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Displaying items by tag: irish sea

#MarineWildlife - Five Risso's dolphin calves spotted by researchers off the Isle of Man this summer point to the waters of the Irish Sea as a breeding ground for the gregarious marine mammals.

As BBC News reports, the five calves were seen north of the Calf of Man at the end of July.

And according to a spokesperson for the Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch: "It means Manx waters must be important to the breeding population of Risso's dolphins in the Irish Sea."

The waters between the east coast of Ireland and north-west England and Wales are known to be teeming with dolphins of different species, with video of a dolphin 'superpod' wowing ferry-goers earlier this year.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#isora – Under not ideal weather and sea conditions yesterday's final ISORA race of 2013 was a battle of gargantuan proportions between the Series leader "Ruth" and close second "Sgrech". The two J109's, with "Sgrech" only giving 43 seconds in the expected 12 hour race "Ruth" writes ISORA chairman, Peter Ryan.

After a long season with many boats having races and sailed thousands of miles. With some boats with gear problems and others with crew fatigue after three consecutive weekends of offshore racing, only 13 boats out of an entry list of 22 came to the start line in Pwllheli. The PSC starter Richard Tudor sent the fleet of on a direct course from the start to the finish in Dun Laoghaire.

The weather forecast appeared to be very manageable with the winds of maximum 25 knots, north west backing south west over the day. Unfortunately the north west wind had been blowing strong for all the previous day producing overall conditions at Bardsey that were not pleasant. The first leg to Tudwals was a tight reach. After the warning signal "Sgrech" and "Ruth" commenced manouvers to get the better start. The two boats headed off in front of the fleet within a boat length of each other towards Tusdal's sound.

In Tudwal's sound more tussles arose between the tow boats in the form of a luffing match. This facilitate "Pipedreamer 6", "Mojito" and "Lula Belle" to pass them into the lead. Sea condition past Tudwal's sound warned of what was going to be met at Bardsey. It was a beat to Bardsey. While most of the fleet chose to go through the sound with the north going tide some boats including "Sarnia" ventured outside the island. The five lead boats arrived at Bardsey close together with "Ruth" and "Sgrech" exchanging tacks.

Conditions at Bardsey Sound were "pretty bad"!!!!. Huge and breaking seas met those who ventured through. "Sgrech" recorded a ground speed of 14.2k at one stage. "Windshift" suffered some slight gear damage with the pounding and retired. At the same time the life raft on "Sgrech" broke its fixings and was heading off the stern before the crew managed to retrieve it. "Poppy of Brighton" had retired earlier.

Exiting Bardsey "Ruth" and "Sgrech" were still within boats lengths of each other and leading the fleet with "Mojito" close behind and headed off north on a beat in the north going tide. The wind was still north west. Over the following few hours, the backing wind lifted the boats on the north leg of the beat to arrive north of the Bailey lighthouse. At all time "Ruth" and "Sgrech" were within 100m of each other with the boast being side by side "Ruth" being to weather. Felloe J109 "Mojito" was close behind.

It was only just approaching the Kish Light that "Sgrech" regained the advantage and set the scene of the tacking duel between the two boats across Dublin Bay to the finish at Dun Laoghaire Pier heads. "Sgrech" held the lead and finished just 1 minute 50 seconds ahead of "Ruth". "Mojito" finished approximately 10 minutes behind the leaders to give the J109's a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place overall and Class 1. "Sarnia", the oldest and lowest rated boat in the fleet took Class 2 and Silver Class Overall with "Lula Belle" taking 2nd Class 2 and "Yahtzee" taking 3rd Class 2 and 2nd Silver Class while Sigma 33 "Polished Manx" took 3rd Silver Class.

The result of the gargantuan battle between "Ruth" and "Sgrech" was that "Sgrech" retained the ISORA lynx metmAsts Offshore Series 2013 champion status, ahead of "Ruth". "Polished Manx" is the ISORA lynx metmAsts Offshore Silver Series 2013 champion. Full details are below.

The usual "dignified" end of series party took place in the NYC immediately after the race.

The progress of the race was recorded using the PredictWind tracker but some boats had technical problems. It can be viewed on the iPhone or smartphone app or on the website at http://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/race/ISORA It is hoped to make the use of this tracker as mandatory for next years races however this will be discussed at the ISORA AGM in the NYC on the 16th November.

The prize giving will take place at the ISORA annual dinner to be held in the NYC on the 16th November. To avoid disappointment, it is vital that places are booked early with the club.

It was a fitting and exciting end to a very success offshore series where, with the possible exception of yesterday's race, all the races were sailed in great racing conditions. It is hoped that this close racing will attract new boats to enter and race "outside of the Bay".

