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Harold Cudmore of Cork, Our Main Man in the Global Sailing World

29th January 2022
Harold Cudmore seen recently in legendary sailor Willie Jameson’s place in Portmarnock, in phone conversation with longtime sparring partner Malcolm McKeag in Lymington
Harold Cudmore seen recently in legendary sailor Willie Jameson’s place in Portmarnock, in phone conversation with longtime sparring partner Malcolm McKeag in Lymington Credit: W M Nixon

The bundle of energy once known as Hurricane Harold came whirling by Dublin the other day. His daughter was having a pandemic-delayed graduation at Trinity, and Harold Cudmore’s womenfolk had fitted him into a smart suit for the occasion. It could make for a multi-layered episode from the next Sally Rooney novel. But meanwhile, some decompression treatment next day in less formal attire was needed as he wended his way from the city centre en route to the airport and back to Command HQ in the Isle of Wight. A breeze-shooting session over a very leisurely bar lunch in the Portmarnock Hotel ticked all the boxes.

These days, Portmarnock majors on its connections to golf, but somewhere in the midst of the modern much-marbled hotel is the old house of St Marnoch’s, ancestral home of the Jameson family of whiskey fame. Thus it was for a time the home of Willie Jameson, who was the Harold Cudmore of his day, his most notable achievement being as Sailing Master and Owner’s Representative aboard the stellar royal yacht Britannia from 1893 to 1897

Nowadays Willie Jameson tends to be remembered mainly as one of the indecisive afterguard in the unsuccessful America’s Cup challenge with the Watson-designed Shamrock II in 1901, when the owner Lipton recruited too many experts into the sailing management structure. But with Britannia in her glory days, it was just Jameson and the professional skipper John Carter, and the massively authoritative tome Yachts & Yachting, published 1925 under the guidance of sailing guru Brooke Heckstall-Smith, puts Jameson’s abilities firmly in perspective in a review of Britannia’s remarkable early career:

Willie Jameson and John Carter bring the tiller-steered Britannia through the Cowes Week fleet in 1896.Willie Jameson and John Carter bring the tiller-steered Britannia through the Cowes Week fleet in 1896.

“From 1893 to 1897, Mr William Jameson had charge of her for the Prince of Wales, and the late John Carter was her skipper. It was always said that this combination of talent was remarkable. The amount of hard sea-work done by Mr Jameson, John Carter, and their crew is extraordinary, and especially so when we consider that the weight of spars and running gear in those days was not what it is now, but considerably heavier. In the season of 1896, for instance, the Britannia started in fifty-eight races, and won flags in forty-three; her first race on March 8th and her last on August 15th. She sailed across the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean, to the Clyde, to Belfast, to Cork and to the Thames. In her battles with the American yacht Vigilant and with her splendid rival, the Fife cutter Ailsa, I think the success of the yacht was due to the wonderful seamanship of Mr Jameson and John Carter.”

It had all come about because at Cowes Week 1888, John Jameson and his younger brother Willie raced their 88ft cutter Irex boat-for-boat in a near gale of wind from the west with such determination that they won by half a bowsprit length, right in at the castle on the Royal Yacht Squadron line. It was the talk of the waterfront, and as Irex was being given a harbour stow at anchor in Cowes Roads, the royal launch arrived alongside with an invitation for Mr Jameson to join the Prince of Wales for drinks before dinner.

The 1884-vintage Irex – for six years her success was a continuing promotion for the name of John Jameson and his family’s whiskey, and it also introduced his brother Willie to the upper echelons of sailingThe 1884-vintage Irex – for six years her success was a continuing promotion for the name of John Jameson and his family’s whiskey, and it also introduced his brother Willie to the upper echelons of sailing

John Jameson was notoriously shy, and said he’d have to think of a good reason for declining. But whatever Willie was, shy it wasn’t, and he immediately said: “I’m Mr Jameson. I’ll go”. The man who went to drinks stayed to dinner, and when Britannia was built for the Prince of Wales as a near sister to the innovative G L Watson-designed America’s Cup challenger Valkyrie II of Lord Dunraven in 1893, Willie Jameson was the Owner’s Representative from the beginning of the project, and stayed happily involved for the good years from 1893 to 1897.

The point of all this is that when Harold Cudmore took his ease in the conservatory bar in Portmarnock, he should have been sitting under the steering wheel of Britannia. When Britannia was scuttled in 1936 on the death-bed instructions of George V, she was stripped of everything removable, and the Royal Family sent her steering wheel to Willie Jameson as a token of the high esteem in which he’d been held.

But while Willie was as game as the next man for a convivial party, he could be a carnaptious old so-and-so, and he would have shared the sailing community’s distress at the wanton destruction of a still very able and much-loved vessel. So he promptly sent the wheel back saying thanks but no thanks – in his day, he said, Britannia had been tiller-steered.

In discussing this before we got down to wallowing in personal nostalgia, Harold was musing about the ideal setup in the management of racing a big boat, a proper superyacht, which is one of his more significant areas of activity these days. And a very private area it often is too, which means his name isn’t in the headlines as frequently as it was in times past.

“As boat size increases” said he, “the personal importance of the helmsman decreases. For a serious big one, my ideal is to have two others with me in the management and decision process. I’ll reach a consensus with the tactician/navigator and sail setter or whatever you want to call them, and the helmsman will do as we ask. There’s a very wide pool of excellent helmsmen, so I concentrate on getting the other two more tricky positions filled well in advance, but there have been occasions when the helmsman has been recruited the night before – and they’re thrilled skinny”.

Like many of us in his generation, Harold Cudmore never received any formal instruction in sailing. In family-emphasised sailing communities like Cork in the 1940s and ’50s, it was assumed that you picked up sailing skills through a sort of osmosis in Cadet dinghies and International 12s while also crewing for adults in proper yachts. In Harold’s case, it was an accelerated process, as his widowed father Harold Senior with three children – Harold and his siblings Jean and Ron – was to marry again and have another six offspring.

The 33ft Auretta was the summer home in Crosshaven for the young Harold Cudmore and his brother and sister. Designed by James McGruer, she was built in Crosshaven in 1950, and was “Boat of the Show” at a 1951 London Boat ShowThe 33ft Auretta was the summer home in Crosshaven for the young Harold Cudmore and his brother and sister. Designed by James McGruer, she was built in Crosshaven in 1950, and was “Boat of the Show” at a 1951 London Boat Show

Thus the house could become very crowded in summer, and Harold Jnr, Ron and Mary spent the summers living and sailing from Crosshaven on the family’s McGruer-designed 1950 Crosshaven-built 33ft sloop Auretta, which became a sort of self-run inshore and offshore sailing academy, functioning so effectively that when Harold became the youngest-ever member of the Irish Cruising Club at the age of 15 in 1959, his proposer was particularly enthusiastic about his abilities as a sea cook.

As the Crosshaven offshore fleet grew with boats being bought in from near and far, Harold was often dispatched as delivery skipper, as it was assumed he knew it all. And he certainly learned from self-taught experience to such good effect that when he was recruited aboard offshore racers, he found that despite being much the youngest, he’d often sailed more deep-sea miles than anyone else on board.

Harold Cudmore and Chris Bruen racing the 505 with which they won the 1969 Irish Nationals, and the Silver Medal at the Worlds in Argentina. Photo: Courtesy RCYCHarold Cudmore and Chris Bruen racing the 505 with which they won the 1969 Irish Nationals, and the Silver Medal at the Worlds in Argentina. Photo: Courtesy RCYC

But meanwhile, his dinghy racing skills were developing apace, and he was a star in both the Enterprise and particularly the International 505, which was Ireland’s glamour class in those days, with Harold hitting the heights in 1969 with the Irish National title and Silver in the Worlds in Buenos Aires. He’d a formidable talent amounting to sailing genius which clearly needed the largest possible canvas to achieve fulfilment and express itself, but in Ireland in the late 1960s, the concept of professional sailing as we know it now didn’t exist. Paid hands were paid hands and that was it - gentlemen did the racing.

So until the age of 30, he tried to stay the Corinthian course, working in the family’s classically Cork-style retail network. Thus he was overseeing a sort of supermarket in the group when he took the day off to help me race a Swan 36 in the first Cork Week of 1970, when it was part of the Royal Cork Quarter Millenial celebrations.

Most of the fleet in that early Week were sailed by scratch crews left behind after various races from distant parts, for in those days the concept of a semi-inshore week at Cork was only in its infancy, whereas offshore racing was the prestige thing. So Harold’s arrival on board as local expert and tactician was very welcome, but my crew of family and a couple of old mates who smoked to excess found the breezy conditions a bit of a challenge.

Nevertheless, we managed to grab a second with Harold on the tiller giving machine-gun instructions, myself and my future wife and brother doing the best we could with the sheets, and the two old smokers gasping on the foredeck. As we’d done the course so crisply, we finished in early afternoon, so Harold nipped into work and found his manager taking such advantage of the boss’s supposed absence for the day that he fired him in the spot.

