Friday, 10.30 - 11pm

    Seascapes Friday 22 May 2015



    The maritime programme for this island nation presented and produced by Marcus Connaughton.


    Seascapes Friday 22nd May 2015

    features The Phoenix Part 2 with John and Sandra Lefroy ; The Inside Passage- Barney Bentall; EndeavOAR -Rowing from Dunmore East to France- Niamh Hayes reports.

    Hello and welcome aboard Seascapes – your maritime programme,

    On this edition...we have the second part of our conversation with John and Sandra Lefroy as we go aboard the Phoenix the gentlemans steam yacht  in Killaloe which was launched on the 15th May back in 1873 and is still going strong  – we’ll have details of our winners in our recent Seascapes competition for copies of The Sinking of the Lusitania – Unravelling the Mysteries by Paddy O’ Sullivan courtesy of The Collins Press ; Norman Freeman and a ships Captain who  had a hankering for a drink or three ............first this week on Seascapes Niamh Hayes went along earlier this week  to Dublin Airport where a group of people from the Dublin Airport Authority are taking to the water this weekend on Monday evening  from Dunmore East  in an endeavour to become the first crew to row from Ireland to France, all in aid of three deserving charities. Niamh  met with some of the crew members of the Dublin Airport Police and Fire Service Rowing Club who are taking part in the challenge, including fire fighter and Captain of the Rowing Club, Brian Dempsey...


    Our thanks to Niamh Hayes who spoke to members of the Dublin Airport Police and Fire Service Rowing Club ..We wish them safe travel can see and read more on the Seascapes webpage 

    17 men and women will depart 16 00 hrs, May 27th , 2015 from Dunmore East, Waterford, Ireland to row to Landeda, Brittany, France arriving May 31st , crossing the busiest shipping lane in the world in a 17 ft. Celtic Longboat – THE ENDEAVOAR

    Dublin, Ireland - On Wednesday May 27th 2015, 17 men and women from across the Dublin Airport|daa organisation will attempt to become the first people ever to row a boat from Ireland to France. TEAM ENDEAVOAR will row 70 hours in rotations of 5 rowers to cross the 500km of open water starting from Dunmore East, Waterford, Ireland finishing in Landeda, Brittany, France.

    All funds raised in this first ever rowing challenge will be donated equally to the three daa charities of the year 2015, Temple St. Children’s Hospital, Parkinson’s Ireland and the Diabetes Unit in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin

    Day 1 and Day 2 of the row will see TEAM ENDEAVOAR row 300km continually for 40 hours to reach the Scilly Isles, England.Herethe rowers will be escorted bythe Falmouth Coast Guard and St. Mary’s Harbour Master, accompanied by a flotilla of local boat owners, to Hugh Town Harbour. All three TEAM ENDEAVOAR support boats will refuel, load provisions and the team will depart for the next 200 km row, which will take another estimated 30 hours to Landeda, Brittany, France

    The team will cross the busiest shipping lanes in the world, encountering very strong tides in the English Channel and the treacherous Atlantic swell prevalent in Finistère, Northwest France. These are just some of reasons why this event has never been attempted before. The French Coast Guard will be sending a patrol boat as TEAM ENDEAVOAR  approach the French coast to berth at L’Aber Wrac’h Marina, Landeda, where Mme. Christine Chevalier, Lord Mayor of Landeda, will greet THE ENDEAVOARand her team along with local supporters.

    The Inside Passage by Barney Bentall a fine Canadian singer songwriter


    Last week we heard from John and Sandra Lefroy at their home in Killaloe where The Phoenix  now resides as we heard  she was launched on 15th May in 1873 – Sandra and John took me aboard this fine vessel



    Sandra and John Lefroy at their home in Killaloe and the maritime treasure of a gentleman’s steam yacht  that is the Phoenix -


    Bill O Brien  writes .......interesting programme on the Phoenix. I have a family connection with the boat as my great grandfather, Thomas O'Brien, who died in 1919, was the engineer on the Phoenix for some time. My late father made contact with the Lefroys and there is a photo of him with the boat taken some years ago. Hope you are keeping well. Regards, Bill.



