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#D2D –  The Round Ireland Race of 1992, like all stagings of the classic circuit, was one of mixed memories. It started in sunshine with a fair wind which carried us all the way to the Fastnet. But that wind stayed very determinedly between north and northeast, so we knew there'd be windward work round the Kerry coast.

In fact, we were on the wind until Mayo. Then it drew eventually from the southwest and there was the usual scamper across Donegal Bay and around Tory Island. Then the breeze was all over the place down the Irish Sea until we were sitting nicely, breeze off the land, aroma of the Wicklow countryside to be savoured and all that, finish line nicely in sight......and suddenly we were in a flat spot which lasted just long enough to turn a close class win into second in class by 17 minutes.

So all we really remember of the race of '92 is that sweetness of the summer evening made sour by the breeze turning off. It takes a real effort to remember that, three day earlier, we'd actually been having a right pasting off the Kerry coast. For sure, we'd known we'd have headwinds past the Blaskets. But the forecast had missed out on a deepening low to the east. So much so, in fact, that the Irish Sailing Association subsequently launched an informal enquiry into why the severe rise in the wind strength had gone largely unanticipated, as there were wholesale retirals, with much damage.

With hindsight, of course, it was there to be seen - we just didn't want to see it. We may have approached the Fastnet on a reach in sunshine. But there was a harshness to the evening, and any God's amount of warning clouds at a high level, to tell us that this wasn't going to be a straightforward bit of windward work on a summer's night. And even on a gentle summer's night, the Atlantic off Kerry can be a rumbly place. So when it came in a real stinker between north and northeast, it was boat-breaking stuff, with several ports in West Cork and Kerry acquiring their quota of retirals.

sailsatjune102
South Pacific? No, just Dingle as it can be when, as was happening in this case, most of the rest of Ireland was in heavy rain. Photo: W M Nixon

One such was the Sigma 41 Koala (Peter Cullen and Martin Crotty), which split her mainsail and did well to get to Dingle. As they put themselves together again and breathed in that Dingle air with its unmistakable sense of being in the far west and everything well with the world, they got to thinking how it would just be perfect if the race had just been to Dingle, instead of battering all the way round Ireland simply to end up back where they started from.

That's what it is with Dingle. It's one of those places that everybody thinks they're really the first ever to discover properly and understand and appreciate. It is unique, there's no doubt of that. But when you sail in there and get enveloped in its hospitable warmth, you soon think it's uniquely unique. So naturally the crew of Koala got to thinking about a sort of Round Ireland Lite, a race from the east coast finishing at Dingle.

sailsatjune103

It took Dingle to show just how effective a combined fishing/sailing port can be. It's a favoured destination for cruising boats, yet it continues to have an impressive tally of fish landings. Photo: W M Nixon

It would have been a grand thing to talk about in the convenient first stop at Flahive's before moving on to one of the excellent Dingle restaurants. And for most crews, that would have been the end of it. But the crew of Koala were made of sterner stuff. They sailed home eventually, and they just wouldn't let go of the idea of a biennial race to Dingle alternating with the round Ireland. If they were going to do it, 'twas best 'twere done soonest. So 20 years ago, in 1993, Martin Crotty on behalf of the National YC organised the first 280 mile Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race, Peter Cullen with his jelly bean manufacturing company put up the sponsorship, and one of the best events in the Irish sailing calendar became an instant success.

It's on again next Friday, June 7th, the 11th D2D, starting before the weekend to facilitate the boats using it to get to the ICRA Nationals in Tralee Bay from June 13th. And there's an excellent line-up, an interesting balance of 22 good boats which – considering the times we live in – is a fine turnout, particularly when we look at the calibre of the boats involved.

Fond memories of the great Denis Doyle and his enthusiasm for every offshore race going are evoked by the Cork presence of Anthony and Peter O'Leary's Ker 39 Antix, briskly back to Ireland from the RORC Vice Commodore's campaigning in the English Channel series in order to race to Kerry, and make the lineup in Tralee Bay.

antixircd2d
Anthony O'Leary (Royal Cork) and Peter O'Leary (Baltimore SC) will be racing the busy Antix in the biennial D2D next Friday. Photo: Paul Wyeth

Antix has been in the frame if not on the podium in this year's RORC racing, so her presence sets a benchmark. Defending champion in the D2D is the Galway Reflex 38, curently sailing as Discover Ireland/The Gathering. She didn't exactly cover herself in glory at last weekend's Scottish series, but then she'd all the disadvantage of being the highest rated boat in IRC 2, which made her an easy target, and the offshore scene seems to suit her better.

Certainly the Dingle Race is important to Aodhan Fitzgerald's crew as a Fastnet qualifier. With the absence of any seriously large biggy to challenge the course record set by Mick Cotter's 77ft Whisper two races ago, there's a possibility that Antix and Discover Ireland will be battling for line honours, though that is an outcome which could well be upturned by the presence of boats like the Farr 42 Wow (George Sisk RIYC), and the three Beneteau First 44.7s - Adelie (Peter Hall NYC), Legally Blonde (Cathal Drohan & Paul Egan RStGYC), and White Tiger (Anthony O'Brien, Kinsale).

whisperd2d
Mick Cotter's 77ft Whisper almost broke the 24-hour barrier for the record for the Dingle Race in the race of 2009. Photo: David O'Brien

Although the Irish Sea's champion J/109 Sgrech (Stephen Tudor) won't be involved, there are four of these useful all-rounders taking part, and Liam Shanahan's Ruth from the National YC was showing promising speed in the Scottish Series.

And a seriously interesting entry from further down the size scale is Paul O'Higgins' Corby 33 Rockabill V from Dun Laoghaire, which has an enviable racing record. The Corby 33 is more than sparse enough for most folk for a night or two at sea. Add in the increasing demands of the seaways as you get further west, and you have a challenging proposition which nevertheless could serve up a race win if conditions fall the right way. The smart money might just be on Rockabill V.

rockabilld2d
Paul O'Higgins' Corby 33 Rockabill V offers only the most austere comfort for offshore sailing, but in the right conditions her proven racing record might find itself augmented by the Dingle title.

National YC/Skellig Hotel Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race 2013 Entry List

Boat NameSail noModelSun DivisionNameSurnameClubIRC TCC
Antix IRL 3939 Ker 39 Racing Anthony / Peter O'Leary BSC/ RCYC 1.136
Joker II IRL 1206 J109 Racing John Maybury RIYC 1.017
Blue Eyes IRL 9849 Elan 340 2-handed Colm Buckley HYC 0.983
Lisador IRL 1295 Dehler 36 Racing Henry Hogg Garrykennedy SC 0.958
Ruth IRL 1383 J109 Racing Liam Shanahan NYC 1.02
Jedi IRL 8088 J109 Racing Andrew Sarrath RIYC 1018
Spindrift IRL 1503 HR34 Cruising David Kelly Waterford SC 0.938
Polished Manx GER8666 Sigma 33 Racing Kuba Szymanski DBYC 0.898
Discover Ireland IRL 7386 Reflex 38 Racing Adhan Fitzgerald GBSC 1.055
Black jack IRL 1988 Pocock 38 2-handed Peter/ Darren Coad/Nicholson WHSC 0.934
Conundrum IRL 3503 Hanse Cruising Michael Pomeroy RStGYC 0.968
Amazing Grace IRL1966 Oyster 37 Racing Brian O'Sullivan TBSC 0.931
Rockabill V IRL 3307 Corby 33 Racing Paul O'Higgins NYC/IRIYC 1.041
Aquelina IRL 1281 J-122 Racing James S Tyrrell ASC 1.084
Chancer IRL 1583 Elan 40 Racing Brian Carroll 1.027
White Tiger IRL 4470 Beneteau First 44.7 Racing Anthony O'Brien KYC 1.113
Mojito GBR9047R J109 Racing Peter Dunlop CHPwllheli SC 1.014
Ocean Tango GBR6848T Dehler34 2-Handed Robert Floate DMYC/ WSC 0.928
Legally Blonde IRL 3175 Beneteau First 44.7 Racing Cathal/Paul Drohan/Egan RStGYC 0.952
Lulla Belle IRL 3607 Beneteau First 36.7 2-Handed Liam/Brian Coyne/Flahive NYC 1.001
Wow IRL 4208 Farr42 Racing George Sisk RIYC 1.144
Adelie IRL 9631 Beneteau First 44.7 Racing Peter Hall NYC 1.003

 

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Published in W M Nixon

#Fungie - An Irish marine expert suspects that Dingle's most famous resident may be an escapee from a British dolphinarium.

Dingle Oceanworld director Kevin Flannery told the Irish Independent that Fungie the dolphin could have slipped through the sluice gates of any one of a number of dolphinariums on the south coast of England amid "huge objections to holding marine animals in captivity".

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the male bottlenose dolphin appeared out of nowhere in Dingle's harbour in 1983 and has made his home there ever since.

In the three decades from then he has been credited with having "rescued" the village as his frolics brings countless tourists to the peninsula every year, as Flannery told the Irish Examiner.

This week's Féile na Bealtaine in Dingle celebrates the 30th anniversary of the arrival of the Kerry village's cetacean mascot, and many visitors are expected to line up for boat trips out of the harbour to meet him face to face.

While the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) doesn't recommend swimming with a wild dolphin such as Fungie, the group's Nick Massett describes him as "friendly, intelligent, and very aware of where people [are] in the water".

Among the festival activities this week will be a film screening and exhibits paying tribute to Ireland's own 'Flipper'.

Féile na Bealtaine runs from 2-6 May with events throughout the Dingle Peninsula.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineScience - An American university is teaming up with marine experts in Dingle to offer advanced marine biology classes.

As the Fairfield Sun reports, the biology department at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut is collaborating with scientists and staff at the Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium to offer the advanced classes to undergraduate and postgraduate students alike, beginning this May.

It's expected that the Coastal Study Centre programme will eventually provide both semester-long and short courses to take advantage of the aquarium's advanced research facilities, and will also accommodate students doing relevant thesis field work.

“Very few primarily undergraduate institutions have as strong a coastal focus as Sacred Heart does, which is only enhanced by our proximity to Long Island Sound,” said John Rapaglia, assistant professor of biology at Sacred Heart.

Dingle Harbour’s semi-rural to rural location creates a nice juxtaposition to the highly urbanised Long Island Sound.”

Sacred Heart already has an established campus in the Kerry Gaeltacht town where students can take classes on Irish and Celtic history and heritage among other subjects.

The Fairfield Sun has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Science

#FUNGIE - He was the subject of rumours of his demise earlier this week - but the people of Dingle say their most famous resident, Fungie the dolphin, is alive and flipping.

A spokeswoman for Dingle Dolphin Boat Tours confirmed to The Daily Edge that Fungie is "definitely alive", and that no dolphin remains had washed up on the beach, as had been claimed on Twitter last Monday morning.

The Co Kerry fishing village is celebrating 30 years of the bottlenose dolphin's residency in its harbour. It's unclear exactly how old Fungie is, but it's presumed he was born in the mid 1970s.

Irish Central has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#FUNGIE - A new video posted to YouTube celebrates 30 years of Fungie the dolphin in Dingle.

The male bottlenose dolphin appeared from out of nowhere in the Co Kerry fishing village in 1983 and soon made it his home, quickly becoming an integral part of the local community.

Since his arrival Fungie has made friends and warmed hearts with people both local and across the world, such as Dutch couple Jeannine Masset and Rudi Schamhart who have been meeting him for more than 20 years.

Meanwhile, locals hope that new measures for harbour users proposed earlier this year won't bring an end to boat trips to meet Dingle's most famous resident.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WARNING - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises on construction works at An Daingean Fishery Harbour Centre in Co Kerry scheduled to commence today 3 September 2012, weather permitting.

The works will take place at the mouth of Dingle Harbour, to the south east of Flaherty Point (co-ordinates: 52 07.235’ North, 010 15.711’ West) and will involve the installation of a new navigation beacon, five metres in height.

The works are being advanced by the Marine Engineering Division of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The construction will involve use of a work vessel 20m × 7m in size carrying civil engineering plant and machinery, as well as other smaller work vessels and platforms. The work vessel will display the relevant day signals and navigation lights in accordance with the Collision Regulations.

For safety reasons, mariners are requested to proceed slowly and with caution in the approach to the entrance to Dingle Harbour and to give the works a wide berth. Wave-wash from vessels should be avoided.

These works are expected to be on-going until the end of October 2012, weather permitting.

Marine Notice No 47 of 2012 (PDF)

Published in Marine Warning

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Marine researchers off the coast of Donegal were recently treated to a rare dolphin dance by a 50-strong pod, as IrishCentral reports.

