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Displaying items by tag: Galway Bay

A spinning vortex filmed moving over Galway Bay last weekend was caused by “globular “ cumulonimbus clouds, Met Éireann’s head of forecasting Evelyn Cusack has said.

As Afloat reported earlier, the vortex or water spout was filmed by Mark Purcell from Galway docks with Rabbit Island and the Leverets rocks in the background at 11.08 am last Saturday, October 15th.

Ms Cusack, who viewed the video, said that the spout is an intense columnar vortex - usually appearing as a funnel-shaped cloud - that occurs over a body of water.

She said that most waterspouts do not suck up water, and are “small and weak rotating columns of air over water spinning down from the cloud”.

She said that the cold, unstable southwesterly airflow covering Ireland on October 15th last generated heavy, squally showers and some thunderstorms also.

On Saturday, 15th October, 2022 a cold, unstable southwesterly airflow covered Ireland. This generated heavy, squally showers. Some thunderstorms also. The clouds were cumulonimbus clouds which are strong convective clouds with strong updrafts and downdrafts and rotating columns of air or vortices. On Saturday, 15th October, 2022 a cold, unstable southwesterly airflow covered Ireland. This generated heavy, squally showers. Some thunderstorms also. The clouds were cumulonimbus clouds which are strong convective clouds with strong updrafts and downdrafts and rotating columns of air or vortices.

“The clouds were cumulonimbus clouds which are strong convective clouds with strong updrafts and downdrafts and rotating columns of air or vortices,” she explained.

Radar images from Saturday, October 15th, show the intense echoes, and the crosses on the images indicate the thunderstorms/lightning, she noted.

The Radar images from Saturday show the intense echoes and the crosses indicate the thunderstorms/lightningThe Radar images from Saturday show the intense echoes and the crosses indicate the thunderstorms/lightning

Waterspouts have been known to suck fish, frogs and even turtles all the way up into the cloud, and they may not fall back to earth until after the spout stops spinning.

There have been reports of people witnessing “raining fish” caused by this phenomenon as far as 160km or 100 miles inland. Much depends on how fast the winds from a waterspout are whipping.

This satellite image shows the ‘globular’ cumulonimbus clouds which produced the spinning vortex descending from the cloud towards the surface of Galway Bay. This satellite image shows the ‘globular’ cumulonimbus clouds which produced the spinning vortex descending from the cloud towards the surface of Galway Bay.

Published in Galway Harbour
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Challenging weather tested the skills of sailors who took to the water in Galway Bay for the Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil (CSS) annual regatta on Sunday, Oct 16.

The forecast for fresh to strong south-easterly winds restricted regatta entries to the mixed fleet of 420, Laser, Pico and Topaz dinghies, as conditions were deemed too difficult for the Optimist fleet.

Four 420 crews, one Laser and two Topaz crews competed in two races on a course set with race officer Stephen O’Gorman and commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle.

It had been hoped to run three races, but the freshening winds and gathering swell forced an early finish on safety grounds.

First 420 and overall winners were Mark and Denise de Faoite of CSS, with fellow club members and under-18 420 sailors Charlie Donald and James Harvey coming a close second.

CSS 2022 regatta first 420 and overall winners Denise and Mark de Faoite with CSS commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley FanninCSS 2022 regatta first 420 and overall winners Denise and Mark de Faoite with CSS commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley Fannin

 CSS regatta 2022 420 second place sailors Charlie Donald and James Harvey with commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley Fannin CSS regatta 2022 420 second place sailors Charlie Donald and James Harvey with commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley Fannin

The sole visiting crew - Ava McCarthy and James Malone of Galway City Sailing Club- came third in the 420 class, and third overall.

CSS regatta 2022 420 fleet third place sailors Ava McCarthy and James Malone (Galway City Sailing Club) with commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley FanninCSS regatta 2022 420 fleet third place sailors Ava McCarthy and James Malone (Galway City Sailing Club) with commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley Fannin

CSS under-18 420 sailors Catherine Harvey and Sadhbh Laila Riggott performed well in the heavy conditions, coming fourth overall.

 CSS regatta 2022 Laser winner Tomás Ó Culáin with commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley Fannin CSS regatta 2022 Laser winner Tomás Ó Culáin with commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley Fannin

CSS sailor Tomás O Culáin was first in the Laser class, and fifth overall, while Katie Gaynor and Catriona Kearns, also of CSS, were first in the Pico/ Topaz Uno fleet and sixth overall.

