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The Ballycotton RNLI fundraising calendar 2023 kicks off in style with a ‘Wild West’ entertainment-filled evening at the Blackbird, Ballycotton on Friday 3rd February from 7.30 pm until late.

Dust off your cowboy hat and pull on your dancing boots for what is going to be one wild shindig. RNLI hungry outlaws can enjoy a lip-smacking hog roast and selection of salads by the The Spitting Pig Company all washed down with a complimentary drink on arrival. When your belly is full you can line dance the night away to music by Ryan Phoenix band followed by a lively country music disco with DJ Mossie. The RNLI will also be holding a raffle on the night to help raise vital funds to support the local station.

Ballycotton RNLI fundraising calendar 2023 kicks off in style with a ‘Wild West’ entertainment-filled evening

Tickets cost just €35 and are available on Eventbrite

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This year will see the welcome return of the annual Dunmore East RNLI Open Water Swim in County Waterford, which will take place on Sunday, 28th May 2023.

Hundreds of swimmers will be taking to the water starting from the slip at the Waterford Harbour Sailing Club in Dunmore East. There will be three swim options with distances of 1600m, 800m and 500m. The first swim will start at 11.30 am.

Hundreds of swimmers starting from the slip at the Waterford Harbour Sailing Club in Dunmore East for the RNLI open water swim Hundreds of swimmers starting from the slip at the Waterford Harbour Sailing Club in Dunmore East for the RNLI open water swim 

With growing awareness of the health benefits of swimming and the recognition that open water swimming can provide an additional workout and also a mental health boost, Dunmore East RNLI will once again host this significant event that will see people take part in a rewarding swim challenge in a safe environment whilst also supporting the important work of the RNLI.

Speaking at the launch, chair of the fundraising branch at Dunmore East RNLI, Margaret Barry, said, ‘I can’t believe that it’s been six years since our last swim event, and we are excited to be relaunching for 2023. An event like this provides essential funds for our volunteer lifeboat crew to continue vital life saving work here in Dunmore East. We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country with a stunning coastline, and it is the perfect location for a swim!’

Registration will be available online from Wednesday, 1st of February via Eventbrite.com.

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Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI lifeboat rescued a woman and her dog who became cut off from the shore by the incoming tide on Sunday afternoon (29 January) at Sandymount Strand on Dublin Bay.

The volunteer crew were alerted shortly after 3 pm by the Irish Coast Guard following a mobile phone call from the woman who was forced to stand her ground on a sandbank while the tide came in all around her and her dog.

The volunteer crew launched the inshore lifeboat within 10 minutes of receiving the call and arrived at the scene by 3.20 pm.

The lifeboat, helmed by Alan Keville and with two crew members onboard, immediately made its way to the scene. A westerly wind brought choppy sea conditions on the bay with waves of over one metre on the rising tide.

The walker and her dog were out for their beach stroll when they got into difficulty, and the tide came in across Sandymount Strand. Arriving on scene, the helm brought the inshore lifeboat to its minimum depth, and two volunteer RNLI crew Moselle Hogan and Andrew Sykes, waded the short distance to the sandbank and rescued the woman and her dog, bringing them safely aboard the lifeboat and onto the beach at Poolbeg where they were met by the Coast Guard.

Following the call out, Dun Laoghaire RNLI Helm Alan Keville said: ‘We would like to commend the dog walker for doing the right thing by calling 999 and raising the alarm immediately. Time is always of the essence in these situations.

‘We would remind visitors to the coast to always be aware of local tide times before planning a walk. The tide comes in and out twice in each 24-hour period, and while tide times can be predicted, they can also vary at each location and change daily. A beach or coastal area may appear a safe place for a walk, but an incoming tide can quickly leave you stranded.’

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On Saturday, 28 January, Valentia Marine Rescue Sub Centre activated the pagers of Crosshaven RNLI Lifeboat volunteers in Cork Harbour to assist with a medical evacuation.

A fisherman became ill on board the Portuguese crewed 12M fishing vessel and required immediate evacuation to hospital.

The pagers were activated at 10.22 pm, and the lifeboat with James Fegan in command and with the crew, Susanne Deane, Jon Bermingham and Alan Venner were quickly underway to intercept the casualty vessel as it headed for Cork Harbour.

In slight seas, the lifeboat achieved 28 knots towards the vessel and met with the boat about 4 miles south of Roches Point.

James Fegan transferred command of the lifeboat to Alan Venner before going onboard the fishing vessel to assess the casualty and moving him to the lifeboat for a speedy return to Crosshaven. The lifeboat arrived back in Crosshaven at 11.30 pm and was met by the National Ambulance Service, who conveyed the patient to Cork University Hospital.

