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Volvo Cork Week 2016 Steps Up Interaction Between Sea & Land

9th July 2016
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The spirit of Volvo Cork Week as expressed in 2014. Francois Giroud’s Open 750 Bois Dresses II from France revelling in great sailing off Cork Harbour The spirit of Volvo Cork Week as expressed in 2014. Francois Giroud’s Open 750 Bois Dresses II from France revelling in great sailing off Cork Harbour Photo: Robert Bateman

Awareness of Cork Harbour’s long and colourful history of sailing has become so widespread and generally acknowledged that there’s a risk that the Irish and global sailing community will take it all for granted. Equally, the wonderful natural harbour of Cork, intertwining so peacefully and naturally with the handsome countryside about it, is such a constant in life that the ready opportunities it offers for sailing and boating of all sorts may not be getting used to their full potential. Volvo Cork Week 2016 – which gets under way this weekend – is primarily about sailboats up to the top international level going out racing. But the organisers are well aware of what a special opportunity this major regatta provides to re-energise the long-established links between Cork Harbour’s sea and land with the communities within their interaction, and they have planned accordingly. W M Nixon takes up the story.

For the very sea-minded community of Crosshaven, Volvo Cork Week 2016 is going to be an event in tandem. Naturally the headlines will be grabbed by the results of each day’s racing, which goes into full-ahead mode on Monday and continues through Friday. But while the boats are at sea, Crosshaven finds itself a different role as a bustling village which will be providing a variety of entertainment and attractions ashore.

crk week2 The fleet’s in port. Crosshaven during Volvo Cork Week. Photo: Robert Bateman

crk week3The Royal Cork YC’s clubhouse at Crosshaven has expanded over the years Photo: Robert Bateman

In fact, so keen is the village to get on with this side of things that they’re gearing up for it this morning, with Volvo Family Day getting started at noon in the area around Crosshaven Village Square. There really is something for everyone of every age, with the Volvo Classic Car Display in town for that essential element of big boys’ toys to inspect. And there are tickets on sale to win a new Volvo V40, for which the draw will be at 4.0pm. But meanwhile, in addition to a host of entertainments for kids of all ages, there’s an intriguing twist to the ongoing programme with livewire TV personality Dermot Bannon of “Room to Improve” live in the Village Square Marquee at 2.00pm for a Q & A session which, let’s face it, could go in any direction when there’s a lively weekend audience.

Through the week, while the focus will be increasingly on the Royal Cork YC’s large and often music-filled compound where it will all culminate with the prize-giving and fireworks display on the Friday night, another part of the harbour will be involved on Tuesday when teams competing for the Beaufort Cup (of which more anon) will be hosted at a black-tie Gala Dinner at the Naval Base in Haulbowline.

crk week4The variety of boats racing in Volvo Cork Week is central to its attraction

crk week5Coming in from the sunny Cork sea…..the choice of courses includes in-harbour racing, but it’s the best of the sport outside the harbour which provides real champagne sailing
In fact, so well-filled is the shoreside programme that you wonder how chairman Kieran O’Connell and his team in the Volvo Cork Week 2016 Organising Committee found the time to create such a varied programme afloat. But they’ve done that too, with the waterborne areas in the overall care of Race Director Donal McClement, whose experience of regattas both in Cork and at other major international venues is surely unrivalled.

In addition to the trophies which have become synonymous with Volvo Cork Week (their incredible ages in many cases reflecting Cork Harbour’s unrivalled sailing history), this year’s Week, in addition to a strong emphasis on the ISA’s Try Sailing initiative, will include two new events, the European IRC Championship and the Beaufort Cup.

