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Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue TD has welcomed the publication of today's revised National Development Plan.

The NDP will set the Department’s new five-year rolling capital allocations. It will support economic, social and environmental development across the country.

‘As we emerge from the pandemic and continue to deal with the challenges posed by Brexit, the NDP Review allows us to map out the development of the agri-food sector’ said McConalogue.

The strategic investment priorities for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine are:

Major development projects in Castletownbere, Howth and Killybegs have commenced and while all have been delayed somewhat due to Covid 19 restrictions they are expected to be completed in early 2022.

Preparatory work is ongoing for other projects including a major dredging project in Howth which is currently at the planning stage.

Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue TDMarine Minister Charlie McConalogue TD

‘Overall, a capital investment programme of up to €180 million across all six Fishery Harbour Centres, at Howth, Dunmore East, Castletownbere, Dingle, Ros an Mhíl and Killybegs, encompassing ongoing safety and maintenance and necessary new developments is envisaged for commencement up to 2025. Ongoing improvements will be required thereafter.’

Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Programme 2014-20 will award the last of its €240 million budget in 2021. The new Seafood Development Programme 2021-27 will be launched in 2022 with €142 million EU funds from the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) and matching funds from Government. The Seafood Development Programme will:

  • Assist seafood enterprises in the fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing sectors to adapt to the impacts of Brexit and Covid, grow seafood output, add value to seafood products, enhance the competitiveness of seafood enterprises and develop their markets.
  • Support the conservation of fish stocks, the protection and restoration of marine habitats and biodiversity and climate change mitigation and adaptation in the seafood sector.
  • Fund the development and dissemination of knowledge and technology in the seafood sector to address challenges and avail of opportunities for the sustainable growth of the seafood sector.
  • Assist coastal communities in diversifying and growing their economies.
Published in Fishing
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When Covid 19 hit last year, fundraising for Howth RNLI Lifeboat through street flag day collections, St. Patrick’s Day Irish Coffee Mornings, Golf Classics, Boat Jumble Sales and Vintage Car Runs all came to an abrupt halt, Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association came to the rescue by organising a winter series of Zoom talks for their members and others.

The talks were presented by a range of interesting speakers: Dennis Aylmer, Michael Weed, Mark Sweetnam, Ed Maggs, Cormac Lowth, Gary McMahon, Peter Lyons & Adrian Spence, Mick Brogan, John Leahy, Jarlath Cunnane, Rob Goodbody, Joe Walsh, Richard Nairn, Sean Walsh, Sean Cullen, Brian O Gaiblin and Rik Janssen.

The fantastic result from these very interesting presentations is a donation of €8,000 from Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association to Howth RNLI who continue to rely on voluntary contributions and legacies for income. It is only through donations such as this that Howth RNLI continue to provide our volunteer lifeboat crews with the boats, facilities, equipment and training that are essential to save lives at sea.

Howth RNLI presented DBOGA with a Letter of thanks from the Institution for their generous support.

Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association held their annual race at Howth Saturday 4th September with 12 boats competing having sailed from Strangford, Ramsey - Isle of Man, Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club and Dun Laoghaire to compete. The fleet raced back to Poolbeg Lighthouse on Sunday 5th September.

Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association will be kicking off this winter’s fundraising programme for Howth RNLI with another series of talks beginning in October.

Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association can be proud that their generosity will help us to continue to respond quickly and efficiently to those in danger on the sea, today and in the future.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Howth’s Irish Coast Guard unit were tasked to an unusual incident yesterday (Sunday 29 August) after a seven-month-old lamb fell off a cliff on Lambay Island.

Nicknamed ‘Lucky Louis’, the young sheep had fallen 10 metres down a cliff on the east side of the island — east of Portrane in north Co Dublin — and was trapped among the rocks at the cliff base.

Despite his ordeal, the lamb was hesitant when coastguard crew arrived and tried to hide in a nearby cave.

But he was swiftly rounded up and brought back to staff on the island with some small cuts but otherwise in good spirits.

“All’s wool that end’s wool,” the coastguard unit said.

Published in Coastguard

While several national and international classes are notably successful in having a truly all-Ireland spread, only in the J/24s would you somehow end up with ten different clubs from every part of the country coming up in lights in the final setting of the leaderboard.

