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The 19th AGM of SCORA, the south coast racing association, was held on Tuesday at the Royal Cork Yacht Club Crossshaven writes Bob Bateman

The well-attended meeting included representatives of all the Cork harbour clubs in addition to Kinsale, Waterford and Schull.

SCORA Commodore Johanna Murphy reported on a successful sailing season particularly with the introduction of the combined Cork harbour club leagues, together with the successful reintroduction of additional offshore races.

Scora prizegivingA great turnout for the SCORA prizegiving at Royal Cork Yacht Club

A discussion on handicaps and the new club class bands concluded that the system appeared to be working well, and it was agreed to reform the south coast handicap review committee.

A slide show of the season's action on the water was provided for members and fourteen of the overall league winners were presented with framed photographs taken during the 2019 events.

See prizegiving photo gallery below by Bob Bateman

Cathal Condon receives prize on behalf of Bad Company Desmond Ivers DeasyCathal Condon receives the prize on behalf of Bad Company (Desmond, Ivers and Deasy) from SCORA Commodore Johanna Murphy

David Marchant FlyoverDavid Marchant of Waterford Harbour Sailing Club, Flyover

Denis Byrne CrackerDenis Byrne, Cracker

Denis Ellis Mazu etcDenis Ellis, Mazu

Denis Murphy NieulargoDenis Murphy, Nieulargo

Finbar ORegan Artful DodgerFinbar O'Regan, Artful Dodger

Ian Heffernan IndulgenceAidan Heffernan, Indulgence

John Murphy EsmeJohn Murphy, Esme

Kieran Dorgan No Half MeasuresKieran Dorgan, No Half Measures

Kieran OBrien Magnet With SCORA Commodore Johanna MurphyKieran O'Brien, Magnet

Mary JonesJelly BabyMary Jones, Jelly Baby

David O'Sullivan who received prize on behalf of Tom RocheDavid O'Sullivan who received the prize on behalf of Tom Roche, Meridian

Published in SCORA
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The West Cork Sailing Festival kicks off this Saturday when SCORA will start an offshore race off Kinsale to Baltimore starting at 8 am. This replaces the traditional overnight race from Crosshaven, which had suffered from declining numbers in the past few years.

The cruiser fleet will be greeted by Baltimore Sailing Club who are hosting the 1720 Sportsboat “Baltimore Cup” series in the harbour on the Bank holiday Saturday and Sunday.

Baltimore Traders Regatta on Monday signals the start of the Calves Week series of races, called after the Islands that lie at the centre of most of the weeks sailing action, with a nod towards that other sailing event which leaves Cowes on the Isle of Wight on Saturday, heading for the Fastnet.

The four days of racing in Schull, sponsored by Frank Whelan’s “Gas Analysis Services” begins at midday on Tuesday, with a nightly presentation of prizes and live music on the main street.

Local regatta races on Saturday in Crookhaven and on Sunday in Schull, round off the extra-long week's activities which now extends to eight days.

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13 yachts took to the start line this morning for SCORA's offshore race from Cork Harbour to Dunmore East writes Bob Bateman.

The start was postponed for one hour by Race Officer Barry Rose who finally got the fleet away off Roches Point at 8 am. 

The brainchild of SCORA Commodore Johanna Murphy, the event is run by Great Island Sailing Club in conjunction with Waterford Harbour Sailing Club.

SCORA dunmore east1Race Officer Barry Rose (left) and his team; Darragh Connolly, Royal Cork,Johanna Murphy, Commodore SCORA and Kieran O’Connell of Royal Cork, Vice Admiral Keelboats

Waterford Harbour Sailing Club was represented on the line along with entries came from Royal Cork Yacht Club, Great Island Sailing Club and Kinsale Yacht Club.

SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1SCORA dunmore east1The SCORA fleet head east in light winds Photo: Bob Bateman

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Cork sailor Noel Coleman always had a dream to do the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race and when the family acquired the heavy displacement Oyster 37 – a yacht which has already done a Round Ireland race – this seemed the ideal time to give it a try writes Bob Bateman.

As a build up for next month' 300-miler, Blue Oyster is on her way to sail in Kinsale Yacht Club’s Fastnet Race this weekend and will then sail in the SCORA race the following weekend from Cork Habour to Dunmore East.

Commodore of SCORA, Johanna Murphy says that the Waterford race has attracted a lot of interest and up to 25 yachts could be on the line. It’s A Great Island Sailing Club organised event and the early morning first gun is 6.55 on June 1st.

Following that race, Blue Oyster will continue northwards to Dublin be on the start line for the D2D at the National Yacht Club on June 12th. 

Blue Oyster is an Oyster 37Blue Oyster is an Oyster 37

Noel’s daughter Karen is cutting short her round the World trip to join her father for the biennial offshore that is expected to attract 40 boats. Afloat's WM Nixon previewed the 2019 edition here.

Other members of the Blue Oyster crew will be daughter Louise and nephew Alan Coleman, John Molloy and Mark Murphy.

