Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Causeway Coast

Four coastal locations around the island of Ireland are in the running to be named Ireland’s best place to holiday this year, with the winner to be announced this August Bank Holiday weekend.
 
Carlingford in Co Louth on the shores of Carlingford Lough joins Achill Island in Co Mayo, Inishbofin in Co Galway and Portrush and the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland in the list of five finalists for the Irish Times Best Place to Holiday in Ireland 2022 contest.

For more details and to find out the winner, see the Irish Times website HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

RNLI lifeguards in Northern Ireland have saved four people in two separate incidents during a busy week on Causeway Coast beaches.

Two teenage girls were rescued after being pulled out to sea in a rip current, and on the same day a man who had disappeared beneath the waves was pulled to safety along with his son.

In the first incident, RNLI lifeguard Luke was patrolling East Strand beach in Portrush on a rescue water craft (RWC) when lifeguards were alerted by a member of the public to two teenage girls being pulled out by a rip current at Curran Point, the section between East Strand and neighbouring beach Whiterocks.

Rip currents are strong currents running out to sea which can quickly drag people away from the shallows of the shoreline and out to deeper water.

Although the weather was hot and sunny, Luke had to manoeuvre the RWC through choppy waves to get to the reported location of the casualties.

Reaching the teenage girls, Luke saw they were distressed, and they were both struggling to breathe. He pulled the first girl onto the rescue sled at the back of the RWC and then assisted the second girl to climb on as she was very weak.

Luke then brought the girls back to shore and helped them onto the beach and into the care of RNLI lifeguard Emily who treated them for shock.

Speaking after the rescue, Emily said: “Rip currents are very unpredictable. You could walk out five metres into the one at Curran Point and you would lose your footing, it is so strong.

“If you are caught in a rip current, do not try to swim against it or you’ll exhaust yourself. Instead, if you can, swim parallel to the shore until you’re free of the rip and head to shore. Always raise your hand and shout for help.

“We want people to enjoy the water safely by making sure that they come to lifeguarded beaches and swim between the red and yellow flags.”

Luke added: “This rescue proves just how vital our equipment is. The girls were quickly drifting down the beach, almost out of our sight and we would not have made it out to them quickly enough without the RWC.

“Rip currents are an ever-present danger, so we patrol in the water, as well as on shore, to keep everyone safe.”

On the same day, at Benone Beach farther west along the Causeway Coast, lifeguard Andrzej had just helped bring a body boarder back to the safe area between the flags.

He then patrolled down towards the Umbra, the minor river which flows across Benone’s bathing beach and noticed two heads in the water about 500 metres out of the safe swimming zone.

One of them heard the engine of the RWC and raised his arm to signal for help. As Andrzej circled round to go to the rescue, he noticed one of the two men had sunk beneath the water.

Using his hands, Andrzej managed to pull him onto the rescue sled and then reached out to get the second casualty, who he later learned was the first man’s son. The son was struggling, but managing to keep his head above water, so Andrzej pulled him onto the sled also.

With both men onboard the rescue sled, Andrzej headed back to shore where he beached the rescue craft. Andrzej and the man’s son helped get his father onto the sand where they sat him down. Andrzej called his fellow RNLI lifeguards for medical assistance and they administrated oxygen to the casualty.

Speaking after the rescue, Andrzej said: “In the heat of the moment, my training kicked in and I just wanted to get them back on to the sand.

“It could have been a very serious situation if I hadn’t seen them out swimming, and if the son hadn’t raised his arm for help. When you swim at the beach, try to stay as close to the lifeguarded patrol zone as possible, so we can see you and get to you as quickly as we can.

“Luckily, the son knew what to do and did the right thing. If you get into difficulty in the water, lean back, stretch out your arms and legs, then call for help or raise your arm.”

Published in Water Safety

#Vandalism - Vandals have caused an estimated £800 (€900) worth of damage to an RNLI lifeguard unit at Whiterocks on the Causeway Coast.

Following two of the busiest days of the summer season so far in Northern Ireland, the RNLI team at Whiterocks arrived at work yesterday morning (Wednesday 19 July) to see that their unit, located near the entrance to the North Coast beach, had been extensively damaged.

The charity’s lifeguards discovered that the vandals had left behind broken bottles and a barbecue, while the unit’s aerial mount required for VHF communications had also been damaged.

A large rock which had been thrown at the hut damaged the unit’s outer skin, piercing the inner plywood and leaving a two-inch hole in the unit, which was also covered with indecent graffiti.

RNLI lifeguard supervisor Karl O’Neill said the damage to the aerial mount had threatened vital VHF communications, while the rock damage meant the unit was no longer watertight.

“Our lifeguards rely on the aerial to communicate with each other when on patrol and to communicate with their colleagues in the coastguard in the event of an emergency,” he said. 

“Thankfully the damage has not rendered our communications off-service but should it have, and should it have happened during the last two days, which brought thousands of people to our beaches to enjoy the good weather, lives could have been put at risk.

“It is very disappointing for our lifeguards, who have been working hard to keep people safe, to turn up this morning after two busy days and see the unit they need to carry out their job has been so badly damaged. It really does dampen spirits.”

It is estimated that the repairs to the beach lifeguard unit will run into hundreds of pounds for the charity.

The RNLI is working closely with the PSNI who have appealed for anyone with any information to come forward.

“We would appeal to those doing this damage to be mindful that the RNLI is a charity,” said O’Neill. “Our lifeguards are an essential part of what is a seamless rescue service that saves lives from the beach to the open sea.

“Our lifeguards’ primary role at Whiterocks and on all lifeguarded beaches on the Causeway Coast is to make sure the beach can be enjoyed safely by the public. We want them to be able to continue to do that safely and with peace of mind.”

Published in Coastal Notes

#Diving - A new commercial catamaran is part of a Portstewart-based diving firm’s efforts to compete with popular dive tourism destinations abroad, as the News Letter reports.

Diving is ‘big business’ for the Aquaholics Dive Centre, which provides services for big-name film and TV productions such as Game of Thrones alongside its training, sea safari and diving holiday offerings.

And it’s the tourism that such visibility brings to Northern Ireland that the company aims to capture, with its new boat just the ticket to explore more of the Causeway Coast’s impressive diving sites.

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Diving

 An off-duty RNLI lifeguard has rescued a teenage boy this afternoon after he got into difficulty when bodyboarding in Portrush.

Conard McCullagh, a Senior RNLI Lifeguard on the Causeway Coast was cycling from Portstewart where he had been attending the North West 200 race paddock when at approximately 2pm he observed two teenagers on bodyboards in the water at Portrush West Strand.

Knowing the beach and the dangers of the water at Black Rocks, an area prone to rip currents, Conrad immediately sensed that the teenagers may get into difficulty and went to their parents who were on the shore. Conrad felt the teenagers were too far out in the water and advised their parents to wave them back in.

One of the teenagers, a 15-year-old girl managed to paddle her way in but the 13-year old boy struggled and indicated that he couldn’t get back in as the water was sucking him out fast.

Conrad immediately ran to the RNLI Beach Lifeguard Unit and grabbed a rescue board and went to the casualty and pulled him out of the water.

Once he had the teenage boy safely ashore, Conrad carried out casualty care checks to ensure the boy was ok.

Speaking following the rescue, Karl O’Neill, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor said: ‘I would like to commend Conrad who wasn’t on duty this afternoon but used his RNLI skills and training to remain vigilant, spot the danger and go straight to the family when he suspected the teenagers may be in trouble.

‘This rescue serves as a reminder to us all that while we may be experiencing some good weather we still need to respect the water. It is a sunny warm day and the water appears calm and everything looks good on the surface but the reality is there is a lot going on underneath and the water can be very dangerous. The current the boy was bodyboarding in was simply too strong to paddle against. Thankfully, Conrad was able to go to the boy’s assistance today and we would like to wish him well following what must have been a frightening experience for him.’

RNLI lifeguards are on patrol from 11am-7pm at weekends on Benone Strand, Portrush West and East Strands, Whiterocks and Portstewart. They will take up full time daily patrol for the Summer on Saturday 25 June.

The RNLI’s advice for anyone planning a trip to the beach is to respect the water, check weather and tide times before you go and if planning to go into the water, swim at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags. Avoid using inflatables in strong winds or rough seas.

If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help and if you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard, call 909 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Rescue - An elderly man with a suspected broken ankle was rescued from one of Northern Ireland's most popular coastal walks at the weekend, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

The injured man was on a part of the Causeway Coast Way not accessible by road, requiring coastguard teams from Ballycastle and Coleraine to attend and help him to a waiting ambulance.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

#MarineWildlife - The Causeway Coast is fast becoming a mecca for dolphins – and dolphin watchers, as the News Letter reports.

Now regularly spotted from the mainland between Ballycastle and Lough Foyle, the dolphins – which may number as many as 70 – are believed to have followed the Gulf Stream as its warm waters have dropped down towards the north coast.

But they're not just here for a holiday, as food is of the essence – hence their habit of approaching boats in big numbers in search of a bite to eat, or in the hopes of stirring up a big mackerel feast.

Rathlin Island appears to be a particular hotspot for the boisterous cetaceans, but Malin Head in Donegal also seems to be within their swimming grounds, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#RNLI - RNLI lifeguards on the Causeway Coast helped to bring a sand dune fire under control at the weekend.

Lifeguards Jenny Thompson, Liam Mullan, James Walton and Jordan Burns were patrolling Benone Strand near Coleraine on Saturday afternoon (16 May) when, shortly after 3pm, they spotted smoke emerging from the sand dunes as they were preparing to enter the water to do some training.

One lifeguard went to investigate the incident some 400m from the rear of the lifeguard hut and observed a large fire which was spreading fast due to a strong easterly wind.

The lifeguards contacted the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service before going to the scene themselves and bringing the fire under control within 10 minutes using fire extinguishers and shovels.

While continuing to maintain an operational and safe beach, the lifeguards ensured that no one was in any danger.

The lifeguards were assisted by staff from the nearby Benone tourist complex who provided the extinguishers, the beach rangers and some members of the Order of Malta who had been providing medical cover for a half marathon which had just finished on the beach.

RNLI senior lifeguard Liam Mullan explained: "The strong easterly wind was a big factor on how fast the fire was growing and how hot it was burning. Thankfully once on scene, we were able to bring the fire under control in about 10 minutes.

"Everyone reacted quickly and worked together using the water to contain the fire to stop it traveling with the wind. We then worked from behind the blaze using the wind to keep the smoke away from us. Using shovels, we brought the flames under control."

Speaking following the incident, Tim Doran, RNLI lifeguard supervisor, said: "While the primary role of a lifeguard is ensuring people’s safety in the water, they also have a duty of care for all members of the public when on land too.

"RNLI lifeguards have a good knowledge of beach access and the surrounding areas and we would encourage any concerned member of the public who comes across such fires to raise the alarm with the lifeguards on patrol who can respond and alert their colleagues in the fire service."

Published in Coastal Notes

#WaterSafety - RNLI lifeguards will be making a welcome return to a number of selected beaches on the Causeway Coast and in Co Down next weekend ahead of the Easter holidays.

After undergoing intensive training in preparation, the charity’s lifeguards will be keeping visitors safe on Tyrella Beach in Co Down and on Benone Strand, Portstewart Strand, East and West Strands in Portrush and Whiterocks on the Causeway Coast.



Lifeguards will begin their patrols on Good Friday (3 April) between 11am and 7pm on the Causeway Coast and between 10am and 6pm in Co Down and continue daily to Sunday 12 April.



Cover will be provided every weekend until the end of June ahead of the summer season, when a daily duty will get underway on all 10 RNLI lifeguarded beaches in Northern Ireland.

"Our lifeguards are looking forward to going on patrol and meeting people who come to the beach," said RNLi lifeguard manager Mick Grocott. "We would encourage visitors to speak to our lifeguards, ask for safety advice, and most importantly call on them should they find themselves in difficulty." 



Ahead of Easter, the RNLI has reiterated its advice to people planning a beach trip to stay well away from dangerous cliff edges which have been impacted by recent weather conditions.



Winter storms changed the profile of all the beaches with extensive damage at Whiterocks, Portrush East and Portstewart where there are high and unstable sand cliffs.



The RNLI’s advice for anyone planning a trip to the beach is to: check weather and tide times before you go and if planning to go into the water; only go swimming at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags; and avoid using inflatables in strong winds or rough seas.

If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help and if you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard, call 909 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.



For more safety information on the beach you plan to visit, you can download the RNLI’s Beachfinder app to find lifeguarded beaches and more information.

Published in Inland Waterways

#Surfing - The News Letter has the lowdown on this weekend's Causeway Coast Surf Festival in Portrush.

This marks the second year of the festival, hosted by the Causeway Coast Surf Club, that mixes surfing with beach and street sports plus music, film and photography, with plenty on offer to entertain the whole family over the Easter weekend.

Aside from the action on the water, highlights are set to be screenings from the Shore Shots film festival that wowed Dublin earlier this month, and a collection of classic Volkswagen camper vans.

The News Letter has more on the weekend's events HERE.

Published in Surfing
Page 1 of 2

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 2023 Date

The 2023 50th Rolex Fastnet Race will start on Saturday, 22nd July 2023

.

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

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating