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The volunteer lifeboat crew of Howth RNLI launched their All-Weather Lifeboat yesterday (Friday, 29 December) to reports of a yacht with two people on board that was being blown offshore and unable to make its way back to safety.

Shortly after midday, the Coast Guard received a call from the yacht which gave its position as south of Lambay Island, the largest island off the east coast of Ireland. The sea conditions were challenging and the crew of the yacht were unable to make progress towards their intended destination, and were unable to make their way back to the safety of a harbour.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were paged at 12:11 pm to launch the All-Weather Lifeboat, the Roy Barker III. The crew made their way to the lifeboat station, and launched the lifeboat within ten minutes. Visibility was good, however the winds and sea state were challenging with winds blowing force 5 to 6, and gusting force 7.

A Howth RNLI Lifeboat crew member ready to transfer across to the yacht in difficulty off Lambay IslandA Howth RNLI Lifeboat crew member ready to transfer across to the yacht in difficulty off Lambay Island Photo: Howth RNLI

The lifeboat was on scene in fifteen minutes. The coxswain decided to put a lifeboat crew member on board the yacht to assess the two people on board. The coxswain manoeuvred the lifeboat alongside the yacht and transferred the crew member across. The crew member established that the two people on board were wet and cold but otherwise unharmed. The coxswain decided to take the yacht under tow and to bring it to the safety of Howth harbour.

The crew set up the tow line and once ready, the coxswain again brought the lifeboat alongside the yacht to allow the crew transfer the tow line across. The tow line was secured and the yacht was towed back to Howth. The lifeboat returned to the lifeboat station at 13:40 and was made ready for its next service.

Speaking following the incident, Howth RNLI Second Coxswain Ian Sheridan said: "The RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews are on call 24/7 365 days of the year. As the weather conditions were deteriorating, the crew of the yacht did the right thing in calling for help before it was too late. Our volunteer crew responded to the pager quickly and we were able to launch and locate the yacht within twenty five minutes of their call for help". 

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Howth RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew sprang into action on Monday evening, launching both of their lifeboats to assist in a multi-agency incident near the Baily Lighthouse. The Coast Guard had requested the inshore lifeboat to respond to reports of an individual stranded at the base of cliffs close to the lighthouse. The Dublin Fire Brigade and the Howth Coast Guard unit were also involved in the operation.

Upon arrival, the lifeboat crew located a man who had fallen while out walking the previous evening. He could not call for help, and had spent the night and the day stranded on the cliff, very close to the high water point. The man was visibly wet, cold, and unable to move due to injuries, but was conscious and able to communicate with the crew.

The crew assisted an advanced paramedic from Dublin Fire Brigade in assessing the man’s injuries, and decided to take him by sea to an ambulance. As a potential injury was suspected, the Howth all-weather lifeboat was launched for the extraction.

The all-weather lifeboat, with five crew members on board, arrived within minutes. The helm of the inshore lifeboat held the boat steady while the two crew members, assisted by a member of the Coast Guard unit and the advanced paramedic, brought the casualty on board on a stretcher. The inshore lifeboat then made its way to the all-weather lifeboat, and the casualty and the advanced paramedic were transferred across. The all-weather lifeboat proceeded to Howth Lifeboat Station, where the casualty was handed over to the ambulance crew.

Fin Goggin, a Howth RNLI lifeboat crew member, expressed her relief that the incident had a positive outcome. She noted that the man had been exposed to the elements for close to 24 hours, and had he fallen any further, he could have ended up in the water. Goggin added that these types of rescues from rocks and cliffs form a regular part of their training, and urged anyone who sees someone in difficulty on or close to the water to dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer crew of Howth RNLI are urging anyone planning a trip to the coast, beach or inland waters over the weekend to stay safe amid the continued good spell of warm weather forecast.

This follows a busy period for the crew who launched five times last weekend to people in distress.

On Saturday (2 September), the inshore lifeboat was launched to recover three people who had been cut off by the rising tide while walking along the coastline.

