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Displaying items by tag: NATO exercise off Scotland

#SpainScotland - French Navy ships are currently visiting Dublin Port with more to come among them the Spanish that also participated in Joint Warrior 172, Europe's largest military exercise for some time that had taken place off Scotland, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The UK led multi-national exercise involving some 30 warships from NATO, numerous aircraft, marines and troops had been testing anti-terrorism tactics, piracy, humanitarian missions and other duties. Asides the French and Spanish the multinational flotilla included the Royal Canadian Navy. All these navies are scheduled each to send a frigate to Dublin before next mid-week.

The French will again be represented by FGS Provence, the fourth caller since yesterday. The other frigates are the Canadian Navy's HMCS Montréal and from Spain Álvaro de Bazán. The country on 1st October drew worldwide attention given the independence referendum held in Catalonia. This was in marked contrast as only yesterday, 12th October was the National Day of Spain.

The “Álvaro de Bazán” class frigate belongs to the 31st Escort Squadron based in Ferrol, Corunna in north-west Spain. The frigate was launched locally in Ferrol on October 27th 2000 at the NAVANTIA Shipyards. The frigates motto and coat of arms is “Rey Servido y Patria Honrada” which translates to Served king and Honoured Homeland.

Another referendum but this time on Scottish independence took place in 2014. It was somewhat ironic that the 147m Spanish frigate had called to Glasgow only last week.

The leadship of the Álvaro de Bazán frigate class is of a modern design that according to the Spanish Navy has a remarkable military capability. The frigate is equipped with an AEGIS Combat System that makes the class a most valuable asset at the service of the Nation’s foreign policy, not only in conventional operations, but also in peace-keeping and humanitarian aid missions, enforcement of UN resolutions, etc.

This year, Joint Warrior 172 overlapped with Formidable Shield 17 - a U.S. led joint NATO live fire Integrated Air Missile Defence (IAMD) exercise. Both exercises had provided a complex environment in which allied units trained together in tactics and skills for use in a combined joint task force.

In addition our very own L.E. James Joyce, the second of three OPV90 /Playwright sisters completed, will dock in Dublin on Monday before this contingent of the NATO flotilla arrive. Firstly on Tuesday, HMCS Montréal is scheduled while on Wednesday it will be the turn of both FGS Provence and Álvaro de Bazán.

In the reporting of visiting naval vessels, the schedules can be fluid, so much so that due to operational reasons such ship visits can be swapped around, delayed or even be cancelled.

Published in Navy

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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