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Displaying items by tag: UCD

The annual moveable feast that is the Irish Universities Annual Dinghy Team Challenge is not something to be undertaken lightly, as it aims to draw in more than 160 college sailors to some attractive venue that has to provide good sport afloat and ashore.

But despite March’s decidedly mixed weather, the very hospitable and experienced (you might even say battle-hardened) West Cork port of Schull was able to do the business for 2024, and the University College Dublin team, with ILCA ace Jamie McMahon in one of the key roles, emerged as this year’s champions and thereby worthy Sailors of the Month (Dinghies) for March.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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Dublin’s Great South Wall has taken on the appearance of the Cork Harbour shoreline thanks to a new biodiversity project.

According to RTÉ News, a series of large concrete blocks imprinted with a mould of the Ringaskiddy coastline have been placed at the foot of the wall — providing a rougher topography that is hoped will be a safe haven for marine micro-organisms to thrive.

Researchers at UCD who developed the scheme chose the nooks and crannies on the water’s edge at Ringaskiddy above more than 60 other shorelines, both naturally rocky and human-made, as the model for their project in collaboration with the Dublin Port Company.

And if the Dublin Bay experiment is successful, then Ringaskiddy’s topography could be replicated on sea walls, piers and other structures around the country.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Dublin Bay

With the Irish sailing community still getting used to the fact that University College Dublin Sailing Club opened its 2023 season with a first-ever overall victory for an Irish team at the high-powered Top Gun Series at Oxford, there were some who thought it was a late April Fool’s leg-pull when the news came through that they’ve topped that with a very convincing win in the recent British Universities Open Team Championship at Grafham Water.

So many top college squads were involved that it takes some time to decipher just how much quality competition and how many teams the Belfield boys and girls had to get through to reach the final. But it did mean that in the semi-finals, they came up against the ultimate maritime university of Southampton and beat them. And then they went into the final against Cambridge Blue, and in Races 193 and 195 in this enormous series, they beat the Fenland Flyers with exemplary scorecards of 1,3,5 against the 2,4,6 of Cambridge in both contests.

Of course, with hindsight, folk will say that this is as it should be, as UCD are a team of all the talents, with almost every member of the squad being an Irish national or regional champion helm or crew in some hyper-competitive class. But it’s a long and arduous process to keep your cool and steadily work your way through a Who’s Who of contemporary university sailing on this scale, and all power to the team of Jack Fahy, Liam Glynn, Tom Higgins, Kathy Kelly, Triona Hinkson and Cian Lynch for bringing it all back home at a time when sailing in Ireland welcomes all the international success it can get.

British Universities Open Team ChampionshipBritish Universities Open Team Championship results 2023

Published in Team Racing
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Jack Fahy of Dun Laoghaire and the University College Dublin Sailing Club Team Racing Squad hit the target spot on at the weekend, when they emerged as winners of the elite eight-team Top Gun Invitational Series, organised on the premier English team competition venue of Farmoor Reservoir by Oxford University.

It’s the first time that UCD have been invited to this exclusive “Championship of Champions”, but they rose to the challenge with style in a superbly-run series. It was of course very much a team effort, but in the time-honoured manner we make Team Captain Jack Fahy the Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Month (Team Racing) for February, while ensuring that the entire squad are up in lights, and they are: Jack Fahy & Emily Riordan, Liam Glynn & Triona Hinkson, and Tom Higgins & Cian Lynch.

 Bringing it all back home. Jack Fahy and the UCD team on Sunday after winning the Top Guns Invitational at Oxford at their debut appearance Bringing it all back home. Jack Fahy and the UCD team on Sunday after winning the Top Guns Invitational at Oxford at their debut appearance Photo: Nigel Vick s

But while they can celebrate for a day or two now, this weekend they’ll be very much the target themselves, as the Irish University Championship is being organised by Trinity College Dublin at Carlingford. That said, the last time the national college sailors were at Carlingford en masse was in October 2021, when UCD won and Jack Fahy was the nominated Sailor of the Month, so there’s form here.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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UCD Sailing Club made team racing history at the weekend when it won the Oxford Invitational Top Gun Trophy, the first Irish team to do so.

The top eight university teams from across the UK and Ireland competed at Farmoor Reservoir for a packed weekend of high-quality team racing across two flights of Fireflies.

