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Displaying items by tag: Galway Bay

Funding for a study to identify risks from coastal flooding in south Galway has been approved by Minister of State for the Office of Public Works (OPW) Patrick O’Donovan.

A sum of €108,000 has been approved for conducting a study identifying houses and businesses at risk from the coastline of Oranmore to Kinvara, Co Galway.

That stretch of the Atlantic coast is very exposed, and, as Afloat reported, some 20 boats and dinghies parked at Galway Bay Sailing Club were seriously damaged or destroyed during Storm Debi last November.

The OPW initiated a minor flood mitigation works and coastal protection scheme in 2009.

Since then, 256 funding applications by Galway County Council have been supported under the scheme.

Published in Galway Harbour
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Open water swimmers at Galway's Blackrock tower tend to swim east, but scientists would love it if they sometimes swam west – weather permitting.

That’s an area rich in seagrass in Galway Bay, and one of a number of habitats that are of particular interest.

The snake-like grass which moves hypnotically with the waves and grows in meadows in certain coastal areas is an "indicator organism”.

Dr Noirin Burke of Galway AtlantaquariaDr Noirin Burke of Galway Atlantaquaria

That means it is a type of “underwater canary in the coal mine”, which can signify the health of a marine ecosystem.

Seagrass (Zostera noltil)Seagrass (Zostera noltil)

Coastal walkers are being asked to report any signs of seagrass they may find to help complete Ireland’s map of its locations.

Dr Jonathan Lefcheck of University of MarylandDr Jonathan Lefcheck of University of Maryland

Galway Atlantaquaria’s Dr Noirín Burke took Wavelengths for a paddle to explain more, and Dr Jonathan Lefcheck of the University of Maryland, who visited Ireland last year, also gave some background on its significance and why citizen science can help.

Published in Wavelength Podcast

Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) swept the boards at the annual Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil (CSS) regatta at the weekend.

Conditions proved promising for the event off An Spidéil, Co Galway, with light winds for the Oppie fleet picking up to a westerly force of ten to 12 knots in the afternoon for the mixed fleet.

This allowed race officer Stephen O’Gorman to run three races for both Oppies and the mixed fleet.

Roisin Mitchell Ward and Killian Mathieu of GBSC, overall winners of the mixed fleet, with Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil (CSS) commodore Eoin Ó ConghaíleRoisin Mitchell Ward and Killian Mathieu of GBSC, overall winners of the mixed fleet, with Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil (CSS) Commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle

A total of nine Oppies competed, with GBSC’s Edward Fitzmaurice coming first, club mates Jake Molloy second, and Rossa Mitchell Ward taking third.

Liam Riggott was first CSS sailor in the Oppie class, and both he and Seán Ó Conghaíle competed in the mixed fleet in the afternoon.

Rossa Mitchell Ward of GBSC was third in the Oppies at the CSS regatta 2023Rossa Mitchell Ward of GBSC was third in the Oppies at the CSS regatta 2023

Roisín Mitchell Ward and Kilian Mathieu of GBSC were first overall, sailing a 420, in the mixed fleet, and were closely pressed by Charlie Donald and James Harvey of CSS, who came second overall.

Kate Barry and Eilí McMahon of GBSC, also sailing a 420, were third overall in the mixed fleet.

The first Pico home was sailed by Niamh Kearns and Diarmuid Canavan of CSS, followed by Sarah Donald of CSS (first junior in the Pico). Rory McHale and Sean Ó Conghaíle sailed the first Topaz home.

Niamh Kearns and Diarmuid Canavan of CSS, first Laser Pico home in the CSS regatta 2023 with commodore Eoin O ConghaíleNiamh Kearns and Diarmuid Canavan of CSS, first Laser Pico home in the CSS regatta 2023 with commodore Eoin O Conghaíle

Liam Riggott of CSS, first club Oppie home at the CSS regatta 2023, with commodore Eoin Ó ConghaíleLiam Riggott of CSS, first club Oppie home at the CSS regatta 2023, with commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle

James Harvey and Charlie Donald of CSS who were second 420 and second overall in the mixed fleet at CSS regatta, with commodore Eoin Ó ConghaíleJames Harvey and Charlie Donald of CSS who were second 420 and second overall in the mixed fleet at CSS regatta, with commodore Eoin Ó Conghaíle

Edward Fitzmaurice of GBSC was first in the Oppies at the CSS regatta 2023Edward Fitzmaurice of GBSC was first in the Oppies at the CSS regatta 2023

Jake Molloy of GBSC was second in the Oppies at the CSS regatta 2023 Jake Molloy of GBSC was second in the Oppies at the CSS regatta 2023 

Galway City Sailing Club is hosting its junior regatta next Saturday, September 16th.

