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Displaying items by tag: Galway Bay Sailing Club

Galway Bay Sailing Club is celebrating an overall win for its Tribal crew at the WIORA championships hosted by the Royal Western Yacht Club on the Shannon Estuary last weekend. 

The well campaigned Farr 31 took home first place in Class One IRC for the second year in a row.

The GBSC Tribal crew is skippered by Liam Burke.

The breezy championships at Kilrush survived some strong breezes but it was not without incident with a J24 keelboat sinking on the first day.

Afloat's report of the championships is here.

Published in Galway Harbour

The 420 dinghy Connacht Championships take place at Galway Bay Sailing Club this weekend from 4th-5th June.

Currently, 12 boats are registered for the event which is the first of the regionals on the National Calendar. Seven boats from GBSC are participating along with visiting boats from Cumann Seoltóireachta An Spidéil, Lough Ree Yacht Club, Wexford Harbour Boat and Tennis Club, Waterford Harbour Sailing Club and Malahide Yacht Club.

Race Officers Margot Cronin and Aoife Lyons will be running the event out on the water with light easterly winds forecast for both days.

In Gold Fleet the local pairing of Adam McGrady and Alastair O'Sullivan who won Silver Fleet at the same event in 2021 will be hoping to build on their recent performance at the RYA Youth National Championships held in Pwllheli, Wales in April while five of the other GBSC boats started their season at the 420 Class Association Spring Training Camp at Kinsale Yacht Club in February

Published in 420

The Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton TD, recently visited Galway Bay Sailing Club headquarters for the official sod-turning ceremony to inaugurate the club’s latest development. The Minister, who is a native of Oranmore, has a special interest in the Rinville area, and has been very supportive of GBSC over the years.

Galway Bay Sailing Club has been in the location since 1979, and has undergone many expansion programmes over the past 43 years. This latest development consists of the completion of the ground floor training rooms/kitchenette and wetsuit storage areas whuch are also multipurpose meeting and training rooms designed with maximum flexibility in mind.

The second part of the new development is a large and secure equipment storage unit and repair area. This linear building is clad in timber, and is for storage everyday use sailing support and safety vessels, and their equipment.

During her visit the Minister said: “I was particularly pleased to be able to assist Galway Bay Sailing Club in securing significant Sports Capital funding this year. The Club does magnificent work in supporting all ages and abilities in learning to sail, and this new development will help secure their position as the largest sailing club in the West of Ireland.”

GBSC is delighted to have received Sports Capital funding of €140k which will go a long way towards funding these developments.

This allocation allows the Club to proceed immediately, as full planning permission has been granted for the development, and the members we would like to thank the Minister for supporting this initiative which will allow GBSC to expand its junior, adult and sailability training programmes for the future.

Minister Hildegarde Naughton TD in the clubhouse with GBSC officers Pat Irwin (Vice Commodore, left), Johnny Shorten (Commodore) and Honorary Treasurer Andrew Flanagan.Minister Hildegarde Naughton TD in the clubhouse with GBSC officers Pat Irwin (Vice Commodore, left), Johnny Shorten (Commodore) and Honorary Treasurer Andrew Flanagan.

Published in Galway Harbour

Galway Bay Sailing Club is emerging from the final constraints of the pandemic with a hyper-busy programme in line for 2022, and the added confidence – announced last week - of a Sports Capital Grant of €140,000. This will provide further support for a busy club which approaches each development opportunity with ingenuity and vision, combined with a fresh enthusiasm that belies the fact that GBSC recently celebrated its Golden Jubilee.

The members will be both hosting major happenings, and sending forth fleets of their own keelboats and dinghies for cruises-in-company or racing participation elsewhere. The vigour of western life around Galway city is reflected in the fact that in late May, Galway is the first stopover in the Round Britain & Ireland Race from Plymouth, with the special appeal of the initial Plymouth to Galway leg being such an attractive challenge that some crews will see it as a new stand-alone race in itself.

