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The opening race of the 2024 summer sailing season at Schull Harbour Sailing Club in West Cork was staged on Saturday in near-idyllic weather as the mixed cruiser fleet competed for the Rossbrin Boatyard Trophy.

After starting in the inner harbour in a light easterly breeze, the course took the competitors around the Calf Islands and Amelia Buoy.

Peter Duggan's Quarter Tonner Manzanita (IRL 2076) and Tom Newman's Contessa 32, Sittelle (IRL 2323) during Schull Harbour Sailing Club RacingPeter Duggan's Quarter Tonner Manzanita (IRL 2076) and Tom Newman's Contessa 32, Sittelle (IRL 2323) 

Gabby Hogan's Growler led the fleet to take line honours but had to settle for second place in both IRC and Echo, from Peter Duggan's Manzanita, who showed the benefit of a major winter overhaul by winning both divisions.

Michael Moody's 30 Shelly D (IRL148) at the Perch mark during Schull Harbour Sailing Club RacingMichael Moody's 30 Shelly D (IRL148) at the Perch mark during Schull Harbour Sailing Club Racing

The Murphy family sailing the veteran Shelly D for the 45th consecutive year finished third in both IRC and Echo.

 Winning Manzanita skipper Peter Duggan with crew Daniel Duggan and John Molloy (a former owner of Manzanita) at the Schull Harbour Sailing Club prizegiving for the Rossbrin Boatyard Trophy Winning Manzanita skipper Peter Duggan with crew Daniel Duggan and John Molloy (a former owner of Manzanita) at the Schull Harbour Sailing Club prizegiving for the Rossbrin Boatyard Trophy

Published in West Cork
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The first cruise ship of the season in West Cork was welcomed by Cork County Council to its harbours, Schull and Kinsale, located in Ireland’s largest county.

The ultra-luxury expedition cruise ship Seabourn Venture, as Afloat previously reported visiting Killybegs, made another inaugural call to Schull on Tuesday, which represents the vessel’s first of two visits to Cork County Council’s harbours this week.

The 172-metre Seabourn Venture, which was launched in 2022 for US-based operator Seabourn Cruise Line, carries 264 passengers, offering their guests an intimate, private yacht-like atmosphere. All of the accommodations feature ocean-front suites with veranda, and among the expedition equipment is a 6-person submarine.

Seabourn Venture was built to polar class standards and has 120 crew members to operate in the Arctic and Antarctica. The visits of the 26,315 gross tonnage cruise ship to Schull and Kinsale come at the end of a 28-day cruise itinerary for passengers.

To mark the inaugural calls to West Cork, as of tradition, a delegation from Cork County Council was on board the Seabourn Venture, where Cllr. Caroline Cronin made a presentation to Captain Sasha Skladnoi on behalf of the council.

More from the Irish Independent on the rising number of small cruise ship calls to the region and to where cruise-goers went to various tourist attractions.

Published in Cruise Liners

Baltimore RNLI in West Cork successfully rescued Dixie, a terrier mix dog, after she fell from the cliff at the Beacon on Tuesday morning.

The Irish Coast Guard requested the launch of their inshore lifeboat shortly before 10 am, after Dixie's owner raised the alarm. It was the first call out for the new helm, David Ryan, who launched the Atlantic 85 class lifeboat. The crew members Jerry Smith, Kieran Collins, and Eoin O’Driscoll assisted him.

Arriving on scene below the Beacon, the Baltimore RNLI Atlantic 85 crew observed Dixie sheltering and waiting under a rock ledge after she managed to swim ashore. Crew members Kieran Collins and Eoin O’Driscoll  entered the sea and retrieved the dog, bringing her safely back onto the lifeboat and back to shore to her relieved owner

The weather conditions were favorable at the time, with a force 2-3 wind and a calm sea with up to a half-meter swell and good visibility. The crew arrived at the scene to find Dixie sheltering under a rock ledge after swimming ashore. Kieran and Eoin braved the sea and retrieved the dog, safely bringing her back onto the lifeboat and to her owner.

Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer, praised Dixie's owner for raising the alarm and reminded dog owners to be careful when walking their pets near the coast. She advised them not to go into the water or mud after their pets but to move to a safe place and call for help.

New Baltimore helm, David Ryan, who launched the Atlantic 85 class lifeboat with crew members Jerry Smith, Kieran Collins, and Eoin O’Driscoll   New Baltimore helm, David Ryan, who launched the Atlantic 85 class lifeboat with crew members Jerry Smith, Kieran Collins, and Eoin O’Driscoll 

Dixie, though shaken and cold, is safe and sound. The RNLI commended all their crew involved in the rescue and congratulated David on his first call out as helm.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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It seems a new comedy movie, working title "Carry On Smuggling", may be in the early stages of production in West Cork. Articulated trucks being sent down one-lane cul de sacs near supposed "secret coves" that everyone happens to know about, giant fast RIBs conspicuously present in suspicious circumstances, and several other absurdities. Maybe it's horribly real, for you just couldn't make it up.

The Irish Times has the story here

Published in West Cork
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In the latest edition of 200 Voices, the RNLI podcast, Pamela Deasy has vivid memories of January 2012 the loss of five crew on a fishing trawler in Glandore Harbour and the subsequent establishment of a lifeboat station at Union Hall, West Cork.

In My Lifeline, which became available on Thursday, 25 January, Pamela, who is a volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer at Union Hall RNLI, remembers the morning the ‘Tit Bonhomme’ foundered on Adam Island at the entrance to Glandore Harbour with the loss of five crew. She recalls the month-long search to recover the bodies of the lost fishermen and a letter she wrote to the RNLI appealing for a lifeboat station at Union Hall.

This year, in September 2024, Union Hall RNLI will celebrate its 10th birthday, supported by a team of volunteers and fantastic community support and fundraising.

In 2019, Pamela was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and in the podcast, which marks 200 years of the RNLI, she tells the story of her personal battle and recovery supported by the ‘RNLI family’ and eased by the comforting presence of the sea.

The unique podcast series hears from people connected to the RNLI in Ireland and those whose lives have been touched by the lifesaving charity. Hear from locals with a special kinship to their lifeboat station, a crew member who’s been on service for a generation, or the family of someone rescued by an RNLI frontline lifesaver – each episode is sure to take the listener on a journey through a touching story.

Available across all podcast platforms and the RNLI’s website, listeners can hear from survivors, supporters, volunteers, lifeguards, celebrity ambassadors, historians and many more from across Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland and beyond.

Listen to the RNLI’s 200 Voices, wherever you get your podcasts or at RNLI.org/200Voices.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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ESB Networks has appealed for vigilance at sea in relation to submarine cables after a fishing vessel cut power to West Cork’s Bere Island last week.

ESB Networks restored power to some 280 affected islanders at 11 pm on Friday last, January 5th, some 31 hours after supplies were cut suddenly on January 4th.

The operator confirmed that the outage occurred “ as a result of a fishing vessel accidentally coming into contact with a cable running from Castletownbere to Bere island”.

It said that “repair efforts started immediately, which included a diver safely locating the damaged cable so ESB Networks crews could carry out the required restoration work”.

Power was restored to all impacted customers by 11pm on Friday night,it said, and it apologised to all those affected by the disruption.

There was considerable upset at the incident at a particularly difficult time of year and with islanders dependent on freezers to store food supplies.

An ESB Networks spokesman declined to confirm the cost of the repairs, or whether the fishing vessel had offered to contribute.

The non-governmental organisation Coastwtch said the incident illustrated the “damage large powerful fishing vessels can have on the fragile nature” of the seafloor.

It called on the State to recover costs from “those who caused the damage”, and said that “our heart goes out to families left without power in winter cold”.

Coastwatch co-ordinator Karin Dubsky questioned why the island was dependent on one power cable and said a Heritage Council study 20 years ago had flagged concerns about this.

Given that submarine cables are set to increase during offshore wind development, she said it was essential that the cable “isn’t just fixed but that the cause is determined and published with planned action” to avoid a recurrence.

The ESB said that “damage to our network by third parties can occur from time to time – generally on overhead and underground cables on land - and we run extensive public campaigns on staying safe and staying clear of our network”.

“This incident serves as a timely reminder that similar vigilance should be applied by those at sea to submarine cables”,it said.

More information on its public campaigns is here.

Published in Marine Warning

West Cork’s Bere island has been left without power for over 24 hours after an undersea electricity cable was damaged.

ESB Networks said a total of 281 customers remain affected by the power outage, which also affected the Castletownbere area of West Cork.

It said it was hoped to have all supplies restored late on Friday night as crews worked to identify the fault and make emergency repairs.

The power fault was reported at about 3.30pm on Thursday and affected some properties in Castletownbere and the entire island community on Bere.

While supplies were restored in Castletownbere, the ESB said it had to commission specialist divers to inspect the undersea cable.

It said it believed the damage was caused by a fishing vessel.

Published in Island News
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The former Glenans Sailing Centre in the West Cork coastal village of Baltimore has been sold to a private developer, despite the local community's campaign to preserve it for a maritime heritage centre.

The long saga of Baltimore Railway Station, which had been a Glenans centre for many years, has ended in disappointment for the coastal village community’s efforts to get the dilapidated but historic building on the waterfront acquired as a maritime heritage and community amenity centre.

The building had been used for several years as a sailing centre by the French Glenans organisation.

A local community sign erected at Baltimore Railway StationA local community sign erected at Baltimore Railway Station

It was owned by Fáilte Ireland.

One of the community leaders, Mary Jordan, told me of the local disappointment from the sale to developers.

“We are devastated,” she says. “Minister for Heritage Malcolm Noonan tried his best with Fáilte Ireland, but it was all sewn up. Where does our maritime heritage and history stand in this country? Just trampled on.”

Published in West Cork
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A resident of Cape Clear Island off the coast of West Cork was evacuated for medical assistance following an accident on Sunday.

Baltimore RNLI's volunteer lifeboat crew received a call at 12.39 pm and launched their all-weather lifeboat to provide medical assistance.

The crew arrived at North Harbour on Cape Clear Island at 12.59 pm and transferred the casualty aboard the lifeboat via stretcher after assessment by a Casualty Care lifeboat crew member.

The lifeboat departed Cape Clear Island at 1.09 pm and returned to the station in Baltimore at 1.39 pm.

The casualty was then handed over to the HSE ambulance crew. The call out was the second medical evacuation from Cape Clear Island in two days.

On Friday, a man living on the island also required medical assistance and was evacuated to the mainland by the lifeboat crew, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The crew consisted of five volunteer members, including Coxswain Aidan Bushe, Mechanic Cathal Cottrell, and crew members Sean McCarthy, Brian McSweeney, and Micheal Cottrell.

The weather conditions during the call out were good, with a northwesterly force 2 to 3 wind, a 2m sea swell, and good visibility.

Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer expressed satisfaction over the evacuation and the team's efforts in providing medical assistance to the residents of Cape Clear Island.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A sea swimmer in West Cork was rescued by an RNLI lifeboat crew in thick fog this morning. 

The Courtmacsherry RNLI All Weather Lifeboat "Val Adnams" was called early this morning (Saturday, September 9th) by the Valentia Coast Guard Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre to help a swimmer in trouble off Inchydoney Island beach in West Cork. Despite the thick fog, the Lifeboat, led by Coxswain Mark Gannon and with a crew of five, quickly assembled and headed towards the area at 5.34 am. Fortunately, the swimmer had made it to shore safely with the assistance of a friend. Once the swimmer's safety was confirmed, the Lifeboat returned to its base in Courtmacsherry.

Vincent O'Donovan, the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Launch Authority and press officer, expressed his gratitude to the 20 volunteer crew and officers who quickly responded to the call for help. He emphasised the importance of dialling 999 or 112 in emergency situations, stressing that every minute counts. He wishes everyone using the coastline a safe and enjoyable weekend.

This morning's crew on the callout included Coxswain Mark Gannon, Mechanic Stuart Russell, and crew members Ken Cashman, Donal Young, Denis Murphy, and Kieran Boyle. It is a special day at the Lifeboat Station as the Naming Ceremony for the new Lifeboat "Val Adnams" takes place in the Village at 1.45 pm, and everyone is invited to attend. 

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Annalise Murphy, Olympic Silver Medalist

The National Yacht Club's Annalise Murphy (born 1 February 1990) is a Dublin Bay sailor who won a silver medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics. She is a native of Rathfarnham, a suburb of Dublin.

Murphy competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in the Women's Laser Radial class. She won her first four days of sailing at the London Olympics and, on the fifth day, came in 8th and 19th position.

They were results that catapulted her on to the international stage but those within the tiny sport of Irish sailing already knew her of world-class capability in a breeze and were not surprised.

On the sixth day of the competition, she came 2nd and 10th and slipped down to second, just one point behind the Belgian world number one.

Annalise was a strong contender for the gold medal but in the medal race, she was overtaken on the final leg by her competitors and finished in 4th, her personal best at a world-class regatta and Ireland's best Olympic class result in 30 years.

Radial European Gold

Murphy won her first major medal at an international event the following year on home waters when she won gold at the 2013 European Sailing Championships on Dublin Bay.

Typically, her track record continues to show that she performs best in strong breezes that suit her large stature (height: 1.86 m Weight: 72 kg).

She had many international successes on her road to Rio 2016 but also some serious setbacks including a silver fleet finish in flukey winds at the world championships in the April of Olympic year itself.

Olympic Silver Medal

On 16 August 2016, Murphy won the silver medal in the Laser Radial at the 2016 Summer Olympics defying many who said her weight and size would go against her in Rio's light winds.

As Irish Times Sailing Correspondent David O'Brien pointed out: " [The medal] was made all the more significant because her string of consistent results was achieved in a variety of conditions, the hallmark of a great sailor. The medal race itself was a sailing master class by the Dubliner in some decidedly fickle conditions under Sugarloaf mountain".

It was true that her eight-year voyage ended with a silver lining but even then Murphy was plotting to go one better in Tokyo four years later.

Sportswoman of the Year

In December 2016, she was honoured as the Irish Times/Sport Ireland 2016 Sportswoman of the Year.

In March, 2017, Annalise Murphy was chosen as the grand marshal of the Dublin St Patrick's day parade in recognition of her achievement at the Rio Olympics.

She became the Female World Champion at the Moth Worlds in July 2017 in Italy but it came at a high price for the Olympic Silver medallist. A violent capsize in the last race caused her to sustain a knee injury which subsequent scans revealed to be serious. 

Volvo Ocean Race

The injury was a blow for her return to the Olympic Laser Radial discipline and she withdrew from the 2017 World Championships. But, later that August, to the surprise of many, Murphy put her Tokyo 2020 ambitions on hold for a Volvo Ocean Race crew spot and joined Dee Caffari’s new Turn the Tide On Plastic team that would ultimately finish sixth from seventh overall in a global circumnavigation odyssey.

Quits Radial for 49erFX

There were further raised eyebrows nine months later when, during a break in Volvo Ocean Race proceedings, in May 2018 Murphy announced she was quitting the Laser Radial dinghy and was launching a 49er FX campaign for Tokyo 2020. Critics said she had left too little time to get up to speed for Tokyo in a new double-handed class.

After a 'hugely challenging' fourteen months for Murphy and her crew Katie Tingle, it was decided after the 2019 summer season that their 'Olympic medal goal' was no longer realistic, and the campaign came to an end. Murphy saying in interviews “I guess the World Cup in Japan was a bit of a wakeup call for me, I was unable to see a medal in less than twelve months and that was always the goal".

The pair raced in just six major regattas in a six-month timeframe. 

Return to Radial

In September 2019, Murphy returned to the Laser Radial dinghy and lead a four-way trial for the Tokyo 2020 Irish Olympic spot after the first of three trials when she finished 12th at the Melbourne World Championships in February 2020.

Selection for Tokyo 2021

On June 11, Irish Sailing announced Annalise Murphy had been nominated in the Laser Radial to compete at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Murphy secured the Laser Radial nomination after the conclusion of a cut short trials in which rivals Aoife Hopkins, Aisling Keller and Eve McMahon also competed.

Disappointment at Tokyo 2021

After her third Olympic Regatta, there was disappointment for Murphy who finished 18th overall in Tokyo. On coming ashore after the last race, she indicated her intention to return to studies and retire from Olympic sailing.  