The Beaufort Cup is a stroke of inspirational genius, as it’s an international series within a series for maritime agencies, the military and marine emergency services of all kinds. Although one of the overseas competitors for the Beaufort Cup – The Royal Engineers Yacht Club from the UK – has been actively involved with ocean racing virtually since the first Fastnet Race of 1925, not all the maritime agencies have boats of their own such as the REYC’s J/109 Trojan of Upnor. But owners from home and abroad have volunteered to have their boat’s crew include personnel of whom at least 50% are involved in the maritime and emergency sphere, and thus we find that there are fourteen very competitive boats with noted owner-skippers such as John Maybury with the J/109 Joker 2, Frank Doyle with the A 35 Endgame, Simon Coveney with sister-ship Another Adventure, Tom Roche of Kinsale with the Salona 45 Meridien, and Conor Doyle with the X442 Freya, who are eligible for the Beaufort competition.

crk week6The Beaufort Cup series will include a race round the Fastnet, so it’s serious stuff, and with Frank Doyle’s Endgame team drawing on the talents of the famous Baltimore lifeboat crew, we get some idea of the standards involved, with the winning team receiving a €10,000 charitable donation in addition to the Beaufort Cup.

The Beaufort Cup is named in honour of Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort (1774-1857), the hydrographer and meteorologist who invented, among other things, the Beaufort Scales for measuring sea and wind conditions. He was born in Navan in County Meath, and it is many years now since the then Chairman of An Taisce’s Meath Branch, one Michael Boyd, unveiled a memorial in honour of Admiral Beaufort in the heart of Navan.

crk week7Michael Boyd, Commodore RORC, with Kieran O’Connell, Chairman of the Organising Committee, Volvo Cork Week 2016These days, Michael Boyd is best known as Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club. Having taken an excellent third overall in IRC with the First 44.7 Lisa in the recent Volvo Round Ireland Race, he will be in new territory in Volvo Cork Week, as he’ll be racing for the first time with a JPK 10.80, in this instance the French-numbered Audrey.

The JPK 10.80s will be one of the special points of interest in Volvo Cork Week, as three are racing, the other two being Dream Pearls from France (Eric Mordret and Arnaud Delamara), which has been among the front-runners in this year’s RORC programme, and Paul O’Higgins’ Rockabill VI from the Royal Irish YC, which had her moments of glory towards the top of the leaderboard in the Round Ireland, but never fully recovered from being one of the handful of boats which got hung up in a local calm at Inishtrahull for three dreadful hours.

In the open competition for the European IRC Championship, many boats are forces to be reckoned with, and it should be remembered that in the same regatta in 2014, Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling with the Grand Soleil 43 Quokka ended up being top boat overall despite being up against the likes of the Ker 40 Catapult, which has since become Anthony O’Leary’s Antix.

crk week8Hanging in there. At Volvo Cork Week 2014, Quokka (Michael Boyd & Niall Dowling) is sailing in clear air and keeping station on the higher rated Catapult. By the end of the regatta, Quokka was overall champion. Photo: Robert Bateman

crk week9The Ker 40 Antix in her former existence as Catapult at Volvo Cork Week 2014. The next six days will see her making the challenge as Antix to be overall champion. Photo: Robert Bateman

Inevitably, though, the focus will be on the glamour girls of Class 0, where an epic battle is lining up with overtones of the Commodores Cup 2014, when Antix in her former existence as Catapult was often head-to-head with French Skipper Eric de Turckheim’s A13 Teasing Machine. The Machine – having since covered herself in glory in events as diverse as the Rolex Sydney Hobart and this year’s Volvo Round Ireland - has been on the hard in Crosshaven getting TLC in recent days (they kept her keel shape hidden, though the twin rudders were much in evidence), so it will be battle royal with Antix and Sir Richard Matthews’ new H39 Oystercatcher XXXI.

crk week10She is currently one of the most successful ocean racers in the world. Eric de Turckheim’s A13 Teasing Machine (above & below) on the hard in Crosshaven, with her twin rudders revealed, but her keel coyly hidden. Photos: Robert Bateman

crk week11

crk week12Fresh out of the wrappers - Sir Richard Matthews’ new H39 Oystercatcher XX

But complete newness is no guarantee of success, and another favoured boat, rating at the bottom end of Class O, has to be Conor Phelan’s Ker 36.7 Jump Juice (RCYC), which may be of 2006 vintage, but she just keeps on winning.

