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Displaying items by tag: Cork Harbour

The vintage and immaculately restored Cork Harbour One Design 'Jap' was back on home waters today, at the marina at Royal Cork Yacht Club in celebration of Cork300.

Prior to launching the historic 1895-built boat was trailed to Crosshaven and stored on her trailer at Crosshaven Boatyard, drawing many admiring glances.

As Afloat's Tom MacSweeney reported in March, C4, Jap, after many years based on the South Coast of England, has been donated by her owner to the Royal Cork YC and will be sailing in Cork this season.

Photos prior to Jap's launch below by Bob Bateman

Cork Harbour One Design 'Jap'

Jap, Cork Harbour One Design

Cork Harbour One Design Jap

Jap Cork Harbour One Design

Published in Cork300

Some offshore racing enthusiasts may have been hoping that the historic re-enactment of the “Kingstown to Queenstown" Race of 1860 – the first proper offshore event in Irish and British waters – might still have been staged in some very muted form, with minimal shoreside interaction in order to comply with post-COVID-19 restrictions. But those directly involved have now made a clear decision that to do so would be entirely at variance with the spirit of the race, which is to be a celebration of offshore racing both in Ireland and internationally, with a highly sociable shore-side element in Cobh after the finish.

The leading race organiser at the Cobh finish, South Coast Offshore Racing Association Commodore Johanna Murphy, has issued an informal statement outlining the thinking behind the way things will go, as plans take shape to stage the race in 2022:

“The Kingstown to Queenstown Race is postponing to 7/7/22 in light of COVID-19. The race is being run by Cove Sailing Club and the National Yacht Club, and will start from the NYC and finish at the Old Yacht Club (now the Sirius Centre) in Cobh. After the finish, there’ll be festivities on the Cobh waterfront, including of course a talk on the history of the iconic race by the one and only Eddie English. The prize-giving will follow, and I will be organising a barbecue in the Quays, while now that CSC marina is up and running, there will be visitor berthing available.

All the mechanics of the race will be worked out nearer the time, but it’s definitely one for the diary - after all, what’s another two years when we have waited since 1860? The June-July programme for 2021 is already solidly booked, so to do this iconic and historic race justice, we need to make the clean break to 2022. It deserves the chance to be a fantastic race, and will I feel it be a popular event nationally and internationally, and a chance for the Clubs and sailors to come together - which is what much of sailing is all about. And It will also tie in nicely with Cork Week 2022, which is 11th – 15th July 2022."

Published in Dublin Bay

Royal Cork Yacht Club in Cork Harbour has retained its An Taisce Blue Flag, one of ten Irish marinas to fly the environmental award flag in 2020/2021.

As Afloat reported previously, another County Cork marina at Kinsale Yacht Club was also awarded the standard.

The programme aims to raise environmental awareness and promote sound environmental management of beaches, marinas and inland bathing waters around the world.

The 80 Irish beaches and 10 marinas that have achieved this accolade in 2020 must adhere to specific criteria related to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and site management.

Royal Cork's Blue Flag for 2020 flies at the clubhouse in Cork HarbourRoyal Cork's Blue Flag for 2020 flies at the clubhouse in Cork Harbour

"The award is really important to the Club as it is a vital part of our overall sustainability strategy", Gavin Deane, RCYC General Manager told Afloat.

On the West Coast, Kilrush Marina on the Shannon Estuary, and facilities in County Kerry at Fenit and Portmagee were also Blue Flag winners.

Other Blue Flag marinas for 2020/21 are:

  • Greencastle Marina 
  • Rathmullan Marina 
  • Fenit Marina
  • Kilmore Quay Marina
  • New Ross Marina
  • Quigleys Marina, Killinure Point, Co. Westmeath
Published in Marine Wildlife

Time was when fifty years seemed a long time in the life of any sports organisation, and indeed in life itself. Golden Jubilees were a big deal, to be celebrated with much fanfare. In fact, even 25 years of organisational continuity were worthy of festivities. But then, the general mindset was programmed by the fact that many sports only became properly codified towards the end of the 1800s, while the organisations which grew from them were generally only finding their feet around the turn of the century in 1900.

The new Century was barely under way before it was riven by two World Wars, in 1914-1918 and again in 1939-1945. In between them, in Ireland in the period 1919 to 1922 we managed to fit in a War of Independence, Partition and a Civil War. None of this was remotely comparable in scale to the major geopolitical changes and industrial carnage of the global conflicts, but they caused major disruption and tragedy at a local and personal level, such that just one decade of civilised life and gentle progress began to seem like a long time, a major achievement.

Yet despite the Troubles in Ireland between 1969 and 1998, the general mood since the end of World War II in 1945 has been one of peace and progress, however deceptive that may become under close analysis. The effect of all this – allied to markedly increased longevity until too many people started getting obese in recent years – is that fifty years no longer seems such a very long time.

Willem van der Hagen’s 1736 painting of Cork HarbourAn unrivalled heritage afloat. Willem van der Hagen’s 1736 painting of Cork Harbour with the then-unextended though fortified Haulbowline Island at centre, showing at last seven yachts of the Water Club in the group of vessels heading towards the channel past Cobh. Courtesy RCYC

We see it in Irish sailing in particular by noting the number of people around us who can remember participating in the Quarter Millennial Celebrations of the Royal Cork Yacht Club in 1969-1970, and were looking forward to being involved in the RCYC’s Tricentenary this year.

Back in 1970 – which after all was only 25 years after the end of World War II - fifty years still seemed a very considerable length of time, making the Royal Cork’s 250 year of existence all the more remarkable. That was something which was underlined ten years later, when much fanfare accompanied the Irish Cruising Club’s Golden Jubilee Cruise-in-Company in 1979, with a large international fleet sailing westward from Crosshaven to the incomparable cruising grounds of southwest Ireland, made popular over the years by the key ICC founder, Harry Donegan of Cork.

The 1895-designed Cork Harbour OD Imp The 1895-designed Cork Harbour OD Imp making full speed seawards in the 1950s. When the new Class Association was formed in 1896, Harry Donegan – the very personification of Cork sailing enthusiasm - was its first secretary. He also was a formidably successful helmsman in a CHOD, he took part and placed third in the first Fastnet Race in 1925 in his 17-ton cutter Gull (becoming a founder member of the Royal Ocean Racing Club), and in 1929 he played the key role in founding the Irish Cruising Club, starting with a cruise-in-company westwards from Cork Harbour, and concluding with the formation of the ICC in Glengarriff. In addition to his many achievements afloat and ashore, he was a talented painter of marine subjects. Photo: Tom Barker

But nowadays, fifty years is something we just take in our stride. And perhaps it is this modern compression of the half-century which has helped us to cope with the unbelievable reality that the visionary and meticulous plans for the Tricentenary of the RCYC have been up-ended by a worldwide pandemic, a lethal disease which originated in a wet market in the depths of China, and has spread so totally and ruthlessly across the world that we will probably never really know the true extent of its fatal effects.

Preventing those dreadful effects from being even worse has become a national project. Yet before the need for this became totally clear, even the most utterly pessimistic observer could not have imagined how totally the necessary safety measures would effectively wipe out the RCYC celebrations.

Sailing is of itself a very healthy sport, and the people who participate in it are usually from a vigorous cohort of the population. But that in turn means that our post-sailing socialising is unusually intense. So we know that the resumption of sailing is requiring a complete re-set of the way we go about our activities afloat, and how we access them. But meanwhile, the thoughts of the sailing community are very much with the sailors of Cork, and the way that their hopes and plans were caught precisely in the target cross-hairs of the spreading pandemic.

Yet the way that the Royal Cork YC has responded to this unbelievable reversal of fortune has been an inspiration to us all. The inevitable cancellations have been timely and efficient, and the members have rallied round in a spirit of mutual support, while Admiral Colin Morehead has been the very model of calm philosophical acceptance and example as he leads his members in handling this extraordinary challenge.

Colin Morehead, Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht ClubColin Morehead, Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, whose calm and philosophical acceptance of the effects of Lockdown, after he had devoted three years to planning the Tricentenary, has been much admired in sailing. His sense of the continuity of Cork sailing is emphasized by the marine artwork he has chosen to be photographed with – it is one of Harry Donegan’s paintings of a Cork Harbour OD. Courtesy RCYC

Colin Morehead himself had been working on the plans for the Tricentenary for three years and longer, and while he was doing that, it was Pat Farnan as Admiral who led the club to such good effect through the busy countdown years that RCYC entered 2020 already feted as “Club of the Year”.

It was all systems go, and then it was all systems on hold as the grim news came from the east, and then with gruesome inevitability, it was all crowd-gathering events on cancellation. Yet it was done with a dignity and graceful acceptance which set the standard not just for Irish clubs, but for world sailing generally.

It is impossible to overestimate the beneficial effect which the gallant –indeed noble – manner in which the RCYC has dealt with the circumstances has contributed to the general good. Then too, the broad benefit of the community spirit within the club has manifested itself in many ways, with the National 18 class leading the charge in the full development of eRacing, while members with a real feeling for the extraordinary history of the club have got together to produce an online series - Way Back When – which features on the RCYC website, and explores many areas of club activity and Crosshaven history, all with an attractive personal touch.

Limited club sailing has of course finally resumed this week in controlled circumstances with emphasis on the juniors, while family sailing – always central to the Cork scene – has been returning as the restrictions are eased, though there’s still a long way to go, and everyone is mindful of the need for careful monitoring at every stage.

The History of the Royal Cork YC was published in 2005, when it was honoured as “Irish Book of the Year”. The History of the Royal Cork YC was published in 2005 when it was honoured as “Irish Book of the Year”. Written by historian Alicia St Leger, it was based on the club’s unrivalled collection of artefacts, documents, memorabilia and sailing records curated by Honorary Archivist Dermot Burns

What with the fresh look at the club’s past through the Way Back When series, coupled with the fact that the Club’s monumental history - based by historian Alice St Leger on RCYC archivist Dermot Burns’ unrivalled collection of records and artefacts going back to 1720 and beyond - was published to several awards and much acclaim in 2005, provides an enduring base of shared awareness. This, when combined with the eRacing, the Webinars, and now the ordered resumption of sailing in gradual socially-distanced steps, tells us all that the RCYC is very much alive and well.

In fact, nothing has become the Royal Cork Yacht Club so much as its graceful acceptance of the inevitability of cancelling much of its Tricentenary celebrations. It tells us much about how the Club and its members have matured and thrived over the centuries into the unique institution which has been a club for long enough to be planning a Tricentenary in the first place. As sailing resumes on a broader scale, the RCYC will find that their standing in world sailing is greater than ever.

As it is, they should take every encouragement from the progress that they and their magnificent harbour have made in terms of facilities and activity since 1970, which becomes abundantly clear from most of 1970’s monthly editions of Irish Yachting & Motorboating, Afloat.ie’s direct predecessor, which in 1970 was dominated by the RCYC Quarter Millennium.

Irish Yachting & Motorboating, featuring Denis Doyle and Sir Francis Chichester Lead page from the June 1970 Irish Yachting & Motorboating, featuring Denis Doyle and Sir Francis Chichester inspecting the new Gipsy Moth V under construction in Crosshaven Boatyard

Denis Doyle and Francis Chichester considering Gipsy Moth V’s new-style fin-and-skeg configurationTwo men of the sea in serious mood – Denis Doyle and Francis Chichester considering Gipsy Moth V’s new-style fin-and-skeg configuration, with the 7-ton keel cast in Dublin. At such moments when cameras were about, Chichester was obliged to look serious, but in fact he regarded Crosshaven as one of his favourite places to relax and enjoy.

We really started to roll with the May issue, in which the lead item in Seascape, the opening collection of stories of particular interest to the Editor, led with the building of Francis Chichester’s 53ft Robert Clark-designed Gipsy Moth V in Crosshaven Boatyard. I hadn’t forgotten just how much Chichester had loathed the committee-designed Gipsy Moth IV in which he circled the world in 1966-67 with one stop at Sydney, but I had forgotten - until re-reading the story fifty years down the line - that he’d been so impressed with the improvements Sydney yacht designer Warwick Hood had made to the boat during the Sydney stopover that he at one stage contemplated getting Hood to design Gipsy Moth V.

However, in the end he went back to Robert Clark, designer of Gipsy Moth III which had been built by Tyrrell of Arklow, and as Clark by this stage had formed a working relationship with Crosshaven Boatyard through Denis Doyle, that’s where Gipsy Moth V was built.

Crosshaven built, and looking well: Gipsy Moth Crosshaven built, and looking well. Gipsy Moth brought a refreshing simplicity and clarity of design with a notably good sailing performance after the complications and problems of Gipsy Moth IV

When we all went back to Crosshaven in July through various offshore races finishing in Cork Harbour, Gipsy Moth V was afloat and Francis Chichester was in the village and having himself a fine old time among the crews who took part in the week-long Quarter Millennia Offshore Regatta which followed the feeder races.

This relaxed state of affairs came to an end when Mary Doyle took the nautical knight up to Cork Airport to meet an incoming flight with the formidable Sheila Chichester on board. The plane pulled up on the apron outside the Terminal Building, and almost immediately a distinctive red trouser leg emerged from the opening door. Chichester whispered to Mary: “Oh dear. That’s the trouser suit we were knighted in at Greenwich. I think the fun is over for a day or two.”

Meanwhile, everyone else continued to have much sport and fun throughout the Cork summer of 1970, but in looking back at those magazines of the time, the abiding impression is of the greyness of it all, mainly because black and white photos were still totally dominant, but also there’s the primitive nature of the facilities.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club's clubhouse in 1970The Royal Cork YC’s clubhouse in 1970, with the long sloping jetty across the mud in the foreground. Photo: W M Nixon

The Royal Cork clubhouse was only a tiny hint of what it has become today, though I do rather miss the old bar – originally from the time of the Royal Munster YC – which was in the shape and spirit of the great aft cabin of a mighty ship from the Golden Age of sail, but it wasn’t remotely commodious enough for today’s level of business.

As to getting afloat, it had been by a long jetty across mud – incredibly adhesive mud, as revellers would learn from time to time - and then by dinghy or club launch to your moored yacht out in the Owenboy River. However, by the time of the special regattas of 1969 and 1970, a large floating pontoon had been assembled at the club, and there was limited -though for many boats tide-sensitive - rationed berthing there.

first partially tidal RCYC pontoon was in place for the Quarter Millennium in 1969-70The beginnings. This first partially tidal pontoon was in place for the Quarter Millennium in 1969-70, but it wasn’t until 1974 that the RCYC had the beginnings of its marina, yet it was the first club marina in Ireland. Photo W M Nixon

Yet it wasn’t until 1972 that Ireland saw the first salt-water marina, and that was a local council amenity at Coleraine on the estuary of the River Bann on the North Coast.

But then 1974 the Royal Cork installed the beginnings of its marina, a new-fangled and very popular Autumn league followed that same year as a consequence, and since then progress has been taking place on almost every coastline - despite what some still-deprived areas might think - and it is Cork Harbour which has been leading the way.

This has been fulfilling an historic tendency. After all, the Water Club of the Harbour of Cork came into being partially because the landowners around the harbour sometimes found the most convenient way to get about his complex area of water and into the city was by boat, and it didn’t take long for working boats used for personal transport to be developed into something more luxurious.

Then the age of steam brought a new wave of harbour transport, with routes criss-crossing the harbour, and steamer piers and landing stages being installed at strategic locations, with many of them – or the remains of them - still in evidence. Local railways did provide an alternative, and so too did roads and cars as both improved, but the steamers survived for a remarkably long time.

When John G Sisk, who recently featured here as the first owner of Sarnia, was a schoolboy in Cork during the upheavals and dangerous strife of the early 1920s, for his safety he lived in his parents’ house in Myrtleville, travelling home by the harbour steamer to Crosshaven each evening and then continuing by pony and trap the two miles to the house.

Being John G Sisk, he optimised this situation. He knew that he would spend some time on the early morning steamer going back up to Cork city next day, so he was able to spend his evenings roaming freely in boyish adventures in the fields and beaches of Myrtleville, knowing he’d a clear time-slot for his homework on the morning ship to school.

Cork Harbour Paddle Steamer in the Port of CorkCork Harbour Paddle Steamer in the Port of Cork. They gave convenient access to piers and landing stages strategically located all round the harbour

All round Cork Harbour you can see the remains of the old steamer call-points, and there are many other little local ancient harbours too, some so old their original uses are forgotten. For a while, indeed, it seemed that the great days of Cork Harbour as an amenity, every bit as much as it’s a commercial asset, had been forgotten too.

But that has changed in the past fifty years, and particularly the past twenty. The Port of Cork and the Council have been beavering away installing landing and berthing facilities at key locations through this myriad island-filled harbour, transforming it for mini-cruising, for although there are real beaches in some choice locations, elsewhere mud is still king, and getting neatly and cleanly ashore at a safe berth makes all the difference in visits to the islands and remote locations.

Cork Harbour 1970, when there were very few officially-recognised berthing and landing facilities. Cork Harbour 1970, when there were very few officially-recognized berthing and landing facilities

Cork Harbour 2020 landing and berthing facilitiesCork Harbour 2020 is very much work in progress, with most years seeing significant additions to landing and berthing facilities. 2020’s big breakthrough will be Cove Sailing Club’s new marina at Cobh which is currently being installed, thereby bringing the Harbour’s marina total up to six - or seven if you count the extensive berthing facilities available in Cork City itself, and eight if you add in the Naval Yacht Squadron’s berthing in Haulbowline. Imaging: Jack O’Keeffe

The two people who lead the movement in making the best possible use of everything that Cork Harbour now has to offer are Monkstown’s Jack O’Keeffe, who’s busy with Drascombes when he’s not busy with kayaks when he’s not on some project involving Meitheal Mara (with it sometimes being a combination of all three), and Eddie English of Cobh. Eddie’s webinar this week, providing a guide to every hidden corner of this fantastic history-laden harbour, was required viewing, an eye-opener for anyone whose knowledge of Cork Harbour is restricted to biennial participation in Cork Week.

Cork Harbour guru Jack O’Keeffe in his DrascombeThe Drascombe that gets to places the locals didn’t even know existed – Cork Harbour guru Jack O’Keeffe racing single-handed in the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Bicentenary Regatta in 2017. Photo: W M Nixon

Eddie English’s First 36.7 Holy Grounder at Blackrock Castle Eddie English’s First 36.7 Holy Grounder at Blackrock Castle in the upper harbour

Jack O’Keeffe put together the remarkable “Corkumnavigation” of Cork city by kayaks and paddleboards last weekend, a real adventure which took the participants from crowded city-centre quaysides with visiting naval vessels looming over them, right into what seemed like the deepest heart of the countryside with trees closing overhead above clean narrow and winding waterways, while at other times they were going through a cityscape which might have been Venice.

Cork City directly accessed from the sea by last weekend’s CorkumnavigationIt mightn’t quite be Venice, but who’d have thought this was an area of Cork City directly accessed from the sea by last weekend’s Corkumnavigation. Photo: Jack O’Keeffe

Cork Harbour which seem very distant indeed from the open seaThere are parts of Cork Harbour which seem very distant indeed from the open sea, and this is one of them, reached in Cork City during last weekend’s Corkumnavigation. Photo: Jack O’Keeffe

Next weekend, Jack is leading a Drascombe flotilla around the harbour, and he’s to give an illustrated talk on the Inner Harbour to Meitheal Mara shortly, so it was time to update available data. It’s thanks to him that we have the interim gazetteer of landing and berthing facilities around Cork Harbour, for it’s such a complex place with so many small local developments taking shape that it needs constant monitoring by people like Jack just to keep up.

No better man. On Wednesday evening, I was supposed to be phoning him at home to discuss how this was all coming together, the idea being that he’d be comfortably at his desk slurping a cup of tea or something stronger, and comfortably able to take the ideas forward. But while there was a semi-liquid noise when I got through, it was a squelching rather than a slurping, and he seemed slightly breathless.

The lost harbour of Carrickgremman on Little IslandDrascombes are the Heineken boats – they reach the places the others can’t. This is the “lost” harbour of Carrickgremman on Little Island. Photo: Jack O’Keeffe

“Don’t mind me” he said. “I’ve just heard about a tiny hidden Cork Harbour beach I didn’t even know about, and I just had to go and see for myself. I’m nearly there, and I think I can see a little patch of sand. If you don’t get some photos from me later tonight, you’ll know it was quicksand….”

The photos arrived. But what with Jack boldly going where no skipper had ever gone before, and the unquenchably enthusiastic Eddie English taking his First 36.7 Holy Grounder into places where most of us wouldn’t take a paddleboard, we’ve serious Cork Harbour information overload. So you’ll just have to go and see for yourselves, confident that if Lockdown continues in some limited form, there’s already an entire cruising universe within Cork Harbour without having to even think about going out to sea.

landing pontoon on Spike IslandA convenient facility to provide access to a fascinating place - the landing pontoon on Spike Island, with Cobh resplendent beyond. Photo: Jack O'Keeffe

And in all its glory, the place is another expression of the continuing spirit of the Water Club of the Harbour of Cork as expressed through the Royal Cork Yacht Club and all the other clubs around this unique area of sheltered scenic water. In this time of travail, we wish them well, and thank them profoundly for the fine example they’ve set for sailors everywhere.

Paddy’s Point along the causeway towards Haulbowline Calm morning in a busy harbour. The aerial view from above Paddy’s Point along the causeway towards Haulbowline with the Naval Base complete with Yacht Squadron marina, and Cobh beyond with a cruise liner in port. Photo: Port of Cork

Published in Cork Harbour

2020 was to be a year of special events in Cork Harbour. COVID 19 brought those plans to a crashing halt. The highest-profile hit was Cork Week and the events celebrating Cork 300, many of which are cancelled or in doubt at present. But tucked away in another part of the harbour lies a special club that had its very own anniversary this year.

Monkstown Bay Sailing Club came into being on Sunday, the 7th of June 1970. The six-strong committee of Mr Robert Cuppage, Mr Jack O’Driscoll, Mr Barry O’Connell, Mr Will O’Brien and Mr Dick Woodley was ably led by Mr Norcott Roberts.

Racing initially took place in Enterprises and other small dinghies on a handicap basis. The races were held in the evenings. The minimum subscription was 10/- which made you a founding member.

The village of Monkstown has always featured a strong sense of community and no place exemplifies this more than Monkstown Bay Sailing Club. Many families of founding members are still actively involved in the running of the club and as the club has grown in stature a full programme is conducted every year with no one left out. Class 1 and 2 dinghies still race of an evening and an active cruiser fleet races also.

Monkstown Bay first sailing courseMonkstown Bay's first sailing course

One of the first events organised by the club was an IYA sailing course. 40 aspiring young sailors attended, and the course was run by Mr Neville Eames.

To this day the courses have run introducing countless sailors to the pleasures and delights of sailing on Cork Harbour. In another consequence of the current pandemic, for the first time, in living memory, the sailing course has been cancelled. The sight of boats being rigged on a sunny morning by enthusiastic sailors will be sorely missed on the daily commute to work.

By way of compensation for the loss of the celebratory weekend, Monkstown Bay Sailing Club has commemorated their anniversary with a series of posts and commentary on their Facebook page and a series of WhatsApp messages to those members who are signed up to the various club groups.

In one of the initial posts, the twenty-seventh Commodore, Mr Ciarán Mc Sweeney greeted the membership with a wonderful letter commemorating the club’s anniversary and went on to announce the re-commencement of racing within guidelines in July for class 1 and a slightly restricted version for class 2.

It is also intended to run some training for level 3 and 4 junior sailors to complete their certificates.

Looking further ahead the club will exhibit items of historical interest in the Passage West Maritime Museum later in the year when it reopens. It is also noted that the anniversary celebrations have merely been postponed and an opportunity to celebrate will be taken later in the year as circumstances permit.

Published in Cork Harbour

With 22km winds howling around Cork Harbour last Saturday morning, the Ocean to City team should have been in a frenzy reorganising the race routes, but instead, they were online in the middle of launching their Ocean to City Virtual Challenge. From the comfort of their homes the organisers did a countdown for over a hundred participants, from all over the world, who were getting ready to row Ocean to City on their rowing machines.

At 10.30 am the Zoom screens were filled with participants from Ireland, UK, Portugal, USA, Australia, Germany and Lebanon. Race Director Donagh MacArtain began the event talking about the difficult decision to cancel this year’s race and thanking those who supported and continue to support the Cork Harbour Festival: Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Port of Cork, Fáilte Ireland and many more who have ensured the future of the festival and Ocean to City. Lord Mayor of Cork City, Cllr. John Sheehan joined in the Zoom meeting to formally welcome all participants. The Lord Mayor spoke on the importance of a collective in these strange times and how vital it is to bring people together. He remembered starting his term as Lord Mayor launching the Lee Swim and how apt it was to finish it with the Ocean to City.

The event had two categories to choose from, the Rowing Machine Challenge – where participants rowed the equivalent time to either the Ocean Course (2hr23min39sec) or the Monkstown Course (1hr1mins12secs). The furthest distance rowed within the time limit would win. The second category was the Fun Time challenge – where participants had to record their most creative rowing or paddling training on land. The event was also joined by UK runner Lawrence Washington who ran for the full Ocean Course time limit, from his home to the town of Porthmadog and back.

The race began at 11am and stayed live on Facebook and Zoom where spectators could watch the efforts of the participants in the rowing challenge. Along with the rowing challenge, participants were asked to send in videos of their creative home training and the submissions were fantastic! All submitted videos are available on oceantocity.com along with the full results on the day.

The 16th Ocean to City was a very different day but thankfully the day and the ethos of this wonderful race was marked, as a community of like-minded people who have a love of the water, of Cork and the spirit to adapt to new circumstances.

Ocean to City – An Rás Mór, the flagship event of Cork Harbour Festival is organised by Meitheal Mara, the community boatyard, training centre and charity located in the heart of Cork City. The event is sponsored by Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Port of Cork, Fáilte Ireland and made possible with the help of dozens of Event Partners and hundreds of volunteers.

Cork Harbour Festival will be back next year 5-13 June 2021 with the flagship Ocean to City – An Rás Mór taking place on Saturday 5 June 2021.

Published in Cork Harbour

The sight of more masts appearing on the marina in my village of Monkstown on the edge of Cork Harbour was encouraging this week. Not that I have any disregard for the motorboat community who populate the Cork Harbour Marina year-round, but in this difficult and challenging season, it was good to see more yacht masts in the marina and other yachts going onto their moorings in Monkstown Bay.

That was the good news. The disappointing news was from Sail Training Ireland that they have had to cancel all Tall Ship voyages planned for this year.

Chief Executive Daragh Sheridan said this was inevitable because there was no way the organisation “could ensure the social distancing required to ensure the safety of trainees and crew.”

That is the issue which troubles me about the resumption of cruiser yacht racing.

The Government’s medical advisors and the Minister for Health have been making it clear that, as Mr.Harris has said: “social distancing will be with us for a long time.”

How can social distancing be achieved on a racing yacht?

Two metres is just over six feet, even one metre would be difficult, “impossible” is the description I’ve heard repeatedly in phone calls and read in Emails.

Two instances this week highlighted my thoughts about this “social” or “physical distancing.” One was when I was reminded of a 30-year anniversary and the lack of any “social distance” on my only TransAtlantic race, back in May 1990 as a crew member aboard NCB Ireland on the last leg of that year’s Round the World Race, then known as the Whitbread, from Fort Lauderdale to Southampton - 3,818 nautical miles sailed over 18 days. The crew shared “hot bunking”. Mine was the middle of three where when lying down there wasn’t enough space to raise a book to read.

Social or physical distancing wasn’t possible on the 83-foot NCB and I can’t see it either on Scribbler, the 33-foot Sigma which I sail with my son, grandsons and occasional other crew. We won’t even qualify as a family crew because we are in two households.

Yacht Racing at the 2019 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Photo: AfloatYacht Racing at the 2019 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Photo: Afloat

Irish Sailing are doing their best, but there seems little official understanding of the requirements of sailing. How do you keep apart during the demands of racing, when more than one person may be needed to get a sail in or to launch and recover a spinnaker, or what about adding weight on the rail?

Solo racing will be ok, but there aren’t a preponderance of single-household cruiser racing crews, or so it appears from the reaction I’m receiving. Even with the easing of restrictions, the constant message is that social distancing stays in place…. So can cruiser racing be resumed?

All the comments I’m getting seem to be doubtful unless there are major changes in social distancing. I hope there are because I’d like to go sailing and racing this season.

This week’s Podcast is below...

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An untended wheelbarrow apparently abandoned in a boat at Ringabella at the entrance to Cork Harbour has raised concerns about the well-being of the noted Dublin-based seafood distributor, Ms Molly Malone. An outstanding figure in the Dublin retail food-to-go scene, Ms Malone is noted for her special skills in the use of wheel-barrows for the rapid distribution of live seafood, notably cockles and mussels. It is believed that she may have gone to Cork to inspect new sources of supply which will live up to the business mission statement of her wares being “Alive, Alive-Oh”.

While conspicuous in her retail role, Ms Malone is noted for keeping her activities under cover when developing agencies for resourcing her popular products. Thus even her closest colleagues were unaware that she might have gone to Cork to broaden her network. And while the authorities are keeping an open mind about the situation, the Gardai and the Irish Coastguard would welcome any information from any source whatever about the possible whereabouts of Ms Malone (whose photo they have distributed), and they assure Afloat.ie that they will keep the media and the public abreast of all developments.

Noted Dublin-based seafood distributor Ms Molly Malone Noted Dublin-based seafood distributor Ms Molly Malone – worries are being expressed regarding her whereabouts in Cork

Published in Cork Harbour
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The problem for resuming normal yacht racing is the current limitation on household crewing of boats only. Because the majority of yachts are not crewed solely by one household, racing is impossible under current restrictions. This is reflected in the intentions of two Cork clubs to resume limited racing, for household-crewed boats only, reports Tom MacSweeney.

Kinsale Yacht Club's limited form of club sailing

Kinsale Yacht Club is proposing to start what Club Commodore Mike Walsh describes as   “a limited form of club sailing next Wednesday (June 10) but only for family/ household boats living within 20kms of the club marina. This would include Squibs, Dragons, Cruisers.”

He has told members that this racing “will be limited to white sail only for cruisers.

“All activities are limited to household units. If there is sufficient interest we will continue this league or series of races until July 20. Starting and finishing will be from the club marina.”

The club intends to start its Junior Sailing/training course on July 6, which is likely to run to the end of August in a restructured schedule. The course is fully booked. Further applications will be put on a waiting list.

Loch Greine, owned by Tom Donal and Declan O'Mahony sailing past Roches Point LighthouseLoch Greine, owned by Tom, Donal and Declan O'Mahony sailing past Roches Point Lighthouse Photo: Bob Bateman

Cruiser racing in Cork HarbourCruiser racing in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

Cove Sailing Club's single-handed or single household sailing

Cove Sailing Club in Cork Harbour says it is aiming to resume sailing at the start of July, “assuming government restrictions are lifted at the end of June.”

This also will only be for “single-handed or single household sailing.”

Cove Sailing Club HeadquartersCove Sailing Club Headquarters Photo: Bob Bateman

The club says it will not be able to run “a full programme of training courses similar to the past 13 years, but will endeavour to plan for a return to sailing courses as soon as safely possible.”

Published in Cork Harbour

Afloat's Lorna Siggins will interview kayaker Jim Kennedy of Atlantic Sea Kayaking as  part of an online celebration of Cork Harbour starting tomorrow.

Although the physical Cork Harbour Festival was cancelled due to Covid-19, organisers Meitheal Mara are featuring an online celebration of Cork Harbour and Ireland’s maritime culture, which is now in full swing and continues until Monday 8th of June 2020.

Festivities began on the 15th of May, the original start date of the festival, and include live Facebook & Zoom events, videos, tutorials, craft projects, an Ocean to City Virtual Challenge and much more. The full programme of this year’s online celebration, as well as recordings from past events, are online at corkharbourfestival.com. The next seven days will see the following events:

Kayaker Jim Kennedy at the Fastnet Rock, he is passionate about all things Irish, especially coastal and marine wildlifeJim Kennedy at the Fastnet Rock. Photo: Valerie Sullivan 

Interview with Jim Kennedy of Atlantic Sea Kayaking

Tuesday 2 June, 20:00 - Interview with Jim Kennedy of Atlantic Sea Kayaking, by Lorna Siggins, print & radio reporter and former Irish Times marine correspondent.

Jim Kennedy is passionate about all things Irish, especially coastal and marine wildlife, stories, music, adventure tourism and of course kayaking. He has raced on the Irish National Kayaking team at two sprint and two marathon world championships, won an Irish rowing Championship with Lee Rowing Club and is a level 5 Irish Canoe Union sea kayak instructor/coach. Drawing on his wealth of experience, Lorna will ask Jim about his tips on how to prepare for a race like Ocean to City; what his training programme for the world’s toughest survival and endurance race, the Yukon 1000, looks like; and what places we should definitely put on the bucket list for when this lockdown is over.

Ocean to City Virtual Challenge

Saturday 6 June, 11:00 - Ocean to City Virtual Challenge

We are delighted to bring you “The Ocean to City Virtual Challenge” a fun, energetic and creative way to celebrate the rowing and paddling community that was built up over the past 16 years. With safety foremost you are invited to pick a challenge that matches your ability. The event has two categories to choose from, the Rowing Machine Challenge - where participants see how far they can row in a specified time, and a Fun Challenge - where participants are asked to show their most creative rowing or paddling training on land. For more information, see www.oceantocity.com. Deadline for registration is Thursday 4 June.

The Alliance of Pirates, Ireland and Atlantic Piracy

Monday 8 June, 13:10 - Lunchtime Lecture with UCC School of History & Dr Connie Kelleher, ‘The Alliance of Pirates, Ireland and Atlantic Piracy’. Curated by Dr John Borgonovo.

In the early part of the seventeenth-century, along the southwest coast of Ireland, piracy was a way of life. Dr Connie Kelleher will explore who these pirates were, their main theatre of operations and the characters that aided and abetted them. Archaeological evidence uniquely supports the investigation and provides a tangible cultural link through time to the pirates, their cohorts and their bases. Dr Connie Kelleher works with the National Monuments Service’s Underwater Archaeology Unit in the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and is visiting lecturer the Department of Archaeology in University College Cork, delivering the course on the Introduction to Underwater Archaeology. Curated by Dr John Borgonovo.

Sailor-poet Mick Delap celebrates the magnificence of the Atlantic coastPoet Mick Delap celebrates the magnificence of the Atlantic coast

Sailor-poet Mick Delap celebrates the magnificence of the Atlantic coast

Monday 8 June, 20:30 - Ó Bhéal Poetry Event

Featured poets for Ó Bhéal’s third virtual event, part of Cork Harbour Festival, are Mick Delap and Alice Lyons. The evening will also include a five-word challenge and open-mic session. Sailor-poet Mick Delap celebrates the magnificence of the Atlantic coast, and chronicles different aspects of its history. In 2002 he won Best First Collection at Listowel for River Turning Tidal.

To join a live event one can either watch the live stream on the festival Facebook page facebook.com/corkharbourfestival/ or one can register for a Zoom invite at corkharbourfestival.com. All events are free to join.

Published in Cork Harbour
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Port of Cork Information

The Port of Cork is investing €80 million in a container terminal development in Ringaskiddy. The Cork Container Terminal will initially offer a 360-metre quay with 13-metre depth alongside and will enable larger ships to berth in the port. The development also includes the construction of a 13.5-hectare terminal and associated buildings as well as two ship to shore gantry cranes and container handling equipment.

The development of new container handling facilities at Ringaskiddy was identified in the Port of Cork’s Strategic Development Plan in 2010. It will accommodate current and future container shipping which can be serviced by modern and efficient cargo handling equipment with innovative terminal operating and vehicle booking systems. The Port of Cork anticipates that Cork Container Terminal will be operational in 2020.

The Port of Cork is the key seaport in the south of Ireland and is one of just two Irish ports which service the requirements of all shipping modes.

The Port of Cork also controls Bantry Bay Port Company and employs 150 people across all locations.

A European Designated Core Port and a Tier 1 Port of National Significance, Port of Cork’s reputation for quality service, including prompt and efficient vessel turnaround as well as the company’s investment in future growth, ensures its position as a vital link in the global supply chain.

The port has made impressive strides in recent decades, most recently with the construction of the new €80m Cork Container Terminal in Ringaskiddy which will facilitate the natural progression of the move from a river port to a deepwater port in order to future proof the Port
of Cork. This state-of-the-art terminal which will open in 2020 will be capable of berthing the largest container ships currently calling to Ireland.

The Port of Cork Company is a commercial semi-state company responsible for the commercial running of the harbour as well as responsibility for navigation and berthage in the port.  The Port is the main port serving the South of Ireland, County Cork and Cork City. 

Types of Shipping Using Port of Cork

The Port offers all six shipping modes from Lift-on Lift-off, Roll-on Roll-off, Liquid Bulk, Dry Bulk, Break Bulk and Cruise liner traffic.

Port of Cork Growth

The port has made impressive strides in recent decades. Since 2000, the Port of Cork has invested €72 million in improving Port infrastructure and facilities. Due to its favourable location and its modern deepwater facilities, the Port is ideally positioned for additional European trading as well as for yet unexploited direct deep-sea shipping services. A well-developed road infrastructure eases the flow of traffic from and to the port. The Port of Cork’s growing reputation for quality service, including prompt and efficient vessel turnaround, ensures its position as a vital link in the global supply chain. The Port of Cork Company turnover in 2018 amounted to €35.4 million, an increase of €3.9 million from €31.5 million in 2017. The combined traffic of both the Ports of Cork and Bantry increased to 10.66 million tonnes in 2018 up from 10.3 million tonnes in 2017.

History of Port of Cork

Famous at the last port of call of the Titanic, these medieval navigation and port facilities of the city and harbour were historically managed by the Cork Harbour Commissioners. Founded in 1814, the Cork Harbour Commissioners moved to the Custom House in 1904.  Following the implementation of the 1996 Harbours Act, by March 1997 all assets of the Commissioners were transferred to the Port of Cork Company.

Commercial Traffic at Port of Cork

Vessels up to 90,000 tonnes deadweight (DWT) are capable of coming through entrance to Cork Harbour. As the shipping channels get shallower the farther inland one travels, access becomes constricted, and only vessels up to 60,000 DWT can sail above Cobh. The Port of Cork provides pilotage and towage facilities for vessels entering Cork Harbour. All vessels accessing the quays in Cork City must be piloted and all vessels exceeding 130 metres in length must be piloted once they pass within 2.5 nautical miles (4.6 km) of the harbour entrance.

Berthing Facilities in Cork Harbour

The Port of Cork has berthing facilities at Cork City, Tivoli, Cobh and Ringaskiddy. The facilities in Cork City are primarily used for grain and oil transport. Tivoli provides container handling, facilities for oil, livestock and ore and a roll on-roll off (Ro-Ro) ramp. Prior to the opening of Ringaskiddy Ferry Port, car ferries sailed from here; now, the Ro-Ro ramp is used by companies importing cars into Ireland. In addition to the ferry terminal, Ringaskiddy has a deep water port.

Port of Cork Development Plans

2020 will be a significant year for the Port of Cork as it prepares to complete and open the €86 million Cork Container Terminal development in Ringaskiddy.

Once operational the new terminal will enable the port to handle up to 450,000 TEU per annum. Port of Cork already possess significant natural depth in Cork harbour, and the work in Ringaskiddy Port will enable the Port of Cork to accommodate vessels of 5500 to 6000 TEU, which will provide a great deal of additional potential for increasing container traffic.

It follows a previous plan hatched in 2006 as the port operated at full capacity the Port drew up plans for a new container facility at Ringaskiddy. This was the subject of major objections and after an Oral Planning Hearing was held in 2008 the Irish planning board Bord Pleanala rejected the plan due to inadequate rail and road links at the location.  

Bantry Port

In 2017 Bantry Bay Port Company completed a significant investment of €8.5 million in the Bantry Inner Harbour development. The development consisted of a leisure marina, widening of the town pier, dredging of the inner harbour and creation of a foreshore amenity space.

Port of Cork Cruise Liner Traffic

2019 was a record cruise season for the Port of Cork with 100 cruise liners visiting. In total over 243,000 passengers and crew visited the region with many passengers visiting Cork for the first time.

Also in 2019, the Port of Cork's Cruise line berth in Cobh was recognised as one of the best cruise destinations in the world, winning in the Top-Rated British Isles & Western Europe Cruise Destination category. 

There has been an increase in cruise ship visits to Cork Harbour in the early 21st century, with 53 such ships visiting the port in 2011, increasing to approximately 100 cruise ship visits by 2019.

These cruise ships berth at the Port of Cork's deepwater quay in Cobh, which is Ireland's only dedicated berth for cruise ships.

Passenger Ferries

Operating since the late 1970s, Brittany Ferries runs a ferry service to Roscoff in France. This operates between April and November from the Ro-Ro facilities at Ringaskiddy. Previous ferry services ran to Swansea in Wales and Santander in Spain. The former, the Swansea Cork ferry, ran initially between 1987 and 2006 and also briefly between 2010 and 2012.

The latter, a Brittany Ferries Cork–Santander service, started in 2018 but was cancelled in early 2020.

Marine Leisure

The Port of Cork has a strategy that aims to promote the harbour also as a leisure amenity. Cork’s superb natural harbour is a great place to enjoy all types of marine leisure pursuits. With lots of sailing and rowing clubs dotted throughout the harbour, excellent fishing and picturesque harbour-side paths for walking, running or cycling, there is something for everyone to enjoy in and around Cork harbour. The Port is actively involved with the promotion of Cork Harbour's annual Festival. The oldest sailing club in the world, founded in 1720, is the Royal Cork Yacht Club is located at Crosshaven in the harbour, proof positive, says the Port, that the people of Cork, and its visitors, have been enjoying this vast natural leisure resource for centuries. 

Port of Cork Executives

  • Chairman: John Mullins
  • Chief Executive: Brendan Keating
  • Secretary/Chief Finance Officer: Donal Crowley
  • Harbour Master and Chief Operations Officer: Capt. Paul O'Regan
  • Port Engineering Manager: Henry Kingston
  • Chief Commercial Officer: Conor Mowlds
  • Head of Human Resources: Peter O'Shaughnessy
Who is Your Sailor of the Year 2020?
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At A Glance – Port of Cork

Type of port: deepwater, multi-model, Panamax, warm-water
Available berths: Up to ten
Wharves: 1
Employees: 113
Chief Executive: Brendan Keating
Annual cargo tonnage: 9,050,000
Annual container volume: 165,000

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