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#MARINA NEWS - Outline planning permission has been granted for a new 450-berth marina in Fishguard, according to BBC News.

An 80-acre site comprising much of the south side of the harbour, near the Stena Quay used for ferry services across the Irish Sea to Rosslare, will be home to the new development that will also include 250 apartments and a number of shops and restaurants, and is expected to make a "significant" contribution to the local economy.

A light industrial area with a boatyard and workshop are part of the plans, as well as two breakwaters to protect the development from waves in Fishguard Bay.

The marina scheme will also feature a visitors centre, after discussions with local community conservation group Sea Trust and other parties.

Local politicians and business leaders are supportive of the scheme's potential to generate jobs and tourism. But residents have expressed concern at the scale of the development, fearing it will create an "enclave" for the boating community that will not be integrated with the town proper.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Irish Marinas
Tagged under

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Sailors, fishermen and SCUBA divers in England's West Country could face "tough new restrictions" if plans for conservation zones in the Irish Sea and around the UK coast go ahead.

According to This Is Cornwall, groups representing water users argue that marine protection plans "would have severe knock-on effects on those who rely on the south west's coastline for employment and leisure".

Alana Murphy of the Royal Yachting Association said: "A lot of the small inshore areas proposed as conservation zones coincide with estuaries and bays that are used by sailors for mooring, or for laying buoys for racing. We are concerned we could lose important sailing areas."

Companies involved in offshore renewable energy have voiced their concerns on the impact of marine reserved on their development, while the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations added that the scale of proposed fishing reserves was too great, and could potentially push commercial fishermen "to other areas which will then get overfished".

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the UK's Wildlife Trusts have expressed dismay that plans to establish Marine Conservation Zones in the Irish Sea and elsewhere have been shelved till at least next year after pressure from fishermen, boaters and other groups.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#LASER - A pair of British sailors are set to embark on an intrepid crossing of the Irish Sea using just two single-handed Laser dingies.

David Summerville and Steve Cockerill had originally planned to make the crossing in September last year, but those plans were scuppered by 50-knot gale force winds and a 12-foot tidal swell, according to Incentive Travel.

But the duo is now planning to try again, with the backing of the Ramada Plaza Southport.

“David and Steve will be covering 115 nautical miles during the challenge," said Ramada Plaza general manager Enda Rylands. "They will set off from my own home town of Dublin and finish in Southport, aiming to raise £50,000 for mental health charity Mind and the John Merricks Sailing Trust."

Summerville, a 53-year-old grandfather of two who runs a boat repair business, said the date of the challenge would again depend on weather and tidal conditions, and that the pair is ready to depart any time from mid-April to mid-September.

It's not the first time that an Irish Sea crossing has been done in a Laser as Tiffany Brien achieved the feat in 2010, sailing single-handedly the 30 miles from Portpatrick in Scotland to Belfast Lough.

But Summerville and Cockerill's ambitious undertaking, at more than three times that distance, would surely get them a place in the record books - provided the weather goes their way!

Published in Laser

#MARINE WARNING - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises on preliminary work on the East-West interconnector power cable in the Irish Sea between Ireland and Wales over the next few weeks.

Briggs Marine commenced pre-lay grapnel runs along the line of the cable route on Sunday 1 April, and this work will be carried out over three weeks from the vessel Kingdom of Fife (call sign 2BKR2).

This work will continue on a 24-hour basis, and the vessel will display appropriate day shapes and lights as required, with a continuous watch on VHF Channel 16 and DSC.

Complete details including co-ordinates of the work area are included in Marine Notice No 14 of 2012, a PDF of which is available to read and download HERE.

Published in Marine Warning

#FISHING - Conservationists and the fishing industry have joined forces in a new venture to evaulate the state of the Isle of Man's scallop fishery, as the Guardian reports.

Both sides will co-manage the 35-square-mile Ramsey marine nature reserve in the Irish Sea, collecting data to show what progress the scallops have made since fishing in the area was banned in 2009.

It is hoped that the study will lead to a renewing of leases for scallop fishing, which is worth up to £12 million annually to the Isle of Man's economy - though industry leaders have doubts that the new arrangement will serve the island's fishermen.

Some 2.6% of Manx waters are protected, with more than 1% 'highly protected', which is in stark contrast to the rest of the United Kingdom after plans for a national network of conservation zones were shelved till at least next year.

The Guardian has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Two killer whales have been spotted near Kinsale in recent weeks, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) reports.

Two separate sightings of the orca pair near Barry's Head have been confirmed by the group, via photos provided by John Murphy and Richard Cussen on 5 March, during what is normally the 'low season' for whale watching in Ireland.

The pair comprises one adult male and a smaller whale which is likely an adult female. It is not yet known, however, whether the whales are new to Irish or Scottish waters.

According to the IWDG's Pádraig Whooley, it is "interesting that they have stayed close to their original position and suggests they may have found 'rich pickings'".

In other news, the Whale and Dolphin Roadshow will be at the Galway Shopping Centre from 22-25 March in time for the European Cetacean Society Conference.

The roadshow "is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about whales, dolphins and porpoise of the ASCOBANS region" that encompasses the Baltic Sea, Northeast Atlantic and Irish and North Seas.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#SEA KAYAKING - Brit duo Andy Pearson and Paul A'bear will embark on a 500-mile sea kayaking voyage along Scotland's west coast this summer in aid of charity.

Canoe & Kayak UK reports that the pair will set out from the Solway Firth near the Scottish border at the end of June on the expedition that will take them through the Irish Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.

The adventure will see them paddle through "wild, stormy seas" and "some of the strongest tidal currents in the world".

Pearson and A'bear, who have been friends since primary school, hope to raise at least £1,000 for Cancer Research UK.

For more details on their adventure visit www.westcoastchallenge2012.co.uk.

Published in Kayaking

#RESCUE - BBC News reports that the search for a cargo ship crewman missing in the Irish Sea has been scaled down.

The 22-year-old from Slovakia was reported missing yesterday morning from the Fehn Sirius, which was en route from Belfast to Portugal, as it headed past Arklow, Co Wicklow.

According to The Irish Times, he was last seen on the cargo ship around 10pm on Monday night as it headed south of the entrance to Strangford Lough.

Lifeboats from Portaferry and Newcastle in Northern Ireland and Arklow joined the search and rescue operation, which was assisted by the RAF helicopter based at Prestwick in Scotland and an Irish Coast Guard helicopter.

However, most rescue services have now been stood down as the Fehn Sirius continues to backtrack in the Irish Sea, with assistance from the Naval Service vessel LE Ciara.

Only three days ago the body of another mariner was recovered from the Irish Sea off the north Dublin coast, more than a month after he went missing.

Published in Rescue

#SURFING - Northern Irish surf pro Al Mennie will be taking on a different challenge later this month, when he sets out to paddle a surfboard from the Giant's Causeway to Scotland in the name of charity.

"It will be the northernmost crossing of its type in the world," says Mennie of the 25-mile route from Antrim to the Scottish island of Islay.

"I will have to deal with freezing cold temperatures, large open ocean swell, potentially high winds and the deadly currents around a well known navigational hazard of a North Atlantic island."

Mennie will be on his own except for a support boat carrying food and water. He will be wearing a 6mm wetsuit and crossing the most dangerous stretch of water around the Irish coastline, "known for its extremely deadly currents as the Irish Sea tides drain between Rathlin Island and Northern Ireland".

The NI surfer is embarking on the challenge in aid of Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke, which is a charity close to his own heart.

"My dad died suddenly of a heart attack aged 50 and I know lots of people who have also lost loved ones to heart problems too," he says, "so I really want to help make a difference by raising money for this charity."

For more details or to make a donation, visit the charity page at Al Mennie's website HERE.

Published in Surfing

#COASTAL NOTES - BBC News reports that construction has begun on a new observation tower on the Lancashire coastline with views over the Irish Sea.

The new tower at Rossall Point, which will reach 14 metres (46ft) upon completion, will act as a base for the UK's National Coastwatch Institution.

A platform at the top will be open to the public providing ample vistas of the Irish Sea's marine wildlife for birdwatchers and more, while 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.

Published in Coastal Notes
Page 10 of 18

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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