Cruising Conference

Jim Wilson telling what is known of the first Antarctic Explorer,
Irishman Edward Bransfield

Yesterday, we got up long before dawn to attend the Irish Sailing Cruising Conference. Held at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, it was a sellout. Driving there was a chore for Alex, as storm Dennis had arrived that morning with lashing rain and high winds. But as we got closer to Dublin, the weather cleared a bit. It rained most of the day, so it was a good one to spend indoors.

Driving to Dun Laoghaire as Storm Dennis approaches.
Note the masses of cranes marking Dublin's skyline. 

After a warm welcome from Harry Hermon, CEO of IS, and Gail MacAllister, organiser of the conference, the packed agenda kept the pace up the entire day. Harry opened by acknowledging that there are far more cruisers than racers in the world of sailing and that cruisers have been underrepresented and underserved by the sailing world representational bodies. He asked for input on how IS can support cruisers through new initiatives. We will definitely provide input.
  • Met Eireann Marine Meteorologist and Wave Expert, Sarah Gallagher, talked about how waves are formed on different bodies of water, how they interact, and how forecasting them and the effects they have on our shores is challenging. Her position is relatively new but she is looking forward to advancing the science of wave formation and behaviour.
  • The highly respected ornithologist and Antarctic wildlife tour leader, Jim Wilson, shared the story of the discovery of Antarctica by Irishman Edward Bransfield. It was a fascinating look into the relatively unknown life of a man pressed into service in the British Navy who rose to Master and Commander of his own research vessel. Jim was an entertaining and masterful speaker that held the audience spellbound. 
  • Damian Foxall, Niall MacAllister and Lucy Hunt, who are leading a series of expeditions in Antarctica this winter, shared a short film about their adventures and the wildlife they have encountered.
  • Jamie Young, Expedition Leader, Skipper of Killary Flyer and owner of Killary Adventure Centre, gave a “fireside” chat about his trip to Greenland and the changes he has witnessed over his two trips to the Arctic.
  • Christine Heath, told us about her voyages to Holland, Sweden, Norway and Scotland over the course of 4 years on her Sadler 28. She is now based in Kilrush Marina and looking forward to exploring the west coast of Ireland in 2020.
  • Vera Quinlan sailed off with her husband and children to sail around the Atlantic circuit for a year's sabbatical. We saw a video of the family deploying their Argo ocean sampling device. 
  • Toni O’Leary of Union Chandlery gave technical advice on anodes, galvanic corrosion, the interaction between different metals and more environmentally friendly anode options.
  • Norman Keane has been following the marked diesel saga and gave us an 'informed' view of the current situation. He then took us on a tour of Ireland with birds-eye views of our harbours and anchorages facilitated by the ICC's new drone. It was fun guessing the harbours and seeing the stunning photography that is featured in the new editions of the ICC's flagship piloting publications. 
  • Cruising Association of Ireland provided insights into their plans for 2020 cruising.
  • RCYC delivered an overview of the coming celebrations planned for Cork 300 in July 2020. 
It was an informative and stimulating day, with the opportunity to network with some fine Irish sailors. Lunch at the Club was delightful and delicious, and a good informal setting in which to meet new cruisers. Interestingly for us, we happened to sit with Aidan Coffey and his wife as well as their friend John and his wife.  John is currently reading Happy Hooking which his wife bought for him, and Aidan bought Cruising the WAW at the first IS Cruising Conference where I spoke. 

We stayed at the Haddington House Hotel, which is a delightful boutique hotel just across the road from the NYC in Dun Laoghaire. The room was tastefully fitted out and came with a Nespresso machine. The bathroom was lovely in B&W with rain shower. Its Oliveto restaurant serves up topnotch Italian fare and was quite popular on a wintry Saturday night. It has off-street parking in a strange arrangement with a property next door that worked just fine and was much appreciated. The breakfast in the morning was very good and included with the room. If the forecast hadn't been abysmal for the afternoon, we might have hung around Dublin for the day. Instead, we drove home. The cats were happy with our decision. 

100 attendees

Sarah Gallagher,  meteorologist and wave expert

Jamie Young, adventurer

Christine Heath, Baltic adventure

Toni, Union Chandlery, talks anodes and metals

Gail McAllister and Norman Kean

Cork 300 briefing

View from the hotel 

Art in our room

Whitecaps in our inlet
The MSC anemometer readings as I write this. 
Storm Dennis 16-02-2020


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