He admits himself that his temperament sometimes got the better of him, so naturally he ended up with a certain mutual hostility with the Irish Yachting Association as he tried to put together a Flying Dutchman campaign for the 1972 Olympics at Kiel. Part of the problem was that Harold was so good he found many of the ordinary restraints and procedures irksome, and for many his Flying Dutchman years are best remembered for the fact that one Christmas, many of the Cudmores were spending the holiday at Ardmore in County Waterford, and Harold decided to join them. He roused out his crew and sailed there in the FD from Crosshaven, thirty-plus unaccompanied offshore miles at record speed in the depths of winter…….

The Flying Dutchman – an extremely demanding boat with an enormous genoa, she was one of the first craft in which a skilled crew could achieve planing to windwardThe Flying Dutchman – an extremely demanding boat with an enormous genoa, she was one of the first craft in which a skilled crew could achieve planing to windward

1972 had also come up with Cudmore’s winning of the Helmsman’s Championship of Ireland, racing Flying Fifteens on Lough Neagh, but if the unbalanced Olympic campaign of 1972 was recorded as useful experience, in 1973 things took a better turn when Hugh Coveney - until then the owner of the solid Nicholson-designed and built Dalcassian (the former Yeoman XXXIII) – was persuaded to buy the hot Finot-designed alloy-built Half Tonner Alouette de Mer from the Sisk family in Dublin.

Coveney and Cudmore were aiming at serious participation in Cowes Week where their crew would join them, so somehow it ended up with the two of them leaving Crosshaven with time-limited and bad weather brewing. However, the new boat was a joy to sail in the rising west wind, so they let her go as hard as she liked, but approaching the Bishop Rock they got caught up in a breaking wave, and Alouette ended up on her ear and beyond, with the two boyos in the water beside her.

This was all of six years before the Fastnet storm showed that such a situation was no laughing matter, but they thought it hilarious as they grabbed the rail as the boat started to right herself with increasing speed which flipped them back into the cockpit, and on they merrily went, although later a dent was discovered from under the foredeck the where the anchor, normally stowed in the bilges immediately forward of the mast, had been thrown upwards – or more accurately downwards - with sufficient force to leave its mark.

The aluminum-built Alouettte de Mer - after the season of 1973, she had an inexplicable reverse dent in her foredeck……Photo courtesy Hal SiskThe aluminum-built Alouettte de Mer - after the season of 1973, she had an inexplicable reverse dent in her foredeck……Photo courtesy Hal Sisk

At the time I was writing a weekly sailing column for The Irish Times among eight other regular print outlets, and as the Alouette story had a good ending, I stuck it into the next one and it spread everywhere. In those days Hugh Coveney was still running the big Quantity Surveying company which had been founded by his father, and on his return from Cowes Week, he was summoned to sort some matter in one of their busiest contracts, which was major work on a Convent.

He was ushered into the Mother Superior’s office to find herself surrounded by her special friends, and on the desk The Irish Times of ten days previously. He’d to chat for at least twenty minutes about every detail of this Alouette experience and what it was like to sail with Harold Cudmore before they’d discuss anything to do with quantity surveying.

The boost of featuring in Cowes Week and further developing his international contacts led to Harold Cudmore deciding to go professional in 1974, though at the age of thirty – despite being an extremely youthful and naturally very fit thirty at that – he had to be a young a man in a hurry.

But then 1974 was a year in a hurry down Cork way, for despite the Troubles rumbling in the north and an international oil crisis, the newly-acquired accession to the European Union provided a mood-lifter, and the right people were in place to make the best of it. Johnny and Di McWilliam were developing their new sail loft, and a young designer from New Zealand called Ron Holland had been persuaded to settle in Crosshaven and design a One Tonner for Hugh Coveney.

With the Royal Cork YC now comfortably settled in Crosshaven after the hugely successful celebration of its Quarter Millennium in 1969-70, plus Denis Doyle’s Crosshaven Boatyard firmly on the map through the highly-praised construction in 1970 of the Robert Clark-designed Gypsy Moth V for Francis Chichester - a balm for the lone sailor’s spirits after the soul-destroying experience of Gypsy Moth IV – and with the multi-talented George Bushe and his growing family ready and willing to take on any special boat-building challenge, it was Renaissance time down Cork Harbour way. And Hugh Coveney’s new One Tonner Golden Apple – designed by Ron Holland and exquisitely built by George Bushe and his son Killian – was its flagship.

