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Glandore Classics Regatta Another Victim of Coronavirus

15th May 2020
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The Cork Harbour One Design Elsie (Patrick Dorgan) at a previous Glandore Regatta. She was designed by William Fife in 1895 The Cork Harbour One Design Elsie (Patrick Dorgan) at a previous Glandore Regatta. She was designed by William Fife in 1895 Photo: Bob Bateman

Glandore Harbour Yacht Club has cancelled its Classic Regatta which had been scheduled to start on July 18.

Since it was first held on a July weekend in 1992 Glandore Classic Boats Regatta has developed into an outstanding event, “where the masterpieces of the great age of sail mingle with traditional West Cork workboats for a regatta of sailing and spectacle.”

This year’s event was intended to join with the Tricentenary celebrations of the Royal Cork Yacht Club’s 300 years, having been postponed from last year, which would have been its normal two-year cycle schedule.

So the decision by the committee of Glandore Harbour Yacht Club to postpone the event is a double “whammy” and will also be a big blow to the local tourist economy.

There wasn’t much alternative.

Sailing Secretary, Hal Andrews, told Afloat the reasons: “Social distancing requirements affect our ability to provide support and safety boat cover, ferry boat services, all social activities, club facilities, etc. We would have had to postpone, anyway, under current Irish Sailing ‘Back-to-Sailing plans. And it is impossible to know whether a return to lockdown definitely will not happen. We will make a decision later about whether to reschedule for 2021 or 2022, to link again to Cork 300 as originally planned.”

The combination of a new venue for a gathering of classic boats – Glandore Harbour’s natural amphitheatre, a warm welcome and the growing interest in traditional boats, contributed to the success of event after its first year. That had attracted a fleet of local and visiting traditional and classic boats. The original ‘Parade of Sail’ has been a strong spectator and visitor feature since the outset that has always been included and the ‘Classics’ has survived some turbulent weather conditions.

After the Millennium the biennial cycle regatta was re-titled Glandore Classic Regatta. While the Traditional and West Cork Mackerel Yawls and Lobster boats formed the backbone of the event, the regatta attracted a fleet of classic yachts, one-designs and classic day-boats. In following regattas, the Water Wags arrived from Dublin Bay to showcase formation sailing under the baton of Hal Sisk. The first of the Heir Island Sloops and the revived Cork Harbour One-Designs participated. The Fastnet Race for bigger boats was added to the programme. The Castletownshend ETTE Class raced, Howth 17’s took part as well as Conway Fifes, Shannon One-Designs and Classic Dragons as interest in the regatta expanded.

“An outstanding event where the masterpieces of the great age of sail mingle with traditional West Cork workboats for a regatta of sailing and spectacle. A ‘must-see’ on the sailing calendar for connoisseurs of classic, traditional or even just plain odd boats, it’s a feast for the eye, the memory with vividly contrasting boats all united in at least one purpose,” was one of the descriptions lavished on the event, I’ve had the pleasure of sailing in it several times aboard the late Guy Perrem’s MAB out of Monkstown Bay, which brought great pleasure to him when she took prizes back to Cork Harbour a number of times.

This year’s event was set to be the biggest and most exciting of the series as Glandore Harbour YC partnered with the RCYC’S Cork 300 with the possibility of bringing outstanding classic boats from around the world to the West Cork coast.

Its postponement is another of the long list of sailing event casualties due to the current health pandemic.

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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