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Displaying items by tag: Cork Week

When anybody asks how the concept of the Cork 1720 Sportsboat Class first came to see the light of day in Crosshaven in the early 1990s, the response these days tends to be “Which version of the story would you prefer?”. For in all, more than 160 of these Tony Castro-designed 26ft dayboats with bulb keel, retractable bowsprit and mighty gennakers were to be built, and at Cork Week 2000 their fleet mustered more than 60 boats.

Local names like Mansfield and O’Leary took on visitors like Ainslie, Barker and Spithill. It was undoubtedly a highlight of class history. Since then, the 1720s have waxed and waned as a class, but at the moment Class Captain David Love is happy to report that they’re definitely in full-on waxing mode in Ireland, with growing classes at Crosshaven, Dun Laoghaire, Kinsale, Baltimore, Dunmore East, and Howth, such that they’re looking to have 48 boats racing in the Europeans within Volvo Cork Week from 10th to 15th July.

The design may have been around for thirty years, but the 1720s still look bang up-to-date


Failure is an orphan but success has many fathers, and Class Captain Love is the very soul of diplomacy in not apportioning individual credit for the class’s beginnings thirty years ago, and its growing current success. Back in the day when they started racing, I was told that it was basically a group of National 18 sailors on Cork Harbour who wished to re-create the very special spirit of their wonderful centreboard class on a larger canvas, yet with a sit-on rather than hang-out keelboat.

But equally these days, they’ll tell you there was a very significant inspirational input from Half Ton and Quarter Ton sailors who wanted to transpose the best of their sport into a more straightforward value-for-money One-Design boat which carried no hint of a suggestion that racing nights at sea would be on the agenda.

The absolute simplicity of the concept continues to be one of the 1720’s best featuresThe absolute simplicity of the concept continues to be one of the 1720’s best features

And now, with everyone from the Lollipop Lady to the Meter Reader telling us that global recession is on the way if it isn’t here already, the 1720s have the USP of offering incredibly good value. They’ve survived to become inexpensive. There’s virtually no wood in them, they’re of a generation of fibreglass which lasts for ever, and you can still find de-commissioned yet perfectly usable 1720s at the far end of somebody’s uncle’s hayshed if you only know how to ask the right questions.


Admittedly the chance of finding a decent suit of sails with these rural relics is remote. But as we all know, Ireland’s sailmakers are a soft-hearted and incredibly philanthropic group of folk who will respond favourably to requests for substantial discounts when you use the magic password “1720”, with perhaps a Masonic handshake to be sure to be sure.

And finally, there’s the fact that, with a crew of five, they’re notably labour-intensive boats. Thus they provide a purpose in life for young people who might otherwise be listlessly loitering on street corners, their day jobs taken over by electronic instruments and machines. Indeed, it can only be a question of time before Social Security grants are available to anyone who can show that their 1720 provides healthy, mind-stimulating activity for at last ten hours a week for four young (and not-so-young) people who might otherwise be deflected into a wasted life of anti-social inactivity.

The big warm winds of the Caribbean provide ideal 1720 sailing The big warm winds of the Caribbean provide ideal 1720 sailing 

Thus there’s a lot to celebrate in the fact that the 1720s will be providing fantastic sport for at least 240 people during Cork Week, and there’s even more to celebrate in this remarkable class’s survival and regeneration over thirty years. So although every night will be party night, on Tuesday 12th July in Crosshaven it’s going to reach stratospheric heights with the 1720 30th Anniversary party.


For those who don’t know, it’s called the 1720 Class simply because 1720 was the year of foundation of the Water Club of the Harbour of Cork, the direct antecedent of the Royal Cork Yacht Club. Now as it happens, on the 12th July in the other end of Ireland, some people will be celebrating an earlier contest, which took place in 1690. In that, the people from around Cork tended to be on the side which won the Silver Medal. The Silver Medal from the Battle of the Boyne is not something to be sniffed at. But nevertheless the 30th Anniversary of the Cork 1720 on 12th July 2022 at Crosshaven will be much more fun.