On Sunday morning (3 September) the inshore lifeboat was launched to assist a powerboat with people onboard which had suffered engine failure. The crew returned the powerboat to Howth Harbour and prepared the lifeboat for its next service.

Shortly before 3pm, the crew launched the inshore lifeboat to assist a swimmer who had suffered an injury at a swimming spot in Balscadden Bay. The crew took the injured person onboard the lifeboat and provided casualty care before transferring them to an ambulance.

Later that evening, a distress call was made from a yacht with 11 people onboard which had run aground at the entrance to Malahide Harbour. Both the inshore and all-weather lifeboats were launched.

The children onboard the yacht were taken ashore and the crew attempted to free the yacht from the sand. After a number of attempts, a decision was taken to await the rising tide that night. The lifeboats returned to station and were made ready for their next service.

The volunteer crew launched the all-weather lifeboat at 11.20pm that night at high tide and proceeded to assist the yacht, which was floated and its fouled propeller freed. The yacht was then escorted into Malahide Harbour.

Speaking ahead of the weekend, Howth RNLI coxswain Fred Connolly said: “Thankfully our crews were able to respond quickly to all those in distress last weekend which led to positive outcomes in all cases.

“With large numbers expected to visit Howth this weekend for the Howth Maritime and Seafood Festival, and as this period of good weather looks set to continue, we’d like to encourage people to enjoy themselves but also to be mindful of their personal safety.

“Check weather and tide times before venturing out on the water and always check local signage for safety and hazards. Always carry a means of communication such as a VHF radio or mobile phone in a waterproof pouch and let someone know where you are going and when you are due back.

“If you go swimming and you find yourself in a rip current, do not swim against or it or you will get exhausted. If you can, stand up and wade, or swim parallel to the shore until you are free of the rip, then head to shore.

“If you can, raise your hand and call for help — and remember to Float to Live if you can’t make it back or become too tired. To do this, tilt your head back with ears submerged and try to relax and control your breathing. Use your hands to help you stay afloat and call for help or swim to safety if you can.

“If you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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When the three-day Irish Cruiser-Racing Association annual National Championship gets underway today (Friday) at Howth, it will be the combination of a modern innovation in Irish sailing, which is barely twenty years old, and a local regatta tradition of major significance going back 170 years.

For it was in the not-so-distant yet seemingly remote days of 2002 that those sage observer-participants of the Irish cruiser-racer scene - Fintan Cairns of Dun Laoghaire and the late Jim Donegan of Cork - rightly concluded that the cruiser-racer fleets played such a significant and growing role in our sailing that they needed their own Irish Cruiser-Racing Association to represent and promote their interests.

And beyond that, they perceptively envisioned that their new baby of ICRA would give such extra heft to the popularity of cruiser-racing that at season’s end the title of ICRA “Boat of the Year” would become one of sailing’s most coveted titles. And equally, it would build a strong feeling that ICRA should stage its own stand-alone National Championship, ideally at least three days long.


Ironically, the success of the first ideal has contributed to the difficulty of fulfilling the second. With ICRA flexing its muscles, established regatta organisers have had a national body to which they can quickly refer when any problems involving their large cruiser-racer entry arise.

Champion John Maybury at the ICRA Nats 2022, when the series was within Volvo Cork Week 2022, with the platform party including RCYC Admiral Kieran O’Connell (right). Photo: Robert BatemanChampion John Maybury at the ICRA Nats 2022, when the series was within Volvo Cork Week 2022, with the platform party including RCYC Admiral Kieran O’Connell (right). Photo: Robert Bateman

Thus the pre-event setting of class rating bands for ICRA boats has now assumed the sort of pre-regatta interest which in times past would be focused on which of the One-Design classes would have the biggest turnout. Yet this inevitable re-focusing has in turn so strengthened the significance of the ICRA presence at all major regattas that local club organisers very much prefer the large Cruiser-Racer presence to be a central part of their event, rather than take on the challenge of including the ICRA Nats as a part of – yet still semi-separate championship – within their established event.


