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Displaying items by tag: Larne

The great circumnavigation of Larne Lough, a 'chase race' for Meningitis is a brand new event on the Irish sailing calendar. But what is it?

To be held on Saturday 7th September and hosted by East Antrim Boat Club, it is a type of pursuit race. However in reaching into every possible creek of the Lough, together with a variety of 'on-course hurdles,' it will be a race like no other. How many races have a built in roundabout to navigate? Overall it is a fundraising day drenched with fun, frolics and challenges.

Open to mono-hulled dinghies, day boats and sports boats with a Portsmouth Yardstick number between 900 and 1600 the day will actually consist of two races; one is for the juniors which will precede the main race. Both races will feature windward starts.

The driving force for the Meningitis Chase Race is the Jobling family. Tom and Jane lost their three-year-old grandson Stanley to Meningitis. The family are well known in competitive sailing circles but this is the first time that they have taken their fundraising campaigns afloat.

Tom Jobling said; "Stanley was always a fun loving boy, always joking, smiling so another boring old sailboat race wouldn't suit him at all. The day on Larne Lough will be full of surprises, both on and off the water. Stanley's dad Barry, himself a champion sailor will be delighted if our two key objectives can be achieved.' Tom's daughter Gemma continued, "We want at least 50 assorted boats out on the water and have raised £1,000 for the Meningitis Trust. And of course have remembered Stan's smile."

Information on the Meningitis Chase Race will filter out as the big day approaches but in the meantime call the Jobling family (tel) 0044(0)2827 6960 (091 from RoI) or look into www.thechaserace.co.uk Information is also available from the East Antrim Boat Club website; www.eabc.org.uk

Published in Racing
Tagged under

#Canoeing - Larne women will be paddling the Bann this April all in the aid of a very good cause.

The 24-strong group from local fitness club BeFit, going by the title of the BeFit Challengers, will take to the water on 20 April for the start of a two-day canoeing expedition, along the River Bann and out to the Atlantic.

As the Larne Times reports, these ladies hope the challenge - and an epic mountain cycling event later in the year - will raise funds for Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.

BeFit owner Andrea Kernohan said: “I like to set the BeFit girls a challenge every so often, so that they have a fitness gold to work towards. I thought these Cancer Focus challenge events were perfect.

"Sadly this cause is close to mine and the girls’ hearts as so many people have been affected by cancer in one way or another.”

The Larne Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Canoeing

#MARINAS - Sandy Bay is the only "realistic" location for the development of a new marina in the Larne area, according to a local council majority.

The Larne Times reports that a feasibility study of the borough, looking into the potential for marina facilities and watersports, identified a number of possible sites, including Curran Point and Howden's Quay, and an extension of the marina at Glenarm.

But only Sandy Bay has had any consistent interest over the years, said Alderman Roy Beggs, who described it as "the only realistic possibility for marina facilities in this borough, which we should have had 30 years ago."

Mayor Councillor Bobby McKee added that many of the sites in the report were lacking in amenities.

“Glenarm has a marina, but there is nothing else in the village to attract boat owners," he said. "The same can be said for Magheramorne and Howden’s Quay – you can’t even get a cup of coffee in these places."

The Larne Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Irish Marinas

#FERRIES–On 19th February 2008 the Stranraer Police were alerted to an unaccompanied freight trailer which had been off loaded from the Larne to Stranraer Ferry. The officers noticed that the trailer was giving off a strange odour and that it was not placarded. They confirmed with the loading terminal at Larne that the content of the trailer was declared as peat.

When the driver arrived at 8 o clock that evening he told the police that the cargo was aluminium smeltings known locally as "skulls", a by product from smelting and that it gave off dangerous gases and could go on fire if it got wet. He gave the police a copy of the manifest which confirmed that the freight was aluminium smeltings.

The shipper was Tinnelly International Transport, a road haulier who is no longer trading, but was investigated following an incident where an explosion occurred aboard an Irish Sea Ferry on 8th July 2007. During this earlier investigation it was revealed that there is no need to placard the trailer carrying this material under EU legislation while on the road, however under the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code it must be declared to the shipping company and the trailer must be placarded for transport by sea.

