Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Displaying items by tag: Enda O'Coineen

Strangford Lough solo sailor Andrew ‘Hammy’ Baker has been announced as the newest team member of Enda O'Coineen's campaign to be the first Irish person to compete in the Vendee Globe race, the non stop, unassisted, race around the world, the Everest of sailing challenges.

Hammy is part of the team that will prepare the boat, optimise performance, and work with Skipper O’Coineen ahead of the Vendee Globe Race start in November.

Hammy aspires to be the first Northern Irish sailor to compete in the Vendee Globe. The race takes place every four years and involves a grueling lap of the planet, alone, through the Southern Ocean. Speaking about the announcement Hammy said:

“To be involved in an all Ireland Team is definitely a huge step towards that end goal… This week he sailed into Belfast where he spent his life sailing on O'Coineen's IMOCA 60.

He previously competed in a solo sailing campaign in a 33-foot yacht where many of the top ocean racers learn the ropes.

The boat will be in Dublin on a round Ireland promotional voyage this weekend.

Published in Vendee Globe

Ireland’s first-ever Vendee Globe entrant, Enda O'Coineen with his IMOCA 60 Kilcullen Voyager, was in his home port of Galway this week for the presentation to First Port of Galway Sea Scouts of a cheque towards the renovation of one of their boats at Galway docks. Rasa is a 24–ft sailing cruiser which has been put back into service through a work programme over the past two seasons by an enthusiastic group of leaders and young scouts under the leadership of Alan Delaunty and Kieran Oliver. The boat, entirely crewed by the young scouts, participated in the Annual Blessing of the Bay last Sunday.

The presentation was made on behalf of the Cruising Association of Ireland, which has about five hundred members around Ireland. Clifford Brown, CAI Commodore, says they are delighted to contribute to such an excellent project giving training in sailing and seamanship to young people in Galway, and hopes the Rasa would next year be able to join one of the local CAI cruises.

The presentation was made aboard Kilcullen Voyager shortly before Enda O’Coineen set off a training session of four hundred miles out into the Atlantic prior to his single-handed handed Vende Globe challenge, starting on 6th November from Les Sables-d’Olonne in the Vendee region of Biscay France. Before departure for this week’s venture, he told the young Sea Scouts that he started his sailing in their troop back in the 1960's under Captain Whooley.

Published in Vendee Globe
Tagged under

Crawling on hands and knees below deck through the 60–foot IMOCA class Kilcullen Voyager was an interesting experience. She is a “beast of a boat,” her owner told me, “but she also has elegance about her at sea.”
She is also very well-equipped, impressively and dauntingly so. I saw arrays of electronic equipment, water ballast controls and a very simple seat/sleeping berth at the navigation desk, in front of a console that would do credit to a jetliner, but I wouldn’t fancy spending up to three months living in that space.
Having crawled down the port side to the bow, I returned via starboard to emerge into the cockpit and stare upwards again at the mast, clawing its way over a hundred feet skywards.
The Team Ireland yacht was alongside James O’Brien’s Cork Harbour Marina at Monkstown, from where its owner, Enda O’Coineen, was about to depart on an 800-nautical mile training voyage into the Atlantic in pursuance of his plan to be Ireland’s first-ever entrant in the non-stop, around-the-world solo Vendee Globe Race.
Enda suffered damage on that training voyage, when one of the twin rudders was damaged in an impact at sea with an unidentified object, but the yacht sailed into Galway as scheduled and this weekend will begin a promotional voyage from there to Belfast and Dublin.
Enda O’Coineen knows that he attracts differing views from many people. Mine is that his sailing ability and determination cannot be challenged, neither can his courage.
“This is a journey, a psychological challenge as well as a physical one,” he told me.
• Listen to him here on this week’s THIS ISLAND NATION Podcast

Published in Island Nation

Enda O'Coineen will be Ireland's first entry into the Vendee Globe race, a single–handed non stop race around the globe. As Afloat reported in May, the 61–year–old Galwegian will start the race in 95 days time and as part of his preparations has prepared the video below. 

The race sails around the world from west to east via the three major capes of Good Hope, Leeuwin and the Horn. There is a long slide down the Atlantic, the perilous voyage across the Southern Ocean with firstly the Indian Ocean and its crossed seas, then the Pacific Ocean, the world’s biggest ocean. Finally, there is the climb back up the Atlantic to head back to Les Sables d’Olonne, which marks the start and finish of the Everest of the seas.

Published in Vendee Globe

As Afloat reported earlier this week, Enda O’Coineen has confirmed he will be skippering a 'Team Ireland' Vendée Globe Challenge, starting on November 6. An Irish skipper has so far never entered what is considered to be the toughest sailing race in the world; a solo non–stop circumnavigation. O'Coineen completed the qualification stage for the race last December by taking a podium position in the Ocean Masters transatlantic race from the Caribbean to France.

O'Coineen has also announced this afternoon that former Derry Clipper Skipper Sean McCarter, who has his sights set on the Vendée Globe 2020, is lined up as a 'Reserve Skipper' for the current Challenge, as is Irish solo sailor David Kenefick from Cork, an accomplished Figaro sailor. A 'substitute' skipper, according to the Vendee Globe Notice of Race, could replace O'Coineen by midnight the night before the race start as long as they satisfy the race rules.

