Roeboats goes to Norway

For those of you who haven’t signed up for the Newsletter you won’t have heard that I have been chosen by the Crafts Council of Ireland to travel to Norway for two weeks on work placement at the Hardanger Boat Museum in Norheimsund south east of Bergen on the shores of the Hardanger Fjord . (It’s the third largest fjord in the world.)

M/Y Faun

Here’s one of the vessels at the museum the M/Y Faun built in 1916. What a beauty and below is the MS Paddy also from 1916 another good looking boat.

I’ll be involved with all aspects of work at the museum and will be starting at the rope walk which sounds knd of like hard work. There will of course more pictures of my trip and by the time I’m finished you’ll probably be sick of hearing about it. If you wish to contact me over the next two weeks to discuss having you own boat built I will be checking my e-mails but it will be sporadic so don’t be disappointed with a slow reply.

Birthday for Roeboats

Starting a business in the middle of a recession is not easy but people will still want to enjoy the unique unparalleled freedom offered by being captain of your own boat. Yes it has been difficult but I’ve wanted to be a boat builder since I was thirteen when I started maintaining and repairing racing dinghies. After nearly 25 years of learning and honing the skills needed I finally decided to start Roeboats and follow that dream. So far I have been successful and I’m hoping that clients will recognise the value and beauty of the boats that Roeboats build. I’m building boats that were designed during the golden age of yachting and building them using eco-friendly and low maintenance techniques so clients can have beautiful classic boats without the headaches of traditional construction and benefit from their sea-kindly and fuel efficient hull forms.” It all started with the building of an optimist dinghy with my father see the picture below.

wooden optimist dinghy

Mo Bháidín (My little boat) 1983

To celebrate Roeboats first anniversary in business I’m offering a free tender with every boat ordered over 20’ before the end of April 2010. Launched with the commencement of the building of hull number one a John Atkin designed 22’ eco-friendly fuel efficient powerboat Roeboats have not only survived the recent economic maelstrom but are implementing plans to grow the business in the coming years. I’m currently discussing custom built boat projects, both power and sail, with prospective owners both here in Ireland and abroad. We’ve teamed up with two boat dealerships in Ireland, I’ll be announcing details soon, and I’m also beginning to target the UK and northern Europe. Initial contacts with specialist brokers have been very positive.
Official celebrations are being postponed slightly to coincide with the Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival at the end of May where Roeboats first boat will be making it’s debut where clients can get a chance to see the fine craftsmanship and excellent sea keeping of the Ninigret. So if you’d like to have a look at what Roeboats are up to why not head to Baltimore for the 28-30th. of May

West Cork Launch Site No. 3 Ahakista

Here’s another launch site in west Cork on the Sheep’s Head peninsula a very secluded and remote part of west Cork. Located approximately half way along Dunmanus bay it is the perfect place to start exploring this beautiful part of the country.The pier here is busy with both private and fishing boats and it boasts an excellently maintained and wide slip. The harbour itself is quite sheltered and Kitchen Cove proper is well protected from most points of the compass. ahakista

As you can see in the picture above tenders are tied up to railings at the head of the slip but don’t really interfere with launching and retrieving your boat. ahakista1

There is water available at the pier and a difibulator if you’re in need of one. There’s a pub just up from the pier with a beer garden overlooking the water and is a fine place for a few sunny pints.ahakista2

This will Shena Christinas home port and I spent a few beautiful days there putting the boat through some sea trials, unfortunately I was too busy to take any photos.

Roeboats, Ballydehob, Co. Cork, t:+353 (0)28 38973 m: +353 (0)86 158 69 37

West Cork Launch site No. 2 Baltimore

Here are some photos of the pier and slips in Baltimore, Co. Cork. Baltimore has one of the best harbours in Ireland that has ample depth to accommodate large vessels and is sheltered enough for smaller vessels. There are two slips for launching in Baltimore and all the facilities associated with a busy port. Baltimore Pier

This is the refurbished pier, the end of which is used by the ferrys to Oilean Cléire ( Cape Clear ) and Sherkin Island one of which can be seen at the end of the pier. Smaller craft can moor alongside closer to the shore, where it is quite shallow at low water.

Baltimore harbour looking west

Looking west from the start of the pier you can see the slip in the right hand section of the photo. Actually there are three slips and a boat railway. Starting from the west is a public slip, the boat railway, the RNLI inshore lifeboat slip and the Baltimore Sailing club slip. With so many entities using the shore line you can appreciate that Baltimore can be a bustling place in the summer season. These photos were taken on a beautiful day in April. The pier in the picture is foul on its southern end and the western side is used by commercial boats. Charter and dive boats usually tie up at its eastern side.

