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Ireland always Commodores' bridesmaid?

11th July 2008
Ireland always Commodores' bridesmaid?

Forever the bridesmaid and never the bride. Is there an unwritten rule we just haven't read that Ireland must always be second in the Commodore's Cup?

After a series of near misses, there were many reasons why last weekend would have been wholly appropriate timing for an Irish win on the Solent.

Third time lucky is how it was scripted, but after first being jilted by the French and now by the English (for the second time), it's easy to be haunted by pre-wedding nerves. Regardless, the Irish love affair with a team trophy it has never won looks set to continue.

Ireland must wait two years for another chance to lift it, so it is a
measure of Irish talent and confidence that campaigns for 2010 are already
forming, buoyed up by the fact that in the closing stages on Sunday, Ireland
White held the overall lead.

This is a significant point, not least because it reinforces just how
quickly this event can turn but mostly because it shows Irish cruiser pro-am
racing is on the world stage.

But a White wedding was only a dream because GBR Red - it has been fairly
acknowledged - were the most consistent performers of the 15 teams last

Post-regatta analysis here will focus on how the teams got hitched at all
and how that can be improved for an event that tests teams over a variety of
inshore and offshore courses.

There can be no disappointment for Ireland when two teams return home with
second and third overall in a competition that resembles, in so many ways,
the Admiral's Cup of years ago.

By all accounts, the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) ran a professional event
that was sailed in championship conditions. From a lacklustre start in 1992
and well documented errors in 2006, the event has come of age but the club
is not resting on its laurels.

RORC is evaluating a proposal from Cork that the biennial team trophy should
no longer be squashed in between the Round Ireland and Cork Week. It is
understood that the 2010 event will now most likely be staged in August, a
week after Cowes Week.

American involvement is a possibility in two years time too, and competing countries have gone as far as to ask the question; if you are changing the timing why not the venue?

Crosshaven and Dun Laoghaire would be obvious hosts for the Commodore’s Cup, but the Royal Cork Yacht Club has another event to consider in the immediate future.

In recent times, far from being Royal Cork's cash cow, staging next weeks
400-boat Cork Week event has put a strain on resources. The resignation of
both the regatta chairman and racing director in recent times is an
indication of the pressure associated with running such a large-scale event.

But what has never been called into question is the pioneering efforts to
showcase Cork harbour to the extent that the regatta, in sailing terms at
least, is a world-wide brand.

Yet for all the high-tech publicity machinery of this event, the club is
still an organisation powered largely by the parish pump. Over a hundred
volunteers spend months prior to the event performing mind-numbing
administrative tasks that displays a passion for their club that is an
example to all others on this coastline.

And it is for these reasons that Irish sailing needs to get behind Royal
Cork to give every possible support and help ease the burden of transforming
a sleepy fishing village into an icon of Irish summer sport every two years.

Criticism centres on the cost of entry compared to other similar events in
Ireland and the UK. It is cited as a contributory reason why entry levels
are down. Critics say that €1,100 for a 40’ boat in the Gentleman’s Class is
excessive compared with Dun Laoghaire regatta at approx €300. The Cowes Week entry fee is less than 50% of that of Cork Week.

Of course, numbers attending regatta weeks are down across the board, but
rectifying entry fees would go a long way to dealing with critics who must
still acknowledge that, whatever Cork lacks in numbers this time, it has a
knack of making up for in quality boats.

Rambler, a 90-footer skippered by George David from the US, along with
Moneypenny and Numbers, both from the US, both 52 feet long, and skippered by James Swartz and Dan Myers respectively, are moored in the harbour this morning, an impressive sight and an indication that Cork Week is still a player on the world stage.

By all accounts, a great week of racing lies ahead. Of course, it would have
been the perfect reception for a victorious Commodore’s Cup homecoming but
this will have to wait until 2010.
Published in Editors Blog Team

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