Thus in an ideal world, the already-crowded annual national sailing programme would include a comprehensive three or four-day ICRA Nats in all its solitary stand-alone splendour. But the annual setting of the programme is already a matter of dexterous juggling and much trading in barely-available dates So an exhausting and event-packed programme of very mixed weather, such as we’ve already seen in 2023 has meant that the prospects for the late-season turnout and success of the ICRA Nats at Howth in the second weekend of September have not necessarily been viewed with optimism.

“A Force in the Land” – trophies lined up for the 2022 Championship. Photo: Robert Bateman“A Force in the Land” – trophies lined up for the 2022 Championship. Photo: Robert Bateman

Yet it now looks as though the turnout today of race-ready IRC-rated boats will be north of 70 keenly-sailed craft. And with the entry list very strong in quality to offset any queries about quantity, the key problem is whether or not there’ll be enough wind to move them through Howth’s interesting racing waters in any worthwhile way, while managing to keep the Indian summer heatwave temperatures under control.


In the weird weather of September 2023, that’s a big ask. But as for staging weather-optimising regattas, Howth has form – and good form at that. In this year in which they are celebrating being the MG Motor “Sailing Club of the Year 2023”, Commodore Neil Murphy has been leading his members in putting on events of local, regional and national status in which - as you’d expect, with the numerically-largest club in Ireland – HYC members have themselves not been strangers to the podium.

On the international front, not only did they stage the J/24 Europeans within the past 12 months, but as well in 2023 as in 2022, the Howth names have been featuring abroad towards the top of various leaderboards.

Howth Yacht Club as newly-built in 1987 – it has since been extended to complete the curve of the “regatta roof” to the left. Sailing in the foreground are gaff sloop-rigged yachts of the Howth 17ft OD Class, founded 1898. Photo: Jamie BlandfordHowth Yacht Club as newly-built in 1987 – it has since been extended to complete the curve of the “regatta roof” to the left. Sailing in the foreground are gaff sloop-rigged yachts of the Howth 17ft OD Class, founded 1898. Photo: Jamie Blandford


As to the matter of Howth having regatta history, where could we begin? It was a Viking venue for special sailing events, then the Breton-Norman sailing party which subsequently became the St Lawrence family took over the village and castle in regatta style in 1177, and stayed until 2021. And when - in 1576 - the great western sea queen Grace O’Malley called by while cruiser-racing in the area, she temporarily abducted the son and heir to the castle because she felt the hospitality offered to visiting seafarers did not meet her demanding Connacht requirements.

Howth Castle today. It was smaller when Grace O’Malley sailed to it in 1576, but her subsequently-agreed hospitality requirements were to be scrupulously maintained over the centuries since Howth Castle (left) and Harbour (right) with race area beyond island of Ireland's Eye


The kidnapped boy was safely returned when it was agreed that the gates of Howth Castle would never be closed in future (even if the main door was much reinforced), and there would always be an extra place at the dinner table for any unexpected but otherwise well-intentioned visitor.

Thanks to this, it can be assumed that hospitality for visiting seafarers has since been kept up to the mark generally, with the inauguration of the Howth rail connection on 30th May 1847 opening up the possibility of regattas as a spectator sport to provide a significant shoreside element.


The viewing figures were augmented by special railway regatta day tickets to such an extent that the railway – originally intended mainly to transport fish from the expanding port – found it worth their while to provide regatta prizes and sponsorship in an era before the entertainment of profitable arena sports had become a central part of life. It was a simpler time when watching boats sailing was still in the heights of daytime entertainment, somewhere along with horse racing and bare knuckle boxing.

