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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: Ocean Cruising Club

At Port Aleria on Clew Bay in Mayo, Alex and Daria Blackwell can see their Bowman 57 ketch Aleria when she’s on her moorings off their house. But at the moment, their minds are often elsewhere, as Daria is Vice Commodore of the Ocean Cruising Club, whose many voyaging members worldwide have sometimes been finding themselves on the wrong side of local Covid-19 Lockdowns.

Helping them to plot a route home, or at least to a more friendly environment, has been entrusted to the Vice Commodore and her husband-shipmate. Thus Port Aleria has become a nerve-centre for passage planning and monitoring for a wide variety of craft from many nationalities in a large number of locations. And one of them has been Danu, the Kinvara-based 39ft steel ketch which is currently on a Transatlantic circuit cruise with Vera Quinlan, her husband Peter Owens, and their two children Lillian (12) and Ruari (10).

Their dream cruise was beginning to take on several aspects of a nightmare, as some of the Caribbean islands imposed local hyper-strict lockdowns. But the crew of Danu are a notably resourceful and good-humoured foursome, and even in situations which others might have found maddeningly frustrating, they managed to make the best of it to add to their rich store of experiences. Eventually, they found their way to Antigua, which was one of the assembly points for a flotilla of OCC boats due to leave for Europe at much the same time from several islands.

There was further frustration with a lack of wind for some days, and with the need to conserve fuel and use sail as much as possible over what might be a 4,000 mile voyage - though with the possibility of a pit stop at the Azores – patience was need until the breeze filled in. When it did, they finally got away on Saturday in company with Peter Whatley’s La Boheme. Their patience is rewarded, as Danu is currently making good progress under sail in the right direction three days after departure.

Meanwhile, ocean voyagers everywhere are either trying to do the same thing, or are watching to keep an eye on how others are doing, and a couple from Northern Ireland, Kevin & Susie Harris with the 1993 Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 47 Temptress of Down (originally Laragh based at Crosshaven), have been negotiating tricky waters as they draw towards the final stages of their global circumnavigation, which started in 2013.

TemptressThe much-travelled Sun Odyssey 47 Temptress of Down was Crosshaven-based when new in 1993.
“Final stages” is a very relative term when you’re cruising round the world, for in the case for Temptress and her crew, it has involved how best to get from Sri Lanka into European waters. The situation in the Middle East is so volatile that the Ocean Cruising Club are reluctant to advise going there, but the prospect of the long haul down round South Africa seemed equally unappealing, so Kevin and Susie kept with their plan of simply going for it through the notoriously windy Red Sea and the Suez Canal.

From time to time, yacht convoys get formed to transit these potentially hazardous areas in the hope of finding safety in numbers. But like circumnavigators Pat and Oliva Murphy of Howth with Aldebaran in 2007, the Harrises found themselves on their own, and just went for it despite the added problems of the spread of Covid-19.

Fortune favoured the brave, and they were through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean by May 2nd. After replenishing stores and resting up in Crete, where they were provided with generous supplies of welcome fresh produce by the neighbourhood farmers, Temptress and her crew are now in mainland Greece at Missolonghi (yes, Byron’s Missolonghi) with the country and its minimal Coronavirus infection rate rapidly emerging from lockdown.

Meanwhile, the Ocean Cruising Club’s support network is a reminder that the club was founded in 1954 by Humphrey Barton (1900-1980), who was very active in the Irish Cruising Club when he was working in Belfast as a consulting engineer in the 1930s. He continued to maintain these ICC links, and today the OCC has a significant Irish membership, with the Vice Commodore Daria Blackwell based in Clew Bay, while the OCC Roving Rear Commodore (Baltic) is Andrew Curtain of the Royal Irish YC in Dun Laoghaire.

The OCC Atlantic Fleet are in this Wind Prediction Tracker here

Published in Cruising

The Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) has announced the recipients of awards that recognise achievements in blue water sailing over the past 18 months. The recipients of these awards were selected from among those nominated by OCC members.

The Club’s premier award, the OCC Barton Cup, named after Humphrey Barton, founder of the OCC, goes to Germany’s Susanne Huber-Curphey, the first woman to navigate the
Northwest Passage singlehanded (west to east). She received extraordinary praise from Victor Wejer, who himself was recognised for his assistance with ice and weather reports by the
OCC Award of Merit in 2016. He advised Susanne during her passage in s/v Nehaj (11·9 m cutter). He wrote to us that Susanne completed her passage “with great style, ability and perseverance, beating many experienced crew who were way ahead. She provided all support and immense friendship to others, even when her own resources were at their
limits.”

In 2008, Susanne and her husband Tony Curphey were awarded the Cruising Club of America’s Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship when Susanne, sailing solo
aboard her own vessel So Long, a 1964 Rhodes 41, rescued her husband sailing solo aboard Galenaia, a 1958 plywood 27 foot cutter, when it started taking on water 29 days out
of Bunbury in Western Australia. She towed Galenaia, with Tony still aboard, for 650 nautical miles to Port Nelson in New Zealand under challenging conditions.

David Scott Cowper  – OCC Lifetime Cruising Award

The OCC Lifetime Cruising Award, a new award for 2017, goes to British sailor David Scott Cowper, for tackling the world’s most difficult sea routes while completing six circumnavigations. His last circumnavigation tool place via the Hecla and Fury Straits, in which he, accompanied by his son aboard the specially designed aluminium motorboat Polar Bound, became the first to navigate this passage since its discovery in 1822. This was his third circumnavigation in Polar Bound. 

Scott Cowper became well known in the 1970s and ‘80s for various sailing exploits, including competing in The Observer Round Britain and Ireland Race and the Singlehanded
Transatlantic Race (OSTAR). In 1982 he achieved fame when he completed two circumnavigations in his 41ft Huisman-built S&S sloop Ocean Bound and became the fastest
person to sail singlehanded around the world in both directions, breaking Sir Francis Chichester’s record by a day and Chay Blyth’s by 72 days.

Scott Cowper’s move from sail to power in 1984 was based on his interest in the Arctic, where navigation often takes place under power. His preparatory cruise around the world via
the Panama Canal in a former RNLI lifeboat, the Mabel E Holland, achieved him the honour of being the first person to circumnavigate solo in a motorboat, and the first to do so via sail
and power. In 1986, he embarked on a circumnavigation via the Northwest Passage which took four years, concluding in 1990 via the McClure Strait, the most northerly of the seven
known routes.

The Frozen Frontier: Polar Bound through the Northwest Passage about his polar expeditions was written by his companion and co-adventurer Jane Maufe. David lives and
works in Newcastle upon Tyne. He is a Chartered Building Surveyor and a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, but his passion is sailing.

Lisa Blair – OCC Seamanship Award

The OCC Seamanship Award, which recognises acts of bravery or extraordinary seamanship, goes to Lisa Blair for her solo circumnavigation of Antarctica, which included a dismasting.
She had sailed three-quarters of the way around the world solo, non-stop and unassisted in support of climate action when her mast came down in storm conditions. After a four-
hour battle in freezing conditions she was able to save her Open 50 yacht Climate Action Now and her life. She called a Pan Pan then motored toward Cape Town to effect
repairs. An attempt to transfer fuel from an 80,000 ton container ship resulted in a collision and further damage, but again she saved her boat, constructed a jury rig, and
sailed to Cape Town, and two months later returned to her circumnavigation attempt. Lisa became the first woman to complete a solo circumnavigation of Antarctica, with one
stop. 

Benchmark Time: 103 Days, 7 Hours, 21 Minutes, 38 Seconds.

Total Elapsed time: 183 Days, 7 Hours, 21 Minutes, 38 Seconds.

On a more recent voyage, Lisa battled an engine fire and was once again able to save her boat. She has recently completed the Sydney to Hobart Race with an all-female crew, in partnership with the Magenta Project. Her book Demasted is due to be released soon.

Published in Cruising

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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