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A Sigma 33 One Design keelboat racing on Dublin Bay Photo: AfloatA Sigma 33 One Design keelboat racing on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

Lough Derg RNLI were requested to launch on Thursday afternoon (18 April) by Valentia Coast Guard to assist two people on a 36ft cruiser reported aground inside Navigation Mark H at Gortmore Point.

The inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched at 1.03pm with helm Eleanor Hooker and crew Steve Smyth, Chris Parker and Joe O’Donoghue on board. The wind was westerly Force 4, gusting Force 5, and visibility was good with frequent squalls.

At 1.15pm the lifeboat located the casualty vessel inside Navigation Mark H and 25 feet from shore. The lifeboat stood off to observe the casualty vessel, which appeared to be raised out of the water and pivoting on a central point.

With a volunteer taking soundings at the bow, and using on board electronic charts, the lifeboat navigated a safe passage to the starboard stern side of the casualty vessel. RNLI volunteers noted hazards in the water close by.

An RNLI volunteer boarded the casualty vessel and established that there were actually three people on board, safe and unharmed and all wearing their lifejackets. A fourth person had left the cruiser to swim to shore.

The skipper of the casualty vessel had deployed the anchor in an attempt to prevent further drift towards shore. They informed the lifeboat crew that they had damaged their propellers and suffered engine failure after hitting rocks.

An RNLI volunteer checked under the floorboards and reported back to the lifeboat that there was no ingress of water or visible damage to the hull.

Given that the vessel was high out of the water and appeared to be pivoting on a rock, and hadn’t changed its aspect to weather with the anchor out, the lifeboat helm made the decision to take everyone off the cruiser and onto the lifeboat, having first ensured that the casualty vessel was secure with windows closed and gas supply switched off.

The lifeboat informed Valentia Coast Guard of this decision and the plan to moor up at the nearby Gortmore Harbour, so that two RNLI volunteers could walk back to locate the person who swam to shore. Shore crew back at boathouse informed the cruiser company.

Accompanied by one of the people from the cruiser, two volunteers set out on foot from Gortmore Harbour to search for the fourth of their group.

A member of the public who had offered to drive down the road to assist in the search located the individual and drove him back. With the four reunited, the lifeboat took them to Portumna where their car was located.

The lifeboat departed the scene at 2.39pm and was back at station at 3.03pm.

Aoife Kennedy, launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users “to stay with your vessel and if in danger call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Kilmore Quay RNLI launched on Friday afternoon (19 April) to assist five people aboard an angling charter boat southeast of the Saltee Islands when rope had become entangled in the propeller.

A number of the responding volunteer lifeboat crew left family confirmation celebrations to answer the call.

The all-weather Tamar class relief lifeboat Victor Freeman was requested to launch by the Irish Coast Guard at 1pm and it left the station, under the command of coxswain Trevor Devereux with four crew members on board, arriving on scene at 1.30pm.

Having checked all on board were safe and well, the lifeboat crew decided that the safest course of action was to establish a tow.

The lifeboat was soon under way with the casualty vessel to the nearest available harbour at Kilmore Quay, arriving at 2pm. Weather and sea conditions were described as good at the time.

The call-out came as four of the station’s lifeboat crew are currently on passage from Poole in Dorset to Kilmore Quay, bringing home the station’s permanent lifeboat Killarney which has recently undergone a major overhaul.

With a total of nine lifeboat crew from the Kilmore Quay crew active on lifeboats today, the station is renewing its call for interested people to consider becoming a volunteer at Kilmore Quay RNLI.

Speaking on the call-out, Kilmore Quay lifeboat operations manager John Grace said: “It was great to see all on board wearing lifejackets and having followed the correct procedures when they got snagged. Stray ropes or nets floating in the water can be a hazard to any vessel in this way.”

Grace went on to praise the lifeboat crew and encourage those interested to find out more about becoming a volunteer with the lifeboat station.

“We are lucky to have a dedicated volunteer crew here in Kilmore Quay to respond to call-outs,” he said. “Today some left a family occasion to go and help others in need. It’s a selflessness and community spirit that we have here in our volunteers, and we’d welcome more people through the door to carry out this important work.

“Anyone interested is welcome to come and talk to us and training is given. There is so much to get out of volunteering for the RNLI.”

The Kilmore Quay RNLI lifeboat crew involved in the call-out were coxswain Trevor Devereux, mechanic Declan Roche, Adam Kelly, Robbie Connolly and Jack Devereux.

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Rosslare Harbour RNLI came to the aid of a sailor who got into difficulty off the Wexford coast on Monday morning (15 April).

The volunteer crew were alerted at the request of the Irish Coast Guard after a concerned member of the public raised the alarm.