Ten years after the railway had reached Howth in 1847, annual railway-company-sponsored regattas were a regular feature. While most of the yachts were home-ported at Kingstown, those with the RWYC were of the 1828-founded Royal Western Yacht Club, whose fleet had dispersed from Kilrush on the Shannon Estuary after the Great Famine of 1846-49Ten years after the railway had reached Howth in 1847, annual railway-company-sponsored regattas were a regular feature. While most of the yachts were home-ported at Kingstown, those with the RWYC were of the 1828-founded Royal Western Yacht Club, whose fleet had dispersed from Kilrush on the Shannon Estuary after the Great Famine of 1846-49

Thus regattas at Howth long pre-date any local sailing clubs, which didn’t start to become established at the port until 1895. But with its 2,000-plus membership and extensive marina/clubhouse complex now providing a significant element of the economy both of Howth Harbour and its Peninsula, Howth itself is a significant part of the ICRA engine, and the fact that current ICRA Commodore Dave Cullen is a longtime and successful Howth sailor is part of the pattern.

Dave Cullen of Howth, current Commodore of ICRA. After many successful years racing Classic Half Tonners including winning the Worlds, he now campaigns the First 50 Checkmate XX with Nigel Biggs, their successes in 2023 including winning the Coastal Division in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in July. Photo: Robert BatemanDave Cullen of Howth, current Commodore of ICRA. After many successful years racing Classic Half Tonners including winning the Worlds, he now campaigns the First 50 Checkmate XX with Nigel Biggs, their successes in 2023 including winning the Coastal Division in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in July. Photo: Robert Bateman

This Howth input also arises with the remarkable role played by the American-originating range of cruiser-racing J/Boats. It is simply impossible to imagine the current Irish sailing scene without the extensive J/Boat range – first founded in 1977 - playing a key role in it.


Thus the single largest numerical presence will be the 18 boats racing in what is also the J/24 Nationals. It was another Howth-based ICRA Commodore, Nobby Reilly in 2012, who first suggested that a scheme should be set up whereby ICRA and the leading clubs would provide tangible support for Under 25s to race J/24s, and gradually this idea has taken root from its Howth origins.

Its success has been such that one product of the scheme, the all-Ireland crew on Headcase helmed by Cillian Dickson of Lough Ree and Howth, are currently in Thessaloniki in Greece and about to start racing in the J/24 Worlds, having just travelled from Hungary where they won the J/24 Europeans.

Kinsailor (right) on the hunt at the J/24 Europeans at Howth in 2022, when she finished on the podium and was top Irish boatKinsailor (right) on the hunt at the J/24 Europeans at Howth in 2022, when she finished on the podium and was top Irish boat

Meanwhile, the top Irish boat in the 2022 Euros in Howth, the similarly U25-developed Kinsailor from Kinsale with Micheal O Suillebhain as helm, is surely among the front runners at Howth after a convincing display at the J-Cup in Dun Laoghaire a fortnight ago.


However, it is the J/24s’ big sister, the ever-young J/109, which seems to have been conceived and developed with Irish needs most specifically in demand. Thus the defending overall champion, after the ICRA Nats 2022 were held within Volvo Cork Week last year, is John Maybury’sJ/109 Joker 2 of the Royal Irish YC in Dun Laoghaire, while clubmate Barry Cunningham with sister-ship Chimaera was top boat in the recent J/Cup.

In her time, Chimaera has won at home and abroad, with previous owner Andrew Craig of Dun Laoghaire making his exit from the class in some style with the overall win at the Scottish Series, while racing in Scotland has also provided a happy hunting ground for another top contending J/109, Pat Kelly’s Storm from Rush SC.


A newer, slightly smaller J/Boat is the host club’s Mike & Richie Evans’ J/99 Snapshot, ICRA “Boat of the Year” 2022 and a winner here, there and everywhere looking to hit that extra sweet spot of speed to guarantee success in home waters.

