Displaying items by tag: Royal Cork Yacht Club
The Covid-19-related cancellation of the pillar events planned for July in the Royal Cork Yacht Club’s Tricentenary Celebrations has had an inexorable inevitability about it for the last ten days and more.
But a decision of such magnitude needed to be allowed a reasonable time for its scale and significance to be fully appreciated before the momentous announcement was actually made. While there is an understandable numbness at realising that it should have come to this, there is no doubting that the right decision has been arrived at in a timely manner.
It is a reminder, too, that important and all as the 300th Anniversary of such a remarkable organisation had become in the global context, in the final analysis, it was only another number in an extraordinary succession of annual numbers during which, through times good and bad, the unique sailing spirit of Cork has been kept alive and thriving. So much so, in fact, that today in Crosshaven we look at a modern sailing club which happens to have a very special and unprecedentedly long history which it has faithfully recorded over the centuries in its art and memorabilia, its historical artefacts, its magnum opus of a history published in 2005, and the ever-contemporary sailing enthusiasm of its members.
The thoughts of sailors everywhere and particularly in Ireland will be with them this weekend. And as it is, this weekend will test us as we’ve never really been tested before in the current crisis and its tragedies. The weather is good, and the clocks are going forward to emphasise the rapid progress of spring. While the statistics of illness are daunting and rising rapidly, most of us feel well – we feel very well indeed. Yet in every hoped-for aspect of a typical Irish weekend on the threshold of April – whether it be in sporting, cultural, social, family or just plain everyday life – we are going to be frustrated.
We are going to be frustrated in simply letting off energy or keeping ourselves happily absorbed in our many interests, however odd they may seem to others. And for sailors, our frustration is compounded by the fact that the prospects and planned programme for the summer of 2020 – which in Irish sailing, in particular, were promising to produce the greatest and most historic season ever – are either going to be severely postponed, put on hold, or simply not staged at all.
Naturally our first thoughts - indeed nearly all our thoughts - are firmly and sincerely with those who are in the front line of battle against this disease plague. Yet in our highly-structured but normally tolerant and civilised society, in the lock-down situation which now obtains the best that most of us can do to help the situation is to allow the health professionals the space, time, and moral support to get on with their vital jobs.
As for those whose task it has been to decide on the major cancellations, our thoughts are also very much with you. We can only dimly imagine the pain this has caused. The rest of us meanwhile have to somehow get on with living our lives and fulfilling our interests as best we can, in ways which somehow take account of what is effectively the cancellation of the main part of the 2020 sailing programme. We do this while complying with health and safety directives on behaviour and social distancing and – if need be – self-isolation, while somehow burning off or absorbing that extra energy which becomes so abundantly evident at this time of year.
So far, as the crisis has developed, our society in almost all its aspects has dealt well with a situation in which day-to-day life has been changing with mind-boggling rapidity. Yet in sport in general and in sailing in particular, we must be aware of the new problems brought by the accelerated change from long winter nights, with their natural restriction on outdoor and waterborne activity.
By Sunday with the clocks changed, we are into the time of evenings of springtime and early summer when each day’s daylight is clearly sensed as longer than its predecessor, and people’s restless desire to go sailing grows ever stronger. Under present regulations, it is possible to get afloat while remaining compliant, but it will be sailing in a very narrow and defined way, a whole world away from the traditional convivial boat world of sport afloat and lively sociability ashore.
With annual lift-ins now postponed at many clubs, the opportunities to go sailing in keelboats are obviously only available to those who can access boats which have wintered afloat. While many will do this when possible, it will be done in a muted way for the very human reason that it somehow doesn’t seem quite fair to enjoy sailing when so many others are deprived of it.
In time, the immediate crisis will end, though some of its longterm effects could be permanent. But as of this weekend in particular, when the time of crisis conclusion is anybody’s guess. Yet while the heroic health professionals are absorbed in their struggle, it is surely vitally important for the rest of society to be at least partially pre-occupied by the reassurance that some semblance of normality will return in due course, and in order to keep ourselves even half sane, we must be allowed to think of a future when Covid-19 no longer dominates every waking moment.
But how do you fit day-to-day life with a Fast Forward control? Let us fantasise for a while, as that in itself helps to pass the time. For even as this morning’s virtual column spins into cyberspace, our team of top scientists in Sailing on Saturday’s Einstein Research & Development Laboratory is working day and night on how best to shift the entire Irish sailing community at least four months forward through the curves of time and space to a day when Covid-19 has been safely moved into becoming history, and something resembling our normal summer sailing is at least showing little green shoots of recovery.
For although re-growth may well be a slow progress with small green shoots playing a prominent role, the sudden gaps, stops, postponements and cancellations for what had promised to be the greatest sailing season ever in Ireland have been like mighty oaks crashing down in the forest. The forest itself may remain, and in time some nighty oaks will assert themselves as pillars of the programme. But for the moment with what is effectively national lock-down, there’s inevitably some flailing around in working out how best to cope with re-aligning the season.
The Global Programme Pecking Order soon asserts itself. The Olympics may have dithered about when and how to change. For what it’s worth, my own feeling was that a move from July to October might have been a viable solution, particularly remembering that when Irish sailing first got involved in a Tokyo Olympics in 1964, the entire programme was in late October when conditions in Tokyo are much less oppressively humid.
