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Displaying items by tag: Cork Harbour

Irish boats come, Irish boats go. And while some will always be remembered, others leave barely a twirl of wake in the communal memory. The best-remembered has to be Conor O’Brien’s world-girdling Saoirse. Yet it could reasonably be claimed that Harry Donegan’s Gull was the boat that made the difference, for she was there in Ireland when it mattered, whereas Saoirse was away, performing on the global stage.

The 50ft ketch Betty Alan at Mullaghmore Regatta 2019 Gull’s ghost? The 50ft ketch Betty Alan – built more than a hundred years after Gull – at Mullaghmore Regatta 2019. Photo: Brian Mathews

In 1921, the Donegan family of Cork bought Gull, an 1896 Charles E Nicholson-designed and Camper & Nicholson-built 18-ton gaff cutter, with a notably large jackyard topsail. The patriarch of the family, solicitor Harry Donegan (1870-1940) sailed her until his death on St Patrick’s Day of 1940, which came after a sublime 1939 end-of-season sail from Schull back to Cork Harbour, the perfect final passage for a great sailor.

During his time with the well-loved boat, he was soon busy with Gull in the final stages of the Civil War in 1922, carrying a messenger (Michael Collins’ sister, as it happens) with dispatches for the Pro-Treaty Government from Cork for eventual delivery to Commander-in-Chief Collins in Dublin, a task made necessary by the Anti-Treaty rebels destroying all other means of communication – road, rail, whatever - between the two cities.

Harry Donegan aboard his beloved GullThe extraordinary Harry Donegan aboard his beloved Gull. During their 19 years together, he and Gull’s achievements were many and various

After peace of sorts had broken out in 1923, in addition to a programme of cruiser-racing in and from Cork Harbour, Harry Donegan was soon back to his hobby of surveying popular cruising anchorages for his privately-circulated cruising guide to southwest Ireland. And then when the call came for entries for the novel Fastnet Race of 1925, despite the fact that Ireland’s Fastnet Rock was only a mark of the course with the start eastward out of the Solent from Ryde, and the finish at Plymouth in Devon, he willingly entered Gull to be one of the seven starters. She was in the lead overall at one stage, and at the finish she placed third.

Thus Gull was present at the foundation of the Ocean Racing Club - soon to be the RORC – in Plymouth in 1925, and four years later she was present at the foundation in Glengarriff in 1929 of the Irish Cruising Club, a project which had long been dear to Harry Donegan’s heart.

During the eleven years he had with the ICC (of which he was Vice Commodore), Harry Donegan was one of the club’s keenest active members, regularly bringing his demanding cutter round to the Irish Sea for ICC East Coast events, while at the same time playing the leading role in Cork Harbour, and somehow finding space for the occasional RORC racing foray as well.

Poole Harbour in Dorset, where Gull ended her days Poole Harbour in Dorset, where Gull ended her days, and Betty Alan was born 102 years after Gull had been built

In his latter days, his son Harry Jnr was an active partner on the boat, but after Old Harry died, things weren’t quite the same, Young Harry was interested in trying other boat types, and as soon as World War II was over, Gull was sold – now considered quite old by the standards of the time – to the south of England. The word is that she ended her days in the 1950s in a mud berth in Poole Harbour, gradually mouldering away into the bottomless sludge.

Yet it seems that while the corporeal Gull may have disappeared into Poole Harbour’s primaeval ooze, her friendly ghost was soon haunting the place, quietly looking for an opportunity to resume sailing the sea with the gift of fresh youth. But it wasn’t until 1998, when the noted local boatbuilder Ken Latham was commissioned to build the hull of a classically proportioned 50-footer, that Gull’s necessary opportunity presented itself, and somehow her spirit became successfully enmeshed in the style and appearance of a dreamship which was supposed to represent a miniaturised version of the very Scottish Alfred Mylne-designed 120ft gaff ketch Thendara from the 1930s.

The Mylne-designed ThendaraThe Mylne-designed Thendara. Betty Alan was originally conceived as a miniature of this Scottish classic.

Certainly, this had been the design brief for the late Jeremy Lines, who was a startling example of nominative determinism, for what could somebody called Lines possibly be, other than the in-house yacht designer for Camper & Nicholsons in their final glory days?

It was after his retirement that he was given the commission in his own right as a yacht designer for this meticulously-detailed 50-footer. And while he may have conscientiously tried to re-create Alfred Mylne as asked, the shadow of the genius of Charles E Nicholson was at his shoulder, and Gull emerged again – fresh and new and exquisitely built - beside Poole Harbour.

