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'Great, Great Racing' is the Reason Why 25-Foot is the New Ideal Club Cruiser Racer Size in Cork Harbour

20th January 2022
Is somewhere around 25-foot the best cruiser-racer size for racing in Cork Harbour in 2022? 
Is somewhere around 25-foot the best cruiser-racer size for racing in Cork Harbour in 2022? Credit: Bob Bateman

With the addition of the vintage Quarter Tonner Diamond to Royal Cork's winter league (the first to be sailed as White Sails only), the fleet provided a glimpse of the popular boat choice for club racing this summer, a season that includes Volvo Cork Week as a high point in July.

Overall, the top ten included some authentic classic designs, including an Albin Express, various Quarter Tonners, a Bolero, vintage J24s and an HB31.  

Colman Garvey and Kieran Kelleher sailing their new Quarter Tonner Diamond were the winners of Sunday's first IRC race of the Royal Cork Winter LeagueTColman Garvey and Kieran Kelleher sailing their new Quarter Tonner Diamond were the winners of Sunday's first IRC race of the Royal Cork Winter League Photo: Bob Bateman

Further down the pecking order, there was also the appearance of Alan Mulcahy's short-lived First 8, sadly lost in a fire off Cork Harbour in Mid December as Afloat reported here.

Tony Donworth's Quarter Tonner SupernovaTony Donworth's Quarter Tonner Supernova Photo: Bob Bateman

What's the attraction of this size of cruiser? Most likely, it is the opportunity to sail with a small crew, often made up of just family and friends. And the fact that it is cruiser racing on a budget might also have a bearing.

Richard Leonard in his Bolero, Bandit Richard Leonard steering his Bolero, Bandit Photo: Bob Bateman

RCYC itself has also got involved with purchasing an older J/24s as a club training boat.

A J24 takes a ride on a Cork Harbour waveA J24 takes a ride on a Cork Harbour wave Photo: Bob Bateman

As Afloat reported previously, after a month-long series of five races, the O'Leary Insurance Winter League was won by the Albin Express, a Swedish trailerable sailboat that was designed by Peter Norlin as a cruiser-racer and first built in 1978.

Fiona Young's consistent performance at the top of the IRC fleet in North Star was rewarded with the perpetual Archie O'Leary Trophy. 

On seven points, the restored Albin Express had a two-point winning margin over early series leaders Colman Garvey and Kieran Kelleher in the newly arrived Quarter Tonner, Diamond.

Third was Richard Leonard in his Bolero, Bandit on 13 points. The Bolero was designed when Quarter tonner racing was all the rage, and it was quite a successful racer, although not too many were built.

In her prize-giving speech in December, the winning helmswoman highlighted the tight racing they had enjoyed in a buoyant 32-boat fleet turnout.

Winning form - The well-sailed Albin Express North Star skippered by Fiona YoungWinning form - The well-sailed Albin Express North Star skippered by Fiona Young Photo: Bob Bateman

"This club is so active at the moment it is incredible we are all out here every Sunday. We are out here night and day, more active than I have seen the club for years", she told the fleet.

And in saluting her competitors, she revealed great competition is the reason behind the renewed focus in this particular size of boat: "You Guys in Diamond and Bandit, My Goodness! Every day we went out, we wondered who is going to do it today? We won it, but either of you could have won too. I want to thank you for that great, great racing".

Adding to the RCYC scene there are two other active clubs in Cork Harbour that have active small boat fleets that add to the lively community of sailors; Cove Sailing Club on Great Island, and Monkstown Bay Sailing Club on the western side of the River Lee.

In Cobh, there are at least five smaller sub 26ft Boats regularly racing. Two of them actively participated in all of the winter league series at RCYC; Angela, a First 260 Spirit sailed by Cathy Mullan and “NettaJ”, a Sadler 25 sailed by Des Corbett.

Angela, a First 260 Spirit sailed by Cathy Mullan from Cove Sailing ClubAngela, a First 260 Spirit sailed by Cathy Mullan from Cove Sailing Club Photo: Bob Bateman

The very successful Combined league which included all clubs in the harbour ran for a couple of seasons pre-2020 with great success and enthusiastic participation and now there are hopes to revive that event again. Team

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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.

‘'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