Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Displaying items by tag: Donegal

#Donegal - The coastline of Co Donegal is as much an attraction for adventure tourists as it is for those drawn to its rugged beauty, according to Outside magazine.

And some of those seeking thrills have even made the north-east county their home – such as Scottish-born climbing guide Iain Miller, who leads the magazine's Stephanie Pearson to breathtaking heights at once startlingly remote and surprisingly accessible.



But it's not just about climbers seeking the challenge of Donegal's sea stacks, nor the big swells that bring top surfers to the county in ever increasing numbers.

Sea kayakers, too, have coastal nooks and crannies to explore when the weather permits, while hikers have miles of the Irish portion of the International Appalachian Trail – which crosses one of Europe's highest sea cliffs in Slieve League.

Outside has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#Rescue - A lobster fisherman was rescued after getting tangled in his vessel's ropes when it overturned off the Donegal coast on Saturday evening (9 April).

As TheJournal.ie reports, the rescue of the solo fisherman proved difficult for local coastguard and lifeboat teams due to the heavy swell at Inishinny, off Arranmore Island.

That's when the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 came in to free the man from his vessel and winch him to safety.

Rescue 118 was later called out to rescue a number of surfers in difficulty of the Leitrim coast, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Coastguard

The volunteer crew of Bundoran RNLI were last night requested to launch by Malin Head Coast Guard to reports of a person in the water at the pier in Donegal Town.

Following a 999 call from some passers by, the lifeboat was paged just after 11.45pm and launched around 11:53pm, proceeding to Donegal Town. On arrival on scene at 12:15am the crew commenced a search of the pier area in coordination with the Sligo based Rescue 118 Helicopte, the Killybegs Coast Guard boat, Gardai, Fire Service and HSE Ambulance.

Shortly after 1am, a person was recovered from the water and handed over to the waiting ambulance crew on the pier but was sadly later pronounced dead.

The management and crew of Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat extend sympathies to familiy and friends of the deceased.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

#Buncrana - Five people, including three children, understood to be from the same family are dead after their car slipped into the water at Buncrana, Co Donegal last night (Sunday 20 March).

As the News Letter reports, a major emergency operation was launched after the Northern Ireland-registered estate car went off a pier into Lough Swilly after 7pm.

The bodies of two adults and three primary-aged children were recovered shortly after.

A baby who was also in the car is believed to have been thrown or handed out of the vehicle before it went into the water.

The cause of the tragedy is not yet known but it's understood that the surface of the pier slipway may have been slippery with algae.

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Sunset Buncrana Pier

Published in News Update

#Surfing - A Donegal surfing school has raised €20,000 for its expansion via peer-to-peer lending, as Donegal Now reports.

Fin McCool Surf School in Rossnowlagh aims to complete renovations of its new base in the town thanks to funds raised via Irish 'crowdlending' providers Linked Finance.

"Growing demand means it’s now time for us to invest further into our facilities and we’re delighted to be partnering with Linked Finance to refurbish our new premises," said owner Neil Britton, cousin of Irish women's surfing pioneer Easkey Britton.

Donegal Now has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing
Tagged under

#StarWars - Rumours that Star Wars film crews are set to decamp for the Donegal coast are just that, as the Government department responsible has not confirmed permission.

According to TheJournal.ie, location scouts for Lucasfilm have been spotted in the Malin Head area searching for appropriately dramatic vistas for future instalments of the epic sci-fi film series.

But while Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys has confirmed that a "limited amount of filming" will take place on Sybil Head in Dingle later this year, no such permission has been granted for Donegal – and the minister would not comment on the existence of any talks over the same.

Star Wars fever has gripped the Kerry coast since last year as the Skelligs featured prominently in the smash hit blockbuster The Force Awakens.

But the filming has not been without its share of controversy over repairs to monastic ruins and alleged interference with protected seabird species at the Unesco World Heritage site.

More recently, a long-time guide on Skellig Michael spoke out over the State's facilitating of the two Lucasfilm shoots on the island for The Force Awakens and next year's sequel, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Coastal Notes

Rugged Donegal in the far northwest of Ireland is unknown territory for many Irish people whether by land or sea - and even more so for people from further afield writes W M Nixon. Yet for people who live in this picturesque but challenging region, it’s the hub of the universe, and for Donegal-located sailing enthusiasts, it can be a cruising paradise.