The winning UCD team in Oxford were Jack Fahy, Emily Riordan, Liam Glynn, Triona Hinkson, Tom Higgins and Cian Lynch

Saturday saw a start at 10 am allowing for 53 races to be completed across the day in a fresh, but shifty 15 knots. Notable results came from UCD, who managed to finish the day having lost only one of the 13 races they competed in.

Overnight a black tie ball was held for the Top Gun Dinner at Oxford's St Edmund's Hall.

Oxford Top Gun Invitational Trophy 2023 Photo: Nigel VickOxford Top Gun Invitational Trophy 2023 Photo: Nigel Vick

Another prompt start on Sunday allowed the teams to get another 12 races in each before we ended the round-robin to head into a best-of-5 final between UCD and Cambridge.

A shifty 12 knots made racing extremely tight, and after two wins each, the final was a winner-takes-it-all final race. Good umpiring decisions saw almost all the boats in the final race spinning; however, UCD pulled through on the final beat and secured a win for an Irish team for the first time in Top Gun history.

Oxford Invitational Top Gun TrophyOxford Invitational Top Gun Trophy 2023 results

With the IUSA inter-varsities happening this week in Carlingford (organised by Trinity College), UCD looks to be in a strong position.

•The weekend result has earned the UCD team the February Irish Sailors of the Month award

Published in Team Racing
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Mercury levels of fish and shellfish landed by fishing boats at Irish ports are low and well within EU guidelines for human consumption, as underscored by a recent briefing from UCD’s Institute of Food and Health.

However, as Derek Evans says in his Angling Notes for The Irish Times this week, these catches do not include deep-water, often migratory species such as shark, swordfish and tuna — the latter of which is being consumed in Ireland increasing quantities in its canned variety.

It’s advised that young children as well as pregnant or breastfeeding people limit their intake to two 226g cans of tuna a week as a precaution.

But the science experts adds that the general population need not fear any fish products as part of a healthy balanced diet.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
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The approach by the UK Government to Brexit trade policy and negotiations protocol is causing “potentially irreparable damage” to Wales’ (ferry) ports, researchers have said.

Colin Murray of Newcastle University and Jonathan Evershed of University College Dublin warned (see LSE) that the “disregard” for Welsh ports during Brexit negotiations was “part and parcel of Wales’ wider marginalisation within the political economy of the UK”.

The barriers to trade between Great Britain and the EU expanded considerably when the UK government choose not to align with EU product standards, they said. Meanwhile, the arrangements for Northern Ireland continue to involve far fewer barriers to trade.

“While this has been to Belfast Harbour’s benefit, it has proven extremely damaging to Wales’ Ireland-facing (ferry) ports – Holyhead, Fishguard, and Pembroke Dock – in ways that may yet have profound political and even constitutional implications,” they said.

Before Brexit, about 50% of Northern Ireland’s trade with Great Britain was done via Dublin and Holyhead, they said in an article for the London School of Economics.

But since January 2021, goods coming from Holyhead into Dublin “have been subject to the full weight of new barriers to trade between the UK and the EU”.

Nation.Cymru has more on the joint University researchers article. 

Published in Ferry

It was mixed results for Trinity rowing crews in the coin toss for the annual Colours Boat Races yesterday (Sunday 27 February).

Round Ireland sailor and adventurer Mark Pollock was on hand to flip the coin at the steps of TCD’s Dining Hall, with the Dublin University Boat Club losing the toss for the men’s race — they will take the south station for the Gannon Cup and Dan Quinn Shield against UCD Boat Club.

Trinity’s women faired better, with the Dublin University Ladies Boat Club winning their toss — they chose to race on the south station for the Corcoran Cup and the Sally Moorhead Trophy against UCD’s women.

The 2022 Colours Boat Races, which return after a two-year break amid the COVID-19 pandemic, take place on the River Liffey from O’Connell Bridge to St James’ Gate on Friday 18 March.

Published in Rowing
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University College Dublin (UCD) Sailing Club's first team have had a very successful two weeks on UK waters at team racing events.

First, they travelled to Southampton for the Wessex Winter Warmer, an event where only university first teams and strong alumni/club teams may enter.

In Saturday's racing, they won all their races on the water, however a controversial OCS call and missing a race meant that they finished the day on 8/10, costing them a spot in the semi-finals after the round-robin concluded on Sunday morning. The team finished sixth overall out of 20 teams and second university, an impressive finish considering most of the best UK universities attended.

University College Dublin (UCD) Sailing Club team racing

The team then went to the Oxford "Top Gun" regatta a fortnight later, an annual invitational hosted by Oxford University where the best eight university teams in the UK and Ireland are invited to compete.

As the only Irish team invited, UCD wanted to do Ireland proud. The breeze was very strong with gusts averaging at 25 knots which made for challenging team racing, however, UCD were well up to the challenge ending the first day of racing in second place with a race in hand.

University College Dublin (UCD) Sailing Club team racing

It's worth mentioning that racing was abandoned earlier than scheduled on Saturday due to an incident that happened in the UCD vs Cambridge race, one Cambridge boat T-boned another during a particularly strong gust whilst attempting a manoeuvre at mark 4, putting a large hole through a teammates boat.

The team attended the annual Oxford sailing dinner that night, a far more extravagant Saturday night than they are used to during sailing events, according to reports.

Sailing on Sunday was even windier than the first and UCD ended up slipping out of the top two spots and did not qualify for the final.

The team is looking forward to putting the experience of these two regattas into practice at the Irish varsities in two weeks time.

Published in Team Racing
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#Rowing: UCD won only their second senior men's eights Championship of Ireland since 1973 at the National Rowing Centre today. They last won in 2011. They had a clearwater lead by half way and never let it go.

The senior women's eight saw NUIG/Castleconnell also win well. The stern pair of Sadhbh O'Connor and Fiona Murtagh were taking their fourth titles of the weekend.

The final session of the Irish Championships started with a UCD win in the men's novice eight and continued with Ruth Morris of Commercial moving well clear to win the women's intermediate sngle sculls.

Colaiste Iognaid won a battle with Commercial in the men's junior pair, while Lee's junior women matched their junior men by winning the quadruple.

The final race of the whole event, the men's intermediate double, was won by Skibbereen.

Published in Rowing
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The Star keelboat is a 6.9 metres (23 ft) one-design racing keelboat for two people designed by Francis Sweisguth in 1910.

The Star was an Olympic keelboat class from 1932 through to 2012, the last year keelboats appeared at the Summer Olympics at which Ireland's representatives were Peter O'Leary and David Burrows.

Ireland has performed well in the class internationally thanks to some Olympic campaigns including a bronze medal at the Star World Championships in 2000, won by Mark Mansfield and David O'Brien.

The boat is sloop-rigged, with a mainsail larger in proportional size than any other boat of its length. Unlike most modern racing boats, it does not use a spinnaker when sailing downwind. Instead, when running downwind a whisker pole is used to hold the jib out to windward for correct wind flow.

Early Stars were built from wood, but modern boats are of fibreglass and carbon construction.

The boat must weigh at least 671 kg (1,479 lb) with a maximum total sail area of 26.5 m2 (285 sq ft).

The Star class pioneered an unusual circular boom vang track, which allows the vang to effectively hold the boom down even when the boom is turned far outboard on a downwind run.

Another notable aspect of Star sailing is the extreme hiking position adopted by the crew and at times the helmsman, who normally use a harness to help hang low off the windward side of the boat with only their lower legs inside.

At A Glance – Star Specifications

Designer Francis Sweisguth
Year 1910
Crew 2 (Skipper + Crew)
S + 1.5 C ≤ 250 kg (550 lb)[1]
Draft 1.016 m (3 ft 4 in)
Hull Type keelboat
Hull weight ≥ 671 kg (1,479 lb)
(including keel)
LOA 6.922 m (22 ft 9 in)
LWL 4.724 m (15 ft 6 in)
Beam 1.734 m (5 ft 8 in) at deck
1.372 m (4 ft 6 in) at chine
Hull appendages
Keel/board type bulb keel
401.5 ± 7 kg (885 ± 15 lb)
Rig
Rig type sloop
Mast length 9.652 m (31 ft 8 in)
Sails
Mainsail area 20.5 m2 (221 sq ft)
Jib/genoa area  6.0 m2 (65 sq ft)
Upwind sail area ≤ 26.5 m2 (285 sq ft)

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