Not that anybody noticed at the time. In fact, it was upwards of twenty years later, at Mullaghmore on the Sligo coast, that a photo taken by Race Officer Brian Mathews at Mullaghmore Regatta 2019 rang a bell. And it wasn’t until a week or so ago, when were assembling a few photos to back up the Mullaghmore Regatta 2020 poster, that the mysterious ketch re-appeared, when it immediately clicked that regardless of the rig - which is indeed a quirky miniature of Thendara’s sail-plan – we were looking at the sweet sheerline and restrained stem of Gull all over again, even if they’re set in a beamy shoal-draft centreboard-carrying hull, whereas Gull was slim and deep.

When seen from more directly ahead, Betty Alan’s extra beam is much in evidenceWhen seen from more directly ahead, Betty Alan’s extra beam is much in evidence

Betty Alan’s commodious accommodationBetty Alan’s commodious accommodation makes for a refreshing change from extreme racing-programmed boats

Be that as it may, now we hear that not only is this cleverly-disguised Ghost of Gull haunting the Irish coast, but she has found herself a long-term mooring in Glengarriff, where Harry Donegan’s most-cherished dream of an Irish Cruising Club became reality ninety-one years ago.

It’s all a bit too much, but then a state of things being just a bit too much seems to be normality when you get into the orbit around Ed Maggs, who has owned this “genuine fake” (his own words) with his wife Frances since 2011. The ketch is now called Betty Alan after his parents, and somehow he finds the time to use her as she should be used, despite the attention-consuming occupation of being a Maggs brother in the almost absurdly blue chip antiquarian booksellers Maggs Brothers in the fashionable part of London. There, they’ve been selling rare or very rare or indeed invisibly rare books at splendid prices since 1853, while additionally purveying some extremely odd items of exceptional historic interest which, alas, we cannot specify in a website with a family readership.

Be that as it may, Ed’s talents and endeavours as an antiquarian bookseller are no more than a displacement activity. For his real calling – would he but allow it - is as a sailing writer, and more specifically a cruising writer. It may be a good old reliable cliché, but his quirky take on the things that happen in and on and around the Betty Alan to himself and Frances and their friends (a credibility-stretching lineup of characters in themselves) is what Myles might have called that familiar inhalation of clear oxygen and nitrogen and some spots of hydrogen and other gases, best known as a breath of fresh air if that’s what you’re having yourself.

Man among the merchandise – Ed Maggs at work Man among the merchandise – Ed Maggs at work. Photo: Maggs Bros

But as the very special bookshop is there to keep the show on the road, Ed has no need to turn himself into some sort of internet star or performance artist, which is the only way a modern cruising writer could afford a boat like Betty Alan. So instead, his fans can enjoy his works in semi-private club and association publications with words and thoughts to be savoured in leisurely style, instead of having your head blown off and your mind melted by electronic overload.

Thus we’ve been catching up in recent weeks through various sources on the great adventure, which was meant to be a two years (or thereabouts) circuit cruise round Britain and Ireland from Betty Alan’s home port of Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex, which is about as different a place from Glengarriff as you’ll find on this planet.

On this planet, misplaced or displaced intentions often produce the best cruise yarns. Betty Alan got as far as southwest Ireland, and then began significantly slowing down. When she got as far as Donegal, she came to a stop with a stay-for-a-while mooring at Teelin, and then laid up for the winter with the excellent services of Mooney Boats at Killybegs. And when she launched again, it was irresistible to revisit places back south, which may explain that star turn at Mullaghmore. But what with one thing and another, she now has a fulltime mooring in Glengarriff, and Ed and Frances have found themselves spending the Lockdown in the latest bright idea.

A distinct change of style from Burnham-n-Crouch in Essex – Betty Alan’s current base in Glengarriff at the head of Bantry BayA distinct change of style from Burnham-n-Crouch in Essex – Betty Alan’s current base in Glengarriff at the head of Bantry Bay

It’s a little old farmhouse that they’ve bought, with a bit of land - most of it heavily wooded - hidden away in the Roughty Valley midway between Kenmare and Kilgarvan. Thus they’ve the remarkable yet smooth life force of the Brennan brothers at Kenmare and Drumquinna to the southwest, and the forces of nature in the raw in the rugged frontier village of Kilgarvan, Kilgarvan of the Riding Clans, to the northeast, where ordinary folk run the danger of becoming the hyphen in Healy-Rae.

It is in the little farmhouse during this Lockdown that Ed Maggs has been writing for a select few of the woodlands and oddities of this place called Kilgortaree, and he does it with the same lively and totally frank frame of mind that he brought to describing the joys and hazards of cruising the coasts of Kerry and Connemara in detail.

