Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

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

The Atlantic Challenge group at Bantry is working on a new development project for a marine centre in the West Cork town which would encourage more young people to become involved in the maritime sphere.

The Atlantic Challenge International began in 1984 to bring young people from different nations together in competitions through friendly contests to preserve and sustain traditional seamanship skills.

The Atlantic Challenge longboat can be rowed and sailed, though when sailed, it depends on the weight of the crew to balance the boats, which don’t have keels underneath to steady them. I once sailed in the Bantry longboat, and it was quite an experience, moving from side to side to keep it upright.

The message of the Atlantic ChallengeThe message of the Atlantic Challenge

The longboats hearken back to the attempted French invasion of Ireland at Bantry Bay in West Cork when Wolfe Tone was aboard the invasion fleet and the boats would have been used to land the invasion force, but that didn’t happen, gales decimated it and never invaded.

The longboats are replicas of the original, dating back to the late 1700s. There are now a hundred of them around the world. The original was restored and is displayed in the National Museum at Collins Barracks in Dublin.

Diarmuid Murphy of the Atlantic Challenge Bantry group has been telling me about their plans for a marine development programme in Bantry and the next Atlantic Challenge event in Belfast next year. There had been a plan to hold it in Russia, but Putin’s invasion of Ukraine scuppered that. 

In this week’s podcast, my guest is Diarmuid Murphy. Listen below.

Published in Tom MacSweeney

Baltimore RNLI was called out to provide a medical evacuation yesterday evening (Thursday, 20 April) from Sherkin Island off Baltimore, West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 8.20 pm, following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to provide a medical evacuation for a child living on the island.

The Baltimore all-weather lifeboat crew arrived at Sherkin Island pier at 8.25 pm and transferred the casualty onboard the lifeboat. The lifeboat departed Sherkin Island and returned to the station in Baltimore arriving at 8.40 pm. The casualty was then handed over to the care of the HSE Ambulance crew.

There were five volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Coxswain Aidan Bushe, Mechanic Cathal Cottrell and crew members Emma Lupton, Don O’Donovan and Emma Geary.

Conditions in the harbour during the call out were choppy with a south easterly force 4-5 wind.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Schull Community College Team 1 were the victor at the Munster Schools Team Racing event hosted by the Fastnet Marina Outdoor Education Centre (FMOEC) at Schull in West Cork on Saturday, the 18th of March.

The team Captain was Rory Harrap, Lille Kingston, Daniel Copithorne, Fionn Keogh, Rocio Garcia Coello and Lara Goerner completed the winning line-up.

On a bright sunny morning and not a raindrop in sight, 18 teams (a record number of entries) competed in the Championships.

With a Northerly wind blowing over from Mount Gabriel with a wind speed of 11 to 14 knots, Eimear O'Reagan and her group of volunteers set the course, and by 10.00 am, racing commenced.

At approximately 12.30, the wind shifted North Westerly, and there was a short delay while the course was reset.

Conditions throughout the day were squally of 20 up to 23 knots which resorted to the use of storm sails at the Munster Schools Team Racing Championships in Schull, West CorkConditions throughout the day were squally of 20 up to 23 knots which resorted to the use of storm sails at the Munster Schools Team Racing Championships in Schull, West Cork

Conditions throughout the day were squally of 20 up to 23 knots which resorted to the use of storm sails at the Munster Schools Team Racing Championships in Schull, West Cork

Conditions throughout the day were squally of 20 up to 23 knots, which for some sailors was a bit difficult to handle even with storm sails, and there were some capsizes.

Overall the competitors had good boat-handling skills as they negotiated the heaviest squalls.

The umpires were kept quite busy throughout the day, and the event was expertly umpired by Dave Sheahan, Eunice Kennedy and Tim O'Connor.

Robbie Dwyer did an excellent job of calling the finish line and was ably assisted by his two recorders.

 Close racing in TR3.6 dinghies at the Munster Schools Team Racing Championships in Schull, West Cork Close racing in TR3.6 dinghies at the Munster Schools Team Racing Championships in Schull, West Cork

Meanwhile, Tim Lowney, the Principal Race Officer and Beach Master ensured the smooth running of the change-over boats and the management of the flight sheet.

Siobhan Scully and her volunteers looked after registration and ensured all the competitors, while not racing, were kept in good form ashore. Harriett Emmerson did a fantastic job of inputting the results and providing us with the final placed team.

The Schull community rowed in to give the staff in F.M.O.E.C. a helping hand by providing hot soup and sandwiches to everyone when they came in off the water, home-baking cakes and supplying the volunteers with cups of tea and coffee. It was fantastic to see such community spirit.

The top-placed teams will now go forward to compete at the Schools Nationals in the Royal St. George on the 29th and 30th of April.

2023 Munster Schools Team Racing Championships results 

(Results after 80% of the Round Robin was completed)

  • 1st Schull Community College Team 1
  • 2nd Christan Brothers Cork Team 1
  • 3rd Bangor Grammar School Team 2
  • 4th Colaiste Mhuire Cork
  • 5th Skibbereen Community School Team 2
  • 6th Schull Community College Team 3
  • 7th Skibbereen Community School Team 1
  • 8th Bangor Grammar School Team 1
  • 9th Bandon Grammar School Team 4
  • 10th Bandon Grammar School Team 3
  • 11th Scoil Mhuire 1
  • 12th Christian Brothers 2
  • 13th Schull Community College 2
  • 14th Colaiste Mhuire 2
  • 15th Regina Mundi 2
  • 16th Rochestown College
  • 17th Colaiste Spioraid Naoimh & St. Aloysius
  • 18th Regina Mundi 1
Published in Team Racing
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Having sold two of its vessels - the fast Ferry Dún na Séad II and the Dún Aengus, Cape Clear Ferries in West Cork is buying the Spirit of Doolin from O’Brien’s Ferry Company in Clare. This will replace the previous fast ferry, while the Dún Aengus is being replaced by another purchase, the Carraig Mhór.

Manager Séamus Ó Drisceoil says the company is upgrading its fleet and “working with Comharchumann Chléire Teo and other service providers to develop an outstanding maritime tourism experience based around the Fastnet Rock and Cape Clear Island. This will bring new business to the Island and its mainland hinterland.”

Spirit of Doolin is a modern stylish vessel with a 200-passenger capacity. It will operate mostly from Schull to Cape Clear and around the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse.”

The vessel called to Baltimore and Cape to be shown to the island and the local community. The purchase is subject to approval trials.

Published in Ferry

“Irish people of the sea have called for generations on the Blessed Virgin Mary as a guiding spirit while they are at sea.” That aspect of Irish maritime tradition refers to the use of the name Stella Maris on boats. However, I had not seen the name used before on an English boat, so I was particularly interested in an unusual-looking boat on Crosshaven Boatyard Marina in Cork Harbour. The stern was open as was the bow area. Her midships had a canvas/tarpaulin cover. To me, she seemed very much an open boat.

At the bow and stern and along the hull, she had an appearance reflecting design aspects of Galway Hookers and Irish currachs.

“That’s exactly what I think,” her owner Michael Hart, who likes the ‘open’ concept, told me: “Stella Maris is a Northumbrian coble, built in 1971 and one of the last of that 200-year-old tradition of building cobles in Yorkshire and Northumberland. She fished off the Northumbrian coast for the last 50 years. She is a big open boat at 32 feet LOA, though she does have that quality of indeterminate scale bestowed on certain boats by their designer/builders.”

Michael had brought her from East Anglia along the River Thames, through the Kennet & Avon Canal down to Bristol (the canal is 87 miles long - 140 kilometres - linking London with the Bristol Channel) then along the Welsh Coast, crossing to Kilmore Quay in Wexford and worked his way South to Crosshaven, en route to Rosbrin in West Cork, where she will be laid up. In Suffolk, where he lives, he is involved in running river trips with another boat from the Snape Maltings.

The Stella Maris coble is clinker built – the planks slightly overlap each other. The planking is made of larch timber and the frames of oak. In traditional fishing Northumbrian cobles often used sails and could also be rowed. The Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre says the name ‘coble’ is “thought to be rooted in the Celtic 'Ceubal' or the Breton 'Caubal', both of which meant 'boat'.

Mike told me that he is particularly interested in the relationship of the coble design to the Galway Hookers and the currachs. He has “an abode” in Rosbrin and intends to be back in West Cork in September to do a bit of local cruising and lay Stella Maris up.

