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The Cruising Club of America (CCA) has announced the recipients of the organisation's five major awards for 2015:

The Blue Water Medal "Without Date" is awarded to Australian native Jon Sanders in recognition of a lifetime of sailing achievements, including nine circumnavigations

The Blue Water Medal, awarded to British sailors Tom and Vicky Jackson, recognises their extensive racing and cruising over more than 34 years

The Far Horizons Award, awarded to Canadian sailors Kaspar and Trisha Schibli, recognises a meritorious series of cruises aboard their yacht Starfire

The Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship is awarded to Canadian cruisers George Juri and Grit Chiu for their lifesaving rescue in critical conditions

The Richard S. Nye Trophy is awarded to John E. Sanford of Tiburon, Calif., for meritorious service to the CCA.

The award recipients will be celebrated at the CCA's annual Awards Dinner at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan on March 4, 2016.

Published in Cruising

Circumnavigate round Ireland on a cruising yacht and you will experience an abundance of spectacular coastal scenery, uninhabited islands, ancient settlements, incredible sea birds and endless marine mammal wildlife. Cruising Ireland’s coastline will have you exploring sheltered harbours, sailing past exposed headlands and anchoring up in friendly ports. No wonder around 50% of Ireland’s sailors are cruising and leisure sailors and no wonder Ireland has so many incredibly adventurous cruising sailors.

To celebrate the cruising sailors of Ireland and our coastline the ISA are organising the 'inaugural ISA Cruising Conference' at Howth Yacht Club on February 20th 2016, with inspiring speakers and interactive talks that will benefit experienced sailors and new comers alike. Adventure sailors Eddie Nicholson and his crew will be the key note speakers, opening up the talks for the day with tales and a picture show of their adventures in Greenland and back to Kinsale on a Najad 440, Mollihawk’s Shadow.

There will be talks on weather charts and grib files with Met Eireann and experienced Yachtmaster Instructor and pilot John Leahy. Inspiration for “Women on the Helm” comes from adventure sailor and writer Daria Blackwell and an insight in to the activities of the Coastguard, Marine Institute and CAI and what they do for Irish cruising sailors. ICC Publications editor and experienced navigator Norman Kean will share is knowledge to help us see the potential pit falls of electronic navigation, while Zoologist and Yachtmaster Instructor Niall MacAllister give us some tips on whales and wildlife hotspots and protocols. Ever needed crew to help with long and short journeys, or just wanted to head out for a short spin? Round the world sailor Pat Murphy will give us a few tips on finding and looking after new crew.

A break out session of groups is scheduled to discuss personal cruising experiences, problems and discoveries and a summary of the sessions will be presented with an open discussion. Every delegate will be entered in to a draw for a full set of Offshore Gear courtesy of Union Chandlery, plus copies of ICC Publications thanks to the Irish Cruising Club and every delegate will head home with a goodie bag. The generous time given by these experienced speakers, sponsorship by Union Chandlery, support from Cruising Association of Ireland and the Irish Sailing Association have made all this possible.

ISA Members are €10 (Non Members €15) and a Club buffet lunch will be available for €15 (plus Eventbrite booking fee) you can book directly here 

Contact Gail MacAllister, ISA Cruising Development Officer directly with any queries 086 2214724 [email protected]

 

Published in Cruising

#Cruising - The Royal Cork Yacht Club is among those partnering a new project to develop and market cruising grounds across Europe's North Western Seaboard from Ireland to Norway.

The Cool Route Project, funded by the Interreg VB Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme, has the involvement of all national sailing organisations in Ireland and the UK, as well as strategic partnerships in Norway and the Faroe Islands.

Wide-ranging research is now being conducted on a transnational collaborative basis by Cool Route on the cruising preferences of sailors along the North Western Seaboard.

"This research, which is incorporating the expert views and priorities of cruising skippers, will be an important input to the future development and marketing of cruising in these waters," say the project organisers, who invite relevant sailors to complete an online survey HERE.