The video above captures the same pod witnessed by researchers with the Irish Basking Shark Project, who were in the area off Inishowen to observe basking sharks in the coastal waters when they were surprised by the gregarious dolphin congregation.

A spokesperson for the project confirmed to IrishCentral that such large groupings of dolphins are unusual for the area, which has welcomed more than its fair share of large marine wildlife over recent months.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, one of the first confirmed sightings of killer whales on the Irish coastline was recorded earlier this summer when a family of orcas from the Scottish Hebrides visited the same waters at the mouth of Lough Swilly.

Meanwhile, WorldIrish reports on the heartwarming tale of a Dutch couple who have bonded with Dingle's most famous non-human resident, Fungie the dolphin.

Jeannine Masset and Rudi Schamhart, who now live in Annascaul, have visited the friendly cetacean for 21 years, and their connection has inspired a fanpage on Facebook that has received responses from Fungie fans around the world.

"Fungie has enriched our lives and we want to give something back to him by offering our friendship and companionship to him," said Jeannine, "and he lets us know over and over again that he really appreciates it."

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Fishermen have condemned the appalling killing of two baby seals whose heads were nailed to signs outside a wildlife sanctuary in Dingle last week.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, staff at the Dingle Wildlife and Seal Sanctuary were subject to the "sickening" sight on Thursday morning, which was alleged to be connected to a campaign among local fishermen urging for a cull of seal numbers in the area.

However, as the Irish Independent reports, fishermen have spoken out to decry the grisly incident.

Michael Hennessy, skipper of the fishing vessel Realt na Mara, said: "This kind of thing is not going to do any good for any campaign, and fishermen would not lower themselves to do something like that."

Michael Flannery of the Irish Fish Producers' Organisation (IFPO) added: "Fishermen are calling for a seal cull but we want this carried out in an organised, approved and humane way."

According to the Irish Examiner, Sea Shepherd Ireland has added a €2,000 reward to the €5,000 offered by fellow animal rights group ARAN for anyone with information leading to the arrest or conviction of those responsible for the illegal seal killing.

Meanwhile, two grey seals pups currently being cared for at the Dingle sanctuary may be released earlier than expected due to fears for their security.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Staff at the Dingle Wildlife and Seal Sanctuary were subject this morning to the gruesome sight of two baby seal heads nailed to signs outside the facility.

According to the Irish Independent, the grisly scene was accompanied by a sign reading 'RIP Cull' in red paint, presumed to be a reference to local fishermen's urging for a reduction of seal numbers in the area.

Last year Afloat.ie reported on Kerry fishermen's call for a cull of the "overprotected" local grey seal population over claims that they eat up to 10kg of fish a day.

And earlier this year, fears were growing of an illegal cull of marine wildlife after a two seals were found dying from bullet wounds on Tramore Beach in Co Waterford.

"It was sickening," said the sanctuary's Ally McMillan of the incident. "I wanted to be sick when I saw them."

Gardaí in Dingle removed the seal heads and sign as part of their investigation.

Meanwhile, the Irish Examiner reports that animal rights group ARAN has put up a €5,000 reward for anyone with information leading to the arrest or conviction of those responsible for the killing.

“Animal abusers are cowards, and we’re hoping this reward will apprehend those responsible for this most sickening act of animal abuse,” said ARAN spokesman Stephan Wymore.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#IRISH HARBOURS - "Draconian" new charges for harbour users could bring an end to boat trips to see Dingle's most famous resident, according to The Irish Times.

Fungie the dolphin has been a mainstay of Dingle harbour for almost 30 years, but boat trips to visit him could cease to operate "with immediate effect" if charges of up to €9,000 are imposed "in advance" of the season.

Currently operators in the Dingle Boatmen's Association pay around €2,500 to use the harbour at the end of each season.

Association chairman Jimmy Flannery called on anyone working in tourism in Ireland to make submissions to the public consultation before the deadline next Friday 20 April.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, yacht owners are also up in arms over the new charges proposed by Marine Minister Simon Coveney that could see their rates hiked by an incredible 800 per cent.

And the news comes not long after fellow Kerry harbour users protested proposed new bylaws to regulate their activities and impose new charges.

Published in Irish Harbours
Page 3 of 5

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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