And it all seems part of a perfectly natural and sensible process, when set in the story of how the Ghost of Gull has come to be happily haunting Glengarriff in recent weeks.

Published in Historic Boats
Tagged under

Kinsale overnight leader Colm Dunne at the helm of Allegro held off a strong Northern Ireland Challenge to win the Squib Southern Championships at Cove Sailing Club this afternoon.

As reported earlier, 13 boats contested the championships in Cork Harbour but no one was able to overhaul Dunne who counted three race wins on the windward-leeward courses.

Second place after five races sailed in the one-design keelboat competition went to Royal North of Ireland's Gordon Patterson. Third place went to Patterson's Belfast Lough club-mate Peter Wallace, skipper of Toy for the Boys.

Results are here

Bob Bateman's Day Two Photo Gallery below

Published in Squib

The volunteers of Crosshaven RNLI lifeboat were paged at 5.51 pm this evening (Saturday 19 July) to go to the aid of a broken-down vessel, East of Power Head at the entrance to Cork Harbour.

The lifeboat with Ian Venner in command and with Claire Morgan, Derek Moynan and Jonathan Birmingham on board made best speed towards the Casualty in good conditions and a slight sea.

First reports were that the 23' powerboat with two persons on board had broken down and was at anchor awaiting help.

Enroute, the lifeboat crew was informed by the Coast Guard that the casualty had managed to restart their engine and was slowly making for Ballycotton and would be obliged for the lifeboat to escort the vessel into the harbour.

The lifeboat crew were happy to oblige and saw the vessel safely moored in the harbour at Ballycotton.

Commenting on the incident, helm, Ian Venner said the vessels owner had 'done everything by the book and called the problem into the Coast Guard immediately and then anchored the vessel.'

Launch crew on this call out were Sandra Farrell, Susanne Deane, Richie Leonard and Caomhe Foster. The lifeboat returned to station at 8 pm.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The National 18 crew of Colin Chapman, Owen O'Keefe and Eddie Rice were yesterday's winners of the AIB sponsored PY 1000 cash Prize at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Cork Harbour.

With only the lightest harbour breeze available Race Officer John Crotty set the mixed dinghy fleet off on a course that involved all points of sailing from a beat,a run and reaches before heading home for refreshments on the RCYC lawn at Crosshaven.

Royal Cork Race Officer John Crotty had to contend with some fickle winds for the 2020 PY RaceRoyal Cork Race Officer John Crotty had to contend with some fickle winds for the 2020 PY Race Photo: Bob Bateman

The PY1000 2020 dinghy course set in Cork Harbour covered all the angles Photo: Bob BatemanThe PY1000 2020 dinghy course set in Cork Harbour covered all the angles Photo: Bob Bateman

Other cash prizes went to second overall to Tom, Cloe and Patrick Crosbie. Third place went to Andrew Crosbie, all sailing National 18s.

AIB PY 1000 Winners AIB PY 1000 Winners - Colin Chapman, Owen O'Keefe and Eddie Rice Photo: Bob Bateman

Chris Bateman won the Lasers and Shane Collins, the Topper division.

Knox Kohl was the youngest sailor and first female home was Sophie Crosbie.

The youngest crewed boat was sailed by Ethel and Olin Bateman and the oldest combined Crew was Tommy Dwyer and Willy Healy

RCYC AIB PY1000 Photos

See the full slideshow of images from the event below by Bob Bateman

Published in Royal Cork YC

The first major Class championships this season and the first in Cork Harbour will go ahead at Cove Sailing Club next weekend. The Squib Southerns will be based at the new Cove SC clubhouse and marina at Whitepoint.

The event and the marina are a big boost for the harbour town. Cobh has long-needed facilities for visiting boats. Several previous attempts to build a marina there failed. Cove Sailing Club, which celebrated its centenary last year, undertook its own project. It was not without difficulties and financial pressures which did create some internal club difficulties. At one stage another club, the Great Island Sailing Club, was formed and organised cruiser racing while remaining club members devoted their attention to getting the marina built. They succeeded, the new marina is now in operation, the clubs have re-united, with Great Island ceasing activities and members back in Cove Sailing Club which is a busy place at present.

Race Officers get the first race away from Cove Island Sailing Club's new marina pontoonsRace Officers get the first race away from Cove Island Sailing Club's new marina pontoons Photo: Bob Bateman

There is also a new clubhouse and dinghy sailing is resuming, with training courses also going ahead.

