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Displaying items by tag: Strangford Lough

#coastguard – The Coastguard is this afternoon coordinating a rescue response after approximately 100 sailing dinghies at the GP14 world championships hosted by East Down Yacht Club were hit by stormy weather on Strangford Lough. A major incident has been declared.

Belfast Coastguard was first contacted just before 2pm reporting that some of the boats had capsized, while others were struggling to cope in the strong winds and squally showers.

The Bangor and Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Teams, the Portaferry and Newcastle RNLI lifeboats, the Irish Coast Guard helicopter along with the helicopter from RAF Valley have been sent to the scene. 

It is not clear at this time how many people are involved and if there are any injuries. A search and rescue operation is ongoing.

Further update as we have it

Published in News Update
Tagged under

#strangfordlough – On the 11th to 14th July one of the best four days sailing in Ireland takes place in the hidden gem that is Srangford Lough in Co. Down writes Philip Sandford. The 'Narrows Series' is comprised of four separate races for all classes of Boats large and small. On the evening of Friday the 11th July the series kicks off with the eagerly anticipated 'Bar Buoy' race run by Strangford Sailing Club. This race has a start line running between the lovely sea front towns of Strangford and Portaferry sitting on opposing sides of the Narrows that empty and fill Irelands largest inland sea lough. On the last of the ebbing tide up to 100 boats race out of the lough over the 'Bar' and in to the Irish Sea. They soon turn and return on the flood tide. This is followed by the now infamous late night festivities hosted by Strangford Sailing Club which nestles in the lovely setting of the National Trust property at Castleward.

The following three days then see Strangford Sailing Clubs regatta followed by Portaferry Sailing Clubs and Portaferry Town committees Regattas. These three days of racing again start close to Portaferry with the racing courses all within Strangford Lough. All four races cater for all classes whether large boat handicap to the vivacious Flying Fifteens right down to juniors in their Optimists.

So if you want keen racing in one of the loveliest settings in Ireland with craic to match, look no further.

 

Published in Racing
Tagged under

#RNLI - Portaferry RNLI's volunteer lifeboat crew were involved in the rescue of 23 canoeists who got into difficulty just off Castle Island in Strangford Lough yesterday afternoon (Saturday 17 May).

The call for help was received at 2.40pm and the volunteer lifeboat crew launched at 2.45pm.

They arrived at the scene just off Castle Island in Strangford Lough in Co Down 10 minutes later, finding six of the party of canoeists in the water.

Weather conditions at the time were cloudy with good visibility, with a slight sea swell and a Force 4 southerly wind.

The RNLI crew recovered two of the people from the water, while a small motor boat which had also come to the canoeists' aid took the other four on board.

The RNLI lifeboat crew then took their two casualties along with two canoes back to nearby Strangford Lough Yacht Club, where the casualties were put ashore into the care of HM Coastguard.

  1. lifeboat crew then returned to the scene near Castle Island and from there escorted the remaining 17 members of the canoe party back to the safety of the yacht club.

Commenting on the rescue, Portaferry RNLI lifeboat operations manager Brian Bailie said: "Thankfully everyone was brought safely to shore and it is testament to the training and dedication of the volunteer RNLI crew that a potentially tragic situation was averted.

"Strangford Lough is an extremely popular location for groups of canoeists and it is vital that they take all necessary precautions when taking to the water."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#canoe – An overnight trip to Salt Island ended prematurely when five Canadian canoes were swamped by waves as they crossed Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland.
At just after 12 noon a member of the public called 999 to report that two kayaks were in difficulty north of Green Island and there were people in the water. Belfast Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre sent the Coastguard Rescue Teams based in Portaferry and Bangor to the Lough with the RNLI Lifeboat based in Portaferry. Dive Rhib Nemo also joined the rescue.
Seven canoeists from a party of 14 were pulled from the water. All 4 adults and 10 teenagers were taken to the shore by the two boats where they received medical attention.
Jude McNeice Belfast MRCC Watch Manager said:
"The group were equipped with lifejackets and safety helmets but obviously weren't expecting to spend time in the cold water.
"Although the sun is shining the wind is blowing and so conditions on the Lough are quote rough. I'd just like to take this opportunity to remind anyone planning to enjoy the spring weather to check weather forecasts and tidal conditions before you set out."