Published in Cruising
22nd November 2015

ARC Rally Sets Sail

Years and months of intense planning and preparation finally paid off today as three Irish yachts were among the fleet taking part in ARC 2015 made their way out of Muelle Deportivo in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria this morning. There was an air of excitement throughout the marina as the ocean adventure truly begins for 1125 sailors and even a few rain squalls throughout the morning could not dampen the spirits of the eager crews.

Friends and families of the sailors as well as local well wishers and staff from the businesses around the marina lined the dock, cheering and dancing to the loud music blaring out in celebration of the start. Traditional folk band La parranda Café-Tin and brass band Banda Canarias marched around the marina serenading every pontoon to add to the festival feel. It was an incredible farewell atmosphere as the harbour gradually emptied leaving bare pontoons for another year. The Tourist Board of Gran Canaria, the Port Authority of Las Palmas and the city government of Las Palmas, have been wonderful hosts to ARC participants for the past two weeks and it is their continued support that makes the atmosphere in the lead up to start day so spectacular.

Boats had to identify themselves as they left the marina and headed through a 'gate' before making their way to the start line. To the delight of the spectators, several crews dressed up for their departure, danced on the foredeck as the gathered their fenders and lines and waved their nations flags to bid farewell to the Canarian hosts.

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. A total of 195 yachts sailing under the flags of 27 nations crossed today's start lines. A strong north-north easterly breeze of 25-30 knots and moderate seas made for a lively welcome to being at sea again.

At 12:30 UTC the gun on the Spanish naval ship Tornado fired for the start of the multihull and open divisions. The first catamaran across the line was the only Mexican flagged boat in the fleet, a Lagoon 450 El Viajero skippered by Eduardo Torres. 20 other multihulls with reefed white sails followed them over the offshore start line. Neel 45 trimaran La Caravelle was thriving in the strong breeze and was soon leading the way to Saint Lucia's shores.

29 boats in this year's Racing Division were led across the start line by Ross Applebey's Oyster Lightwave 48 Scarlet Oyster followed by fellow British flagged charter boat Quokka 8. Both are regular ocean crossers with the ARC, sailing with crews of mixed abilities led by a professional skipper. Third across the line was One & Only, a Jeanneau Sun Fast 3600 from Poland.

It was an impressive scene as the majority of the fleet, over 140 yachts, sailed across the start line for the Cruising Division. Many were heavily reefed following a brief squall that came through as the start sequence began, rocking and rolling over the line. James Agace's Jua Kali, a Grand Soleil 43, was off to a terrific start leading the fleet.

Today's start provided a breezy beginning to the ARC 2015 ocean adventure as the fleet heads out to sea. The forecast is looking good for at least the first part of the crossing with moderate to strong trade winds, and with the established Azores high, a route close to the great circle or a little to the south looks favourable for a quick and comfortable sail. Chris Tibbs poignantly mentioned at Saturday's Skippers Briefing that since the rally began in 1986, "The boats are bigger, the boats are faster, and communications have changed and so has navigation. But the wind and the waves are still the same."

The departure of the ARC fleet sailing directly to Saint Lucia today means a combined total of 254 yachts are sailing the Atlantic under the ARC banner in 2015 - a record number in the 30 year history of the rally. 59 boats in the ARC+ fleet departed Mindelo, Cape Verde for their second leg of their crossing last Wednesday and are enjoying great downwind sailing and fishing triumphs reported in their logs sent in to the World Cruising Club website.

All ARC boats are fitted with YB Tracking satellite trackers, allowing family and friends to follow the fleet from the comfort of home. As well as position, the online Fleet Viewer displays heading, speed and boat information. Wind direction and speed is also shown. Friends, family and fans can follow the fleet online at http://bit.ly/1QClnDr 

The majority of boats will take 18-21 days to make the 2700 nautical mile Atlantic crossing, arriving in Rodney Bay Marina, Saint Lucia. Whatever time they make landfall, every boat will be met at the dock by Saint Lucia Tourist Board and World Cruising Club staff bearing a welcome rum punch and cold drinks. There is a full schedule of events in Rodney Bay for all ARC crews and their friends and families, culminating in the ARC prize giving on 19 December.

Published in Cruising

#Cruising - Westwood's latest A405 cruiser was recently put through her paces by Motorboat & Yachting on a recent two-day visit to Lough Erne.

It's been all change for the cruising marque in recent times, keen to shake off its "somewhat stuffy image" since the yard moved to Enniskillen in 2013.

And Jack Haines' video feature on the company's flagship makes those efforts abundantly clear – taking in the idyllic surrounds of Lough Erne between Carrybridge and Enniskillen along the way.

Published in Cruising

Many Afloat.ie readers will go into Dublin as a matter of course five days a week as commuters. But that only gives a street-bound and narrow view of the city. It’s a different and fascinating place when you come in up the river. And when the bridges have been specially opened so that you can go all the way into the heart of town on the Liffey right up to the historic Customs House, it’s like a journey through the past with exciting glimpses of what the future may bring as the building industry starts to come back to life. W M Nixon reports on the weekend’s Cruising Association of Ireland Rally, which brought around three dozen boats of all shapes and sizes from many ports together to celebrate friendship, seafaring and the city.

They certainly kept themselves busy with this year’s annual Liffey Cruise of the CAI. With support from the City Council and Dublin Port, Rally Organiser John Leahy had put together a programme which maximised their time in the river, while providing enough opportunities to demonstrate manoeuvring skills in a variety of situations where breakdowns or misjudgements could easily have caused the expensive sound of breaking fibreglass.

It was a wonderful time to be in the city, for although the gentle Autumn day provided only the most occasional little flashes of sunshine, a gentle easterly breeze enabled the more enthusiastic to set gennakers or even spinnakers as they ran along a waterfront which is a bewildering mixture of the new and the half-built and the derelict, while the river itself was alive with kayaks and other small craft, suggesting that at last Dubliners are beginning to appreciate that there’s much more to the Liffey than simply being the separation zone between the civilized northsiders and the barbarous hordes lurking to the south of the watery divide.

On top of all this, the handsome German Tall Ship Gorch Fock was in port for an extended stay, and it had been arranged for the CAI to have their own dedicated and extended visit on board, arranged by Michael Byrne of Sail Training Ireland. As a bonus, close ahead of the Gorch Fock along the South Quays was the large expedition yacht Turmoil, a vessel of fascination in many ways. For she’s perfectly proportioned in the classic style of a trawler yacht, yet when you look at her for a minute it suddenly strikes you that she is actually all of four storeys high - as Jehan Ashmore of this parish pointed out recently, she is in fact as big as the new ships of the Irish Naval Service.

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Contrasting styles – the unmistakable Gorch Fock, and ahead of her the workmanlike expedition yacht Turmoil. Photo: W M Nixon

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Getting into the spirit of it all – Hair Raiser under downwind sail past the Dublin Conference Centre. Photo: W M Nixon

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It takes quite a bit of arranging to ensure that a fleet of boats can get this far up the river to the Customs House, where all tastes in architecture are catered for, and there’s the opened Sean O’Casey bridge to negotiate too. Photo: W M Nixon

As it happens, there just wouldn’t have been time to have a proper visit to the Turmoil even if it could have been arranged, as the plan was through the East-Link at 3.0pm and then on past the opened Sam Beckett bridge and the opened Sean O’Casey pedestrian bridge beyond it for a grand circle and salute at the Customs House with an encouraging number of spectators, and then back downriver for rafting up at the pontoon at the Point Depot. It sounds simple enough, but numbers berthing were such that everyone was at least doubled up, and there were many trios.
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All comfortably and sociably berthed up with never a bother. Photo: W M Nixon

cax6Floating on air? Opening and closing the Sam Beckett Bridge proved to be a real tourist attraction. Photo: W M Nixon