Kieran Dorgan is Cove Sailing Club’s Commodore and is my Podcast guest this week, discussing the developments and the economic boost which the marina will provide to the town of Cobh. I started by asking him about the Squibs Southern Championships next weekend, with racing on Saturday and Sunday, July 25 and 26:

Cove Sailing Club’S first evening league of the season was won by Commodore Dorgan’s Altair, a First 36.7 David Doyle’s Sigma 33, Musketeer, was second and Norman Allen’s Impala, Nadia, third. Twelve yachts raced.

Published in Tom MacSweeney

The new public recreation area at Paddy's Point in Cork Harbour now has a new floating pontoon added to the existing marine leisure facilities at Ringaskiddy.

The pier and slipway, that opened in May 2019 is located adjacent to the Beaufort Building in Ringaskiddy and is managed and maintained by the Port of Cork.

The substantial new facilities replace the existing Ringaskiddy slipway and pier and were completed as part of the Cork container terminal development.

This new marine leisure facility is free for the public to use and includes a pontoon to launch leisure craft and a secure trailer park along with picnic benches in a landscaped area for all to enjoy.

Paddy's Point new Marine Leisure facilties in Cork Harbour at Ringaskiddy Photo: Bob BatemanPaddy's Point new Marine Leisure facilties in Cork Harbour at Ringaskiddy Photo: Bob Bateman

Published in Cork Harbour

Cork harbour could become central to Ireland’s development as an international centre for hydrogen energy technology, a new offshore wind blueprint by the Eirwind consortium forecasts.

As The Irish Examiner reports today, Ireland could be exporting bulk hydrogen as part of an offshore renewable expansion.

The Eirwind strategy to 2050 identifies a number of challenges, and calls for Government commitment to specific incentives, marine planning legislation and “transparent” decision-making.

Eirwind is an industry-led, collaborative research project involving University College Cork (UCC) which has been working on a 30-year strategy for harnessing offshore wind energy.

It describes floating offshore wind technology as a “game changer,” and the period 2020 to 2030 as a “defining decade” for investing in green hydrogen and grid reinforcement.

The new Programme for Government has raised a target of 3.5 gigawatt (GW) energy production from offshore wind to five GW by 2030, and specifies the Irish Sea and Celtic Sea for development. It also signals that 30 GW could be derived from the Atlantic coast.

The Eirwind blueprint identifies three “production zones” - the Irish Sea, Celtic Sea and Atlantic Coast- and is expected to recommend master plans for ports from Rosslare, Co Wexford round to Killybegs, Co Donegal,to support offshore wind and wave development.

The report identifies the fishing industry as “the primary stakeholder”,and is expected to recommend that a joint forum between the fishing and offshore wind sectors be established .

It says the recently completed Marine Planning and Development Management Bill, along with the related Maritime Jurisdiction Bill, need to be prioritised.

Eirwind, based at the MaREI centre in UCC is supported by Science Foundation Ireland, and companies include Brookfield, DP Energy, ESB, Equinor, Engie, EDPR, Enerco, Simply Blue, SSE and Statkraft.

More from the Examiner here

Published in Power From the Sea

July 12, 1903 was also a Sunday, but it was not the sound of Orange bands marching that dominated the River Lee from Cobh to Cork City, but that of powerboat engines competing for what had been envisaged as the “America’s Cup” of motorboating.

Irish-born newspaper mogul Alfred Charles Harmsworth, Viscount Northcliffe, had organised what is known as “the first motorboat race.”

The trophy was the Harmsworth Cup, envisioned by Northcliffe as “a contest between nations rather than between boats and individuals.”

The course was from Cobh (then Queenstown) to Cork City. It was officiated by the Automobile Club of Great Britain and the Royal Cork Yacht Club for boats, as the rule of the race declared “designed and built entirely by residents of the country they represented.”

Photos from Vincent Delany's new book on the history of motoboating in IrelandPhotos from Vincent Delany's new book on the history of motoboating in Ireland

As reported by Cork newspapers: “A large number of spectators viewed the first mile from the promenade of the yacht club at Queenstown and several thousand people were at both sides of the river at Cork City to see the finish.”

The race was won by a woman – Dorothy Levitt, travelling at nineteen-and-a-half-miles an hour, regarded as an “extraordinary speed for motorboats” in those days.

She was described as “a remarkable sportswoman who had the first proper motorboat designed for high speed, to the specifications of an Australia, Selywn Edge” In later years she would set the world’s first water speed record at 19.3 miles per hour (31.1km/h).

This fascinating story is told by yachting historian Vincent Delany in his book about ‘”The Motor Yacht Club of Ireland, founded four years after the Harmsworth Cup race, in 1907. Dedicated to “the memory of those men in their floating machines,” in 44 pages it details, with historic photographs, the progress of motorboating in Irish waters.

