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Double Vision? Cork Harbour's Late Summer Brings Twin Versions of Classic Yachts

21st September 2020
Bob Bateman's photos capture two little classics with a shared spirit in his images of Pinkeen and Sunflower on Cork Harbour Bob Bateman's photos capture two little classics with a shared spirit in his images of Pinkeen and Sunflower on Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

Those who have been rewarded for their careful adherence to social distancing and crew-pod rules by getting some sailing in the Indian summer which has been at its very best on Cork Harbour can be forgiven for wondering if, despite all their precautions, they've been afflicted by a mild bout of double vision.

For if you've been sailing down off Crosshaven, now and again you'll see this pretty little transom-sterned dark blue sloop with a nice crisp suit of new sails, out happily slicing her way with very little fuss across the blue water, her general appearance exuding quality construction, and her lone helmsman very deservedly the monarch of all he surveys.

 "Very deservedly the monarch of all he surveys".  Photo: Bob Bateman"Very deservedly the monarch of all he surveys". Photo: Bob Bateman

Yet if you're sailing further up the harbour off Monkstown on a somewhat similar day – for they seem to have had them in profusion – you'll have seen what looks to the casual observer to be the same boat, yet how does she seem to have two totally different home berths?

The up-harbour boat we featured here on August 14th, and she is, of course, Pat Murphy's Kinsale-built (in 1952) Colleen 23 class Pinkeen, beautifully brought up to condition by a combined effort by Pat and Jim Walsh of Walsh Boat Works in Nohoval.

Happy man – Pat Murphy at the helm of Pinkeen off Cobh.  Photo: Bob BatemanHappy man – Pat Murphy at the helm of Pinkeen off Cobh. Photo: Bob Bateman

But the other boat – whose differences any dedicated aficionado can spot immediately – is a sort of nautical trompe l'oeil, as she's a complete re-working of a well-used but still sound fibreglass hull through the special genius of Bill Trafford of Alchemy Marine in Doneraile in North Cork order to create something else altogether.

Like many, Crosshaven sailor Philip Brownlow has the fondest memories of the three Alan Buchanan-designed Colleens which used to be based in Kinsale, where they'd been inaugurated by Nolly Stokes and John Thuillier. But while he wanted the spirit of the Colleens, he didn't want the demands of the continuous maintenance of an all-wooden boat, so he set Bill the challenge of re-purposing some other class's fibreglass hull to capture the Colleen essence, and Bill reckoned he could make the hull of a Kim Holman-designed Elizabethan 29 do the job, and this was how it was done. Nobody involved in the project makes claims that this is a Colleen 23. But they rightly believe that she captures the bright spirit of the Colleen 23, so maybe we should simply call her the Colleen 27.

In distant Doneraile, the Colleen spirit is created with a re-purposed Elizabethan 29.  Photo: Bill TraffordIn distant Doneraile, the Colleen spirit is created with a re-purposed Elizabethan 29. Photo: Bill Trafford

If you see Pat Murphy's Pinkeen and Philip Brownlow's Sunflower side-by-side, it's easy to spot the differences – not least because of the size gap – yet equally, the shared spirit shines through.

But if you happen to see them at two different times in different places in the harbour on the same day, confusion is understandable. As one occasional sailor put it: "The only way I know which is which is because one helmsman wears a Jack Charlton cap, and the other doesn't."

Published in Cork Harbour
WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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Cork Harbour Information

It’s one of the largest natural harbours in the world – and those living near Cork Harbour insist that it’s also one of the most interesting.

This was the last port of call for the most famous liner in history, the Titanic, but it has been transformed into a centre for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry.

The harbour has been a working port and a strategic defensive hub for centuries, and it has been one of Ireland's major employment hubs since the early 1900s. Traditional heavy industries have waned since the late 20th century, with the likes of the closure of Irish Steel in Haulbowline and shipbuilding at Verolme. It still has major and strategic significance in energy generation, shipping and refining.

Giraffe wander along its shores, from which tens of thousands of men and women left Ireland, most of them never to return. The harbour is home to the oldest yacht club in the world, and to the Irish Navy. 

This deep waterway has also become a vital cog in the Irish economy.

‘Afloat.ie's Cork Harbour page’ is not a history page, nor is it a news focus. It’s simply an exploration of this famous waterway, its colour and its characters.

Cork Harbour Festival

Ocean to City – An Rás Mór and Cork Harbour Open Day formerly existed as two popular one-day events located at different points on Cork’s annual maritime calendar. Both event committees recognised the synergy between the two events and began to work together and share resources. In 2015, Cork Harbour Festival was launched. The festival was shaped on the open day principle, with Ocean to City – An Ras Mór as the flagship event.

Now in its sixth year, the festival has grown from strength to strength. Although the physical 2020 festival was cancelled due to Covid-19, the event normally features nine festival days starting on the first week of June. It is packed full of events; all made possible through collaboration with over 50 different event partners in Cork City, as well as 15 towns and villages along Cork Harbour. The programme grows year by year and highlights Ireland’s rich maritime heritage and culture as well as water and shore-based activities, with Ocean to City – An Rás Mór at the heart of the festival.

Taking place at the centre of Ireland’s maritime paradise, and at the gateway to Ireland’s Ancient East and the Wild Atlantic Way, Cork is perfectly positioned to deliver the largest and most engaging harbour festival in Ireland.

The Cork Harbour Festival Committee includes representatives from Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Port of Cork, UCC MaREI, RCYC, Cobh & Harbour Chamber and Meitheal Mara.

Marinas in Cork Harbour

There are six marinas in Cork Harbour. Three in Crosshaven, one in East Ferry, one in Monkstown Bay and a new facility is opening in 2020 at Cobh. Details below

Port of Cork City Marina

Location – Cork City
Contact – Harbour Masters Dept., Port of Cork Tel: +353 (0)21 4273125 or +353 (0)21 4530466 (out of office hours)

Royal Cork Yacht Club Marina

Location: Crosshaven, Co. Cork
Contact: +353 (0) 21 4831023

Crosshaven Boatyard Marina

Location: Crosshaven, Co. Cork
Contact: +353 (0)21 4831161

Salve Marina Ltd

Location: Crosshaven, Co. Cork
Contact: +353 (0) 21 4831145

Cork Harbour Marina

Location: Monkstown, Co. Cork
Contact: +353 (0)87 3669009

East Ferry Marina

Location: East Ferry, Co. Cork
Contact: +353 (0)21 4813390

New Cove Sailing Club Marina

(to be opened in 2020)

Location: Cobh, Co. Cork
Contact: 087 1178363

Cork Harbour pontoons, slipways and ramps

Cork City Boardwalk Existing pontoon

Port of Cork 100m. pontoon

Cork city – End of Cornmarket St. steps and slip;

Cork city - Proby’s Qy. Existing limited access slip

Quays Bar & Restaurant, Private pontoon and ramp for patrons, suitable for yachts, small craft town and amenities

Cobh harbour [camber] Slip and steps inside quay wall pontoon

Fota (zoo, house, gardens) Derelict pontoon and steps

Haulbowline naval basin; restricted space Naval base; restricted access;

Spike Island pier, steps; slip, pontoon and ramp

Monkstown wooden pier and steps;

Crosshaven town pier, with pontoon & steps

East Ferry Marlogue marina, Slip (Great Island side) visitors’ berths

East Ferry Existing pier and slip; restricted space East Ferry Inn (pub)
(Mainland side)

Blackrock pier and slips

Ballinacurra Quay walls (private)

Aghada pier and slip, pontoon & steps public transport links

Whitegate Slip

Passage West Pontoon

Glenbrook Cross-river ferry

Ringaskiddy Parking with slip and pontoon Ferry terminal; village 1km.

Carrigaloe pier and slip; restricted space; Cross-river ferry;

Fountainstown Slip

White’s Bay beach

Ringabella beach

Glanmire Bridge and tide restrictions

Old Glanmire - Quay

Cork Harbour Festival & Ocean to City Race

Following the cancellation of the 2020 event, Cork Harbour Festival will now take place 5 – 13 June 2021, with the Flagship Ocean to City An Rás Mór on 5 June.

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