But then Rod Johnstone's 45-year-old first pitch at yacht design has acquired something of a cult status among its devotees. And though there have been more than a few hyper-successful J Boat designs since (and then some), for the true aficionados, there's only one, and that's the 24.

Thus when impecunious young folk decide they've simply got to have a boat of their own, a class of such longevity offers a very wide selection of good-value doer-uppers. And once they get the boat restored and back in racing trim, they'll find the class is a friendly community with any amount of senior – and some very senior – lifelong enthusiasts who are generous with support and helpful advice.

Clean start. Three boats – 5219 (Il Ricco), 4212 (Scandal) and 4794 (Hard on Port) – are getting the best of it. At the end of the day, their overall placings were 5219: 4th overall, 4212: 12th oa, and 4794: 3rd overall. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyClean start. Three boats – 5219 (Il Ricco), 4212 (Scandal) and 4794 (Hard on Port) – are getting the best of it. At the end of the day, their overall placings were 5219: 4th overall, 4212: 12th oa, and 4794: 3rd overall. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Father of the Class – longtime enthusiast Flor O'Driscoll (centre) originally of Cobh but now very much of Bray, with his loyal crew in the process of receiving the prize for third overall.Father of the Class – longtime enthusiast Flor O'Driscoll (centre) originally of Cobh but now very much of Bray, with his loyal crew in the process of receiving the prize for third overall.

Thus although the class got together in strength for the recent J/24 Nationals in Sligo, with the prize this year being the Bicentenary-celebrating Ladies' Cup of Sligo Yacht Club, it was a distinctly storm-curtailed event. So with the pandemic restrictions being further eased, all the signs were there'd be a good turnout for this past weekend's WaterWipes J/24 Eastern Championship at Howth, and the signs were right on target.

Nevertheless, despite some warmly-welcomed fresh crews and boats entering the 18-fleet equation, up at the sharpest end of the fleet it was a case of As You Were with the clear overall winner being Headcase, the National Champion at Sligo, syndicate-owned and raced with Cillian Dickson on the helm, and sailing under the colours of Howth YC, Lough Ree YC, Mayo SC, and Ballyholme YC in a remarkable combination from which Munster is the only missing province.

Anyone who complains that the mainsail number and the spinnaker number on Crazy Horse (Luke McBride, Lough Swilly YC) don't match, and that the blue spinnaker on Scandal (Isobel Cahill, Howth YC) doesn't seem to gave a number at all, is missing the point of the contemporary J/24 Class in Ireland. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyAnyone who complains that the mainsail number and the spinnaker number on Crazy Horse (Luke McBride, Lough Swilly YC) don't match, and that the blue spinnaker on Scandal (Isobel Cahill, Howth YC) doesn't seem to gave a number at all, is missing the point of the contemporary J/24 Class in Ireland. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

The other domineer was Colm O'Flaherty of Sligo with Jana, who together with Headcase had put down a marker in the first race with the old one-two, while third went to Mark Usher of Greystones. But Race 2 saw a hugely popular win for the Father of the Class, Flor O'Driscoll of Bray, and this kept things a bit more open for the six-race series.

Line up the usual suspects….HYC Commodore Paddy Judge (centre) with the victorious HeadcasesLine up the usual suspects….HYC Commodore Paddy Judge (centre) with the victorious Headcases

Nevertheless, the underlying trend was irreversible, the final total having Headcase on 6pts, Jana on 13, and Flor O'Driscoll's Hard on Port on 16, just one point clear of Lough Erne's J P McCaldin on 17 in Il Ricco. A detailed analysis of the complete scorecard speaks volumes for the key role this timeless little boat plays at clubs throughout the country. And yes, it was noticed that between the J/24s and the 420s, Lough Ree YC was having an extremely successful weekend at Howth.

Results here

Sam O'Byrne, Quarter Master of the championship-winning Headcase Society, explaining how you can successfully campaign a J/24 with a crew drawn from three of Ireland's four provincesSam O'Byrne, Quarter Master of the championship-winning Headcase Society, explaining how you can successfully campaign a J/24 with a crew drawn from three of Ireland's four provinces

Published in J24
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Howth RNLI was tasked by Dublin Coast Guard to recover an upturned RIB tender that fell off the rear of a powerboat.

Howth RNLI pagers sounded at 1.00 pm Saturday 21st August 2021 after being tasked by Dublin Coast Guard to recover an upturned rigid inflatable boat that had fallen off the rear of a powerboat.

The powerboat owner had tried to retrieve the RIB but was unsuccessful. They called Dublin Coast Guard and asked for assistance.

The Howth RNLI all-weather lifeboat and volunteer crew launched 12 minutes later and made its way to the scene.

Weather conditions at the time were calm seas with a 6-7 knot southeast breeze and localised thundery downpours.

Howth RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew righted the upturned vessel and took the RIB in tow to the safety of Howth harbour.

Howth RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew righted the upturned vessel and took the RIB in tow to the safety of Howth harbour

Howth RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew righted the upturned vessel and took the RIB in tow to the safety of Howth harbour

Howth RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew righted the upturned vessel and took the RIB in tow to the safety of Howth harbour

Speaking following the callout, Fred Connolly, Howth RNLI Coxswain said: ‘The powerboat owner did absolutely the correct thing, to call for assistance before the RIB drifted into shipping lanes. We were pleased to be tasked and be able to retrieve the RIB before it became a danger to other vessels’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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At least six Half Tonners and six X302s are expected for a newly devised Championships at Howth Yacht Club later this month.

The Irish Half Ton Cup and X302 Challenge will be sailed over three windward-leeward courses and a coastal race from August 21 & 22nd.

With July's Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta cancelled and leaving a void in the season, the two classes came together to produce the pop-up event.

The championships will also serve as a warm-up for September's ICRA National Championships at the National Yacht Club.

Under 18 sailors

The Half-Ton Class says it is keen to promote junior sailing and so have agreed that each boat will take an under 18 sailor as part of the crew for the event. Event rules will permit IRC crew number plus one to encourage same.

The Notice of Race and the Sailing Instructions are downloadable below. Online entry is here.

Published in Half Tonners
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RNLI volunteers from Skerries and Howth were tasked to Rush in north Co Dublin on Wednesday afternoon (4 August) following a Pan-Pan VHF call from small fishing boat with two on board that was taking on water near the entrance to Rogerstown Estuary.

With the possibility of persons entering the water, both lifeboats launched shortly after 4.30pm and headed for Rogerstown at the maximum possible safe speed amid moderate conditions, with a Force 4 wind.

As the inshore lifeboat from Skerries arrived on scene, they could see that the casualty vessel had sunk on the bar at the entrance to Rogerstown Estuary.

There were people in the water in the vicinity of the boat where it was grounded, however the water was shallow enough for them to stand.

As lifeboat volunteers assessed the situation, Howth RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat arrived and stood by in case of needed assistance. A ground unit from Skerries Coast Guard was also in attendance.

It was quickly established that the two people from the boat had made it to safety on the beach, but then re-entered the water trying to lay out an anchor to secure the boat.

With the aid of the Skerries RNLI crew, they managed to turn the boat to bring the bow into the waves, which enabled them to bail the boat out and refloat it.

Noting the large number of windsurfers and kitesurfers in the area, Skerries’ helm decided that the boat presented a hazard and could potentially lead to a further callout if left where it was.

The vessel was subsequently taken under tow to the nearest safe harbour at the slipway in Rogerstown. The casualties returned to shore and with the immediate danger passed, Howth RNLI were stood down and returned to station.

Speaking about the callout, Skerries RNLI’s press officer Gerry Canning said: “There is always a great deal of concern when there is the possibility of someone ending up in the water.

“Thankfully on this occasion the boat grounded on a sand bar and they were able to make their way to safety. But it highlights that things can and do go wrong at sea and shows the value of carrying a means to call for help if needed.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Howth RNLI pagers sounded at 6.10 pm Friday 3rd July 2021 to reports of a small fishing vessel with three people on board who were stranded in the vicinity of Lambay Island due to mechanical problems.