Ireland’s Marcus Hutchinson is the Project Director, bringing a wealth of Volvo and Americas Cup experience to the team.

Today, in the Irish Embassy in Paris, Team Ireland was joined by French and Irish business interests, kindly hosted by Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason for the announcement.

'Team Ireland' Vendée Globe Challenge has been created to enable future aspirational sailors to utilise the expertise, infrastructure, and value created by the campaign. According to O'Coineen, the new Team Ireland also draws on the legacy of the Green Dragon, the Volvo Ocean Race, and the Whitbread Race. A partner network of sponsors is being invited to support the Team, which will also promote Ireland’s 'Atlantic Youth Trust' charity.

Team Ireland will be racing on board the Owen Clarke designed 'Kilcullen Voyager', formerly skippered by Mike Golding. The 60–foot yacht is currently undergoing a refit in France ahead of a busy programme leading up to the race start.

Enda O’Coineen, the man behind both the NCB Ireland and Green Dragon projects as well as the Volvo Ocean Race visits to Galway, previously twice crossed the Atlantic alone in inflatable boats and more recently finished on the podium in a transatlantic race.

Published in Vendee Globe

​Enda O'Coineen (60) will skipper Ireland's first single handed non–stop round the world sailing race entry this November. The 'Team Ireland Vendée Globe Challenge' is billed as 'a professional sailing team that will see the first ever Irish sportsperson compete in sailing's most difficult race, the Vendée Globe'.

The global race begins on November 6.

O'Coineen will compete in an IMOCA 60-foot monohull, which are among the fastest racing yachts in the world. It is the same boat in which the Galway Bay and Royal Irish Yacht Club sailor finished third in a Transatlantic race last winter to qualify for the Vendee Globe, acknowledged as the everest of sailing.

The Team Ireland Vendée Globe Challenge Project Manager is Marcus Hutchinson. Dublin sailor John McDonald is an advisor and Neil O'Hagan of the Atlantic Youth trust is also involved.

More details on the team Ireland website here

 

Published in Vendee Globe

In Irish sailing, January is far and away the longest month. Publishing schedules for the printed Afloat Annual mean that December’s Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Month” has to be announced on December 15th. So as though January weren’t quite long enough already, we just go right ahead and extend it to six weeks…….

But the thought that January, however long, isn’t a sailing month in Ireland has been well and truly turned on its head. In all, we have three sailors who have made the standard between December 15th and January 31st, and they well represent the diversity of our sailing scene.

JANUARY SAILOR OF THE MONTH – ENDA O'COINEEN

enda ocoineen imoca 60
Enda O’Coineen’s Kilcullen Voyager match racing with Alex Thompson’s Hugo Boss in Cork Harbour

In the countdown to Christmas, the thoughts of many in the Irish sailing community weren’t on the usual festive fare. At least parts of their minds were in mid-Atlantic where Enda O'Coineen, arguably Galway’s most stubborn sailor, was battling against the odds in an Open 60 race from St Lucia in the Caribbean to La Foret near Concarneau in Brittany.

“Against the odds” scarcely does the situation justice. Everything seemed to be stacked against him. He’d started a clear day after the rest of the fleet while a mechanical problem was being sorted, but then Kilcullen Voyager and her indomitable skipper found their mojo and fairly streaked across the ocean.

With a mighty leap, our hero freed himself….. It became a race of attrition, with others falling by the wayside through damage or injury. But the Galway boat just kept getting better and better. And they didn’t merely record a respectable finish. They placed third. A podium place. The perfect Christmas present.

enda ocoineen
It’s Christmas and the celebrations have started as Enda O’Coineen closes in for third place at La Foret

JANUARY YOUTH SAILORS OF THE MONTH – DOUGLAS ELMES AND COLIN O’SULLIVAN

Ireland’s youth sailing programme for 2016 got off to a rocket-assisted start with Doug Elmes (17) and Colin O’Sullivan (16) winning the bronze in the 420 Worlds 2015 in the final hours of the old year at Langkawi in Malaysia.

Sailing conditions were brilliant with good breezes and sunny warm weather. However, a delay in the delivery of the allocated fleet of new boats meant that the practice race was the first time any of the boats had been sailed. But the technological expertise of helmsman Doug Elmes gave the Irish challenge an edge in the race against time to get the boats ready, and though their campaign had its ups and downs, overall it was an impressively cool performance by a team who knew how to put on the pressure and make the right calls when it really mattered.

douglas elmes colin osullivan
Doug Elmes and Colin O’Sullivan on their return to Dublin Airport with the Bronze medals. Photo: W M Nixon

420 dinghy
Sailing conditions were perfect in Malaysia in late Decemberm and the Irish duo revelled in it. Photo: Ross Killian

Elmes is from Kilkenny while O’Sullivan is from Malahide, but it’s the International 420 class’s focal point of Howth YC, with coach Graeme Grant giving the two an extra edge, which had them set up and ready to go to the worlds with ISA Coach Ross Killian.

