here to give you an indication of the accommodation layout, but it is important to check with the operator of your choice the exact specification of the cruiser that you book.

Courtesy of the Irish Boat Rental Association and Tourism Ireland

Plotting for going round – part I

The well-organised navigator will already have a game plan for the BMW Round Ireland Race. Course veteran Brian Mathews shares some of the secrets of this 704-mile classic 

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A mark on the course – the Skelligs rock off the Kerry coast is a turning point Photo: David Branigan 

First steps first is the answer to sound preparation for the Round Ireland. All homework should be completed no less than two weeks ahead of the start – a stress-free approach is the hallmark of good navigation. We’ll assume for this article that the safety side of preparations is being taken care of by the skipper. Remember that survival, first aid, previous experience and other race and ORC requirements cannot be overlooked.

Basic navigation strategy follows standard practice and a good passage plan will save you from endless grief during the race.  My own preference is for IMRAY charts as they fit small yachts better than Admiralty editions, are water-resistant and are latticed with Lat/Long for faster plotting. While you can correct existing charts, it’s better not to try to save the few euro that a new edition will cost.

Plot your rhumb-line course for the race, taking care to note the organiser’s stipulations on navigation. It’s not simply a case of leaving Ireland and its islands to starboard – it’s too easy to get caught out by marks on the course such as the Conningbeg and the Fastnet.

As with any passage plan, note the waypoints and the Lat/Long for each leg with the course and distance in sequence. Again in sequence, add Pilotage notes to each stage as well as transferring the complete plan to a ‘Wet Notes’ pad.

By race day, the passage plan should be finalised and committed both to paper and to memory too, if possible. Attending the official briefing with the skipper is both mandatory and essential. Expect considerable emphasis on the reporting requirements as well as the usual amendments to sailing instructions. The 72-hour forecast from Met Eireann will also be available – the fax version is preferred.

Be at the start line no later than one hour beforehand and motor to Wicklow Head to check the true wind as there’s often a different breeze off the harbour. Back to the starting line and it’s time to brief the crew on your plan and what to expect – avoid excessive detail. Having a keen picture of your plan in your mind will avoid the need for constant trips to the chart table – hatch rat navigators are bad for morale. From the gun and for the opening stage of the race, aim to sail inside the Arklow Bank, irrespective of the wind direction as the tide will be flooding this year. This should mean arriving at the Blackwater Bank with the young ebb and from here heading outside the banks to the Tuskar.

This ebb should get most of the fleet around the Tuskar Rock, one of the major tidal gates in the race, but it’s possible that some of the smaller boats won’t make it in time. If it does look like you’ll luck out on a foul tide, plan to be inshore so that you can kedge if necessary. If you have to anchor, remember your light by night and shape in daylight – the IRPCS apply to all vessels at sea, at all times.

Right about now, your homework will pay off as Rosslare is a busy ferry port and sailing times can be found on the web. Expect traffic off Dunmore East at the Waterford Estuary on the high tide and at Cork too.

By the Tuskar rounding, it will be dusk or darkness for the majority of the fleet. A reducing distance/time/ boatspeed matrix for the first stage from the start to the Tuskar Rock (approx 49nm) will enable you to plan the watch system for the crew.

The loom of the Conningbeg 20 miles away should be visible and coming abeam of it will mark your first chance to grab some rest. Navigation tactics for the south coast boil down to wind direction: following breeze equals a rhumb-line course while headwinds demand tacking for the shore, across the chop but on the paying tack as much as possible. If the former, warn the helm of the danger of straying from the course – this next leg from the Conningbeg to the Old Head of Kinsale is 75 miles, so even a five-degree error can be costly.

In previous races, we have even noticed magnetic anomalies during rain and electrical activity in this area so – be vigilant, keeping in mind that B&G systems also work off a magnetic and fluxgate system.

The silhouette of the Saltees, inshore of the Conningbeg Light followed by Hook Head, Mine Head and Ballycotton lights are useful references on the course past Roche’s Point, hopefully by dawn. Salmon nets are a significant hazard from Mine Head onwards and you shouldn’t need to be inshore before this.

The tide on the south coast is relatively light but the percentage gain improves as the wind goes light. Often a visual tide-line can be observed between headlands so plan to sail in the bays during the flood.

The stage from the Old Head to the Fastnet is a 42-mile leg and another rhumb-line course unless headwinds force you to tack inshore. Major hazards here include The Stags between Glandore and Baltimore and the wreck of the Kowloon Bridge that is buoyed.

COPYRIGHT AFLOAT 2004

 

 

Make or break – part II

Round Ireland veteran Brian Mathews concludes his guide to navigating the 704-mile classic with advice on the stages that will decide how – and if – you finish

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The Kish Lighthouse marking the entrance to Dublin Bay is the final waypoint before the finish and the rhumb runs straight down the centre of the bank. If the tide is foul here, sail inshore. Otherwise take the ebb south to the finish. Our picture shows Frank Clarke’s Sapphire, well up on corrected time, passing outside the lighthouse in the last hours of the 2002 race. Photo: David O’Brien 

In the last issue of Afloat, we concentrated on the importance of proper preparation and a carefully considered passage plan. Our first stage of the race has taken us to the Fastnet Rock and this usually marks the point where those with the ability to last the course begin to separate from those without it.

From the Fastnet, a series of headlands mark the entrances to the large bays of the south-west coast – the Mizen, Bull Rocks, Skelligs and Innistearacht are all clearing marks on the course and should hopefully be rhumb line sailing past each. If beating around this stage, tack into the bays for a lift off the headlands coming out, as well as taking the benefit of calmer waters inshore. Above all, strictly no flyers out to sea around here!

