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Displaying items by tag: Historic Boats

#SaveDryDocks - Dublin’s Grand Canal Basin which features three Georgian drydocks writes Lorna Siggins of The Irish Times could be regenerated for theatre space, children’s recreation and marine repairs, according to a docklands business group.

The Grand Canal Basin in the heart of the capital could be “teeming with as much life and vibrancy as Dun Laoghaire is every weekend”, the Docklands Business Forum has said.

The forum, which aims to discuss its plan with Waterways Ireland today (FRI), believes that more “blue space” is imperative for the thousands of people now living and working in an area where Google and Facebook are major employers.

Cross-border agency Waterways Ireland is primarily responsible for the Grand Canal Basin and for the surrounding area where the three graving docks were constructed for vessel repair, while Nama also has a lease interest.

There have been fears among water users that Waterways Ireland wants to sell off the graving docks as a landbank for more office development.

For more on the vision proposed for the Grand Canal Basin, click here

Published in Historic Boats

#EnjoyNI2016 – A must see is Belfast’s newest visitor attraction HMS Caroline, a World War 1 light battle cruiser, uniquely the last survivor of the 1916 Battle of Jutland, berthed in the city’s Titantic Quarter, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The slaughter between Britain’s Royal Navy and the Imperial German Navy took place in what was the only major battle at sea of WW1, this involved 250 ships and 100,000 crew. Of course there was the land offensive, notably at the Somme, France, that began a century ago on Friday. This was marked by a major international commemoration ceremony held at Thiepval.

Among those who laid wreaths were president Micheal D. Higgins, UK prime minister, David Cameron and French president, Francois Hollande.

In May the centenary of HMS Caroline’s Jutland role was marked in Belfast and official launch following an extensive £15m plus restoration project. She was one of eight C-class light battle cruisers built in Birkenhead. Since 1924 she has been Belfast based as the Headquarters for the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve.

Now that she is finally open to visitors, her story reveals one of the greatest naval encounters ever fought and the only clash of battleships and that of rival European powers.

Crews from throughout Ireland served the Royal Navy, they showed extraordinary bravery in not only risking but losing their lives. As visitors, it is a privilege to thread such decks of this unique battle ship, with distinct naval features of that era, the riveted hull and curvature of the bow, the tripod mast complete with look-out.

In addition those three slanting funnels, echoing the classic Transatlantic liners like that of the nearby built Titanic.

By only ‘stepping on board history’ one can begin to experience HMS Caroline as she lies afloat occupying Alexandra Dock. The lock gates of the former dry-dock that fronted onto Belfast Lough rotted away, exposing more of the port when observed at the road entrance to the visitor attraction. The location is also connected by using "The Wee Tram" within Titanic Quarter.

The role she took in the Battle of Jutland saw her among Royal Navy ships such as HMS Dublin and HMS Tipperary engaged in combat with the Germans. The outcome however ultimately led to a huge loss of life. On both sides there were more than 8,600 casualties.

Despite the British claiming victory, they suffered more losses and ships than Germans. The British blockade of Germany continued, this saw severe hardship to the population, that forced Germany into a disastrous submarine campaign which assisted to draw in the USA into the war, and eventually caused a mutiny by disillusioned German sailors in 1918.

The tour of HMS Caroline begins with a wonderful yet impactful film of the battle at sea, that really sets the tone in the dramatic build-up as the 300 crew faced the impending horrors as she entered the theatre of war. Watch the fear of her officers on the the 'open' bridge while also exposed to the natural elements. Directly below is the tiny enclosed bridge in which the self-guided tour features a ‘virtual’ version as part of the exhibits.

HMS Caroline saw action albeit she was only under fire for a mere 12 minutes! , however, the overall battle in the North Atlantic Sea raged for 36 hours. As for weapons, a pair of 6-inch guns are mounted at the bows and where eight 4-inch guns were positioned at the stern.

In close proximity are displayed the torpedoes, noting below decks are hands-on tactile displays involving replicated equipment, that form part of state of the art effects. The combination inter plays with the authentic historic restoration of the structural fabric of the ship.

