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Tom MacSweeney

Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for Afloat.ie. He also presents the maritime radio programme This Island Nation on community radio stations around Ireland.

Sailing can help us to endure more in the way of overcoming discomfort and physical, as well as mental challenges
There are choices in how to respond to maritime difficulties. With skies darkening, wind and sea rising, the mind focuses on the immediate response to ensure that your yacht can manage what is going to hit it. I've raced in…
99-year-old Russian Tall Ship Sails Through an Ice-free North Channel
The Russian Tall Ship, Sedov, has reported a successful transit the full length of the legendary Northern Sea Route. After departing from Vladivostok, Russia in mid-August, the Sedov completed the east-west passage passing the southern tip of the Novaya Zemlya…
Darragh Connolly brings a hopeful approach at Royal Cork
Despite a year of "cancellations and disappointments" there have been more people sailing this Summer in Cork Harbour, with families racing together, more young sailors taking to cruisers and a growth of interest in dinghy sailing. That is the positive,…
Tom Dolan at the Fastnet Rock. The County Meath sailor went on to finish fifth overall in this year's La Solitare du Figaro race, Ireland's best ever result
A farmer from County Meath representing Ireland in sailing at the Olympics. That is what Tom Dolan would like to do, in France in 2024, when sailing at the Games is based in Marseille. The Olympic classes then are intended…
The Castletownbere fishing fleet in West Cork. The Irish fishing industry is worth €1.2 billion per annum to the economy
The Taoiseach and Minister for the Marine have been described as "dismissive, contemptuous and glib" in their treatment of the fishing industry in moving "dastardly legislation," against fishermen by the country's four fish producer organisations. The Irish South and West…
Padraig MacLochlainn, Sinn Fein spokesman on the Marine
The Dáil heard a Sinn Fein motion this week in an attempt to reject the new penalty points system the Government wants to introduce for the fishing industry. A Statutory Instrument to introduce the system was signed by Taoiseach Micheál…
Killala Coast Guard Unit file photo
"The Killala Coast Guard Unit is operational and available in the event of a call-out, but is 'off-the-board' for boat search-and-rescue." That statement was made by the Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, whose Department is responsible for the Coast Guard,…
As many as 400,000 seafarers are unable to leave ships worldwide because of Covid 19 travel restrictions in various countries
A serious emerging problem which could affect essential food and other supplies is not being dealt with according to the biggest shipping companies in the world. The International Chamber of Shipping has asked the United Nations to intervene after releasing…
George Radley Jnr and crew on Creamy Beam, a vintage Sadler 25, competing in the Cobh to Blackrock Race
The Commodore of the South Coast Offshore Racing Association believes there are yachts "out there waiting for budding enthusiasts to give them a second or third chance" and which could be used to encourage the next generation of young sailors…
John Leech - Sailing has shown how the use of lifejackets and buoyancy aids can be easily and assimilated into enjoying watersports
Five local Councils, in cities and counties around the country, are now considering banning what has been termed as the "killer inflatable toys" from local beaches. This follows the call by the Chief Executive of Water Safety Ireland on Afloat.ie…
Cork City Council Motion Seeks Ban on 'Dangerous' Inflatable Craft
A motion has been put before Cork City Council seeking a ban on 'dangerous' inflatable craft. It has been lodged by Cllr. Ted Tynan on behalf of the Workers Party: "In light of the recent rescue by fisherman Gus O'Donovan…
 John Leech, CEO of Water Safety Ireland
It has been called "the summer of inflatables" by rescue service personnel – the number of emergency calls to adults and children using what have been described as "killer" or "dangerous toy boats." Now, in an interview with Afloat, the…
Storm Ellen caused considerable damage at  Cove Sailing Club's recently-opened marina
Sailing in Cork took a hammering in the past week, from Storm Ellen and COVID 19, the combined effects of which destroyed a lot of work by four of the major clubs on the South Coast. Disheartening for the sport…
Family and friends cheering on swimmers at the 2019 RNLI Helvick swim
The 2020 RNLI Helvick Sponsored Swim in County Waterford which was scheduled for Sunday, September 13, has been cancelled due to the revised Covid-19 restrictions. It would have been the 26th year of the event which was a major fundraiser…
A variety of dinghy types complete what is the longest race on inland waterways in Europe and the oldest such race in Ireland is a great achievement
John Barry, Secretary of Galway Bay Sailing Club, is quite right! Racing down the Corrib from Cong to Galway is "not for the faint-hearted." There are plenty of challenges and obstacles along the route. From my own experience, the Cong…
Laser youth sailing in Cork Harbour
Despite the many cancellations of major events which sailing has suffered this season due to the pandemic, there are positives and one of those is what has been happening in the youth sector. The cancellation of the Youth National Championships…
Sovereign's Cup Regatta Director Anthony O’Neill
Anthony O’Neill has been sailing Dragons for twenty years. In September he would have been racing in the Dragons’ major international event, the Gold Cup, which had been scheduled for Kinsale. The pandemic stopped that. Now he has been appointed…
Cruiser acing in the 2020 Cove Sailing Club season in Cork Harbour
The first major Class championships this season and the first in Cork Harbour will go ahead at Cove Sailing Club next weekend. The Squib Southerns will be based at the new Cove SC clubhouse and marina at Whitepoint. The event…
Motorboat racing on Lough Ree in 1932
July 12, 1903 was also a Sunday, but it was not the sound of Orange bands marching that dominated the River Lee from Cobh to Cork City, but that of powerboat engines competing for what had been envisaged as the…
SCORA Commodore Johanna Murphy on the resumption of yacht racing on the south coast in the podcast below
The South Coast Offshore Racing Association and Kinsale Yacht Club have agreed to run a SCORA-based race from Kinsale to the Fastnet Rock and back to Kinsale which will act as a qualifier for the Round Ireland Yacht Race in…
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