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Displaying items by tag: Irish Weather Buoy Network

#Buoys - After more than two decades of service as part of the Marine Institute’s national weather buoy network, the affectionately named ‘Bob the Buoy’ will see out his retirement as a permanent resident at Valentia Lighthouse.

Bob withstood countless storms over the years, reporting hourly weather observations to Met Éireann and European partners.

Now visitors to Valentia Island in Co Kerry can check out Bob’s new home at Cromwell Point and get a closer insight into Ireland’s marine navigation and safeguarding history.

“Weather buoys are a fundamental aspect of our maritime history, and it is our hope that Bob will emphasise this in his new location here, on Valentia, the most extreme south-westerly point of Europe,” said Paul Duff, member of the lighthouse committee which worked closely with the Marine Institute on the buoy’s relocation.

“It is fitting that he should be placed here, and we look forward to incorporating him into our visitor experience,” Duff added.

Lighthouse committee chair Brian Morgan said: “This is such a fantastic artefact. It is our hope that we can reinstate Bob, a working retirement if you like, in order for us to provide a weather feed which we can share through our community, and lighthouse network, utilising the available technology, but we will let him settle in first.”

Dr Guy Westbrook from the Marine Institute said he and his colleagues are delighted that Bob has a new home at Valentia to educate the public about the weather buoy network.

“Designed to improve weather forecasts and safety at sea around Ireland, the buoy network provides vital data for weather forecasts, shipping bulletins, gale and swell warnings as well as data for general public information and research,” Dr Westbrook added.

In other news, the large marker buoy found adrift by Clifden RNLI in late July has been removed from the Connemara coast.

Harry Duggan of the Commissioners of Irish Lights says the buoy, which originated in Canadian waters, was as of yesterday (Friday 10 August) on its way to CIL headquarters in Dun Laoghaire.

The CIL recommends caution around any and all aids to navigation around the Irish coast.

Published in Marine Science

#Weather - The work of the Marine Institute's Irish Weather Buoy Network will feature on RTE One's Weather Live this evening (Friday 17 November).

The TV programme has filmed the redeployment of the M5 weather buoy, which broke free during Storm Ophelia. The show will also feature an interview with the Marine Institute's Dr Guy Westbrook.

A weather buoy has been transported to the Botanic Gardens in Dublin, where Weather Live broadcasts live, so those tuning in can see what one looks like.

The Irish Weather Buoy Network delivers data every hour that is then fed into a global information network which includes Met Éireann, the Irish Meterological Service. This data is then used to inform forecasts as well as long-term information gathering.

Located off the South East coast, the M5 weather buoy captured two records during Ophelia: a record individual wave (Hmax) of 17.81m and a record significant wave height (Hs) of 12.97m.

During the storm, the raging seas caused the M5 mooring to break and the buoy needed to be recovered to shore when the seas had calmed.

Due to the relative importance to forecasters of the M5 weather observing location, it was decided to deploy the M4 target system that had been on test in Killybegs at M5.

This buoy was disassembled and transported by road to Cobh dockyard where it was loaded onto the ILV Granuaile and prepared for subsequent deployment.

Marine Institute staff embarked the vessel on 1 November and deployment of the buoy took place the next day in exceptionally calm conditions.

Weather Live is a three-day television event on RTÉ One that focuses on the fascinating world of weather. It’s presented by Kathryn Thomas and features meteorologists including Evelyn Cusack, Gerald Fleming and Gerry Murphy, and coincides with events for Science Week 2017, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The third and final broadcast of the series goes out live this evening Friday 17 November at 7pm on RTE One.

Published in Weather

Record wave heights were captured by the Irish Weather Buoy Network during Hurricane Ophelia on Monday 16th October, causing one of the five weather buoys to break it moorings.

The highest wave was recorded off the Irish coastline at 16.00 on Monday when the M5 weather buoy off the South East coast, measured a record individual wave (Hmax) of 17.81m* and a record significant wave height (Hs) of 12.97m **.

The M5 weather buoy subsequently broke away from its mooring and the Marine Institute coordinated the retrieval process as a matter of urgency. The M5 was recovered yesterday by the MV Puffin of Fastnet Shipping (Waterford) and brought ashore last night.

As Ophelia moved northwards, the M2 buoy to the east of Dublin also experienced a record significant wave height (HS )** of 6.64m measured at 18.00 on Monday 16th.

baltimore beaconWaves lash the Baltimore beacon in West Cork during Storm Ophelia. Photo: Youen Jacob
Earlier in the day, at 12.00, the M3 buoy, off the South West coast measured an individual wave height of 13.59m, although this was not a record wave for this buoy.

In addition to measuring the waves, the weather buoy network, which is managed by the Marine Institute provides further vital atmospheric (including wind speed) and oceanographic information to support both maritime safety and, importantly in storm events such as Ophelia, help to validate the weather forecast models run by Met Éireann providing guidance to the national emergency planning efforts.

The Irish Weather Buoy Network is designed to improve weather forecasts and safety at sea around Ireland. The buoy network also provides operational ocean models, shipping bulletins, gale and swell warnings as well as data for general public information and research. The network is managed by the Marine Institute in collaboration with Met Éireann, the UK Met Office and the Irish Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS). Real time data from the network can be found here.

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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