As ever, there’s a goodly turnout of J/109s – nine of them this time round – and after her brief but successful existence as Dave Cullen’s Euro Car Parks to win Class 3 in the Volvo Round Ireland, Pat Kelly’s Storm is her old self again, complete with the abiding honour of having been an ICRA Boat of the Year in times past, and she’ll be fresh and ready for battle with noted J/109 newbies Tim & Richard Goodbody (RIYC) with White Mischief.

crk week13The J/109s will have nine boats racing

For those who like a taste of open water while returning to a very hospitable port each evening, there’s a Coastal Division in two classes where participants include the likes of Sheila & James Tyrrell’s J/112E Aquelina, and two of the leading Dun Laoghaire boats, George Sisk’s Farr 42 WOW and Chris & Patanne Smith’s J/122 Aurelia in Class 1, while Class 2 has strong west coast participation with Derek & Conor Dillon’s Dehler Nova Big Deal from Foynes, and Martin Breen’s Dehler 37 Port of Galway.

The fleet is so diverse that simply seeing the results emerging is going to give a fascinating overview of the contemporary cruiser-racer and offshore scene, and when it’s set in the context of Cork, you get all sorts of added dimensions brought to us through the extraordinary sailing history of this remarkable place.

crk week14Yacht racing as it was in 1852. The fleet at the Royal Cork YC regatta about to race from a moored start

Volvo Cork Week as we know it today as a biennial festival was established in 1978 when the late Archie O’Leary was Admiral of the Royal Cork YC, but there had been other weeks or at least four day regattas before that, a notable one being in 1970 when the Royal Cork was celebrating its Quarter Millennium.

Inevitably, with the Tricentenary in 2020 coming down the line, significant events in Cork sailing history are being high-lighted and re-examined, and one special “first” which Organising Chairman Kieran O’Connell hopes to mark by a re-enactment is possibly one of the first offshore races held anywhere in the world, from Dublin Bay to Cork Harbour in July 1860.

crk week15Navy days. Haulbowline as seen from Cobh at mid 19th Century
It was inspired by the then Admiral of the Royal Cork, Thomas G French. Following a week of regattas at what was then Kingstown, he put up a prize of 15 guineas or something similar, and sixteen boats raced to Cork Harbour, though few of them got under way with the urgency shown by Rambler 88 and Teasing Machine at the start of the Round Ireland Race three weeks ago.

However, it’s the finish which will be a matter for discussion at tomorrow night’s opening ceremony for the sailing side of Volvo Cork Week 2016. According to Kieran O’Connell’s report, the winner in 1860 was Cooper Penrose’s 90-ton schooner Kingfisher in a race without any handicaps being applied.

That may indeed be the report which appeared in some of the newspapers of the day, as Kingfisher was first past Roche’s Point at daybreak to enter Cork Harbour. Yet the later detailed report in Hunt’s Yachting Magazine in the following weeks made the claim that the yachts were in fact racing to a finish line well up the harbour, off the Royal Cork clubhouse at Cobh. In struggling up the harbour in light airs, the noted amateur helmsman Henry O’Bryen, sailing Sir John Arnott’s 39-ton cutter Sybil, outsailed both the big Kingfisher and the 80-ton cutter Peri (J W Cannon) to snatch the lead at the finish, the finish times being 0520 (Sybil), 0523 (Peri) and 0525 (Kingfisher).

crk week16The Royal Cork Yacht Club’s former clubhouse in Cobh when it still was the RCYC. Following the merger in 1966 of the Royal Cork with the Royal Munster YC, Crosshaven became the club headquarters. Today, the former clubhouse at Cobh is a Heritage Centre.

If boats racing from Dun Laoghaire to Cork manage times as close as that, they’ll have had a fine race of it, and it will be further encouragement to the Royal Cork to persist in this new-fangled sport of yacht racing, For, as has been frequently pointed out, racing played no role whatever in the early years of the Water Club of the Harbour of Cork from its foundation in 1720. The fleet’s function was to show that it could sail in close and disciplined formation like a naval squadron, and that provided them with enough excitement for the day – if anyone wanted a race, they could send their crews off in the gig for a rowing race, and the yachtsmen could wager on the results.

Thus it seems that the vulgarity of racing yachts in Cork Harbour was kept at bay until the 1780s, but quite when in the 1780s we don’t know. The earliest known mention of a race in connection with the Water Club come from July 1787 when a notice in the Cork Hibernian Chronicle of July 23rd stated that on Thursday July 26th “the Yachts of the Harbour of Cork are to sail from Roches Tower, exactly at eight o’clock in the morning, to go round Cable Island from thence to the Blockhouse at Hawlbowling (sic). The first yacht past the Blockhouse shall be deemed the winner, and the owner is entitled to the Anchor”.

The way this is stated seems to suggest that, by this time, races by the Water Club were nothing new in Cork Harbour sailing. As to what “entitled to the Anchor” precisely means, that muddies the water still further. The Anchor could have been a trophy of some kind. But on the other hand, “entitled to the Anchor” might have meant that after the finish, the winner could anchor wherever he wished in the harbour, with the rest of the fleet obliged to anchor near him in formation. As most of the yachts were kept moored off their owner’s houses, it would have been a matter of prestige to have the fleet come to your personal anchorage.

All of which reminds us that history, whether of sailing or whatever, should be registered as a controlled substance, to be administered by qualified medical staff in white coats in a clinical environment…

