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Displaying items by tag: Weather

#SURFING - A new short film tells the story of "one epic day of huge surf" at Mullaghmore Head, as Surfer Today reports.

The Northcore film 'Fathoms Left to Fall' follows some of the world's top big wave surfers as they converged on Co Sligo to take advantage of the swell, prompted by the extreme weather system known as the 'Viking storm'.

Among the Irish riders featured is 24-year-old Ollie O'Flaherty, who has been nominated for the 'biggest wave' prize in the 2012 Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards for his monster ride at Mullaghmore.

Also nominated for his outstanding effort at the Sligo surf mecca is Andrew Cotton, a Devon native who's no stranger to Ireland's big rollers.

Published in Surfing

#TORNADO – A mini-twister, a  tornado or waterspout made a spectacular appearance off Bray Head, County Wickow this morning and was captured on tape and posted on youtube by user oifeno1 at the same time as a lightning, thunder and hail storm hit Dublin Bay.

The UK Met Office warned earlier this week that a combination of warm ground temperatures and cold wind passing from the north west could create the perfect conditions for funnel clouds but little did we relaise it would turn up on the East coast of Ireland and only a short distance from where over 200 youths are competing in the Irish Youth Sailing Championships on Dublin Bay.

The YouTube clip above was captured by user 'aoifeno1' (East Coast Kayaks) and uploaded this morning under the summary: "Just about to take a photo of sunrise when I spotted this twister!"

Another clip was caught on tape at 6:40 after a sudden storm passed right overhead, the poster said 'hail came pummeling down and this waterspout went right past the beach and broke up when it hit land on Bray Head'.

 

Published in Weather

#RESCUE - Four people were rescued on Lough Erne yesterday after their motor cruiser ran aground in the second such incident in a week, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

All on board were retrieved by RNLI lifeboat from the 29ft cruiser, which is believed to have stranded on rocks beyond the marked channel of the lough.

No injuries or damage to the vessel were reported, with a Northern Ireland Coastguard spokesperson describing it as "a routine rescue".

The coastguard blamed low water levels in the lough caused by lack of rainfall in Co Fermanagh.

Waterways Ireland has posted a marine notice warning boat users of the risks posed by "the extended period of unseasonal dry weather" for Ireland's inland waterways.

In a similar incident last Friday, three adults and two children were rescued from a cruiser that stranded in shallow water on the lough.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

#LASER - A pair of British sailors are set to embark on an intrepid crossing of the Irish Sea using just two single-handed Laser dingies.

David Summerville and Steve Cockerill had originally planned to make the crossing in September last year, but those plans were scuppered by 50-knot gale force winds and a 12-foot tidal swell, according to Incentive Travel.

But the duo is now planning to try again, with the backing of the Ramada Plaza Southport.

“David and Steve will be covering 115 nautical miles during the challenge," said Ramada Plaza general manager Enda Rylands. "They will set off from my own home town of Dublin and finish in Southport, aiming to raise £50,000 for mental health charity Mind and the John Merricks Sailing Trust."

Summerville, a 53-year-old grandfather of two who runs a boat repair business, said the date of the challenge would again depend on weather and tidal conditions, and that the pair is ready to depart any time from mid-April to mid-September.

It's not the first time that an Irish Sea crossing has been done in a Laser as Tiffany Brien achieved the feat in 2010, sailing single-handedly the 30 miles from Portpatrick in Scotland to Belfast Lough.

But Summerville and Cockerill's ambitious undertaking, at more than three times that distance, would surely get them a place in the record books - provided the weather goes their way!

Published in Laser

#MCIB - The families of two fishermen found dead at sea off the Skerries last April may never uncover the circumstances that led to their demise. But the official report into the incident indicated that the absence of lifejackets was a significant contributing factor.

Ronan Browne (26) and David Gilsenan (41) were reported missing on the evening of 1 April after failing to return from a trip tending to lobster pots.

Their vessel, Lady Linda, was found the following morning upturned in an oil slick off Clogherhead with no sign of the crew.

It wasn't until a week later that their bodies were discovered caught in the vessel's fishing gear some five miles east of Clogherhead, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Post-mortem results found that both men died from drowning, with Gilsenan also showing signs of hypothermia.

With no eyewitnesses to the incident, the report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) indicated a number of possible causes from eqiupment malfunction or shifting of lobster pots on deck, to the wave height and weather conditions on the day, which were reportedly deteriorating when the boat left port.

It also said that Browne and Gilsenan "were lifelong friends, both men were experienced and qualified marine engineers in the fishing vessel industry. Both men were experienced in boat handling and fishing and had worked together on many occasions."

But the report emphasised the lack of personal flotation devices (PFDs) on board, and noted that emergency equipment was stored under the deck and not easily accessible.

The MCIB's recommendations include a review of the code of practice for fishing vessels under 15m to establish "revised stability critera" and ensuring that all boats are fitted with automatic radio beacons that deploy upon capsize.

In a separate incident, lack of proper maintenance led to an unlicenced boat taking on water off Co Kerry last August.

The Claire Buoyant was carrying one crew, five passengers and 21 sheep from Beginish Island to Ventry when the vessel began to lose stability.

Skipper Eoin Firtear - who the MCIB described as having "limited sea-going experience" - and his five passengers were rescued by passenger ferry. All sheep were jettisoned overboard, with 18 eventually recovered.

The report reminded that the carriage of livestock should only be undertaken in appropriately certified vessels.