Then slightly later in the season, GBSC will be organizing one of its long-distance Cruises-in-Company. Pre-pandemic, the Club had a very successful fleet venture to Lorient in Brittany, but in 2022 they’re going to be heading the other way, north up the west coast of Ireland for a venture which has the working title of Galway to Galloway, as it will have a Scottish theme.

Thus the first fleet assembly – with numbers already being talked of as reaching thirty boats-plus – will be with the Royal Ulster YC at Bangor on Belfast Lough, as Scotland’s Galloway coast is nearby across the North Channel.

However, it hasn’t been forgotten that during the brief relaxation of restrictions in 2021, GBSC members organised their “Lambs Weekend” cruising-racing-in-company to the Aran Islands and Connemara in the early August Bank Holiday weekend, and it was one of the most successful events of the entire season in Ireland.

For those of us from the rest of Ireland, it would be more readily comprehended if they simply called it the Connemara Cruise, but you’d be wasting your time trying to wean Galway men off their own private joke. And anyway, on Valentine’s Day of all days, a rose is still a rose by any other name, so we can be sure that the GBSC Lamb’s Weekend/Connemara Cruise or whatever will find itself even more firmly established as a pillar event of the west coast programme in early August 2022, with fleet numbers pushing towards the 50 mark.

Galway Bay SC clubhouse at Renville will benefit from the new €140,000 Sports Capital Grant.Galway Bay SC clubhouse at Renville will benefit from the new €140,000 Sports Capital Grant.

Published in Galway Harbour

Tributes have been paid among the west coast’s sailing community to former RTÉ western editor Jim Fahy who died late last week at the age of 75.

The journalist’s association with Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) since its foundations were recalled at the weekend by Pierce Purcell.

“The early days were noted for the lunchtime gatherings at the Lenihan family ‘Tavern’ on Eyre Square,” Purcell said.

“It was here that so many of those younger members got to know each other, learn about people who had sailed from the docks and on the Corrib,” he said.

“Dickie Byrne who was an early contributor to The Galway Advertiser with the column “There Ye Are Again”, and had some interest in sailing, introduced the local face of the RTÉ to us,” Purcell recalled.

“Jim became a lunchtime contributor to the interests of the enthusiast sailors whose club was developing at a rake of knots, expanding its dinghy and cruiser racing calendar and organising boat shows,” he said.

“By the time Tavern closed and the club group moved down town, John Killeen had recruited Jim to join a few adventures afloat including the “Spirit of Galway” campaign in the Round Ireland Sailing race which listed Government minister Bobby Molloy amongst the crew,” Purcell said.

Bobby Molloy was needed back in Dublin by Taoiseach Charlie Haughey for an important Dail vote and had to jump ship off Westport. Our man Jim was on the spot to inform the nation and GBSC’s involvement in the race in an age before mobile phones,” he said.

“Jim Fahy clocked up more miles cruising with his wife Christina than most members have ever done sailing, with on average 1500 miles a season over the last fifteen years researching places to visit and often imparting local history to the interested crew,” Purcell added.

“Jim became an important member of the Volvo Ocean Race communications team in 2009 and 2012, impressing the Volvo teams with the hourly updates from a small dockside office which was put together on a shoestring,” he said.

Jim Fahy, who began his journalistic career with The Tuam Herald newspaper, was RTÉ’s longest-serving regional correspondent when he retired in 2011.

He reported on national and international events, ranging from his "Looking West" series of interviews to issues affecting Irish emigrants in Britain to famine in Somalia and the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in New York in September 2001.

President Michael D Higgins had described him as "one of Ireland's finest broadcasters, a fact attested to by the over 40 national and international awards which he won over the course of his outstanding career".

"For generations of people he was a familiar voice, indelibly associated with the reporting of events across the west of Ireland during his 38 years as RTÉ’s first western news correspondent,” the president said.

"It will be as RTÉ's voice of the west of Ireland that Jim will be most fondly remembered," he said.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that his "distinct voice and eye for a story uncovered every facet of life in the west of Ireland, as well as major international events like 9/11".

Purcell said that “Jim’s many sailing friends extend their deepest sympathy to Jim’s wife Christina , his son Shane and daughter Aideen”.

