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Displaying items by tag: Lough Derg

Sailed over four days, the Irish Optimist Nationals 2021 for youth sailors had a fleet of 133 boats representing over 13 different clubs, competing across the Regatta Fleet and Main, Senior and Junior fleets on Lough Derg Yacht Club.

The host club provided an outdoor venue for the travelling families with many having more than one sailor in the various fleets. 

PRO John Leech delivered 11 races, south of the Corrakeens Islands throughout the championships in typically shifting winds.

With the Regatta fleet sailing close to shore in Dromineer Bay, with Liam Maloney as Race Officer, which for many was their first regatta experience.

The organisers introduced a new format to the regatta fleet with 50% of their time provided as coaching, fun and games. 

Prize giving led by Joe Gilmartin, LDYC Commodore, outside in beautiful sunshine, crowned a new national champion in each fleet,

Caoilinn Geraghty McDonnell of RStGYC first in the Senior Fleet, Andrew O’Neill of RCYC first in the Junior Fleet and Patrick Fegan of MYC first Regatta.

Optimists go afloat at Lough Derg for the 2021 National ChampionshipsOptimists go afloat at Lough Derg for the 2021 National Championships

Racing was very tight over the 4 days with the leading changing each day. Two points separated first from second-placed Des Turvey, HYC in the Senior fleet, and Two points in the Junior fleet from Conor Cronin of MYC.

Royal Cork YC were the team prize winners in both Senior and Junior fleets.

Full results can be found here 

IODAI President Alexander Walsh said, "feedback from both competitors and parents was very positive and look forward to returning to Lough Derg Yacht Club for great racing afloat, great hospitality ashore and lots of activities for the children to enjoy ashore". 

Published in Optimist
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Lough Derg RNLI assisted five people on vessels in difficulty across two back-to-back shouts on the lough today, Monday 16 August.

In the first callout, the lifeboat was alerted by Valentia Coast Guard to a 30ft cruiser reported aground close to Mountshannon Harbour in the southwestern part of Lough Derg.

With Eleanor Hooker at the helm and crew Owen Cavanagh, Joe O’Donoghue and Chris Parker on board, the inshore lifeboat Jean Spicer launched at 11.40am in moderate conditions with Force 4 north-westerly winds blowing.

Within 15 minutes the lifeboat had sighted the casualty vessel, which was aground on a sandbar in the bay east of Mountshannon Harbour. The lifeboat took frequent soundings on a cautious approach to the casualty vessel, located in an area known for its sudden shallows.

The cruiser’s skipper was found to be safe and unharmed and wearing his lifejacket.

Given the vessel’s location close to a navigation channel to a small marina, it was decided the safest plan was to take the cruiser off the sandbar and out into safe water. The skipper was asked to drain his water tanks to lighten the vessel.

Soon the lifeboat had the cruiser off the sandbar and under tow to safe water, where drives and rudder were found to be undamaged and in good working order. The cruiser made way under its own power to Mountshannon Harbour.

Upon departing the scene at 12.32pm, the lifeboat crew were requested by Valentia Coast Guard to attend a family of four on a 40ft cruiser broken down by Navigation Mark E at the Goat Road at the lough’s north-eastern shore.

The cruiser had suffered an electrical failure, and the skipper had dropped anchor to prevent being pushed onto a rocky shore.

The lifeboat was alongside within half an hour, finding all on board safe and unharmed and wearing lifejackets.

One of the lifeboat crew transferred across and confirmed that none of the systems on board were working. Given the location and weather conditions, the helm decided to take the cruiser under tow to Kilgarvan Harbour, the safest close harbour.

Liam Maloney, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advises water users to “check the weather forecast for inland lakes and always carry a means of communication. Dial 999 or 112 and ask for marine rescue if you find yourself in difficulty on the water.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Wildlife service staff released 21 white-tailed sea eagle chicks to the wild over the weekend at four sites in Munster, including Lough Derg and the Shannon estuary.

Chicks were also released in Waterford and Killarney National Park as part of the second phase of the State’s re-introduction programme.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) said the chicks had been kept in purpose-built enclosures at the four locations while they “grew, matured, and developed the feathers and muscles necessary for flight”.

“They were carefully monitored and tagged by NPWS staff leading the collaborative reintroduction programme, which began in 2007,” the NPWS said.

Satellite tagging facilitates monitoring of their progress and their integration into the existing Irish breeding population, it said.

The chicks were collected under licence in June of this year from nests throughout the Trondheim area of west-central Norway by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research.

