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The pandemic could provide an opportunity for sailing. That is an interesting view and comes from Irish Sailing's Regional Development Officer, Gail MacAllister

"There is such a massive interest in being outdoors because of the imposition of the Covid restrictions, that the spin-off can be used to the benefit of sailing as a sport which provides an opportunity for everyone."

I've known Gail for quite some time through the West Cork Sailing and Powerboating Centre which she and Niall established back in 1997 at Adrigole a lovely spot on the West Cork coastline. Irish Sailing is asking members to help "unlock the potential of new opportunities and find a new audience" for the sport. That call will go out this Thursday night at 7 p.m. in Irish Sailing's 'Zoomposium' which is intended to "reconnect, review and reinvigorate".

Jessy of Adrigole, A West Cork Sailing Centre yachtJessy of Adrigole, A West Cork Sailing Centre yacht

Gail, who has organised the association's annual Cruising conference is focussing her attention this week on the 'Zoomposium' which is this year's annual gathering with members, online like so many things, because of the pandemic.

The approach being taken, it seems to me, is to a large extent the organisation's response to the views of members over recent years, looking for more interaction to develop sailing. The 'Zoomposium' session on the topic - 'How can active engagement with the current membership of the national association be increased and how can new membership be obtained?' could be of particular interest. Nikki Curran from Sligo YC and Ciarán Murphy, Irish Sailing's Western Regional representative will be leading this session.

Brian Carlin of the Volvo Race; Jamie Boag, currently Head Coach for the Hong Kong Sailing Federation and Sports Institute; Pamela Lee from Greystones YC,, one of the two women who set the all-female sailing speed record around Ireland in the past few weeks and Vera Quinlan of the Marine Institute, currently working on INFOMAR, Ireland's seabed mapping programme, who completed a 14-month Atlantic circuit sailing adventure with her family, are speakers on the opening panel.

After a year in which the sailing season suffered so much restriction, there should be pent-up feelings about opportunities to develop the sport. So I was interested when Gail MacAllister highlighted what she sees as "the opportunities inherent in the greater numbers of people exercising outdoors." Around Cork Harbour where I live, more people have been expressing appreciation of the riverside and the marine.

Registration for the 'Zoomposium' is free and available on the Irish Sailing website.

Listen to the Podcast here where I started by asking Gail about the interest, or perhaps anxiety, to achieve a widening of public interest in sailing.

Published in Tom MacSweeney

Sailing in Ireland is set to benefit from an “unprecedented” €85 million funding package for the sports sector.

Sport Ireland chairman Kieran Mulvey said the announcement — made today (Monday 2 November) by Sport Minister Catherine Martin and Minute of State for Sport Jack Chambers — represents “the largest ever investment package for sport”.

It follows a €70 million package approved over the summer as the Government aims to address some of the extended challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

John Treacy, chief executive of Sport Ireland, said: “The initial schemes announced in June were designed to support organisations with Covid-19-related losses in 2020.

“However, having engaged with our funded bodies, we understand that the current Level 5 restrictions present additional challenges.

“As such, we are ring-fencing finances to address any immediate needs that may arise in the sector in the coming weeks.”

Among the allocations to national governing bodies, Irish Sailing will receive €650,000, while Rowing Ireland gets €149,000, €70,000 goes to the Irish Underwater Council, €50,000 to the Irish Surfing Association and €48,000 to Canoeing Ireland.

The Olympic Federation of Ireland has welcomed the funding “which will provide much needed support for a wide variety of Olympic sports, many of which have been severely impacted by Covid-19”.

It adds that the package will also “provide some stability to protect performance programmes for those elite athletes currently preparing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo next year”.

Dublin Bay Sailing Club’s final Saturday race of the truncated summer season remains a possibility if the capital is lifted out of Level 3 coronavirus restrictions on Friday 9 October.

Earlier today (Thursday 1 October), Irish Sailing provided an update on the current situation for sailing under the new five-level plan, confirming that the sport will have no exemption from the current NPHET advice which has tied up boats in Dublin and Donegal.

Irish Sailing says it made representations to Sport Ireland and the Expert Group in respect of the relatively low risk activities that sailing encompasses.

But the current guidelines remain — despite exceptions being made for high-level rugby and GAA competitions.

Sailing’s governing body in Ireland also moved to clear up confusion of the changing definition of a ‘pod’ in the revised health guidelines.

“Under Level 3, Sport Ireland uses the term ‘non contact pods’ to counteract the risk of people being close contacts, and that people within a pod must not ‘spend more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of someone either indoors or outdoors. Where sports can’t achieve this, they should modify activity appropriately.’

