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Cork Harbour's Cobh Trad Sail Maritime Lecture Series 2016 will be its most diverse, celebrating the harbour's great maritime tradition.

11th Feb: Escaping to Europe by Sea Humanitarian Operations in the Mediterranean 2015 by the Irish Naval Serice. Presented by Commander Ken Minihane and Lt Joe Daly.

18th Feb: Parking a City Berthing a Large Liner at the Deep Water Quay Cobh. Presented by Tony Mulcathy, Cork Harbour Pilot.

2nd March: Our Rankin BoatsHistory of Rankin Boat Building in Cobh Presented by Eddie English, Sailing Instructor

All lectures held in the Sirius Art Centre, Cobh at 20.00 hrs.

Entrance fee €5.

Published in Cork Harbour
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#CruiseLiners - Following the release of Dublin Port's cruise visit schedule, the Port of Cork has announced its own list of arrivals for 2016.

And it features many of the same big names, with May and August particularly busy months for cruise liners visiting the Cobh Cruise Terminal in Cork Harbour.

However, one visitor the capital won't be seeing – after three cancellations last season – is the enormous Fantasia-class MSC Splendida, a veritable floating city with more than 4,000 passengers that's expected to stop in Cobh on 312 August.

The full schedule is available on the Port of Cork website HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners

After the high winds disappointment of day one, day two of the Coutts Quarter Ton Cup produced four wonderful races in perfect Solent conditions. The day had opened with light airs and it took a three hour postponement before the sea breeze finally kicked in, but once it arrived the race committee took full advantage of it to run races one to four of the nine race series. From the off the fleet was in spectacular form with closely packed starts, frantic mark roundings and constant place changes on every leg. There were no less than three dead heats on corrected time and multiple photo finishes on the water.

In the overall standings Louise Morton and her team sailing the 1979 Fauroux designed Bullit have dominated the results, ably demonstrating that their reputation as one of the smartest and most practised teams in the fleet is well deserved. With two wins, a second and third place she leads the fleet overnight by a ten point margin from nearest rival Aguila, owned by Sam Laidlaw, with Eric Reynolds' Magnum Evolution four further points behind in third. Magnum Evolution also heads the Low Rating Division, for boats with an IRC rating of 0.899 or below, while the Corinthian Division for all amateur crews is led by the French team of Pierre Paris's Pinguin Playboy.

From the off Louise Morton and Bullit meant business. At the first weather mark of the regatta they came in on starboard neck and neck with Richard Fleck's Per Elisa, who approached on port. Per Elisa attempted to tack in in front of Bullit but hit the mark and was forced to spin out and do turns. Per Elisa's crew are so well drilled that they completed their turns quick smart and still rounded the spreader mark in second place. Behind them Rickard Melander's Alice II rounded well down in the pack, but was determined not to stay there and soon began moving their way through the fleet. On the line Bullit took the chequered flag with Alice II second, Per Elisa third and Sam Laidlaw's Aguila fourth.

After a lacklustre twelfth place in race one Tony Hayward's Blackfun found her feet in race two to lead the fleet from start to finish. Bullit chased her all the way around the track but on the line it was Blackfun's race by a mere eight seconds from Bullit with Alice II seven seconds back in third and Aguila fourth.

Blackfun shone again in race three winning by a margin of 21 seconds from Magnum Evolution with Bullit third and Coutt's Quarter Ton Cup newcomer Rob Mclean sailing Spider Pig fourth.

Blackfun's form didn't hold for the fourth race though and she finished in eighth, while Bullit claimed her second victory by a mere three seconds from Aguila with Per Elisa third. Fourth place was a corrected time dead heat between Magnum Evolution and Alice II.

The racing throughout the fleet has been fabulous to watch. The boats are so evenly matched that even second weather mark rounding are still full of drama and excitement for the spectators. Revival Quarter Ton Class founder Peter Morton, who has won the regatta no less than four times in three different boats, finds himself struggling for traction this year. Sailing the 1989 Fauroux designed Tiger, winner of the Corinthian Coutts Quarter Ton Cup in 2011 and 2012, Peter was never out of the top ten, but his 5, 7, 8, 9 scoreline puts him down in fifth place overall.

But the racing is only part of the story of the Quarter Ton Class, the boats themselves are the stars of the show and they hold a special place in the hearts of their owners. Even when they change hands there are often touching stories that bind each boat's owners together. Making their first appearance at a Coutts Quarter Ton Cup this year are Mike and Ben Daly sailing Cobh Pirate, which was purchased from Dominic and Jason Losty earlier this year. Under Dominic and Jason's ownership the boat was known as Illes Pitiuses, but although they were delighted to sell the boat to Mike and Ben they wanted to retain the name. And so the hunt for a new name was on. Dominic and Jason are both well known Irish Rugby players and it just so happens that Mike Daly's father, Jack Daly, was an Irish International ruby player and grand slam winner who played for Cobh Pirates Rugby Club, the same club that Dominic and Jason played for, so Cobh Pirates it is.

The Coutts Quarter Ton Cup is famous for its "special" prizes and today's bottle of Rum Jungle Rum goes without doubt to Rob Mclean's Spider Pig. They are also Quarter Ton Cup newcomers and were on a rapid learning curve. They opened with a 17th in race one, moved up to 11th in race two and then really hit their form with a fourth in race three. Sadly their run of lack came to an end in race four when they lost their rig and were forced to retire. Tonight every effort is being made to get them back on the water tomorrow.

Tomorrow's final day will be a busy one for the fleet. Five races remain to be sailed although in reality a first start time of 11.00 and a final start time cut off of 14.30 unless there is a general recall or postponement during the starting sequence make that a hard goal to achieve. The forecast is indicating south easterly winds of 10 to 18 knots so hopes are high of an onetime start and race officer Rob Lamb has confirmed that he will run as many of the remaining races as time permits. The single discard will be introduced once six races have been sailed.

Published in Racing
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#Lusitania100Cork – This May, four coastal communities in Co. Cork are coming together to host a series of commemorative events, entitled Lusitania100 Cork, to mark the centenary of the sinking of the RMS Lusitania by a German U-boat off the coast of Cork, Ireland, during the First World War. The Lusitania was en route to Liverpool from New York and 1,201 people lost their lives in the tragedy.
Kinsale, The Old Head, Cobh and Courtmacsherry in Co. Cork, in association with Cork County Council, will pay tribute to all those who lost their lives in 1915 and remember the gallant efforts of their ancestors who responded with great courage and compassion to rescue survivors, the bereaved, and recover the dead, in ordinary fishing boats and lifeboats. These communities witnessed first-hand the trauma and heartbreak of the disaster.
The Old Head of Kinsale is the point from which the Lusitania took her final bearing on 7th May 1915 and is the most prominent accessible point of land to the ship's final resting place, which is just over eleven miles due south of the Old Head Lighthouse.
The old British Royal Navy Watch Tower of the Seven Heads peninsula in Courtmacsherry Bay is the closest point of land to the Lusitania wreck, and also home to the oldest RNLI Lifeboat Station in Ireland, which was instrumental in the aftermath of the disaster.
The mass grave at the Old Church Graveyard on the Great Island of Cobh was the final resting place of the dead, and to this day there are remains that have never been named or claimed.
The commemorations for Lusitania100 Cork are vast and will include Wreath Laying Ceremonies with President Michael D. Higgins in Cobh, and Minister Simon Coveney at the Lusitania Monument on the Old Head, both at 2.10 pm on May 7th, the time the tragedy happened.
A number of re-enactments of the tragedy will also take place. Courtmacsherry will recreate the call to service of the RNLI lifeboat, while Cobh will remember their rescue efforts with a twilight Flotilla of work boats, fishing boats and pleasure craft, each illuminated with white lights. Cobh will also re-enact the Mass Funeral procession, and Kinsale town is recreating the aftermath Inquest with descendants of the 1915 Jury.
The Old Head Signal Tower (and the associated Flag- and –Ball signalling system), is being restored and transformed into a Lusitania Museum, with plans to exhibit artefacts recovered from the wreck. This will be officially opened on May 7th. Eventually the Museum will also host an iconic piece of sculpture with the names of all who sailed on the Lusitania on May 7th 1915. A new Lusitania Exhibition will also open at the Queenstown Story at Cobh Heritage Centre from March 25th.
In addition, all four communities will host Lusitania related lectures, talks, photographic exhibitions, memorabilia and street fairs, and centenary commemoration dinners. A free open air tribute concert encompassing music from Cork's Harbour will also take place on Cobh's Promenade on May 7th, a perfect vantage point to view the twilight Flotilla.
Kinsale History Society and Port of Cork have both launched schools initiatives, encouraging primary and secondary students to study Lusitania and submit Lusitania projects, essays and art for display at the Temperence Hall in Kinsale town Centre and Cobh Maritime Building over the commemoration week.

Courtmacsherry:
Friday 1st May
• 7.45pm - Fly-over of Irish Coast Guard Helicopter
• 8pm - Official Opening of Centenary Weekend by Mr Simon Coveney, T.D., Minister for Agriculture, Marine & Food (and Defence) on Courtmacsherry pier. Teas / coffees available in Community Hall.
• Ryder and Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboats on display.
• 6 – 9pm - Lusitania Exhibitions in RNLI Lifeboat Station and Community Hall showing artefacts, memorabilia and story boards.

Saturday 2nd May
• 11am – 9pm – Daily Lusitania Exhibitions in Lifeboat Station and Community Hall. Model Exhibition at St. John the Evangelist Church.
• Lusitania themed talks in Blind Strand and Butlerstown. Bus transport arranged from village. Short Stories in Bars and Café's throughout the day. See local notice boards for further details.
• 2 – 5.30pm - Ryder and Courtmacsherry Lifeboats alongside pontoon on pier for public viewing.
• 5.30pm - Pulling and Sailing Lifeboat display with restored Ryder Lifeboat.
• 8.00pm - Lusitania lecture and presentation by esteemed Lusitania author and diver Paddy O Sullivan in Community Hall.

Sunday 3rd May – Main Event - Re-Enactment of Lifeboat Callout
• 11.00am - Events at Blindstrand across from the Old Lifeboat Station in Barry's Point. Buses arranged for transport from RNLI Lifeboat Station in Village. Narration of the RNLI Lifeboat call to Service.
• Lifeboat Launch. Start re-enactment of 12 mile Lifeboat row to Lusitania tragedy
• Lusitania themed talks in Blind Strand and Butlerstown. Bus transport arranged from village.
• 11.00am–9pm – Daily Lusitania Exhibitions in Lifeboat Station and Community Hall. Model Exhibition at St. John the Evangelist Church of Ireland.
• 3.30pm – Lusitania Presentation in Community Centre by renowned Lusitania Diver Eoin McGarry.
• Short Stories in Bars and Café's throughout the day. See local venues for details.
• 8.00pm - Return of "Ryder" lifeboat to Courtmacsherry Pier after completion of row to site of Lusitania (Exact arrival time dependent on weather conditions).

Monday 4th May
• 11am – 5.00pm - Lusitania Exhibitions in Lifeboat Station and Community Hall. Model Exhibition at St. John the Evangelist Church of Ireland.
• 2 – 5.00pm - Ryder and Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat alongside pontoon on pier for public viewing.

Wednesday 6th May
• 8pm – Lusitania Centenary Commemoration Black Tie Dinner at Courtmacsherry Hotel. Special Guest speakers include Lusitania owner and renowned Lusitania technical diver. Tickets cost 85 each. Limited availability. See our website for further details.
Thursday 7th May – Centenary day
• 9.30am Morning Commemoration mass at Sacred Heart Church, Courtmacsherry
• 2.10pm - Wreath Laying at exact site of Sinking of RMS Lusitania by RNLI Courtmacsherry Lifeboat. Release of 1201 balloons by local school children each one bearing the name of a Lusitania victim.

Cobh:
April:
Throughout April there will be a series of free lectures in Cobh as well as screenings of films and documentaries relating to Lusitania. These are as follows:
• Monday 6th: Ray White - The making of the documentary "Death by misadventure" & John Hennessey - "The Queenstown Lifeboat station" 3 pm Commodore Hotel
• Sunday 12th: Michael Martin "Lusitania - It wasn't and it didn't" 3.30 pm Commodore Hotel – after the annual Cobh Titanic Commemoration
• Sunday 19th: Eoin McGarry "Diving the Lusitania" 3 pm Commodore Hotel
• Sunday 26th : Paddy Sullivan "The sinking of the Lusitania, Unravelling the Mysteries" 3pm Commodore Hotel

Thursday 7th May:
All visitors and locals are requested to enter into the spirit of the day and dress in outfits of the era when coming to these events.
• 7am: Queen Victoria 'Lusitania Remembered' themed cruise arrives at Cobh Cruise Terminal.
• All day:
o Photographic Exhibit in the Cunard Building
o Port of Cork School Initiative projects on display in Cobh Maritime Building,
o Lusitania Exhibit at the Queenstown Story in Cobh Heritage Centre
o New Lusitania Exhibition entitled 'Lusitania – A Day in May' at Cobh Museum, housed in the former Scots Presbyterian Church.
o Lusitania Exhibition at Sirius Arts Centre – the exhibition will consider and link together three characters that died on-board the Lusitania - Corkman Sir Hugh Lane, and Americans Elbert Hubbard and Alice Hubbard. Lane was best known as a renowned art collector and Director of the National Gallery of Ireland, Elbert Hubbard was a writer, publisher and social agitator and Alice Hubbard was a writer and feminist. The Hubbards were also founders of the Roycroft Arts and Crafts Community and movement in New York State. The movement had a strong influence on the development of American architecture and design in the early 20th century. The exhibition will take the form of a number of portraits of all three characters (painting and photographs) and a text-based installation by writer and poet Sheila Mannix.
o Make sure you visit The Lusitania Peace Memorial in Cobh, which epitomises the efforts made by people to rescue survivors, recover bodies and comfort the bereaved. Irish American Sculptor Jerome Connor was commissioned by Bert Hubbard to sculpt a memorial to the tragedy. This is one of the most photographed objects in Cobh.
• 10am: A special commemorative mass will be held in St Colman's Cathedral, Cobh. Especially welcome will be relatives of those who died in the sinking of the Lusitania, relatives of those involved in the rescue efforts and relatives of survivors. Immediately afterwards there will be an opportunity for everyone to attend an informal gathering in Cobh Parish Centre which is adjacent to the Cathedral and to sign a special book of remembrance.
• Special mass in St. Coleman's Cathedral for families and friends of survivors, those lost and the brave local people who came to their aid. All welcome.
• 11am: Cobh Museum in association with Cobh Library, will host a Lecture by historian Giollamuire O Murchu entitled: Siochain Ainm De/ And all her paths are peace – American Angels, Irish Rescuers: The true story of the Lusitania Peace Memorial 1925-1968.

Graveyard Ceremony – Old Church Graveyard
• 12pm: Wreath laying ceremony at the graves of Lusitania victims takes place at Old Church graveyard with Chairman of Cunard and Chairman of Port of Cork.

Main Ceremony – Promenade
• 1pm: Performance by Band 1 Southern Brigade.
• 1.15pm: President Michael D Higgins Arrives.
• 13.35pm: Ceremony commences.
• 2.10pm – 2.30pm:
o Queen Victoria will sound a whistle to mark the moment Lusitania was hit by the torpedo, and a Naval vessel at anchor off the Promenade will respond.
o This will be followed by a minutes silence and blessings, and hymns by Ryan Morgan, Amanda Neri and Joe Corbett with Concert Orchestra.
o The Queen Victoria will then sound a second whistle to mark the sinking of Lusitania, and again the Naval vessel will respond, and there will be another minutes silence.
o The Captain of Queen Victoria will recite 'Ode of Remembrance.

Wreath Laying Ceremony – Lusitania Monument, Town Square
• 2.35pm: Wreath laying ceremony by President Higgins and British, German and US Ambassadors. This will end the official commemoration.

• 2.45pm – 4.15pm: Musical performances will take place on the Main Stage in the Promenade by Ryan Morgan, Amanda Neri & Joe Corbett with Concert Orchestra.
• 3.00pm: Professor Angela John, Historian will give a talk in Cobh Library - A Survivor's Story: Margaret Haig Mackworth & the Sinking of the Lusitania
• 4.00pm: Dr John Borgonovo, School of History, UCC will give a talk in Cobh Library - Lusitania, Cork Harbour and the Underwater War, 1914 – 1918
• 6.30pm: Queen Victoria departs Cobh
• 8-10pm: A free open air musical tribute concert encompassing music from Cork's Harbour will take place in Cobh's Promenade to set the tone and give the perfect vantage point to view the Flotilla at 9.15pm. Music from Ireland and America will date from the period and there will also be a range of sea shanties of the era.
• 9.15pm: A Flotilla of work boats, fishing boats and pleasure craft, each illuminated with white lights, will sail from Roche's Point towards Cobh. The boats will re-enact the rescue efforts and symbolise the return to Cobh on 7th May 1915 of boats filled with victims and survivors. The use of searchlights and white lights will provide a poignant and memorable spectacle from many varied vantage points and will allow local communities along the Cork coastline, including Fort Camden and Whitegate to have their own tributes and ceremonies.
• 9.45pm: Grand Finale of all the contributors to this Centenary Commemoration on the main stage in the Promenade.
• 9.30pm: Boat carrying the Cunard Flag comes ashore & The Procession of Light from Kennedy Pier in the Centre of town to the main stage in the Promenade with the bells of Cobh Cathedral ring out across the harbour. The illumination of the Lusitania Monument.
Sunday 10th May
• All day: Photo Exhibition at Cunard Building, Lusitania Exhibit at Queenstown Story.
• 12.00pm: A special commemorative mass will be held in St Colman's Cathedral, Cobh to mark the anniversary of the funeral procession for Lusitania victims on May 10 1915.
• 3.00pm: A re-enactment of the funeral procession to the Old Church Cemetery from the centre of Cobh to the Old Church Cemetery where the victims are buried. It is intended to replicate the funeral as closely as possible to the funeral order that was in 1915 with the general public invited to dress in clothes of the era. An ecumenical ceremony will be held in the Cemetery.
Monkstown:
• 7.00pm: Monkstown Chamber Choir are having a special Evensong in St. John's Church Monkstown to commemorate the tragedy of the Lusitania. This will be attended by cadets from NMCI.

Old Head
Thursday 7th May
• 1.15pm: Public assembly at the Lusitania monument on the Old Head of Kinsale.
• 1.40pm: Arrival of coastguard Air Sea rescue helicopter. Courtmacsherry 1915 replica lifeboat will also be at the Old Head Signal Tower.
• 1.45pm: Arrival of Guests and Simon Coveney T.D.
• 1.50pm: Speakers and Platform Party assemble.
• 2.00pm: Introduction and Welcome by Raymond White, Master of Ceremonies.
• 2.00pm: Courtmacsherry lifeboat over wreck site. Courtmacsherry 1915 replica lifeboat at the Old Head Signal Tower.
• 2.10pm: 1 minute silence.
• 2.11pm: Ecumenical prayer service followed by laying of wreaths at the monument.
• 2.20pm: Lament specially composed by Linda and Irene Buckley.
• 2.25pm: Last post on bugle.
• 2.28pm: Address by:
1. Alan Coleman, County Mayor
2. Michael Dowe, Grandson of Lusitania Captain Dowe
3. Historian
4. Stuart Williamson, Artist
5. Simon Coveney T.D. Minister of Agriculture, Food, Marine & Defence
• 2.45pm: Unveiling of commemorative plaque by Minister Coveney.
• 3.00pm: Official Opening of the Old Head Restored Signal Tower (and the associated Flag- and –Ball signalling system), which is being restored and transformed into a Lusitania Museum, with plans to exhibit artefacts recovered from the wreck. Eventually the Museum will also host an iconic piece of sculpture with the names of all who sailed on the Lusitania on May 7th 1915.
• 3.30pm: Irish Coastguard helicopter will open to public. The Signal Tower will also open to the public. From the parapet walkway the full panorama of one of Ireland's most scenic peninsula's will unfold.

Kinsale
Wednesday 6th May:
• 6.00pm: Lectures at the Speckled Door, organised by Bandon & Kinsale History Societies.
Thursday 7th May:
• 10.30am: Lusitania Town Walk from the Tourist Office
• 2.10pm: Minute silence in all schools in Kinsale while church bells ring, and the release of 1200 balloons.
• 5.00pm: Mr Simon Coveney T.D., Minister for Agriculture, Food, Marine & Defence will meet decedents of the 1915 Jury for re-enactment by Kinsale College Drama Students/ Kinsale Rampart Players. (Numbers limited.)
• Time TBC: Launch of Lusitania stamps at Kinsale Post Office.

Friday 8th May:
• 11am-1pm: Drama at the Kinsale Community School followed by drama at Naomh Eltin N.S. for 6th class primary pupils.
• 3.00pm: Official opening of the Federation of History Societies Conference in the Trident Hotel.
• 7.30 -8.30pm: Commemorative Concert in St. Multose Church with History Society, Lydian singers, KAOS, and the RNLI and local clergy to include inquest re-enactment by Kinsale College Drama students/ Kinsale Rampart Players, ecumenical prayers and wreath-laying.
• 9pm: Opening of the annual conference of the Federation of History societies with dinner and keynote speech by Greg Bemis.
• The Creation of Lusitania Exhibition highlighting the story of the Lusitania and relevance of Kinsale in the subsequent inquests will be showcased in the Kinsale Museum.
Saturday 9th May:
• 10.30am-1.30pm: AMG of the Federation at Trident Hotel
• 2pm-4pm: Street Fair organised by the Kinsale Good Food circle, Market Quay, with the Animation group from Cobh.
• 3pm-5.30pm: Lusitania Seminar with speakers from the U.S. UK and Ireland, followed by visit to the Signal Tower at the Old Head.
• 10am-6pm: Local schools art and project exhibition at the Kinsale Temperance Hall. Courtesy of Courtmacsherry RNLI at the 1915 lifeboat will be on exhibition in Kinsale.
Sunday 10th May
• 10am-6pm: Local schools art and project exhibition at the Kinsale Temperance Hall.
Sunday 24th May
• Sea Sunday, an annual event that commemorates those who were lost at sea and prays for the safety of those out at sea, will take place in St. Multose Church with access to a rescue boat from Courtmacsherry. This will be followed by a wreath laying ceremony and a parade to the Seaman's Memorial on Kinsale Pier.

Published in News Update

#seascouts – The 2015 Sea Scouting conference was held last weekend based in the Commodore Hotel in Cobh. Over 90% of the country's Sea Scout groups were in attendance, with delegates from as far away as Donegal, Louth and Galway. Sea Scouting is a branch of Scouting Ireland which concentrates on the development of leadership skills through adventurous activities afloat, having being founded by Baden Powell's brother in the 1910s. Its members make up about 1 in 12 of Scouting Ireland's members.
The weekend's programme was packed with workshops and speakers, with Commodore Hugh Tully, Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service opening the conference. Lieutenant Commander Martin Brett of the Naval Service gave the keynote speech at the dinner on Saturday evening. Lt Cdr Brett, who also the Venture Scout Leader in the 55th Cork (Carrigaline) spoke about leadership at sea and his presentation was a highlight of the weekend. Workshops included a presentation by Scouting Ireland's new Programme Commissioner for Youth Empowerment Niamh Donnelly, hands-on sessions including an exploration of inclusivity for young people with disabilities led by Ciaran Murphy from the ISA, a session on applying the Leave no Trace principles to activities afloat and talks on adventurous journeys including Finbarr Hedderman who spoke about his swim from Ireland to Scotland.
There was also a presentation from Sail Training Ireland. In conjunction with Sail Training Ireland, Sea Scouting launched an opportunity for all Scouts age 16-26 to join a Scout-only voyage from Falmouth to Belfast as part of the Tall Ships festival this summer.
Chief Scout of Scouting Ireland Michael John Shinnick also attended the gala dinner on the Saturday evening. In recognition of his support over the last 6 years as Chief Scout, he was presented with a framed photo of himself at the helm of Yahtzee, the well-known ISORA campaigner, which acted as committee boat at the 100th anniversary Sea Scout Rowing Regatta last year in Dun Laoghaire.
Programme Commissioner for Sea Scouting Stephen Taylor said about the conference: "We are at very exciting time for Sea Scouting with a number of new Sea Scout Groups opening around the country. We also have some ambitious projects in the pipeline that will see more and more young people enjoying fun and adventure on the water. The level of attendance at the conference and the spirit in which delegates engaged shows a bright future afloat."

Published in News Update

#Lusitania - Commemorations for those who died in the sinking of the Lusitania 100 years ago began in Cork Harbour yesterday (Sunday 1 February), as The Irish Times reports.

Starting with the tolling of St Colman's Cathedral's 49 bells in the heart of Cobh – which took in many of the dead and injured after the Cunard liner was sunk by a torpedo from a German U-boat off Kinsale on 7 May 1915 – the evening also saw the firing of ceremonial flares over the harbour.

And Co Cork Mayor Alan Coleman was among those speaking at the event to remember what he described as "the greatest maritime tragedy off our coast".

Yesterday's event was the first in a series of commemorations to be held over the next four months at places connected with the Lusitania's final voyage.

Published in Cork Harbour

#sealinks – In the current debate which has surfaced about the future of Aer Lingus, it is good to hear the realisation in all quarters, from politicians to business, economic and media commentators that Ireland is an 'island nation'. While the importance of air links is being highlighted, those same people could extend their thinking to the maritime links which keep this country alive in a way in which no air linkage can do.

This is emphasised in the leading story in the current edition of my radio programme, THIS ISLAND NATION which you can hear on this website, where I interview the first lady to become President of the Irish Institute of Master Mariners, the professional body for Shipmasters. Sea-going has been a male-dominated profession but Capt. Sinead Reen who lives in Crosshaven, Co.Cork, has done a lot to break that mould. She was also the first woman to qualify as a Deck Officer in Ireland and has served at sea on several types of vessels, including super tankers and cruise ships.

She describes in the interview how she chose a career at sea and, at a time when the Naval Service would not admit women, joined the Merchant Navy: "We are not seen by the general public because we are at sea, carrying the goods, the supplies, the imports, the exports, which this nation needs across the world's seaways. Without ships and seafarers this nation would find it difficult to exist." She discusses life at sea for a woman in a male environment aboardship and speaks of the great opportunities for employment at sea for both women and men. Her election underlines the opportunities of a career at sea for women in what has been a male-dominated profession.

It is an interview worth listening to, as is that about the commemorations planned in the Cork Harbour town of Cobh for the centenary of the sinking of the Lusitania in May.

Hendrik Verway, Chairman of Cobh Tourism, outlines the details of the commemorative plans. Cobh, where survivors of the Lusitania sinking by a German U-boat on May 7, 1915, were landed as well as the bodies of those who were killed in the tragedy, is planning ceremonies on the seafront at Cobh and a sail past by boats on the evening of May 7, with the vessels displaying a single white light to remember those who were killed. Two cruise ships will be in Cobh on the day. One of them, the Cunard's Queen Victoria, will be on a commemorative voyage and on Thursday afternoon, May 7, will sound her ship's whistle at the time at which the torpedo hit the Lusitania, to start a ceremony on the Cobh seafront . A quayside ceremony will start as the whistle sounds and which will conclude at 2.30 p.m., marking the time when the Lusitania sank beneath the waves. 1,198 passengers and crew died. Survivors were landed at Cobh, to where bodies of the dead were also brought and 169 buried. There were 764 survivors. Only 289 bodies were recovered. 169 are buried in the Old Cemetery in Cobh, 149 in three mass graves and 20 in individual plots. Amongst the commemorative events will be a series of lectures and an exhibition of photographs taken in Cobh, then called Queenstown, in the aftermath of the landing there of survivors and bodies by rescue vessels. Many of these photos have not been on public display before and have been digitised for exhibition from original glass plates photographed at the time, through the co-operation of the National Museum. It is also planned to re-enact the funeral of victims to the Old Cemetery in Cobh.