But whatever your own feelings, there’s no escaping the Olympic’s pinnacle position at the top of the international sports food chain, and when they finally decided to shift it all into the future by twelve clear months, everything else in the big league has to adjust accordingly.
However, compact events with a local flavour can be more nimble in their movements. The organizing committee for the three day Wave Regatta at Howth at the end of May were incisive in their early decision to shift from May to mid-September, and now with the big-fleet Round the Island Race in the south of England given the same time treatment, we can only hope that September 2020 is a time of benevolent Indian summer.
In trying to get a perspective on what it all means, we’ve been thinking back to other years when external events significantly changed our sailing way of life. It took world wars to remind people of how the freedom to go sailing as you wished was the very essence of peacetime, and in World War I from 1914-1918, some Irish sailing continued determinedly into 1915 before the U Boat threat brought it to a sudden halt.
In World War 2 from 1939 to 1945, the Irish Free State was neutral, and sailing continued whenever possible in a narrow coastal strip, for in the complete absence of private motoring, there was energy available for it. Then too, many who were serving in the Allied Forces came home with enthusiasm when on leave to sail as much as possible. As for Northern Ireland, recreational sailing was banned only in 1940 – with Belfast’s vast industrial resources switched over to war production, many people were in reserved occupations rather than on active service, and the Government decided that being able to take part in sport if at all possible was useful for their health and dedication to the war effort, so limited sailing was permitted.
An interesting angle was that the neutrality of Sweden was scrupulously upheld by World War 2’s international combatants, and as the clouds of war finally receded, it was revealed that sailing had been going merrily along in the Swedish summers for the duration, and some interesting boat and rig design developments had emerged as a result.
While it may be stretching it to compare the effects of almost total war to the disruption of a pandemic, there’s no escaping the fact that the Spanish flu of 1919 actually killed more than all of World War 1. Yet in looking at recent instances of social disruption, we desperately seek some guidance as to how things might be managed in the weeks and months ahead.
The foot-and-mouth epidemic of 2001 saw Ireland north and south kept safely isolated from disease-ridden Britain at a time when agriculture was rated as extremely important in the Irish economy, so the closing down of just about everything else was accepted as the only way to go. But among the casualties was what had promised to be the biggest ever Irish Boat Show in Dublin in March 2001, and who knows how much that contributed to the inexorable movement towards today’s Irish Boat shows being in effect in Dusseldorf, Paris and Southampton.
Then back in the first half of 1970, we had a total bank strike in Ireland for six months. Nowadays when there’s a failure of the banking system for even half a day, chaos soon breaks out. Yet fifty years ago, everyone quickly got used to it, other arrangements were made, and though when it finally ended the gently whirring sound made by bouncing cheques went on for some time, the conclusion of the experts was that the unexpected investment of unregulated funds into the financial system had been good for the Irish economy.
Who knows, but maybe it was an early experiment in helicopter money. Before that, perhaps most bizarrely of all, Ireland was cut off by a seven weeks seamen’s strike in May, June and July of 1966. In that remote era before universal air travel, it meant there wasn’t a tourist about the place, and in making a cruise to West Cork from Belfast Lough in the old 9-ton yawl Ainmara in June, it was like visiting a ghost coast.
Admittedly West Cork wasn’t the trendy place it is nowadays, but as we were absolutely the only boat in the anchorage at Glandore, our every movement was watched, and when we came ashore in the dinghy and strolled up the road above the harbour, the two pubs opened their doors for business as we approached, and then closed again as we moved on. Service was instant and friendly, and when we sailed on to Castlehaven, getting a table for supper in Mary Anne’s in Castletownshend took no more than a nano-second.
Heaven only knows what stories will emerge at the end from the Covid-19 experience, and many of them won’t be happy ones, but meanwhile, people are coping as best they can. Here in Howth we’re in a port which has been described as the sort of place where you’ll see someone in sailing gear mowing their mini-lawn in an awful hurry before going down to race the boat. But in these changed times, the word is that the more switched on - having provided themselves with tiny minimum-maintenance ornamental gardens at home - have now secured allotments to see the summer through in growing their own vegetables and re-communing with nature for some much-needed assurance.
As for this business of working from home, as I’ve always done it I have to confess to a sense of a strange new unease, as Skype is – well, it’s skyping along, and this isn’t good news at all. It’s an intrusion into the profound privacy of one’s innermost sanctum, which in my case is a classic example of Rat’s Nest Chic. And you even have to think about what you might be wearing, and how you look generally.
This is an accepted matter of special concern in Finland, where working from home is highly developed and has its own etiquette. It can involve being in a very relaxed frame of mind, and they even have a special word for it. They call it kalsarikanit. Basically, it means remaining in your pyjamas or underwear throughout the day, while expecting to consume a beer or two along with the work. With Finland often being held up as the ideal way to organise a society to suit the modern world, we may be hearing more of kalsarikanet……
All events scheduled in July for the Cork300 events series, which were to run across Cork Harbour to celebrate the Royal Cork Yacht Clubs 300th birthday, have been cancelled but RCYC are continuing planning now for August events.
The Club announced today that they took this difficult decision in conjunction with their partners to safeguard the health of sailors, visitors, volunteers and the community at large and to give certainty to those participants and visitors who had scheduled to come to Cork in July.
The celebrations scheduled to take place in July, which have now been cancelled, include Volvo Cork Week 2020 (in partnership with Johnson & Perrott), a Classic Yacht Regatta, a Cruise in Company with the Irish Cruising Club and other leading Cruising Clubs from America and Europe along the Wild Atlantic Way and a Royal Cork Fleet review and National and European yacht racing championships.
