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2012 will mark the 32nd anniversary of Ireland's premier off-shore sailing event, the Round Ireland Yacht Race, organised by Wicklow Sailing Club in association with RORC.

For the first time the biennial Round Ireland Race counts for the same points as the Fastnet race in the Royal Ocean Racing Club events (RORC). This is a huge boost for Wicklow Sailing Club Wicklow's Chairman of the event, Dennis Noonan expects a strong Irish turnout for the event in June.

The Round Ireland Yacht Race will depart from Wicklow Bay at 12 noon on Sunday 24th June 2012, leaving Ireland and all its islands to starboard. It is the longest race in the Royal Ocean Racing Club calendar, comparable to similar Offshore Races such as the Fastnet, Malta Middle Sea, Sydney-Hobart and China Sea races. The first race took place in 1980 with only thirteen boats. Since then, in the biennial race, the fleet has grown steadily, and some 30 to 40 yachts are expected to be at the start line in 2012.

Click this link for all the latest Round Ireland Sailing News

Sailing around Ireland poses many challenges for boats and crew, with open ocean on the south and west coasts, tidal challenges on north and east coasts apart from all the off lying rocks and sandbanks to keep navigators on their toes and not forgetting the vagaries of the Atlantic weather systems. This is very much a sailors' race but armchair spectators can follow the race on their computers, thanks to modern race tracker technology.

A Round Ireland Sail Fest (Thur 21 – Sun 24 June) will complement the race preparations and add a welcome level of fun and entertainment always provided for those travelling to Wicklow for the race start.

2010 Race

There are four classes in IRC in which boats and their crews can compete, including a Classic Class for the Michael Jones Trophy, classes for Sigma, ISORA, IRM, a Team Prize. 2004 saw the launch of the Two-Handed Class which has introduced a new level of competition for the more extreme sailor. In the past, boats competing have ranged from an 84-footer former 'Round the World' maxi to club boats one third the size, and all shades in between.

2006 saw the largest yacht yet to partake – Konica Minolta Zana, a 30m (98') racing machine from New Zealand, but light winds scuppered her chances of breaking the record or winning the race.

Sunday the 20th of June 2010 will be the 30th anniversary of the First Round Ireland.

There are very few human emotions left untouched by participation in the Round Ireland Race. Elation, fear, despair, and joy – they're the obvious ones. But as well there's love – love of our country and it's extraordinary coastline. Sailing the 704-mile course is an expression of that profound feeling.

Even the most hardened racer returns from the campaign emotionally enriched. But of course, as the pre-start manoeuvring builds up off the Wicklow pierheads, it's the sporting challenge of the race which is uppermost. The fine thoughts can come later for, at the start, everything is aimed at coping with the sailing, navigational and technical problems which this great race inevitable involves.

Seven-hundred-and-four miles may not seem much at first sight, but think of what it contains when its the shortest distance round Ireland and her islands. Four very different coastlines have to be negotiated as well as as a host of headlands, rocks and sandbanks.

And then there's the tides – as the ebb sluices away from Wicklow down past the banks of the southeast, that's only the beginning of it.

For immediately you're in the battle to carry that one ebb all the way south, past the Tuskar and out past the Coningbeg until you reach the slacker tides off the Waterford coast.

Getting that far might be cause for relaxation, but in the 1990 race the fleet had a beat along the supposedly gentler south coast into a near gale which sorted them out in a big way with dismastings and other damage.

At both the Old Head of Kinsale and Ireland's 'land's end' of Mizen Head, tides again become significant, while along the southwstern seaboard there's another unexpected hazard. The coastline is so spectacularly beautiful, with dramatic off-lying rock giants such as the Bull and the Skelligs, that crews can be awed and distracted by it all.

At each outcrop of the Irish land is approached, race navigation can more accurately be described as pilotage. Cutting the corners as closely as possible can save valuable time, but cutting the corners too close can result in disaster. The sheer scale of the corners you're rounding naturally inspires respect – wherever else he or she may sail afterards, few navigators will ever forget rounding the most westerly point of the race – the Great Foze Rock out beyond the Blaskets.

Because the race is outside every rock and islet, special difficulties arise at two specific points. At both Black Rock in Mayo and the most northerly point, Inishtrahull off Donegal, the safest water is actually inside the rocks in question. Thus they are marked by lighthouses which are meant to guide you through the clearer inside passages. But the rules say you take the hazardous route outside. It can be difficult on a dark and stormy night, to say the least, but such challenges are what the Round Ireland Race is all about.

And there's no rest on the open water stretches such as those between the Blaskets and Slyne Head, or from Eagle Island to Tory. There can be surprising variations in wind strength and direction crossing these great bays, even over short distances, and when it's a beat – as it was in 1986 up the west coast – the right tactical decisions paid enormous dividends.

Off the Donegal coast there's the added problem of salmon nets. Whether they're legal or not is beside the point: they're there and you have to deal with them and their owners as best you can.

Once the extraordinary island of Tory is astern, newcomers to the race tend to relax a bit, thinking that open water is a thing of the past, and rough sailing with it. Not a bit of it. For as you near Inishtrahull, the tides strengthen rapidly and all the way from Inishtrahull through the narrow seas of the North Channel until the South Rock is reached, if wind over tide occurs then you're in very rough water indeed, particularly off Rathlin Island.

It would be understandable to ease off a little once the South Rock is passed. After all, you're on the home straight, this is the griendly old Irish Sea, and there's only a hundred easy miles to the finish.

The race has been lost by such an attitude. never is it more necessary to keep up the pressure. And, as you get into strong tides from Rockabill southward, hard-gained leads which have been built up over 650 miles can simply evaporate in flukey winds and foul tides.

So it is never over until you've passed the orange buoy off the Wicklow pierheads. And after that, it's only the actual sailing which is over.

The memories become enriched as time passes, and even the parites could be said to go on until well into the autumn, when the sponsors host the prize-giving. If you want to experience the genuine camaraderie of sailing folk, then this is one event not to be missed.

 

 

Ready for Ireland (reprinted from the May 2004 issue of Afloat)

The Round Ireland is not for the faint-hearted nor the unprepared. David Nixon describes the battle to get a competitive boat to the start line

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Above: Spirit will add spice to the BMW Round Ireland 2004 in Irish waters thanks to a Howth YC campaign. Photo Tim Wright

My last attempt to skipper a Round Ireland was in 1996 when, as a group of insane teenagers, we thought it would be a great idea to compile a Youth Challenge for the race. I’m happy to say we didn’t see it through, because I’m sure that if we had pursued that dream, none of us would have lived to tell the tale. I have learned since that offshore sailing is not quite as easy as it seems.

Last August, I got the call from Fred and Jim, who were in Plymouth having just finished the Fastnet Race. They urged me to put pen to paper for a significant Round Ireland entry. I began a proposal that day and now it’s finally beginning to come to fruition. The pleasant part of planning has been the support we have enjoyed. It has been really positive and uplifting for me and the team. It hasn’t all been easy but we are determined to see it through to the finish. Wicklow here we come!

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Above: Lift off – At the launch of Howth's Round Ireland campaign on the GUL stand at the London Boat Show are (left to right) Spirit's owner Hamish Oliphant, Irish Olympian Tom McWilliam, Veteran Jim Barden, Ireland's Round the World Skipper Joe English, O2's Round Ireland entry Skipper David Nixon, Fred Connolly and David Howard. Photo: Mark Jardine

I missed the last Round Ireland. While it was pleasant getting into a warm and comfortable bed on the night of the start, a little drunk, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed I wasn’t taking part. The Round Ireland is a magical race, I can’t quite say why, but it is magic. I guess with so many corners to turn and fabulous landmarks to pass, you can’t help but enjoy it.

However, my favourite part of the Round Ireland is the finish, something I think I share with all other sailors. I remember on board Cracklin’ in 98, we were off Rathlin and Jeep Cherokee had finished. How we envied them – pints and steaks all round in Wicklow Sailing Club. At that stage I realised we needed a faster boat.

Drawing up my current plan, I asked myself whether I could see it through. Happily I was reassured by a number of people around me, namely Jimmy Barden, Fred Connolly and Davie Howard. My brother was also very encouraging which was important as he has nothing to do with sailing – he just knew I’d do it.

My other question was whether I could actually skipper a substantial team racing a high performance racing machine. That can only be answered during the race, but my team believe I can and, with their support, anything is possible. I’m 26, and while my knowledge and experience may be somewhat limited, it’s the team that makes a crew and the attitude and approach of that crew that can bring the boat to victory.

The plan was simple from the start; procure the best resources available to give us the best possible chance to win the race and beat the record. Fundamentally that meant attaining sound and substantial sponsorship – not an easy task. It then meant finding the most suitable boat available and recruiting an appropriate pro-am crew. Pros were a must, but so too were amateurs since that’s a major feature of the campaign.

Ireland has a wealth of amateur sailors with excellent skills, knowledge and experience. The challenge, I believe, is to develop this to compete on the international scene. Having competed in the 2002 Commodores’ Cup, I feel there is a gulf between Ireland’s available resources and that required to compete at the highest level.

I had the opportunity to learn about the level of ability among professional ranks in 1998 when Roy Dickson kindly sent me off with Cracklin’ to race with a fully professional team on Barlo Plastics. We won, and it taught me a lot.

As an amateur, I feel the best way to improve my own ability is to race with professionals any chance I get. This pro-am mix is the philosophy of the modern day Commodores’ Cup, but it costs to live it. Commercial support in the form of sponsorship is essential to pay the bills.

So our Round Ireland project has longer term relevance. It provides us with training in two very important ways – sponsorship attainment and learning from professionals. 

So how did we do it? Well, as with most things, there has been an element of luck. I called a colleague to help me with the proposal document and he liked the concept, so O2 got involved. Davie Howard has the GUL agency in his ProRig store so he put me in touch there and they also liked the plan. A couple of other sponsors have come on board since.

In the meantime we were looking for a boat, a search which proved quite difficult. The web and contacts are great but amazingly there are not that many good offshore boats available for charter. In the end we were very fortunate to get in touch with Pure Sailing, a Plymouth-based charter company with a VO 60, (Tyco from the last Volvo Ocean Race). Hamish Oliphant, the owner, was very interested by our proposal and signed up to the campaign.

nixon_rd_irl_2.jpg Left: The big one – A Volvo 60 will Race round Ireland under a Howth flag. Photo: Tim Wright

Finally the crew. We had a long list of our own guys that we wanted on the team, but it was essential to put together the right team. Jim Barden had the tough job of final selection. We got in touch with Tom McWilliam who agreed to sail with us and brought in Steve Hayles and Guy Salter, both of whom had raced on Tyco for the VOR. I also asked Joe English and Davie Harte onto the team. The owner brings three, taking the total number of pros to eight. We will compliment this with ten amateurs, most of whom would have sailed aboard Cracklin’ Rosie with Jim and I.

Time has flown in development of this campaign. Before we know it we’ll be lining up at the start in Wicklow. I can’t wait. The competition will be great, the race will be excellent. Even better, the finish in Wicklow awaits with pints and steaks all round. That’s what it’s all about! 

 

Royal Cork stake early claim

Five of the nine entries received so far for the June 26 start of the BMW Round Ireland race are from Royal Cork in a fleet that Wicklow organisers ultimately expect to swell three-fold by the entry deadline of May 24.

The largest entry continues to be the Volvo 60 Spirit (David Nixon, Howth) but there are other big boats on the horizon according to organiser Denis Noonan.

A single entry has been received in the new two-handed class and it comes from the Isle of Man Yacht Club in the form of Andrew Bell's J105 sloop, Moontiger. 

  

Dingle pair to take on Ireland

Co-skippers Aodhán Fitzgerald from Dingle and Frenchman Yannick Lemonnier will go head-to-head with fully crewed entries in the 704-mile Round Ireland race this year.

The pair aim to compete both in the two-handed class of the race as well as the overall fully-crewed IRC category.

Both co-skippers have impressive sailing credentials. Lemonnier competed in the Figaro single handed racing events for five years before he moved to Ireland in 2001. He has also competed in several two-handed transatlantic races as well as several Tour de France a Voile series.

Fitzgerald has been active in the Irish offshore racing scene for ten years, campaigning on the well-travelled GK 34 Joggernaut for the past eight years. Aodhan has competed in four Round Ireland races and two Fastnet races. Successes include an overall win in the 1999 Dún Laoghaire to Dingle race.

The team’s longer term ambitions include competing in next year’s Fastnet Race (two handed division) as a warm-up for the two handed transatlantic AG2R race in 2006. Further details can be found on the team’s website www.dinglesailing.com

COPYRIGHT AFLOAT 2004 

 

Time out, round 13 (reprinted from the July 2004 issue of Afloat)

 A showdown not witnessed in ten years is on the cards for the BMW Round Ireland Race as a surge of interest has seen a 60 per cent jump in entries from five countries for the 704-mile race

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Above: With variable displacement, an IRC rating of 1.425, a canting keel and powerful sailplan French entry Solune’s performance is designed to match a Volvo upwind and an Open 60 offwind 

Looking back over the past decade or more, it is clear that the only thing predictable about the Round Ireland race – and we are about to embark on the 13th – is it’s unpredictability. So will the 13th staging of Ireland’s classic offshore race be unlucky for some? Almost certainly, yes.

 

With a little over a week remaining before the start of the 704-mile BMW Round Ireland Race, entries have exceeded organisers' expectations and presently stand at 47 boats from five countries with further late entries tipping the 50 mark.

The non-stop race for monohull yachts gets underway at 14.00 hrs on Saturday June 26th 2004 from Wicklow Sailing Club and the first boats will be expected to finish just three days later following their southabout circumnavigation.

denis_noonan-feather.jpgLeft: Denis Noonan all set for his third and final Round Ireland as race organiser 

 Commenting on the entry, Race Director Denis Noonan said: "The response has been very encouraging as we had initially hoped that we might reach 40 boats. The introduction of a two-handed class is a factor and BMW’s sponsorship has helped raise the profile of the race considerably." 

 

French giant aims to crush Irish Spirit

 A war of words has broken out between the main contenders for this year’s Round Ireland title, as the fleet of 50 boats makes final preparations for the event.

