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.
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.
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.
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.
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.These days, Michael Boyd is best known as Commodore of the
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 No||Boat||Type of Boat||Owner||Class Entered||Handicap|
|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|