Baltimore Harbour looking northThis is another slip and can be used for launching and tying up to by small craft for short periods there are rings along its outer edge. The large stone building in the background is Dún na Sead Castle which is open to the public during the summer. (The stairs in the castle were built by my friend and colleague Simon Hassett.) To the right you can see the main square where it all happens during the summer and if the weather is right is more akin to the french riveria than west cork. If you are launching a boat in Baltimore there is parking for trailers on the road side beside the old BIM boatyard and across the road from Glenans who are celebrating 40 years in Baltimore this year.

Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival

Here are some photos I took at this weekend’s Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival. I was out sailing on Saturday so these photos were taken on Sunday which was one of the best days so far this year here in West Cork.

An Itchen Ferry ?

An Itchen Ferry ?


First off we have a very nice little boat that the owner believes is an Itchen ferry built in Falmouth but a long time resident of West Cork. It had a cabin previous to this owner but it was converted to a very nice open boat.

Heir Island Lobster Boat and Galway Hooker

Heir Island Lobster Boat and Galway Hooker

Here a Heir Island lobster boat and a Galway Hooker fight it out at the finish line.

Cormac Levis' Heir Island Lobster boat Saoirse Muireann

Cormac Levis' Heir Island Lobster boat Saoirse Muireann

Cormac Levis who owns this boat has written an excellent book on the history of Heir Island lobster boats and the men who worked them.

Bantry Bay Loongboat Unité

Bantry Bay Longboat Unité under sail

The Bantry Bay longboat is the basis of the Atlantic Challenge an organisation that “every other year sponsors a friendly contest of seamanship in Bantry Bay gigs, held in a different host country.”

Baltimore Boatyard

Baltimore Boatyard

And this finally is what remains of Ireland’s premier boat building school and builders where famous boats like Conor O’Briens Saoirse and Ilen were built. It was also the site of the Baltimore Fishery School which is more recently in the news as a result of the Ryan Report. Here is a newspaper article about it and the report can be downloaded here.

West Cork Launch Sites. No. 1 Ballydehob


Above: Ballydehob’s Iconic 12 Arch Tramway Bridge

I thought that I would do an occasional series on the launch sites and small piers around the West cork coast. Whenever I’m passing near one I usually check them out to see what they’re suitable for. Now I’m going to start photographing them. So that you can get a good idea of how much water there will be I’m going to aim to photograph them around low tide.

It is here.

And Here are some pictures.

ballydehobblogLooking north

As you can see the slip is in good condition and offers at least 5′ at high tide. It is obstructed by mooring lines but these could be moved when launching and retrieving.

bdhobblogLooking east

bdhobblog2Looking West

There is ample space for parking and the area is lit and safe at night. It’s a short 2-3 minute walk to the shop, small hardware shop, launderette, petrol station, restaurants and 7 of the best pubs in Ireland. Click here for information on Ballydehob.

bdchannelThe channel through Ballydehob bay a to Roaringwater bay is marked by bouys and is fairly straight forward. The great thing about Ballydehob is that diesel and petrol are available in the village; this is no longer so in neighboring Schull. Also it is much quieter and picturesque with better shelter than its more famous neighbor. It is restricted in draft and only accessible to smaller craft which is great.

Hope this info. is helpful to some one. And yes I know I should have taken an aerial shot from the bridge. I’ll add that next time.

Trip to St Kilda October 2007

I came across these photos of a trip I did with a friend of mine on his Rival 38 to St Kilda a remote cluster of islands 40 miles west of the Outer Hebrides or Western Isles. I have to say the sail north from Burtonport, Donegal was splendid considering the lateness of the season. Three days with the wind abaft spinnaker up and beautiful mild weather. The only rain we had was when I was off watch; luckily. We arrived at night and spent a rather awful night at anchor with strong gusts coming down off the mountains and blowing the boat in all directions. The view that greeted us in the morning was quite spectacular. At that time of year there are only the RAF members on the Island and the pub was closed. I know an island without a pub, what is the world coming too?


This is one of the many stone cleitean that are dotted all over the islands. They were used as storage for animals and fodder and by the look of the place I’d say the St Kildians used to roll up the soil and put it inside to stop it blowing away during the winter. Spectacular and lonesome so lonesome in fact that the last inhabitants requested to be taken off in the 1930’s.


Here’s another view the little dark smudge in the water if you can see it is our boat. There was bad weather coming in and the anchorage was untenable so all in all after 3 days at sea we only got to spent 2 or 3 hours on St Kilda. So we headed over to Carloway on the isle of Lewis; which is very close to the Callinish stones.


Just look at the heads on these three and they were only away from home four days at this stage can you imagine what they looked like after two weeks. They nearly had to be put into quarantine when they got home. I have photos of the rest of this trip somewhere I’ll post when I find them.