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Royal Cork Yacht Club's Under 25 Keelboat Initiative & Why Cork Week Had To Change

12th July 2018
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Royal Cork's Under 25 Keelboat Academy, members of which will race two boats in Cork Week regatta Royal Cork's Under 25 Keelboat Academy, members of which will race two boats in Cork Week regatta Photo: Bob Bateman

I remember being part of a fleet of some 700 yachts, the sight of which, winding its way in a long parade out of Crosshaven every morning to the racing grounds, drew crowds to watch Cork Week.

Those days have gone and this year’s Cork Week, which will open on Sunday, has 110 boats, which is a 30 per cent increase on the number of yachts at the last event, in 2016.

The Chairman of Volvo Cork Week, Kieran O’Connell, who is also Rear Admiral Keelboats at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven which runs the event, takes a practical view of the changes, focussing the event on the quality of the racing: “They were different times, people were travelling more with their boats, but those days have gone when people could take time off work and leave the family and go racing for a week.”

He is pragmatic in recognising that the event had, back in those years, become like a rock festival rather than a sailing event “and I think a lot of people may have been annoyed by that format and it saw a very steep decline in the numbers attending the event over a very short period of time.”

"Cork Week will begin on Sunday with an Open Day for the public at the RCYC in Crosshaven"

The Royal Cork YC, says Kieran, prides itself on being a club of sailors which runs regattas for sailors and what happened was taken note of and changes made. “It might have taken a while, but we identified that and now have a format that is working for sailors and the increased interest shows that the changes are bringing back the interest in competitive racing. The feedback we are getting is that sailors like the format and the options for different levels of participation which are being given to them.”

In this week’s MacSweeney Podcast, Kieran O’Connell talks frankly about the changes in Cork Week and why they were made and also discusses the development of the club’s Under 25 Keelboat Academy, members of which will race two boats in the regatta.

Cork Week will begin on Sunday with an Open Day for the public at the RCYC in Crosshaven when the club is inviting people to come and see what it and sailing are all about.

Listen to the Podcast below: 

Tom MacSweeney

About The Author

Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for Afloat.ie. He also presents the maritime radio programme This Island Nation on community radio stations around Ireland.

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