They reported that a 22-foot yacht with one person onboard appeared to be drifting towards rocks at the mouth of the Boatsafe adjacent to Rosslare Europort.

The all-weather lifeboat launched at 9.15am and upon arrival at the scene, its crew assessed the situation and decided in consultation with the sailor that, as they were unable to make safe progress, the vessel would be towed to the nearest safe port.

Speaking following the call-out, Rosslare Harbour RNLI launch authority Tony Kehoe commended the member of the public who raised the alarm for his vigilance.

“The member of the public’s actions were crucial in preventing a possible serious incident this morning and we commend him for his swift actions,” Kehoe said. “We would remind anyone who sees someone or a vessel in trouble at sea, to never hesitate to call for help by dialling 999 or 112.”

The volunteer crew on the call-out were coxswain Keith Miller, mechanic Mick Nicholas and crew Keith Morris, Paul McCormack and Dave McCusker.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Enniskillen RNLI in Northern Ireland launched their inshore lifeboat, the John and Jean Lewis, at 10.30am on Saturday morning (13 April) following a request from Belfast Coastguard that a fishing boat was adrift close to the Horse Island near Kesh.

Winds on Lough Erne at the time were westerly Force 5 at the time and visibility was cloudy.

Helmed by Stephen Ingram and with three crew members onboard, the lifeboat engaged in a search of all areas including the shoreline.

The volunteer crew searched the area around the Kesh River and Hayes Marina and onto Muckross Bay and public jetty area.

However, it was established that the casualty vessel had managed to return to shore prior to the lifeboat’s arrival.

Speaking following the call-out, Ingram said: “We would like to commend the member of the public who raised the alarm when they were concerned; that is always the right thing to do. We would always much rather launch and find that all is safe and well than not launch at all.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The National Opera House in Wexford is set to host a once-in-a-lifetime event, RNLI 200: A Celebration of Volunteers, Their Families and the Community on Thursday 23 May.

This special commemorative event marks the 200-year legacy of the RNLI and pays tribute to the brave volunteers who crew the boats, their families who make sacrifices and the communities that support them.

RNLI 200 promises to be an unforgettable journey through history, showcasing the courage and dedication of RNLI volunteers.

The one-night-only spectacular will feature a diverse range of performances, including song, dance, spoken word and video presentations.

Audiences will be treated to stories ranging from the foundation of the RNLI to epic rescues carried out by lifeboat crews along the South-East of Ireland, namely Courtown, Wexford, Rosslare Harbour, Kilmore Quay and Fethard RNLI.

Local talents such as George Lawlor, Tony Carthy, Chris Currid, The Craic Pots, Wexford School of Ballet and Performing Arts and Dara Pierce Ballet Academy will grace the stage alongside nationally recognised artists like pipe player Mark Redmond and tenor Glenn Murphy.

Under the baton of composer Liam Bates, the evening promises to be a symphony of emotion and celebration. Adding to the star-studded line-up, Celtic Thunder’s Ryan Kelly, Celtic Woman star Chloe Agnew and, fresh from their sellout performance at the National Concert Hall, The Sea of Change Choir will make a special guest appearance, with more surprise guests to be announced in the coming weeks.

Produced by Wexford-based Seanchai Productions Ltd, known for their events such as Wexford Virtual St Patrick's Day and The Green Light Sessions in 2021, RNLI 200 is set to captivate audiences with its blend of entertainment and heartfelt tribute.

RNLI 200 organisers say the event would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors PTSB, the EPA, Kent Stainless and The Talbot Collection.

Proceeds from the event will go to the RNLI. Tickets are priced at €30 each and are available from www.nationaloperahouse.ie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Clifden RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew in western Co Galway were tasked just before 2pm on Thursday (11 April) following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to provide a medical evacuation for a casualty on Inishbofin.

Clifden’s Shannon class all-weather lifeboat St Christopher was launched under coxswain David Barry with Joe Acton, Dan Whelan, Andy Bell, Neil Gallery and Shane Conneely as crew. The coastguard’s Sligo-based helicopter Rescue 118 was also dispatched.

Weather conditions at the time were poor, with limited visibility and deep swells.

When the lifeboat crew arrived at the island, the casualty was received on board St Christopher and a casualty care assessment was carried out on the person, who was injured from a fall.

The casualty was immediately transported to Cleggan pier and the awaiting ambulance for further treatment in hospital.

Speaking about the call-out, Barry said: “This tasking was a real team effort involving the Cleggan Coast Guard, HSE National Ambulance Service and the local community in Inishbofin who provided great assistance during the transfer of the casualty. My thanks to all involved and I also wish the person a swift recovery.