RNLI add:

The call for help was made at 12.05pm and the lifeboat was launched four minutes later. Arriving on scene the lifeboat crew immediately went to the aid of the four kayakers in the water. They recovered them onto the lifeboat and also took a further nine onboard from their kayaks. The remaining group had tied their kayaks together to prevent them from drifting further. The group was made up of three adults and eleven teenagers.

One of the adults stayed with the kayaks while the lifeboat crew returned with the rescued group to Killyleagh pier. They were met by a waiting ambulance, which had been requested when it was learned there were casualties in the water.

Commenting on the callout Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Brian Bailie said, "This was a very successful rescue for the lifeboat crew who arrived on scene minutes after the alarm was raised. To take such a large number of casualties to safety is a testament to their training and skill. We are delighted that everyone is safe and well.

'The group were all wearing floatation devices and helmets. The priority of the volunteer lifeboat crew from the outset was to take the four people from the water first and get them warm. Conditions were fresh with a strong wind blowing across the lough and the group could have quickly been blown in different directions."

When the lifeboat crew had safety landed the casualties on the pier, one of the crew stayed with the group while the remaining lifeboat crew went out to recover the kayaks.

Published in Coastguard

#cruising – Cruising is the hidden side of sailing, yet it's the choice for the majority of those going afloat. Whether it's day cruising, a longer venture in the annual holidays, or the dream cruise of a lifetime across oceans, this is our sport. Unlike racing, which generates its own narrative even if only through the recorded results, much of cruising would slip under the radar completely were it not for cruising awards. W M Nixon considers the latest annual batch from the Irish Cruising Club.

Cruising under sail seems to be the secret of eternal youth. Last night's Annual General Meeting of the Irish Cruising Club in Dun Laoghaire saw a distribution of awards to voyagers from all parts of Ireland who sailed successfully in many areas of the globe in boats mostly of modest size. Yet any outside analyst would soon have made the point that many of the achievers were of mature – sometimes very mature - years, and fulfilling a retirement dream.

But despite any ICC membership gathering these days being a sea of silver heads, age is the last thing they think about. This club of 550 members has become the mixture of an Active Retirement Association – very active indeed, as it happens – and a sort of seagoing extension of the Men's Shed movement.

If you were looking for an illustration of Ireland's changing demographics, and our very rapidly changing attitude as to what constitutes old age, you need look no further than the ICC. Time was when it was thought quite something when one of the club achieved the Golden Jubilee of their membership. But these days, it's no big deal to have been on the strength for fifty years, as the senior member is Joe FitzGerald of Crosshaven, who this year marks 70 years in the club, and he is closely followed by Douglas Mellon who joined in 1947 from Howth - he now lives on the Scottish Riviera in Kircudbright.

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Joe FitzGerald of Cork is the ICC's most senior member, having joined in 1944. He served as Commodore from 1984 to 1987.

All those years ago when they took up their membership, it was thought perfectly normal for young men – married or otherwise - to take off for at least a fortnight's cruising every year, regardless of family demands which these days would be regarded as the prior commitment. In fact, nowadays so much emphasis is placed on family life and families doing just about every last recreational thing together, that younger married sailing people either do extremely short-hop cruising of the type necessitated by catering for the needs of all the members of the family, or else they don't cruise at all in the traditional sense - "Fun For All The Family" effectively rules out proper cruising.

Then too, modern life has so many other distractions - not least of them work demands which involve 24/7 attention - that the old-style easygoing simply-wandering-along holiday cruising is very much a minority activity. This means that at first it seems young people are not taking up traditional cruising at all. But with its deep experience garnered since its foundation in 1929, the Irish Cruising Club has learned to take the long view. It is not unduly concerned by the steadily rising age profile of its membership, and certainly every year there is a significant group of sometimes quite senior yet nevertheless increasingly active cruising enthusiasts joining the club.

They're the embodiment of the slogan that Sailing is a Sport for Life, and it's only politeness which prevents them saying that the subtle pleasures of cruising are wasted on the young. So when you look at the lineup of achievement represented by last night's awards, it's natural to wonder what these people did in earlier life, that they can nowadays afford the time, resources and dedication necessary to complete voyages of this quality.

The adjudication was done by Dave Whitehead of Kinvara on Galway Bay, himself no stranger to the ways of the sea while making long voyages in small craft. He breaks new ground by awarding three trophies at once to Sam Davis of Strangford Lough, whose Cape Horn and Pacific ventures with his Rival 41 Suvretta have been quietly bubbling away in the background of ICC activity for the past three years.

Sam Davis first featured in Afloat magazine in March and April 1981 when we ran his two-part account of his first ocean voyage, an Atlantic circuit from Strangford Lough between 1976 and 1979 with the 34.5ft West Solent Class Suvretta, a former racing boat he'd found in a derelict state and restored to ocean-going condition.

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The 34ft West Solent class Suvretta in her offshore racing days in the 1950s when she was based in Belfast Lough. When Sam Davis did the Atlantic Circuit cruise with her in 1976-79, she carried a less loft mainmast, with masthead rig.

But even with Sam's improvements, she was still no more than a slip of a boat, so it says much for his grit and skill that he brought her through the Fastnet storm of 1979 as he sailed the final hundred miles back to Ireland. There was damage aloft, and he'd to get into Dunmore East unaided with jury rigging, but the job was done.

While in the Caribbean, he'd worked in charter yachts between times to make a shilling or two. But after he'd spent time back in Northern Ireland, he went abroad into serious seafaring in offshore service industries, working in places like The Gulf, the North Sea, the Amazon, the Red Sea and Malaysia, becoming a fully accredited Marine Consultant.

Yet if you ask him nowadays what he is and what he was, he'll say he's a farmer and former seaman, as his purchase some years ago of Conly Island in Strangford Lough (you can drive out to it when the tide is down) gives him the little bit of land, and an anchorage too, while "seaman" covers his many experiences in offshore work.

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Sam Davis with his newly-acquired Rival 41, re-named Suvretta, in 2009. Photo: W M Nixon

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Suvretta in the Beagle Channel in southern Chile. Photo: Sam Davis

Back in 2009 he bought a Rival 41, a hefty and able vessel, a sister-ship of Waxwing in which fellow ICC members Peter and Susan Gray of Dun Laoghaire went round the world 14 years ago. Sam re-named his new boat Suvretta, spent the winter sorting her out, and in 2010 he was gone, sailing south single-handed to eventually round Cape Horn and then spend a long time on the coast of Chile. He was delayed there as a ship broke drift and damaged the boat, but it was well fixed, and he voyaged on into the Pacific to many islands, including Pitcairn and the Tahiti group.

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Restless anchorage. Suvretta in Bounty Bay on Pitcairn Island. Photo: Sam Davis

Eventually he fetched up for some time in Tonga, where he became enthused about the 73ft Vakas, the Pacific islanders' contemporary take on the classic Polynesian inter-island vessels (see Sailing on Saturday 11th January 2014). But by November 2012 it was time to head for home, so Suvretta sailed southeast for Cape Horn non-stop, and having rounded it, shaped her course for Port Stanley in the Falklands.

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Suvretta rounding Cape Horn for the second time, 21st January 2013. It was only when the Horn was well astern that the weather deteriorated rapidly to make for a challenging approach to Port Stanley. Photo: Sam Davis

However, while rounding the Horn had been simple enough, the passage onwards to Stanley became increasingly fraught, running before rising storm force winds. Conditions were such that it looked for a while as though the lone sailor was going to be swept right past the islands, but he made the cut into shelter to such a nicety that he is awarded the ICC's Rockabill Trophy for Seamanship.

And then when Port Stanley was reached, a very fine passage had been completed from Tonga, so last night for that he was additionally awarded the ICC's Atlantic Trophy for the best voyage with a non-stop leg of more than a thousand miles. And then finally, after they'd spent the mid part of 2013 working their way up the Atlantic with the lone skipper particularly enjoying himself at ports on the Irish coast, Suvretta and Sam returned after three years to Conly Island. And they'd now done more than enough to also be awarded a third trophy - the ICC's premier honour, the Faulkner Cup.