Paris-based financier Jean Pierre Chomett has thrown down the gauntlet to main rival David Nixon by declaring that he has entered the record-breaking 60-footer Solune not only to win on the water but also to smash the race record.

Six years ago, Colm Barrington in Jeep Cherokee set a mark of three days, four hours and 23 minutes for the 704-mile course, (see 'Records...' below) but Chomett believes a sub-three-day time is possible.

In setting the Round Britain and Ireland record in May, Solune reached top speeds of 26 knots in short surf, but also managed to average 22 knots for long periods of the voyage. It’s all weather dependent, of course, but Chomett believes the new design – a cross between a Volvo and open 60 design – has a better upwind performance than the Volvo 60 in both light and strong winds, a key sailing angle in the Round Ireland event where up to half the race can be spent on that point of sailing.

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Above: The 2002 fleet departs Wicklow. Two years later the fleet has doubled in size and stature

However, 02 Team Spirit skipper David Nixon (26), who has chartered the Volvo 60 from the UK for the event, has dismissed the performance boasts of the French prototype. "As long as there’s breeze, we'll be okay," said the Howth skipper.

Built by the same team that created the Alinghi America's cup hulls, Solune broke the Round Britain and Ireland record by more than three days and 15 hours ahead of the previous record, a month ago. It was during that trip off the Irish west coast that Chomett made up his mind to return for a second record-breaking attempt.

There’s little doubt that the La Rochelle entry is up to the job. The broad-beamed boat comes complete with powerful gennaker, twin rudders and a canting keel. For the circumnavigation, Chomett will have Playstation's weather router and navigator Chris Tibbs of Cowes on board.

A third big boat for the fleet will be Dutch entry Second Love, a Standfast 64 that’s unlikely to prove a significant threat to the other pair as this boat is a Fast Cruiser design and lacks the performance advantages of stripped out interiors and lightweight equipment.

Nevertheless, this race is not about line honours or even a new course record – both are not part of the official event programme. The overall win is based on corrected handicap time that may yet give the Dutch boat an advantage.

  

Records

Records show how that between 1980s first race and Colm Barrington’s 1998 current record run that nearly 60 hours have been shaved off the circuit time. The race is on to be first round Ireland in under three days.

135:02:27       1980    Force ten-sion    J.S. Morris, Pwhelli
99:45:25        1982    Moonduster        Denis Doyle, RCYC
88:15:43        1984    Moonduster        Denis Doyle, RCYC
84:56:06        1990    Rothmans          Lawrie Smith, Royal Thames
76: 23:57       1998    Jeep Cherokee    Colm Barrington, RIYC

 

Small may yet be beautiful

It’s all very well two big boats vying for the win on the water but as race followers know well the overall prize on corrected time typically only becomes clear once the small boats are back in Wicklow. Challenging the big boats for the race win in 2004 falls to a host of smart contenders of widely varying size; the recent light-airs RORC Cervantes Trophy Race in class zero featured three Round Ireland entries that illustrate this variety.

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Royal Cork’s Eric Lisson (third from right) celebrates with the Cavatina crew after the 2002 race

Piet Vroon's 52-foot Tonnerre de Breskens, the Dutch winner of the 2001 Rolex Fastnet Race, took one hour off Anthony Richard's Minnie the Moocher, a Kerr 11.3 which in turn was 36 minutes ahead of Second Love after 110-miles of racing. For the Round Ireland, a large gap between the first, big boat finishers and the rest of the fleet finishing at Wicklow seems unlikely.

The list of handicap contenders must include another Jason Kerr design that has consistently proven problematic for bigger rivals and now has its sights set on this classic offshore course – Voodoo Chile, to be known as Calyx Voice & Data under Eamon Crosbie and his regular team from the National YC. As one of the smallest boats in the race, line honours is not an option for this 32-footer.

But Crosbie won't be the only smaller boat giving the big boys palpitations as they wait out the finishers at Wicklow Sailing Club. Eric Lisson and his Granada 38 Cavatina will be defending the 2002 title victory and, as the second-last finisher two years ago, nobody will be counting results on the basis of outside chances again.

Less predictable will be the new innovation for the 2004 race – a two-handed class that has attracted at least six entries. This will be a particularly tough challenge for some boats that range in size from 30 to 45 feet. One of the first entries came from Dingle pair Aodhan Fitzgerald and Yannick Lemonnier (see May Afloat), who have chartered Figaro Beneteau number 32, which has just arrived back from St Barths after completing the AG2R transatlantic. Entries in this class appear very competitive, with English interest centred on Thunder 2, a former winner of Cork Week class 0.

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Left: Giant killer – Last time round in 2002, the Cavatina win came as such a shock that there was not even a picture of the boat available. The press had to make do with a shot of the comparatively petit and elderly Granada 38 footer on her moorings in the Curabinny river!

Overall, the revival in fortunes for the Round Ireland is to be welcomed and the increasing turnout is a testimony to the basic attraction of the race. The sheer unpredictability of the course, which fails to guarantee outright victory to the all-out racers, acts as a balance for the club crew and keeps the event within its original ethos.

Moreover, while just a handful of prizes are up for grabs, simply completing this challenging but achievable course places the event as a ‘must do’ for many crews and acts as an incentive to continue racing, often against the odds. For that reason alone, the Round Ireland has proven that reports of the death of offshore racing are very much exaggerated.  

COPYRIGHT AFLOAT 2004

 

 

Here we go – Round 14 (reprinted from the June/July 2006 issue of Afloat)

The 100-foot Kiwi Pot-Hunter has arrived in search of a record. Afloat previews a 2006 Round Ireland fleet that has plenty of spice

At 4pm on July the 1st the BMW Round Ireland Yacht Race will set off from Wicklow Sailing Club. This year will be the 14th race to date and Wicklow Sailing Club officials are saying it will be one of the best and entries are still coming in well after the entry deadline so 2004’s 49-boat fleet could well be matched.
 
Race Organiser Denis Noonan had 41 entries as Afloat went to press (on June 16th) but is confident this figure should reach ‘in the region of the fifty mark’ as the big day draws near.
 
Either way, any deficiency in numbers is more than made up for in variety and this year Wicklow welcomes it's largest entry to date.

Owned by Stewart Thwaites, the record breaking yacht, 'Konica Minolta Zana' is a 30m super maxi yacht. She is due in Dublin in June with the intention of adding a Round Ireland Race record to an already formidable list of record times which she holds. The current record of 76hrs, 23 minutes and 57 seconds was set by Colm Barrington in Jeep Cherokee in 1998.

This will be the only competitive racing that the New Zealand yacht – sponsored by Lakeshore Funds – will participate in before heading down to the Mediterranean to compete in a number of events that include the Middle Sea race as well as the Maxi World Cup.

It was hoped that she could compete in Cork Week also, but this plan was scuppered by time constraints.

Konica Minolta Zana currently holds race records for the HSBC Coastal Classic Race, the Auckland to Suva race and the Auckland to Noumea race, as well as a string of top finishing positions in the Sydney Hobart.

Aboard Konica Minolta Zana will be a plethora of top class international sailors including Gavin Brady (watch captain), multiple world champion, Americas Cup and Volvo sailor, Steve Hayles, (navigator) ex-Oracle and with four Whitbread/Volvo races under his belt,  Rodney Keenan (watch captain) ex-Volvo, etc., Kip Stone, first in Open 50s single handed yachts. 

