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Displaying items by tag: Lough Swilly

#RNLI - Lough Swilly RNLI rescued five people onboard a 50ft fishing boat yesterday evening (Sunday 2 December) after the vessel’s engine broke down in Co Donegal.

During what was a nine-hour callout in tough weather conditions, Portrush RNLI also launched to assist the stricken Mary Ellen.



Volunteer crew members from Lough Swilly had been attending a commemoration in Portsalon when they were requested to launch to the boat that had broken down some 10 miles further on, a mile-and-a -half from Fannad Lighthouse.



The all-weather Tyne class lifeboat arrived on scene at 3.15pm where the crew observed a steel crabber with five men onboard. The fishing boat was carrying a load of crab.



Weather conditions at the time were described as blowing gusts of between gale force 5 and 6 up the lough.



The crew pursued to establish a towline and commence the return journey to shore. After towing the vessel for a couple of hours into the dark, the tide began to turn, making the pull more difficult. A relief lifeboat from Lough Swilly and Portrush RNLI were requested to launch to assist.



Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 was also on scene in the event that the stricken vessel’s crew would need to be evacuated.



As the boat was being towed up the lough it lost all power and VHF was transferred from the lifeboat for communication.



When Portrush RNLI arrived on scene, the crew assisted with the tow while the Lough Swilly relief lifeboat stood by.



The stricken vessel’s mechanic managed to restart the engine during the tow and the vessel made its way into Rathmullan while the Lough Swilly lifeboat stood by in case it required further assistance.



John McCarter, Lough Swilly RNLI lifeboat operations manager, paid tribute to the lifeboat crew who arrived back at the station in the early hours of Monday morning.

"This was a long callout in difficult weather conditions and we are glad that we were able to assist this vessel and her crew in making it to shore safely,: he said. 

"This was a testament of the commitment, skill and selfless nature of our volunteers who are always willing to give their time and readily leave the comfort of their homes to face challenging conditions to help people who find themselves in difficulty at sea."

Joe Joyce from the lifeboat crew told BBC News that the nine-hour operation was "an unpleasant experience" but reported that "everybody was safe and well".

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#TOURISM - Sailing, kayaking and surfing are just some of the attractions for watersports enthusiasts in Rathmullan, as the Sunday Independent reports.

Sophie Linehan visited the Donegal village on the shores of Lough Swilly ahead of last weekend's second annual SeaFest, which introduced novices to the delights of various aquatic sports.

And it wasn't hard for her to find a whole host of activities for all levels of experience.

Many of these are available at the not-for-profit Rathmullan Sailing and Watersports School, set up by American transplant Rick Le Vert - who 10 years ago had never been sailing himself!

Linehan and her companion were shown the ropes in an afternoon sailing taster session on the lough, which she describes as "the perfect place to learn to sail".

Lessons in surfing and stand-up paddle boarding are also easily availed of - the latter being a great introduction to those who might be a bit scared of the surf.

The Sunday Independent has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Aquatic Tourism

#MARITIME FESTIVALS - The second SeaFest Lough Swilly is set to take place next weekend from 22-24 June, as the Donegal Democrat reports.

“SeaFest Lough Swilly is an event for everyone,” said Mark Wheeler of Rathmullan House, one of the weekend's organisers.

“For sailors and watersports enthusiasts, be they experienced or novice; for families in search of something active to do with the kids; for people who simply take pleasure in being at the seaside; and of course for everyone who enjoys good local food.”

The non-profit festival will let watersports novices sample the delights of windsurfing, sailing, paddle boarding, snorkelling and sea kayaking.

For landlubbers, meanwhile, there will be traditional vintage fairground games, local produce from the Donegal Country Markets, crafts from Donegal Designer Makers and musical acts performing all weekend.

Food is also a big aspect, with Mulroy Bay oysters, spit-roasted Donegal organic pork, Lough Swilly mackerel and Irish craft beers all on the menu.

What's more, Saturday 23 June will see the second annual running of the Saldanha Cup, a traditional cruiser-racer sailing regatta that commemorates the 200th anniversary of the sinking of the frigate HMS Saldanha.

And you never know - the SeaFest might even have some killer visitors, if last week's orca encounter is anything to go by!

The Donegal Democrat has more on the story HERE.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The video above shows the moment when an angling boat was surrounded by a pod of killer whales at the mouth of Lough Swilly in Co Donegal.

Sea angler Kevin Doherty, whose boat was treated to the spectacle, told UTV News: "We knew ourselves at that moment we were going to witness something special."

Local wildlife experts say the orca family came from the Scottish Hebrides and as well known - but this is the first time the whole family group has been recorded together on Ireland's North coast.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Members of Donegal County Council are to discuss today, the future of two subsidised ferry routes operating from the Inishowen Peninsula, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The Lough Foyle ferry between Greencastle and Magilligan Point, Co. Derry could be curtailed as traffic levels have halved and the summer only Buncrana-Rathmullan service on Lough Swilly is also to be examined. Both ferry services are run by the Lough Foyle Ferry Company.

The cross-border service is funded by Donegal County Council and Limavady Borough Council. The route in recent years has experienced an unfavourable exchange rate, increased cost of fuel, poor weather, a depressed tourism market sector and notably reduced construction traffic, contributing to a sharp decline in demand. In the current climate the local authorities may find it difficult to provide funding as they scale back on budgets.

Record levels in 2005/2006 saw traffic reach 106,179 vehicles and 302,740 passengers. Such was the success of the service annual subsidies for 2008 and 2009 were not required. According to the latest 12-monthly traffic figures for June 2009-June 2010, vehicle volumes dropped to 52,669 and passengers levels have decreased more than halve to 149,455.

The 10-minute route is operated by the 44-vehicle capacity Foyle Venture which served the Kilimer-Tarbert route for the Shannon Ferry Co. The mid-west estuary ferry was replaced by newbuild Shannon Breeze in 2000 and later sold to Lough Foyle Ferry Co.

When the Lough Foyle route began operations in 2002, the service received a subvention of €108,000 each from the local councils. Over that timeframe, the route has received a total funding of €500,000 from Donegal County Council.

In 2009, the two local authorities agreed to provide a €200,000 subvention, but this runs out in March 2011. An application has also been submitted to the Special EU Programmes Body for funding.

On the west side of the Inishowen Peninsula is the Bunbcrana-Rathmullan service, which is also in doubt if a subsidy from Donegal County Council cannot be maintained. The Lough Swilly route started in 2004 and is served by the 20-vehicle capacity Foyle Rambler, a former German river-ferry. The north-west ferry route takes 25-minutes and recorded 15,000 passengers at its peak.

In busier times, tourists from the North, instead of passing through Derry city, used the 'land-bridge' routes across the Inishowen Peninsula to reach holiday-homes and popular seaside resorts throughout Co. Donegal.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Page 3 of 3

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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