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Home again. Sam Davis back in Ireland, August 2013. Photo: W M Nixon

With such a high level of activity by many members, ICC adjudicators always find some final choices to be a very close call, so some years ago the Strangford Cup was inaugurated for the cruise which almost won the Faulkner Cup. This year it has gone to a fine cruise from Portugal to Madeira and through the Azores in detail before returning to Portugal.

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John Duggan with his MG CS40 Hecuba in Horta in the Azores

John Duggan originally hailed from Malahide where he sailed, and he also sailed with the college teams while at Trinity College in Dublin. He cruised and raced offshore mostly in the Irish Sea, but having qualified as an accountant he decided to spread his wings internationally, and he became one of those key people who turn up as partners in one of the big four accountancy firms worldwide.

Eventually his career brought him to the company's offices in Lisbon. Living in Portugal suited him fine, so he put down roots and in time bought himself an interesting cruiser. Hecuba is a 1989 Canadian-built Tony Castro-designed MG CS40, a handsome 12m craft with good performance enhanced by an effective wing keel.

During his final years in the day job he gradually improved the boat with a mind to some proper cruising once he retired at 60, something which he planned with all a high-powered accountant's meticulous attention to detail. He remembers the final day at the office, when a friend on the other side of the world sent him an email: "Even the worst day of your retirement will be better than the best day at work".

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Azorean whaleboat with Pico beyond seen during one of Hecuba's cruises from Portugal to the Azores. Photo: John Duggan

Maybe so, yet not everyone makes the changeover smoothly, but in John Duggan's case the challenge of planning and executing remarkably civilised yet challenging cruises has proven to be a complete new job in itself, but much more fun than number crunching. He goes to enormous trouble to make sure that his crews have as enjoyable and varied an experience as possible, yet all the time he is quietly keeping the project moving along while noting details and features of ports visited which might be of interest to fellow skippers, a habit which is the hallmark of the true cruising man.

When you live in Cascais with your boat based in the marina nearby, the Azores are the western isles which call you each summer. But unlike Scotland's Western Isles which are just a day's sail away across the Sea of the Hebrides, the Azores involve an immediate ocean voyage from Portugal of at least 500 miles. However, for 2013's cruise west, Hecuba made it a triangle, going first to Madeira before going on nor'west to the Azores which were cruised in detail before returning to Cascais after six weeks away, having logged 2390 miles, with the final tabulation being:
Hours spent close hauled: Zero.
Cross words exchanged: Zero.

Inevitably the two big awards dominate the scoresheet, but the ICC also has a host of trophies which reflect every level of club sailing activity. The Round Ireland Cup, for instance, is for the circuit which produces most information for the club's sailing directions, and in a year in which a goodly number went round, it was Donal Walsh of Dungarvan with his Moody 31 Lady Kate who best filled the bill.

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Donal Walsh's Lady Kate anchored at Inishmurray off the Sligo coast during his detailed round Ireland cruise. Photo: Donal Walsh

As the Faulkner Cup was first won in 1931 by the 28ft cutter Marie, the Marie Trophy is for the best cruise by a boat under 30ft, and Mick Delap from Valentia Island with his Tamarisk 24 gaff cutter North Star fits into the size requirement with six feet to spare. He made a fine job of completing a two-summer circuit of Ireland by returning from western Scotland via the Irish Sea and Ireland's south and southwest coasts.

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Mick Delap's Tamarisk 24 North Star from Valentia in Lowlandman's Bay in Jura in the Hebrides. Photo: Mick Delap

In all, the ICC has a dozen cruising trophies. But even so not everyone gets one in a typically busy year, so to encourage the newcomers they've the Perry Greer Trophy for first time log-writers, and it goes to Peter Mullan from the Quoile in Strangford Lough for his insightful account of a round Ireland cruise with the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey Sancerre.

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Peter Mullan's Sun Odyssey Sancerre in the little harbour at Tory Island with the Donegal highlands beyond. Photo: Peter Mullan

All the logs, including the winning ones, were featured in the ICC's 180-page Annual 2013, which Honorary Editor Ed Wheeler managed to get to the members in time for Christmas. All this is done by voluntary effort, yet the Annual would stand up to professional comparisons, as it includes informative accounts of cruises in just about every part of the world, plus a report on the ICC Cruise-in-Company to the Isles of Scilly which was an outstanding success despite coinciding with some uneven weather in June.

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The Irish Cruising Club flotilla in the Isles of Scilly during their successful Cruise-in-Company in June 2013.

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Everyone to his taste. ICC member Brian Black went to Greenland for the sixth time, crewing on Aurora. This is Kangertitiatsivaq Fjord in high summer. Photo: Brian Black

There's more to the Club than the Annual, as the ICC's programme of producing constantly up-dated Sailing Directions for the entire Irish coast in two volumes is a continuous progression, with the latest 12th Edition of the North & East Coast Book due next month from Honorary Editor Norman Kean, whose home port is Courtmacsherry.

Thus it's clear that Ireland's cruising club is a truly all-Ireland organisation, and this year it will be celebrating its 85th birthday with a Cruise-in-Company to Glengarriff where it was founded on July 13th 1929. Yet despite its obvious significance, this is a club without premises. In the final analysis, it's a club of the mind, made up of kindred spirits. Heading such a body is a mighty challenge, and the changing of the watch is always a charged moment.

Last night David Tucker of Kinsale stood down after serving his three years as Commodore, and he was succeeded by Peter Killen of Malahide. His experience in club administration is long-lived – he was Commodore of Malahide YC when it became "Club of the Year" in 1980. But it was his cruising CV which next went into overdrive, as in 1993 he voyaged north to Iceland, circled it, and then sailed back in near-record time in an S&S 30. He then moved up to a Sigma 36 which he cruised to Greenland among other places, following which he cruised even further with a Sweden 38, and then in 2004 he took on his dreamship, the Amel Maramu 54 Pure Magic.

Peter Killen seems to have cruised this very special boat just about everywhere. Not least was deep into Antarctica, where he made a memorable arrival in zero visibility with icy conditions into the natural harbour in the extinct volcanic crater on Deception Island. It was all a long way in time and distance from five boats gathered in Glengarrif in the hope of forming a little cruising organisation back in 1929. But that's the way it is with the Irish Cruising Club.

Published in W M Nixon

#PowerFromTheSea - Scenic Strangford Lough could be the site of an ambitious tidal power plant - if a proposal by a Russian energy firm comes to fruition.

The Belfast Telegraph reports on what it calls the "bizarre plan" to construct a dam across the lough that will link both sides by road and harness the strong tide to generate well over 1,000 gigawatt hours of green energy every year.

Martex Invest CEO Vladen Lunin is set to meet with Down District Council to outline his plans for the tidal barrage, similar to the Rance power station in Brittany.

And he hopes to sell councillors on the potential of the scheme to become a major tourist attraction for Northern Ireland.

Strangford Lough is known for having an exceptionally strong tidal current - and the Strangford Narrows are already home to Britain's first tidal power turbines, operated by SeaGen.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Power From the Sea

#RNLI - Portaferry RNLI responded to a mayday call about a converted fishing trawler at Ringhaddy Sound in Strangford Lough on Saturday night (24 August).

The alarm was raised by the crew of a nearby yacht who reported two men and two women on board an 80ft converted trawler, which had lost all power and was taking on water.

The Portaferry lifeboat crew launched before 8pm and were on the scene within 15 minutes. The sea at the time was calm with no wind and good visibility.



When the lifeboat arrived, one man and one woman had already transferred to the neighbouring yacht. The lifeboat crew then requested a salvage pump to help pump the water from the stricken boat.



A local vessel from Portaferry lent assistance by taking a pump to the lifeboat crew, and they met halfway between Portaferry and Ringhaddy.



With the assistance of the crew of the yacht who had called in the alert, the lifeboat manoeuvred the converted trawler onto the pontoons at Ringhaddy, and remained while the last of the water was pumped out and all four of its compliment were safely ashore.


Portaferry RNLI volunteer lifeboat operations manager Brian Bailie said: "We would like to pass on our thanks to everyone who helped bring this mayday call to a safe conclusion.


"The prompt actions of everyone involved resulted in a positive outcome and the volunteer RNLI crew for the second time in as many days helped to avert a potentially very serious situation."