In your passage notes, don't forget the various isolated rocks on this stage such as the Bull Rock with its attendant Cow and Calf rocks too. Check the charts carefully and remember, these are unlit hazards.

Turning onto the west coast from Innistearacht is usually a relief and a major psychological boost for the crew. Up until now, the race has been an investment of pain – now it’s time for gain. At last the open waters of the Atlantic and their long swells stand to offer the best boatspeed potential. This is also the first time you're likely to lose sight of land after leaving the Kerry coastline until your landfall off Connemara with its back-drop of the Twelve-Bens mountains.

Ports of refuge should also be part of your planning – there is a range of options after the West Cork coast and not all will suit in every condition. Castletownberehaven must be approached from the east in strong gales whilst Smerwick Harbour after Innistearacht is a natural anchorage except in north-west gales. The marinas at Dingle, Cahirciveen and Fenit are very welcome recent developments; Kilrush Marina on the Shannon Estuary is some way off the course but is another option. After here, the leeside of Aran Mor breaks the gap between Kerry and the next shelter at Broadhaven Bay near Belmullet.

Nevertheless, previous races would suggest that if you've made it this far, the trigger has been pulled and, barring serious damage or injury, you'll be determined to reach the finish.

From the north-west coast onwards, different strategies will evolve as the fleet will have become spread out and the leaders are likely to be experiencing completely different conditions than the back-markers.

Typically, the first boats could be at Eagle Island while the last boats are still on the south-west coast. But the race decider has yet to come into play.

On reaching the north coast, tide once again becomes a factor and a substantial one at that. This is the ‘Salmon Highway’ and nets up to three miles long will be everywhere at this time of year. These will normally be well-tended and best advice seems to be that if the attendant fishing boat is underway at speed, she will be shooting her nets so it should be obvious where they are. If stationary, sail for the fishing boat as it will normally mark the end of the net – monitor the radio as you are likely to receive instructions on the best way to avoid a fouling. Should this happen, a long pole with a split end can be used to push the net down below the keel and clear astern without cutting or damaging the gear.

Entering the North Channel between the Ulster coast and Scotland will see the strongest tides of the entire race. Bear in mind that the tide floods south in the stretch before reversing in the north Irish Sea. Three major tidal gates form close to Tory, Rathlin and the Maidens. The best advice in a foul tide seems to be to sail inshore and go for mid-channel with the flood. Plan ahead for where you want to be when the tide changes next. Also be prepared to kedge if the breeze dies along this leg.

The Antrim plateau often causes wind-sheer so be prepared for constant changes of wind direction. Conversely, the Mournes create shadow so Dundrum Bay on the north-east coast should be avoided at all costs. The tide is neutral in here but don't be lured by its apparent attractiveness.

From here on is where the race will be won or lost. Most likely it will be the last night at sea but don't suspend the watch system because of this – anything can yet happen and even though the finish will be in sight, the wind can and does die. The Kish Lighthouse marks the final waypoint before the finish and the rhumb runs straight down the centre of the bank. If the tide is foul here, sail inshore. Otherwise take the ebb south to the finish.

Key points to remember:

•    The tidal atlas will be your bible
•    Prepare a detailed passage plan
•    Keep a balanced watch system
•    Swing your compass and keep a deviation card handy
•    Rigidly observe the race rules for radio check-in points
•    Complete your safety preparations and gear checks in full

 

COPYRIGHT AFLOAT 2004

Please note: These tips are intended as a guide only. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher.   

More on the Round Ireland Yacht Race:

Round Ireland Yacht Race 2010 Review

Round Ireland Yacht Race, Ireland's top offshore fixture

A Round up of 80 stories on the 2010 Round Ireland Yacht Race
Published in Round Ireland

Irish Marina Operators Association (IMOA), c/o Irish Federation of Marine Industries, Confederation House, 84–86 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01 605 1621, fax: 01 638 1621, email: [email protected]
 
The Irish Marina Operators Association was founded in May 2003 and represents 23 of the coastal marinas around our shores. The IMOA is a self managing special interest group within the Irish Marine Federation, the trade association affiliated to IBEC representing the marine industry in Ireland. The IMOA elects its own representative board of directors, the chairman automatically having a seat on the main IMF board.

The objectives of the IMOA are to provide a forum for discussion within the marina industry in Ireland and to represent the views of the marina operators to government in regard to legislation, regulation, training, insurance and health and safety issues.

The IMOA is an effective lobbying body and has achieved some success in relation to approved waste management plans for marinas and also with the new Development and Foreshore Act. The objectives of the IMOA are to ensure that Ireland’s marina industry develops in a sustainable way and will eventually provide for a necklace of marinas around our coastline.

In the future the IMOA will seek to have our marina infrastructure effectively marketed overseas as part of an integrated marine leisure tourism campaign.

imoa_leaflet_press1.jpg

 

Regional Contacts

Chairman – Mr Damien Offer, Malahide Marina. Tel: 01 845 4129, email: [email protected]

East – Mr Hal Bleakley, Dun Laoghaire Marina. Tel: 01 2020 040, email: [email protected]

South – Mr Wietza Buwalda, Salve Marina. Tel: 021 483 1145, email: [email protected]

South West – Mr Brian Farrell, Dingle Marina. Tel: 066 9151629, email: [email protected]

West – Mr John Hehir, Kilrush Creek Marina. Tel: 065 9052072, email: [email protected]

North West – Ms Nancy Doherty, Lough Swilly Marina. Tel: 074 9360008, email: [email protected]

North – Mr Andrew Jaggers, Bangor Marina. Tel: 028 91453297, email: [email protected]

Published in Organisations
Page 16 of 20

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