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Round the World Irish sailing couple Paraic O'Maolriada and Myra Reid returned to their home port of Kinsale in County Cork at the weekend having completed a six–year circumnavigation writes Bob Bateman.

The fluent Irish speakers returned to the West Cork port on Saturday in their 63–foot long yacht 'Saol Eile' to be greeted by family and friends. The craft was dressed with flags from all the countries they had visited over the course of their 43,000 nautical miles voyage.

Paraic, a non–swimmer, was formerly a master brewer in Guinness Brewery who has also designed breweries in Scotland. Paraic says it was a relatively quick decision to 'pack it all in' and take on the global journey.

yacht saol eile kinsaleAbove and below: The 63–footer yacht Saol eile safely back in Kinsale after its round–the–world voyage. Photos: Bob Bateman

Kinsale Yacht Saol Eile

The couple prepared for the journey in 2010 with assistance from Zafer Guray of Bantry who gave them tips about how to handle the boat with just the two of them onboard.

Married for 49–years, Paraic and Myra said their scariest moment of all came on day two when the short–handed couple encountered a force nine storm in the Bay of Biscay.

Their most pleasant cruising experience was in Namibia, sighting hundreds of thousands of birds pelicans and flamingos. Another place they loved was Madagascar with its multitude of beautiful anchorages. But Myra says overall that 'the best part of the trip was being home'.

 DSC3732Round the World Irish sailing couple Paraic O'Maolriada and Myra Reid reunited with family at Kinsale Yacht Club. Photo: Bob Bateman

Published in Cruising

#RNLI - Lough Derg RNLI's lifeboat launched this morning (Friday 1 July) to assist four people on board a 40ft cruiser whose anchor came loose and dragged beneath their boat in severe weather.

At 11.20am Valentia Coast Guard requested the lifeboat to attend to the cruiser located by Hare Island.

The lifeboat launched at 11.42am with helm Peter Clarke, Lorna Walsh and Barry Morkan on board. Winds were south-westerly Force 5, gusting 6/7, with good visibility.

The lifeboat was alongside the cruiser at 11.52am. Everyone on board was safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

An RNLI crew member reassured everyone on board the cruiser. Given the severe weather conditions and the exposed location, it was decided to let the anchor go when it could not be recovered back on board after numerous attempts.

The cruiser for any other potential problems, and everything was found to be in working order, so it continued its journey to the public harbour at Dromineer where it took shelter.

The lifeboat returned to station and was ready for service again at 1.14pm.

Lifeboat operations manager Liam Maloney advises boat users to "check the weather before setting out from harbour and ensure all items are stowed correctly".

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

As Afloat.ie reported in April, Sailing In Dublin Club yacht Silverwind set out on the first of its fourteen week long cruises around Ireland this summer. Club member Damien Byrne describes his week long cruise with stunning views of West Cork.  

After two weekend delivery trips, the first from Dun Laoghaire to Kilmore Quay and the second weekend onto Kinsale, Sailing In Dublin Club’s yacht Silverwind set out on the first of its fourteen week long cruises around Ireland. Each of the fourteen weeks, will see the Clubs cruising yacht manned by different members each week, move around the coast of Ireland. On Saturday the 11th June the first crew of five met onboard the Sun Odessey 35, skippered by club Captain Linda fFrench. Of the five crew Linda, Damien and Ann are based in Dublin with Peter based in Co Clare and Anthony in West Cork. The crew was a mix of seasoned and novice sailors.

Having provisioned on the first day the crew set off for Glandore. On route the Captain, went through the safety procedure and equipment on board and also practiced man overboard procedures. The relatively short trip allowed the crew to become familiar with the boat and allowed some time to find their sea legs. The first night involved anchoring in Glandore on a wet evening and the crew cooked on board.

