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Things Are Not All Bad - More People Have Come into Sailing in Cork Harbour

14th October 2020
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Darragh Connolly brings a hopeful approach at Royal Cork Darragh Connolly brings a hopeful approach at Royal Cork Photo: Bob Bateman

Despite a year of "cancellations and disappointments" there have been more people sailing this Summer in Cork Harbour, with families racing together, more young sailors taking to cruisers and a growth of interest in dinghy sailing.

That is the positive, optimistic view taken at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven where, though the Autumn Cruiser League Series has been stopped, there is still hope for the November/December Winter League, if restrictions allow.

Some owners have had their boats hauled, particularly from mooring, lest a total shutdown leave them stuck out there for the Winter. Others have taken the opportunity to haul and do some work on their craft with the intention of going back into the water should the Winter League go ahead.

It has been a tough season, a bad one in many aspects, with a severe 'hit' of cancellations of the planned celebrations of its 300-year history at the oldest yacht club in the world. However, the Rear Admiral in charge of keelboat racing at the RCYC sees "positives" for sailing and that is a view that is needed amidst the grim effects of the pandemic.

Hope is needed and Darragh Connolly brings a hopeful approach in my Podcast this week.

Darragh Connolly, Rear Admiral (Keelboats) of the Royal Cork Yacht Club Photo: Bob BatemanDarragh Connolly, Rear Admiral (Keelboats) of the Royal Cork Yacht Club Photo: Bob Bateman

Though having had to cancel the very popular Autumn October league series, there has been a degree of growth in the sport he says and he is hopeful this will continue into next year and 2022.

"Absolutely disappointed, for the sailors, for the clubs, but it was a decision we had no option about. Our year has been one of cancellation with so much disappointment, but we put a focus on club racing which became very important and we concentrated on that. While this has not been the year we planned for, there has been a good response from club members in coping with the restrictions and going sailing and that is a positive spirit.

"It has been a difficult year, but there have also been opportunities and a few positives. There have been more families sailing together and we have had good turn-outs in our whitesail racing. We've seen more young sailors coming into cruisers. We've had a positive response to dinghy sailing also in the club. There has been a resurgence in people using boats and it has been a good year for getting youth back on the water and that is needed for the sport.

"There are a number of good things in this really hard year that we can build on for next year and 2022 and can advance the sport. We are seeing a transition and we are seeing more interest in sailing."

Listen to Darragh Connolly on the Podcast below and Read also WMN Nixon's Ireland's Coronavirus Cancellations? Healthy Club Sailors Have Had To Accept It With Good Grace

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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