However, it was high water, so the old city was looking its best, while for those watching from the shore, the ultimate attraction was in the closing of the two rotating bridges, the Calatrava-designed Sam Beckett being a particular marvel. It’s a big boy’s toy and then some, and a very international group of visitors to Dublin watched fascinated as this wonderful piece of moving sculpture slipped neatly back into place with great precision.
Meanwhile the fleet had slipped into its places with equal precision, but there was little enough time to relax with inter-boat visits and the usual boat banter, as the programme on the Gorch Fock was to get under way at 5.0pm, so suddenly John Leahy and CAI Commodore Clifford Brown were making themselves scarce with the announcement that they had to get across the river to finalise details with the Captain of the Gorch Foch, which is certainly a fine and important thing to be doing of a Saturday afternoon when half the country is no more than couch potatoes watching a rugby match.

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Rally Organiser John Leahy (left) with CAI Commodore Clifford Brown, Denis Woods, and CAI Webmaster Simon Parker. Photo: W M Nixon

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Advance guard. The CAI’s reconnaissance group take a quick lift across the Liffey to finalise arrangements with the Captain of the Gorch Fock. Photo: W M Nixon

Yet as anyone who has walked the quays of Dublin will know, suddenly it will seem a very long and footsore distance to get from the Point Depot round to the Tall Ships’ preferred berth. But the CAI are crazy like foxes - they’d secured the use of a big RIB waterbus, other RIBs were available, and getting across to breathe in the atmosphere of the great age of sail aboard Germany’s finest was an easy and convenient business.
The trouble is when you’re enjoying yourself time flies, and before anyone knew it, time had come to get on the party frocks and get along to the culminating assembly, complete with hog roast, on board the restaurant boat Cill Airne, where Captain Nils Brandt of the Gorch Foch and several of his crew and trainees were their guests.

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Presentation of CAI flags and ensigns to Captain Nils Brandt and crew of the Gorch Foch by CAI Commodore Cifford Brown with (on left) John Leahy, Rally Organiser, and Charlie Murphy of Dublin Port who organised the many successful river arrangements. Photo: Aidan Coughlan

In all, a busy day, but the weather held up. However, when they took their departure back to sea out through the Eastlink at noon on Sunday, there was rain on the way if it hadn’t already arrived, but there never was any difficult wind, so everyone got neatly home.
And if all this seems like no more than lightly-structured wandering by a group of boats looking for something to do, nothing could be further from the truth. It was a diverse fleet with hundreds of thousands of far-ranging miles under their many keels.
Pat Murphy with his son Shane was there with the much-travelled Aldebaran, and though Pat’s much-loved shipmate Olivia has passed on since the last rally in September 2014, Aldebaran’s gallant presence was an eloquent reminder of the tremendous 9-year voyage round the world they made together. And at the other end of the offshore sailing spectrum, a Rolex Fastnet Race 2015 flag flew proudly from a forestay in the middle of the fleet.

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The world-girdling Aldebaran heads up-river past the Cill Airne. Photo: W M Nixon

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Still looking as good as new. Alan Rountree’s 20-year-old Tallulah, which he completed himself from a bare hull, heads downriver past the Jeanie Johnston. Photo: W M Nixon

Then during the parade in the river, there was the opportunity to admire again the wonderful job Alan Rountree completed twenty years ago when, up at his workshop in the Wicklow Hills, he finished the job of building his Legend 34 Tallulah from a bare hull. He did it so well she still looks like new, despite the fact that he has cruised tens of thousands of miles with her, some to distinctly northern latitudes and remote places, and many single-handed.
So it may have looked like nothing more than a gathering of like-minded yachties in search of a bit of fun. But they’ve certainly earned it, and their celebration of cruising matched their achievements.

Published in Cruising

Admittedly this one's done the rounds but watching this Danish yacht navigate such a treacherous sea is always worth another goo. Union Chandlery in Cork posted the video on Facebook this morning with the caption: 'What an entrance!' We agree!

Published in Cruising

With all the talk these days of cruise liners and where they might be berthed, we tend to overlook the fact that most recreational sailors in Ireland would list “cruising” as their primary boating interest writes W M Nixon.

