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Displaying items by tag: Lough Derg

#squib – Lough Derg Yacht Club in Tipperary was busy in 2013. This Club on the River Shannon held the Mirror World Championships in August, and one of the biggest Irish one-design keelboat regattas of 2013 with 80 boats competing, on the weekend of 18th - 20th October, with fleets of Dragons, SB20s and National Squibs as well as handicap racing for a cruiser fleet.

The National Squib fleet had a very strong entry of 29 boats from Cultra on Belfast Lough (4), Dublin Bay (10), Glandore (2), Howth (2), and Kinsale (4), Killilea(1), as well as the home Dromineer fleet (4).

On Saturday, PRO Geoff Donoghue laid a short windward leg, a long spinnaker reach to an outer loop with 2 downwind legs and one upwind leg in Youghal Bay. The wind was shifty and varied from force 1-2 on beautifully flat water. Race 1 went to current National Champion from Kinsale, James Matthews and Rob Jacob in 51, 'Mucky Duck' from Howth's husband/wife team Jonathan and Hazel Craig in 37, 'Kerfuffle' and Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan in 820 'Quickstep III'.

Race 2 was won by 'Kerfuffle' followed by 'Mucky Duck' and Cian O'Regan in 100, 'Fagan' which really is the quickest boat in the fleet. Race 3 was won by East Coast Champion Fergus O'Kelly in 223, 'Selik' from 'Quickstep III' and Peter and Marie Dee from Royal St. George Y.C. in 813 'Kookaburra'. It was becoming evident at this stage that a good start on the short windward leg was vital to achieving a good finish.

Race 4 was won by 'Kookaburra' from Frank Whelan and Brian Hare in 46, 'Lola'.

Remarkably, a long days racing in shifty winds had produced three different winners.

Dinner for 200 competitors in the Club was followed by craic in the 'Whisky Still' which resulted in some competitors not being fit to sail on Sunday. On Sunday, a stronger wind blew from the south, so a course was laid between Dromineer Bay and The Mountaineer buoy. The squibs sailed a conventional windward leeward course. The race was won by Colm Dunne in the beautifully prepared 134, 'Allegro' from Vincent Delany and Mary Mc.Loughlin in 24, 'Femme Fatale' from son and father team Tim and Derek Jago in 798, 'Why Not'. It is possible that this was the most competitive Squib event in Ireland this year, with all boats discarding high scores. In fact many had two high scoring races which pushed them down the results board. No fleet dominated the event, although the Kinsale fleet seems strongest, while Dun Laoghaire, Howth, Cultra were all achieved top 5 places.

Such a good turn out of boats begs the question....Should the National Championships be held in Dromineer in the Autumn? This is the great unanswered question, but we do know that there will be more than 30 boats competing in this fun filled event next year.
For results see below.

Published in Squib
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#inlandwaters – Three Mid-West environmental and tourism projects have been showcased as good practice examples to regional development agencies from 8 countries across Europe.

Regional development agencies from Finland, Slovenia, Latvia, Greece, Romania, Netherlands, UK and Ireland last week visited Lough Derg, and the Olatrim (Tipperary) and Groody (Limerick) Rivers.

The study visit, which also included a conference in Limerick's Strand Hotel, was organised by the Mid-West Regional Authority (MWRA) as part of its ongoing remit as a partner agency in the EU-funded 'Territories of Rivers Action Plans' (TRAP) project. The two-year project is aimed at benefitting partner regions through the transfer of good practices in integrated water and landscape management.

Cllr. Oliver Garry, MWRA Cathaoirleach said: "The TRAP project and interregional meetings such as this enable the MWRA to benefit from exchanges with other partner regions, each of whom has particular expertise in one or more areas such as governance, monitoring, aquatic environment or river tourism. The MWRA can also share its best practises in the area of governance, given its extensive experience of Regional Planning Guidelines and the important role that they can play in the sustainable development of an area."

During last week's visit, the TRAP partners were addressed by a number of public agencies with responsibility for Lough Derg, including Waterways Ireland, Fisheries Ireland and the OPW. The group were also addressed by Dan Minchin of the Lough Derg Science Group who gave a perspective on the ecological and historical aspects of Ireland's third largest lake. The partners took a boat trip of the lake between Ballina and Garrykennedy and enjoyed an Irish music recital with dance by 30 pupils of Gaelscoil Aonach Urmhumhan (Nenagh). Visits were also undertaken to the Olatrim and Groody Rivers which are subject to improvements works by the OPW and Fisheries Ireland under the Environmental River Enhancement Programme (EREP).

Joe MacGrath, North Tipperary County Manager and the MWRA's Designated County Manager said the study visits to Lough Derg and the Olatrim and Groody Rivers have led to three of the EU partners transferring the good practices implemented in the Mid-West into similar domestic projects.

He explained: "We were delighted to be able to facilitate a visit to Lough Derg during which we showcased the work of the Lough Derg Marketing Strategy Group, a collaborative approach of public state agencies and private sector representatives, in relation to marketing Lough Derg and improving its tourism functionality. Our project partners from Greece are taking this good practice and transferring into their own policy and have also identified the Mid West Regional Planning Guidelines as a good practice."

"Furthermore," Mr Conneally added, "policies adopted in the Region on landscape, flood risk assessment and protection of aquifers were lauded by our Latvian partners who will be transferring these policies into their own regional planning strategy. They hope to improve policy guidance at a regional level as this is weak in Latvia, and of particular relevance to a number of rivers that traverse Latvia but originate in neighbouring countries. Meanwhile, our UK partner, The Association of River Trusts is transferring the environmental and ecological work practices being implemented on the Olatrim and Groody Rivers into its own projects."

Liam Conneally, Director of the MWRA said the visit will feed into the progress already made by participating project partners since the TRAP project was initiated in 2012.

"Through its participation in this project, the MWRA is seeking to improve the governance of lake tourism, for Lough Derg in particular," he added.

Mr. Conneally continued: "The MWRA and the South-West Regional Authority (SWRA) hosted a joint Irish stakeholders' meeting in October 2012 which attracted 20 representatives from 15 organisations in the Mid-West and South-West regions. Major challenges were seen to be about partnerships, local ownership of problems, engaging of communities, integration of policies, inter-relationships between issues and coordination between organisations. The MWRA are currently working in conjunction with the Lough Derg Marketing Strategy Group to identify how two particular good practices of the TRAP project will be imported from other partner regions and transposed to the situation of Lough Derg to provide a more holistic approach to governance of the region."

