Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

annalise page topper

Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

Skerries RNLI towed a razor-clam fishing boat with two men on board to safety on Tuesday afternoon (31 January) after they suffered mechanical failure near Rockabill lighthouse.

The volunteers in Skerries launched the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson shortly after 1.30pm. They were paged following a notification from Dublin Coast Guard that a fishing vessel had broken down and required assistance near the Rockabill lighthouse.

The all-weather lifeboat from Howth RNLI was also tasked and their volunteers set off from Howth towards the vessel.

Skerries RNLI proceeded towards the position indicated by the stricken vessel, and following a short search of the area quickly located the boat some four miles northwest of Rockabill.

It emerged that the fishers had suffered a major mechanical failure and were unable to make any headway under their own power.

Due to the sea conditions, and the potential hazard to other vessels in the area, the lifeboat helm decided that the safest course of action was to tow the fishing boat back to the nearest safe port in Skerries.

An astern tow was established and the lifeboat proceeded towards Skerries with Howth RNLI standing by and providing escort in case the conditions deteriorated any further or the tow parted.

In the calmer water outside the harbour in Skerries, the fishing boat was taken into an alongside tow before being carefully manoeuvred against the pier.

Conditions at the time had Force 5-6 northwesterly winds with a slight to moderate chop.

Speaking about the callout, Gerry Canning, volunteer lifeboat press officer for Skerries RNLI said: “This was a job well done in challenging conditions by the volunteers here in Skerries and also the volunteers from Howth.

“We would remind anyone going to sea to ensure that they have all the safety equipment they need. And where possible carry a VHF radio as mobile phone signal can be unreliable when you are further from the shore.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

Flying Fifteen sailor John MacAree was part of a major fundraising effort in aid of Wicklow RNLI by the members of Swim Smooth Ireland, who presented a cheque for more than €10,000 at the weekend.

The swimming club’s big charity swim took place on Saturday 10 December at the Killashee Hotel in Naas, where members swam 5km or 10km in the pool where they regularly train, as the Wicklow People reports.

Smooth Swim Ireland chose the Wicklow lifeboat as their fundraising recipient as Wicklow Harbour is a used for some of the members’ training during the summer months.

On Sunday morning (29 January) the lifeboat team said they were delighted to welcome Maxine Stain from Swim Smooth Ireland along with members of the swimming squad to present a cheque for €10,640 to Wicklow RNLI.

Karen Boyle of Wicklow RNLI’s fundraising branch accepted the donation on behalf of the RNLI — before some of the swimmers took the opportunity for a cold-water dip in the harbour.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

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

On Sunday 5 February, RNLI volunteers past and present will gather at Skerries lifeboat station in north Co Dublin to lay a wreath at sea and remember six of their colleagues who were lost while on a service in 1873.

On 2 February that that year, the lifeboat from Skerries was capsized while proceeding to the assistance of the schooner Sarah of Runcorn which had got into difficulty off Balbriggan.

Six of the men on the lifeboat were drowned: Patrick Reid, James Kelly, William Fitzpatrick, Joseph Halpin, Richard Cochrane, Albert Fanning.

Speaking about the tragedy, Skerries RNLI chair and local historian Sam Shiels said: “At about 8.45pm, in the pitch dark, it was a very stormy night with snow and heavy winds, when the Skerries Lifeboat and coastguard got the call.

“The lifeboat crew went to the aid of Sarah of Runcorn under sail but as they got close to the listing ship, they pulled in their sails and started to row. So rough was it, that the oars of the lifeboat crew were wrenched from their hands.

“Over the next few hours the crews of both Skerries Lifeboat and Coastguard fought admirably to save the crew. Unfortunately, such was the storm, the heavy seas, that six souls were lost that night.

“Today we honour those souls and the legacy they left behind; 150 years later, the spirit of the volunteers who put to sea to save others is still strong.”

The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 12.30pm on Sunday 2 February at Skerries lifeboat station.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Lough Derg RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was called out on Thursday evening (19 January) to assist three people on a 16ft speedboat adrift at the most northern part of the lake near Portumna.

Valentia Coast Guard requested the launch following reports that the speedboat had suffered engine failure while towing wakeboarders.

At 6.05pm, the lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Eleanor Hooker and crew Doireann Kennedy, Joe O’Donoghue and Oisín Higgins on board.

The lake was flat calm on a clear, dark night with a star-filled sky. The air temperature was below freezing so the lifeboat crew brought a grab-bag with three blankets.

Valentia Coast Guard provided the lifeboat with a contact for the casualties. The lifeboat requested the casualties to use their phone torches when they saw they lifeboat approaching.

At 6.25pm, as the lifeboat passed Terryglass Bay en route to Portumna, the casualties lit their phone torches revealing their location. They had drifted south of their original reported location and were close to Lough Derg navigation mark J.

Five minutes later the lifeboat was alongside the casualty vessel and the volunteers established that all three people on board were unharmed but were feeling cold.

The casualties were provided with blankets and told to wrap up and sit in a huddle at the bow of their boat. The lifeboat crew then set up an alongside tow and made way to Terryglass Harbour, where the speedboat was safely tied by 7pm.

Having ensured the casualties were safe and ashore, the lifeboat departed the scene and was back at station at 8.15pm.

Jeremy Freeman, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users “to dress appropriately for winter weather and water temperatures. Make sure your engines are serviced and always carry sufficient life jackets for everyone on board and ensure that they are worn.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

On Sunday afternoon (15 January) Crosshaven RNLI volunteers were requested to launch and assist the National Ambulance Service and Cobh Fire Brigade to extract a casualty at Cobh.

It emerged that a young man had fallen on cliffs east of the pilot station at Cobh in Cork Harbour and suffered a serious leg injury.

NAS paramedics and fire service personnel were able to access and treat the casualty, but were unable to extract the patient.

Shortly after pagers sounded at 3.35pm, the inshore lifeboat was beached at the cliff base and its volunteers took on board the stretchered patient along with two paramedics for continuation of care.

They were subsequently transferred to Kennedy Quay, where the fire service assisted in extracting the casualty to the awaiting ambulance.

Commenting later, Crosshaven RNLU hailed the “good inter-agency cooperation by NAS, fire service and the pilot launch.”

The lifeboat crew on this callout were Ian Venner, Alan Venner, James Fegan and Caoimhe Foster. Launch crew were Kline Penefather, Conor Barry, Jeff Lacerda, Jennifer Grey, Jonny Bermingham and Kevin McCarthy.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

Kinsale RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew along with the assistance of four coastguard units rescued two stranded dogs on Bank Holiday Monday (2 January).

The dogs had gotten into difficulty at the bottom of a cliff near Nohoval Cove in West Cork and were last seen by their owners the previous day.

Kinsale RNLI’s lifeboat Miss Sally Ann Baggy II, helmed by Jonathan Connor, was launched just before 10am and reached the bottom of the cliff near New Foundland Bay shortly after in difficult sea conditions.

Irish Coast Guard units from Oysterhaven, Kinsale, Summercove and Crosshaven were also tasked.

Due to a southwesterly surge, it proved challenging to veer the lifeboat in, so a decision was made to hold position and send two crew members into the water and swim to the base of the cliff.

With the help of the coastguard units and a specialist tracking device that was on the dogs’ collars, the two dogs were rescued uninjured and reunited with their owners shortly after midday at Oysterhaven Coast Guard station.

Speaking following the callout, Kinsale RNLI helm Jonathan Connor said: “This was a multi-agency response from our volunteers and our colleagues in the coastguard. Unfortunately, one of the three dogs involved died but we were glad to be able to reunite the two others with their owners.

“We would remind dog owners to ensure to look after their own personal safety and don’t get into danger trying to attempt a rescue themselves. We would advise keeping dogs on a lead if close to cliff edges.

“If your dog does go over a cliff and into the water or gets stuck in mud, don't go in after them. Instead move to a place your dog can get to safely and call their name and they may get out by themselves.

“If you're worried about your dog, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

It was a swift start to the New Year this afternoon (Sunday 1 January) for the team at Howth’s Irish Coast Guard unit as they were tasked to a kitesurfer who was blown offshore after the wind dropped near Dollymount Strand.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was also called to the scene from across Dublin Bay and brought the kitesurfer ashore to the Howth coastguard team, who assessed the casualty and found they needed no further assistance.

Howth Coast Guard Unit said: “The kitesurfer was well prepared. They had a shore contact who was keeping an eye on them (who ultimately called the coastguard); a heavyweight winter weight wet suit [and] a buoyancy aid.

“Remember if you see someone in difficulty on or near the coast, dial 112/999 and ask for Irish Coast Guard.”

Published in Rescue

Baltimore RNLI will host a proper send-off for its retired former coxswain Kieran Cotter this Tuesday evening 27 December from 8pm at Jacob’s Bar in the West Cork village.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Cotter retired at the end of 2020 after 45 years of service with the Baltimore lifeboat, 31 of them as coxswain.

Not only an experienced lifesaver, Cotter is also a pillar of the local sailing community and was recognised as Afloat’s Sailor of the Month for January 2021.

As COVID restrictions meant the lifeboat station couldn’t mark the event at the time of his retirement, fellow crew and friends look to make up for it with Tuesday’s knees-up and all are welcome to attend.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Page 1 of 143

Irish Olympic Sailing Team

Ireland has a proud representation in sailing at the Olympics dating back to 1948. Today there is a modern governing structure surrounding the selection of sailors the Olympic Regatta

Irish Olympic Sailing FAQs

Ireland’s representation in sailing at the Olympics dates back to 1948, when a team consisting of Jimmy Mooney (Firefly), Alf Delany and Hugh Allen (Swallow) competed in that year’s Summer Games in London (sailing off Torquay). Except for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Ireland has sent at least one sailor to every Summer Games since then.

  • 1948 – London (Torquay) — Firefly: Jimmy Mooney; Swallow: Alf Delany, Hugh Allen
  • 1952 – Helsinki — Finn: Alf Delany * 1956 – Melbourne — Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1960 – Rome — Flying Dutchman: Johnny Hooper, Peter Gray; Dragon: Jimmy Mooney, David Ryder, Robin Benson; Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1964 – Tokyo — Dragon: Eddie Kelliher, Harry Maguire, Rob Dalton; Finn: Johnny Hooper 
  • 1972 – Munich (Kiel) — Tempest: David Wilkins, Sean Whitaker; Dragon: Robin Hennessy, Harry Byrne, Owen Delany; Finn: Kevin McLaverty; Flying Dutchman: Harold Cudmore, Richard O’Shea
  • 1976 – Montreal (Kingston) — 470: Robert Dix, Peter Dix; Flying Dutchman: Barry O’Neill, Jamie Wilkinson; Tempest: David Wilkins, Derek Jago
  • 1980 – Moscow (Tallinn) — Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson (Silver medalists) * 1984 – Los Angeles — Finn: Bill O’Hara
  • 1988 – Seoul (Pusan) — Finn: Bill O’Hara; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; 470 (Women): Cathy MacAleavy, Aisling Byrne
  • 1992 – Barcelona — Europe: Denise Lyttle; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; Star: Mark Mansfield, Tom McWilliam
  • 1996 – Atlanta (Savannah) — Laser: Mark Lyttle; Europe: Aisling Bowman (Byrne); Finn: John Driscoll; Star: Mark Mansfield, David Burrows; 470 (Women): Denise Lyttle, Louise Cole; Soling: Marshall King, Dan O’Grady, Garrett Connolly
  • 2000 – Sydney — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, David O'Brien
  • 2004 – Athens — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, Killian Collins; 49er: Tom Fitzpatrick, Fraser Brown; 470: Gerald Owens, Ross Killian; Laser: Rory Fitzpatrick
  • 2008 – Beijing (Qingdao) — Star: Peter O’Leary, Stephen Milne; Finn: Tim Goodbody; Laser Radial: Ciara Peelo; 470: Gerald Owens, Phil Lawton
  • 2012 – London (Weymouth) — Star: Peter O’Leary, David Burrows; 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; Laser Radial: Annalise Murphy; Laser: James Espey; 470: Gerald Owens, Scott Flanigan
  • 2016 – Rio — Laser Radial (Women): Annalise Murphy (Silver medalist); 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; 49erFX: Andrea Brewster, Saskia Tidey; Laser: Finn Lynch; Paralympic Sonar: John Twomey, Ian Costello & Austin O’Carroll

Ireland has won two Olympics medals in sailing events, both silver: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson in the Flying Dutchman at Moscow 1980, and Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial at Rio 2016.

The current team, as of December 2020, consists of Laser sailors Finn Lynch, Liam Glynn and Ewan McMahon, 49er pairs Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle, and Sean Waddilove and Robert Dickson, as well as Laser Radial sailors Annalise Murphy and Aoife Hopkins.

Irish Sailing is the National Governing Body for sailing in Ireland.

Irish Sailing’s Performance division is responsible for selecting and nurturing Olympic contenders as part of its Performance Pathway.

The Performance Pathway is Irish Sailing’s Olympic talent pipeline. The Performance Pathway counts over 70 sailors from 11 years up in its programme.The Performance Pathway is made up of Junior, Youth, Academy, Development and Olympic squads. It provides young, talented and ambitious Irish sailors with opportunities to move up through the ranks from an early age. With up to 100 young athletes training with the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway, every aspect of their performance is planned and closely monitored while strong relationships are simultaneously built with the sailors and their families

Rory Fitzpatrick is the head coach of Irish Sailing Performance. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and was an Athens 2004 Olympian in the Laser class.

The Performance Director of Irish Sailing is James O’Callaghan. Since 2006 James has been responsible for the development and delivery of athlete-focused, coach-led, performance-measured programmes across the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway. A Business & Economics graduate of Trinity College Dublin, he is a Level 3 Qualified Coach and Level 2 Coach Tutor. He has coached at five Olympic Games and numerous European and World Championship events across multiple Olympic classes. He is also a member of the Irish Sailing Foundation board.

Annalise Murphy is by far and away the biggest Irish sailing star. Her fourth in London 2012 when she came so agonisingly close to a bronze medal followed by her superb silver medal performance four years later at Rio won the hearts of Ireland. Murphy is aiming to go one better in Tokyo 2021. 

Under head coach Rory Fitzpatrick, the coaching staff consists of Laser Radial Academy coach Sean Evans, Olympic Laser coach Vasilij Zbogar and 49er team coach Matt McGovern.

The Irish Government provides funding to Irish Sailing. These funds are exclusively for the benefit of the Performance Pathway. However, this falls short of the amount required to fund the Performance Pathway in order to allow Ireland compete at the highest level. As a result the Performance Pathway programme currently receives around €850,000 per annum from Sport Ireland and €150,000 from sponsorship. A further €2 million per annum is needed to have a major impact at the highest level. The Irish Sailing Foundation was established to bridge the financial gap through securing philanthropic donations, corporate giving and sponsorship.

The vision of the Irish Sailing Foundation is to generate the required financial resources for Ireland to scale-up and execute its world-class sailing programme. Irish Sailing works tirelessly to promote sailing in Ireland and abroad and has been successful in securing funding of 1 million euro from Sport Ireland. However, to compete on a par with other nations, a further €2 million is required annually to realise the ambitions of our talented sailors. For this reason, the Irish Sailing Foundation was formed to seek philanthropic donations. Led by a Board of Directors and Head of Development Kathryn Grace, the foundation lads a campaign to bridge the financial gap to provide the Performance Pathway with the funds necessary to increase coaching hours, upgrade equipment and provide world class sport science support to a greater number of high-potential Irish sailors.

The Senior and Academy teams of the Performance Pathway are supported with the provision of a coach, vehicle, coach boat and boats. Even with this level of subsidy there is still a large financial burden on individual families due to travel costs, entry fees and accommodation. There are often compromises made on the amount of days a coach can be hired for and on many occasions it is necessary to opt out of major competitions outside Europe due to cost. Money raised by the Irish Sailing Foundation will go towards increased quality coaching time, world-class equipment, and subsiding entry fees and travel-related costs. It also goes towards broadening the base of talented sailors that can consider campaigning by removing financial hurdles, and the Performance HQ in Dublin to increase efficiency and reduce logistical issues.

The ethos of the Performance Pathway is progression. At each stage international performance benchmarks are utilised to ensure the sailors are meeting expectations set. The size of a sailor will generally dictate which boat they sail. The classes selected on the pathway have been identified as the best feeder classes for progression. Currently the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway consists of the following groups: * Pathway (U15) Optimist and Topper * Youth Academy (U19) Laser 4.7, Laser Radial and 420 * Development Academy (U23) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX * Team IRL (direct-funded athletes) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX

The Irish Sailing performance director produces a detailed annual budget for the programme which is presented to Sport Ireland, Irish Sailing and the Foundation for detailed discussion and analysis of the programme, where each item of expenditure is reviewed and approved. Each year, the performance director drafts a Performance Plan and Budget designed to meet the objectives of Irish Performance Sailing based on an annual review of the Pathway Programmes from Junior to Olympic level. The plan is then presented to the Olympic Steering Group (OSG) where it is independently assessed and the budget is agreed. The OSG closely monitors the delivery of the plan ensuring it meets the agreed strategy, is within budget and in line with operational plans. The performance director communicates on an ongoing basis with the OSG throughout the year, reporting formally on a quarterly basis.

Due to the specialised nature of Performance Sport, Irish Sailing established an expert sub-committee which is referred to as the Olympic Steering Group (OSG). The OSG is chaired by Patrick Coveney and its objective is centred around winning Olympic medals so it oversees the delivery of the Irish Sailing’s Performance plan.

At Junior level (U15) sailors learn not only to be a sailor but also an athlete. They develop the discipline required to keep a training log while undertaking fitness programmes, attending coaching sessions and travelling to competitions. During the winter Regional Squads take place and then in spring the National Squads are selected for Summer Competitions. As sailors move into Youth level (U19) there is an exhaustive selection matrix used when considering a sailor for entry into the Performance Academy. Completion of club training programmes, attendance at the performance seminars, physical suitability and also progress at Junior and Youth competitions are assessed and reviewed. Once invited in to the Performance Academy, sailors are given a six-month trial before a final decision is made on their selection. Sailors in the Academy are very closely monitored and engage in a very well planned out sailing, training and competition programme. There are also defined international benchmarks which these sailors are required to meet by a certain age. Biannual reviews are conducted transparently with the sailors so they know exactly where they are performing well and they are made aware of where they may need to improve before the next review.

©Afloat 2020