Twitter buoy keeps sailors in touch with Galway conditionsJune 20, 2012 - 7:00am
BY CIARAN TIERNEY
Sailing enthusiasts all over the world are being kept abreast of conditions in Galway Bay ahead of the grand finale of the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) thanks to the deployment of a unique eight metre high buoy in the sea off Mutton Island since the weekend.
The Galway Buoy is providing up to date information on the progress of the 39,000 mile VOR ahead of the last leg into Galway as well as wind and sea conditions in the vicinity of the finishing line before the conclusion of the nine month race on July 3.
Tweets will be provided from the buoy about the progress of the eight boats between the start of the final leg in Lorient on July 1 and the conclusion of the race next to an Irish naval vessel two days later.
Already almost 500 people have begun following @GalwayBuoy on the Twitter social media site, as it provides regular updates about water temperature, wind speed and direction, visibility, and wave height in the bay.
The tweets are being written up as though written by the buoy itself in the hope that a new generation of young sailing enthusiasts will engage with the project before the grand finale of the VOR takes place from June 30 to July 8 next.
The Galway ‘Twitter’ Buoy, fitted with meteorological and oceanographic sensors, was launched from the Irish Lights vessel, Granuaile, near Mutton Island before beginning to ‘tweet’ a constant flow of data from the bay at the weekend.
It’s the first service of its kind in the 39-year history of the VOR and came through collaboration between the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL), the Marine Institute (which is based in Galway), Techworks Marine, Smartbay Ireland, and IMERC partners.
The buoy has self-regulating solar panels, runs on a 12V battery, and is the largest in the inventory of the CIL.
Galway won out over 81 competing cities to secure the grand finale of the VOR and the buoy highlights the strength of the city’s marine research and technology sectors.
“It is a first in terms of providing a steady stream of information from a key location in the race,” said John Killeen of grand finale organisers, Let’s Do It Global, yesterday.
The data from the buoy can be foll
owed on-line by checking out @GalwayBuoy at www.twitter.com