This was brought home to the rest of us at the recent Irish Cruising Club prize-giving, when the Glengarriff Trophy for the best cruise in Irish waters went to Dr Paul McSorley, who sails from Lough Swilly. Despite 2015’s mixed weather, he made a very detailed cruise of the Donegal coast with his daughter Eimile in the 27ft International H Boat Wild Cat. While the H Boats were developed in Finland as a fast weekend cruiser with genuine race potential (they’re now an International Racing Class), it’s unlikely that designer Hans Groop envisaged them cruising the monumental Donegal coast with its challenging location on the Wild Atlantic Way.

don1aAn H Boat in cruising mode. Paul & Eimile McSorley’s cruise in Donegal in 2015 with with the H Boat Wild Cat was awarded an ICC Trophy

don2
A Land Apart – Donegal is Ireland’s ultimate cruising challenge

Yet on a good day, you could see resemblances between the myriad of islands on the Finnish coast and the maze of islands north and south of Arranamore between Dawros Head and Bloody Foreland, the area on which Wild Cat’s cruise was concentrated. The difference, of course, is the tide. But Donegal aficionados reckon that the tide adds a special spice in which the Baltic is woefully lacking……

Whatever, there’s no doubt that Donegal is a special place for many cruising folk, and in recent days the ever-curious Norman Kean and Geraldine Hennigan of Courtmacsherry, who edit the Irish Cruising Club Sailing Directions, have been in Donegal sussing out welcome new developments. In a sense, it was something of a home-coming, for when Norman first came from Scotland to settle in Ireland to work in a chemical plant in Derry, Lough Swilly Yacht Club became his home base, and it was a cruise from there to the Faroes in an own-built Sadler 25 which first put him on the cruising map.

don3
This is the start of something very worthwhile – the first pontoon berths in place in Killybegs in Donegal last week. Photo: Geraldine Hennigan

In Donegal in late February 2016, they found that the further you go south, the more promising are the developments. Best of all is the mighty fishing port of Killybegs on the south coast facing into Donegal Bay, a wonderful natural harbour for a bustling place which is said to be a town of 23 millionaires. For although not everyone does well in the fishing, some busy and innovative types do very well indeed.

For quite some time there’s been talk of the provision of pontoon facilities in Killybegs, but for 2016 Donegal County Council - where Cathal Sweeney has become the enthusiastic harbour engineer - have just gone ahead and done it with a minimum of fanfare, installing a 63-berth pontoon setup with plenty of room for expansion. (As first reported by Afloat.ie in March 2013). The pontoons were supplied and fitted by Oliver Shortall's Inland and Coastal Marinas Ltd of Banagher in County Offaly.

At present it’s called a “Small Craft Harbour”, which at first you might think reflects the reluctance of local authorities, the further north you go in Ireland, to describe a new amenity of this type as a “marina”. A case in point is Ardglass in County Down where the excellent little marina – one of the greatest boons to East Coast cruising – is still referred to as the “Phenick Cove Boat Park”.

On the other hand, Cathal Sweeney sounds a no-nonsense kind of guy, so maybe he won’t describe the very welcome new facility in Killybegs – which will transform Donegal as a cruising ground in providing a convenient base where a boat could be confidently left with good if distant communications with the rest of the country –  as a marina until it has the full shoreside facilities.

Then the cruising options from Killybegs have been improved too, as to the westward a fine big pontoon has now been provided at the west pier in the lovely inlet of Teelin right beside the majestic cliffs of Slieve League. But then as we head north along the massive Atlantic seaboard, proper facilities are sparse enough, though in the case of both Burtonport and Bunbeg, it’s surely only a matter of time before a proper recreational-use pontoon or two gets installed.

don4
Bunbeg on Donegal’s northwest corner is a little port which would benefit from a modest pontoon facility. Photo: W M Nixon

Cruising Donegal’s north coast, it still remains a source of wonder and delight that Tory Island now has a proper pier, albeit a tiny one, at which a cruising yacht can confidently overnight. And further east we hear that the most sheltered anchoring spot on the entire north coast, Fanny’s Bay on the west side just inside the entrance to Mulroy Bay, is a real possibility for a small marina facility.

Nevertheless in cruising Donegal, your first requirement is for your vessel to have her own fully operational and very substantial ground tackle, for apart from this being the seamanlike approach, the choice of anchorages which opens up when you know you’ve an anchor which will hold, and a windlass which will retrieve it, is almost boundless.


don4a
After many years, the shoreside cohesion of Fahan Marina on Lough Swilly with its landward neighbourhood south of Buncrana still seems a long way off. Photo Kevin Dwyer/Courtesy ICC

In the northeast of this enormous county of Donegal, there has of course long been a convenient if somewhat tide-ridden pontoon at Rathmullan on the west shore of Lough Swilly, but across-lough at Fahan, the marina – the great white hope of Donegal sailing – continues in a sort of semi-functional limbo, an unfinished, disconnected piece of work which nevertheless gives enough hint of what might be, if only someone could find a way through various legal and commercial impasses.

don5
The berthing facility at Bunnagee near Culdaff took a battering in the winter storms. Photo: Geraldine Hennigan

don6
Storm damage to one of the Bunagee pontoons. Photo: Geraldine Hennigan

Up to the north of Inishowen, what was hoped to be a “marina” at the lovely little bay of Bunagee at Culdaff has seen its pontoon damaged in winter storms, for even in summer this is a restless if attractive anchorage. But on the east coast of Inishowen the Greencastle-Moville area has seen significant improvement with summer harbour for Moiville Yacht Club close south of Greencastle, where the main harbour itself has seen work resumed on some improvements.

don7
Greencastle is a fishing port where occasionally working boats and leisure craft can become very crowded……Photo: W M Nixon

don8….but immediately south of Greencastle this new pontoon facility provides a summer berth for local craft. Photo: W M Nixon

don9
The new Greencastle pontoons looking east across Lough Foyle. In time, an additional sheltering pier may make this a more attractive proposition for visiting cruising boats. Photo: W M Nixon

So Donegal calls. It may get some of the roughest weather in Europe, but when summer comes to stay for a week or two, it’s a cruising paradise.

Published in Irish Marinas

#MCIB - Unapproved modifications to a lobster boat may have contributed to the loss of a crewman off Donegal last summer, according to the official report into the incident.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the man died after falling overboard from the fishing vessel off Horn Head on Tuesday 16 June.

He was one of two crew on the MFV Our Jenna, which had set out from Portnablagh that morning to haul and shoot lobster pots, as detailed in the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) report.

Sometime after baited pots had been set out ready to shoot, the skipper left his crewman, who was not wearing a personal floation device (PFD), on deck as he went to the wheelhouse to set the next waypoint and navigate to the location.

However, on arrival he looked out the wheelhouse door to see the crewman in the water off the starboard quarter, conscious and waving his arms – though he was not able to swim.

The skipper attempted a rescue with lifebuoys but the crewman was able to grasp them, prompting the skipper to bring the vessel right alongside and pass a line around the crewman's waist to try to haul him above the waterline in what were described as choppy conditions.

However, reports indicate that the crewman had lost consciousness by the time the skipper raised the alarm over VHF radio, and emergency services were unable to revive him when they reached the vessel some 45 minutes later. The cause of death was confirmed as drowning.

With no witnesses to the incident, it is not clear precisely how the crewman went overboard.

But the MCIB identified a more than two-metre opening in the transom bulwark created after the vessel's most recent Document of Compliance with the Code of Practice has been issued – a modification that would not have conformed to standards.

Similarly, rubber laid on the deck after the boat's last appraisal was of conveyer-belt grade without the same anti-slip properties as dedicated marine matting.

Any combinations of these factors could have resulted in the crewman going overboard, the report concludes.

The MCIB also noted that while not mandatory, the use of a safety harness "could well have prevented the incident from occurring", and the report recommends relevant changes to the Code of Practice.

The full MCIB report into the MFV Our Jenna incident on 15 June 2015 is attached below.

Published in MCIB
Tagged under

#Bluefin- A Donegal TD's push for a bluefin tuna quota for local game anglers has prompted a meeting between Marine Minister Simon Coveney and the EU Fisheries Commissioner.

According to Donegal Now, Thomas Pringle TD has welcomed the move to request a three-tonne quota for bluefin "despite the fact that I’ve brought this proposal before the Dáil on a number of occasions over the past year".

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Inland Fisheries Ireland said that any initiative to develop a catch-and-release fishery for bluefin in Irish waters would demand struct protocols and reporting to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).

But the independent Dáil deputy says recreational angling for bluefin tuna "could bring huge potential for Donegal in terms of job creation and boosting tourism in the region".

Donegal Now has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

#Fishing - The world's oceans will "be left with nothing but jellyfish" unless concrete action is taken to keep fishing quotas in line with scientific recommendations, as Donegal Now reports.

The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) issued its warning after Ireland secured nearly 37,000 tonnes of whitefish quotas for the Irish fishing fleet – an overall 10% increase on last year – on Wednesday 16 December after difficult EU fisheries negotiations.

As reported earlier this week on Afloat.ie, the biggest increases are in horse mackerel, which saw a 48% increase for the North and West fleets, and Irish Sea haddock, whose quota has gone up by 40%.

The single biggest regional whitefish quota increase was 20% for boats fishing out of the North West ports of Greencastle and Killybegs.

But the IWT argues that such quotas have been repeatedly set higher than scientists' recommendations, resulting in severe declines in major species such as cod.

Donegal Now has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
Page 4 of 13

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

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

quantum sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating