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Until his Dehler 34 Penelope was dismasted competing in The Junior Offshore Group (JOG) racing in the Round the Isle of Wight race earlier this year, Peter McConnell, an outport member of Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough living in Hampshire, was enjoying a successful run in JOG racing, on the South coast of England.

JOG was formed on 7th December 1950, at a meeting at the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) in London. Its purpose was to create a race series for smaller yachts to race offshore than were permitted under RORC regulations at the time. JOG have a top IRC rating band of 1.200 TCC.

JOG runs out of centres between the Isle of Wight and Weymouth in the South of England with cross-channel port destinations.

Peter has successfully competed in JOG and always competes with an Irish crew, some flown in and others now residing in England. Last year in Penelope, he was 4th in Class 3 and won the doublehanded division in the Cowes to Poole race, until she lost her mast, or he would have continued JOG racing this season.

Peter McConnell is racing on the JPK 1080, Ikigai Photo: JOGPeter McConnell is racing on the JPK 1080, Ikigai Photo: JOG

Peter managed a JOG win in the last race of the series, racing on board the JPK 1080, Ikigai from Cowes to Poole. Ikigai was kindly lent to him by his friend Miles Woodward, and both, with the Irish crew of Gavin and Ian Doig and David Montgomery from East Antrim BC in Larne and Phil Clandillon, formerly Royal St George YC in Dun Laoghaire, finished the season with a first overall in Class 1.

Peter did much of his early sailing with the late Hugh Ennis on the well-known Hydro Moonlighter and sailed with Doig in the J92s Jack from East Antrim BC in this year’s Dun Laoghaire Regatta, in the Howth Wave Regatta and many Scottish Series.

JOB results here

SUFTUM which means Stand Up for the Ulster Men is the rallying cry for the Ulster Rugby team and is of course part of the Ravenhill Roar heard most enthusiastically reverberating around the Kingspan Stadium at Ravenhill when Ulster play at home. But on Monday (24th) Standing Up meant most of the Squad out in Bangor Harbour on (and in) the wintery cold water on Paddleboards, under the watchful eye of Iain McCarthy of Suphub NI. Somewhat different from playing in the 34 -31 victory over Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Champions Cup on the Saturday before.

Iain McCarthy who runs SuphubNI says one of the objectives was to deliver team building. And last week he had an enquiry from Ulster Rugby about accommodating the whole 45 strong squad and numerous staff. Now when Ian set up the school, he had six boards and as he says “ I always knew this would be a great way to bring teams and groups of people together. Water is a great leveller and as a school that has gone out of its way to source everything from boards, paddles, wetsuits, buoyancy aids etc for every size, shape and style of person possible to make the sport as accessible as possible, I can tell you even I was questioning if we had enough kit to accommodate this group of lads and lasses. Whilst this was a great test of that ambition, we passed”.

Ulster Rugby paddleboarders (l to r) Marty Moore, Alan O'Connor, Jack McGrath and Billy BurnsUlster Rugby paddleboarders (l to r) Marty Moore, Alan O'Connor, Jack McGrath and Billy Burns

As it turned out Iain managed to get 30 afloat and others including the injured watched from the pier. One of the squad called the break from usual training ‘Enforced fun’! It was the first time the Mega SUP which is a large board designed to take 8 people, looked small. And when a 6ft 7in player approached and said he tried paddleboarding before and couldn’t nail standing, he was instantly and confidently pointed to a board that gave him the support and stability he needs, and off he goes and flies”.

Once they’d all been around the coast to Brompton, two miles west of Bangor, and back, they had a ‘muck around’ and a swim, and hot chocolate and scone from a nearby deli rounded the session off nicely.

Iain says “All sport means a lot to us. Many of the team have played various sports to a high level and our ambitions are to raise the standard and accessibility of Paddleboarding in Northern Ireland.

Good luck to Ulster at home to Welsh side Scarlets on Friday 28th at the Kingspan Stadium.

The Essex based subsea engineering company, Global Marine, is planning to install the Scot-NI 3 and Scot-NI 4 Telecommunications cables in Scottish and Northern Irish waters on behalf of British Telecommunications plc, between November 1st and December 20th this year.

There will be various vessels associated with the project in the area shown on the chart (above).

The ports involved are Portpatrick on the Scottish Mull of Galloway, and Girvan on the South Ayrshire coast in Scotland, Donaghadee in North Down and Larne on the East Antrim coast in Northern Ireland.

The vessels will be limited in manoeuvrability; therefore, vessels working in the area should maintain a distance of at least 1NM from the cable ship during operations.

Full details can be found here 

Seven sailing clubs in Northern Ireland have been awarded funding totalling £174,343 through the Department of Communities Sports Sustainability Fund.

They are Ballyholme who got the largest sum at £49,138, Carlingford Lough - £3,957, Carrickfergus SC - £29,716, Down Cruising Club -£35,230, Portaferry SC - £105, Quoile YC, £25,258 and Strangford Lough YC - £30,939.

The purpose of the Sports Sustainability Fund is to help address the economic consequences of the COVID 19 health pandemic affecting the sports sector. It provides the financial interventions needed to stabilise and sustain sports core governing bodies of sport, enabling them to withstand the worst impacts of Covid19. It will specifically minimise the financial stress on the sports sector due to lost income due to COVID-19 lockdown and ongoing restrictions to sustain the sector.

Quoile Yacht Club on Strangford Lough were awarded £25,258Quoile Yacht Club on Strangford Lough was awarded £25,258

Applications had to made through the governing body recognised by Sport NI, in this case, the Royal Yachting Association of Northern Ireland.