They had the traditional heroes’ return at Dublin Airport a few days into the New Year, and the weekend saw Howth YC laying on the celebrations with new Commodore Berchmans Gannon putting the medallists through an entertaining question and answer session which set this remarkable success into its proper perspective.

jansom5
The secrets revealed…..Colin O’Sullivan and Doug Elmes in an entertaining Q & A session with HYC Commodore Berchmans Gannon at the party in the club to celebrate their success. Photo: W M Nixon

Published in Sailor of the Month

The governments in both jurisdictions in Ireland have included an all-Ireland sail training ship for the Atlantic Youth Trust in their long term capital expenditure proposals. And the movement in favour of support for this project has become so strong that the nationwide team involved in promoting it are confident that the ship’s future is now secured.

They continue to hold this view even with general elections and possible major changes in administrative direction taking place, north and south, within the next four months. Thus this week’s 2016 Annual General Meeting of the Atlantic Youth Trust in Irish Lights Headquarters in Dun Laoghaire found itself reviewing a remarkable year of progress and achievement, while giving pointers and reassurances for the successful way ahead. W M Nixon was there to take on board an evening of multiple messages.

It could well be that some time in the future, we will come to the sad but inescapable conclusion that the foundering of the Republic of Ireland’s national 84–ft sail training brigantine Asgard II in September 1908, followed within two years by the sinking of the Northern Ireland 70ft training ketch Lord Rank, were necessary disasters for the progress towards the ultimately more healthy ideal of a Class A 40-metre sail training barquentine.

The proposed ship - determinedly and enthusiastically serving all Ireland – will be initially funded through donations, and by government grants from both sides of the border. But the vessel is to be run independently by a cross-border trust rather than by some obscure unit of a government department.

September 2008 saw Ireland on the edge of the financial abyss. For a government under enormous pressure from all sides, a government, moreover, in which the minister responsible for the Asgard II took little or no interest in the ship and what she did, this sinking was a blessing in disguise.

The hull of Asgard II, completed in 1981, had long passed its sell-by date. When she sank, she took with her the magnificent rig which had been totally replaced only a couple of years earlier. Yet a properly involved government would surely have taken on board the advice that her timber hull urgently needed replacing, preferably with one built in steel. For although in 2008 the ship looked better than ever thanks to the devotion of her crew in working way over and above the call of duty in painting, varnishing and routine maintenance, there was no escaping the fact that the basic hull and its original fittings were living on borrowed time.

Ironically, the visit to La Rochelle, which she was nearing when she sank, included plans for a three-week stopover for a complete survey and some necessary repairs. Whether or not this would have revealed the fracturing seacock which many reckon to have caused the unstoppable ingress of water can only be a matter of speculation. The fact of the matter is the ship sank, and in an exemplary display of seamanship, the captain and crew ensured that their full quota of young trainees got safely away.

asgard tall ship
Flying the flag for Ireland – Asgard II in fine form, seen from another tall ship

But although Asgard II remained stubbornly intact and upright for some weeks on the Bay of Biscay seabed off Belle Ile, a government with financial Armageddon crashing down around its ears was glad enough to be shot of a unique project which some of them had never really understood or supported in the first place. Thus they refused to consider multiple suggests as to how best Asgard II could be salvaged. And frankly, it was for the best that they did so. For like it or not, while she was much-loved by the maritime community, the vessel had lost public confidence.

The subsequent loss of the Lord Rank in July 2010 after striking a rock likewise resulted in a merciful absence of casualties. But with Ireland north and south now in the utter depths of economic recession with no governmental enthusiasm whatsoever for non-essential projects, it was time to re-group for a few years and re-think the entire sail training ideal. It became almost an underground movement, with Coiste an Asgard being re-structured as Sail Training Ireland, and diligently setting about placing Irish trainees on the ships of other nations. It’s an ongoing programme which has been notably successful in providing both sea-going experience and a guaranteed international dimension for young people from all over Ireland, city and country alike.

Meanwhile there were rumblings from the west of Ireland where Enda O'Coineen and John Killeen were building on the can-do attitude of Galway, and from this there gradually emerged the Atlantic Youth Trust. It’s a determinedly all-Ireland group in which the Chairman is former Winter Olympics Gold Medallist Lord Glentoran from Northern Ireland, with the unstoppable unsinkable O Coineen as President. Supporting them is one very impressive list of seriously heavy hitters in the maritime and big business sphere from all over Ireland on its board, and perhaps most importantly of all, at an early stage they secured Neil O’Hagan as Executive Director.

neil o hagan3
Neil O’Hagan, Executive Director of the Atlantic Youth Trust

This sounds an impressive title, but at the moment he heads up a minimal staff. You can get the flavour of it all by taking a look at the Sailing on Saturdays conversation I had with him, reported here on 4th April 2015. The amount of work he puts in is prodigious, and though the Trust’s founding General Meeting was held in Belfast in the Harbour Commission’s historic building on September 10th 2014, they’d to forego a General Meeting during 2015 while various elements and agreements were being finally edged into place.

Since April 2015 we’ve had snippets of news about the governments north and south starting to provide what are essentially government letters of intent in support of the project. However, politics on this island being a snakelike progression notwithstanding the best efforts of St Patrick, with every twist and turn of the political machines the AYT have been at pains to ensure that gains supposedly agreed by one administrative decision-maker are carried through into the remit of the next when the inevitable political wheel of fortune turns yet again at the individual level.

But now, with two general elections in the offing and a rapidly improving situation developing in the AYT’s prospects, it was essential for a properly-convened AGM to be held on Thursday January 21st, staged this time in the impressive board-room of the Irish Lights Commissioners in Dun Laoghaire.

Atlantic youth trust4
The boardroom at Irish Lights HQ is an impressive venue for any meeting, and it suited the Atlantic Youth Trust’s 2016 AGM very well

enda O coineenThe maritime evangelist……Enda O'Coineen in full flight at this weeks AGM of the Atlantc Youth Trust

Ironically, although one of the main lines of thought in the AYT’s thinking is that the ship they’ll provide will be more of a floating multi-discipline schoolship of many projects, both afloat and ashore, rather than a traditional sail training ship, it emerged at the AGM that it was the traditional Tall Ships visit and Parade of Sail in Belfast and on Belfast Lough last July which gave them their greatest boost.

They’d a significant presence there, and thanks to one of the Trust Board Members, they’d the use of a fine big motor vessel aboard which visiting politicos and other heavy hitters could be taken on a sociable yet instructive tour of the harbour and the Tall Ships fleet. For many of these decision makers and opinion formers, it was a transformative experience, turning them into supporters of the Atlantic Youth Trust’s way of thinking.

Tall Ships Belfast 6
The Tall Ships in Belfast, July 2015

ay7She’s not a tall ship, she doesn’t even set sails, but the availability of the fine motor-yacht Evolution as a tour boat was a game changer for the Atlantic Youth Trust at Belfast’s Tall Ships Festival. Photo: W M Nixon

This opened doors north and south, and they rapidly increased their already formidable knowledge of how to work the corridors of power. The meeting on Thursday in Irish Lights was chaired by Peter Cooke from the north, and his affable presence made the running of business very smooth indeed. But as each specialist on the board revealed the progress they’d made during the past year and more in their particular task, it was to realize that here were people who were utterly professional in their approach, yet went at the job with the total enthusiasm of dedicated amateurs.

But what most impressed was the synergy of the high octane talents on the board which, in addition to Lord Glentoran, Enda O Coineen and Peter Cooke, can draw on the talents of people of the calibre of Dr Gerard O’Hare, Roger Courtney, Sean Lemass, David Beattie and John Killeen – with Neil O’Hagan as the key conduit, they’ve turned themselves into a formidable lobbying organisation.

It’s a fact of life in all Irish political administration, and particularly in Dublin, that each separate government department much prefers to function independently within its own little bubble, with nothing whatever to do with any other department while avoiding overlaps if at all possible. This is especially so in the neglected area of maritime activity, which is overseen by several departments, and is further warped by the reality that the government is in Dublin - which is also the biggest port - yet the real scene of the maritime action and the true hotbed of ideas is Cork.

So our shrewd operators in the AYT stood back and concluded that the politician they should most directly target was of course Minister for the Marine (and many other matters) Simon Coveney TD of Cork, but that in Dublin the departments to be wooed were Finance and the Office of the Taoiseach.

With increasing support at official level in the north and enthusiasm from key decision makers in the Republic, things were going grand when the President of the AYT suddenly went off in December 2015 to race single-handed across the Atlantic from the Caribbean to Brittany in his IMOCA 60 Kilcullen Voyager. Enda O’Coineen’s big boat has been very much part of the AYT awareness programme for the past year, taking trainee crews to sea. But this was something else altogether, and it made many supporters of the new training ship ideal distinctly nervous.

ay8Enda O Coineen’s IMOCA 60 Kilcullen Voyager was used in Belfast for AYT work, but then in December he went and raced her single-handed across the Atlantic from the Caribbean to France. Photo W M Nixon

Racing across the Atlantic in as rough a December as anyone could remember may have been a personal challenge, but inevitably it was a high risk venture with which the AYT was inevitably associated, whether it liked it or not. The sailing community in Ireland is small, and nothing can happen in isolation. But to everyone’s enormous relief, not only did the boy do it, but he did it well, sailing across in style and securing a podium place with third at the finish.

This was quietly acknowledged as something which had been on everyone’s mind in a graceful little speech by the Deputy Chairman of the Irish Lights Commissioners congratulating the President on his Transatlantic success. So with everything in place as regards where AYT now stands in relation to both governments, the formal part of the meeting concluded with some commitments as to the way ahead, and the news that the Atlantic Youth Trust’s next public gathering of significance will be in Galway on March 12th, when more precise details of the new ship and the building programme will be revealed.

However, with an ethos in which going the extra mile is part of the DNA, the AYT then laid on a hugely entertaining dinner in the neighbouring Royal Irish YC with fascinating shows by the Gardai Siochana’s Conor O’Byrne, who played a central on-board co-ordination role in rescuing a crewman who had gone overboard in mid-Pacific from the Clipper yacht Derry-Londonderry-Doire, and from Stewart Hosford from Cork, who is CEO of the organisation Five Degrees West whose main project is the designing, building and management of the Imoca 60 boats raced under the Hugo Boss campaign by Alex Thompson.

ay9May The Force Be With You – the two faces of the Garda Siochana’s Conor O’Byrne, who gave the AYT and its supporters a fascinating insight into the successful rescue of a crewmember who went overboard from Derry/Londonderry/Doire in mid-Pacific.

ay10Suits you, Sir…..Alex Thompson on the second Hugo Boss. At Thursday’s meeting, Stewart Hosford of Cork – whose interest in the sea and sailing was inspired by Asgard II – gave the inside story on his job as CEO of the Hugo Boss sailing challenges.

