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#TallShips - The Atlantic Youth Trust has hailed its inclusion in the new implementation plan for the Stormont Agreement announced yesterday.

As RTÉ News reports, Northern Ireland's power-sharing administration finally struck a deal yesterday (Tuesday 17 November) after more than two months of negotiations.

And according to the trust's Neil O'Hagan, the sail training initiative is "the only the only independent charitable project included in both this agreement and the Irish Government's Capital Investment Plan.

"This secures our future and most importantly our ability to deliver youth development, peace-building and maritime education voyages for generations to come. In the coming weeks we will be working with both administrations to determine timelines," he added.

The Atlantic Youth Trust has proposed the construction of a new tall ship as a replacement for the Asgard II to bring young people from both sides of the border together for sail training voyages.

O'Hagan said the inclusion of the project "in a historic document such as this does not come easily and would not be possible without the support and guidance of our stakeholders.

"We would like to once again thank everyone involved in getting us to this point and look forward to working with you all over the coming years."

Published in Tall Ships

#TallShips - The Atlantic Youth Trust's Neil O'Hagan has described as "a major breakthrough" the sail training initiative's inclusion in the Government's recently announced Capital Plan for the next five years.

"This is the first clear, public commitment from [the] Government that they intend to work with sources in Northern Ireland to deliver our plans [to build a replacement for the tall ship Asgard II]," said O'Hagan. "More importantly, it is a clear commitment by the Government to invest in youth development, the maritime sector, and cross-border relations.

"Our messaging and objectives have carried through as it states 'This proposal involves a new sail training vessel to facilitate youth development, mentoring, and training on an all-island basis.' When combined with the commitment from Northern Ireland to appoint a representative from the Department of Employment and Learning, this shows true all-island support."

The trust's proposals for a new sail training tall ship for Ireland have already attracted the support of a group of influential business people including financier Dermot Desmond,Denis O'Brien and CPL Resources founder Anne Heraty.

Published in Tall Ships

#tallships –  Rugged sailing in romantic tall ships; the camaraderie of the sea; character development. It's an inspiring combination which has gripped maritime nations for more than a century as sail has given way to more utilitarian sources of power. First there was steam. Then steam in turn was superseded by diesel and even nuclear power. And with each stage, there has been a remorseless drive towards reducing manning levels.

So what on earth is there now to occupy people who, in a former era, might have found a meaningful role in life as crew on board a sailing ship? For with each new development in shipping, we realise ever more clearly that large sailing ships were one of the most labour-intensive objects ever created.

However, we don't need to look to the sea to find areas of human activity where technological development has made human input redundant, and large sectors of the population largely purposeless. It's the general social malaise of our time. So for many years, the majority of maritime countries have found some sort of solution by an artificial return to the labour-intensive demands of sailing ships.

But in an increasingly complex world with ever more sources of distraction and entertainment, does the established model of sail training still work as well as it once did? W M Nixon meets a man who thinks we need a new vision for best using the sea and sailing ships to meet the needs of modern society's complex demands.

Tall Ships and Sail Training........They're evocative terms for most of us. Yet the buzzwords of one generation can surprisingly quickly become the uncool cliches of the next. That said, "Tall Ships" has stood the test of time. It's arguably sacred, with a special inviolable place in the maritime psyche.

So when we see a plump little motor-sailer bustling past with some scraps of cloth set to present an image of harnessing the wind's timeless power, we may be moved to an ironic quoting of Robert Bridges: "Whither, O splendid ship......" But somehow, citing Masefield's "a tall ship and a star to steer her by" would seem to be beyond the bounds of even the worst possible taste.

There's a simple purity about "Tall Ships". It works at every level. Google it, and you'll find the academics claim that it became official with its use by John Masefield in 1902 and Joseph Conrad in 1903, though Henry David Thoreau used it much earlier in 1849. But Conrad being the benchmark of most things maritime in academia, 1903 seems to be set in stone.

