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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: Lough Derg

Cyclists will ‘Lap the Lake’ for the third year running to raise funds for Lough Derg RNLI on Saturday 11 May.

With Lough Derg RNLI marking 20 years of lifeboat service on the lake in the same year that the charity that saves lives at sea celebrates its bicentenary, the 2024 fundraiser will be a doubly special occasion.

As with the 2023 event, cyclists may again choose between a 120km route or a shorter 65km one.

The longer route will take participants on a full circuit of Lough Derg, giving entrants the chance to cycle through three counties: Tipperary, Clare and Galway. The shorter route will take cyclists to just beyond Killaloe, to a turnaround point at the Twomilegate lakeside amenity park.

Whichever route riders chose, they will have the opportunity to delight in the outstanding beauty of the lake and the River Shannon.

Riders’ safety and well-being is also a priority, with first-aid providers, out-riders, marshals and bike maintenance stops along the routes, as well as comfort and refreshment stations.

“We were thrilled with the success of the previous two years’ Lap the Lake cycle,” said Laura Clarke, chair of the event committee. “We were blessed with fine weather so that cyclists were able to enjoy the most breathtaking scenery around the lake.

“2024 is a particularly special year for the RNLI as the charity marks 200 years of lifesaving work. This event, now open for registration, is about raising funds for our local lifeboat on Lough Derg, which celebrates 20 years of service.”

Event tickets are €65 per person for the full route and €50 for the shorter route. All funds raised will go to Lough Derg RNLI. To find out more and to book your place among the riders this year, visit the Eventbrite page HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

On Saturday 30 December, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI to launch to investigate whether anyone was in trouble aboard a 20ft cruiser reported aground west of Garrykennedy Harbour.

At 3.30pm the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Eleanor Hooker, crew Chris Parker and Joe O’Donoghue on board. The wind was southerly Force 5, gusting Force 7, with fair visibility but heavy squalls.

Eleven minutes later, the lifeboat located the casualty vessel midway between Garrykennedy Harbour and Parker’s Point.

The lifeboat navigated a safe passage to the vessel, which was grounded on rocks close to the shore. An RNLI volunteer went aboard the vessel to determine whether there was anyone on board and in need of assistance, but found the vessel was empty. The RNLI crew located the boat’s registration so that Valentia Coast Guard could make contact with the owner.

Given the location and the deteriorating weather conditions, the helm made the decision to make the vessel safe, deploy its anchor, secure its canopy and leave it at the location. The lifeboat helm informed Valentia Coast Guard of this decision.

Lifeboat helm Eleanor Hooker advises boat users “to check the mooring lines on your vessel to ensure they are secure, particularly in anticipation of poor weather conditions”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Volunteers representing Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat station were honoured with a scroll and a cheque for €500 at the annual Nenagh Municipal District Awards on Monday evening (20 November) in recognition of their volunteer work on Lough Derg.

The award, presented by Cllr John ‘Rocky’ McGrath, Cathaoirleach of the Nenagh Municipal District Tipperary Council Council, was in recognition of the volunteers “dedication and commitment to saving lives and their spirit of volunteerism in contributing of their time and efforts to enhance water safety on Lough Derg”.

The Lough Derg volunteers offered their grateful thanks to Rosemary Joyce, district administrator of Nenagh Municipal District and her team for their warm welcome and hospitality at the Civic Offices in Nenagh on Monday evening.

“Our heartiest congratulations too to the local communities, organisations and individuals who also received awards for their volunteer work,” they added,

Eleanor Hooker, helm and lifeboat press officer said it was a “tremendous honour for volunteers at Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat station to receive this award in recognition of the team’s lifesaving work and water safety programmes on Lough Derg”.

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A community page for Mountshannon is looking to find a good home for an impressive model boat found on Lough Derg over the summer.

As of Monday afternoon (20 November) no one had yet come forward to claim the model of a period battleship.

The person who found it is now looking to rehome it, and all enquiries can be directed to the Facebook page HERE.

Published in Model Boats
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Squib National Champions Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan from Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough are among 33 class entries that will compete this weekend at Lough Derg Yacht Club's Freshwater Keelboat Regatta in County Tipperary.

Other entries include six Dragons, eight Flying Fifteens and eight SB20s.

The local Squib fleet at LDYC and at neighbouring Iniscealthra Sailing Club (ICS) in Mountshannon, has grown to approximately forty boats.

Published in Inland Waterways
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Yacht racing on Ireland's inland waters is thriving, with clubs holding regular events on Lough Derg throughout September.

Garykennedy Sailing Club and Iniscealtra Sailing Club have a friendly relationship and often host events together, allowing committee members to have time off from constantly organising events every weekend. This smaller arrangement is worth considering for clubs in other areas where they are growing throughout the island.

Dan O'Connell, a club Sailing Secretary, said, "We are getting regular fleets of 15-20 boats on Saturday afternoons." "This keeps Sundays free for family activities both on and off the water", he added.

A visit to Garykennedy last weekend by Afloat showed the fleet finishing up after the Ciss Ryan Cup race. Although it was windy on the west coast, the sailors' relaxed faces were coming ashore after a shortened course of an hour and a half. Some commented that the winds were too light for spinnakers.

Garykennedy S.C. has two warm clubhouses overlooking the lake, offering full bar service and excellent food in the name of Ryans and Larkins Hosptilaries. By 4 pm, the club was bustling both inside and outside in pleasant sunshine, with members in their dry sailing gear while the weather was approaching. A buffet was in full swing, provided by the Ryan family, keeping the members together for the presentation of prizes.

The winning crew on "Celtic Charisma", a Kelt 29, accepting the Ciss Ryan Cup from Roy and Denise Breen (from L-R) Tadgh Murphy Commodore, Nigel and Sue Smithwick, with their son and grandchildren Neil and Alison  McCormack and young Oscar and Luca McCormack Photo: Patricia GeorgeThe winning crew on "Celtic Charisma", a Kelt 29, accepting the Ciss Ryan Cup from Roy and Denise Breen (from L-R) Tadgh Murphy Commodore, Nigel and Sue Smithwick, with their son and grandchildren Neil and Alison  McCormack and young Oscar and Luca McCormack Photo: Patricia George

Pierce Purcell of Galway Bay S.C. visited to keep an eye on the west's inland sailing and to commend both Garykennedy and the Mountshannon Clubs on their running of the recent Gortmore Bell Race and weekend activity.

RNLI cheque

Philip Despard Iniscealtra Sailing Club, Ger Murphy ISC sailing Captain, Dr John Killeen, Irish Trustee RNLI, Niamh McCutcheon RNLI and LDYC, Pierce Purcell Galway, and Tadgh Murphy, Commodore of Garykennedy SC and Peter O'Callaghan, ISC Photo: Patricia GeorgePhilip Despard Iniscealtra Sailing Club, Ger Murphy ISC sailing Captain, Dr John Killeen, Irish Trustee RNLI, Niamh McCutcheon RNLI and LDYC, Pierce Purcell Galway, and Tadgh Murphy, Commodore of Garykennedy SC and Peter O'Callaghan, ISC Photo: Patricia George

John Killeen, Irish Trustee RNLI, and Niamh McCutcheon of Lough Derg RNLI were there to receive a cheque worth €1,600 raised by members of both clubs.

Dr Killeen expressed his gratitude on behalf of RNLI to the sailors for their contribution and praised the volunteers with crews on call throughout the year. He also informed the gathering that the RNLI would be celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2024.

Pat Lawless presentation

Pat Lawless, a Golden Globe sailor, was presented with life membership of Garykennedy to a standing ovation.

Golden Globe sailor Pat Lawless with Brendan O’Connor, Garykennedy Sailing Club Vice Commodore on his boat Vamoose competing in the Ciss Ryan trophy Golden Globe sailor Pat Lawless with Brendan O’Connor, Garykennedy Sailing Club Vice Commodore on his boat Vamoose competing in the Ciss Ryan trophy 

He had earlier given a most entertaining talk on his Golden Globe race entry. One could feel his relaxed passion in the room as he gave encouragement to the gathering to enter the race. Being a former West Coast fisherman, nothing seemed to daunt him, as he shared that he would go below to read books or cook for some hours, sleeping only for 20 minutes at a time.

He took pride in his boat and the accuracy of his navigation, not to mention the wonderful support of his sponsor Green Rebel, his family, and friends. Pat is now saving for the next Golden Globe race in 2026.

Garykennedy Sailing Club Master of Ceremonies, Brendan O'Connor, with Commodore Tadgh Murphy presenting Golden Globe sailor Pat Lawless with life membership of Garykennedy SC Photo: Patricia GeorgeGarykennedy Sailing Club Master of Ceremonies, Brendan O'Connor, with Commodore Tadgh Murphy presenting Golden Globe sailor Pat Lawless with life membership of Garykennedy SC Photo: Patricia George

Published in Inland Waterways

A local Limerick sailing team has emerged victorious in the 43rd annual Gortmore Bell Race, held on September 9th on Lough Derg.

The race is considered the longest inland sailing race in Ireland and attracted 18 entries from various sailing clubs throughout the region.

The race was closely contested, with the GoJoe team aboard the J80 racing yacht, ultimately winning the coveted trophy.

Iniscealtra Sailing Club's Gortmore Bell RaceIniscealtra Sailing Club's Gortmore Bell Race

The trophy win was a tribute to the memory of Joseph (Joe) Crowley, a friend to all aboard, with the team dedicating their win to him after his passing.

Despite light winds, the race lasted over six hours on a shortened course, with only 56 seconds separating the first and second-place teams, with Rayon De Lunec runner-up and Dexterity third.

The Iniscealtra Sailing Club at Mountshannon organised the Gortmore Bell race, which has become a highlight of the inland Irish sailing calendar. 

Published in Inland Waterways
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It’s been a busy and productive year to date for volunteers at Lough Derg RNLI, with crew passing out on training assessments and new volunteers joining the team — as well as the hugely successful fundraising Lap the Lake charity cycle organised by the Lough Derg RNLI fundraising committee.

RNLI volunteers maintain their proficiency in their lifesaving work with competence-based training modules. Volunteers at Lough Derg RNLI train twice weekly on Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings.

Recently, Oisín Higgins was successful in his crew pass-out assessments with RNLI assessor/trainer Seán Ginnelly, while Dom Sharkey has returned as an RNLI helm at the lifeboat station and was one of the team afloat for Oisín’s assessment.

Seán also assessed and passed Paraic Slattery out on his preliminary shore modules so that he can now train afloat on the lifeboat.

Lifeboat operations manager Christine O’Malley presenting Oisín Higgins with his pagerLifeboat operations manager Christine O’Malley presenting Oisín Higgins with his pager

Paraic is a captain with the Irish Coast Guard’s Shannon-based helicopter Rescue 115 and has delivered an informative presentation on his role as a rescue pilot to the station team, including a discussion on the combined operations between RNLI lifeboats and the coastguard. His talk reaffirmed the required skill, commitment and training by all involved within the rescue services.

Another new recruit is Triona Breen, who has been passed out on her preliminary modules that permit her now to train with her fellow volunteers on the water.

Christine O’Malley, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI said: “We are hugely grateful to Seán as assessor/trainer whose teaching skills and enthusiasm have a positive impact on all volunteers at the station. Thanks too to Joe O’Donoghue, crew at Lough Derg RNLI who provided classes, resources and his valuable time to help Paraic and Triona with their studies.

“We are pleased to see the camaraderie and teamwork as established crew and helms support their fellow volunteers with their training and assessments. It means our crew are ready for whatever scenarios they meet on the water.”

Volunteers at Lough Derg RNLI welcomed Lisa Hollingum, their new area lifesaving manger (ALM), on her visit to the station to meet the crew and Operations Team. As ALM, Lisa’s role is to lead and support a team of staff and volunteers, and actively manage the safe and effective delivery of the RNLI’s lifesaving services.

Seán Ginnelly with trainee crew Triona Breen | Credit: RNLI/Eleanor HookerSeán Ginnelly with trainee crew Triona Breen | Credit: RNLI/Eleanor Hooker

Earlier this year, volunteers from Lough Derg RNLI travelled to the Irish Coast Guard’s Marine Rescue Coordination Centre on a pre-arranged visit. Members of the station also took the opportunity to visit Valentia RNLI and to see around the all-weather lifeboat and station.

Crew and members of Lough Derg RNLI operations team met watch officers Brian Shiels, John Geoghegan and Liam Jenkinson, who showed the crew round the centre and explained their important role maintaining a listening watch on marine distress frequencies.

Watch officers also produce and broadcast Radio Navigational Warnings and notify mariners of navigational hazards. They task and coordinate search and rescue missions with declared search-and-rescue (SAR) assets such as RNLI lifeboats, Sikorsky helicopters and the coastguard’s volunteer land and water units. The rescue coordination centres process calls that come from members of the public through the 112/999 emergency call system.

“It was an important visit that forged even closer ties with our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard,” Christine said. “Members of the station also took the opportunity to visit Valentia RNLI and were given a warm welcome.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI were requested to launch at noon on Thursday 10 August) to assist two people on a 40ft cruiser with engine failure and at anchor by navigation buoy H, close to Terryglass Bay.

The inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Steve Smyth and crew and Eleanor Hooker, Chris Parker and Joe O’Donoghue on board. The wind was south-easterly Force 4-5 and visibility was good.

At 12.35pm the lifeboat located the casualty vessel and came alongside to transfer an RNLI volunteer across to assess the situation. Both people on board were safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

The RNLI crew reported back to the lifeboat that the vessel was dragging its anchor slightly and at risk of being dragged into rocky and shallow water.

It was then decided to take the vessel with its passengers, and with the RNLI crew member remaining on board, to the closest safe harbour.

Within minutes, the lifeboat had the casualty vessel under an astern tow to Terryglass Harbour. On constant lookout, the lifeboat crew kept the helm appraised of the dense traffic on the lake also making way for Terryglass.

In order to navigate the narrow channel into the harbour, the lifeboat helm advised he was going to take the tow head to weather and to prepare for an alongside tow.

As the harbour was full, at 1.16pm the lifeboat safely moored the casualty vessel on the outer wall of the harbour.

Speaking after the call-out, Aoife Kennedy, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users: “If you find yourself in difficulty, dial 112 or 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

This was the second call of the week for Lough Derg RNLI. On Sunday afternoon (6 August) pagers sounded for a request to assist three people on a vessel taking on water and in danger of sinking outside Garrykennedy Harbour. But shortly after launch the lifeboat was stood down as it emerged that another vessel had taken the casualty boat by tow to a safe mooring in the harbour.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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On Saturday afternoon (1 July) Lough Derg RNLI was requested to launch by Valentia Coast Guard following a report from a member of the public of a vessel aground close to Terryglass at the northern end of Lough Derg.

The inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched at 4.58pm with helm Steve Smyth, Eleanor Hooker, Joe O’Donoghue and Oisín Higgins on board. Winds were northwesterly Force 4-5 with good visibility.

At 5.22pm the RNLI lifeboat crew could see the casualty vessel, a leased cruiser, at the reported location close to Slevoir Bay near Terryglass Harbour.

It emerged that the cruiser company had a vessel on the water and had taken both passengers to safety in Terryglass. They told the lifeboat volunteers that they were going to take the vessel off the rocky shoal and the lifeboat waited on standby to ensure the crew on the salvage vessel were safe.

By 5.33pm both vessels were back in safe water and the lifeboat was stood down.

Christine O’Malley, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users to “check the weather and stay within the navigational channel. If in difficulty dial 999 or 112 and ask for marine rescue.”

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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]