The white-tailed sea eagle once bred on the Irish coastline and near large freshwater lakes, living on fish, waterbirds and dead animals, until driven to extinction in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Twenty-one Norwegian-born White Tailed Eagle chicks were released into the wild at the four Munster sites - on the Shannon Estuary, Lough Derg, Waterford and in Killarney National Park (pictured). It is hoped they will bolster Ireland’s existing White-Tailed Eagle population. Overseeing the Release in Killarney National Park, from left, Regional Manager National Parks and Wildlife Service, Dr Allan Mee, Advisor, White Tailed Eagle Project Phase 1, Danny O'Keeffe, National Parks and Wildlife Service district conservation officer, Philip Buckley, Project Site Manager, Shannon Esturary. The chicks have been kept in purpose-built enclosures at the four locations while they grew, matured, and developed the feathers and muscles necessary for flight. They will continue to be carefully monitored and by NPWS staff leading the collaborative reintroduction programme, which began in 2007. The satellite tags will allow the project to monitor their progress and their integration into the existing Irish breeding population. Photo: Valerie O’SullivanOverseeing the Release of the chicks in Killarney National Park, from left, Regional Manager National Parks and Wildlife Service, Dr Allan Mee, Advisor, White Tailed Eagle Project Phase 1, Danny O'Keeffe, National Parks and Wildlife Service district conservation officer, Philip Buckley, Project Site Manager, Shannon Esturary. The chicks have been kept in purpose-built enclosures at the four locations while they grew, matured, and developed the feathers and muscles necessary for flight. They will continue to be carefully monitored and by NPWS staff leading the collaborative reintroduction programme, which began in 2007. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan

The birds are particularly vulnerable to illness and poison in winter when they rely more heavily on carrion.

Most of the birds re-introduced to Ireland over the past 13 years – in a programme pioneered by the Golden Eagle Trust - have remained, while some were reported in Northern Ireland and at least seven birds were identified in Britain.

At least ten white-tailed eagle pairs held territory across four counties last year - in Kerry (7 pairs), Galway (1), Tipperary (1) and Cork (1).

A white tailed sea eagle chick Photo: Valerie O'SullivanA white tailed sea eagle chick Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

The NPWS says at least nine pairs laid eggs in Kerry (6 pairs), Cork (1), Tipperary (1) and Galway (1).

The NPWS says that “restoring this lost flagship species to Irish skies will be a significant step in restoring Ireland’s natural heritage and will bring great benefit to Irish biodiversity”.

It says the project “underlines in practical terms Ireland’s commitment to implementing the UN Convention on Biological Diversity”.

Published in Marine Wildlife

On Saturday evening, 7 August, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch to assist a family of four on a cruiser reported aground close to Terryglass Harbour.

At 8.44 pm the lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Ger Egan, crew Joe O’Donoghue, Chris Parker and Ciara Moylan on board. The lake had a moderate chop with westerly winds Force 4, gusting Force 6. Visibility was poor with frequent squalls

At 9:06 pm the lifeboat had the casualty vessel in sight; it was aground on a rocky shore close to Terryglass Harbour. The lifeboat anchored and veered down to the casualty vessel and transferred an RNLI volunteer across, where he reported back to the lifeboat that there were five people on board; a boat owner in the harbour had been transferred out to the casualty vessel earlier when he had seen them in difficulty. All five people were safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

The RNLI volunteer on board the casualty vessel checked that the vessel was not holed and given the weather conditions, the RNLI helm decided that the safest course of action was to take the cruiser off the rocks and out into safe water.

At 9.42 pm the lifeboat had the cruiser off the rocks and out into safe water, where the drives and rudder were found to be in good working order. With an RNLI volunteer remaining on board and the lifeboat remaining alongside, the cruiser made its own way to the safety of Terryglass Harbour

At 9.52 pm the lifeboat departed and was back at Station at 10.24 pm

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI’s volunteers were called out twice yesterday afternoon (Friday 23 July) to assist two separate cruisers with engine issues as a thunderstorm brewed.

At 3pm the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Eleanor Hooker and crew Keith Brennan, Steve Smyth and Joe O’Donoghue to assist two people on a 26ft cruiser with engine failure southwest of Illaunmore.

The lake was developing a moderate chop as a thunderstorm gathered force directly above and the wind quickly strengthened from Force 2 to 4 as the lifeboat arrived at the casualty vessel with minutes of launch.

Both people on board were found to be safe and well and wearing their lifejackets. One of the lifeboat crew boarded the cruiser to assess the situation but could not determine a cause for the engine failure.

Given the deteriorating weather conditions, with frequent forked lightning, the RNLI helm decided the safest course of action was to take the cruiser and its passengers to the closest safe harbour at Dromaan.

The crew set up an alongside tow, with a volunteer remaining on the casualty boat, while and the helm warned everyone not to hold on to any metal fittings on either boat in case of a lightning strike. The casualty vessel was safely tied in Dromaan Harbour before 3.45pm.

Less than half an hour later, the lifeboat crew had just completed a wash-down and refuelling at the station when they were called again, this time to a 38ft cruiser with four on board that had engine failure northwest of Illaunmore.

At 4.15pm the lifeboat launched to the reported location at navigation mark D where there were five cruisers in the vicinity, none of which matched the casualty vessel’s description. Valentia Coast Guard then confirmed to the lifeboat crew that the vessel has regained power and was making way north at 20 knots, and the lifeboat was stood down.

Liam Maloney, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advises water users to “check the weather forecast for inland lakes and let others know when you anticipate arriving at your destination”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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As Afloat reported earlier Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch following a Mayday call to assist five people on board a 38ft cruiser on fire, by Castle Harbour, Portumna, at the most northern end of Lough Derg.

When the lifeboat crew assembled at the station, Valentia Coast Guard was informed that three people had been safely evacuated from the vessel.

At 12.16 pm the lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Keith Brennan, crew Eleanor Hooker, Joe O’Donoghue and Doireann Kennedy on board. The lake was calm and visibility was excellent.

Aoife Kennedy, Lough Derg RNLI Deputy Launching Authority relayed information from Valentia Coast Guard that the remaining two people had been safely evacuated from the burning vessel. Valentia Coast Guard contacted the lifeboat to request that volunteers check the wellbeing of the casualties.

Rescue 115, the Irish Coast Guard Search and Rescue Helicopter based at Shannon was also in attendance, as was the Killaloe Coast Guard Search and Rescue Boat, based at Killaloe.

The lifeboat arrived on scene at 12.35 pm. The fire on the casualty vessel had taken hold and fire firefighters from Portumna Fire Service were working to extinguish the fire. All four other casualties were safe and unharmed and were being attended to by ambulance crew at Castle Harbour.

As there was a significant risk to the many boat users close by with fuel onboard the vessel, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat and the Killaloe Coast Guard boat to monitor the scene and request that all vessels maintain a safe distance.

At 1.30 pm, firefighters had managed to put out the main fire, however, the vessel was still smouldering and billowing smoke. The anchor line had burned and the vessel was now drifting into the main navigation channel.

At 2.14 pm, the casualty vessel was relocated to Carrigahorig Bay, where firefighters continued to pump water and foam to ensure the fire was fully out.

Aoife Kennedy, Deputy Launching Authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advises water users to ‘always be alert to the dangers of fire on a boat and always carry a means of communication so that you can call the emergency services for help’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Five people were rescued from a burning boat on Lough Derg this afternoon (Sunday 18 July), as BreakingNews.ie reports.

A multi-agency response was launched just after midday to reports of the vessel blaze off Castle Harbour, south of Portumna at the northern end of the lough.

On arrival at the scene, the search and rescue teams found that all five occupants of the casualty vessel had been safety evaluated to a number private boats in the area, with another attempting to fight the blaze with a hose.

Craft were advised to keep a safe distance from the burning boat as gas cylinders on board posed a serious explosion risk.

BreakingNews.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue
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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

Insurance woes could mean a popular Lough Derg water park may not reopen, as The Irish Times reports.

Aqua Splash owner Stephen Fitzgerald says the withdrawal of his UK-based insurer post-Brexit has forced the closure of the Co Tipperary facility at “peak season”.

It’s the latest in a series of issues Fitzgerald has experienced getting the park insured since it opened in 2016 including the loss of his original Irish insurer after a claim, and skyrocketing premiums.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
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A family of four were aided by Lough Derg RNLI after their cruiser ran aground on a shoal south of the Corragheen Islands.

The inshore lifeboat Jean Spicer launched shortly after 6pm yesterday (Wednesday 16 July) and was on scene within minutes to assess the situation of the 36ft cruiser.

One of the RNLI volunteers took soundings as the lifeboat made a "cautious approach" to the cruiser, the Lough Derg station reports. Once the RIB was alongside, all on board were confirmed to be safe, unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

Once the vessel was checked for damage, it was decided the safest course of action would be to take the cruiser off the shoal into clear water.

Following a final check of the vessel’s steering and drives, the cruiser made its way under its own power to the nearest safe harbour at Dromineer.

Speaking later, Lough Derg RNLI deputy launching authority Catherine Gleeson advised water users to “enjoy Lough Derg and remember to stay within the navigation routes as there are sudden shallows and shoals close to islands and unmarked shores”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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