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Displaying items by tag: Ports and Shipping

P&O Ferries seasonally-only operated fast-ferry sailings between Larne-Cairnryan and also to Troon closed yesterday, leaving only two fast-ferries running Irish Sea cross-channel routes this winter, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The fast-ferry Express (1998/5,902grt) which was first introduced on P&O Ferries North Channel routes, which will continue to be operated year-round using conventional tonnage. On the route to Cairnryan, a pair of conventional ferries maintain sailings and a freight-only ferry serves Troon.

As for the remaining winter-serving fast-ferries they are Stena Line's HSS Stena Voyager (1996/ 19,638grt) between Belfast-Stranraer, in tandem with conventional ferries. Next month this route will close as the Scottish terminal relocates to a new ferryport nearby at (Loch Ryan Port) Cairnryan.

In addition two sister-ferries, which are undergoing modifications and an upgrade for their two-year charter on the North Channel, will directly replace the two-hour passage times it takes for the HSS fast-ferry and the ferries Stena Caledonia and Stena Navigator which take 2hrs 50 minutes.

With the introduction of the new tonnage to the Belfast-Cairnryan route, sailings times will be reduced to 2hrs 15mins. Ironically the new ferries which albeit will be the largest to serve on any North Channel route will actually be some 15 minutes slower on the newer-shorter distance route compared to the HSS fast-ferry operated Belfast-Stranraer sailings.

The second fast-ferry service is operated on Irish Ferries Dublin-Holyhead route using Jonathan Swift (1999/5,989grt) which is marketed as the Dublin 'Swift'. She runs year-round in addition to the cruiseferry Ulysses.

Also operating fast-ferry craft is the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's Manannan (1998/5,029grt) but this is on the none cross-channel route between Douglas and Liverpool.

Published in Ferry
At the weekend, the Greencastle-Magilligan ferry Foyle Venture (1978/324grt) made her last sailing, marking the end of a service that started on Lough Foyle in 2002, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The closure has led to 12 full-time staff and six-part staff losing their jobs. Ongoing discussions are taking place between local TDs, councillors, the ferry operator and the Minister of Transport and Tourism and Donegal County Council to try and restore the route which has also been supported by Limivady Borough Council.
Funding for the service in recent years has become more difficult as councils suffer budget cuts and there are calls for direct assistance from governments in Dublin and Stormont.

According to the Lough Foyle Ferry Company website, the directors sincerely hope that the suspension of the service will be temporary and look forward to re-commencing operations in early 2012.

The 10-minute crossing served by the 300-passenger / 44-vehicle capacity Foyle Venture (photo) provided year-round sailings. During the summer months the schedule was increased to a continuous shuttle-service as it provided a convenient short-cut for Northerners heading to Donegal.

Motorists could save nearly 80 kms (50 miles) by travelling across the Inishowen Peninsula instead of having to drive through London/Derry. In its third year of operations, the company carried its one-millionth passenger and since then the route has exceeded 2m passegers.

Published in News Update
As the cruise season draws to a close, passengers from the German 28,856 tonnes Amadea, visited Bantry Bay, west Cork today, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The former Japanese cruiseship launched in 1991, anchored off picturesque Glengariff and neighbouring Garinish Island. Amadea had called to Waterford Estuary yesterday and before her first Irish port of call she called to Dartmouth en-route from embarking passengers in Bremerhaven.

At 192m in length, the 600-passenger capacity cruiseship is operated by Pheonix Reisen. The German based travel agency also runs fleetmates Albratross and Artania. The later Finish built vessel was best known as Princess Cruises Royal Princess, when launched by the late Diana, Princess of Wales in 1984.

Apart from the handful of cruiseships that call, Bantry Bay is otherwise used by oil tankers bringing supplies to the Whiddy Island Oil Terminal. The terminal consists of an offshore single point mooring, tanker Jetty, and an onshore tank farm. The bay runs some 35kms long and is 10km wide at its broadest at the entrance and steadily narrows to 3-4kms at its head. In addition the bay is largest of the main inlets in the south-west.

Glengariff in recent years has also welcomed another German operator, Peter Deilmann's Deutschland (1988/22,496grt) and the UK based Cruise & Maritime Voyages Marco Polo (1966/20,080grt). To read more on this vessel which regularly calls to Irish ports click HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners
Irish Ferries cruiseferry Oscar Wilde docked this morning in Rosslare port and her arrival from Roscoff marked the last round trip of this year's high-season operated route, writes Jehan Ashmore.
This does not mean the end of French routes as the cruiseferry continues to maintain year-round sailngs to Cherbourg. The passage time on the Normandy route takes approximately 17 hours 30 minutes and compares favourably to the shorter Breton route that shaved sailing times by only an hour less. The company are currently running mini-cruises and wine hotel shopping breaks to Cherbourg.

The former Scandinavian cruiserferry was built in 1987 to serve on Color Line's Oslo-Kiel route as their Kronprins Harald. In 2007 she was sold to start French sailings and at 31,914grt, she is the largest cruiseferry to operate under Irish Ferries continental routes. Passenger capacity is just shy of 1,500 and cars total 730 in addiition space for around 90 freight vehicles. For a virtual tour of the cruiseferry's on board facilities and exterior deck views click HERE.

Winter sailings will run to the end of the year with a final departure on 30th December outbound and returning from France on 2nd January 2012. Thereafter there will be a no sailings as the cruiseferry is to undergo annual dry-docking before resuming sailings. The first sailing from Ireland is 19th February and the corresponding return sailing from France is 21st February. To keep up-to-date with sailing schedules click HERE.

Published in DBSC
As strollers take in the fresh conditions along Dun Laoghaire Harbour's East Pier today they will see the state's first purpose built oceanographic research vessel RV Celtic Voyager moored alongside at the jetty, writes Jehan Ashmore.
With her distinctive 31m green-painted hull, the 340 gross registerd tonnes (grt) vessel built by the Dutch Damen Shipyard in 1997, was commissioned for the Marine Institute, whose headquarters are based outside Galway city at Oranmore.

RV Celtic Voyager is an inshore RV and she can accommodate 6 - 8 scientists with a maximum endurance of 14 days. According to her intensive survey schedule she is currently conducting hydography work for this month entirely. To read her complete survey programme click HERE.

In 2002 she was joined by a second though considerably larger vessel the 65m RV Celtic Explorer, which is six times larger than her fleetmate in terms of tonnage, which is 2,425grt. Apart from all the scientific and deck machinery she can also handle seven 20-foot containerised laboratories.She has accommodates for 35 personnel, including 19-21 scientists and has an endurance window of 30 days.

The vessel was also built by the same Dutch shipyard and both are owned by the Marine Institute. Ship management of the Galway based pair is provided by P&O Maritime Services (Ireland) Ltd.

In addition the ROV Holland I a deepwater Remotely Operated Vehicle is operated on board the RV Celtic Explorer. The ROV is named after John Phillip Holland from Liscannor, Co. Clare who was an early inventor and builder of submarines. For more information about the ROV which forms as part of tonight's 'Sea2Sky' event in Salthill, Galway, as previously reported on Afloat.ie click HERE.

Today is European Researchers Night, where the ROV will be on display in Galway

Published in Marine Science
Within hours of each other two ultra-luxurious vessels departed Dublin Port this morning, firstly the five star-rated cruiseship Hebridean Princess, and then followed the Bikini registered Cary Ali, a private charter mini-motoryacht, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Hebridean Princess, a former 600-passenger car-ferry, converted to carry only 50 guests, reached Carlingford around noon, where she is at anchor off the Co. Louth listed medieval heritage town. On the far side of Ulster, the cross-border waterway on Lough Foyle received two of three scheduled cruise-calls, but bad weather prevented Prisendem from anchoring off Greencastle in July.

As for Cary Ali, she is a 87ft long was built in 2007 by Nordhavn to a design of Jeff Leishman. From her stern flew the flag of the Marshal Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Inside the four-decked vessel there is the main salon, a dining room, galley and three guest staterooms, and a master cabin (click HERE). In total eight people can be accommodated. In addition she has a jacuzzi, fly-bridge and is equipped with a tender and has crew of four.

She has a speed of 24-knots and is equipped with 50hp bow and stern thrusters. To read more about the luxurious motoryacht including facts and figures click HERE.

The Cary Ali had berthed at the 100-berth marina of the Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club which caters lesiure craft up to 20 metres and is centrally located on the south side of Dublin Port. The facility has accommodated larger motoryachts over the years. Though even larger motoryachts such as Battered Bull, a Feadship 52m has berthed further upriver at Dublin City Moorings.

Published in Cruise Liners
The World's smallest luxury cruiseship the Hebridean Princess, which in recent years was chartered to Queen Elizabeth II, docked in Dublin's docklands yesterday. She berthed on the south quays facing The Convention Centre, where a special event was hosted by the British Embassy on behalf of the monarch during her historic first state visit in May, writes Jehan Ashmore.
At only 2,112 tonnes and 70m long, the diminutive vessel berthed at Sir John Rogersons Quay last evening after picking up a pilot from the cutter Liffey in Dublin Bay. She had sailed overnight from Pembroke Dock and her call to the capital has allowed her passengers to spend a full day today touring attractions as she will remain moored again tonight before departing tomorrow.
Hebridean_Princess
Hebridean Princess berthed at Sir John Rogersons Quay. Photo Jehan Ashmore

Operated by Hebridean Island Cruises, the 5-star vessel which is for only 50 guests, has a reputation for exceptional service, fine dining and has a crew of 38. Accommodation is in thirty spacious, elegant and well-appointed cabins. On Princess Deck is located 'The Isle of Arran' (for deck plans click HERE) Suite which at 340sq ft is the largest and most expensive. The suite comprises a large separate dayroom, a spacious bedroom and a luxuriously equipped Victorian-style marble bathroom. In addition 10 cabins are designed especially for the single traveller. She has appeared in 1st place in UltraTravel Magazine's "10 Coolest Cruises"

Normally the Glasgow registered vessel operates throughout the Scottish highlands and islands, to lochs and remote mainland locations made accessible due to her small size. It is in these same waters that the Hebridean Princess has sailed in another guise as the humble car-ferry Columba (photos) for Caledonian MacBrayne. She was built in 1964 by Hall Russell, Aberdeen and served in this role until 1989 when she was sold and underwent an extensive conversion for the ultra-luxury cruise market.

Her three-day stay to Dublin is part of a Grand Celtic Cruise which started in Cardiff and which will include a call to Carlingford Lough tomorrow, followed by Strangford Lough, Bangor, Ballycastle, the Scottish isles of Jura and Crinan before disembarking in Oban, her home-port. The 10-night cruise inclusive of three-gala dinners cost €4,195 per person for a double cabin and €6,292 per person in a single-cabin.

A decade before Columba was launched, the Royal Yacht Britannia (5,682 tonnes) was commissioned in 1954. She was laid-down two years previously at John Brown & Co. Ltd, Clydebank and the year before she entered service she was launched by HM Queen Elizabeth II. For over four decades she served as the royal yacht until decommissioned in 1997. Her final foreign mission was to convey the last governor of Hong Kong and Prince of Wales from the former colony after its handover to China. She is now permanently moored as an exhibition ship in Edinburgh (Leith) for details click HERE.

Earlier this month Queen Elizabeth's namesake the 2010 built Cunard Line cruiseship Queen Elizabeth made her maiden Irish call to Dublin followed by Cork (Cobh). To read more on Dublin call click HERE and for Cork (Cobh) click HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners
As reported previously on Afloat.ie the Bridget Carmel (WD-39) which was in a collision with the tanker Ocean Lady off Anglesey on Monday, not only appears occasionally in RTE's Angelus but also as a mural in Wicklow Port, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The 24m long green-hulled Wexford registered trawler, with a crew of three was escorted by the Wicklow lifeboat and safely secured alongside the ports East pier where she is superbly depicted at the same location. She is one of over a dozen vessels painted in great skill across an uneven surface along the pier's promenade wall and the work of local postman and shipping enthusiast Pat Davis.

Apart from the mural of the trawler (click HERE) there are a wide variety of vessels represented from general cargo-ships and the inclusion of STV Asgard II and the World's last ocean-going paddle-steamer P.S. Waverley. These vessels have too berthed alongside the adorned eastern breakwater where spectators flock to see the start of the biennial Round Ireland Yacht Race which was held last year.

The photo of the trawler was taken on a previous call at the Packet Quay, Wicklow and not Arklow as stated. The Packet Pier is the most used commercial quay in the Co. Wicklow port, where timber and scrap-metal cargoes are relatively common. For example the Arklow Rebel which loaded scrap-metal bound for Liverpool, to read more click HERE.

Published in Fishing
During the weekend call of L.E. Eithne to Galway Harbour, the Naval Service flagship shared the mid-west port with a Spanish oceanographic research vessel (RV) and a cargoship,writes Jehan Ashmore.
The port consists of a single basin named the Dún Aengus Dock where the Vigo registered RV Vizconde de Eza (2000/1,401grt) was berthed. The 53m vessel is run by the 'Secrataria General del Mer' (MARM) which is on an assignment to asses the abundance, estimation and distribution patterns of demersal-benthic species in the Porcupine Abyssal Plain. The port is of also the homeport to the Marine Institute RV vessels and their headquarters based in nearby Oranmore.

Also sharing the basin but located closer to the dock gates was Arklow Shipping Ltd's Dutch registered dry-cargo vessel Arklow Surf (2000/2,316grt). The dock is capable of handling more vessels simultaneously and of course used as a host-port of the high-profile Volvo Ocean Race which is due to return next year.

Galway and neighbouring Limerick City with its Ted Russell Dock, are the only dock-gate accessed ports on the island of Ireland. In the case of Galway there is an exception as freight operations are also available from an outer pier on the seaward side of Dún Aengus Dock though only for domestic purposes. From this pier the dedicated Aran Islands freight service is operated by Lasta Mara TEO's Blath na Mara (1983/330grt). As for Limerick, vessels can also berth outside the dock but they tend to be small port-work related craft that use the outer berth on the Shannon Estuary.

The Galway Harbour Company in recent years have proposed plans for a new outer port, to be built in four stages with a completion date set for 2017. This would enable larger deeper drafted vessels such as tankers and cruiseships to dock in the new port. In the meantime cruiseships anchor off Mutton Island. In addition a freight rail-link, berthing for an inshore fishing fleet and a 216 berth marina are proposed.

To read more about the port proposals visit http://www.galwayharbour.com/news.php?id=11and for aerial visual impressions click HERE.

Published in Galway Harbour
The twenty minute car ferry service that carried its two millionth passenger this year is to cease operations from Sunday week, according to a report in today's Irish Times.
Funding talks have broken down for the Greencastle-Magilligan 44-vehicle capacity ferry the Foyle Venture (1978/324 tonnes) that has crossed Lough Foyle between counties Donegal and Derry since June 2002. The ferry is often used by cross-border workers and holidaymakers.

A notice on each pier says the Lough Foyle Ferry Company regrets the service will be suspended from the close of business on Sunday, October 2nd. The notices say directors of the company hope the suspension will be temporary, and they look forward to recommencing operations early in 2012.

For a photo of the ferry that once served on the Shannon (Killimer-Tarbart) service as Shannon Willow click HERE. Note in the background is the veteran cruiseship Princess Daphne at anchor in Lough Foyle. To read more about the ferry service visit www.loughfoyleferry.com/main.htm

Published in Ferry
Page 8 of 13

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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