TRAP is co-funded by the ERDF Interreg IVC programme. Project partners include Kainuun Etu Ltd (Finland); Association of River Trusts (United Kingdom); Zemgale Planning Region (Latvia); Regional Development Agency of Western Macedonia SA (Greece), MWRA and SWRA (Ireland); Waterboard Noorderzijlvest (the Netherlands); National Institute of Research Development for Mechatronics (Romania); and Soca Valley Development Centre (Slovenia).

For more on the TRAP project visit

Published in Inland Waterways

#sb20 – 'Get Out and Sail' was the war cry from the SB20 fleet and 16 boat were expected at Lough Derg Freshwater Regatta at the weekend writes Justin Burke. The war cry was answered with 24 SB20s racing. Maybe this is the bounce for the recent successful SB20 Open Day, we will just have to wait and see? There is a great buzz in the class, pity the season has come to an end.

The SB 20 had 4 excellent racing W/L races on Saturday and one on Sunday. The Saturday racing was typical lake racing shifty with constantly changing pressure . As usual Ben Duncan was best able to adapt with 3 firsts and a 5th and this was enough for him to win the regatta.

The reunited Dowling Brothers Jerry and Jimmy ably chauffeured by Stefan Hyde stayed in the top 6 in each race to secure 2nd. Peter Kennedy proved that consistency is a winning formula , well almost , and finished 3rd. The silver fleet bubbled to the top with Kate Nagle in 6th edging out Mary Creedon in 7th, both creditable results, leaving some noted sailors with some excuses. As ever Lough Derg YC put in a huge effort to make everyone welcome, and with warm weather and a good breeze the regatta was a resounding success.

Published in SB20
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#Jellyfish - One angler's disbelieving discovery in Lough Derg has led to a surprise new marine wildlife find for Ireland's inland waterways.

Pat Joyce from Caslteconnell in Limerick nearly fell off his fishing stand when, in early August, he spotted what looked like a single small jellyfish pulsing in the water in front of him.

The jellyfish disappeared and Joyce thought that perhaps he was mistaken since, as everyone knows, 'there is no such thing as a freshwater jellyfish'.

Two weeks later, again angling for bream in the tranquil surrounds of Scarriff Harbour, just off Lough Derg, Joyce noticed not one but hundreds of tiny jellyfish moving on and below the surface.

He immediately contacted the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to seek clarity, and they put him on to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI). Staff from the Clare region of IFI’s Shannon River Basin District sped to the scene and collected up to 20 live specimens. They really did exist!

IFI’s Colum Walsh and Dave Germaine contacted Dr Joe Caffrey, invasive species specialist with IFI, who immediately organised a site visit to Lough Derg with a team of marine science experts. These included Dr Tom Doyle, a jellyfish expert from the Coastal & Marine Research Centre in UCC, and Dr Dan Minchin from the Lough Derg Science Group.

The survey revealed small numbers of the jellyfish at Scarriff Harbour, but specimens were also recorded from two other locations within the lake – at Rossmore Harbour and at Dromineer.

So what is this jellyfish, where did it come from and why was it never spotted in Ireland before?

As soon as specimens were collected IFI forwarded them to Dr Doyle, who identification them as the free-swimming life stage of a species called Craspedacusta sowerbii. This marks the the first official record for this species in Ireland.

This freshwater jellyfish hails from the Yangtze River Valley in China but currently has a worldwide distribution. It was initially discovered in exotic aquatic plant tanks in Regent’s Park, London in 1880 but has since spread to widely throughout the globe.

The jellyfish is about the size of a euro coin and broadly resemble their marine cousins. It is more or less transparent with a distinctive white/greenish cross and a white/cream circular outline, and possesses in the region of 250–300 small tentacles.

These jellyfish have two distinct life stages; one is a tiny attached polyp and the second is what we know as the jellyfish or medusa stage. The polyp buds off medusa under warm water conditions, generally when water temperature reaches 25 degrees centigrade.

The species is known to occur in single sexed populations, and Dr Doyle confirmed that all of the specimens he examined from Lough Derg were female.

It is probable that the discovery of this jellyfish relates to the wonderfully warm summer that we experienced in Ireland this year, when water temperatures in many watercourses exceeded 25 degrees for prolonged periods. This probably stimulated the budding off of the medusae or jellyfish, which pulsed in the warm water in search of plankton prey. It is noteworthy that jellyfish were also reported from Lough Erne in recent days.

Experience in other countries suggests that blooms of such freshwater jellyfish occur only sporadically and that they last, in any one year, for only a few weeks. So it is possible that we may not see such a sight again for many years.

It is important to state that the freshwater jellyfish is not harmful to humans and that, while they do capture their tiny prey by stinging, the stinging cells are not sufficiently powerful to harm humans.

In addition, the jellyfish do not appear to have any significant effect on the biology or ecology of the waters they are recorded in, probably due to their sporadic occurrence and the short period that the jellyfish blooms are in any water body.

"Anglers are the eyes and ears on our rivers and lakes," said Minister of State Fergus O'Dowd following this amazing discovery. "I ask all anglers to continue to assist in the protection and conservation of this resource, reporting any invasive species they come across to the IFI Hotline immediately."

One serious cause for concern relates to the pathway whereby this jellyfish - and many other non-native and potentially harmful or invasive species - was introduced to Ireland.

The fact that the two watercourses from which the jellyfish was recently recorded (Loughs Derg and Erne) are both internationally renowned navigation waterways suggests that boating and perhaps ballast water from newly introduced craft may represent an important causative agent.

Boats and cruisers are commonly imported from abroad and are introduced into our waters without having to prove that they were cleaned and disinfected before leaving their country of origin.

“This practice is unacceptable and poses a significant threat to biodiversity in our waters and to their functionality, be it as recreational, amenity or municipal waters," said Dr Caffrey. "It is imperative that boats being imported into this country carry certificates of disinfection prior to being granted entry if we are to stop the ever-increasing spread of harmful invasive species.”

If you spot jellyfish in your local watercourse, please contact Inland Fisheries Ireland via or on the 24-hour hotline 1850 34 74 24. See also the EcoJel project at and the website of the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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#mirror – After the recent Mirror Worlds on Lough Derg,'s Cormac Bradley made contact with Mike Robinson, the father of the winning combination, to get some backgroud to the "Team Robinson" win. While Ryan and Michaela won the 2013 version in Lough Derg, their siblings had finished in the top five in the previous Worlds in Australia, won by Northern Ireland's Ross Kearney.