And in another interview on the programme, Paul Bourke of Inland Fisheries Ireland tells me that, for anglers, it has been a good year for the catching of specimen fish.

Fair Sailing...

Published in Island Nation

#Lusitania - A special memorial cruise celebrating the Lusitania on the centenary of its sinking will visit Cobh next summer, as the Irish Examiner reports.

May 7 is the date to mark in your calendars to see the Cunard cruise liner Queen Victoria dock at expanded facilities in the Cork Harbour town amid a host of events to mark the anniversary.

The 'Lusitania Remembered' cruise, which sets out from Southampton on 3 May next, will also host an exhibition of memorabilia from the ill-fated liner, torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1915.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners

#corkharbour – Cove Sailing Club will finally have a home in Cork Harbour and Cobh town will get a marina, according to Commodore of Cove Sailing Club Adrian Tyler on Friday.

The new Cork Harbour marina facility adds another important link in the necklace of up to 60 marinas around the Irish coastline.

Tyler made the announcement following a meeting of Cove Sailing Club members it was unanimously passed to go ahead with a 74 berth marina at Whitepoint, Cobh.

The new facility will be built in two phases. The first phase is for thirty berths and this is expected to be operational by early in 2015.

Rear Commodore Derry Allister said that the works will begin immediately. The funding for this 'community marina' is made up of SECAD funding of €125,000 a grant from Cork County Council of €200,000 and club members have sponsored the remaining €300,000 for the project.

President of Cobh & Harbour Chamber Brian Curtis said this marina was a welcome boost to tourism in Cobh this news on the back of Cobh retaining its silver medal position in the tidy towns competition ends a great week for Cobh and gives all the community a boost for next year's tourist season.

Brian Curtis stated that the marina will allow more tourists to visit Cobh and they will at last have a marina to tie their boats up. Without the assistance of our four newly elected councillors working together at Cork County hall with the marina committee this great news would not be possible today.

The marina group also acknowledged the assistance of Mr Louis Duffy of Cork county council in guiding them through the storms of financing the marina.

CSC will be holding a meeting for potential berth holders shortly.

Published in Irish Marinas
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In Cowes, on the south coast of England, IRL1392 Illes Pitiuses (Jason and Dominic Losty) from Cobh are leading the all amateur or Corinthian division trophy after day one of the 2014 Coutts Quarter Ton Cup having won the first race. Onboard is Cork Harbour Olympic Star keelboat sailor Mark Mansfield as tactician.

Yesterday's marks the start of a second week of successful racing for the Cove SC crew who finished 16th overall in last Saturday's massive 1,600–boat Round the Island Race. 

Ireland previously won the Corinthian Quarter Ton Cup in 2012 with the George Kenefick skippered Tiger, another Fauroux design like Illes Pitiuses.

Illes Pitiuses leads the pack by single point margin from Pierre Paris's Pinguin Playboy (1986 Castro) with Phil Cook's Purple Haze, the beautiful varnished 1976 version of the Thomas designed Bolero which won the inaugural revival Quarter Ton Cup in 2005, in third. Illes Pitiuses got their day off to a great start by winning race one overall and went on to also claim fourth overall in race three, added to their seventeenth in race two they now lie seventh overall as well as leading the Corinthians.

Warm sunshine, sea breezes and a great fleet of Quarter Tonners are ingredients guaranteed to produce an outstanding day on the water and the opening day of the Cup certainly lived up to everyone's expectations.

Initially the race committee, headed by Race Officer Rob Lamb, was forced to postpone while the sea breeze established itself, but once it arrived three great races were laid on for the 33-strong fleet. As always with the Quarter Tonners it was nip and tuck at every mark and the place changing was constant.

The quality of racing in the Coutts Quarter Ton fleet is always outstanding and for this tenth anniversary edition it seems that the teams have pulled out all the stops. As well as performing beautifully the boats and crews are also looking quite wonderful this year. The oldest boat in the fleet is Tony Hayward's Blackfun, a 1977 Davidson design, whilst the youngest is Richard Fleck's Per Elisa, which was designed by Ceccarelli and won the Quarter Ton Cups of 1995 (Gdynia) and 1996 (Travemunde).

With three races in the bag and a 2, 2, 3 scoreline Rickard Melander's Alice II, a 1990 Phil Morrison design, leads the fleet by a 4.5 point margin. Alice II has regularly featured on the Coutts Quarter Ton Cup podium since her first appearance in 2010 and must surely hope that this year they will finally be the bride and not a bridesmaid.