Each compact yet thought-provoking show would have made for a worthy topic on its own in most clubs’ entertainment programme. But it was special to include both on this night of all nights, as each speaker had been enthused in their youth by sailing on Asgard II, and each would do anything to ensure that the upcoming generations get a similar opportunity and inspiration.

It was that kind of night, with the congenial attendance including Seamus McLoughlin and Michael Byrne from Sail Training Ireland, and Oliver Hart whose 70ft schooner Spirit of Oysterhaven continues gallantly to fulfill the role of Ireland’s premier sail training vessel from her base on the Cork coast.

In all, it’s a busy few days for Irish sail training, which is definitely no longer an underground movement. Today, Sail Training Ireland hold their 4th Annual Prize Giving and Programme Launch in the Mansion House in Dublin, looking back on a season in which the number of funded trainees sent on sailing ships abroad and at home came in at just under 300, while in all they arranged berths for more than 500.

The plan for 2016 includes a formal twinning of Dublin and Liverpool for maritime festivals, while on the training front, STI are aiming for a target of 350 funded trainees. And as for Ireland eventually returning to having her own sail training ship, no sooner was Thursday night’s remarkable series of events brought to a close than Neil O’Hagan had to gather his thoughts and head off for New York to meet the Ireland Fund. They are taking a serious and very positive interest in the plans of the Atlantic Youth Trust.

ay11The Dutch Tall Ship Morgenster, seen here on Belfast Lough in July 2015, is one of the vessels used by Sail Training Ireland to send more than 500 young people every year out onto the high seas. Photo: W M Nixon

Published in W M Nixon

Irish solo sailor Enda O’Coineen has finished third in a 3,400 mile non–stop Transatlantic race from the Carribbean to France.

In an exceptional performance, Ireland’s Enda O’Coineen aboard his IMOCA 60 Currency Kilcullen Voyager completed the podium in the IMOCA Ocean Masters Transat St Barth-Port la Forêt, the third event of the IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championship 2015-2016.

Kilcullen crossed the finish line off the Breton harbour at 13:19:55 today (Sunday, 20th December), with a race time for the 3375 mile course of 13d 22h 19min 55s. In fact O’Coineen was forced to start the race just over a day later than the rest of his competitors after his boat experienced problems with her engine’s saildrive unit. As a result the actual elapsed time for Currency House Kilcullen’s passage across the North Atlantic was 12d 21h 49m and 55s, less than the 12d 23h 57m and 42s time of second placed Fabrice Amédéo who arrived yesterday on Newrest–Matmut.
“My hair is wet from a magnum of champagne - it was a great arrival,” said Kilcullen’s jubilant 60-year-old skipper after he’d docked in Port la Forêt. “I could have got here sooner, but when I realised I was under no pressure I took the last two days easy, rather than trying to catch the other boat.”
While there were seven starters, the race has been a war of attrition thanks to the severe winter gales, which have frequently brought storm force gusts to the fleet over the last week. At present only one boat is left on the race course – Morgan Lagravière’s Safran which was around 870 miles astern when Currency House Kilcullen finished this afternoon.
During one gale early last week, O’Coineen said he saw 46 knots of wind and he experienced similar gusts once past the Azores islands on Thursday night. “You are humbled by that ocean out there. It is an animal! I don’t think the storms are getting any easier with globe warming - some of those storms were outrageous. You got used to the wind being ‘only 30 knots’, all the time,” recounted O’Coineen. He paid tribute to the boat that British round the world veteran Mike Golding sailed to sixth place in the 2012-3 Vendée Globe: “She is a great boat - very well thought out. I think she is easier to sail than some of the other boats. The keel and self-steering are all in great shape.”
The only issue were some sails, which O’Coineen admitted were destroyed due to him pushing too hard early on. “I sailed the boat quite aggressively, because I really wanted to catch up, but probably too aggressively because after four or five days in fairly quick succession, I blew out the A7 and the J2 sails.”
He expended a lot of energy recovering and dropping the broken sails forcing him to have a quiet day to recuperate. “I got back into the race again and got a bit more confident. All I wanted to do was finish, so to be in a podium position is a fantastic result for me, who is a gifted amateur with a day job. I think age does add a certain factor - you have the benefit of experience…and then there’s luck.”
The result of having taken it relatively easy over the last couple of days while the wind has been ‘only 20 knots’, O’Coineen was in good shape when he arrived in Port la Forêt.
In completing this race, O’Coineen and Kilcullen have now qualified themselves for the 2016-7 Vendée Globe, but O’Coineen says he hasn’t made up his mind if he is doing the famous singlehanded non-stop around the world race which leaves next autumn from Les Sables d’Olonne, France: “I am taking it in stages and this is the first stage. I am having serious meetings with myself and myself! It is a very personal thing, another stage in life. But now it is nice to know it is an option.”
If he did do the Vendée Globe, O’Coineen would be Ireland’s first ever entry in the race which over the years in the UK has made sailing stars out of Ellen MacArthur, Sam Davies, Alex Thomson and Brian Thompson among others.

