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Displaying items by tag: Belfast Lough

The RC35 class look like putting up a great show at Royal Ulster Yacht Club’s Bangor Town Regatta in June. At the moment the regatta website says, “We look forward to seeing all the entries and will be posting the entry list as soon as possible”, but thanks to Robin Young, Chairman of the RC 35 Class who has listed his “current best idea” of boats planning to attend, we do know already that eight Scottish competitors plan to make the trip along with, he reckons, two Co. Down boats and possibly one from Dublin Bay. Competition in IRC 2 will be top class.

J109 No Worries (Jim Dervin) competing at Largs RegattaJ109 No Worries (Jim Dervin) competing at Largs Regatta Photo: Marc Turner

Among the eight Scottish visitors will be the 2021 winner of the RC 35 season-long Championship, Kevin and Debbie Aitken’s First 36.7 Animal, also 3rd at the last Town Regatta in 2018. John Stamp’s Corby 33, Jacob was runner up last time and Robin and Christine Murray’s First 35 Triple Elf, who finished 4th in 2018 is also hoping to be in Bangor. Fifth in 2018 was Charlie Frize’s Corby 33 Banshee and Robin Young’s J109 Jings, third in Class 2 at last year’s Scottish Series plans to be part of the strong Scottish contingent which includes Jono and Ben Shelley’s J109, so new to the class that it hasn’t been named yet, the J109 No Worries owned by Jim Dervin and John Mill’s Elan 37 Vamp. Taking on that formidable contingent will be the local Archambault 35, John Minnis’s Final Call II, and probably the Strangford based Ker 32 Hijacker (Stuart Cranston). Yet to show his hand is the 2018 IRC 2 winner Pat Kelly from Howth in the J109 Storm.

Final Call II (red genoa) and the IMX 38 ExcessionFinal Call II (red assymetric) and the IMX 38 Excession

John Minnis and the Final Call II team are pleased and excited to be racing in the June regatta; “I’m very proud to see RUYC host such a top-end event and all credit to the BTR team for their organisation of an exciting programme of racing over three days. The waters of Belfast Lough provide some of the very best yacht racing and it’s fantastic to see so many Scottish and Irish competitors making their respective passages to be at this event. I understand there will be more entries across the classes from Southern waters which is fantastic, I’m thrilled to see the RC35 Class creating such great competition”.

Robin Young’s J109 JingsRobin Young’s J109 Jings

And Robin Young says; “The RC35 class and owners are looking forward to getting back to Bangor for some great close racing in a fantastic piece of water and the fun shoreside hospitality."

Published in Bangor Town Regatta

County Wexford based company Marine Specialists Ltd completed mobilising their new 26-metre barge Cliodna in Bangor Harbour on Belfast Lough on Monday, February 7th.

Over the coming weeks, it will be inspected by the Maritime Coastguard Agency and prepared for sea. Cliodna will become a familiar sight off Ballywalter where she will be used to dig a trench through bedrock to accommodate the new 550m wastewater outfall.

Ballywalter lies on the North Down coast about eight miles east of Donaghadee. It has an amenity harbour with a few small fishing boats kept alongside the quay.

Marine Specialists Ltd have completed mobilising their new 26-metre barge Cliodna for works on Belfast LoughMarine Specialists Ltd have completed mobilising their new 26-metre barge Cliodna for works on Belfast Lough

The Ards North Wastewater Improvement Project represents an £18m investment by NI Water to upgrade the existing wastewater collection and treatment systems serving a large part of the Ards Peninsula. Wastewater will be treated to strict environmental standards at the new state-of-the-art wastewater treatment works being constructed off the Ganaway Road in the village and this will ensure excellent bathing water quality at local beaches.

For further information on the project click here

Published in Belfast Lough
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Forty years has passed since the first Spring Series in Ireland took place at Quoile Yacht Club in Northern Ireland. The club lies in the southwestern corner of Strangford Lough and at that time the event was shared with Down Cruising Club at Ballydorn just north of Whiterock in the northwest of the Lough. Since the 1980s the series has been held annually at Quoile Yacht Club.

Traditionally, the series started on the last Sunday in March and ran over five consecutive weekends, with an extensive social programme organised ashore. Spring weather was typically mixed with lovely sunshine one weekend and then snow flurries and sleet the next. Sailing Secretary Lucy Anderson says “This year we are delighted to be hosting the first racing on Strangford Lough on 30th April and 1st May at Quoile Yacht Club and sailors are pleased and excited to get afloat”. There will be two races on the Saturday and one on the Sunday.

Quoile Yacht Club lies in the southwestern corner of Strangford LoughQuoile Yacht Club lies in the southwestern corner of Strangford Lough

In the past, the event was hugely popular with some 30-40 boats. Lucy continues; “I would say 40-50 boats this year. There is always a good turnout for the first racing of the year and it is also after the Easter break so all the sailors will have plenty of time to work on their boats”.

"The event is open to IRC, NHC, NHCRS and Squibs"

In the past local boats were also supported by yachts from Belfast Lough, Lough Neagh, and Lough Erne. At that time there were no marinas in Belfast Lough, and traditionally many of the yachts came to Strangford at the end of August and spent the winter at anchor in Ringhaddy and other winter moorings. Today, Quoile Yacht Club Spring Series has been consolidated into one weekend. The event is open to IRC, NHC, NHCRS and Squibs - and the surging one design Impala fleet will be out in force on the Lough this year. Lucy adds “We expect a huge response from the nine other clubs around the Lough. It would be fantastic if we had boats from Belfast Lough participating”.

There will be a dinner on the Saturday night in the clubhouse for the visitors staying over and members, and breakfast will be served for everyone on the Sunday morning.

Artemis Technologies has opened a new facility in Belfast as it prepares to commence testing of its transformative new Artemis eFoiler(R) electric propulsion system.

The 42,200 sq ft facility in Titanic Quarter’s Channel Commercial Park, will house the company’s manufacturing and engineering teams as it brings to market a range of green technologies and vessels including workboats, passenger ferries, leisure craft, as well as Crew Transfer Vessels for the offshore wind sector.

The first test vessel to be powered by Artemis Technologies’ revolutionary Artemis eFoiler(R) electric propulsion system, an 11m workboat, is expected to take to the water in a matter of weeks.

Artemis Technologies Commercial Director David Tyler said:

“It’s incredibly exciting to announce a major milestone for Artemis Technologies, moving into our new facility here in Belfast Harbour. Right in the heart of the Titanic Quarter, and next to several of our Belfast Maritime Consortium partners.

“It is an important step forward in our mission to help deliver a sustainable maritime future and brings us closer to returning commercial shipbuilding to Belfast - one of the key drivers behind our decision to locate in Northern Ireland.

“From this new facility, we will be able to directly launch our first prototype vessel into the waters of Belfast and begin the crucial phase of real-life testing.

“What we will create here in Northern Ireland, we hope will create an impact on a global scale, providing commercially viable solutions that will help not just the UK, but countries across the world to realise their net zero targets.”

James Eyre, Commercial Director, Titanic Quarter added:

“We are delighted to welcome Artemis Technologies to Channel Commercial Park, which is one of Belfast’s largest and most versatile business parks. Situated in the heart of the city’s Innovation District, Titanic Quarter is home to a growing cluster of leading businesses who are pioneering solutions to combat global climate change and decarbonisation. We wish Artemis every success in their new facility here.”

Artemis Technologies Technical Director, Romain Ingouf commented:

“The Queen’s Island facility is going to allow us to turn our prototyping activities into a production line for the Artemis eFoiler(R) propulsion system. Over the next year or so we’ll need to double our workforce to support this activity.

We currently have two vessels here, our first Artemis eFoiler(R) propelled prototype, an 11m workboat, as well as an 11m sister ship, enabling us to bench mark our green propulsion system against a conventional gasoline propelled vessel.”