Mike is an ex-Fireball dinghy sailor and the story he describes below proves that you don't have to have all the latest gear in order to win a Worlds. Given the problems the Irish Mirror Class perceived they had at the time of the ISA AGM (with respect to the Worlds and the support thereof), this story has more than one salutory lesson.

Question: At what point did you realise you had victory in the bag?

Ryan Robinson: We went into the last day with all to play for. Three points ahead of second (the "Philippinos"). Luckily we were discarding a 9th and a 10th while the Philippines Team were discarding a 33 and a DNC. We managed to beat the Philippines Team in the second last race by a few places.
Then the last race came with a few boats being black flagged and... We were one of them!
This meant that if the Philippines Team won the last race, they would get the title. While leaving the race area, with our tails in between our legs, a friend of ours, sailing for Ireland, came past us and screamed "Guys you've won, the Philippines also got a black flag!"
As true as Bob, he was right!
Michaela jumped straight into the water, and a feeling of total relief flowed over me. Then total elation!

That was the response elicited from Ryan in an interview after winning the Mirror World Championships held at Lough Derg in Ireland in August 2013. They were the first South African team to achieve this, and a relatively young team, at that, aged 16 and 13 at the time.

I don't know if this achievement should be described as a culmination, the end of the story, or just another chapter, but Cormac Bradley of asked me to put our family's experiences down in writing, so that they can be shared by others.

And this is how it happened.........

The older children, Kathryn, Ricky and Brennan, had all sailed Optimists without much success and without much sparkle. It must be said that the family was a little impecunious at that time, and their equipment was not the best available, but there was more to their lack of success than just that. There was another undefinable factor. Whether it was apprehension, something a little short of fear, a lack of fun or something deeper, I am not sure, but Optimists just did not cut it for them.
So, we bought an old Mirror.
And, I mean old. We paid R200-00 (about 30 Euros or 20 Pounds) for it. It didn't look great. It had a thirty year old suit of "Fast Sails" made by a company who specialised in the manufacture of tarpaulins. There were copper ring nails (as were used in the construction of the Ark, I am sure) all over the hull. It had clearly been built in the pre-epoxy era, and every seam was shaky.
Ricky and Brennan, then about ten and eleven, set about sprucing it up with relish. They found a half empty tin of swimming pool paint that had the word "polyurethane" somewhere on the label, and we ended up with a reasonably badly painted blue and white Mirror, with really badly blown sails. A strip of duct tape was stuck down the leech to try and encourage some shape in a sail which was decades past its sell-by date.
The South African Junior National championships that year, were the first where boats other than Optimists and Dabchicks were invited. Brennan sailed the blue Mirror with his little Boskop Yacht Club friend Sean, who still sails with the family from time to time. This regatta was Kathryn and Ricky's last in Optimists.
Ricky and Brennan sailed the old blue Mirror in their first Mirror Nationals at the ages of 11 and 12. They asked whether they could have some new sails to replace the black duct taped leech set, but were told that new sails would only come their way if they cracked the top ten.
Up to this point, our children's sailing had not cost much – but that was going to change!
They did not make the top ten. They finished eleventh. Father heaved a sigh of relief. The cost of a set of sails was going to be pushing what was then a very skinny budget. But they had lost places in one race because a knot that Father had tied had come loose. So, they applied to Mother for redress, and the next thing we knew, there was a nice set of Harry Ellens's best, hanging from the gaff.
Each time they sailed the old blue Mirror, their confidence grew. It was a complete turnaround from the family's experience in Optimists. It seemed that they were making each other brave, and were feeding on each other's enthusiasm. Brennan, the younger, and the less dexterous of the two was the helmsman, with Ricky, the crew and tactician. The combination was a masterstroke. Ricky immediately took on the mantle of the de-facto mentor, while Brennan had the confidence boost that came with holding the stick.
So confident had they become, that one day they approached their father to ask if they could enter the selections for the Mirror Worlds in Tanzania.
With the family's budget just having recovered from the new sails, and with the likelihood of them being selected in the old boat very slim, even remote, and with Mother menacingly watching every move, Father gave the go ahead. After all, what harm could it do? In the unlikely event of them being selected, one could drive from Carletonville to Tanzania with a Mirror on the roof.
(If, you are wondering where Jim found the temerity to insist that I write this all down, it is because he was at that regatta. This was where we first met him. He saw the old blue boat first hand, and has followed the story ever since. Cormac, on the other hand, knew this bunch intimately before he exiled himself back to Ireland – hence his right to know!)
And, lo and behold, they were selected. Theirs was the fifth name to be announced in the team to go to the Mirror worlds. Father sat, awed, not only by his sons' achievement, but also by the apparent dyslexia of the chairman of the South African Mirror Class Association, an Afrikaans gentleman, who kept on referring to Tanzania as Tasmania.
It turned out that dyslexia was not at issue here. And obviously, the decision to school the children in Carletonville was now severely in the spotlight.
"Do you have any concept where Tasmania is? Do you have any idea what this will cost?"
"Dad, it always was Tasmania. You just don't listen properly!"
And again, they applied to Mother for redress. And, again, got it!
This, by the way, has been a recurring theme.
Fuad Jacobs was commissioned to build a new racing Mirror. A stunning looking boat, pretty as a piece of furniture, and christened African Express after the Fireball that Mother and Father had sailed together. Harry Ellens's sails just had to do, the budget would not stretch to new sails as well. The boys got hold of a copy of the book "Mirror Racing" by Guy Wilkins, and spent hours fitting the boat out and setting it up exactly as the book said.
Before they left, in fact it was on the way to the airport, just after Father had handed over the family credit card with instructions to use it in the case of emergency only, that they were given the instruction to meet people and make friends.
The two little boys from Carletonville, on their way to a place on the other side of the world, to compete in a regatta against the best Mirror sailors in the world, were justifiably apprehensive. They asked how he expected them to do that. Father had to think on his feet (as fathers often have to do, I am sure) and the best he could come up with was a vague strategy: After each race, go and find the winner. Shake his hand and say, "We are Ricky and Brennan from South Africa. Congratulations on your win." And see what happens.
After the first race in the pre-world regatta, they went up to the winner and said "We are Ricky and Brennan from South Africa. Congratulations on your win." He said, "Hi. I am Guy Wilkins."
That rather contrived meeting with the author of their sailing Bible, was the beginning of the first of many friendships that this family has built up with really nice people all over the world. Some of them have gone on to do amazing things in the world of yachting, like Olympic representation and world championship medals, and some are just good friends. The Facebook pages are littered with sailing friends from all over the world – all starting with that simple introduction.
Ricky and Brennan did not do badly in that regatta, and sailed one more Mirror Worlds together in Sweden, after which, their weight combination was just too much for the Mirror.
They had started sailing 420s alongside the Mirror, and in fact sailed in three Youth World Championships together, with Ricky on the helm this time. Ricky has become a formidable helmsman, eventually helming the Royal Natal Yacht Club entry to victory in the Lipton Cup. At his side, as tactician was Brennan, an excellent crew, but a very good helmsman in his own right. Not bad for two little boys who just could not make it happen as single handed sailors.
Ryan (nine years younger than Brennan) had his first experience in Mirror Racing at the twenty four hour race at Milnerton Aquatic club, sailing as part of a family challenge, but he was always destined to sail with his hero, Ricky. Kathryn commissioned a wooden hull from Steve Du Toit, South Africa's foremost dinghy builder, and it was game on. She (the boat that is) was stunning, and was christened (in keeping with Ricky's new status of "university student") Mirrorjuana.
Brennan took over sole control of African Express, but Michaela Mae, then only about seven years old, was just too small for the Port Elizabeth worlds. He sailed with young Julian. Ryan got to sail with Ricky.
And that is where the mentorship started in earnest.
Mirrorjuana's history is a little chequered. She was collected from Steve du Toit immediately before the Selection regatta for the Port Elizabeth worlds. Ricky, with Ryan (then about ten or eleven) as his crew, won the selection regatta, with Brennan and Julian close behind. No sooner had the little boat showed its potential, when it fell off the trailer on the way home. The newly acquired boat straps just did not have the same staying ability as the Mirror. So off she went, back to Steve for a rebuild.
The Port Elizabeth Mirror Worlds were interesting. The city had put on her finest clothes for the occasion, the organisation was superb and a whole lot of friends that Ricky and Brennan had made in Tasmania and Sweden arrived. All five of the children were there, so the capacity to make friends was multiplied. With these five interacting with the existing friends from Tasmania and Sweden, and the new arrivals, the family's circle of Mirror friends grew exponentially. One of these friends was Johnny McGovern, who was press ganged into being the South African team coach, for the rather dubious privilege of spending some time with the Robinson family.
Ryan was a little boy. Not particularly athletic, with an air of trepidation about him. The one thing he had going for him though, was his adoration of Ricky. There was nothing that he would not do to earn the respect of his hero. Brennan, who had always been earmarked as the ship's secretary, remarkably, started to live out his aptitude for tinkering. (One does not perform engineering on a Mirror – one tinkers.) African Express slowly converted into a minor masterpiece of expertly spliced twine on intricate multi purchase gadgets.
It was a great family time. The three students enjoying the pleasures of their young adulthood with the friends that they had built up over the previous years, and the B team, being drawn into that circle when appropriate, and back to the Mom and Dad comfort zone when the going got tough (or inappropriate, as the case may be).
And the transfer of knowledge was well on the way. Ryan hung on to every word that Ricky said. Johnny was amazingly patient and explained endless intricacies that Ryan pretended to grasp. Brennan had an entourage of girls following him, but the most persistent of all was a seven year old, with a haircut that made her look like a mushroom. She stuck to him like a leech, always carrying a piece of line, practicing knots that he was teaching her.
And the results were not bad. African Express around eleventh, and Mirrorjuana around fifth.
Somehow, the Mirror Worlds in Wales sneaked by unnoticed. And with the family budget being as unpredictable as always, it's probably just as well. There may have had to be a call to be made between University Fees and Airfares, and with Mother on the redress panel, who knows where that may have ended.
Ricky and Brennan were now sailing 470s, and anything else they could lay their hands on, and were helping with the training of youngsters in the various junior fleets in South Africa. Kathryn was making a name for herself as a keelboat crew. But when it came to Mirrors, there were some changes in the air.
Michaela Mae declared herself Brennan's crew. There is no certainty about what Kathryn may have thought of her chances of becoming the crew on African Express, but if she had any ambitions, they were shredded by this bold move. She was destined to fill the role of substitute crew.
Ricky was now approaching the top of the class as a helmsman, and should have been assessing his chances at a medal at the up-coming Mirror Worlds in Albany. He chose instead, to take up the position that he held when he and Brennan started out, at the front of the boat, and hand the tiller over to young Ryan. This decision was pivotal – and was the cornerstone behind the future success.
Ricky and Brennan's decision to take the time out of their other sailing stuff, to spend time sailing with, and mentoring their younger siblings, was the decisive moment in the development of Ryan and Michaela into a winning combination.
And each had his challenges. Brennan had to help Michaela overcome her fear of heavy weather, and teach a really little girl the skills required to be a successful crew in a World Championship regatta. Ricky had to find ways to instil confidence into Ryan, while transferring to him as much skill and understanding as Ryan could absorb. And this all had to happen against the background of Father's insistence that they always treat each other with respect, and that the sailing always had to be fun.
And each had a different perspective and skill set to pass on. From Brennan, Michaela learnt a passion for knots and splicing, learnt the art of flying a spinnaker, upped her concentrations levels and learned to focus on the job at hand until its conclusion. Ryan learned about intensive helming, boat speed, surfing and sail trim. And both learnt about the art and science of yacht racing, from tactics at the start through to covering up the last beat. With Michaela being three years the junior, she was learning at a slightly more basic level, but there were no excuses made for her youth. She had committed to the plan, and she was held to her commitment.
African Express and Mirrorjuana were duly selected for the Mirror worlds in Albany, Australia.
Then came the curved ball. The family was given the opportunity to sail together in the Cape to Rio race, on a boat lent to them for a case of beer. Common sense said that the Rio Race should take precedence. The budget agreed with the common sense approach, and Father made the proposal that the Mirror Worlds in Albany should be taken off the family agenda.
Again, they appealed to Mother for redress. Again, redress was granted.
So while Mom Dad and Kathryn made ready for the Rio race, Ryan and Michaela set off for Albany in the company, care and custody of their older brothers.
And it worked out well.
African Express, by now an old lady, in a fleet of shiny new glass fibre Mirrors, had a few breakages, one of which was the new aluminium boom, which broke early on in the game, only to be replaced by the original wooden boom, which she still sports to this day. Another was a critical failure to the vang in the closing stages of the event, which resulted in Brennan and his intrepid little crew logging around eleventh overall.
Mirrorjuana, on the other hand, revelled in her new crew format. Ryan was nicknamed "Pocket Rocket", and he and Ricky left Australia well satisfied with their fourth place. And, of course, they broadened their circle of Mirror friends, with Ryan and Michaela bringing a new generation into the circle.
There was a logic developing here. The next step needed to be to set the little ones free to fend for themselves in the Mirror fleet. And so it was that Ryan and Michaela teamed up for the Lough Derg Mirror Worlds.
The build-up was quite hectic, with Michaela sailing her Oppie with some success, and Ryan trying his hand at following in his brothers' footsteps on a 420. Ricky and Brennan were always closely involved in the sailing activities of the younger siblings, notwithstanding their studies, their 470 aspirations and their involvement in what eventually turned out to be a successful Lipton Cup campaign.
As it happened, Ryan and his pal Dominic, were selected to represent South Africa in the ISAF Youth Worlds in Cyprus, which ended the day before the Irish Nationals started. Michaela, in turn, was selected to sail In the South African Optimist team at the African Optimist Championships in Langebaan, which literally started five days after the Mirror Worlds ended.
I am sure that the thought of a new glass fibre Mirror crossed a mind or two. I am sure that the spars and foils were examined with a view to being replaced. I know that the sails were at least three years old. But, the budgetary pressure occasioned by the simultaneous realisation of all these ambitions was clear, even to the youngest of the team.
The Irish Mirror Worlds were going to have to be contended in a seven year old rebuilt wooden boat, with the existing spars, foils and sails.
Nobody even thought of redress. I think that even Mother realised that if redress was granted, it may impact on her chances of accompanying the expedition to Cyprus and Ireland.
Ryan and Dom took a bit of a pasting at the Youth Worlds, and Michaela was on hand to witness the humble pie being chewed, as the reality of just how fierce the competition on a global scale really is, set in.
And that was the reality that they had to face, when they arrived in Ireland. Not the hottest boat in the fleet. No new equipment. Ryan nursing a severely bruised self-confidence, and Michaela watching surreptitiously out of the corner of her eye, to see if he would pick up, or fold completely. And the luggage was lost!
Two things conspired to get things on track during the course of the Irish Nationals. The first was Michaela's indomitable nature. Ryan had no choice but to buck up, and keep up with her as she set them up in the routine that Brennan had taught her. Check every fitting. Check the rake. Foils. Sails. Rig tension. Water in the hatches.
The second was the joy of running into their old friends, and the pleasure of making the acquaintance of a whole lot of new friends. Vastly different from the stiff relationships encountered at the Youth Worlds. Very soon, it was clear that they were in a comfort zone. They were lent gear by people that they had never met before, until the luggage arrived. And they were absorbed into the Mirror community.
By the end of the Irish Nationals, the team seemed to be on track.
They stuck to the concept of the routine for the whole regatta – right up to the last race. A pre-launch routine. A pre-start routine. A post-race debrief chat on the water. A de-rigging routine. And in that routine, they found confidence, especially, when the results started to look good.
In the switchy conditions that prevailed, it was clear that consistency was going to be important, and that conservative sailing was going to be the key. Father thought he had got the three pronged theme of confident conservative consistency embedded in their combined being, when suddenly it became apparent that Confidence had suddenly over taken the other two prongs.
Heading out to the start on the second or third day of the worlds, on a support boat, it was clear, in the distance that the race had just started. An SMS message arrives from South Africa: "Port Start?" Father's response: "Please no!" Rosanna, the pretty driver of the RIB pressed the pedal to the metal, and the rib got there just in time to witness Ryan and Michaela crossing the entire 91 boat fleet on port in 20 knots of breeze. Clearly, the Mojo had been found.
The rest, as they say, is history.
And if there was any disadvantage to sailing the older wooden boat, it was not evident. Mind you, it must be noted that Ricky and Brennan were meticulous in the way they looked after and stored the Mirror equipment, and ensured that Ryan and Michaela followed suit, which had the effect of enhancing the longevity.
From the earliest days, when Brennan helmed, and Ricky crewed, it was clear that a proper team had at its disposal the sum of the intellects of the crew members, as opposed to the intellect of the skipper supplemented occasionally by snippets that he allowed from the crew. It seems that when this teamwork is supplemented by the transfer of knowledge, skills and experience by way of both deed and word, that anything is possible.
That, I hope, is the story that Cormac wanted me to record.
Of Mirrors and mentorship.
Is this the end of the story? Or just another chapter? Does logic dictate that Ryan will be crewing for Michaela at the Mirror Worlds at Theewaterskloof?
Time, no doubt, will tell.

Published in Mirror

#mirrorworlds2013 – For even the saltiest of seafarers, the Shannon One Design has a special allure. These slinky beauties of Ireland's inland waterways have an exotic attraction heightened by the fact that, despite their occasional visits to salt water, they only seem truly at home on the great lakes of the River Shannon. And when the organisers of the Mirror Worlds 2013 sounded out Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and The Marine, to perform last Sunday's official opening ceremony at Lough Derg YC at Dromineer, they discovered he was one of these secret Shannon OD admirers. Simon Coveney has raced offshore, and in major regattas. He has made oceanic voyages. And in his younger days, he was even an Irish Mirror Champion. But it seems the sweetener that drew him to Dromineer was the chance of his very first sail in a 17ft clinker-built Shannon One Design at one of their most historic strongholds.

So it says much about the sheer fun-filled exuberance of the great International Mirror Dinghy festival which concluded last night at Dromineer that for ten days - apart from Simon Coveney's sail with John and Adair Leech on their Shannon One Design - the SODs were sidelined. The characterful little Mirrors – 91 of them from seven diferent countries – totally dominated the scene both on the Dromineer waterfront, and out on the magnificent lake. And they had a tremendous week of racing despite a difficult period of weather in which four different seasons in one day – indeed, sometimes in one hour – set PRO Con Murphy a daunting task in which he completed a full programme despite Met Eireann outdoing itself in the gloomy weather prediction stakes throughout the week.

