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#CRUISE LINERS - TV host and funnyman Graham Norton recounts his breathtaking experiences on a cruise to Alaska for the Mail on Sunday.

"Until Alaska, my own serious nautical experience was crossing the Irish Sea on a car ferry," writes the Cork native best known for his BBC chat show.

But the remoteness of the Alaskan coastline - as seen from the decks of the Crystal Symphony - struck him with a special kind of awe.

"Enjoying Alaska's natural wonders It's hard not to be amazed as you cruise into wilderness areas such as Glacier Bay because they're so jaw-droppingly spectacular. It's absolutely beautiful," he says.

"The highlights were the glaciers and the whale-watching. The ship sails right up to the wall of the glacier and you sit there watching large blocks of ice breaking off calving, I think it's called, and it's just stunning."

Norton was especially surprised by his excitement at seeing the whales.

"They're brilliant. Watching them popping out of the sea was really, really, really good! So good, in fact, you kind of think I mustn't go whale-watching again because I'll only be disappointed next time. It was quite an emotional experience. You feel privileged to see these creatures."

Perhaps next time he takes a break in West Cork he might take a look out to sea and witness some of those magnificent creatures a lot closer to home!

Published in Cruise Liners
Elaine 'Shooter' Alexander is set for hero’s welcome this week as she becomes the first woman from Northern Ireland to circumnavigate the island of Ireland by kayak.
The solo paddler is expected to reach the finish line at County Antrim Yacht Club on Wednesday after her 70-plus-day test of endurance.
Shooter began her epic 1,000-mile voyage on 3 May, facing a tough challenge navigating a coastline of cliffs and headlands, strong tides and brutal weather. She has been storm-bound for a total of 21 days, often only with a small tent for shelter.
When asked what home comfort she was most looking forward to, she simply replied: "A proper toilet and some clean clothes."
Shooter embarked on the challenge to raise funds for SHARE, a charity providing outdoor activity programmes that promote the inclusion of disabled and non-disabled people.
“I expected and had trained for the physical challenge but I don’t think you can ever prepare mentally," she commented.
"It has been a real struggle coping with the repetition of paddling, getting changed into wet clothes and packing up a wet tent every day. Especially on the windy days it has been hard just to push on that extra few miles each day.”
But connecting with fans and supporters through social media made a big difference.
“The Facebook page has really been a lifeline," she said. "There is nothing more motivating than coming off the water after a tough day to read so many supportive and funny comments from well wishers."
See below for a map showing Shooter's live position as she edges closer to the finish line.

Elaine 'Shooter' Alexander is set for hero’s welcome this week as she becomes the first woman from Northern Ireland to circumnavigate the island of Ireland by kayak.

The solo paddler is expected to reach the finish line at County Antrim Yacht Club on Wednesday after her 70-plus-day test of endurance.

Shooter began her epic 1,000-mile voyage on 3 May, facing a tough challenge navigating a coastline of cliffs and headlands, strong tides and brutal weather. She has been storm-bound for a total of 21 days, often only with a small tent for shelter. 

When asked what home comfort she was most looking forward to, she simply replied: "A proper toilet and some clean clothes." 

Shooter embarked on the challenge to raise funds for SHARE, a charity providing outdoor activity programmes that promote the inclusion of disabled and non-disabled people. 

“I expected and had trained for the physical challenge but I don’t think you can ever prepare mentally," she commented. 

"It has been a real struggle coping with the repetition of paddling, getting changed into wet clothes and packing up a wet tent every day. Especially on the windy days it has been hard just to push on that extra few miles each day.” 

But connecting with fans and supporters through social media made a big difference. 

The Facebook page has really been a lifeline," she said. "There is nothing more motivating than coming off the water after a tough day to read so many supportive and funny comments from well wishers."

See below for a map showing Shooter's live position as she edges closer to the finish line.

Published in Kayaking
Boat owners may be able to help survey Ireland's shoreline this October in a European wide eco-audit of the continent's coastline.
Members of the public are being urged to volunteer for the first survey since 2005. It starts in Ireland next weekend.
More from the Irish Times HERE.

 

 

Published in Coastal Notes

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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