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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Achill Island

#Dolphins - It was a happy Easter for one young dolphin that was rescued from stranding on Achill Island by some quick-thinking coastguard volunteers.

As TheJournal.ie reports, the juvenile dolphin was one of two reported stranded on Keem Beach early on Sunday morning.

On arrival at the scene, the local Irish Coast Guard team found one of the two had died, but officer-in-charge Colin Honeyman leapt into action to save the remaining youngster.

Taking to the sea in his wetsuit, and with some help from a nearby fishing boat, he swam with the dolphin under his arm out to deeper water, where "he seemed to get a new lease of life and just swam off - he really went for it."

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Surfing - Students from all over Ireland will be taking to the waves off Achill Island for this weekend's Irish Surfing Intervarsities, as the Mayo Advertiser reports.

Keel Beach will be the venue for the two-day contest that kicks off tomorrow Saturday 22 March, and will see top wave riders from 11 institutions show their stuff in the surf - while organisers promise a party atmosphere for spectators on land. The Mayo Advertiser has more on the sorry HERE.

In other surfing news, Mullaghmore in Co Sligo will host the third annual Conference in Surfing Medicine this coming September.

According to Surfer Today, the gathering to be convened by the European Association of Surfing Doctors on 9-13 September will discuss the dangers posed by the increasingly extreme surf at one of the world's premier big wave spots.

Peter Conroy will be among those speaking during the week, giving the surfer's perspective on surfing in the harshest of conditions.

Published in Surfing

#MarineWildlife - Achill Island locals have proposed that the 20-metre fin whale beached on Keel Beach over Christmas - and buried just before the New Year - be preserved in some form as a heritage attraction for the region, as the Galway Advertiser reports.

The inspiration comes from the residents of West Cork village Kilbrittain, who were successful in securing permissions to recover the buried remains of a similarly sized whale in 2009. The whale skeleton was since put on display as a big tourism draw.

Similar proposals by Baltimore locals in 2012 after a fin whale became trapped in the town's harbour were scuppered when Cork County Council dumped its remains at sea.

Achill Islander and Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) member John O'Shea says that making an attraction out of the whale skeleton would connect people with the area's whaling history, which has changed profoundly over the past century from one of slaughter to preservation.

The Galway Advertiser has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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#MarineWildlife - There's a "fantastic opportunity to witness the second largest animal on the planet close up" on Achill Island over the next few days after a male fin whale was stranded on Keel Beach on Christmas Eve.

The 20-metre-long marine giant live stranded on the beach but died some hours later, as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group reports. It is as yet unknown what caused the fin whale to strand, but samples of skin, blubber, muscle and baleen have been taken for assessment.

TheJournal.ie repeats Achill Coast Guard's warning for anyone coming to see the whale to stay on the shore and not venture into the surf as the strongest storm in 15 years continues to sweep the country.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Rescue - The Irish Times reports on a "lucky escape" in Co Mayo yesterday (22 December) after a car plunged into deep water on Achill Island.

The driver of the vehicle was quickly rescued by the island's Irish Coast Guard unit after her car came of the road near Keel Lake in gale-force weather conditions, and was left teetering on an underwater ledge above a 25-metre drop.

Sadly a similar incident in Co Roscommon just hours before had a tragic end when the driver of a car that went into a lake could not be revived, though his passenger managed to escape the vehicle.

The Irish Times has much more on these stories HERE.

Published in Rescue

#NewsUpdate - The Irish Times is reporting that a women has drowned while swimming off Achill Island yesterday afternoon (Thursday 10 October).

Local coastguard members responded to an emergency call just after 3pm yesterday after the woman, who was swimming with a group at the time, got into difficulty.

Her body was recovered from the water to Purteen Pier in Achill, Co Mayo, where she was pronounced dead at the scene by a local doctor.

Published in News Update
Tagged under

#Kitesurfing - It will be last kite flying when Ireland's kitesurfers take to the water on Achill Island this weekend 28-29 September to battle some of the best in the world at the final stop on the Irish Kitesurfing Tour Competition.

As the Mayo Advertiser reports, the kitesurfing event will be celebrated on dry land, too, with the Battle for the Lake Music and Kite Festival, as spectators watch all the action on Keel Lake - considered one of the world's best spots for the sport - and enjoy live music, a funfair and BBQ on the lakeshore.

The Mayo Advertiser has more on the story HERE.

Published in Kitesurfing

#RNLI - Achill Island RNLI responded to two separate incidents off the Mayo coast last Sunday 14 July.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was first requested to launch in the early hours of Sunday morning and again in the evening of the same day.



The crew on board the station’s all-weather lifeboat responded to a call-out a few minutes into Sunday morning when a red flare was reported to Malin Head Coast Guard Radio Station. 

The flare was believed to have been seen on the Westport side of Clew Bay. The lifeboat searched the area but nothing was found and the crew returned to station at 3am.



The second incident happened at around 7.30pm when a cruiser with four people on board reported to Malin Head Coast Guard that it had engine problems and was disabled. 

This was in the vicinity of Old Head on the south side of Clew Bay, and the Achill lifeboat was requested to assist the vessel.

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The casualty vessel was towed to Old Head Pier by another boat that was close by, and the lifeboat ensured that all were safe before returning to station.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - It was a busy June bank holiday weekend around the country for RNLI lifeboats in West Cork, Mayo and the Midlands.

On Sunday afternoon, Baltimore RNLI assisted four people after their yacht got into difficulty a mile south of Mizen Head.

The 32ft yacht with four people on board had been propped by a pot buoy immobilising her in the water. The alarm was raised at 10.41am and lifeboat the Alan Massey was launched minutes later.

A local RIB, which had commenced towing, passed the tow to the lifeboat and the yacht was then taken to the safety of Crookhaven Pier.

This was the second call out this week for Baltimore RNLI. On Thursday last three men were rescued when their punt overturned near Horse Island.

Later on Sunday, Achill Island RNLI in Co Mayo brought a distressed fishing vessel with seven people on board to safety.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was requested to launch at 4.50pm to assist a small fishing vessel in the vicinity of Clew Bay and close to Clare Island. The vessel had encountered engine problems and was unable to return to port.

The boat and its crew of seven were subsequently towed safely to Curraun harbour by the Achill Island RNLI lifeboat.

Speaking after, Achill Island RNLI lifeboat operations manager Tom Honeyman said: "The presence of thick fog surrounding the vessel meant that great care was needed in the rescue and the fishing party of the vessel were delighted to return empty handed for a change."

Meanwhile in the Midlands, Lough Ree RNLI brought five people to safety in two call-outs over the weekend.

On Friday 31 May the volunteer crew was requested to launch around 5pm following a report that a cruiser had ran aground north of Quaker Island.

A local fisherman raised the alarm after spotting the cruiser on the rocks at the island located in the north end of Lough Ree raised the alarm.

The lifeboat crew managed to establish contact with the person on board the cruiser via mobile phone and he had confirmed that he had got lost and had ran aground. He reported that there was no water entering his boat. He was on his own but not injured.

The inshore lifeboat was launched and the crew was on scene at 5.30pm. It took the lifeboat 10 minutes to safely navigate its way through the rocky area to reach the casualty. The person on board the cruiser was taken to shore and arrangements were made for a specialist company to attend the scene to recover the cruiser.

Lough Ree RNLI was then launched on Sunday evening to assist a 26ft cruiser which had ran aground east of Green Island after sustaining engine failure.

The small cruiser with a family of four on board had lost engine power and had ran aground on the south east side of Lough Ree.

A crew launched the lifeboat at 8.40pm and arrived on scene 10 minutes later. After one of the lifeboat crew had carried out an assessment of the causality vessel, the decision was made to make an attempt to pull the vessel from the rocks, which the lifeboat was successfully able to complete.

Once the lifeboat had the vessel in deep water, a tow was set up and the casualty vessel was taken to Quigleys Marina in Athlone.

It marked the continuation of a dramatic week for the Lough Ree crew, after six were rescued from a sinking cruiser on the lough last Tuesday 28 May.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#MarineWildlife - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has described as "very unusual" a mass stranding of common dolphins on Achill Island last week - which was followed this week by the remains of cetaceans washed up in Kerry.

At least eight common dolphins were found dead on Keel Beach, Keem Beach and Dookinella on the Co Mayo island at the end of January.

And The Irish Times reports that two pilot whales and an "otherwise healthy" dolphin were found washed up at Cuas Croom near Cahirciveen in the last few days.

Commenting on the former incident, IWDG stranding officer Mick O'Connell said: "While there are occasionally live strandings involving groups of dolphins, it is very unusual in this country to see this number of dead dolphins washed ashore over a 10km area."

Strandings of deceased dolphins have also been reported in Donegal, and the IWDG's Simon Berrow suggests that the recent severe weather experienced around Ireland's coast may be a factor.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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RORC Fastnet Race

This race is both a blue riband international yachting fixture and a biennial offshore pilgrimage that attracts crews from all walks of life:- from aspiring sailors to professional crews; all ages and all professions. Some are racing for charity, others for a personal challenge.

For the world's top professional sailors, it is a 'must-do' race. For some, it will be their first-ever race, and for others, something they have competed in for over 50 years! The race attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts, from beautiful classic yachts to some of the fastest racing machines on the planet – and everything in between.

The testing course passes eight famous landmarks along the route: The Needles, Portland Bill, Start Point, the Lizard, Land’s End, the Fastnet Rock, Bishop’s Rock off the Scillies and Plymouth breakwater (now Cherbourg for 2021 and 2023). After the start in Cowes, the fleet heads westward down The Solent, before exiting into the English Channel at Hurst Castle. The finish for 2021 is in Cherbourg via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland.

  • The leg across the Celtic Sea to (and from) the Fastnet Rock is known to be unpredictable and challenging. The competitors are exposed to fast-moving Atlantic weather systems and the fleet often encounter tough conditions
  • Flawless decision-making, determination and total commitment are the essential requirements. Crews have to manage and anticipate the changing tidal and meteorological conditions imposed by the complex course
  • The symbol of the race is the Fastnet Rock, located off the southern coast of Ireland. Also known as the Teardrop of Ireland, the Rock marks an evocative turning point in the challenging race
  • Once sailors reach the Fastnet Rock, they are well over halfway to the finish in Cherbourg.

Fastnet Race - FAQs

The 49th edition of the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, UK on Sunday 8th August 2021.

The next two editions of the race in 2021 and 2023 will finish in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin at the head of the Normandy peninsula, France

Over 300. A record fleet is once again anticipated for the world's largest offshore yacht race.

The international fleet attracts both enthusiastic amateur, the seasoned offshore racer, as well as out-and-out professionals from all corners of the world.

Boats of all shapes, sizes and age take part in this historic race, from 9m-34m (30-110ft) – and everything in between.

The Fastnet Race multihull course record is: 1 day 4 hours 2 minutes and 26 seconds (2019, Ultim Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier)

The Fastnet Race monohull course record is: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing).

David and Peter Askew's American VO70 Wizard won the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race, claiming the Fastnet Challenge Cup for 1st in IRC Overall.

Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001.

The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result.

The winner of the first Fastnet Race was the former pilot cutter Jolie Brise, a boat that is still sailing today.

Cork sailor Henry P F Donegan (1870-1940), who gave his total support for the Fastnet Race from its inception in 1925 and competed in the inaugural race in his 43ft cutter Gull from Cork.

Ireland has won the Fastnet Race twice. In 1987 the Dubois 40 Irish Independent won the Fastnet Race overall for the first time and then in 2007 – all of twenty years after Irish Independent’s win – Ireland secured the overall win again this time thanks to Ger O’Rourke’s Cookson 50 Chieftain from the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland in Kilrush.

©Afloat 2020

Fastnet Race 2021 Date

The 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race will start on Sunday 8th August 2021.

At A Glance – Fastnet Race

  • The world's largest offshore yacht race
  • The biennial race is 605 nautical miles - Cowes, Fastnet Rock, Plymouth
  • A fleet of over 400 yachts regularly will take part
  • The international fleet is made up of over 26 countries
  • Multihull course record: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes (2011, Banque Populaire V)
  • Monohull course record: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi)
  • Largest IRC Rated boat is the 100ft (30.48m) Scallywag 100 (HKG)
  • Some of the Smallest boats in the fleet are 30 footers
  • Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001
  • The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result

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