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Displaying items by tag: Swan

The BBC has reported that a wild swan found dead earlier this week at Lough Beg near Toomebridge, a small village on the North West corner of Lough Neagh has tested positive for Bird Flu. Lough Beg is a small freshwater lake on the border between County Londonderry and County Antrim.

The Lower River Bann flows into it from Lough Neagh at the southern end and continues its route to the sea from the northern end. It has been designated a Ramsar Site which is a wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

Preliminary results confirmed that the swan had a similar strain of the disease to that found in poultry flocks and wild birds in Britain. Public health officials have advised that the risk to public health from this strain of avian influenza is very low, as is the threat to food safety. A dead falcon found in County Limerick also tested positive in recent days.

The chief vet Dr Robert Huey urged poultry keepers to tighten their biosecurity measures to stop transmission to commercial flocks.

The swan was found by environmentalist Chris Murphy who was assessing the impact of A6 roadworks on overwintering birds at the lough - an internationally important protected site. Further tests will now be carried out to establish whether the disease is a highly pathogenic strain or one which is less virulent.

On Wednesday a bird flu prevention zone was declared across Britain after the discovery of the disease there. Where it is detected in poultry flocks, the birds are destroyed, and prevention zones are established around affected premises. It can also lead to restrictions on trade.

Northern Ireland's Chief Vet Robert Huey urged anyone with poultry to tighten their biosecurity to prevent interaction between wild birds and their flocks.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#wolfhound – You can't put a good boat down. Here she is. The lost one. The Irish Swan 48 Wolfhound, doing better on her own than she did with a crew writes W M Nixon.

Nine weeks after she was abandoned in a storm 70 miles north of Bermuda, her crew taken off safely by the Greek ship Tetien Trader, Wolfhound floats on all alone, now 800 miles southeast of Bermuda.

Afloat.ie reader Martin Butler sent the unique photo at the weekend confounding early news reports the craft had sunk.

Going her own way, she's getting near the wide Sargasso Sea, where she might drift for eternity unless somebody brings her in. Highly likely, now that this remarkable pic has gone viral. All things considered, she's looking very well. Her upper boot-top is still showing, so there can't be that much water down below. But we can't tell if her hull is still intact, as she was starboard-side-on for the rescue. So there could well be impact damage away from the camera's eye.

Miraculously, her tall carbon mast is still standing, even though the forestay has broken from the stemhead - you can see it wrapped round the shrouds. And the backstay has also gone, so only the checkstay is holding the rig fore-and-ft. If the checkstay goes, then the mast is likely to break, with the risk of its splintered pieces holing the hull. Meanwhile her mainsail, lying as it was dropped, seems all of a piece. She's a tough old bird. Whoever can get the mostest there the fastest is going to get one very gallant boat. She may be plastic, but Wolfhound has a heart of oak.

wolfhoundcloseup

Her upper boot-top is still showing, so there can't be that much water down below

And how can she be found again, now that the ship that took the pic has moved on? Let's hope that somebody thought to chuck a mobile phone into her cockpit. It could give a signal, however weak, for a long time - long enough to find her again and put a crew aboard to sail her up to Bermuda, or across to the Azores

Read WM Nixon's full account of the rescue of Wolfhound's crew out now in the Spring issue of Afloat at all good news agents nationwide

 

Published in Cruising
Tagged under

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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