She was painted in typical naval grey which remains today, though outside of Jutland duties she sported a camoflage effect, for more on this visit the onboard ‘Dazzle Zone’. 

Among the interiors are the Captain’s Quarters and Marines Mess. What was notably apparent was that the dining quarters for the captain were only set for one, as the captain dined alone. There is the Signal School where you can try cracking a code using technique of semaphore and flags.

There's also the Sick Bay and Galley and that of ratings quarters be it those accommodated in cabins and that of the humble hammock.

No doubt a draw for many will be the engine rooms, complete with original replication of noise and vibrations, which really adds to the sense of been underway!

I’ve been told that if this was for real, the true level of noise would be closer to twice that experienced! Not to mention the smells and heat generated in what must have been a challenging reality during a time of war.

Published in Historic Boats

#Jutland100th - The last surviving Battle of Jutland naval ship provided a fitting backdrop writes the Belfast Telegraph for a commemoration honouring its centenary and all the Irish sailors who served in the First World War.

The event today at the Belfast dockside adjacent to the freshly refurbished HMS Caroline was attended by Prince Michael of Kent and a host of other dignitaries.

Read WM Nixon's blog on HMS Caroline

The memorial heard poignant testimony from a number of descendants of those who saw action on the high seas during the conflict.

On a glorious sunny afternoon, wreaths commemorating those who died were dropped by Navy officers into the relatively still waters of Belfast Lough.

The commemoration was held a day before the restored HMS Caroline will open to the public as the latest maritime-themed visitor attraction in a redeveloped dockland area that already boasts the award-winning Titanic Belfast centre.

At the close of the event, Prince Michael cut a ribbon to mark the completion of the £15 million-plus lottery-backed restoration project.

For more to read on the story click here.

Published in Historic Boats

#Jutland100th - Descendants of Irish sailors will gather in Belfast at Alexandra Dock on Tuesday for a commemoration marking their role during the First World War.

The event writes the Belfast Telegraph will also mark the centenary of the Battle of Jutland - and witness the official opening of HMS Caroline. The cruiser is the last remaining vessel that took part in the pivotal World War I sea battle which saw thousands of sailors lose their lives.

The Battle of Jutland involved 100,000 men in a 36-hour sea battle in which time Britain lost 14 ships and 6,000 sailors and Germany lost 11 ships and 2,500 sailors. More than 350 of the men lost were from Ireland.

Descendants of sailors from the Royal Navy and Mercantile Navy will coming from Australia, America, Canada, Spain, Britain and the rest of Ireland on May 31 for the commemoration.

The Royal Navy and Irish Naval Service will stand side by side to mark all from the island of Ireland who served at sea and wreaths will be laid. (See Afloat’s Sailing on Saturdays with WM Nixon).

Senior political and military representatives from the UK and Ireland will be in attendance, alongside a German Naval Admiral.

The ports of Ireland, Irish Lights and maritime emergency services will also gather with families of those who served, and Belfast City Council will host all attendees for a civic lunch on completion of the ceremony.

Irish Naval Service LE Ciara and the Royal Navy’s HMS Ramsey (see NATO visit to Dublin in April) will be in port this weekend and open to the public as part of Belfast's Titanic Maritime Festival as previously reported on Afloat.ie

For more on this story click here.

Published in Historic Boats

#Portillos1916troopship – Excursion vessel, Balmoral, which featured on the 1916 Easter Rising documentary, ‘The Enemy Files’ presented by former British Defense Secretary Michael Portillo, has been awarded the UK’s National Flagship for 2016, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The former Conservative Cabinet minister was seen presenting the RTE documentary also broadcast on BBC, from the stern of the Bristol based excursion vessel Balmoral. The small ship acted the part of Irish Sea passenger steamer Munster which was used as a 'troopship’ for the Sherwood Foresters regiment that set off from Liverpool a century ago. The soldiers on board Munster arrived at Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) Harbour from where they marched to fight the Irish Rebellion that was unfolding in Dublin.

