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    40 knots of breeze…

    22 June 2008

    And everyone is well reefed down for the start of the 2008 Round Ireland race at Wicklow.

    40 knots

    Mike Slade’s enourmous 30 metre ICAP Leopard took the early lead with 14 folk hanging off the starboard rail and another six working inboard. The boat is 40 feet longer than any other in the fleet.


    Ger Rourke’s VO70 McConnell’s Chieftain had a whoopsie leaving her berth in Dun Laoghaire Marina. Despite two ribs pulling her off a leeward pontoon, the boat suffered a foot long gash above the waterline on the starboard side. Dejected crew decided that gaffer tape would not do the trick for the race and so they retired, leaving the boat tied up in the lee of the Stena ferry pier with the keel canted to port to keep the gash above the waterline.

    Here is Alburn, the VO60 entered by Robby Milhench and Kenny McCullough from Ballyholme.

    Thanks to David Branigan at Ocean Sport for the pix.

    Get the latest news from the race committee on the official race website –

    Get real-time live information on boats’ race position with the race tracker – Link here

    Topics: Sailing | Leave a comment »

    You wait 22 years for a RTW boat…

    16 June 2008

    …and, like the legendary 46A bus, two come along at once. Limerick sailor Ger O’Rourke, twice named Irish sailor of the year, has had a rush of blood to the head and has bought Black Betty, better known as ABN Amro 1, winner of the 2005/05 Volvo Round the World Race. Team Ericsson has been using the boat as a trial horse for training in the Canaries as their two boats were being built. The war horse arrived in Dun Laoghaire Marina today and plans to do the Round Ireland Race from Wicklow beginning on the 21st.

    chieftain 2

    After a bit of a meitheal of scraping off the old lettering:
    chiwftain 2

    There is a hint of green in the sails, and the boat is due for a refit before training up for the 2008/09 Volvo Ocean Race which starts in Alicante in October.  Wear well!

    Topics: Sailing | Leave a comment »

    Green Team VOR 70 Finished

    5 May 2008

    On Saturday the VOR Green Team celebrated the completion of their new Volvo Open 70 with a ‘Thank you, China’ event at McConaghy Boats in Zhuhai, China. Construction started in October 2007 and has been completed on schedule, with the boat due to leave on a ship bound for the UK on 8 May.


    The boat was constructed in a facility located about 60 miles northwest of Hong Kong, The mainly Australian-led team at McConaghy’s has been working alongside US designers Reichel-Pugh and structural engineers Applied Structural Analysis Ltd (ASTA) from the UK, as well as a 90-strong Chinese build team. A total of 40,000 man hours have gone into the completion of the boat.


    Green Team. l to r: Jamie Boag (CEO), Eamon Conneely, Enda O’Coineen, Ian Walker (skipper), Richard Duggan (CFO). Celebrating the completion of the new Green Team VO70 at McConaghy Boats, Zhuhai, China.

    After welcoming speeches from Green Team principals, guests were treated to a spectacular kung fu martial arts demonstration followed by a traditional Lion Dance performed by four lions, before Green Team skipper Ian Walker asked everyone to raise a glass of champagne by way of a more Western ‘blessing’.

    Then it was time for everyone to have a good ‘up close and personal’ look at the boat, both inside and out. Fantastically high quality and attention to detail is evident throughout, as well as what amounts to an almost obsessive programme of weight-saving. McConaghy’s MD Mark Evans said that on several occasions during the build they had dismantled out-sourced components, redrawn them, and returned them to the manufacturers with instructions to re-make with a weight saving. He reminded guests that ‘every ounce saved up here goes into the bulb down at the end of the keel. And that makes the boat more upright, and faster.’

    This is the first Volvo Ocean Race boat to be built in China, a region that has seen increased interest in the marine industry in recent years, most noticeably with its involvement in the 2007 America’s Cup. McConaghy’s has a strong international reputation, and they are one of the first professional build teams to have a facility in China. ‘China is a growth market for our industry at the moment’ said Mark Evans, Director McConaghy Boats China, ‘The standard of quality on this build has been second to none.’

    Green Team CEO Jamie Boag was delighted to see the boat finished. ‘The work ethic we experienced when building the TP52 ‘Patches’ here in 2007 with McConaghy was superb. As we were late starting this build, it was crucial that the project stay on schedule, something that we were confident that McConaghy Boats could deliver. China is an amazing place. If you want something manufactured or sourced, it can be done really quickly to a very high standard.’

    With the build now complete the team will prepare the boat to be shipped to Europe, with an anticipated arrival time of early June. Once in the UK the boat will be assembled and tested fore two weeks before heading to team’s home port of Galway in Ireland, which will be the team’s base before leaving for Alicante in September. Galway is one of the stopover ports during the 37,000 nm Volvo Ocean Race which starts in Alicante in October. Galway’s position in the west of Ireland allows for excellent training facilities for the team, with the testing conditions of the North Atlantic on the doorstep.

    Ian Walker is the skipper of the Green Team, and was just as enthusiastic at seeing the boat ready to be shipped. ‘This boat has been seven months in the making, and we have a fantastic team working on the project. I would like to thank everybody involved in the project, but especially those involved in the hard graft here in China. I am confident that we have a great boat, and that we will have a competitive entry in the race. I can’t wait to get her back to Europe and out on the water to start preparing for the adventure ahead of us all.’

    I think it needs a better paint job…and I think it needs more pictures, more information about crew, more PR, more excitement, more for the Irish fans!!!!

    Topics: Sailing | Leave a comment »

    O’Leary and Milne are Stars

    2 May 2008

    ISA nominate sailors in Star class to complete Irish line up for Qingdao

    Peter O’Leary & Stephen Milne have been recommended to the OCI as Ireland’s representatives in the Star class at the 2008 Olympics.

    On 1st May the ISA board unanimously accepted the recommendation of the Olympic Steering Group (OSG) to nominate O’Leary & Milne following their exceptional campaign.

    The OSG met on 30th April to select a crew for the Star class following the recent successful Star World Championships in Miami USA at which Ireland secured a nation place at the 2008 Olympics.

    Colm Barrington, Chairman of the OSG, commented “The three crews in contention for the place demonstrated enormous skill and great determination in their campaigns. While it is very disappointing for the 2 crews who miss out, the OSG unanimously selected O’Leary & Milne. They have demonstrated that they have the best chance of success in the Olympic regatta in 2008”.

    James O’Callaghan, ISA Performance Director, stated “Obviously we were delighted with the performances of all three crews throughout the campaign. They all knew the selection process in advance and the competition between them drove them all to strong performances.”

    Ireland has secured places in 4 of the 11 Olympic sailing disciplines (Star, Finn, 470 and Laser Radial) matching the performance target set after the 2004 Athens Olympics. The agreed process for selection is that the OSG nominate crews in the 4 disciplines to the ISA board.The four crews nominated to the Olympic Council of Ireland for the regatta in Qingdao this August are Ciara Peelo (Laser Radial), Tim Goodbody (Finn), Ger Owens & Phil Lawton (470) and Peter O’Leary & Stephen Milne (Star).

    Topics: Sailing | Leave a comment »

    Star Wars

    28 April 2008

    Decision time this week for the ISA’s Olympic Steering Group. Chaired by Colm Barrington, they need to choose from three teams which one will sail their Star at Qingdao. Max and Anthony qualified the country at last week’s Star Worlds in Miami by finishing 14th.

    Max Treacy and Anthony Shanksstar 1

    Maurice “Prof” O’Connell and Benn Cooke

    star 2

    Peter O’Leary and Stephen Milne

    star 3

    Tough one to call. Photos courtesy Fried Elliot

    Topics: Sailing | Leave a comment »

    Beginning with a Bang!

    24 April 2008

    We got the gun at the finish of last night’s first Dublin Bay Sailing Club Thursday night around the cans race. Course was Lima 3–Saoirse, New Ross, Bligh, Turning, Finish, all marks to port.

    race won

    Topics: Sailing | Leave a comment »

    You’ll believe a boat can fly…

    12 April 2008

    30 Something flies

    This is the Beneteau First 31.7 30 Something being launched this morning at the ungodly hour of 0745 from the deck of the National Yacht Club.

    The new owners, the Gang of Four GJ, GG, BK and TL, couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed that early so it became our responsibility, the lowly crew, to supervise the launch, query the seller for the boat’s details and quirks and then motor to the Dun Laoghaire Marina’s “West Bight,” the back of beyond, no water or power, poormouth version of a place to keep a boat.

    We then had to lug ashore, via RIB ferry, the mainsail, largest headsail and biggest spinnaker to measure them for a new 2008 IRC cert. Then we could go to breakfast which was interrupted by texts from members of the Gang of Four imperiously asking: “Well?” Fantasyland folk.

    Video is here.

    Topics: Sailing | Leave a comment »

    Not a Wind Up!

    1 April 2008

    The world’s first under water tidal turbine capable of generating commercial amounts of energy was due to be installed in the seabed off Co Down today.

    The £12m, 300-tonne SeaGen tidal generating machine was due to be transferred from Harland and Wolff’s shipyard in Belfast to be embedded in Strangford Lough – one of the world’s fastest flowing currents.

    Strangford Lough Turbine
    Note the colour scheme and the two black balls indicating
    an Isolated Danger Mark for navigation purposes.

    The installation operation, which includes pinning the turbine to the seabed, is expected to take two weeks.

    And a subsequent 12-week commissioning phase will see scientists from Royal Haskoning, Queen’s University and St Andrew’s Sea Mammal Research Unit monitor SeaGen’s operation and its interaction with marine life.

    Bad weather prevented the 122ft-long device being installed on Easter Monday.

    The crane barge being used to transport the turbine from Belfast had been stranded in Norway because of the adverse conditions.

    The contraption will work like an underwater windmill but will move more slowly through the currents of the lough.

    Bristol-based Marine Current Turbines, the company behind the project, said it expects to be powering more than 1,000 homes with electricity by the summer.

    Turbine construction

    The project is an integral part of the Government’s attempts to produce ” greener” energy. Indeed, the SeaGen turbine will generate one of the most environmentally friendly forms of energy – it makes no noise, is almost completely below the the surface of the water, never runs out and has zero emissions.

    And no, this has nothing to do with today’s date. Interesting UTV video report and the UK Independent has a good feature on The Rise of British Seapower.

    Topics: Miscellany | Leave a comment »

    The other side of the world

    14 March 2008

    This is cool, see what is the opposite in the Antipodes.

    Antipodes Map

    Have a look here.

    Topics: Miscellany | Leave a comment »

    Mostly missed

    10 March 2008

    The bomb took a jig to the south, sparing Ireland most of the strong winds, but, in the UK, Devon and Cornwall took a hit.

    Sunday sat pic

    However, the Dun Laoghaire Harbour weather station packed up after a 62 knot gust:

    Harbour weather station

    Topics: Miscellany | Leave a comment »

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