Lying in second overall is Peter Morton's Bullit, a 1979 Fauroux that won the Quarter Ton Cup in San Remo the year she was launched. Under Peter's ownership she also won the 2012 Coutts Quarter Ton Cup in Cowes and the team clearly have their eye on adding their name to the trophy for a third time. Their performance improved as the day wore on, starting with a seventh in race one, followed by a dead heat for third with Tony Haywood's Blackfun (a 1977 Davidson design) in race two, and finally a win in race three.

Tonight's overall top three is rounded out by Willie McNeill's Illegal Immigrant, a 1991 Ceccarelli design which acquired her name when customs officers found an illegal immigrant in the boat when she arrived at the UK border after Willie purchased her from Greece. After a slightly wobbly start with an eleventh in race one Illegal Immigrant went on to add a second and a win to her score line putting her 2.5 points behind Bullit.

The racing is so close that dead heats on corrected time are common. In addition to the tie between Bullit and Blackfun noted above there were three further dead heats today: In race two Enigma, the 1977 Dubois design now owned by the Stewart/Young/Smith partnership, and Graham Hetherington's Great Bear IV (1986 Joubert Nivelt) tied for thirteenth, and in race three Eric Reynolds' Magnum Evolution (1976 Everitt) and Phil Cook's Purple Haze (1976 Thomas) tied for twelfth and Rob Gray's Cote (1990 Gonzalez) and Cartoon tied for fourteenth.

Whilst the racing at the Coutts Quarter Ton Cup is always spectacularly close, the regatta is about more than just the results. It's wonderful to see such beautifully restored and maintained historic little boats being enjoyed by their owners whether they are leading the fleet or not. Joining the regatta for the first time this year is Cartoon, a 1986 Fauroux design owned by Ken Lawless from Ireland. Cartoon is unique in the fleet in that she still sports her original rig configuration, boasting runners, check stays and "almost" in line spreaders, and has not been optimised for IRC. She underwent a refit last winter and to keep the boat in as close to original condition as possible they even went to the lengths of finding fittings from Jack Holt's 1986 catalogue for authenticity.

Paul Colton's Cri-Cri is another boat that might not be at the top of the leaderboard but is nonetheless having a great time. Cri Cri was one of the first Kevlar and Nomex boats built and was designed for the 1979 Quarter Ton Cup in San Remo by Alain Jezequel. Cri Cri is a pet name for Christoph and the boat was named after the original owner's son. Alain Jezequel's boats filled five of the top ten in the 1979 Cup - Cri Cri finished eighth. Subsequently he attempted to take his designs forward into the Half and One Ton classes, but he was unable to make the transition so 1979 was to be the zenith of his design career. After racing Paul Colton's Irish humour came to the fore as he joked "I'd quite happily have 50 starts a day and then a 100 yard race. We're considering running our GoPro footage backwards so it all ends up in a draw rather like the Grand National in reverse. But seriously the racing is stunning although it was a very tough day at the office. We're a crew thrown together this year but always really enjoy the racing here and are looking forward to tomorrow and to hopefully eking out one or two results."

Today's racing wasn't without its fair share of controversy. In the final race of the day the race committee announced an individual recall for three boats. Lucy Wood's Rum Bleu (1979 de Ridder) turned back and restarted correctly, but Jamie McWilliams' Sai Kung Belle, a 1981 Fauroux design which has shipped all the way from Hong Kong for the event, and Ian Southworth and Led Pritchard's Whiskers (1979 Joubert Nivelt) both ignored the call to return. On the line neither received a gun which was particularly painful for the Whiskers crew who crossed the line in first place. An appeal to the Protest Committee, chaired by Sonia Mays, failed to see them reinstated so they find themselves in eighteenth overall and looking forward to the introduction of the discard.

Tomorrow the fleet looks forward to three more races and with a forecast for easterly breezes in the mid to upper teens we can expect more great racing and perhaps a few of the thrills and spills for which these lively little boats are famous. The regatta continues until Friday 27 June with up to nine races scheduled. Three races constitute a series and if six or more races are sailed a discard will be applied.

Provisional Overall Top Five After Three Races

1. SWE744 Alice II - Rickard Melander - 2, 2, 3 = 7
2. FRA7891 Bullit - Peter Morton - 7, 3.5, 1 = 11.5
3. GBR501 Illegal Immigrant - William McNeil - 11, 1, 2 = 14
4. GBR8414R Aquila - Sam Laidlaw - 5, 5, 7 = 17
5. GBR50R Espada - Louise Morton - 4, 6, 8 = 18

Provisional Corinthian Top Three After Three Races

1. IRL1392 Illes Pitiuses - Jason and Dominic Losty - 1, 2, 1 = 4
2. FRA12130 Pinguin Playboy - Pierre Paris - 2, 1, 2 = 5
3. GBR7070 Purple Haze - Phil Cook - 3, 3, 3 = 9

Published in Racing
Page 3 of 9

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