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#Ports&Shipping - In just over a week of the RMS Leinster centenary ceremony held to commemorate the Irish Sea steamer, another former Royal Mail Ship RMS St. Helena reports the Dorset Echo returned to UK waters after an absence of seven years.

Afloat adds the ship was sold earlier this year to become MNG Tahiti, returned to Portland, Dorset from where the passengership also used to carry goods to the remote island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean. The ship was spotted arriving into Portland Port by Paul Dallaway this afternoon (last Thursday).

The 6,767-tonne cargo and passenger vessel was once the sole source of supply of all goods for the small island found 1,500 miles north west of Cape Town, South Africa.

It was also one of the last working Royal Mail ships in the world and as Afloat previously reported the 'RMS' as the ship was affectionately called was withdrawn from service earlier this year.

For more on the newspaper's coverage click here 

Afloat also adds the RMS St. Helena made a first and only call to Irish ports in 1995 during a charter cruise to Dublin and Cork (Cobh).

On the unique call to the Irish capital, the ship berthed on Sir John Rogersons Quay, along the south quays. Further upriver and on the north banks of the Liffey on Eden Quay, is where the RMS Leinster's operator, the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company's head office was located, see story.  

More than two decades later in 2016 the London registered ship finally made a first and farewell call to the UK capital. This was in advance of the ship's withdrawal from service that year of the pivotal island lifeline service, as otherwise this was the only way to reach the island. When introduced in 1990, RMS St. Helena first operated from the UK (Cardiff) to St. Helena, but this changed to the Dorset port. 

Delays due to safety concerns of the first airport to be built on St. Helena led to the RMS to continue carrying out south Atlantic voyages. The airport eventually opened to commercial flights and so the final sailing took place in February, marking the end of an era, however a cargo-only ship maintains services. 

Published in Ports & Shipping

#rmsLeinster - In advance of last week's RMS Leinster centenary ceremony, Afloat visited Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown (dlr) LexIcon Library, to discover in addition to the 'lego' model of RMS there was another model recently acquired, writes Jehan Ashmore.

On arrival to the LexIcon's foyer where the large 'Lego' model of RMS Leinster was on display, it was soon revealed upon queries to a staff member in the flagship iconic library, that another albeit traditional timber build model was in the building. This led to a sneek preview, of the smaller and older model which was then also available to the public, but not officially announced.

The contemporary model of RMS Leinster was acquired through a bookseller in recent weeks by the Local Studies team at the dlr LexIcon. On the day of the state held RMS ceremony that took place in Moran Park, adjacent to the library, to mark the appalling tragic sinking of the Royal Mail Steamer (RMS) Leinster off the Kish Bank following a German U-boat attack, the model was officially put on display. For further images of the model click the dlr tweet issued on the day of the RMS centenary commemorating the loss of more than 560 lives.

Upon closer inspection, the lifeboats seemed somewhat crude in construction, perhaps suggesting this is the work of an amateur, however overall the modelling of the RMS is more refined. Should any work be done, it would be the rigging given the condition. A display case also made of timber surrounds the model which can be seen in the Local Studies Room on Level 5 as referred above. While two floors below on Level 3 is the 'Lego' Leinster model on display.

Interestingly, this model depicts RMS Leinster in dual colours, the original pre-war black hull and red funnelled livery (portside) and the 'dazzle-camouflage' (starboard) used during the Great War. The use of the latter livery was used as a counter measure to the threat posed by the German U-Boats.

The dazzle's geometic paint did not strive to make the ship invisible, but the design was used rather to confuse the enemy, by making it more difficult to sink as it was harder to gauge the ship's distance, direction and speed.

The Lego model was based on plan drawings supplied by the National Maritime Museum of Ireland (NMMI) located beside the dlr LexIcon. The model was constructed by James Shields.

If you had missed or want to see more about the RMS Leinster centenary, click the following link noting an RMS Exhibition in the dlr Library continues until the end of this month. In addition to the NMMI (website) which has permanent display of RMS Leinster related exhibits which too are well worth a visit.

Published in Historic Boats

#rmsLeinster - The First Minister of Wales along with Irish dignitaries, ambassadors among them from the UK and Germany attended in Dun Laoghaire yesterday a state commemoration ceremony on the centenary of the sinking of RMS Leinster, writes Jehan Ashmore.

First Minister, Carwyn Jones marked the historic occason with DLRCoCo Cathaoirleach Ossian Smyth and Irish Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan beside the Lexicon Library. The public ceremony involved invited guests and hundreds of relatives of RMS Leinster including those from overseas at close to the harbour's Carlisle Pier from where the steamer made its final departure on that fateful day, 100 years ago on October, 10th 1918.

During the ceremony, a minute of silence took place while offshore the Naval Service L.E. Orla anchored in Scotmens Bay having completed earlier in the morning a memorial trip as part of floltilla out to the site of the wreck. Relatives were on board excursion vessel St. Bridget while local lifeboat, RNLB Anna Livia also took part in the laying of wreaths in rememberance to the victims of the disaster. Also yesterday morning, a ferry from Holyhead, Stena Superfast X paid tribute at the wreck site while making a routine crossing bound for Dublin Port.

The RMS Leinster was operated by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company which had the prestigious contract to carry mail for the British post office service, hence the Royal Mail Steamer prefix of RMS was given to the name of the passenger ship built by Laird Brothers, Birkenhead in 1896. 

At the time 100 year ago, the City of Dublin Steam Packet Co. operated steamer was serving the Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire)-Holyhead service, though because of World War One, RMS Leinster was painted in 'Dazzle Camouflage ' in an attempt to avoid detection by enemy attack.

RMS Leinster however became a casualty of war, having departed Kingstown on a routine sailing, the passenger and mail-boat steamer would never complete the crossing to the north Wales port town on Anglesea. It was off the Kish Bank skirting Dublin Bay, when RMS Leinster was struck by torpedoes from German submarine U-Boat 123 resulting in more than 560 victims (mostly military personnel) which remains the greatest single tragedy on the Irish Sea.

Asides the crew, the postal sorters working on board and civilian passengers, the majority losing their lives were militiary personnel who were either leaving or returning from leave. The military included sailors, soldiers, airmen and military nurses from Ireland, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. 

The disaster occured only one month and a day to the signing on Armistice Day, 11th November, making the end of World War One.

The ceremony also commemorated the loss of the crew from the U-Boat when a week after the attack on RMS Leinster, a mine struck the submarine in the North Sea.

On the other side of the Irish Sea yesterday, a centenary event held in Holyhead, is where the Daily Post reports of hundreds of people lining the street of the town as a procession walked in silence from St Cybi’s Church to the Cenotaph where flags were lowered and wreaths were laid.

A minute’s silence followed the sounding of the Last Post by a lone trumpeter. Children from primary schools in the town were among those paying their own poignant tribute. Earlier, at the service in the church, a roll of honour was read. For more click here.

Published in Dublin Bay

#rmsLeinster - Today, relatives of those who were on RMS Leinster when it was sunk by a German submarine 100 years ago (during WWI) have visited the site of the sinking.

The mail boat writes The Irish Times was torpedoed by a German submarine, the UB-123, off the Kish Lighthouse on October 10th, 1918. More than 550 people were killed making it the worst maritime disaster on the Irish Sea.

It also had international implications. Following the sinking, the US President Woodrow Wilson refused to give a hearing to the German Government which was looking for an armistice. He cited the sinking of passenger ships as a reason for his refusal.

Relatives of those on board threw carnations and wreaths at the exact spot where the sinking took place near the Kish lighthouse which is 12 kilometres out to sea.

The boat (St.Bridget) bringing the relatives was escorted by the naval ship, the LE Orla and as Afloat adds the local lifeboat RNLB Anna Livia but no coastguard vessel. 

For more on the centenary anniversary of the sinking click here including the Stena Line ferry as Afloat.ie reported yesterday. Originally in the planning of the centenary day, the ferry Stena Superfast X was to make a special diversion sail-past off Dun Laoghaire Harbour to coincide with the State ceremony ashore. 

The Stena Superfast X, however, today during a routine crossing from Holyhead this morning paid a salute to the victims near the wreck site when entering Dublin Bay. 

Published in Dublin Bay

#rmsLeinster - Originally a Stena Line ferry sailing from Holyhead, Wales was to make a diversion in Dublin Bay involving a sail-past off Dun Laoghaire Harbour to mark tomorrow's centenary anniversary of the sinking of RMS Leinster, writes Jehan Ashmore.

As part of numerous events in the run up and for tomorrow's anniversary, the Mail-Boat Leinster Centenary Committee had planned to have a Stena ferry off Dun Laoghaire blast it's horn five times in memory of the more than 500 victims of RMS Leinster. The steamer having departed Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) was lost to enemy action by a German U-Boat in the closing weeks of World War One. Church bells will ring out in Dun Laoghaire to mark the time of when RMS Leinster was struck by torpedo. On the Welsh side of the Irish Sea, events to mark the historic tragic event will too take place in Holyhead, Anglesey

Afloat first noted of the planned ferry related event with intrigue, having consulted the Comittee's Centenary Events yellow brochure. According to the Committee, Stena were unable to divert the ferry off Dun Laoghaire Harbour but instead will pass the Kish Bank to pay a salute close to the wreck site. The wreck site based on research from INFOMAR has the location of the RMS Leinster as 19km ESE of Howth Peninsula.

The ferry related event is to take place later tomorrow morning, following the main official state centenary commemorative ceremony when a flotilla departs Dun Laoghaire Harbour at 07.00. Appropriately, families to those related on board will lead the flotilla on board St.Bridget. The excursion vessel is to be escorted by the local RNLI lifeboat and finally the Irish Naval Service LE Orla. The wreath-laying event is to take place at the wreck site at 07.45hrs.

As previously reported was the role of the Irish Coastguard helicopter which can now be confirmed in attending the ceremony at sea. The helicopter is due to depart its base in Dublin Airport and meet the flolilla at 07:45. Upon conclusion of proceedings the flotilla are to return to Dun Laoghaire Harbour at around 09.00.

Based from these times, this would be too early for the Stena ferry to take part having identified the sailing departing Holyhead at 08.55. Afloat has also identified the ferry as the Stena Superfast X which is to arrive in Dublin Port at 12.10.

Among the flotilla is the Dublin Bay excursion vessel St.Bridget, chartered out by the Committee (see story) to bring families related to those lost from the City of Dublin Steam Packet steamer RMS Leinster. The Royal Mail Steamer (RMS) given its prefix to the ship's name was due to the steam packet company having a contract from the Royal Mail to carry mails and parcels across the Irish Sea which involved mail-trains in Holyhead and notably connecting Dublin and London.

Likewise of RMS Leinster, the Stena ferry takes a route between Ireland and Wales that routinely involves the Kish Bank which 100 years ago had a lightship. In 1965 a revolutionary fixed lighthouse structure replaced the bygone era of the stationed floating light ship.

Published in Dublin Bay

#rmsLeinster - A request from the Mail-Boat Leinster Centenary Committee for use of the Naval Service largest patrol vessel to carry out a wreath-laying ceremony at the wreck site off the Kish Bank tomorrow has been declined, writes Jehan Ashmore.

A Naval Press Office spokesperson commented to Afloat.ie that the LÉ Eithne is scheduled for a self-maintenance period during that time and is therefore not available. The self-maintenance is of a routine nature and would have been scheduled last year.

Instead LÉ Orla, a coastal patrol vessel (CPV) has been assigned to carry out duties off the Kish Bank tommorrow morning though on behalf of the navy. Despite the efforts of the Committee they were unable to secure use of the CPV too as the Naval Service did not permit bringing family relatives out to the wreck site of the RMS Leinster. The wreck lies on the seabed in a depth of 28m.

Instead the Committee has chartered Dublin Bay Cruises St.Bridget to bring the relatives. The excursion vessel is to depart tomorrow morning at 07.00 from the jetty at the East Pier, Dun Laoghaire. In attendance will be the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat though at time of writing confirmation awaited from the Irish Coastguard to send out a helicopter too. 

The 100th anniversary tomorrow morning is to mark the tragedy when more than 500 lives were lost from RMS Leinster which having departed Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) bound for Holyhead, Wales was struck by a German U-Boat torpedo in WW1. This was the single-largest loss of life on the Irish Sea and all the more poignant, given the disaster took place within weeks before the Great War ceased in the following month. For a related story on the City of Dublin Steam Packet operated Royal Mail Steamer (RMS) Leinster click here. 

On completion of the offshore centenary commemorative ceremony the flotilla will return to Dun Loaghaire Harbour around 09.00hrs. This will include the LÉ Orla though the CPV will not be made open to the public.

On shore events are planned throughout the day. An Ecumenical Service at 09.30 is to be held in St. Michael's Church on Marine Road. An Official State Commemoration to mark the tragedy of the sinking of RMS Leinster takes place at 11.00 at Moran Park adjacent the dlr Lexicon Library.

For futher information click here and also this link.

The reason why the Mail-Boat committee requested the LÉ Eithne was because the largest vessel in the 8-strong fleet could easily accommodate the relatives out to the wreck site north of the Kish Bank Lighthouse. 

Afloat adds that LÉ Eithne has a spacious aft-deck space and a helicopter hanger. In addition the patrol vessel is aptly twinned with the town of Dun Laoghaire.

A second trip by St. Bridget out to the wreck site is to be held tomorrow afternoon at 15:30. This is to facilitate a further 100 families related to the tragedy, most of them living overseas will have their opportunity to visit the site off Dublin Bay, from where RMS Leinster departed Kingston (Dun Laoghaire) a century ago tommorrow on 10th October 1918.

Published in Dublin Bay

#rmsLeinster - As part of RMS Leinster commemorative events, the UK's Royal Mail Group appropriately is the main sponsor of a special centenary concert tomorrow, Sunday 7th October (7.30pm) at Christ Church, Park Road, Dún Laoghaire in Co. Dublin.  

Performances at the venue (near the Peoples Park), will be from Rónán Murray, Niamh Murray, Simon Morgan, The Brook Singers and The CWU Band. Tickets at the door cost €10 and can also be booked by emailing: [email protected]

The disaster that struck the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Leinster took place almost 100 years ago 10th October, 1918 and notably occured within the closing weeks of World War One (WW1). The 'mail-boat' was sailing from Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) to Holyhead, north Wales, when struck by torpedo from German U-Boat 123, while off the Kish Bank lightship, which led to the sinking and a major loss of life.

On board RMS Leinster was an estimated 77 crew, 22 postal sorters (250 sacks of mail), approximately 180 civilians and in the region of 500 soldiers. Of the 779, the loss of life totalled 569 and was made all the more tragic particularly for the Post Office as all but one of the staff survived. They worked in the ship’s sorting office and were attached to the Dublin Postal District.

The concert tomorrow evening will be poignant, given that a concert was held 100 years ago to raise funds for the dependents of those who perished on the mail-boat in 1918. The incident on the horizon of Dublin Bay also brought WWI very close to Irish shores. To this day, the tragedy remains the single worst loss of life to have taken place on the Irish Sea.

RMS Leinster was operated by the City of Dublin Steam Packet as one of a quartet of Irish province named passenger 'mail-boats'. They served the postal contract from the Royal Mail to convey post and parcels between Dublin and London.

An Post will too commemorate the tragedy by holding a significant display in Dún Laoghaire Post Office and the G.P.O in central Dublin. In addition to issuing a special edition stamp to mark the centenary next week on Wednesday, 10th October.

Afloat focused on the former steam-packet's head office where an ornate crest (pictured above) remains on the preserved facade of 15 Eden Quay, along the inner city quays.  The crest may also be familar as it appears superimposed on an image of RMS Leinster in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, supplied to dlrtimes (click here) see page 3 and information on events.  

In addition to events organised by The Mail Boat Leinster Centenary Committee click here including the anniversary of the disaster on Wednesday. 

Published in Dublin Bay

#RMSLeinster - Centenary events to mark the tragic sinking of RMS Leinster in the Irish Sea during WW1, continue into next month in Dun Laoghaire, notably on 10 October, the day the 'mail-boat' 100 years ago was struck by a German U-Boat torpedo leading to a major loss of life.

On that infamous date in 1918 of Irish maritime history – the RMS Leinster operated by the City of Dublin Steam Packet had set off from Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) bound for Holyhead, Wales. On board there were 77 crew among them postal-workers and 694 passengers.

The tragedy which struck the 'mail-boat' took place to the east of the Kish Bank lightship when submarine UB-123 torpedoed the ship, leading to the loss of more than 500 lives. To this day the incident remains as the single greatest loss of life in the Irish Sea.

RMS Leinster was one of a quartet named after the provinces of Ireland and the steam packet company was contracted the Royal Mail Service, hence the 'RMS' prefix designated to the ship's name. At the time of the disaster, the twin-propelled ship was camouflaged through paint effects and armed with one 12 pounder and two signal guns.

RMS Leinster Centenary Events

Events to commermorate the RMS Leinster will be held throughout Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown and is organised by the The Mail Boat Leinster Centenary Committee. To consult the centenary events click here from the 'yellow' brochure. For further news updates, click this link.

Among the various event venues, they include the National Maritime Mussuem of Ireland which is hosting a RMS Leinster exhibition. The museum has a detailed listing of events and activities including links providing further detailed information.

Also available is a calendar of events click here for the 'blue' brochure with front cover depicting RMS Leinster.

The museum located next to the dlrLexicon Library (also holding events) aptly overlooks the Carlisle Pier, from where the RMS Leinster departed on its fateful final crossing. 

Published in Dublin Bay

Holding their nerve in the face of forecast stormy conditions for the weekend, the DMYC in Dun Laoghaire now report the weather conditions now look very favourable (if a bit wet) for the last major event on Dublin Bay this summer, this Sunday’s DMYC Kish Race, starting at approximately 10.30 from Dun Laoghaire's West Pier.

Earlier this week it was feared the event would be cancelled due to gales, a decision made all the more difficult as this year's edition also serves to commemorate the loss of the RMS Leinster near the Kish Bank 100 years ago.

Race organiser Neil Colin told Afloat.ie 'We have added a further detail to the event, in that all entries will be given a White Flower (biodegradable) before going afloat, and asked to take a moment as they round the Kish, and drop the flower in the water, as a memorial to the event almost 100 years ago".

It's a touching thought and a symbolic gesture to those who perished.

The entry system is open on www.DMYC.ie

Published in DMYC
Tagged under

This year's Centenary of the wartime sinking of the mailboat RMS Leinster on 10th October 1918 will see a significant Dun Laoghaire and national commemoration on the day itself writes W M Nixon. As part of the buildup to those official events on Wednesday 10th October 2018, this weekend the sailing community is giving special Leinster Centenary emphasis to two major annual events on Sunday - the Dun Laoghaire Motor YC's Kish Race, and the Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association Leinster Plate Race.

Inaugurated in 2013 in memory of the Leinster tragedy, the Leinster Plate was presented by the Post Office Workers Union to the DB Old Gaffers Association to mark the OGA’s Golden Jubilee in that year, and to particularly recall that the numerous death toll on the Leinster included 21 postal workers who had been working in the ship’s sorting room at the time the torpedo struck. Normally the Leinster Plate would be raced for in June. But for 2018, the Race will be held this Sunday, 23rd September, in conjunction with the annual Kish Race organised by the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club. DMYC expects that there will be approximately 70 boats competing in the Kish Race.

The main Kish Race starts just outside Dun Laoghaire harbour at 1030 on Sunday morning and the DBOGA Leinster Plate Race will start on the same line at 1045. As usual, the DBOGA course will either follow or cross the track of the RMS Leinster on that fateful day in 1918. The Leinster Plate will be presented to the winner during the official commemorations in Dun Laoghaire on October 10th. Starting this year, the winner will also be presented with a replica of the Leinster Plate which he or she will retain for the year.

This Saturday 22nd September, DBOGA (most of whom are based at Poolbeg Y & BC) will organise an afternoon race, starting around 1500 hrs near Poolbeg Lighthouse, to take the fleet to Dun Laoghaire. VHF channel 77 will be used for race information on Saturday afternoon. Boats will moor in Dun Laoghaire Marina on Saturday night, and there will be a social evening hosted by DMYC in their clubhouse.

However, in view of the unsettled period of exceptionally stormy weather being currently experienced, DBOGA have stated that they will be making a definitive confirmation of their weekend’s arrangements on Saturday morning. Meanwhile, Neil Colin of DMYC and organiser of the Kish Race has been closely monitoring the weather and a range of prediction sources and agrees that while some forecasts are not favourable, others are more optimistic for Sunday. He told Afloat.ie this morning:

“We plan to stand over our plans to run the Kish race as scheduled but will review the situation on Saturday. Our contingency plan is simply to postpone the race one week, to Sunday 30th September, and in the event, we have to abandon, all entries will be fully refunded.

While we aim to be responsible organisers, the final responsibility rests with the Skippers to consider the safety of their crew and craft, and to make the decision to sail or not, bearing in mind their own abilities and expectations”.

Published in Dublin Bay
Tagged under
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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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