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The next race in the AveryCrest ISORA 2016 series is the race from Dun Laoghaire to Pwllheli this Saturday. 

The race is also the feeder race for the Spinlock IRC Welsh National Championships in Pwllheli from August 12 to 14th. The 80 miler starts at 0800hrs from Dun Laoghaire harbour.

Published in ISORA
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Due to the total lack of winds forecast in the Irish Sea around Dublin and the strong tides, tonight’s ISORA Night Race from Dun Laoghaire has been postponed until 20.00 on Friday 19th August.

The decision was taken by the ISORA Sailing Committee after referring to the Skippers of all entered boats.

For those boats who have entered the race and who cannot take on the rescheduled race, their entry fee can be transferred to any of the remaining races in the ISORA Series 2016, according to ISORA chair Peter Ryan.

Published in ISORA
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#Kayaking - Despite only learning how to swim last year, Manchester man Alan Creedon took up the challenge of paddling across the Irish Sea in honour of his late sister.

And this week he achieved just that, when he and his much more experienced kayaking partner Mike Alexander reached land at Dun Laoghaire by sea kayak after a 22-hour crossing from Holyhead.



According to The Irish Post, Creedon's journey actually began earlier this month when he set off on foot from his Manchester home for the North Wales ferry port – a journey of nearly 200km.

But the journey's not over yet, as Creedon's #WalkForAoife as he prepares to continue by foot across Ireland to Dingle, where his Irish family are based.

Along the way he'll continue to recount his experiences on his blog where he's also fundraising for a Dingle housing charity as well as mental health support.

In other kayaking news, island communities in West Cork are set to benefit from a kayak-sharing scheme modelled along the lines of bike-sharing in Irish cities.

As the Irish Examiner reports, Whiddy Island will host a test of the scheme next week before it's rolled out to Cape Clear, Long, Heir, Dursey and Sherkin Islands over the next three years.

Published in Kayaking

#IrishSea - The inquest into the death of a Polish woman from Dublin whose body was recovered from the water off the Isle of Man last summer has recorded an open verdict, as BBC News reports.

Recording his findings at Douglas Courthouse earlier this month, coroner John Needham said 33-year-old company director Joanna Dabrowska had likely "spent a significant period" of "several weeks" in the Irish Sea before members of the public recovered her body in Douglas Bay on 5 July 2015.

Dabrowska has been renting a flat in Dublin on a career break after a stint in Germany when she was reported missing by her landlord in early June.

"Police enquiries have thrown no light on how, where and when Joanna's body entered the sea but there was no disease and no traumatic injuries to the skull," said Needham, adding that the date of her death would have been some time between 27 May and 25 June 2015.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

The Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association (ISORA) has introduced short handed sailing to the Irish Sea offshore game this season, a recognition for the Irish boats acheiving success in the discipline on the international stage over the last few seasons.

Although ISORA has always encouraged short-handed racing (it accommodates single handed racing in its day races) the 2016 initative from Commodore Peter Ryan goes a step further with the new double handed class open to any boat sailed double handed for any of the ISORA races.

Reflecting the drive of the individual for the love of offshore sailing and noting Irish short–handed wins in the 2015 Middle Sea Race and the Round Britain and Ireland Race two years ago, it will be ineresting to see the take up for the new class on either side of the Irish Sea.

The Double Handed Overall Class winner will be determined by the best four Double Handed results for that boat. Race prizes for Double Handed will be allocated depending on the number of boats taking part in the race. Double Handed boats will also qualify for the normal Overall and Class prizes. 

The first race in the Avery Crest ISORA Offshore Series 2016 takes place on the 23rd April with the day race from Dun Laoghaire to Wicklow. 

As the first race of the season it is anticipated that the selected course will allow boats and crew to ease into the 2016 season while having enough time after the race to sample the hospitality of Wicklow Sailing Club while waiting for the north going tide.

The second race of the Offshore Series 2016 is the Pwllheli Bay Day Race also on 23rd April. This race will take the fleet along the scenic Welsh Coastline and out into the spectacular and World renowned sailing waters of Cardigan Bay. After racing the crews will retire to the new Sailing Club in the iconic Academy where there will be opportunities to discuss the 2016 offshore campaigns and the challenge to retain the ISORA Team Trophy again this year.

This sailing season’s highlight is the Volvo Round Ireland Race and it is hoped that this will encourage those boats taking part to gain the required experience and practice in offshore racing by taking part in ISORA.

As Afloat previously reported, this season sees some new boats entering: Kuba Szymanski’s First 40.7. Grant Kinsman’s Sigma 400 and Robert Floate’s Sydney 36 should make some competitive racing for the Class 1. George Sisk’s, ICRA 2015 Boat of the Year and overall winner of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, “WOW” is back racing in ISORA. There are persistent rumours of a JPK 10.8 appearing and a J105 from Wales?

 

Published in ISORA
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#MarineNotice - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) has been advised that a hydrographic and geophysical survey operation will be undertaken by INFOMAR for the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) off the Mayo coast, in the Celtic Sea and also in the Irish Sea between 21 March and 30 October 2016.

The RV Celtic Voyager (Callsign EIQN), the RV Celtic Explorer (Callsign EIGB), the RV Keary (Callsign EIGO9), the RV Geo (Callsign EIDK6) and the RV Tonn (Callsign: EIPT7) are expected to carry out survey operations and will be listening on VHF Channel 16 throughout the project.

Details of co-ordinates for the survey operations are included in Marine Notice No 11 of 2016, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Marine Warning

#MarineWildlife - Wildlife experts on the Isle of Man have been stumped by the carcass of an otter – a species not native to the island – found on Port Erin beach last Friday (15 January).

As BBC News reports, while the once severely threatened British otter population has recovered to the extent that the marine mammals can now be found in every county in England, they have never knowingly been a presence on Man – until now.

And with no microchip present on the animal to determine the deceased otter's origin, or indicate how it got to the island in the middle of the Irish Sea, the local wildlife trust has something of a mystery on its hands.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Toxic chemicals banned in Europe nearly 30 years ago are still polluting the seas off the continent.

And marine scientists fear their continued presence could spell the end for the killer whale and other species in European waters, as the Irish Examiner reports.

The warning comes from newly published research on concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in marine wildlife – specifically orcas and other dolphins – in Irish, British and Mediterranean waters.

Co-authored by Dr Simon Berrow of GMIT and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, the paper in the latest issue of journal Scientific Reports claims that despite the outright ban on the use of PCBs since 1987, they persist in "dangerously high levels in European cetaceans".

High exposure to PCBs, once used in the manufacture of paints and electrical equipment, weakens the immune systems of cetaceans and has a severe effect on their breeding rates.

The paper is available online HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Missing - The family of a man whose light aircraft is believed ditched in the Irish Sea have said they are "hoping against hope he may be found alive".

BBC News reports that the missing man has been named as Ian Stirling of Douglas on the Isle of Man.

The 73-year-old sparked a major search and rescue operation yesterday morning (Thursday 3 December) when the Rockwell Commander he was piloting disappeared from radar three miles offshore on approach to Blackpool Airport.

Debris and fuel spillage were found off the Lancashire coast before the search was suspended due to failing light, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Local council beach patrols have joined HM Coastguard in the search as it resumed earlier today. BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#HistoricBoats - A team of scientists aboard the Marine Institute's research vessel Celtic Voyager has revealed detailed images of World War I shipwrecks in the Irish Sea.

The team, led by Dr Ruth Plets of the School of Environmental Sciences at Ulster University, set out to capture the highest resolution acoustic data possible of WWI shipwrecks lost in the Irish Sea, using a new multi-beam system (EM2040) on board the RV Celtic Voyager to get the best data ever acquired over these wrecks.

"We were able to capture the most detailed images of the entirety of the wrecks ever," said Dr Plets. "Some of the wrecks, which are too deep to be dived on, have not been seen in 100 years. So this is the first time we can examine what has happened to them, during sinking and in the intervening 100 years, and try to predict their future preservation state."

Among the shipwrecks surveyed were the SS Chirripo, which sank in 1917 off Black Head in Co Antrim after she struck a mine; the SS Polwell, which was torpedoed in 1918 northeast of Lambay Island; and the RMS Leinster, which sank in 1918 after being torpedoed off Howth Head, killing over over 500 people - the single greatest loss of live in the Irish Sea.

Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan welcomed the achievements of the survey, supported by the competitive ship-time programme, saying: "The multidisciplinary team is making an important contribution to understanding and protecting our maritime heritage and to our ability to manage our marine resource wisely."

Explaining how the survey was carried out, Dr Plets added: "We moved away from traditional survey strategies by slowing the vessel right down to allow us to get many more data points over the wreck, with millions of sounding per wreck."

"The detail is amazing as we can see things such as handrails, masts, the hawse pipe – where the anchor was stored – and hatches. Some of the vessels have split into sections, and we can even see details of the internal structure. With the visibility conditions in the Irish Sea, no diver or underwater camera could ever get such a great overview of these wrecks."

As well as acoustic imaging, the team collected samples from around the wreck to see what its potential impact is on the seabed ecology. Sediment samples were also taken for chemical analysis to determine if these wrecks cause a concern for pollution.

The project is carried out to coincide with WWI centenary commemorations, noted Dr Plets. "We often forget the battles that were fought in our seas; more emphasis is put on the battles that went on in the trenches. However, at least 2,000 Irishmen lost their lives at sea, but unlike on land, there is no tangible monument or place to commemorate because of the location on the bottom of the sea.

"In the Republic of Ireland there is a blanket protection of all wrecks older than 100 years, so all these will become protected over the next few years. To manage and protect these sites for future generations, we need to know their current preservation state and understand the processes that are affecting the sites."

The next step for the team is to use the data collected to create 3D models which can be used for archaeological research, heritage management and dissemination of these otherwise inaccessible sites to the wider public.

"There is so much data, it will take us many months if not years, to work it all up," said Dr Plets. "Some of the wrecks are in a very dynamic environment and we are planning to survey these vessels again next year to see if there is a change, especially after the winter storms. That will give the heritage managers a better idea if any intervention measures need to be taken to protect them.

"These data could well signal a new era in the field of maritime archaeology. We hope it will inspire a new generation of marine scientists, archaeologists and historians to become involved. Above all, we want to make the general public, young and old, aware of the presence of such wrecks, often located only miles off their local beach."

The research survey was supported by the Marine Institute, through its Ship-Time Programme, funded under the Marine Research Sub-Programme by the Government.

The diverse team included maritime archaeologists Rory McNeary from the Northern Ireland Department of the Environment and Kieran Westley from the University of Southampton; geologists Rory Quinn and Ruth Plets, both Ulster University; biologists Annika Clements from Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute and Chris McGonigle from Ulster University; Ulster University marine science student Mekayla Dale; and hydrographer Fabio Sacchetti from the Marine Institute who works on Ireland's national seabed mapping programme INFOMAR, run jointly with the Geological Survey of Ireland.

The team blogged about the seven-day survey at [email protected].

Published in Historic Boats
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