Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Trasnagh

John McCann is a well-known farmer in Whiterock, on the west shore of Strangford Lough in County Down, and his late father, Thomas McCann farmed the land on which Strangford Lough Yacht Club now stands. John has a vision of how he would like to move forward into the future. He is writing a book on the traditional farming methods in the Lough, and on the two islands he owns, Trasnagh and Calf, covering an environmental study from the receding last ice age to today’s ecosystem.

He goes on “ I am forming a group called ‘Friends of Trasnagh’ and I would welcome input from people with specific knowledge of island fauna, geology, archaeology, ancient farming, the famine, birds, insects, general wildlife, intertidal animals and plants, shellfish above and below low tide, seashore mammals, lichens, migratory and resident birds”.

Originally Trasnagh and Calf were farmed by a resident family. In the mid-1800s the potato famine devastated the Irish population and many of the inhabitants of the islands either died or emigrated, in the case of Trasnagh to New Zealand.

From around the 1870s the island farms were bought or rented to other local farmers. Trasnagh had an extensive range of buildings with pig sty’s, barns, stock house, deep well which was built from the 1600s. Cattle and sheep were transported by a 27 ft four oar open boat, with four cows at a time swimming alongside the boat or 20 sheep inside it.

John says “ The last time this was done I was about 7 years old. I do remember the four oarsmen and the cattle.   It was a dangerous operation no rescue boats no outboard motors”.

Since the old farm was built, storms and age had depleted some of the buildings and during the Troubles, the walls were damaged searching for shipments of suspected arms coming into the Lough. Without the resident farmer maintenance was harder; however, it was still used extensively for the sheep management bringing them into the barn for dosing and sheering.

As reported in on 19th January, John wanted to try to restore the 30-acre working farmstead to full active livestock farming and helped by the National Trust barge, livestock movement was much easier. In addition to the 50 sheep there now, a small heard of Scottish Highland cattle were added since completion of the hay storage barns and buildings. The residents now include 10 Highland cattle, 50 ewes, four Suffolk ewes with baby lambs, and the two old goats.

John’s aim is to gather more knowledge about the islands. “I will take members of our group of like-minded people to and from the island. Our aim is to highlight scientific information and find out as much as possible of the wildlife, soil, and climate and gain new knowledge where possible. The range of skills needed is immense. All farming practices will be environmentally managed to make these two islands a source of information and study of how to protect them and to bring a knowledge of the biodiversity.

More information from [email protected]

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.


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

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating