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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Gael

18th March 2011

Ports Must Not be Sold

The self-appointed group of 17 business, public and political figures who drew up their Blueprint for Ireland's Recovery were well-intentioned but appear to have lacked maritime awareness. To propose the sale of the country's ports is a nonsense which must be rejected. At a time when an Irish Government appears to have recovered its appreciation of the importance of the marine sphere it would be a travesty to turn control of the nation's primary channels of access and exit over to private interests. This would be akin to a householder, strapped for cash, selling the doorway to his home and then having to pay others for the right to enter and leave.

Over 90 per cent of the nation's exports and imports move by sea. Our ports are the essential avenue, the doors to Ireland. They are the property of the nation and must work for the people, whose future has been destroyed by the greed of private interests. To suggest that recovery can be achieved by sale of these vital assets is a nonsense and damaging to the interests of the nation.

What is needed is a clear, definitive national ports policy in which the government sets down what the ports are to do for the nation. Their role should be identified clearly, their boards and managements told what they are expected to achieve on behalf of the nation, with penalties for failure.

Fine Gael had committed in its election manifesto, to replacing the existing boards of all State Port companies and Harbour Commissioners within one year of entering government.

Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats in government had turned the port companies into semi-private entities, responsible for their own financial operations. While it was indicated that this would improve competitiveness and provide better and more cost-friendly services for users, who would be represented on the company boards, there are differing views about how effective this has been.

Competition is not necessarily always the harbinger of effective service or provision of choice. A small island nation with a limited number of primary ports could have a policy maximising effectiveness, delineating between primary and minor ports providing commercial services, supporting the fishing industry and leisure sectors. There must be containment of costs, efficiency of operation and the best services for exporters and importers. There should be investment where required and could even be provision for private investment. But the ownership should remain with the State on behalf of the people.

The ports are national resources, not to be sold off to private interests.

Those who drew up the recovery report which proposes the sale of the ports represented private interests and included are banking and speculative development interests. They echo, in regard to the ports, a similar proposal in the 'second coming' of Bord Snip Nua'. There are some aspects of their suggestions which merit further consideration, but it is regrettable that people at high levels of position in Ireland appear to not fully appreciate that the nation is a small island for whom the sea and its approaches are of vital importance.

Published in Island Nation

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. 

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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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