Among her crew will be Martin Hannon, originally from Newtownards who now lives in New Zealand. Adding a bit of local knowledge to the team will be GP champion Ruan O'Tiarnaigh.

However, size does not always matter in a race of this magnitude, with past winners including Calyx Voice & Data, Imp, and Cavatina all weighting-in at 40 foot and under.

One of the smallest boats in the fleet, Eamon Crosbie’s 32 footer Voodoo Chile (last time known as Calyx Voice & Data) is back racing as Teng Tools to retain his title.

Ireland West Tourism and Ireland West Airport Knock have joined in sponsoring an entry.

Aodhán Fitzgerald, winner of the 2004 Round Ireland two-handed class with Yannick Lemonnier, heads the twelve strong Team Ireland West, drawn from the membership of Galway Bay Sailing Club. They will be sailing a race-optimised Beneteau 40.7 yacht, chartered specially for the event, under the name ‘Ireland's West’. Well-known Galway sailor Barry Heskin will be watch leader, while Galway man Noel Butler, a former Laser 2 World Champion and helm of the winning boat in Class 1 at the UK's Cowes week last year, will be principal helmsman.

Another west coast entry are upping the ante with the charter of a Volvo 60. The group, known as the Spirit of Kilrush team, will have Simon McGibney among its crew. They have completed a number of training sessions on the boat in Cowes.

J.P. Chomette, on board Solune who holds the Round Ireland monohull record, is back and this time means business after some reworking of his canting keel 60-footer. Navigator Chris Tibbs is on board the French entry again.

This year will again be a very special one in our Double Handed Fleet, which already boasts Nunatak, skippered by Mike Jacques, and Moontiger driven by Alan Bell.

Yannick Lemonnier and Mark Greely of Dingle, Sailing Club, are fine-tuning their Beneteau Figaro 2 which they’re chartering with the support of their sponsor Southbound Group in the two-handed category.

Yannick and Mark have been sailing together for a number of years and came second in the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race on board Southbound in 2005. The boat’s racing name for the Round Ireland is Southbound.ie and you’ll be able to follow the their progress and race position due to the addition of a tracking system on board the competing boats this year.

However, the BMW Round Ireland Yacht Race is not only about the intense offshore race, there is also an extensive social event for all the crew and spectators. The party kicks off in Wicklow on Wednesday the 28th and carries the whole way to the start and after.  

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1 The big one cometh! At over 100 foot surely Barrington’s 1998 record will fall? All eyes will be on the Konica Minolta Kiwi entry.

2 Do Dingle.com was the two handed winner in 2004, two years later skipper Aodhan Fitzgerald is heading up Team Ireland West.

3 Limerick’s Andrew Carey during training on the Western Yacht Club’s Volvo 60 entry Spirit of Kilrush

4 Sean Lemass and the National YC crew on Gallileo are keen offshore campaigners

5 A winner offshore and a winner round the cans: Chieftain’s skipper Ger O’Rourke has his eyes on handicap honours in the canting keel fifty footer.

6 Jean Phillipe Chomette already has a Round Ireland speed record under his belt. Now the Paris financier is eyeing a race record too in the Nacira 60 City Jet
 
7 Sarnia, a veteran S&S 36 from the National YC.

8 and 11  Yannick Lemonnier and Mark Greely of Dingle Sailing Club are entered in the double handed category. The boat’s racing name for the Round Ireland is Southbound.ie

9/13 Waiting for the start at Wicklow

10 Minnie the Moocher, a race leader til Mew island in ‘04, the Kerr 11 metre is back 
 

 

Afloat opinion 

Wicklow Sailing Club rolls out its 14th Round Ireland race but its appeal, though deserving of far greater international note, remains rooted in a small domestic fleet.

The club have received 41 entries as Afloat goes to press and it is likely to swell with late entries to over 45 or more before the July 1 start. Over half of the fleet is from Dublin and Cork. The balance of the domestic fleet, totalling 29, is made up from entries from the West coast, Waterford, UK and French entries, and one very large Kiwi boat make up an overseas entry of 12.

The failure to capitalise on the success of the 2004 event with a bigger fleet this time round will be seen, by some, as a disappointing outcome for a number of reasons but primarily because if it is – as so often it is claimed to be – one of the world's classic offshore races, then its fleet could, as with Australia’s Sydney-Hobart or Britain’s Fastnet fixture, number in excess of 100 boats. There are 50 Irish yacht clubs around the coast but only 11 have sent entries.

The biggest club presence is from the Royal St. George, sending five boats. The country’s largest club, Howth, has a single entry. Only three of the four Dun Laoghaire clubs are sending boats. The home of the country’s biggest sailing centre, with the Wicklow start line on its doorstep, can only muster 12 in total.

Cork's race veteran Eric Lisson was clear about club support when he lifted his overall prize in 2002. He pleaded with offshore sailors at the time to go out and canvass for it's future support.

Lisson, who took second in the 2005 Fastnet Race, knows the potential of the Round Ireland is not just as another ‘passage race’ as RORC describe it but as a symbol of Irish sailing. He suggested that if each of the 30 skippers or so could attract one more clubmate then quite simply they would double the size of the fleet. Two years later, 49 entries and a big breeze meant 2004 went down as a highlight of the race’s 28–year–history.

But now four years on, the exact reason for the lack of growth can most precisely be attributed to a clash of dates with the Commodore's Cup. Ireland is fielding three teams and with a strong entry for the Cowes event (see page 24), this has had a direct effect on Round Ireland numbers and crew availability. But even this is too convenient an excuse for a race whose true strength lies abroad.

What really is at stake for Irish sailing is much more than running a local yacht race. The Round Ireland is the perfect offshore race course and it needs to be sold as such.

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Pictured left: Adrian Lee’s Beneteau Irisha passes below Wicklow head at the start of the 2004 race

The entire sailing community headed by the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) or another body needs to get behind Wicklow and assist it in promoting this 704-mile offshore race as an icon of Ireland's summer sport.

Nowhere was this point more clearly made than in early June when the world's top offshore sailors called in unexpectedly to our South and West coasts.

They came principally in search of wind in leg eight of the Volvo Round the World race. They found little wind, unusually, but before they left they wrote prose worthy of a Failte Ireland copywriter.

In his log Navigator Simon Fisher from ABN AMRO TWO wrote: “Our day started sailing in and out of the mist rolling down off the hills and, as the sun rose and the mist burnt off, it gave way to spectacular views of rolling green hills and a weather-beaten rocky coastline. With castles and towers stationed on each headland, it gives you the feeling of sailing through a scene out of Lord of the Rings.”

COPYRIGHT AFLOAT 2004

See Navigating Round Ireland Tips

 

 

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
31st August 2009

Rush Sailing Club

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L'Aberwrac'h Light house. Image courtesy of Rush Sailing Club Photo Gallery

Rush Sailing Club was founded in 1954 by a group of local enthusiasts with no facilities and less money. Nonetheless, several of them built their own Dublin Bay Mermaids. Designed in 1933, a fleet of these beautiful clinker-built 17-foot dinghies are still the mainstay of racing in the club over fifty years later.

Since those early days, the club has developed beyond recognition, with a fine clubhouse, yard, private slipway and fenced and serviced boat park.

In addition to the Mermaids, there are now a substantial fleets of cruisers and motor boats moored in the estuary, an active Junior section sailing Optimist, Pico and Feva dinghies, and members involved in a wide range of water sports, from fishing to kayaking and diving. Courses are also organised for adult beginners and for developing more advanced skills.

New members are always welcome. The Club Bar is open to members on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. The clubhouse is also available for private hire for functions. For bookings, contact Marguerite Carthy, 087 253 7860.

Rush Sailing Club, Linkside, Rogerstown, Co Dublin. Tel: 01 843 0695, email: [email protected]

Published in Clubs
29th July 2009

Malahide Yacht Club

brian_mcdowell.jpgDinghies at the Evening Topaz Sailing. Photo: Brian McDowell

Malahide’s Three Clubhouses… 

1 The Three Day Wonder!

 

Although the club was founded in 1958 it did not have a clubhouse until 1959.

Despite planning the club's first Whitsun Open Meeting (on the Broadmeadows) the enthusiastic early members found time to acquire and erect a de-mountable wooden chalet that had been purchased from Barney Herron Prefab Homes in Leixlip. It cost £300.

They started assembling the new clubhouse on a site on the 'Band Gardens' – more or less our current St. James's Terrace site, which the Commodore, Lord Talbot had made available to the club. Work commenced on an April Monday and by Wednesday the roof was in position.

The building served the Lower Estuary sailors well and was used as a starters retreat when Mermaid races were started and finished at a line from the flagpole to a mark off Malahide Point. The building was removed in 1979 to make way for a more substantial premises.

 

 

2  The 2nd Clubhouse

 

In 1962 a site was acquired at Cave's Marsh on the Broadmeadows from the local farmer, Mr Cave. A clubhouse was erected and a dinghy pen fenced off. Starting as a builders hut, it grew over the years then suffered severe fire damage, was re-built, then extended to the solid structure of to-day. See the illustration at the head of this page.

 

 

3  Back to the Lower Estuary – The 3rd Clubhouse

 

The club celebrated its 21st birthday in 1979 and was thriving with high levels of dinghy sailing activity on the Broadmeadows and a growing fleet of small cruiser/racers on the lower estuary.

It was agreed that a more elaborate clubhouse was needed at St. James's Terrace and so a local architect, Mr. Brendan Canning, was engaged to draw up plans. A contract was signed with O'Rourke Builders Ltd. and with the help of bank finance and interest free loans from members a £60,000 clubhouse was constructed. The new facility was officially opened on Friday 30th May, 1980.

In that year the club officers were:

President: Capt. J. C. Kelly-Rogers

Vice President: Len E. Mills

Commodore: Peter Killen

Vice Commodore: Gerry Newman

Rear Commodore: Arthur Slye

Hon. Sec.: C. W. Woodman

Hon. Treasurer: Pat O'Keeffe

Hon. Sailing Sec.: Ashley Cross

Junior Affairs: Christy Sheridan

Committee Members: John Banim, George Long, George McIlhagga, John McInerney, Tom Mythen and Jim Twomey.

Trustees: M.J. Byrne, R.S. Dix, and C.W. Woodman.


In 1980 the membership stood at 99 Family, 70 Ordinary, 35 Cadet, 10 Associate and 11 Life Members

   

4 And our latest

For almost a decade the Club had hopes of moving from St. James's Terrace to the marina area as it was always felt that it would be in our interests to be close to the boats moored in the marina. However, we were unable to reach an accord with any of the various parties involved over the years with the marina development project. Consequently, a general meeting of members on 17 October, 2001 authorised the Executive Committee proceed with a major refurbishment and extension of the existing premises at St. James's Terrace. The club had accumulated a substantial cash balance in recent years and the balance of expenditure was to be financed by bank borrowings and a small increase in subscriptions over the following three years.

After much drawing and redrawing of plans agreement was reached with Ray Mac Donnell Architects on extending to the East at a higher floor level to provide a large lounge with panoramic windows, extending to the South to allow for a new bar, keg room and kitchen and a complete makeover of the toilet and shower facilities. Lissadell Construction Ltd. were awarded the contract. Eventually, on 22 June 2003 the magnificent new facility was officially opened and is now being much enjoyed and appreciated by members and friends. The works cost just under €600,000 inclusive of VAT.

 

The Ripple

ripple.jpgThe Ripple, a 12 ton cutter, was built in Belfast in 1862 for G. Brett by D. Fulton, a building contractor who also built yachts. Fulton was a leading member of the Royal Ulster YC and also a member of the Clyde, Mersey, Western and Prince Alfred yacht clubs.

At Carrickfergus Regatta in 1866 there was a 12 ton cutter Ripple owned by D. Boyd of Royal Mersey Yacht Club.

The vessel was purchased by George Murney, also a Royal Mersey member, probably in 1868 because in that year he commissioned the above picture by W. Abernethy which is now in the possession of the Royal Ulster YC. At this time he also owned an 8 ton cutter Lily. Murney was an original member of the RUYC, number 13 on their list of members and their first treasurer in 1867. He remained a member until the late 1880s. His brother Dr. D. Murney was number 6 on the Royal Ulster original members list and was Rear Commodore from 1875 until 1883. George was a keen yachtsman, not only in Belfast Lough as he and Ripple appeared in Carlingford regattas in 1872, 1877 and 1878, at Malahide in 1870, 1872–1875 and the Royal Irish in 1887. Racing yachts in those days did not carry sail numbers but flew an owner’s distinctive flag at the masthead, blue or red with a white lion rampant in the case of the Ripple as shown on the painting above.

 

Sailing at Broadmeadows

Malahide Yacht Club has a long tradition of dinghy sailing and we’re very proud of the achievements of our sailors over the years.

The club was established in 1958, initially concentrating on dinghy sailing in the Broadmeadows estuary. The fleet comprised mainly Herons for the juniors and Enterprises, with their distinctive blue sails, for the rest. Later Optimists became very popular for the 8-14 year olds. Very large fleets of the latter two classes developed and racing was to a high standard with the club producing Olympic representatives, Irish and British national champions and many others representing Ireland internationally. With the growth of other types of sailing, especially Cruiser Class III, dinghy sailing went into a decline, mirroring a national trend. However, there has been a tremendous resurgence locally with the introduction of the Topaz class and the fleet has gone from scratch to over fifty boats in the course of the last few years with growth continuing apace. Hand-in-hand with this activity has gone a major refurbishment of the shore side facilities at Broadmeadows.

We have a busy club race calendar with races every Thursday and Saturday during the season.

Other events, such as away events where we take some of our fleet to visit other clubs are generally organised by the Dinghy committee and posted on the website.

If you’re not a 'racer' and want to sail for fun make contact as we will also be arranging fun sailing events.

If you’ve never sailed and dinghy before and would like to try, we have club boats that can be rented for a modest fee so members can experience the excitement of dinghy sailing without having their own boat.

Evening Dinghy Racing – On Thursday evenings during season with first gun at 19.30 hrs.