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle

Cork Harbour sailors are being offered a different opportunity this season – to turn left rather than right when they leave Roches’ Point at the mouth of the harbour…

This will be a new departure for Cork Harbour boats.

Apart from the annual race to Ballycotton, which was revived in 2017, they have mostly turned westwards to Kinsale and onto West Cork when racing.

Xhale Cork HarbourDerry Good's Xhale is a regular offshore sailor from SCORA having previously competed in Gas Rigs Race Photo: Bob Bateman

The South Coast Offshore Racing Association (SCORA) has included a new Coastal Race to dominate the June Bank Holiday Weekend for Cork Harbour sailors when Great Island Sailing Club will run a race to Dunmore East on the Waterford coastline.

“We are really happy to be running this race,” said South Offshore Racing Association Commodore Johanna Murphy, also Commodore at the Great Island Sailing Club in Cobh. “It’s the first time in many years that SCORA has ventured East for a race and Waterford Harbour Sailing Club will put on a great reception for all boats taking part.”’

The plan is to start the race at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 1, at Roche’s Point.

Waterford Harbour Sailing Club will finish it at Dunmore East.

On the following day the SCORA Plan is for the Cork Harbour fleet to stop in Youghal for lunch to see the new pontoon they have on offer, according to Commodore Murphy.

The SCORA calendar for the season includes the Kinsale Spring Series, which starts this Sunday; Calves Week in Schull and the RCYC Autumn Series. The ‘Offshore League’ includes the Kinsale/Fastnet Race, the race to Dunmore East and the Kinsale/Baltimore ‘feeder’ race to Calves Week.

All White Sail Classes will be included in the SCORA Leagues, as well as the Spinnaker boats.

“SCORA ran a Sailwave Results software training day at the RCYC and Kinsale YC ran an evening about Class handicap bands,” according to the SCORA Commodore. “Also this year SCORA will be providing online registration for all boats wishing to race in any SCORA League. It will be mandatory to complete this form to be eligible for a result in 2019.”

The SCORA Committee, led by Commodore Johanna Murphy includes club representatives: Cian McCarthy of Kinsale YC; Mel Collins RCYC; Michael Murphy Treasurer/Schull Harbour SC; Henry Jeffries Monkstown Bay SC; Rene Wuben, Waterford Harbour SC and Kieran Dorgan Cove SC.

• Listen to the Podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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On Saturday Michael McCann ran a training course on the Sailwave results software in the Royal Cork Yacht Club writes Rear-Admiral Kieran O'Connell. The SCORA Course was attended by representatives of all SCORA clubs and I would like to thank people for taking the time to attend. With all SCORA clubs now using the Sailwave results programme, it was a great opportunity to get a refresher course on using the software to its full potential.

Michael took people through the software for the ground up and over the four hours, he covered all aspects of utilising the software for Cruiser racing. We are hoping to have Jon the designer of the software over at some point this year to do another day on using the software, I will keep you post on this as more details are confirmed.

The Royal Cork Yacht club will be continuing this style of training days across the year in conjunction with the extremely successful skipper evening and they will cover all aspects of racing, with the next evening covering safety equipment requirements while racing, this course will be in the coming week during April, the date and full details to be confirmed shortly. After that, we will be doing a talk on Man/Crew over Board situations.

Man Overboard

The Club is running this MOB/COB information evening in the club Saturday, May 11th at 1930. Attendance is open to all sailors. Our guest speaker is Kenny Rumball and one of his crew.

Kenny and one of his crew ‘John’ carried out a number of club information talks in Dublin last autumn based on their experience in the Round Ireland Race last year. John fell overboard from the J109 during the night off the Blaskets. Kenny was the skipper. They both talk through their preparation before the race and their COB (Crew Over Board) experience. (Kenny runs the INSS sailing school in Dun Laoghaire and is a qualified RYA/ISA instructor).

A big thanks to Michael McCann for his time and help in running the results training day and to the Irish Coast Guard for the use of the Coast Guard station to run the course from while the club is under renovation. We look forward to seeing you all on the water during the year.

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A large attendance of about 40 sailors at the SCORA AGM was swelled by a good contingent from Waterford Harbour Sailing Club who travelled to Crosshaven despite the bad weather writes Bob Bateman.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC) hosted meeting on Tuesday evening heard a productive discussion on class bands for the 2019 cruiser–racer season.

The powwow also heard calls for what some deemed a 'long overdue' race to Dunmore East. The SCORA committee is now looking at dates in the existing schedule and a June date has been proposed.

ECHO system review

The evening's discussion also moved to the revised ECHO Handicapping system already implemented in RCYC and Kinsale Yacht Club (KYC) this past season. The new handicap will be reviewed on a month by month basis in 2019. Details of how the new system operates will be explained over the winter at club sessions and it is hoped other clubs will also participate.

In all, it is hoped to run three offshore races for the coming season as part of SCORA's 2019 programme.

