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Displaying items by tag: Arranmore

The community of Arranmore is appealing to people around the world to consider bolstering their numbers on the island off Co Donegal.

The Gaeltacht island, northwest of Dungloe, recently became Ireland’s first offshore digital hub thanks to Three Ireland’s mobile broadband project.

And it’s hoping to use the benefits of that connectivity for remote working to attract people — and especially families — from as far afield as the United States and Australia to relocate there, as Lonely Planet reports.

Published in Island News
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#RNLI - Arranmore  RNLI in Co Donegal assisted a fisherman who got into difficulty off Gola Island at the weekend when his small boat ran aground on rocks.

The all-weather lifeboat was called out at 11am on Sunday 18 March and proceeded to Gola Island to assist the casualty.

On arrival at the scene, the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 from Sligo and the Bunbeg Coast Guard boat had lifted the fisherman from the boat.

The casualty was subsequently transferred to the lifeboat, where he was treated for mild hypothermia.

The lifeboat stayed at the scene until the tide turned before the volunteer crew then secured a tow rope to the boat and transferred both the fisherman, who was fully recovered, and the boat to Bunbeg Harbour.

Speaking following the callout, Arranmore RNLI coxswain Jimmy Early said: “Although it was quite windy, the sea was calm but the wind chill factor was approximately 1-2 degrees centigrade which accounted for the hypothermia.

“Once we treated the fisherman, he made a full recovery and was thankful to all the rescue services for their help.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Arranmore RNLI has just announced some new recruits to the lifeboat station, including an honorary president and three volunteer lifeboat crew.

Majella O’Donnell has been appointed station president. Majella met with the lifeboat crew last Tuesday 20 February at the station, where she was warmly welcomed with tea and biscuits.

Majella’s interest in seafaring began when her family, from Thurles in Co Tipperary, went to Spiddal, Co Galway on their annual holidays. Her father and mother Tom and Marion Roche, both keen sailors, often brought the family on board their boat and sailed the entire west coast of Ireland.

Majella has a house on Owey Island, often piloting her own boat when visiting the island, and says she has always been aware of the role of the lifeboats in saving lives at sea. She is also married to famous singer and Donegal native Daniel O’Donnell.

On meeting the crew and Arranmore RNLI press officer Nora Flanagan, Majella said how pleased she is to be part of this vital service.

“I’ve always had a huge passion for water safety and have been a great admirer of the work of the RNLI,” she said. “I want to lend my support to the work the Arranmore Lifeboat crew do, not just as a figurehead of the station but to be actively involved and in the forefront of all aspects of the station to help the crew continue their role of saving lives at sea.

“I may not be a crew member of the lifeboat going out to sea but I think I can see my role as an asset, not only in fundraising, but listening to the needs of the crew, highlighting the importance of this vital service to all those who use the sea for business or pleasure and spreading the message of safety on the sea.”

Coxswain Jimmy Early with station president Majella O'DonnellCoxswain Jimmy Early with station president Majella O'Donnell

The station has also signed up three new crew members: a Polish native, a round-the-world sailor and a young Leaving Cert student.

Before he arrived in Arranmore last August, Krakow man Sebastian Sebo had no awareness of the work of the lifeboats, even though he had been in Ireland since 2006 working as a promoter at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin.

Sebastian happened upon Arranmore when cycling the Wild Atlantic Way. Seven months later, having fallen in love with the island, its people and the pace of life, and discovering the role of the lifeboat, he not only decided to stay but applied to join the crew.

Sebastian is currently undergoing his apprenticeship with the Arranmore Lifeboat and said: “Even though I had no previous experience of boats, I’m really enjoying being part of the crew and learning the ropes, all the crew are very supportive and take time and patience teaching me the various skills involved. I love living on Arranmore and especially being part of the RNLI.”

Experienced sailor and mother of four boys Sharon O’Donnell felt privileged to be asked to join the lifeboat crew seven months ago.

Sharon’s experience with boats started at a young age when she fished with her father on his trawler and continued when she joined the crew of the yacht Derry~Londonderry~Doire in the 2015-16 Clipper Race.

Sharon joined the crew of the yacht in China, sailed the Pacific to America and back to Derry via the Netherlands and London, a journey which lasted four months.

Lifeboat coxswain Jimmy Early said: “I was aware of Sharon’s involvement in the Clipper Race and greatly admired her abilities as a very competent sailor, and knew she would be an asset to the Lifeboat. Having said that, you don’t have to have any experience to serve on the lifeboat as full training is given.”

Sharon said her training on the yacht was slightly different to her experience with Arranmore RNLI.

“All of the crew had to undergo training to sail on the yacht, but the lifeboat serves a different purpose and this is reflected in the training,” she said. “All crew members of the lifeboat serve an apprenticeship and have to undergo competence based training, we are trained in various skills to help each crew member save lives and have to prove our competence in each skill prior to continuing with the next one.

“I’m really enjoying working with the lifeboat and learning new, challenging skills.”

At 18 years of age, Erin McCafferty is the youngest crew of the Arranmore lifeboat, and is currently studying for her Leaving Cert at Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada on the island,

Erin became a crew member six months ago and is halfway through her apprenticeship. She also follows the Arranmore tradition of families serving on the lifeboat: Erin’s father John has been a crew member for 10 years, and her great-grandfather was a volunteer in the 1920s.

Erin hopes to study marine science at NUI Galway and said that her time spent on the lifeboat has convinced her that this is the direction she wants to take. She is particularly concerned about the amount of plastic pollution in all the oceans that is having an adverse affect on marine life.

Erin’s father John said: “I would encourage all young people to join the lifeboat crew if there is a station in their area, not only do they become part of an important service but it encourages them to be independent, problem solve and it is an experience they will be proud of no matter which direction their lives take.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Arranmore RNLI in Co Donegal was called out yesterday morning (Monday 6 November) at 11.45am to assist a 19ft fishing boat with two people onboard.

The small boat was approximately 400 metres from Arranmore Lifeboat Station when it developed engine failure.

On arrival at the stricken vessel, the lifeboat crew established a tow rope and towed the boat safely to anchor off Arranmore.

“This was probably one of the shortest calls we’ve had for several years,” said lifeboat coxswain Jimmy Early. “We were called out at 11.45am and we were back at anchor at 12.18pm.

“Whether it’s a long or short call out we are always ready to answer the call and we were delighted to help bring the boat and it’s crew to safety.”

In a separate incident on Friday (3 November), the lifeboat crew were attending a presentation in the Waterfront Hotel in Dungloe when they were alerted by a local man to a disturbance in the sea off Arranmore.

The man reported a white shape and a flock of sea birds in the sea and the lifeboat crew were asked to investigate.

On arrival, the crew discovered a dead whale which subsequently washed up at Béal a’ Chraois, a sheltered cove on the east of the island, where it remained as of yesterday.

The Waterfront Hotel had hosted a fundraising dinner dance in September in support of the Arranmore RNLI Lifeboat – raising €25,250 – and were in the process of presenting the crew with the cheque when they were interrupted by the callout.

Early added: “We would like to thank the Waterfront Hotel for their incredible generosity and congratulate them on their upgrade to four star status.

“This event goes to prove that we, the lifeboat crew are on call 24/7 and no matter what the occasion we are here to answer the call, that is our priority.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Arranmore RNLI was called to give assistance to a crabbing boat which got into difficulty off Arranmore on Tuesday (19 September).

The all-weather lifeboat was alerted at 4pm when the 60-tonne, 15m vessel with four crew on board suffered engine failure 35 miles northwest of Arranmore off the Donegal coast.

Weather conditions at the time were moderate with south, south east winds, Force 6-7 and a 3-4m swell.

When the lifeboat reached the crabbing boat, the crew secured a tow rope and the fishing vessel was towed to the safety of Burtonport harbour.

Arranmore RNLI coxswain Jimmy Early said: “This was a textbook rescue with favourable weather conditions and experienced fishermen who knew exactly what action to take in an emergency, they did all the right things to effect their rescue.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Arranmore RNLI's lifeboat crew responded to their third callout in a week early yesterday (Friday 18 August) to assist a fishing trawler with five people on board which got into difficulty after engine failure.

The fishing vessel, which left Killybegs in the early hours, was not long after stranded 10 miles north-west of Glen Head in Co Donegal. The Arranmore lifeboat launched at 3.30am and reached the casualty vessel at 5am.

Weather conditions at the time were challenging, with a two-metre swell and west south-west winds of Force 5-7.

Having reached the trawler in darkness, the lifeboat managed to get a rope on board to tow the vessel to Killybegs harbour, though progress was hindered as the rope broke several times due to the weight of the vessel and the high sea swell.

After a slow nine-hour tow, the fishing boat was finally safely berthed at Killybegs and the lifeboat returned to base at 6pm, a full 14 hours and 30 minutes after launch.

Arranmore RNLI coxswain Jimmy Early paid tribute to the crew of the fishing vessel.

“They were a very experienced fishing crew and knew exactly what was required to bring them safely ashore. Now it's bedtime, hopefully.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Arranmore RNLI's all-weather lifeboat was called out to assist two people in a boat with engine failure off the coast of Glen Head in Co Donegal on Saturday evening (20 May).

The stricken vessel, which had left Bunbeg and was on its way to Sligo, developed engine trouble and was taking in water so dropped anchor off Glen Head until the volunteer lifeboat crew arrived in scene to secure a tow rope and bring to Burtonport, where is now in dry dock for repairs.

Speaking following the callout, Arranmore RNLI coxswain Jimmy Early said the crew did the right thing calling out the lifeboat when they got into difficulty.

“As we approach the summer we would remind anyone heading to sea to always respect the water.

“When going out to sea for pleasure or business, make sure you have adequate fuel, that your boat is in good repair, you wear safety equipment, and have ways of contacting the emergency services.

“Tell someone on shore when you are going out, where you are going and your estimated time of arrival back.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Arranmore RNLI rescued four fishermen this morning after their 70ft boat got into difficulty off the Donegal coast.

The crew of the vessel which was travelling from Greencastle to Killybegs, raised the alarm before 7am after the boat developed steering problems some six nautical miles from Killybegs.

The all-weather lifeboat under Coxswain Jimmy Early launched at 7am and made its way to the scene which was approximately an hour and a half’s journey from Arranmore.

Once on scene, the volunteer lifeboat crew put a rope onboard the boat and worked with the fishermen to set up a tow line. However, due to a swell up to a metre and a half and south to south westerly Force 6-7 winds, the tow rope broke following set up. Once it was re-established, the lifeboat proceeded at slow speed due to the size of the fishing vessel, and made its way to Killybegs where it arrived with the vessel in tow at 11am.

Speaking following the call out, Tony Ward, Arranmore RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘The fishermen did the right thing this morning and called for assistance when they started to encounter difficulties. Weather conditions made the tow challenging but using their skills and training, our lifeboat crew were able to get the line re-established and bring the men safely to shore.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Jimmy Early has taken over as coxswain of the Arranmore RNLI all-weather lifeboat following 41 years of service.

Early, who is just weeks into the job, is currently furthering his training at the RNLI College in Poole, Dorset.

The new coxswain can recall his first call out 41 years to a medical evacuation from the island when, coincidently, the patient was the then coxswain of the lifeboat.

At that time it was mainly fishermen who manned the lifeboats, and the crew responded to the call on seeing flares and rockets going off to alert the crew.

Today, only 10% of RNLI volunteers come from a maritime background.

Potential crew members apply to serve on the lifeboat and have to serve a one-year apprenticeship and undergo rigorous training in all aspects of lifeboat disciplines, from boat handling, communications and radar to first aid and navigation.

“The lifeboats are more efficient now with much more technology in order to provide a faster response to the casualty, so the crew have to be able to manage each call out competently to ensure the best possible outcome,” says Early. “Crews are equipped with the training skills, protective clothing and the best lifeboats to save lives at sea.”

On Arranmore Island off the Donegal mainland, the RNLI has a dedicated crew of 21 volunteers who are equipped with pagers and the necessary skills and training to provide a professional response.

Early remembers the most challenging call out he was involved in back in July 2006.

Sailor Keith White, who had the use of only one arm, was sailing around the British Isles and Ireland when he got into difficulty in a force 10 gale with 10-12 metre swells 50 miles northwest of Arranmore.

It took the lifeboat six hours to reach White and get a tow rope on board in order to bring him to safety.

“At one stage a huge swell washed Keith overboard and we thought he was lost,” says Early. “After several minutes the lifeboat crew was both amazed and delighted to see an arm clutching on to the side of the boat. Keith had managed to haul himself back into his boat to the relief and joy of us all on the lifeboat.”

White’s boat was towed to safety and finally arrived in Burtonport some 22 hours after the lifeboat was first called. The sailor later returned to Arranmore to thank the crew and has since sailed to America.

The latest crew members to join the lifeboat are Martin Proctor and Fr Liam Boyle.

Proctor is following the family tradition of serving the lifeboat, as his father and uncle are both crew members. He is studying marine engineering at Cork and comes home as often as possible in order to continue his crew training with the lifeboat.

Arranmore RNLI is also breaking new ground in recruiting as, following the recruitment of its first female crew member, the station is delighted to now have its first priest join the crew.

Fr Liam Boyle took up the curacy role at Arranmore church in 2015 having served in his first parish in Ardara after ordination for six months.

Fr Liam wanted to integrate into the community and decided the best way he could serve the community outside of his ministerial duties was to join the lifeboat crew.

The priest, who had no previous seafaring experience prior to his RNLI training, said the nearest he ever got to operating a boat was on the pond in Dunlewey in a little tub.

His first callout was to a boat in difficulty at Loughross Point, where nerves and any potential seasickness were soon put to one side as the lifeboat approached the casualty vessel and Fr Liam played his role as a crew member in the rescue.

At present, crew are undergoing first aid training with Nick Darlison, a former paramedic with the NHS and now a first aid tutor from the RNLI.

In keeping with the Arranmore community and family tradition of crewing the lifeboat, many of the crew have relatives serving on the lifeboat. Early’s son Lee is the second coxswain, while mechanic Philip McCauley’s grandfather and uncles were all members of the crew.

Former crew have also returned to the crew years after spending time in England working as Tunnel Tigers.

Crew member John McHugh returned home two years ago and promptly re-joined the lifeboat. After serving his one-year apprenticeship, he is now a fully-fledged lifeboatman.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

#Rescue - A lobster fisherman was rescued after getting tangled in his vessel's ropes when it overturned off the Donegal coast on Saturday evening (9 April).

As TheJournal.ie reports, the rescue of the solo fisherman proved difficult for local coastguard and lifeboat teams due to the heavy swell at Inishinny, off Arranmore Island.

That's when the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 came in to free the man from his vessel and winch him to safety.

Rescue 118 was later called out to rescue a number of surfers in difficulty of the Leitrim coast, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Coastguard
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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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