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Displaying items by tag: Returns to UK waters

#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Royal Mail ships in the world and as Afloat previously reported the 'RMS' as the ship was affectionately called was withdrawn from service earlier this year.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

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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