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AFOAT - Irish Sailing News

AfloatLogoMagazineAFLOAT - all the latest news for sailors in the Irish Sea and beyondNews feed from Afloat - to read these in AFLOAT read here or click the article title

  1. Man alone – Tom Dolan racing the Atlantic. He’ll be telling all in Westport on January 25th

    On Thursday January 25th, at 19:30hrs, Mayo Sailing Club will be hosting a public presentation in the Westport Coast Hotel’s Atlantic Suite by Mini-Transat sailor Tom Dolan, and the admission of just €2 includes tea, coffee and biscuits.

    Originating on a farm near Kells, Co Meath, Tom Dolan had no background in sailing. He was never part of a yacht club, never went on sailing holidays and didn't get lessons as a child. When his father spotted an old wooden dinghy in Buy & Sell, the two of them set about fixing it up, and he first set sail on the local lake at the age of 10.

    Since then, Tom has built up a very impressive Sailing CV. He has French, Irish and British qualifications and made his first crossing of the Atlantic at just 21 years of age. In 2016, he won the Mini en Mai and the Trophée MAP, becoming the first Irish person to win a race in France. In June, Tom podiumed at the Mini-Fastnet Race, despite having been fouled by a fishing net. That same month, he was second in the 500 Mini-en-Mai Race.

    His latest achievement was coming in 6th in the Mini Transat 2017, Ireland’s best ever result in the race. This is a 4,000 mile race across the Atlantic where participants spend almost two months at sea, alone on a 21ft boat. The Mini Transat is considered by many to be one of the most extreme events in sailing considering the distance covered and the small size of the boats.

    It promises to be an exciting as well as entertaining and informative evening as Tom talks about his entry into the sailing world, how the Mini Transat went, and provides an insight into his future adventures.

  2. Spindrift has been dismasted and is under tow back to port this evening. The crew is safe and sound

    At about 1600h (CET) today, Monday 15 January 2018, Spindrift 2 was sailing just off Point St Matthieu and Camaret in Brittany on her way to the start line of the Jules Verne Trophy, when she dismasted.

    At the time the 40m trimaran was sailing at 15-18 knots of boat speed in 30 knot westerly winds and in three metre seas. Spindrfit 2 had two reefs in the main and the J3 (ORC).

    spindrift dismastedDismasted Spindrift is towed back to port

    Yann Guichard, skipper of the Maxi Spindrift 2 says: "The crew is safe and sound. Everything happened so fast. The mast fell to the leeward of the boat. The conditions were not so extreme. It's too early to know exactly what happened. We had to drop the rigging to save the boat and prepare it for towing. Operations are currently underway to recover it.”

    Spindrift 2 will now return to Brest and is currently under tow and expected to arrive later this evening.

    As Afloat.ie reported earlier, Spindrift 2 was on its way to the start line for the Jules Verne Trophy round the world record between Ushant (France) and Lizard Point (England). The crew of 12 is led by skipper Yann Guichard (FRA).

  3. Spindrift Set for Jules Verne Round the World Trophy Bid

    Yann Guichard and his crew arrived in Brest last night to start the Jules Verne Trophy. Despite a good though not ideal weather window, after two months on stand-by Spindrift racing has decided to take its chance and will leave the dock late this morning to be at the Créac'h lighthouse in the afternoon.

    The team was planning to start a week ago, but the weather further down the course did not materialise as anticipated. However, the area of depression that is currently sitting off the coast of Brittany has finally given the team the opportunity to start their challenge on the Jules Verne record. With strong conditions forecast for the start, the current files show the team reaching the equator in just over five days (5d 5h - 5d 10h), which will give them a cushion on the reference time set by Francis Joyon and his crew (5d 18h ​​59').

    The team is aiming to catch an area of depression off the coast of Brazil to give them a quick crossing of the South Atlantic towards the Cape of Good Hope.

    “We are now Code Green: the latest weather files confirm our departure from the pontoon around noon today, with a Jules Verne Trophy line crossing following quickly. The 25-30 knot wind from west to north-west will strengthen as we cross the Bay of Biscay, and we are expecting big seas with five metre waves. It looks like the first 12 hours will be hard going, but then the wind will soften off Cape Finisterre to more moderate trade winds, and we will be doing a lot of gybes towards the Canary Islands,” commented Yann Guichard as the last of the fresh food was taken onboard Spindrift 2.

    The Jules Verne Trophy record has been held by IDEC Sport (Francis Joyon and his crew) since January 2017, with a time of 40 days 23 hours 30 minutes. During that challenge the team took 12 days 21 hours 22 minutes to reach the tip of South Africa, so improving this time is one of the first objectives of Yann Guichard and his eleven crew.

    2018 JULES VERNE TROPHY CREW:
    Yann Guichard (skipper): watch the portrait
    Erwan Israël (navigator): watch the portrait
    Jacques Guichard (watch captain / helm / trimmer)
    Christophe Espagnon (watch captain / helm / bow)
    Xavier Revil (watch captain / helm /

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  4. The start will be given in Barcelona on the 12th January 2019, at 13:00 (GMT+1).

    With 365 days to go until the start of the fourth edition of the Barcelona World Race (12th January 2019), Barcelona’s round the world event has issued the official document containing details of the key rules of the regatta.

    This Notice of Race for the Barcelona World Race 2018/19 has been eagerly anticipated. Changes to racing dates, the competition format, which now has two legs and an option to change co-skipper in the second leg, are new features which mean the IMOCA calendar’s double-handed round the world event has a brand-new look.

    • The Race Management team has unveiled the regatta’s key document, where the official rules for the fourth edition of the race are laid out.
    • Two legs: Barcelona – Sydney – Barcelona and the option to change co-skipper for the second leg are the main changes in this new format for the double-handed, round the world regatta
    • The winner will be decided based on points accumulated across the two legs.
    • There will be a maximum of one technical stopover permitted on each leg of a minimum of 12 hours in length and a maximum of 48 hours.

    The most significant changes set out in the document are as follows:

    1. The deadline for registrations is the 30th September 2018.

    2. The start will be given in Barcelona on the 12th January 2019, at 13:00 (GMT+1).

    3. The official press conference will take place on the 10th January 2019 at 12:00 (GMT+1).

    4. The start in Sydney of the second leg will be on the 9th March 2019.

    5. All boats must start the second leg of the regatta no later than 48 hours after the official start of the leg is given.

    6. A single technical stopover for repairs or medical assistance is permitted on each leg.

    7. Final overall rankings for the Barcelona World Race 2018/19 will be calculated based on the sum of points gained across both legs.

  5. ISORA racers, including the INSS sailing school entry J109 Jedi (centre), at the start of the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race, part of last year's ISORA calendar

    2017 was the best season for Irish Sea offshore racing (ISORA) in many years with 68 boats taking part in the 15-race series writes ISORA Chairman Peter Ryan. In 2016, 54 boats took part. To put these numbers in context, in 1978, when ISORA was in its “hey-day”, 70 boats raced with an average race entry of 32 boats. We are very close to this again and I am confident that those numbers will be exceeded in 2018.

    The ethos of ISORA is to provide challenging and satisfying offshore and coastal races for it’s members and, just as importantly, provide a convivial social scene for those skippers and crews who take part. What is unique about the boats who participate in ISORA is that while they are extremely competitive during races the camaradie that exists between all skippers and crew, ensures that assistance and encouragement is offered to competing boats at all times. Safety within the fleet is paramount.

    A 15 race schedule is planned for 2018 that will include 7 offshore races, a 4-race coastal series on the Irish side and a 4-race coastal series on the UK side. The Round Ireland, although the offshore racing apex of the season, is not included in the overall ISORA Offshore Series but ISORA will be presenting prizes and trophies to ISORA boats taking part in this epic race.

    The race schedule has been compiled to minimise clashes with other events and to work with these events where possible. To this end ISORA will be working with Liverpool and Tranmere Yacht Clubs on the Midnight Race, Howth Yacht Club on the Lambay Race and Wicklow Sailing Club on the Round Ireland. There is also a delivery race to the Spinlock IRC Welsh National Championship

    ISORA will be running an offshore weekend on the 8th-10th June that, together with deliveries, will allow a boat and crew to qualify for the Round Ireland in one weekend. This weekend consists of the Midnight Race from

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