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Displaying items by tag: Cruising

Tuesday 9 February 2021 will see the launch of the UK's Beacon of Hope Sailing Project's ambitious and unique circumnavigation of the globe. The crew of sailors, all of whom have been through life-changing experiences or illness, will attempt to achieve at least two world records on their incredible journey. Firstly the fastest non-professional team to circumnavigate the globe against wind and currents in the wrong direction. Secondly the fastest Atlantic Crossing for a Farr 65 yacht.

The team of 10 team members will depart from Cowes on their 38,000 nautical mile journey in June 2022. The project founded by Aaron Baxter, 21, from Gosport, Thomas Miles, 21, of Newport and Matthew Harris 53, all of whom have been through life-changing illnesses, will take them through ten countries including, St Lucia, the Falkland Islands, The U.S.A., New Zealand and South Africa.

The team will co-ordinate with various charities en route, including the Just One Ocean conservation project based at the University of Portsmouth. The Beacon of Hope's Sailing project was created to support those who have endured traumatic life events and to help them to launch their own journeys into a new and confident life. It aims to demonstrate the healing effects of sailing on both mental and physical health by promoting growth in independence.

"After I had medically recovered from my illness, I was expected to move forward with my life immediately, be able to explain to my employers and friends what I'd been through as well as obtaining a new job straight away in order to live. I found this very difficult. I needed an opportunity to reflect on what I had actually just gone through and to plan how to get back on track. " – Thomas Miles – Co-founder

The vessel selected for the journey is 'Albatross II' a Farr 65 designed by Bruce Farr, previously known as the 'Spirit of Diana', one of only 5 vessels built at the cost of $1 million each to compete in the Millennium Round the World Yacht Race from 1999-2000. During their first round of fundraising from sponsors, members of the public and continuous partnerships the team will purchase and undertake the extensive refit of the vessel in order to make the vessel suitable for both the purpose of the training and the race.

Following the race, the Beacon of Hope Sailing Project C.I.C. plans to establish a base on the Isle of Wight as a lasting legacy of their journey. The team will continue to enter the vessel into regattas and races such as the Round the Island Race, the Fastnet, and, in time, even larger races such as the Vendee Globe. From this base they will offer sailing and water-sports activates, helping people on their journey of recovery also offering practical, workshops to support people on a return to a fuller life as well as the base for the race team.

Published in Cruising
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The Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) has awarded Northern Ireland one-armed solo sailor Garry Crothers its 2020 Seamanship Award. 

Despite a pandemic raging throughout the year, the OCC found numerous achievements to recognise in the cruising world including the Derry sailor's summertime transatlantic voyage where his progress was regularly reported in Afloat.

Crothers found himself in St Martin when Covid-19 struck. He needed to get back to Northern Ireland for his daughter's wedding in September. With no flights and no possible crew, he sailed solo non-stop directly to Derry in Northern Ireland taking 37 days.

Crothers lost an arm in a motorcycle accident but has not let this limit his solo sailing.

Crothers is also involved in sailing for people with disabilities (Sailability) and the OCC citation says he is 'a true role model and inspiration'. 

Published in Cruising
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Royal Cruising Club (RCC) Awards the Medal for Services to Cruising – 2020 to the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC).

The Royal Cruising Club (RCC) announced at the Awards Evening on 07 January, held on Zoom, that the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) has been awarded the Medal for Services to Cruising.

"The Medal for Services to Cruising was founded in memory of Jocelyn Swann for rendering outstanding services to yacht cruising.

The Ocean Cruising Club provided exceptional services to cruising yachtsmen during the COVID 19 pandemic. There was early recognition of the mayhem caused by the pandemic to the cruising community around the world. Many cruising yachtsmen found themselves and their yachts trapped in places they did not expect to be, at the wrong time of the year, and with tropical storms threatening for which they were not insured.

As Afloat reported previously, the Ocean Cruising Club rapidly became a trusted centralised source of information concerning border restrictions for recreational craft. Communications platforms were established to provide the wider cruising community, including non-members, with advice, support and practical help for hundreds of yachts, faced with challenges of unplanned ocean passages. This initiative was a major factor in helping coordinate support for two yachts which were dismasted, one hit by lightning and the rescue of a yachtsman when his yacht sank, after an unfortunate collision with a whale.

The Medal for Services to Cruising is awarded to The Ocean Cruising Club."

OCC Commodore Simon Currin remarked, "Congratulations to the whole team. This is great recognition for our Club. Some great news to lift the spirits during a grim new year."

The story behind the effort, which occurred in tandem with other organisations, is documented in the OCC's publication Flying Fish ('Retreat from Paradise' by Vice Commodore Daria Blackwell). 'Lessons Learned' during the pandemic response was documented by Regional Rear Commodore (Ireland) Alex Blackwell.

Published in Cruising
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Following years of planning, months of trepidation, days of stowing, and hours of farewells, over 300 crew set sail today from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria for the start of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers - ARC 2020. It was a day that marked a great triumph for the sailors that have formed a unique community in Las Palmas Marina over the past two weeks of preparations. Additional challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have of course altered some things this year, but the vibrant mood and palpable excitement of departure day was as evident as it has been throughout the rally’s 35-year history and the ocean beckoned for the eager sailors to begin their adventure to Saint Lucia.

The entry list is here, no Irish entries were identified.

Ahead of the start, the sailors have enjoyed their time in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with the port city providing a warm welcome for the international crews. Preparing for a long ocean crossing creates quite a jobs list and the support from the local businesses in the marina to get all the yachts shipshape and ready to sail away has been terrific. A series of online seminars, individual Safety Checks, and assistance with local information from the World Cruising Club team has helped support skippers preparations and this year there have been many returning sailors in the fleet to offer advice for those crossing an ocean for the first time.

Robin Lemmens, sailing with her young family on Hanse 455, Veni Vidi Vixi was amazed how the time in Las Palmas has flown by, “In one short week we’ve prepared Veni Vidi Vixi to cross the great Atlantic. From provisioning to cleaning, weather routing to tuning into information sessions; there have been piles of laundry cleaned, folded and tucked away and food stored in every small space available. Amongst ticking items off the seemingly never ending ‘To Do List’, we’ve managed to connect with some of the amazing fellow sailors who will be there on the VHF, YB app or at least at the other end in our destination of Saint Lucia. Already, I am so looking forward to deepening the connections that have sprouted here in Las Palmas and I feel so grateful for the camaraderie - we are all in this together.” said Robin.

Easterly winds blowing across Gran Canaria from the Sahara brought the ARC fleet hazy sunshine for departure day, with a light breeze of 8-10 knots carrying through the inshore starting area. A procession of yachts large and small, monohulls and multihulls, made their way out of Las Palmas Marina as crews stowed fenders and lines and began to prepare their sails ready for the start. Horns echoed as they waved goodbye to spectators, some adorned in matching crew shirts and special outfits to mark the occasion, and at 12:35 the countdown began to the first start sound for the Racing Division.

Whilst the ARC is predominantly a rally not a race, it attracts some of the world’s greatest competitive sailors to take part. Sailing legend JP Dick returned for his third ARC, this time sailing his JP54 named The Kid double-handed with fellow Frenchman Fabrice Renouard. But it was pro-sailor and big-boat racing veteran Peter Perenyi who sailed his Marten 68 Cassiopeia 68 with an all Hungarian crew on board across the start line first at 12:45. With many miles ahead, it will be an interesting duel for the IRC rated racing fleet, with boats ranging from 39ft to over 80ft.

The Cruising and Multihull Divisions began their adventure at 13:00 with white sails set to glide through the line. The light winds gave a bit of a challenge for the skippers to navigate as they jostled to pass the Committee Boat and bid farewell to Gran Canaria. There were big smiles and cheers as they passed over the line to begin their ARC adventure.

Now the yachts are at sea, crews will adapt to ocean life and quite a change of pace from the pre-departure rush. As boats get south of Gran Canaria there should be some nice E-NE trades forming, with the classic route southern route looking best for the cruising fleet. Their progress can followed on the YB Tracking App and Fleet Viewer page of the World Cruising Club website. From the ARC departure today, the majority of boats will take 18-21 days to make the 2,700 nautical mile Atlantic crossing, arriving in Rodney Bay Marina, Saint Lucia.

Published in Cruising
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Dublin sailor Alan McMahon has published a book on his solo sailing adventures aboard a Hallberg Rassy 352 which he sailed across the Atlantic and back in 2018/19. 

'Sailing Away' is an autobiographical account of one man's 13-month adventure, sailing across the Atlantic from Europe to the Caribbean and back, single-handed. It is a story of breaking away from the shackles of the office to work remotely from the boat. Breaking away temporarily from family and friends and embracing the isolation of the ocean. The book is written in diary format with a day-by-day account of the experience of being a solo sailor.

The story starts in Dublin preparing the boat, a 35-foot Hallberg Rassy 352, before setting sail December 2018 from the Canary Islands. Alone at sea for three weeks, there were many high points as well as emotional lows. On arrival in the Caribbean, read about the life of a liveaboard sailor, sailing to nine exotic Caribbean islands and a near sinking when the boat ran into a fishing net. The return trip in May 2019 to Europe was via the Azores. A mid-Atlantic swim nearly left the author stranded, as the boat started to drift away. Another time during the night, he was thrown off balance and nearly overboard.

Sailing Away is an auto biographical account of one Dublin man's solo voyage across the Atlantic and backSailing Away is an autobiographical account of one Dublin man's solo voyage across the Atlantic and back

The Appendix section is packed with useful information and tips for anyone preparing for a major voyage.

The author is 47 years of age. He lives in Dublin, Ireland. Sailing the Atlantic is his second adventure; in 2003 he flew 25,000 miles around the world in the single-engine light aircraft, crossing the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Flying was his passion until he made a switch to sailing in 2007. A complete novice to sailing he built his experience in incremental steps, starting by learning to sail on a small daysailor boat.

Published in Cruising
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Fifteen-year-old sailor Timothy Long spent his summer on a 1,600 nautical mile anti-clockwise voyage around the British coast. Now he has broken the record of Tom Webb, who sailed around Britain aged 17 in 2011. Timothy, from Aylesbury, has become the youngest person to sail solo around Britain while so far raising over £7,000 to support his heroine, Dame Ellen MacArthur's young person's cancer charity (Thursday 1 October).

Ellen MacArthur has been Timothy's greatest inspiration since reading her books as child. When he learned about the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust – the national charity that empowers young people aged 8-24 to embrace their future after cancer through sailing and outdoor adventure – he wanted to help. He was too young to volunteer so decided to fundraise. After plucking up the courage to email Ellen – having told his mum "I can't write to her, she's a Dame"- a copy of her book 'Full Circle' and an Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust baseball cap, both signed by Ellen with the words "Go for it!" arrived out of the blue.

Inspired by Ellen's encouragement and that she had sailed round Britain aged 18, Timothy donned his Trust cap to follow her lead on his 28ft Hunter Impala, 'Alchemy'.

Having set out from Hamble, Southampton on 16 July, Timothy's venture (See Afloat.ie 1st, 6th and 14th September) brought him in early September to Bangor Marina from where he left on 4th September, calling at Ardglass on the County Down coast on his way south. He arrived yesterday (Wednesday 30 September) in the Isle of Wight where he received a warm welcome from Ellen herself, ahead of his final leg to Hamble.

Timothy said: "The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust does amazing work with young people to rebuild their confidence after cancer treatment, and the experience of being together on a boat can be a real turning point for people who have been through the worst of times".

Reflecting on his voyage Timothy said "My 20-hour passage between Eyemouth to Stonehaven in Scotland made me think of being in the shoes of the young people the Trust supports. I can't even imagine being diagnosed with cancer at this age, but people are and have to go through years of treatment, it's crazy. How can you return back to normal life after such a terrible experience without the support of the Trust?"

Timothy's first sailed a dinghy on a reservoir near Swindon aged nine. During his voyage, he sailed an average 50 miles per day, with several passages of up to 100 miles. He battled giant waves, gale force winds, 17 hours in thick fog in the Bristol Channel and on occasions sailed for 24 hours straight, sleeping for just 20 minutes at a time. There have been wonderful moments too; of perfect sailing, magical sunrises and sunsets and beautiful scenery and wildlife including dolphins, seals, birds and even a pilot whale.

Ellen said: "It is an incredible achievement for anyone to sail single-handed around Britain, but to do it at 15 really is something else. While Timothy will always have the personal satisfaction of that achievement, the legacy of what he's done will be even more far-reaching in terms of helping to change the lives of young people in recovery from cancer. I send Timothy my warmest congratulations and thank him on behalf of every young person the Trust supports."

To support Timothy go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/roundbritain2020 and for more information about the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust visit www.ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org

Published in Youth Sailing

The Cruising Association of Ireland has cancelled its traditional end of season event in Dublin, The Three Bridges Liffey Cruise.

The name reflects that the normal cruising event involved the simultaneous lifting of all three Liffey bridges at 3 pm on a Saturday towards the end of September.

The fleet usually numbering over 40 yachts then proceed up the Liffey to the head of navigation, with full sail where possible and flags in abundance.

Covid restrictions and a sense of respect for others are the main considerations bringing about the cancellation, according to the CAI's John Leahy.

While it is a disappointment, the CAI has been running a full programme since March that included a cruise to Belfast for the first time in three years, as Afloat reported here.

The coming autumn and winter will again feature a series of CAI Zoom Tuesday Night Talks. The CAI is open to all cruising sailors whether in a yacht club or not.

Published in Cruising
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It's only 160 km by road but the passage north from Dublin Bay for the twelve Cruising Association of Ireland crews who set out for Belfast Lough was a great deal more. With stopovers in Carlingford Lough and Ardglass on the way to Bangor and Belfast, those sailors who persisted in what turned out to be mostly disappointing weather conditions were rewarded with a warm welcome in all the marinas visited. It has been three years since the fleet came North and new members were welcomed to the CAI fold.

Led by Commodore Vincent Lundy in Timballoo, the 14-boat fleet mustered at Malahide Yacht Club where they were treated to a Barbecue hosted by Commodore Dan Flavin and his wife Therese. From there, aided by CAI Secretary John Leahy's regular forecast maps, some of which were so highly coloured there could be no mistake about what they told, two left for Carlingford – John McInerney's Nos na Gaoithe and Noel Lappin's Rhiannon. The rest had a lay day.

Friday saw the rest of the fleet head for Carlingford Lough and for those winds were generally NNE and 12 knots with a sloppy sea but relief came when the turn to port at the Hellyhunter Buoy off Cranfield Point brought some sunshine and calm seas. The destination was the marina on the County Louth shore, in that beautiful fiord like lough, where they enjoyed an evening meal.

Cruising Association of Ireland yachts arrive in Carlingford Lough during the cruise from Malahide to Belfast LoughCruising Association of Ireland yachts arrive in Carlingford Lough during the cruise from Malahide to Belfast Lough

Early morning at Carlingford MarinaEarly morning at Carlingford Marina

The next stop was the fishing town of Ardglass on the south Down coast. With the dire forecast of Storm Ellen for the end of the week, three chose the discretion option and planned to head back to Dublin Bay. After Ardglass it was on North to Belfast Lough.

Early morning at Ardglass Marina. The only marina between Carlingford and Bangor, Ardglass Marina is one of the safest small harbours on the east coast of Ireland thanks to its two breakwaters and dArdglass Marina is the only marina between Carlingford and Bangor. It is one of the safest small harbours on the east coast of Ireland thanks to its two breakwaters and deep water.Cruising Association members at Ardglass are (from left) Clifford Brown, John McInerney and Gerry Dunne

By Wednesday seven of the fleet were tucked up in Bangor – Timballoo, Rhapsody, Rhiannon, Aldebaran, Seod na Farraige, Nos Na Gaoithe and Enigma (John Murphy had the shortest passage having come from his home port of Carrickfergus on the opposite shore). There was plenty of room for Nanuq owned by Pat McCormick, Commodore of Carlingford Yacht Club and Simon Parker's Asile in the sparsely populated Belfast Harbour Marina with surely the most stunning backdrop in Titanic Belfast. And another northern member, David Meeke was in Bangor without his boat, having picked an unfortunate time to antifoul in Carrick! 

Stunning backdrop of the Titanic in BelfastThe stunning backdrop of the Titanic Belfast

Royal Ulster Yacht Club was the venue for the end of cruise dinner where on Wednesday evening the gathering assembled, suitably socially distanced, with Vice Commodore Alan Espey welcoming the crews.

Commodore Vincent Lundy reflected on the event." It is very difficult to organise any event which complies with COVID 19 regulations. The CAI is very particular to the point that they applied a high degree of Health and Safety over and above the recommended guidelines. The majority of CAI crews are family groups and we were able to put in place an alternative short cruise to replace the original planned for the West Coast of Scotland. At each of the main stops in Malahide, Carlingford and Bangor, the reception was welcoming and friendly. This was a worthwhile effort".

Published in Cruising

“A steel boat will take you anywhere if it is well maintained, but knowing it inside out made all the difference,”

“You can jump onto a boat and sail it, but you can have lots of problems if you aren’t familiar with it.”

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Galway scientists and sailors Peter Owens and Vera Quinlan speak of their 14 months sailing Danú of Galway with their two children Lilian (12) and Ruairí (10) and give tips for families considering the same.

Had they dodged lightning storms, swum through a shiver of sharks and clung to a coconut sack to escape the prison on the Îles du Salut that featured in the film Papillon, the Quinlan-Owens family could not radiate more exhilaration after their 12,000 nautical mile trip, which involved quarantining in the latter stages due to Covid-19.

Lilian was a toddler and Quinlan was still on maternity leave with Ruairí when they bought Danú, a 1 Mauritius-class steel ketch in 1993 to a Bruce Roberts design.

The cost for the couple was “the price of an average family car”. However, it required a complete refit, along with a new engine and electronics, after they sailed it up from the Guadiana river on the Spanish-Portuguese border.

danu crewHere comes the sun…..Danu’s crew as they took their departure from Ireland at the end of June 2019, with Lilian and Ruari (foreground), and their parents Peter Owens and Vera Quinlan. Photo Vera Quinlan

For almost two years, Owens laboured with power tools, dust and grime in Galway docks. Through dark winter nights, he dreamed of ventures north to climb in Norway’s Lofoten islands — a trip he made when the work was done.

“We just wanted to be 100% sure of the vessel,” says Quinlan. “Experience is something you cannot buy, and with that comes the knowledge that if you have something like a catastrophic fire out in the north Atlantic, you are out of range of a helicopter rescue.” Lilian and Ruairí learnt man-overboard drills and what to do if they had to abandon ship.

“You can’t take anything with you — not even your books,” says Ruairí.

Yearning to spend more time with their young family

A yearning to spend more time with their young family was also shared by Phillida Eves and Tedd Hamilton, who set off from Rosscahill, in Co Galway, for the Mediterranean in July 2003.

Their children, Oisín, Cian and Soracha, were aged between nine and two, and their springer spaniel, Poppy, travelled with them on 14-metre, 30-year old Nicholson ketch, Kari, which they had bought in southern Spain.

The couple remortgaged their house, and Hamilton’s profession as a marine engineer meant he could work on “superyachts” while Eves, a teacher, could be drawn on real-life situations to give the children maths lessons, such as calculating distance for fuel.

Practical education was also the focus for Trish McDonagh, when she and her husband and two children, then aged four and seven, embarked on an extended Atlantic circuit from Cork harbour on their yacht, Selkie, between 2012 and 2015.

“I took the home-schooling seriously, but then stripped it away to maths and English, while every other subject — history, geography, science, and so on — was based on where we were,” she says. “I think the big advantage for the children was having time with both of their parents, which can be difficult enough in this world we find ourselves in.

Read more in The Sunday Times here

Published in Cruising
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In a few days, a large fleet of 17 boats from the Cruising Association of Ireland will arrive in Belfast Lough. It's three years since they last cruised here in Northern Ireland. The contingent will include two boats from the North – David Meeke's Serenity from Royal Ulster and John Murphy from Carrickfergus SC in Enigma.

As Afloat reported previously, the plan is to depart Malahide by this Thursday (13th) heading north to gather in Carlingford Lough at the Marina the next day and then proceed to Belfast Lough for a muster in Belfast Harbour Marina on Monday 17th. After that, the fleet will be in Bangor Marina for 19th and 20th where Royal Ulster YC will welcome the crews for an evening meal. The cruise will finish with free sailing south.

Commodore Vincent Lundy is pleased that the CAI is going cruising. " It has been an incredibly difficult year for us all, but the bottom line is that we need to go cruising. Needless to say, we are bound to remain compliant with all restrictions imposed, and these same conditions will dictate the levels of social interaction for the safety of our membership. Indeed is our duty to do so. A special welcome is extended to new members and those with homeports in the Northern Region".

Published in Cruising
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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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