    David Burns and Maghnus Collins will attempt to be the first people to finish a  mammoth expedition for charity next month.

    The intrepid duo have previously completed numerous man powered expeditions around the globe including a 250km run across the Sahara Desert, 25high altitude marathons in 26 days across the Tibetan Plateau, and Sand2Snow Adventures which raised in excess of €100,000 for charity

    This time they will swim up to 12 hours per day in two six hour shifts, and aim to complete the challenge in just 100 days taking advantage of the slightly warmer summer water temperatures.

    On June 1st the Costcutter Swim 360 Team – which includes Expedition Lead Phillip Hatton and In-water Support Leish McPartland - will begin the daunting expedition from Dublin, swimming clockwise and south along the east coast of Ireland.

    The pair will also have to tackle the full strength of the Atlantic Ocean as they swim North along the West Coast, at times up to 25km offshore. We’ll be following their progress.......


    Next to our winners of copies of The Sinking of the Lusitania –Unravelling the Mysteries written by Paddy O’ Sullivan and featured here a fortnight ago ...the correct answer was Captain William Turner was the master of the vessel.....the winners are

    •  Des Fallon , Summerhill , Co Meath


    •   Kevin Lynch , Tralee Co Kerry


    •   Ann Quinlan , Clonmel , Co Tipperary


    This weekend also sees the start  of The Rathlin Island Maritime Festival  with a  packed programme which  includes walking tours, boat trips; sports such as kayaking and dinghy sailing and both Ballycastle and Rathlin will definitely be ‘sounding off’ with a programme of traditional music including street entertainers competition open to everyone, traditional sessions in local pubs and hotels.

     “The Ardglass Vikings will be docking in Ballycastle on Friday 29th May ahead of their epic battle with the Currachs and Drontheims on Saturday 30th May which could well continue into the next day! Come along on Friday to view the long boat as it arrives at Ballycastle Harbour before setting off for Rathlin”.


    For further information about the festival log on to or contact Ballycastle Visitor Information Centre


    Last week we mentioned the Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival  well The Festival  began earlier this evening with the gathering of sailing boats in Baltimore, and Skibbereen hosts curraghs, Limerick Gandelows and other traditional rowing boats who will raft up on the pontoon at the West Cork Hotel.  The program began in Baltimore Castle when Karl Brady, from the Underwater Archaeology Unit of the National Monuments Service, gave an illustrated talk on his discovery of our earliest traditional boats, “Diving into the Past: Underwater Investigations of Ancient Log Boats in Lough Corrib”.  

         Starting at the West Cork Hotel on Saturday at 9 am the rowing race down the Ilen River to Baltimore will see a great variety of curraghs from different parts of the country, the Gandalows from Limerick will again be very welcome visitors and, for the first time ever, a Shannon Angling Cot will be raced down the river. Another first will be the West Cork Hotel Perpetual Trophy for the River Race.

     According to Michael Walsh of the organizing group: “We look forward to another successful event with increasing numbers of boats coming from other parts of the country and, at the moment, sailing over from the UK.  This year we will have an interesting display of the 6-oar yawls and other boats on the pier”.      The Festival runs in association with the Baltimore Seafood Festival, guaranteeing no shortage of beautiful food on Sunday.  There will be events for children and adults on land as well as the show on the water.  For full details go to

    Next week here on Seascapes we’ll be previewing the Cork Harbour Festival and the Ocean to City – An Ras Mor –plus  other maritime themed events happening around the country ;  whale watching off Baltimore with Niamh Hayes reporting ; Norman Freeman on a ships Captain and In Praise of Drink......Wave Energy Technologies and much more here on Seascapes..until next Friday night , tight lines and fair sailing.”

    Irish Water Safety is warning the public not to purchase the floating killers that will go on sale over the next few weeks.

    Every year in the past decade or so at around this time of the year the retailers normally bring in aquatic sport and leisure equipment to sell at affordable prices. Very often these inflatable canoes and boats are merely toys and will carry a CE mark which indicates that, however they are not suited to use on our waters as they do meet the requirements of the Recreational Craft Directive which clearly lays down the requirements for leisure craft in Europe.

    These floating killers have caused the deaths of a number of people over the years and a good number of call out's by the Coast Guard who have co-ordinated rescue by the Royal National Lifeboat Institute, Community Rescue Boats and the Coast Guard Rescue Boats.

    Our island nation with a temperate climate giving changeable and at times strong offshore winds, together with our strong semi-diurnal tidal range creates a lethal combination. Our foreign nationals who are used to calmer continental weather and diurnal tides are at greatest risk.

    Do not purchase these toys and never use them on our exposed waters.

    Those boating should ensure that their family and friends wear a lifejacket at all times, it is essential that they wear a lifejacket and that the lifejacket has a crotch strap to avoid the possibility of the child slipping out through it.


    International Topper Class Association - Topper Traveller (3) at Ballyholme Yacht Club on 16th &17th May 2015

    The two main prizes in last weekend’s Topper Traveller went to Geoff Power from Waterford and Erin McIlwaine from Newcastle. However there were good performances by local sailors with Charlie O’Neill taking 8th in the full rig fleet as well as best Under 12. In the 4.2 fleet Dan McGaughey and Mathew Bell (Donaghadee) were 4th and 6th, and from Ballyholme in the 4.2 fleet, Oliver Haig was 5th, Katie Shivers came 7th and Adam Lockhart and Hanna Dadley-Young were 8th and 9th.

    Saturday 16th May 2015 saw the start of the two day Irish Topper Traveller at Ballyholme Yacht Club (BYC) in Bangor with competitors travelling from all over Ireland to compete. 

    As with the Traveller the first day, Saturday, was spent with training under the control of the ITCA (IRL), where our young sailors were grouped and afforded an experienced instructor for professional development. 

    When registration had opened for the training and racing some days earlier, the indication was clear that there was a significant interest from the class in Ireland to make the journey to Ballyholme, to the point that the ITCA with the help of BYC had to source additional instructors to meet the demand. 

    As the weekend approached the long range weather forecast, with what appears to be the norm of late, was for high winds, and concerns were voiced as to whether the Topper Traveller would indeed be stranded on the shore.

    The interest previously expressed came to fruition with a good number of sailors arriving for their training. The fleet took to the water around mid morning and the more experienced sailors from the Topper squad headed out of Ballyholme Bay with the less experienced staying closer to shore. However as the predicted high winds and squalls arrived a decision was made for the less experienced sailors to return to shore followed by the more experienced. The lack of on-water activity did not in any way dampen the enthusiasm and spirits of the young sailors as was soon to be demonstrated on Sunday.

    With the arrival of Race day Sunday, BYC was a hive of activity as everyone prepared for some challenging racing conditions. At about 1030 hrs Mr Robin Gray our Race Officer with his team headed out to the race arena in Belfast Lough where the committee boat anchored, and wind readings recorded. With a strong wind out of the west readings over the next 90 minutes indicated a base line of around 22 knots with gusts of 27 knots, this coupled with a rising sea state resulted in a decision to move the course further inshore and the committee boat set up station between Ballymacormick Point and Lukes Point. The mark teams were soon put to work as the fleet was released from the North and South slips at BYC and light work was made of getting to the race arena. Some 48 entrants had registered in the full rig and 14 entrants in the 4.2 category.


    With the race arena in a less exposed area, racing was soon under way. The race team recorded baseline wind conditions in the early 20s as the full rig fleet started followed five minutes later by the 4.2 fleet. The first leg kept the Rescue Team gainfully employed as the fleet got to grips with conditions at the mouth of the bay. However as they progressed into the bay the fleet travelled swiftly round the course. 


    Upon crossing the finish line of Race 1, one young sailor from Royal Cork Yacht Club was heard to express his delight at the conditions of sailing to a friend.


    Race 2 saw similar conditions however with a reduced fleet and again with the knowledge gleaned from the earlier race the committee boat had the pleasure of observing some fine racing in both fleet categories.


    Race 3 saw a significant reduction in wind speed and sea state with the race team recording wind speeds in the mid teens. However we did see the odd gust push through keeping the sailors mind focused.


    Mr Geoff Power demonstrated some magnificent sailing and was rewarded with a win in all three races in the Topper full rig.