The Royal Cork are monitoring the ongoing Covid19 situation closely, but as of now, are continuing to plan for all of the remaining events scheduled from 1st August to end of December 2020.
Founded in 1720, the Royal Cork Yacht Club is the oldest yacht club in the world. As such, their special anniversary events were attracting National and International sailing communities to Cork from as far as Australia, Hong Kong and San Francisco who wanted to see “Where It All Began”.
Commenting, Chair of Cork300 and Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, Colin Morehead said, “It is with considerable regret and sadness that we have to cancel Volvo Cork Week 2020 and all other events throughout July. We are living in very uncertain times and the health of our members, our visitors, our city and country is now the main priority.”
“Over the last number of weeks, we have carefully monitored the developing global situation. We have taken continued guidance from Government Officials, the Health Service Executive, Irish Sailing and other experts in the hope that we would be able to proceed with our exciting schedule of events for July. We are very conscious that this decision will impact many visitors who have already booked to travel and participate and hope that making our decision at this stage will enable them to change their plans accordingly.”
"in the three hundred years since the foundation of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, we have faced many adversities"
“We are also very aware that this will be another blow to our local economy. However, in the three hundred years since the foundation of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, we have faced many adversities and are confident that working together, we will see the club, county, country and global sailing community come through these difficult times. Indeed we look forward to welcoming as many sailors as possible back to Cork Week in July 2022 ”
“I would like to thank our partners for their unwavering support – AIB (premier partner), Volvo Car Ireland (Cork Week title sponsor and Cork300 partner) our Foundation Partners the Port of Cork and Cork County Council and other Cork300 partners, Cork City Council, Heineken, Musto, Dubarry, and Doyle Shipping Group. Their support in recent weeks has been incredible. And to the voluntary committee and staff at the Royal Cork Yacht Club, along with supporting associations and clubs such as ICRA, RORC, Yacht Club de Monaco, Royal Yacht Squadron, Irish Cruising Association, Cruising Club of America and the Royal Cruising Club who have worked tirelessly over the past months and years to plan for the July events – my thanks.”
“Finally can I say that words cannot describe how thankful we all are for the hard work of everyone who is making significant sacrifices to keep us safe in these unprecedented times and to the sailing community, family and friends for your support as we navigate this uncertainty together – we truly value you, our community, more than ever.”
Also commenting, David Thomas, Managing Director Volvo Car Ireland said “Volvo Car Ireland are very proud of our long and successful association with Volvo Cork Week but fully support this difficult decision as being right for Cork, Ireland and the wider international sailing community. We hope that some of the planned events later in the year will still take place and will work closely with the Cork300 team and the Royal Cork Yacht Club around these future plans.”
"The ICRA board are now investigating the possibility of moving the 2020 National Championships"
Richard Colwell, ICRA Commodore commented, “ICRA fully support the RCYC team in their decision to cancel Volvo Cork Week incorporating the ICRA National Championships. It is a real shame that this hotly anticipated sailing event has fallen foul of the Coronavirus outbreak, but we fully understand the need to cancel, and we send our commiserations to the organising committee who have put so much hard work into an event that will not now run. The ICRA board are now investigating the possibility of moving the 2020 National Championships, to form part of an event which may still hopefully be held later in the year, and will announce more on this in the coming week.”
Royal Cork's Peter and Robert O'Leary, Ireland's sole entry in the lead the sixty-five boat Star Class fleet have slipped back to sixth overall after scoring 18th in race three at the halfway stage of the 93rd Bacardi Cup in Miami, USA.
The change in wind pressure gave no change in performance from the series leaders Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Bruno Prada (BRA) who racked up another win.
The weather conditions served up an altogether different race track on day 3, with the light and unsettled breeze postponing the start until 1330 hours. An initial wait ashore in the environs of the beautiful Coral Reef Yacht Club was followed by an on-water postponement, before the light and very warm southerly breeze filled in.
The reigning Star Class World Champions, Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Bruno Prada (BRA), repeated and improved on yesterday’s race track domination, this time breaking away to lead the fleet from the first mark to the finish by a solid margin. The partnership dismissed the assault put up by Americans George Szabo and Guy Avellon, who delivered their best race of the series so far but had to be satisfied with a 2nd place finish and a leader board climb of five places to fifth overall.
Steadily chipping away through the fleet were Eivind Melleby (NOR) and Josh Revkin (USA), who excel in breezier racecourses but today found their mojo in the tricky breeze and improved their game from 8th at the first mark to 3rd by the finish to hold steady in second overall.
“It’s going alright but we still have a little catch up to do if we want to lead this,” reflected Eivind Melleby after racing. “When the wind comes from the south in Miami it’s quite steady and it’s hard to get it wrong, we are doing our best and are happy to be up there.”
“We are half way through the regatta,” added Josh Revkin, “and we still have three more races to move on up, which we are planning to do by winning as many of these as possible.”
Whilst the pair has the series leaders well in sight, with the series discard kicking in after Thursday’s race 4, there will be numerous other teams who will work their way up the leader board and edge closer to the podium slots.
