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Cork Harbour News and Updates

Maybe it’s the fact that the days start to get longer again in only a fortnight, but there’s mood of rising optimism in Irish sailing these days writes W M Nixon. There’s an almost measurable buzz in the air which is spearheaded by the pace-setting Fintan Cairns-inspired DBSC Turkey Shoot Series in Dublin Bay, and given substantial extra boosts by long-established Autumn and Winter series going full blast at other centres.

This fresh zest for our sport is supported by more traditionally-minded sailors. They may have preferred to bring their season to a close in October or November with their boats properly laid up for the winter, but the amount of work they have going on behind the scenes to get new initiatives up and running, while keeping existing programmes in good and growing health, is a remarkable reflection on the value of the voluntary effort and input which sailing inspires.

fintan cairns2The Man Who Makes It Happen – Fintan Cairns, main driver of DBSC’s Turkey Shoot series

As one leading big-boat contender in the Turkey Shoot has put it: “If it wasn’t for the continuing enthusiasm of Fintan and his team chivvying us out there every Sunday morning, and then being on station with the Committee Boat to set another excellent course, then I don’t think half of us would think of taking part in a series which takes us right up to the very threshold of Christmas. Yet here it is, week after week for seven Sundays with a splendidly varied fleet of 75 boats, and the mood is euphoric – it feels like the best racing we’ve had all year, and it probably is”.

The regular reports in give some idea of the pace of the sport and the calibre of the racing, yet although there are so many relatively new contenders involved that it has been commented that the Turkey Shoot 2018 is for all the world like a live Boat Show afloat and racing, it’s somehow reassuring to note that going into this weekend’s race, the overall leader is Sean O’Regan’s vintage Dehler 31 Vespucci.

justina turkey shoot3“Making mince of the Dublin Bay chop” – John Treanor’s new Grand Soleil 34 Justitna. Photo: O’Brien

That said, if we were to choose a “Marque of the Year” in Irish sailing, the Grand Soleil brand from Italy would definitely be on the shortlist, with John Treanor’s new Grand Soleil 34 Justtina turning many heads in the Turkey Shoot as she makes mince of the Dublin Bay chop.

Through the season, Frank Whelan’s Grand Soleil 44 Eleuthera from Greystones set the pace on both the east and south coasts, while on the south coast the Murphy family’s Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo rounded out a great season by being made the Royal Cork YC’s “Keelboat of the Year”.

gs40 nieulargo4Classy performer – the Murphy family’s Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo brings teak deck style to the front of the fleet. Photo: Bob Bateman

Still on the south coast, as our colleague Tom MacSweeney was reporting, the recent AGM of the South Coast Offshore Racing Association brought a breath of fresh air with the much-approved election of Johanna Murphy of Great Island SC as the first woman sailor to be Commodore. She takes up the role with a clear vision of encouraging coastal passage races, but as such races have to be fitted in with the increasing number of club At Homes, the demand on premium dates is high.

A further challenge was added to the brew at the AGM with a significant presence from Waterford Harbour SC at Dunmore East, seeking to have their historic yet expanding club included in the SCORA programme. This is quite a challenge, as it’s all of 50 nautical miles and more from Cork Harbour to Dunmore East. That’s fine and dandy if the SCORA main fleet race there from Cork Harbour with a grand following breeze, but problems of logistics arise when they face the uphill slog home.

johanna murphy5Early Christmas present for Johannna Murphy of Cork Harbour’s Great Island SC – she’s the new Commodore of the South Coast Offshore Racing Association. Photo: Bob Bateman

Nevertheless in due course there’s no doubt Dunmore East will be back in the offshore racing picture, just as in due course a fleet of J/109s has developed in Dublin Bay as everyone hoped for years would eventually happen. And not only is God in his heaven with ace MOB rescuer Tim Goodbody in the lead in White Mischief in the J/109s racing in the Turkey Shoot, but this week it has been revealed that the latest addition to the class is newly-elected ICRA Commodore Richard Colwell, back in harness with his former longtime campaigning partner Johnny Murphy with their recently-acquired J/109 Outrajeous. They’ll be keeping her at their home port of Howth, increasing the likelihood of further sister-ships there, as they’ll be joining Colm Buckley and Simon Knowles with Indian, and the daddy of them all, Pat Kelly with the all-conquering Storm.