Published in MCIB

#WEATHER - A new project has been launched encouraging web users to help recover worldwide weather data recorded by Royal Navy ships a century ago.

Old Weather is 'crowdsourcing' volunteers to assist in transcribing weather readings and location data from First World War ships' logs into a database, in order to identify weather patterns and extremes the world over.

At present the site needs help transcribing data from 27 Royal Navy vessels and the courses they sailed, from Britain and Ireland to the farthest reaches of the globe.

The more people that take part in Old Weather, the more accurate the data extracted from the ships' logs will be.

Each logbook will be also looked at by more than one person, allowing mistakes and errors to be filtered out.

The historical data will enable scientists to improve their understanding of weather variabilty in the past and in turn improve their ability to predict weather and climate in the future.

For more details visit www.OldWeather.org.

Published in Weather

#MCIB - The decision to set out in poor weather, coupled with limited safety instruction, led to the tragic death of a Romanian angler on Lough Mask last summer, according to a report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB).

Mircea Ungur drowned after the angling boat he was in capsized in choppy waters brought on by squalling Force 8 winds on the afternoon of 8 May 2011.

Ungur had a tracheostomy tube in his throat resulting from a previous battle against throat cancer, and drowned after taking in water through this tube, the MCIB concluded. It was also found that most of his companions and the guide knew nothing about the tube.

At the time of the incident, Ungur had been on an angling holiday in Co Mayo with five colleagues accompanied by a fishing guide. On the morning of 8 May the group set out from Cappaduff in Tourmakeady on two boats, following a brief discussion about fishing and safe departure from the pier.

Winds were already reaching Force 4-6 when the group departed and sought a sheltered area of the lough to fish. After lunch winds had picked up to Force 8 and the guide signalled for a return to Tourmakeady.

At around 1.5km from the pier at Cappaduff, a wave swamped the leading boat that contained Ungur, a companion and the guide. All three on board, who were wearing buoyancy aids, went into the water.

Ungur was the first taken on board the other boat after some 10 minutes in the water. He was not moving or communicating with the others, and CPR was not administered until the boat reached the shore 20 minutes later. Ungur was pronouced dead just before 3pm.

The report concluded that the group had departed despite reservations among them about the poor weather, which had been correctly forecast that day. There was also little discussion with the anglers about their level of boating experience, the weather, or any disabilities that would affect their safety on the water.

The MCIB recommended that a full safety briefing should be given to all those hiring angling boats. It also urged the enforcement of safety regulations and certification for recreational water craft.

The full report is available to download as a PDF from the MCIB website HERE.

Published in MCIB

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) says 2011 was a record year for whale and dolphin strandings, according to The Irish Times.

IWDG co-ordinator Dr Simon Berrow confirmed a total of 160 strandings reported by year's end.

"This is by far the highest total for the number of stranding records and the third highest total for sighting records since the IWDG recording schemes were established in 1991," he said.

The 2011 record compares to a figure of 92 stranded cetaceans in 2010 - a number much lower than previous years.

Dr Berrow explained to BBC News: "The figures for 2010 were very low, and, we think, this was due to the easterly winds that year. But now we are back up to the kind of level we expect."

Stranding records in 2011 were characterised by a very high peak of common dolphin strandings during February and a high number of porpoise strandings during the winter.

Meanwhile, Dr Berrow considered the latest sightings record "very impressive" given the exceptionally poor sea conditions during autumn and winter.

More than 1,500 whale and dolphin sightings were made in 2011 around the entire coastline of Ireland despite the bad weather.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#SHIPPING - The transfer of hazardous cargo from the stricken tanker at the entrance to Belfast Lough has been delayed yet again due to winds nearing hurricane strength.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that the Genmar Conpanion - which was redirected to Belfast after reporting a cracked hull en route from Rotterdam to New York - will remain sheltering off the Copeland Islands until the weather improves.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the ship-to-ship transfer of 54,000 tonnes of vacuum gas oil was originally scheduled to take place on 31 December last, but the task was pushed back as the receiving ship, BW Seine, was delayed by weather in the North Sea.

It had then been hoped to begin the transfer early yesterday with the receiving ship's arrival, but the strong storm-force winds that have increasingly battered Ireland in the last 36 hours put paid to those plans.

Ship-to-ship transfers can take place in wind speeds of up to 35 knots, but yesterday the wind speed in Belfast Lough was reported as more than double that.

Hugh Shaw, the NI Secretary of State's representative for maritime salvage and intervention, told the Belfast Telegraph: "As soon as we have a window to do the ship-to-ship transfer safely we will take it.

"Winds have been dropping a bit, but it looks unlikely the operation will take place on Wednesday."

Published in Ports & Shipping

#WEATHER - Ireland has been warned to brace for further strong winds set to sweep across the country today (4 January),

The Irish Times reports. Winds reaching near hurricane speeds have affected coastal communities in the north and northwest, peaking at a remarkable 168km/h in Donegal.

Thousands of euro worth of damage was caused when the roofs of traditional thatched cottages at Cruit Island in west Donegal were blown away.

But the west and east have also been hard hit, with storm-force gales exceeding 100km/h uprooting trees and disrupting electricity supply.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, ferry services on the east coast have been severely affected. Irish Ferries cancelled two fast ferries from Dublin to Holyhead yesterday, and today's early Jonathan Swift sailings between Dublin and Holyhead were also cancelled.

Met Éireann expects wind speeds to be lower today, but could still reach 90-120km/h in some areas.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Weather
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