“For sailing this means we can only do single-handed or same-household sailing unless social distancing can be maintained while aboard.”

Irish Sailing added: “Sport Ireland are working with all sporting bodies to clarify any confusion and ensure consistency across the sporting sector is maintained within the Government’s five-level plan.”

Tagged under

The cancellation of the Irish Sailing All-Ireland Junior Championships this weekend is “a big disappointment” for all involved, both those competing and being the scenes, the governing body has said.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the event scheduled for Schull in West Cork was called off in the wake of new coronavirus travel restrictions for Dublin, where more than half of competitors are based.

Sixteen youth sailors and their crew from 10 classes had been looking forward to racing in Schull Harbour in a unique event that sees all nominees compete in the same class of boat — this year would have been the turn of the TR3.6s.

“We were so disappointed to cancel the Junior All Irelands – the level of sailing is excellent and it’s always a fun event,” said Irish Sailing’s chief executive Harry Hermon.

“Personally, I was looking forward to it as I’ve seen so many young people around the country doing a lot of sailing this summer, and I wanted to chat to this group about what they’d experienced.

“I’d like to highlight as well the huge amount of work done behind the scenes right up until the point of cancellation, and I’d like to thank the hosts Fastnet Marine and Outdoor Education Centre, the organising committee and the large number of volunteers who make these events such a pleasure to work on.”

The list of successful nominees was released last week and included five girls, two Irish Sailing Academy sailors, and five Laser sailors.

There was a good mix of club representation but Howth Yacht Club just pipped the lead with three members on the list: Eve McMahon, Johnny Flynn and Luke Turvey.

The list included two family teams (Trevor and Russell Bolger, and Charlie and Lucia Cullen, all RStGYC), one set of twins (Conor and Jack Galligan, Greystones SC), and two siblings on different teams (Clementine and Nathan van Steenberge, National YC).

There were two female-only teams (Chloe Murphy and Abigail Johnston, Lough Ree YC, and Zoe Whitford and Kelly Patterson, East Antrim Boat Club), and Eve McMahon chose her Laser Academy teammate Tom Higgins as crew.

Optimist sailor Ben O’Shaughnessy of the Royal Cork Yacht Club said: “It would have been a great event with great organisation but unfortunately it was cancelled for all the right reasons. I’m looking forward to sailing in the future and getting back to race season.”

Irish Sailing says work has already begun on the 2021 event which will take place on the weekend 25 and 26 September at a venue yet to be confirmed.

Published in ISA

Noted ocean voyager Vera Quinlan has joined the Irish Sailing Board of Directors, where she will head up the Cruising Policy Group.

Vera (of Galway Bay Sailing Club) began sailing at the age of 10 on Lough Derg. She started in a Mirror, then moved to a Laser, and spent many years cruising with her parents in Ireland, France and Scotland. She sailed from Sydney to Hobart in 1988 on board the Sail Training Brigantine Asgard II, and in 2004 fulfilled a lifelong ambition to skipper a yacht across the North Atlantic.

In 2019/20 Vera fulfilled another ambition: an Atlantic-circuit sailing adventure with her family. On board their yacht Danú, a 43 ft Bruce Roberts Mauritius, she and her husband Peter Owens and children Lilian (11) and Ruairi (9) spent fourteen months travelling. Highlights included climbing and hiking in the Pico de Europa, crossing the Atlas Mountains on foot with mules, riding camels in the Sahara, sailing transatlantic in the Trade Winds, exploring the Amazon rivers of French Guiana, and spending ‘lockdown’ in Barbuda exploring its pristine reefs before returning via the Azores and on to Ireland, where she and her family became the Afloat.ie "Sailors of the Month" for July 2020 in recognition of their successful and very complete voyage.

Vera is an active member of Galway Bay Sailing Club and previously held the position of Rear Commodore Training. She is involved in all aspects of cruising through both the Irish Cruising Club and the Ocean Cruising Club. She studied a BSc in Marine Science and Hydrography at Liverpool John Moores University and followed a career in deep water 3D seismic exploration. In 2006 she began work at the Marine Institute of Ireland in Galway and concurrently was awarded an MSc in Coastal Zone management.  She is currently working as a marine scientist on INFOMAR, Ireland’s seabed mapping programme.

Vera is delighted to be able to support Irish Sailing as a board member, and commented: “As a fan of Jacques Cousteau the sea has certainly cast its spell on me…. at sea, I truly feel alive."