Volvo Cork Week 2016. Entries as of the 28th of June. Entries: 105

Sail NoBoatType of BoatOwnerClass EnteredHandicap
GBR7005R Trojan of Upnor J109 REYC Beaufort Cup TBC
GBR8588R Jungle Drum J88 Stuart Southwick Beaufort Cup 1.035
IRL1206 Joker 2 J109 John Maybury Beaufort Cup 1.015
IRL2067 Justus J109 Dan Buckley Beaufort Cup TBC
IRL3209 Endgame A35 Frank Doyle Beaufort Cup 1.026
IRL3511 Another Adventure A35 Simon Coveney Beaufort Cup 1.032
IRL4076 Meridian Salona 45 Thomas W Roche Beaufort Cup 1.120
IRL4477 Freya X442 Conor Doyle Beaufort Cup 1.090
IRL9834 True Penance Projection 35 Martin Darer Colman Garvey Beaufort Cup 1.018
IRL9876 Coast Guard Benneteau 36 Conor McNally, John McLoughlin Beaufort Cup 0.880
IRL?? Exhale X43 Diarmuid & Hilda Good Beaufort Cup 1.079
IRLMIT Marine Institute   Marine Institute Beaufort Cup TBC
IRLPOG Port Of Galway   Port of Galway Beaufort Cup TBC
IRL2820 Y'Dream Beneteau First 36.7 Sean Riordan Beaufort Cup 1.003
FR38757 Teasing Machine A13 Eric De Turckiem Class 0 1.169
GBR4321 Oystercatcher XXX1 H39 Sir Richard Matthews Class 0 1.136
GBR8833R Dark Angel Dubois 37 Tony Ackland Class 0 1.098
GBR11152L Gladiator TP52 Tom Wilson Class 0 1.393
IRL708 Antix Ker 40 Anthony O Leary Class 0 1.215
IRL2007 Jump Juice Ker 37 Conor Phelan Class 0 1.104
FRA13220 Trilogy 2 One off Peterson 46 Jean Gabriel Samzun Class 1 1.059
FRA38418 Audrey JPK 10.80 Michael Boyd Class 1 1.045
FRA43645 Dream Pearls JPK 10.80 Eric Mordret & Arnaud Delamare Class 1 1.045
GBR1385L X Beat II Beneteau 40.7 Andrew O'Sullivan/Peter Pope/Lain Wright Class 1 1.054
GBR4031R SAILPLANE Beneteau First 40 Adrain McCarroll Class 1 1.083
GBR4041R Forty Licks First 40 Jay Colville Class 1 1.083
GBR5991T Prime Suspect Mills 36 Charlie Frize Class 1 1.067
GBR6638R Alice Mumm 36 Simon Henning Class 1 1.075
GBR8038R Roxstar XP 38 Murray Findlay Class 1 1.084
GBR9380R Forward Thinking Reflex 38 Stephen Nicholls Class 1 1.053
IRL7386 Lynx Clipper Reflex 38 John Spottiswood Class 1 1.049
IRL10800 Rockabill VI JPK 10.80 Paul O'Higgins Class 1 1.046
GBR37N Antilope Grand Soleil 37 Willem Wester Class 2 1.033
GBR3135L Jumbuck J109 John Allison Class 2 1.014
IRL1111 Team Stampede Benneteau 36.7 Tony Purkiss Class 2 1.017
IRL1242R White Mischief J109 Timothy & Richard Goodbody Class 2 1.012
IRL3061 Fools Gold A35 Robert McConnell Class 2 1.022
IRL7991 Jigamaree J109 Ronan Harris Class 2 1.014
IRL9494 NowWhat DIBOIS 33 Barry Heskin & Jim Grealish Class 2 1.018
IRL9609 Jellybaby J109 Ian Nagle Class 2 1.026
IRL29832 Jump n'Shout A35 James Crockatt Class 2 1.028
IRL33000 w1Da Dulcibella w1Da 33 OOD Rory Staunton Class 2 1.020
IRL35221 Alpaca X34 Paul & Deirdre Tingle Class 2 0.998
IRL44444 Magic Touch First 34,7 Steve Hayes Class 2 1.004
NED10922 vrijgezeilig J109 Michel Hiesweiller Class 2 1.009
IRL1141 Storm J109 Pat Kelly Class 2 1.014
FRA29340 CAVOK JPK960 Patrick Farcy Class 3 0.985
GBR1039 Aurora Contessa 33 Oscar Chess Class 3 0.927
GBR3663 Mischief of Mersea Carter 36 Martin Sykes Class 3 0.935
GBR4860T Skyhunter J35 Ronan Fenton Class 3 0.974
GBR9653R DayDream X332 Stephen Cutford Class 3 0.980
IRL1078 Jostler J92 Patrick Beckett Class 3 0.965
IRL1295 Lisador Dehler 36 Henry Hogg Class 3 0.969
IRL1484 Harmony Half Tonner John Swan Class 3 0.948
IRL6021 Ellida X332 Ria Lyden Class 3 0.981
IRL16859 Bad Company Sunfast 32 Desmond Deasy Ivors Class 3 0.934
GBR4264 Afrita Sigma 33 Andrew & Cheissie Laming Class 4 0.912
IRL0000 Animal Formula 28 Gerard O Sullivan Class 4 0.912
IRL78 No-Gnomes Nich 1/2 ton Leonard Donnery Class 4 0.907
IRL680 Ireland's Eye Kilcullen J24 Cillian Dickson Class 4 0.887
IRL3087 Anchor Challenge Farr Quarter Tonner Paul Gibbons Class 4 0.917
IRL4506 SeaHawk Sigma 33 Clem & Wendy McElligott Class 4 0.913
IRL5098 YaGottaWanna J24 Dave Lane & Sinead Enright Class 4 0.886
IRL6564 Monkey Business Formula 28 MOD Bill McConnell Class 4 0.910
IRL7071 Out Rigger 707 MOD Jimmy Nyhan Club Regatta Fleet 0.903
IRL1359 WishBone Holman31 Joanne McKenna Club Regatta Fleet 0.822
IRL3612 Sweet Dreams Sun Odyssey 36i Batt & Helen O Leary Club Regatta Fleet TBC
GBR7797T Foxtrot Beneteau 36.7 Hilary Davies Coastal Class 1 1,010
GBR8911R Ulula Bermudian Sloop Nick Ogden Coastal Class 1 1.098
IRL1301 Kayachtic Hanse 400 Mike Walker Coastal Class 1 TBC
IRL1477 Saxon Senator X37 Eric & Wan Waterman Coastal Class 1 1.035
IRL1507 Aquelina J-112E Sheila & James Tyrrell Coastal Class 1 1.060
IRL3207 Aris Bermudan Sloop Wolfgang Kallenberg Coastal Class 1 0.997
IRL4208 WoW Farr42 George Sisk Coastal Class 1 1.123
IRL35950 Aurelia J122 Chris & Patanne Power Smith Coastal Class 1 1.077
GBR380 Rioja J80 Dominic Baxter & Ernie Dillon Coastal Class 2 0.953
GBR606 Jedi J80 Fergus Coughlan Coastal Class 2 0.958
GBR1317 Violet Flame Benneteau 31.7 David Wilkins Coastal Class 2 TBC
GBR4183 Poppy Contention 33 John Roberts Coastal Class 2 0.902
IRL816 Serifa Saler 40 Rory Fitzpatrick Coastal Class 2 0.910
IRL1975 Tambourine Thomas One Off Kieran Collins Coastal Class 2 0.878
IRL3492 Big Deal Dehler Nova Derek Dillon Coastal Class 2 0.934
IRL5687 Port of Galway Dehler 37 CR Martin Breen Coastal Class 2 0.952
IRL9992 Split Point Dufour 34 Seamus Gilroy Coastal Class 2 0.956
GBR1983C Wildebeest 4 Brenta 24 Derek Buchanan Mixed Sports 0.960
IRL1771 Cosmic 1720 Brian Jones Mixed Sports 1.022
IRL1772 Heroes & Villains 1720 Gary Rhodes Mixed Sports 1.022
IRL1804 Aquatack 1720 Denis Murphy Mixed Sports 1.021
IRL2500 Elder Lemon 1720 Robert Dix Mixed Sports 1.013
GBR1786Y Thistle Husler 25.5 Peter Webster Non Spinnaker 0.803
IRL408 Julia B She 33 Bill O Mahony Non Spinnaker 0.854
IRL733 Thalia Sigma 400 Aubrey Leggett Non Spinnaker 1.028
IRL1033 Loch Greine Hanse 311 Tom/Declan/Donal O Mahony Non Spinnaker 0.916
IRL1523 Speedy Gonzales 26 Mark Reardon Non Spinnaker TBC
IRL1528 Beau Reve Beneteau First 30 Paddy McNamee Non Spinnaker TBC
IRL2382 Xerxes IMX38 Dan O Neill Non Spinnaker 1.024
IRL3276 Roaring Forties Beneteau First 35s5 Clodagh O Donavan Non Spinnaker 0.983
IRL4004 Objection! Sun Odyssey 35 Kevin Murray Non Spinnaker 0.955
IRL4434 Minx 111 Sigma 33 Tom McNeice Non Spinnaker 0.892
IRL7006Y Ashanta Thompson T31 Richard O'Halloran Non Spinnaker 0.832
IRL7212 Phaeton   Clive Doherty Non Spinnaker 0.830
IRL9515 Bonanza Hunter Impala Judy McGrath Non Spinnaker 0.890
IRL1750 RCYC 2 1720 Richard Hayes Try Sailing Challenge 1.022
IRL1760 RCYC1/NYC 1720 Helen Cooney Try Sailing Challenge 1.022
IRL1768 RCYC3 1720 Voxpro Try Sailing Challenge 1.022
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WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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