It had been intended to stage an International Power Boat Festival in Cork Harbour this past weekend (July 11/12) as part of the RCYC Cork 300 celebrations but that was prevented by the Covid 19 pandemic.

For this week’s Podcast I’ve been talking to author Vincent Delany, starting by asking him why Cork was the location for the first motorboat race:

This week’s Podcast here

Published in Tom MacSweeney

For the present, there will be two clubs running Friday night whitesail racing in Cork Harbour.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club at Crosshaven resumed last Friday evening and Cove Sailing Club will begin this Friday, with FG at 1900.

The start area, according to Cove Notice of Race, will be "either a Committee boat near No.9 buoy or from Whitepoint Cove SC Marina."VHF Channel 69.

Cove have issued a general invitation to boats to take part. Monkstown Bay SC newly-elected Cruiser Class Captain, Chris Granby, hopes for support from there.

Cork Harbour Clubs Combined League

It's understood the Cork Harbour Clubs Combined League, held for the past few seasons, has been deferred after inter-club discussions, for the immediate future.

The RCYC has put a contact tracing system into effect for its racing boats, which has to be filled in to get a result.

As Afloat reported earlier, the popular Cobh People's Regatta scheduled for August 14-16 has become another sailing victim of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Published in Cork Harbour
Tagged under

It is a truth not universally acknowledged that the steady pint-drinking communities of Cork city and south Munster contributed substantially to the resourcing of the newly-formed Ulster Volunteer Force’s uprising against the proposed introduction of Home Rule for Ireland in 1912.

For sure, Cork is known as the Rebel County, the home of Michael Collins himself. But despite that, every enthusiastic consumer of the beloved Beamish’s Stout in the deep south of Ireland in the early years of the 1900s was unknowingly helping to finance a basically anti-Irish uprising in the far north of the country.

Such tortuous interpretations of the past are sometimes best conveyed to us through the complex inter-linkings in the history of sailing in Ireland. And most especially it comes through the 29ft Cork Harbour One Designs of 1896, and how they fitted into the broader interaction of Irish sailing with the leading Scottish designer William Fife during the Golden Age of Yachting, which glowed from around 1890 until the Kaiserite unpleasantness brought the good times to a shuddering halt with the Great War in August 1914.

But before that horror, while Ireland may have had its local hostile inter-faces, it is remarkable how many leading players on opposing sides in the subsequent wars and political dramas were united in a fondness for sailing. After all, James Craig - later Lord Craigavon and the first and rather belligerent Prime Minister of Northern Ireland in 1921 - had been in the 1890s the first and very enthusiastic Honorary Secretary of the pioneering Belfast Lough One Design Association and was an owner-helmsman of note.

Equally, in Cork top sailor and leading solicitor Harry Donegan may have played a key role in setting up the new Cork Harbour One Design Association in 1896, but by 1912 he was also the Chairman of the Cork Branch of the Redmondite Irish Home Rule Party.

Cork Harbour One Designs of 1896 in pre-start manoeuvresCork Harbour One Designs of 1896 in pre-start manoeuvres, as painted by their first Honorary Secretary Harry Donegan. In addition to his many roles in Cork Harbour sailing, Harry Donegan was a founder member of both the Royal Ocean Racing Club in 1925 and the Irish Cruising Club in 1929, while the current Royal Cork Yacht Club Admiral Colin Morehead is his great-grandson. Courtesy RCYC

Yet these are only two of the sailing figures involved in straddling the political divide, and the return in recent days to Cork Harbour of the superbly-restored CHOD Jap – she has been donated to the RCYC by her owner in honour of the club’s Tricentenary – reminds us of other even more unexpected links.

Let us hope that the return of Jap after a glittering international career on the classic yacht circuit will help in bringing this very special class to vigorous fresh life, to support the dedicated Pat Dorgan and others who have kept the faith for the class for several years. But Jap’s story certainly underlines the difficulties inherent in maintaining a vibrant vintage local One Design class in Cork Harbour in the same way that classic ODs have prospered and continue to prosper at Dun Laoghaire, Howth, Whiterock on Strangford Lough, and at Bangor and Cultra on Belfast Lough, as well as at Dromineer on Lough Derg and Ballyglass on Lough Ree.

The classically-restored Jap back in Crosshaven The classically-restored Jap back in Crosshaven this week. Photo: Chris Malcolm

For the problem with Cork Harbour is that it is much too good a harbour. There’s an embarrassment of choices as to where you can conveniently moor a boat. But a successful classic One-Design keelboat class with a local emphasis in Ireland seems to do best with just one focal point, and at most two. Yet with the CHODs from their earliest days, some might be based near the Royal Cork YC at its former HQ in Cobh, others might be based across channel at Monkstown at the 1872-founded Royal Munster YC, while yet others may have laid their moorings across at Carrigaloe near where the boats were built. And perhaps the occasional errant one might even be found down in Crosshaven, though that wasn’t to become a main centre of Cork Harbour sailing until after 1923.