Published in ISORA

#MarineWildlife - A humpback whale new to Irish waters has been confirmed by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

Photos of the humpback's fluke and dorsal fin captured by Nick Massett off Clogher and Sybil Heads in West Kerry at the weekend were examined by the IWDG's catalogue experts who have determined that the whale is a new arrival - and one with a fluke colouring that's rarely seen in Irish waters.

Details have since been sent to Allied Whale in the US state of Maine - which curates the North Atlantic humpback whale catalogue - to see if a match can be made among its database of more than 7,000 fluke images.

Meanwhile, Wildlife Extra reports that sailors in the Irish Sea are urged to keep a lookout for a large group of minke whales.

The group includes three juveniles and a calf previously spotted some 19 miles east of Ireland's Eye near Howth.

"Although sightings of Minke whale are to be expected in these waters, such a large group is a rare occurrence," said Danielle Gibas, sightings officer with the UK's Sea Watch Foundation, which is organising Britain's annual National Whale and Dolphin Watch this week till 3 August.

And in other cetacean news, scientists claim that dolphins call each other by name, calling back to the sound of their signature whistle but ignoring whistles that aren't theirs.

Herald.ie reports on the findings by marine scientists at the University of St Andrews, who studied a bottlenose dolphin group off the east coast of Scotland.

Using underwater speakers, they played synthesised versions of dolphin whistles they'd identified with particular dolphins to determine their reactions.

They were surprised to find that individuals called back after hearing their own 'name' but ignored others, whether they were for dolphins in the same group or strangers.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Kayaking - Derry Mayor Martin Reilly offered his congratulations to native son Jake King on taking the surf kayak world title in Australia earlier this month.

As the Derry Journal reports, 18-year-old King was crowned champion after topping three other reigning top dogs in the men's longboat, masters and junior short boat in the final of the competition at Maroochydore beach in Queensland.

According to his father Paddy, Jake King can now add his name to the list of five previous world champions from the Canoe Association of Northern Ireland (CANI) surf kayak club - which includes his brother Corin.

In other kayaking news, a London paddler has broken the record for circumnavigating the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea.

BBC News reports on the feat achieved by 39-year-old George Shaw, who completed the 115km route around the island in 11 hours 43 minutes - smashing the previous record by almost an hour.

Published in Kayaking

#MarineWildlife - BBC News reports that whale watchers in the Isle of Man have spotted the first humpback whale in the waters around the island since 2010.

Tom Felce of Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch confirmed the "very rare" sighting in the Irish Sea two miles south of Castletown last week.

It's an unusual location to spot one of these ocean giants, who are a regular sight off West Cork - but even cetacean spotters there have been surprised by changes in their activity as of late.

The west coasts of Ireland and Scotland lie in the humpback's usual migratory path from the cold polar waters where it feeds in summer to subtropical climes off North Africa where it breeds in winter.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Marine scientists have joined conservation groups in a chorus of opposition to the British government's apparent backtracking on plans to protect marine wildlife in the seas around the UK - including between Britain and Ireland.

As The Guardian reports, 86 academics have written to UK Environment Minister Richard Beynon, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and Prime Minister David Cameron, urging them to rethink the neutering of proposals for Marine Protection Zones (MPZs) around the United Kingdom.

Earlier this month, as reported on Afloat.ie, environmentalists expressed disappointment over Westminster's slow progress on the issue, coming after news that just 31 of a potential 127 sites would be designated as protected.

It has since emerged that even these 31 sites so not include full protection for wildlife from destructive fishing and dredging activities.

Prof Callum Roberts of the University of York told The Guardian: "We have seen spectacular devastation in the Irish sea in the last 20 years, for example, due to scallop dredging and prawn trawling.

"As fish stocks get ever more squeezed, the use of ever more destructive gear is spreading. This is happening now and protection is long overdue."

He added: "Even if all 31 MPZs were established, it will fall far short of what is needed to recover and safeguard English seas."

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#RNLI - The Irish Sea will soon have one of the most advanced lifeboats in service as Douglas RNLI in the Isle of Man has been earmarked to receive one of the new Shannon class.

The new design is 50% faster than the lifeboat it will replace, ensuring that those in need are reached even faster.

The RNLI plans to replace the Tyne class lifeboat at Douglas in 2016, which is reaching the end of its planned 25-year life span. The new lifeboat will cost £2 million (€2.32 million) and the RNLI is currently working to identify whether the funding for the new lifeboat can be raised from legacy gifts or whether fundraising activity is needed. The RNLI will announce this once the funding strategy has been identified.

The Shannon is the first modern RNLI all-weather lifeboat to operate with water jets, not propellers. Capable of 25 knots, the Shannon is 50% faster than the classes it has been designed to replace, which have a lower maximum speed of 17 knots.

The Shannon class will also improve safety for the charity’s volunteer crews, thanks to its shock absorbing seats and on-board computer system, which allows the crews to operate and monitor the lifeboat from the safety of their seats.

Michael Vlasto, RNLI operations director said of the new vessel: "I have had the privilege of being involved with the RNLI for over 38 years. In that time I have witnessed great advances in the charity’s lifeboats and seen many new vessels arrive on station. However, I have never seen our volunteer crews quite as excited as they are about the Shannon.

"This all-weather lifeboat is half as fast again as the lifeboats it has been designed to replace and using water jet propulsion, the manoeuvrability is exceptional. Most importantly though, the Shannon has been carefully developed with the safety of the volunteer crews at the very heart of the design, allowing them to shave life-saving moments off the time it takes to reach those in trouble at sea."

Some of the RNLI Douglas volunteer crew were given the opportunity to experience the Shannon first-hand with a trip around Douglas Bay last weekend as the prototype lifeboat visited the island as part of sea trials that began in January, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Afterwards, Douglas coxswain Neal Corran was asked for his immediate thoughts on the new lifeboat. "I was impressed with the boat’s speed and manoeuvrability and look forward to Douglas receiving theirs when it becomes available," he said.

The Shannon has been developed by the RNLI’s in-house team of naval architects, marine engineers and operators - including Irish naval architect Peter Eyre – to replace the majority of Mersey and some remaining Tyne class lifeboats as they reach the end of their operational life (subject to the RNLI’s five-year rolling review of lifesaving assets).

Once the Shannon is rolled out across the UK and Ireland, this class of lifeboat will make up a third of the RNLI all-weather lifeboat fleet, at which point the RNLI will have reached its aim of a 25 knot all-weather lifeboat fleet.

The majority of the 50-plus Shannon class lifeboats to be stationed throughout the UK and Ireland will be built at the RNLI’s new all-weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole, which is currently under construction. Bringing all-weather lifeboat production in-house will save the charity £3.7m annually – the equivalent of 2.5 Shannon class lifeboats.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#SeaKayaking - A Portrush teen is preparing to cross the Irish Sea by kayak for charity this summer.

Top surf kayaker Andy McClelland aims to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Society, Kidney Research and the Regional Respiratory Centre with his One Man One Boat campaign, which will see him kayak 22 miles across the open water from Donaghadee in Co Down to Portpatrick in Scotland.

The current Surf Kayak Junior World Champion will embark on his challenge in a high-performance sea kayak on loan from Rockpool Sea Kayaks and is presently planning his trip with fellow physiotherapy students at Ulster University Jordanstown as well as the Causeway Coast Kayaking Club.

McClelland has yet to set a date for the solo crossing, awaiting word on the best possible weather and sea conditions in May.

The Alzheimer's Society has more on the story HERE.

Published in Kayaking

#VOR - The Volvo Ocean Race will come to the Irish Sea for its 13th edition as Cardiff has been announced as a host port for the 2017-18 race.

It will be the first time the UK has hosted the round-the-world yachting challenge since the 2005-06 edition, and the first time ever that Wales has welcomed the race.

"Cardiff made a particularly impressive bid to win one of the coveted European slots and with such outstanding facilities and great enthusiasm I'm convinced that we will have a stopover to remember," said VOR COO Tom Touber at the announcement in Cardiff Bay.

"The fact that we are making this announcement five years in advance is a very strong signal about the future of the race and the commitment to it from the Volvo companies."

Cardiff Council Leader Cllr Heather Joyce said the event "will bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city, and be hugely beneficial to the local economy."

She added: “Being awarded the successful bid for one of the most important sailing events in the world once again demonstrates Cardiff’s ability to deliver major international sporting events on the world stage.

"It proves our reputation as an event city as well as providing an opportunity for many non sailors to try the sport through a co-ordinated programme of sailing activities before, during and following the event.”

The good news for Cardiff comes just says after Lisbon was announced as the latest host port for the 2014-15 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. Ireland will sadly have no host port in the next running of the VOR despite the success of Galway's race finale last summer.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

#IrishSea - A new observation tower on the Lancashire coastline with views over the Irish Sea has opened a year after construction began.

BBC News reports that the Rossall Point Observation Tower, which reaches a height of 14 metres (46ft), will act as a base for the UK's National Coastwatch Institution.

As reported last year on Afloat.ie, a viewing platform at the top will be open to the public providing ample vistas of the Irish Sea's marine wildlife for birdwatchers and more.

The view from the top will also be projected on a screen in the education centre to be located in the tower's ground floor for those whose mobility prevents them from accessing the top level.

Published in Coastal Notes
Page 5 of 17

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