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Volunteers from the Gweebarra Fishing Club have completed work on a footbridge across the river near Doochary, the Donegal Democrat reports.

The new bridge is part of a three-year project to develop accessibility on the riverside for walkers and anglers alike. Inland Waterways.

Club chairman Thomas Monds commented: "There’s been nothing there since the flood swept [the old bridge] away years ago. But with the club getting going and more and more local people getting involved, we thought this was a good chance to do something."

He added: "The footbridge makes both banks of the Gweebarra accessible to both anglers and walkers, without having to retrace yours steps."

According to Monds, the new bridge in tandem with recent enhancements in the local fishery infrastructure have helped to make Gweebarra "one of the most accessible and attractive angling venues in the country".

The Donegal Democrat has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Sean Connick TD, met today in Dublin with Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, of Northern Ireland's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Minister Connick described the meeting as "a good exchange of views on significant issues affecting all sectors of our fishing industries, north and south."

The topics discussed by the Ministers included the impacts of the Cod Recovery Plan, the management of the prawn fishery in the Irish Sea, the upcoming EU negotiations on fishing opportunities for 2011 and the Community's review of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Minister Connick said, "Minister Gildernew and I had a very good discussion. Our meeting was a valuable opportunity for us to examine these important issues together and to explore areas of mutual interest. I am committed to working together with Minister Gildernew over the coming months, to help safeguard the interests of Irish fishermen."

Published in Fishing

The cost of upgrading fishing boats to comply with new regulations first mooted three years ago means some boats cannot put to sea again. It's a move that will cost hundreds of jobs to coastal communities says Tom MacSweeney

The nation may be reeling from the revelations about Anglo Irish Bank and AIB. The fishing industry is reeling from another shocker. While earlier this week it cranked up its PR machine in an attempt to convince the public it was going to create jobs, the reality is that this Friday, October 1, it wiped out at least 200 and the overall effects of what it has done may throw as many as 800 people out of work in coastal areas.

That is callous disregard for people and underlines the disinterest and disrespect which the Government has for the maritime sector.

These jobs are in the fishing industry and are being lost because of a decision by the Department of Transport that smaller fishing boats, ranging in size from 15 to 24 metres must conform to the same safety standards as bigger boats, those over 25 metres, even though they operate under different fishing methods.

There can be no argument against safety, but there should be moderate, reasonable implementation of regulations. To quote the Taoiseach in his own recent defence, "moderation in all things." There are 99 boats in the Irish fleet in the 15-24 metre category. These are, effectively, day boats which operate in inshore waters, close to land. The Department has decided to implement regulations requiring them to conform to the same standards as bigger vessels that operate farther out to sea for extended periods.

Of the 99 boats nationwide faced with the implementation of the new regulations, 39 have not applied for certification, apparently because owners could either not afford the costs of upgrading the boats to the higher standard or felt the vessels would not be able to meet those standards, irrespective of how much money was spent on them. Those 39 boats have to be tied up, unable to go fishing any longer, another blow to the Irish fishing fleet. Their owners and crews will face unemployment.

The total number of jobs lost nationally could be up to 800, according to fishing organisations, when those whose livelihoods ashore depend on the 200 direct fishing jobs are added.

The Department makes the point that it has been known for three years that these new regulations would be imposed and that there has been ample time for owners to upgrade. Fishing organisations asked the Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey, who also holds the brief of marine safety, to establish a separate category of safety requirements applying specifically to the smaller boats. Dempsey, who has not been a friend of the fishing industry, refused. So around 200 fishermen are out of work, directly due to a Government decision. It has not been explained why different regulations cannot be applied to different sizes of boats.

The sight of more Irish fishing boats tied to the quay wall, stopped by Irish Government regulations from working will not be pleasant.


• This article is reprinted by permission of the CORK EVENING ECHO in which Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie

Published in Island Nation
Over 200 fishers and fisheries scientists from all over the world gathered in Galway yesterday (23rd August) for a unique four-day conference to share information on fish stocks.

Dr. Peter Heffernan (Marine Institute) with Martin Pastoors (IMARES, The Netherlands) and Dr. Steve Murawski (NOAA, USA) at the Conference. (Photo: Marine Institute).

The Conference - "Fisheries Independent Information, Galway 2010" – not only explores how information gathered at sea by fishermen can better contribute to fish stock assessments, management and policy but critically, how the vast amount of experience and traditional knowledge accumulated by the fishing industry can be harnessed in sustainable management strategies.

