2020 was to be a year of special events in Cork Harbour. COVID 19 brought those plans to a crashing halt. The highest-profile hit was Cork Week and the events celebrating Cork 300, many of which are cancelled or in doubt at present. But tucked away in another part of the harbour lies a special club that had its very own anniversary this year.
Monkstown Bay Sailing Club came into being on Sunday, the 7th of June 1970. The six-strong committee of Mr Robert Cuppage, Mr Jack O’Driscoll, Mr Barry O’Connell, Mr Will O’Brien and Mr Dick Woodley was ably led by Mr Norcott Roberts.
Racing initially took place in Enterprises and other small dinghies on a handicap basis. The races were held in the evenings. The minimum subscription was 10/- which made you a founding member.
The village of Monkstown has always featured a strong sense of community and no place exemplifies this more than Monkstown Bay Sailing Club. Many families of founding members are still actively involved in the running of the club and as the club has grown in stature a full programme is conducted every year with no one left out. Class 1 and 2 dinghies still race of an evening and an active cruiser fleet races also.
One of the first events organised by the club was an IYA sailing course. 40 aspiring young sailors attended, and the course was run by Mr Neville Eames.
To this day the courses have run introducing countless sailors to the pleasures and delights of sailing on Cork Harbour. In another consequence of the current pandemic, for the first time, in living memory, the sailing course has been cancelled. The sight of boats being rigged on a sunny morning by enthusiastic sailors will be sorely missed on the daily commute to work.
By way of compensation for the loss of the celebratory weekend, Monkstown Bay Sailing Club has commemorated their anniversary with a series of posts and commentary on their Facebook page and a series of WhatsApp messages to those members who are signed up to the various club groups.
In one of the initial posts, the twenty-seventh Commodore, Mr Ciarán Mc Sweeney greeted the membership with a wonderful letter commemorating the club’s anniversary and went on to announce the re-commencement of racing within guidelines in July for class 1 and a slightly restricted version for class 2.
It is also intended to run some training for level 3 and 4 junior sailors to complete their certificates.
Looking further ahead the club will exhibit items of historical interest in the Passage West Maritime Museum later in the year when it reopens. It is also noted that the anniversary celebrations have merely been postponed and an opportunity to celebrate will be taken later in the year as circumstances permit.