The development of the vessels is complemented by Artemis Technologies’ advanced simulator located at its Lisburn facility, which informs the design process pre-build to ensure a streamlined and efficient manufacturing project.

Established in 2017, Artemis Technologies is the lead partner of the Belfast Maritime Consortium, a 13-member syndicate which has brought together a range of established and young firms, academia and public bodies to design and build zero-emission high-speed ferries in the city.

The consortium was awarded £33 million by UKRI’s flagship Strength in Places Fund for the £60m project.

Published in Belfast Lough

Not too long ago the City of Belfast had turned its back on the River Lagan which enters Belfast Lough on the border between Counties Antrim and Down. But since 1989 when the Laganside Corporation began redevelopment of the surrounding area the transformation has been immense.

And this transformation has enhanced the location of The Belfast Barge, a visitor attraction with a maritime theme, as it lies at Lanyon Quay close to the Belfast Waterfront Hall and minutes from the city centre.

The vessel was built in the Netherlands in 1960 and named MV Confiance. In 2006 the Lagan Legacy charity brought it to Belfast (not without some difficulty as it’s flat bottomed) and after considerable work it opened in 2012 as a museum. But now, with the name changed to The Belfast Barge, it is much more than that, with events space, the museum, gallery, and dog-friendly café.

The Belfast Barge Photo: Susan DohertyThe Belfast Barge Photo: Susan Doherty

The world-renowned Harland & Wolff shipyard which since its establishment in 1861 has built over 2000 ships, offshore vessels and various stell structures, was situated downriver of the two bridges spanning the Lagan and after the shipbuilding ended the Barge managed to acquire many items such as archived plans which would otherwise have been dumped and these formed the basis of the museum collection.

BBC News has reported that manage Susan Doherty said the space would host maritime events, new bands and weddings. She added, “It’s a bit more of an event going on to a boat as to a run of the mill venue”.

The Belfast Barge is funded by the Heritage Lottery fund, Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Published in Belfast Lough
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The Clarendon Docks are the oldest remaining docks in Belfast Harbour, built in the 1800s by Belfast’s first commercial shipbuilder, William Ritchie. He originally set his shipyard up at the Old Lime Kiln Dock (inland from the present location) but Ritchie needed a dry dock, so Belfast Harbour agreed and Ritchie built it himself, completing it in 1800. Known as Ritchie’s Dock for years, it was later renamed Clarendon Dock No 1. The second Clarendon Dock was completed in 1826. These Victorian dry docks are no longer used but remain an important link to Belfast’s maritime past.

The docks lie on the west side of the River Lagan which flows through Belfast, opposite Titanic Belfast, and Belfast Harbour is bringing forward plans to develop an iconic Waterfront for the city which will border the Clarendon Docks and provide a safe year-round destination space for the people of the city and visitors. It is called City Quays Gardens.

Belfast City Quays Gardens

City Quays Gardens will integrate Belfast’s rich maritime heritage as a Port city into the design, creating a new green space. Features will include extensive planting and landscaping, events lawns, amphitheatre style seating and leisure and outdoor workspaces. It is understood that the proposed City Quays Gardens project will begin development in 2022 subject to planning approval.

Belfast Harbour says that the maritime-inspired design is influenced by the site’s unique industrial and shipbuilding heritage and the River Lagan waterside location. A series of feature seats and benches within the gardens will tell the story of Belfast Harbour. They will form focal points and form the beginnings of a City Quays Heritage Trail which will complement the wider Maritime Mile activity and improve connectivity to the city. The Maritime Mile is an award-winning initiative developed by Maritime Belfast Trust in association with the Belfast Harbour, Odyssey Trust and Titanic Quarter Limited. It connects the waterfront physically, recognising that the sum of its parts is much greater than the individual components.

City Quays Gardens will help create a ‘Clean, Green Port for Everyone’ and support the delivery of Belfast Harbour’s ‘Green Port’ ambitions. It will seek to fulfil sustainable travel objectives such as cycle connections and cycle parking/facilities and encourage sustainable transport use through the integration of public transport.

It is the first in several landmark developments which will be delivered in future phases by Belfast Harbour and will be the first One Planet Living development in Northern Ireland. One Planet Living seeks to create a world where everyone lives healthy happy lives within the limits of the planet.

Published in Belfast Lough
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It was grey and damp, with a cold gusty offshore South Easterly in Ballyholme Bay on Boxing Day (26th) but although the morning mass charity swim was postponed, racing went ahead in the afternoon with a mixed dinghy fleet sailing two back to back races. The saving grace was a relatively flat sea on Belfast Lough.

Thirty-five crossed the line formed by a RIB and a buoy on the outer edge of the bay which gave a windward start with the first leg of a triangular course into the bay, finishing at the club battery. Race Officer Des Magee did well to get two rounds into both races.

Ballyholme Yacht Club's Boxing Day RegattaA Laser dinghy start at Ballyholme Yacht Club's Boxing Day Regatta

The mixed large dinghy fleet, which included Bob Espey in his Wazsp, was won by Dave Fletcher and Ryan Smith in a 2000 with Ruan and Rebekah O’Tiarnaigh in a GP14 second.

The largest group was the Laser Standards with 17 out. The winner here was Irish 49er Olympian Matt McGovern with Richard McCullagh runner up. And in the Radial first was Barry McCartan with Lucas Nixon and Joni Rock tying and the tie broken in favour of Nixon.

Matt McNicholl won in the small fleet of three F18 multihulls and in the Small Dinghy fleet of Toppers and Laser 4.7s first was by Bobby Driscoll in a Topper with two first places.

The next weekly racing is the Icebreaker Sunday Series 2 which starts on 6th February.

Published in Belfast Lough

Great patience was required from the 44 youngsters competing in the 39 dinghies at the Ballyholme Yacht Club Cadet Christmas Regatta as wind was scarce on Belfast Lough. But persist they did in a variety of dinghies – Toppers, Picos, Fevas, Lasers and a lone Optimist.

First Topper 5.3 was Katie Brow and runner up was Ella Fitzgerald who had travelled from Dun Laoghaire. The 4.2 top prize went to Jessica Dadley-Young. In the Fevas Annabel and Emily Ridout repeated their success in the Junior Icebreaker taking first place with Hanna Bell and Evie Pringle second. The Laser win went to Zak Dalzell.

Dave Nelson with Hannah Bell and Evie Pringle runner up in the Feva classDave Nelson with Hannah Bell and Evie Pringle runner up in the Feva class

Again, as in the Icebreaker Series, Matthew Holden had a sail over in his Optimist.

The prize for the most Christmassy dinghy went to Isabel Nixon who decorated hers with fairy lights and tinsel. And Chloe Whyte got a mention for coming as a Christmas Present.

The next big gathering at the Club will be on Boxing Day (26th) for the traditional mass swim in the morning and a Regatta in the afternoon. 

Topper 5.3

1. Katie Brow
2. Ella Fitzgerald
3. Emily Macafee

Topper 4.2

1. Jessica Dadley-Young
2. Alex Eadie
3. James Eadie


1. Annabel and Emily Rideout
2. Hannah Bell and Evie Pringle
3. Annika Hunter and Romy Maguire


1. Zak Dalzell
2. Callum Dalzell
3. Eva McDonagh


1. Matthew Holden

Published in Belfast Lough

Gone are the days when sail racing was a summer sport and regattas only ran in the warmer months on Belfast Lough. Now even young sailors are afloat virtually all year. Forty-six entered Part One of the Junior Icebreaker series at Ballyholme and had some great sailing in Ballyholme Bay to the east of Bangor before the Christmas Break.

Matthew Holden had a sail over in his Oppie as did Emily and Annabel Ridout in their RS Feva. In the 36 strong Topper 5.3 division, Emily McAfee was first overall with scores of mostly 2nds and 3rds. Second in that class was Annika Hunter counting five third places and first boy and 3rd overall went to Joseph Robinson who improved in the second half of the 16 race series. In fourth, fifth and sixth places were Hunter Reddy. Romy Maguire and Isobel Nixon. Romy never missed a race! The Topper 4.2 fleet saw Polly Robinson with nine first positions top the results with Sally Nixon second and Jesse Gillespie pick up 3rd place.

Dave Nelson and Matthew Holden (Oppie)Dave Nelson and Matthew Holden (Oppie)

The strength of BYC training has been stepped up a notch with the purchase of two new RS Quests to add to the four Bahias already owned by the club.

The Junior Icebreaker resumes on 5th February next year and runs till 5th April on Saturday afternoons.

David Nelson, BYC lead Cadet coach taking delivery of two new RS Quests for the BYC Training TeamDavid Nelson, BYC lead Cadet coach taking delivery of two new RS Quests for the BYC Training Team

Published in Belfast Lough

Investment in a two-mile stretch of Bangor Waterfront on Belfast Lough is part of the recently announced £1billion Belfast City Deal funding. Plans already published for Bangor Waterfront aim to “reconnect the town with the sea through a range of attractions and experiences”. It involves the provision of high-quality public spaces and the regeneration of Bangor Marina and Ballyholme Yacht Club. The plans say that the club “has been identified as the preferred location within Northern Ireland for major sailing and water sports events by the Royal Yachting Association”.

Ballyholme Yacht Club as it is todayBallyholme Yacht Club as it is today - the club has been identified as the preferred location within Northern Ireland for major sailing and water sports events by the Royal Yachting Association

Some of the scheme, which has been designed by Hemingway Design and Aecom, has already caused controversy. There are concerns that the character of Kingsland, the only substantial green area at Ballyholme, will be lost with the development of “tourism accommodation pods, café kiosks and a skate park (now an Olympic sport) set in landscaped gardens.

"Ballyholme Yacht Club has been identified as the preferred location within Northern Ireland for major sailing and water sports events"

There is also the potential for a small cluster of high-quality residential developments to the south of the area”. And the graphics in the Bangor Waterfront document show a landscaped area replacing the very large car park near the Club which may be to the detriment of competitors in large events hosted by BYC. The plans continue “The redevelopment of BYC would provide Bangor with a world-class facility for water sports and the ability to host international events”.

A graphic of the proposed Waterfront development at Bangor, County DownA graphic of the proposed Waterfront development at Bangor, County Down

The Club refers to the proposed new building as Ballyholme Yacht Club and Watersport Centre, to reflect its increased range of activities, which now include diving, SUPs, kayaking, and swimming.

Sea swimming on Belfast Lough at Ballyholme Yacht ClubSea swimming on Belfast Lough at Ballyholme Yacht Club

Kingsland, the only substantial green area at BallyholmeThe tennis courts at Kingsland

It is understood that the Council will publicise opportunities to engage in the whole scheme and that everyone with an interest in the scheme can become involved. Subject to financial/ project approvals and planning permission, work ‘on the ground’ will begin in 2023 (phased), with the projects delivered over 8 to 10-years.

Kingsland is the only substantial green area at BallyholmeKingsland is the only substantial green area at Ballyholme

David McMullan, who leads a small ‘redevelopment’ sub-committee reporting to the Executive Committee of BYC, has explained the Club’s position “On Wednesday 15th December it was announced that £1 billion funding for the Belfast Region City Deal had been approved. This is the first City Deal to be signed for Northern Ireland. Ards and North Down Borough Council (ANDBC) had submitted their plans for the Waterfront Redevelopment in Bangor as part of this Regional City Deal, which included the redevelopment of BYC, and we understand proposed plans have been reviewed and approved in principle. We expect to hear early in the New Year details of the funding for ANDBC’S plans and then be able to conclude discussions with ANDBC on how that will impact the proposed redevelopment of BYC. We will then present this to the membership for discussion and hopefully approval”.

The £40m funding for Ards and North Down Council will be matched by its contribution of £20m from the Council.

Published in Belfast Lough
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