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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.

The Maiden crew with Angela Heath (nee Farrell) right in front row
One of the things I have done in my life is an iceberg watch on the bow of an offshore yacht racing in the Atlantic during the dark hours of night, keeping an eye out for ‘growlers’. These are small…
Kinsale's Gina Griffin, the World Disabled Sailing Championships sailor came second overall in the European 2.4 Para section at Gydnya, Poland Regatta in 2017
Four hundred and fifty participants have registered for the Watersports Inclusion Games according to Dave O’Sullivan, Commodore of Kinsale Yacht Club where a Disability Awareness Training Day this Saturday is a prelude to the hosting of the Games on the…
Waterford City River Rescue Community Lifeboat
There are 15 Community Rescue Boats around Ireland. These are a nationwide group of independent, voluntary rescue boats, which reflect the concern of local communities for water safety in their areas and which were generally established following local drowning tragedies.…
The Betelgeuse oil tanker sinks at Whiddy Island in Bantry Bay forty years ago
The families of the 50 victims of the Betelgeuse oil tanker tragedy at Whiddy Island in Bantry Bay have decided to take legal action against the State. The French-Irish Association of Relatives and Friends of the Betelgeuse are applying to…
 Nine yachts entered last weekend's Monkstown Bay Sailing Club’s Cruiser Class race
The combined clubs Cork Harbour league concluded on Saturday, run by Monkstown Bay Sailing Club’s Cruiser Class and with nine yachts racing writes Tom MacSweeney The race started at No.9 buoy with a beat to No.5, then swinging on a…
Eoin Ryan at the stern of 'Free State C1'
In recent podcasts I’ve reported on the Cork Harbour T Boats, a Class now extinct apart from the restored original boat, which I highlighted last week here; the successful revival of the Rankins; the restoration underway of the gaff-cutter Lady…
Rankin dinghies in Cork Harbour
There is satisfaction in being associated with a good news story about sailing, so the latest step in the Rankin dinghy development, which we have followed for four years on the Afloat website is the announcement that the revived, restored…
The restored Cliona
How many coats of varnish would you put on a wooden dinghy? “Ten if I had the chance,” so Owen O’Connell answered when he told me the story of the Cork Harbour ‘T’ Boats. “And there’s ten years. in time,…
A Boyne Sailing Currach
On what type of boat did the original settlers of Ireland arrive? They probably came over 10,000 years ago and began populating the coastal regions. Could they have come on some type of sailing currach? The Currach Association of Ireland…
Donal Hickey who organises the Sailability programme at Kinsale Yacht Club
While the Sovereigns Cup is the focus at Kinsale Yacht Club this week, there is another aspect of the club which is very impressive - its commitment to inclusiveness in sailing. "People of different abilities can sail a boat. Sailability…
Former Cove Sailing Club Commodores were part of the gathering in Cobh to mark the centenary of the Cork Harbour Club on Friday. From left Adrian Tyle, Richard Marshall, Johanna Murphy, Noel O'Regan, Dave Doyle, Kieran Dorgan and Robert Keating. Missing from photo is John Doyle. Scroll down for photo gallery
Sailing has its ‘ups-and-downs’ and a hundred years brings many changes as the years roll by, both good times and those that are more difficult. Sailing in the Cork Harbour town of Cobh has experienced this, an experience which underlines…
Bird in the hand - Tom Dolan arrives on the dock with a feathered friend in Roscoff last night after another tough leg of the Figaro Race
“You need to be mentally strong for this type of sailing. You have to make tough decisions when you’re tired.” “Being by yourself, sailing solo, depends very much on the person and how you use your own resources,” The first…
A traditional Currach goes on display at Seafest
Currachs are important to preserving the maritime history and culture of an island nation a seminar about these iconic boats was told in Cork Harbour today reports Tom MacSweeney. The seminar on the antiquity and sustainability of currachs was part…
Back From France - the 'French' Rankin being examined
“We’ll keep the tradition going. That’s the idea. We’ll carry on and keep traditional sailing going in Cork Harbour.” So said Rory Allen who, with his son Gearoid, is the proud new owner of a much-travelled dinghy, the French” boat…
Mary Cooney and Leonard Skinner in Cork this week
I met two wonderful sailors this week who, sailing around the world, have come to two conclusions about yachting. One is: “There is a significant amount of horse manure that abounds in the yachting world; it would be a great…
Free diving world champion Umberto Pelizzari raises a flag below water to highlight the plight of life below water
According to the Government, as directed by the Dáil, Ireland is now in a climate emergency…added to which are biodiversity and marine eco problems… That crisis was declared within the parliamentary portals to which 158 TDs are elected to represent…
Ilen in Kinsale this week
The Ilen will be setting course for Dublin this weekend for a high profile launch at Dun Laoghaire on Friday of next week. She arrived at Kinsale this Wednesday night after what was described as a “bouncy bouncy run from…
Irish Sailing President Jack Roy (right) With Rory Fitzpatrick Head Coach of Irish Sailing
I like the direct approach of Irish Sailing President Jack Roy. He makes his points clearly, such as telling me that the sport is under pressure from other sports and needs more young people to become involved and ‘yes’ it…
Passage West rowing in Cork Harbour
Over the years, rowing has had its highs and lows in Cork Harbour, where the history of the sport on Leeside as the River Lee wends its way from the city towards the harbour mouth, can be traced to the…
Sailors Asked To Help Spot Migrating Puffins
I remember when I first saw the Puffin seabirds. It was my first time sailing along the Kerry coastline and it was off Portmagee, on the appropriately named Puffin Island. We had closed the small Island south of Valentia which…
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