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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: west cork

#RNLI - Baltimore RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew has responded to three callouts over the last four days.

The first of the three was a medical evacuation from Cape Clear on Friday (7 July).

A woman from the island was suffering from chest pains and needed to be transferred to the mainland, where she was met by a waiting ambulance at the lifeboat station.

The lifeboat was crewed by Kieran Cotter, Sean McCarthy, Cathal Cottrell, Aidan Bushe and Don O’Donovan.

The following night (Saturday 8 July), the lifeboat carried out another medevac, this time from Sherkin Island after man suffered a serious fall from a height and required medical assistance. 

The lifeboat crew were assisted on the island by a team led by Dr Jason from West Cork Rapid Response. 

The casualty was evacuated to Baltimore, where an ambulance was waiting at the lifeboat station for transfer to hospital in Cork. 

Crew on this callout were Kieran Cotter, Pat Collins, Jerry Smith, Don O’Donovan, Brian McSweeney, Jim Griffiths and Ronnie Carthy.

Finally, yesterday morning (Sunday 9 July) Baltimore RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was launched to go to the assistance of a RIB which had broken down off Cape Clear.

Mícheál Cottrell, a helm and crewman with Baltimore RNLI, was out with his sea safari boat on a tour with passengers when he happened upon the boat, with two people onboard, which was suffering engine problems.

Cottrell raised the alarm and Baltimore’s inshore lifeboat was requested to assist. 

The lifeboat took the boat in tow to Baltimore, where it was berthed safely and the lifeboat returned to station. 

Crew on the inshore lifeboat were helm Youen Jacob, David Ryan and Ryan O’Mahony. 

Shore crew in assistance at Baltimore Lifeboat Station were Declan Tiernan, Sean McCarthy, Rianne Smith and Marty O’Driscoll.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - It’s shaping up to be the start of a busy season for the volunteer lifeboat crew at Union Hall RNLI with two callouts in less than two weeks.

On Saturday 8 April, the inshore lifeboat launched at 12.14pm to Rabbit Island with reports of two sheep spotted on a low-lying cliff at the side of the island.

The crew went to the island to access the situation, and to eliminate the risk of members of the public trying to assist the sheep.

The volunteers went ashore and helped the sheep back onto the island, left them grazing and returned to Union Hall pier.

More recently, on Monday 17 April, Union Hall RNLI was requested by Valentia Coast Guard at 9.26pm to reports of two red flares spotted near Adam Island at the mouth of Glandore Harbour.

Launching five minutes later, the lifeboat crew proceeded to the scene and were joined by the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 from Waterford and Toe Head/Glandore Coast Guard Unit, who also had their shore crew assist.

A thorough search was conducted of the inner harbour and islands at the mouth of Glandore Harbour. Nothing was found and Union Hall RNLI was stood down at 10.53pm.

Speaking following the callouts, Pamela Deasy, Union Hall RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer said: “As we approach the summer season we would remind everyone to respect the water and remember if you see anything suspicious or someone in trouble over the coming months, call 112/999 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#MarineWildlife - The first humpback whale sighting for the new season in Irish waters was made last week off the Beara Peninsula.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group’s (IWDG) Patrick Lyne was in prime position to witness the unmistakable tail fluke some 5km offshore from Beara in West Cork on the afternoon of Wednesday 5 April.

While not the first humpback sighted this calendar year — that honour goes to a giant spotted off Wexford in early January — it’s still considered the first of the 2017/18 ‘large whale season’.

The sighting also continues a trend of earlier arrivals for Ireland’s regular humpback visitors over recent years, with 2016’s first recorded only four days later and spotted just 4km away.

Last Wednesday was a bumper day for marine wildlife sightings off Co Kerry, too, where Nick Massett spotted at least a dozen minke whales between Ventry, Slea Head and the Blaskets.

Many of these locations feature in Colin Stafford-Johnson’s new BBC TV series Wild Ireland, as BBC News reports. The two episodes are currently streaming via the BBC iPlayer, where available.

In other cetacean news, researchers believe that whale strandings may in part be caused by exhaustion when cetaceans flee human-made noise in the ocean.

According to the Irish Independent, a study by marine scientists at UC Santa Cruz found that beaked whales startled by low-frequency sonar raise their energy consumption by almost a third, increasing demands on their limited oxygen supply while below the surface.

The news will be fuel to those who suspect human activity at sea plays a major role in increased cetacean stranding rates.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, 2017 became the worst year on record for whale and dolphin strandings by mid February.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Rescue - Schull’s independent community lifeboat will soon join the Irish Coast Guard, as the Southern Star reports.

Established in 2005, the Schull Community Inshore Rescue Service will be officially renamed as Schull Coast Guard later this month after two years of talks on assimilating the West Cork volunteer rescue service with the national SAR agency.

A reception is planned to mark the change, details of which will be announced on the SCIRS Facebook page.