Saturday racing on Broadmeadows – Racing for Lasers, Topaz, Mirrors, Optimists and sundry boats on most Saturdays throughout the season with First Gun at 15.00 hrs.

Dinghy sail training – Details on 'Courses and Tuition' page.

Training courses for Juniors – As in previous years, MYC is running its ever-popular summer training courses for juniors down in the Broadmeadows. ISA Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 (Racing) courses will run concurrently. The first set of courses begins on Monday 3rd July and lasts for 3 weeks and the second on Monday 24th July. Full details and application form on 'Junior Courses' page. 

 

2008-9 Officers & Committee of Malahide Yacht Club and Contacts

Commodore – Colm Fitzpatrick – 086 819 7584

Vice Commodore – Martin Clancy – 087 252 8559

Rear Commodore – Bob Sugrue – 086 804 8048

Hon. Secretary – Eddie Magee – 087 259 1418

Hon. Treasurer – Andy Deegan – 083 303 6731

Sailing Development – Brian McDowell – 087 232 7745

Membership – Deirdre Moore-Somers – 086 196 8553

Cruiser Racing – Brian Stewart – 087 329 8598

Cruising – Dave Farrell– 086 255 7120

Dinghy Sailing – Peter Cunning – 086 805 1783

Junior Affairs – Chris Shackleton – 086 820 6374

Bar – Irene Devitt – 087 699 5855

Clubhouse & Grounds – Michael McCabe – 087 245 2637

MYC 50th – Rose Michael – 087 255 2726

Dinghy Section – Optimist class Sec: Fran Thompson – [email protected]
Topaz class: Diarmuid Marron – [email protected]
Laser class Sec: Garrett Donnelly – [email protected]

Cruiser Section – Cruising: Dave Farrell – As above
Racing: Lee Douglas – As above 

Membership Secretary: Deirdre Moore-Somers – As above

Clubhouse: Steward - Pat O'Keeffe – 845 3372/087 243 0646 (St. James's Terrace)

(The above information and image courtesy of Malahide Yacht Club 

 

Malahide Yacht Club, Sea Road, Malahide, Co. Dublin. Get directions

 

Published in Clubs
28th July 2009

Fireball

The Fireball is a high performance two-person sailing dinghy offering exciting sailing, intense competition and a great social life off the water. For all the latest Fireball news click here. The thrills of trapeze and spinnakers are hard to match in any type of sailboat or board and neither age nor gender determines your ability to be competitive.

Fireballers sail all year round – during the Winter at the DMYC Frostbites in Dun Laoghaire and the during Summer at many events around the country and the DBSC Tuesdays and Saturdays again in Dun Laoghaire. In addition there are active fleets in Clontarf, Killaloe and Dunmore East. If you would like to sail then get in touch with one of the following people who will help you find a spot!

Siobhan Hayes, Dun Laoghaire – tel: 087 205 8879
Hugh Johnson, Clontarf – tel: 087 659 3533
Cormac Bradley, General – tel: 086 814 3618
Owen Laverty, Dun Laoghaire – tel: 087 6107857
Richard Fox, Killaloe – tel: 087 248 4977
Brian O'Neill, Ballyhenry – tel: +44 7849 465124

Irish Fireball Association, c/o Margaret Casey, Secretary, 48 Riverside Drive, Churchtown, Dublin 14. Email: [email protected]

 

Afloat's Graham Smith wrote, in the One Design Class Review for the February/March 2009 issue:

"The Fireball has been written off so many times yet consistently defies all obituaries. In fact, it has grown slightly over the years to provide a national fleet in the region of 70 boats at 15 venues which tends to substantiate its claim of being one of the leading dinghy classes in the country.

Twenty-eight boats at the Nationals in Westport was a little down on the previous year but entries in the mid-20s for the other regional events would be considered more than satisfactory by a lot of other classes in this day and age.

Noel Butler and Seamus Moore of DMYC retained their national title in Mayo, won the Ulsters in Carlingford and also won the Traveller’s Trophy for consistency of results. Fifteenth overall in the 68-boat World Championships in Thailand was a highly creditable finish for the Dun Laoghaire duo.

Another Dun Laoghaire crew, Kenneth Rumball and Dave Moran, had a seventh overall at the Europeans in Belgium while, at home, Andy Pearce and Francis Rowan of the National YC won the Leinsters in Mullingar and the Skerries helm Simon McGrotty notched wins in the Munsters and Open Championships with two different crew. National Champions: Noel Butler and Seamus Moore, DMYC." 

 
There is a space for Irish boating clubs and racing classes to use as their own bulletin board and forum for announcements and discussion. If you want to see a dedicated forum slot for your club or class, click here

Published in Classes & Assoc

The West of Ireland Offshore Racing Association (WIORA) is a membership-based association for promotion and development of cruiser racing and cruising on the West Coast of Ireland. For all the latest WIORA news click here.

The association provides and promotes an annual programme of events, Inshore, Offshore and Coastal for cruiser racing, working closely with the various clubs along the western seaboard.

We have an exciting programme of events for 2009 for you to look forward to which includes the Irish Cruiser Racing Association – National Cruiser Championships and the West Coast Championships being hosted by Tralee Bay Sailing Club in June and, if that wasn’t enough, the OneSails McWilliam West Coast Super League which has being growing in popularity and going from strength to strength.

Please feel free to contact a representative of the association for any further information, their contact details can be found here

Simon McGibney, Commodore

There is a space for Irish boating clubs and racing classes to use as their own bulletin board and forum for announcements and discussion. If you want to see a dedicated forum slot for your club or class, click here

Published in Classes & Assoc

Professional Association of Diving Instructors – PADI

PADI is the world’s leading scuba diving training organisation.

With more than forty years experience and 5,300 dive shops and resorts worldwide, PADI training materials and services let you experience scuba diving from nearly anywhere.

Scuba diving with PADI Instructors, Dive Centers and Resorts can help transform your life through education, experience, equipment and environmental conservation.

The PADI Story – Two Friends, a Bottle of Scotch and an Idea

It’s hard to believe that the world’s largest scuba diving training organisation was dreamt up by two friends in Illinois over a bottle of Johnny Walker in 1966.

PADI Co-Founders, John Cronin, a scuba equipment salesman for US Divers, and Ralph Ericson, an educator and swimming instructor, were concerned about the scuba diving industry. They felt that the current scuba certification agencies were unprofessional, didn’t use state of the art instruction and made it unnecessarily difficult for people to enter the sport. John and Ralph knew there had to be a safer, easy way for people to learn to breathe underwater.

In 1966, John brought a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label and thirty dollars to Ralph’s Illinois apartment in Morton Grove. They decided it was time to start a scuba training organization. John insisted that the word ‘professional’ be in the name of the company. Ralph wanted an ‘association of diving instructors.’ After a few drinks, the acronym PADI was born.

The goal: Give more people a chance to enjoy the underwater world by offering relevant, instructionally-valid scuba diving training to create confident scuba divers who dive regularly.

In the early years, PADI grew slowly. By the late 1960s, PADI had 400 members and it was still a struggling entity. John Cronin had been promoted to Sales Manager at US Divers and had moved the family to Huntington Beach, California.

Cronin went to a huge National Sporting Goods Association show in New York City. While he was there, he met with Paul Tzimoulis, who later became the editor of Skin Diver Magazine. Paul suggested that PADI put the diver’s picture on the certification card. That was a strategic move that helped PADI’s eventual global recognition.

Cronin and Erikson hired Nick Icorn from US Divers’ engineering team, who worked with Erickson to develop a modular training program for the PADI Open Water Diver course. It started to catch on.

In the late 1970s and early 80s PADI began creating its own integrated, multi-media student and instructor educational materials for each course. This development spawned an incredible growth period for PADI and made it unique from other agencies.

By the late 1980s PADI was the leading scuba diving training organization in the world. With so many new people introduced to the activity, PADI felt a responsibility to teach divers about their interactions with the underwater environment. PADI had worked very hard over the years to keep the scuba diving industry as free from legislation as possible. Cronin knew the organization had a responsibility to protect the marine environment or risk the government doing so. John Cronin said: "We want to feel that our children, their children and generations to come will be able to enjoy the underwater world that has given us so much. There are so many significant problems facing mankind, but as divers, this is truly our cause. If scuba divers do not take an active role in preserving the aquatic realm, who will?"

Out of a true concern for the environment, the Project AWARE Foundation was formed.

PADI co-founder John Cronin passed away in 2003. His friend and PADI co-founder, Ralph Erickson, also passed away three years later. They proudly carried PADI’s torch for many years before they confidently put it in the hands of today’s generation, who continue to introduce the world to scuba diving.

PADI has issued more than millions of scuba certifications worldwide. There are more than 5,700 PADI Dive Shops and Resorts worldwide.

With close to 400 employees in PADI corporate offices around the world, PADI works hard to be the best partner to its members and is committed to:

1 Safe and responsible diver acquisition and retention
2 Quality member acquisition and retention
3 Financial prosperity
4 Worldwide alignment in message, products, systems and procedures

There is a space for Irish boating clubs and racing classes to use as their own bulletin board and forum for announcements and discussion. If you want to see a dedicated forum slot for your club or class, click here

Professional Association of Diving Instructors – PADI

Published in Diving
21st July 2009

Irish Cruising Club

Cruising under sail along the coasts of Ireland has a long and colourful history, but it was not until 1929 that the Irish Cruising Club was brought into being to act as a co-ordinating body for seagoing amateur sailors in all parts of a country which had only recently been partitioned.

Cruising clubs already existed in other parts of the world, usually founded in cities by like-minded ICC 1st Committee mtg enthusiasts at winter gatherings. But the new organisation had given itself a special flavour by arranging to bring about its establishment through a cruise-in-company by a small flotilla of five yachts on the southwest coast of Ireland. The inaugural meeting was held in Glengarriff at the head of Bantry Bay on the evening of Saturday July 13th 1929.

The leading inspiration for the establishment of the club came from Harry Donegan of Cork, supported by Billy Mooney of Dublin. Both were sailing enthusiasts of broad interests. Donegan was a founder member of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, having taken third place in the inaugural Fastnet Race with his cutter Gull in 1925, while Mooney was to be a class winner in the same event with his ketch Aideen in 1947.

Thus, offshore racing was seen by many of the early members as an integral part of their activities, and by the 1960s the ICC was organising Ireland's biennial Admiral's Cup teams. But international sailing was becoming an increasingly complex business, and it was apparent that the health of the club would be best served by concentrating solely on cruising and the services the club provided for its members and the cruising community.

By the 1970s, the club's rules were undergoing revision, and in 1992 its purpose was clarified:

The objects of the Club shall be to associate sailing yachtsmen, to encourage cruising with particular emphasis on cruising off the Irish coast, to gather and publish information useful to yachtsmen concerning tides, tidal streams, harbours, anchorages, lights, navigational aids, shore facilities and such like, and to record and/or publish logs of cruises and passages undertaken by members.

Ever since 1929, the Club's members have worked voluntarily towards the production of Sailing Directions which today cover the entire coast of Ireland in two volumes. Sailing Directions for the South & West Coasts of Ireland - which began life as the South and Southwest Coast book edited by Harry Donegan in 1930 – was published in its Eleventh Edition in 2006, while the Tenth Edition of the East & North Coast Directions – originally published as the East Coast book in 1930 under the editorship of Billy Mooney – was published in 2003.

Since 1931, the Irish Cruising Club has organised log competitions, inaugurated by its premier award, the Faulkner Cup, donated by northern member James Faulkner. The publication of a privately circulated Annual collates the members' cruising narratives, and today the Annual has become a profusely-illustrated 150-page book, published in time for Christmas.

Women members have always had equal rights in the club, and the first to win the Faulkner Cup was Elizabeth Crimmins in 1934. In 1939, the winner was Daphne French, for a remarkable cruise to the far end of the Baltic Sea in a little boat called Embla. So although the Irish Cruising Club - which has no premises of its own - is essentially based around a membership in Ireland cruising the Irish coast, its activities have always included a significant outward-looking element.

The ICC now has many challenge trophies, and each year's award-winning cruises include major international and transoceanic ventures, including voyages into high latitudes. However, the club continues to be an amateur organisation without any professional administration, and in order to make this possible, membership is limited to 550, with applications being accepted each November for consideration at the Club's committee meeting in January.

This article was kindly contributed by ICC member, WM Nixon, and provided courtesy of the Irish Cruising Club

Irish Cruising Club, Email: [email protected] 

Have we got your club details? Click here to get involved

Published in Clubs

The Cruising Association of Ireland was set up with the aim of working with the Irish Sailing Association and the Royal Yachting Association [Northern Ireland], for the promotion and encouragement of cruising and of social union among its members. Click here for all the latest Cruising News.

The association was set up as a virtual association using internet based technology. This is a faster and more cost effective medium to use for communication, and internet users are unashamedly the main target for CAI membership.

The association has been established now for a number of years. In 2010 we are working towards a re-launch of this website at the end of the first quarter, and a new effort is being made in 2010 to establish cruising connections with the Yacht Clubs and Marina’s with a view to encouraging cruising Sailors to get out on the water.

 Development Areas

The Cruising Association of Ireland will focus on the development of the following areas in the coming year:

  • Sharing of Information on cruising : Articles on Cruising topics, ports and destinations around the coast.
  • Social Interaction among members : Promotion of Yacht Club talks of interest to Cruising Sailors, encouraging members to get out and cruise regularly in company.
  • Events on and off the water : While the CAI does not “run” events directly, we will work with Yacht Clubs and Marina’s to encourage events of interest to Cruising Sailors. Click here for details of upcoming CAI Events.
  • Representation: We will endeavour to work with statutory and non statutory authorities in resolving issues that affect cruiser sailors.

Cruising Association of Ireland, 22 St. Nessans Terrace, Dublin. Tel: +353 (0) 87 258 214, email: [email protected] 

There is a space for Irish boating clubs and racing classes to use as their own bulletin board and forum for announcements and discussion. If you want to see a dedicated forum slot for your club or class, click here

Published in Classes & Assoc
17th July 2009

Down Cruising Club

Down Cruising Club is a small, friendly club of approximately 100 members, who are interested in all aspects of boating and cruising on Strangford Lough. The club is fortunate to be based at Ballydorn, on Strangford Lough, and to enjoy the unique facility of club headquarters in the form of the lightship "Petrel". A short history of the club and of the Lightship can be accessed. In addition the club enjoys the facility of Ballydorn Quay, constructed in the mid 19th century, and its associated historic quayside store, the 'Black Shed'.