As reported earlier by Afloat.ie, Johnanna Murphy took over as Commodore from Kieran O'Connell. Read more on the first female Commodore's appointment here.

Bateman Trophy

Following the election of officers, the annual prizegiving was held which included the Bateman Trophy, presented in memory of Afloat correspondent, the late Claire Bateman. This year it was won by Kinsale's Alan Mulcahy in Moondance and presented by Claire's son Robin.

Mulcahy won out for his sailing in a variety of South Coast events and for introducing newcomers to the thrill of sailing and racing. Mulcahy made sure to give thanks to all his crew over his many years racing on Moondance, Runaway Bus, White Magic and Sundancer and, as recently as last month, to all those who helped him win The Autumn League at Royal Cork Yacht Club.

SCORA Alan MulcahyRob Bateman (second from left) presents the Claire Bateman trophy to Alan Mulcahy watched by Johanna Murphy, Commodore of SCORA and Michael Murphy SCORA Treasurer 

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Hello and welcome to my weekly Podcast …. Tom MacSweeney here ….

“I intend to promote sailing in general and also to promote coastal offshore racing.”

That was the declaration of Johanna Murphy from the Great Island Sailing Club in Cobh in Cork Harbour when she was elected the first female sailor to become Commodore of the South Coast Offshore Racing Association (SCORA).

“My main aim at SCORA will be to promote sailing as widely as possible. While racing is at the core of SCORA, sailing can’t be serious all the time. That also has to be taken into consideration and we will be doing that.”

The large attendance at the annual general meeting, despite the very bad weather of Tuesday night, showed positive interest in the sport in the South. There was discussion about new events and, inevitably, the current handicaps on boats engaged in racing. It was agreed that an examination of handicaps would be reported back to members. The new structure of the Cork Harbour League was approved by the SCORA meeting – Friday evenings in June, Saturday afternoons in July and September, with club At Home events included and racing for both spinnaker and whitesail boats. This revised approach, as previously reported on Afloat was agreed by the three harbour clubs – MBSC, RCYC and GISC at an earlier meeting.

Listen to the podcast below as Commodore Johanna Murphy outlines to me her plans for leading SCORA.

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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The 2018 South Coast of Ireland Offshore Racing Association (SCORA) AGM will take place in the Royal Cork Yacht Club on Tue December 4th at 7.30pm.

Among the items on the agenda will be a discussion on the future of the Cork harbour combined sailing leagues with inputs from MBSC, GISC and RCYC.

Following on from last years AGM, a full review of the existing South Coast class bands will take place, together with a report on the future of offshore racing and the possible running of a race to Dunmore East in 2019.

Having completed his term of office, outgoing SCORA Commodore Kieran O'Connell will hand over the roll to Johanna Murphy from GISC, who will become the first female to lead the SCORA organisation.

"A special presentation will be made by the Bateman family, in memory of the late Claire"

In addition to the eighteen prizewinners from the six cruiser classes, a special presentation will be made by the Bateman family, in memory of the late Claire, to the competitor of the season who through participation in a variety of South coast events, helped to introduce many newcomers to the thrill of sailing.

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After a few negative years, resulting in some despondency about the future of cruiser racing, the annual meeting of SCORA, the South Coast Offshore Racing Association, had a more positive atmosphere, with a good attendance of skippers, boat owners and club representatives and quite a few practical suggestions about driving the racing scene forward.

SCORA Commodore Kieran O’Connell, who is also Rear Commodore for Keelboats at the Royal Cork YC in Crosshaven, has been talking up the levels of participation in the racing scene, so I was interested to find out if this was the case at the meeting.

In fact, it seemed to be so and was reflected with a wide-ranging debate, from developing Class 4 for the smallest boats, to bring more people into racing, to the length of races, a desire for more racing amongst Cork Harbour sailors outside of the harbour confines, developing more inter-club racing and how to bridge the gap where young sailors are lost to the sport, between dinghy racing and cruisers.

scora winners2017 Scora winners at RCYC Photo Bob Bateman

This practicality was reflected in a debate about the often contentious issue of boat handicaps. There was general agreement that the concentration on handicapping should primarily be at club level, where it could best be used to stimulate more participation locally and strengthen the clubs. Where boats wanted a national handicap to race in other locations, that would have to take account of and dealt with, but the emphasis should be in the clubs.

There was also a desire expressed for longer duration races, because shorter races discouraged participation.

Encouraging young people to move on from dinghies to cruiser racing was debated. “We are not getting enough young people from dinghies into cruiser racing,” was a generally agreed view. There is no obvious solution to this, but it was agreed that to encourage younger sailors into cruisers they had to be given specific roles aboard boats, not just brought onto a boat “to sit on the rail.”

Some things don’t change, but this meeting indicated that there is a lot of positive change and a better future ahead, it seems, for cruiser racing, which SCORA Commodore Kieran O’Connell says is on the increase, with more boats racing in the past season than previously.

Listen to Kieran O’Connell on my weekly Podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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