Balmoral actually dates after the Rising, having been built in 1948 to operate as a ferry capable of handling up to 12 cars for Red Funnel’s Southampton-East Cowes, Isle of Wight service. From the late 1960’s the 736 tonnes vessel became a coastal excursion vessel and is currently a member of the very special list of the UK’s historic heritage fleet of vessels.

The award for the Balmoral represents a win of £500 and the honour of flying the Flagships Pennant from the masthead on her 2016 cruise voyages operated by White Funnel Ltd. Afloat adds that the season includes cruises through the Menai Straits, Anglesey, north Wales.

Martyn Heighton, Director National Historic Ships UK said about the award: I am delighted that MV Balmoral has been awarded the accolade of National Flagship of the Year. This reflects the unstinting energy and commitment that MV Balmoral Fund Ltd., its volunteers, helpers and supporters have given to this Bristol [based] ship.

Balmoral has gone through hard times having only returned to service in 2015 after an absence of two years due to essential dry-docking required to ensure a passenger certificate. The vessel is understood to be currently in dry-dock in Sharpness in preparation for the 2016 cruise season, having sailed from Bristol earlier this month.

Mr.Heighton added, it is tribute by to all concerned that not only is this ship still with us to grace the Floating Harbour, but also that the new organisation has won the confidence of the Coastal Communities Fund and other grant bodies to make her seaworthy again in order to enable her to undertake this ambitious UK-wide programme. This is a proud moment for Balmoral and her home port of Bristol.

We are of course very honoured to receive this award. It is very much a reflection on the hard work, effort and great commitment that so many people have put in to get our ship where she is today. Lots of challenges and no doubt trials and tribulations are ahead, but it really is rewarding to receive this recognition. A fitting tribute to all connected with her.

Published in Historic Boats

#NaomhÉanna - In a bid to bring the Naomh Éanna back to Galway, a new campaign has been launched according to Galway Bay FM. The historic vessel once carried passengers between the city and the Aran Islands, before being withdrawn from service in 1989.

It has been lying derelict in Ringsend, Dublin for over two decades. However, the engine room of the ship is still operational, and campaigners say if enough funds are raised, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, it will be possible to sail the vessel back to Galway as a major tourist attraction. 

To read more click here on the veteran vessel that campaigners saved following controversial plans by Waterways Ireland to scrap her at Grand Canal Basin. 

Published in Historic Boats

#Mermaid - Following new Mermaid Sailing Association (MSA) president Des Deane's call for participation, over 40 members packed the downstairs bar of Skerries Sailing Club on Friday 27 November for an "extremely productive" AGM.

A focus on the quality of racing for the fleet was discussed in depth, the outcome being that the existing format of one long race per day for the Mermaid’s week-long Nationals was overruled with a new format of two shorter races per day.

If conditions are favourable, then this new racing format would mean 12 races for Mermaiders at their next Nationals at Mayo Sailing Club from 30 July to 5 August 2016.

An invitation from Skerries Sailing Club to host the 2017 Championship was accepted enthusiastically, and Commodore Kieran Branagan, who was present on the night, shared his appreciation on the decision.

Still on the topic of improving racing quality, it was proposed that one of the fleet’s own members, Ruairi Grimes, now a qualified naval architect, would carry out an analysis of the Mermaid rudder design from the point of view of improving performance and stability. This was strongly welcomed at the meeting and will be followed up in the New Year.

All boats were weighed at the 2015 Nationals, with only one found lighter than the minimum weight of 415kg. Emphasis on quality and equipment checks was also discussed and highlighted for the upcoming sailing season, the calendar or which was decided on the night.

Aside from filling all committee positions, a number of new ideas were discussed on the night, including putting focus back on the fleet’s main ‘home’ clubs as well as actively following up on boats that are not used as often anymore.

Indeed, fears of "terminal decline" of what was once one of Ireland's preeminent dinghy classes have been overstated, according to the association.

"While numbers at events have been down in the past few years we still get some of the highest turnouts compared to other classes," said Roisin McCormack, new captain of the MSA. "Twenty-two boats for a week-long Nationals event is nothing to be ashamed of, and more importantly we are actively trying to improve the class and participation levels."

