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The third Irish Sailing Cruising Conference 2018 returns to Dublin on 17 February 2018, at the Clayton Hotel in Leopardstown, just off the M50 in South County Dublin.

The conference is a popular event on the sailing calendar for cruising sailors to swap stories and catch up on new ideas before they plan their destinations for the summer and beyond.

The carefully chosen talks for 2018 include:

As previously reported by Afloat.ie, The Adventures of Rogue Trader with sailors Claire McCluskey and Nick Russel telling us about their journey to buying, restoring and registering a 56ft wooden ketch and then venture off sailing west in the ARC in the Autumn and returning the following year.

An Taisce will be talking about their Clean Coasts programme and we take a look at what sailors can do to make a difference.

The Wooden Boat Project with Evie Conway and her one woman restoration of Saoirse, her beloved 26ft mahogany folk boat

The Irish Marine Weather Buoy Network will be explained and how the Marine Institute meets the needs of mariners, forecasters and researchers with Aodhan FitzGerald, Research Vessel Manager, Marine Institute

Managing Offshore Storms demonstrated by experienced offshore sailor and author Alex Blackwell

New Developments in Infrastructure presented with navigator Norman Kean of ICC Publications

Fishing Gear Marking open discussion on the problems and ideas for solutions with Norman Kean

To give an opportunity for small group discussions, workshop and discussion stations are organised with the speakers and marine professionals, while Teas and Coffees are served.

'Thanks to Sponsors Union Chandlery and support of Cruising Association of Ireland we can keep our entry fee down to a reasonable rate. Irish Sailing Members €25 and Non Members €30, includes a Carvery Lunch at the Clayton, Irish Sailing's Gail McAllister told Afloat.ie

Tickets are here

Published in Cruising
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3rd December 2017

David Whitehead 1942-2017

Irish sailing is mourning the loss of someone very special with the death of Dave Whitehead of Kinvara. In his close and strong family circle, throughout an international circle of friends, and among many more in the Galway Bay area, the loss is made more poignant by the fact that he was a very active 75–year-old, brimming with plans for the future, and keenly interested in every aspect of the world today, both within and beyond sailing.

His life story is a tale of our times. From Monkstown in County Dublin, he was of a technically-minded family – a great-grand-uncle had invented the Whitehead Torpedo, the first in the world. Young David had started his sailing in Dublin Bay, but after graduating in geology from Trinity College, his career path was in mining, which eventually took him to many corners of the globe, some of them very remote, and others also very far underground.

However, an early position in the late 1960s was with Tynagh Mines in the southeast of County Galway, headed by Dave FitzGerald who shared his love of sailing. For a while they were much involved with the little sailing club which functioned at the time on the lake at Loughrea. But the call of the sea and the possibility of a club being established on Galway Bay drew their sailing interests westward, and during the early 1970s David Whitehead contributed much to the early life of Galway Bay Sailing Club, which was being spearheaded by determined enthusiasts like Pierce Purcell and others.

Dave had maintained his friendships with Dublin Bay sailing, and through John Bourke with Jack McKeown’s S&S 34 Korsair, he was able to introduce the new sailors of Galway, who at that time were experimenting with being based on Lough Atalia immediately east of the city, to the invigorating realities of offshore racing with ISORA.

Dave himself was soon to go on to become elected to both the Irish Cruising Club and the Royal Ocean Racing Club. But meanwhile in Galway the neophyte club accepted his and David FitzGerald’s advice that they should locate their main sailing base at Renville near Oranmore at the head of Galway Bay, and soon Dave Whitehead was making an active input to the GBSC as a sailor who introduced some interesting craft to the growing fleet at Renville, and as a member of the committee.

david whitehead1aAlways absorbing information. Dave Whitehead taking on board some new facts while on passage from the Azores to Ireland in 2008. Photo: Ed Wheeler

The Honorary Secretary in those early days was Marie White, and in each other they found kindred spirits, and were married. They shared the hope that they would live in due course on the shores of Galway Bay, but to achieve that Dave first had to see through a very concentrated international career in mining. In this, with Marie’s support, he was very successful, working extremely hard both in the field and in board-rooms, rising rapidly through the ranks to achieve positions of significance in the leading global commodities firm Billiton – at the time of his death last week, he was chairman of a number of Billiton’s London-based subsidiaries.

He and Marie had long since also succeeded in returning to Galway Bay, buying The Glebe in Kinvara and turning it into an idyllic family home. As for sailing, his interest was if anything greater than ever, and though he had always made a point of finding the best sailing within reach of wherever his various mining jobs took him, his heart was with Galway Bay, where he went though an intriguing array of boats ranging from the Quarter Tonner Frantic aboard which many young GBSC sailors took their first steps afloat, to the classic miniature S&S 27 Shemite – all of them boats which have remained with the Galway Bay fleet under new owners.

One he’d achieved his dream of finally settling in the west (where, during his and Marie’s absence abroad, the members had built the first GBSC clubhouse at Renville in 1979) Dave Whitehead was able to put experience gained at many other sailing centres to good use. Though he’d never had any formal training in race management, Pierce Purcell fondly recalls that he proved a natural as a Race Officer, providing his services with enthusiasm, and running things afloat very competently and without fuss.

But by now his main enthusiasm in sailing was in cruising, while in life generally it was about learning even more to add to the huge stock of knowledge in his already well-furnished brain, and its deployment on the lively discussions which he relished. Fellow Irish Cruising Club member Ed Wheeler, himself no slouch when it comes to conversations in depth, recalls a voyage home from the Azores crewed by Dave: “The wind-driven autohelm was working very well, so inevitably at mealtimes, and indeed at many other times, there were discussions as we sailed along. You might think you had talked Dave around to your way of thinking, but then he would come up with some totally unexpected but indisputable and perfectly-remembered scientific fact from his warehouse of mental information, and the argument was back to square one”.

david whitehead2The unusual dreamship. While Dave Whitehead’s smaller gunk-holing craft were often of traditional appearance, much of his offshore cruising was done with the highly-individual Oyster Mariner 35 Joyster, a Holman & Pye design which packed an astonishing amount of accommodation into a compact hull which performed very well

Typically of Dave Whitehead, when making a Transatlantic passage as crew with Marie aboard La Contenta in the ARC of 2003, the very fact of the boat being well equipped with the latest in electronic navigation aids prompted him to bring along traditional bits of gear to calculate their position, and by the end of the voyage not only was he getting his calculations absolutely spot on, but he had worked out ways of simplifying the time-honoured methods used by the likes of James Cook and other great voyagers.

For his own principle cruising boat, he was for many years content with the ingeniously-laid-out Holman & Pye-designed Oyster Mariner 35 ketch Joyster in which he voyaged near and far, and was rewarded with ICC and GBSC trophies. But from the moment he settled in Kinvara, he was also fascinated by the miniature cruising possibilities – the “gunk-holing potential” – of the much-indented southern and eastern shores of Galway Bay. To explore them properly, he went through an almost bewildering variety of small specialist cruisers with lifting keels and easily-handled rigs which enabled him to get to places where no cruising boat had ever been seen before.

With his base now in Kinvara, he could also contribute to the changes in the perceptions in the rest of Ireland of the level of sailing in the west, and together with Dave FitzGerald, he was much involved in a major re-balancing of the structure of the Irish Cruising Club. This began with an increase in western-based Committee members, then there was a western Rear Commodore, and eventually Dave FitzGerald served as Commodore from 2000 to 2002, while Dave Whitehead was Rear Commodore from 2006 to 2008, and Vice Commodore from 2009 to 2011.

In his later years, he made the shrewd judgment that the unpretentious but very cleverly-designed Moody 27 was the ideal boat for his main cruising needs, while continuing to work with specialists like boat-builder Tiernan Roe of Ballydehob in West Cork towards creating the perfect gunk-holing cruiser for places “where the water is very thin”.

In sailing the Moody 27 Mystic, he found an ideal crew in the equally individualistic Peter Fernie who lives on Tawin Island, which is well out in Galway Bay, though connected by a causeway to nearby Ireland. As matched spirits, they moved into an ownership partnership which worked very well, and a round Ireland cruise with an extended visit to the Hebrides in 2016 saw them being awarded GBSC’s David Baynes Cruising Award in the face of some formidable competition.

david whitehead3David Whitehead’s last seagoing cruiser was the Moody 27 Mystic, which he latterly co-owned with Peter FernieIt is Peter Fernie’s response to the death of David Whitehead which best captures the essence of this remarkable man, and with his permission, even though it re-phrases some of what we’ve already said, we are honoured to publish it here:

“David Whitehead: A memoir by Peter Fernie

David Whitehead was never lost for words. Whether it was boats, or maritime history in general, mountaineering or rugby, climate change or electric cars, you could be certain that David would have a well thought out position. More often than not, his was a contrary one to the accepted or establishment view, but a position backed up by his incomparable memory.

Despite his losing keys and mobile phones like the rest of us, I often wondered whether David had ever forgotten anything he had read or seen in the past. His prodigious recall was exemplified once when sailing up the Cleddau River in Wales, above Milford Haven. This location was not part of our plan, but we had ended up there en-route to Brittany, owing to a number of engine-related difficulties. David spied a moored wooden cutter, and we sailed across to get a closer look. Triumphantly he said: “That’s Driac” and proceeded to give me a detailed history of the 1930s Nicholson built boat: her original owner and cruises, as well as various assorted related ephemera comprising the establishment of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, and the evacuation of the B.E.F. from Dunkirk. I always assumed that he had this stuff printed on the back of his eyelids. In the event I googled Driac when I got back home – he was absolutely accurate.

Moving to Galway in the ’60s, he had sailed up and down the west coast and further beyond with David Fitzgerald (ICC). His training as a geologist found him working with mining concerns around the world but wherever he was, he found time to sail. He was a founder member of Galway Bay Sailing Club and became a member of the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Irish Cruising Club in 1972. He became a member of the Royal Cruising Club in 2008.

He had raced and cruised many different boats since his days in Trinity College, Dublin. He had owned boats large and small from his first, a 16 foot Paul Gartside designed gaffer to his latest, Goblin, a 16 foot Chesapeake Bay microcruiser which he adapted for gunkholing around Galway Bay creeks.

In 2009 whilst Vice Commodore of the Irish Cruising Club, he was diagnosed with lung cancer which he attributed to working in an Australian uranium mine. Nevertheless, and despite major surgery he was sailing his Oyster Mariner 35 Joyster three months later to Tory Island and Lough Swilly. Despite a continually compromised respiratory system, David never let this get in the way of his sailing, with cruises to Wales, Brittany, the Isles of Scilly and the Aeolian Islands as well as the south and west coasts of Ireland. In 2016 we sailed from Galway to the Hebrides and back around Ireland clockwise to Galway in our Moody 27 Mystic.

This year, he was sailing in Galway Bay several days before a forthcoming hip replacement operation. Next year was to be an extended cruise to Galicia, as well as a gunkholing cruise in Roaring Water Bay.

He was an excellent shipmate and a great companion. He could be uncompromising and pedagogic but was never boring. He was unremittingly positive about life and dwelt always on the future whilst enjoying the past. He will be missed by many”.

Our heartfelt condolences are with David Whitehead’s wife Marie, his son Duncan, his daughters Jennifer and Siobhan, his daughter-in-law Kerry, his grandchildren, and his extended family and very many friends. May he rest in peace.

WMN

david whitehead4The last major cruise. Dave Whitehead at the helm of Mystic in June 2016, emerging from Broadhaven in Mayo, bound for the Hebrides with Eagle Island to seaward. Photo: Peter Fernie

Published in Cruising
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The only Irish registered yacht in this year's Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) is Eamon Crosbie's Discovery 55, Pamela. 

As Afloat.ie reported earlier Crosbie set off from Dun Laoghaire on the adventure with Dublin Bay Sailing Club's Brian Mathews on board. Mathews will be absent from Dublin Bay racing for about a year, having joined Crosbie, a former Round Ireland Race winner, in what is the start of a world cruise.

An international fleet of yachts taking part in the 32nd edition of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) set sail on Sunday from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, beginning an amazing transatlantic journey to the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia.

It is a particularly diverse fleet this year with boats from 30ft to 95ft setting off on the same transatlantic course, including 156 monohulls, 28 catamarans and 2 trimarans. The sailors themselves are just as varied, aged from 3 years old to over 80.

While the ARC is a cruising rally, there is a start and finish line, and the boats are split into divisions according to size, type and competition. The first start today was for the multihull division, led over the line by American flagged Lagoon 42-4 Libelula, followed by Seawind 1160 X86 and the fleet's largest trimaran, Rapido, living up to her name coming over the line third before storming off down the Gran Canarian coast.

Following on, 27 boats in the ARC Racing Division were equally eager to stretch their sea legs and sail out into the Atlantic. Regular ARC Skipper and Class winner Ross Applebey brought through Scarlet Island Girl hot on her heels swiftly followed by Valerio Bardi's Swan 46 Mk II Milanto.

The first boats to cross the line in the Cruising Division were Norwegian Arcona 400 Tiffin, Swedish Najad 460 Ellen and British Grand Soleil 56 Mad Monkey.

Of the 186 boats sailing on the ARC direct route, 4 are still in Las Palmas with technical problems delaying their departure.

The majority of boats will take 18-21 days to make the 2700 nautical mile Atlantic crossing, arriving in Rodney Bay Marina, Saint Lucia.

Tracker here

Published in Cruising
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Any cruising enthusiast or would-be cruising enthusiast who has ever dreamt of sailing away in their own boat to the balmy climate and sheltered islands of the Pacific and other warm and sunny destinations is welcome at the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire on Thursday December 7th at 7.30pm writes W M Nixon.

The Club is hosting a talk by one of the most remarkable couples in Irish sailing, Myra Reid and Paraic O’Maolriada of Kinsale. When their retirement was approaching, they had a plan. They’d buy a boat, and sail round the world. They hadn’t done much sailing, if any, before. But they felt confident that with research and good advice, they could source the right boat, and once they’d learnt the basics of sailing, their skills would improve as they sailed along.

They started extremely well by buying a 1996 Amel Super Maramu 54 ketch - the gold standard in trouble-free ocean cruisers. They called her Saol Eile, and off they went. They’d thought they’d be gone maybe two years, but it took six because they were enjoying themselves so much. And then when they slipped quietly back into Kinsale in July 2016, it was a while before the Irish sailing community fully realised the wonder of what they’d done.

But now the word is getting out that Myra and Paraic have lots to tell, and the RIYC is keen to help them share their experiences with others. So all interested cruising and sailing folk are welcome at the club on Thursday December 7th, and for €27 you can have supper afterwards, an ideal opportunity to continue to exchange ideas on fulfilling the dream

Officially, the show is titled:

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (+ 1,724)

“How a couple late in life with zero knowledge of sailing learnt to sail, and went on to do a circumnavigation of the globe. They experienced six years of unexpected pleasure and thrills, and made many new friends. Myra Reid and Padaric O’Maolriada with their yacht Saol Eile”

It sounds like an ideal opportunity to get a few like-minded friends together for an informative and entertaining evening, but be warned that what you hear may be life-changing……..If you want to have supper in the club afterwards, contact RIYC catering through [email protected]

saol eile2Paraic and Myra in Kinsale with their sailing home for six wonderful years

Published in Cruising

The Cruising Association of Ireland held its summer cruise to Belfast Lough in early July 2017.

Fourteen boats comprising over forty sailors of varying ages gathered in Bangor Marina, County Down and were welcomed there by David Meeke and Betty Armstrong from the Royal Ulster YC, who acted as local organisers and publicists of events for the cruise. The marina manager, Kevin Baird, provided a barbecue for the participating sailors and supplied wine and beer for the evening. The following day the sailors visited the Walled Gardens in Bangor and afterwards met the Ards and North Down Mayor, Councillor Robert Adair, who welcomed us to Bangor and explained his duties as Mayor and the functioning of the town council. Afterwards we were treated to lunch and were given a guided tour of the town hall. The sailors were invited to the Royal Ulster Yacht Club for a splendid buffet that evening. The Vice Commodore Nigel Hamilton and Honorary Treasurer Phil Davis welcomed us to the magnificent clubhouse and the excellent dinner was enjoyed by all. One of our young sailors, Caoimhe McCormick, addressed the group to explain her fundraising for the Rapunzel Organisation. This group supports cancer patients with hair loss due to their treatment. Caoimhe explained that she would have her long hair cut short and that her tresses would be used to make a hair replacement wig for a victim of cancer. She raised a large sum of money in donations from our sailors.

The fleet proceeded the next morning to the Belfast Harbour Marina located in the Abercorn Basin. On the afternoon of our arrival we had a guided tour of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners Offices. The next day many sailors visited the local attractions in the Titanic quarter. HMS Caroline is the only surviving vessel from the Battle of Jutland and this new attraction is now open to the public – it is an amazing ship and well worth the effort. Titanic Belfast also proved popular and the Nomadic tender vessel has been refurbished which adds to the visitor experience. In the afternoon there was a civic reception with the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister. She welcomed us to Belfast City Hall and the commodore of the CAI, Clifford Brown, presented her with a CAI burgee. In his address to the Lord Mayor he stressed the importance of maintaining open sailing waters between the North and South of Ireland so that sailors can enjoy the many amenities in Irish coastal waters. The sailors then enjoyed a guided tour of the magnificent Belfast City Hall.

After two days in Belfast, the fleet proceeded to Carrickfergus Marina. We were welcomed there by the Harbourmaster, Nigel Thompson, and the Commodore of Carrickfergus Sailing Club, Trevor McCaig, and the members of the sailing club. An evening of traditional music was enjoyed in the clubhouse and some of our sailors participated in the entertainment. The next morning was the deciding match in the Lions rugby Tour of New Zealand. A large group of sailors watched the match in Ownies Bar and enjoyed an Ulster fry for breakfast. That evening the proprietor of the bar, Jack, hosted a barbecue for the group in the beer garden. A musician was in attendance to entertain us as we ate and a sing- song developed as the evening progressed. Many talented sailors regaled the group with renditions of popular and less known songs.

The next morning the fleet of boats departed Carrickfergus with some continuing to cruise further north, some going to Scotland and the Isle of Man and some returning home. The cruise was a great success and everyone was made very welcome in the places we visited. New friendships were established and the CAI is very indebted to David and Betty who did so much to facilitate the visit. Belfast Lough is a very beautiful place with many amenities to be enjoyed and the facilities in the marinas are excellent. Sailors will be sure of a friendly welcome and the CAI will definitely return in the future.

John Leahy

Published in Cruising
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The Irish Cruising Club’s 2017 Rally in northwest Spain begins its stately progress southwards today from the fleet assembly point of Portosin writes W M Nixon With its organisation ably led by experienced Galician cruiser Peter Haden (whose home port is Ballyvaughan on Galway Bay), the event has far exceeded expected fleet numbers in reaching the 60 mark for a very diverse assembly of cruising yachts.

