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Devising a New Approach to Cork Harbour Cruiser Racing

1st February 2017
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White Sails sailing in Cork Harbour at Monkstown Bay Sailing Club White Sails sailing in Cork Harbour at Monkstown Bay Sailing Club

I visited my Sigma 33, appropriately named SCRIBBLER – II to be particular, as there was a previous incarnation, a Ruffian 23, which proudly bore SCRIBBLER 1. My visit was to check her out, see how she was surviving the Winter and, in the cabin for a while, to consider how much attention she will need before launching this year…..

It’s that time of year again, great as age mounts up, to have arrived into another year and to think of the season ahead and wonder what it may bring……. Will she be dressed again in full regalia, spinnaker flying, when we race or will the now annual crewing…a searching situation mean that it will be white sail only?

These are amongst my thoughts as the ISA letters and forms arrive for IRC and ECHO handicap renewals and the two clubs of which I am a member in Cork Harbour, discuss the future of cruiser racing…. The Royal Cork, RCYC, at Crosshaven is setting up a group to review cruiser racing…. The club’s Rear Admiral, Kieran O’Connell, in charge of keel boat racing, says that the decline in the number of boats racing, which had occurred over the last few seasons, appeared to have stabilised in the past year.

There is a need to devise a new approach to cruiser racing. Clubs around the country have experienced a similar downturn in the number of cruisers racing at regular club events. There are difficulties in getting crews for boats. Another problem is the ageing profile of the cruiser racing and ensuring transition of sailors from dinghies to cruisers and the modern-day demands for parents of family duties.. White sailing has counteracted some of the problem. Handling just two sails requires
less crew numbers…

My home village club, Monkstown Bay, concentrates solely on white sail and is discussing joint racing arrangements in Cork Harbour with the neighbouring Cove Sailing Club.

So the season ahead has positive aspects…And my Sigma 33 received me well on my first visit this year….though I got the impression she was saying that the visit had been too far delayed….….

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