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Howth Sailor Injured On Antix Told Shipmates to Stay Silent

20th July 2015
Howth Sailor Injured On Antix Told Shipmates to Stay Silent

#antixfinger – When you play in the big boys game, then you play by the big boys' rules writes W M Nixon. And you take it like a man. That seems to be the attitude of the amateur crew who raced Anthony O'Leary's Ker 40 Antix in last weekend's British IRC Nationals. So when Dylan Gannon of Howth seriously injured a finger tip snagged in a coil of sheet in Friday's hectic second race, his first thoughts seemed to be about how to make sure his very painful problem would inflict only minimal damage on the campaign and his shipmates' efforts.

Unfortunately, in this age of universal electronic chatter when professional footballers writhe in agony with an injury that stoical amateur sailors would scarcely notice, the rumour mills went into overdrive. Stories were flying around about Gannon being helicoptered off the boat, with only a very limited possibility that a team of surgeons will be able to save his hand, let alone the fingers.

While the situation could have been serious enough, it was handled with exemplary coolness. Piet Vroon's big support RIB for Tonnere 4 was nearby monitoring the racing, and was soon alongside. Then as Gannon stepped aboard it unaided, his parting words to his shipmates were that they weren't to say anything about it at all at all. Fat chance. While they certainly went along with his wishes by peddling a yarn about gear failure, gossip elsewhere has since been spreading.

Dylan Gannon meanwhile reckoned that having the inside track on the best medical treatment in Dublin was the way to go, and got himself back home on Saturday morning to be on line for a remedial operation tomorrow (Tuesday).

Antix went on to conclude the series with a crew reduced to nine, and while they were upset with themselves by losing what would have been a very helpful second place in one race, their final slot of sixth could be lived with, and they were heartened by the news that after the consultation with the specialist yesterday (Sunday), Dylan Gannon expects to be sailing again by the Autumn, if not sooner.

Published in Ilen
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Ireland's Trading Ketch Ilen

The Ilen is the last of Ireland’s traditional wooden sailing ships.

Designed by Limerick man Conor O’Brien and built in Baltimore in 1926, she was delivered by Munster men to the Falkland Islands where she served valiantly for seventy years, enduring and enjoying the Roaring Forties, the Furious Fifties, and Screaming Sixties.

Returned now to Ireland and given a new breath of life, Ilen may be described as the last of Ireland’s timber-built ocean-going sailing ships, yet at a mere 56ft, it is capable of visiting most of the small harbours of Ireland.

Wooden Sailing Ship Ilen FAQs

The Ilen is the last of Ireland’s traditional wooden sailing ships.

The Ilen was designed by Conor O’Brien, the first Irish man to circumnavigate the world.

Ilen is named for the West Cork River which flows to the sea at Baltimore, her home port.

The Ilen was built by Baltimore Sea Fisheries School, West Cork in 1926. Tom Moynihan was foreman.

Ilen's wood construction is of oak ribs and planks of larch.

As-built initially, she is 56 feet in length overall with a beam of 14 feet and a displacement of 45 tonnes.

Conor O’Brien set sail in August 1926 with two Cadogan cousins from Cape Clear in West Cork, arriving at Port Stanley in January 1927 and handed it over to the new owners.

The Ilen was delivered to the Falkland Islands Company, in exchange for £1,500.

Ilen served for over 70 years as a cargo ship and a ferry in the Falkland Islands, enduring and enjoying the Roaring Forties, the Furious Fifties, and Screaming Sixties. She stayed in service until the early 1990s.

Limerick sailor Gary McMahon and his team located Ilen. MacMahon started looking for her in 1996 and went out to the Falklands and struck a deal with the owner to bring her back to Ireland.

After a lifetime of hard work in the Falklands, Ilen required a ground-up rebuild.

A Russian cargo ship transported her back on a 12,000-mile trip from the Southern Oceans to Dublin. The Ilen was discharged at the Port of Dublin 1997, after an absence from Ireland of 70 years.

It was a collaboration between the Ilen Project in Limerick and Hegarty’s Boatyard in Old Court, near Skibbereen. Much of the heavy lifting, of frames, planking, deadwood & backbone, knees, floors, shelves and stringers, deck beams, and carlins, was done in Hegarty’s. The generally lighter work of preparing sole, bulkheads, deck‐houses fixed furniture, fixtures & fittings, deck fittings, machinery, systems, tanks, spar making and rigging is being done at the Ilen boat building school in Limerick.

Ten years. The boat was much the worse for wear when it returned to West Cork in May 1998, and it remained dormant for ten years before the start of a decade-long restoration.

Ilen now serves as a community floating classroom and cargo vessel – visiting 23 ports in 2019 and making a transatlantic crossing to Greenland as part of a relationship-building project to link youth in Limerick City with youth in Nuuk, west Greenland.

At a mere 56ft, Ilen is capable of visiting most of the small harbours of Ireland.

©Afloat 2020

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