 “Winning here, there and everywhere…” Snapshot on her way to success in the Sovereign’s Cup at Kinsale. Photo: Robert Bateman “Winning here, there and everywhere…” Snapshot on her way to success in the Sovereign’s Cup at Kinsale. Photo: Robert Bateman

Making a return visit to Howth after last being present in 1980 is the extremely likeable Bruce Farr-designed Half Tonner Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble of 1976 New Zealand origins. She last featured in the area in the final race of the 1980 ISORA season across channel to Howth from Abersoch in the ownership of the late Bruce Lyster of RSTGYC, winning to take that year’s ISORA Championship. Now in superbly restored form and looking like new, she is in the ownership of the Dwyer family of Crosshaven, living proof that glassfibre can last just about for ever with TLC, her continuing competitiveness in the right conditions an encouragement for everyone.

Swuzzlebubble coming in to Howth to win the race from Abersoch in August 1980, and the ISORA title with it. Photo: W M NixonSwuzzlebubble coming in to Howth to win the race from Abersoch in August 1980, and the ISORA title with it. Photo: W M Nixon

In sailing as in other sports, competing in an away fixture sometimes adds the vital extra slice of performance that takes those essential extra seconds off the elapsed time, and it is Our Friends In The North, owner John Minnis (RUYC & RNIYC) and helm Gareth Flannigan, with the highly-optimised Archambault 35 Final Call II, who have shown sparks of pure genius and magic extra speed in 2023’s sailing.

 Final Call II from Belfast Lough racing to success in the Wave Regatta at Howth in June 2022. She races today as one of the favourites in the ICRA Nats. Photo: Annraoi Blaney Final Call II from Belfast Lough racing to success in the Wave Regatta at Howth in June 2022. She races today as one of the favourites in the ICRA Nats. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

They’ve broad shoulders, but they’ll surely need them as Final Call II starts racing this morning with a great weight of expectation on her crew. Meanwhile, lead organiser Jill Sommerville and her Howth Yacht Club team are in line with a level of organisation which is a very long way ahead of the modest expectations of the regattas of yore. For Howth is currently in overdrive with the tented village of the weekend’s Howth Maritime Festival on the green beside the clubhouse in tandem with the high-powered sport on the water. All that’s needed is a reasonable sailing wind, and if the skies can stay clear, the sea breeze should do the business.

ICRA Nationals Class Entries 2023

Class Zero

IRL 66 Checkmate XX
GBR 732R Hijacker
IRL 985 Ghost Raider
IRL 2729 Searcher
IRL 3721 ValenTina
IRL 4240 Prima Forte
GBR 7536 HotCookie
IRL 9753 Jelly Baby
IRL 10800 Rockabill VI


Class One

IRL 811 Raptor
IRL 1003 Final Call II
IRL 1141 Storm
IRL 1206 Joker 2
GBR 1242r white mischief
IRL 1383 Ruth
IRL 1543 Indian
IRL 1699 Snapshot
IRL 2160 Chimaera
GBR 8933R Bon Exemple
IRL 19109 Outrajeous
FRA 21711 Tribal


Class Two 

IRL 977 Crazy Diamond
GBR 1371 Elixir
IRL 1484 Harmony
IRL 1551 Mojo
GBR 2678 Perseverence
IRL 2798 Mata
KZ 3494 Swuzzlebubble
IRL 6909 Extreme Reality
IRL 9970 Lambay Rules


Class Three

IRL 971 Leeuwin
IRL 988 Dux
IRL 1972 No Excuse
IRL 2507 Impetuous
IRL 3022 Xebec
IRL 3087 Anchor Challenge
IRL 4444 Insider
IRL 4571 Flyover
IRL 7115 Gecko
IRL 7495 Maximus
IRL 8188 Alliance II
IRL 9538 Running Wild
IRL 90210 Snoopy


White Sails

IRL 1333 White Lotus
IRL 2070 Out&About
IRL 4073 Splashdance
GBR 8571 Spellbound
IRL 33301 White Pearl
IRL 100 Demelza
GBR 1411t Toughnut