Published in Galway Harbour

Galway RNLI received a request from the Irish Coast Guard to launch and assist two kayakers who were reportedly in trouble off Hare Island in the inner Galway Bay.

The volunteer crew promptly launched the lifeboat with crew members Dave Badger, Stefanie Carr, James Rattigan, and Brian Niland on board.

They were able to locate the kayakers southwest of Hare Island. The sea conditions were favorable with little wind and good visibility. The crew managed to rescue the kayakers and their kayaks and brought them safely back to shore.

Dave Badger, who was the helm on board the lifeboat, emphasized the importance of having a means to call for help when out on the water, especially if you get into difficulty.

The kayakers managed to call for help using their mobile phone when they could not return to shore. Dave Badger encourages everyone to always carry a means of calling for help as part of their kayaking kit and keep it within reach at all times. In case of emergency, it is important to dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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About 100 swimmers will set off this morning on the annual Galway Bay swim, one of the largest open water events of its type on the West Coast calendar.

As Afloat reported previously, the swimmers will leave Aughinish on the Clare side of Galway Bay from 8 am to make the 13km traverse to Blackrock Tower in Salthill.

First participants are expected at Blackrock from 12 noon, where they will receive a warm welcome in every sense.

The 16th Frances Thornton Memorial swim was due to have been held on July 15th, but weather forced its postponement to August. Once again, a small craft weather warning led to another deferral, and some swimmers made their own arrangements, with safety craft, to ensure they could complete the challenge in aid of Cancer Care West.

A total of 154 had registered – 65 solo swimmers and 90 swimmers in 25 in relay teams. The event is Cancer Care West’s biggest fundraising event of the year, and well over a million euro has been raised for the charity to date.

Named after the late Frances Thornton of Galway, this year’s event is set to raise over 100,000 euro.

Swimmers have to undergo a time trial before being accepted, and are accompanied by RIBs from Clare to Galway crewed by a large group of experienced volunteers, including local inshore fishermen, swimmers and sailors, the RNLI and Doolin Coast Guard, Oranmore-Maree Coastal Rescue and Civil Defence.

For the final 100 metres into Blackrock diving tower, paddle boards and kayaks will guide the swimmers home.

Published in Sea Swim
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The 2023 Galway Bay Swim, which has been postponed twice due to weather, is due to take place this Saturday (Sep 9).

If conditions, permit, the fundraiser for Cancer Care West will set off from Aughinish on the Clare side of Galway Bay for Blackrock Tower in Salthill.

A total of 154 swimmers were registered when the first date was set in July – including 65 solo swimmers and 25 relay teams involving 89 swimmers.

A second date in August also had to be abandoned due to Met Éireann small craft warnings.

However, some committed participants have already completed their 13km crossing of the bay, having made individual safety arrangements.

One such is Wotjek Petasz, who completed his swim last weekend with safety boat support provided by Paddy Crowe of Inis Oírr, Páraic Conneely of Tigh Ned and Cáít Fieldman.

Crowe, an experienced mariner, said they witnessed four minke whales and up to 40 dolphins feeding en route across the bay, which he described as a “fantastic sight”.

Petasz has previously completed it three times before, including in a relay team and the “virtual” event organised by Cancer Care West during Covid-19.

Named after the late Frances Thornton of Galway, the event is Cancer Care West's biggest fundraiser. Well over 1 million euro has been raised for the charity to date, and this year’s event is set to raise over 100,000 euro.

Swimmers have to undergo a time trial before being accepted, and are accompanied by RIBs from Clare to Galway by a large group of experienced volunteers, including local inshore fishermen and sailors, the RNLI and Doolin Coast Guard, Oranmore-Maree Coastal Search Unit, and Civil Defence.

Updates on the rescheduled swim date will be on the Galway Bay swim website

Published in Sea Swim
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Kevin O’Brien’s Blue Shark was the winner of the best-dressed boat award at this year’s annual Blessing of Galway Bay.

Trumpeteer Johnny Carroll performed at the ceremony, attracting many boat-owners, family and friends.

Runner-up in the best-dressed contest was Robert O'Neill's Ray of Sunshine.