    Mid afternoon saw the end of racing and all returned safe and well to BYC.


    Results were checked and verified and the winners were as follows:


    Full Rig         1st Geoff Power       Waterford Harbour Yacht Club

                       2nd Caoimhe Foster   Royal Cork YC

                       3rd Juliette Kennedy  Strangford Lough YC                               /more         


    4.2 Fleet   1st   Erin McIlwaine - Newcastle Yacht Club / Carlingford Lough Yacht Club

                     2nd  David Jones - Royal Cork Yacht Club

                     3rd   Ellen Barbour - County Antrim Yacht Club


    First Lady -    Caoimhe Foster - Royal Cork YC


    Under 17       1st  Amy Carroll - Kinsale Yacht Club

                      2nd Cian Jones - Royal Cork Yacht Club

                          3rd  Ellen McCarlie - County Antrim Yacht Club


    Under 14     1st  Paddy Cunnane - Dingle Sailing Club

                      2nd  Juliet Nyhan - Royal Cork Yacht Club

                      3rd  Fouad Ghareeb - Lough Erne  Yacht Club


    Under 12   1st   Charles O’Neill - Ballyholme Yacht Club                   


         2nd Rory Williamson - East Antrim Boat Club / County Antrim Yacht Club

    HRH The Prince of Wales visited the Marine Institute in Oranmore, Galway this week  where he met Taoiseach Enda Kenny, and Minister Simon Coveney, and talked to Marine Institute staff about their work in areas including analysing the impact of climate change on the ocean, sustainable fisheries, marine bio-discovery and international collaboration on ocean research.

    During the visit, His Royal Highness heard about the first trans-Atlantic mapping survey to take place under the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance between the EU, Canada and USA. The Irish-led survey will begin on 1st June when the RV Celtic Explorer sails from St John’s Newfoundland to Galway.

    HRH The Prince of Wales welcomed the Galway Statement, which established the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance, as an important step in improving international co-operation in understanding the impact of climate change on the oceans.

    Simon Coveney, Minster for Agriculture Food, the Marine & Defence said “The Marine Institute is at the cutting edge of international marine research, driving forward our understanding of the Atlantic Ocean. The work of the Institute drives ocean discovery and exploration. It also provides the basis for the sustainable development of our marine resources. I was delighted to be able to showcase the work taking place in Galway to Prince Charles, who has long had an interest in our understanding and governance of the Oceans.”

    How we observe and analyse the impacts of climate change on the oceans was of particular interest to His Royal Highness ahead of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris later this year. His Royal Highness was also very interested in the ecosystem approach to fisheries management and was joined by staff from His Royal Highness’s International Sustainability Unit, a charity set up to facilitate consensus on how to resolve some of the key environmental challenges facing the world – such as food security, ecosystem resilience and the depletion of natural capital.

    Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute, highlighted the interdependence between global ocean health and human health:

    “The oceans are the life support system of our planet, producing half of all the oxygen we breathe, so it’s essential that we map our seabed globally and improve our ocean observation and forecasting systems to better understand the impacts of climate change on our oceans.”


    His Royal Highness saw first-hand some of the technology used to explore and observe the ocean including an unmanned submarine, the ROV Holland I, with Galway Bay as a backdrop, where a subsea cable was laid last month connecting the Galway Bay Ocean Observatory to the shore.

    Dr Heffernan said, “This technology will give us eyes and ears in the ocean for continuous monitoring of temperature and effects in the ocean. By 2020, in partnership with the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance, we aim to be able to predict the major risks and changes in the dynamics of the Atlantic Ocean, through a fully integrated Atlantic Ocean Observation System providing real time data-streams online by 2020.”

    HRH The Prince of Wales also spoke to Dr Andrew Wheeler, from University College Cork, about leading the discovery of the Moytirra Vents, a previously uncharted field of hydrothermal vents on the mid-Atlantic ridge. The survey took place on the RV Celtic Explorer in 2011 using the ROV Holland I to explore the deep sea with a team of Irish and British scientists from University College Cork, the National Oceanography Centre and the University of Southampton in the UK.



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