Either way, there wasn’t the logistical simplicity of always having the boats in the same place when a race was scheduled, a particular problem with engine-less craft. But when they were new around the turn of the Century, the enthusiasm of novelty did see good steady turnouts, with the Royal Cork’s Cobh flotilla and the Royal Munster’s Monkstown group conveniently combining to make a hot racing fleet.

And they knew they were good, for one of their competitive number was Arthur F Sharman Crawford (1862-1945), Commodore of the Royal Munster YC, whose considerable income as Managing Director of the large Beamish & Crawford brewery in Cork city enabled him to lead a double life in sailing. He’d a CHOD for Cork Harbour sailing, and a top-level Fife designed International Metre Class boat – at one stage it was 12 Metre – based in the Solent for extended high summer campaigns, including regular attendance at Cowes Week.

Arthur Sharman Crawford was Commodore of the Royal Munster YCArthur Sharman Crawford was Commodore of the Royal Munster YC from 1898 to 1923, and Admiral of the Royal Cork YC from 1925 to 1935

Yet while Sharman Crawford didn’t stint on personal expenditure, the Munster enthusiasm for Beamish Stout was such that he could also continue and even expand the long-established Crawford reputation for philanthropy in Cork. Apart from founding the Crawford Art School in 1909, he greatly increased the support for technical education, so much so that it is appropriate that the Cork Institute of Technology should now be one of Ireland’s leading sailing colleges, for Arthur Sharman Crawford did much to develop it in its early days.

But in family circles, he’d been regarded as having drawn the short straw. His mother was a Crawford of Cork who had inherited a large holding in the brewery, while his father was a distantly-related Crawford from the north. It was as the younger of two brothers that he was detailed off to go to Cork from his birthplace of Dublin to join the management of the 1792-founded brewery, while his older brother Robert inherited the family estates in the north, which were so extensive that they even had the picturesque village of Crawfordsburn at their heart.

But although Beamish and Crawford had been overtaken by Guinness’s in 1833 as Ireland’s largest brewery, the Cork company was still expanding at a prodigious rate, paying Arthur – who soon rose to become Managing Director - a substantial salary in addition to generous dividends, with significant dividends also going to Robert in the north, where the various Land Acts meant that large property estates were no longer the goldmines they’d been in times past.

The new Belfast Lough One Design Class racing at the Royal Ulster YC Regatta of 1898The new Belfast Lough One Design Class racing at the Royal Ulster YC Regatta of 1898. Photo courtesy RUYC

Both brothers were very much into sailing, with Robert being one of the founder members of the Fife-designed 37ft Belfast Lough One Design Class of 1897, while also being a member of the Royal Ulster YC’s Management Committee which handled Thomas Lipton’s five America’s Cup Challenges from 1899 onwards, while Arthur had been the sixth owner when the 29ft Cork Harbour One Designs – also Fife-designed – had appeared in 1896, and as Royal Munster YC Commodore, his boat Colleen was given sail number 1.

Yet while all this sporting activity at local, national and international level might suggest civilized harmony, the Home Rule movement was gaining strength. With the family home in a big house in Glanmire within easy distance of his Cork Harbour OD moored in the upper harbour, Arthur was so involved with Cork’s commercial, cultural and technical life that he tended to keep his political views to himself. But in the north, Robert was increasingly taking a strongly anti-Home Rule stance.

Yet the dynamics of the relationship between the brothers was changing. While the still very large Crawford estate in the north was experiencing diminishing profits, down in Cork the Beamish & Crawford brewery had been skillfully steered by Arthur to a public flotation in 1901 which turned it into a gift that kept on giving, enabling Arthur to expand his additional sailing interests in the Solent while maintaining his Cork Harbour activities afloat, while Robert now had the muscle to become a significant mover and shaker in the Unionist cause in the north.

Classic CHOD in classic trim. The O’Regan family’s Cygnet Classic CHOD in classic trim. The O’Regan family’s Cygnet going well, with the exceptionally large mainsail roach setting perfectly. Photo: RCYC

Thus as Colonel Sharman Crawford, he came to play a leading role in the formation of the virulently anti-Home Rule Ulster Volunteer Force in 1912, and after the UVF had imported German rifles and other weapons of war on an industrial scale with the steamship Clyde Valley’s gun-running to Larne in 1914, the newly-armed UVF were drilled on the extensive lawns at his stately Crawfordsburn House overlooking Belfast Lough. But the quaint notion that this was partially possible thanks to the steady consumption of Beamish’s stout way down south in Cork city and throughout the depths of rural Munster will have occurred to very few, if at all.

While Robert was parading the paramilitaries on his front lawn beside Belfast Lough early in the summer of 1914, down in the Solent brother Arthur was taking his first sail with his latest Fife creation, the International 8 Metre Ierne, which was the first Metre Class boat on the planet to be given a Bermuda rig. While he was doing this, Erskine Childers with Asgard and Conor O’Brien with Kelpie stopped off in Cowes on their way to a gun-running appointment at the Ruytigen Lightship off the Belgian coast as a response to the Larne events, but neither side seems to have been aware of the others’ presence in port, or if they were, they remained discreetly silent.

Arthur Sharman Crawford sailing his new International 8 Metre Ierne Arthur Sharman Crawford sailing his new International 8 Metre Ierne – the first Bermuda-rigged Metre Rule boat - in July 1914. The outbreak of the Great War led to the cancellation of Cowes Week, and Ierne remained unproven until 1920, when she won the Gold Medal for Norway in the Olympic Games.

In any case, for Arthur Sharman Crawford, all focus was on the approaching Cowes Week, and having Ierne in top tune for it. But with the violent arrival of the Great War, Cowes Week was cancelled, and Ierne was moth-balled for the duration. When it was over, Ireland was in such turmoil that Sharman Crawford accepted an offer for his still state-of-the-art 8 Metre, and it was with mixed feelings that he heard she’d won the Gold Medal for Norway in the Sailing Olympiad of 1920 in Belgium.

Cork Harbour One Designs start from Crosshaven in their Ocean Race of 1947 The CHODS start from Crosshaven in their Ocean Race of 1947 in company with Michael Sullivan’s Marchwood Maid and Denis Doyle’s former 6 Metre Vaara. Photo courtesy RCYC

In Cork Harbour and in Ireland generally, it took a very long time for sailing to recover from the Great War, the War of Independence and the Civil War, yet as some sort of normality emerged, even the economic wars of the 1930s couldn’t dislodge the Cork Harbour One Designs from their key role in the harbour. And after the Royal Munster YC had moved to Crosshaven in 1923, that had gradually became the class’s focal point, though for some, Cobh was the one and only place they should be. So there was special satisfaction in 1947 when the annual “Ocean Race” from Cork Harbour, while starting from Crosshaven, was well won by young Kevin O’Regan from Cobh sailing his family’s Cygnet with all the usual suspects in his very youthful crew.

Cygnet’s winning crew in Kinsale in 1947 are (left to right) Henry Hennessy, Clayton Love Jnr, Kevin O’Regan, Eamonn English, and Pat CagneyCygnet’s winning crew in Kinsale in 1947 are (left to right) Henry Hennessy, Clayton Love Jnr, Kevin O’Regan, Eamonn English, and Pat Cagney. Photo RCYC

Yet even the keenest CHOD sailors weren’t immune to the attractions of newer boats, particularly with the advent of glassfibre construction and Bermudan rig with aluminium masts. So several of the CHODs were give a new lease of life by their conversion to Bermudan-rigged cruisers with a long coachroof, complete with doghouse, giving them good accommodation. But when allied to their proven seaworthiness, this opened open up new possibilities, so much so that some of them simply sailed away to other distant places beyond the seas, and were gone from Cork Harbour.

Cork Harbour One Design converted to a Bermudan-rigged cruiser-racerCork Harbour One Design converted to a Bermudan-rigged cruiser-racer, as seen in 1981. Photo: W M Nixon

But in the 1990s, George Radley Jnr of Cobh, despite being busy campaigning the famous Ron Holland-designed 39ft Imp, got to hear that the converted CHOD Querida, once owned and raced with great success by his father George for many years, was up on the quay in Dunmore East, hidden away behind the harbour office and in a bad way, so he resolved to bring her home and restore her to original racing form.

That started a movement, with Mark Bushe being next with Elsie, and soon enthusiasm was such that genuine CHODs in any condition were at a premium for restoration projects. Around 1999, I mentioned to the late Paul Kingston of Kilmacsimon Boatyard in Kinsale that I’d seen the CHOD Jap on the foreshore in the uppermost reaches of Falmouth Harbour at Truro as recently as August 1994, as the in-laws lived beside the Fal Estuary, and I knew its coastline well. Within a week I’d a phone call from Paul to say that he was in a little pub in Truro almost overlooking Jap, and expected to meet the owner at any moment and swing a deal.

Jap in 1994, out of commission with her rudder missingBefore…… Jap in 1994, out of commission with her rudder missing. Photo: W M Nixon

Jap taking her first sail after the Fairlie Restorations treatment. And after…….Jap taking her first sail after the Fairlie Restorations treatment

 A deal was finalised, but instead of going to Kinsale for a re-build, Jap was snapped up by Clayton Love Jnr – one of Kevin O’Regan’s crew for that famous Crosshaven-Kinsale 1947 win – and went to Duncan Walker of Fairlie Restorations on the Hamble for the total gold-plated Fife restoration which was completed by 2002.

Subsequently, she became a successful feature of the Mediterranean classic circuit, complete with her own customised air-conditioned 40ft luxury container. This prompted that noted yacht designer, the late Doug Peterson (by this time a classic boat enthusiast himself with a 1931 International 6 Metre) to remark favourably on the foresight of William Fife III, who in 1895 had so cleverly designed the CHOD that a century later it would fit comfortably into a standard shipping container…….

Jap’s distinguished connections extend in other directions, as she was originally completed at Carrigaloe in 1898 for someone described in the RCYC History as “Mr A Fowler”, who on closer examination proves to be one Adolphus Fowler, Manager of the Cork & County Club. He had two new boats on the stocks at the time, the other being a 43ft Fife cutter he called Yum. While the name Jap was acceptable as it’s believed to have referred to the then-current popularity of the Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera The Mikado, Yum was just plain silly for an elegant clipper-bowed Fife classic, though maybe it was revenge for Fowler’s own silly name.

Be that as it may, having two yachts on the go at once seems to have strained the resources of Adolphus Fowler, or maybe the Yum build was speculative, but either way, she was very soon sold, she had several names thereafter, but for a long time now she has been known as the Tabarly family’s legendary Pen Duick in Brittany.

As for Jap, after a glittering classics career with Clayton Love Jnr, she was sold into English ownership and became Solent-based to continue her winning ways, often with classic sailmaker and ace helm Andy Cassell of Rastey & Lapthorn doing the sailing. And this provides an intriguing insight into the special 1914 Arthur Sharman Crawford Eight Metre Ierne, as she too was found virtually abandoned, and underwent a total restoration in Yorkshire, with completion in 2008.

Ierne as restored in 2008Ierne as restored in 2008. Arthur Sharman Crawford’s International 8 Metre of 1914 had impressive speed, as shown in winning an Olympic Gold medal in 1920, but she could be rather individualistic on the helm

As sailmaker to both boats, Andy Cassell has helmed Ierne and Jap, and when asked to make a comparison, he says it isn’t really fair. For although Ierne is a flyer and must have seemed even more so at the 1920 Olympics, she has an unpleasant habit of developing lee helm as she puts her lee rail under, which any true sailor sees as a disagreeable trait.

And Jap?

“Lovely” says Andy, “lovely in all conditions. A joy to helm. One of the nicest boats to sail I’ve ever known”.

The restored Jap during her successful period in the Solent.Steady on the helm. The restored Jap during her successful period in the Solent

So the people in Crosshaven who will be able to sail Jap within management parameters being drawn up by a special RCYC Sub-Committee will be in for a treat with a story that seems to have come full circle. But before leaving this piece of wallowing in Lockdown literature, here’s one final little thought.

In the lower floor of the National Yacht Club, you’ll find the attractive Maguire Collection of models, assembled by the late Willie Maguire, a popular former commodore. He was an architect by profession, with a keen nose for sniffing out items of special maritime interest. Thus one of the Half Models on display is a Belfast Lough 25ft OD, the No 1 Class of 1897, when each owner would have been presented with a half model by the builder, John Hilditch of Carrickfergus, and the designer William Fife.

Fife classic. The Half Model of the Belfast Lough Number One Class Hoopoe Fife classic. The Half Model of the Belfast Lough Number One Class Hoopoe – originally built in 1897 for Colonel Robert Sharman Crawford of the Ulster Volunteer Force – in the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. Photo: W M Nixon

It so happens this model is Hoopoe, the Belfast Lough No 1 built for the-then Major Robert Sharman Crawford. He died in 1934, and in 1947 the last of the Crawfords left Crawfordsburn House, with much that was in it going into the outside world through a contents sale. Thus a quality half model came on the open market, and in time Willie Maguire sniffed it out, and made it part of his collection which eventually went to his club. It is indeed intriguing to think that the cherished half model of the racing yacht of Colonel Crawford of the Ulster Volunteer Force should eventually find a permanent home in the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire.

Published in W M Nixon
Page 7 of 83

Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

 

At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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