Published in Galway Harbour

Galway Bay Sailing Club are looking forward to organising the first stopover for the enlarged four-stage Round Britain and Ireland Race, which starts from Plymouth on May 29th 2022. In time past, the race has been based on two-handed crews. But the interest from fully-crewed boats is such that, with nearly 30 entries already made for the two-handed division including eight multi-hulls, the organisers feel the time is right to add a fully-crewed vision, details from [email protected]

The course is Plymouth to Galway, Galway to Lerwick in the Shetland Isles, Lerwick to Blyth in Northumberland, and Blyth to Plymouth - a seriously demanding offshore and oceanic challenge by anyone’s standards.

As an added incentive, the fully-crewed boats can make crew changes of up to 50% in both Galway and Blyth, and the entry fee discount is available until March 1st.

Published in Galway Harbour

Flexibility has been the keynote at Galway Bay Sailing Club as they wind down their traditional season at a time when activity generally is seeing a stepping-up of the pace as the pandemic recedes. Thus when the time-honoured Junior Regatta scheduled for Sunday 26th September was faced with deteriorating weather and perhaps a fixtures clash, the lines of communication burned red-hot to transfer it to Saturday, September 25th, and despite the widespread locations of sailing clubs along the western seaboard, they were rewarded with a good turnout for four classes drawn from four different clubs.

Overall, it's reckoned the top performers were Adam McGrady and Ally O'Sullivan who scooped the 420 class, reflecting the strength of this important international junior two-person boat at sailing centres around the City of the Tribes. The Fevas were won by Isabel Schumacher and Isolde Hannon, while the Topaz group was led in by Lauren Irwin.

The GBSC Junior Regatta managed to sidestep impending bad weather with some nifty footwork in shifting the date by 24 hours.The GBSC Junior Regatta managed to sidestep impending bad weather with some nifty footwork in shifting the date by 24 hours.

The Optimists, racing in a separate course, had the Gold Fleet won by Micheal Minogue, while the Silvers were headed by Niamh Banes – full results here 


In socially-distanced evening racing throughout the season, the club was very lucky in getting an almost unbroken pattern of summery evenings for the keelboats' 12-boat Aquabroker Series, in which Joker was dominant under IRC, while Woofer came through in the final race to win on ECHO.

September in Galway is of course Oyster Festival Time afloat and ashore, and the club's cruisers raced to Galway Docks in the final race of the King of the Bay series for a nautical nosh-up sponsored by Galway Maritime. However, they'd to earn their pints and bivalves, as the course took them on a spectator-impressing circuit of the inner bay, with a final run along the Salthill waterfront until they arrived with neat timing at the finish with a flurry of sail just as the dock gates were opening.

Mark Wilson's Sigma 33 Scorpio has had a good season on Galway Bay, winning the Round Aran Race in August, and the Renville-Galway Race which concluded the King of the Bay series.Mark Wilson's Sigma 33 Scorpio has had a good season on Galway Bay, winning the Round Aran Race in August, and the Renville-Galway Race which concluded the King of the Bay series.

The Kings of the Bay – Ibaraki crew of Eugene Burke, Mike Guilfoyle, Aoife Macken, John Collins, Paddy Ryan and Ciaran Moran with Pierce Purcell Jnr and Piece Purcell III of Galway Maritime.

The winner on the day was the Sigma 33 Scorpio (Mark Wilson) which also won the hugely-successful Pursuit Race round Inismor in the Aran Islands back in August. But overall the King of the Bay series winner is John Collins' Ibaraki, with Scorpio second and Out of the Blue (Lyons brothers) third.

Celebration of this high point of the season continued in the sociable shelter of the dock, with GBSC Commodore John Shorten turning his boat Galypso into Hospitality Central for liquid dispensation, while ashore under the Galway Maritime mega-parasol, it was mussels and oysters galore. But despite these festivities, sailing at GBSC for 2021 is by no means over - their annual Sunday Series is now under way.

"The Brains of the Bay": Out of the Blue crew of Conor, Lisa and Fergal Lyons came third overall in the King of the Bay series , and it was also Fergal who proved to be the ace handicapper when setting the start times for the phenomenally successful Round Aran Pursuit Race in August."The Brains of the Bay": Out of the Blue crew of Conor, Lisa and Fergal Lyons came third overall in the King of the Bay series , and it was also Fergal who proved to be the ace handicapper when setting the start times for the phenomenally successful Round Aran Pursuit Race in August.

Published in Galway Harbour

While good placings in the recent 420 Nationals showed that the Galway Bay SC juniors are a growing force in this demanding class, junior-sailed boats of all kinds are welcome at the GBSC Open Junior Regatta at Renville on Sunday, September 26th.

Doors will open at 9.0am with all sailors set to be rigged and ready for briefing at 10.0 am.

Two courses will be provided, with the Optimists having their own area, while the word is that there are prizes galore…….

Entry is online through the club website here

Optimist numbers at the GBSC Junior Regatta will have their own separate race area.Optimist numbers at the GBSC Junior Regatta will have their own separate race area.

Published in Galway Harbour

A Naval Service officer has paid tribute to the efforts of instructors at Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) who rescued a man off Rinville pier last month.

Lieut Jason Croke from Clarenbridge, Co Galway also spoke to young sailors about pursuing a career in the Naval Service during a visit to GBSC.

Croke, a diver who also works in Naval Service operations, learned to sail at GBSC and qualified as an instructor there.

During his visit to Rinville, he extolled the training which the clubs provide, and the value of the skillsets passed on to young sailors.

He was asked many questions during the 40-minute discussion, and outlined options and career opportunities to the older members of the group of about 30 sailors.

Croke met Callie Ní Fhlannchaidha, senior instructor at GBSC, and 15-year old powerboat driver Cormac Conneely who were involved in pulling a man from a vehicle that shot off Rinville pier near Oranmore on the afternoon of July 3rd last.

Robert Donnelly and juniors after a sail at Galway Bay Sailing Club meet Lieut Jason CrokeRobert Donnelly and juniors after a sail at Galway Bay Sailing Club meet Lieut Jason Croke

The pair had been instructing local sea scouts on the water and had been bringing two groups of the scouts ashore when the incident occurred.

With the assistance of a local Galway hooker sailor Sean Furey, who was on the water in a currach, Ní Fhlannchaidha and Conneely towed the car ashore.

Fellow instructors onshore, including Tom Ryan, Ben Schumaker, Ella Lyons, Veronica O’Dowd and Mattie Kennedy, assisted in the rescue effort.

Instructor Olivia Croke watches on as Instructor Isabella Irwin presents a GBSC  burgee to Lieutenant Jason Croke on his visit to the club where he learned to sail.  Instructor Olivia Croke watches on as Instructor Isabella Irwin presents a GBSC burgee to Lieutenant Jason Croke on his visit to the club where he learned to sail.

Conneely expressed his interest in joining the Naval Service on leaving school - and to volunteer for the RNLI Galway lifeboat crew when he is old enough.

On foot of this, an invitation was issued to Lieut Croke by GBSC founder member Pierce Purcell.

Purcell paid tribute to the Naval Service officer for his visit, which he said was inspiring for young members.

GBSC celebrated its 50th-anniversary last year and runs sail training courses for children from six years old up to junior cadet level.

The club’s Optimist and 420 class juniors are particularly successful, according to rear commodore Pat Irwin.

GBSC Lamb's Week 2021

GBSC hosts Lambs Week from August 19th to 25th when some 50 boats will take part in the five-day regatta. It includes a number of races for four classes from Ros-a-Mhíl, with a day’s race around the Aran islands and from there to Roundstone in Connemara.

The Lamb’s Week schedule is:

  • Thu 19 Aug, Galway to Ros a'Mhíl
  • Fri 20 Aug, Ros a'Mhíl to Cil Rónáin
  • Sat 21 Aug, 'Round Aran
  • Sun 22 Aug, Cil Rónáin to Cloch na Rón
  • Mon 23 Aug, Cloch na Rón to Ros a'Mhíl/Galway
Published in Galway Harbour

14 boats will compete tonight in the final race of Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) cruiser-racer McSwiggans Series.

After five races sailed and going into the final race, Ibaraki is the overall leader on IRC and ECHO but points are tight and the final race could well be a decider.

Ibaraki, a modified GK34, is tied on six points with the Joker on IRC and has a two-point margin on the J/24 Running Tide in ECHO handicap racing. 

Full details are here

Lambs Week 2021 Regatta countdown

Meanwhile, GBSC is counting down to five days of great sailing around Galway Bay and the Aran Islands in its Lambs Week from 19th - 25th August 2021.

Club spokesperson Olga Scully says "Boats are arriving from Ros A Mhil, Ballyvaughan, Renville, the Docks in Galway Cloch na Ron, Kilrush and Westport to take part in the unique event".

As Afloat reported previously, over 45 boats in four classes are competing with races to Ros a Mhil, Cil Ronain and Cloch Na Ron.

The club has produced a brochure for the regatta week that is downloadable below as a PDF file.

Published in Galway Harbour
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Galway Port & Harbour

Galway Bay is a large bay on the west coast of Ireland, between County Galway in the province of Connacht to the north and the Burren in County Clare in the province of Munster to the south. Galway city and port is located on the northeast side of the bay. The bay is about 50 kilometres (31 miles) long and from 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) to 30 kilometres (19 miles) in breadth.

The Aran Islands are to the west across the entrance and there are numerous small islands within the bay.

Galway Port FAQs

Galway was founded in the 13th century by the de Burgo family, and became an important seaport with sailing ships bearing wine imports and exports of fish, hides and wool.

Not as old as previously thought. Galway bay was once a series of lagoons, known as Loch Lurgan, plied by people in log canoes. Ancient tree stumps exposed by storms in 2010 have been dated back about 7,500 years.

It is about 660,000 tonnes as it is a tidal port.

Capt Brian Sheridan, who succeeded his late father, Capt Frank Sheridan

The dock gates open approximately two hours before high water and close at high water subject to ship movements on each tide.

The typical ship sizes are in the region of 4,000 to 6,000 tonnes

Turbines for about 14 wind projects have been imported in recent years, but the tonnage of these cargoes is light. A European industry report calculates that each turbine generates €10 million in locally generated revenue during construction and logistics/transport.

Yes, Iceland has selected Galway as European landing location for international telecommunications cables. Farice, a company wholly owned by the Icelandic Government, currently owns and operates two submarine cables linking Iceland to Northern Europe.

It is "very much a live project", Harbourmaster Capt Sheridan says, and the Port of Galway board is "awaiting the outcome of a Bord Pleanála determination", he says.

90% of the scrap steel is exported to Spain with the balance being shipped to Portugal. Since the pandemic, scrap steel is shipped to the Liverpool where it is either transhipped to larger ships bound for China.

It might look like silage, but in fact, its bales domestic and municipal waste, exported to Denmark where the waste is incinerated, and the heat is used in district heating of homes and schools. It is called RDF or Refuse Derived Fuel and has been exported out of Galway since 2013.

The new ferry is arriving at Galway Bay onboard the cargo ship SVENJA. The vessel is currently on passage to Belem, Brazil before making her way across the Atlantic to Galway.

Two Volvo round world races have selected Galway for the prestigious yacht race route. Some 10,000 people welcomed the boats in during its first stopover in 2009, when a festival was marked by stunning weather. It was also selected for the race finish in 2012. The Volvo has changed its name and is now known as the "Ocean Race". Capt Sheridan says that once port expansion and the re-urbanisation of the docklands is complete, the port will welcome the "ocean race, Clipper race, Tall Ships race, Small Ships Regatta and maybe the America's Cup right into the city centre...".

The pandemic was the reason why Seafest did not go ahead in Cork in 2020. Galway will welcome Seafest back after it calls to Waterford and Limerick, thus having been to all the Port cities.

© Afloat 2020

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