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Displaying items by tag: Royal Cork Yacht Club

The Fastnet 450 starts today (Saturday) at 1300hrs in Dublin Bay, and sends the fleet on a 270-mile course southward, taking them all the way to the Fastnet Rock before finishing back at the entrance to Cork Harbour, clear of the coast and shoreside communities throughout the race. The 450 comes from the combined ages of the Royal Cork YC and the National YC – 300 and 150 years respectively. As both have been prevented by the pandemic from implementing anything but the most basic parts of their planned celebrations, there's an impressive amount of pent-up energy going into this one permissible pop-up offshore event, which is COVID-compliant with designated Crew Pods.

This event has come to mean so much for the ultimate well-being of Irish sailing in this frustrated season of 2020 that it would surely be for the best if we could somehow – for the time being at least - set aside the burden of expectation which many are putting on it as primarily an icon of hope, and see it instead as just a uniquely historical challenge which will provide an enthusiastic group of Irish sailors with a very welcome sporting challenge, in which everyone will live for the moment and seize the day, without risking anyone's health.

In hoping to achieve that attitude this weekend, we are helped by that sometimes much-maligned yet ever-present element in our sport, the Irish weather. After a week of some of the grimmest weather - by any metric - in Irish meteorological history, whether summer or winter, our climate seems to have decided that a few light-hearted days won't go amiss. 

Grzegorz Kalnecki's First 31.7 More Mischief from Dun LaoghaireGrzegorz Kalnecki's First 31.7 More Mischief from Dun Laoghaire is the smallest boat in the Fastnet 450. Her successes this year include an ISORA Race overall win. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien

Admittedly we are not going to have a high-summer weekend of firmly settled weather. And by the time the fleet are getting themselves past Hook Head tomorrow morning after a fast reaching-to-close-reaching passage in an "off the grass" southwest to west wind down the east coast, they'll know for sure that they've put in some real offshore slugging to windward from the Tuskar out past the Coningbeg, particularly when the ebb is running against the big leftover swell which – for a while – will be one of the legacies of the now well-gone Storm Ellen.

But through Sunday there'll be a modest attempt at a pet day as a weak ridge builds, and they may even get the breeze drawing off the land before the wind starts to back on the west side of the ridge, when the leaders may well be closing towards the handbrake turn at the Fastnet. The way that plays out – coupled with the inevitability of local breezes or even calm spots - is going to make for a fascinating comparison of the racing benefits or otherwise of different boat sizes and types.

The 270-mile course. The most rugged section is likely to be off southeast Ireland getting past the Tuskar Rock, Carnsore Point and the Saltee Islands.The 270-mile course. The most rugged section is likely to be off southeast Ireland getting past the Tuskar Rock, Carnsore Point and the Saltee Islands. See race tracker embedded below,

For although it may seem to be a very compact fleet, with all 20 boats in the 31ft to 40ft LOA range, the difference in performance possibilities increases exponentially. And while it may not be so extreme as the variations in wind power, where a Beaufort Force 6 of 25 to 32 knots is actually exerting 200 times the pressure of a Beaufort Force 2 of 5 to 8 knots, nevertheless the windward potential of a 40 footer such as Denis and Annamarie Murphy's Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo, or Chris and Patanne Smith's J/122 Aurelia, is in a different category completely to the upwind speed ability of little 'uns like Grzegorz Kalnecki's First 31.7 More Mischief from Dun Laoghaire, or Conor and Derek Dillon's Dehler 34 Big Deal from Foynes.

 Simon Knowles Indian (Howth YC) is the only J/109 entered in the Fastnet 450Simon Knowles Indian (Howth YC) is the only J/109 entered in the Fastnet 450. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien

That said, offwind flying machines like Cian McCarthy's new Sunfast 3300 Cinnamon Girl from Kinsale – which will have the formidable talents of Mark Mansfield on board - and her larger older sisters, the Sunfast 3600s YOYO (Brendan Coghlan, RStGYC) and Hot Cookie (John O'Gorman, NYC, with Maurice "The Prof" O'Connell on the strength), will be hoping that the effect of the run back from the Fastnet is maximised to optimise their gains from their startling offwind performance, captured here (yet again) in this now-famous vid of Cinnamon Girl making hay off the Old Head of Kinsale. We run it for the umpteenth time in the hope that somebody will finally reveal the names of the auteurs, for crediting it to "A Couple of Kids in a RIB" really won't do.