The following morning was a nice bright morning and allowed Anthony to view his home town from a different angle than normal as the boat left for Baltimore. With the winds from the Northwest the crew faced a beat to Baltimore Harbour. On arrival in Baltimore Bay the crew tied up at the more sheltered Sherkin pontoon at the Islanders Rest Hotel. The Hotel provides great food especially the fish dishes which were enjoyed by all. The forecast for Monday included a small craft warning and the crew decided to stay tied up for the day. This time allowed a full walking tour of Sherkin Island which ended in time to watch the first of Ireland’s games in the Euro championship. As there was other boat crews also tied up there was a big crowd watching the match though many did not appear to be too familiar with the game of soccer!

fastnet rock

On Tuesday the crew intended to head for Lawrence Cove on Bere Island via the Fastnet, and after a healthy breakfast, and sandwiches made for the long day ahead, they headed out to sea. The sun shone, basking shark and dolphins were spotted, and the crew got great pictures of The Fastnet (above). However it was turning into a long day of sailing, and with a strong and unfavourable wind and lumpy seas, a mixture of sailing and motor sailing, the crew opted for plan B and headed into the sheltered harbour of Crookhaven and picked up a visitor mooring. It was a glorious sunny afternoon so a picnic of a selection West Cork cheeses was enjoyed on deck. Later the crew blew up the dinghy and headed ashore for dinner. After a drink in the local un-crowded hostelry they headed for the local restaurant which appeared almost empty only to be told they were fully booked out with a bus load of tourists which were about to arrive! The only option was to head back out to the boat for a West Cork culinary breakfast of Clonakinty puddings and sausages which we had intended for the morning.

Overnight the wind dropped and the morning was beautiful and sunny as the crew once again headed for Lawrence Cove marina in Bere Island (below). With a favourable wind they sailed past the Mizen and then as they turned north, resorted to the engine to get to Bere Island before the winds increased later in the day. Being under engine allowed the boat to hug the coast and get close up views and pictures of Mizen Head, Three Castle Head and Sheep Head. On arrival in Lawerence Cove we were met by the friendly marina owner Rachel who provided us with plenty of local information and booked a reservation for us in the Lookout restaurant. Although this restaurant is located at the other end of Bere Island the restaurant operates a free shuttle service to and from the restaurant. All the crew enjoyed a fabulous feed of scallops and fresh fish. The family that own the restaurant were also involved in the salvage of the tallship Astrid (which sank off the Cork coast in 2013) and pictures of the salvage operation are on view in the Restaurant. The crew also walked around the old Navy base which was occupied by the British until 1938. Some of the Navy buildings were used by Glenans sailing school until 1993.

Lawrence cove marina

The crew set off the following day for Derrynane. The wind was again strong from a Northerly direction and the crew were very happy to tie up to a visitors mooring in the very sheltered and beautiful harbour. Friday was the last day of sailing and with beautiful sunshine and winds moderating, it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable days sailing. The crew got good views of the coast and of the Skelligs, pods of dolphins swam along with the boat a few times and Fungi the Dingle dolphin also made an appearance when entering Dingle Harbour. After a night out in Dingle with lots of traditional music and craic, all that was left to do was to clean the boat for the next Crew who will bring the boat further on its journey around Ireland.

All in all it was a fabulous week cruise with stunning views of the West Cork and Kerry coastline and Islands, with visits to the more remote parts of Ireland and close encounters with dolphins and basking sharks. Sailing In Dublin Club provides a fleet of boats and the company to sail and cruise in Ireland at very low costs. For more information visit www.sailingindublin.ie

Published in Cruising
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#RNLI - Both Wicklow RNLI lifeboats launched after 7.20pm on Sunday evening (22 May) to assist two men in a small motor cruiser near Wicklow Head.

A member of the public contacted the Irish Coast Guard after seeing the men bailing water out of the vessel.

The motor cruiser was located about a half-mile northeast of Wicklow Head a short time later.

Weather conditions on scene were described as having a moderate sea state with north-easterly Force 3 winds and good visibility.

The boat was taken in tow by the all-weather lifeboat back to Wicklow Harbour, where the two occupants were taken ashore safe and well by the inshore lifeboat crew.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

H.W. ‘Bill’ Tilman’s mountain travel philosophy, rooted in Africa and the Himalaya and further developed in his early sailing adventures in the southern hemisphere, was honed to perfection with his discovery of Greenland as the perfect sailing destination. His Arctic voyages in the pilot cutter Mischief proved no less challenging than his earlier southern voyages. The shorter elapsed time made it rather easier to find a crew but the absence of warm tropical passages meant that similar levels of hardship were simply compressed into a shorter timescale.

First published fifty years before political correctness became an accepted rule, Mischief in Greenland is a treasure trove of Tilman’s observational wit. In this account of his first two West Greenland voyages, he pulls no punches with regard to the occasional failings, leaving the reader to seek out and discover the numerous achievements of these voyages.

This extract is taken from Chapter X11: To Godthaab and Evighedsfjord, which sees Mischief sailing through pack-ice en route to Cape Farewell.

Cape Farewell, so named by John Davis, is the southern extremity of an island 2700 feet high. Surrounded as it is by high mountains it does not stand out prominently, but like most capes that mark the culminating point of large masses of land it is noted for stormy weather. In addition much ice accumulates round it, sometimes extending as far as 150 miles seaward. But the average distance is seventy miles in April, decreasing in August to thirty miles. For our part we could not have rounded it in fairer conditions. Sailing west-northwest parallel to the coast, mountains glistening all along our starboard hand, we romped along at five knots over a sparkling blue sea on a day of brilliant sunshine. And what fascination there is in the sight of this Greenland coast; how bracing the austere beauty of sea, snow mountains, and ice! In the morning we sighted only one big solitary berg and in the afternoon passed another close enough for us to take photographs. In order to have the best light we passed it on the wrong side, that is to leeward, where we had to dodge a number of bergy bits or growlers which had broken off. A German stern-trawler from Kiel altered course to have a closer look at us and greeted us with three blasts of his siren. The air temperature that day was 36° F. and the sea 42° F.

greenland

Kangamiut (left) and Evinghedsfjord

Next day we lay becalmed. It was an equally brilliant day and the few icebergs scattered about were curiously distorted by mirage. On this account, too, we could not make out whether a white bank all along the horizon to starboard was fog or ice. At the same time we were much puzzled by a low, rumbling noise. Some thought there must be a fishing boat about, others an aeroplane. True we had a bottle-nosed whale close aboard at the time but we could not hold him responsible for a noise like that. When a breeze sprang up we closed with this white bank and found it to be heavily congested pack-ice so distorted by mirage as to appear twice its height. It was this pack-ice that in spite of the perfectly smooth sea maintained the low menacing growl which we had heard from miles away. In similar circumstances John Davis and his company had been confounded by the noise of the pack: ‘Here we heard a mighty great roaring of the sea, as if it had been the breach of some shoare, the ayr being so foggie that we could not see one ship from the other. Then coming near to the breach, we met many islands of yce floating, and did perceive that all the roaring that we heard was caused only by the rowling of this yce together.’ We sailed to within a hundred yards of the pack to take photographs before standing out to sea. From so low a viewpoint as our deck photographs of pack-ice proved singularly unimpressive. In the vicinity of the pack the sea temperature was down to 34° F.
All next day as we drifted and sailed up the coast we had the pack in sight, for apparently it filled the whole of the Julianehaab Bight as far north as Cape Desolation. Ghosting along all night we tacked once to avoid a raft of small floes covering a mile of sea. The morning broke clear and sunny and again we found ourselves surrounded by floes with just enough steerage way to avoid them. A seal lay basking on a floe but when we tried to edge close the whisper of wind failed altogether and when we started the engine he dived into the sea. In the afternoon we ran into fog. The air temperature fell to 36° F. and the moisture on the ropes froze. By evening, the fog still persisting, we found our way barred by a narrow belt of pack-ice. Although the water beyond appeared to be clear of ice we hesitated to break through and coasted westwards alongside the ice searching for an opening. For four hours we motored at four knots, dodging loose floes, and still having the more solid ice about fifty yards away on our starboard hand. At length at ten o’clock, tired of dodging stray floes and thinking I saw an opening, I turned her head towards the ice. We were nearly through when in making a tight turn to avoid a floe on the port side we suffered a frightening blow below the water-line from a tongue of ice projecting from a floe on the starboard side. Those who were below were more than a little startled. As one man they rushed on deck to see what had hit us such a sickening thud. Assuming a calm which I was far from feeling I told them we had just grazed a bit of ice, that the ship appeared not to be sinking, and that at least we were through the ice and able to resume our proper course.

The book can be purchased directly from Afloat's Marine Market at €15.67 here

Published in Cruising

#Coastguard - Two people on board a 30ft cruiser were rescued by the Irish Coast Guard's Killaloe unit yesterday evening (Monday 23 May), as the Irish Examiner reports.

The coastguard team towed the boat into deeper water after it ran aground on Lough Derg before 6pm - and an ROV was used to confirm there was no damage to the underside of the vessel.

Published in Coastguard

#CoolRoute - With their city's namesake yacht's performance in the Clipper Race firmly in mind, Derry officials met with fellow Cool Route partners in Glasgow last week ahead of hosting their own project meeting this October.

As Derry Now reports, the recent two-day gathering allowed partners in the Cool Route cruising initiative to discuss various aspects of the project, with Derry leading talks on IT and online booking.

Cool Route partners – which include Cork Institute of Technology and Donegal County Council – also met with marine leisure industry stakeholders to share insights and feedback.

Derry Now has more on the story HERE.

Published in Cruising
Tagged under

#MarineWildlife - Places are going fast for a special cruise on board the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's Celtic Mist to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ireland's whale and dolphin sanctuary.

Celtic Mist will depart Fenit, Co Kerry next Saturday 7 May with a team of IWDG members and marine science experts on an almost three-month circumnavigation of Ireland, first heading north along the Wild Atlantic Way and around to the Irish Sea, calling on Dublin on 7 June to mark the 25th anniversary of the Irish Government's official declaration of this island's waters as a sanctuary for cetaceans.

The declaration came only three months after it was proposed by the then newly formed IWDG, and both have been instrumental in raising awareness of the bounty of marine wildlife in Irish waters.

Though berths on the voyage are filling fast, everyone will have the opportunity to participate by assisting in outreach events along the cruise route, or by tracking its progress online. Details on how to get involved can be found on the IWDG website HERE.

Along the way passengers on Celtic Mist may be treated to some of the incredible wildlife the sanctuary was created to protect, such as humpback whales – a number of which were spotted on an early visit to West Kerry earlier this month, likely attracted by schools of sand eels, as the IWDG reports.

In other marine wildlife news, locals near a beach close to Ballyshannon in Co Donegal have complained after a whale carcass was left rotting on rocks three days after it was reported to authorities.

According to the Irish Mirror, successive high tides had failed to shift the 25ft minke whale, though Donegal County Council says it is arranging for the animal's disposal.

Published in Marine Wildlife

We don't really think about it on a daily basis, but the Earth is still changing all the time. It just happens so slowly that we can't really perceive it. But every now and then, things speed up… a lot. Check out these photos below to see what a cruising yacht in the South Pacific witnessed.

As they got closer, what they had taken to be a sandbar revealed itself to be something else entirely.

A huge amount of pumice stone was floating to the surface of the water. It looked like a beach.

They decided to get a closer look and redirected their yacht towards it.

It looks like a beach in the middle of the ocean!

The crew decided to sail through it, leaving a break in the stone behind them as they went.

They wondered what could have caused this expanse of stone to suddenly appear.

The field of pumice was getting even larger as they passed through it. The crew had an uneasy feeling and upped their speed.

Once they were a safe distance away, they heard a faint rumbling. Looking back they saw water bubbling from the surface.

The source of the pumice stone was an underwater volcano that was actually erupting at the time!

They anchored to watch this tremendous event. Massive plumes of smoke filled the sky.

As the smoke cleared, they noticed something strange just at the water's surface...

It was land!

The stunned crew couldn't believe what they were seeing: It was the actual birth of a new island.

They sailed a little bit closer to see if their eyes were playing tricks on them.

But it was real. The peaks of this new land mass were already taking form.

It was one of the rarest events imaginable!!!

They were able to witness such an impossible sight… and also they apparently very narrowly escaped with their lives!

Published in Cruising
Tagged under

#CoolRoute - Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) is inviting alumni and friends – especially those with no previous experience – to 'Try Sailing' at a yacht club near you.

The drive comes from a partnership between CIT, the Royal Cork Yacht Club and the Irish Sailing Association and falls under the remit of CIT's Cool Route Project, which aims to attract business to peripheral locations by promoting yacht cruising on the scenic coastline of North West Europe.

Capitalising on the current big push to attract young people to sailing and cruising, 'Try Sailing' developed as a result of discussions with with ISA and RCYC via the CIT Cool Route team.

Individuals and groups alike are encouraged to head to Crosshaven – one of many other participating clubs around the coastline – to take out a 1720 class racer with an instructor for three hours, all necessary safety gear provided and no previous experience necessary.

While there is a small fee involved, there are possible group discounts for CIT alumni and friends.

For more details visit the Try Sailing website, follow the hashtag #eucoolroute on social media or visit Facebook.com/eucoolroute

Published in Cruising
Page 6 of 20

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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