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Displaying items by tag: California

#MarineWildlife - Northern Ireland's Exploris aquarium has put out a call to Lisburn locals to help them track down a notorious resident seal who's become somewhat of a landlubber.

As Lisburn Today reports, Sammy – as the seal's been named on social media – has been a regular fixture in the Laganside town for a number of years, and has recently been spotted as far as seven miles inland.

Various reports have described the unique habits of this 'sealebrity' who's been spotted walking the towpath at Lisburn's civic centre towards Hill Street near the centre of town.

But until now staff at Exploris have been unable to get a hold of Sammy to check on the seal's condition.

“We would very much like to get a closer look at her," they said in a recent appeal. "If you see her please call us!”

Elsewhere, sea lions in California are having a tough time of it due to rising ocean temperatures in the Pacific.

And according to Salon, it's a situation that will only get worse when the effects of human-induced global warming take hold.

Some 1,800 stranded sea lion pups have been recorded on California's beaches in just the first two-and-a-half months of this year, many of them in an emaciated state.

Warming waters hostile to key fish species and micro-organisms have been blamed for this phenomenon, as the sea lions are forced to swim exhausting distances for sustenance.

The flight of fish to more suitable temperatures elsewhere is also having an impact on fishing communities up and down America's western seaboard.

But while the cause of the current 'hot spot' may be "a fluke of climate variability", for some experts it points to future trends in the world's largest ocean. Salon has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#OCEAN ROWING: Battleborn, the crew skippered by Irishman Philip Cavanagh and carrying the Irish flag, has been disputing the lead in the Great Pacific rowing race. The crew lay second this morning to Uniting Nations in the race from Monterey in California to Hawaii which is in its seventh day. Battleborn has covered more miles than Uniting Nations but has been heading south of the direct line. According to the organziers Battleborn reported that they may look like they’re going off course “but there will be a strategy … avoiding the rough stuff and catching the handy trade winds.”

Cavanagh’s crew is completed by a Welshman, Barry Hayes, an Englishman, Darren Taylor, and an Australian, Dan Kierath.

Published in Rowing

#OceanRowing: Irishman Philip Cavanagh is set to compete in the Great Pacific rowing race from Monterey in California to Honolulu in Hawaii next summer. Cavanagh is putting together a four-person team, which will be called Battleborn. Barry Hayes from Wales and Englishman Howard Wagstaff are already signed up. None of the three had been rowers prior to committing to this project.

The race, which the organisers hope to run every two years, covers approximately 2,100 nautical miles (2,400 miles; 3,890 kilometres) and there will be trophies for the fastest four, pair and single to complete the journey. Nineteen crews (seven fours, six singles and six pairs) intend to compete.

Published in Rowing

#CALIFORNIA YACHT ACCIDENT - Three sailors are dead and a fourth is missing at sea after their racing yacht disintegrated after a collision with a larger boat off the coast of California, as Sky News reports.

The 37-foot racing yacht the Aegean was competing in the 124-mile Newport to Ensenada Race when it disappeared off the official race tracking system near the US-Mexico border on Saturday.

Race patrol officer Eric Lamb spotted the debris of the yacht, which investigators believe collided with a much larger ship such as a freighter or tanker. Lamb commented that the boat looked as if it "had gone through a blender".

The bodies of three crew were recovered by the US Coast Guard, but the search continues for a fourth person is still missing in the Pacific Ocean.

It marks the second major yacht racing accident to result in deaths in recent weeks, coming just a fortnight after Irish sailors Alan Cahill and Elmer Morrissey were lost in what was described as San Francisco's worst ever yachting accident.

Published in News Update
Tagged under

#MISSING SAILORS - The US Coast Guard last night suspended its search for four yacht crew members - including two Irish sailors - who went missing after what's being described as San Francisco's worst ever sailing accident, Fox News reports.

Petty Officer Caleb Critchfield told the Associated Press: "There's a window of survivability and we searched well beyond that window."

Boats and aircraft had combed over 5,000 square miles of ocean in a marathon 30-hour operation before the search was halted at sunset last night. It is not expected to resume.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the missing include Irish yachtsmen Alan Cahill, originally from Blarney in Co Cork, and his friend Elmer Morrissey, who had moved to the US for work only last year, according to friends and colleagues on Facebook.

The two men, along with fellow crew Jordan Fromm, Alexis Busch and Marc Kasanin, were thrown into the frigid water after their 38-foot yacht Low Speed Chase ran aground at the Farallon Islands, some 25 miles off the coast of San Francisco in northern California.

Three other crewmembers, including the boat's owner and skipper James Bradford, were rescued from the rocks shortly after the incident. The body of Kasanin, 45, was recovered from the water hours later.

The boat had been competing in the Full Crew Farallones Race with 40 other yachts between San Francisco and the islands when the tragedy occurred.

Known for its rough conditions with 14-foot swells and winds of up to 20 knots, the near-century old tradition has "never been for the faint of heart".

Published in News Update

#SURFING - A young surfer from Lahinch in Co Clare is in the running for the 'biggest wave' prize in the 2012 Billabong XXL contest for his monster ride at Mullaghmore Head, The Irish Times reports.

Ollie O'Flaherty, 24, is nominated along with Devon's Andrew Cotton for the massive surf they caught off Co Sligo on 8 March last.

It was the first visit to the world-class big wave spot by O'Flaherty, a science student at NUI Galway who is a veteran of the Co Clare scene.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, it was Cotton who tackled the biggest wave on that day - a giant 50-footer - as some of the world's top surfers took advantage of the Viking swell.

Also nominated for the $50,000 (€38,280) prize is Irish-American surfer Garrett McNamara, who last year rode what is being called the biggest wave ever surfed in the world, a 90-foot goliath off Nazaré in Portugal.

According to the Irish Independent, O'Flaherty has put out a call for sponsorship so he can attend the awards ceremony next month.

"It's a massive honor to be able to represent Ireland," he said, but added that he is "pretty much on the breadline from what I'm doing".

Should he win, the Lahinch native said he intends to "put every cent back into surfing" and replace his seven broken boards.

The winners will be announced at the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards in Anaheim, California on 4 May.

Published in Surfing

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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