Sailing on a rising tide with Irish-Welsh collaboration

Rising Tide students from New Ross, Fethard, St Mullins, Thomastown, Paulstown and Waterford travelled to Milford Haven recently for a week-long exchange with Pembrokeshire College.

Rising Tide students from New Ross, Fethard, St Mullins, Thomastown, Paulstown and Waterford travelled to Milford Haven recently for a week-long exchange with Pembrokeshire College.

The week commenced with a two-day course in outboard engines in Pembrokeshire College’s Marine Engineering department in Haverfordwest. Later in the week the group braved strong gusts for a session of dinghy sailing with the Prince’s Trust in Milford Haven.

On the Friday the group attended a formal presentation by the Welsh students at the end of their Rising Tide course in the Torch Theatre, Milford Haven followed by a reception on board the tall ship the Earl of Pembroke. On the Sunday the Irish students boarded the tall ship and embarked on a voyage from Milford Haven up the Irish Sea, working with the crew to sail the ship; taking watches, helping out in the galley, assisting with setting the sails and taking the helm.

En route, they joined the final stage of the Clipper Round the World yacht race from Nova Scotia to Ireland and on arrival in Derry on Wednesday night, they received a warm welcome. The students’ return to New Ross Boatyard, Rosbercon included finishing the construction of a number of modern and traditional boats. The traditional-shaped boat is being built under the supervision of Tony McLoughlin using modern techniques with strip planking and then resin coated. Declan Barry and Michael Dunne from the Waterford Viking Longboat project were also supervising the construction of two Optimist sailing dinghies.

With the Rising Tide project due to end in November this year, representatives of the JFK Trust, Kilkenny Leader Partnership and New Ross Boat Yard also visited Milford Haven to meet the Ireland Wales programme partners and discuss the Three Sisters’ Regattas, another boat building course and The Barrow, Nore and Suir guide in addition to the possibility of future projects.

Three of the Irish students have also applied to attend the Marine Engineering and Boat Building courses in Pembrokeshire College commencing in September and further exchanges and joint events are planned across the Irish Sea in the coming months.