O'Coineen scored the podium position in the IMOCA Ocean Masters Transat St Barth-Port la Forêt race sailing singlehanded across the Atlantic in Mike Golding's Ecover/Gamesa IMOCA 60.

Racing across the North Atlantic in December was no walk in the park and Enda and his boat had to endure repeated storms and 45-50 knot winds.

O'Coineen is the Irishman to have a good crack at the IMOCA class, taking third on his debut race.

After starting 24 hours behind the fleet due to technical difficulties, Enda in his 60–foot IMOCA yacht trailed the leaders by over 300 miles before making a remarkable comeback

The fleet of seven almost identical yachts was repeatedly hit by winter storms, facing winds of over 90kph and massive sized waves. One skipper had to be airlifted off his boat due to injuries he sustained. Three others had to stop to make emergency repairs in the Azores following damage.

OCOINEEN

Speaking about the race Enda said:

“Over the years I have crossed many oceans in yachts and inflatables much smaller than this, yet this has been the most physically and technically testing race I have ever entered. Sailing these boats alone is a test of literally every skill imaginable. From stitching sails, working on engines, cooking in 20ft swells, to having no more than a few minutes consistent sleep at a time, the past two weeks have tested me beyond imagination."

"It is fear, the adventure, the unknown, and the scale of the challenge that attracts me to this extreme end of the sport. Most of my competitors are 20 years my junior but that only makes me even more determined. The objective was simple, to finish, and in turn qualify for the Vendee. To finish 3rd is remarkable but only possible due to the misfortune of my fellow competitors as they suffered gear failures."

O'Coineen will now rest and look forward to 2016 and the possibility of racing solo around the world in the Vendee Globe. 

 

Published in Solo Sailing
Tagged under

Having started a day late and trailed the fleet by 300 miles, debut Irish IMOCA 60 skipper Enda O'Coineen has moved up into third place as the seven boat fleet pass the Azores. O'Coineen now has a potential finsih time of as soon as this Sunday.

The fleet leader, Sebastien Josse, is already finished with a dominant display. On crossing the finish line off the Linuen Est mark, at the entrance of Port la Foret harbour, this Wednesday 16 December, at 20hr 18mn 17s GMT, the skipper of IMOCA60 Edmond de Rothschild won the transatlantic race in style after dominating proceedings from beginning to end, only giving up the head of the race for the first six hours to SMA skipper Paul Meilhat.

transat enda ocoineen

His race time is 10d 05hr 18mn 17s. and his average speed along the great circle route (3,375 miles) equates to 13.76 knots. He covered some 3773 miles over the ground at a speed of 15.38 knots. In so doing, he qualifies for the Vendee Globe 2016.

Meanwhile, on Kilcullen Voyager, O'Coineen sent Afloat.ie the following update:

Being honest, I was scared. Through the early morning, it blew up to 40 knots – I ran off before it. The waves trundled after us, sometimes as high as double-decker busses and predictable like the 7A - However it’s the odd rogue wave, against the flow - that catches you unaware.

Eventually last night’s storm abated. I dozed off to sleep and awoke about 90 minutes later. The miserable grey dawn had arrived - like a black and white movie – now the days are so short they morph into the night that it's hard to tell the difference. The wind had dropped back to 15 knots. Like getting a thrill being the very last on a plane, or doing something that’s against the rules - its living on the edge which brings the kicks - and somehow I am not sure if that’s healthy, even if I have survived, so far as my hairs get greyer.

This morning, I had three tasks on sunrise. Which order was the issue. One being my ritual bow of porridge, the other a sail change and a the third to have a dump - though the least said about this the better. However I should reference one, seldom mentioned fact - which in my humble view has revolutionized ocean racing – it is the arrival of the biodegradable plastic bag and wipes – not invented when I was a lad.

Anyway, I went for the sail change first. This involved dragging the large headsail on deck and other preparations. Then when ready to go I had my porridge – which was just as well, since within an hour the wind was backup to 25 knots plus, so I abandoned the sail change.

Now my mood has moved to survival. Not much succour for romance and poetry. Overhead the rain pounds like pellets, I have never seen as much in one dump from the heavens. From tropics, through autumn and now winter, we have had three seasons in 10 days - so Spring must be just around the corner? Could it be Port La Foret?

Rankings on 16 December at 22h (UTC) and ETAs in Port-la-Foret

1. Edmond de Rothschild, Sebastien Josse: Finished on 16 December 2015 at 21h 18' 17" - Winner in 10 days 5h 18' and 17"
2. Newrest / Matmut, Fabrice Amedeo, 818.3 nm. ETA potentially Saturday 19/12 am
3. Currency House Kilcullen, Enda O'Coinnen, 1098.0 nm. ETA potentially Sunday 20/15
4. Le Souffle du Nord, Thomas Ruyant, 1128.4 nm
5. O Canada, Eric Holden, 1190.2 nm
6. Safran, Morgan Lagravirre, 1210.5 nm
Abd. SMA, Paul Meilhat

Published in Solo Sailing
Page 5 of 6

The Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's fourth 'Blue Light' service (along with An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service). It provides a nationwide maritime emergency organisation as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

The purpose of the Irish Coast Guard is to promote safety and security standards, and by doing so, prevent as far as possible, the loss of life at sea, and on inland waters, mountains and caves, and to provide effective emergency response services and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The Irish Coast Guard has responsibility for Ireland's system of marine communications, surveillance and emergency management in Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and certain inland waterways.

It is responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue and counter-pollution and ship casualty operations. It also has responsibility for vessel traffic monitoring.

Operations in respect of maritime security, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration and fisheries enforcement are co-ordinated by other bodies within the Irish Government.

On average, each year, the Irish Coast Guard is expected to:

  • handle 3,000 marine emergencies
  • assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives
  • task Coast Guard helicopters on missions

The Coast Guard has been around in some form in Ireland since 1908.

Coast Guard helicopters

The Irish Coast Guard has contracted five medium-lift Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopters deployed at bases in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo.

The helicopters are designated wheels up from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours and 45 minutes at night. One aircraft is fitted and its crew trained for under slung cargo operations up to 3000kgs and is available on short notice based at Waterford.

These aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains of Ireland (32 counties).

They can also be used for assistance in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and aerial surveillance during daylight hours, lifting and passenger operations and other operations as authorised by the Coast Guard within appropriate regulations.

Irish Coastguard FAQs

The Irish Coast Guard provides nationwide maritime emergency response, while also promoting safety and security standards. It aims to prevent the loss of life at sea, on inland waters, on mountains and in caves; and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The main role of the Irish Coast Guard is to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction. It has three marine rescue centres in Dublin, Malin Head, Co Donegal, and Valentia Island, Co Kerry. The Dublin National Maritime Operations centre provides marine search and rescue responses and coordinates the response to marine casualty incidents with the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Yes, effectively, it is the fourth "blue light" service. The Marine Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for the coastal area between Ballycotton, Co Cork and Clifden, Co Galway. At the same time, the MRSC Malin Head covers the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle. Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) Dublin covers Carlingford Lough, Co Louth to Ballycotton, Co Cork. Each MRCC/MRSC also broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and MF radio, including navigational and gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings.

The Irish Coast Guard handles about 3,000 marine emergencies annually, and assists 4,500 people - saving an estimated 200 lives, according to the Department of Transport. In 2016, Irish Coast Guard helicopters completed 1,000 missions in a single year for the first time.

Yes, Irish Coast Guard helicopters evacuate medical patients from offshore islands to hospital on average about 100 times a year. In September 2017, the Department of Health announced that search and rescue pilots who work 24-hour duties would not be expected to perform any inter-hospital patient transfers. The Air Corps flies the Emergency Aeromedical Service, established in 2012 and using an AW139 twin-engine helicopter. Known by its call sign "Air Corps 112", it airlifted its 3,000th patient in autumn 2020.

The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which is responsible for the Northern Irish coast.

The Irish Coast Guard is a State-funded service, with both paid management personnel and volunteers, and is under the auspices of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. It is allocated approximately 74 million euro annually in funding, some 85 per cent of which pays for a helicopter contract that costs 60 million euro annually. The overall funding figure is "variable", an Oireachtas committee was told in 2019. Other significant expenditure items include volunteer training exercises, equipment, maintenance, renewal, and information technology.

The Irish Coast Guard has four search and rescue helicopter bases at Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo, run on a contract worth 50 million euro annually with an additional 10 million euro in costs by CHC Ireland. It provides five medium-lift Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and trained crew. The 44 Irish Coast Guard coastal units with 1,000 volunteers are classed as onshore search units, with 23 of the 44 units having rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and 17 units having cliff rescue capability. The Irish Coast Guard has 60 buildings in total around the coast, and units have search vehicles fitted with blue lights, all-terrain vehicles or quads, first aid equipment, generators and area lighting, search equipment, marine radios, pyrotechnics and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Community Rescue Boats Ireland also provide lifeboats and crews to assist in search and rescue. The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the Garda Siochána, National Ambulance Service, Naval Service and Air Corps, Civil Defence, while fishing vessels, ships and other craft at sea offer assistance in search operations.

The helicopters are designated as airborne from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours, and 45 minutes at night. The aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, on inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains and cover the 32 counties. They can also assist in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and can transport offshore firefighters and ambulance teams. The Irish Coast Guard volunteers units are expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time of departing from the station house in ten minutes from notification during daylight and 20 minutes at night. They are also expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time to the scene of the incident in less than 60 minutes from notification by day and 75 minutes at night, subject to geographical limitations.

Units are managed by an officer-in-charge (three stripes on the uniform) and a deputy officer in charge (two stripes). Each team is trained in search skills, first aid, setting up helicopter landing sites and a range of maritime skills, while certain units are also trained in cliff rescue.

Volunteers receive an allowance for time spent on exercises and call-outs. What is the difference between the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI? The RNLI is a registered charity which has been saving lives at sea since 1824, and runs a 24/7 volunteer lifeboat service around the British and Irish coasts. It is a declared asset of the British Maritime and Coast Guard Agency and the Irish Coast Guard. Community Rescue Boats Ireland is a community rescue network of volunteers under the auspices of Water Safety Ireland.

