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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View his photo gallery below

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

cobh Blackrock yacht race3Frank Doyle sailing the J122 "Cara"

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

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

cobh Blackrock yacht race3

cobh Blackrock yacht race3Overall winner – George Radley's Cortegada

cobh Blackrock yacht race3Freya Conor Doyle ahead of Carroll Bros Chancer

cobh Blackrock yacht race3Freya leads Frank Doyle sailing Cara

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

cobh Blackrock yacht race3

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

Published in Cork Harbour
7th September 2018

Dirty Boats & Dirty Ports

Hello and welcome to the weekly MacSweeney Podcast ….

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

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

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

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

Published in Tom MacSweeney

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

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

Published in Cork Harbour

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kinsale Yacht Club’s Mary P Race

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

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

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

Naval Race Hosted by RCYC

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

Monkstown Bay Sailing Club Dinghy League

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

Published in Cork Harbour

Great Island Sailing Club in Cobh is running a 'GATHERING OF THE BOATS' event in Cork Harbour this Sunday to highlight safety on the water.

Boats from all over the harbour are invited to meet at Foxes Cover at 2pm, under Fort Carlisle and close to Whitegate Refinery.

GISC Commodore, Johanna Murphy, says that the aim of this event is "to highlight water safety on the water and to encourage everyone that has either a boat, dinghy, Rankin, kayak, canoe, rib to get out and support. We are hoping to have a kayak safety demo , the RNLI will be there ( if not called out), MOB recovery demo. It will also be an opportunity for people to try kayaking, dinghy sailing and also to board a cruiser, just as a taster."

The event will be preceded by a GISC dinghy race around Spike Island, First Gun at 11.30.

Published in Cork Harbour

A magnificent firework's display was the centrepiece of the annual Cobh Peoples Regatta 2018 in Cork Harbour at the weekend. 

As well as the shoreside festivities, there was racing for keelboats in class one, two, three and four in both IRC and ECHO divisions. 

Saturday racing for dinghies included racing for Cork Harbour's own Rankin fleet as Afloat.ie reported earlier.

Cobh peoples regattaA competitor at Cobh peoples regatta navigates a visiting cruise liner in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

Published in Cork Harbour

Eight boats turned out for the final race of the Cork Harbour Clubs Combined July League. They all raced under ECHO handicap and three had IRC handicaps. Four were from Great Island Sailing Club, two from the RCYC and two from Monkstown Bay Sailing Club which ran the racing during July. 

Denis Ellis GISC, Relativity, was the ECHO winner with Sean Hanley’s Luas, RCYC, second and Jim Buckley, Wader, GISC, third. Relativity also won in IRC with Loch Greine, Tom/Donal/Declan O’Mahony, second and Luas Third.

Overall, the two new league trophies for first, presented to the winners by MBSC Class Captain at the Monkstown club after racing, went to Relativity in IRC and to Bright Wings, Nicholas O’Rourke, also of GISC, for first place in ECHO. Second overall in IRC was George Radley’s Pat Mustard and third Sean Hanley’s Luas, RCYC. Second overall in ECHO was Jim Buckley’s Wader. GISC and Relativity was third under this handicap, as well as winning overall IRC.

Published in Cork Harbour

The Cork Harbour Combined Clubs July Sailing League will conclude tomorrow night (Friday).

First Gun will be at 7 pm and the start area for the race will be in the vicinity of No.9 buoy off Whitegate. Monkstown Bay Sailing Club has been running the league for July. RCYC will take over for August. Great Island SC ran the league in June.

Prizegiving for July will be held at the Monkstown Club after racing tomorrow night. This is the first season in which the three harbour clubs have combined their weekly Friday racing. The highest number of boats racing has been over 30 and the lowest number was 8.

Overall there has been satisfaction with the combined series which followed joint racing last year between MBSC and Cove SC, the latter being replaced this season by the new GISC.

Published in Cork Harbour

Communities around Cork Harbour have united in opposition to the Indaver incinerator at meetings in the past two nights. The level of anger is intense reports Tom MacSweeney. It is so strong that all political and community opinion has joined in condemnation of what was described at meetings as an attempt to destroy the will of the people and damage the maritime progress and development of the harbour.

