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Displaying items by tag: Bangor

Recently the Brompton inflatable goose featured in a story about open sea swimmers near Bangor on Belfast Lough. Now round the corner from Brompton, the Helen’s Baywatch swimmers have a real ‘Goose’ to swim with!

The reddish-brown female eider duck started life on Trasnagh Island in Strangford Lough where it was noticed five weeks ago by Jack Childs on a kayaking trip. He saw some dead ducklings but ‘Goose’ was still very much alive and hopped into his kayak.

Having unsuccessfully tried to return it to land he decided to keep it safe and ended up taking it home.

This special duck is ironically called ‘Goose’ after Tom Cruise’s wingman in the 1986 blockbuster, Topgun.

Jack and his mum Clare took advice from a friend who kept ducks and started it on the correct food. It thrived with all this individual attention and now thinks Clare and her son are his family! So much so it goes everywhere with them (in a cat carrier) and swims regularly with the group, not only in Helen’s Bay but also at other locations such as Donaghdee and Islandmagee. ‘Goose’ has even been in the Mourne Mountains!

Published in Sea Swim
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Last Friday was the first of July’s FunDay Fridays on Belfast Lough, a three-way collaboration between Bangor Marina, SUP HubNI and Citizen Sea who are together providing a fabulously educational and active two-hour session where all the children will have an opportunity to learn about Water Safety, try Paddleboarding, learn about environmental issues and research, and commandeer the pontoons like pirates looking for treasure (marine life)!

Citizen Sea is Northern Ireland’s first boat-based Environmental Research Charity, SUP Hub NI is a Paddleboard School and Boatfolk Bangor Marina’s role is to facilitate and promote this new collaboration.

Onboard the Seabird, a converted 17-metre ex herring ring netter, the children learn about Harbour wildlife, then search for marine creatures and see how the Sea Bins work collecting marine litter. It is run by Jen Firth, a boat lover and marine conservationist, and Master Shipwright Tony McLoughlin. SUPHubNI frequently operates in the Harbour and owner, Iain McCarthy wants to make the experience as safe, simple and enjoyable as possible and therefore provides the Paddleboard, Paddle, Wetsuit, Buoyancy Aid, Booties & Leash.

The popularity of this venture is illustrated by the fact that all sessions are fully booked.

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The rescue services were so busy over the weekend that they have related several incidents together.

A jetskier needed medical assistance after coming off his jetski. Donaghadee Lifeboat brought the casualty from Millisle into Donaghadee harbour and was met by Northern Ireland Air Ambulance, HART Paramedics, NIAS Ambulance and Bangor CRT. The team thanked the Kayakers who went to his aid.

Bangor was the scene when two girls were washed out to sea on paddleboards. And at Millisle it was a false alarm with good intent when a member of the public who did not see the canoe belonging to two males, thought they were trapped on the rocks.

Portaferry Coastguard Rescue

And today (Sun 28th) the team was tasked along with Portaferry Coastguard Rescue and Portaferry Lifeboat to rescue several people stuck on one of the many islands in Strangford Lough. The persons involved had spent the night on the island and had attempted to come back ashore. It was at this point one of the kayaks capsized and they returned to the island. Portaferry Lifeboat brought all nine people back to the waiting Coastguards who carried out welfare checks on everyone.

Belfast Coastguard says “A big thank you to the members of the public who gave our casualties warm drinks”.

Published in Belfast Lough
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Bangor's lifeboat rescued four people aboard a motorboat from Carrickfergus after the boat broke down off Whitehead, and the group risked drifting into a shipping lane in Belfast Lough in fading light.

A volunteer crew from Bangor RNLI was requested by Belfast Coastguard just after 10pm on Saturday night last (13 June) to attend the broken down motorboat just off Whitehead.

In calm conditions and only light winds, there was no immediate danger, but there was a possibility of the boat drifting into the shipping lane used by the Belfast to Cairnryan ferry.

In fading light, helm Kyle Marshall and the crew were able to reach the craft quickly and, having assessed the situation, attached a tow rope and towed them back to Carrickfergus Marina.

By the time they reached the marina, the light had all but gone.

Speaking following the callout, Marshall said: “We were delighted to be able to help these people and return them safely to the marina.

“We would ask everyone returning to the water after lockdown to ensure their vessel has been well maintained, and they have all the appropriate safety gear on board.”

Boat owner Alan McIlroy was effusive in his praise of the Bangor crew: “These guys are worth their weight in gold, and after realising we had a problem, we were delighted to see them arrive. They were totally professional, and very skilled.”

Published in Belfast Lough
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The situation around the opening of marinas and harbours in Northern Ireland in COVID-19 appears fluid but the latest news is good for those wanting to relax, sail and visit.

Bangor Harbour Master Kevin Baird says that Bangor, Carrickfergus, and Glenarm marinas and harbours are open to visitors but for short stay only – no overnighting.

Also open to all are the Ards and North Down harbours but the Copeland Islands off Donaghadee are completely closed. Marinas and harbours in the Newry and Mourne Council areas are open on the same basis – short stay only.

Belfast Harbour Marina has confirmed that it is open for residents only.

Going north all the Causeway Coast and Glens Marinas and Harbours are now open but only to residents, with the exception of Rathlin Island. It will remain closed for in the short term to all vessels, including visitors. John Morton, Ballycastle Harbour Master, has clarified, “We are not open for any visiting vessels at this time, only resident ones. This will be reviewed over the coming weeks”.

In Strangford Lough, Portaferry Marina has been open for residents and visitors since 25th May but there is no news on Strangford town pontoon or on Foyle Marina in Derry.

The current Foyle Port website posts a Notice to Mariners stating that Foyle Port Marina is closed to visiting vessels and crafts. A further notice will be issued when the marina has re-opened to all.

On the subject of crews, Kevin Baird says, “ Our understanding is that groups of up to six people who do not share a household can meet up outdoors and onboard boats while maintaining social distancing, i.e. two metres”.

Published in Irish Marinas
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Bangor RNLI is appealing to get in touch with the family of a teenage paddle boarder rescued at the weekend after he was blown out into Belfast Lough.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were tasked on Friday afternoon (29 May) after reports of the incident off Grey Point.

Arriving at the scene, they found the 13-year-old boy had been retrieved from the water by a motorboat that has seen him in difficulty, and he was safety returned to the beach at Helen’s Bay.

Bangor RNLI emphasises that the boy had no lifejacket on, and that without the help of others “this could easily have turned into a tragedy”.

Now the lifeboat unit is appealing to contact the boy and his family to invite them to visit the lifeboat station when regulations allow, to find out more about what they do.

“We are also interested to find out from him how he felt when he realised things were going wrong, in the hope that this might prevent others getting into difficulty.”

Published in Belfast Lough
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Another project in addition to the Bangor Queen’s Parade development on the County Down coast mentioned recently in Afloat, should see the enhancement of a two-mile stretch of the coast from the west of the Bangor Harbour all the way through to the eastern end of Ballyholme Bay writes Betty Armstrong.

Ards and North Down Council has appointed AECOM as consultant for this £60M Bangor Waterfront project to help establish Bangor as a thriving town and prime visitor attraction in Northern Ireland.

The project includes new public realm along the 2.2 mile stretch and new greenways and coastal paths that will better link people to both the town and the sea. Pickie Park, which is already immensely popular with residents and visitors alike, will be enhanced to become a family visitor attraction of national significance and compliment the re-imagining of Ballyholme beach that is also part of the project.

The potential for other innovative features that support the town’s aspiration to revive itself as an attractive, accessible, creative and diverse seaside town will be explored as part of the early work AECOM will undertake.

Bangor SeafrontBangor Seafront

The AECOM team offers extensive visioning, design, environmental and economic expertise. AECOM was the master planner for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and has delivered a range of waterfront projects, including Liverpool, Blackpool and in Northern Ireland,the award-winning Newcastle public realm. AECOM has also worked on several projects in Bangor, such as the recent town centre public realm improvements. The AECOM-led team for the Bangor Waterfront project also includes Hemingway Design, Savills and Jettora.

Patrick Clarke, Director – UK & Ireland Masterplanning Lead, AECOM, said: “Building on the ambitious waterfront plan for Bangor, our team brings a breadth of multidisciplinary expertise to further develop this vision, creating a masterplan that will secure long-term tourism and economic benefits for the town and a business case to support future investment in Bangor” Wayne Hemingway, Hemingway Design, added: “We think that Bangor is a town with so many of the ingredients needed to really attract more visitors and be an even more lovely place to live and work, so we’re excited to be a part of this project”.

The Bangor Waterfront Project is one of several exciting tourism-led regeneration schemes due to receive funding from the Belfast Region City Deal. Approximately £40M will be secured via this bespoke package of funding from Westminster, with the remaining investment coming from both the Council and the private sector.

Mayor of Ards and North Down, Alderman Bill Keery, commented: “The appointment of AECOM, and its wider team, is a critical step forward in our plans to regenerate Bangor. They bring a wide range of experience, including the delivery of international coastal regeneration projects, to the table and I have no doubt will challenge and refine our thinking as we progress this very exciting project.”

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Since Victorian times until about thirty years ago, Queens Parade in Bangor was a thriving seaside thoroughfare with shops, hotels, a cinema, and ice cream vendors all colourfully set in a row, attracting hundreds to that part of the town writes Betty Armstrong.

Sadly, most of the buildings have gone, many are derelict and only artistic type ‘pods’ on waste ground relieve the boredom. In 1989 on the seaward side, the Council built the marina replacing the open bay and the little beach at the bottom of Main Street with a 500-berth haven and associated facilities, a Coastguard station and beside it a boatyard.

But the siting of two huge retail complexes on the outskirts of the town has ruined business in the town centre. Now the Ards and North Down Council, after many proposed and discarded redevelopment plans, has appointed Bangor Marine as the developer to take forward a major £50m regeneration project of Queen’s Parade.

Bangor Marine PresentationAn artist's impression of views from the proposed apartments out over Bangor Marina
The proposed scheme is made up of; Marine Gardens Public Realm combining external events space, cafes, sheltered promenade and kiosks, beach, seafront lawns, children’s play area and water feature; a 70/80 bed hotel; a destination/cinema building; residential units; commercial/retail/restaurant space; office Space; a play zone; refurbishment of existing commercial properties; 200 space car park; and marketplace and courtyard squares.

Making the announcement the Department for Communities Permanent Secretary Tracy Meharg said: “This development and the £50m investment in Bangor will generate new jobs, new shops, new offices, new homes and make this area Bangor a place to see and visit. It will help to support a number of areas that we know are important to the vitality of our town centres, especially employment and tourism”.

The then Mayor Councillor Richard Smart said “The regeneration of Queen’s Parade is critical to the future of Bangor and to maximising the economic growth potential of the wider borough of Ards and North Down. With the appointment of Bangor Marine – a consortium made up of a number of leading companies including the Karl Group and Farrans – we are taking a very significant and exciting step forward”.

Aran Blackbourne, Managing Director of the Karl Group commented “The Bangor Marine team are delighted to have signed the Development Agreement to deliver this prestigious and life changing development for the people of Bangor and beyond”.

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#Lifeboats - Bangor RNLI was delighted yesterday (Tuesday 29 January) Yesterday afternoon, Bangor RNLI was delighted to welcome a delegation led by Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, Chairman of the RNLI Operations Committee.

Sir Tim and other top RNLI officials met volunteers who run the Bangor lifeboat station as part of the charity’s coastal review.

Together, they spent more than two hours discussing the running of the lifeboat station, the views of management, crew members and fund-raisers, as well as their hopes for the future.

Sir Tim, who is chairman of the RNLI’s operations committee, explained that he and his colleagues visit every lifeboat station in the country in a rolling series of visits to ensure the RNLI remains relevant to each station’s unique needs.

He thanked all the Bangor RNLI volunteers for their commitment to keeping the local waters and shores safe and said how impressed he was to see the high standards set by Bangor are being maintained.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Bangor RNLI has paid tribute to its dedicated lifeboat volunteers after what’s hoped to be its final callout of 2018.

Just after 6.30am this morning (Monday 31 December) the lifeboat was called to assist in the rescue of a vulnerable woman in the water off Carrickfergus.

The inshore lifeboat Jessie Hillyard was stood down after the woman was assisted by land-based rescue services, but according to the Bangor RNLI Facebook page, even this callout illustrated the dedication of its crew.

“Every time the pagers go off, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, our dedicated volunteers drop everything to launch the lifeboat with the aim of saving lives at sea.

“This morning, 16 volunteers turned up at the lifeboat station to help, and while only four were needed to crew the boat, the others stayed around to clean the boat on her return.

“Please raise a glass to them tonight, for everything they do to keep the waters and shore around us safer.

“Please also toast our wonderful fundraising team who work so hard to raise the vital funds we need to provide this service.

“And, thanks to everyone who has contributed their hard-earned money to the RNLI this year — we really do appreciate it.

“Finally, please remember that this is a difficult time of year for many people, and that lives can be saved with a friendly word or a smile.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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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