Robert O'Neill's 'Ray of Sunshine' which was runner up for the best dressed boat at the Blessing of Galway Bay Photo: Joe O'ShaughnessyRobert O'Neill's 'Ray of Sunshine' which was runner up for the best dressed boat at the Blessing of Galway Bay Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

The event was organised was hosted by the Cladonian Mariners’ Boat Club and local vessel owners, with celebrants including Fr Matthew Farrell O.P. of St Mary’s on the Claddagh and Fr Tom McCarthy OP.

Fr Matthew Farrell O.P blessing Galway Bay, the boats and all who sail in them during the annual ceremony Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy6 - Fr Matthew Farrell O.P blessing Galway Bay, the boats and all who sail in them during the annual ceremony Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

The blessing extends to the boats, the nets on board fishing vessels, and the people crewing them, with holy water sprinkled in the direction of the fleet.

Pictured on board Joe Shoer's boat, Teegan, after the annual Blessing of Galway Bay were, from left: Pat Cantwell, Padraig Joyce, Peter and Mairead Rabbitte, Josephine O'Neill, Fr Matthew Farrell O.P. and Fr Tom McCarthy O.P. Photo: Joe O'ShaughnessyPictured on board Joe Shoer's boat, Teegan, after the annual Blessing of Galway Bay were, from left: Pat Cantwell, Padraig Joyce, Peter and Mairead Rabbitte, Josephine O'Neill, Fr Matthew Farrell O.P. and Fr Tom McCarthy O.P. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

 Evening sets in as boats sail back to the Claddagh after the Blessing of Galway Bay Photo: Joe O'ShaughnessyEvening sets in as boats sail back to the Claddagh after the Blessing of Galway Bay Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Watching the Blessing of Galway Bay ceremony from on board the Lady Margaret Photo: Joe O'ShaughnessyWatching the Blessing of Galway Bay ceremony from on board the Lady Margaret Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Fr Matthew Farrell O.P blessing Galway Bay, the boats and all who sail in them during the annual ceremony Photo: Joe O'ShaughnessyFr Matthew Farrell O.P blessing Galway Bay, the boats and all who sail in them during the annual ceremony Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Trumpeter Johnny Carroll performing beside Fr Tom McCarthy O.P. on board the Teegan after the annual Blessing of Galway Bay Ceremony Photo: Joe O'ShaughnessyTrumpeter Johnny Carroll performing beside Fr Tom McCarthy O.P. on board the Teegan after the annual Blessing of Galway Bay Ceremony Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Trumpeteer Johnny Carroll performing after the annual Blessing of Galway Bay Ceremony. Looking on are Johnny's wife Anne, Ger O'Neill (left) and Joe Shoer, both members of the Mariners Club organising committee Photo: Joe O'ShaughnessyTrumpeteer Johnny Carroll performing after the annual Blessing of Galway Bay Ceremony. Looking on are Johnny's wife Anne, Ger O'Neill (left) and Joe Shoer, both members of the Mariners Club organising committee Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

The Teegan and behind the Naomh Crónán sail back to the Claddagh after the Blessing of Galway Bay Photo: Joe O'ShaughnessyThe Teegan and behind the Naomh Crónán sail back to the Claddagh after the Blessing of Galway Bay Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Published in Galway Harbour
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On Saturday, August 26th, Galway Girl Cruises will set sail from Galway Docks, inviting passengers on a cultural journey of discovery, music, and folklore. The tour is operated by 3rd generation seafaring brothers, Tommy and Patrick Connolly, who will be accompanied by a special lineup of musical guests.

The newest boat tour offering on Galway Bay, Galway Girl Cruises, is more than just a sightseeing experience, say the promoters.

It promises passengers an immersive cultural experience, celebrating Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way. From traditional music sessions to engaging maritime stories, every moment onboard offers a glimpse into the heart and soul of Galway.

Patrick Connolly, skipper and traditional boatbuilder, says that the tours are not just about a boat trip but about sharing cultural heritage, stories, and music of their ancestors. He adds, "Our family has always been tied to the sea, and we are honoured to share this legacy and love of the ocean with others."

The Galway Bay Cruise offers breathtaking views of famous landmarks such as Gleninagh Castle, Black Head Lighthouse, Martello towers, and the distant Aran Islands, with live commentary. Passengers will be entertained with vibrant storytelling of Galway coast's maritime misadventures and captivated by traditional Irish music and dance performances by the crew and a host of special guests.