Speaking on the first day of the event Dr. Steve Morawski, former senior advisor for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to President Obama's Ocean Policy Task Force and the current Chief Science Advisor to NOAA Fisheries, USA said that in spite of past concerns regarding the reliability of fishery-dependent data, we are in the midst of a "rebirth" in the use of information from industry to inform stock assessment and the management of catch and by-catch allowances.

"Fortunately, great advances have been made in methods for collection and analysis of fishery-dependent data and we have experienced encouraging success in working with stakeholders to collect this type of data," he said.

Some 30 countries from across the globe are represented at the conference, which features 81 oral presentations and 50 poster displays covering the entire spectrum of fishing, from small scale artisinal fisheries right up to large scale industrial operations engaged across the world's oceans and inland waters.

Opening the conference, Dr. Peter Heffernan of the Marine Institute said that, while Ireland had made significant progress in bringing scientists and fishers together through the formation of the Irish Fisheries Science Partnership, he was keen to learn how such initiatives had worked elsewhere and what we could learn from others. "Innovation is the key element to this conference," he said, "technical innovation in the development of new data collection tools and data integration, but also through innovative thinking and co-operation in how we can marry together traditional and non-traditional information."

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) the capture fishing industry employs some 27 million people worldwide (including full-time, part-time and occasional fishers). In Europe, the European Commission estimates that some 141,000 people are employed in the fishing sector which produces over 6.5 million tonnes of fish between the catching and aquaculture industries.

"Fishermen and scientists have an enormous amount that they can contribute to each other," said Lorcan O'Cinneide, CEO of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation in his keynote address earlier today (Tuesday 24th August). "It is essential for the future that the integration of such information can be brought to the centre of the scientific and advice process in a manner that has the necessary rigour to be credible and useful to analysis."

Marine and inland fisheries are of particular importance to developing countries where ILO estimates that over 94% of the world's fishers live (Asia 83%, Africa 9% and South America 2.5%). In these countries fish is not only an important source of protein for many communities, but also an important part of global trade. The role that fishers and their knowledge play in ensuring a sustainable "ecosystem approach" to commercial fishing by artisinal and small-scale fishworkers the world over will be discussed during the last day of the Conference (Thursday 26th) by Sebastian Mathew of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF).

The conclusion of his paper will suggest that sustainability in fisheries depends upon seeking common ground between fisheries policy, scientific knowledge and fishers' knowledge and practice. He will also suggest that the key to sustainable fisheries management lies in treating fishers' knowledge with respect and by promoting active communication amongst stakeholders.

Published in Fishing

Minister Séan Connick TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (with special responsibility for Fisheries and Forestry) launched the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority's (SFPA's) "Guide to Compliance for the Irish Inshore Fleet", today, Wednesday 28th July, at an event organised on board the LE Eithne at Galway Docks. The "Guide to Compliance for the Irish Inshore Fleet" is a concise guide that summarises the principal requirements that apply to Irish fishing vessels under 15 meters operating in Irish inshore waters.

The guide was developed through ongoing cooperation between the SFPA and the Irish South and East Fish Producers Association, the Kilmore Quay Harbour Users Group in conjunction with the Ministerial appointed Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority Consultative Committee and other industry stakeholders. The intention of the project was to provide a clear concise guide to the various technical regulations that apply to inshore fishing activities in a user-friendly format. The provision of good information to stakeholders is a key element of the SFPA's compliance strategy and this guide supports the SFPA and Industry in their work towards building a culture of compliance.

The guide does not purport to represent a detailed legal interpretation of the legislation however it does consolidate in one user-friendly document the main requirements which apply to Irish vessels fishing in Irish inshore waters. It addresses areas such as quota restrictions, boat markings, gear requirements, authorisations, sales notes, transport documents, marine protected areas, fishing restrictions, hail requirements, effort recording, effort reporting, minimum sizes and food safety. This comprehensive guide will also help fishermen navigate the paperwork that goes with fishing including completion of the fishing logbook and the registration of the fish after landing. The guide is produced on water proof and tear resistant paper suitable for use on board inshore fishing vessels and will be distributed to all inshore fishermen by the SFPA.

Peter Whelan, Chairman of the SFPA, said: "The production of this guide is a very positive development and had been widely supported by the fishing Industry Representatives and the Consultative Committee. This partnership approach benefits both the fishing industry and the SFPA and underpins the day-to-day efforts of fishermen to protect their livelihoods by complying with legislation that conserves fishing stocks for long-term sustainable exploitation. It is consistent with our legal remit to promote compliance with and deter contraventions of sea-fisheries law and food safety law. The SFPA are very pleased with the strong move towards compliance being demonstrated by the Irish Fishing Industry and this guide aims to support that move."

Published in Fishing

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Brendan Smith TD and Minister of State with responsibility for Fisheries, Sean Connick TD, today launched Bord Iascaigh Mhara's (BIM's) new three year strategy (2010 – 2012) and the Irish Seafood National Programme to 2013. The event, which was hosted by BIM at the decentralised Department and BIM offices in Clonakilty, was attended by a large audience from the wider seafood sector.

In his address, Minister Smith welcomed the opportunity to launch these two significant initiatives acknowledging how appropriate it was that they come on the same week as the launch of Food Harvest 2020, which focused on the contribution to be made by the food sector generally in Ireland's economic recovery.

Minister Smith said that both he and Minister Connick attached "a high level of importance on BIM's transformation agenda for the seafood sector and on the associated seafood development measures contained in the Seafood National Programme".

BIM's new strategy document concentrates on avenues to deliver essential developmental services to a seafood industry undergoing rapid and unparalleled change. The Minister commended BIM for clearly setting out challenging targets for themselves for delivery by 2012, including the creation of 600 jobs, an additional €50m in value added seafood sales, and greater differentiation of 40,000 tonnes of Irish seafood products worth €120m.

Minister Smith went on to say "I have consistently stated that the seafood sector, made up as it is of indigenous operators, will have a significant role to play in Ireland's economic recovery. BIM's new strategy is a welcome addition to the suite of harmonised strategies for the seafood sector including Steering a New Course, Sea Change, as well as Food Harvest 2020. It adds to and fully complements the existing strategies and positions Ireland well to maximise the very large opportunities which are presenting themselves in the international seafood markets".

Focusing on the National Programme for the development of the Seafood Sector, Minister of State Connick said "The measures contained in this Programme are the tools to enable the Government and its agencies deliver on the objectives contained in the suite of Seafood focused strategies, and places Ireland in a promising position to capture some of the undoubted opportunities which are emerging in both the international and domestic seafood markets".

Minister Connick said that the proposed investments in the seafood industry constitute a significant vote of confidence by the Government in the sector. He went on to say "The programme published today envisages a significant state investment into the Irish seafood sector from now until the end of 2013. A dedicated allocation of €6.5m is being made available for the remainder of 2010 for the development of the aquaculture and processing sectors." While the programme also facilitates access to other funding from Bord Bia for marketing, from Enterprise Ireland for processing, and from BIM for added value and innovation and fisheries support".

On the launch of the two initiatives Minister Connick said "The launch of these two complementary initiatives to drive forward the development of a modern, high value added, sustainable and expanding seafood sector is an important event in delivering the real opportunities which exist for income generation and enhanced employment in our coastal communities".

 

Published in Fishing

RTE turns its cameras on Ireland's fishermen in a six-part series starting this Sunday on RTE One. Skippers takes the Irish audience aboard working fishing vessels in the Irish fleet to meet the men who lead these boats; the Skippers.

Crews in pursuit of their lucrative catch, involving long absences from home, 24 hour shifts, huge waves, 80-mile-per-hour gales, and the unpredictability that is the ocean itself are part-and-parcel with this job.

The series was shot by DV Directors who ate, slept, breathed and fished with our Skippers while they were out on the high seas in the world's most dangerous job, creating a sense of immediacy with the audience at home; bringing the action, and turmoil wave by wave, roll by roll. Visually stunning images of the Irish coastline and sea wildlife, along with the roaring ocean will compliment the strong-character presence of our Skippers and their crews, with the illusive lights of home becoming a beacon in the night for the Skippers as they make their way ashore after their gruelling trips.

In the first episode, two former construction workers try to make a go of it at sea, a fisherman's wife tells her story, and a mystery fish causes havoc for a trawler crew and a rookie skipper feels the pressure to make the grade.

THE SKIPPERS

DAVID PRICE:

Howth in North County Dublin is home to the Price fishing family and youngest son David is carrying on the tradition as an energetic skipper on his fathers 60 foot, €2 million trawler "The John B". David is fishing 80 miles off the east coast of Ireland in search of prawns. Times have changed for David as he has to work twice as hard as he did five years ago when he used to sell his prawns for double what he's getting for them today.