The MSA also noted that a number of new young helms who have joined the classic fleet in the past few years were in attendance on the night – with three new boat owners from Foynes Yacht Club this year alone, all qualifying as youth helms.

Following the success of February's prizegiving dinner, which attracted 100 guests, it was unanimously decided to host a similar event at Rush Sailing Club early in 2016.

This event will allow all members – old, new and prospective – to meet to discuss the upcoming racing schedule and plans for the future in the class in a more informal social setting. Details on this will be available in the New Year.

Published in Mermaid
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#Mermaid - Reversing the "terminal decline" of the once preeminent Mermaid class is the aim of the 64th Mermaid Sailing Association AGM at Skerries Sailing Club this month.

MSA secretary Des Deane has circulated details of the meeting at 8pm on Friday 27 November, calling on Mermaid owners and crews who have lost contact with the class to attended and help determine a "fresh approach" to how it's run and what sort of racing members want, among others.

A source close to Afloat.ie says the decline of the Mermaid "can be traced back to the fateful decision to abandon the composite glass fibre boat 'Dolly'" – designed in the mid 2000s in an effort to revitalise the class.

Our source added that "no Mermaids have been sailed regularly ... in any numbers since the '90s" from Clontarf Boat and Yacht Club, which has hosted previous MSA AGMs for the last 50 years.

And it's feared that the trend of leading sailors parking their Mermaids in garages across the country, or even selling their boats, will lead to an irreversible decline at a time when classic classes like the Water Wags and Dublin Bay 12-footers are enjoying a revival.

Afloat.ie will have more news from the Mermaid class AGM later this month.

Published in Mermaid
Tagged under

#HistoricBoats - A team of scientists aboard the Marine Institute's research vessel Celtic Voyager has revealed detailed images of World War I shipwrecks in the Irish Sea.

The team, led by Dr Ruth Plets of the School of Environmental Sciences at Ulster University, set out to capture the highest resolution acoustic data possible of WWI shipwrecks lost in the Irish Sea, using a new multi-beam system (EM2040) on board the RV Celtic Voyager to get the best data ever acquired over these wrecks.

"We were able to capture the most detailed images of the entirety of the wrecks ever," said Dr Plets. "Some of the wrecks, which are too deep to be dived on, have not been seen in 100 years. So this is the first time we can examine what has happened to them, during sinking and in the intervening 100 years, and try to predict their future preservation state."

Among the shipwrecks surveyed were the SS Chirripo, which sank in 1917 off Black Head in Co Antrim after she struck a mine; the SS Polwell, which was torpedoed in 1918 northeast of Lambay Island; and the RMS Leinster, which sank in 1918 after being torpedoed off Howth Head, killing over over 500 people - the single greatest loss of live in the Irish Sea.

Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan welcomed the achievements of the survey, supported by the competitive ship-time programme, saying: "The multidisciplinary team is making an important contribution to understanding and protecting our maritime heritage and to our ability to manage our marine resource wisely."

Explaining how the survey was carried out, Dr Plets added: "We moved away from traditional survey strategies by slowing the vessel right down to allow us to get many more data points over the wreck, with millions of sounding per wreck."

"The detail is amazing as we can see things such as handrails, masts, the hawse pipe – where the anchor was stored – and hatches. Some of the vessels have split into sections, and we can even see details of the internal structure. With the visibility conditions in the Irish Sea, no diver or underwater camera could ever get such a great overview of these wrecks."

As well as acoustic imaging, the team collected samples from around the wreck to see what its potential impact is on the seabed ecology. Sediment samples were also taken for chemical analysis to determine if these wrecks cause a concern for pollution.

The project is carried out to coincide with WWI centenary commemorations, noted Dr Plets. "We often forget the battles that were fought in our seas; more emphasis is put on the battles that went on in the trenches. However, at least 2,000 Irishmen lost their lives at sea, but unlike on land, there is no tangible monument or place to commemorate because of the location on the bottom of the sea.

"In the Republic of Ireland there is a blanket protection of all wrecks older than 100 years, so all these will become protected over the next few years. To manage and protect these sites for future generations, we need to know their current preservation state and understand the processes that are affecting the sites."