The charismatic One Tonner Golden Apple of 1974 was one of the first boat to carry a multi-stayed hyper-light Bergstrom-Ridder mast and rigging system.The charismatic One Tonner Golden Apple of 1974 was one of the first boat to carry a multi-stayed hyper-light Bergstrom-Ridder mast and rigging system.

It’s difficult now to realize just how utterly exciting and new the whole Ton Cup level-rating offshore racing concept was in the 1970s after years in which the world scene had been be-devilled by different rating rules and every boat individually tying to find loopholes which could be exploited to add to the frustration of the fact that it sometimes took hours to calculate just who had won.

With the Ton Cups, first to finish was first, full stop, and the One Tonners at around 36ft LOA made for a very hot class, with their worlds at Torquay in 1974 still remembered as something very special indeed. Golden Apple may not have won, but with the newly-professional Harold Cudmore in full cry, she was undoubtedly the Boat of the Show - one of her competitors at the time was recalling to me the other day her sheer charisma – “She glowed. She seemed to move effortlessly while most of the rest of us struggled. This was history in the making”.

For Harold, the real breakthrough was to come in 1976, when he souped-up one of the standard Holland-designed Half Tonner Shamrock Class being series-built in Cork to produce Silver Shamrock, and took her to the worlds in Trieste with a motley crew including a one-eyed road manager driving a giant Jaguar car as the towing vehicle. And in Trieste, making it up as they went along, they made friends to such warm effect with long distance traditional cruisers Lin and Larry Pardey that at times of personnel crisis in the Cudmore camp, Larry found himself racing as a crewmember on Silver Shamrock.

How else would you celebrate winning the Half Ton Cup 1976 at Trieste? The all-conquering Silver Apple under spinnaker up the Grand Canal in VeniceHow else would you celebrate winning the Half Ton Cup 1976 at Trieste? The all-conquering Silver Apple under spinnaker up the Grand Canal in Venice

Whatever about the crewing arrangements, Silver Shamrock won the Worlds, and our man celebrated in typical style by making an overnight passage to Venice and sailing up the Grand Canal under spinnaker. And he also - because he personally preferred to travel light - distributed many of the one-off trophies won among his crew, although ensuring that the perpetual prize was safe. For that’s the Cudmore way: he’s not into silver-cluttered mantelpieces – he moves on.

In fact, with the Half Ton Worlds won in 1976, in subtle ways Harold Cudmore ceased to be a purely Irish sailor, and moved into the global frame. You get a sense of this from a 2019 Vid of reminiscences made by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, organisers of the Sydney-Hobart Race

Of course the Cork links remain, they still do in a very deep way, but in sailing they were Cork links with an international context, even if in 1977 – in addition to the Australian Half Ton campaign – it was Cork’s own star boat, the Holland 44 Big Apple RCYC for Hugh Coveney, Clayton Love Jnr and Ray Fielding which provided Harold with a key afterguard role in a successful year.

The Holland 44 Big Apple, Queen of the Fleet in 1977, with Johnny McWilliam on helm and Harold Cudmore to weather of him, keeping an eye on everything. Photo courtesy John McWilliamThe Holland 44 Big Apple, Queen of the Fleet in 1977, with Johnny McWilliam on helm and Harold Cudmore to weather of him, keeping an eye on everything. Photo courtesy John McWilliam

Then in 1979 it was himself and Coveney in dual role as the lead team in the new 43ft Holland-designd Golden Apple of the Sun at the heart of the 1979 Irish Admirals Cup Team. The Irish went into the concluding Fastnet Race leading the series overall, while Golden Apple was leading boat overall at the Fastnet Rock itself, but the Fastnet Storm of 1979 was already remorselessly building, and in it Golden Apple lost her rudder. A rescue helicopter hovering overhead persuaded Hugh Coveney that as owner it was his duty to allow the crew to be taken off as worse weather was predicted, but before Harold was whisked aloft, he left a note on the chart table: “Gone to Lunch”.

Poetry in motion….the Holland-designed 43ft Golden Apple of the Sun in 1979 was leading the Fastnet Race overall at the Rock until the storm struck.Poetry in motion….the Holland-designed 43ft Golden Apple of the Sun in 1979 was leading the Fastnet Race overall at the Rock until the storm struck.