Cork County Council management, Bord Pleanala and Indaver have been accused of engaging in an undemocratic attack against the interests of the people.

"We went through the democratic process and won our case three times and yet our properly proven case was overturned by people with no accountability to the public," speakers said at meetings in Carrigaline and Monkstown. More meetings are planned.

"A public inquiry into Bord Pleanala was called for at last night's meeting in Ringaskiddy Community Hall"

"It is people power against the power of money, profits and officials who care nothing for the lives of ordinary people. The treatment of our case shows Bord Pleanala planning inquiries to be a farce," were amongst other comments.

A public inquiry into Bord Pleanala was called for at last night's meeting in Ringaskiddy Community Hall where the huge attendance resolved to "fight Indaver to the bitter end."

Thousands of Euros have already been donated to what has been described as 'the battle of the people to protect Cork Harbour.' Fundraising for legal challenges to the planning approval is continuing.

Published in Cork Harbour

In a 24-hour period last week there was an encouraging sailing advance uniting the three Cork Harbour clubs, but also a warning from the highest political level in Government that the planned maritime developments in the harbour, welcomed by the community, coming close to €200m in investment, were being put at risk.

The sharp contrast between 24 yachts turning out for the first inter-club evening league racing in the harbour, providing a beautiful spectacle of white sails in the evening sunshine and community shock that a hazardous, toxic waste incinerator is to be inserted into this panorama could not be more dramatic.

As I write this where I live in the harbour area. I see out of my window three huge wind turbines generating power for pharmaceutical, chemical and other factories in Ringaskiddy of which I can see five from my window. The noise of the deepwater port at Ringaskiddy, not yet fully developed, can be heard… When darkness comes it will not thoroughly darken this area - powerful lights from the industries will cut their nightly swathe through the darkness and the noise of their 24-hour production will continue….

Harbour residents have had to accept decades of industrialisation dominance, but I had felt that a new era of mutual co-operation was arriving. The State put over a €100m into the National Maritime College and marine research, green-energy projects, heritage potential, tourism, Spike Island development as one of Europe’s top attractions - €70m. to remediate the environmental toxic horror left behind on Haulbowline Island by Irish Steel… a new park is talked about there, as well as other maritime developments on the island.

Then came what widespread political and public reaction has described as a “kick in the teeth” to the community.

Fairness and balance are integral to trust in discussion. As a journalist, I try to see both sides of any debate, but after 17 years of opposition when the harbour communities have won their case at public inquiries when three staff Inspectors of Bord Pleanala have rejected the Indaver case for an incinerator at Ringaskiddy, but all have been over-ruled by the board members of Bord Pleanala, who are unaccountable to the public for their decision, it is hard to locate balance and fairness.

"In 50 years’ of journalism, I have seen my share of stupidity in media releases, but the expressed view of Bord Pleanala that this incinerator will be a tourist attraction is difficult to understand"

In 50 years’ of journalism, I have seen my share of stupidity in media releases, but the expressed view of Bord Pleanala that this incinerator will be a tourist attraction is difficult to understand.

“An inconceivable development,” Tanaiste Simon Coveney, a sailor himself, says about the incinerator … “disfigurement, immense damage…” are other terms used… to which Indaver responded by waving away all criticism and maintaining that it will be good for the area and good for the environment…

The location for the incinerator is at the end of a peninsula …. There is only one road access across a bridge onto and from Haulbowline Island, where the Naval Service is based. This road is adjacent to the incinerator…. The Department of Defence warned that the incinerator had potential to affect Naval operations and this was not acceptable….This it described as a matter of strategic national importance….

When I sought answers, during the planning inquiry, from the Minister for Defence and former Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, to whether it was acceptable that national defence policy should be affected in any way by any industry or commercial interest…the answer was that operations would be reviewed in the context of the planning decision.

So what now is the future of the Naval Base on Haulbowline Island… and what are the health and safety dangers of putting a public park on an island where there is only a single access and exit …..

The white sails of the inter-club league were a great sight last Friday night and the next race is this Friday….

But I wonder ----- are these “sails in the sunset” of Cork Harbour’s future ……

• Listen to my Podcast here

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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