This has meant that although the notably talented ICC team running the event have put together a formidable information package and programme for those taking part, the sheer numbers mean that they’ve had to very definitely restrict participation in the carefully rationed special shore event and anchorage assemblies only to those who have officially signed up.

Rally chartlet2One of Europe’s most attractive cruising areas is being put to good use for the ICC’s 60-boat Galician Rally, which starts heading southward this morning on a ten day programme

A successful cruise-in-company is a decidedly finely-judged affair, as you have to organize sufficient specific events to give the fleet movement a sense of coherence, yet at the same time you have to allow for the fact that genuine cruising enthusiasts will want time to themselves, while others will want to form small mini-groups having their own cruises-within-the-cruise.

With the rally making full use of one of Europe’s finest cruising areas, the experiences of the next ten days should provide a unique opportunity for those new to Galicia to get to know one of the most interesting corners of Europe. And as for the local people who live there in the many and varied coastal villages and small towns, quite what they’ll make of 60 Irish boats and their enthusiastic crews making their way along their fine coast remains to be seen. But we’ve no doubt that many new and enduring friendships will emerge.

rally flag3Far into the future, the 2017 Galician Rally flag will be a treasured souvenir

Published in Cruising

The Cool Route Project, funded by the EU’s Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme and led by Cork Institute of Technology, commenced in June 2015. Since then, as Afloat.ie reported previously, project partners in Ireland Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Faroe Islands and Norway have been working hard to study and develop strategic initiatives to build the route, covering all of the cruising grounds between Cork and Tromsø, as a world recognised cruising area.

The project workpackage to develop a Route Marketing strategy was led by project partner, The Royal Cork Yacht Club, based in Crosshaven, Co. Cork. Before developing the strategy, The Royal Cork, in the almost complete absence of statistics on sailing in Northern Europe, had to undertake a number of different studies.

The first study undertaken was a Cruising Preferences Study, with over 500 highly qualitative responses received, mainly from Ireland and the UK - the study highlighted the needs preferences and priorities of cruising sailors. A key finding being that the preferred daily journey was 25 nautical miles.

Cruising folk also like very much to have a dry step ashore, be that on to a marina or a pontoon. If they have to moor offshore, they are slightly in favour of anchoring rather than using a public mooring, stating reasons of distrust.

donegal cruisingNew pontoon facilties in Killybegs in County Donegal are important to the establishment of the Cool Route. Photo: WM Nixon

An interesting finding of the comprehensive study was that 65% of respondents stated that they would consider chartering as an option to explore different areas of the route.

Equipped with the preferred daily cruising distance, partner Glasgow Caledonian University, was then positioned to complete its Route Logistics Study and Gap Analysis. The logistics study clearly demonstrates that, with the exception of the west coast of Ireland, there are no distance gaps of over 25mnm, other than the sea crossings from Northern Ireland to Scotland and Scotland to the Faroe Islands and Norway. There are a number of facilities gaps in terms of showers and toilets.

Ideally the project would like all stopovers to have these facilities. Waste disposal is also an issue, and failed to find a suitable solution, as areas around local bins were consistently being used for fly-tipping. The project has also researched, and made recommendations, on a modular design for a toilet and shower block, which is manufactured from recycled shipping containers, easily transported and installed.

The next research task completed towards the finalisation of the marketing strategy was to undertake a Route Traffic Study. The study estimated the total numbers of cruising vessels located throughout the route and also calculated the numbers and locations of vessels within a two day voyage of any part of the route. In all there are in excess of 150,000 vessels capable of voyaging different parts of the route.

Gavin Deane, General Manager at The Royal Cork, stresses that: “The Cool Route is not about sailing from Cork to Norway, but enjoying all of the cruising grounds along the route. UK Boats may likely just come to the South Coast of Ireland for a week, or Northern Ireland and Scottish boats may make reciprocal trips. The project is firmly focussed on bringing new marine borne business to local enterprises and it does not make a difference if the visiting boat originated its voyage 10 miles or 100 miles from its destination. The important aspect is that a visiting craft bring business to local harbours.”