J24 National Championships

  Rush 2 Juvenile Delinquent  
IRL 191 Battling J  
IRL 680 Kilcullen  
IRL 1183    
IRL 1234 Lady Caroline  
IRL 3109 Jade  
GBR 4084 Billy Whizz  
IRL 4191 Janx Spirit  
IRL 4212 Cool Jade  
IRL 4217 Hedgehog  
GBR 4265 smugairle róin  
IRL 4384 Jibberish  
IRL 4532 Jelignite  
IRL 4533 Crazy Horse  
IRL 4794 Hard on Port  
IRL 5067 Jedi  
IRL 5072  
IRL 5159 Jibe  
IRL 5219 IL Riccio  
IRL 5278 Hung Jury  
Published in W M Nixon
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International economists and financial journalists trying to analyse just how and why the Irish economy is doing so well these days might learn something from studying the mutations of the annual sailing programme. National events that in times past might have taken a leisurely week or so are now being compressed to minimize interruption of the countrywide work mania, and the latest to leap on the short-break bandwaggon is the upcoming Rooster-sponsored ILCA ILCA Nats, at Howth from Friday 18th August through to Sunday, August 20th.

That’s right. Just three days for the Irish Open Nationals of the only Olympic class which can be said to have a truly global popularity at every level, from ordinary club pottering around, going the whole way up to the super-sharp heights of the Five Ring Circus.

And all this is coming down the line at a club which, next year, will be celebrating the Golden Jubilee of the Boat, Formerly Known As The Laser being a core element of its continuous sailing programme.

But that’s the way we sail now, folks. And Championship Organisers Conor Murphy and Darren Wright and their Senior Racer Officer Scorie Walls - with their team of all the talents - know it can be done, simply because it has to be done.


They’ll be dealing with a large and varied fleet with differing levels of familiarity with the venue. Last year at Tralee Bay SC, the ILCA 7s 2022 were won by Dan O’Connell of Cove, who is a regular on the Howth ILCA Winter Series,

The ILCA 6s at Tralee went to Fiachra McDonnell of Royal St George YC, while the ILCA 4s were topped by Hannah Dudley Young of Ballyholme.

This year’s fleet will include the home club’s super-siblings Sienna and Rocco Wright, while Howth’s awards-garlanded international veteran and mentor Aoife Hopkins will be shepherding her team of promising talent into the ILCA 4 section.

Entries for an already healthy list close tomorrow evening (Tuesday, 15th August). And those whose concern is the weather can be reassured that at present, there seems little chance of those character-forming northeasterlies which Howth sailors expect to provide them with ocean sailing skills.


Then too – as last weekend showed - the benefits of the “East Coast Effect” should never be underestimated. In other words, any Atlantic rain determined to dump on Howth finds itself being absorbed by the muddy midlands before it reaches the Irish Sea, leaving Howth and the many ILCAs in a world of their own, with a mind-blowing evening entertainment programme added in to maximise time-use even further.

Details including entry here

Published in Howth YC
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Four members of Ireland’s Row Hard or Go Home team visited Howth RNLI recently to present a cheque for €35,096 to the lifeboat crew.

The funds were raised through the teams taking part in the World’s Toughest Row (formerly the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge), a 4,800km race across the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Islands to Antigua earlier this year.

One of the two teams set a new record for the fastest Atlantic crossing, as previously reported on

Both teams chose the RNLI and Laura Lynn to benefit from their fundraising efforts. The funds raised for the RNLI will be spent in Ireland and will go towards the search and rescue charity’s work of saving lives at sea.

The ocean rowers were shown around the north Co Dublin lifeboat station by some of the crew. The RNLI operates two lifeboats at Howth, an all-weather vessel and a smaller D-class craft which are on call 24/7.

The Row Hard or Go Home teams spent over a month at sea in some incredibly challenging conditions, away from their family and dry land. They took turns to sleep and eat and carried out repairs on the small boats, miles out to sea.

Commenting on their generous donation, RNLI community manager Pauline McGann said: “We are so delighted… Their race across the ocean, which was followed online by so many people, showed what an incredible journey and feat of endurance they undertook.

“As the RNLI is a charity that saves lives on the water, we know the challenges that being out at sea for so long can raise. They were so strong and so committed to their goal and they raised much needed funds for our lifesaving work in Ireland. We are so grateful they choose the RNLI as one of their charities.”

