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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: Lough Erne

Carrybridge RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Douglas Euan & Kay Richards was launched on Tuesday afternoon (26 October) to assess a fishing boat with three people on board, which had broken down around a mile northeast of Knockninny on Upper Lough Erne.

Once on scene, the lifeboat located the casualty vessel which had blown onto an exposed shoreline on an island amid Force 4-5 southwesterly gusts.

The volunteer helm and crew assessed the vessel and the wellbeing of the persons on board from a close but safe distance, and found they were all well.

It was established that the casualty vessel had suffered engine failure, and due to the strong winds had been blown onto the shoreline of the island.

After a full review of the situation, and due to the large waves landing on the island shoreline, the helm deemed the safest option was to put two volunteer crew from the lifeboat onto the other side of the island which was sheltered from the waves.

The crew then walked the three persons across the island to this safer location to get onboard the lifeboat. They were brought back to the nearest safe marina which was Knockninny public jetty.

The volunteer crew of the lifeboat then went back and refloated the fishing boat from the shoreline and brought it to the safety of Knockninny.

Speaking following the callout, Carrybridge lifeboat operations manager Stephen Scott had advice for all boat users in Northern Ireland and elsewhere.

“Before setting out on your journey, please check the weather forecast for the day ahead, have a means of calling for assistance if you find yourself in trouble and have lifejackets for all onboard,” he said.

“If you see someone in trouble on the water or are in difficulties yourself the number to dial is 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

One young Northern Ireland couple have eschewed the heated land-based property ladder and put their savings afloat with a narrowboat, as ArmaghI reports.

Sophie Durand and Josh Boyd, both from Co Armagh and in their early 20s, have now adopted “slow, sustainable and also happier way of living” afloat on the inland waterways at Lough Erne.

Between them they raised the £53,000 (€62,000) to purchase the narrowboat Qisma — Arabic for ‘destiny’ — which has a permanent mooring at a monthly cost of £170 (€200).

And while their compact choice of home might not be to everyone’s taste, they’re now living mortgage-free after spending a fraction of the average deposit.

ArmaghI has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
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In late August, the Snipe dinghy Ranger, restored by Fred and George Ternan after sixty years lying abandoned on the Crom Estate, County Fermanagh, had her second outing on Upper Lough Erne at Crom.

Ranger was one of two Snipes found by Fred in the boathouse at Crom Castle and was restored over the last year. The other was Teal, and it is known that a third, Valkyria, is stored near Enniskillen.

Heading off in very calm conditions from the Visitor Centre slipway at Crom were Rob and Alice Armstrong from Bangor, later to be joined by Sarah Royle from County Cavan. Sarah confessed she hadn't sailed since she was ten; " Valkyria was owned by my father, Johnny Lucas -Clements, and when I was a young child, I used to sail with him at Crom on Sunday afternoons. That was back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and we always sailed from the boathouse. I enjoyed sailing at Crom back then. I was very grateful to be asked by Johnny Madden to attend the relaunch of Ranger in early August and then by Fred to sail in Ranger last Sunday. It brought back many happy memories for me."

Ranger approaching Trial Bay on Upper Lough ErneRanger approaching Trial Bay on Upper Lough Erne

Both Ranger and Valkyria came from Belfast Lough, where they regularly sailed for years. They formed part of a fleet of Snipes acquired by Major Madden of Clones, who was instrumental in establishing the class in Lough Erne. He introduced Teal about 1953, and his son Johnny Madden has much detail about the Snipe class at his fingertips.

The whole story of Snipe sailing in Northern Ireland can be found here

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The fact that Royal St. George Olympic 470 helmsman Ger Owens has won the Ulsters, Leinsters and Skerries Regatta, which are the three GP14 events sailed so far this season, means he is a clear favourite to take the Championship of Ireland when it returns to lower Lough Erne for its 2021 edition next week.

Lough Erne Yacht Club stages the event from Friday 13th – Sun 15th August. 

Half a dozen local boats will be joined by up to 45 visiting boats from all over Ireland for the eight-race championships. 

Despite his current form, Owens, who is sailing with Brendan Brogan (with no less than 10 Irish GP14 titles between them), will not have things all their own way. 2016 Word Champion Shane McCarthy and 2019 Irish Champion along with World Championship runner up Ross Kearney are set to test the Beijing and London Olympian. 

Royal St. George helmsman Ger Owens has already won the Ulster and Leinster Championships Royal St. George helmsman Ger Owens has already won the Ulster and Leinster Championships

Derek Bothwell from Howth is the national race officer in charge of the event. 

The event also includes the Irish Masters and Junior Championships, which are always hotly contested.

The last time the fleet visited Lough Erne was for the Hot Toddy event in October 2019, and the planned 2020 Championship of Ireland was postponed to 2021 due to COVID.  

Published in GP14
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​Waterways Ireland has announced the creation of a non-motorised ‘safe play’ zone at Castle Archdale Country Park on Lower Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh.

Echoing a similar scheme currently in operation at Muckross Bay in Kesh, Enniskillen, the new zone will operate until October and is located between the existing caravan park and Davy’s Island, delineated with floating buoys.

​In temporarily closing off a section of the navigation to motorised craft, the cross-border body for the inland waterways is exercising its powers under the Lough Erne (Navigation) Bye-laws (Northern Ireland) 1978 as amended by The Lough Erne (Navigation) (Amendment) Bye-laws (Northern Ireland) 1986.

​The aim of the proposal is to improve safety in the area, which has become increasingly popular with all types of waterway enthusiasts in recent years. It also comes after reports of a rise in personal watercraft infringements into swimming areas, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Inland Waterways

Enniskillen RNLI launched to the aid of four people on a speedboat adrift in shallow water in the vicinity of Castle Archdale yesterday (Sunday 13 June).

Following a request from Belfast Coastguard, the volunteer crew launched the station’s inshore lifeboat John and Jean Lewis at 7.35pm to go to the aid of the 16ft speed boat, which had engine difficulties and was adrift in the Castle Archdale area of Lower Lough Erne.

Weather conditions at the time were choppy with a south-westerly wind.

The crew quickly found the drifting boat on the western side of Crevinishaghy Island.

All four adults onboard were found to be safe and well and wearing the correct safety equipment.

The volunteer crew then established a tow between the lifeboat and the vessel and all casualties were brought to Castle Archdale marina safely.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The trial of a man accused of murdering his wife on a boating holiday in Co Fermanagh has heard the company that hired out the boat to the accused had failed to supply enough lifejackets on board, as BBC News reports.

Stephen McKinney of Fintona, Co Tyrone denies the murder of Lu Na McKinney, the 35-year-old mother of two whose body was found near Devenish Island on Lough Erne in April 2017.

It was originally suspected that McKinney slipped from the deck of the boat which was hired from Manor House Marine, a director of which was questioned during the second day of the murder trial at Dungannon Crown Court yesterday, Thursday 29 April.

The director admitted that the correct checks on paperwork for the boat rental had not been completed, and lifejackets were not supplied for the family’s two children.

He also denied that the so-called ‘boat acceptance certificate’ was filled in after the fact of the tragic death for insurance purposes.

BBC News has much more on the story HERE.

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Carrickcraft has announced that with the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland, it will start operating for the 2021 cruising season on Lough Erne from Friday 30 April.

The cruising firm’s website features a sample itinerary of the attractive sights and mooring points around Upper and Lower Lough Erne, from Enniskillen to Devenish Island, Belleek and Crom Castle, to name a few.

Home-holidaying families (and their four-legged members, as dogs as welcome, too) can enjoy these inland waterways from any of an extensive fleet of two- to 10-berth cruisers, which can be browsed on the Carrickcraft website.

Published in Inland Waterways
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As the RNLI continues to operate as normal during the Covid-19 pandemic, the charity is still unable to fundraise out in person in the community.

With more people needing the lifeboat crews as they stay home, support from the public is more important than ever — and Carrybridge RNLI in Northern Ireland is one unit that has risen to the challenge by making it easier for people to back their vital work.

The RNLI operates two lifeboat stations for Upper and Lower Lough Erne, at Carrybridge and Enniskillen respectively, and has seen a drop in funds raised locally in 2020 as traditional fundraising activities had to be cancelled.

In many cases, when the lifeboat pager goes off, volunteers will need to abandon homeschooling or work and head to the lifeboat station to answer the call for help.

Stephen Scott, lifeboat operations manager at Carrybridge RNLI, says: “We couldn’t do what we do without the support of the public. The RNLI has experienced a drop in funds locally, but we are rescuing more people than ever before.

“We are facing challenging times and are calling on people to consider making a donation this year to ensure we can continue saving lives on inland waters.

“We have moved our fundraising online in these challenging times and set up a JustGiving page for the lifeboat station where people can donate directly to their local lifeboat station in Carrybridge.”

To support the RNLI at Carrybridge, helping to ensure the charity’s brave volunteers can continue saving lives on Lough Erne, visit their JustGiving page HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Brian Osborne last sailed a dinghy in 1989 on the River Thames near Hampton Court so returning to a small boat this season on Lough Erne was something of a revisit for him.

Brian bought a classic 1973 Mirror dinghy recently in Donaghadee, only to find that its original home had been on Lower Lough Erne at Castle Archdale on the opposite shore to Tully Bay where he keeps the Mirror now.

Perhaps this is the start of a trend in County Fermanagh for giving old boats a second chance as Jonny Clements has done with his Ulster Boat as Afloat.ie reported on 8th September. With the encouragement of seasoned sailor Fred Ternan – who had also helped Jonny to get afloat, it took Brian little time to regain his confidence.

A light north-westerly breeze on Tully Bay offered an ideal opportunity to try out (initially without the jib), manoeuvres which Brian thought he had forgotten but as he says "Once you learn how to sail, you never lose the feeling of being at one with your boat - you have to feel the wind through the sail and act accordingly. I shall continue to sail at every opportunity".

The Mirror dinghy was born in 1963 when the Daily Mirror newspaper signed up TV DIY expert Barry Bucknell and designer Jack Holt to revolutionise small boat ownership. They came up with a craft that cost £63 11s – or £63.55 in decimal money – and could be built at home using copper wire stitching and glue. At just under 10ft she was big enough for two adults and a couple of kids to sail yet small enough to fit on top of a family car.

Double Olympic silver medallist and round-the-world yachtsman Ian Walker, 42, said he owed his career to the boat.

The Mirror is not new to Lough Erne. There was a fleet in the 1980s at Lough Erne YC on the eastern shore of Lower Lough Erne at Goblusk. Racing was enjoyed by both adults and children alike in superb family competition. Some members ventured farther afield. Michael Clarke's family Mirror, built in 1966, travelled round Ireland on the top of a VW camper van in 1976 as well as enjoying extensive cruising on Lough Erne and subsequently under new ownership, was cruised by a young family on the Upper Bann and Lough Neagh.

Asked if he would be competing in the Mirror Worlds which are planned, after a gap of 34 years, for Sligo Yacht Club at Rosses Point next year he said. "I'll be there but as a supporter. I really don't have any intention of racing, just enjoying pottering about the Lough". The event on the Club's 200th Anniversary will run from 2 – 8 August preceded on 30 July – 1 August by the Irish Nationals. It was last held there in 1987.

Published in Mirror
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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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