“The volunteer crew at our station are on call 24/7. If you get into difficulty, or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Celebrity chef Glen Wheeler from 28 At The Hollow will cook up a delicious menu at Enniskillen RNLI’s lifeboat station at 7pm on Monday 29 April.

The culinary masterclass is in aid of the Enniskillen lifeboat and tickets for the event are £15. Get yours via the evening’s Eventbrite page or via the Northern Ireland phone contacts in the event poster above.

Enniskillen RNLI is also calling on members of the public to support the RNLI’s Mayday fundraising campaign, after revealing they launched 17 times last year on Lough Erne — as did their neighbours at Carrybridge RNLI.

The RNLI’s Mayday fundraiser begins on Monday 1 May and will run for the whole month across Ireland and the UK. Afloat.ie has more on the initiative HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

A humpback whale caught in fishing ropes off the coast of Cornwall in south-west England has been saved thanks to the efforts of local rescuers.

According to Marine Industry News, the whale known locally as “Ivy” became entangled in Mounts Bay on Easter Sunday (31 March) and was soon spotted in distress by both fishing crews and a wildlife-watching tour.

Conditions at sea were choppy at the time, meaning these onlookers could not intervene.

But in the afternoon Penlee RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew came to the rescue, cutting the whale free from their inshore lifeboat.

Hannah Wilson, co-owner of tour group Marine Discovery Penzance said: “It’s incredible what the guy at the helm achieved because it was properly rough.”

Marine Industry News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Arklow RNLI in Co Wicklow were requested to launch early on Tuesday morning (2 April) following reports of a large yacht with four crew onboard in difficulty near the Arklow Bank.

Shortly after 6.30am, Arklow volunteers launched the station’s all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr and the crew made best speed to the yacht’s reported position, some 18 miles south-east of Arklow.

Once on scene, it was established that the 16-metre vessel had developed engine failure. The lifeboat crew assessed the situation and, due to the vessel not being able to make safe progress, it was decided to take the vessel under tow back to the nearest safe port at Arklow.

Both boats arrived back into Arklow at around 10.30am, and the casualty vessel was secured on the pontoons in the inner dock.

Speaking following the rescue, Jimmy Myler, Arklow RNLI launch authority said: “Huge thanks once again to our volunteer crew both onshore and on the lifeboat who at a moments notice go to sea to assist others, whether day or night.

“As we continue to enjoy the Easter break, we would remind everyone planning a trip to sea or near the coast to respect the water. Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Arklow RNLI’s volunteers on this call-out were coxswain Ned Dillon, station mechanic James Russell, Craig O’Reilly, John Tyrrell, David Molloy, Cillian Kavanagh and Josh McAnaspie.

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Lough Derg RNLI were requested to launch on Saturday (30 March) to assist a lone sailor on a 35ft cruiser with fouled propellers and adrift in Dromineer Bay.

Following the request from Valentia Coast Guard, the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier — with helm Owen Cavanagh and crew Doireann Kennedy, Tom Hayes and Ania Skrzypczynska-Tucker on board — launched at 5.28pm. Winds were with south-easterly Force 3 with good visibility.

At 5.42pm the lifeboat was alongside the casualty vessel, where the skipper was found safe and well and wearing a lifejacket.

The skipper explained that as the wind had dropped he was unable to sail home, and a line overboard had fouled the propellers so the cruiser couldn’t motor back to harbour.

Given the location on the navigation channel, and the hour, the lifeboat helm decided the safest course of action was to assist the casualty vessel back to the nearest safe harbour.

At 6.02pm the casualty vessel was secured alongside in Dromineer Harbour. The lifeboat departed the scene was back at station at 6.10pm.

Peter Kennedy, launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users to “stow lines carefully and always make sure someone on the shore knows where you are going and who to call if you don’t return on time”.

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How to sail, sailing clubs and sailing boats plus news on the wide range of sailing events on Irish waters forms the backbone of Afloat's sailing coverage.

We aim to encompass the widest range of activities undertaken on Irish lakes, rivers and coastal waters. This page describes those sailing activites in more detail and provides links and breakdowns of what you can expect from our sailing pages. We aim to bring jargon free reports separated in to popular categories to promote the sport of sailing in Ireland.

The packed 2013 sailing season sees the usual regular summer leagues and there are regular weekly race reports from Dublin Bay Sailing Club, Howth and Cork Harbour on Afloat.ie. This season and last also featured an array of top class events coming to these shores. Each year there is ICRA's Cruiser Nationals starts and every other year the Round Ireland Yacht Race starts and ends in Wicklow and all this action before July. Crosshaven's Cork Week kicks off on in early July every other year. in 2012 Ireland hosted some big international events too,  the ISAF Youth Worlds in Dun Laoghaire and in August the Tall Ships Race sailed into Dublin on its final leg. In that year the Dragon Gold Cup set sail in Kinsale in too.

