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#islandnation – THIS WEEK : Smelly humans, the pace picks up in Galway, pirates in Baltimore, the response of fishermen to the condescending RNLI and a Cork beauty are amongst my topics this week, read on .....


There is an increasing buzz of excitement in Galway where the pace has picked up notably this week with work well underway on constructing the Volvo Ocean Race Village and increasing hope that Damian Foxall could be representing Ireland on the overall Volvo winners' podium in the City of the Tribes. It is still disappointing that the general media is not focussing attention on Ireland's two top international sailors in the race - Damian from Kerry and a member of Kinsale Yacht Club who is aboard the French entry Groupama and Justin Slattery from Cork who is with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.


The boat hook on Achill lifeboat


Dick Robinson, former lifeboat crewman from Valentia Island and author of several books about the lifeboat service, has written to me about my visit to the Achill Island lifeboat when I said I had learned that the two boat hooks on modern lifeboats are the only items remains as a tradition from the past."

Dick confirms that this is a reminder of the rowing lifeboat days:

"The RNLI at that time issued a rather condescending circular that white oars were to be used to starboard and blue to port, as 'the orthodox terms, starboard and port are rarely used in lifeboat work since many lifeboatmen are unaccustomed to nautical phraseology.' The Penlee crew reversed the placings as a protest against the tone of that circular.

"The orders from the Coxswain would be 'Forward the white, Back the blue' or reverse as appropriate. The boats would have no steerage way working in close, so the rudder would not be effective and so oars had to be worked all the time. The oars were the subject of considerable research as oars breaking during beaching or launching operations could be fatal. In 1866 trials were carried out involving 38 different types of wood. The best oars were found to be made from young trees in Norwegian and Baltic Wood, followed by oars made from planks of the same woods. Oregon Pine was also good. A balance had to be struck between oars which would break under ordinary conditions and ones which would not break if the lifeboat struck bottom in shallow waters and thereby might capsize her. Later oars were balanced with lead inside."

Thanks Dick for this information on a fascinating topic.


The sacking of Baltimore village, a very popular sailing destination in West Cork, is the topic of a 'PIRATE SEMINAR' – an unusual addition to the list of maritime events this summer. It will be held next weekend, starting on Friday night, June 29 and running until Sunday, July 1, including events for all the family.


The Schull – Baltimore – Cape Clear ferry departs Baltimore

Des Ekin, Assistant Editor with the Sunday World and author of the book – 'The Stolen Village' will discuss the 'Sack of Baltimore' in 1631 when inhabitants were taken off to slavery in Algiers. Connie Kelleher, Underwater Archaeologist with the Dept. of the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht's Underwater Unit will discuss piracy in southwest Ireland in the seventeenth century.

New to Baltimore is a permanent 'piratical exhibition' at Dún na Séad castle, with details of the raid on the village and copies of rare graphics from the seventeenth century depicting the story of the Baltimore captives who were taken into a life of slavery. Details are also shown of the activities of the O'Driscoll clan and their notorious involvement with the men of Waterford during the middle ages. A depiction of Thomas Crooke, the English 'pirate/planter' is also featured. An accompanying feature of the exhibition is a new book by Bernie McCarthy called 'Pirates of Baltimore,' containing images of lifestyles and events associated with the piratical history of the village. Did you ever imagine the respectable Baltimore of today to have such a history!

The exhibition is open daily 11am – 6 pm.


There is a great beauty in traditional boats and the one pictured here, the Peel Castle, was for me the star of this year's Crosshaven Traditional Boats Gathering. She is owned by Graham Bailey and deservedly won the top prize at the event. A fishing lugger she was built back in 1929 at Porthleven in Cornwall, carvel, pitch pine planking on oak frames and her original engine power was 2 x 25 hp Alphas - currently 120hp Ford D series.

peel castle sailing in cork harbour

The Peel Caslte racing off Crosshaven

She was registered PZ17 at Penzance, later BM17 Brixham, Devon. She also fished out of Fleetwood from1968 and finished fishing in 1977 when she was de-registered. Re-registered in Skibbereen in 2008, she has sailed extensively in European waters. Restoration work was done at Hegarty's Old Court Boatyard and is impressive. Graham, a shipwright, also restored her internally. Visitors aboard were very impressed.


Human-produced gas emissions are a significant cause of ocean warming!

Average ocean temperatures have been rising by 0.045 degrees per decade for the past half-century and natural fluctuations alone "do not explain warming in the upper layers of the planet's oceans," according to the Lawrence Livermore National USA National Laboratory. "Human greenhouse gas emissions are an added ingredient and strengthen the conclusion that most of the global ocean warming over the past 50 years is attributable to human activities," according to Livermore climate scientist Peter Gleckler.

The Californian Laboratory which made these findings in a desktop computer modelling study of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans also researches protection against weapons of mass destruction!

To Email your comments to THIS ISLAND NATION: [email protected]

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Published in Island Nation

#RNLI – RNLI Arklow Lifeboat volunteers in County Wicklow are setting off on June 29th to visit every lifeboat station on the Island of Ireland in a single weekend. Vartry Motors KIA Dealers have partnered with Arklow RNLI to provide two KIA Sportage Jeeps for the rund Ireland trip.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#rnli – Eleven swimmers taking part in the annual Triathlon at Mullaghmore in North County Sligo on Saturday morning (16th June 2012) were assisted by the volunteer crew of Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat.

The Bundoran Lifeboat William Henry Liddington was on exercise in the area as the event was taking place. The swim event of the triathlon, jointly organised by the Mullaghmore Sailing and Triathlon Clubs, started just after 10.30 in cool conditions with a northerly wind blowing through the picturesque village. By 11.10am the lifeboat crew had assisted 3 swimmers with the number reaching 10 by 11.45am and 11 total by 11.50am. All swimmers were assisted to shore but did not require medical attention.

Martin Caldwell of Mullaghmore Sailing Club said afterwards 'we were delighted the Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat was in the area and were able to assist our own safety boats. We had a capacity field of 500 triathletes taking part and the tough conditions meant more swimmers than usual required assistance. Safety is an absolute priority in an event such as this and having Bundoran RNLI in the bay was a terrific support. The event, which is in its 11th year, is one of the most popular triathlons in the country and it is a showcase for some of the country's top athletes'

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#LIFEBOATS - "Extremely challenging" conditions hampered the crew of Courtown RNLI after a car crashed into the sea at the Co Wexford harbour, the Irish Examiner reports.

A 19-year-old man died in the incident on Friday night after he and two other teenagers crashed through a sea wall. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene after his removal from the submerged vehicle.

The lifeboat crew pointed to debris from rivers swollen by the heavy rains of the past few days, coupled with gale force winds, as complicating their efforts.

Elsewhere, the Examiner reports that two men on board a yacht that got into difficulties near the Old Head of Kinsale yesterday afternoon were rescued by Courtmacsherry RNLI.

Additional report from Aine Stafford of Courtown RNLI Lifeboat station:

Courtown RNLI Lifeboat launched on Friday night, June 15th, at 22.35 hrs, to a report of a vehicle having entered the water in Courtown Harbour, Co. Wexford.

The volunteer RNLI crew launched the Lifeboat in less than five minutes, and quickly located the car, with the assistance of Courtown Coastguard and Gorey Gardai who were on the harbour side. Gorey Fire Brigade and the local Ambulance service also attended the scene.

An RNLI crew member entered the water at the location of the submerged car, and the Lifeboat then proceeded to carry out a thorough search of the harbour in challenging weather conditions. After 48 hours of heavy rain, quite a lot of debris had washed down the two rivers that enter Courtown Harbour and there was a large swell coming in from the sea.

Unfortunately, a short time later, the Lifeboat crew recovered a man's body from the submerged car. The remains were then taken to Courtown RNLI Lifeboat Station where the man was pronounced deceased by the local Caredoc Service.

Courtown RNLI Lifeboat extends its sympathy to the family of the deceased.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#lifeboat – A call for assistance came for a second time yesterday to Baltimore lifeboat when the bleepers went off at 21:55, this time for the all weather lifeboat. The coastguard had issued a request for an immediate medical evacuation from Sherkin Island. In difficult weather conditions Coxswain Kieran Cotter, with mechanic Cathal Cottrell and crew Jerry Smith, Ronnie Carthy, Pat Collins, Brian Sweeney and Diarmuid Collins made their across Baltimore Harbour in driving heavy rain and high winds. They stood off Sherkin Island awaiting further instruction from the Coastguard. The medical issues were resolved and the Coastguard informed Baltimore Lifeboat that no further assistance was required. The RNLI Tamar class all weather lifeboat Alan Massey returned to her mooring at 23:00.

Earlier in the afternoon afternoon, with south easterly winds blowing force 7, gusting 8, Baltimore Inshore Lifeboat was launched to assist boats in Baltimore Harbour.

A yacht that broke clear of her mooring was driven across the harbour by the high winds and steep seas, until she went aground on rocks at Sherkin Island. Several local ribs went to the scene to try and tow the yacht to safety. After receiving several calls that the boats were struggling in big seas and strong onshore winds, the decision was quickly made that the lifeboat would launch to make sure that all involved were safe.

The yacht was being towed clear as the lifeboat arrived on scene, and the lifeboat escorted the boats back to Baltimore. A crewman was put aboard the yacht to assist in berthing her alongside the pier at Baltimore. The lifeboat was recovered from the water and made ready for service again by 1410hrs, the crew on the callout were Helm Youen Jacob, Tadhg Collins and Mícheál Cottrell.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RESCUE - The Evening Echo reports on the 'miracle rescue' of a man who fell from his boat in Cork Harbour after he was spotted by telescope.

The incident happened on Saturday, when the 37-year-old man from Carrigaline went overboard from a RIB near Haulbowline Island. It is understood that the man was struck by the RIB after he entered the water.

With no other boats in the area at the time, it was by a sheer stroke of luck that he was spotted from a mile away by a man looking out through a telescope at Fort Camden in Crosshaven.

A rescue effort was quickly mobilised, with the Cork Pilot boat and Crosshaven lifeboat both speeding to the scene.

The man, who was found seriously injured, was taken to the Crosshaven lifeboat station from where he was rushed to hospital.

An RNLI spokesperson said the man was "incredibly lucky to have been spotted from shore".

The injured man's family have since praised the telescope user, who is as yet unknown, for his quick thinking in ensuring the rescue of the father-of-two. The Evening Echo has more on the story HERE.

It's the second dramatic rescue in Cork in the past few weeks, coming after brave volunteers from the Baltimore RNLI halted a runaway RIB heading for a busy pier, as previously reported on

Published in Rescue
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#RNLI – A Donaghadee RNLI Coxswain and a Kilmore Quay Mechanic were involved in Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant at the weekend.

Donaghadee RNLI Coxswain Philip McNamara from County Down and Kilmore Quay Mechanic Brian Kehoe from County Wexford were aboard the charity's newest all-weather lifeboat at Sunday's Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant in London. Philip  and Brian were joined at the event by seven other RNLI lifeboat crew from other divisions.

The charity's latest £2.7M (€3M) Tamar-class lifeboat Diamond Jubilee on which Philip and Brian were aboard, will be stationed at Eastbourne Lifeboat Station. The lifeboat is expected to be placed on station in Eastbourne and ready for active service towards the end of June.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#LIFEBOATS - Four children were rescued from a rising tide on Sunday in what was a busy June bank holiday weekend for Ireland's RNLI lifeboats.

The Irish Times reports that a 10-year-old and three teenagers were with their father on Rine Island in Galway Bay, near Ballyvaughan in Co Clare, when they were caught out by the incoming tide.

The father swam to shore and raised the alarm, promoting a quick response from an Irish Coast Guard helicopter and the Galway RNLI lifeboat, who removed the children to safety.

“Both rescue services pulled out all the stops and were on the scene within minutes to divert what could have been a tragedy," said Galway lifeboat operations manager Mike Swan.

The incident occurred not long after the Ballycotton lifeboat was called to assist a vessel taking on water some 23 miles southeast of the Co Cork town.

And elsewhere, as previously reported on, two racing yachts were led to safety by the Dun Laoghaire lifeboat on Sunday morning after getting into difficulty amid gale-force winds and driving rain on Dublin Bay.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#ISORA – In a change to the earlier results posted Dun Laoghaire's First 36.7 Lula Belle a two hander sailed by Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive won the weekend offshore trophies including the new lynx metmAsts Perpetual Offshore Trophy writes ISORA Commodore Peter Ryan. Revised results and times are avaliable to download at the bottom of this post.

First over the finish line for line honours was "NUI Galway" with "Aquelina" close behind. "English Mick" was third over the line . "Lula Belle" was fourth over the line taking overall, Class 2 and the lynx metmAsts Trophy. "NUI Galway" took secod overall and first in Class 1."Joker 2" took 3rd Overall and 2nd Class 1.

On the Friday evening, in the blistering sunshine in Pwllheli Sailing Club, the lynx metmAsts Pre-Race Reception was well attended. The three new lynx metmAsts trophies were on display – the Perpetual Offshore Trophy, the winners trophy to keep and the trophy for the photographic competition. In attendance and making short speeches was the Commodore of PSC, Phil Ranner and Director of lynx metmAsts, John Rutter. The party continued into the night!!

The forecast for the race was for light to little winds at the start building to moderate NE winds going SE by late Saturday / early Sunday. In view of the forecast the course set by the Sailing Committee was :

Start from PSC Bridge

South Arklow (S)

metmAsts and Turbines on Arklow bank (s)

South India (P)

Finish in Wicklow (in a notherly direction)

Well, the forecast was correct for the 08.00 start. A strong westerly tide pushed fours boats over the start line at the gun. These boats were unable to re-cross the line due to the light winds and strong tide for some time. The remainder of the fleet headed towards St. Tudwal's Islands in the tide and tide generated wind. At Tudwal's, the fleet began to bunch again when whatever winds were around at the start dropped – possible due to the turning of the tide. Two boats went out between the islands, "Aquleina" and "Joker 2". This appeared to pay off.

Punching against the tide towards Bardsey, the fleet again got dispersed, however "Aguelina" and "Joker 2" appeared to hold their advantage. It was not until after 16.00 that the wind started to fill in from a NE direction and built steadly to 18 knots by the time the fleet was approaching South Arklow at approximately 21.00. By the time the first boats had rounded the wind backed to a northerly direction and increase to 20-24 knots.

The leg to South India was a full beat against the now strong south going tide requiring most of the fleet to "rock hop" in the dark along the Arklow coast. At approximately around midnight there was sudden veer in the wind back to NE that sent the beating boats fetching for South India in the increasing winds.

Rounding South India was no "piece of cake" as the N/NE winds had whipped up the seas. The first boat, "NUI Galway", rounded approximately 02.00 and headed for the finish at Wicklow. Conditions in Wicklow were bad with a big swell at the harbour mouth. The main light house was not operating and the outer finish mark was unlit. These with the large swell did not make the run through the finish easy.

First over the finish line for line honours was "NUI Galway" with "Aquelina" close behind. "English Mick" was third over the line . "Lula Belle" was fourth over the line taking overall, Class 2 and the lynx metmAsts Trophy. "NUI Galway" took secod overall and first in Class 1."Joker 2" took 3rd Overall and 2nd Class 1.

We are awaiting the outcome of the lynx metmAsts Photographic Competition. Photographs of the before, during and after the race are acceptable and should be emailed to Koyelia Sirkar this week ( [email protected] )who will select the overall winner. The winner will be announced next weekend.

I would like to thank our sponsors lynx metmAsts for their generous help in providing the Crew Bus, Reception in Pwllheli and the great trophies. I would like to thank PSC for the great hospitality on Friday night and Richard Tudor for providing the start. Wicklow Sailing Club had laid on food and were awaiting our arrival. However the light winds wrecked those arrangements. I would like to thank Sadie Phelan all her help and Wicklow sailing Club for the arrangements – let's hope we get there next year.

Photographer Andy Green from Pwllheli took a great series of photographs at the start of the race. You can view these by clicking here

The next high point in the Offshore Calendar is the Round Ireland. While not in our race schedule, we will be awarding a trophy for the best performance of an ISORA boat to be presented in our Prize-Giving Dinner on the 17th November in the NYC.

The next ISORA race is the Pwllheli Day Race on the 14th July followed by the popular ISORA / RAYC Night Race on the 27th July.

Results are attached for download below.

Additional Race Report from NUI Galway below:

Since the ICRA Nationals, Reflex 38 "NUIGalway" and crew have been kindly hosted by the Royal St. George Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire in preparation for the Round Ireland. Last Thursday and Friday was a frenzied assault on the job and kit list as we got ready for the ISORA race from Pwelheli (Wales) to Wicklow.

After a bit of a rush, once clear of Dun Laoghaire harbour Friday evening it was a very chilled out affair, with the auto pilot on we motored across a glassy Irish sea. Most of the were crew asleep as we snook into an eerily quiet Pwelheli marina at dawn and tied up. A quick update of the weather forecast and a power nap was had before cracking into boat prep and breakfast in time for an 8am race start...

As the 15 boats filed out of the marina, we took stock opposition; the cool still air onshore was a bad omen as we arrived out to a start line where not a puff was to be seen. The start sequence got under way nonetheless as a 1knot tide pushed boats down towards the line. In a confirmed case of young bull and old bull, we were amongst 6 boats that were over on the start line. Not alone were we over the line but we hadn't a hope of getting back up to it to restart so it was anchor out!! We sat alongside the other misfortunes for 40 minutes biting our nails as we watched the rest of the fleet drift off towards the Bardsey Sound at the South tip of Holyhead. With a whisper of breeze and a waning tide we eventually got away in earnest.

Picking off boats was the name of the game. With the kite up we followed channels of breeze and we did well dodging the first of the tide that was now starting to build against us, to our favour the fleet stayed relatively compressed. By 2pm we were already well through a session of headsail and kite hoists as the wind flicked and spluttered while just breaking out into the Irish Sea. It was clear this wasn't going to be a rapid transit and quips were being made about rationing! Overall we had regained a good position again though most of the fleet were beating us on handicap but at least they were back at the proper side of our stern. Out into the Irish Sea we all spread out, we followed the breeze and let the tide the ebb tide take us south waiting for the new tide take us back north to our rhumb line to the first mark off Arklow.

Later around 10pm as boats reconverged on the mark off Arklow, our position to the north of the rest of the fleet would have been paying dividends as the predicted easterly wind shift was late arriving. The wind had steadily built up to ~17kts while we trucked in on the mark with our asymmetric kite up in rain and low visibility. For the first time in 6 hours we got sight of a boat ahead and to leeward, as we climbed up over them we were disappointed to see it was the J109 "Joker" who we needed to be ahead of on handicap. This was compounded by our struggle to find the South Arklow navigational mark that we were to round, only to see it 400 metres below us, letting Joker slip by us we crawl dead downwind! Other competitors have since reported similar issues with the mark having been recently moved south.

The last 3-4 hours was a misery for the crew on the rail!! The rain now driving, we tacked our way up against the wind and building tide, tiredness creeping and very wet, wishing the new gear we're ordering had arrived for Friday! We peeled to a bigger headsail as the wind died down a bit and shifted east only to build again in time for rounding of a mark 5 miles east of Wicklow. Having passed Joker again on the beat upwind, the last run home downwind with the kite up was exciting stuff for the last 40 minutes. In almost pitch darkness "UP 10!"; "DOWN 5!" was being roared from the nav table below, homing in on an unlit finish line, this interspersed with the odd big bear away to avoid lobster pots. Coming in hot on a leeshore, as soon as we were across the line at 2.47am, we did a "letter-box" drop of the kite and got out of dodge fairly hastily in case we would have a couple of boats down on top of us!

The finish of the race was only part of the saga, as we made our way back to Dun Laoghaire 20 miles north with the engine on and the main up pushing tide the wind speed built. By 6am off Dalkey Island it was gusting over 30kts from the East, in the early light "The Muglins" was awash with white water. While taking a wide berth of the rocks, we were broadside to short steep waves and dodging the occasional pot. After a recce of the entrance to the harbour and a "chicken gybe" around, we came powering in through the entrance. With the 8 crew after 24 hours on the go, cold and wet it took in one last big effort getting the main down and secured on the boom inside the harbour wall. With mooring fields akin to a pinball table we headed into the sheltered pontoon of the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Once alongside, we got changed out of the back of the van in an underground carpark, too early to find a breakfast roll in Dun Laoghaire, we scattered for the nearest hot shower and warm bed/ couch!

Still provisional, but it looks like we placed third overall.


Published in ISORA
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#RNLI– Ballycotton ifeboat, launched at 12:40 today in response to a call for help from a boat 23 miles south east of Ballycotton. The vessel with four persons on board reported that it was taking water and requested use of a pump. The RNLI lifeboat proceeded to the casualty with a salvage pump to lend assistance. Satisfied that the water intake was under control a tow line was established. The lifeboat proceeded to tow the boat slowly back to Ballycotton. They are due into Ballycotton at approx. 19:30 this evening.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Page 162 of 187

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