The Connolly brothers have crafted an unforgettable 90-minute experience that resonates with the heartbeat of Ireland, beyond just a cruise. Passengers are promised a journey that's both scenic and deeply cultural, from the raw beauty of the Burren to the majestic Aran Islands on the horizon.

Tommy Connolly says, "Travelling through the water brings a sense of venturing into the unknown. The ever-changing light, wind conditions, and potential wildlife sightings make every journey a new adventure. Be it birds, dolphins, or even whales, there's always something wondrous to see and feel."

The Devane Brothers, Patrick and Gerard, who are 5th generation 'sean-nós' (old-style) dancers and musicians from Connemara, will join the crew on Saturday, August 26th.

Passengers are invited to come aboard, soak in the rugged beauty of Galway's coast, and get ready for a rhythmic and soul-stirring Irish musical treat. Join the crew for some good craic on the Galway Girl Cruises launch. Secure your spot now here

Published in Galway Harbour
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On this day half a century ago, solo sailor Commander Bill King was still becalmed on board Galway Blazer II in the final stages of his global circumnavigation.

This was his third – and first successful - attempt to sail around the world, and logs which have been released to mark the golden jubilee record that he had been “becalmed all night” on May 19th/20th,1973.

The barometer readings which he recorded in pencil (see log photo above) show a steady “1000” throughout the day.

“As night falls, the wind begins to slowly pick up,” Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) commodore Johnny Shorten, who has analysed the logs, notes.

The wind backs force two to three from east-north-east to nor-nor-east, and total distance covered on May 20th is ten nautical miles.

King had been determined to complete the solo sail after the ordeal of the second world war when he was the only British Navy officer to be commander of a submarine throughout the entire conflict.

As he wrote afterwards, his world was defined “by the chart table, the periscope and the bridge, hardly daring to sleep, a most disagreeable place, smelling of diesel oil, chlorine and unwashed bodies…”

He had made his first circumnavigation attempt in 1968 as the oldest participant in The Sunday Times Golden Globe race, but capsized and was dismasted 500 miles west of Capetown, South Africa.

He made a second unsuccessful attempt in 1969. A further attempt in 1970 in the junk-rigged Galway Blazer II was interrupted by illness and hull damage, which forced him ashore in Australia.

He resumed his journey in December 1971, but a large sea creature, either a whale or shark, damaged his boat about 400 miles southwest of Freemantle. After three days carrying out emergency repairs at sea, which have been praised as a lesson in sea survival, he returned to Freemantle, "barely able to limp into port".

After he completed his circumnavigation in 1973, he was awarded the Cruising Club of America Blue Water Medal two years later.

The Golden Jubilee of Galway Blazer II's epic voyage will be marked in Galway on May 23rd, 2023, and also by the International Junk Rig Association.

Published in Solo Sailing

The 70th anniversary of “Tóstal na Gaillimhe”, a traditional currach regatta, is to be celebrated off Salthill in Galway Bay in early May.

After a break of ten years, the event planned for May 6th and 7th has been billed as a “celebration of Galway’s maritime life and seafaring customs” will be held off Ladies Beach along Salthill promenade.

It is being hosted by the Galway Hooker Sailing Club, in partnership with the Salthill village business community, Blackrock Cottage restaurant, the Gráinne Mhaol Rowing Club, and Galway City Council.

The event was initiated in the early 1950s, and “Tóstal na Gaillimhe” of 1953 hosted by Bord Fáilte, marked the beginning of the All-Ireland Currach Racing Championships. After it lapsed in 1959, it was revived again in 2011, and new trophies were presented in 2012.

Tóstal na Gaillimhe

This year’s two-day gathering involve male, female, and junior traditional currach racing rowers alongside sliding seat rowers.

The currachaí will be provided by Cóiste Lár na gCurrachaí for the duration of the festival.

Ciaran Oliver of the Galway Hooker Sailing Club said, “we are thrilled to bring back the tradition of An Tóstal to Salthill in celebration of its 70th anniversary” and promised an “exciting two-day event”.

The Gráinne Mhaol Rowing Club will be hosting ‘”try rowing” sessions, and the Galway Hooker Sailing Club will be hosting ‘”try sailing” sessions for those curious about getting started.

“ Galway Bay promises a spectacle of red sails as the iconic Galway Hooker fleet - along with other local sailing clubs - take to the water,” the organisers state.

