Seamus Hayden Jr, who captains the fishing vessel Clyde, was berthed in Lazy Bay at the southern end of the Kodiak peninsula when he responded to a call from fellow vessel the Tuxedni to assist the stricken Heritage, which was sinking a mile east of nearby Tanner Head.
“I rousted my crew and fired our main engine to join the Tuxedni in the search," he said. "I did not know at that time if the Heritage crew had abandoned ship.
“I informed everyone onboard my vessel to dress for extreme weather and to use utmost caution and a buddy system at all times around the vessel."
Visibility was low due to ice fog and the darkness of the Alaskan winter nights, and as they got closer to the Heritage's location - where the US Coast Guard was attemping a helicopter rescue - conditions were "horrendous", with ice-cold winds of 60 knots.
I was very worried for the safety of all involved, including our own," said Hayden.
The Donegal Democrat has much more on the story HERE.
"Until Alaska, my own serious nautical experience was crossing the Irish Sea on a car ferry," writes the Cork native best known for his BBC chat show.
But the remoteness of the Alaskan coastline - as seen from the decks of the Crystal Symphony - struck him with a special kind of awe.
"Enjoying Alaska's natural wonders It's hard not to be amazed as you cruise into wilderness areas such as Glacier Bay because they're so jaw-droppingly spectacular. It's absolutely beautiful," he says.
"The highlights were the glaciers and the whale-watching. The ship sails right up to the wall of the glacier and you sit there watching large blocks of ice breaking off calving, I think it's called, and it's just stunning."
Norton was especially surprised by his excitement at seeing the whales.
"They're brilliant. Watching them popping out of the sea was really, really, really good! So good, in fact, you kind of think I mustn't go whale-watching again because I'll only be disappointed next time. It was quite an emotional experience. You feel privileged to see these creatures."
Perhaps next time he takes a break in West Cork he might take a look out to sea and witness some of those magnificent creatures a lot closer to home!
Fergus and Kay Quinlan live in the Burren in County Clare, and in 1997 they launched the steel van de Stadt 12-metre cruiser Pylades, which they'd built themselves. They've made several voyages and have been in the Irish Cruising Club's award list before. But at the ICC's AGM in the National YC on February 18th they deservedly got the big one, the Faulkner Cup, for the first stage of a global circumnavigation which began from their home port of Kinvara in the summer of 2009, and a year later they'd reached Tahiti.
Their cruise continues, so the award was made in absentia. Adjudicator Brian Cudmore of Cork made the point that their informative log included much general and often entertaining information, and it becomes even more interesting the further you got into it, so he's keenly anticipating the next inmstalment.
The Strangford Cup for an alternative best cruise could not have been more different, both in location or boat type. The 44ft Young Larry may have been built of steel in 1995, but she was based fairly precisely on the design of a gaff cutter built in 1907. And though the rig has been made more manageable through being a yawl, even the mizzen is gaff-headed, while the main sets a topsail. Not the most-easily handled rig for challenging seas, you might well think, but Maire Breathnach (originally from Dungarvan) and her partner Andrew Wilkes, crewed by Maire's niece Sibeal Turraoin, took Larry Og – which looks for all the world like a smaller Asgard I – right through the Northwest Passage to Alaska, an extraordinary one-season achievement.
The ICC members logged some other notable Atlantic voyages, with Michael Coleman of Cobh, a Port of Cork Pilot before he got the free bus pass, making a fine Atlantic triangle to the Azores, then Newfoundland, and so home to Cork, visiting many islands with his well-found 1988 Oyster 53 Oyster Cove. It was all done with a crew of average age 66, senior member Tom Noonan aged 76, and worthy winners of the Atlantic Trophy.
Over the years since its foundation in 1929, the Irish Cruising Club has become the trustee and adjudicator of many trophies, twenty in all, and two of them were special presentations in 2010. The Donegan Memorial Trophy went to Ruth Heard, an ICC member since 1967. She has cruised both to the Azores and Iceland, but is honoured this year in celebration of her remarkable contribution to the rebirth of the inland waterways, and to mark the re-opening of the Royal Canal. Ruth Heard was on the crew of Harklow, the last boat to transit the Royal in 1954 before its half century of official closure which was gloriously reversed in 2010.
And once upon a time, the ICC was the organiser of Ireland's Admiral's Cup campaigns. Though many members still race offshore as individuals, the club has long since focused totally on cruising. But it has a general trophy, the John B Kearney Cup for Services to Irish Sailing, and for 2010 it was awarded with acclamation to the successful Irish Commodore's Cup Team.
- Asgard I
- Sibeal Turraoin
- Oyster Cove
- Ruth Heard
- John B Kearney