The next step for the team is to use the data collected to create 3D models which can be used for archaeological research, heritage management and dissemination of these otherwise inaccessible sites to the wider public.

"There is so much data, it will take us many months if not years, to work it all up," said Dr Plets. "Some of the wrecks are in a very dynamic environment and we are planning to survey these vessels again next year to see if there is a change, especially after the winter storms. That will give the heritage managers a better idea if any intervention measures need to be taken to protect them.

"These data could well signal a new era in the field of maritime archaeology. We hope it will inspire a new generation of marine scientists, archaeologists and historians to become involved. Above all, we want to make the general public, young and old, aware of the presence of such wrecks, often located only miles off their local beach."

The research survey was supported by the Marine Institute, through its Ship-Time Programme, funded under the Marine Research Sub-Programme by the Government.

The diverse team included maritime archaeologists Rory McNeary from the Northern Ireland Department of the Environment and Kieran Westley from the University of Southampton; geologists Rory Quinn and Ruth Plets, both Ulster University; biologists Annika Clements from Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute and Chris McGonigle from Ulster University; Ulster University marine science student Mekayla Dale; and hydrographer Fabio Sacchetti from the Marine Institute who works on Ireland's national seabed mapping programme INFOMAR, run jointly with the Geological Survey of Ireland.

The team blogged about the seven-day survey at [email protected].

Published in Historic Boats

#glandoreclassicregatta – The 12th CH Marine Glandore Classic Regatta was launched on Wednesday at the Kiln Bar in Murphy Brewery in Cork. An enthusiastic crowd of classic boat followers attended the launch of the biennial event which takes place from 18th–24th July 2015.

There will be a Parade of Sail on the Sunday of the Regatta plus competitive racing during the week. The very popular "Music in the Street" gig also takes place on Sunday evening. Bill Sandberg (USA) returns as our Principal Race Officer in 2015. The Baltimore/Fastnet cruise and Castletownshend race will take place during the week of the Regatta. This year there will be a special welcome for gaff rigged boats with members of the Old Gaffers Association attending Glandore Classic Regatta as part of their cruise along the West Cork coast. 

Cormac O'Caroll adds:

Jim Cashman of Heineken welcomed the Commodore and Classic committee members, sponsors and invited guests present.
Following this introduction Nick Bendon of CH Marine spoke of his company's involvement in the regatta in recent years and remarked how after a very quiet season in Glandore last year this year already the village is buzzing and business is definitely on the UP. With the re-opened Glandore Inn and the newly opened Glandore Bistro at the Pier House, as well as Hayes' and Casey's bar exceptionally busy over the recent Easter weekend and May Holiday. Nick looks forward to a very successful CH Marine Glandore Classic Regatta next July.
Sean Walsh, the Commodore of the Old Gaffers Association then addressed the gathering and told us about the Old Gaffers Association, a world wide group with members drawn from lovers of gaff rigged boats from all over the world, though mostly from UK, Ireland and France. Sean told us that this year the Old Gaffers were having their Big Cruise on the South Coast and were making a bee line for the Glandore Classic Regatta as part of their Cruise which will then being them as far west as the Fastnet and Skellig Michael. Sean also reminded us that since he first visited the Classic Regatta in 1992 he has returned each time to the warmest of welcomes at the Club and in Glandore Harbour generally. The Commodore John Dowling closed with a review of some of the boats that are planning to be in Glandore for the Regatta next July, a number are regular visitors, there are a a few which have been in re build right through last winter, and also a number that were re launched for the first time during last season. We look forward to welcome back the Cork One Designs and the Anglsea Fifes, as well as the Ettes of Castletownshend to name just a few. 

The Glandore Classic Regatta runs from Saturday July 18th to Friday July 24th, The Regatta opening ceremony takes place on Saturday evening July 18th, The parade of sail occurs on Sunday afternoon July 19th. There is a sailing and racing programme of activities daily until Friday 24th when the regatta closes with the final prize giving. Throughout the week there is a full schedule of events including recitals, lectures, quiz, BBQ,street music etc.

Published in Historic Boats
Page 6 of 8

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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