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Two mussel dredger-trawlers made a rare transit of Dalkey Sound, last Friday, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The sound which is located to the south of Dublin Bay is not used by commercial traffic but is frequented by pleasure-craft, local fishing boats from Dun Laoghaire. In addition to occasional traffic by the Irish Naval Service, Marine Institute research vessel RV Celtic Voyager, the GSI's RV Keary and foreign tall-ships.

Leading the pair of mussel dredgers was the Belfast registered Mytilus (B-449) named after the mussel species 'Mytilus edulis' and the Wexford registered Branding (WD-4A).
MUSSEL_DREDGERS
Mytilus in Dalkey Sound and in the backround Branding approaches from
Dublin Bay. Photo Jehan Ashmore/ShipSNAPS

The vessels were making a southerly direction as they headed across Dublin Bay towards Dalkey Island. Mytilus lowered a mussel cage bucket into the sound which was dragged on two separate occasions over a short distance running parallel between the island and the coast.

The operation was all too brief as the Mytilus then proceeded into Killiney Bay followed closely astern by Branding. Upon entering the neighbouring bay, both vessels conducted dredging activity before continuing south beyond Bray Head.

Mussel grounds are located throughout certain hotspots in the Irish Sea and earlier this month, it is reported that there was a notable increase in mussel dredgers in Bangor, Northern Ireland. The dredgers were the Mytilus and Branding which berthed at the Co. Down harbour after a lengthy period of relative inactivity.

Mytilus was built in The Netherlands by Scheepwerf Van Os Yerseke B.V. and appeared in an episode of the successful BBC TV series 'Coast'. At the time of the broadcast she was registered at Beaumaris, Anglesey and was seen working in the northern approaches of the Menai Straits. The fishery grounds are ideally suited for the growing processes required in farmed mussel production.

Branding was also built by a Dutch shipyard, Kooieman in 1988 and her design is typical of the mussel dredgers based in Wexford. The market for mussels is mainly from the northern European countries of Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

Published in Fishing

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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