On 6th Aguust 2020, Murphy wrote on Facebook:  "I am finally back home and it’s been a week since I finished racing, I have been lucky enough to experience the highs and the lows of the Olympics. I am really disappointed, I can’t pretend that I am not. I wasn’t good enough last week, the more mistakes I made the more I lost confidence in my decision making. Two years ago I made a plan to try and win a gold medal in the Radial, I believed that with my work ethic and attitude to learning, that everything would work out for me. It didn’t work out this time but I do believe that it’s worth dreaming of winning Olympic medals as I’m proof that it is possible, I also know how scary it is to try knowing you might not be good enough!
I am disappointed for Rory who has been my coach for 15 years, we’ve had some great times together and I wish I could have finished that on a high. I have so much respect for Olympic sailing coaches. They also have to dedicate their lives to getting to the games. I know I’ll always appreciate the impact Rory has had on my life as a person.
I am so grateful for the support I have got from my family and friends, I have definitely been selfish with my time all these years and I hope I can now make that up to you all! Thanks to Kate, Mark and Rónán for always having my back! Thank you to my sponsors for believing in me and supporting me. Thank you Tokyo for making these games happen! It means so much to the athletes to get this chance to do the Olympics.
I am not too sure what is next for me, I definitely don’t hate sailing which is a positive. I love this sport, even when it doesn’t love me 😂. Thank you everyone for all the kind words I am finally getting a chance to read!"

Annalise Murphy, Olympic Sailor FAQs

Annalise Murphy is Ireland’s best performing sailor at Olympic level, with a silver medal in the Laser Radial from Rio 2016.

Annalise Murphy is from Rathfarnham, a suburb in south Co Dublin with a population of some 17,000.

Annalise Murphy was born on 1 February 1990, which makes her 30 years old as of 2020.

Annalise Murphy’s main competition class is the Laser Radial. Annalise has also competed in the 49erFX two-handed class, and has raced foiling Moths at international level. In 2017, she raced around the world in the Volvo Ocean Race.

In May 2018, Annalise Murphy announced she was quitting the Laser Radial and launching a campaign for Tokyo 2020 in the 49erFX with friend Katie Tingle. The pairing faced a setback later that year when Tingle broke her arm during training, and they did not see their first competition until April 2019. After a disappointing series of races during the year, Murphy brought their campaign to an end in September 2019 and resumed her campaign for the Laser Radial.

Annalise Murphy is a longtime and honorary member of the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire.

Aside from her Olympic success, Annalise Murphy won gold at the 2013 European Sailing Championships on Dublin Bay.

So far Annalise Murphy has represented Ireland at two Olympic Games.

Annalise Murphy has one Olympic medal, a silver in the Women’s Laser Radial from Rio 2016.

Yes; on 11 June 2020, Irish Sailing announced Annalise Murphy had been nominated in the Women’s Laser Radial to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021.

Yes; in December 2016, Annalise Murphy was honoured as the Irish Times/Sport Ireland 2016 Sportswoman of the Year. In the same year, she was also awarded Irish Sailor of the Year.

Yes, Annalise Murphy crewed on eight legs of the 2017-18 edition of The Ocean Race.

Annalise Murphy was a crew member on Turn the Tide on Plastic, skippered by British offshore sailor Dee Caffari.

Annalise Murphy’s mother is Cathy McAleavy, who competed as a sailor in the 470 class at the Olympic Games in Seoul in 1988.

Annalise Murphy’s father is Con Murphy, a pilot by profession who is also an Olympic sailing race official.

Annalise Murphy trains under Irish Sailing Performance head coach Rory Fitzpatrick, with whom she also prepared for her silver medal performance in Rio 2016.

Annalise Murphy trains with the rest of the team based at the Irish Sailing Performance HQ in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Annalise Murphy height is billed as 6 ft 1 in, or 183cm.

©Afloat 2020

At A Glance – Annalise Murphy Significant Results

2016: Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Silver

2013: European Championships, Dublin, Ireland – Gold

2012: Summer Olympics, London, UK – 4th

2011: World Championships, Perth, Australia – 6th

2010: Skandia Sail for Gold regatta – 10th

2010: Became the first woman to win the Irish National Championships.

2009: World Championships – 8th

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