white mischief6Tim Goodbody’s White Mischief gets the best of a J/109 start in the Turkey Shoot series. The class is extending its reach with Outrajeous (Richard Cowell & Johnny Murphy) joining the pair in Howth. Photo: O’Brien

Howth, with its winter Laser Frostbites dating from 1974 and its keelboats Brass Monkey series now in its 32nd year, continues to be a hive of activity. In fact if anything the colourful sailing/fishing harbour as a whole had a problem of success, as it has become such a visitor magnet that, on a good weekend, the quaysides and waterfront roads can get distinctly crowded.

A series of fortuitous circumstances have brought about the situation whereby the place can offer such an attractive visitor experience. When the harbour was undergoing its massive re-development in the 1980s, the original plan was that all the ancient and often quaint buildings of the West Pier should be swept away to provide the maximum of space for fishing-related work and vehicle movements. But by some miracle they all were saved, and today the colourful line of buildings down the West Pier is home to more popular and varied seafood restaurants than you could count, cheek-by-jowl with marine industry workshops. And the old Mariner’s Hall, originally built as “The Prayer House” for visiting Scottish fishermen, has been saved from demolition and is currently having its roof replaced with such attention to detail that its woodwork will become a special architectural feature.

howth harbour7Howth’s complex and often very busy harbour. Its necessary dredging has now been recognised as a Major Infrastructural Project

But while everything above the water around Howth’s increasingly tidy yet ever busier harbour seems to be going fine, under the sea’s surface things aren’t so good, as bits of the harbour badly need dredging. In the Netherlands where they’re the world leaders in building and maintaining maritime structure, all harbours are automatically dredged every five years at least. But in Howth although the harbour as we know it now dates back to 1982, there has been only piecemeal dredging and channel clearance, and a major infrastructural project is on the cards.

With this in mind, leading Howth fisherman Sean Doran and local Senator Catherine Noone and others set about arranging a top level visit which would bring Howth’s problems home to Government at the highest level. They reckoned that the case would be best put if the Government could meet representatives of all the harbour stakeholders in an effort to gauge how much could be maintained and added to local economic activity by bringing the harbour depths up to the required standards.

leo and joe8Taoiseach Leo Varadker with Howth YC Commodore Joe McPeake in the clubhouse last weekend. Photo: HYC/Brian Turvey

It’s only when you set out to arrange such a gathering that you become fully aware of how many revenue-generating and employment activities a harbour as diverse as Howth can encompass. When local TD and Government Minister Richard Bruton and Senator Noone set out last Saturday afternoon with Fingal Mayor Councillor Anthony Lavin to show Taoiseach Leo Varadkar round Howth Harbour and meet the people who make it work, it was one busy day, with harbourmaster Captain Harry McLoughlin and others taking the fact-finding group on a mission which started with the many fishing enterprises and the shore facilities for the regular summer ferry route to Dublin and Dun Laoghaire, went on with a wide variety of retail and workshop outfits, seemed to take in everything possible to improve the harbour, and then concluded with a much-needed cup of tea in Howth Yacht Club where Commodore Joe McPeake and his team were able to introduce the Taoiseach to sailors at every level from absolute beginners to Olympic 49er Under 23 Gold Medallists Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove, while at the same time providing information about how Howth YC’s Quest Sailing School is reaching out to people from every background.

howth group9In Howth YC are (left to right) 49er Under 23 Gold Medallist Robert Dickson, Mayor of Fingal Councillor Anthony Lavin, Taoiseach Leo Varadker, Senator Catherine Noone, Gold Medallist Sean Waddilove and HYC Commodore Joe McPeake, with Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment also in photo. Photo: HYC/Brian Turvey

It was a mutually informative yet pleasantly informal gathering, sweetened by the news that the dredging of Howth Harbour is now agreed as a Major Infrastructural Project. And for any busy yacht or sailing club to be given this opportunity to see itself as others see it, and to see particularly how well - with mutual goodwill - it fits in and interacts with the community around it, well, that was a real tonic for the membership.

But then, having been at the annual dinner of the historic Howth Seventeen Foot Class in the clubhouse the night before, your correspondent was already reassured about the basic good health of HYC. For this might well have been the 120th Annual Dinner of the Howth Seventeens, as they were founded in 1898. But with a convivially packed house with 128 present, the mood was so youthful it could have been the first Annual Dinner of all, for age shall not weary them.

howth seventeens10“Age shall not weary them….” The Howth 17s held what may well have been their 120th Annual Dinner last weekend, but as they know they were founded in 1898, nobody has been counting. Photo: W M Nixon

And even when it does, the Seventeens have a remarkable capacity for renewal, headed in the 1970s by Nick Massey, and more recently kept simmering by Ian Malcolm. Their capacity for re-birth is extraordinary, and thus the Howth Seventeen people are among the most appreciative of a small beautifully-restored yacht which quietly appeared in their marina back in September.

This is the 23ft Laurent Giles-designed L Class Iduna, originally built in 1938 and bought in 1948 by the late Roger Bourke of Limerick and Foynes. Iduna is now owned by his son Robert for whom she has been restored by Howth master-shipwright Johnny Leonard, who is indeed connected to the great County Cork boat-building clan.

Iduna dec11The restored 80-year-old Iduna, brought to new life by Johnny Leonard of Howth. Photo: W M Nixon

Iduna, as restored by those Leonard skills, simply glows – there’s no other word for it. And in time when finishing jobs have been completed, she’ll be based in Dun Laoghaire though her home port will always be Foynes, as her owner moves between bases in Limerick and Dublin. But for now, she’s an adornment in Howth marina, and anyone feeling the winter glooms only has to go and look at her to feel better.

In fact, the health benefits of seeing a good boat restoration cannot be underestimated, and down West Cork way they almost have a regional service in this feel-good factor, what with Ilen being restored at Oldcourt where Saoirse is now being re-built, while across at Ballydehob, Tiernan Roe has the fine job of restoring The Lady Min underway for the O’Keeffe family of Schull, and nearby Rui Ferreira – already well proven in classic boat restoration and new-build - has Dublin Bay Water Wag No 49 under new construction for Martin Byrne.

water wag fortynine12Rui Ferreira of Ballydehob with the new Water Wag, no 49 to a design from 1900. Photo: Ian Malcolm

This is being done to such an exquisite standard that you’d think she should be put straight into a glass case for permanent display purposes. Between all these restorations and new-build projects, together with the good news about re-vitalised sailing enthusiasm and increased government awareness of harbour needs, there’s a fresh zing to the sea air which launches Irish sailing towards 2019 with vigorous optimism.

water wag fortynine13The classic Water Wag, designed 118 years ago by Maimie Doyle, daughter of boatbuilder James Doyle. Photo: Ian Malcol

water wag fortynine14Rui Ferreira is renowned for his attention to detail in classic boat-building, and with Water Wag 49 he has excelled himself. Photo: Ian Malcolm

Published in Dublin Bay

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

There is a great lot to be said about the pride of a family in a boat and there is nothing wrong with being old when age is appreciated, understood and revered. A man I met in West Cork, where he and his family are involved in restoring a boat that is one hundred and sixteen years old, underline that to me.

That a yacht, with close and long links to the West Cork community, is being saved for future generations. underlines the embodiment of the attraction of boats in the life of a family.

Simon O’Keeffe told me why he is restoring the boat which his great-grandfather designed and built in 1902. It was launched then at the fishing port of Schull in West Cork and is now being restored at the yard of Roe Boats, not too far away in Ballydehob.

The boat is the Lady Min which once was a “thorn in the side” of the renowned Cork Harbour yacht racing aficionados.

Listen to the podcast below as Simon tells me why he and his family decided to restore what is probably going to be the oldest racing yacht ever restored to the waters of the South Coast.

Published in Cork Harbour

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

The three Cork Harbour yacht clubs – the Royal Cork at Crosshaven, Monkstown Bay and Great Island Sailing Clubs – have decided that the format of a combined clubs racing league, first held this Summer – has been successful enough to continue it next year, but there will be changes.

The newly-formed Great Island Club, based in Cobh and emanating from Cove Sailing Club, following issues which arose there over that club’s planned marina, was the driving force in creating the league. It brought around 30 cruisers from the three clubs racing together in Whitesail starting last June, though numbers later decreased during the Summer in the weekly Friday night racing. This was put down to other events, such as Cork Week and the annual trek to West Cork waters during the Summer months. The three clubs shared race administration.

There was also, however, some feeling in clubs, such as Monkstown and at the RCYC, that the combined league had taken over from individual club events. Monkstown’s Cruiser Class, which had gathered on Thursday nights, had no club racing apart from its ‘At Home’ Day and at Crosshaven the combined league replaced the club’s own popular weekly whitesail racing. Both clubs incorporated results for their members within the combined league, to award their own club prizes.

A review meeting by the three clubs has agreed on changes for next year to accommodate those views.

Beginning on Friday May 31, there will be a “June League” which will be run by the Great Island Club and on three further June Fridays, 7th, 14th and 21st. There will be no race on June 28, because of the Sovereigns Cup in Kinsale.

In July the combined league will be raced on Saturdays, July 6, 13, 20, 27 and incorporate club events such as the Monkstown Bay ‘At Home’. It is hoped that this will increase participation in such events. MBSC will run the racing in July.

There will be no combined harbour league racing in August, when many boats head west such as to Calves Week.

In September the league will resume on Saturdays, under RCYC administration, on the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th.

This approach provides individual clubs with the opportunity to resume holding their own weekly evening racing, such as the RCYC Friday nights and Monkstown Bay events.

Representatives from the three clubs met at Monkstown Bay SC and agreed also that the combined league should include spinnaker racing, additional to white sail. A single set of Race Instructions will be agreed for the league and racing starts will again be in the vicinity of No.9 buoy off Whitegate Refinery jetty which was the location this year.

The proposals will come before club annual meetings. There may be some adjustments, but the outline schedule has been agreed.

Published in Cork Harbour

The recent totally carbon-free delivery of six tons of Irish craft beer from Cork to France makes for a positive response to those who are concerned by the adverse effects of industrially-induced climate change, and the possible interruptions to trade along the coasts of Europe brought about by Brexit writes W M Nixon.

Brehon Brewhouse was founded in 2013 by Seamus McMahon at his family’s farm in the Patrick Kavanagh neighbourhood of County Monaghan, midway between Inniskeen and Carrickmacross, and it has expanded steadily ever since with a growing range of connoisseur beers.

Far indeed from the stony hills of Monaghan, the classical “three-storey-rig” 64ft Cornish lugger Grayhound is a re-creation of a famous ship of 1796, and today the re-born Grayhound is a familiar sight at Festivals of Sail on both sides of the English Channel and further afield.

cornish lugger grayhound2Grayhound piling on the cloth. In a more lawless age, it was assumed that any vessel setting so much canvas would be up to no good with smuggling or piracy, and if caught they were invariably arrested
Grayhound has in recent years carved an addition niche for herself in transporting small cargoes of vintage wine, craft beers and special spirits along ancient sailing ship routes, so it was only a question of time before the rapidly-expanding Irish craft beer industry availed of the ship’s services to make an impact in the discerning French market.

The route chosen was the well-worn one from Cork to Cherbourg, except that at the conclusion of the voyage, Grayhound went to the picturesque port of Granville nearby, instead of Cherbourg itself. The cargo was six tons of beer, made up of Brehon’s noted Blonde Lager and a dark stout, and they travelled well. The word is that this novel promotional ploy has been very effective, proving that the old trading routes still work for quality products, while there is a way of moving goods that is totally carbon-free.

With November and the promise of winter almost upon us, here’s a soothing video by Nicolas le Du which well captures the mood aboard Grayhound as fair winds speed her and her special cargo from Munster to Normandy.

Published in Ports & Shipping

SeaFest, Ireland’s largest and most spectacular maritime festival, will set sail again for Cork Harbour next year. The festival will dock in Cork for the next three years, from 2019 – 2021.

Ireland’s national maritime festival has been held in Galway for the past three years, and has quickly become one of the most popular events in the country. SeaFest has grown in attendance each year, with the festival attracting more than 100,000 visitors in 2017 and again in 2018.

The inaugural Seafest was staged in Cork Harbour in 2014. Back then, the initial concept then was that the national festival would tour around the country, in a rotation around the four coasts, but given today's announcement, it now looks like the east and north coast harbours will have to wait for at least three years for their next chance to stage it.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., said: “SeaFest is all about raising awareness about the value and economic opportunities provided by our marine sector, it has been particularly successful in increasing awareness of maritime issues which impact on all of us, through a host of engaging and educational activities for people of every age.”

“As a national festival, it is important that the event reaches across Ireland, enabling more people to increase their knowledge about the value of our oceans. I’m delighted to announce that Cork will host the festival for the next three years, and look forward to the fantastic line-up of free events and activities on offer at SeaFest 2019, which I expect to be the largest SeaFest yet.”

SeaFest is a key initiative of ‘Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth’ Ireland’s Integrated Marine Plan which aims not just to develop the marine economy but also to increasing participation and engagement by the Citizens of Ireland with the sea. The national festival celebrates Ireland’s proud maritime heritage and the many ways our seas and oceans impact on and enrich our lives.

The Our Ocean Wealth Summit will be taking place in Cork in June of next year as part of the national festival. In 2019, SeaFest takes on an international aspect as the Our Ocean Wealth Summit will play host to representatives of island states from around the world.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., said: “Ireland has a hugely positive story to tell in relation to its engagement with the marine. We have travelled far in recent years in realising the potential of our marine resources. In 2019, the Our Ocean Wealth Summit will bring together representatives from island states across the globe, to share knowledge and culture. 

SeaFest is a celebration of all that our ocean represents. I look forward to joining the festival and Summit in Cork next year”.

Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Mick Finn said: “There is no better fit for Seafest than Cork, given the depth and reach of its maritime history and the significance of activities at the Port of Cork in terms of business, tourism and recreation. Even our city motto and crest, providing a Safe Harbour for Ships, shows that the sea is in our DNA. When you consider the importance of our maritime assets in Cork, it is crucial that the city and county councils co-operate to maximise events like Seafest and European Maritime Day to attract further interest and investment in what we have”.

Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute said: “It is with thanks to the support of Galway city, from businesses, volunteers and visitors, that SeaFest is now regarded as one of the most successful events of its in kind in Europe. The festival has been instrumental in highlighting the marine research taking place in Galway, as well as the importance of our seas and the contribution to our local and national economy. We look forward to working with the city of Cork, as well as our national and regional partners, to deliver another spectacular event.”

SeaFest will take place in Cork City the weekend of the 7th - 9th June 2019. In addition, as part of the national festival, the Our Ocean Wealth Summit Conference will be held in Cork on Thursday, 6th and Friday 7th June.

Published in Maritime Festivals

Hello and welcome to my weekly Podcast …

Sailing the 27-foot yacht he has owned for 20 years, Jim Doyle helmed Green Sleeves to win the ‘Alta to Starboard Trophy’ in Monkstown Bay.

It’s an unusual trophy, made by the club to replicate a racing navigational mark close to the club’s finish line which was used by a lady who was their Race Officer to test the ability of sailors.

Goldie Cronin insisted that they must get inside the yellow wooden Alta mark, mounted on a tyre to keep it afloat and pass it to starboard to finish a race. That, with varying conditions such as strong tides, often caused the Vagabond dinghy sailors a fair bit of difficulty, which Goldie watched with interest…

The “Goldie Cronin Alta to Starboard to Finish Trophy” must have one of the longest names for any trophy. The replica was made, a small wooden yellow race mark, mounted on a black trolley wheel on top of a wooden base, to mark her many years of race duties, first with the then 12-foot Vagabond dinghies and later with the club’s Cruiser Class when those sailors became older, more mature and moved into the bigger boats. Goldie moved with them and her Alta to Starboard to finish instruction ….… That made even more demands on the sailors!

The trophy is proof that sailing can be a sport for life. Though Goldie has now passed away, it is still a desired win for the cruisers.

Jim Doyle’s crew were Denis Long and John Creagh and they won it on the day of a Cork Harbour Combined Clubs League race, when the other boats in the fleet also passed Alta to finish in Monkstown, honouring the memory of Goldie and her special race instruction. The trophy isn’t awarded just for winning a race, ability and commitment to the sport are taken into consideration and the Cronin family decides the winner.

He had dispatched them back to sea with “a kick up the transom"

It isn’t the only unusual trophy in Monkstown Bay’s collection… There is also the ‘Kick Up the Transom Trophy’, made by the Vagabonds after the arrest of the gun-running ship, Claudia, which in 1973 was detained in the Naval Base at Haulbowline, across Monkstown Bay from the MBSC clubhouse. It had a huge collection of weaponry, guns, ammunition, anti-tank weapons from the Libyan leader Gaddafi aboard, all of which was unloaded at the Base. IRA members aboard were later jailed, but the ship was, amazingly, released on the orders of then Minister for Defence Paddy Donegan and its crew was not charged. The Minister said he had dispatched them back to sea with “a kick up the transom".

"Any club got other unique trophies like these?"

KICK UP THE TRANSOM TROPHY MONKSTOWN BAY SCMonkstown Bay Sailing Club's Kick Up The Transom Trophy

That didn’t impress the Navy or security forces who had detained it off Helvick in a major security operation which was the first of its kind for the Irish Government and it was a rather inept comment. Monkstown Bay sailors had another thought - for a trophy – a wooden one, showing a boot kicking a ship up the transom… and that too is now competed for by the grown-up dinghy sailors, now in cruisers….

Any club got other unique trophies like these?

Listen to the podcast below.

Published in Tom MacSweeney

Cove Sailing Clubs Cobh to Blackrock Race was a huge success with the 45–boat fleet enjoying a fast and breezy race to Cork. While the forecast and conditions of 20 to 25 knots might have deterred some competitors form taking part, those that ventured out enjoyed a great sail with plenty of excitement along the way. 

The standard white sail class started at 14:00 followed by the main fleet at 14:30. The Cobh start line with a large visiting liner made for a spectacular start with the 40 boats lined up in front of Cobh for the Safetrx sponsored race.

The fleet was joined by the KYC fleet following on from the Mary P race that left from Kinsale on with a very fast sail up Saturday morning, the fleet taking a nice break in the Quays bar Cobh before getting ready for the sprint to Cork.

The short sprint to Monkstown saw Denis Murphy's Nieulargo powering up past Whitepoint and revelling in the breezy conditions with Altair (Dorgan and Losty) and Jelly Baby (Brian Jones) close behind.

Boats then quickly hoisted kites for the run down to Marino Point which made for a spectacular sight as the fleet passed up the narrow river. Altair managed to get ahead of Nieulargo and Jelly Baby to lead into Lough Mahon closely followed by Conor Doyle's Freya which powered by and stretched her legs up through Lough Mahon quickly reaching Blackrock castle.

Altair held off Nieulargo to cross the line in 2nd place with Jelly Baby close behind in third. The corrected times results in Class 1 for both IRC and Echo were the same with Altair (Dorgan and Losty) first, Nieulargo 2nd and Jelly Baby 3rd.

Class 2 saw George Radley's half tonner Cortegada flying home to take victory in both IRC and Echo with Cavatina, Ian Hickey and Artful Dodger Finbarr O'Regan finishing tied 2nd on IRC.

Class 3 saw Leonard Donnery No Gnomes retain the trophy again this year.

For the overall Moonduster Trophy George Radleys Cortegada was the winner taking a well-earned victory to lift the beautiful Mooonduster replica trophy.
The newly presented Safetrx trophy for the fastest boat from Cobh to Blackrock was won by Conor Doyles beautiful new XP50 with an Elapsed time of just 43 minutes.

White sail which had a very large entry saw John and Fiona Murphys Esme take first in IRC from Derry Goods Exhale with Batt O'Learys Sweet Dreams third. In Echo, Esme was again first with Sweet Dreams second and Exhale third.

White sail Standard class saw Rory Allen's Mystic take the win from Ian Scandrett's Kernow in 2nd with Donal O'Driscoll's Re Orga in third place.

The Prize Giving took place in the Sextant bar where the huge crowd enjoyed a great barbeque with some well-earned refreshments. Prizes were presented by John Wallace from Union Chandlery and also Paul Ryan from Safetrx.

Many of the fleet stayed overnight at the Port of Cork pontoon before the return trips to Crosshaven, Kinsale and East Ferry yesterday.

Bob Bateman photographed a breezy edition of Cove Sailing Club's Saturday's Cobh to Blackrock race in Cork Harbour.

View his photo gallery below

cobh Blackrock yacht race3Kieran Dorgan's Atari (winner class 1) and Miss Whiplash (Ronan and John Downing)

cobh Blackrock yacht race3Frank Doyle sailing the J122 "Cara"

cobh Blackrock yacht race3Denis Murphy's Nieulargo on starboard with Atari on port

cobh Blackrock yacht race3Above and below Brian Jones in the J109 Jellybaby

cobh Blackrock yacht race3

cobh Blackrock yacht race3Overall winner – George Radley's Cortegada

cobh Blackrock yacht race3Freya Conor Doyle ahead of Carroll Bros Chancer

cobh Blackrock yacht race3Freya leads Frank Doyle sailing Cara

cobh Blackrock yacht race3John and Fiona Murphy in the Elan 295 "Esme"

cobh Blackrock yacht race3

cobh Blackrock yacht race3Anthony Mulcahy's Nicholson passes the finish line
cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3cobh Blackrock yacht race3

Published in Cork Harbour
7th September 2018

Dirty Boats & Dirty Ports

Hello and welcome to the weekly MacSweeney Podcast ….

It’s been a week with interesting topics, from dirty boats to dirty ports, the pleasant sight of island-racing dinghies but the nastier tale of what submarines might be doing off the West Coast…

The dirty bottom of Scribbler, my Sigma 33, wasn’t pleasant. The amount of underwater hull growth this year has been heavier than in previous Summers, despite two coats of anti-foul and monthly scrubbing since she was launched in late April… A green weed adhered to the bow and the rudder and other boat owners in Cork Harbour told me that they had the same problem and, as we all know, hull growth slows down speed through the water. Now, I know that some of the most dedicated racers haul regularly or dry-sail …. But that’s not really feasible for ordinary folk who race weekly club events …Higher water temperatures during this Summer have been blamed by some owners….. I’d like to know if the same “dirty hull” problem has been encountered in other areas of the coast…. Or could it be the quality of anti-foul?

Another problem, identified to me by some visitors from national and foreign climes this Summer, is the lack of rubbish disposal for visiting cruising boats in small harbours and anchorages around Ireland. Mostly, visitors have told me, marinas have this sorted but I’ve heard stories of visiting crews wandering around smaller harbours or little ports off which they’ve anchored, with a rubbish bag looking for a place to dispose of it …And, in a plane on the way back from Norway during the week, I read a missive from one British cruising sailor: “Dear Ireland, why do you make cruising sailors suffer. This matter is much talked about among visiting yachts,” he said and suggested there would be some who wouldn’t bother to visit Ireland because of it. Paul Heiney was writing in the UK magazine Sailing Today, where he said he had a “stunning trip amongst the rugged beauty of Ireland” – but was highly critical of the lack of rubbish disposal facilities.

Listen to the Podcast about another disposal problem, along the coastline from Donegal to Galway and why the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group wants to know what submarines are doing off our West Coast …and also how one Cork Harbour club made a clean sweep of all the trophies at another club….

Published in Tom MacSweeney

An army bomb disposal team made this World War Two device (pictured above) safe after it was trawled up by a fishing boat near the Daunt Rock off Cork Harbour.

It was landed onto Kinsale Pier which was cordoned off while the device was made safe.

Published in Cork Harbour

The annual Cobh to Blackrock Sailing race was once, traditionally, the closing race of the sailing season in Cork Harbour. That no longer prevails as the sailing season has extended over the years into December for cruiser classes and practically all-year-round for dinghy sailors. However, it is still a major event in the harbour, writes Tom MacSweeney and, while this is a race, it is also a social event, with non-regular racing boats taking part and motor cruisers also going up the river to the centre of the city for the post-race gathering.

Cobh SailingCruisers in a light air edition of the 2016 Cobh to Blackrock Sailing Race Photo: Bob Bateman

While finishing remains near Blackrock, where the village was previously the after-race centre, that was changed a few years ago to the Port of Cork Marina in the city. The Port is a race supporter, with Union Chandlery and the sponsor this year, SafeTrx.

Cork Harbour SailingMixed Dinghy Racing in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

This year’s race has been set for Saturday, September 8, organised by Cobh Sailing Club. Competitors are being told to register to use the ISA SafeTrx Mariner tracking system for the event and must enter for the race using the Cove SC online entry form before Friday, September 7. The start line will be between a flagpole in the vicinity of the Quays Bar on the Cobh foreshore and an outer distance mark. The finish line will be between a finishing vessel, identified by a blue flag and a navigational channel marker.

Traditional/Standard Class will start at 1400, followed by Cruiser Classes 1/2/3/4 and White Sail at 1425.

Kinsale Yacht Club’s Mary P Race

The annual Kinsale Yacht Club’s Mary P Race and ‘Cruise-to-Cork’ is scheduled for the same day and its finish is intended to get boats to Cobh in time for the race to Blackrock. The KYC race has a scheduled start time of 9.25 a.m., for All-In IRC, ECHO and White Sail, with finishing line between No.18 (red) and No.13 (green) buoys near the Spit Light.

The finish vessel will be Mary P. There is a time limit of 1400 which is the scheduled start for the Traditional/Standard Class from Cobh and also gives the Kinsale crews a 25-minute window to prepare to race again, in Classes 1/2/3/4/Whitesail.

That should make for quite a gathering at Cobh and Cork City Marina!

Naval Race Hosted by RCYC

Also scheduled for September Saturdays in Cork are the annual Naval Race on September 15, hosted by the RCYC and the following, Saturday, September 22, the Ballinacurra Race/Marlogue Race/East Ferry Cup, to be hosted by MBSC. These three races will include the combined harbour league for September with the last race to be on September 29 hosted by GISC for the Marlogue/East Ferry Cup. That has been on Friday evenings and for whitesail only, so will presumably be adjusted to incorporate the use of spinnakers. If the weather allows, on the Blackrock Race, these have been a colourful sight in the river channel, but such conditions have not been present too many times in recent years. The Combined League drew over 30 boats when it started back in June but numbers have fallen off since, with a lot of other sailing events and the holiday period on the South Coast. It is hoped that numbers will increase again for September.

Monkstown Bay Sailing Club Dinghy League

Monkstown Bay Sailing Club has announced a September Dinghy League, starting this Saturday (Sept 1) with FG for Classes 1 and 2 at 1400.

Published in Cork Harbour
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