#CELTIC MIST - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's (IWDG) new research vessel is finally set for its official launch three weeks from this coming Sunday.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Celtic Mist - the yacht formerly sailed by late Taoiseach Charles Haughey - was gifted by the Haughey family to the IWDG to assist in its marine wildlife conservation work.
The boat relocated to its new home berth in the Shannon Estuary at Kilrush, Co Clare in July last year - after one last hurrah in its former guise by completing a leg of last summer's Tall Ships Races from Waterford to Greenock in Scotland.
Celtic Mist entered dry dock last November for its necessary refit as a maritime research vessel, while the IWDG sought funding to complete the more than €60,000 project.
With a year gone by since the IWDG first took over the yacht, she is finally back on the water and undergoing the last few finishing touches before her first mission - which may involve tracking the elusive blue whale in Irish waters.
Internally, she is a very different vessel to the one that Charles Haughey sailed, with the aft cabin stropped out and replaced by berths for skipper and crew.
According to IWDG co-ordinator Dr Simon Berrow, there is also "a science area where towed and dipping hydrophones and environmental logging software will be run."
The engine room, meanwhile, has been "completely cleaned out and painted including opening and de-greasing of the fuel tanks".
Berrow adds that there is "still considerable work to be done", explaining that the masts and rigging require inspection, aside from all the "painting, sanding, varnishing and more painting to be completed".
The plumbling and electrics also need to be finished, but Berrow says the refitting team is "making rapid progress".
All are welcome to the official launch of the Celtic Mist on Sunday 12 August at 2pm at Kilrush Creek Marina in Co Clare. For more details visit the yacht's official website at www.rvcelticmist.ie.