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Amongst the festival tallships lining Waterford quays, the RV Keary, a marine research survey vessel that mapped the estuary in advance of the tall ships arrival, will too be open to the public, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Work to map the navigational channel of Waterford Harbour's estuary was completed last month by the catamaran hulled craft that belongs to the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI). Her smaller fleetmate the 7.5m RIB RV Geo carried-out work in the shallower areas along the river banks. For images of the seabed survey click HERE. The survey which had started in April was a joint research programme between (GSI) and the Marine Institute (MI).

This was the RV Keary's first INFOMAR survey leg of 2011 and it was also the first time that both vessels have worked in tandem. The mapping of the estuary was from an area just west of the city's Rice Bridge to the open sea at the mouth of Waterford Harbour.

The estuary was mapped before in 2007 using the Marine Institutes larger vessel the RV Celtic Voyager, which covered the harbour approaches from the 10m contour to greater depth offshore. Both RV Keary and RV Geo overlapped their coverage with this previous data, producing a comprehensive and seamless seabed map of the area.

RV Keary is constructed of marine grade aluminium and was custom built in 2008 for the (GSI) by Veecraft Marine of Capetown, South Africa.
The 15m craft with a draft of just 2m is equipped with an extensive range of highly sophisticated technology. She has an open working area at the aft-deck to conduct operations and is licensed to carry up to 12 personnel. For further vessel characteristics click HERE.

The 34-tonne craft made her 7,000 mile delivery voyage from the African continent to Europe. She was firstly transported on the deck of a cargoship to Rotterdam. After unloading at the Dutch port the 22-knot capable craft set off with several calls along the UK south coast to include loading bunkers before finally reaching Dun Laoghaire, from where she entered service in April 2009.

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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