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New Kilrush Skiff Honours Ukraine And Clare

3rd August 2022
Flying the flag for Ukraine and Clare – Seol Sionna’s new St Ayles skiff Ealu from Kilrush has a paint finish honouring both beleaguered Ukraine and the Banner County. Providing the rowing power on her traditional sunwise circuit of Scattery Island are James Madigan, Sean Walsh, Aisling Heaps, Peter Ranalow and John Kennedy
Flying the flag for Ukraine and Clare – Seol Sionna’s new St Ayles skiff Ealu from Kilrush has a paint finish honouring both beleaguered Ukraine and the Banner County. Providing the rowing power on her traditional sunwise circuit of Scattery Island are James Madigan, Sean Walsh, Aisling Heaps, Peter Ranalow and John Kennedy Credit: Trea Heaps of Seol Sionna

When it came to painting the new St Ayles skiff Ealu built by Seol Sionnas (the owners of the much-admired traditional cutter Sally O’Keeffe) under the direction of Steve Morris in Kilrush Boatyard, it was “No Contest” as regards décor choice. For County Clare the Banner County shares the same distinctive blue and bright yellow colours with beleaguered Ukraine.

And as it happens, there are three Ukrainian girls staying in Kilrush who were keen to help with the painting job. The result is one very smart-looking craft whose attractive handling characteristics and performance potential eloquently explain why the numbers of this special Iain Oughtred design have reached more than 400 boats worldwide.

The new St Ayles skiff Ealu makes the traditional Kilrush maiden voyage of a sunwise circuit of the Holy Island of Scattery in the Shannon Estuary, rowing at “a comfortable four knots”. Photo: Trea HeapsThe new St Ayles skiff Ealu makes the traditional Kilrush maiden voyage of a sunwise circuit of the Holy Island of Scattery in the Shannon Estuary, rowing at “a comfortable four knots”. Photo: Trea Heaps

Ealu recently had the traditional Kilrush maiden voyage of a sunwise circuit of Scattery Island, and demonstrated that she can comfortably maintain a cruising rowing speed of four knots, so now “some fairly serious expeditions” are being planned with the able Sally O’Keeffe as support vessel.

The ultimate multi-tasker – Kilrush master shipwright James Madigan worked on the restoration of the Ilen and sailed on her, he is currently involved in the restoration of the Dublin Bay 21 Class, and he took time out to work in building Ealu, and is seen here rowing on the bow oar. Photo: Trea HeapsThe ultimate multi-tasker – Kilrush master shipwright James Madigan worked on the restoration of the Ilen and sailed on her, he is currently involved in the restoration of the Dublin Bay 21 Class, and he took time out to work in building Ealu, and is seen here rowing on the bow oar. Photo: Trea Heaps

WM Nixon

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WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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