Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Rockall

#marinescience – A team of thirteen marine scientists representing eight nationalities led by Dr Aggeliki Georgiopoulou from University College Dublin (School of Geological Sciences) and Dr Veerle Huvenne from the National Oceanography Centre, UK (Marine Geoscience), recently completed a two week (15th – 26 July) expedition on the RV Celtic Explorer, where they made new discoveries relating to the geology and biological habitats of the south-eastern slope of Rockall Bank.

In the North Atlantic, 270 nautical miles (520 km) away from the Irish coast, the team used the remotely operated vehicle ROV Holland I and the Marine Institute's new six metre gravity corer to gain an unprecedented look at landslide scarps of the Rockall Bank Slide Complex, as well as determine the connection between the biology, terrain characteristics and the geology of the area.

The creation of this series of deep-sea escarpments, related to the Rockall Bank Slide Complex, is believed to have taken place after the last ice age, around 15,000 years ago. "During the expedition we discovered that the scarps in this area are actually very different from one another both geologically and biologically, which we hadn't anticipated as they are in such close proximity to one another," says Dr Aggeliki Georgiopoulou.

With fifty rock samples and over twenty gravity cores retrieved, the team hope to be able to explain this diversity. "We now need to further review the samples and data to help answer questions such as: do these differences in the terrain mean that this wasn't one single landslide? Could these escarpments have formed in different episodes and that's why they look so different? This is the first time we took such a close look at a submarine landslide so it will take us some time to analyse the video and relate what we see to what we know – this is completely new information for us. The video footage has also revealed that seafloor pinnacles evident on the Irish National Seabed Survey map are in fact volcanic edifices, so far not documented or included in the geological maps of the Irish offshore," explained Dr Georgiopoulou.

The importance of this research lies in the fact that it helps scientists compare and understand the geologic behaviour of sediments and rock on slopes under the sea and hence establish a better understanding of the stability of our continental slope.

"The use of the new gravity corer provided scientists with an opportunity to retrieve three metre core sediments from areas under the seabed that haven't been reached before. Also capturing footage and taking samples using the Holland I gave us an unprecedented look at the terrain. It was as if we were in the field itself, walking around and selecting exactly the samples we needed, instead of taking a blind hit in 1000 m water depth. Now we know exactly where each of our rock samples, short cores and biological samples came from," said Dr Veerle Huvenne.

"The faulting or fracturing of the earth's surface under the sea is not as rare as people might think, but because it is not visible it is often not considered. The research of the scarps in this area will provide us with key information on the possibility of future land-slides in this region. As this particular slope is facing Ireland, if there were a new landslide to occur, we need to estimate if it would impact the Irish west coast," said Dr Georgiopoulou.

A second aim of the expedition was to collect material that will contribute to the mapping of Ireland's marine habitats, which is important for marine spatial planning, particularly in the context of the increasing use of deep-sea resources.

"Habitat mapping efforts so far have been unable to accurately represent areas of steep and near-vertical slopes, due to the limitations of the traditional techniques used. Traditionally, instruments only visualise and sample material straight down, directly below the ship, so vertical habitats are overlooked even though recent studies are showing they can be very rich," explained Dr Veerle Huvenne.

Using the ROV Holland I the team of scientists retrieved nearly 50 hours of seabed video footage and up to 60 biological samples for taxonomic identification and DNA analysis. "We also used a portable multi-beam echo-sounder, but deployed it in a totally novel configuration, that I have only tested twice before on the UK ROV Isis. Normally a multi-beam system looks downward under a research vessel and sweeps the seafloor in stripes that are collated to make a seafloor map. We however positioned the multi-beam on the front of the ROV Holland I, looking forward and sweeping the vertical cliffs, creating essentially maps of walls," Dr Huvenne further said.

Aodhán FitzGerald, the Marine Institute Research Vessel Program Coordinator thanked the ROV engineers and pilots and vessel crew and technicians for their successful configuration and deployment of the ROV, corer and other equipment, which enabled optimal sample and data acquisition.

Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute congratulated the team of scientists, highlighting the importance of using innovative new methodology and technology during the expedition saying, "this expedition is a further example of the importance of cooperation between universities, institutes and countries in researching our ocean and increasing our knowledge of its dynamic systems."

Activities during the expedition are documented on the Marine Institute blog:

This research survey CE14011 SORBEH is supported by the Marine Institute, and is funded under the Marine Research Sub-Programme by the Irish Government with a contribution from the ERC CODEMAP project.

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

#Rockall - Motor Boat & Yachting reports on a potential new record round-trip offshore sailing from Portland in Dorset to Rockall in a remarkable 53-hour non-stop run on a single tank of fuel.

Maryslim, a 72ft wave piercer, set out from Portland Bill on a 'one boat, one team, one fuel tank' mission to complete the 1,422-mile voyage to and from the tiny disputed island in the North Atlantic off Ireland's northwest coast.

The crew were led by Richard Reddyhoff - who co-owns the boat with his wife Mary - who fronted a previous unsuccessful attempt to round the treacherous waters of Rockall in 2012.

But the weather window was just right this time round, and the team are now awaiting confirmation from the RYA of their hopefully record-smashing jaunt.

Motor Boat & Yachting has more on the story HERE.

Published in Offshore
Tagged under

#MarineWildlife - Four new species of marine wildlife have been discovered off Rockall, as the Guardian reports.

It was a bonus Christmas present for marine scientists in Scotland who've announced that a handful of the array of deep ocean creatures found at the 'cold seep' methane gas vent in the North Atlantic - namely a large sea snail and two clams - have been confirmed as species new to science.

One of the clams, Thyasira scotiae, and the sea snail Volutopsius scotiae have been named after the research vessel MRV Scotia, while the clam Isorropodon mackayi is named in tribute to mollusc expert David Mackay. A marine worm also discovered is as yet unnamed pending examination.

As previously reported on, the Rockall vent and its surrounds were discovered by scientists last year and since explored on a number of occasions - their findings prompting the International Convention on the Exploration of the Seas to recommend a ban on fishing in the area around the Rockall basin, 260 miles west of the Hebrides.

The new discoveries come in the same year as Irish researchers celebrate the discovery of an amazing new undersea world in the Whittard Canyon on the Irish Atlantic margin, containing larger than average molluscs that may be up to 200 years old.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - The Guardian reports that fishing is expected to be banned near Rockall after the recent discovery of a rare ocean floor gas vent and new species of shellfish.

The 'cold seep' methane vent found by Scotland-based marine scientists last year is only the third of its kind to be found in this region of the Atlantic Ocean - and apparently has a 'chemosynthetic' relationship with two species of deep-water clam, and the polychaete worms they contain, that are new to science.

Also found was a frilled shark, described as a 'living fossil' for existing as a species for at least 90 million years. Such sharks are seldom seen north of the tropics.

In the wake of these findings, the International Convention on the Exploration of the Seas has recommended a ban on fishing activity at the site and its surrounds.

Rockall - which adventurer Nick Hancock is attempting to occupy for a world record attempt - is a tiny rocky islet north-east of Donegal, almost halfway between Ireland and Iceland in the North Atlantic. It has long been the subject of territorial dispute, with Ireland, the UK, Iceland and Denmark all staking a claim.

The Guardian has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Rockall - Endurance adventurer Nick Hancock has returned to port after having aborted his landing on the tiny island of Rockall in the North Atlantic.

As previously reported on, the Briton was set to begin a two-month sojourn living on the minuscule rocky outcrop that experiences some of the world's largest waves inside an eight-foot water tank 'survival pod', in an effort to raise money for the Help for Heroes charity.

But The Guardian says heavy seas on Friday morning 31 May made landing on the island impossible, forcing his return to port at Harris in the Outer Hebrides.

"I'm disappointed, but not wholly surprised," he said upon his arrival. "We thought it was going to be all about the weather and swell, and we knew the weather window was really tight."

Hancock still hopes to get onto the island in the coming weeks and beat the previous solo stay record of 40 days set by SAS vet Tom McClean in 1985 and the 42-day record set by three Greenpeace protesters in 1997.

However, the rougher weather of late summer may scupper his plans to get off the island at the end of his stay if the adventure is delayed for much longer.

Ireland, the UK, Denmark and Iceland all lay claim to the disputed island northeast of the Donegal coast, which is 31m across at its widest point.

Published in Coastal Notes

A British man is set to spend two months inside an eight foot water tank on a desolate island in the North Atlantic as he tries to raise money for charity.

Nick Hancock is planning to set two endurance records by living on the 100ft island of Rockall and raise money for the Help for Heroes charity.

Rockall is constantly pounded by 3,000 miles of Atlantic swell. The world's largest recorded oceanic waves of over 95 feet were recorded there in 2000 - some 19 feet higher than Rockall itself.

Published in Coastal Notes
Tagged under

#rockall – Galway city will get its first taste of what a week of seafaring parties and prize-giving ceremonies for intrepid sailors, some of whom have sailed around the world; others who have raced around the remote North Atlantic Island of Rockall, will be like.

The crews of the three boats, which took part in the inaugural Galway/Round Rockall Race, will be feted on the Main Stage in the Race Village complex in Galway Harbour at 7.30pm.

The race organised by Galway Bay Sailing Club, in advance of the Volvo Ocean Race finale, was won by Cork sailor Barry Hurley in his JOD 35 "Dinah". He sailed the 750 mile race single handed beating the German boat "Bank Von Bremen", which has a crew of nine, by two hours on corrected time.

The third boat in the race Jamie Young's "Killary Flyer" got  back to Galway at 11.50 on Friday night. He also sailed the race single handed.

All three crews were given rousing receptions when they berthed in Galway Harbour. Tonight  they will take centre stage at a ceremony to be attended by Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring TD will officiate the prize giving.

Rockall Race Director Aodhán Fitzgerald said they expected the crews of the boats which had taken part in this fascinating race would be given a huge "Galway" welcome home tonight

Huge crowds are expected in Galway for the opening night of the nine festival which has been organised around the finale of the 39,000 mile Volvo Ocean Race. The six boats taking part in the race are expected to arrive in Galway from Lorient late on Monday night or early Tuesday morning.

The race organisers say they issue further updates over the week end on the likely arrival time of the fleet.

Published in Offshore
Tagged under

#roundrockall – Cobh sailor Barry Hurley is set to take the overall honours in the first ever 750 mile Galway/Round Rockall Race, in his 35 foot boat "Dinah" arriving back in Galway at lunchtime today.

The race organisers predict the single handers arrival time will be between 12.30 and 1.30. Hurley's OD 35 "Dinah" passed north of Inishmore earlier this morning and is currently winning the race by two hours on corrected time.

The third boat taking part in the race, Jamie Young's classic Admiral's Cup 50 foot Frerer's designed "Killary Flyers",  is expected to cross the finish line at Mutton Island  this evening or tonight. It is also  being sailed singlehanded.

The first boat home yesterday  was the German yacht "Bank Von Bremen". It has a crew of nine and is skippered by Rainer Persch.  It first made a 1,000 mile trip from its homeport of Bremerhaven to come to Galway for the race.

Published in Offshore
Tagged under

#rockall – The three boats competing in the first ever Round Rockall race from Galway are due back in the West coast port sometime tomorrow after an epic 750 mile race. All three yachts - two Irish and one German- rounded Rockall around midnight on Tuesday.

The German yacht "Bank Von Bremen" first made a 1,000 mile trip from its homeport of Bremerhaven to come to Galway for the race around Rockall. It has a crew of nine and is skippered by Rainer Persch.

The two Irish boats are being raced by veteran single-handed sailors Jamie Young, from Killary in Connemara and Barry Hurley from Cobh in Cork.

Barry Hurley is sailing his JOD 35 "Dinah" the boat in which he won his class in the 2009 OSTAR the singlehanded 3,000 mile transatlantic race from Plymouth in England to Newport Rhode Island in the US. He completed the crossing in what race organisers described as "a flawless 21 day run"

Jamie Young has taken to the seas in his classic Admiral's Cup 50 foot Frerer's designed "Killary Flyers". He competed in the 1976 OSTAR Race and he and his wife Mary spent their honeymoon completing a two handed transatlantic crossing.  He now runs the Killary Adventure Centre in Connemara.

Race organiser Larry Hynes said "The idea of a non stop race around Rockall came about because of the enormous buzz created in Galway by the 2009 Volvo Ocean Race stopover. We thought we would like to do something spectacular to coincide with the 2012 Volvo Ocean Race finale and we ended up sending three boats racing around Rockall"

"The crews of the three boats are certainly taking the hard route to the party but they will certainly be given a great welcome home when they arrive back in the city tomorrow"

Published in Offshore
Tagged under

Galway Bay Sailing Club has announced details of a new Irish offshore yacht race, the  Round Rockall Race 2012 that will start on the same day as Wicklow's biennial Round Ireland race and a week before the Volvo Ocean Race calls to Galway Port on July 5. Both the Round Ireland and Round Rockall races are of similar length, around 700 miles each. An entry limit of 40 boats has been put on the inaugural race. The 2010 Round Ireland race attracted a fleet of 36.

The new offshore race is organised by the Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) and the Round Rockall Race Committee. The start will be from inner Galway Bay on Sunday 24th June 2012 at 1800hrs.

The course will be from a start line in inner Galway Bay and around the islet of Rockall in the North East Atlantic and to a finish
line back in inner Galway Bay. Marks of the Course will be defined in the Sailing Instructions yet to be published. The approximate distance is 652 Nautical Miles.

Entries will be from IRC rated yachts of LOA 9.15m/30 feet and over.

Indicative Class bands which may be modified based on entries received are:

Class 1 : IRC 1.055 - 1.149
Class 2 : 1.00 - 1.054
Class 4 : Two-handed Class
Class 5: Single-handed class
Class 6 : Cruiser Class

Organisers stipulate in the notice of race that 'The Round Rockall Race' is an open ocean race. Every crew member must have experience of sailing a yacht offshore and be prepared to encounter heavy weather. Competitors will be required to provide evidence of offshore experience.

View Larger Map

The full Notice of Race is below.

Round Rockall Race 2012 - Notice of Race

The Race is organised by the Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) and the Round Rockall Race Committee.

2.1 The race will be sailed under the Racing Rules of Sailing, the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations, and the additions detailed below:
2.1(a) This Notice of Race, the Entry Form and the Sailing Instructions.
2.1(b) The Race is subject to ISAF Offshore Special Regulations Category 1 with the exceptions/ amendments listed in this Notice of Race.
2.2 In the event of conflict the Sailing Instructions shall prevail.

The start will be from inner Galway Bay on Sunday 24th June 2012 at 1800hrs.

The course will be from a start line in inner Galway Bay, Ireland and around the islet of Rockall in the North East Atlantic and to a finish line in inner Galway Bay, Ireland. Marks of the Course will be defined in the Sailing Instructions. The approximate distance is 652 Nautical Miles

5.1 Entry forms can be completed online at or by post to: Larry Hynes, Caherfinesker, Craughwell, Co. Galway, Ireland.
5.2 The closing date for entries is 1st June 2012.
5.3 Late entries will be accepted, for which there will be a late entry fee.
5.4 Entries will be from IRC rated yachts of LOA 9.15m/30 feet and over, with a minimum SSS of 34 or STIX of 32 combined with an AVS minimum of 130-0.002 x M (where M is minimum sailing weight in kg). STIX and AVS data is required for boats with a series date of 1995 and later.
5.4 A yacht which meets the entry requirements but does not have an IRC rating may enter the Cruiser Class.


7.1 Late entries will be subject to the entry fee +50%.
7.2 No entry will be accepted after 1st June 2012.
[email protected]

Cancellations can be accepted either:
(1) before the closing date, when a refund minus E50 may be claimed or
(2) between the closing date and the start, when 50% of the fee may be claimed.

The organisers reserve the right to decline an entry.

The number of starters shall not exceed forty.
11.1 Racing will take place under IRC. Classes will be allocated according to the number and type of entry.
11.2 Classes for cruiser and one design yachts may be assigned subject to the number of entries.
11.3 Indicative Class bands are as follows, (these may be modified based on entries received)
Class 1 : IRC 1.055 - 1.149
Class 2 :1.00 - 1.054
Class 4 : Two-handed Class
Class 5: Single-handed class
Class 6 : Cruiser Class

The organisers reserve the right to alter the rules and conditions of the race at any time. Changes will be posted on
Yachts whose entries have been accepted will be advised directly.

The following exceptions and amendments to Category 1 regulations apply:
Regulation 3.21.1(ii) not applicable (two separate water tanks not required)
Regulation 3.29.1(n) not applicable (AIS not required)
Regulation 4.08.1 a first aid manual of type listed in (b) is acceptable
Regulation 4.11.2 Reserve Navigation System Clarification: a separate handheld GPS is acceptable as a reserve form of navigation system.

14.1 The Round Rockall Race is an open ocean race. Every crew member must have experience of sailing a yacht offshore and be prepared to encounter
heavy weather. Competitors will be required to provide evidence of offshore experience.
14.2 The Skipper and at least half the crew must have completed, in the yacht in which they will race the Round Rockall Race, in the 24 months preceding the start:
1. 300 miles of offshore racing* or
2. Non-stop passage of at least 300 miles.
3. Other qualifications similar to 2. above to be proposed to and agreed
by the organisers by 1st May 2012.
*To qualify as offshore racing a race must be at least 75 miles duration and include at least one night at sea.

It is the Skipper's responsibility to ensure that the following criteria are met and that a certificate or letter of attendance from an establishment recognised by the ISA/RORC should be provided on completion of the following:
1. At least 30% of the crew, including the Skipper, shall have undertaken training to Section 6, (Appendix G) of the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations.
2. In the case of two-handed entries, both crew members must complete training to Section 6, (Appendix G) of the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations.
3. In addition at least one member of the crew shall hold a current Senior
First Aid Certificate or equivalent and should be familiar with the management of medical emergencies that may occur at sea, including hypothermia, and radio communications operations for obtaining medical advice by radio.
4. Copies of these certificates must be lodged with the organisers prior to the start of the race.

A full crew list with names, addresses and telephone numbers to be lodged with the Race Office on Registration.

Yachts shall assemble at Galway Harbour no later than 1200 hours on Friday, 22nd June 2012 for Special Regulations inspections.

Each entrant must complete an ISAF Offshore Special Regulations Check List and entrants must submit their completed copy to the organisers prior to the start of the race and retain a copy onboard.

Yachts may carry advertising according to the Racing Rules of Sailing and their class or rating authority. Yachts will be required to fly a race flag and may be required to apply a race sticker to each side of the hull.

It may be mandatory for yachts to carry a Tracker Unit for the duration of the race. A refundable deposit, which may be set against a credit-card, may be required.

Galway Harbour, Sunday 24th June 2012. Times are local and are approximate.
LW: 02:36 1.0m
14:51 1.3m
HW: 08:58 4.5m
21:11 4.7m

22.1 Where necessary, all competitors must apply to the RORC Rating Office
as early as possible prior to the race, in order to obtain their current Certificates in good time.
Please note, STIX and AVS data is required for boats with a series date of 1995 and later.
22.2 The cut-off date for amended Rating Certificates shall be the 1st June 2012.

Entrants should include, with their entry, two recent photographs of the yacht for publicity and safety purposes.

24.1 If required, entrants shall fit the satellite tracker provided by the organisers.
24.2 The organisers shall be authorised to claim payment for the cost of the tracker if it is not returned at the end of/retirement from the Race.
24.3 Entrants shall have a satellite communication system that allows two way communication throughout the duration of the race (eg Satcom C, mini M, Iridium).

25.1 The safety of each Skipper and boat and her entire management is the sole and inescapable responsibility of the Skipper.
25.2 The Skipper and crew must be physically and psychologically fit to start and continue the Race in the worst of conditions encountered in the North Atlantic.
25.3 The boat must be insured, be of appropriate design and construction,
adequately maintained, equipped and provisioned to meet these conditions.
25.4 Neither the establishment of the Notice of Race, its use by the organisers

or any Sponsoring Organisations, nor any spot check of the boat, under the NOR in any way limits or reduces the complete and unlimited responsibility of each Owner/ Skipper.

25.5 It is the sole and exclusive responsibility of each Skipper and crew to decide whether or not to start or continue to race.

26.1 Notwithstanding any other rule and condition, the Organising Authority, Race Committee and Race Sponsors, if applicable, jointly and severally are providing this Race on the understanding that they or their representatives bear no responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, or inconvenience
to boats or persons howsoever arising directly or indirectly from their rules, policy, or rulings before or during the Race or related activities.
26.2 By participating in the Race each Skipper and crew agrees to release the Organising Authority, Race Committee and Race Sponsors from and against all claims, damages, costs, torts, suits at law or in equity or otherwise, arising out of or in any way relating to the Race. This release shall be binding upon each entrant and their heirs, beneficiaries, representatives,
and estates of each entrant.

The Skipper / Owner shall have Third Party Liability insurance cover to a minimum of euro E1,250,000.00 or equivalent.

Published in Galway Harbour
Page 2 of 3

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating