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With the recent failure of an un-manned Russian rocket reaching the International Space Station, and its subsequent crash into Siberia coupled with NASA's retired shuttle programme, perhaps the solution to reaching orbit lies much closer to home, writes Jehan Ashmore.
To be more specific the answer may be found in Co. Donegal where a rocket-ship is scheduled to blast-off (weather permitting) this afternoon at 3pm from the grounds of the Inishowen Maritime Museum and Planetarium at Greencastle. For further information on this free event click HERE.

The RLM which stands for "Ridiculously Large Missile" is the second-largest civilian rocket ever launched in Ireland. In fact the organisers have built a larger one called the BFM: that's "Big Fat Missile".

The spectacular event has previously taken place on the last Sunday of each month since April. Today's launch will be the fifth and final blast-off of this year's rocket season.

Returning to earth, the museum located in the old coastguard station overlooks Greencastle harbour, which has one of busiest fishing fleets in Ireland.The maritime museum and its planetarium will also be open today. For summertime opening hours and admission fees information Tel: (074) 9381363 or visit http://www.inishowenmaritime.com/about.shtml

Greencastle is also conveniently connected by a 15-minute car-ferry service across Lough Foyle to Magilligan in Co. Derry. The route is served by the Foyle Venture, for ferry times and fares visit www.loughfoyleferry.com/

Published in Coastal Notes

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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