The Howth RNLI all weather lifeboat and volunteer crew launched 12 minutes later and rapidly made its way to the scene.

Weather conditions at the time gave good visibility but there was a 2 to 3 metre swell and the casualty vessel was anchored off a lee shore sound of Lambay Island.

Howth RNLI Second Coxswain Ian Sheridan assessed the situation and transferred the 2 young members of the family aboard the Lifeboat and a decision was taken to take the fishing boat in tow to the safety of the nearest port of Malahide marina.

The 3 people aboard were all wearing lifejackets but the 2 younger crew members were suffering from slight seasickness.

Towed to safety - Weather conditions at the time gave good visibility but there was a 2 to 3 metre swellTowed to safety - Weather conditions at the time gave good visibility but there was a 2 to 3 metre swell

Speaking following the callout, Stephen Harris, Howth RNLI Deputy Launch Authority said: ‘We were delighted to help the 3 people this evening, they all had their lifejackets and safety gear. They dropped anchor and called for help as soon as they encountered engine difficulties, we were happy to assist.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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It's a serious-looking big poster that they've had newly-displayed for the past three days on Howth Yacht Club's gable wall. But then, the prospect of Rob Dickson of Howth and Sean Waddilove of Skerries representing Ireland in the Tokyo Olympics in the 49er in three weeks time is a serious business, a serious business given an extra edge as they only finally secured their Olympic place in the Last Chance Saloon Selection Series at Lanzarote at the end of April.

In fact, it's arguable that had the Olympics not been COVID-postponed for a year, they wouldn't be there at all, as their longterm target had been Paris/Marseille Olympics 2024, and they'd only suddenly been added to the 2020 possibilities when they won the 49er U23 Worlds in September 2018, but subsequently hadn't made the grade for Tokyo under the original 2020 schedule.

Yet for two months now, their place in Enoshima has been secured, and their two home clubs in Fingal have been factoring in a total Olympic dedication in their memberships from the first heats on July 27th until the Medal Race on August 2nd, while Silver Medal defender Annalise Murphy of the National YC has her first race on July 25th, and the Medal Race is August 1st.

All over Ireland and abroad, our sailing community will be closely following a global event which - let's face it, as the reality of the Delta variant sweeps the world - is still not 100% certain. Be that as it may, the resilient Irish sailing community has come vibrantly to life as the opportunities and regulation-easings permit, and in Howth they currently are on one of those rolls of concentrated success which, for one reason or another, come visiting – and welcome visitors too - at the Peninsula club from time to time.

Let the sunshine in – the serious new poster is centre stage at Howth. Photo: W M NixonLet the sunshine in – the serious new poster is centre stage at Howth. Photo: W M Nixon

Thus although the big poster – developed from an image secured during the Lanzarote trials – looked sombre enough as it was being put in place, next day saw a return of the bright sunshine which may be turning the moorlands of the Hill of Howth into a tinderbox, but it more accurately reflects the current mood of Howth sailing.

CHALLENGING ON LAKE GARDA, MEDALS IN MONTENEGRO

Right now on Lake Garda, HYC's Rocco Wright is in the thick of it among 51 nations and nearly 300 boats in the first days of the Optimist Worlds, having progressed towards them through two big preliminary regattas on the mighty lake, in which he took Bronze in the first, and Gold in the second.

Right in the thick of it – Rocco Wright (IRL 1636) working his way through a very international fleet on Lake GardaRight in the thick of it – Rocco Wright (IRL 1636) working his way through a very international fleet on Lake Garda

Before that, Eve McMahon – just one of three prodigiously accomplished McMahon sailing siblings from Howth - placed fourth overall in the ILCA/Laser U21s in Montenegro, which was then upgraded to the Silver Medal in the U19s, while on the home front the J/24 U25 Development Programme – pioneered in Howth – continued to reap rewards with Head Case – helmed by Cillian Dickson and with HYC clubmate Sam O'Byrne on the strength – winning the season-starting J/24 Southerns at Foynes in convincing style.

 Eve McMahon on her way Silver Medal in the U19s in MontenegroEve McMahon on her way Silver Medal in the U19s in Montenegro

SOVEREIGN'S SUCCESS IN KINSALE

But it was at the Sovereigns Cup in Kinsale at the end of June where the Howth machine moved into top gear. Perhaps it's because the two ports are so utterly different, with Kinsale being a picturesque natural port on a serenely sheltered winding river, while Howth is a totally artificial harbour on a rugged and characterful peninsula – whatever, but Howth somehow always seems to aim for the Sovereigns with a special attitude of group determination. And even with social distancing, 2021 was a vintage year, with Bob Rendell's impressive new Grand Soleil 44 Samatom winning the biggest class – the IRC Coastal Division – while Mike and Richie Evans new J/99 Snapshot – with Howth's 1996 All-Ireland Champion Helm Laura Dillon on the strength – put in a hugely impressive performance in the hyper-hot IRC 1 to win the Sovereigns Cup itself.

Neither today nor yesterday…..Howth Yacht Clubs fondness for invading Kinsale at Sovereigns Cup time goes back a long way.Neither today nor yesterday…..Howth Yacht Clubs fondness for invading Kinsale at Sovereigns Cup time goes back a long way.

Sovereigns Cup Kinsale 2021, and the successful Howth crews of Snapshot and Samatom get together.Sovereigns Cup Kinsale 2021, and the successful Howth crews of Snapshot and Samatom get together.

Here it is, only the 3rd July in a season which was really only properly underway on June 7th, and Howth is already piling on the silverware in a way which is reminiscent of certain special periods in the Club's history. Not that they're resting on their laurels – this weekend they host the Optimist Leinsters, and in a week's time, it's the 1720 Championship – but nevertheless, a minute or two's pause to reflect on this almost freakish club 2021 scorecard is surely merited.

HOWTH UP AGAINST IT

For it seems that Howth and its sailing appear to thrive on adversity, and environmental adversity in particular. When Afloat.ie published the latest chart of the serious silting of the harbour recently, people elsewhere wondered how on earth they'd any keelboat sailing going on at all. In some places, there was practically dry land with grass growing where there should have been a clear all-tides channel.

The most recent survey of Howth Harbour shows depths continuing to deteriorateThe most recent survey of Howth Harbour shows depths continuing to deteriorate

Yet despite that, Howth Yacht Club managed a more-than-useful programme in 2020 even with the lockdown limitations. And this year after the preliminary starting signals had been given for some return towards normality from Monday June 7th, not only did five of the venerable Howth 17s make a point of having an official race at 10:30 hrs on that Monday morning, but the following Saturday – June 12th – saw a fleet of 78 HYC-only keelboats heralding the new season in the time-honoured Lambay Race, so they're definitely sailing well underway, even if the bigger keelboats sometimes find themselves ploughing a lonely furrow getting in and out of the harbour.

Some of the 78 keelboats which raced in HYC's Lambay Race on June 12th. The larger ones may have found themselves ploughing gently through soft mud as they left the harbour. Photo: Annraoi BlaneySome of the 78 keelboats which raced in HYC's Lambay Race on June 12th. The larger ones may have found themselves ploughing gently through soft mud as they left the harbour. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Now admittedly the depths shown in that new chart will only bottom out three or four times a year. But you'd think – particularly when you compare it with a splendidly deep harbour like Dun Laoghaire – that the very fact of having to worry about those depths much of the time would impinge on Howth sailors' pursuit of their sport.

Work on Howth's Middle Pier is already well underway to expand trawler berthing. Photo: W M NixonWork on Howth's Middle Pier is already well underway to expand trawler berthing. Photo: W M Nixon

Not a bit of it. On the contrary, as we've seen, Howth sailing in 2021 is already on a mighty roll of success. Yet this is despite the harbour engineers already intruding on the place with their work in progress on the Middle Pier. As to the village generally, work is at last underway on the waterfront Techrete site (formerly Parsons) immediately to the west of the harbour for the construction of a handful of 8-storey apartment blocks.