But these mariners are thinking in terms of making determinedly non-racing sea passages – ranging from coastal hops of a couple of hours to voyages lasting many days – in command of their own vessels, rather than going as passengers on some cruise line company’s luxurious behemoth.

The Cruising Association of Ireland was set up to cater for their specialized needs, and although most of the members do their cruising on their own, or maybe in company with one other buddy boat, from time to time they organize cruises in company, while every so often there’s a CAI Rally.

One of the most successful was held in September 2014 in Dublin’s River Liffey, when Dublin Port put out the hospitality mat at the new pontoons at the Point Depot. After a Vessels Parade up to the Samuel Beckett Bridge once the East Link Bridge had opened to let the fleet through, all the usual inter-boat visiting in a large and varied fleet kept them busy at the Point Depot pontoons, and then the evening was rounded out with a convivial meal aboard the restaurant ship Cill Airne.

So successful was that gathering that upwards of 30 CAI boats have already signed up for this year’s assembly, which is this coming weekend, 19th to 20th September. The Association’s Commodore John Leahy emphasizes that it’s an entirely open event, and all boats are very welcome to take part whether their owners are CAI members or not, while powerboats are of course also warmly invited.

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Last year’s CAI September Rally saw the Samuel Beckett Bridge being the upper limit of navigation, but this year it will be opened for the enlarged fleet. Photo: W M Nixon

The format has been stepped up, as they’ll now be also able to transit the Samuel Beckett Bridge for a proper river tour before berthing at the Point Depot, while the festivities at the Cill Airne on the Saturday evening have been developed further to include a hog roast, starting at 1900hrs.

In fact, Saturday is going to be one busy day, as they get through the East Link Bridge at 1500hrs, have their Parade of Sail “through three bridges”, berth up and socialize at the Point Depot Pontoons, and then take in a scheduled CAI tour of the very impressive German Tall Ship Gorch Foch at 1700hrs.

On Sunday 20th the Eastlink Bridge will be opened at noon to permit the fleet to head downriver again. But rather than heading straight back to their home ports, CAI visitors and their guests from outside the Liffey are thinking in terms of an informal gathering for Sunday lunch at the hospitable Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club marina. 

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Gathering of voyagers. The impressive fleet at 2014’s Dublin CAI Rally is likely to be increased this coming weekend. Photo: W M Nixon

Published in Cruising

Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) Member Kingsley Ross has created a survey to help quantify the economic impact on cruising areas caused by restrictions on visa terms for cruisers from outside the Schengen agreement area who visit by yacht. The OCC urge cruisers who have any experience with this matter to please take a few moments to supply input to this important survey. The survey is online here

The information will be collated and analysed to support a case for easing visa restrictions on visiting yachtsmen by the EU and Schengen countries. Legislation to establish a touring visa has already been proposed but not acted upon. It is hoped that providing tangible figures on economic impact can help move the new proposed European legislation forward.

"This survey will capture information on how much is being spent in non-Schengen countries while cruisers were staying in them to avoid violating Schengen visa restrictions. While I think the survey will help, going to your own representative is a crucial way of making this happen. The survey results hopefully will give some ammunition to this type of effort," explains Kingsley Ross, lead coordinator.

OCC Rear Commodore Peter Paternotte is contacting the Netherlands Automobile Association, a truly Europe-focused organization also looking after the interests of "land cruisers" from abroad who face similar issues. He adds, "I have been concentrating on raising the awareness of the concerns of those travelling by sea with the European Boating Association and will also contact Dutch EU Parliament members. The more support we can muster the better."

"The Corsica anchoring tax adds another dimension as it is relevant to European flagged cruisers as well. This survey can be a valuable tool for future interventions. Besides using the data to argue the Schengen issue and the new fees in various countries, it could be used to support cruiser friendly policies in Turkey, Great Britain and elsewhere," added OCC member Gus Wilson, collaborator on this effort in the UK.

Published in Cruising
Page 7 of 19

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