At the Magistrates Court in Larne on Friday 2nd December 2011, Mr McGivern, the driver of the tractor unit that delivered the trailer to the Port of Larne, pleaded guilty to failing to declare a cargo of dangerous goods known as Aluminium Skulls and was fined £3,000 with contribution to costs of £1,000.

Tinnelly International Transport were found guilty of failing to declare the cargo and failing to placard the vehicle, and was fined £10,000 and costs of £6,000.

On summing up the magistrate, Mr Alcorn said:

I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the charges are proved.  It is only by the grace of God that something didn't happen.  There might have been 500 lives lost.

The driver knew what he was transporting and he risked every life on the ferry.

Mr Alcorn compared the situation to that of the Princess Victoria which still resonates in Larne to this day.  None of the guilty parties have set foot in this court in the lead up to this trial, whereas all the witnesses have been brought from Northern Ireland and Scotland because of a "couldn't care less attitude".

Captain Bill Bennett, Area Operations Manager ( Northern Ireland) for the MCA stated that

"This was a serious breach of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code with a cargo which is known to give off gases and to explode if it comes in contact with water. P&O Ferries had already banned the product for transportation on their vessels.

Published in Ports & Shipping

The Flying Fifteen Western Championships took place in the Larne at the weekend and were hosted by East Antrim Boat and Yacht Club.

22 crews descended on the town in what was the last event of the season. Andy McCleery & Colin Dougan (KYC) pipped Gorman/Doorly (NYC) to win their second event in succession, had the last race not been abandoned it could have been a different story . . but that's sailing!

Third overall were locals Norman Hamilton and William Rutherford.

The large contingent of classics was won by Rory McKenna & David McFarland (CAYC). Gorman's second overall was enough to put him at the top of the ranking list at the end of this season.

Published in Flying Fifteen
Tagged under
With the recent closure of Stena Line fast-ferry services from Dun Laoghaire and Rosslare, this leaves just four such services operating this winter between Ireland and Britain. By November only half of these services will be running on routes out of Dublin and Larne, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Currently three of these four services are employed on North Channel routes. P&O Ferries operate their fast-craft Express (1998/5,902 grt) on the one-hour route to Cairnryan which is also served by conventional ferry sisters that take two-hours. Since March the fast-ferry also joined the freight-ferry on the Troon route for the start of seasonal summer sailings which are to end on 3rd October.

The third service between Belfast-Stranraer is in the hands of rivals Stena Line which maintain the HSS Stena Voyager (1996/19,638 grt) on sailings but only to around mid-November. She will be replaced by conventional sister-ships which will be introduced on the North Channel's newest port when services switch from Stranraer to a new terminal close to Cairnryan.

Finally the fourth fast-ferry is Irish Ferries marketed 'Dublin Swift' service which runs on the Dublin-Holyhead route served by Jonathan Swift (1999/5,989 grt). The craft built by Austal in Fremantle, operates alongside the conventional cruise-ferry Ulysses.

Stena Line's decision to terminate HSS Stena Explorer sailings between Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead this day last week follows fast-ferry Stena Lynx III's end-of-season Rosslare-Fishguard sailings earlier this month.

From next year, Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead sailings are to be seasonal-only and according to Stena Line they hope to resume fast-ferry sailings in April or May though no exact date has been set. Unlike the central corridor route which was entirely dependent on HSS operations, the Rosslare-Fishguard route remains operating year-round with the conventional ferry Stena Europe.

As a result of the discontinued fast-ferries, the HSS Stena Explorer is now spending a lay-up period in the Welsh port for the winter. The smaller Stena Lynx III is also 'wintering' but in on the opposite side of the Irish Sea in Dun Laoghaire, where the vessel has done so in previous years.

The lay-up of both fast-ferries in Dun Laoghaire and Holyhead is ironic considering that neither ports' are connected by the very craft that used to share sailing rosters in recent years. In addition the wintering of these catamaran craft is the first time that this has occurred since the pioneering Stena Sea Lynx fast-ferry launched such sailings in 1993.

This first 'Lynx' provided seasonal sailings on the route with conventional car-ferry Stena Hibernia, the former St. Columba, custom-built in 1977 for Sealink /British Rail. She was given a second name under Stena ownership, the Stena Adventurer and remained on the 57 nautical-mile route until replaced in 1996 by the year-round operated HSS Stena Explorer.