THE ESSENTIAL HOWTH HARBOUR DREDGING PLAN

Howth Harbour as it was until recently, as seen from the northeast. Work is now underway to enlarge the middle pier for trawlers with dredging, while outside the harbour immediately to the west on the north-facing waterfront (at centre of photo), work has started on building a development of apartment blocks on the former Techrete Factory site.Howth Harbour as it was until recently, as seen from the northeast. Work is now underway to enlarge the middle pier for trawlers with dredging, while outside the harbour immediately to the west on the north-facing waterfront (at centre of photo), work has started on building a development of apartment blocks on the former Techrete Factory site.

The future Howth Harbour? The proposal to infill the dredged spoil from within the harbour to the westward of the West Pier will create a completely new geographic and hydrographic dynamic, with a real possibility that the sand-carrying ebb tide running along the beach from the west will no longer be so distinctly re-directed as a silt-carrying offshoot into the harbour.The future Howth Harbour? The proposal to infill the dredged spoil from within the harbour to the westward of the West Pier will create a completely new geographic and hydrographic dynamic, with a real possibility that the sand-carrying ebb tide running along the beach from the west will no longer be so distinctly re-directed as a silt-carrying offshoot into the harbour.

Thus already the insistent natter of the pile-driver blends with the liquid call of the curlew, the shrill trill of the oyster-catcher, and the demanding yapping of the herring gull far into the Howth summer nights. And beyond all that, once the much-anticipated dredging programme gets underway, it'll be like the re-building of central Dublin after 1916 on steroids, as the idea is that everything coming out of the harbour bed in several identifiable phases will in-filled to the west of the West Pier to create what we're told will in time be a new marine park, and getting it there could involve lorry-loads in their thousands unless special ways can be devised to get barges to take the spoil – after treatment – round to the new location.

The current plan for the phased dredging of Howth Harbour also indicates the stages for the creation of new land to the westward of the harbour. With the dredging area now clearly defined, alterations in the timeline and order of work might be a possibility, but either way, it will be quite a lengthy process.The current plan for the phased dredging of Howth Harbour also indicates the stages for the creation of new land to the westward of the harbour. With the dredging area now clearly defined, alterations in the timeline and order of work might be a possibility, but either way, it will be quite a lengthy process.

For those who are wondering how the harbour came to be so silted, please don't ask. Were Howth a port in the Netherlands, the harbour would be dredged as a matter of course every five years. But once the major project which broadly gave us today's Howth Harbour was completed in 1982, that was it - the place has seen only small-scale piecemeal dredging since, and the fishing fleet and recreational boats alike have been increasingly hampered in their activities as the siltation quietly builds up such that in the Outer Harbour, a drone photo at low water reveals each boat to be reposing in its own circular mud bed.

Low water in the Outer Harbour, where 40 years of siltation have resulted in an all-enveloping layer of soft mud where each boat on a swinging mooring has gently created its own bed, normally invisible except from an aerial photo. Photo: Tom RyanLow water in the Outer Harbour, where 40 years of siltation have resulted in an all-enveloping layer of soft mud where each boat on a swinging mooring has gently created its own bed, normally invisible except from an aerial photo. Photo: Tom Ryan

In the circumstances, the default attitude among Howth's maritime population is quiet yet not undue pessimism, for we know that official grand schemes such as that now being contemplated - or indeed relatively standard schemes - tend to run over time and over budget, and we know that in Howth that is not necessarily an undesirable outcome.

And even when underway, such major projects can be overcome as environmental obstructions. For instance, in 1981 in the midst of the biggest harbour works programme of all, Howth Yacht Club hosted the Optimist Worlds simple by moving all operations westwards along Claremont beach to a new HQ at the Claremont Hotel.

As for Howth's own sailing performance at such times, the impetus is strong to seek success elsewhere, and thereby get away from the noise and inconvenience of harbour works at home. This happened with one major dredging project in 1966-1970, it happened again in 1979 to 1982, and though some very clever and creative minds are being applied to seeking out the least disruptive ways of implementing the current dredging proposals, the results thus obtained in 2021 suggest an increase in HYC's already healthy tendency to look outwards.

"ACCIDENTAL" BENEFITS

When the major scheme of 1979-1982 was nearing completion, it was found there was nothing left in the public kitty to demolish the haphazard row of ancient buildings down the West Pier, as had been planned. For long enough, they simply stayed there with many of them empty. But as Howth Yacht Club's stratospheric sporting, social, and hospitality success in the 1980s and 1990s contributed to the harbour developing its own special attraction as a destination venue, that quaint row of buildings – which you could never have planned deliberately - became such successful little restaurants that on a warm summer's evening the atmosphere and aroma is like a good Breton or Galician fishing port.

So who knows what may come of the creation of a new bit of Ireland to the west of the harbour? Admittedly if it's carried through to completion as planned, the popular over-water Aqua Restaurant at the end of the West Pier will have lost its unique sea-dominated position, something which we can't see being lightly relinquished.

But beyond that, the proposed overall shape will affect the tidal flow in a way which may reduce the future need for dredging. At the moment, when the flood comes through Howth Sound north of the East Pier lighthouse nib, it flows on clear in a west to northwest direction. Yet when the ebb starts to run eastward, there's a strong line of it starting from Baldoyle Creek and sweeping along Claremont Beach, with a significant sand-carrying offshoot being deflected into Howth Harbour.

Yet if the most northwesterly "headland" of the new bit of Ireland west of the pier is at the location shown, there'll be much less inclination for the sand-carrying ebb to be side-tracked into the harbour, and with any luck the tendency towards silting will be reduced.

But whether or not people see this new little bit of land to the west of the harbour as attractive recreational space is another matter. The fact is, when people go out for a bracing walk at a harbour, they want to be able to stride down a pier with the sea close bedside them left and right.

The new land to the west, showing clearly how it will direct the ebb tide stream further away the harbour entrance. And surely it has many more possible uses – such as Kite-Surfing Central - than just another a dull seaside mini-park and strolling areaThe new land to the west, showing clearly how it will direct the ebb tide stream further away the harbour entrance. And surely it has many more possible uses – such as Kite-Surfing Central - than just another a dull seaside mini-park and strolling area

However, that amorphous green space planned to the west of the West Pier looks altogether too vague. Its exposure to the prevailing westerlies will limit any green space and mini-park development potential, and its very location relatively out of sight and out of mind on the perimeter of the harbour suggests nefarious purposes – in fact, they might as well put up a sign saying: "This Way to the
Flash Mob Rioting and Anti-Social Behaviour Zones".

KITE-SURFING CENTRAL?

Yet not so far away along Claremont and Burrow Strands, the new building or up-grading of trendy beachside houses is currently going on at such a pace it makes you think it should be re-named Dermot Bannon Boulevard. Is it unthinkable that some west-facing waterfront properties on that new bit of Ireland is an idea that is out of the question? Or how about a choice location for a kite-surfing centre…..?

Stranger things have happened. And these are strangely exciting times in Howth, both in sailing and in harbour and village development alike.

MORE HYC SUCCESS ABROAD

But meanwhile in the real world of current sailing achievement, as of yesterday evening (Friday), HYC’s Pat O’Neill with his J/80 Mojo has been confirmed as the Danish Open J/80 Champion in Rungsted in advance of the Worlds there next week, Eve McMahon is returning very impressive results in the Laser Radial Youth Europeans in Croatia, and Rocco Wright has got off to a cracking start in the Optimist Worlds on Lake Garda with a 1st and a 5th.

Published in W M Nixon
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Howth RNLI rescued four people in a yacht who were struggling to make it back to safe harbour and drifting with no propulsion.

Howth RNLI pagers sounded at 3.10 pm Tuesday to reports of a sailing yacht with four people on board who were drifting in the vicinity of Lambay Island.

The Howth RNLI all weather lifeboat and volunteer crew launched 15 minutes later and made it’s way to the scene

Weather conditions at the time gave good visibility but there was a light northerly breeze and a string tide at the location. Howth RNLI Deputy Coxswain Ian Sheridan assessed the situation and as the yacht was completely disabled a decision was taken to take the yacht in tow to the safety of Howth Harbour.

The four people aboard were all wearing lifejackets and were in good spirits.

Speaking following the callout, Stephen Harris, Howth RNLI Deputy Launch Authority said: ‘When the call was raised we were delighted to help the 4 people this afternoon, they all had their lifejackets and safety gear but were not able to make any headway trying to return to harbour, we were happy to assist and they were extremely grateful’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

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