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Royal Cork Yacht Club Finds Popularity of Powerboats is Increasing for Exploring Cork Harbour

12th March 2021
Royal Cork's Alex Barry and children out for a spin in a small motorboat in Cork Harbour
Royal Cork's Alex Barry and children out for a spin in a small motorboat in Cork Harbour Credit: Bob Bateman

The oldest yacht club in the world has noted an increase of interest amongst members in motorboating.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club at Crosshaven held a webinar in response to the interest of members in using motorboats to access areas of Cork Harbour which would not be accessible to keelboats. Seventy members took part and the webinar recording has since been viewed on YouTube by 350 people.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club at Crosshaven held a popular webinar on powerboatingThe Royal Cork Yacht Club at Crosshaven held a popular webinar on powerboating in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

It was organised by Alex Barry, the club's Chairman of the Membership and Events sub-committee: "We pulled together a list of different spots in Cork Harbour which could be accessed by powerboats. There was good interest. With the impact of Covid and holidays being limited, I think people have an interest in exploring places a bit closer to home and there are areas of the harbour, unique spots that they may not have been to before. I was surprised by some that were identified."

The unmistakable silhouette of Belvelly Bridge. In order to circumnavigate the Great Island of Cobh, you need to pass under this railway bridge. Even small craft find carrying a pole useful as it has got very shallow at the eastern side. Photo: Bob BatemanThe unmistakable silhouette of Belvelly Bridge. In order to circumnavigate the Great Island of Cobh, you need to pass under the bridge. Even small craft find carrying a pole useful as it has got very shallow at the eastern side. Photo: Bob Bateman

The webinar audience was mixed, with members who have cruising yachts, motorboats, powerboats, all interested in more usage of their boats with a family and social emphasis.

Enjoying Cork Harbour in an Aquador motorboatEnjoying Cork Harbour in an Aquador motorboat Photo: Bob Bateman

"The session was aimed more towards the 20-foot and under powerboats which could access these smaller nooks and crannies that they may not have previously considered, but it generated wider interest."

RIBs are a popular motorboat type in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob BatemanRIBs are a popular motorboat type in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

Members who used powers boats of this size in support of dinghy events and coaching their children into sailing were interested, with the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, in finding extra usage for family activity.

Royal Cork Admiral Colin Morehead's (helming) Boston Whaler runabout that he uses to travel across Cork Harbour from Whitepoint (near Cobh) to the club at Crosshaven Photo: Bob BatemanRoyal Cork Admiral Colin Morehead's (helming) Boston Whaler runabout that he uses to travel across Cork Harbour from Whitepoint (near Cobh) to the club at Crosshaven Photo: Bob Bateman

"It's all about getting on the water, for leisure and relaxation," said Alex."It is definitely not a replacement for sailing or yachts, but adding to the enjoyment of the water. It is something to encourage. For example being able to get around Great island, where there are bridges to negotiate is a particular example.

Jeanneau Leader motorboat cruises past Cobh in Cork HarbourA Jeanneau Leader motorboat cruises past Cobh in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

"We have discussed in committee how we can provide more activities for members in these times. There is a segment of the membership with a common interest in motorboats and powerboats and that is something a club can pull together to provide a service for them. It's an addition to sailing, not a replacement. As we go through the phases of Covid restrictions being lifted, this is a good opportunity to do a bit more exploring and enjoy what we have in Cork Harbour."

Former RCYC Admiral Anthony O'Leary on Race Officer duty in his Nelson motorboatFormer RCYC Admiral Anthony O'Leary on Race Officer duty in his Nelson motorboat Photo: Bob Bateman

Sparetime, the Beneteau trawler yacht of former Royal Cork Admiral Peter CrowleySparetime, the Beneteau trawler yacht of former Royal Cork Admiral Peter Crowley Photo: Bob Bateman

On this week's Podcast, I asked Alex Barry how the RCYC had begun this initiative.

Listen to the Podcast here.

Tom MacSweeney

About The Author

Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for Afloat.ie. He also presents the radio programme Maritime Ireland on radio stations around Ireland.

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