2013 is also packed with Kinsale hosting the IFDS diabled world sailing championships in Kinsale and the same port is also hosting the Sovereign's Cup. The action moves to the east coast in July with the staging of the country's biggest regatta, the Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta from July 11.

Our coverage though is not restricted to the Republic of Ireland but encompasses Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Irish Sea area too. In this section you'll find information on the Irish Sailing Association and Irish sailors. There's sailing reports on regattas, racing, training, cruising, dinghies and keelboat classes, windsurfers, disabled sailing, sailing cruisers, Olympic sailing and Tall Ships sections plus youth sailing, match racing and team racing coverage too.

Sailing Club News

There is a network of over 70 sailing clubs in Ireland and we invite all clubs to submit details of their activities for inclusion in our daily website updates. There are dedicated sections given over to the big Irish clubs such as  the waterfront clubs in Dun Laoghaire; Dublin Bay Sailing Club, the Royal Saint George Yacht Club,  the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the National Yacht Club. In Munster we regularly feature the work of Kinsale Yacht Club and Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven.  Abroad Irish sailors compete in Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) racing in the UK and this club is covered too. Click here for Afloat's full list of sailing club information. We are keen to increase our coverage on the network of clubs from around the coast so if you would like to send us news and views of a local interest please let us have it by sending an email to [email protected]

Sailing Boats and Classes

Over 20 active dinghy and one design classes race in Irish waters and fleet sizes range from just a dozen or so right up to over 100 boats in the case of some of the biggest classes such as the Laser or Optimist dinghies for national and regional championships. Afloat has dedicated pages for each class: Dragons, Etchells, Fireball, Flying Fifteen, GP14, J24's, J80's, Laser, Sigma 33, RS Sailing, Star, Squibs, TopperMirror, Mermaids, National 18, Optimist, Puppeteers, SB3's, and Wayfarers. For more resources on Irish classes go to our dedicated sailing classes page.

The big boat scene represents up to 60% of the sail boat racing in these waters and Afloat carries updates from the Irish Cruiser Racer Association (ICRA), the body responsible for administering cruiser racing in Ireland and the popular annual ICRA National Championships. In 2010 an Irish team won the RORC Commodore's Cup putting Irish cruiser racing at an all time high. Popular cruiser fleets in Ireland are raced right around the coast but naturally the biggest fleets are in the biggest sailing centres in Cork Harbour and Dublin Bay. Cruisers race from a modest 20 feet or so right up to 50'. Racing is typically divided in to Cruisers Zero, Cruisers One, Cruisers Two, Cruisers Three and Cruisers Four. A current trend over the past few seasons has been the introduction of a White Sail division that is attracting big fleets.

Traditionally sailing in northern Europe and Ireland used to occur only in some months but now thanks to the advent of a network of marinas around the coast (and some would say milder winters) there are a number of popular winter leagues running right over the Christmas and winter periods.

Sailing Events

Punching well above its weight Irish sailing has staged some of the world's top events including the Volvo Ocean Race Galway Stopover, Tall Ships visits as well as dozens of class world and European Championships including the Laser Worlds, the Fireball Worlds in both Dun Laoghaire and Sligo.

Some of these events are no longer pure sailing regattas and have become major public maritime festivals some are the biggest of all public staged events. In the past few seasons Ireland has hosted events such as La Solitaire du Figaro and the ISAF Dublin Bay 2012 Youth Worlds.

There is a lively domestic racing scene for both inshore and offshore sailing. A national sailing calendar of summer fixtures is published annually and it includes old favorites such as Sovereign's Cup, Calves Week, Dun Laoghaire to Dingle, All Ireland Sailing Championships as well as new events with international appeal such as the Round Britain and Ireland Race and the Clipper Round the World Race, both of which have visited Ireland.

The bulk of the work on running events though is carried out by the network of sailing clubs around the coast and this is mostly a voluntary effort by people committed to the sport of sailing. For example Wicklow Sailing Club's Round Ireland yacht race run in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club has been operating for over 30 years. Similarly the international Cork Week regatta has attracted over 500 boats in past editions and has also been running for over 30 years.  In recent years Dublin Bay has revived its own regatta called Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta and can claim to be the country's biggest event with over 550 boats entered in 2009.

On the international stage Afloat carries news of Irish and UK interest on Olympics 2012, Sydney to Hobart, Volvo Ocean Race, Cowes Week and the Fastnet Race.

We're always aiming to build on our sailing content. We're keen to build on areas such as online guides on learning to sail in Irish sailing schools, navigation and sailing holidays. If you have ideas for our pages we'd love to hear from you. Please email us at [email protected]