Superyachts KinsaleSuperyachts moored at Kinsale in County Cork

During the summer of 2016 partners in Ireland and Scotland witnessed a growth in the numbers of superyachts visiting. A focus group of 25 superyacht skippers was assembled and the feed-back was clearly to immediately market the route to these craft, who were actively looking for new voyages. Superyachts do not require any additional facilities than ordinary cruising craft with an emphasis on a dry step ashore and facilities to take and recycle waste.

Visits to areas of the route by small liners with 100 or so passengers was also a developing trend.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club, as part of its Cool Route marketing brief, has now produced a very high quality Superyacht Marketing Brochure, containing both generic information on the overall route, as well as a set of national inserts on reach of the participating coastal areas. The brochure is available in hard copy for circulation to superyacht and small liner operators, owners and skippers and also in an online version which can be downloaded here

In publishing the Route Marketing Strategy, which can be downloaded here, the partners are calling on higher levels of proactivity by local ports to encourage visitors.

Dr Breda Kenny, Head of the Hincks Centre for Entrepreneurship Excellence at CIT, who is leading the project said
“The strategy involves action by the main beneficiaries. This may involve organising weekend events at ports, perhaps including a barbecue or music and entrainment.Twenty visiting boats can bring between 60 to 100 visitors, the presence of boats in your harbour will bring as many day visitors and this combined effect can have significant economic benefits for local shops, cafes, restaurants, museums etc.”

One of the main strategic actions proposed is for national yachting associations and clubs in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland to organise a Cool Route stand at International Boats Shows. The shared stand will have a much greater impact that any one of the individual stands – It will market all of the Cool Route as prime world cruising grounds. National interests will still compete for the business – but to a significantly larger audience.

All of the Cool Route research and studies to date can be viewed and downloaded here.

Published in Cruising
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#RNLI - Lough Ree RNLI’s lifeboat crew were alerted by the Irish Coast Guard to two separate incidents on Saturday 27 May.

The first alarm was raised at 11.04am when two people on board a 32ft motor cruiser ran aground north-west of Inchbofin Island, near the eastern shore of the lake.

Lifeboat operations manager Tony McCarth, assisted by shore crew Bernard Larkin and Denis Begley, had Lough Ree lifeboat The Eric Rowse launched and underway in less than 15 minutes with crew members Stan Bradbury, Kieran Scullion and Stewart McMickan on board.

Weather conditions at the time were difficult, with heavy rain and a strong Force 4 breeze from the north-west. Visibility was poor and there was a moderate swell on the lake.

The Eric Rowse was alongside the casualty vessel at 11.31am, with the lifeboat crew checking that all on board were uninjured and wearing life jackets. Once established that the vessel was not taking on water, the lifeboat towed it off the sandy shoal to safe navigable water.

All equipment on the boat was confirmed to be in good working order, and the people on board were able to continue their journey to Lanesboro at the north end of Lough Ree.

The lifeboat crew returned to station at Coosan Point, where the shore crew prepared The Eric Rowse for service once again by 12.30pm.

Less than three hours later, 3.15pm, the volunteers were alerted again – this time to assist eight people aboard a hire cruiser aground north of the Black Islands, at the north-east shore of Lough Ree.

Launch authority Billy Henshaw and shore crew member Bernie Larkin launched the lifeboat at 3.26pm, crewed again by volunteers Bradbury, Scullion and McMickan.

The lifeboat crew reached the cruiser at 3.49pm and proceeded to conduct the usual checks before towing the cruiser to safety. The eight people on board then continued their journey south to Athlone, and the lifeboat crew returned to the station, where The Eric Rowse was reported ready for service again at 4.50pm.

Speaking later on the day, Tony McCarth said: “We were happy to be able to assist in both callouts today and to help these 10 people continue to enjoy their weekend on Lough Ree.

“Heavy rain leads to poor visibility on the lake, which can make locating navigation markers difficult, even in calm conditions. We remind all users of the lake to ensure they check the weather forecast and seek local advice on likely conditions on the lake before leaving harbour.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The Cruising Association of Ireland is already well into a busy season in 2017, but it moves up a gear this weekend with the AGM at Howth presided over by Commodore Clifford Brown tomorrow (Saturday) at 1800hrs, and based around a rally of East Coast members and their boats followed by a dinner, with CAI folk from other parts of Ireland travelling overland to the venue writes W M Nixon.

Last year the CAI AGM & Rally in the Spring was used to mark the opening of the new Greystones Sailing Club with GSC Commodore Dave Nixon as CAI’s Guest of Honour. This year in the more mature marina at Howth, the home club are celebrating the 30th Anniversary of their clubhouse – a winner of architectural awards when it was opened in 1987 – while the marina itself has been in action for nearly 35 years.

The CAI programme in 2017 is impressive, as they started with the Kish Muster in Dublin Bay on 8th April with the overnight at the hospitable National YC. This weekend of May 13th-14th, the focus swings to Howth, then on June 3rd to 5th a significant contingent will be at the Dublin Port festival, while they’re back to meet their old friends in Greystones on 10th to 11th June.

This year’s Cruise-in-Company is focused on Belfast Lough from July 3rd to 10th, then after a mid-season hiatus when many members expect to be doing individual cruises, they gather again on 12th August for an East Coast Rally at either Arklow or Carlingford, depending on the weather. Their East Coast season is rounded out by the traditional and popular Liffey 3 Bridges Cruise on 16th/17th September, when the opening bridges in the heart of Dublin are co-ordinated to allow the CAI fleet through for an convivial assembly which culminates in feasting aboard the Dublin Restaurant Ship Cill Airne.

cruising associationThe popular Cruising Association of Ireland 3 Bridges Cruise in September sees the Liffey bridges co-ordinated for a shared opening time to allow the fleet through. Photo : W M Nixon
While Saturday night’s AGM and dinner at Howth has a certain business-to-be-done emphasis to it, around a dozen boat think it’s only right and proper to sail there, none more so than the renowned Charlie Kavanagh of Wicklow. His Sadler 34 Stravaiger was wintered in a berth in Kilmore Quay, and he was keen to sail to the Howth AGM. But with a period of cold nor’easters threatening, he grabbed a brief weather window on Sunday night by press-ganging shipmate and Wicklow SC Hon. Sec. Peter Shearer into an overnight passage, and they were rewarded with fair easterly winds for a dream sail to Wicklow, admittedly in decidedly crisp temperatures.

So now Stravaiger is conveniently poised to sail north to Howth either this evening or tomorrow morning, and with his new season properly under way, Charlie Kavanagh’s plans for Stravaiger in 2017 include a leisurely Round Ireland cruise.

Published in Cruising

After a winter which included training with Irish National Sailing School in Dun Laoghaire, Galway’s Mossie O’Reilly and Paddy Shryane are well into a clockwise Easter circumnavigation of Ireland to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis writes W M Nixon.

Spurred on by the death from CF last summer of their friend Eva Davin aged just 32, the Galway duo are sailing fully-crewed on the INSS’s J/109 Jedi. They aren’t trying to break any sailing records, but instead are doing the classic Round Ireland circuit in a way with which most sailors will identify. This in turn will, they hope, draw attention to the remarkable work being done in Galway University Hospital, where 85 children and adults are receiving treatment for CF.

Even before their venture got under way from Dun Laoghaire in the first minute of Holy Saturday, April 15th, they and their team had already raised €2,545 towards a modest target of €3,000 which we hope will be significantly exceeded by the time fund-raising ends of August 15th 2017. Because the voyage target is simply to get round Ireland, when total calm descended off Kinsale they dropped into port for a few hours until the wind returned.

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