Derek McMullen, a member of the record-setting crew added: “It can not be understated how important and how invaluable the RNLI are. The dedication and commitment of the volunteers have saved countless lives down through the years and indeed have been there to support us through our own sea going adventures.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The volunteer lifeboat crew of Howth RNLI launched their inshore lifeboat to two separate incidents this weekend to boats which had suffered engine failure.

On Friday night, shortly after 21:30, the lifeboat was launched to reports of a sailing yacht with three people on board, which had suffered engine failure on its passage from Malahide to Howth.

Weather conditions were good with light winds. The lifeboat located the yacht under sail, but its engine had failed. As darkness began to fall, the crew passed a tow line from the lifeboat, and the yacht was towed back to Howth harbour.

Howth Inshore Lifeboat towing sailing yacht on Friday 26 May. Photo: Tom RyanHowth Inshore Lifeboat towing sailing yacht on Friday 26 May. Photo: Tom Ryan

At 09:37 this morning (Sunday) the crew were paged by Dublin Coast Guard following a 999 call from a member of the public who witnessed a small motorboat with three people on board in difficulty and drifting towards rocks just east of Howth harbour.

The lifeboat launched within ten minutes of the call with three crew on board. The wind was moderate coming from the North East, causing an onshore wind and breaking waves onto the East pier of Howth. The Howth Coast Guard unit were also tasked to assist from the shore.

Below is a video of Howth Inshore Lifeboat coming alongside the broken-down motorboat taken by Howth Coast Guard,

The lifeboat reached the motorboat in minutes and it was observed that the crew of the boat had deployed an anchor which was holding them just off the rocks. The lifeboat crew quickly passed a tow line and instructed the crew of the motorboat to discard the anchor and to attach the tow line. The lifeboat towed the motorboat out of the breaking waves and returned them to the safety of Howth harbour.

Speaking following the incident this morning, Howth RNLI inshore lifeboat helm Tom Ryan said: “The member of the public did the right thing in calling the Coast Guard straight away. When the winds are blowing onshore and a boat is broken down, every minute counts. Our volunteer crew responded quickly once the pager went off and we launched the lifeboat within minutes.

Once on scene, we cast a tow line to the boat and instructed them to discard the anchor. We quickly pulled them through the breaking waves away from the rocks. We established that all three persons on board the motorboat were well and we then towed the boat back to Howth harbour.

As the summer weather takes hold, and more people are heading out on the water, we have some helpful guidance for boat owners: ensure you have undergone the right training so that you can develop your skills to be prepared for when things go wrong; take time to ensure your engine is well maintained, and if you do get into difficulty make sure you have an anchor on board and a means of calling for help. Our volunteer lifeboat crew are on call 24/7 and if you do get into difficulty or you see someone in trouble call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.'

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine invites tenders for a 35-year lease of the Boat House at 7 West Pier in Howth Fishery Harbour Centre.

The lease for the site is offered for a term of 35 years with five-yearly rent reviews.

Applicants should contact the Harbour Office at Howth Fishery Harbour Centre by phone on 01 832 2252 between 9am and 5pm on workdays to view the tender documentation or to make an appointment to view the site. Relevant documents are also available at

The closing date is noon on Tuesday 27 June.

Published in Irish Harbours
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Howth’s Irish Coast Guard unit reminds sea swimmers to be wary of cold water temperatures after they responded to a hypothermic swimmer needing medical assistance on Wednesday morning (4 January).

The casualty was taken safely from the water at Balscadden Bay and transferred to the care of the National Ambulance Service. Howth Community First Responders and the Dublin Fire Brigade also attended the scene.

Commenting on social media, Howth’s coastguard said: “While Balscadden is sheltered, water temperatures are a very cold 8C at the moment.”

They added: “If you see someone in difficulty and think they need assistance on or near the coast, dial 999/112 and ask to speak to the Irish Coast Guard.”

Published in Sea Swim
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It was a swift start to the New Year this afternoon (Sunday 1 January) for the team at Howth’s Irish Coast Guard unit as they were tasked to a kitesurfer who was blown offshore after the wind dropped near Dollymount Strand.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was also called to the scene from across Dublin Bay and brought the kitesurfer ashore to the Howth coastguard team, who assessed the casualty and found they needed no further assistance.

Howth Coast Guard Unit said: “The kitesurfer was well prepared. They had a shore contact who was keeping an eye on them (who ultimately called the coastguard); a heavyweight winter weight wet suit [and] a buoyancy aid.

“Remember if you see someone in difficulty on or near the coast, dial 112/999 and ask for Irish Coast Guard.”

Published in Rescue
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Ireland & La Solitaire du Figaro

The Solitaire du Figaro, was originally called the course de l’Aurore until 1980, was created in 1970 by Jean-Louis Guillemard and Jean-Michel Barrault.

Half a decade later, the race has created some of France's top offshore sailors, and it celebrated its 50th anniversary with a new boat equipped with foils and almost 50 skippers Including novices, aficionados and six former winners.

The solo multi-stage offshore sailing race is one of the most cherished races in French sailing and one that has had Irish interest stretching back over 20 years due to the number of Irish stopovers, usually the only foreign leg of the French race.

What Irish ports have hosted The Solitaire du Figaro?

The race has previously called to Ireland to the following ports; Dingle, Kinsale, Crosshaven, Howth and Dun Laoghaire.

What Irish sailors have raced The Solitaire du Figaro?

So far there have been seven Irish skippers to participate in La Solitaire du Figaro. 

In 1997, County Kerry's Damian Foxall first tackled the Figaro from Ireland. His win in the Rookie division in DHL gave him the budget to compete again the following year with Barlo Plastics where he won the final leg of the race from Gijon to Concarneau. That same year a second Irish sailor Marcus Hutchinson sailing Bergamotte completed the course in 26th place and third Rookie.

In 2000, Hutchinson of Howth Yacht Club completed the course again with IMPACT, again finishing in the twenties.

In 2006, Paul O’Riain became the third Irish skipper to complete the course.

In 2013, Royal Cork's David Kenefick raised the bar by becoming a top rookie sailor in the race. 

In 2018, for the first time, Ireland had two Irish boats in the offshore race thanks to Tom Dolan and Joan Mulloy who joined the rookie ranks and kept the Irish tricolour flying high in France. Mulloy became the first Irish female to take on the race.

Tom Dolan in Smurfit Kappa competed for his third year in 2020 after a 25th place finish in 2019. Dolan sailed a remarkably consistent series in 2020 and took fifth overall, the best finish by a non-French skipper since 1997 when Switzerland’s Dominique Wavre finished runner up. Dolan wins the VIVI Trophy.

Dolan finished 10th on the first stage, 11th on the second and seventh into Saint Nazaire at the end of the third stage. Stage four was abandoned due to lack of wind. 

Also in 2020, Dun Laoghaire’s Kenneth Rumball became the eleventh Irish sailor to sail the Figaro.

At A Glance – Figaro Race

  • It starts in June or July from a French port.
  • The race is split into four stages varying from year to year, from the length of the French coast and making up a total of around 1,500 to 2,000 nautical miles (1,700 to 2,300 mi; 2,800 to 3,700 km) on average.
  • Over the years the race has lasted between 10 and 13 days at sea.
  • The competitor is alone in the boat, participation is mixed.
  • Since 1990, all boats are of one design.

2023 La Solitaire du Figaro Course

Stage #1 Caen – Kinsale : 610 nautical miles
Departure August 27 (expected arrival August 30)

Stage #2 Kinsale – Baie de Morlaix : 630 nautical miles
Departure September 3 (expected arrival September 6)

Stage #3 Baie de Morlaix – Piriac-sur-Mer : 620 nautical miles
Departure September 10 (expected arrival September 13)

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