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There will be two Afloat newsletters over the Christmas period. One on Friday, December 27th and the other on Friday, January 3rd.

The e-news highlights the latest content from popular sections of our website. Read previous editions here.

The daily enews returns on January 7th. 

Keep an eye out for regular boating updates on Afloat.ie and our social media channels over the festive season.

Sign up for the enews in the right-hand column of Afloat's home page.

Happy Christmas to all our readers.

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This 64-page full-colour A4 magazine includes a review of 2019 plus all the details for 2020 Afloat and all your latest sailing news in time for Christmas! BUY IT HERE!

Order your copy online now at €8 plus €2.50 shipping fee in Ireland and UK – click HERE to order.

We'll post all orders received daily up til December 23rd! for Christmas delivery!

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In a survey of competitors at the 2019 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta on Dublin Bay, 60% of respondents said the Irish boating portal 'Afloat.ie' was their 'go-to' website for Irish sailing & boating news.

Nearly 200 sailors were polled from the 500-boat international regatta fleet that attracts sailors from across Ireland and the UK.

In reply to the single question: 'What's your go-to resource for Irish sailing and boating news?', 117 or 60.31% responded 'Afloat'.

The popular UK magazine site 'Yachts and Yachting' accounted for 30 or 15.46%.

Club or association websites totalled 26 or 13.4%.

Last December, Afloat reported statistics showing unique visitors to the site were heading for 1.3 million per annum.

Afloat’s popular online format has a strong returning readership, with half of daily visits being repeat readers, and with strong social media engagement.

Based on-site analytics, 70% of Afloat web traffic is from Ireland, with a good geographic spread across the Irish Sea and into the west coast of Britain. It is a result that tallies with the weekend survey at Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

Read more on Afloat here.

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#Rowers of the Month: Paul O’Donovan and Gary O’Donovan are the Afloat rowers of the month for June. Both brothers showed outstanding form at Cork Regatta. Paul O’Donovan won the single sculls. In the heats, Gary had not been the next fastest, but come the final the elder O’Donovan brother was second only to Paul. The two raced in the double, where they were tested by Fintan and Jake McCarthy, but came through with the win.

 The O’Donovans were run close by David O’Malley and Shane Mulvaney. The UCD pair were outstanding at Cork Regatta. They won the pairs title, beating world lightweight champions Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan, and they slotted into the UCD four which also won. O’Malley and Mulvaney form the Ireland lightweight pair in a strong team for the World Under-23 Championships this month. The O’Donovans, who went on to reach the final at Henley Royal Regatta, head for the World Cup in Lucerne next weekend (July 13th to 15th). Good luck to all those competing in this busy month.

Rower of the Month awards: The judging panel is made up of Liam Gorman, rowing correspondent of The Irish Times and David O'Brien, Editor of Afloat magazine. Monthly awards for achievements during the year will appear on afloat.ie. Keep a monthly eye on progress and watch our 2018 champions list grow.

Published in Rower of Month

#Rower of the Month: The Afloat Rower of the Month for February is Paul O’Donovan. The Skibbereen quartet of Mark O’Donovan, Shane O’Driscoll, Paul O’Donovan and Gary O’Donovan warmed slowly to their task in competing in the New Zealand Rowing Championships. The arrival of coach Dominic Casey helped. When finals came around, they won a bronze medal as a four. But topping this achievement was that of Paul O’Donovan in the Premier Single Sculls. The lightweight world champion mixed it with two of the top heavyweights in the world: O’Donovan finished third, just a few boat lengths behind Robbie Manson, who in 2017 set the world’s fastest time, and ahead of Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale.

 The achievement makes Paul O’Donovan the Afloat Rower of the Month.

Rower of the Month awards: The judging panel is made up of Liam Gorman, rowing correspondent of The Irish Times and David O'Brien, Editor of Afloat magazine. Monthly awards for achievements during the year will appear on afloat.ie. Keep a monthly eye on progress and watch our 2018 champions list grow.

https://www.facebook.com/WorldRowing/videos/10160199271930651/

Published in Rower of Month

#Rowers of the Year: The Afloat Rowers of the Year for 2017 are Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan. The two formed the Ireland lightweight pair which won European and World Championship gold. They also won gold in each of the three World Cup regattas, in Belgrade, Poznan and Lucerne. Their glorious run was the pay-off for enormous amounts of work – and a drive which came from their determination to make their mark after coming up short the in 2016, when they finished fourth at the World Championships.

 The two have opted to move up to heavyweight with the aim of competing at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. Afloat wishes them every success.   

Afloat Rower of the Month awards: The judging panel is made up of Liam Gorman, rowing correspondent of The Irish Times, and David O'Brien, editor of Afloat magazine. Monthly awards for achievements during the year appeared on afloat.ie.