That famous Cinnamon Girl vid recorded by "a couple of kids in a RIB". If the "couple of kids in a RIB" could identify themselves, we'd be delighted to credit this super bit of work to them. (Update: Vid by Jack & Robert Carroll)

However, as revealed in the Kinsale-Fastnet-Kinsale race a fortnight ago, the overall winner Nieulargo (which once again has Nin O'Leary and Killian Collins on board) sails to a rating of only 1.023 when she limits herself to her non-overlapping headsail, which had her level-pegging rating-wise with Cinnamon Girl, yet The Girl finished half an hour astern on the water. And though Nieulargo may be sailing with full headsail which would put her rating up to 1.035 this time round, it still keeps her below the Sunfast 3600s around the 1.040 mark, so both Sunfast marques will have their work cut out, and Nieulargo remains a good sensible wager.

Yet, Aurelia, the Golden One should never be under-estimated, even if she is the highest-rated boat in the fleet at IRC 1.076. In the last big fleet offshore race in Irish waters – the 2019 Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race – she was in consistent form to finish second overall. In fact, consistency is an Aurelia hallmark, and if ever a boat deserved an outstanding win such as the Fastnet 450 offers, then she is that boat.

Chris and Patanne Power Smith's J/122 Aurelia is one of Irish offshore racing's most consistent performersChris and Patanne Power Smith's J/122 Aurelia is one of Irish offshore racing's most consistent performers

But then, the crews of the 19 other boats all think exactly the same way about their craft, and while the compact fleet of 20 boats may be in line with COVID-19 compliance, between them they manage to represent 16 different yacht and sailing clubs, which for a race which has been put together in a fortnight, really is a remarkable achievement, and different clubs will be rooting for their own sailing gladiators.

Thus through being among the lowest-rated boats in the fleet, it's conceivable that More Mischief and Big Deal could have their day in the sun. Equally, the highly competitive racing among J Boats has really sharpened their game in the Dublin area, and there are those punters who would support the potential of Alan Algeo's J99 Juggerknot from the Royal Irish with dinghy champ Conor Kinsella in the crew, or Simon Knowles' well-prepared J/109 Indian from Howth.

Derek & Conor Dillon's Dehler 34 Big Deal from FoynesDerek & Conor Dillon's Dehler 34 Big Deal from Foynes. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien

Either way, it's little short of miraculous that a competitive fleet has been recruited in such a short time. But as we've pointed out already in Afloat, the granddaddy of them all, the Dublin Bay to Cork Harbour or Kingstown to Queenstown Race of July 1860 was also a pop-up event, put together in the days beforehand by the 80-year-old Admiral of the Royal Cork, T G French, who recruited his 16 entries among the yacht racing in a week of regattas in Dublin Bay staged by the Royal St George YC.

So ad hoc was it all that the "fine old Admiral" (as Hunt's Yachting Magazine described him in its August 1860 issue) confirmed entries by visiting each of the 16 interested yacht on the morning of the start in order to confirm entries by collecting the entry fee, which was based on the size of the yacht being entered.

Admiral Colin Morehead of the Royal Cork Yacht Club will be following the example set 160 years ago by his predecessor Thomas G French through being in Dun Laoghaire for the start of the race to Cork Harbour, where he will greet them as they finish Admiral Colin Morehead of the Royal Cork Yacht Club will be following the example set 160 years ago by his predecessor Thomas G French through being in Dun Laoghaire for the start of the race to Cork Harbour, where he will greet them as they finish Photo: Bob Bateman

The total amount collected was a tidy £60, which was a very substantial sum of money in 1860. But instead of augmenting club coffers, it became the prize purse which went to the crew of the winning boat. And as the winner by matter of minutes was one of the smallest competitors, the 39-ton cutter Sibyl skippered by the noted amateur Henry O'Bryen, her relatively small professional crew will have hit the inns of the Holy Ground like a tsunami with their newfound personal wealth.

The fine young Admiral of today's Royal Cork, Colin Morehead, is in Dun Laoghaire this (Saturday) morning to see the fleet on its way, just as his predecessor did 160 years ago. But whether he and his host - NYC Commodore Martin McCarthy – can arrange contactless payments from entries to make up a prize purse for the winning crew is something else altogether, and in any case when the fleet reaches Crosshaven, there'll be no way that financial tsunamis of any size can hit the local hostelries under lockdown rules.

Commodore Martin McCarthy of the National Yacht Club, whjch is 150 years old in 2020.Commodore Martin McCarthy of the National Yacht Club, which is 150 years old in 2020.

For as Mark Mansfield, one of those who have determinedly put together this one and only chance of a decent mid-length offshore race in 2020 has bluntly put it:

"This is pure racing, boy. Forget about your parties before and after. This is all about those who really care very deeply about their sailing – that's the beginning and the middle and the end of it all." 

Thanks to the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association, all competitors have been provided with a Yellowbrick tracker below

The 1 pm race start may also be visible on the Dublin Bay webcam here

 

Fastnet 450 Race Entry List @ 20/08/20

First Name Last Name Club Boat Name Boat Type Sail Number class IRC TCC Echo
James Tyrrell Arklow Sailing club Aquelina J-112E IRL 1507 1 1.061 1.055
John Harrington RUYC and BYC eXcession IMX38 IRL1880 1 1.014 No ECHO
John O'Gorman NYC Hot Cookie Sunfast 3600 GBR7536R 1 1.037 1.035
Brendan Coghlan George YOYO Sunfast3600 IRL3618 1 1.036 1.035
Rónán Ó Siochrú Irish Offshore Sailing Desert Star Irish Offshore Sailing Sunfast 37 IRL1455 2 0.952 0.97
Cian McCarthy Kinsale yacht club cinnamon girl Sunfast 3300 IRL1627 1 1.023 1.025
ROBERT RENDELL Howth Samatom XC45 GBR1345R 1 1.074 1.075
Simon Knowles Howth Yacht club Indian J109 IRL1543 1 1.007 1.015
Derek Dillon Foynes Yacht Club Big Deal Dehler 34 IRL3492 2 0.928 0.93
Grzegorz Kalinecki ISA More Mischief first 310 IRL966 2 0.911 0.92
Peter Coad Waterford Harbour Sailing Club Blackjack Pocock 37 IRL1988 2 0.917 0.92
Andrew Algeo RIYC / BSC Juggerknot 2 J/99 IRL3990 1 1.01 1.02
Rupert Barry Greystones Sailing Club Red Alert JOD35 IRL6036 2 0.993 1
Flynn Kinsman NYC A plus Archambault 31 IRL977 2 0.978 0.98
John Conlon Arklow Humdinger sunfast 37 IRL1357 2 0.98 0.97
Coleman/Coleman David/Noel RCYC Blue Oyster Oyster 37 IRL3852 2 0.93 0.932
Denis & Annamarie Murphy Royal Cork Yacht Club Nieulargo Grand Soleil 40 B+C IRL2129 1 1.023 1.035
Riome (skipper)/ co owner Leonard David/ Mark Kinsale Yacht Club Valfreya Sigma 33 IRL 4297 2 0.912 0.915
Power Smith Chris Royal St George Yacht Club Aurelia J112 IRL35950 1 1.076 1.08
dMiller Keith Kilmore quay Andante Yamaha 36 IRL375 2 0.95 0.935

Royal Cork Yacht Club has cancelled its Tricentenary Parade and 'At Home' Regatta which was to be held next weekend in Cork Harbour.

RCYC Admiral Colin Morehead told members in an advisory note this afternoon: "It is with deep regret that we announce the postponement of the Tricentenary At Home Regatta including the Tricentenary Parade until 2021.

