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Displaying items by tag: Belfast Lough

A Northern Ireland fisherman who landed a blue lobster last week says it was a “one in two million” shot, as Belfast Live reports.

Stuart Brown made the marine wildlife discovery of his lifetime on Friday (3 February) while hauling lobster pots set near Blackhead Lighthouse in Carrickfergus.

“You would get lobsters out there that don’t look normal, they’d be a bit browner or redder, just something different with them, but nothing that extreme,” he said.

As the cerulean crustacean was under the allowable size to keep, Brown snapped some photos before releasing it back into the waters of Belfast Lough — where it may yet surprise another unsuspecting fisher or local.

Belfast Live has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

It was that time of year again for the keen Stand Up Paddlers to get into the Santa and Elf costumes and take to the water in Bangor Harbour on Belfast Lough.

Eighty-two went afloat and raised £600 for the local lifeboat with safety cover by Safer Waters NI. All that effort makes them hungry and Iain McCarthy of SUP Hub thanked the Zero waste market store Lightfoot for the refreshments as well as Bangor Marina for permission to use the Harbour and the SUP Hub Team for the volunteering time to help make this run safely.

The winner of Fastest Santa was Kelly Marie Wood, and the fastest Juniors were Theo and Jonas Hamilton. Fancy dress winners shared the prizes - Sylvia Watt, Phil Forsythe, Karen Sykes, Christine, Gemma and Maggie McCullough.

This was the fourth year of the Santa SUP at Bangor HarbourThis was the fourth year of the Santa SUP at Bangor Harbour

This was the fourth year of Santa SUP, and in that time it has seen over 250 Santas take to the water. Iain McCarthy, who runs the company, was delighted with the response: “We have raised over £2500 over the years for the Lifeboat, and we hope to make a fixture of this event on the first weekend of December every year to continue supporting our local lifeboat team, promote our city and celebrate the good fortune we have to be surrounded by such brilliant bodies of water”.

Published in Belfast Lough
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BBC News reports that the body of a man who went missing from a ferry in Belfast Lough late last month has been found.

Claims that a man had fallen overboard from a ferry on the night of Saturday 29 October prompted a multi-agency search of Belfast Lough that was stood down the following day.

Belfast Harbour Police have now confirmed that a body found on Thursday morning (17 November) on a beach in Holywood, Co Down is that of the missing ferry passenger.

As previously noted on Afloat.ie, the man was understood to be “a high-risk missing person” and had been on a crossing from Cairnryan in Scotland to Northern Ireland on the Stena Superfast VIII.

Published in Belfast Lough
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A major search operation for a man believed to have gone overboard from a ferry in Belfast Lough at the weekend has been stood down and the matter handed over to police.

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, searches were suspended on Sunday (30 October) and a spokesperson for Belfast Harbour Police told the newspaper it is “engaged in an ongoing investigation into a high-risk missing person”.

It was reported in the Irish press that Dublin Port was contacted on Saturday evening by someone with concerns for their relative, a 39-year-old Limerick man who was expected on a ferry to the capital from Holyhead in Wales.

It later emerged that the man in question was on a crossing from Cairnryan in Scotland to Belfast on the Stena Superfast VIII.

Commenting on social media, Larne Search & Rescue — which was one of the many partners involved in the multi-agency response — said it was stood down on Sunday afternoon with nothing found.

“During the search, our dedicated volunteer crews were out in testing conditions in very little visibility,” it said. “Both lifeboats were deployed alongside Quayside teams and rotated through five crews during the long searches through the night and the following day.”

Larne Search & Rescue added: “It is very difficult for the team to not have a positive outcome, but…the area was extensively searched by all assets using various search patterns.

“Our thoughts are with the family at this time and we hope for positive news.”

Published in Belfast Lough
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RTÉ News reports that searches are ongoing in Belfast Lough today (Sunday 30 October) after claims that a man fell overboard from a docked ferry on Saturday night.

The PSNI has asked the public to avoid the area as a multi-agency response involving coastguard rescue teams from Northern Ireland and western Scotland and RNLI lifeboats resumed searching this morning.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, a rescue plane was dispatched this morning to search an area of interest, with searches focused on the area of Belfast Lough between Greenisland on the northern shore and Bangor on the southern side.

Published in Belfast Lough
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 A year to the day after a successful inaugural windsurfing event last year, Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough is running, in association with the Irish Windsurfing Association, the Open Ulster Championships on 22nd October, and a Coastal windsurf or wing foiling and Novice races on the following day, Sunday 23rd.

This will be the first time a ranked event will have been hosted in Bangor and follows the success of an IWA event last Autumn.

Event Organiser, Aidan Pounder has been liaising with Nick Fletcher, who runs the annual IWA event in Downings, Co Donegal and he is delighted that Ballyholme has been offered the opportunity to host this event this year. “We are really looking forward to a fun and enjoyable event for all concerned. Hopefully the weather and sea state conditions will be favourable to the competitors and spectators alike”.

Coastal windsurf and wing foiling will also be held on Ballyholme BayCoastal windsurf and wing foiling will also be held on Ballyholme Bay

The event will take place off Ballymacormick beach on the east side of the Bay. It is expected that the competitors will be assembling and registering at the nearby Banks Lane car park from 0730 hrs, with racing starting 1055 hrs.

This is an IWA ranked event and will have Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets on a slalom/figure of 8 courses with up to 11 races, either on fin or foil for Gold and Silver fleets only on Saturday.

There will be Coastal races on Sunday, for windsurf or wing foiling only. At the same time, there will be racing for the Novice class, alongside try-a-windsurf activity.

Irish Windsurfing Association, the Open Ulster Championships

Published in Belfast Lough

It all came good at the end of the 22 season for John Minnis and his team on Final Call II from Royal Ulster Yacht Club on Belfast Lough.

Eight weeks after a serious hiccup in June during Bangor Town Regatta, when the Archambault 35 suffered rigging damage and had to be hauled out, Minnis’s slick team pulled it all together for the remaining events and won the Vantage Health and Life-sponsored Celtic Cup, clinching the title by one point from Debbie Aitken’s First 36.7 Animal from Clyde Cruising Club and Royal Northern.

Four events make up the RC35 Celtic Cup - Kip, Tarbert, Bangor Town Regatta and Cork Week but only Pat Kelly’s Storm raced in Cork. John Minnis burst onto the RC 35 scene at Kip when he won the event. It was victory also at Howth.

Bangor Town Regatta proved a testing event for Final Call II. Apart from the challenging and varied conditions, severe damage to the mast meant that the crew were desperately disappointed at having to withdraw from the competition. It was soon clear that the boat would be out of the water for a considerable time. But Iain Percy’s Artemis Technologies in Belfast was quick to come to the rescue and made life somewhat easier for Minnis when they transported the 64-foot mast on a low loader to their HQ. So, two months after being taken ashore the Archambault 35 was back in the water. Final Call II came second at BTR despite the problems.

Final Call also raced in the RC 35 ChampionshipFinal Call also raced in the RC 35 Championship Photo: Afloat

Final Call also raced in the RC 35 Championship crossing the North Channel to the practically windless Largs event, Helensburgh and Rhu, the last cancelled due to Queen Elizabeth II's passing. John appreciated the help of Alastair and Nada, who helped by taking Final Call to Rhu.

Celtic Cup results

John said he and the crew have very much enjoyed Final Call’s first season in the RC 35 class:- “I would like to thank the class for their hospitality and would love to see them next year in Belfast Lough when Royal Ulster YC in Bangor hopes to host a special RC35 event. Thanks also to every member of the crew who have worked hard this season”.

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Docklands regeneration in Cork and Belfast is one of 25 projects awarded monies under the Shared Island local authority development funding scheme announced by Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

A grant of €90,000 has been awarded to Cork and Belfast city councils to work together on the project, entitled Cork-Belfast Harbour Cities.

It involves feasibility work to “develop collaboration and coordinated investment propositions” by the two local authorities for docklands regeneration and climate action.

“Nature-based” adaptations to coastal erosion in the east coast border region will be the focus of a project awarded 147,000 euro.

It will involve cross-border collaboration by Meath and Louth County Councils, Ards and North Down Borough Council and Newry Mourne and Down District Council.

A feasibility study to develop Carlingford lough as a “tourism destination of excellence” has been awarded 150,000 euro.

It will involve Louth County Council, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Northern Ireland, and the Loughs Agency.

More than €4.3m has been allocated to 15 lead local authorities in the south, working in partnership with nine councils in Northern Ireland to develop collaborative cross-border investment projects over the next 12 months, Mr Martin said.

The successful projects are spread across a range of sectors, including biodiversity, tourism, decarbonisation, the circular economy, rural and urban regeneration, education, business innovation, and cultural and creative industries.

The scheme, which is funded by the Shared Island Fund and managed by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, enables local authorities on both sides of the border to progress feasibility and development work on new joint investment projects which deliver local and regional development goals.

Published in Irish Harbours

Belfast is the only port on the island of Ireland which is ready to construct offshore wind farms, according to a new study published by Wind Energy Ireland.

The national ports study published at the body’s annual offshore wind energy conference in Dublin today was produced by Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions.

It claims to be the most detailed analysis ever conducted on the readiness of Irish ports for the development of offshore renewable energy.

The report includes a thorough analysis of the existing infrastructure available at 13 ports and harbours on the island of Ireland and their plans for expansion to meet the needs of offshore wind.

The ports and harbours examined in the report were, in alphabetical order: Belfast D1, Belfast Harland & Wolff, Bremore, Cork Dockyard, Foynes Island, Galway, Killybegs, Larne, Moneypoint, Port of Cork (Ringaskiddy), Ros an Mhíl, Rosslare Europort and Shannon-Foynes.

“We want to build Irish offshore wind farms in Irish ports,” Wind Energy Ireland chief executive Noel Cunniffe said.

Wind Energy Ireland chief executive Noel Cunniffe Photo: Joan ShannonWind Energy Ireland chief executive Noel Cunniffe Photo: Joan Shannon

“Our members – both ports and developers – are absolutely united on this. That is the best way to create jobs at home and to deliver offshore wind energy at the lowest possible price,” he said.

“But we cannot build 7 GW of offshore wind energy by the end of 2030 if we only have a single port on the island suitable for building offshore wind farms,” Cunniffe added.

“We need to be able to build more than one offshore wind project at the same time if we are to have any chance to deliver the carbon emissions cuts that the Government wants and that climate action requires,” he said.

“We know Minister Eamon Ryan is taking this seriously,” Cunniffe said.

“Last year’s Government policy statement on offshore wind and commercial ports, combined with the new Offshore Wind Delivery Task Force, show an increased focus on delivery from the Department of Transport, the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) and other State agencies,” he said.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon RyanMinister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan

“But with only eight years to deliver 7 GW of offshore wind energy, there is growing concern throughout industry that projects may have to be built from outside of Ireland or will need to wait for availability in Belfast,” he said.

The report recommends:

Funding: Support from the Irish Government would help de-risk the level of upfront investment and plug any funding gaps. This could be in the form of direct funding from the exchequer, a low-interest loan scheme or access to funding vehicles such as the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and the European Investment Bank.

Clarity: Huge uncertainty remains about when offshore wind farm construction will start as developers seek clarity on the emerging offshore planning system and next year’s offshore renewable auction. Clarity on timescales would help developers and give confidence to investors looking at the detailed infrastructure plans brought forward by ports.

Planning: There is a risk that ports will struggle to get a foreshore survey licence on time or may spend years in the planning system. Wind Energy Ireland has previously highlighted the need for the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage to instruct An Bord Pleanála to prioritise planning applications related to renewable energy, including port infrastructure, to give the country the best chance of hitting our 2030 target.

“Our ports have the ambition, the determination and the imagination to provide first-class infrastructure for the construction of offshore renewable energy projects,” principal officer and lead author Sarah Gibson said.

“Ports like Rosslare, Cork Dockyard and Shannon-Foynes have already put in substantial work getting ready for offshore wind,” she said.

“Ports and developers both want this to happen. Ireland can be a base from which to build a generation of fixed-bottom and floating wind energy projects, creating thousands of jobs and ensuring that investment stays in Ireland,” she noted.

“But it won’t just happen by itself. It will need Government, ports and renewable energy developers working together to make this ambition a reality,” she said.

The report was co-funded by a number of Wind Energy Ireland members: Belfast Harbour, DP Energy, ESB, Inis Offshore Wind, Ocean Winds, Ørsted, Source Energie and RWE.

The report can be accessed here.

Published in Belfast Lough
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Three Belfast Lough yachts had great results at West Highland Week, which ended on Friday last, two from Carrickfergus Sailing Club on the north shore and another from Royal Ulster Yacht Club on the opposite side.

The best result came from Gareth Martel’s First 40.7 from Royal Ulster who, after a ninth in the 20-strong feeder race fleet from Oban, was first in Class 2, counting three wins, the Croabh 1 race, Lynn of Lorne race and the Oban to Tobermory passage race. Another trophy to add to Pippa’s Ailsa Craig offshore race prize earlier in the season.

Gareth Martel’s First 40.7 from Royal UlsterGareth Martel’s First 40.7 from Royal Ulster 

From Carrickfergus in Class One, Bruce Douglas’s J133 Spirit of Jacana was third overall of 13 starters, counting second places in Croabh races 1 and 2 and in the Sound of Mull race. Also from CSC White Pearl, an Elan Impression 434 (D Mitchell) raced in the ten-strong Class 2 and finished fifth, with second in the Lynn of Lorne Race 1 as her best result.

White Pearl, an Elan Impression 434 (D Mitchell)White Pearl, an Elan Impression 434 (D Mitchell) Photo: via CSC Facebook

Published in Belfast Lough
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The Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) Information

The creation of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) began in a very low key way in the autumn of 2002 with an exploratory meeting between Denis Kiely, Jim Donegan and Fintan Cairns in the Granville Hotel in Waterford, and the first conference was held in February 2003 in Kilkenny.

While numbers of cruiser-racers were large, their specific locations were widespread, but there was simply no denying the numerical strength and majority power of the Cork-Dublin axis. To get what was then a very novel concept up and running, this strength of numbers had to be acknowledged, and the first National Championship in 2003 reflected this, as it was staged in Howth.

ICRA was run by a dedicated group of volunteers each of whom brought their special talents to the organisation. Jim Donegan, the elder statesman, was so much more interested in the wellbeing of the new organisation than in personal advancement that he insisted on Fintan Cairns being the first Commodore, while the distinguished Cork sailor was more than content to be Vice Commodore.

ICRA National Championships

Initially, the highlight of the ICRA season was the National Championship, which is essentially self-limiting, as it is restricted to boats which have or would be eligible for an IRC Rating. Boats not actually rated but eligible were catered for by ICRA’s ace number-cruncher Denis Kiely, who took Ireland’s long-established native rating system ECHO to new heights, thereby providing for extra entries which brought fleet numbers at most annual national championships to comfortably above the hundred mark, particularly at the height of the boom years. 

ICRA Boat of the Year (Winners 2004-2019)