Published in Rower of the Year

#Rowing: The Ireland team which brought the country glory at the World Rowing Championships in Florida are the Afloat Rowers of the Month for September. In that month, Ireland took two gold medals through Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll in the lightweight pair and Paul O’Donovan in the lightweight single sculls.

 The pair crowned the perfect season with their victory. They won gold at the three World Cup regattas and the European Championships. The pressure was on in World Championship final, with both Brazil and Italy rowing well on the day. But O’Donovan and O’Driscoll were peerless. They set a very high stroke rate, took the lead – and saw off their challengers.

 Paul O’Donovan retained the title he had taken with such an extraordinary set of performances in Rotterdam in 2016, just weeks after he had taken a silver at the Olympic Games in a lightweight double with his brother Gary. This time, Gary had to drop out of the lightweight double, as illness had restricted his training (he supported the team as a reserve). Paul was back in the lightweight single in a boat which was new to him. He won all four races (heat, quarter-final, semi-final and final), seeing off a new set of challengers in the lightweight single, including Matthew Dunham of New Zealand, who took silver, and Kris Brun of Norway (bronze).

 The rest of the Ireland team also gave the suppporters plenty to shout about. Sanita Puspure went on to take fourth in the single sculls and Denise Walsh reached the A Final of the lightweight single sculls, where she finished sixth. Two new heavyweight pairs gained experience of the top level as the team targets Tokyo 2020. Aileen Crowley and Aifric Keogh finished eighth and there was a 16th place for Patrick Boomer and Fionnán McQuillan-Tolan.

 Well done to all the members of the Ireland team, the Afloat Rowers of the Month for September.  

Rower of the Month awards: The judging panel is made up of Liam Gorman, rowing correspondent of The Irish Times, and David O'Brien, editor of Afloat magazine. Monthly awards for achievements during the year will appear on afloat.ie. Keep a monthly eye on progress and watch our 2017 champions list grow.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: July 2017 was one of the most successful months for Irish rowing. There were multiple medals at international regattas: the World Cup in Lucerne, gold and bronze; the Under-23 World Championships, two bronze medals; Coupe de la Jeunesse, five gold medals; six wins at the Home International Regatta; a good showing by the Clonmel junior quadruple at Henley Royal Regatta.

 The Irish Rowing Championships regatta was the biggest ever. NUIG took nine titles. Enniskillen won the junior women’s and men’s eights (and fours) and the junior 16 women’s and men’s eights. Three Castles, with two wins, and UCC with a breakthrough win at novice level, had reasons to celebrate. Cork Boat Club and Bann could boast the champion junior single scullers as part of their three wins.

 Skibbereen’s top-rank rowers, usually ruled out by the international programme which sees them bring glory to their country, came to the show and helped the club to seven titles. Two Olympians, Sanita Puspure and Claire Lambe, took titles for Old Collegians and also helped UCD/Old Collegians to take the women’s senior eights crown. UCD had also won the women’s senior pair and the men’s intermediate eight.

 Year after year, the men’s senior eights final is the highlight of the Championships. This time out the Skibbereen eight could call on some of the best lightweight rowers in the world. The race was magnificient. In the closing stages, NUIG looked like they might revive the days of their domination; Skibbereen charged to the line. Commercial won. A crew of club rowers had put everything on the line and gained their reward.

 They are the Afloat Rowers of the Month.

Rower of the Month awards: The judging panel is made up of Liam Gorman, rowing correspondent of The Irish Times, and David O'Brien, editor of Afloat magazine. Monthly awards for achievements during the year will appear on afloat.ie. Keep a monthly eye on progress and watch our 2017 champions list grow.

Published in Rowing

Johnny Durcan tops fleet of 50 to cash in at Royal Cork’s PY1000, 1720s take Spring Chicken 1-2, girl power triumphs at Leinster Schools champs, and four Irish 49ers launch Olympic bid in 

Roy takes over the helm of Irish Sailing

Former Olympic race officer Jack Roy is voted in as new ISA President, ISORA will trial ECHO for a ‘better spread of prizes’, & Winkie Nixon calls on VDLR to seize chance for in-harbour drama.

Progress in Rescue 116 recovery op

Marine Institute’s Holland 1 ROV plays key role in recovery of Rescue 116 pilot Mark Duffy and black box, Norway plans world first ship tunnel, & Greenway to Waterford Copper Coast opens.

New Irish rowing chief vows shake-up

Rowing Ireland critic Eamonn Colclough lands top job at dramatic agm, Gary O’Donovan hits mark atIrish trials after heats scare from clubmate, and Irish crews are left high and dry in London.

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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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