Claiming a 3rd place finish and moving up one place to third in the overall standings were the 2019 Star World silver medallists Augie Diaz (USA) and Henry Boening (BRA). The partnership executed yet another immaculate race, always holding their position in the leading pack to be one of only three teams carrying a scorecard of top 10 finishes. Diaz knows Biscayne Bay and its winds and currents better than anyone else in the fleet, and is mission focused to lift not only the Grand Master title but the iconic Bacardi Cup Trophy come Saturday 7 March.
The 2018 Bacardi Cup winner Diego Negri (ITA) racing with 2014 Star World Champion crew Frithjof Kleen (GER), secured another solid finish, staking a 6th place to sit in fourth overall. Six points behind are the winners of the first race, the Irish brothers Peter and Robert O’Leary, with the legendary Paul Cayard (USA) and his 2018 Star Sailors League Finals winner Pedro Trouche (BRA) in seventh.
From Thursday 5 March to Saturday 7 March the Star Class will be joined by the full line-up of classes at the Bacardi Invitational Regatta with the J70, Melges 24, Viper 640, VXOne sports boat and the foiling AV8 and Windfoil sailors joining the event. Tonight their regatta kicks off with the welcome party at Shake a Leg Miami, host of the Bacardi Invitational Regatta village.
Provisional Top 10 – After 3 Races
1. Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada (POL 8548) - 4 pts
2. Eivind Melleby/Joshua Revkin (NOR 8234) - 10 pts
3. Augie Diaz/Henry Boening (USA 8509) - 14 pts
4. Diego Negri/Frithjof Kleen (ITA 8533) - 17 pts
5. George Szabo/Guy Avellon (USA 8129) - 20 pts
6. Peter O'Leary/Robert O'Leary (IRL 8458) - 26 pts
7. Paul Cayard/Pedro Trouch (USA 8466) - 29 pts
8. Jørgen Schönherr/Markus Koy (DEN 8532) - 31 pts
9. Brian Ledbetter/Magnus Liljedahl (USA 8203) - 32 pts
10. Manu Hens/Joost Houweling (BEL 8379) - 38 pts
Denis and Annamarie Murphy's well-proven Italian marque has been a force to be reckoned with on the south coast (especially in a breeze) and was the winner of RCYC's Yacht of the Year in 2018.
And it's not the first foray offshore for the Murphy family's most successful all-rounders as they were entrants in last year's Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race too.
Nieulargo brings to 34 the number of entries so far for the Round Ireland that is attracting considerable international interest this year. Wicklow organisers are aiming for a 60-boat fleet and with 15 weeks to go, and entries running typically very late there is still every chance this will be met for its 21st edition.
One of those skippers yet to declare is the weekend Class One winner of the RORC Caribbean Race. Royal Irish skipper Michael Boyd leads the race for a Volvo Car prize in this year's Race but only three points separate the top four skippers overall and the RIYC man has yet to reveal his boat of choice for the 700-miler.
The Royal Cork Yacht Club, the oldest yacht club in the world, has officially launched its prestigious Volvo Cork Week 2020 regatta, which will see hundreds of boats and thousands of yachtsmen and women from around the globe compete on the waters around Cork Harbour from July 13th – 17th.
This year’s Volvo Cork Week has extra special significance as it forms a key part of the Royal Cork Yacht Club’s historic ‘Cork300’ celebrations, marking what is the oldest yacht club in the world’s tricentenary.
The world-renowned biennial regatta is already attracting a bumper fleet of entries from all over the world including Monaco, Australia, Hong Kong and San Francisco. Famous boats already registered include the elegant 60ft gaff cutter 'Thalia'*, the competitive racing boat ‘Ran’* and the beautiful modern racing yacht ‘Tala'. The regatta is expected to book out quickly as many participants are travelling to Ireland for the tricentenary celebrations.
This year Volvo Cork Week will also incorporate The Irish Cruiser Racing Association National Championships, the IRC European Championship, the 1720 European Championships, the Beaufort Cup, a Classic Yacht regatta and the southern championships for the International Dragon Class.
All qualifying boats entered in Volvo Cork Week 2020 will automatically be entered into the ICRA National Championships, the pinnacle of the Irish inshore cruiser racing calendar which will see the Irish National Champion declared.
Volvo Cork Week has historically been regarded as a ‘must-do’ regatta on the international sailing calendar due to its unparalleled reputation for exhilarating competitive racing over a variety of race courses in fair sailing waters and its incredible line-up of post-racing off the water entertainment and social activity. As always, the atmosphere in Crosshaven, home of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, will be second to none both during and ahead of Volvo Cork Week 2020.
Volvo Cork Week Director of Racing, Rosscoe Deasy said: “I look forward to welcoming sailors from around the world to Cork Harbour in 2020 in celebration of the Royal Cork Yacht Club’s tri-centennial year. We have a packed schedule and the season’s centrepiece will be the renowned Volvo Cork Week in July. Notably, the 2020 regatta will also include championship events such as the IRC Europeans, the ICRA Nationals, the 1720 Europeans and the Beaufort Cup.
“Since 1978, every Cork Week has delivered a unique mix of top-notch competition afloat & top-class entertainment ashore, and next year will be no different. In fact, judging by the interest received and the stories of glory days already being retold, Volvo Cork Week 2020 will set a new standard on both counts. This event has been 300 years in the making, no sailor should miss it.”