Published in ISA

The latest Irish Sailing eSailing National Championship leaderboard reveals the top 10 qualifiers for the Nations Cup playoffs — and the challengers nipping at their heels for the coveted national title.

Irish Sailing’s first eChampionships were launched in early April, and since then 960 Irish players have signed up.

The top 10 ranked Irish sailors on 1 September 2020 will automatically represent Ireland at the eSailing World Championship Finals Playoff which will take place later this month.

Colin Kavanagh of Howth Yacht Club topped the board with Cillian Dickson in second (Howth and Lough Ree).

In third is Olympic sailor Finn Lynch (National YC), who just pipped Roisín McCormack (Foynes YC), president of the Mermaid Sailing Association, for the place.

Making up the rest of the top 10 are Mick Farrell, Paul McLaughlin, Graeme Grant, Andrew Baker, Tom Fox and Ronan Downing.

But it’s the top 20 who will now fight for the position of Irish eSailing National Champion.

The rest of the table in hunt for the national title comprises Ryan Seaton, Colin O’Sullivan, Chris Raymond, Shane Hughes, Max Tipp-McKnight, Cian Mollen, Atlee Kohl, James O’Connor, Michael Lynch and Daniel Raymond.

Playoffs for the domestic championship will be held on Tuesdays 3 and 10 November, with three races each, organised by Emmett Dalton of Howth Yacht Club. The first night will be raced in virtual J70s, followed by 49ers.

Irish Sailing says it wants to encourage as many people as possible to get sailing — with eSailing just one more aspect of this.

“We hope that by engaging with a brand new audience of eSailors, we’ll be able to convert them to real life sailors in the future,” the governing body added.

Irish Sailing teamed up with World Sailing and Virtual Regatta to launch the Irish eSailing National Championship in the middle of the coronavirus restrictions.

The game is free to play online or via app — and with the launch of the Irish version, local players can register as Irish and aim for the top of a new national leaderboard.

Published in ISA
Tagged under

Irish Sailing has welcomed its newest affiliate in the shape of the Galway Hooker Sailing Club.

The club was formed in 2017 when a group of friends came together to revive and retain the Galway Hooker tradition in Galway.

The Galway Hooker is a traditional fishing vessel, built and designed in Galway, and originally dates from the mid 19th century. Their typical red sails are widely seen in logos and brands around the city.

Current club commodore Ciaran Oliver is one of the founding members and together with a current crew of about 100 people has built a steadily growing club with strong links to the local community — particularly through teaching people the skills to sail these iconic vessels.

To learn more, follow the Galway Hooker Sailing Club on Facebook and Instagram or visit their website at GalwayHooker2020.org

Published in Historic Boats

This year’s Watersports Inclusion Games, which had been set for 5-6 September at Lough Derg Yacht Club, have been cancelled over continued coronavirus concerns.

In a statement, Irish Sailing said that “the current trajectory of the virus spread, coupled with the logistics, people involved and format of the event brought us to this decision”.

Ireland’s national governing body for sailing expressed its thanks to all “who worked so hard in trying to bring this year’s Inclusion Games to fruition”.

Lough Derg YC will instead host next year’s games, being planned for 18-29 June 2021.

The news follows the cancellation of the Women at the Helm Regatta later this month over similar concerns.

It is with great reluctance that Irish Sailing have decided, along with hosts the National Yacht Club, to cancel the Women at the Helm regatta that had been set to take place later this month, writes Gail McAllister.

Despite the tremendous energy behind the event, the health and safety of sailors is our number one priority, and in the light of the ongoing Covid-19 situation and the complexities arising from this it became clear that the event could not go ahead.

Irish Sailing are extremely disappointed for yet another event to be lost to Covid this year, but now look forward to next year and the Women at the Helm in Royal Cork Yacht Club on the weekend of Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th September 2021.

On a personal note, I would like to thank everyone for their incredible support and enthusiasm for Women at the Helm as an event and the Take the Helm campaign to encourage more women to move into positions of leadership. The campaign goes beyond the race course and creates leaders on committees, instructor teams and management.

A group of volunteer race officials have worked together to create a guidance document to help in planning and implementing safe and happy sailing events for the season ahead.

Irish Sailing has now published these guidelines, with details on planning, timelines, risk assessment and other considerations and controls for running both major national and smaller local events during the coronavirus pandemic.

This is an active working document and will be updated as Government guidelines changes throughout this pandemic. See the current full guidance document (as of 8 July 2020) attached below.

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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.

© Afloat 2020

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