David is frustrated with regulations that make little sense. He has to throw away perfectly good fish due to quotas. The pressure of costs versus the price he is receiving for his catch is not adding up and this frustration is sometimes taken out on his crew.

The collapse of the building industry has meant that some Irish are looking at fishing again for work. This trip has brought on board two former construction workers John and Emmet who both want to make a go of it in the fishing business. For John it's a big change from his previous job as a plumber but he's hoping he won't have to be fishing for too long.

This trip will be make or break for the two Irish lads as David has to decide if they are cut out for the hard life at sea.

His training is tough and they won't be getting any special treatment.

ROSS CLASSON:

Portnoo in Donegal is home to 42-year-old skipper Ross Classon. He's been fishing since he was 15. But Ross has no family background in the industry and is the son of a school principal. He went to sea purely because he loved it. This comes with a price to pay as he has less time to spend on shore with his family, when he does come home it is not long before Ross has to leave again.

His wife of 25 years, Anna, remembers the strain of bringing up their sons while Ross was out at sea. Anna has learned to deal with not seeing Ross for weeks at a time, she's learned to cope but she knows other families who haven't found things so easy. Ross's boat is based in Ullapool, Northern Scotland. He has to make the 430 mile journey by road and sea.

 

MICHAEL MEADE:

60 miles off the south coast of Cork is skipper Michael Meade. He's been fishing for the past 25 years and has owned his trawler the Buddy M for the past 10 years. Along side Michael are four regular crew members including Brendan from Cork and Sergey from Warsaw. Michael has seen the fishing industry slowly being eroded and is not too hopeful for the future. He fishes out from the small port of Cross haven in Cork.

 

CATHAL O'SULLIVAN

The old fishing village of Castletownbere in Co. Cork is where the ambitious and determined Cathal O'Sullivan is based. Cathal has no background in fishing and originally comes from Kenmare in Kerry. He started fishing at 16 and now at 24 is one of Ireland's youngest skippers in charge of the 40foot trawler the Tea Rose. This €1 million boat is owned by Paddy O'Sullivan who has recently put his faith in Cathal to go it alone.

Cathal leaves behind a young family, his son gets upset each time Cathal leaves , but Cathal's duration at sea is getting longer due to the rising price of fuel and the decrease in the value of his catch. He often will do three fishing trips in a row leaving his family for up to 20 days at a time. With every trip comes the pressure of finding a good catch for the crew in order for himself and his men to earn a decent wage

Published in Fishing

Sean Connick TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, today opened Fish Ireland 2010, Ireland’s trade exhibition for the Irish Fishing Industry. Minister Connick also took the opportunity to meet with representatives of the Killybegs Fisherman’s Organisation and the Donegal fish processing companies to continue the ongoing dialogue on issues facing the fishing sector.

The Minister welcomed the invitation to open the exhibition and noted the appropriateness of holding such an event in Killybegs, one of the most modern fishing ports in the EU. On the exhibition which was organised by the Marine Times the Minister said “Events like this allow fishermen and their suppliers discuss the ever changing needs of the industry and prepare for future requirements”. He went on to say that further measures for sustainable fishing practices on the horizon required that “a more flexible approach will have to be adopted, not only by the fishermen but also by the suppliers of the fishing industry”.

In his address Minister Connick touched on a number of topics including the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, however, his central message revolved around innovation, differentiation of product and maximising returns. He complimented the fishermen and processors in Killybegs for being “To the forefront in innovation, diversification and forward thinking, playing a large part in driving the further development of pelagic markets, particularly in Russia, and the move towards more processing of Blue Whiting for human consumption”.

He also referred to the foresight of the KFO in funding research into the sustainability of a new boar fish fishery saying “This is an exciting departure and one which shows how serious we in Ireland are about conducting our business in a proper and prudent manner mindful of the finite nature of the resource we harvest”. The Minister emphasised the integral part the seafood industry will have to play in Ireland’s economic recovery, saying “We have a high quality raw material on our doorstep, we have a flexible and innovative industry and the demand for our product remains strong. What we must do is continue to innovate, differentiate Irish seafood and maximise our returns by increasing value added”.