Apart from cross-channel fast-ferry services, the Isle of Man is served by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co. Ltd's routes linking the islands capital Douglas with Belfast, Dublin, Heysham and Liverpool (Birkenhead) in the winter. These routes include seasonal services which are operated by a combination of conventional tonnage using Ben-My-Chree and fast-ferry Manannan (1998/5,089grt), a former US Navy vessel, to read more click HERE. For sailing schedules, vessel type deployed on route and for fares click HERE.

Published in Ferry
Clyde Coastguard are currently co-ordinating a search for a missing male passenger after they were reported missing by a coach driver when the ferry, the 'European Highlander', docked at Cairnryan in Scotland after travelling from Larne in Northern Ireland. The Coastguard were notified a little after 10.00 am this morning. The ferry is now being fully searched.

The vessel had departed from Larne at 07.24 this morning and arrived at Cairnryan two hours later at a speed of approximately 18 knots. The master of the vessel has confirmed that one person is missing from the ships manifest.

The sea conditions are currently calm with a slight swell and good visibility with south westerly winds of 5 knots between the two locations.

A rescue helicopter, R 177, has been scrambled from the Royal Naval Air Station at Prestwick.

Clyde Coastguard are now organising a search throughout the area taking into account tidal drift and winds. Coastguard Rescue Teams have now been turned out ready to search the shores of Loch Ryan.

The Portpatrick, Stranraer and Larne RNLI lifeboats have all been requested to launch. A search has also begun from Cairnryan to Finnarts Bay. The Police Service of Northern Ireland has also been informed.

A mayday signal has now also been broadcast into the area by the Coastguard to alert passing shipping to the unfolding incident.

Published in Coastguard
DFDS Seaways recent announcement to close its operations on the Irish Sea this month is a major blow considering the Danish company entered the Irish-UK ferry market only six-months ago, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The Dublin-Birkenhead (Liverpool) and freight-only Dublin-Heysham service is to close at the end of this month. Up to 200 staff are to lose their jobs of which 48 are shore-based positions in Dublin Port. DFDS cite its decision to exit entirely from Irish Sea operations due to the sharp decline in the economies of both countries in 2008 and 2009 and the issue of over-capacity.

The routes represented a fifth of the freight market and will result in the withdrawal of the twin 21,856grt passenger ferry (ro-pax) sisters, Dublin Viking and Liverpool Viking on the 7-hour Mersey route and the 13,000grt freighter Anglia Seaways on the route to Lancashire.

In recent years, new tonnage notably in the form of four freight-only newbuilds commissioned for Seatruck Ferries on their Warrenpoint-Heysham and Dublin-Liverpool routes has added to intense competition in a crowded north Irish Sea ferry-freight sector.

The process to purchase Norfolkline's Irish Sea operations by DFDS Seaways was finally completed in mid-summer of last year. The acquisition saw the Scandinavian newcomer take control of four routes between Birkenhead-Belfast / Dublin and the freight-only Heysham-Belfast / Dublin services and a fleet of seven vessels, four (ro-pax) ferries and three freight-only vessels.

DFDS Seaways latest decision is all the more dramatic as the company in early December then sold both Belfast routes to Birkenhead and Heysham to Stena Line. In addition the £40m acquisition included the sale of the chartered 27,510 ro-pax sisters Lagan Seaways and Mersey Seaways and the 13,000grt freighter half-sisters, Scotia Seaways and Hibernia Seaways. The deal is significant in that Stena will make an inaugural foothold on the Merseyside market.

With the sea-changes swirling in the Irish Sea market, the dominant player is with out doubt Stena Line. The ferry operator closed late last year the Larne-Fleetwood route and three vessels (for more information about those vessels click here) yet the inclusion of the former DFDS Belfast-Heysham route is closely similar with neighbouring ports and newer larger vessels.

The acquisition by Stena of the loss making routes from DFDS last month also coincided with a review to be conducted by the Danish companies remaining Dublin routes to Birkenhead and Heysham. The findings of that review were concluded with this months' decision by DFDS to close down the routes, marking the Scandinavians operators brief foray on the Irish Sea ferry scene.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Plans to operate the first passenger-only ferry service between Northern Ireland and Scotland are scheduled to start in late May, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Kintyre Express is to operate a Ballycastle-Campbeltown service on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 27 May and 26 September. Three daily return trips are scheduled on the service though the 1200hrs sailing from Campeltown and the corresponding 1400hrs sailing from Ballycastle will only operate on customer demand.

The passage time is scheduled to take approximately 1 hour 30 minutes between County Antrim and the Mull of Kintyre which is a distance of some 50 kilometres / 30-miles. Ticket fares for a single journey are £30 and the return is £55. On the remaining days that the route is not operated on, the boat is available for private charter.

In addition the new venture is to include an on-demand Campbeltown-Troon route running between April and September. This second service, linking Argyll with Ayrshire, will operate on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The journey time is somewhat shorter with a scheduled time of 1 hour 15 minutes. The on-demand service must be booked in advance with singles fares costing £50 and a return ticket at £80. For further information click www.kintyreexpress.com

Like the recent proposals announced for a passenger-only ferry service across Galway Bay click here, the Kintyre Express operation will also use a fast-ferry in the form of rigid inflatable boats (RIB). The two routes from Campeltown will be served by Redbay Stormforce 11 metre RIBS which have centrally heated fully enclosed cabins for about 10 passengers. The Redbay Boats are built in Cushendall, Co. Antrim, for further information about the type of RIB to be used on the new routes click here.

The Ballycastle-Campbeltown route will be unique in that it will be the sole passenger-only ferry operator serving between the island of Ireland and the UK.

When the second route opens between Campbeltown-Troon, the company will be able to provide their boat service linked in with a train journey to Glasgow which they claim can be completed in less than two hours. Trains between Troon and Glasgow Central Station operate every 30 minutes and with a journey time of approximately 40 minutes.

For those who are car-free and time-free, this most northerly of travel routes is arguably the most scenic way to travel between Northern Ireland and Scotland and will appeal also to the intrepid traveler.

On both ferry services bicycles are carried for free and currently there is a special offer with all ferry tickets that can also be used for a free-day pass on the local Kintyre bus network for up to 24-hours. The bus operator is Craig of Campbeltown which trades as West Coast Motors and which owns Kintyre Express. The bus operator also serves on routes throughout Argyll and the island of Bute.

The next nearest cross-channel operator to the Kintyre Express Ballycastle-Campbeltown service is the car-carrying catamaran fast-ferry seasonal service between Larne and Troon operated by P&O (Irish Sea). The same company operates the year-round conventional car-ferry service on the North Channel between Larne and Cairnryan. Also operating to Loch Ryan is Stena Line which operates both ferry and HSS fast-craft services on the Belfast-Stranraer route.

Over the years there have been several attempts to revive the ferry between Ballycastle and Campeltown following a service that catered for vehicles too. For three summer seasons starting in 1997 the service was operated by the Argyll and Antrim Steam Packet Company, using the Claymore (1978/1,632grt) which could accommodate 500 passengers and 50 vehicles.

In 1996 the vessel was chartered to carry out tender duties for visitors and crew of the aircraft-carrier USS John F. Kennedy (displacement 82,655 tons full load) which was at anchor off Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Published in Ports & Shipping
20th December 2010

Stena Route To Close This Week

Only several days remain before Stena Line close the Larne-Fleetwood route. The 8-hour route was operated by a trio of sister-ships, until the Stena Leader was withdrawn last week in advance of the service which is due to end on 23 December.

The Stena Leader went to lay-up in Belfast. In the meantime the remaining vessels Stena Seafarer and Stena Pioneer continue to serve the Northern Ireland-Lancashire link.When the route closes, it is expected that the pair will re-join the Stena Leader in Belfast, where all three sisters will be at lay-up berth at Albert Quay. The Swedish owned ferry operator uses the port's Victoria Terminal 4, for their HSS and conventional ferry service to Stranrear, Scotland.

In early December Stena Line announced the acquisition of two routes and four vessels from rivals, DFDS Seaways. The £40m deal sees Stena taking over the freight-only route between Belfast and Heysham operated by Scotia Seaways and Hibernia Seaways, a pair of Japanese built 13,000 gross tonnes vessels.

The second route is the Belfast-Birkenhead (Liverpool) route, served by two chartered 27,000 gross tonnes ro-pax sisters, Lagan Seaways and Mersey Seaways. The ro-pax vessels will be sold to Stena Line as part of the agreement between the two ferry operators.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Page 5 of 6

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