Club members participate in a wide range of social events on board "Petrel", and water-based activities, including cruises both within and beyond Strangford Lough. An important feature of membership of the club is maintenance of the lightship itself, through regular work parties. The general ethos of 'hands-on' involvement transfers to all activities, and to regular duties in assisting the club's bar.

Down Cruising Club, c/o Clubship Petrel, 52 Ballydorn Road, Killinchy, Newtownards BT23 6QB. Tel: +4428 9754 1663

Have we got your club details? Click here to get involved
Published in Clubs

Our History

meteireannhq.jpg Operational Meteorology might be said to have begun in Ireland on 8 October 1860, when the first 'real time' weather observation was transmitted from Valentia Island in Co. Kerry. Valentia Observatory, as it came to be known, was one of a network of weather stations established around the Irish and British coastlines, by the naval authorities in London, to enable storm warnings to be provided for ships at sea.

For many years after Independence Ireland's needs, as far as weather matters were concerned, continued to be met by the British Meteorological Office. By the mid-1930's, however, it was clear that a new and exciting customer was on the way. It was the requirement to provide accurate weather information for transatlantic aviation that led to the formal establishment of an Irish Meteorological Service in 1936.

The first Director, Austen H. Nagle, was appointed in December of that year, and installed himself in the small offices in St. Andrew's Street in Dublin, which became the first Headquarters of the new Service. In April 1937, the administration of the existing observing network was taken over from the British Authorities; it comprised 4 telegraphic stations (at Malin Head, Blacksod Point, Roches Point and Birr), 18 climatological stations, 172 rainfall stations, and Valentia Observatory, which was the only station at the time to be manned by official personnel.

In its early stages, the new Service received continuing help from the British Authorities. This assistance was in the form of staff seconded from London to work at Foynes, in Co. Limerick, from where flying boats had just begun to operate. Included in their number were several who were later to become well known internationally; notably Hubert Lamb, the climatologist and Arthur Davies, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organisation for nearly 30 years. By 1941, however, the Service's own recruits had been fully trained, and the organisation was able to begin satisfying the increasing demands for weather information from its own resources.

Forecasting for aviation, first at Foynes and later at Shannon and Dublin Airports, was the major preoccupation of the early years. By the late 1940's, however, the Service had broadened its activities. In 1948, for the first time, it assumed responsibility for the weather forecasts broadcast by Radio Éireann, which had been provided from London in the interim. In 1952 it began to supply forecasts to the daily newspapers and 1961 saw the opening of the new Central Analysis and Forecast Office in the Headquarters premises, now housed at 44 Upper O'Connell Street, Dublin. Live presentation by Met Éireann forecasters of the weather on Teilifis Eireann commenced in early 1962.

valoldbuildc1900.jpg Radar Antenna at Shannon AirportThe late 1940's and the 1950's were a time of rapid expansion for the Service. This period saw the establishment of a balanced nation-wide network of observing stations, manned on a full-time basis by Meteorological Service personnel. The climatological and rainfall observing networks were greatly enhanced, thanks largely to the willing co-operation of the Garda authorities around the country and the assistance of other Government Departments and State-sponsored bodies. At Valentia Observatory, which had moved to a mainland site near Cahirciveen in 1892, upper air radiosonde measurements began and a wide range of geophysical measurements and environmental monitoring activities was introduced.

Meanwhile, the Service offered an expanding range of forecast and climatological information to the public and to specialised interests. A notable development was the inauguration of tape recorded telephone forecasts during the 1960's, the precursor of today's Weatherdial. The reception of satellite images began in the late 1960's at Shannon Airport and in the 1970's, the Meteorological Service might be said to have come of age by entering the computer era. Initially, the new machines were employed for communication purposes, but shortly afterwards the computers were used for the relatively new technique of numerical weather prediction.

Throughout its history, the Meteorological Service and its staff played an active role in the development of meteorology on the international scene. Ireland became a full member of the World Meteorological Organisation shortly after its establishment in the early 1950's and was later a founder member of both the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts and the European Meteorological Satellite Organisation, EUMETSAT. More recently, the Service has been active in the formation of other co-operative agencies like EUMETNET and ECOMET. Particularly beneficial to the organisation has been its membership since 1989 of HIRLAM, a co-operative venture between the Scandinavian countries and several other European Meteorological Services for the development of a numerical model for short-range forecasting.

Met eireann Headquarters ImageThe modern era of the Meteorological Service might be said to date from its occupation of the new Headquarters Building in Glasnevin in 1979, a development which for the first time allowed all the Dublin based Divisions to be housed under the same roof. It was around this time too, that the Service reached its peak in terms of staffing, with a total of 342 in 1980. The intervening years have seen a gradual reduction in staff numbers to the present level of 230, a development brought about mainly by the introduction of automated methods for many repetitive tasks, and by on-going review of our priorities with regard to weather observations.

Since the 1990s, in common with its sister organisations in most other European countries, the service has adopted a more commercial approach to the provision of services to its customers,in an effort to try to increase revenue and thus lighten the financial burden on the tax-payer. This spirit of commercial awareness, however, has been combined with an enhancement of the Service's public service role in areas where this has seemed desirable, most notably perhaps by the introduction of Severe Weather Alerts and by co-operation in the monitoring of stratospheric and tropospheric ozone

In March of 1996, its 60th year of operation, the Meteorological Service adopted the new title Met Éireann, with the aim of establishing a well-focused corporate identity in the public mind. Proud of its record of public service, its development of the national meteorological infrastructure and its contribution to the science of meteorology, Met Éireann looks forward with confident optimism to the challenges that lie ahead.

Directors of Met Éireann, 1936-present
1936-1948 Austen H. Nagle
1948-1964 Mariano Doporto
1965-1978 P.M. Austin Bourke
1978-1981 P. Kilian Rohan
1981-1988 Donal L. Linehan
1989-present Declan J. Murphy

Met Éireann Headquarters, Glasnevin Hill, Dublin 9

Tel: +353-1-8064200
Fax: +353-1-8064247
 
General Forecasting Division
Tel: +353-1- 8064255
Fax: +353-1- 8064275
Note: Provision of forecasts is subject to a fee.
 
Climate Enquiries Office
Tel: +353-1- 8064260
Fax: +353-1- 8064216
Note: Provision of services is subject to a fee.
 
Commercial Division
Tel: +353-1-8064244
Fax: +353-1-8064247
 
Freedom of Information Officer
Tel: +353-1-8064295
Fax: +353-1-8064275

Met Éireann Aviation Services, Shannon Airport Co. Clare
Tel: +353-61-712958
Fax: +353-61-712960
 
Met Éireann Valentia Observatory, Cahirciveen Co. Kerry
Tel: +353-66-9473460
Fax: +353-67-9472242

 

Met Eireann: Irish Meteorological Service, Glasnevin Hill, Dublin 9

Published in Organisations
Page 19 of 20

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