By 1981 he had linked up with Frank Woods of the National YC to campaign the new One Tonner Justine III, designed by former Ron Holland assistant Tony Castro. However, there was a certain sweet sorrow in their victory in the Worlds, as it was staged in Crosshaven and even though Justine III’s crew included such Cudmore-recruited Cork Harbour regulars as David Gay, Joe English and Killian Bushe, it was unmistakably “National Yacht Club 1981” inscribed on the historic cup. This was doubly ironic, as the One Ton Cup was originally put up for competition in Paris in 1899 by the Earl of Granard, who in 1931 became the Commodore of the National Yacht Club for ten years when steady hands were needed to guide Kingstown yachting into becoming Dun Laoghaire sailing under the new Irish Free State.

Frank Woods’ One Tonner Justine III (National YC, number 290) nosing ahead towards the title in the One Ton Worlds at Cork, 1981. Photo courtesy RCYCFrank Woods’ One Tonner Justine III (National YC, number 290) nosing ahead towards the title in the One Ton Worlds at Cork, 1981. Photo courtesy RCYC

But for Harold Cudmore, 1981 was a year of increasing global opportunities. Among his many special abilities was a formidable talent for match racing, and his reputation in this led to a call in 1983 to join the Australian camp in Newport, Rhode Island in their bid to wrest the America’s Cup from the New York Yacht Club for the first time. Their Ben Lexcen-designed 12 Metre Australia II, with her innovative wings on the keel, was showing enormous promise, but their helmsman John Bertrand was among the first to admit that his starting techniques were weak when set against the killer instincts of defender Dennis Conner.

In the whole wide world, there was probably nobody better than Harold Cudmore to put fire into the Bertrand belly, and the incredibly intensive coaching sessions they put in, with two 12 Metre boats being worked to death off Newport, certainly did the business with Australia II achieving that extraordinary win.

It also did the business for Harold Cudmore, as he was subsequently involved in consultancy and coaching roles in no less than twelve America’s Cup campaigns with challengers from across the globe. But if he was frustrated in any hopes of leading an actual challenge n the water, he was consoled by becoming the first non-American to win the Congressional Cup in California for match racing in 1985, and in 1991 with the dream team of Gordon Maguire and Joe English aboard the Farr 43 Atara, he notched his first win in the Sydney-Hobart race.

Successful threesome – the Farr 43 Atara provided Harold Cudmore, Joe English and Gordon Maguire with their first Sydney-Hobart win.Successful threesome – the Farr 43 Atara provided Harold Cudmore, Joe English and Gordon Maguire with their first Sydney-Hobart win.

By this time with increasing maturity, he was completely at ease among crews and owners alike in the big boat scene. His unworried capacity for taking on the literally enormous responsibilities of racing a super-yacht, plus his ability to socialize positively in the après sailing scene where his civilized and wide range of interests outside sailing was an asset, meant that as the years have gone on his top-level sailing has become less visible.

Thus it was others who recorded that after Harold had aided Herbert von Karajan to an elegant and seemingly-effortless yet very complete victory in his notably beautiful Frers Maxi Helisara, the maestro had exulted: “That was even better than conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in top form with Beethoven’s Eroica”.

At this recent Willie Jameson Memorial Lunch in Portmarnock, it was three years since I’d seen Harold, back in pre-pandemic times at the Irish Cruising Club Annual Dinner 2019 in Killarney, when he and Jack Wolfe were both quietly celebrating their sixty years of ICC membership, and a group was quickly formed which between them now have a combined membership of 240 years. We’d a lot to talk about in Portmarnock, and I’m not sure that many lines of thought were completed, so much so that were reminded of the 1970s and ’80, in the great days of the London Boat Show at Earls Court, when it really was the most active global sailing exchange of them all.

 

They now have a combined Irish Cruising Club membership of 240 years – Dickie Gomes, Harold Cudmore, Jack Wolfe and W M Nixon in Killarney, March 2019. Photo: Alex BlackwellThey now have a combined Irish Cruising Club membership of 240 years – Dickie Gomes, Harold Cudmore, Jack Wolfe and W M Nixon in Killarney, March 2019. Photo: Alex Blackwell

Between intervals of my churning out reams of merchandisable verbiage for various publications, invariably there’d be one night when Harold and I would get together with Malcolm McKeag, formerly of Cultra on Belfast Lough, and at that time a big cheese in the magazine Yachts & Yachting. It all would end in the back of some Earls Court or Kensington restaurant with no easing of the decibel levels, and the three of us wondering at this triumph of hope over experience, for yet again we’d assembled a trio of talkers rather than listeners.