Thirty-one bodies made the application, ranging from American Football, Cricket, GAA, Golf through Ice Skating and Hockey.

There is a hidden wealth of literary talent in the North which deserves greater exposure and the book Shaped by the Sea produced by a team of volunteers in the East Antrim area is an excellent example writes Betty Armstrong

With Peace IV funding, a €270m unique initiative of the European Union designed to support peace and reconciliation, local woman Angeline King energised a group of people living in or connected to Larne and its environs, to produce what is a fascinating anthology described as ‘A sample of Larne’s Literary Heritage. That they did it in just eight weeks is a feat in itself.

Angeline had worked in international business for 20 years and decided to become a freelance writer who it is said: “will turn her hand to anything involving words”. She has managed to encourage this diverse group of participants, some of whom had never written before. to produce this 64-page anthology which throws a light of the rich heritage of a part of the country which many would associate with the ferry port of Larne and start of the world-famous Antrim Coast Road. There are stories about the town of Larne as well as Island Magee, Ballygally and Ballylumford.

Among those involved was author, nautical scribe and sailing enthusiast from East Antrim Boat Club, Tom Jobling, well known as a past Irish President of the GP14 International Association. His contribution is the fictional ‘A Leap of Faith’.

The nautically-themed stories, poems, folk tales, memoirs, and songs are interspersed with paintings by local artists Chris Gilbert and Janet Crymble and they give a fascinating insight into the life of people from Larne, Ballygally, and Island Magee area of East Antrim.

‘The Passing of the Old Order’ by Fear Flatha O Gnimh is a fitting introduction to the literature of Larne. The poet’s family (Agnew) were the chief poets for the Gaelic chieftains, the O’Neills and the MacDonalds. The other content depicts subjects ranging from mythical and real people and happenings.

The programme was part of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s St.Art project funded through Peace IV.

Published in Book Review

As Northern Ireland sailors and boaters near the announcement by the Northern Ireland Executive that will outline a blueprint for the easing of lockdown restrictions and Boris Johnson’s anticipated announcement this Sunday, the RYA is working on a range of guidance and resources to help members and the wider boating community prepare for a return to the water. These resources will ensure that boaters can return to activities on the water as quickly and safely as possible.

Since the lockdown commenced, the RYA has lobbied on behalf of its members to put forward a strong case for boating to be one of the first activities that can be resumed safely within any necessary parameters for social distancing, once we start to see a relaxation of the current restrictions. RYANI has been engaged with local stakeholders and the NI Executive as frameworks are developed.

While the detail of Government plans for easing restrictions are not yet known, the RYA has outlined the following ‘guiding principles’ that will shape its detailed response:

1. We will always follow Government guidance

The COVID-19 preventative measures are vital to protecting health and wellbeing and to minimising pressure on the frontline services. We all have a role to play by following the Government guidelines.

The RYA will provide interpretation and advice to show how the latest measures on social distancing, hygiene and travel can be applied to boating showing examples of the level of activity that each phase will allow.

As both a national and international Association, we are mindful that Home Country Governments may issue their own phased plans and measures. Additionally, as we have seen to date, local authorities, harbour authorities or marinas may also interpret guidance differently. We will carefully review any industry specific guidance that impacts on boating activities, such as advice for the sport and hospitality sectors, as well as paying particular attention to any guidance for specific sections of our community.

Where the application of Government guidance is unclear, we will seek clarification so that boaters and activity organisers are kept informed.

2. We will, as a boating community, take a considerate and conservative approach

  • Considerate: be mindful of the potential impact that you could have on other water users and do not place unnecessary extra strain on the RNLI and emergency services.

Consider the local area and whether there is a risk that you could put extra pressure on the RNLI or frontline services. For example, are you in a very remote location? Is the area very busy? Look out for others such as families on beaches or people on other boats and think about how your activity could help or hinder them. For example, windsurfers or kiteboarders who launch from the beach should give extra space to beach users. Boaters should keep an eye out for others, and be ready to assist if trouble arises.

  • Conservative: help to minimise risk by taking an extra conservative approach to your boating.

Our guidance on safety remains unchanged: know your limits; look after yourself; keep in touch and, above all, have a plan. As we start to get back on the water, we advise boaters to take an even more conservative approach when planning to go afloat.

Sarah Treseder, RYA Chief Executive, explains: “We share our members’ enthusiasm for a return to boating once we start to see a relaxation of the current restrictions. Getting afloat undoubtedly benefits both mental and physical wellbeing and we believe that with appropriate measures, a basic level of safe and responsible activity can be delivered to get our members active on the water.

“The decision to go afloat both for individuals and activity organisers should be based on a combination of self-responsibility and risk assessment. Our work with clubs, training centres and members will focus on the mitigation of COVID-19 risks to allow individuals and activity organisers to make informed decisions relating to their own interests and activities.

“We remain committed to representing the interests of the recreational boating community and we eagerly await the Government’s announcement on Sunday. Our members, affiliated clubs, classes, and recognised training centres will receive a further update as soon as we have reviewed the Government’s plans and their impact on boating activities,” Sarah concludes.

RYA Northern Ireland’s Chief Operating Officer, Richard Honeyford adds: “We have been working closely with colleagues across the RYA to prepare core aspects that will help organisations and individuals in preparation for announcements anticipated both locally and nationally.

“We await the publication by the NI Executive on their blueprint for specific detail that will allow further guidance to be subsequently issued. Advice will be based upon the guiding principles and appreciate the patience of the local boating community as we assess any proposals and look to ensure public health and front line services remain protected.”