Displaying items by tag: Rambler
Last time the Irish maritime community were paying full attention to the super-maxi Rambler 100, she was white all over, she'd no keel, and she was upside down after her capsize near the Fastnet Rock during the race of 2011 writes WM Nixon.
Now she's sailing again in full racing trim. But Rambler, we hardly know you. You're right way up. Your canting keel is presumably very securely in place. And you're black, black, BLACK.
The new campaigner who has undertaken the massive refurbishment – if that's the right word – is Australian owner-skipper Anthony Bell. The restoration was done in New Zealand, where the big Juan K-designed machine was built by Cookson's in the first place, but everything about the boat's current career will be Australian-centred.
Her official launch earlier this month was performed by the Oz Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and the boat is now Perpetual LOYAL in a sponsorship linkup between two leading Australian brands. And of course the Sydney-Hobart Race on December 26th will be the debut par excellence, for despite being around for quite a few years now, even while being constantly up-dated the big lady has never done the dash to Tasmania.
So naturally the battle for line honours between current record-holder, the 100ft Wild Oat XI (owned by 35th America's Cup Challenger of Record Bob Oatley) and Perpetual Loyal is going to grab the headlines. But Wild Oats' current up-grade programme suffered a recent serious setback with the "catastrophic failure" of a new large lighter mast.
However, for Perpetual LOYAL aka Rambler Re-born, it's all systems go. Although Anthony Bell is himself has a CV of three Hobart races, he has signed on 29-races veteran Michael Coxon as sailing master, legendary American techno-ace Stan Honey is navigator, and the afterguard includes Olympic Gold Medallist and America's Cup superstar Tom Slingsby.
With entries looking to surge comfortably over the hundred mark, it has all the makings of a vintage Sydeny-Hobart, as there'll be a particularly good turnout among the biggies. Further down the fleet, Irish interest will also focus on the boats of the Round-the-World Clipper Fleet, taking part in the Hobart race for the first time. This a good move as it makes the Knox-Johnston project much more part of mainstream sailing, and the man himself will be navigating a former clipper boat in the race too.
But each Hobart race proves to be very much a case of horses for course, and over the years former CYCA Commodore Matt Allen (a veteran of 23 races) has concluded that a potent 60 footer offers the best all-round chance for the Tattersall's Cup, the prized troiphy for the overall handicap win. His new Carkeek 60 Ichi Ban is barely out of the wrappers after arriving from the Matt Allen-owned building facility in Dubai. With the looks of an up-dated and enlarged TP52, and current Australian champion offshore skipper Gordon Maguire on the helm, Ichi Ban might well be worth a flutter over Christmas.
The Rambler Crew thank Valentia Radio for saving their lives in the Fastnet Race, but Coast Guard management wants to shut the station .... My story of two vessels ... John Twomey's Parlaympian achievements ... Cork gets a new Pilot Boat and ... trying to make ship-boarding pilot ladders safer ... There's a lot about boats in this week's TIN ..... Read on ....
SAVING LIVES MATTERS MOST – NOT FINANCIAL CUTBACKS
August 15 this year marked a very special day for the crew of the yacht Rambler 100 – they were still alive and they celebrated that fact – and they sent from New York an Email to the staff of Valentia Radio Coastal Station in Kerry. Coast Guard management in Dublin has a proposal to shut down the station and transfer its work to Dublin, to the constituency of the Minister for Transport, as a support station to the main Dublin base!
On August 15 the Rambler 100 crew Emailed to the staff at Valentia Island Maritime Radio Station:
"Today marks the one-year anniversary of our unfortunate accident during the Fastnet Race. Each Rambler crew member has his own story of what happened during this time of distress, however, the one thing that we share is the gratitude we feel for the Valentia Island Coast Guard. The professionalism of the Valentia crew and the diligence in alerting all authorities for our successful rescue is the reason we are here to share in the celebration of survival today. Tonight at 5.42 p.m. New York time the Rambler team will gather together and raise our glass to the sea and send out our thanks to our new friends in Ireland. Gratefully yours, Wendy, George and the Rambler 100 Crew."
Not much more needs to be said about the importance of Valentia Island Coastal Radio Station and its continued operation. It has a long history of saving life at sea in addition to its other operations.
I have asked for an interview with the Director of the Coast Guard Chris Reynolds, to find out exactly what is going on with the management proposals and why they want to centralise operations in Dublin. One proposal is that a support base to the national centre in Dublin should be located Blanchardstown, which just happens to be in the constituency of Minister for Transport Leo Varadakar who will have the final decision to make on the future of the coastal radio stations at Valentia and Malin and who has already indicated that "tough" decisions will be taken.
Again, the question has to be raised, as it was when then Minister Dempsey sought to close Waterford SAR rescue station – How much is a life worth?
TWO BOATS – TWO STORIES
Asgard I pictured above, Celtic Mist in main image
Two boats, part of the Irish maritime scene in years past, are back in public – Asgard 1 and Celtic Mist – one ashore, the other afloat.
I was in the National Museum at Collins Barracks in Dublin when the historic ketch of Erskine and Mollie Childers went on exhibition after a five-year restoration project. It will be a permanent reminder of how the marine sphere was central to the formation of this Republic. Asgard looks superb. There was a lot of controversy over whether she should be restored or put to sea again, but the right decision has been made to conserve her ashore. The exhibition is open free-of-charge and worth seeing.
The second vessel, Celtic Mist, is the motor-sailing ketch of Charlie Haughey which his family donated to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group. I was asked to re-dedicate it to its new role as a research vessel and did so on Sunday at Kilrush Marina, where hundreds watched the ceremony. I talked to Conor Haughey who told me: "They have rejuvenated her. She was getting old and tired and it would have been a shame if she rotted away rather than going to sea again. The boat was very important to my father. It has great family memories."
Onboard, Charles Haughey's cabin has been dismantled, including the bath and double berth and several bunks built instead for researchers who will track whales and dolphins and carry out other maritime research. Much of the eight-month refurbishment work was done by IWDG volunteers, with some contractors and financial assistance from the Clare Leader organisation and other supporters.
Despite all the controversy surrounding Haughey, as IWDG Director Simon Berrow said, getting the boat was a major benefit and came in the 21st year of its existence. In government Haughey had declared Ireland's waters a whale and dolphin sanctuary and Dr.Berrow said this should be followed by a
similar "pan-European designation" of EU waters. The Celtic Mist will provide a platform for finding out more about whales and other marine life off Ireland, he said.
JOHN TWOMEY AND THE IRISH PARALYMPIAN SAILORS
Irish Sonar Team
Kinsale Yacht Club member John Twomey is leading his crew into his tenth consecutive Paralympics, a magnificent achievement for the 57-year-old sailor. He will Skipper the Sonar, Ireland's only sailing entry, with crew Anthony Hegarty and Ian Costelloe. Sailing will be in the testing waters of Weymouth Bay on the south coast of England where the Olympic events were also held.
For the past three and a half decades he has been one of Ireland's most consistent and successful performers at the Paralympic Games. John is already the holder of Paralympic medals, won prior to his sailing career in the discus event - bronze in 1984 and gold at Seoul 1988. He also competed in table tennis before his transition to sailing, winning silver in the team event at Arnhem in 1980. Before moving to the three-man Sonar keelboat he sailed with Amy Kelleher in the mixed SKUD18 event at Beijing 2008, finishing tenth with a score of 75 points.
In preparing for this year's Paralympic John, Anthony and Ian were 7th in the World Disabled Sailing Championships in Florida and have been practising intensively off Kinsale over the past few weeks.
I met him at Kinsale YC and he was hopeful about their prospects:
"Tough waters in Weymouth, but with the experience of the past few months, particularly in the world championships we are well prepared."
John is from Ballinhassig, has represented Ireland more times than any other Olympic or Paralympic athlete. He is involved in sailing courses in Kinsale for people with disabilities where up to 30 sailors with a wide range of physical, intellectual and sensory disabilities go sailing every Saturday.
In Paralympic Sailing, three medal events feature one, two and three sailors per boat, respectively. All events consist of nine separate races with one point for first, two for second and so on, the same as in Olympic sailing. The winner has the lowest points total at the end of the nine races.
John's crew mates are 42-year-old Anthony from Mallow and 24-year-old Ian from Killorglin in County Kerry. Both are both amputees. John introduced Anthony to sailing seven years ago. He works as a software developer for Core International and has represented Ireland on several occasions. He is also a member of Kinsale Yacht Club.
Ian also sails out of Kinsale YC and will be making his first appearance at the Paralympic Games.
Paralympics Ireland CEO and Chef de Mission for the Irish Team, Liam Harbison, said there has been tremendous preparation, co-ordination and management of the Irish Team. "It's time for us to make a return on the faith and investment placed in us – we aim to deliver."
From left: John Twomey, Ian Costelloe and Anthony Hegarty.
NEW PILOT BOAT IN CORK
Cork Pilot Boat Crew
Cork Port has a new pilot boat. 'Failte' was built by Safehaven Marine and replaces 'Sonia' which has been in service for 14 years. Safehaven Marine is a Cork -based company, employing 25 staff in Little Island and Youghal. Since the company was founded in 1998. They have supplied pilot boats to countries from Scandinavia to the Middle East and are one of Europe's leading manufacturers of GRP pilot boat.
There are eight full-time crew, six of them pictured here – L to R: Ron Randalls, Carl Randalls, Gerry Moran, George Norris, Con Crowley and Keith Ryan. (Two were on holiday when the photo was taken.) The boat is an Interceptor 48 with two Volvo D13 engines, 600 hp each.
Cork pilot boats undertake in excess of 3,000 services per annum to vessels of all types including cruise ships and cargo vessels, according to the port company.
MAKING PILOTING SAFER
The International Maritime Pilots' Association and the International Chamber of Shipping have joined forces to update a brochure aimed at shipping companies and seafarers to ensure that ladders used for pilot transfers are safe and always rigged correctly.
The revised brochure – 'Shipping Industry Guidance on Pilot Transfer Arrangements' – is supported by a wide range of other international shipping bodies. It takes account of the latest amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) concerning pilot ladders, which came into effect on 1 July 2012.
IMPA Secretary General, Nick Cutmore, said: "Pilots continue to lose their lives as a result of accidents while boarding or disembarking from ships, and many more have been seriously injured."
ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe, added: "Some common causes of accidents still appear to be defects in the structure of the ladder treads or ropes, or a lack of a proper securing of the ladder to the ship."
An electronic copy of the IMPA/ICS brochure can be downloaded from the IMPA and ICS websites.
New Pilot Boarding Advice
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The programme includes first-hand accounts of how the yacht inverted in seconds when her keel fell off: the skill of the Baltimore lifeboat crew in recovering sixteen crew members from the upturned hull: the race against time to find the remaining five crew members: their mental and physical struggle to survive almost three hours in the water: and how computer technology led to their rescue as darkness closed in.
'I was cold, so cold...' Wendy Touton talks publicly for the first time about her Fastnet ordeal in tonight's RTE documentary
It features exclusive interviews with Rambler's owner, George David and with his partner Wendy Touton, who was airlifted to hospital in a critical condition after being rescued.
Viewers will also see, for the first time, dramatic video from the rescue helicopter, as well as footage of the race as it rounded the Fastnet Rock and gripping images of the rescued crew being hauled from the water
Waterways returns to RTÉ television after 16 years off the air this coming Sunday.
The original award-winning 1990s documentary series saw naturalist and poet Dick Warner undertake an epic journey traversing the canals of Ireland by barge.
This year filmmaker Stephen Rooke accompanied Warner as he returned to our inland waterways, this time to explore the newly restored Royal Canal and celebrate the reopening of the entire route from Dublin to the Shannon.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Warner travels on the Rambler, an original canal tug barge, from Dublin to Lough Ree - the first time it had followed the route since 1923.
Along the way, Warner meets both experts and ordinary people who live along the banks, learning from them about its heritage, history and wildlife.
Filming is now complete on the new six-part series, Waterways - A Royal Canal, which begins this Sunday night.
According to Irish Film and Television News, Rooke re-assembled the core team from the original series, many of whom have gone on to work on successful films and TV shows.
The series begins on RTÉ One at 8.30pm on Sunday 2 October.
When Rambler's canting keel snapped off on the evening of Monday August 15th shortly after this mega-machine had rounded the Rock, she was powering at full speed towards the turning buoy, crashing into the lumpy seas which often arise where the steep land juts into the open ocean.
Kieran Cotter and the crew of the Baltimore lifeboat at the capize site. Photo: Thierry Martinez
The catastrophe was total and very sudden. The giant racer completely inverted every bit as quickly as the smallest of racing dinghies. The changeover, from being a highly tuned performer on track for success, into the inverted hell of exploding water, strangling ropes and jagged breaking gear, was at the least totally disorienting, and could have caused panic in less seasoned sailors.
The Lifeboat rescue from the upturned hull. Photo: Team Phaedo
Despite the difficulty of clambering onto the ultra-smooth underside of the huge hull, fifteen of the crew managed to get themselves up to the minimal handhold of the dagger board. But five of those who had been below – some of them off watch asleep – had drifted away from the boat after the monumental struggle of escaping from a small world turned upside down.
The five in the water roped themselves together, but things had taken an ominous turn, as the mist in which the big boat had rounded the Fastnet had now thickened into fog. For a crucial period, visibility was virtually nonexistent as other boat raced past nearby at high speed. And although some emergency radio beacons had automatically activated, the picture was confused with night drawing on.
Drifting crew are rescued. Photo: Team Phaedo
Time was of the essence – even in summer these waters can quickly induce hypothermia. Several agencies were now involved in the rescue, and skilled use of technology narrowed the search area, though in the sea conditions the stricken boat and crew were frequently invisible.
It was the Baltimore lifeboat with Kieran Cotter in command which was first on the scene. Taking off the crew was a challenge, but all fifteen on the upturned Rambler were safely rescued, though an impact between lifeboat and white hull resulted in a streak of lifeboat blue on the yacht which was to be immortalised as "Kieran's kiss".
But that was later, not until after a needle-in-a-haystack search found the other five adrift together in the water, with one already on the edge of coma. They were found by the lifeboat deputy mechanic Jerry Smith, on patrol with a Fastnet Race film crew in his dive boat Wave Chieftain. It was a miracle.
Next morning safely in Baltimore, the weather was already well improved. The previous night's conditions seemed like a nightmare. In calm summery conditions two days later, the Rambler hull was righted off Barley Cove and towed to Baltimore. She'll be restored to full racing trim by Cookson's in New Zealand, presumably with modifications to the design and specification for the canting keel. But that's another day's work. Today, we celebrate the achievement of Kieran Cotter and Jerry Smith, whose seamanship provided the successful focus for a network of rapid work by skilled technologists ashore.
Coverage of the rescue appears in Afloat's Rolex Fastnet Race page
While it might be an exaggeration to say that all of the 21 crew members of Rambler 100 owe their lives to the Irish Search and Rescue service, there are certainly five people whose future prospects were greatly improved by the operation off the Fastnet Rock on August 15th. A lot of media focus has been on Coxswain Kieran Cotter and the crew of Baltimore Lifeboat as well as lifeboat mechanic Jerry Smith, whose dive boat, on charter to the media team of one of the competitors, was on hand to search and recover the five drifting crew. There is no question that this focus is appropriate. RNLI crews all over the UK and Ireland deserve the attention, not only because of their extraordinary voluntary dedication to the cause, but also because such publicity helps swell the coffers of the charity. The service could not operate without the generosity of the donors and incidents such as these help fill the blue boat-shaped boxes held by even more RNLI volunteers.
Saved: Ireland's Rescue Services Answered the Call of the capsized Supermaxi Rambler 100 off the Fastnet Rock. Photo: Team Phaedo
The dramatic stories and pictures dominating the media show the front line of a quite wonderful resource that is Search and Rescue in Ireland today. Baltimore Lifeboat was at the coal face of an intricate network of operations, triggered by the crew's EPIRBs. Irish Coast Guard radio officers in Valentia responded almost immediately tasking the rescue resources, working the phones and computers to confirm that this was not an accidentally triggered EPIRB, contacting RORC HQ, determining search patterns and relaying the information to the scene. It was the backroom contacts between RORC and the Coast Guard in endeavouring to contact Rambler 100 using satellite phones that confirmed the possibility of a catastrophic incident involving the Supermaxi. The subsequent tasking of the Shannon and Waterford based Sikorsky helicopters led to the medevac of crew member Wendy Touton and timely treatment of her hypothermic condition, initially by the on-board paramedics and later at Tralee General hospital. And Coast Guard involvement didn't end with the successful rescue – the shoreside operation to provide food and shelter in Baltimore was coordinated by Coast Guard personnel and the salvage operation of the hull of Rambler 100 was overseen by the Irish Coast Guard.
Rambler crew are recovered from the water after a SAR operation by the Irish Coastguard Photo: Team Phaedo. More photos here.
That Ireland has probably one of the best Search and Rescue services in the world goes back to the campaign initiated in 1988 by Joan McGinley, following the death, within sight of land of Donegal fisherman John Oglesby, whose leg was severed in a trawl winch. Eamon Doherty, the late former Garda Commissioner chaired the review group established in response to the campaign and his report led to the establishment of the Irish Marine Emergency Service, subsequently the Irish Coast Guard. Under the guidance of Director Capt Liam Kirwan, the new service moved quickly to become not only the central co-ordinating body for Search and Rescue, but developed its own resources, notably the helicopters, previously tasked in from Irish Air Corps and UK SAR.
Another element that will feature in the Rambler 100 incident is the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB), set up from recommendations arising from a review of the handling of investigations into marine casualties.
It might be thought that the incident is now closed, but there are many unanswered questions and the investigation will be looking at these and making recommendations that should improve safety in this sector. These questions will include EPIRB performance, liferaft deployment and grab bag usage, but perhaps the key issue yet to be determined is why the response from fellow competitors didn't appear to happen. Even if Channel 16 wasn't being actively monitored, and if not why not, shouldn't the Mayday set off by the Coast Guard have set off the DSC alerts on the radios of Rambler 100's fellow competitors? Had the incident occurred several hours later or earlier when Rambler 100 could have been up to 100 miles from the nearest land, when conditions worsened, we could be looking at much more serious consequences.
It is heartening to think that, in this small country of ours in troubled times, not only do we have a shining star in our search, rescue, recovery and restore system, involving professionals and volunteers cooperating for the greater good, we also have a system that determines the nature of incidents so that we can all learn from the experience.
And let us not forget those people and services, such as the Gardai, Navy, Army and the community of Baltimore who are outside the media spotlight who contributed to this happy ending.
Afloat's Latest Coastguard News
Afloat's Latest RNLI Lifeboat News
Afloat's Latest MCIB News
"This was a dramatic sea rescue that was co-ordinated with speed and professionalism and everybody involved should be commended for their efforts. This is a reminder of just how important it is for Ireland to have a well resourced sea rescue infrastructure."
Minister Coveney went on to say "The Fastnet race is one of the most high-profile offshore yacht races in the world and Rambler 100 is one of the best known racing yachts on the planet. This incident will be reported in the international press and we can be proud of the way in which Irish emergency services contributed to preventing any loss of life."
"Most importantly, my response is one of relief that there was no loss of life, which considering the size and speed of the yacht and the conditions at the time, is a minor miracle. I hope everyone involved will make a full recovery."
RORC's Racing Manager Ian Loffhagen said tonight a further statement will be released when more information becomes known.
A new documentary on Ireland's waterways is being filmed in Mullingar this week.
The series will follow naturalist and broadcaster Dick Warner as he explores the Royal Canal in time for the final reopening of the entire route.
Warner will be taking the Rambler, an original canal tug barsg, from Dublin through to Lough Ree for the first time since 1923.
Warner told the Westmeath Examiner that he's "enjoying the wildlife side of it the most, the kingfishers and herons, the wildflowers, that's what I've loved the most about this journey. We're making very good progress. We're in Ballymahon now and we hope to reach the Shannon by towards the end of this week."
Waterways - The Final Journey is set to come to our screens in August.
The Westmeath Examiner has more on the story HERE.
Rambler 100 has broken the monohull race record set by race rival, Mike Slade's ICAP Leopard by nearly four hours.
Two of the world's most impressive racing yachts have been locking horns over 600 miles of high-speed action in a fight to the finish. Competing against each other for the first time and battling it out to snatch the record for the third edition of the RORC Caribbean 600.
32 other yachts from 15 different nations crossed the start line of the RORC Caribbean 600, off English Harbour in Antigua, Caribbean on February 21st. Most of the fleet is expected to finish over the next 24 hours.
Latest news on the race website: http://caribbean600.rorc.org/
Follow the fleet trackers online: http://caribbean600.rorc.org/race-information/tracking/2011-fleet-tracking.html