We believe the event must continue to be true to both the traditions and the spirit of the At Home Regatta concept and the Tricentenary celebration should be worthy of that of the oldest yacht club in the world; this was to be impossible this year given the changes announced by the government earlier this week".

Published in Cork300

Storm Ellen and COVID-19 have combined to bring about the cancellation of this week's Irish Laser National Championships in Cork Harbour, one of the biggest dinghy sailing events of the year. 

Both the AIB Irish Laser National Championships, hosted by the Royal Cork YC, and the Irish Laser 4.7 National Championships hosted by Monkstown Bay SC, have been cancelled according to a statement released from organisers tonight.

As Afloat reported earlier, included in the line up of over 100 competitors due into Cork Harbour on Thursday was Tokyo 2021 representative Annalise Murphy who was set to resume domestic competition in the single-handed class in one of the most hotly contested dinghy battles of the season.

The statement says "Both organising Clubs, along with the Irish Laser Association and Irish Sailing have given careful consideration to both public health guidelines and also the impending Storm Ellen due to hit Ireland on Thursday and Friday"

The statement adds: "Notwithstanding the ability for the event to run behind closed doors under the revised guidelines, the combination of that, the weather alert impacting sailing on Thursday and Friday and the number of people travelling, it was decided to cancel the event in the best interest of competitors, officials and everyone involved".

Published in Cork Harbour

The Coolmore Race is an old Cork Harbour yacht race that has been brought back to life by Royal Cork Yacht Club after many years.

After a day of torrential rain, the downpour stopped and sadly the wind died with it. After the dinghies were launched they were towed up the Owenabue River to the start at Coolmore Estate.

The 50 competing boats started at the top of the tide and had the benefit of the ebb for a race back to the RCYC clubhouse. However, the course was shortened and the first boat to finish was James Dwyer (Matthews) in a Laser 4.7 but close on his heels came JP Curtin in an Optimist and won the Trophy. 

Coolmore Photo slideshow by Bob Bateman below 

Published in Optimist

After three races of the Fitzgerald's Menswear sponsored August League at Royal Cork Yacht Club on Sunday, Ronan and John Downing's Half Tonner Miss Whiplash has an overall lead in the IRC spinnaker division for cruiser-racers.

Second overall is the Trapper, Cracker sailed by Denis Byrne. Third overall, and in her first appearance this season was Kieran Collins' Olson 30 Coracle IV who took a win in Sunday's race three.

Olson 30 Coracle IVKieran Collins' Olson 30 Coracle IV

See results here.

Sean Hanly's HB31, LuasSean Hanly's HB31, Luas

Published in Royal Cork YC

Howth Yacht Club teen Johnny Flynn overtook local ace and regatta leader Ben O'Shaughnessy to clinch the AIB sponsored Optimist Nationals by a single point at Royal Cork Yacht Club today. 

After four days of racing on the Curlane Bank and outside Cork Harbour, the Dubliner finished the ten-race light-air event on a tally of 16 points to the Crosshaven boy's 17.

Anthony O’Leary was the Race Officer for the Main Fleet and Barry Rose officiated for the Regatta Fleet.

Ben O'Shaughnessy of Royal Cork Yacht Club Photo: BatemanSecond overall - Ben O'Shaughnessy of Royal Cork Yacht Club Photo: Bateman

Ben O'ShaughnessyThird overall Rocco Wright of Howth Yacht Club Photo: Bateman

Flynn's club mate, 14-year-old Rocco Wright, finished in third on 30-points in the 79-boat main fleet.

The National Yacht Club's Clementine van Steenberge was the first girl in fifth overall. 

National Yacht Club's Clementine van Steenberge was the first girl in fifth overallThe National Yacht Club's Clementine van Steenberge was the top girl in fifth overall Photo: Bob Bateman

The fight for gold in the 36-boat Junior Championships came down to who beat who in the final race and the NYC's Caoilinn Geraghty-McDonnell beat Des Turvey of Howth with Riona McMorrow Moriarty in third.

 Junior National Champion is Caoilinn Geraghty-McDonnell of NYC Junior National Champion is Caoilinn Geraghty-McDonnell of NYC

A 34-boat Regatta fleet was won by RCYC's Ethel Bateman who beat her brother Olin. Third place went to Henrietta Leech from Lough Ree Yacht Club.

Regatta champion Ethel Bateman of Royal CorkRegatta champion Ethel Bateman of Royal Cork

Prizes were presented by Royal Cork Admiral Colin Morehead, event organiser Brian Jones and IODAI President Tim Lucas.

Overall results are here

Bob Bateman's 2020 Optimist Championship Prizegiving slideshow below

Published in Cork Harbour

Ireland's Tokyo 2021 representative Annalise Murphy is set to rejoin the national Laser dinghy racing scene after a seven-year hiatus when she sails next week at the 2020 Laser national championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club.

The Rio Olympic silver medalist makes her return in Cork Harbour, the same venue she last sailed at a nationals in 2013, months before her European title win on her home waters at Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Murphy is not the only Irish Olympic campaigner competing either as the battle for National honours heats up at Crosshaven from August 20th to 23rd.

As Afloat reported previously, due to COVID-19, the three fleet 2020 championships, one of the biggest dinghy events of the 2020 calendar, will now be split between two venues in the Harbour and be run separately.

The National Yacht Club ace will confront Aoife Hopkins and Eve McMahon, both unsuccessful rivals in the controversially cut-short trial for Tokyo 2021 who will also be competing in a mixed Radial fleet of 60 plus sailors. There is no entry – so far – however for Lough Derg's Aisling Keller, another 2021 trialist and the 2018 Irish champion who secured Ireland's berth for Tokyo.

Murphy's clubmate, Rio rep Finn Lynch, who is still bidding for a Tokyo nomination in the men's class will be in action in the 30-boat standard rig division as are other 2021 trialists Ewan McMahon of Howth and Belfast Lough's Liam Glynn.

The entry list is here

Published in Annalise Murphy

Royal Cork Yacht Club is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to stage next week's Laser dinghy National Championships, one of the flagship events of its tricentenary celebrations in Cork Harbour.

With the postponement of Phase 4 COVID 19 restrictions, the hosts are not in a position to locate all sailors in the proposed format of three fleets.

In order to ensure that they can hold a safe event, the AIB Sponsored Nationals will, therefore, be split into two events, according to an update from the Laser class.

The position now for the event is that the Radials and Standards will be based in Crosshaven, while 4.7s will be based in Ringaskiddy, where a new slip will give easy access to the lower harbour.

  • Standard and Radial Nationals hosted by the RCYC
  • Laser 4.7 Nationals hosted by Monkstown Bay Sailing Club (MBSC)

"The 4.7 Nationals are now being hosted by MBSC, an entirely separate event with separate documentation, organisation committees, a separate venue (Paddys Point, Ringaskiddy) and a separate race course",  Royal Cork's Alex Barry told Afloat.

It is expected further details will be available in the next few days. The event starts on August 20th.

Published in Cork Harbour

Excitement is building in the Royal Cork Yacht Club for this week’s AIB Optimist dinghy Nationals 2020 in Cork Harbour.

It will be the first time the Irish Optimist fleet will compete this year due to COVID and participant numbers at the event have been limited by organisers.

The event starts on Thursday but there has already been some pre-championship tuning going on at Crosshaven.

Photo slideshow below by Bob Bateman

Published in Optimist

A win for Michael McCann in tonight's fifth and final race of the Union Chandlery July League at Royal Cork Yacht Club gives him the overall win of the IRC Spinnaker Division. McCann sailing the Etchells, Don't Dilly Dally had a single point lead over Annamarie and Denis Murphy's Grand Soliel 40, Nieulargo in a 14-boat fleet.

In a 12-boat White Sail division, the Grand Soliel 37 Prince of Tides (Frank Caul and John Molloy) wins by two points overall from the Sun Light 30 Expression.

Full results are here. Bob Bateman's Photo slideshow is below

Published in Royal Cork YC
Page 4 of 46

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

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