Richard Colwell, Commodore of the Irish Cruising Racing Association said, “The ICRA is delighted to be partnering with the Royal Cork Yacht Club to hold the Irish Cruiser Racing National Championships as an integral part of Volvo Cork Week 2020. We encourage all of the cruiser racing fraternity in Ireland to travel and take part in what promises to be an exciting and competitive event, as part of Royal Cork’s broader Tricentenary celebrations. With visitors from countries all over Europe, it is important that Irish Cruiser Racing shows the strength that we have across all classes from White Sails to Cruiser 0 at the National Championships and so contribute to the competitive racing expected.”
1720 Sports Boat European Championships
A bumper fleet of more than 40 yachts from Ireland, UK, Netherlands, Spain and elsewhere around Europe is expected to compete in the 1720 Sports Boat European Championships as part of Volvo Cork Week 2020. The race committee is particularly pleased to host this European Championship event due in part to the fact that the original idea for the 1720 was conceived by a group of committed racing members of the Royal Cork Yacht Club. This distinctive class of boat also took its name from the year in which the club was founded.
The third edition of the Beaufort Cup, the prestigious international inter-services sailing regatta, will also be hosted by the Royal Cork Yacht Club with the support of the Irish Defence Forces, during Volvo Cork Week. A specially commissioned perpetual trophy in honour of Sir Francis Beaufort, creator of the Beaufort Scale, will be presented to the overall winner of the regatta which will entail a mix of challenging offshore and tactical inshore racing, including an overnight race around the iconic Fastnet Rock and back to Cork. International teams from their associated national emergency services are invited to compete in this prestigious competition, with the proviso that 50% of each team must be active in the service they represent.
Classic Yacht Regatta
Volvo Cork Week will also host a dedicated Classic Yacht Regatta for the first time in 2020. Classic Yachts from around the globe will sail to Cork to celebrate ‘Where It All Began’ and partake in three days of racing in and outside Cork Harbour. This event will also provide a fantastic viewing spectacle for shoreline onlookers.
International Dragon Class
In addition to this, the International Dragon Class will return to Volvo Cork Week in 2020 following their very successful outing in 2018, to hold their Southern Championships in Cork.
Races to Cork:
A series of national and international races to Cork will take place in the run-up to the five-day regatta.
Morgan Cup: (Cowes England to Cork)
These include the highly prestigious Morgan Cup race – organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club since 1958 – which will cross the Celtic Sea to Cork for the first time ever with the support of the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Royal Cork Yacht Club. This 324nm race will carry an attractive points-weighting for the 2020 RORC Season Points Championship and is expected to attract a substantial fleet. The line honours winner for this race will be the first recipient of a specially commissioned perpetual trophy graciously donated to the Royal Cork Yacht Club by His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, to honour the club’s tricentenary and the close relationship between the United Kingdom, Ireland and its sailing communities.
Kingstown to Queenstown Race (Dublin to Cork)
Meanwhile, the historic Kingstown to Queenstown race from Dun Laoghaire to Cobh will take place on July 9th, enhancing the build up to Volvo Cork Week 2020 with a re-enactment of what is acknowledged as the first-ever offshore race to take place in the British Isles, in 1860.
Robbe and Berking German Offshore Trophy (Heligoland Germany to Cork)
A competitive fleet will also set sail on an 800nm race from Heligoland, Germany, to Cork, Ireland, on July 4th competing for the Robbe and Berking German Offshore Trophy, arriving ahead in Ireland of the historic Volvo Cork Week 2020.
Vice-Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club and Cork300 Chairman, Colin Morehead, said: “The biennial Cork Week regatta has seen many friendships and memories created since it was first held in 1978. I would encourage everyone to return to Cork Harbour next year and join us in celebrating Where It All Began by participating in Volvo Cork Week 2020 and help restore its status as Europe’s largest fun regatta.
Captain Pat Farnan’s retirement as Admiral of the Royal Cork YC on January 20th - after a two-year tour of duty in this top role - marked the completion of another chapter in an outstanding maritime career that took him straight from school to take up a Cadetship in Irish Shipping. After rising to the rank of Captain with wide-ranging sea service, he was recruited in 1980 into the frontline staff of the Port of Cork as Assistant Harbour Master, where his 33-year career saw a period of very extensive facilities re-location and expansion. He became for many years Harbour Master and then additionally Deputy Chief Executive, serving also as President of the European Harbour Masters Association from 1996-1998.
By the time he retired from working in the Port of Cork, his many skills and capable and reassuring presence had been called on for voluntary work in running the Royal Cork YC, for the sea was both his work and his leisure. He thus became Admiral for the demanding two year period in the countdown to the RCYC’s Tricentenary in 2020. Far from being overshadowed by the approaching celebrations, 2018 and 2019 were such busy and successful years in RCYC sailing that the Royal Cork saw 2020 being ushered in with the announcement that they were the new Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year on the strength of outstanding achievements in 2018 and ’19.
Pat Farnan may now have more time to enjoy sailing his own cruiser. But we feel sure that his many talents could well be called on again to serve in some new capacity in the maritime world. Meanwhile, we’re honoured to confirm him as Sailor of the Month for January 2020.
Colin Morehead has been elected as Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club succeeding the outgoing Pat Farnan as the club celebrates its 300th year as the oldest yacht club in the world writes Bob Bateman. At the 299th AGM, Morehead was elected the 42nd Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club. In his acceptance speech, he thanked Farnan for the manner in which he executed his role over the past two years and steered the club into its Tricentenary Year.