The 1720s are still as much fun to sail now as they were thirty years ago.The 1720s are still as much fun to sail now as they were thirty years ago

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The announcement of the IRC class bands gives a first look at the various classes for next month's Volvo Cork Week Regatta. 

Class Zero will now benefit from the addition of the new Cape 31 class, which will have six boats and will also include the inaugural Cape 31 Irish National Championships. It is the first proper meeting of the Irish boats with Ant O'Leary's Antix also joining the Irish fleet fresh from Hamble.

Anthony O'Leary's redhulled Cape 31 Antix competing at the RORC IRC Nationals on the Solent Photo: Paul WyethAnthony O'Leary's red hulled Cape 31 Antix competing at the RORC IRC Nationals on the Solent

At the other end of the scale, the well-travelled and successful Pata Negra is the largest boat in the Class which will be joined by the latest WOW, an Extreme 37, and the well-rated Ker 39 La Response.

Andrew McIrvine's Ker 39 La Réponse Photo: Rick TomlinsonAndrew McIrvine's Ker 39 La Réponse Photo: Rick Tomlinson

The J121 Darkwood competing in the Round Ireland race is owned and campaigned by Dublin’s Mike O’Donnell who is UK based Photo: AfloatThe J121 Darkwood competing in the Round Ireland race is owned and campaigned by Dublin's Mike O'Donnell, who is UK-based Photo: Afloat

In Class 1, the highest rating boat Darkwood owned and campaigned by Dublin's Mike O'Donnell has had a great season to date and will be much fancied assuming they get over the gruelling Round Ireland Race.

the First 50 Checkmate XXThe First 50 Checkmate XX from Howth Photo: Afloat

New to the fleet is the First 50 Checkmate XX who were struck with COVID on the eve of the Round Ireland and could be worth watching. Zero II, the former Mariners Cove, is still highly competitive, whilst local boat Alpaca will also be worth watching.

Class 2 is a more mixed affair with a wide range of boats and performances. Boats fancied include the half tonners, particularly the highly successful Swuzzlebubble, which has been brought to Cork by the Dwyer family whilst Jeneral Lee had good form recently. The J109s are always serious contenders, and this year's runner-up in the Round Ireland, the Evans brother's J/99 Snapshot is clearly also on form.

cSwuzzlebubble, which has been brought to Cork by the Dwyer family Photo: Afloat

Class 3 should be a battle of the Quarter Tonners, but hopefully, the Under 25 teams in the J24s should hopefully give them a run for their money. If the breeze is up, the 2019 overall ICRA Champion, Dux, could shine again.

The 2019 overall ICRA Champion, Dux, an X332 from HowthThe 2019 overall ICRA Champion, Dux, an X332 from Howth Photo: Afloat

The Coastal Fleet is a mixed fleet with a strong Cork entry who may have the upper hand when it comes to local tides and wins. Boats to watch in this Class include the latest J122, local boat Jellybaby owned by the Jones Family, whilst visitors Searcher and Prima Forte may upset the locals here. Several other boats have serious potential, and wind strength will have a lot of influence on this fleet.

Pete Smyth's Sunfast 3600 Searcher was a class winner of the National Yacht Club RegattaPete Smyth's Sunfast 3600 Searcher was a class winner of the National Yacht Club Regatta Photo: Afloat

The J122 Jellybaby owned by the Jones Family of Cork Harbour Photo: AfloatThe J122 Jellybaby is owned by the Jones Family of Cork Harbour Photo: Afloat

The Non-Spinnaker Class varies in size from the GK29 Phaeton from RCYC to another local boat, the J122 Damacle. With 19 boats so far entered, this will be a most interesting class to track results during the week.

ICRA trophies will be awarded to each of these Classes, including Irish Sailing medals and potential places at the annual Irish Sailing All Ireland Sailing Championships.

The fleets will be racing to Cork in a race from Falmouth in the UK and the brand new K2Q Dun Laoghaire to Cork Harbour race

Published in Cork Week
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Musto’s range of Volvo Cork Week 2022 branded marine clothing is now available for pre-order from CH Marine.

The exclusive collection has an expected release date of this coming Thursday 30 June — in plenty of time for the Cork Harbour regatta from 11-15 July — and will be available on the site for the duration of the event.

These T-shirts, polos, jackets, caps and gilets for men and women are only available from CH Marine, so be sure not to miss out!

Published in CH Marine Chandlery
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The class bands and fleets are now finalised for the ICRA Nationals which take place as part of Volvo Cork Week this year.

With the fleet split across Classes 0,1,2,3 along with Non Spinnaker and Coastal, ICRA trophies and more will be up for grabs for the winners.

The Nationals, like the Round Ireland, are a Category 1 ICRA event and therefore carry a double weighting towards the ICRA Boat Of The Year gong.

The full lists of entries can be found on the Cork Week website, and the class bands are as follows:

  • IRC 0 - 1.126 & above
  • IRC 1 - 1.025 to 1.125
  • IRC 2 - 0.935 to 1.024
  • IRC 3 - less than 0.935
  • Coastal - 0.950 & above
  • Non Spinnaker 1 - 0.950 & above
  • Non Spinnaker 2 - less than 0.949
  • Beaufort Cup - All eligible yachts
  • Classic Inshore - All eligible yachts
  • Classics/Go To Cork - All eligible yachts

As previously reported on, a number of feeder races will lead into this year’s ICRA Nationals, including the Falmouth to Cork Race from 7 July in which the Prince of Wales 300th Anniversary Trophy will be contested for the first time.

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Several feeder races are now in place for the ICRA National Championships which form part of July's Volvo Cork Week 2022.

The entry list for the championships continues to build with over 50 boats registered to compete in the IRC class and a further 14 boats registered for the coastal class.

Promising some top-class competitive racing, the idea behind the feeder races is to encourage boats from further afield to compete in the July 11-15th Cork Harbour-based championships.

Michael O'Donnell's UK based J/121 Darkwood from the RORC is entered for the ICRA Nationals in Cork Harbour Photo: Paul WyethMichael O'Donnell's UK based J/121 Darkwood from the RORC is entered for the ICRA Nationals in Cork Harbour

Kingstown to Queenstown Race

Organised in conjunction with ISORA, The 'Kingstown to Queenstown' (which formerly ran as the Fastnet 450 in 2020 during COVID) Race kicks off from Dun Laoghaire and consists of a  260-mile race, via the Fastnet Rock, ending in Cobh in Cork Harbour.

Falmouth to Cork Race

As Afloat reported earlier, The 180-mile Falmouth to Cork Race, most recently ran in the 1990s, sets off from Royal Falmouth Yacht Club on July 7th, and it is hoped that this race will encourage UK participants for Cork Week and the ICRA National Championships to attend.

The winner of the race will be the inaugural recipient of the Prince of Wales’s 300th Anniversary Trophy”. His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, is the Royal Patron of the Royal Falmouth Yacht Club.

"Hopefully, this weekend’s WAVE Regatta in Howth will enthuse more Dublin boats to travel to what is intended to be a fantastic regatta with the old Cork Week spirit!," ICRA Commodore Dave Cullen told Afloat

A full entry list for Cork Week and the ICRA National Championships is here with the entry form here

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The Mayor of County Cork and Minister Simon Coveney launched the Royal Cork Yacht Club’s world-renowned Volvo Cork Week regatta that takes place this July.

Title Sponsors Volvo Car Ireland and key partners are back on board for the highly anticipated week-long sailing event series in and around Cork Harbour.

Highlights include World Class Racing, a Volvo Cork Week Family Fun, and a Volvo Cork Week Ladies Day with Volvo Brand Ambassador Amy Huberman and Brendan Courtney in aid of the Crosshaven RNLI.

Volvo Cork Week has been officially launched by Simon Coveney T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs & Minister for Defence, and the Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Gillian Coughlan. The legendary world-renowned regatta returns to the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven from 11th-15th July 2022.

At the launch in the title sponsor Johnson & Perrott’s Volvo Showroom in Bishopstown, Cork, Volvo Cork Week co-chairs Annamarie Fegan and Ross Deasy met with key event partners and revealed details of the much-anticipated sailing festival’s return.

Among those in attendance were David Thomas, Managing Director of Volvo Car Ireland, Mark Whitaker, Chief Executive of Johnson and Perrott Motor Group and Conor Mowlds, Chief Commercial Officer of Port of Cork Company Ltd, which has been an event partner for over 30 years.

Volvo Cork Week will also incorporate four championship events - the 1720 European Championships which will include over 40 1720 boats that were designed in Cork, the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) National Championships, the Dragons South Coast Championships, and the SB20 Nationals– in addition to the renowned Beaufort Cup for international uniformed service personnel, which encompasses a race around the Fastnet Rock and back to Cork.

Racing within the harbour will take place from Monday 11th to Friday 15th July and recommended viewing points include Camden and the Church Bay in Crosshaven, the new Haulbowline Island Amenity Park, Ringaskddy as well as the promenade in Cobh.

A new addition for Volvo Cork Week 2022 is a dedicated Classic Yacht Regatta, which will be hosted by the club for the very first time this year. Classic yachts from around the world will sail to Cork to partake in three days of racing in and outside Cork Harbour, including the famous 37-foot classic yacht Persephone, the 1919 classic Erin, and the 1957 luxury yacht Shamrock, which will provide a fantastic viewing spectacle for shoreline onlookers. Over 20 classic French boats will also arrive as part of the Bastille Day celebrations.

In addition to top quality racing, the event has become just as known for its off-the-water activities over the years. This year, Volvo Cork Week will kick off with a fun-filled Family Day on Sunday, July 10th from 12-5pm. There will be fun and adventure for families across whole village of Crosshaven from the Royal Cork Yacht Club to Camden Fort Meagher and everywhere in between, including the famous Pipers Fun Fair and boat trips from Hugh Coveney Pier on the Cailin Or. The emphasis this year is on sustainability with coastal walks, competitions, games as well as a new coastal market in the Marquee at the Yacht Club. A children’s workshop with Marine Scientist and Volvo Car Ireland Brand Ambassador Finn van der Aar will also take place at the Royal Cork on the day.

There will also be a Volvo Cork Week Ladies’ Day charity lunch in aid of the Crosshaven RNLI on Wednesday, July 13th, with Volvo brand ambassadors Amy Huberman and Brendan Courtney, which is a total sell out.

The popular biennial sailing regatta, which has been in existence since 1978, holds a special significance this year as the Royal Cork will take the opportunity to mark its postponed tricentenary celebrations with international visitors, two years on. Hundreds of boats and thousands of sailors and global visitors, who were planning to attend in 2020, have already rescheduled their plans to join the oldest yacht club in world in their celebrations this year, which will impact tourism in the Cork region and along the Wild Atlantic Way over the week.

There will also be an opportunity to see Ireland's young sailing Olympic hopefuls in action as four sailors from Team Ireland will participate in the races, including the Royal Cork’s very own Séafra Guilfoyle and Johnny Durcan.

The biennial regatta draws spectators from far and near and the atmosphere in Crosshaven, home of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, is always second to none both during and ahead of the biennial Volvo Cork Week. The harbour villages of Cork are also buzzing with activity and offer the perfect vantage points to see the stunning spectacles on the water.

Minister Simon Coveney T.D., a keen Volvo Cork Week competitor himself, who plans to take part in the Beaufort Cup, said, “It is a pleasure to officially launch Volvo Cork Week, which will make a welcome return this summer. Events like this that attract visitors from around the world are very important for Ireland, as they are an opportunity to showcase our beautiful marine resource, particularly here in Cork Harbour, the second biggest natural harbour in the world. The Royal Cork Yacht Club is the oldest sailing club in the world - it all began here –and is a huge part of Cork harbour’s history that we are all very proud of.”

Co-Chair of Volvo Cork Week Annamarie Fegan, the first female vice admiral in the club's 302-year history, said, “It is my great honour to welcome sailors from around the world back to the stunning Cork Harbour and the most historic yacht club in the world, this summer, after a 4-year absence. It’s going to be an exceptional week of sailing, we have a fantastic family day planned for everyone in Cork to enjoy, and I’m delighted that four of our own Irish Olympic hopefuls will be participating. We have a packed schedule on and off the water”.

David Thomas, MD of Volvo Car Ireland, said, “We are delighted to continue our title sponsorship of Volvo Cork Week, an event that matches our brand’s commitment to being sustainable, safe and personal. The Volvo brand is synonymous with sailing across the world and we believe in the importance of supporting, and partnering, with sports and communities where our customers live, work, and play.”

Volvo Car Ireland is title sponsor of Volvo Cork Week in partnership with Johnson & Perrott, with official partners Cork County Council, Port of Cork, Musto, Dubarry, Heineken, Barry & Fitzwilliam, Clean Coasts, and MaREI.

Published in Cork Week
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With less than nine weeks to go, the countdown is on to the ICRA National Championships 2022 which forms part of Volvo Cork Week from July 11th -15th.

Hosted by the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the oldest yacht club in the world, the Irish cruiser-racer championships form part of its tricentennial celebrations, ICRA Commodore Dave Cullen says.

ICRA Commodore Dave CullenICRA Commodore Dave Cullen

Of the more modern IRC boats already entered, some high profile visitors include Hamble based Darkwood, the J121 owned by Dublin Mike O’Donnell who is London based and has been having great success in RORC racing over the last two years and is expected to be racing Round Ireland in June.

The Ker 40, Signal 8 skippered by Jamie McWilliamThe Ker 40, Signal 8 skippered by Jamie McWilliam Photo: Afloat

Cullen told Afloat that the UK based La Response, the Ker 39 will revisit Irish shores in July and is joined by the more recent Ker 40, Signal 8 owned by Jamie McWilliam, now based in Hong Kong, who promises an Irish crew reunion for this event.

Zero II, the Mills 39 also has a Cork Harbour heritage having been formerly owned by David Dwyer who campaigned her with great success as Mariners Cove and now as Zero II, still enjoys success in the Solent is also entered.

The 1720 fleet will be a star of the show at Cork Week in JulyThe 1720 fleet will be a star of the show at Cork Week in July Photo: Bob Bateman

With 36 boats entered so far, the 1720 fleet will be a homegrown success for the club that first launched the one design in 1994.

The brand new Cape 31 entries are starting to grow with an increasing interest from the Solent based class, so hopefully, they will provide the spectacle they regularly do off Cowes. As regular readers know the first Irish Cape 31s arrived in Ireland this month

Cork Week will be a launchpad for the brand new Irish Cape 31 fleetCork Week will be a launchpad for the brand new Irish Cape 31 fleet

With a current entry of 110 boats across all fleets, which is ahead of the same time two years ago, ICRA and Cork Week are shaping up to be a highlight of the 2022 Irish sailing season, according to Cullen. 

Entries can be made at the following link here

More information including info on accommodation, travel and previous results can be found on the event main website here 

Published in ICRA
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We hear so much about the “New Normal” in everyday life ashore that it’s becoming difficult to remember what the Old Normal was like, as employers resort to bribery (“Special Bonuses” if you insist) to entice WFH employees back into the office. Equally in sailing, while there were always hyper-keen types who made sure that all compliance was in place to enable racing to be possible within the pandemic limits - with Dublin Bay SC setting the pace with weekly turnouts of 142 boats in times of lockdown lifting - there were those who felt that a restrained involvement was the only way to go.

So after two to three years of control at varying levels, it’s welcome to notice a growing and familiar buzz in the new season’s sailing scene as we finally approach May. And equally, it was reassuring to note that God is clearly in his heaven and results were as they should be in last weekend’s two major cruiser-racer happenings on the east and south coasts, with Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI (RIYC) winning the brisk opening race from Dublin Bay of the Golden Jubilee season of the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association, while in Kinsale Denis & Annamarie Murphy’s Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo likewise did the business in robust breezes and offshore conditions in Classes Zero and 1 in the Axiom Private Spring Series, which concludes today.

Both Nieulargo and Rockabill VI are quite hefty boats which enjoy a breeze, which means that in somewhere like Long Island Sound they’d be regarded as distinctly under-canvassed. But in Ireland, they’re just about spot-on for most of the time, even if the idea that Ireland always provides good sailing breezes is a rose-tinted fantasy.

The Vice Admiral Royal Cork YC shows the way off Kinsale. The Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo (RCYC Vice Admiral Annamarie Fegan & Denis Murphy) on the way to success at Kinsale in the Axiom Private Spring Series. Photo: Robert BatemanThe Vice Admiral Royal Cork YC shows the way off Kinsale. The Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo (RCYC Vice Admiral Annamarie Fegan & Denis Murphy) on the way to success at Kinsale in the Axiom Private Spring Series. Photo: Robert Bateman

Be that as it may, another example of a return to normality of sorts was in evidence with the 1898-vintage Howth 17s starting their 122nd season on Tuesday with current champion, the 1907-vintage Deilginis (Massey, Toomey & Kenny) still on the pace with 2022’s first win.


Those with the ability for instant calculations might wonder how we come up with the figure of 122 seasons, but some racing seasons were lost during the Great War of 1914-1918, and for years the Howth 17s’ Keeper of the Records was TCD engineer-mathematician Gerald FitzGibbon, who typically insisted that the class’s 75th Anniversary be celebrated in 1972. This was even though they weren’t 75 years old until 1973, for in Gerald’s precise class recording terms, the season of 1898 was Year 1, and thus last night’s Howth 17 Annual Dinner, hosted in HYC by Class Captain David O’Shea and the first to be held for a couple of years, was also the Golden Jubilee of the 75th Anniversary.

It may seem pernickety, but every venerable local one design class needs its Gerald FtzGibbon. For among other things, such folk keep the history in proper order, and as things settle down and it becomes clear that to maintain cross-class enthusiasm, a parallel set of results based on performance handicaps is required, when the FitzGibbons of this world become indispensable for its successful implementation.

For those who would argue that handicaps are against the spirit of OD racing, I’d reiterate that it’s a parallel system, not a scratch-racing replacement, which is used. And as for it being un-Irish, I’d suggest you reflect on where local golf would be without it, and remind you that the very idea of golf handicaps was first floated globally in 1897 by George Combe, Honorary Secretary of the Golfing Union of Ireland.

Thus by Gerald’s fastidious standards, the Shannon One Designs should actually be celebrating their 101st Anniversary this year, but as it happens Centenaries and Anniversaries are two different things, and when the Howth 17s’ Centenary came up in April 1998, a flotilla of the class was in Carrickfergus to celebrate. The first five boats to the design (there are now 20) were built by Hilditch of Carrickfergus, who four years earlier had built what is now Hal Sisk’s award-winning 36ft G L Watson cutter Peggy Bawn


There was an excess of history going on up north at the time of the Seventeens’ return to Carrickfergus, as the Good Friday Agreement was being signed on the same day in Belfast. So while everyone was watching that, the Seventeens - having visited various places around Belfast Lough – cheekily took advantage of a strong and very cold nor’easter to sail overnight along the 90 miles to Howth, as one does.

Ian Malcolm’s 1898-built Howth 17 Aura off Carrickfergus Castle, celebrating her Centenary at her birthplace in April 1998. Photo: Damian CroninIan Malcolm’s 1898-built Howth 17 Aura off Carrickfergus Castle, celebrating her Centenary at her birthplace in April 1998. Photo: Damian Cronin

Some of the 22 Dublin Bay Water Wags which mustered for their first race of the 2022 season on Wednesday. Photo Wag AssociationSome of the 22 Dublin Bay Water Wags which mustered for their first race of the 2022 season on Wednesday. Photo Wag Association

Ian & Judith Malcolm’s 1915-vintage Water Wag Barbara winning the first race of the 2022 seasonIan & Judith Malcolm’s 1915-vintage Water Wag Barbara winning the first race of the 2022 season

A fondness for classic boats and yachts can become multiply-addictive, for one of those boats making the scene back in Carrickfergus in 1998 was Ian Malcolm’s Aura. While he may have been bested in Tuesday’s race at Howth by Deilginis, on Wednesday evening this week he and Judith were across Dublin Bay racing their 1915-vintage Water Wag Barbara in Dun Laoghaire in the 22-strong turnout (a record for the Wags’ first race of the season), and they duly won, with second place going to Guy Kilroy with Swift. He’s another classics multiple-enthusiast, as he also owns the 26ft 1896 Herbert Boyd jackyard topsail gaff cutter Marguerite, restored by Larry Archer.


In fact, it rather looks as though cutting the mustard with an immaculate Water Wag of whatever vintage (the current design goes back to 1900) is increasingly expected for stars from other classes, for the word is that tomorrow (Sunday), former Helmsmans Champion, Laser ace and RSAero winner Sean Craig is going to be arriving in Dun Laoghaire with his recently-acquired Water Wag.

Laser Masters Champion and former Helmsman’s Champion Sean Craig is the latest star helm to join the Water Wag classLaser Masters Champion and former Helmsman’s Champion Sean Craig is the latest star helm to join the Water Wag class

What with folk like the Craigs involved with the Wags, and the Hal Sisk/Fionan de Barra restoration of the Dublin Bay 21s moving steadily along, the classics scene in Dun Laoghaire is looking much rosier. So who knows, it may yet be the case that in the fullness of time the historic Dublin Bay 24s may find their way back from their various projects on both sides of the Atlantic involving Boat Building Schools, but at present the only one in full sailing trim in Dun Laoghaire is Periwinkle (David Espey & Chris Craig).

At moments of optimism all things seem possible, but even in sunny places they’re finding a challenge in restoring normal rhythm. Thus in the Caribbean, there has been no Antigua Week for three years, but this morning they’re having a re-launch, starting today with the Round Antigua race. In the big winds of this time of year, it can be quite a challenge, so to make it more user-friendly there’s an alternative race partially round Antigua.


But quite how they’ll organize that remains to be seen, for a race or voyage round anywhere inevitably reaches a Point of No Return – for instance, if you’ve sailed from Dublin and you pass the decidedly obtuse Slyne Head in Connemara, you’re almost inevitably going to sail round Ireland whether you meant to or not.

Chris Power Smith’s J/122 Aurelia (RStGYC) has been entered for Kinsale YV’s new Inishtearaght race on May 20th. Photo: O’BrienChris Power Smith’s J/122 Aurelia (RStGYC) has been entered for Kinsale YV’s new Inishtearaght race

Whatever, the feeling is that if you can somehow temporarily compartmentalise the current events in Eastern Europe, then the prospects for the 2022 Irish sailing season are looking good. The news that Chris Power Smith’s J/122 Aurelia (RStGYC) has signed up for Kinsale YC’s new Inishtearaght Race on May 20th is adding spice to an already intriguing challenge, as for the dedicated offshore types, the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race from Wicklow a month later has now broken comfortably through the 40 entry mark with the latest batch led by RORC Commodore James Neville with his HH42 INO XXX. For regatta racing both inshore and offshore there’s the Wave at Howth at the beginning of June and Bangor Town Regatta at the end of the Month, and then in July Volvo Cork Week is spreading its wings with the addition of a Classics Division.

GP14s at Sligo in times past – Curly Morris chasing Ger Owens. The GP 14s are in Sligo this weekend as the countdown to their 2022 Worlds in Skerries in Augst gets under wayGP14s at Sligo in times past – Curly Morris chasing Ger Owens. The GP 14s are in Sligo this weekend as the countdown to their 2022 Worlds in Skerries in Augst gets under way

There are at least three World Championships, with the countdown towards the GP 14 Worlds in Skerries (from 14th to 19th August) getting under way today with the season’s first Open Meeting at Sligo, and then in a week’s time at Dromineer on Lough Derg, the Fireball 2022 Worlds there on 20th to 26th August are being anticipated on May 6-7th with an intensive training weekend by Thomas Chaix for the growing Irish class.


Meanwhile in London, the Ilen from Limerick berthed at St Katharine Dock yesterday, having overnighted on Thursday at a handy pier in Gravesend in a place which, despite the modern installations across the river, had something of the flavour of the scene-setting in a Conrad novel.

It could be the setting for the start of a Conrad novel – Ilen finds a handy overnight berth in the River Thames on Thursday nightIt could be the setting for the start of a Conrad novel – Ilen finds a handy overnight berth in the River Thames on Thursday night

Then yesterday (Friday) it was a case of follow the money, as inevitably her long bowsprit - with sails set – found itself pointing at the finance machine which is Canary Wharf as the flood tide swept her up the Thames. And for those who have been wondering on’s Facebook page about how Ien could be described as “a Limerick ketch” despite being built and then restored in West Cork, having spent her working life in the Falklands, the explanation is that by “Limerick” we incorporate the entire Shannon Estuary, Ilen was designed by Conor O’Brien of County Limerick in a cottage on Foynes Island (as had her small predecessor-sister Saoirse), and she is of course owned and run by the Gary Mac Mahon-directed Ilen Marine School of Limerick, all partially in celebration of the comparable sailing traders of the Shannon Estuary, which used to depart from Limerick city with each ebb tide, laden with goods for all the small ports on both sides of the estuary as far west as Ballylongford and Kilbaha.

A long way from Ballylongford and Kilbaha……Ilen’s long bowsprit headed for the money-towers of Canary Wharf yesterday (Friday).A long way from Ballylongford and Kilbaha……Ilen’s long bowsprit headed for the money-towers of Canary Wharf yesterday (Friday).

Outward voyage completed - Ilen at Tower bridge yesterday (Friday evening)Outward voyage completed - Ilen at Tower bridge yesterday (Friday evening)

 Job done - Ilen below Tower Bridge in St Katharine Dock Waiting Berth Job done - Ilen below Tower Bridge in St Katharine Dock Waiting Berth

Published in W M Nixon
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Preparations for Volvo Cork Week continue apace for the July regatta in Cork Harbour.

Royal Cork organisers say teams are coming from all over the world racing in celebration of the club's 300th birthday.

To this end, RCYC has just announced its social calendar at Crosshaven for the July 11-15 event.

Cork Week Social Calendar

Saturday 8th July: Cork300 Gala Dinner, tickets on sale in June.

Sunday 09th July: Family Fun Day 12:00 – 17:00 followed by Opening Ceremony at 18:00.

Monday 11th July: Welcome party, music & prizegiving from 17:00. White Claw & Island’s Edge reception.

Tuesday 12th July: Music & prizegiving from 17:00. Mount Gay reception. 1720 & Cape31 dinner. Marquee band.

Wednesday 13th July (Ladies Day): Ladies' lunch from 12:00 (sold out). Music & prizegiving from 17:00. Jagermeister reception. Marquee band from 19:00, DJ from 21:30.

Thursday 14th July (Bastille Day): Music & prizegiving from 17:00. Heineken reception. Marquee band from 21:30, DJ from midnight till late.

Friday 15th July: Music, prizegiving & closing ceremony from 17:00. White Claw & Island’s Edge reception. Marquee band from 21:30, DJ from midnight till late.

Published in Cork Week
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The Cork Week entry list for July's regatta stands at over 110 boats with 17 weeks still to go before the first gun. 

The biggest class so far is the 33-boat 1720s that have their roots in Crosshaven. Royal Cork organisers say entries for this sportsboat division show 'no sign of slowing'.

There are 30 IRC boats already entered and ten boats have also entered the coastal offshore discipline.

As Afloat reported earlier, the recently announced Classic Boat division has 25 boats with a promise of 20 alone coming from France.

RCYC say "we are now seeing the U25 entries come in across the IRC and 1720 classes".

"The IRC entries are building throughout the classes and no doubt the growing Quarter Tonner movement in the Royal Cork will draw in top-class racing for smaller boats too", Royal Cork state.

In what will be one of the first showings of the new class in Ireland, three Cape 31s are also listed in the one-design entry; RCYC's own Antix together with Blast from the Royal Irish and Valkyrie from Howth.

The ICRA Boat of the Year, Nieulargo, is entered in the Beaufort Cup Photo: Bob BatemanThe ICRA Boat of the Year, Nieulargo, is entered in the Beaufort Cup Photo: Bob Bateman

Cork yachts are early entries into the Beaufort Cup, the regatta within Cork Week designed for emergency services. The ICRA Boat of the Year Nieulargo is entered along with the Royal Navy's Jolly Jak Tar and Kinsale's Meridian.

Download the latest entry list (to March 13) below

Published in Cork Week
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Page 1 of 17

Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.


The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

©Afloat 2020

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