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Displaying items by tag: Solo Sailor

The Irish Coast Guard has said that a fixed-wing aircraft assisting in the search for a solo sailor participating in the OSAR transatlantic race last weekend was despatched by the British authorities.

It was responding to queries about whether the Air Corps had been considered for top cover in the multi-agency rescue, which involved a 14-hour-long mission for the RNLI Achill lifeboat as Afloat reported here.

The Defence Forces press office has confirmed that no request was received for the Air Corps to assist in the operation, which began on Saturday morning last when MRCC Dublin received a request to assist in locating the yacht, Cariberia.

The Air Corps had a fixed-wing aircraft available, and would have been able to respond if requested, the Defence Forces press office said.

The yacht with one sailor on board was competing in the OSTAR race from Plymouth in Britain to Newport Rhode in north America.

In a statement on behalf of the Irish Coast Guard, the Department of Transport said that the vessel’s last known position was approximately 175 nautical miles northwest of Downpatrick Head in Co Antrim.

“Shortly thereafter the vessel indicated an intention to return to the UK,” the statement said.

“Subsequently all contact was lost with the vessel. MRCC Dublin requested a communication search [should] be initiated by MRSC Malin Head as it was suspected the vessel could be off the northwest coast of Ireland,” it said.

“MRSC Malin Head commenced the communication search on medium frequency 2182khz, VHF Ch16, Navtex and by trying to contact the vessel by mobile phone,” it said.

“A UK Coastguard fixed wing aircraft R99 was also despatched by UK authorities to assist in the search,” it said.

“ On Sunday, the aircraft spotted the vessel approximately 32 nautical miles west of Achill Island, Co Mayo, and MRSC Malin Head tasked R118 from Sligo along with Achill island lifeboat,” it said.

“R118 made contact with the skipper who advised that the vessel had lost all power. The Achill island lifeboat proceeded to the vessel's position and secured a tow line,” it said.

The lifeboat towed the vessel overnight to Clare Island, Co Mayo, arriving safely on Monday morning shortly before 9 am, and the yachtsman was reported to be in “good spirits” after his ordeal.

The Achill Trent class lifeboat with coxswain Dave Curtis included mechanic Michael Cattigan, Terry Hogarth, Ken Quinn, Ivan Swarbrigg, Stephen McGreal and Thomas Ruddy on board.

Winds were northwesterly winds with force of three to four sea conditions which began to calm during late morning, according to the RNLI.

Published in Coastguard
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Disappointment is always hard to take, but Peter Lawless is determined, even though he has, this time, failed in his ambition to become the first Irishman to sail around the world non-stop.

The Kerry solo sailor left Kilrush Marina in Clare with high hopes in August, estimating that he would be, he told me, about eight months at sea alone aboard his yacht, Waxwing, a Rival 41, which he had "upgraded for the challenge".

"She is perfect for this circumnavigation," he said but told me that the two things he feared most were mast or rudder trouble.

West of Portugal, one of those happened.

Waxwing departs Kilrush Marina on the Shannon Estuary in AugustWaxwing departs Kilrush Marina on the Shannon Estuary in August

He had a problem when something hit the rudder, and the result of that was the end of his voyage.

He has decided not to continue his voyage.

Sailing along on Waxwing in the Shannon Estuary

"Very disappointed but determined," he told me from Teneriffe, where he was making repairs. But there was a lot to be considered, particularly with the timing of the voyage and the weather. This weekend he decided that the voyage couldn't continue.

It was not an easy decision, but he says he made it for safety reasons. He will be returning home, but next year is to be considered, as you can hear on this week's Podcast.

• Lawless has left for Tenerife and is now en route to Portugal. He expects to arrive there next week.

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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Peter Lawless hasn't time for anxiety as he makes final preparations for his solo sail around the world.

He has set Saturday, August 21, for his departure from Kilrush Marina in the Shannon Estuary.

Amongst those giving support to Peter is Cork-based artist Siobhan Fleming who says she was fascinated by his story of how he grew up sailing and describes herself as "artist not in residence" on his journey. She plans to create a series of art pieces in response to Peter's experiences, which he will be detailing via satellite phone and internet for supporters following his voyage.

The first piece, titled "And That Is Why We Go" reflects the journey into the unknown that Peter is taking.

This is the prize of a draw on Peter's website (peterlawlesssolocircumnavigation.com) that will be made on the evening before he leaves, Friday, August 20.

I last talked to 53-year-old Peter in June. He comes from a family of sailors, son of the late Pat Lawless from Limerick. The Golden Globe Race has been focused on by his brother, Pat.

Lawless estimates the trip will take approximately eight months nonstop. His yacht Waxwing is a Rival 41, she is a standard production offshore cruising yacht that he has upgraded for the challenge.Lawless estimates the trip will take approximately eight months nonstop. His yacht Waxwing is a Rival 41, she is a standard production offshore cruising yacht that he has upgraded for the challenge

At that stage, Peter worked hard to prepare his 41ft. yacht Waxwing for the voyage, which he is expecting to take about eight months. He is hoping to become the first Irishman to sail non-stop around the world and, since our last chat, has been putting in long days of preparation, determined to get everything right before leaving, which, he says, " will make life at sea that bit easier."

Lawless at Kilrush Marina in the Shannon EstuaryLawless at Kilrush Marina in the Shannon Estuary

He is my Podcast guest this week.

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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Lough Neagh Rescue was paged on the 9th April to the aid of a lone yachtsman whose vessel had engine difficulties just outside Kinnego Bay on the southern shore of Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland.

On scene, the lifeboats found the solo sailor safe and well and he was able to continue in his boat for a short time under its own power. He was escorted into Kinnego Bay but a tow was needed when the vessel lost power again at the entrance of the Marina, the largest on the Lough.

The vessel was brought safely to the jetty and moored before the lifeboats were stood down and returned to base.

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County Meath solo sailor Tom Dolan is confident he will be fighting fit for the double-handed Transat en Doible Concarneau to Saint Barthelem which starts May 9th. This is despite an ankle injury sustained by Dolan in the Season Opening Solo Maître Coq at the weekend.

As Afloat reported earlier, the Irish Sailor of the Year sustained the ankle injury midway through the 340 nautical miles long offshore race curtailed Dolan’s chances of a top 10 overall finish in the first solo race of the French Figaro season.

At the Ile de Ré, the southernmost turning point of the course, the skipper of Smurfit Kappa was comfortably racing among a strong breakaway group of ten leading the 29 strong fleet, when he overbalanced while stepping back into the cockpit of his Figaro Beneteau 3 and landed heavily, hurting his ankle and injuring his hand.

At first, in the light airs he tried to carry on but as the wind and seas built with the arrival of a front, the pain was scarcely bearable and it became obvious to Dolan that he had no alternative but to retire into Lorient. A medical examination has subsequently confirmed his ankle is badly sprained with some nerve damage. He has been told to rest his leg for three weeks to one month.

“It is just one of these things. I had had a problem with the tack line and had been up to the bow to fix it and I just stepped awkwardly back into the cockpit. I hurt my left hand and right foot. It is a lesson to be more careful in the future. I’ll lose a little bit of training time before the Transatlantic Concarneau Saint Barths but I am staying positive. I had sailed well in the opening races and was up with the top group when it happened so I am not despondent.” Dolan reported today (Monday) after finally being reunited with his phone which was left (according to the race rules) in Les Sables d’Olonne, the start and finish port.

“Initially I was determined to go on and finish but as the wind and seas built up it was apparent how immobile I was and it was clearly dangerous to go on.” He recalled, “I will be so much more careful in the future.”

Having finished seventh and 13th in the two inshore races last Monday and Tuesday, Dolan had started the offshore race in ninth place. Even counting the ‘RTD’ (retired) from the offshore race he still finished 18th, still his best result in the season opener yet.

“Look I am pretty happy nonetheless. I was good all round and was with the breakaway group and was going well. Overall I have good speed. I am still not very quick under gennaker and so that is a work in progress, I am not slow but neither am I the fastest. Meantime I have two or three weeks of physiotherapy to get on with and will be taking it carefully.” Tom Dolan concluded today.

Published in Tom Dolan

Mayor of Ards and North Down Councillor Trevor Cummings, visited teen solo sailor Timothy Long onboard his yacht Hunter Impala yacht, Alchemy to welcome him officially to Bangor.

As Afloat reported previously, fifteen-year-old Timothy aims to become the youngest person to sail solo around Britain. Throughout his challenge, Timothy will be fundraising for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

He began his voyage south to his home port of Southampton at the weekend.

Timothy with left, Rear Commodore RUYC Maurice Butler and Peter Eagleson  - Hunter Impala Association

Timothy's Mum, Sue Elder, who is looking after publicity for his voyage, is full of praise for the welcome he has received. "He has certainly had a wonderful welcome in Bangor! At this rate, he may not want to leave...all of you have been so kind and supportive of him, which means a lot to us as parents, as I'm sure you'll appreciate".

Timothy has been paddleboarding, been treated to lunch, had help with his mast maintenance from another sailor, had dinner on board another boat and been shown round Royal Ulster Yacht Club by Rear Commodore Maurice Butler. Sue Elder adds " Please pass on our heartfelt thanks to the Bangor network for making him so welcome".

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