He went on to encourage processors to avail of the services BIM’s Seafood Development Centre. Saying “This world class facility can only benefit companies who want to be progressive and grow their markets. It is already assisting 60 Irish seafood companies to differentiate and further refine their products since its launch in October last year and is well on its way to delivering its ambitious target of €100 million in additional value added sales over the next five years”.

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

The Master of a Spanish fishing vessel, the ‘Nuevo Murgados ‘ was fined and had his catch and gear confiscated by the State in a case brought before Cork Circuit Court on Tuesday 15th June 2010. Fines of €20,000 in total were imposed and forfeiture for the catch and gear amounted to €41,000. The Judge also imposed an award of €5,000 towards costs of the case. The case was the subject of a trial brought before Cork Circuit Court between the 29th of April to the 5th May 2010 whereby the defence sought to challenge the use of the new Omega Gauge in the measurement of nets. 

The ‘Nuevo Murgados’ was boarded by the Naval Service off the West Coast of Ireland on the 28th September 2009, and was subsequently inspected by Sea-Fisheries Protection Officers (SFPOs).  During the inspection, two nets were measured by the SFPOs using the Omega Gauge; the results were that nets were found to be 93.8mm and 77mm respectively which contravened EU regulation. The Master was charged with two offences including; logbook infringements -operating a net of less than 100mm whereas 100mm was recorded in the EU Logbook and retaining in excess of 20% Hake while operating a net between 55mm and 99mm.

On the 1st September 2009 the Omega Gauge was introduced as the definitive means for the measurement of the mesh size of fishing vessels operating in community waters. The Omega Gauge applies a predetermined force and calculates the average for a series of measurements ensuring consistency in measurement, whereas the preceding gauge required the inspector to apply a manual force.

Peter Whelan, Chairman of the SFPA said: “The defence in this case challenged the Omega Gauge, and in this context securing a conviction was significant. The use of the Omega Gauge has been the subject of some criticism however the outcome of this case proves the viability of the system. The Omega Gauge will provide a consistent reliable measurement for fishermen and should provide assurance for legitimate operators that the same result will be produced whenever their gear is measured. The Omega Gauge improves the methodology for mesh size measurement which will contribute to better implementation of technical conservation measures and the effectiveness of fishery management overall.”

 

Published in Fishing

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Sean Connick, T.D. has formally launched a new programme of financial support to assist fishermen upgrade critical life-saving, fire-fighting, and other safety equipment on-board their fishing boats.

The delivery of the scheme is projected to provide up to €3 million of funding over the next five years, subject to budgetary provisions.  The scheme will be administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Irish Sea Fisheries Board. In addition to fishing boats, the scheme also provides for the purchase of 'on-board' safety equipment for registered vessels used for sea-angling and other forms of marine tourism.

Speaking at the launch in Wexford, Minister Connick explained the importance of this timely scheme. "I am only too aware of the pain and suffering that is caused to the families and our coastal communities as a result of accidents at sea. We were unfortunately reminded of the dangers of the sea again this weekend with the news of the accident off Helvic Head yesterday. It is imperative that we do all in our power to prevent further accidents and especially casualties and one of these preventative measures includes ensuring our fishing fleet is operating to the best safety standards. This new scheme will enable up to 800 vessels to modernise their onboard safety equipment to further protect fishing crew. However, it is not enough to have a modern vessel, all skippers and crew must complete basic safety training and I would encourage all fishermen, who have not already done so, to contact BIM to complete their safety training without delay".

The Fleet Safety Scheme is an integral part of the 2007-2013 National Development Plan - Sea Fisheries Development Programme and is intended to further improve the overall safety standards onboard Irish fishing vessels. Under the previous Fishing Fleet Development Measure 2000-2006, 1,234 vessels availed of assistance under the Fleet Safety scheme and received grant aid of €2.23 million in support of €5.57 million investment. The current scheme which will run from 2010-2015 will provide grant aid of up to 40% for the purchase and installation of safety items including statutory lifesaving, fire-fighting, navigation and communication equipment.

Rose McHugh, Chair of BIM in welcoming the Minister's announcement said "On behalf of BIM, I would like to thank Minister Connick for his support and approval of this important scheme. Safety is paramount for the Irish fishing industry and this package will help fishermen in these difficult times to modernise their vessels in line with safety standards which will ultimately help to save lives at sea".

Applications and details on the Fleet Safety Scheme and the three other schemes under the Sea Fisheries Development Programme are available from www.bim.ie

Published in Fishing
Tagged under
Page 49 of 50

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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