The event is free, and there will be live music, work by local artists, sandcastle-building contests, and food and drink on the promenade during the event.

The Village Salthill business group is “delighted to be involved”, its spokesman Pete Kelly said.

Kelly noted there were “ample attractions to complement the ‘on water’ spectacle, with the Funpark, Leisureland Aquarium, Seapoint, and the Galway City Council Family Funday”.

Published in Currachs
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Tricentenary 'Cork 300' Celebrations at Royal Cork Yacht Club

Cork 300 is the overall name for a series of events which will be held in Cork Harbour and further afield in 2020 to celebrate the tricentenary of Royal Cork Yacht Club.

300 years earlier, 25 individuals came together and created what is now the oldest yacht club in the world (where it all began). Today, there are thousands of yacht clubs across the globe with a collective membership running into the millions.

Cork, its harbour and its communities will proudly celebrate all that is on offer to visitors to Irelands Maritime Paradise with a series of events throughout the year. Register your interest here.

The lead events will be as follows:

July – The Great Gathering (Keelboats)
August – The Three Championship Weeks (Dinghies)
August – The Club At Home Regatta (Keelboats & Dinghies)

Events include…

AIB 1720 Southern Championships 28th-30th August
Sadly, the 1720 Europeans scheduled to take place as part of Volvo Cork Week fell victim to the covid 19 pandemic. The Royal Cork Yacht Club is instead hosting the AIB 1720 Southern Championships 2020 as part of their Tricentenary At Home Regatta weekend. The 1720 class originated from an idea generated by some committed racing members of the Royal Cork Yacht Club with the first prototype taking to the water in 1994. Designed by Tony Castro, they have been delighting many a competitive sailor since.

Tricentenary at Home Regatta, 28th - 30th August:
The AIB Tricentenary at Home Regatta will be the biggest sailing event of the year in the Royal Cork calendar. Racing will be available for all classes both dinghy and keelboat with many visitors expected from up and down the Irish South Coast. The National 18 Southern Championships will also feature as part of the racing over the weekend.

Maritime Parade 29th August
A maritime parade, originally scheduled for July, will now take place during the Tricentenary Regatta on the 29th August, with the support of the Irish Naval Services and Port of Cork. The Admiral of the Royal Cork and other dignitaries will review the parade from one of the Irish Naval Service vessels which will be anchored in the vicinity of Haulbowline.

1720s Race from Haulbowline to Crosshaven, 29th August
Following the Maritime Parade, a race will take place between all of the 1720s boats from the Naval Signal Tower back to the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven. The National 18 Class will also be participating.

RCYC Exhibition at the Sirius, 29th August to 19th December
A RCYC Exhibition will be launched at the Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh on August 29th following the day's events. The Sirius was the Royal Cork Club House from 1854 to 1966, and the Exhibition will take a look at what life was like at the yacht club during its time there.

Fastnet Challenge, 29th August
The Fastnet Powerboat Challenge originally scheduled for the last week of July has now been moved to the last weekend of August (Weather permitting). This will see the UIM Long Distance Cork-Fastnet-Cork World Record attempt competed for.

Cork300 Family Race to the City, 12-13 September
In conjunction with Cove Sailing Club's annual Cobh to Blackrock race, Yachts and craft from across Cork Harbour will take part in a race to Blackrock Castle, following on from which, they will continue to the city Quays where they will remain overnight and provide a spectacle of sail within the City environs.

AIB National 18 Championships, 12-13 September
The AIB National 18 Championships for adult sailors in the UK and Ireland will take place from 12-13 September in Crosshaven this year as part of the Cork300 celebrations.

AIB Cork300 Autumn League, 27 September-25 October
The premier yacht racing event on the South Coast this year, the AIB Cork300 Autumn League, will be held over 5 weekends leading up to the October Bank Holiday weekend. This is expected to be the largest yacht racing event on the South Coast of Ireland this year.

AIB Irish Team Racing National Championships 2020, 21-22 November
Sailing teams from across the country will compete in Cork Harbour for the title of AIB Irish Team Racing National Champion 2020

All races will be governed by the COVID-19 guidelines as laid out by Irish Sailing and organising clubs.

At A Glance – Royal Cork Tricentenary

Founded in 1720, by a group of 25 pioneering individuals, the Royal Cork Yacht Club is the oldest yacht club in the world, and its tricentenary celebrations will take a look back at the origins of ‘where it all began’, which is attracting significant international interest from thousands of yacht clubs across the globe

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