No, it does not charge for rescue and nor do the RNLI or Community Rescue Boats Ireland.

The marine rescue centres maintain 19 VHF voice and DSC radio sites around the Irish coastline and a digital paging system. There are two VHF repeater test sites, four MF radio sites and two NAVTEX transmitter sites. Does Ireland have a national search and rescue plan? The first national search and rescue plan was published in July, 2019. It establishes the national framework for the overall development, deployment and improvement of search and rescue services within the Irish Search and Rescue Region and to meet domestic and international commitments. The purpose of the national search and rescue plan is to promote a planned and nationally coordinated search and rescue response to persons in distress at sea, in the air or on land.

Yes, the Irish Coast Guard is responsible for responding to spills of oil and other hazardous substances with the Irish pollution responsibility zone, along with providing an effective response to marine casualties and monitoring or intervening in marine salvage operations. It provides and maintains a 24-hour marine pollution notification at the three marine rescue centres. It coordinates exercises and tests of national and local pollution response plans.

The first Irish Coast Guard volunteer to die on duty was Caitriona Lucas, a highly trained member of the Doolin Coast Guard unit, while assisting in a search for a missing man by the Kilkee unit in September 2016. Six months later, four Irish Coast Guard helicopter crew – Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith -died when their Sikorsky S-92 struck Blackrock island off the Mayo coast on March 14, 2017. The Dublin-based Rescue 116 crew were providing "top cover" or communications for a medical emergency off the west coast and had been approaching Blacksod to refuel. Up until the five fatalities, the Irish Coast Guard recorded that more than a million "man hours" had been spent on more than 30,000 rescue missions since 1991.

Several investigations were initiated into each incident. The Marine Casualty Investigation Board was critical of the Irish Coast Guard in its final report into the death of Caitriona Lucas, while a separate Health and Safety Authority investigation has been completed, but not published. The Air Accident Investigation Unit final report into the Rescue 116 helicopter crash has not yet been published.

The Irish Coast Guard in its present form dates back to 1991, when the Irish Marine Emergency Service was formed after a campaign initiated by Dr Joan McGinley to improve air/sea rescue services on the west Irish coast. Before Irish independence, the British Admiralty was responsible for a Coast Guard (formerly the Water Guard or Preventative Boat Service) dating back to 1809. The West Coast Search and Rescue Action Committee was initiated with a public meeting in Killybegs, Co Donegal, in 1988 and the group was so effective that a Government report was commissioned, which recommended setting up a new division of the Department of the Marine to run the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC), then based at Shannon, along with the existing coast radio service, and coast and cliff rescue. A medium-range helicopter base was established at Shannon within two years. Initially, the base was served by the Air Corps.

The first director of what was then IMES was Capt Liam Kirwan, who had spent 20 years at sea and latterly worked with the Marine Survey Office. Capt Kirwan transformed a poorly funded voluntary coast and cliff rescue service into a trained network of cliff and sea rescue units – largely voluntary, but with paid management. The MRCC was relocated from Shannon to an IMES headquarters at the then Department of the Marine (now Department of Transport) in Leeson Lane, Dublin. The coast radio stations at Valentia, Co Kerry, and Malin Head, Co Donegal, became marine rescue-sub-centres.

The current director is Chris Reynolds, who has been in place since August 2007 and was formerly with the Naval Service. He has been seconded to the head of mission with the EUCAP Somalia - which has a mandate to enhance Somalia's maritime civilian law enforcement capacity – since January 2019.

  • Achill, Co. Mayo
  • Ardmore, Co. Waterford
  • Arklow, Co. Wicklow
  • Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
  • Ballycotton, Co. Cork
  • Ballyglass, Co. Mayo
  • Bonmahon, Co. Waterford
  • Bunbeg, Co. Donegal
  • Carnsore, Co. Wexford
  • Castlefreake, Co. Cork
  • Castletownbere, Co. Cork
  • Cleggan, Co. Galway
  • Clogherhead, Co. Louth
  • Costelloe Bay, Co. Galway
  • Courtown, Co. Wexford
  • Crosshaven, Co. Cork
  • Curracloe, Co. Wexford
  • Dingle, Co. Kerry
  • Doolin, Co. Clare
  • Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
  • Fethard, Co. Wexford
  • Glandore, Co. Cork
  • Glenderry, Co. Kerry
  • Goleen, Co. Cork
  • Greencastle, Co. Donegal
  • Greenore, Co. Louth
  • Greystones, Co. Wicklow
  • Guileen, Co. Cork
  • Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Kilkee, Co. Clare
  • Killala, Co. Mayo
  • Killybegs, Co. Donegal
  • Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford
  • Knightstown, Co. Kerry
  • Mulroy, Co. Donegal
  • North Aran, Co. Galway
  • Old Head Of Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • Oysterhaven, Co. Cork
  • Rosslare, Co. Wexford
  • Seven Heads, Co. Cork
  • Skerries, Co. Dublin Summercove, Co. Cork
  • Toe Head, Co. Cork
  • Tory Island, Co. Donegal
  • Tramore, Co. Waterford
  • Waterville, Co. Kerry
  • Westport, Co. Mayo
  • Wicklow
  • Youghal, Co. Cork

Sources: Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

quantum sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating