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Displaying items by tag: Lough Ree

Lough Ree was the perfect arena for the first "skiffs weekend". 13 hardy sailors launched and sailed in 29ers, 49ers, Int14 and RS700.

The concept was to try out fast boats and enjoy the thrills of high-speed sailing. 

29er: The 29er is the most popular skiff for youth sailors. There is an active class in Ireland with events regrouping up to 15 boats at present.

The class is growing and results internationally have been excellent.

Recently, Ireland took third position at the Europeans Nations Cup which regrouped the best three finishers from each country.

49er sailing49er sailing

49er: Natural progression from the 29er, the 49er is an Olympic class. Following in the footsteps of our Olympians, there are a handful of boat owners in Ireland enjoying the challenge of controlling the overpowered rig.

International 14(Above and below) International 14 

Int14: The International 14 is a development class that has led to great designs of skiffs with massive spinnakers and full carbon hulls. "Chocolate Girl" raised a few heart rates when hoisting the yellow kite on Lough Ree at the weekend,

RS700: Along with the Musto skiff, the 700 is the single-handed ultimate skiff, the boat you wonder how it is possible to gybe safely with the spinnaker up.

RS 700(Above and below) RS 700

RS700RS700

A wet and blustery westerly welcomed the participants so the weekend started indoors with a shore-based session delivered by skiff coaches Thomas Chaix and Chris Bateman.

Eventually, the wind dropped enough to launch for an evening session on the open lake and the sailors managed a few fun runs before dark.

Sunday morning was chilly but the 12-14 kts on the lake proved perfect for hours of fast sailing swapping crews, helms and boats for the participants. The display of skills was excellent in ideal conditions. Ethan Spain developed a liking for the RS700 whilst the 29er sailors really enjoyed giving it a go in the 49ers. The wind eventually started to drop to give a gentle sail into the sunset.

The smiles all around and the boat park chats were unanimous and the weekend was only the start towards building a group of skiffs enthusiasts keen for more of these weekends of fast fun, friendly regattas and coaching development.

Big thanks to Lough Ree YC and its team of dedicated members John McGonigle, Emmet Duffy and Garrett Leech for making the weekend happen.

Published in 29er
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Athlone resident Denis Bergin embarks on what is more than two marathons this weekend with a 90km run around Lough Ree to raise funds for the RNLI boathouse which is nearing completion at Coosan Point, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.

The Tullamore native, an avid water enthusiast and long time supporter of the charity said: “I was hoping to run in the Dublin City Marathon to support the new lifeboat station but when that got cancelled I had to think of a different challenge for the same weekend. As the lifeboat covers every corner of the lake, running around it seemed a good alternative.”

Denis intends to complete the two marathon distances this holiday weekend. He starts from the Lough Ree RNLI boathouse at Coosan Point on Saturday morning (24 October) at 9 am. His route will take him through Ballykeeran, Glasson and onwards through the parishes of Tang, Ballymahon, Kenagh and Newtowncashel as he hugs the lakeshore on his way to the bridge at Lanesboro, Co. Longford. On the return marathon he will run down the west side of Lough Ree from Ballyleague towards Roscommon town and then swings south through Kilteevan, Knockcroghery, Lecarrow, Ballybay and Hodson Bay back to finish in Coosan on Sunday afternoon.

With three marathons under his belt the Ericsson employee has been a familiar figure on his various training routes which have centred on the Old Rail Trail greenway.

Lough Ree RNLI Treasurer Vincent Rafter welcomed the initiative and said: “great progress has been made on raising the €100,000 community contribution for the €1.2m boathouse and the generosity and endurance of people like Denis are an inspiration to all those who support and rely on the charity.”

This year Lough Ree RNLI volunteer crew has assisted more than 150 people in 42 call-outs on the lake.

The new boathouse will provide an important and necessary base for the charity.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Athlone open water swimmers Serena Friel and Karen Reynolds have presented Lough Ree RNLI with a cheque for €11,300 following a fundraising swim on the lake last month.

Throughout this year the women, who have been swimming regularly at Coosan Point, admired the progress on the new boathouse for the lifeboat which is under construction on the lake shore.

When they heard of an initiative to raise a local community contribution of €100,000 for the facility, they decided to lend their support.

Under the careful eye of their coach David Warby from Athlone Regional Sports Centre. they set about the task of training to swim the length of Lough Ree — a challenging 32km from Lanesboro Bridge on the Longford/Roscommon border to the Town Bridge in Athlone.

They completed the task last month in a record time of 10 hours 13 minutes.

On Thursday last (16 September) Serena and Karen visited the Lough Ree RNLI facility at Coosan Point and presented treasurer Vincent Rafter with a cheque for €11,300 — more than 10% of the overall target.

Karen Reynolds and Serena Friel with a lake chart of their swim route | Credit: RNLI/Tom McGuireKaren Reynolds and Serena Friel with a lake chart of their swim route | Credit: RNLI/Tom McGuire

At the presentation, Serena thanked everyone who had supported them in the ‘Lough Ree Challenge’, especially Midland Print, Cantwell Corporate Finance, the staff of Athlone Mail Centre and clients of Serena’s Hair Studio.

Karen thanked “everyone who had contributed to the fund and especially logistics coordinator Carmel Hughes and Catriona Cantwell for social media”.

Accepting the generous donation, Vincent Rafter said: “Both women have made an invaluable contribution to the charity and to water safety on the lake and River Shannon.”

So far this year Lough Ree RNLI has responded to 42 callouts to people and vessels in difficulty on the water.

This week Lough Ree RNLI also received a generous contribution to the fund of €1,500 from RBK Chartered Accountants.

The station has a local bank account where all donations, large or small, are welcome. The account name is Loughree RNLI Boathouse Appeal, the BIC is AIBKIE2D and the IBAN is IE80AIBK93226458090098.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Just before tea-time yesterday (25 August) Serena Friel and Karen Reynolds swam under the Town Bridge in Athlone to complete an amazing 32km swim, the entire length of Lough Ree, in 10 hours and 13 minutes raising thousands of euro for Lough Ree RNLI by completing this daunting challenge.

Athlone women Serena and Karen enjoy a regular swim at Coosan Point in the shadow of the emerging Lough Ree RNLI boathouse which is due for completion next month. With a local community fundraising project ongoing the two swimmers decided to play their part and the ‘Lough Ree 32k Challenge’ was born.

After weeks of training, coaching and planning and with great organisational support from work colleagues, family and friends the girls took to the water at 7 am yesterday morning at Lanesborough Bridge at the north of Lough Ree on the Longford/Roscommon border.

Setting off in foggy conditions, Karen was first in the water for this relay swim. Herself and Serena alternated every hour on their way down the lake. The decision to delay the challenge a few days due to weather patterns proved very wise and the swimmers enjoyed excellent conditions on the water throughout the swim.

Lough Ree swimmers - (L-R) Serena Friel and Karen DelaneyLough Ree swimmers - (L-R) Serena Friel and Karen Reynolds

As the swim progressed the support crew on the accompanying boats realised that something special was on the cards. On board reports ticked off all the landmarks down the lake from Quaker Island on down towards Hare Island. In Athlone and on social media excitement began to mount when by mid-afternoon the swimmers had passed Hudson Bay.

Large crowds of well-wishers and supporters gathered on the quayside in Athlone, from the White Bridge to the Town Bridge in anticipation of their arrival. Just after 5pm accompanied by the Lough Ree RNLI volunteer crew on board the ‘Tara Scougall’ and the support flotilla, which had been alongside them all day, Serena Friel and Karen Delaney crossed the finish line in Athlone to loud applause.

In completing the ‘Lough Ree 32k Challenge’ the women set a record that will take some beating. Following the record-breaking achievement, Serena thanked ‘swimming partner Karen, coach David Warby and all who supported the challenge in any way.’

Lough Ree RNLI Operations Manager Jude Kilmartin, said: ‘the charity is most grateful to Serena and Karen for a terrific initiative which has already raised over €6,000 for the charity.’

The Gofundme page remains open for donations here

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Ree RNLI volunteers got an opportunity recently to examine progress on the building of the new boathouse at Coosan Point, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.

As the charity enters its tenth year of service on Lough Ree the local RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew look forward to the completion of a state of the art boathouse beside its current base at Coosan Point on Lough Ree.

Built on a site donated by the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland, which will have its national headquarters under the same roof, the 280sqm two-storey facility will transform the ability of Lough Ree RNLI to offer a vital service to the midlands. At its heart is the boathouse which will be home to the Atlantic 85 Inshore lifeboat ‘Tara Scougall’ allowing for quicker access on to the water via a new purpose-built slip-way.

Other facilities include a large meeting room to facilitate ongoing training of crews and water safety education for community groups. Alongside is a communications centre, managers office, mechanics workshop and a small shop.

The 280sqm two-storey facility will transform the ability of Lough Ree RNLI to offer a vital service to the midlandsThe 280sqm two-storey facility will transform the ability of Lough Ree RNLI to offer a vital service to the midlands

The main contractors, Woodvale Construction from Omagh, Co. Tyrone have been on site since last autumn. Built to the highest specifications and heated geothermally it is expected that the facility will be handed over to the RNLI in September with the local volunteer crew taking possession in October.

Given that this is one of the busiest RNLI stations in Ireland, with almost 400 call outs, 30 already this year, assisting over 300 vessels and coming to the aid of over a thousand people this building is a critical piece of infrastructure for a lakeside community.

Locally, the Lough Ree RNLI fundraising committee started a campaign to raise a community contribution of €100,000. Treasurer Vincent Rafter said that he wanted to ‘thank those who had already donated and organised ‘Go Fund Me’ pages.’ He said that ‘while great progress had been made at a difficult time for all charities it is hoped that one final wave of generosity from local businesses, community organisations, sports clubs and individuals will see the target achieved.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Ree RNLI volunteer crew has had a busy five days coming to the rescue of 24 people and a dog on five boats that ran aground on the lake in the past week.

After 9 pm last evening (Monday 19 July) the charity was tasked by the Coast Guard to go to the assistance of a 20ft sports cruiser with five people on board which had run aground northeast of Hare Island. In calm waters and fair conditions, Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat crew towed the boat to safe water from where it continued under its own power to Coosan Point.

Over the weekend, on Sunday morning (18 July) responding to a Coast Guard call-out the Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat crew launched under helm Emmet Devereux to assist a small cruiser with six people on board which had broken down near Yellow Island. The craft was taken under tow to Hodson Bay marina. Later on Sunday afternoon under helm Tom Bradbury the Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat ‘Tara Scougall’ was back on the water to assist a cruiser with three people on board who had run aground near Quaker Island. Following inspection to boat was towed off the rocks and continued under its own power to Lanesboro.

Seven people and a dog were rescued on Saturday (17 July) following a call-out to a cruiser that had run aground on the Hexagon Shoal near Hare Island. In this incident, just as the Lough Ree RNLI crew had launched they were informed that the people (and the dog) were taken on board a passing cruiser. All were delivered safely to Coosan Point.

In mid-week (Wednesday 14 July) the Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat and volunteer crew responded to a call just before 6 pm to assist a 23ft cruiser that had run aground at Kings Island. Following safety checks, the vessel was towed off the rocks and headed towards Portrunny.

During the present warm weather, Lough Ree RNLI Operations Manager Jude Kilmartin advised lake users to ‘pay particular attention to navigational maps and err on the side of caution due to falling water levels exposing shoals and rocks that would not normally constitute a hazard.’

One local sage, noting the apparent increase in the number of boats grounded on islands in the lake this season was tempted to paraphrase W.B. Yeats poem ‘Lake Isle of Inishfree’ and offer this advice to skippers ‘stay off the lake isles and finish free!’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland has alerted members over reports of the invasive quagga mussel in the River Shannon.

The bivalve is said to be “abundant in Lough Ree over a wide range of depths” and has also been found in Lough Derg and the stretch of the Shannon between the loughs.

Similar in appearance to another invasive species, the zebra mussel, the quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) has spread over a number of decades from its native waters in Ukraine as far as Mexico. It was first recorded in the UK in 2014.

According to Dr Jan-Robert Baars of UCD’s Invasive Ecology (InEco) laboratory and Dr Dan Minchin of the Lough Derg Science Group, the quagga mussel “behaves in a similar way [to the zebra mussel] and is also a filter feeder removing planktonic organisms from the water column. It has a high filtration rate likely to result in further changes to water quality and nutrient dynamics of, in particular, lakes.

“The quagga mussel is likely to compete with the zebra mussel and native species. Having a wide ecological tolerance and suited to Irish climatic conditions, it is expected to become widely distributed in time.

“It appears to have a preference for cooler water and can settle on finer sediments than the zebra mussel explaining its greater abundance at depth in some colonised lakes elsewhere.”

The scientists warn that the species “is likely to be spread by boats to the upper Shannon, and through the Shannon-Erne Waterway to the Erne. It is also likely to be spread overland by trailered craft. Owners of boats should be made aware they could spread this species from the Shannon.”

In addition, the presence of the quagga mussel “is likely to lead to a further surge in fouling and may have additional impacts on water quality and the ecological integrity of Irish aquatic ecosystems.”

The species is currently under a rapid assessment field study by the InEco lab.

Published in Inland Waterways

Lough Ree RNLI’s volunteer crew launched this afternoon (Monday 12 July) to assist a lake cruiser with six people onboard which had run aground west of Beam Island, close to the Co Roscommon shoreline.

Under helm Kieran Sloyan and with crew Liam Sheringham and Donal Herraghty on board, Lough Ree’s inshore lifeboat Tara Scougall launched shortly after midday and quickly reached the scene east of Hodson Bay.

The 46ft cruiser had become grounded on rocks west of Beam Island. Following an initial assessment, the lifeboat crew towed the vessel off the rocks and, once safety checks gave the call year, the cruiser continued under its own power.

This brings to 14 the number of people rescued by Lough Ree RNLI in the past five days. Late last week (Friday 9 July) a cruiser with five people on board was towed off the Hexagon Shoal, north of Hare Island.

On the way back from this callout, the volunteer lifeboat crew were diverted to assist a cruiser with two people on board which had suffered engine failure. It was taken under tow to a berth at Portrunny.

On the previous evening (Thursday 8 July), Lough Ree RNLI was called to assist a 17ft fishing boat with one person on board which had broken down near Lough Ree Yacht Club. The boat was safely towed to Coosan Point.

Following a busy weekend, Lough Ree RNLI treasurer Vincent Rafter thanked “all members of the public, businesses around the lake and the lake community for the ongoing support of the charity as work nears completion on a new €1.2m boathouse at Coosan Point which will greatly enhance the service which Lough Ree RNLI currently provides.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Ree RNLI’s volunteer crew were the recipients of a number of personalised gifts from a keen lifeboat supporter at a presentation yesterday afternoon (Sunday 4 July).

Limerick man Mark Conway (43) visited Coosan Point Athlone with his friend Tommy Corbett and key worker Ivana Kottesova, bringing with him a self-crafted model of an all-weather lifeboat.

The creative artist, who has honed his skills with the Brothers of Charity in the Treaty City, had earlier this year contacted then lifeboat operations manager Tony McCarth to offer the replica as a gift to the station.

At a special ceremony at the Lough Ree RNLI boathouse at Coosan Point, Conway met McCarth, current lifeboat operations manager Jude Kilmartin, treasurer Vincent Rafter and members of the crew and their families and presented his metre long model of an RNLI lifeboat.

During the visit Conway had another surprise in store when he also presented a painting of a lifeboat which was also his own work.

Kottesova said: “Mark has already made presentations to the RNLI at Lough Derg, Kilrush, Courtmacsherry and Kinsale and hopes eventually to visit all RNLI lifeboat stations on the island.”

Kilmartin expressed the charity’s gratitude for the presentation and said he looked forward to displaying the art in a place of prominence in the new boathouse, which is on schedule for completion later this year.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Ree RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew this morning (Friday 2 July) responded to a call-out to a cruiser with eleven people on board which had run aground north of Inch Turk island.

This brings to 25 the number of people the charity has rescued since last Sunday.

This morning’s call came from the Irish Coast Guard at 8.30 am. Under helm Emmet Devereux the volunteer crew launched in calm conditions quickly reached the stricken vessel with all eleven people on board wearing life jackets. Following an inspection, the cruiser was towed off the rocks into safe water.

Last Sunday afternoon (27 June) the Lough Ree RNLI volunteer crew rescued four people on board a cruiser stranded on the Hexagon Shoal near Hare Island.

On Tuesday last (29 June) the Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat ‘Tara Scougall’ and her volunteer crew were back in the same waters when a cruiser with nine people on board ran aground off Hare Island. Minutes after returning to base the lifeboat was back on the water, this time coming to the assistance of a 34ft cruiser with one person on board which had lost power off Carberry island.

Reflecting on a busy summer season, with eighteen call-outs so far this year Lough Ree RNLI Operations Manager Jude Kilmartin advised boat users to ‘be aware of the falling water levels on the lake which has made rock shoals on the lake more dangerous. The best advice is to always remain within the navigation markers.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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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