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A luxury cruiseship nickmamed the 'Elegant Explorer' celebrated its final call to Foynes, Co. Limerick by anchoring off the port on the Shannon Estuary.

The call of Prinsendam operated by Holland America Line was according to SFPC a welcome tourism boost for the mid-west region as cruise passengers arrived by tender to visit Foynes (via Foynes Yacht Club). The unique event to anchor off Foynes Island took place on June 13th. 

Prinsendam was making a nostalgic call after a career spanning 17 years sailing around the world under HAL colours. Afloat adds the ship was sold to German cruise company Phoenix Reisen and the acquistion actually took place last year. This saw the 37,938grt chartered back to HAL until expiring next week (Monday, July 1st).

The 204m ship with a capacity for 800 passengers took anchorage at 6.30am off Foynes Island and remained for 12 hours during. Hundreds of tourists were tendered ashore to visit the west Limerick town and attractions beyond among them west Clare and to Dingle in neighbouring Kerry.

Approximately 100 passengers stayed local, making their way to Foynes village where they enjoyed the must-loved, award winning Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum.

Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) CEO, Pat Keating said they were delighted to facilitate the cruise ship in the busy port. “We’ve had cruise ships dock in Foynes before but this is the first time a cruise vessel anchored specifically off Foynes Island. Passengers ferried by tender to the pontoon at Foynes Yacht Club where they boarded coaches for various destinations or simply enjoyed Foynes itself on foot. “It delivered a really nice tourism boost for the area, with the passengers visiting Limerick, Clare and Kerry. It was great to see the Flying Boat & Maritime Museum getting an extra boost. It’s a fantastic tourism attraction and deserves as much recognition as it can get and all those who visited it will pass on the good word about it.”

Mr Keating added that while cargo is the core activity, the port authority was delighted to welcome this business. “It was a busy morning and the cruise ship brought a great buzz to the area. From an operational perspective, all passengers were transferred safely and comfortably to and from the vessel. “By anchoring at Foynes Island, cruise liners can easily be accommodated at Foynes as it gives us more capacity in addition to the actual docks itself. Hopefully we will get to welcome many more cruise vessels to Foynes.”

Despite the relatively small size of Prinsendam and low height the cruiseship has during a career dating to 1988 (Afloat will have more) been able to navigate interesting routes where most other such ships cannot. The most recent voyages have included the Amazon, the Caribbean, South America, Antartica and now finally Europe where the ship with a crew of 340 will spend this week with the HAL fleet.

The last voyages include the Mediterranean, Iberian Peninsula, British Isles, Ireland before making her final farewell on a 14-day expedition to the Norwegian North Cape.

Another cruiseship is scheduled to dock on the Shannon Estuary next week on Friday, July 5th.

Published in Cruise Liners
The Port of Cork will be a busy place this Tuesday as three cruiseships are scheduled to dock in the morning and depart this evening, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Largest of the trio is P&O Cruises 115,000 tonnes cruise giant Azura, which is also to call to Dublin Port following her Cork visit. Launched last year the near 300 metres long vessel can handle 3,100 passengers alone and 1200 crew. For a virtual tour click VIDEO.

Next in terms of tonnage is Holland America Line's near 60,000 tonnes Rotterdam, for more about the 1997 built click this LINK. The final member of the trio belongs to Saga Cruises subsidiary Spirit of Adventure cruises, the 10,000 tonnes Spirit of Adventure. For a visual virtual tour of the vessels interior facilities click HERE.

Spirit of Adventure was scheduled in late April on a 14-day 'Relics of Rome' cruise which was to include ports of call to Libya, Tunisia and Egypt but this was cancelled due to the political situation throughout North Africa.

The combined cruise calls to Cork Harbour has a potential capacity of 5,200 passengers and the mid-July arrival confirms the ports popularity which is to welcome this year a total of 54 cruiseships and over 100,000 passengers. Azura and Spirit of Adventure are to share the berth at Ringaskiddy while the Rotterdam is to berth at the dedicated cruise terminal in Cobh.

Published in Cruise Liners

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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