The connections between Northumbria and Ireland are interesting. Northumbria was an early medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom in what is now Northern England and South-East Scotland. The name derives from the Old English Norþanhymbre language meaning "the people or province north of the Humber.” Those people were once known as the ‘Celtic-Britons’. The area has a strong maritime, fishing tradition and Irish connections. One of the region’s harbours is Whitby, to the south of the Tees and north of the Humber, which will be known to followers of the Heartbeat television series. In 664, King Oswiu called the Synod of Whitby to determine whether to follow Roman or Irish customs. Northumbria had been converted to Christianity by Celtic clergy and the Celtic tradition for determining the date of Easter and Irish tonsure were supported by many clergy, particularly at the Abbey of Lindisfarne. However, Roman practice won out and those who favoured Irish customs refused to conform. Led by the Celtic Bishop Colman of Lindisfarne they moved to the island of Iona in Scotland

More from Michael Harte on my Podcast here

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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After a miserable 48 hours of fog and rain, the weather gods finally cast a benevolent eye on Schull on Wednesday. Calves Week competitors were greeted with a clear blue sky and steady 15 knots of westerly wind.

Race Officer Alan Crosbie started all seven fleets in the inner harbour with a short cross harbour beat to the weather mark before the fleets split into various courses before all rounding the Fastnet Rock.

The Calves Week 2022 fleet in Schull Harbour The Calves Week 2022 fleet in Schull Harbour Photo: Mary Malone

In Class 0 IRC, ISORA champion Paul O'Higgins' JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI held off the challenge of Royal Cork's Jelly Baby, with the Jones family having to settle for the ECHO prize.

Irish Sea Offshore champion, Rockabill VI leads Class Zero at Calves Week after the Fastnet Race Photo: Bob BatemanIrish Sea Offshore champion Rockabill VI leads Class Zero at Calves Week after the Fastnet Race Photo: Bob Bateman 

Two Cape 31s are racing at Calves Week, including Anthony O'Leary's striking red-hulled Antix Photo: Bob BatemanTwo Cape 31s are racing at Calves Week, including Anthony O'Leary's striking red-hulled Antix Photo: Bob Bateman

The pace of the new high tech Cape 31s is clearly seen in this drone image of Antx leading Dan O'Grady's blue-hulled Aja from Howth Photo: Tom NewmanThe pace of the new high tech Cape 31s is clearly seen in this drone image of Antix leading Dan O'Grady's blue-hulled Aja from Howth with Afloat's photographer Bob Bateman in pursuit by RIB Photo: Tom Newman

The visiting J121 Darkwood from Cowes (left) and the Jones family's J122 Jelly Baby from Royal Cork Photo: Bob BatemanThe visiting J121 Darkwood from Cowes (left) and the Jones family's J122 Jelly Baby from Royal Cork Photo: Mary Malone

In Class 1 IRC, it was an all-east coast affair with the Parnell family on Black Velvet from the Royal Irish YC coming home ahead of Snapshot of Howth.

Leslie Parnell's Beneteau First 34.7 Black Velvet wins the Calves Week Class One start for the opening race round the Fastnet Rock Photo: Bob BatemanLeslie Parnell's Beneteau First 34.7 Black Velvet (3471) wins the first Calves Week 2022 Class One start for the opening race round the Fastnet Rock Photo: Bob Bateman

In ECHO, victory went to Gabby Hogan's Growler, followed by another local Schull boat crewed by the O'Brien family in Tighey Boy.

Gabby Hogan's Growler Photo: Bob BatemanGabby Hogan's Growler Photo: Bob Bateman

The O'Brien family's J109 in Tighey Boy is a local West Cork entry Photo: Bob BatemanThe O'Brien family's J109 in Tighey Boy is a local West Cork entry Photo: Bob Bateman

Class 2 saw Joe Kiernan's Gambit representing Foynes YC on the Shannon Estuary, winning both divisions from the Royal Cork's Bad Company.

The Collins family Dehler 34 Ealu from Baltimore Photo: Bob BatemanThe Collins' family Dehler 34 Ealu from Baltimore Photo: Bob Bateman

In Class 3 IRC, the Collins family from Baltimore sailing their Dehler 34 Ealu took the trophy, while in ECHO, victory went to Martin Lane's Chatter Box.

 Rob O Reilly's Dynamo 25 BonJourno! Part Deux from Monkstown Bay Sailing Club Photo: Bob BatemanRob O Reilly's Dynamo 25 BonJourno! Part Deux from Monkstown Bay Sailing Club Photo: Bob Bateman

Class 4 saw a runaway victory for Rob O Reilly's Bon Journo in both divisions.

In White sail 1, it was back to winning ways for the Murphy family in Nieulargo, sailing this time in an unfamiliar fleet. 

Royal Cork's Yacht of the Year, the Grand Soleil 40, Nieulargo, is competing in the White Sails Division Photo: Bob BatemanRoyal Cork's Yacht of the Year, the Grand Soleil 40, Nieulargo, is competing in the White Sails Division Photo: Bob Bateman

The loudest cheer of the evening presentation went to the old lady of the fleet when Simon O Keefe was presented with the White sail 2 Trophy for sailing the Schull-based 120-year-old Lady Min to victory, passing the finishing line on the beach from which she was originally launched in 1902.

An early decision is expected on Thursday morning on whether to schedule an additional series of races to compensate for Tuesday's cancellation.  

Bob Bateman's Calves Week 2022 Photo Gallery Day Two (Fastnet Race)

Results are below

Published in Calves Week
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The pace of this first full post-pandemic sailing season in Ireland has been such that when we reached what might be thought of as the mid-point around July 15th, there was a real need for a rapid re-charging of the batteries or whatever it is that keeps your personal boat show energised and on the move.

And yet again the Spiritual Renewal Service came up trumps with a special rapid-revitalising item. However, we don’t mean the piece about zapping through the tunnel in the Bull Rock under power in a RIB or under sail in a Laser. That certainly stimulated a lively response on an otherwise somnolent day. But it was an outpouring of righteous indignation that we should suggest in our first mistaken version of the story that the Bull Rock is in Kerry, whereas it is the last pinpoint of West Cork in an area where the boundaries between the Republic of Cork and the Kingdom of Kerry are somewhat fuzzy.

The majestic sea inlet of Kenmare – is it a river or is it a bay?The majestic sea inlet of Kenmare – is it a river or is it a bay?

And another line of attack was our reference to the Kenmare River. There may well be a growing movement down in the southwest to revert to that magnificent inlet being re-named Kenmare Bay like all the other rias of West Cork and Kerry. But the fact is that it has officially been the Kenmare River since around 1655, when the remarkable polymath William Petty was the Surveyor-General. 


In travelling through and mapping out Ireland for his comprehensive Down Survey (so named because absolutely every snippet of property information acquired was written down) he came upon Kenmare, aka Neidin – the Little Nest.

He saw that it was good, and he saw that everywhere about it was good, so he promptly allocated vast swathes of the area to himself. And in a stroke of genius he renamed Kenmare Bay as the Kenmare River. For had it remained a bay, he would only have had ownership of the fishery rights close along the shores. But when it was accepted as a river, he acquired exclusive fishery rights the whole way to the open ocean, down towards the dentally-challenged Bull Rock.

The “dentally-challenged” Bull RockThe “dentally-challenged” Bull Rock

It may well be that in the furthest areas of the Beara and Iveragh peninsulas, there is a movement afoot to revert to the Kenmare Bay name in line with a de-colonisation programme. If we accept this, we wouldn’t be obliterating the memory of Sir William Petty in the world of sailing, for by the 1660s he was comfortably set up in the considerable lands he’d also found to allocate to himself in what is now largely Dublin 4.

Eternally curious and energetic, he was experimenting with the catamaran Simon & Jude, built for Petty in 1663 in Arklow, successfully tested that year in Dublin Bay against a couple of representative local craft of renowned performance, and re-created in 1981 by current “International Classic Boater of the Year” Hal Sisk of Dun Laoghaire in the midst of what is now a lifetime of historic maritime projects.

Hal Sisk’s re-creation of the 1663-vintage catamaran Simon & Jude racing against a Bantry Boat in 1981. Photo: W M NixonHal Sisk’s re-creation of the 1663-vintage catamaran Simon & Jude racing against a Bantry Boat in 1981. Photo: W M Nixon

Model of the Simon & Jude. This 17th Century line of development by William Petty came to an end when a much larger version, The Experiment, was lost in stormy weather in the Bay of BiscayModel of the Simon & Jude. This 17th Century line of development by William Petty came to an end when a much larger version, The Experiment, was lost in stormy weather in the Bay of Biscay


We could go on for the rest of the day along this line of thought. But invigorating and complex as all these many lines of semi-nautical notions may be, it was a much more straightforward item that raised the spirits, and that was Bob Bateman’s comprehensively-illustrated preview of the upcoming Calves Week 2022 & West Cork Festival of Yacht Racing from Saturday, July 30th until Friday, August 5th at Baltimore and Schull.

It gets underway with a SCORA day passage race on Saturday, July 30th from Kinsale to Baltimore, where they’ll find the brilliantly revitalized International 1720s and the locally-based Heir Island Sloops already into their three-day Baltimore Bank Holiday Championship.

A 30-year-old idea finds new life. With David Love leading the class organisation, the much-revived 1720s were stars in Cork Week 2022. Photo: Rick TomlinsonA 30-year-old idea finds new life. With David Love leading the class organisation, the much-revived 1720s were stars in Cork Week 2022. Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Heading west for a re-charging of energy levels in the second half of the season has been part of Irish sailing ever since the early days of the Water Club of the Harbour of Cork in the 1700s, and the local regattas the length of the Atlantic seaboard – all the way from Kinsale to Moville in Donegal – are an integral part of our shared sailing experience, with arguably the most characterful being the Cruinniu na mBad – the Gathering of the Boats – at Kinvara in the southeast corner of Galway Bay, which is marked in for the weekend of August 13-14th after two years in abeyance.

The mighty boats of Connemara – Galway Hookers racing at KinvaraThe mighty boats of Connemara – Galway Hookers racing at Kinvara

Nevertheless, it is the bizarre world of West Cork – which is as much a state of mind as a place – where most sailing thoughts will be re-locating as August makes in. There is something about sailing and racing in the waters of Roaring Water Bay and the seas out toward the Fastnet Rock under the eternal presence of Mount Gabriel that gives you the feeling of being at the very heart of existence, with the rest of the cosmos rotating around certain connoisseurs’ bars in Schull.

You can live for the moment or allow the past to intrude. After all, what’s happening at the beginning of August goes back to 1884 and the first Schull Regatta. In doing so, you have to acknowledge a very grim era of Irish history, as Schull was one of the places worst hit by the Great Famine. It arguably wasn’t over until 1854, and its long term ill effects were still much in evidence in 1864, yet just twenty years after that enough life had returned to stage the first Schull Regatta.

We went to the Schull Centenary Regatta in 1984 with the 30-footer I had at the time, getting there after an entertaining cruise to southwest Wales, Lundy, west Cornwall, and the Isles of Scilly. And in Schull, there was a real sense of a very meaningful Centenary.

The ultimate summer place – Schul Harbur with Roaringwater Bay and Carbury’s Hundred Isles beyondThe ultimate summer place – Schull Harbour with Roaringwater Bay and Carbury’s Hundred Isles beyond

Admittedly Schull in 1984 wasn’t the hyper-prosperous “Dublin 38” it is now, but it was doing very nicely and was glad to have long since moved on from the horrors of the mid-19th Century. And the very fact of staging the Centenary Regatta was such a quietly joyful occasion that it didn’t really matter that the wind fell away completely at mid-race.


For lo, the Race Officers looked out from the Committee Boat and saw that the legendary Imp – at that time owned and skippered by Michael O’Leary of Dun Laoghaire – appeared to have a handsome lead. So they moved the Committee Boat and the pin mark out to a location about fifty yards ahead of the almost totally stationary Imp, and when the slight tide carried Michael and his Merry Men & Women through this ad hoc finish line, they celebrated this winner of the Schull Centenary Regatta with a fusillade of gunfire.

Imp will of course be back in Schull in August thanks to the restoration by George Radley of Cobh. And in the event of total calm, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect the finish line to be re-located precisely as it was 38 years ago.

Published in W M Nixon
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Data from the M3 and M5 buoys off the South Coast is being recovered for analysis by the Marine Institute to ascertain whether it can explain the cause of a tidal drop of 70 cms reported at Union Hall and Courtmacsherry in West Cork last Saturday afternoon.

Local people described the tide level dropping in a few minutes and then flooding back in.

There have been further reports of similar happenings on the Wexford coast and in Wales.

As Afloat reported earlier, descriptions of what happened in the area of Glandore Harbour where Union Hall is located have varied, from some people describing water levels leaving boats temporarily touching bottom where they were moored, to others who claimed the tide “came in and out several times…” and another comment: “the tide was going the wrong way…”

A fishing boat in Glandore HarbourA fishing boat in Glandore Harbour

Amongst reports of seismological activity on Saturday were a 2.6 magnitude earthquake before noon near the Azores. That was logged at the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre.

Historical context records a 1755 earthquake off the coast of Portugal, which was reported to have caused damage on the Irish South Western coast.

Amongst suggestions for the cause is atmospheric pressure, northerly wind and known water actions at the areas involved. Oceanography sources have tended to discount the incidents in West Cork being associated with the seismic action off Portugal. “It would not be big enough to have that effect,” I was told. “Rare, unusual, possibly driven by a number of factors that may lead to an unusual event, but in this case the cause is so far not clear, so examining date from the buoys at sea may help to indicate it.”

No other Cork coastal areas have reported anything similar.

A Marine Institute statement said: "An unusual tidal event was observed on Saturday 18th June 2022 at Union Hall (West Cork) at 14.40 (UTC) with a low water of -2.629m measured by the Irish Tide Gauge Network.”

Published in West Cork
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Martin Lane’s Chatterbox won the May Cruiser League at Schull Harbour Sailing Club (SHSC) in West Cork.

Michael Murphy’s Shelly D was second and Frank O’Hara’s Samphire third.

The Summer Series begins at SHSC on Saturday, June 11th.

Published in West Cork

“There was a lot of work, hull planking, fitting the stem post, caulking, filling, fairing, sanding, priming and painting. We lost over two years on the project due to Covid and this old girl was in a worse condition than we initially realised. It was a big undertaking for us but we have got there.”

So say the members of Allihies Men’s Shed on the western tip of the Beara Peninsula in West Cork, who will launch the ‘Dursey Clipper’ this weekend.

It is a seine boat, sixty to seventy years old, which had lain unused for about eleven years on nearby Dursey Island. It was given to them by the oldest resident of the island, Jimmy Harrington, who will be 81 years old next month.

Dursey is the island which made headlines earlier this year when Ireland’s only cable car service there had to be halted for maintenance works. This led to controversy as the island had two permanent residents and farms owned by mainland residents. After discussion, the cable car was replaced by a State-funded ferry.

Allihies Men’s Shed is a strong part of the Beara community. From its maritime tradition, former fishermen are among its members.

Putting the final touches to the Dursey Clipper Seine Boat in the Allihies mens shed in West CorkPutting the final touches to the Dursey Clipper Seine Boat in the Allihies mens shed on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork

“We were looking for a project and the boat was given to us. We have members who are former fishermen and were delighted to get it,” David Dudley of the Shed told me on my maritime programme/podcast, Maritime Ireland. “Seine boats were used extensively around West Cork for netting, potting and other traditional fishing activities.

The boats would have been up to 27 feet long. This one is shorter at 18 feet. Inshore fishing was strong when they were in use. Herring and mackerel were caught.”

Historical records describe “huge shoals of pilchards that came to the comparatively warm, sheltered waters of West Cork islands during the summer months. There were curing stations in villages to prepare the fish for sale. There was a lot of employment in a vibrant fishing industry and there could be two boats using a seine net, such were the catches.”

Painted in blue with a topside broad, black line. the restored boat is impressive and will be launched this Sunday at 2 pm at a community gathering on Garnish Pier.

It took a bit of discussion to decide on the name!

“We pondered and mulled over the name for the past month and couldn't agree. Then we whittled it down to a shortlist and put it to a vote. ‘Dursey Clipper’ won out,” David Dudley told me. “All are welcome at the launch.”

Listen to him on the Podcast here.

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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Page 3 of 26

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 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]