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New developments in Ireland's capacity to uncover its past and explore its future economic potential will be revealed today and tomorrow (16th and 17th November) at a seminar on underwater mapping at the Marine Institute in Galway.

INFOMARNov2011AranSoundGalwayBay

Map of the Aran Sound in Galway Bay

Speakers at this annual seminar of the INFOMAR (INtegrated Mapping FOr the Sustainable development of Ireland's MARine Resource) programme will discuss the discovery of new and historic underwater wreck sites, the application of seabed mapping in the selection of sites for generating wave energy, the protection of fish spawning grounds, and the planning of fish farm sites.

The INFOMAR programme is a jointly managed programme between the Marine Institute and the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) and is funded by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCNER).

INFOMARNov2011ManchesterMerchant

Wreck of the SS. Manchester Merchant

The event will also feature the latest results from a range of EC funded marine mapping initiatives and stunning underwater footage from the recent Irish mission to the volcanic vents of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge over 3,000 metres below the surface of the sea.

Opening the seminar Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute said, "Ireland is leading the way for Europe in marine mapping and in laying the foundations for the sustainable management of our ocean space. Surveying the gateways to our ports, mapping our fish spawning grounds, finding routes for marine telecommunications cables and selecting the best sites for ocean energy generation all rely on accurate seabed mapping capability, which Ireland now possesses."

In addition to its large scale marine mapping remit, INFOMAR's Value Added Programme is co-ordinating an integrated multidisciplinary approach to the handling, processing and application of its ever-expanding marine data set.

Ventpic2large

Deepwater photograph from the mid-Atlantic Ridge

As a result of its latest call for research proposals, INFOMAR received 32 submissions for studies on such subjects as the appraisal of seabed data for tidal energy generation, the integration of satellite and marine data for coastal mapping and the use of new graphic animation techniques to integrate environmental information into seabed mapping displays.

"INFOMAR is a key mechanism to unlock the economic potential of our ocean territory," said Koen Verbruggen of the GSI. "By linking industry and academia to the realisation of our government's objectives and requirements around sustainable ocean development we will strengthen Ireland's position on this new frontier and expand our capability to deliver services and solutions to all marine sectors – in Ireland, in Europe and across the world."

INFOMARNov2011WMBarkley

Wreck of the sunken Guinness ship W.M. Barkley off Dublin Bay

As well as looking to the future, Ireland's maritime past will be explored in a presentation by the Underwater Archaeology Unit of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht on the discovery of a probably late 16th century wreck off Rutland Island, Co. Donegal. The wreck, which may have been an armed merchant ship, a pirate or naval vessel potentially associated with the local Gaelic lordships or the Spanish Armada of 1588, is an extremely important find that could add greatly to our understanding of Ireland's maritime heritage.

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under
In his first week in office Marine Minister Simon Coveney has moved to highlight the significance of the marine sector to Ireland. The statement came in his first official engagement at the new Department of Agriculture, Marine and Food. Minister Coveney said: "the seas and ocean that surround the island of Ireland are among this country's greatest natural resources."

The Minister was speaking during a visit to the Marine Institute's research vessel, RV Celtic Explorer, on its return from a mission to the Labrador and Newfoundland Seas.

He added "I am particularly pleased that this is my first official engagement as Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food. The work of the RV Celtic Explorer highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence, where we have prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies."

Minister Coveney commended the Marine Institute and its Chief Executive, Dr Peter Heffernan, for its leading and proactive role in the areas of fisheries science, marine environment and food safety as well as ocean science and said that he looked forward to working closely with the Institute and benefitting from the research and advice which they would undertake and provide.

The Minister noted that Ireland's two national research vessels – RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager – will record 267 days at sea during 2011, during which they will be engaged in fisheries surveys, underwater mapping, climate studies and deepwater surveys.

Published in Marine Science
The Marine Institute has issued a statement congratulating Mr Simon Coveney TD on his new appointment as the Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food today (11th March 2011), during his visit on board the RV Celtic Explorer in Cork, after its return from the mission to the Labrador and Newfoundland Seas.

Seeing the capabilities of Ireland's largest research vessel and the work of the Marine Institute, Mr Simon Coveney highlighted the importance the Marine Sector has on the Irish economy. "The seas and ocean that surround the land of Ireland is arguably one of our countries greatest natural resources. Through marine research, development and sustainable management, Ireland is developing a strong reputation as an emerging centre of excellence, where we have prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies," he said.

Ireland's national research vessels RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager will record 627 days at sea between the two during 2011. Their work will range from fisheries surveys to underwater mapping and from climate studies to deepwater surveys with the remotely operated submersible ROV Holland 1.

"The work conducted on the vessels continues to feed into the success in attracting EU funding to Ireland's marine science programmes that have been achieved by our strategic approach to marine science planning" explained Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute.

"The award of funding projects shows that partnerships between academics and small businesses can yield significant dividends in creating jobs, generating economic revenue and the supply of raw materials for new industries ranging from ocean energy and environmental monitoring technologies to marine-inspired pharmaceuticals and food ingredients" he further said.

Published in Marine Science

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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