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Displaying items by tag: Larne Lough

The main conservation groups in Northern Ireland have come out against a plan to develop gas storage caverns underneath Larne Lough.

They are opposed on environmental grounds and as BBC News NI reports, they believe the potential impact on wildlife and habitats has not been properly assessed.

Infrastrata, Harland and Wolff's new owner, is the firm behind the project.

John Wood, the firm's chief executive, said it had completed a "robust series of surveys and studies", which had been sent to Stormont departments.

The firm believes its Larne Lough storage facility will create "hundreds of jobs" and provide security of power supply for a generation.

The project would see seven large storage caverns hollowed out using solution mining.

The brine solution created would be pumped across land before being discharged into the North Channel near Islandmagee in County Antrim.

The sea at Islandmagee is a protected area, as is Larne Lough which supports important tern colonies.

For much more on this development click here.

Published in Coastal Notes

A septuagenarian yachtsman has scooped the top award at the recent East Antrim Boat Club prize-giving event, writes Tom Jobling.

Maurice Adams, who has Parkinson’s, received the solid silver trophy — presented to EABC by the Gingles family in the mid 1970s — at the gala awards evening at the Larne Lough club over the Halloween weekend.

What makes Maurice’s achievement memorable is that Larne has no marina pontoon facilities so, just as his competitors do, he must get out to his craft, a Nova 27, via an inflatable dinghy, and scramble aboard.

Owner Eddie Cameron remarked: “Even with his dual walking aids, Maurice is not the most mobile man ashore these days, but each evening, regardless of the conditions, and as we draw alongside Sahure, he’’s up over the guard-wire and into her cockpit like a ship’s cat up a pole.

"Then with tiller clutched, he becomes ‘made-over’ … back into yacht-racing mode.”

As well as winning the top award, the Sahure crew, with Maurice driving, also won their class within the club’s points racing season.

But Maurice is no stranger to success. Formerly a member of the now-defunct Larne Rowing & Sailing Club, he has raced various sailboats over his long career afloat on Northern Ireland waters: Flying 15s, Highland 18s and number of cruisers.

“Maurice Adams,” Commodore Steven Kirby remarked, as he held ready the trophy, “is not famed for his time-keeping these days — well, other than on the starting line.”

Totally unaware of his award, Mr Adams arrived at the Boat Club as the final prizes were being handed out. His trophy, however, was already in the safe hands of his ever-caring crew.

#Larne - Coastal wildlife in Co Antrim is under threat after a significant diesel spill from a Caterpillar plant in Larne at the weekend, as the News Letter reports.

The plant machinery firm faces likely enforcement action after 40,000 litres of red diesel leaked into Larne Lough via a storm drain – news of which was not made public till days later, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

As the Northern Ireland Environment Agency moved to assure that the spill's impact on marine life would be minimal, conservationists remain concerned as the diesel slick was seen drifting towards The Gobbins, home to many protected seabird species.

Spot checks of affected parts of the Antrim coast have as yet found no injured birds, but Ulster Wildlife maintains that the spill "could have potentially devastating impacts on breeding birds".

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#RNLI - While on exercise on Sunday morning (23 June 2013), Larne RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was requested to divert and investigate reports that a boat was drifting out to sea in Larne Lough.

The 11m wooden boat had nobody onboard and represented a hazard in the area.



As the volunteer lifeboat crew neared the vessel they noticed a man in a punt approaching them. The man was from a nearby boat and having become concerned at the drifting vessel, had decided to investigate and see if he could assist.

However it was discovered that his nine 9m yacht, which had another crew member onboard, had also got into difficulty and was starting to drag its mooring.  



Wind conditions were force four to five with a north gusting wind and lumpy seas. 

The inshore lifeboat assisted the man back onboard his vessel and a lifeboat crew member joined him. The dragging mooring was fixed and they were able to continue under their own power.



The original drifting boat was aground, and having made sure the other vessel and its two crew were safe, the lifeboat returned to assist. Establishing a tow, Larne RNLI inshore crew were able to gently pull the boat off the rocks. 

They were then met by the all-weather lifeboat and the tow was passed on to them before it was safely secured on a mooring in Larne Lough and both lifeboats returned to station.



Commenting on the call-outs, Larne RNLI lifeboat operations manager Alan Dorman said: “What started as a normal Sunday morning exercise turned into a double call-out for both lifeboats. 

"It shows how quickly things can change out at sea and the lifeboat is always available to assist and reassure. Thankfully on this occasion help was close at hand and no injury or damage was done.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Larne RNLI rescued an unconscious man who was found a short distance from the shore at Larne Lough last night (Thursday 20 June).

The volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat Hannahbella Ferguson following a request by Belfast Coastguard at 10.35pm to go to the assistance of a person who was spotted lying face down in the sea within 200 metres from the shore in Larne Lough.

Weather conditions at the time were good with a flat calm sea but light was fading.



The lifeboat - helmed by Willie Evans and with crew members Dave Somerville and Pamela Dorman onboard - arrived on scene at 10.41pm and pulled the casualty on to the lifeboat. 

With the man not breathing, two crew members proceeded to perform CPR and resuscitated the casualty.



The helm brought the lifeboat into a small slipway along the promenade which was accessible due to a high tide. The casualty was subsequently handed over to the waiting paramedics and ambulance.



Speaking after the call-out, Larne RNLI helm Willie Evans praised the crew who he said had worked together to resuscitate the casualty and bring him to shore. 

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The great circumnavigation of Larne Lough, a 'chase race' for Meningitis is a brand new event on the Irish sailing calendar. But what is it?

To be held on Saturday 7th September and hosted by East Antrim Boat Club, it is a type of pursuit race. However in reaching into every possible creek of the Lough, together with a variety of 'on-course hurdles,' it will be a race like no other. How many races have a built in roundabout to navigate? Overall it is a fundraising day drenched with fun, frolics and challenges.

Open to mono-hulled dinghies, day boats and sports boats with a Portsmouth Yardstick number between 900 and 1600 the day will actually consist of two races; one is for the juniors which will precede the main race. Both races will feature windward starts.

The driving force for the Meningitis Chase Race is the Jobling family. Tom and Jane lost their three-year-old grandson Stanley to Meningitis. The family are well known in competitive sailing circles but this is the first time that they have taken their fundraising campaigns afloat.

Tom Jobling said; "Stanley was always a fun loving boy, always joking, smiling so another boring old sailboat race wouldn't suit him at all. The day on Larne Lough will be full of surprises, both on and off the water. Stanley's dad Barry, himself a champion sailor will be delighted if our two key objectives can be achieved.' Tom's daughter Gemma continued, "We want at least 50 assorted boats out on the water and have raised £1,000 for the Meningitis Trust. And of course have remembered Stan's smile."

Information on the Meningitis Chase Race will filter out as the big day approaches but in the meantime call the Jobling family (tel) 0044(0)2827 6960 (091 from RoI) or look into www.thechaserace.co.uk Information is also available from the East Antrim Boat Club website; www.eabc.org.uk

Published in Racing
Tagged under

#COASTAL NOTES - The first ever 'energy bank' on this island will be constructed deep beneath a coastal lough in Northern Ireland, as the Irish Independent reports.

Some 500 million cubic metres of gas are set to be stored in salt caverns a mile under Larne Lough on the north Antrim coast, after NI Environment Minister Alex Attwood have his go-ahead for the project earlier today.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that site preparation work will begin before the end of this year on the expected seven-year construction scheme.

The €492.5-million gas storage facility is expected to hold a 60-day supply to create a buffer against increasing energy price rises.

"This security of supply of energy will be a significant step forward in the way we manage our energy sector," said Minister Attwood. "North Sea gas supplies are declining steeply and this facility will make a significant contribution to the security of gas supplies for the whole island of Ireland and indeed for Britain."

Meanwhile, environmentalists have voiced concerns over the planned disposal of salt from the caverns into the sea, and its potential to cause harm to marine wildlife and biodiversity.

Though Minister Attwood said he was conscious of environmental concerns, James Orr of Friends of the Earth argued that the dumping of hypersaline salt solution "will kill or be seriously detrimental to the development of larval stages of fish and crustaceans", and that Northern Ireland should rather be investing in renewable energy.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#LARNE LOUGH - Larne Council has looked into the concerns of local residents over a proposed £250 million (€300 million) natural gas plant at Larne Lough, the Larne Times reports.

Islandmagee Storage Limited (IMSL) has applied for planning permission for a 500 million cubic metre natural gas storage facility in Permian salt beds almost a mile beneath the lough, which is claimed would satisfy the North's peak demand for gas for over 60 days.

But locals have spoken out with their fears over noise levels, health and safety, pollution and the potential effect on tourism in the area.

Larne Council’s environmental health department carried out its own research into the proposed facility, taking these concerns into consideration.

It found that there was "no huge issue in terms of noise levels" where similar facilities are established throughout the UK and that the effect on tourism would be negligable.

However the department was “not yet happy” with data supplied by IMSL regarding noise levels and would be seeking more detailed information.

The Larne Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
An inquest into the death of a Larne man who drowned after his boat capsized in Larne Lough has heard that he and his fishing partner 'could not afford lifejackets'.
The News Letter reports that 29-year-old Graeme Nixon disappeared in the water when his small vessel seized and nosedived in Larne Lough.
His friend on board was able to swim to shore and raise the alarm, but Nixon's body was not recovered until two weeks later.
The court heard that a problem with an engine seal was the cause of the seizure, which would have been prevented by servicing.
Nixon was returning from fishing for whelks with John Kyle in a heavily laden boat when the accident occurred, just 200 metres from the shore.
The deceased father-of-two had been eager to pay for his upcoming stag night and a planned Christmas trip to New York for his fiancée.

An inquest into the death of a Larne man who drowned after his boat capsized in Larne Lough has heard that he and his fishing partner 'could not afford lifejackets'.

The News Letter reports that 29-year-old Graeme Nixon disappeared in the water when his small vessel seized and nosedived in Larne Lough. In land waterways.

His friend on board was able to swim to shore and raise the alarm, but Nixon's body was not recovered until two weeks later.

The court heard that a problem with an engine seal was the cause of the seizure, which would have been prevented by servicing.

Nixon was returning from fishing for whelks with John Kyle in a heavily laden boat when the accident occurred, just 200 metres from the shore. 

The deceased father-of-two had been eager to pay for his upcoming stag night and a planned Christmas trip to New York for his fiancée.

Published in Inland Waterways

Fastnet Yacht 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 is in Plymouth, Devon 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 Plymouth.
  • The lighthouse first shone its light on New Year’s Day in 1854
    Fastnet Rock originally had six keepers (now unmanned), with four on the rock at a time with the other two on leave. Each man did four weeks on, two weeks off

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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