The Southern Star has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

#Coastguard - Goleen Coast Guard raced to the rescue of a dog trapped on a coastal cliff face in West Cork yesterday morning (Wednesday 22 February).

As BreakingNews.ie reports, two coastguard climbers set up a rig to abseil down to the border collie, named Boo, who had slipped down the cliff at Castlepoint near Schull.

“All went according too plan and boo was safely brought back to her owners again,” said a Goleen Coast Guard spokesperson.

Published in Coastguard
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#RNLI - Castletownbere RNLI was requested to go to the aid of a 36m vessel with mechanical difficulties north of the Bull Rock off the coast of West Cork on Friday evening (16 December).

The lifeboat, under the command of deputy coxswain Sean Bawn O’Sullivan, was launched within minutes and located the vessel at anchor about one hour later.

The vessel, the Ocean Guardian, was on passage from Castletownbere to Burtonport when it contacted Valentia Coast Guard.

With light winds and a 3-4m swell, RNLI volunteers passed a tow rope to the crew onboard, and the lifeboat took the vessel under tow to Castletownbere.

When off Crow Head some time later, the tow rope broke and had to be reattached. The tow was then completed without further difficulty.

The vessel was berthed alongside the pier in Castletownbere at 2.30am yesterday morning (Saturday 17 December).

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Fishing - A small fishing vessel had a close call in West Cork this week when a much larger trawler powered past from Castletownbere with barely any room to spare.

According to the Irish Examiner, the crew of the Celtic Dawn were hailing pots offshore when the Spanish boat approached at speed, and appeared to be taking no evasive action.

Maritime law dictates that vessels such as the Celtic Dawn that are hauling static gear have the right of way, as The Irish Times reports.

And the captain of the smaller boat was not pleased about the situation.

“If it had been foggy, we would have been in trouble,” said Kieran Sullivan.

See video of the near collision below:

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

#RNLI - The Castletownbere lifeboat Annette Hutton was launched early yesterday morning (Saturday 20 August) when Valentia Coast Guard Radio requested assistance to a yacht in difficulties 45 miles south of Mizen Head in West Cork.

The 8m yacht with one person on board had left the Azores in early August and ran into difficulties in yesterday's severe weather.

The sailor, in his 60s, had been in regular radio contact with Valentia Coast Guard radio until yesterday morning, when his VHF radio was washed overboard. He activated an EPIRB to identify his location, raise the alarm and seek help.

The lifeboat, under the command of coxswain Brian O’Driscoll, was launched at 8am and located the casualty at 10.40am, some 50 miles south-west of Castletownbere. An Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter was also on scene. Conditions were described as gusting Force 8/9 winds with a 30ft swell.

Amid the challenging sea conditions, the yacht was taken under tow and the lifeboat proceeded slowly to Castletownbere. Early into the tow, the lifeboat crew became concerned about the wellbeing of the sailor and the crew managed to transfer him to the lifeboat.

With the damaged yacht in tow, the lifeboat returned to Castletownbere at 8.30pm, having been at sea for 12-and-a-half hours.

Last night the sailor thanked the Castletownbere lifeboat and all involved for "saving his life", saying: "Only for the lifeboat, things would have ended up very badly today."

Commenting on the callout, Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat operations manager Tony O’Sullivan added: "The coxswain and crew are to be complimented on today’s rescue – they demonstrated skill, seamanship and endurance during what was a long and challenging day."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - A group of kayakers were brought to safety on Thursday night (18 August) by Union Hall RNLI after they got into difficulty during a night-time kayaking expedition off Castlehaven in West Cork.

The alarm was raised by one of the kayakers after two of the party became separated and the group requested assistance to make their way back to shore.

Union Hall RNLI's inshore lifeboat was launched at 10.45pm and proceeded to the scene, where they learned that the two kayakers originally thought missing had made it to safety on shore and the rest of the group requested assistance to get back to land.

It was decided to take the group off their kayaks and bring them onto the lifeboat before bringing them the short distance to Reen Pier.

The 15 people were helped onboard the Atlantic 85 lifeboat while their kayaks were towed back to shore.

"This was a large group for our inshore lifeboat to assist and our volunteer crew did well in ensuring that everyone was taken onboard quickly and safely," said Union Hall RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Kelleher.

"The weather conditions were challenging for the lifeboat crew to get from their base in Union Hall over to Castlehaven but thankfully conditions on scene were much calmer.

"With the call for help coming in quite early and the lifeboat crew on scene quickly, we were able to get the situation under control in a short time with everyone accounted for and safely brought ashore."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#WestCork - The body of a fisherman whose body was recovered off West Cork yesterday morning (Tuesday 16 August) has been named as Michael O'Brien of Ballydehob, according to The Irish Times.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the alarm was raised on Monday evening (15 August) after the 69-year-old failed to return to Schull from a solo fishing trip. His empty punt was found a short time later in Long Island Bay.

After the search resumed yesterday morning, a local boat located O'Brien's body in the water west of Schull off Ballydevlin in an area known locally as Amsterdam Rocks.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
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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]