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We all know what is meant by a true Tall Ship, but as these rig profiles indicate, the proliferation of sail training programmes has led to an all-inclusive approach

Yet at the vernacular level, it has been there much longer than any of them. There's a bit of maritime meteorological lore which our academics would probably dismiss as vulgar doggerel, but I've found it still moves me. When far at sea, with the underlying swell increasingly in evidence and the weather conditions which it describes clearly developing overhead, inevitably you'd remember this little couplet:

"Mackerel sky and mare's tails,
Make Tall Ships carry low sails".

It's not Yeats. But when you're on a formerly blue sea now turning grey and far from anywhere in a 25-footer, it's a little thought which can still make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. And it's that mention of "Tall Ships" which gives it the added resonance. So things stand well with the phrase "Tall Ships". But what's the word on the continuing viability of "Sail Training"?

"I'm fed up with the constant use of the term "Sail Training". It's bandied about so much it has become meaningless. And always talking about "Sail Training" limits the scope of what we're trying to do. If we could find some useful phrase to replace "Sail Training", but something which is also more visionary than the very pedestrian "Youth Development" which is sometimes replacing it, then maybe we could go a long way to capture the imagination both of our potential supporters, and of the young people we hope will want to come aboard the ship".

The speaker is Neil O'Hagan, busy Executive Director of the Atlantic Youth Trust, which is actively developing ways and means of building a 40 metre sailing ship which will serve all Ireland in a wide variety of functions. And as he has immersed himself in this challenging project when he is clearly a very able person who could name his price in many roles in high-paying large corporations, it behoves us to pay attention.

We have been skirting the AYT and its project several times here recently. But as we gradually emerge from the recession and see what is still standing, for some reason with every passing week we find it ever more disturbing that the Irish Sail Training Brigantine 84ft Asgard II was lost nearly seven years ago by foundering, and the Northern Ireland Ocean Youth Trust's 60ft ketch Lord Rank was lost after striking a rock five years ago.

Far from being swept under the carpet, it's a double whammy which has to be faced and dealt with as 2015 rolls on with the biggest Tall Ships assembly ever seen in Ireland coming to Belfast, and not an Irish Tall Ship worthy of the name to represent us.

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The popular image of Tall Ships is a crowded port with a fun-filled crowd...............

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.....yet for many old salts, the true image is the lone ship at sea, going about her business. This photo of a four-masted barque was taken from a small cruising boat in the 1930s

But an ideas-laden shooting of the breeze with O'Hagan soon shows that we're going to have to learn to think a long way out of the box before we begin to meet the demanding expectations of this man and his board of trustees and directors, and the much-anticipated presence of the Tall Ships in Belfast is only a trigger to help activate a much more complex vision. Neil O'Hagan hopes not only to be instrumental in the creation of a new Irish sailing ship, but he also hopes to change the way in which we perceive such a vessel, and our expectations of the way she will be used.

In our initial blog on this back on January 17th, we thought we were making a tellingly adverse point in suggesting that the barquentine Spirit of New Zealand - which the AYT reckons will provide the best model for the development of their project – is not so much a sail training tall ship as we know it, but rather, with her large complement of 40 "trainees", she's more of a floating schoolship which happens to set sails.

Far from being blown out of the water by this "damning" criticism which I and others had voiced, O'Hagan was delighted that we'd lit upon this aspect of the plan. "Old-fashioned sail training has had its day" he says. "When education authorities and social service bodies and welfare funds and philanthropic organisations are looking for some way to provide interesting, satisfying and ultimately long-term-beneficial experiences for young people of all backgrounds and varying states of mental health including the very happily normal, they expect a much broader curriculum than is provided by the traditional sail training model".

"And come to that, so do the young people themselves. If sailing is genuinely their great leisure interest, they'll be into it already at a personal level among like-minded friends. But if they're more typical young people of today, they'll have a wide range of interests, and during the ten day cruises which we hope to make the backbone of the new ship's programme, the sailing will only be part of it."

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Away from the day job - Neil O'Hagan helming a Dragon

Its not that O'Hagan is anti-sailing. Far from it – he has been seen in the thick of things in the midst of the International Dragon Class in recent years. But a good liberal education with time in the Smurfit Business School in UCD and extensive family links all along Ireland's eastern seaboard north and south, plus direct business experience in both Dublin and Belfast, give him a breadth of vision to provide the AYT with a real sense of purpose.

The Atlantic Youth Trust has been quietly building itself since it emerged from a representative workshop researching the building of a sailing ship for Ireland, held in Dublin Port in the Spring of 2011. From that, a Steering Group of Lord Glentoran and Dr Gerald O'Hare from the north, and Enda O'Coineen and David Beattie from the south – all of whom had worked together before on other north-south youth sailing projects – was set up, and they commissioned a professional consultancy group – CHL Consulting of Dun Laoghaire – to work with them in producing a Vision & Business Plan, which eventually ran to 96 detailed pages.

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The Chairman Lord Glentoran (Gold Medallist at the 1965 Winter Olympics) at the AGM of the Atlantic Youth Trust with Executive Director Neil O'Hagan (left), Sean Lemass and Director Enda O'Coineen (right)

In due course, the Atlantic Youth Trust emerged with Olympic Gold Medal veteran Lord Glentoran as Chairman. And with Neil O'Hagan as Executive Director, the show was on the road with the detailed worldwide investigation of 25 successful educational schemes involving sailing ships - note we've dropped that "sail training" tag already. And in New Zealand they found something that was really new, something that fell in with their view that the double loss of the Asgard II and the Lord Rank provided an opportunity for a truly fresh look what a national sailing ship might be and do.

It's an extraordinary place, New Zealand - particularly from a maritime point of view. Far from seeing their isolation as a drawback, they use it as an advantage for fresh thinking. And they don't cling to time-hallowed ways brought over from "the old country". On the contrary, being in a new country is seen almost as an imperative for trying new ways and ideas, hence they're at the sharp end of top events like the America's Cup.

And as they were far from the fleets of established tall ships in Europe and America, with the Spirit of New Zealand they had to develop new ways of using a vessel which would spend much of her time cruising their own extensive and very varied coastline on her own, distant from the Tall Ship sailfests which are such a feature of the programme in the more compact and crowded parts of the world.

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Spirit of New Zealand is barquentine-rigged

Thus by geographic necessity. New Zealand is ahead of the curve in developing ways of contemporary validity in the use of large sailing ships. We all hear of what a marvellous party the Tall Ships will activate in Belfast, just as they've done before in Dublin, Cork and Waterford. But hold hard just a moment. Isn't sail training aimed at young people mostly between the ages of 15 and 25? Surely their central involvement in vast open air quayside parties - with the inevitable underage alcohol intake possibilities – is totally at variance with the healthy idealism of the concept?

For sure, the organisers of modern Tall Ships Festivals go to enormous effort to ensure that they're genuinely family-friendly events. But the ancient traditions of sailors in port can be difficult to escape. So when you've a proposed programme which is essentially based on recruitment through continuing contact with secondary schools and similar age cohorts – as is the case with the Atlantic Youth Trust project – then it becomes increasingly desirable to have a ship which is large enough to be self-sufficient, with a viable way of onboard life built around large shared areas, such that the traditional waterfront-oriented harbour visits will no longer be such an important part of the cruise programme.

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Splendid isolation. Spirit of New Zealand in an anchorage remote even by New Zealand standards

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Packing them in....as she carries a crew of 40 trainees, and with space required for extensive communal areas, Spirit of New Zealand's bunks are efficiently planned

Of course the new vessel will take part in Tall Ships Races and Tall Ships Festivals, and of course she'll make the occasional ambassadorial visit, both along the Irish coast and abroad. But with the underlying philosophy of the ship being largely self-sufficient of shoreside distractions other than when they're environmentalist and educational ventures, sometimes with an expeditionary element, then the more gregarious aspects of her yearly routine will be kept well in perspective, and everyone will be the better for it.

As it's essentially a cross-border venture, equal funding from the two governments – each of which it is hoped will put up 30% of the capital expenditure - is anticipated, and with a fresh tranche of Peace Process money on the horizon, the resources are gradually building as people get used to the idea. There has also been much technical background research, and leading naval architects Dykstra of The Netherlands are on the case with an impressive scenario, for as Trustee and Director David Beattie has put it, this one isn't going to be cobbled together, it's going to be a "best in class project".

As the planned use of the vessel is essentially civilian, she will be Ireland's sailing ship without being the national sailing ship. There's more than a slight difference to the Asgard situation. In many other countries, the most impressive tall ships are part of the naval service, but in Ireland we have a Naval Service sailing vessel already, she is the ketch Creidne which was the national sail training vessel between the decommissioning of the first Asgard in 1974 and the commissioning of Asgard II in 1981. In recent years, she has had a major refit and is now actively sailed, but as Ireland's Naval Service is so essentially Cork-based, the Creidne is very much part of the scene in Cork Harbour and the Naval Base at Haulbowline.

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The Naval Service have Creidne for sail training purposes for their own personnel. Photo: Bob Bateman

In fact, although the Atlantic Youth Trust does have a Cork element to it, and advisers include several leading figures in the Cork marine industry, the reality is that it is first and foremost a cross-border enterprise between offices in Dublin and Belfast.

This means that Cork – which is the true capital of maritime development in Ireland, and I mean that in all seriousness – is an associate port to the Atlantic Youth Trust project, rather than a central pillar of it. But I don't think the people of Cork would wish to have it any other way. When I was in the southern capital for the fund-raiser for the new National 18 class development a month or so ago, Class President Dom Long kicked off proceedings by explaining how it was the Corkonian sense of independence which had inspired the mighty leap in National 18 design. He did this by showing a map which neatly illustrated the Cork sailor's view of Ireland.

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The Cork sailor's view of Ireland

It says everything. But I don't think the Atlantic Youth Trust should lose any sleep over the fact that they might be seen as being on a Dublin-Belfast axis from which Cork is as usual going its own sweet way. 'Twas ever thus. And anyway, in the end the Corkmen will probably provide many of the officers for the proposed new vessel to which we wish, on this fine Easter Saturday morning, the very fairest of fair winds.

Published in W M Nixon

#sailtraining – The Drogheda Sail Training Bursary Scheme for 2015 in conjunction with the Irish Maritime Festival has been announced. On Tuesday last (18th November) the Drogheda Port Company and Sail Training Ireland hosted an information evening for school principals and local leaders in the education and youth work sectors on the scheme.

The main objective of the evening was to bring the scheme to the attention of the various schools and groups and to encourage them to nominate trainees for the programme for 2015 and beyond.

The scheme was established in 2013 by Drogheda Port Company and Sail Training Ireland in conjunction with the inaugural Maritime Festival and it is kindly sponsored by a number of local and international businesses. It is designed to potentially change lives by providing access to sea-going voyages for young people from all backgrounds aged between 16-17yrs.

Although Sail Training involves participants undertaking voyages on tall ships as part of the working crew; it is not all about sailing. The purpose is to allow them the opportunity to develop as individuals and gain a real sense of confidence, resilience, adventure, and in most cases this will have a profound effect on their lives. The unique training programme on board the ship is carefully designed by Sail Training Ireland, the national sail training organisation. There is a lot of passion and effort put into ensuring the selected trainees have an experience they will take with them through life.

This quote was taken from Carolanna Foley, a trainee on the inward voyage in June 2014. 'Now we stand here, not only as shipmates but as friends, capable of tying at least three important knots with our eyes closed, navigating by point, wind and compass, and enlightened by the knowledge that the only rope on a ship called a rope is in fact the bell rope!'

Speakers on the night included Michael Byrne, manager of Sail Training Ireland and Jonathan O'Brien, programme co-ordinator, Spirit of Oysterhaven.

The voyages next year will take place during the Irish maritime Festival in June and will again be on board the only Irish sail training vessel Spirit of Oysterhaven. Information packs are available in local secondary schools and youth group organisations. 

Sail Training Ireland is also currently seeking leaders with experience in residential youth work or similar. If this opportunity interests you or indeed you would like to be involved as a sponsor of the scheme.

Published in Tall Ships

#SAIL TRAINING - A new website designed to help make it easier and quicker to find boating training courses across the UK, US, Europe and worldwide has just been launched.

The Boating Hub is aimed at both beginners and more experienced boating enthusiasts, and covers a wide range of RYA, ASA and Yachting Australia accredited and alternative non-accredited courses for power, motor and sail.

The new site streamlines the often time-consuming and frustrating process of looking for boating courses, bringing together for the first time all relevant opportunities for beginners and advanced enthusiasts alike in one simple place. The site has been designed to make it almost effortless for anyone to find the information they want in just a couple of mouse clicks.

Simply choose the type of course you’re interested in, and then choose the country or region you would like to train in, and you will be immediately presented with a comprehensive list of all relevant training centres and courses, including the course dates, a description of what the course includes, and details of any experience required. Full details of the course can be obtained by contacting the boating training centre directly through The Boating Hub.

Never again will you miss out on exciting and relevant training courses simply because you weren't previously aware of a particular training centre or course type.

Additionally, by going through the website both training centres and boating enthusiasts looking to develop their skills can find each other more easily than ever before.

Whether you're just starting out in boating for the first time, looking at extending your knowledge and experience, or aiming to gain a formal, recognised qualification in a specialised field, The Boating Hub could be the perfect way to launch your journey.

For more visit The Boating Hub at www.TheBoatingHub.com.

Published in How To Sail

An amazing sea rescue, NAB-ing change, UK politicians support what Ireland's will not, sailing in Galway and Mayo and much more in your TIN this week.....

AMAZING SEA RESCUE

A 31-year-old seafarer has survived ten hours of swimming after ships in the Atlantic Ocean 525 miles offshore shouting to be rescued. It has been described as one of the most amazing sea survival and rescue stores. He fell off his ship after feeling faint when he leaned against a railing but blacked out, collapsed and fell overboard. The crew of the Maersk Bintan did not miss him for 2 hours after he had fallen off at 0715 hours. At that stage Tanawoot Pratoom, who came back to consciousness when he hit the water, had been swimming after ships he saw and shouting for help. The ships' crew had called a distress alert. Five vessels as well as a search-and-rescue plane were involved and the US Coast Guard was using drift simulation technology to locate his position. His own vessel doubled back on its course. He was spotted by another vessel involved in the search, the bulk carrier, Stalo. After ten hours he was pulled from the water by crewmates of his own ship. He said he had followed safety procedures by removing his boots and overalls in the water and had spent the ten hours swimming towards passing ships until he was sighted. His ship was en route from Panama to Algeciras where the seafarer was repatriated to his home in Thailand. He is married and has two children, an 8-year-old daughter and a three-month old son.

 

REFITTING THE NAB

in nablighthouse

The NAB Tower

The NAB Tower is a vital aid to navigation in the Solent but the structure has been deteriorating and is being restored by Trinity House, the UK lighthouse authority. It was originally built as a British defensive structure for the Admiralty in 1918 and has been used as a lighthouse since 1920 replacing the previous NAB Lightvessel. It was staffed by Lightkeepers until automation in 1983. At present the helicopter pad atop the lighthouse cannot be used and boat access has been difficult due to the deteriorating condition of the external superstructure. Trinity House is to extend the lifespan of the NAB Tower by up to 50 years. The height will be reduced and all external steel and cladding will be replaced by concrete. Work is scheduled to be completed in the summer of next year. It will be suspended during the winter due to difficult seasonal conditions.

 

YOLING IN GALWAY

in Thenessyoal

The Ness Yoal

The little beauty pictured here visited Galway Bay Sailing Club from France, but originated in Norway, were exported to the Shetlands and are now active in France, demonstrating the great linkage internationally through traditional sailing boats. The 'Yoling Club Peillac' is based in the village of Peillac, in South-East Brittany. It was created to promote traditional sailing amongst youth and especially the practice of navigation on the Ness Yoals, following the construction of three of these boats in 2000. The club aims to connect with other associations sharing similar interests in 'sail and oar' boats and to encourage the construction of traditional yachts and organises events to promote cultural heritage related to traditional sailing.

Ness yoals are wooden open boats of 6.90 m in length, rigged with a sail to the third of mahogany colour. The crew is composed of 7 people (six rowers and a coxswain). The Ness Yoals originated in Norway hundreds of years ago and were exported to the Shetland islands in Scotland, where it has a special place in the history of inshore fishing. It was considered a very seaworthy vessel and the seamanship of the men who crewed them, made the

difference between survival and starvation for many families there. Despite the development of commercial fishing, which favoured larger-decked boats, the Yoal has survived into the 21st century, due to the interest in Yoal-rowing as a sport and the craftsmanship of boat-builders like Tommy Isbister and Ian Best who still produce these craft.

 

UK POLITICIANS BACK SAIL TRAINING

Renowned naval architect Colin Mudie has designed a proposed new UK sail training flagship. Riding on the tide of successfully staging the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee celebration a charitable trust has been set up called – UK Flagship – to promote the concept of a 650-foot tall ship which would be the largest and most advanced square-rigged vessel in the world. It is envisaged as a sail training ship with the additional role of being a 'floating ambassador' for the UK promoting trade and scientific research, with facilities aboard including conference rooms, oceanography and marine biological study resources and could carry up to 200 trainees. The cost is put at stg£80m., to be raised without State support. Launch of the ship is targeted for 2016 and stg£15m. has already been raised according to the backers, of which the Principal Trustee is Royal Navy Rear Admiral David Bawtree. UK sailing journalist Libby Purves is also involved in the project. The Daily Mail

Newspaper has launched a fundraising campaign for the vessel.

While not allocating any funding, leading UK politicians have pledged support and backed the project, showing at least an interest in sail training which their Irish counterparts lack. Deputy UK Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the project provided "a brilliant opportunity to promote the marine world and life at sea" while the UK Labour Party Leader, Ed Milliband, said it was a cause which deserved support because of its aim of "giving opportunity to youth."

The tall ship will feature four masts acting also as solar panels. Colin Mudie designed the sail training ships Royalist and Lord Nelson.

Operating tall ships is difficult in current economic times although the South African Government approved the conversion of a former research vessel by the country's Maritime Safety Authority to carry 50 cadets for sea training. The country has less than 2,400 seafarers and the government has adopted a policy to increase annual officer cadet intake for training which at present is 120 per year.

 

MAYO SAILING CLUB

When in Mulrany, Co.Mayo, this summer I enjoyed the idyllic view of Clew Bay and the 365 islands, one for each day of the year as local people proudly claim. Mayo Sailing Club was founded in 1982 and has this area as its immediate sailing grounds.

This is a thriving vibrant club, based at Westport, with a diverse range of sailing activities throughout the season - cruiser racing on Thursday nights, junior and senior dinghy racing on Tuesdays and cruising voyages.

Thirty-six trainee sailors from the club had an overnight sailing trip from Rosmoney Pier to Inishoo Island in Clew bay. It concluded the Adventure Module of the ISA Small Boat Sailing Scheme and also marked the end of the Junior Sailing course. The return voyage involved the trainees sailing a challenging beat home on a route through around many of the islands before arriving at Mayo Sailing Club.

 

FISHING LEADER HONOURED

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In London this week Sean O'Donoghue CEO of the Killybegs Fishermen's Organisation was presented with the Fishing News International magazine's Person of the Year award. The presentation was made by IntraFish Fishing Publications Editor Cormac Burke who is originally from Killybegs.

Published in Island Nation

#TALL SHIPS - Sail Training Ireland for Youth Development (STIYD) has announced a golden opportunity for the general public to sail on a tall ship.

Hot on the heels of the Tall Ships Races visit to Dublin this August, a series of three tall ship voyages have been scheduled to take place to and from Irish ports by the UK-based Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) on its 65-metre tall ship Tenacious between 11 October and 4 November 2012.

The first sailing from Southampton to Dublin (via Waterford) runs for 10 days from 11-20 October, followed by a seven-day jaunt from Dublin to Belfast from 22-28 October, and another seven-day trip from Belfast to Milford Haven from 29 October-4 November. Each voyage will have room for 40 trainees.

Anyone aged 16 and above can join the voyage crew as a trainee, and no previous experience is necessary.

Tenacious is also specially designed to cater for the needs of people with varying degrees of physical disability, including wheelchair users.

Features on board Tenacious and her sister ship Lord Nelson include signs in braille, lifts between decks, power assisted and 'joystick' steering, wide aisles and low-level fittings, guidance tracks and other on-deck pointers, and a speaking compass with digital screen.

STIYD says it is committed to providing access to tall ship sailing for the people of Ireland. The JST has also offered these voyages at a greatly reduced rate to encourage Irish trainees to get on board with what is hoped can become an annual event.

“It is great to see that the international tall ship fleet is reacting to recent activity in Irish sail training," said Michael Byrne, manager at STIYD. "Now that there is a central point of contact for trainees and vessel operators through STIYD, we can expect to see more and more of this kind of activity.

"When the JST approached us with a proposal to run their Irish Sea programme we offered our full support in promoting the opportunity. A unique and hugely important aspect to the JST is its ability to cater for people with varying degrees of physical ability.”

Kyle O’Regan of STIYD's youth branch added: “It is great for Irish trainees that the JST has arranged for Tenacious to have an Irish Sea programme. Being able to join or leave in your own country is a major advantage in terms of lowering costs.”

Meanwhile, the JST's Grainne Arntz said the charity has shown its "commitment to Ireland" by scheduling these autumn voyages.

"Three years ago we introduced the Ultimate Transition Year Tall Ship Adventure, a programme whereby groups of Transition Year students from Irish schools experience the challenge of tall ship sailing with diverse people.

"These voyages in the autumn will allow more groups and individuals to avail of the unique JST experience of sailing on a tall ship with people of all ages and abilities.”

The tall ship voyages are priced at £775 per person for the 10-day trip, and £525 per person for the seven-day excursions. To book your voyage with the JST visit their website HERE or call +44 23 8044 9108.

For information on the Irish branch of the Jubilee Sailing Trust visit www.jstireland.ie. For general information on sail training activities in Ireland contact Sail Training Ireland, Port Centre, Alexandra Road, Dublin 1 at 01 887 6046, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.irishsailtraining.com.

STIYD is the national sail training organisation for Ireland and is endorsed as such by Sail Training International. The vision of STIYD is to “provide access to the sail training experience for the people of Ireland”.

Published in Tall Ships
Two recent letters in The Irish Times serve as a "reminder of the high value of sailing to the social and economic health of Ireland".
Enda O Coineen - who helped bring the Volvo Ocean Race to Ireland - writes on Saturday last of the "shame" of becoming "quayside bystanders" that many felt welcoming the Norwegian tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl to Dublin when Ireland's youth ocean sail training scheme is being ended due to a 100% budget cut.
Echoing his sentiments, Peter Vine asks: "Is it not time to acknowledge that this maritime nation can benefit enormously by nurturing sailing and a love of the sea among our young people?"
Vine argues that efforts towards a "new viable Tallship for Ireland deserve individual, corporate and Government support". Do you agree? Have your say in the comments below.

Two recent letters in The Irish Times serve as a "reminder of the high value of sailing to the social and economic health of Ireland".

Enda O Coineen - who helped bring the Volvo Ocean Race to Ireland - writes on Saturday last of the "shame" of becoming "quayside bystanders" that many felt welcoming the Norwegian tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl to Dublin when Ireland's youth ocean sail training scheme is being ended due to a 100% budget cut.

Echoing his sentiments, Peter Vine asks: "Is it not time to acknowledge that this maritime nation can benefit enormously by nurturing sailing and a love of the sea among our young people?"

Vine argues that efforts towards a "new viable Tallship for Ireland deserve individual, corporate and Government support". Do you agree? Have your say in the comments below.

Published in Tall Ships

I am glad to see that efforts are being made to restore the national sail training programme, but less sanguine about reposing any confidence in the present Government to give practical assistance.

I talked a few weeks ago with the Irish Sailing Association's Chief Executive about their involvement in moves to establish a new sail training organisation to replace Coiste an Asgard, which the Government abandoned. Harry Hermon told me that the ISA had been examining the possibilities of what could be done. They were providing a forum which has now led to the setting-up of a steering group aimed at establishing a new organisation, Sail Training Ireland.

Sail Training International which organises the Tall Ships Races has given support. The Tall Ships Race will start from Waterford Port next year and is due into Dublin in 2012.

Nigel Rowe, Chairman of the international body, has expressed confidence that the current moves will result in a plan to continue sail training in Ireland. Sail Training International has awarded a bursary to the emerging Irish organisation, providing financial support for young Irish sailors in the 2011 and 2012 races.

The ISA working group says it will make a formal launch of its plans in the next few weeks. At present it is putting together a feasibility study and a business plan which will be presented to the Government in the New Year.

While the ISA move is welcome, I wonder about the value of presenting a plan to the existing Government which destroyed sail training, abandoned Asgard II on the seabed off France and used the insurance compensation money for purposes other than sail training.

I understand that other groups, who may differ with the ISA approach, have been planning their own moves in sail training and that the ISA decided to establish its position in public first.

It also has to be noted that there was criticism of the former Coiste an Asgard committee which did not make any moves in public to oppose the Government closure, on financial grounds, of the sail training programme.

It would be regrettable if differences delayed positive developments, but a united approach, involving the widest possible support to the restoration of sail training would be best.

• This article is reprinted by permission of the EVENING ECHO newspaper, Cork, where Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie

Published in Island Nation

I am aware that a number of groups are examining the possibility of launching a national sail training programme. I wonder if Waterford could be the place to lead it and be the base for national sail training. The marine sector suffers from the neglect and disregard of a disinterested Government so any revival will have to be outside of State support.

Waterford staged a hugely successful visit of the Tall Ships Race in 2005 and has been honoured with the hosting of the Race start next year. Bertie Ahern as Taoiseach snubbed the Race visit in 2005. It showed how little respect he had for the maritime sector. Half-a-million people visited the city, but Bertie couldn't be bothered to do so.

The city has been encouraging young people to get experience of crewing aboard Tall Ships. Twenty-year-old David Murray, a business information systems student at University College Cork, is becoming a sail training "veteran" through experience gained over the past two years.

He first 'shipped out' last year aboard the Tenacious operated by the Jubilee Sailing Trust of the UK, a registered charity which also operates the Lord Nelson. His first voyage, following which he sailed the north coast of Scotland on the Lord Nelson and this year became a Bosun's Mate, taking more responsibility aboard the Nelson on a voyage from Southampton to Glasgow. Then he joined the Dutch three-masted schooner, Eendracht, from Kristiansand in Norway to Hartlepool in the UK, where he disembarked and re-joined the Tenacious, again as Bosun's Mate, sailing to Bruges in Belgium and onto London. A few days later he was back aboard the Lord Nelson as Bosun's Mate from Falmouth to Milford Haven in Wales and then to Waterford, from where the Tall Ships Race will start next year,

"It's been a brilliant experience. I've met a great mix of people. Sail training is for everyone," he said. "It's been a very busy but great couple of summers with Tall Ships and I'm really looking forward to next year, especially with Waterford again hosting the fleet and crews from around the world coming to the city. I strongly recommend sail training and the fact that the races start from Waterford next summer makes it even easier for Irish young people to get involved."

DAVID_MURRAY

David Murray is a Tall Ships veteran at the age of 20

David comes from Butlerstown in Waterford. His pleasure in the experience of tall ship sailing underlines what has been lost by the shameful behaviour of the Government in closing down the sail training programme.

It will be a national disgrace if there is not an Irish tall ship flying the Tricolour at next year's Tall Ships Race start in Waterford. The city has done magnificent work in putting Ireland to the forefront in the world of tall ships. Perhaps Waterford should be the base for the creation of a new national sail training system.


• This article is reprinted by permission of the EVENING ECHO of Cork where Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie

Published in Island Nation
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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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