Morehead has been part of the Royal Cork all his life, following in the footsteps of generations of his family before him. He spoke briefly about plans for events due to take place in this tricentenary year calling out the St Patrick’s Day parade, Seafest, World Championship power racing, a classic regatta, Volvo Cork Week and no less than ten Cork300 dinghy events which will see European, National and Regional titles decided.
"Morehead has been part of the Royal Cork all his life"
The incoming Admiral also outlined his wish to develop a five-year plan for the club which he would like to see approved at the 300th AGM next year along with the development of a new sustainability plan for the club which underpins all of the club’s activities. He also set out an ambition to secure an additional European or World Championship event to be run at the club by 2023 (Recently the club announced that the 2021 World Topper Championships would take place at the Crosshaven based club).
In his closing remarks, he set out the fact that nothing could be achieved without the support and dedication of its staff and its incredible committee’s and volunteers. He reminded everyone that volunteers give of their time and services freely and they should be treated with respect and courtesy at all times by all members. He continued by saying “we should value and recognise our volunteers as a significant resource who enable us to achieve our objectives”.
He concluded by calling on all members to use the magnificent harbour we have on our doorstep to showcase the role which the Royal Cork plays in the promotion of sailing. He called on everyone to use the wonderful facilities which the clubhouse affords its members and in doing so offers us all the opportunity to rekindle existing friendships and the creation of new ones.
The number of racing yachts increased last year at the Royal Cork Yacht Club, which is being described as a sign of “the rise once more of Irish keelboat sailing.”
The members of the club will be told about encouraging developments in cruiser racing at their annual general meeting on Monday night.
This will be the 299th AGM of the club, leading into its Tricentennial Year.
The Under 25 Academy which was started at the club has proved successful and is being followed by a Junior Sailing Academy.
The incoming Admiral, Colin Morehead, who will be elected at the meeting says that the future is bright for sailing.
More on the podcast below.
The Royal Cork Yacht Club is the new Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year, both in honour of its Tricentenary in 2020, and in celebration of a busy and successful season in 2019. The hospitable club faces this unprecedented new year with an inspiring serenity, strengthened in awareness of experience gained and achievements attained in the many years of its existence and supported by the global sailing community in its outstanding world status.
Yet even as the special events for the season of 2020 were being planned during 2019 and earlier, 2019 itself has seen some notable sailing achievements by Royal Cork members of all age groups, both at home and abroad. But when a club is operating in the unique timeframe which is the story of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, perhaps we should think in terms of measurable decades of successful club activity to get a more accurate picture of RCYC life afloat and ashore.
And in a longer view, the Royal Cork Yacht Club now tops the leaderboard in the number of times it has been Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year. This informal contest to honour those clubs which best fulfilled the objectives of effectively meeting the needs – afloat and ashore – of members who in turn were active in voluntarism in club activity, while at the same time relating positively to the community in which they were located yet also achieving sailing success at all levels at home and abroad, began modestly in 1979 by being limited to the clubs of Leinster.
But in 1986 - when Mitsubishi Motors Ireland took over what is now the longest-running sponsorship in Irish sailing - the competition was extended to all Ireland, and the Royal Cork became pace-setters, a benchmark of multiple sailing and sports social activities against which other clubs are inevitably measured.
Royal Cork Yacht Club has been Mitsubishi Motors Club of Year in 1987, 1992, 1997, 2000, 2006, 2015, and now 2020. With successive Admirals at the awards ceremonies in the clubhouse giving thoughtful acceptance speeches which have helped to define what continues to make a sailing club successful in a rapidly changing modern Ireland in an increasing complex global sailing environment, the RCYC has contributed greatly to the general awareness of what makes a successful club thrive.
Thus it was appropriate that in September 2019, one of the gatherings which recognised and benefitted from the Royal Cork’s unique experience was when Admiral Pat Farnan and the RCYC at Crosshaven welcomed the delegates to the World Forum of the International Council of Yacht Clubs, staged in Cork in honour of the approaching RCYC Tricentenary.
Today, the Royal Cork may have its very effective clubhouse/marina home base at Crosshaven, but over the 300 years and more of recreational sailing, its focus has been at different centres on the magnificent natural amenity which is Cork Harbour, while the founding members kept their boats at the anchorage or quayside which was most convenient to their often-waterside homes.
Thus the original title of The Water Club of the Harbour of Cork was the more accurate description of the club’s nature, and there’s a certain irony in that today, it probably once again describes the club with more precision. Convenient berthing facilities all round Cork Harbour have improved significantly in recent years, the most recent being the construction of a marina at the 101-year-old Cobh Sailing Club on the other side of the harbour. So although Royal Cork YC at Crosshaven has had Ireland’s longest-established coastal clubhouse marina since 1974, marinas and local clubs have since expanded all round the harbour at places as diverse as East Ferry, Cobh, Monkstown and in Cork city itself.
Yet although these neighbourhood clubs have their own active local scene, the fact is they still look to the Royal Cork YC as the Mother Club. And thanks to the diligence of RCYC archivists such as the dedicated Dermot Burns, it is the Royal Cork which is the repository of priceless records and memorabilia, historic trophies, important maritime works of art, and significant portraits, all of which are eloquent testimony to the extraordinary and unrivalled history of recreational sailing in Cork Harbour.
This unique collection enabled the far-sighted publication in 2005 of an impressive and weighty book, the award-winning History of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, written by historian Alicia St Leger using the material so tirelessly organised by Dermot Burns. It was far-sighted to publish this valuable record back in 2005, as that provided plenty of time for the story of the club to fully enter world sailing’s consciousness, such that now that we are in the Tricentenary Year - which was ushered in this week by a Tricentenary New Year’s Eve Gala Ball at the clubhouse - the world sailing community is fully aware of the Royal Cork’s special status, and is giving every fair wind to the celebration of Cork300.
The committee putting it all together for 2020 has been chaired by Colin Morehead, whose dedication to making newcomers welcome in sailing is such that in 2017 he was presented with the Irish Sailing President’s Award as “Volunteer of the Year”. In a bewildering era when much of the world sees a decline in voluntarism and the sense of belonging in clubs and other like-minded groups, the amount of social capital which Irish sailing clubs have in their strong voluntary ethos is incalculable in value, and is something to be encouraged and cherished in every way possible.
Here again, the Royal Cork is a leader, for the voluntary willingness of the members - in what is not a large club numerically speaking - enables it to punch well above its weight and keep its historical traditions alive, while at the same time being in the forefront of national and international sailing development.
Thus although the RCYC has - like other clubs – seen its fleet grow with the introduction of series or mass-produced boats made in remote and anonymous factories, it is the only club in Ireland –and one of the very few in the world – which has initiated new classes in modern times.
Back in the 1890s and early 1900s, many clubs were in on this sort of project, and the Royal Cork led the way with the introduction of the Fife-designed, locally built Cork Harbour One Designs in 1895. Some of them still sail in beautifully restored form. But since then, Cork sailors have not been content to take in boats created elsewhere, for in 1994 they commissioned the completely new Cork 1720 Sportsboat to designs by the then locally-based Tony Castro (there’ll be maybe as 50 of them racing during the Tricentenary celebrations) and then in 2014 when a completely new Phil Morrison design for the National 18 appeared on Cork Harbour, it emerged that it was the Royal Cork YC which had released vital funds to make the Ultimate’s introduction possible.
With this sort of energetic innovation going on with projects which won’t be completed overnight, it’s clear that we should be considering the achievements of at least the past decade in making the Royal Cork the Mitsubishi Motors Club of the Year for 2020, but in truth perhaps we should really be taking a much longer view, and one indicator of the RCYC’s continuing and growing vitality is the number of winners of the All-Ireland Helmsman’s Championship which they have provided over the years since its introduction in 1947, the most senior – Teddie Crosbie of 1950 – very happily still being with us. It’s an impressive list of many talents who have proven their worth in a wide variety of boats and sailing;
- 1950: Ted Crosbie
- 1955 & 1960: Clayton Love Jnr.
- 1956 & 1957: Somers Payne
- 1972: Harold Cudmore
- 1990 & 1999: Mark Mansfield
- 2003: Neil Hegarty
- 2006 & 2012: Peter O’Leary
- 2007: Stefan Hyde
- 2008, 2009 & 2010: Nicholas O’Leary
- 2011 George Kenefick
- 2014 & 2015: Anthony O’Leary
- 2016: Alex Barry
The All-Ireland Junior Championship was only established as recently as 1975, but Cork sailors have been in on it from the get-go:
- 1975: Joe English
- 1986: Tom McWilliam
- 1986: Jamie McWilliam
- 1988: Nicholas O’Leary
- 2000: Peter O’Leary
- 2002: Robert Collins
- 2003: Erica Tate
- 2004: Katie Tingle
- 2006: George Kenefick
- 2013: Seafra Guilfoyle
- 2014: Harry Durcan
- 2015: Peter McCann
- 2016: Johnny Durcan
- 2018: Atlee Kohl
- 2019: Chris Bateman
Cork Harbour’s exceptional strength in the Junior Division has never been greater than it is at present, a situation which surely augurs well for the continuing good health of the area’s sailing scene for years to come. In 2019 in addition to Chris & Olin Bateman’s victory in the Junior Championship in September, young Cork sailors had been making their mark ever since March, when Optimist Champion James Dwyer Matthews of RCYC swept the board in the big-fleet British Spring Opens at Lymington, and then in August he went on to become the Irish Open Champion in an even bigger fleet at Howth.
Meanwhile in University keelboat racing. it was Cork all the way, with CIT Sailing Club’s team headed by RCYC’s Harry Durcan and Grattan Roberts winning out from University College Cork in a close-fought Irish championship in J/80s, and in a very long-distance challenge to the Invitationals in California for the Port of Los Angeles Trophy, they returned home with the Bronze Medals.
Taking on the special challenge of racing keelboats in America which are of a completely new marque was something which Cork’s adult sailors also took on with enthusiasm, with the Royal Cork team led by Anthony O’Leary (whose contribution to Cork sailing’s international success over many decades is incalculable) throwing themselves into the maelstrom of the 20-team New York YC Invitationals in Newport RI in September.
This was sailed in the new IR37s from Irish-based designer Mark Mills, and though it was a Corinthian event, it emerged that many crews had spent as much time as possible familiarising themselves with these attractive new boats as more of them became available through the summer, whereas the Cork crew arrived in Newport as IR37 virgins.
They put that right very quickly indeed, with their skipper observing that anyone who could make a good fist of racing a Cork 1720 would have a head start in getting to know an IR37, and their learning curve was so successfully upwards that at the final stages a silver medal was a remote possibility, but as it is they came home with the Bronze and a very high level of regard among the opposition.
Meanwhile, at home the RCYC had opened its main 2019 season on a high note by hosting the Irish Sailing Youth Pathway multiple classes event in April. The club’s extremely active Junior Section provides racing for Optimists, Mirrors, Lasers and RS Fevas, while other classes catered for include Nationals 18s, SB20s and Multihulls. Then in August they hosted the first-ever Crosshaven staging of the Mermaid Nationals (won by Darragh McCormack of Foynes) and in September the annual DinghyFest showcased the impressive variety of classes the club caters for.
But numerically speaking, the great strength of the RCYC is its thriving fleet of cruisers and cruiser-racing, often in a family setting. This past year or two we’ve seen the pace being set by the Murphy family with their Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo, while the J/109 Jelly Baby and the Jones family keep up a family sailing tradition which is bred into Cork’s maritime genes.
After all, it was Cork’s own Harry Donegan who flew the flag for Ireland in the inaugural Fastnet Race of 1925 with his cutter Gull, a boat which was regarded as an integral part of the family. So much so, in fact, that the late great Denis Doyle, who was to take up the Cork offshore racing standard with Moonduster, could remember as a child going to Sunday lunch in the winter at the Donegan household (for all the Cork sailing families seem to be inter-related) and after lunch as the adults settled down to chat, the many children were put to work sand-papering the dozens of varnished wooden blocks which were essential to Gull’s complex rig. But as Denis wistfully recalled: “We children were never ever allowed to do the actual varnishing - Old Harry did that himself after we’d gone”.
This is the way it is with Cork sailing – it is one of the few places in Ireland where going sailing really is regarded as a totally normal and very important part of everyday life. For that alone, the Royal Cork YC deserves to be “Club of the Year” for this year and maybe every year. But this seemingly natural state of affairs is only guaranteed by the continual recruiting of officers, committee and volunteers who quietly keep in place the structures in which sailing is kept as such an integral part of day-to-day life.
It has produced a sailing scene which naturally brought forward sailors of such talent that they moved on into successful professional careers in yacht racing, though it seemed a very big move when Harold Cudmore Jnr took it for the first time in 1974. But since then specialists like Olympian Mark Mansfield and Maurice Prof O’Connell and others have shown that Cork Harbour is a very effective nursery for sailing talent of international quality.
It was only 53 years ago that Clayton Love Jnr, through quiet persuasion and diplomacy, brought about the merger between the Royal Cork YC in its stately but out-dated 19th Century clubhouse in Cobh, and the Royal Munster YC in its developing 20th century base in Crosshaven. Crosshaven much more conveniently provided the facilities to be the main centre for contemporary Cork Harbour sailing, but it took patience and skill those fifty and more years ago to bring about the change which ensured there was an active Royal Cork YC ready to celebrate its Quarter Millennium in 1969-70. Since then it has remained as the focal point of a growing sailing scene which has now filtered back to every corner of the harbour, yet still looks to the Royal Cork YC in Crosshaven as the Mother Club.
It is kept in thriving health by constant attention, skilled management, and sailing success afloat. While the increasing pace of the 2020 planning by Colin Morehead’s Cork300 committee has inevitably drawn growing attention during 2019, it has been doubly important that club life should continue with its own busy programme during this past year.
The calm and frequent presence of Admiral Pat Farnan ensured this, supported by his team of Colin Morehead in his additional role as Vice Admiral, and three Rear Admirals: Brian Jones (Dinghies), Kieran O’Connell (Keelboats) and Mike Rider (Cruising), while Secretary/Treasurer Pat Harte, Membership & Events Sub Committee Chair Annamarie Fegan, and Marina & Facilities Chair Simon Brewitt kept their sections on the chosen path.
Nevertheless, an operation the size and complexity of the Royal Cork’s headquarters ashore and afloat at Crosshaven will need skilled professional input, and the club could have spent vast sums of money-drawing up and implementing the recruitment profile of the ideal person to fill the multi-tasking post of General Manager of the world’s senior yacht club. But fortunately, the perfect candidate was right there so ideally in their midst that an extensive search wasn’t required, such that now it is impossible to imagine today’s Royal Cork Yacht Club without Gavin Deane’s reassuring performance as General Manager.
But all these talented and dedicated people would find that much of the beneficial effects their good work might go completely unseen were it not for the ubiquitous presence of photographer Robert Bateman. In some ways the astonishing survival of the Royal Cork Yacht Club for 300 years has at times been a matter of luck. And for many years, the club has never been so lucky as in its enthusiastic photographer. If a good picture says a thousand words, then Bob Bateman has said millions of eloquent words in telling us what a remarkable and continuing story there is at Crosshaven and on Cork Harbour, and everyone is in his debt for his exceptional dedication in recording all sailing, and in particular in recording the sailing and shore life of this unique club.
We congratulate the Royal Cork Yacht Club, very deservedly the Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year for the seventh time in 2020
Royal Cork Yacht Club celebrated the new year's arrival in style at Crosshaven, Cork Harbour last night in anticipation of a bumper Cork300. 2020 is an important anniversary year in which the oldest yacht club in the world will celebrate its tricentenary writes Bob Bateman.
On a still night on the Owenabue river, over 100 attended the gala dinner with a champagne reception.
At the appointed time, RCYC Admiral Pat Farnan welcomed the new year in with a canon on the club lawn.
Photo gallery below by Bob Bateman