CSS regatta 2022 Topaz winners Katie Gaynor and Caitriona Kearns with commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley FanninCSS regatta 2022 Topaz winners Katie Gaynor and Caitriona Kearns with commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley Fannin

Awards were given to Kate Ní Chonghaíle (CSS), sailing solo in the Topaz, and to CSS Pico sailors Sarah Donald and Rory McHale, and Éabha Mae and Liam Simon Riggott.

CSS regatta 2022 Topaz second place sailor Kate Ní Chonghaíle with commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle (Bartley Fannin).jpgCSS regatta 2022 Topaz second place sailor Kate Ní Chonghaíle with commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle Photo: Bartley Fannin

The committee boat had advised the Pico sailors not to launch when weather began to deteriorate as they prepared to leave the Sean Céibh beach.

CSS regatta Pico entrants Rory McHale and Sarah Donald with commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle (Bartley Fannin).jpgCSS regatta Pico entrants Rory McHale and Sarah Donald with commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle

It is hoped to run a regatta for Picos and for Optimists within the next week to fortnight, if weather permits.

The John and Stephanie Hannan Award, which was commissioned by Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil (CSS) in 2020 as an annual prize in memory of the late John Hannan, will be given at the end of the season.

Published in Galway Harbour
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Any young reader of the Arthur Ransome children's novel Peter Duck will know that waterspouts are - more or less - tornadoes over the sea which quite frequently occur in tropical waters, and they can build a mighty column of water between ocean and sky which - in Ransome's book - resulted in the villian's treasure-chasing schooner Viper being swept up into the sky in ever-smaller pieces.

In recent days in Ireland's current phase of very unsettled weather, some attempts at waterspout building have been spotted. Pierce Purcell Jnr recorded this one doing its very best as it came up Galway Bay on Saturday. However - most regrettably - no research boat was readily available to head straight for the middle of it to see what might happen.

The only time your correspondent witnessed an almost-made-it waterspout off the Irish coast was on August 11th 1999. The date is clear, as a total solar eclipse occurred at 1100hrs when we were still in Lawrence Cove on Bere Island - believe me, total darkness coming in fairly quickly at morning coffee time is distinctly spooky. As the light returned, we made our departure for Crookhaven to continue a round Ireland cruise. In moody and distinctly foreboding weather off Mizen Head, the sky to weather turned as black as pitch. Under its darkest part, the sea started to boil up into the waterspout "stalacmite", while down from the cloud came the "stalactite" element.

The two met for a second or two, then it all collapsed, and in improving weather we went on round to Crookhaven. Never, before or since, has O'Sullivan's looked so warm and welcoming.

Published in Galway Harbour
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Galway City Council has imposed a ban on swimming at two beaches due to E.coli contamination.

The bacterial contamination was detected during tests at Grattan beach in Lower Salthill and Ballyloughane beach on the city's east side near Renmore.

The samples showed up high levels of E.coli after they were taken from water at the two beaches on Tuesday of this week, the city council says.

It has said this may be due to “suspected contaminated urban runoff” in its public notice.

Heavy rain in the city earlier this week would have released storm drains into the Corrib estuary and out into Galway Bay.

The city council said it took further samples on Wednesday.

It said that it would issue updates on the swimming ban when these test results become available.

Published in Galway Harbour
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The ultra-oceanic Galway Bay - with the Aran Islands in its midst, the complex coast of Connemara to the north, and the mighty Cliffs of Moher to the south – is so fixed in most people’s minds as an awe-inspiring sort of place that the idea of using it as a sailing playground and race-course is almost a shock. Yet in Galway Bay SC, that’s how they think of it, and in 2022 they’re staging the third annual Lamb’s Week which – for the early birds at least – is getting under way this (Wednesday) evening as they start making their way westward to Kilronan on Inishmor.

Held over five days, Lambs' Week is a mixture of casual racing, cruising and fun along the shores of Galway Bay with one night in Ros á Mhil, two nights in Cill Rónáin on Inís Mór in the Aran Islands, and the final night in Galway Marina for the Commodore's Ball at the Bill King Clubhouse. This is the re-purposed dockside warehouse in the heart of Galway city which was brought into commission to welcome the participants at the Galway Stopover in the Round Britain & Ireland race two month ago, and proved to be a successful and versatile party centre.

An awe-inspiring race area – Galway Bay with the Aran Islands on station as Guardians of the PortAn awe-inspiring race area – Galway Bay with the Aran Islands on station as Guardians of the Port

The highlight of the weekend is a pursuit race where the boats sail the challenging circuit around Inis Oírr and Inis Mean and return to Cill Rónáin for food, music and plenty of craic. Last year the winner by just 30 seconds from Jackie Cronin’s Jimmy Burn from Kilrush was Mark Wilson’s Sigma 33 Scorpio (GBSC). With handicaps taken at the start, the pursuit race time calculations made by GBSC’s Fergal Lyons were a work of genius, as most of the fleet finished within a very tight time-span.

Event sponsors include Corio Generation, a leader in the development of offshore wind farms, Gaeltacht na hÉireann, Aerogen, the world leader in high-performance aerosol drug delivery, and the Port of Galway, who are instrumental in making the event possible.

In addition to providing the best of sport and sailing for west coast boats, the organisers are keen to promote the excellent cruising grounds of the West Coast while highlighting the need and opportunity for better facilities for the many visiting boats at the Aran Islands and other anchorages. 

Part of the fleet in Kilronan Harbour during Lambs’ Week 2021Part of the fleet in Kilronan Harbour during Lambs’ Week 2021

Published in Lambs Week
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The Atlantic Life Boat Swim fundraiser raised over €5,000 last Saturday (July 23rd).

Held at Rinville, Oranmore on Galway Bay, over 150 sea swimmers braved the bad weather for the annual event held in aid of Galway RNLI Lifeboat and the Oranmore Maree Coastal Search Unit.

Organisers have thanked volunteers, swimmers and Galway Bay Sailing Club for supporting the community event.

Published in Sea Swim
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Galway RNLI rescued six people who got into difficulty in the sea off Rabbit Island on Monday evening (18 July). The group who had walked over to the island at low tide became stranded by the incoming tide and were attempting to swim back to shore when they got into difficulty.

The volunteer crew at Galway RNLI were requested to launch their inshore Atlantic 85 class lifeboat at 5.30 pm by the Irish Coast Guard after a member of the public spotted one of the group getting into the water and attempting to swim back to shore. Concerned that the group was going to get into difficulty, they immediately raised the alarm.

The lifeboat helmed by David Oliver and with crew members, Brian Niland, Martin Oliver and Cathal Byrne onboard, launched within minutes and made its way to the scene approximately 10 minutes from the station.

Weather conditions at the time were good with hot weather, flat calm seas, clear skies and good visibility.

Arriving on scene, the lifeboat crew observed six people in the water attempting to swim the quarter of a mile back to shore.

With one of the group struggling and in great difficulty, the crew first went to their rescue taking the casualty out of the water and bringing them safely onboard the lifeboat. The crew then rescued the five others onto the lifeboat before returning them all safely back to shore at Murroogh House.

Speaking following the call out, Barry Heskin, Galway RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘Time was of the essence this evening and we need to commend the member of the public who had the foresight to raise the alarm as soon as they thought the group might get into difficulty, that made a difference and helped to ensure we were on scene at the right time.

‘The group had walked out to Rabbit Island at low tide but then got stranded when the tide came in and their access to the mainland was cut off. It was when they attempted to swim back that they experienced difficulties. While was one of the group was in danger, we were thankfully able to rescue them from the water in good time and no casualty care needed to be administered. We would like to wish the group well following what was a frightening experience for them.

‘We have some beautiful weather at the minute, and we want everyone to enjoy it, but we would urge everyone to think safety first and respect the water. Before planning an activity on or near water, check weather and tide times to ensure it is safe to proceed. When going out always carry a means of communication and let someone on the shore know where you are going and when you are due back.

‘We are also experiencing some spring tides at the minute, and it is very easy for people to get cut off. If you do happen to become stranded, don’t attempt to swim to shore yourself, rather use your means of communication to call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. And if you do get into difficulty in the water, try to float to live. To do this, lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat. Control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Swimmers transiting Galway Bay and tight rope walking across the city’s Claddagh basin will make for busy activity on Galway’s waterways today (Sat July 16) during the hot weather spell.

A total of 130 swimmers have registered to cross the 13km from Aughinish in Clare to Blackrock in Galway for the 16th Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim in aid of Cancer Care West.

In the city, funambulists or high wire/tight rope walkers trained by Galway Community Circus group will demonstrate their skills on the Claddagh basin as part of the Galway International Arts Festival.

Due to Covid-19. the 2020 and 2021 bay swims became virtual events, where swimmers raised money by covering a total distance of 13km during August of those two years.

Stephen Early is first to arrive at the Blackrock diving tower from Aughinish in Co. Clare in a time of 2 hours 35 minutes at the Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim in aid of Cancer Care West in August 2011Stephen Early is first to arrive at the Blackrock diving tower from Aughinish in Co. Clare in a time of 2 hours 35 minutes at the Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim in aid of Cancer Care West in August 2011 Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

The most recent Galway Bay Swim was held in 2019 when 144 swimmers crossed Galway Bay, (49 solo swimmers, 31 relay teams (95 relay team swimmers), and this a new record!

As in 2019, the swimmers will be supported by over 100 boats and 150 crew in the bay, giving of their time voluntarily for the charity event.

Paddleboards and kayaks will guide the swimmers for the final 100 metres into Blackrock diving tower, and spectators on land will also cheer them on.

Fiona Thornton after completing the Frances Thornton Galway Bay Swim, in memory of her late mother, in aid of Cancer Care West. Her sister Claire and their brother Kevin also swam the bay from Aughinish in Co. Clare. Kevin swam both ways, from Balckrock to Aughinish and back.Fiona Thornton after completing the Frances Thornton Galway Bay Swim, in memory of her late mother, in aid of Cancer Care West. Her sister Claire and their brother Kevin also swam the bay from Aughinish in Co. Clare. Kevin swam both ways, from Balckrock to Aughinish and back. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Safety on the crossing is provided by a team of local boat owners, sailors, fishermen, Civil Defence, Oranmore-Maree Coastal Rescue, Doolin Coast Guard, and the RNLI, Cancer Care West says.

Since the event was initiated by the Thornton family, some 900,000 euro has been raised for Cancer Care West.

Seven high lines over the Claddagh and a cast of 150 people of all ages and backgrounds will serve the water stage and cast for “Lifeline”, the Galway Community Circus tightrope walking event which had been proposed for the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture.

The event aims to promote the importance of mental health wellbeing at a popular city location close to the banks of the river Corrib, where there have also been many personal tragedies over the years.

Published in Galway Harbour
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Johnny Shorten, Commodore of Galway Bay Sailing Club, has no doubts about the importance of the Optimist dinghy class Connacht Championships which his club is hosting this Saturday and Sunday,

As Afloat reported previously, a hundred competitors are expected at what is one of the biggest scheduled events at the Oranmore Club this season.

“It’s a testament to the wonderful spirit of co-operation between all the sailing clubs around Galway Bay that they can come together to ensure such a worthwhile event can be hosted in the Bay.

Johnny Shorten, Commodore of Galway Bay Sailing ClubJohnny Shorten, Commodore of Galway Bay Sailing Club

“The Optimist Class has been the starting point for generations of sailors and continues to grow and prosper. The enduring popularity around the world and in Ireland is a testament to the foresight of its creators and the great work done by the IODAI to foster competition, development and camaraderie for young sailors,” says Commodore Shorten.

The main fleet race area is likely to be west of the Marine Institute location and south of Ballyloughane strand near Renmore. Competitors in these fleets will be under the watchful eye of Race Officer John Leech. The Regatta fleet will race inside Rinville point, where Margot Cronin will be in charge of proceedings. Safety Officer John Collins will be co-ordinating operations.

Published in Galway Harbour
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The RTÉ Documentary on One production Miracle in Galway Bay, which told the story of stranded paddleboarders Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn, has won Best Radio Documentary at the Celtic Media Festival in Brittany.

In the documentary, Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn recalled their miraculous rescue following 15 hours clinging to their boards after being swept out to sea. It details the unfolding search, from raising the alarm, through the appeals for local vessels and people to join in the search along the coast, to the ultimate rescue by Galway fishermen Patrick Oliver and his son, Morgan.

The Celtic Media Festival is an annual 3-day summit which combines a major conference of seminars and masterclasses with the presentation of the coveted Torc Awards for excellence. It took place in Quimper, Brittany from 7th to 9th June.

Recognised for its rich craft in storytelling, the jury at the Celtic Media Festival described Miracle in Galway Bay as “illustrated radio at its best, driven by a narrator who clearly engaged with the subject, with exceptional contributors who recreated their experiences with dramatic accuracy”. The jury continued by saying, “it was layered, it was pacy, and it played hard and fast with our emotions. And finally delivered the happy ending we feared we’d lost”.

Producers of the documentary, Lorna Siggins and Sarah Blake said, “we were delighted to win this award for Sara and Ellen, their families, and all those involved in the search and rescue. It was a story of survival, community and hope which deeply touched our listeners. We’re very grateful to all who contributed to the documentary and worked on the production”.

The research for the documentary also informed an account of the paddleboarders' ordeal in the newly published book, Search and Rescue - True Stories of Irish Air-Sea Rescues and the Loss of R116, by Lorna Siggins which has just been published by Merrion Press.

“Documentary on One: Miracle in Galway Bay” is available to download on www.rte.ie/doconone or wherever you get your podcasts. 

RTÉ’s 'Documentary on One' unit tells radio stories about real life in Ireland and beyond. They are one of the most successful radio documentary departments in the world - having collected over 340 national and international awards since 2008. Their website www.rte.ie/doconone contains over 1,700 documentaries - the largest free online radio documentary archive anywhere in the world, that stretches as far back as 1954.

Published in Maritime TV
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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 2023 Date

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

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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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