For those of us hoping to savour this remarkable event at its very best, it was a matter of Carpe Diem, Seize the Day, and the magic day was Tuesday. The morning may have seen the brisk westerly bring one large rainsquall blotting out the Clare hills as the fleet scampered along under spinnaker, but for the rest of the day the sun was strong from a vigorous sky. And the wind was brisk, then strong and then stronger again, such that by mid-afternoon further racing was curtailed. But by that time the legendary Mirror zest for sailing had been expressed yet again with gusto.

Minister for Agriculture, Food & The Marine Simon Coveney was able to fulfill a lifelong ambition to sail a Shannon One Design at Dromineer. Photo: Gerardine Wisdom

At the opening ceremony were (front row, left to right) David Meredith (Vice Commodore, LDYC), Cllr Virginia O'Dowd, Commodore LDYC Denis Hassey, Minister Simon Coveney, Mayor North Tipperary Ger Darcy, President Int. Mirror Association Celia May, Cllr Phil Bulger, and Assistant Event Manager Lucy Sanders. Back row: Event PR Eleanor Hooker, Noel Coonan TD, Event Manager Ian Roberts, and Cllr Seamus Morris. Photo: Gerardine Wisdom

In fact, the regatta was already in full swing by the time Minister Coveney performed his official duties, as the Irish Mirror National Opens had completed a successful if sometimes flukey four day eight-race buildup to the big one in the week beforehand, with a fleet of 68 boats getting results which were encouraging for visitors and the home fleet alike. And for anyone new to the Mirror scene, it gave a comprehensive insight into the variety of people these unique 10ft 10ins boat attract these days.

Clear overall winners were Ridgeley Balladares and Rommel Chaves of the Philippines with a convincing scoreline of five firsts and a fourth, discarding a 48th in Race 7 and a DNC in Race 8. If you think - like most folk in Ireland - that Mirrors are useful little multi-purpose boats for kids, then the Philippine pair were an eye-opener. Balladares is 36 while Chaves is 40, and the word was their day job is as crew on a superyacht whose owner encourages their dinghy racing. Naturally there were some muttering about this making them pros in a classically amateur class, but my own feeling was they deserved an extra medal – anyone who is keen enough to go off for some concentrated dinghy racing after the 24/7 grind which is being crew on a superyacht deserves special recognition.

New Irish Open Champions Ridgeley Balladares and Rommel Cahvez of the Philippines were on top form in the opening four day event. Still on the windward leg astern are senior Australian helms Simon Barwood (46) no 70784, and Ken Barnes (61) no 70790. Photo: Gerardine Wisdom

The runners-up were Cian Hickey and Caolan Croasdell of Skerries, which doubtless caused dancing in the streets of Fingal. They finished on 25pts to the 9 of the Filipino crew, and four points ahead of Alfie Wisdom and Sam Warren of the host club, while in fourth and fifth came names which were to come to greater prominence in the Worlds proper, with British crew Sarah Richards and her son George one point behind on 30. On 36 points in fifth were South African siblings Ryan and Michaela Robinson of Boskop YC, poised (if they but knew it) to become International Mirror World Champions 2013, and leading a strong South African contingent in anticipation of the Worlds there in 2015.

The diversity of these crews is classic Mirror profile. Hickey and Croasdell are fairly standard at 18 and 14 years respectively, while Wisdom and Warren are 20 and 14. But a new profile emerges with the Richards duo – Sarah is 41 while son George is 12. And the promising South African brother and sister Robinson crew had one of the lowest average ages of all, with Ryan being 16 while Michaela is 13.

But if you think this diversity encompasses international Mirror sailing, think again. The first entry for the entire regatta came from Ken Barnes of Montrose Bay in Australia, and he's 61. Then from Canada came Donovan Alp, and he's 60. But all were put in the ha'penny place by Rex Henderson from Australia's Royal Freshwater Bay YC who admitted to being 70, but who knows, it might be more. So these crazy Mirror maniacs are the living embodiment of the ISA's motto of sailing being a sport for life. And as for running a successful World Championship being a matter of club and community endeavour, in a little place like Dromineer, it just has to be – it wouldn't work any other way.

An ideal venue – Lough Derg YC's current clubhouse was opened eight years ago. Photo: W M Nixon

Lough Derg YC (founded 1835) has an attractive, substantial and very efficient clubhouse which was opened after massive membership endeavour back in 2005, and deservedly saw LDYC taking the Mitsubishi Motors "Club of the Year" award. In effect, it functions as the lakeside village's community centre, and hosts such an extraordinary variety of events that in honour of one of them, the Dromineer Literary Festival, it was described this week as a Poetry Society with Sailing Club attached.

Just to show we're not making this up, this year's festival is from 3rd to 7th October, and all info is at But meanwhile there was this business of the club taking on the biennial Mirror Worlds at a time when Mirror Dinghies are supposed to be rather passé despite their Golden Jubilee this year, and with the reality of Ireland being in recession and Dromineer being a place of limited visitor accommodation. In fact, it was the perfect formula to spur everyone on to greater effort. Just about everyone got involved, and the visitors from far and wide who couldn't find accommodation either in b&bs or people's houses found that there were berths available on the large variety of cruisers in the harbour.

So the people were indeed coming to Dromineer, and keen to race. A fleet of 91 boats isn't one to be sniffed at, and when you take on the mantle of a World Championship, you have the additional task of hosting teams of mandatory officials who have been guaranteed a certain level of comfort. It's a formidable organizational effort, but for a very long time in advance, Event Manager Ian Roberts and his Assistant Manager Lucy Sanders were putting their team together, and anyone who has been following the daily up-dates on from Dromineer on the progress of the regatta will know that the sailors have been having a mighty fine time.

Even the daily reports have been a good example of team effort by the shore squad in the clubhouse and Mirror supporters out on the water. From the race course, Andy Johnston of Sutton Dinghy Club was filing in a stream of regular reports on tactical developments in each race, with additional input from Brian Raftery of Sligo. Back in the clubhouse, LDYC Press Officer Eleanor Hooker kept tabs on the reports she collated a daily report each evening which gave an excellent overview of the progress of a world class World Championship.

The hefty 1958-built steel ketch Shindilla proved an ideal committee boat, but even she showed that Lough Derg can make waves. Photo: W M Nixon

Out on the water, PRO Con Murphy and his crew were based on the Levie family of Clonmel's substantial steel ketch Shindilla. Originally built in the Netherlands in 1958 for Bob Berridge of Galway and Cork, the 38ft Shindilla is the ideal size for a committee boat on Lough Derg, as she's not too large, yet her weight provides a solid platform on a bit of water which can sometimes serve up rollers which wouldn't shame the sea.

The first race on the second day in the Worlds showed the Robinsons' winning style. The fleet shapes up with the port end suddenly becoming the favoured position...... Photo: W M Nixon


.....but two Irish boats (Keri-Ann Boylan & Ros Morgan, and Ronan Gilmartin & Sean O'Leary) find themselves pushed beyond the limit, yet the Robinsons zap away in perfect style clear on port such that.........Photo: W M Nixon

dromineer11 minute after the start they're totally out on their own, sailing in clear air. Photo: W M Nixon

So the scene was set, with the community in the attractive village – on a good day it's the Tipperary Riviera - and the members in the bustling clubhouse all together on message. And there, wonderful as ever, was the lake, ready for it and astonishingly beautiful as only Lough Derg can be, particularly in a week when the changeable weather gave it a new brightness of sunlight and a welcome freshness after the choking and often windless heat of most of July. For although the Irish championship which started the regatta had occasional lack of wind pressure, for the Worlds it was a dream scenario with sailing at its best.

A rainsquall sweeps across, blotting out the Clare Hills, but on the run the Robinsons have reinforced their lead. Photo: Gerardine Wisdom

In the thick of it, running before Thursday's squall, are Tiarnan Dickson & Alex Leech (Lough Ree YC, white spinnaker), Jack Maye & Sarah White (Sligo YC, blue spinnaker), and Jack Ryan & Ben Graf (70636, Lough Ree YC). Photo: Gerardine Wisdom.

Second start on Day 2, and some folk think the port end is still favoured.......... Photo: W M Nixon

....but it isn't. Joshua Muller & Daniel Coetzer of South Africa hit it on the gun travelling well.........Photo: W M Nixon

......and at first things are looking good for Muller and Coetzer. Photo: W M Nixon

Close behind, there's a merry bunch, with Emilio Williams Doran & Michaal Broaders (70288) put astray by a starboard rush. Photo: W M Nixon

Reality has intervened for Muller & Coetzer as boats stategically better placed at the start take over their apparent lead - in this case it's Jeremy and Lauren Stephens doing the business. Photo: W M Nixon

The fleet came from seven nations, and here Eoin Hickey & Sadbh Culleton of Ireland lead from Viktor Hogbom & Malin Goransson of Sweden and Howard Leoto & Pakamani Yoko of South Africa. Photo: W M Nixon

An Irish sailing memory to cherish – Lough Derg at its most handsome as David & Timothy Pilbeam (Australia), lead from Simon & Sidonia Barwood (Australia), Mark & Duncan Hawksworth (South Africa), George O'Connor & Aaron Rogers (Ireland), Robert Blake & Jack Fahey (Ireland), and Ben & Gabe Hill (GB).
Photo: W M Nixon

Seize the day, seize the moment – this was all very special. My own observation point was from Reggie Goodbody's gaff sloop Amaryllis, which is yet another Lough Derg curiosity, as her hull was built in Italy, then the boat was finished in Holland. But now she is such a ubiquitous feature of all Ireland's inland waterways that she's believed to be the only boat which has crossed the M50 under sail – she did it on the Royal Canal aqueduct.

The only boat ever to cross Dublin's M50 under sail – Reggie Goodbody's Amaryllis in her home port of Dromineer. Photo: W M Nixon


Calling it a day. Senior Canadian crew Donovan Alp and Daniel Coady return to Dromineer.......Photo: W M Nixon


.....only to find that their allocated berth has been taken over by a family of swans.......Photo: W M Nixon

....but Canadians are good at peace-making and the swans move on......Photo: W M Nixon

dromineer25 a more appropriate berth beside the Shannon ODs, while out on the lake, racing has finished for the day as the wind freshens still further. Photo: W M Nixon

Amaryllis's hefty nature meant we couldn't mix it in the heat of the fleet with the proper photographers' RIBs, but we got the flavour of it, and more particularly we were comfortably back in time for the post-sailing atmosphere in Dromineer. Thus we saw senior crew Donovan Alp and Daniel Coady from Canada making their early return to find a very strong looking family of swans had taken up residence on the Canadian's allocated berth. Somehow, it was sorted out (Canadians are good at peace-making), and the swans re-located to a suitable spot beside the Shannon One Designs. while out on the lake the day's racing was signalled as over, and the fleet cascaded back to shore.

Mirrors everywhere as the fleet cascades back into port. Photo: W M Nixon

By this time, I was so Mirror mesmerized that I'd got to the stage of thinking any boat with a pointy bow and white sails was an oddity. Normality had become a boat with a bluff little hull and red sails, sailed by people who race for fun. And Dromineer is the ideal spot for them. After racing at a saltwater venue, you have all the hassle of washing down boat, gear, sails and crew with fresh water. But that simply doesn't come up on the agenda in Dromineer. It's a sweet spot.


Post race Dromineer. At the end of the day, there's no tedious requirement for washing off the salt. Photo: W M Nixon

Published in W M Nixon

#mirrorworlds2013 – Top Irish Douglas Elmes and Scott Levie are in fifth overall, some 25 points adrift of the South African leaders going into the final rounds of the Mirror World Sailing Championships on Lough Derg in County Tipperarty today. 

Day 4 of the Championships and the weather forecast for Lough Derg was more amenable that had been expected. Boats launched in incessant rain with a light southerly breeze. The first race took three attempts as has become the norm for first race. Third time lucky and all got away with Ridegly Ballardes from the Philippines took the left side of the course along with Ireland's Alfie Wisdom and the UK's Robert Bellfield. As the leg progressed the left side certainly looked like it was paying off with Sarah Richards (GBR), Ridgely Balladares and Ryan Robinson from South Africa following suit. Douglas Elmes (IRL) took the middle but certainly looked separated from the leaders during the early stages. Aside from Alfie Wisdom the best Irish at this point was Jack Maye who was also on left side of the course.

Sarah Richardson was first to weather mark followed by Ryan Robinson and Ridgely Balladares. A few boat lengths later was Nigel Thomas from the UK and local Alfie Wisdom who was having a great leg. The left side certainly paid off with right hand side boats well back at weather mark. Down the spinnaker leg Isabel Davies and Katies Davies started to make a move on the leaders. With the wind starting to increase and visibility reducing with the rain it was hard to see where the leaders were coming from during the early part of the upwind leg. Sarah Richards seemed to go right with most of the others up the middle. Nigel Thomas and Alfie Wisdom had now overtaken Ridegly Ballardes however Sarah Richards had extended her lead at second weather mark and held it to the finish. A battle ensued between Nigel Thomas, Ridegly Ballardes and Ireland's Alfie Wisdom down the reach and spinnaker leg with Thomas and Wisdom eventually taking 2nd and 3rd respectively . Overnight leader Ryan Robinson sailed conservatively and finished in 6th while Douglas Elmes who had been 5th overall could only manage an 18th. Ireland's Kerri-Ann Boylan had a storming race and took 9th to be second Irish boat home. The wind picked up at the end and a number of backmarkers capsized with a few retiring before the second race.

The second race got away the first time with wind steady about 180 degrees. At the pin end David Coady from the UK had a great start followed closely by Rachel Grayson, Esme Shepard and Ridegly Ballardes. With the rain now belting down it looked like the fleet were favouring left side again. Rachel Grayson was the clear leader up the beat with Douglas Elmes now showing alongside Ridegly Ballardes, Robert Belfield, Sarah Richards and Katie Davies. Alfie Wisdom looked like the next Irish boat but he had to do penalty turns and was slow away from the mark. The PRO called for weather mark to be moved further out for next beat as fleet made their way down to bottom mark in a lightening breeze. The lead boats maintained their positions around bottom mark but Rachel Grayson had extended her lead. Series leader Ryan Robinson had been sailing conservatively and at times looked like it was not flying a spinnaker but was still in contact with the top five. Rachel Grayson came out of the right hand side of beat with Sarah Richards, Katie Davies and Ryan Robinson, while Douglas Elmes and Ridegly Ballardes took the middle left.

Rachel Grayson rounded weather mark for the last time with further extended lead with clearly the minor placing between the next five or six boats. Douglas Elmes seemed to get round second followed by Sarah Richards and Katie Davies. The latter had a great leg and got ahead of Douglas Elmes at bottom mark and moved in to second place as they rounded for the short beat to the finish. Douglas Elmes was also under pressure from Ridegly Ballardes and had to be satisfied with a 4th while Sarah Richards finished 5th. Overall leader Ryan Robinson seemed happy to not get too engaged and finished 9th and with a second discard kicking in he still leads.

Published in Mirror
Tagged under

#rnli – Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat launched following a request from Valentia Coast Guard to assist six people after their 38ft motor boat suffered steering failure in Dromineer Bay.

At 14.50hrs on Friday afternoon, July 12, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat to launch to assist six people, four adults and two young children, after they reported that their 38ft motor boat had lost steering.

The lifeboat launched with Helm Eleanor Hooker, David Moore and Jason Freeman on board. Winds were west south-west, Force 2/3. Temperature was 30*C. The lifeboat came alongside at 15.15hrs, all onboard was safe and unharmed. A RNLI volunteer was transferred to the boat and requested everyone to put on a lifejacket. The helm of the casualty vessel had very sensibly dropped anchor to prevent their boat drifting on to the rocks by Urra Point.

As only one person onboard was able to communicate in English, an RNLI crew member explained fully what the lifeboat proposed to do, and he then relayed that to the rest of his group. The lifeboat set up tow, weighed anchor on the casualty vessel, and then, with an RNLI crew member still on board, towed her and her passengers to the public harbour in Dromineer.

Lough Derg RNLI helm Eleanor Hooker advises boat users to 'not to delay, to call for help as soon as they are in difficulties, by calling 999 or 112 and asking for Marine Rescue'.

The Lifeboat returned to station and was ready for service again at 16.00hrs.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

#Diving - An Irishman who set a world record for long-distance SCUBA diving is preparing to double that incredible feat.

Christopher Healy set the Guinness World Record for the fastest SCUBA dive over a distance of 10km in October 2011 in an effort to raise funds for the Share a Dream Foundation, which raised the spirits of his son Stephen when he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

The experienced diving instructor - who runs the Atlantic Diving School in Co Clare - followed a long line of Irish divers such as Declan Devine, Sean McGahern and Paul Devane who've either smashed or attempted to smash records in the field.

And Healy has since written a book, The 10K Record, about the highs and lows of his journey to breaking the record.

But this weekend he aims to double that effort - and raise more funds for Share a Dream and Temple Street Children's Hospital - by SCUBA diving an unbroken 20km route in Lough Derg.

Staring at Mountshannon Harbour at 3am this Sunday 7 July, Healy will travel underwater towards Scariff and back via Scilly Island to Killaloe, aiming to arrive around 3pm.

He will be accompanied along the way by a small flotilla of support boats to replace his air supply and record his journey for verification.

For more about Healy's 20km diving challenge and how you can donate, visit the Facebook page HERE.

Published in Diving

#rnli – Following a major search and rescue operation on Lough Derg last night for 18 rowing boats the lifeboat (RNLI) at Dromineer was launched again this morning in a separate response to assist young canoeists in difficulty in heavy weather at Whitegate at the southern end of Lough Derg.

Lifeboat crew with Lough Derg RNLI launched this morning (Saturday June 22) after a request by Valentia Coast Guard to assist an unknown number of canoeists in difficulty in heavy weather at Whitegate, north of Killaloe.

The lifeboat crew was stood down after Valentia Coast Guard received information that all canoe had safely reached the Clare shore at Two Mile Gate. 

At 11.19hrs on Saturday June 22 Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat to launch to search for young canoeists (numbers unknown) in difficulty and unable to get to shore in gale force winds at Whitegate, north of Killaloe, on lough Derg.

The lifeboat launched at 11.30hrs with Helm Eleanor Hooker, Tom Dunne and Dom Sharkey on board. Winds were westerly, Force 6/7, gusting 8, with very poor visibility with rain and low cloud.

The lifeboat was stood down almost immediately by Valentia Coast Guard, when reports came through that the canoeists had safely landed on the Clare shore at Two Mile Gate.

Volunteer Lifeboat Helm said 'it is crucial to assess the weather conditions before going afloat and to be aware of the forecast, and to let people know when you are launching and when you will arrive at your destination'.

The lifeboat returned to station and was ready for service again at 11.45hrs

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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