Meanwhile, Donaghadee RNLI also launched on Saturday to go to the aid of a 17ft powerboat with four men on board that had run out of fuel off the Copeland Islands.

Belfast Coastguard received a call from the men shortly after 5pm and requested the lifeboat to launch.

The all-weather lifeboat crew, under second coxswain John Ashwood, located the vessel quickly and the decision was made to tow the casualty back to Donaghadee harbour. All returned safely shortly after 5.45pm.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Portaferry RNLI in Co Down had a busy weekend with four separate call-outs over the two days.

The first came on Saturday 6 July following a report that three children were drifting offshore on an inflatable toy.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was already afloat on exercise as part of the annual raft race in Kircubbin, Co Down, when they got a call to go to the aid of the three children aged 10, 11 and 14 who were drifting out to sea on the inflatable 18 miles away at Cloughey Bay.


Thankfully by the time they arrived on scene a local coastguard unit had already attended and brought the three children to safety on shore.

Portaferry RNLI was called out for a second time at 4.10pm to rescue a number of people on board a speedboat that had lost power in Strangford Lough just off Killyleagh.


The crew arrived at the scene at 4.15pm, by which time the 15ft speedboat had already been towed in and was moored at the pontoons at Killyleagh Yacht Club in Strangford Lough.

On both occasions the weather was fine with good visibility and calm seas.
 

Yesterday (7 July) the volunteer crew launched for the third time to assist an injured woman on Salt Island in Strangford Lough.

The crew arrived at the island at 10.10am and assessed the situation before transporting two paramedics from Killyleagh to the injured woman, who was subsequently airlifted by Irish Coast Guard helicopter to Musgrave Park Hospital in Belfast for treatment.


At 11:35am, while returning to the lifeboat station, the crew was alerted once again, this time to go to the aid of two men onboard a five metre Dory that had lost power and was drifting just off Ringhaddy Sound in Strangford Lough.


The crew arrived on the scene at 12.05pm and took the men onboard the lifeboat, towing the powerless boat into Strangford Lough Yacht Club, where the men were then put ashore and their boat tied up.

Elsewhere in Northern Ireland, Newcastle RNLI assisted two men after their motor cruiser ran aground off the Co Down coast last Thursday (4 July).

The volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat at 2.20pm following a report from Belfast Coastguard that a small vessel had ran aground off Dundrum Bar with two people on board.

Weather conditions at the time were described as blowing south westerly four to five winds with moderate to choppy seas. There was good visibility.



The lifeboat, helmed by Nathan Leneghan and with crew members Declan Barry and Charles McClelland on board, arrived on scene at 2.30pm, where they observed that one of the men had made it to shore while the other was still on the 5m boat.


Speaking following the call-out, Newcastle RNLI deputy launching authority Joe McClelland said: "Thankfully, no one was in immediate danger and we were happy to bring the vessel and the man who was still on board safely to shore."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Portaferry RNLI launched on Saturday afternoon 15 June to go to the rescue of a small craft which had lost power in Strangford Lough, Co Down.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was alerted at 1.10pm following a call that there was a 5m Dory drifting after its engine had failed.



The lifeboat - helmed by Simon Rogers and with crew members George Toma, Brendan Byers and Ryan Kelly onboard - was launched at 1.20pm and was alongside the stricken vessel just off Gransha Point at 1.34pm.



The weather at the time was a slight swell, light winds and good visibility.



Once alongside, the lifeboat crew found that the Dory was taking on water. The two men were taken onboard the lifeboat and the Dory was towed into Strangford Lough Yacht Club where the men were also left off.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - A collision with a tidal turbine was to blame for the incident that caused the dismasting of a yacht in Strangford Lough on Sunday 9 June.

As reported yesterday on Afloat.ie, Portaferry RNLI's lifeboat crew was dispatched to the stricken yacht in the narrows of Strangford Lough close to the SeaGen water turbine.

The local RNLI press office confirmed that three men and a teenage boy were on board the 37ft yacht at the time - though BBC News says that only three people were rescued, including a child.

The SeaGen installation in Strangford Lough was accredited by Ofgen as Britain's first tidal power plant, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Page 7 of 9

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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