As the crew were Portuguese speakers with little English, the Valentia MRSC controller interpreted via radio relay with the lifeboat crew. Fortunately, the RNLI also had a Portuguese-speaking crewman, Jeff Lacerda, at Crosshaven, who could interpret for the Paramedics when the casualty was handed over to NAS.

The RNLI shore crew were Dave Venner, Ian Venner, Conor Barry, Jeff Lacerda and DLA Hugh Tully.

Commenting on the service, James Fegan said the evacuation went like clockwork, in no small measure due to the Valentia MRSC controller and Jeff Lacerda being able to communicate with the casualty vessel and casualty.

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NFU Mutual agents and staff in East Antrim recently nominated Larne RNLI to receive a donation of more than £3,000 from its national £1.92m Agency Giving Fund.

The leading rural insurer has launched this fund, now in its third year, to help local frontline charities across Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Agency Giving Fund forms part of NFU Mutual’s £3.25m funding pledge for both local and national charities in 2022, to help tackle the ongoing effects of the pandemic and assist with recovery.

To ensure these donations reach all corners of the UK and are directed where they’re needed most, NFU Mutual’s agents, with over 295 offices nationwide, have been given the opportunity to nominate local charities to receive a share of the fund

Allan Dorman, Larne RNLI lifeboat operations manager said: “As the charity that saves lives at sea, we are very grateful for this generous donation which will help us continue to power our lifesaving work.

“The average annual training cost for each individual crew member is £1,400. The funds raised will enable us to kit out a volunteer crew member with the essential kit they need when they respond to their pager and prepare to go to someone’s need at sea.

“As a charity we are reliant on voluntary donations such as this to do our work, without which we would not be able to provide our 24/7, 365 days a year on call service.'

Richard Lee of NFU Mutual added: “We chose to nominate Larne RNLI as our chosen charity because here in County Antrim we have so much coastline and the RNLI is keeping our waters safe.

“They, like many others, have been hampered with fundraising activity due to the pandemic so to be able to make this donation was a no-brainer for us.

“To visit the station on their weekly training night and have the opportunity to see how our donation will be used was a great, interesting way to spend an evening!”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Following a two-year break due to the pandemic, Galway RNLI’s Sample Our Soup fundraiser will return to the streets of Galway on Saturday 11 February.

The fundraiser — which sees proceeds raised go towards powering the lifesaving work of the volunteer lifeboat crew — has gone from strength to strength over the years and continues to be one of the station’s favourite events enabling the team to get out and about to highlight their work and say thanks to those they meet for their ongoing support. Even Stormy Stan, the RNLI’s mascot, makes an appearance.

The heartwarming soup is prepared by Mark Hopkins, head Chef at The Seafood Bar at Kirwan’s Lane. Volunteers from Galway RNLI will be located outside Taaffes Bar on Shop Street from 11am on Saturday 11 February to serve the soup to Galway shoppers.

Annette Cullen, Galway RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer said: “Without volunteers like those in our fundraising team and our lifeboat crew who selflessly give of their own time, our lifeboat couldn’t function and continue to be rescue ready.

“As a charity, we are reliant on the generosity of the public in supporting this work through fundraisers such as Sample Our Soup, so in advance of Saturday, we would like to say thank you.

“Thanks too to our sponsors Kirwans Lane, Raftery’s Centra Claregalway and Cater Rent Ballybrit Industrial Estate for their continued support of this event.”

This story has been updated to reflect the change in date for the event.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI lifeboat performed a medical evacuation in Dublin Bay last night after a man took ill onboard a ship.

The all-weather lifeboat was requested to launch at 8.50 pm by the Irish Coast Guard.

The lifeboat launched immediately under Coxswain Mark McGibney and with six crew members onboard.

Weather conditions at the time were good, with flat calm seas and a Force 1-2 wind.

Arriving on scene approximately three nautical miles from the lifeboat station, the crew observed the tanker anchored east of the harbour. The lifeboat came alongside the vessel, where the ship's crew dropped a pilot’s ladder to enable the sick man to walk down. The casualty was then transferred on to the lifeboat.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI lifeboat Coxswain Mark McGibneyDun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI lifeboat Coxswain Mark McGibney

Once inside the cabin, casualty care was administered, and the man was reassured as the lifeboat made its way back to Dun Laoghaire.

On arrival at the emergency berth, the casualty was transferred into the care of Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard and the National Ambulance Service and subsequently brought on to hospital for further treatment.

Speaking following the call out, Dun Laoghaire RNLI crew member Laura Jackson said: ‘Thankfully, the man was reasonably well on our arrival for him to walk off the ship and we were then able to provide him with the necessary casualty care and reassurance he needed as the lifeboat made the short passage back to the station. We would like to wish the man a speedy recovery and thank our own volunteers and our colleagues in both the Coast Guard and the ambulance service for their co-operation.’

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Achill Island RNLI went to the assistance of a man on Clare Island off the coast of County Mayo, requiring medical evacuation on Monday, 23 January. The request from the Irish Coast Guard was the first call out for the year for the volunteer lifeboat crew and their all-weather lifeboat, the ‘Sam and Ada Moody’.

With moderate sea conditions to contend with, as well as patchy mist and fog, the lifeboat made its way to Clare Island shortly before 2 pm. The casualty had been assessed and treated by the island nurse, and he was then transferred to the care of the lifeboat crew, who brought him to Roonagh Pier, southeast of Clare Island, for onward transport to Galway University Hospital. The lifeboat then headed in a northerly direction across Clew Bay to Achill Island, passing Clare Island again on its left on the return journey.

Speaking after the call out, Maria Kilbane, Achill Island RNLI’s volunteer Deputy Launch Authority, said: ‘Achill Island RNLI has always had a very close relationship with the people on our local islands, including Clare Island. Our crew are always happy to assist, and we wish the casualty well with his recovery.’

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The message, "She is coming over the bar" came over the tannoy, and suddenly, the crowd in the West Cork village of Courtmacsherry swelled to bursting. Despite the inclement January weather, every vantage point was taken up on the street, the pier or the beach.

She came in gracefully escorted by the existing RNLI Lifeboat and also Miss Sallyanne (Baggy), the RNLI Lifeboat from Kinsale, the Irish Coast Guard, followed by a flotilla of local angling boats, ribs, rowers and even a jet ski to an enthralled, cheering excited crowd that entertained all by completing a pirouette to demonstrate her jet drives. One woman in the group shouted, 'It's a celebration. Let's dance'. And they did.

The new lifeboat was escorted into Courtmacsherry by the existing RNLI Lifeboat and also Miss Sallyanne (Baggy), the RNLI Lifeboat from Kinsale Photo: Bob BatemanThe new lifeboat was escorted into Courtmacsherry by the existing RNLI Lifeboat and also Miss Sallyanne (Baggy), the RNLI Lifeboat from Kinsale Photo: Bob Bateman

The crew of the new RNLI Shannon Class 'Val Adnams' after her successful arrivals into Courtmacsherry Photo: Bob BatemanThe crew of the new RNLI Shannon Class 'Val Adnams' after her successful arrivals into Courtmacsherry Photo: Bob Bateman

Finally, the existing Frederick Story Cockburn lifeboat was moored, and the crew joined the delivery crew on the new boat named after Val Adnams.

As Afloat previously reported, a significant amount of the funding for the new boat was provided by a generous donation from Val Adnams, a proud lifelong supporter of the RNLI. Growing up in Preston and Weymouth in the UK, she was an avid sailor who witnessed volunteers from her local station rescue those in distress at sea on many occasions.

The new 'Shannon-class' vessel alongside in Courtmacsherry Photo: Bob BatemanThe new 'Shannon-class' vessel alongside in Courtmacsherry Photo: Bob Bateman

The new 'Shannon-class' vessel will be named after Ms Adnams, who is expected to travel with her family to Courtmacsherry in September for the naming ceremony.

The boat was designed by Irish engineer Peter Eyre who was rescued by RNLI volunteers as a child while swimming at Lough Swilly in Donegal.

The arrival of RNLI's Courtmacsherry New Lifeboat Photo Gallery by Bob Bateman

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Courtmacsherry’s new lifeboat which is scheduled to arrive home at the West Cork harbour this Sunday, January, 22nd was welcomed into Cork Harbour hours earlier on her delivery voyage home from Poole in Dorset.

The new Shannon Class lifeboat arrived in Crosshaven to overnight before heading home to a parade of boats this afternoon.

The Crosshaven RNLI crew diverted from exercise to rendezvous with the new lifeboat at Roches Point and escorted it into Crosshaven.

After a postponement due to bad weather a week ago, Vincent O'Donovan, Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Station Duty Launch Authority & Press Officer, says: “Our new Shannon Class all-weather Lifeboat “Val Adnams” has now been confirmed for arrival into Courtmacsherry next Sunday, January 22nd at 1.45 pm".

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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]