Subsequently, Malcolm went on to become Senior Race Officer at Cowes, and he was in charge when a bunch of London wide boys turned up with their new Laser SB3s to flood the starting line with much the biggest and certainly the worst-behaved OD class ever seen at Cowes Week. He gave them two chances to make a clean start, and when that failed, he ordered the lot of them to wait until the start sequence of all other classes had been completed – it takes for ever, and it certainly softened their cough more than somewhat.

Malcolm is living in stately retirement in Lymington these days, so we’d to give him a call and bring him in on the Portmarnock chat, discovering that has been a slight improvement in 45 years – there was actually some listening going on. But mostly it was inevitably about how the pandemic has made freedom of international movement so difficult if not impossible, particularly for someone like Harold Cudmore.

He continues with enthusiasm unabated as a sailing citizen of the world, even if he admitted with some sadness that his long experience of racing at the very sharpest end has somewhat blunted his enthusiasm for homely local racing in Cowes. This is despite being a long-standing member of the Royal Yacht Squadron, notwithstanding his initial reaction to the membership invitation with a horrified: “But I’m far too young!”

“Here’s one for Crosser!” Harold Cudmore holds the trophy aloft after the Cork Harbour OD Jap won overall in the classics at St Tropez in September 2021. RCYC Admiral Colin Morehead on left.“Here’s one for Crosser!” Harold Cudmore holds the trophy aloft after the Cork Harbour OD Jap won overall in the classics at St Tropez in September 2021. RCYC Admiral Colin Morehead on left.

Yet he retains his faithful love for the Royal Cork, and one of his sadnesses from the pandemic is that, even if the club kept up its spirits with admirable camaraderie, the shut-down effectively obliterated the Tricentenary Celebrations.

“If we’d got that going well with a bit of luck with the weather, the momentum might have carried us on to a more realistic bid to host the America’s Cup. People would have come to appreciate what Cork Harbour can do, but equally it would have given everyone an idea of just how much needs to be done to make for a realistic bid”.

The Irish weather is the great unknowable, and my own feeling is that the AC idea is beyond serious contemplation unless the entire island can be towed at least 450 miles southwards. But it’s a tricky subject, so on our way to the airport we talked of what Harold might have been doing had there not been a pandemic.

Winter sport….Harold Cudmore helming the classic Sydney Harbour 18-foter Yendys.Winter sport….Harold Cudmore helming the classic Sydney Harbour 18-foter Yendys.

“The way it has spread globally might have been precisely designed to screw up my regular annual programme. I usually spend the three winter months in Australia on a mixture of work and fun – I love the classic Sydney Harbour 18s, so that covers both categories. Then it’s back to Europe for a little while and then it’s off to the Caribbean for the racing season there before returning for the classics, mostly in the Mediterranean”

He gets particular enjoyment out of coaxing an exquisitely finished big classic gaff rigged yacht to give of her best, and there’s a telling photo of him tensed up aboard the 19 Metre Mariquita, racing in zephyrs of the Mediterranean. I tell him it looks as though he’s physically willing the boat from one puff of wind to the next.

Willing the boat onwards with sheer physical tension – focused body language from Harold Cudmore aboard the 19 Metre Mariquita, hopping successfully from zephyr to zephyr in the MediterraneanWilling the boat onwards with sheer physical tension – focused body language from Harold Cudmore aboard the 19 Metre Mariquita, hopping successfully from zephyr to zephyr in the Mediterranean

“It worked”, says he. “We were first, and we beat the enormous 23 Metre Cambria boat-for-boat”.

And despite life’s restrictions, it gave him special pleasure to take the Royal Cork’s Fife-designed restored Cork Harbour OD Jap to Les Voiles de St Tropez at the end of September. Something very special was extracted from the season, with Jap taking the overall win. And then, the Main Man was gone, gone back to the Isle of Wight. But back home, the next time I opened the in-box, there was news of the original Golden Apple, in lovely order in Denmark even though no-one had heard a word of her for at least thirty years, and we’d talked of her in the past tense in St Marnoch’s.

So the news was immediately emailed to Cudmore HQ in Cowes with only one comment:

“Spooky or what?”

He was up for it.

“Bizarre”.

She is alive and very well – Golden Apple is in good shape in Denmark, just two years short of her Golden Jubilee. Photo courtesy RCYCShe is alive and very well – Golden Apple is in good shape in Denmark, just two years short of her Golden Jubilee. Photo courtesy RCYC

Published in W M Nixon, Royal Cork YC
WM Nixon

About The Author

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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