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Displaying items by tag: Lough Erne

Carrybridge RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Douglas Euan & Kay Richards was launched on Tuesday afternoon (26 October) to assess a fishing boat with three people on board, which had broken down around a mile northeast of Knockninny on Upper Lough Erne.

Once on scene, the lifeboat located the casualty vessel which had blown onto an exposed shoreline on an island amid Force 4-5 southwesterly gusts.

The volunteer helm and crew assessed the vessel and the wellbeing of the persons on board from a close but safe distance, and found they were all well.

It was established that the casualty vessel had suffered engine failure, and due to the strong winds had been blown onto the shoreline of the island.

After a full review of the situation, and due to the large waves landing on the island shoreline, the helm deemed the safest option was to put two volunteer crew from the lifeboat onto the other side of the island which was sheltered from the waves.

The crew then walked the three persons across the island to this safer location to get onboard the lifeboat. They were brought back to the nearest safe marina which was Knockninny public jetty.

The volunteer crew of the lifeboat then went back and refloated the fishing boat from the shoreline and brought it to the safety of Knockninny.

Speaking following the callout, Carrybridge lifeboat operations manager Stephen Scott had advice for all boat users in Northern Ireland and elsewhere.

“Before setting out on your journey, please check the weather forecast for the day ahead, have a means of calling for assistance if you find yourself in trouble and have lifejackets for all onboard,” he said.

“If you see someone in trouble on the water or are in difficulties yourself the number to dial is 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

One young Northern Ireland couple have eschewed the heated land-based property ladder and put their savings afloat with a narrowboat, as ArmaghI reports.

Sophie Durand and Josh Boyd, both from Co Armagh and in their early 20s, have now adopted “slow, sustainable and also happier way of living” afloat on the inland waterways at Lough Erne.

Between them they raised the £53,000 (€62,000) to purchase the narrowboat Qisma — Arabic for ‘destiny’ — which has a permanent mooring at a monthly cost of £170 (€200).

And while their compact choice of home might not be to everyone’s taste, they’re now living mortgage-free after spending a fraction of the average deposit.

ArmaghI has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
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In late August, the Snipe dinghy Ranger, restored by Fred and George Ternan after sixty years lying abandoned on the Crom Estate, County Fermanagh, had her second outing on Upper Lough Erne at Crom.

Ranger was one of two Snipes found by Fred in the boathouse at Crom Castle and was restored over the last year. The other was Teal, and it is known that a third, Valkyria, is stored near Enniskillen.

Heading off in very calm conditions from the Visitor Centre slipway at Crom were Rob and Alice Armstrong from Bangor, later to be joined by Sarah Royle from County Cavan. Sarah confessed she hadn't sailed since she was ten; " Valkyria was owned by my father, Johnny Lucas -Clements, and when I was a young child, I used to sail with him at Crom on Sunday afternoons. That was back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and we always sailed from the boathouse. I enjoyed sailing at Crom back then. I was very grateful to be asked by Johnny Madden to attend the relaunch of Ranger in early August and then by Fred to sail in Ranger last Sunday. It brought back many happy memories for me."

Ranger approaching Trial Bay on Upper Lough ErneRanger approaching Trial Bay on Upper Lough Erne

Both Ranger and Valkyria came from Belfast Lough, where they regularly sailed for years. They formed part of a fleet of Snipes acquired by Major Madden of Clones, who was instrumental in establishing the class in Lough Erne. He introduced Teal about 1953, and his son Johnny Madden has much detail about the Snipe class at his fingertips.

The whole story of Snipe sailing in Northern Ireland can be found here

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The fact that Royal St. George Olympic 470 helmsman Ger Owens has won the Ulsters, Leinsters and Skerries Regatta, which are the three GP14 events sailed so far this season, means he is a clear favourite to take the Championship of Ireland when it returns to lower Lough Erne for its 2021 edition next week.

Lough Erne Yacht Club stages the event from Friday 13th – Sun 15th August. 

Half a dozen local boats will be joined by up to 45 visiting boats from all over Ireland for the eight-race championships. 

Despite his current form, Owens, who is sailing with Brendan Brogan (with no less than 10 Irish GP14 titles between them), will not have things all their own way. 2016 Word Champion Shane McCarthy and 2019 Irish Champion along with World Championship runner up Ross Kearney are set to test the Beijing and London Olympian. 

Royal St. George helmsman Ger Owens has already won the Ulster and Leinster Championships Royal St. George helmsman Ger Owens has already won the Ulster and Leinster Championships

Derek Bothwell from Howth is the national race officer in charge of the event. 

The event also includes the Irish Masters and Junior Championships, which are always hotly contested.

The last time the fleet visited Lough Erne was for the Hot Toddy event in October 2019, and the planned 2020 Championship of Ireland was postponed to 2021 due to COVID.  

Published in GP14
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​Waterways Ireland has announced the creation of a non-motorised ‘safe play’ zone at Castle Archdale Country Park on Lower Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh.

Echoing a similar scheme currently in operation at Muckross Bay in Kesh, Enniskillen, the new zone will operate until October and is located between the existing caravan park and Davy’s Island, delineated with floating buoys.

​In temporarily closing off a section of the navigation to motorised craft, the cross-border body for the inland waterways is exercising its powers under the Lough Erne (Navigation) Bye-laws (Northern Ireland) 1978 as amended by The Lough Erne (Navigation) (Amendment) Bye-laws (Northern Ireland) 1986.

​The aim of the proposal is to improve safety in the area, which has become increasingly popular with all types of waterway enthusiasts in recent years. It also comes after reports of a rise in personal watercraft infringements into swimming areas, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Inland Waterways

Enniskillen RNLI launched to the aid of four people on a speedboat adrift in shallow water in the vicinity of Castle Archdale yesterday (Sunday 13 June).

Following a request from Belfast Coastguard, the volunteer crew launched the station’s inshore lifeboat John and Jean Lewis at 7.35pm to go to the aid of the 16ft speed boat, which had engine difficulties and was adrift in the Castle Archdale area of Lower Lough Erne.

Weather conditions at the time were choppy with a south-westerly wind.

The crew quickly found the drifting boat on the western side of Crevinishaghy Island.

All four adults onboard were found to be safe and well and wearing the correct safety equipment.

The volunteer crew then established a tow between the lifeboat and the vessel and all casualties were brought to Castle Archdale marina safely.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The trial of a man accused of murdering his wife on a boating holiday in Co Fermanagh has heard the company that hired out the boat to the accused had failed to supply enough lifejackets on board, as BBC News reports.

Stephen McKinney of Fintona, Co Tyrone denies the murder of Lu Na McKinney, the 35-year-old mother of two whose body was found near Devenish Island on Lough Erne in April 2017.

It was originally suspected that McKinney slipped from the deck of the boat which was hired from Manor House Marine, a director of which was questioned during the second day of the murder trial at Dungannon Crown Court yesterday, Thursday 29 April.

The director admitted that the correct checks on paperwork for the boat rental had not been completed, and lifejackets were not supplied for the family’s two children.

He also denied that the so-called ‘boat acceptance certificate’ was filled in after the fact of the tragic death for insurance purposes.

BBC News has much more on the story HERE.

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Carrickcraft has announced that with the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland, it will start operating for the 2021 cruising season on Lough Erne from Friday 30 April.

The cruising firm’s website features a sample itinerary of the attractive sights and mooring points around Upper and Lower Lough Erne, from Enniskillen to Devenish Island, Belleek and Crom Castle, to name a few.

Home-holidaying families (and their four-legged members, as dogs as welcome, too) can enjoy these inland waterways from any of an extensive fleet of two- to 10-berth cruisers, which can be browsed on the Carrickcraft website.

Published in Inland Waterways
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As the RNLI continues to operate as normal during the Covid-19 pandemic, the charity is still unable to fundraise out in person in the community.

With more people needing the lifeboat crews as they stay home, support from the public is more important than ever — and Carrybridge RNLI in Northern Ireland is one unit that has risen to the challenge by making it easier for people to back their vital work.

The RNLI operates two lifeboat stations for Upper and Lower Lough Erne, at Carrybridge and Enniskillen respectively, and has seen a drop in funds raised locally in 2020 as traditional fundraising activities had to be cancelled.

In many cases, when the lifeboat pager goes off, volunteers will need to abandon homeschooling or work and head to the lifeboat station to answer the call for help.

Stephen Scott, lifeboat operations manager at Carrybridge RNLI, says: “We couldn’t do what we do without the support of the public. The RNLI has experienced a drop in funds locally, but we are rescuing more people than ever before.

“We are facing challenging times and are calling on people to consider making a donation this year to ensure we can continue saving lives on inland waters.

“We have moved our fundraising online in these challenging times and set up a JustGiving page for the lifeboat station where people can donate directly to their local lifeboat station in Carrybridge.”

To support the RNLI at Carrybridge, helping to ensure the charity’s brave volunteers can continue saving lives on Lough Erne, visit their JustGiving page HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Brian Osborne last sailed a dinghy in 1989 on the River Thames near Hampton Court so returning to a small boat this season on Lough Erne was something of a revisit for him.

Brian bought a classic 1973 Mirror dinghy recently in Donaghadee, only to find that its original home had been on Lower Lough Erne at Castle Archdale on the opposite shore to Tully Bay where he keeps the Mirror now.

Perhaps this is the start of a trend in County Fermanagh for giving old boats a second chance as Jonny Clements has done with his Ulster Boat as Afloat.ie reported on 8th September. With the encouragement of seasoned sailor Fred Ternan – who had also helped Jonny to get afloat, it took Brian little time to regain his confidence.

A light north-westerly breeze on Tully Bay offered an ideal opportunity to try out (initially without the jib), manoeuvres which Brian thought he had forgotten but as he says "Once you learn how to sail, you never lose the feeling of being at one with your boat - you have to feel the wind through the sail and act accordingly. I shall continue to sail at every opportunity".

The Mirror dinghy was born in 1963 when the Daily Mirror newspaper signed up TV DIY expert Barry Bucknell and designer Jack Holt to revolutionise small boat ownership. They came up with a craft that cost £63 11s – or £63.55 in decimal money – and could be built at home using copper wire stitching and glue. At just under 10ft she was big enough for two adults and a couple of kids to sail yet small enough to fit on top of a family car.

Double Olympic silver medallist and round-the-world yachtsman Ian Walker, 42, said he owed his career to the boat.

The Mirror is not new to Lough Erne. There was a fleet in the 1980s at Lough Erne YC on the eastern shore of Lower Lough Erne at Goblusk. Racing was enjoyed by both adults and children alike in superb family competition. Some members ventured farther afield. Michael Clarke's family Mirror, built in 1966, travelled round Ireland on the top of a VW camper van in 1976 as well as enjoying extensive cruising on Lough Erne and subsequently under new ownership, was cruised by a young family on the Upper Bann and Lough Neagh.

Asked if he would be competing in the Mirror Worlds which are planned, after a gap of 34 years, for Sligo Yacht Club at Rosses Point next year he said. "I'll be there but as a supporter. I really don't have any intention of racing, just enjoying pottering about the Lough". The event on the Club's 200th Anniversary will run from 2 – 8 August preceded on 30 July – 1 August by the Irish Nationals. It was last held there in 1987.

Published in Mirror
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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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