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My first experience of racing was in a National 18 wooden dinghy and it was rough. Inexperienced as a crewman during a race in Monkstown Bay, I slit the top of a finger across a chain plate while pulling in the headsail sheet.

Blood started to pour out of the cut. With the dinghy having only a short freeboard I did what seemed best. To avoid getting blood on the sail which is a heinous crime aboard sailing boats, I put my hand in the water to wash away the blood.
A roar from astern heralded the Skipper's response:
"Get your b....hand out of the water, you're causing drag," which meant I was being accused of the crime of slowing the boat down in a race where there was little wind and every bit of forward momentum was important.
I began to explain and made the mistake of asking where I should put my bloodied finger!
The answer is not printable, but taught me that National 18s didn't take competitive sailing lightly.
I grew to love those boats, their beautiful lines, their speed and their demands on the crew with a spinnaker up. Inevitably, with the cost of maintaining wooden boats, the glass fibre boats (GRP), took over, but the National 18 Class kept going, primarily based in Crosshaven.
Then the 1720s arrived, named after the year when the Royal Cork Yacht Club was founded, powerful new boats which were predicted to wipe out the National 18s. They didn't. Despite becoming very popular for a time, their support declined and the National 18s continued, not alone surviving, but strengthening
This week the Class has announced that it intends to host "the largest gathering of National 18s in the history of this legendary boat."
Next year's Class Championships, better known as the Cock O' the North and sailed in alternative years in Ireland and the UK, where the National 18 is also popular, will be held in Crosshaven from July 24 to 29.
"We are calling on everyone interested to get in touch and take part in what is going to be a great occasion, whether you are a former 18 sailor or someone looking for a new challenge," Class Captain Peter O'Donovan told me. "We are putting in a big effort to get former 18 sailors and their boats back on the water."
It is hoped that at least 50 boats will take part "and perhaps even more," said Peter who has been trawling class records to find former owners and boats which will be arranged in three divisions for the event.
"We decided to include a Classics section, which will encourage those who owned the beautiful wooden, clinker boats, to sail again with us. Some of these boats have reappeared in Crosshaven, we know of others in West Cork and further afield," said Peter.
There will be a section for the "Penultimates," the older fibreglass 18s which "have been hiding in garages, just waiting to be taken out again" and the "Ultimates," the modern fibreglass boats at the front of the present fleet.
"We want to make this a special event and so far there has been interest from Schull, Baltimore, Waterford, Wexford, Arklow and Lough Derg. Further afield, we expect to see visitors from Scotland, the Isle of Man, Essex, Tamesis and Chichester Harbour and we have even had a request for information from Germany."
One of the famous boat building family in Arklow, James Tyrrell, is amongst those who have owned and sailed a National 18. Another sailor of the boats was Peter Crowley, present Chairman of the Irish Sailing Association.
He sailed with Tommy Dwyer from Monkstown who is regarded as an icon of the National 18 fleet in Cobblerod. Tommy now sails Das Boot.

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Fun in the National 18. Photo: Bob Bateman

"She was recovered from the bottom of Cork Harbour and I refurbished her. said Tommy, "We named her after the U-boat which featured in the film of that name."
Tommy has been sailing National 18s for over 40 years. Every year his name has been amongst the trophy winners.
"For those interested in sailing, we would like to hear from those who would like to crew in the championships," Peter O'Donovan told me. "In addition, we are compiling a list of boats available for charter across the three divisions. For anyone not looking to sail, but just to be part of the event, we will also require assistance with rescue vessels, committee boats and other aspects of the event. It is also hoped to put together a collection of photographs from days gone. We would like to hear from anybody with material. Former 18 sailors who cannot get involved in the event could join us at the Class Dinner and renew acquaintances."
Anyone interested can contact the National 18 class by Emailing Peter O'Donovan at [email protected] or on phone 087 2491720 or Email Kieran O'Connell at [email protected]
The original idea for the building of National 18s was that of Frank Knowling of Whitstable YC in the UK, who later became known as the 'father' of the class. In 1938 he wanted an 18-foot dinghy, suitable for day sailing, yet fast enough to be of interest to racing sailors and at a reasonable cost.

The UK national sailing association and Yachting World magazine organised a design competition won by well-known designer Uffa Fox with a proposal for a clinker-built wooden boat. Another major designer, ¸, had also submitted a proposed boat. The first National 18 was named 'Hurricane,' owned by Stanley Beale and sailed at Whitstable.

It was not until after World War that building of 18s got underway. The Class Association was established in 1947 and by 1950 fleets had appeared at clubs around the coast of Britain and Ireland.

Seventy-two years after the first moves to build National 18s they still survive, a tribute to a great boat.

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This article is reprinted by permission of the EVENING ECHO newspaper, Cork, where Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie

Published in Island Nation
Meitheal Mara which organisers the annual 'Ocean to City' rowing race are to hold a 'Boatyard Open Day' at their Cork city-centre boatyard located at Crosses Green House, Crosses Green on Saturday 27 November. Visiting hours are 10-4pm and all are welcome to the event which will be a feast for wooden-boat enthusiasts.

Topics will be on classic and traditional boat repair, restoration and build boatbuilding and lofting to varnish and tarring. The exhibition will feature slideshows and a boat display of a folk boat, Crosshaven clinker rowing punt, thullier sailing clinker punt, Valentia carvel seine boat follower, Rinn Rua, pram dinghies, currachs and canoes.

Also on hand will be Siubhán McCarthy who will be talking about the 'Ocean to City' race and what's happening in Cork harbour. For information contact Meitheal Mara Tel: (021) 4316813 or [email protected]

Published in Boating Fixtures
Following our weekend report on the major rescue operation swung into operation on Saturday Morning ( 13 Nov) outside Cork Harbour when a 27' fishing boat sank in minutes with two people on board there has been further details issue by the RNLI in Crosshaven.

At 11.19am , Valentia Coast Guard alerted Crosshaven RNLI Lifeboat that the fishing vessel was in serious trouble off the Church Bay area and requested an immediate launch. Crosshaven lifeboat launched within 5 minutes and with its volunteer crew of Kieran Coniry, Dan O'Donoghue and Vincent Fleming, made good progress through a two metre sea swell arriving on scene to find the fishing boat had at this stage sank and the crew safely in the Liferaft.

The Ballycotton RNLI all weather Lifeboat was at sea on exercise at the time and immediately altered course to the incident. Crosshaven Coast Guard were also tasked and en route.

When it became clear that the two crewmen were safely aboard the Crosshaven Lifeboat, the other emergency services were stood down. Crosshaven Lifeboat then brought the two fishermen back to Crosshaven.

While it is unknown what caused the fishing boat to flounder, the crew had little time to deploy their liferaft and make an emergency call before the boat sank.

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Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Yesterday while out on exercise in a squally southwesterly force four winds the crew of the Ballycotton lifeboat Austin Lidbury received details of a 26 foot fishing vessel that had sunk off Roches Point, at the mouth of Cork Harbour. The two crew members had taken to a liferaft and were retrieved by a fishing vessel in the area. Crosshaven lifeboat also launched and was first on scene. Ballycotton lifeboat was stood down and returned to station.

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Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The re-run of the All Ireland Sailing Championships will take place in Kinsale and not Crosshaven on November 20th according to a press release from the Irish Sailing Association published today.

A minimum of three races must be completed for the competition to conclude and the ISA Helmsman's Trophy awarded.

The final, originally scheduled to take place in Royal Cork Yacht Club on the 26th of September, had to be abandoned due to an absence of wind.

The competition will be sailed in the ISA SailFleet J80's which are currently based in Kinsale Yacht Club. Due to the difficulty in safely sailing the fleet from Kinsale to Crosshaven the venue had to be changed, however the host club remains Royal Cork Yacht Club who are now kindly assisted by Kinsale Yacht Club.

8 teams will be competing for the ISA Helmsmans Trophy. As this competition is recognised as a new event, no previous points shall be carried forward. Each competitor begins with a blank score card.
The finalists are:
Anthony O'Leary
Ewen Barry
Garrett May
James Espey
Neil Kenefick
Niall Henry
Nicholas O'Leary
Nick Walsh

Who'll win? We're starting a readers poll on Monday. Click back to cast your vote!

Published in All Irelands
9th November 2010

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Castlepoint Boatyard is based in Crosshaven, Co. Cork, it offers the following services...

25 Tonne Travel Hoist
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• Agents for Mermaid Diesel Engines
• Winter Storage
• Maintenance and insurance work

New 25 Tonne Travel Hoist

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Published in Boatyards

Commodore Barry Rose is urging Cruiser Racers fans to support this weekend's eighth annual ICRA conference at the Carrigaline Court hotel in Carragaline, County Cork.

There's a big line up for the one day event that includes a presentation on an innovative concept to develop a 30 Footer one design concept that can also sail under IRC handicap. The idea is that it will be trailerable to attend ICRA Nationals and other events around Ireland. Rory Staunton travels from the UK to make the 30 footer presentation.

Rose says Saturday's event gives an opportunity to exchange 'constructive opinions to promote and develop the cruiser/racing', the biggest sector of Irish Sailing.

The event includes a celebration dinner for the Commodores Cup team at the Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Designers John Corby and Mark Mills will be present to update us on IRC developments and boat design and their thoughts on where boat design is heading. More HERE

Published in ICRA

A dry sailing facility would make the Royal Cork Yacht Club one of the best in the world. It's a pity it may be too expensive, says Patton. It is a pity too about the lack of highly competitive racing in a club full to the brim with seriously talented sailors, he says. Read more HERE

Panz is looking for help identifying a location of a sailing venue. A photo shows a National 18 on the hard at a clubhouse that might be in Derry? Can you help identify this club house? HERE

Published in Your Say

Marinerscove leads Afloat's sailing Boat of the Year opinion poll that has attracted over 1700 votes to date. After 20 days of voting the lead has changed several times in the fun poll and early leader Erisslanan, who shared boat of the week with Mariners at Cork week is now in third place on 227 votes, some distance behind ISORA winner Raging bull on 607 votes. 81 votes clear ahead is the Crosshaven boat that also bagged the British IRC title this year. Dave Dwyer's Marinerscove was of course also the middle boat in the victorious Irish Commodores Cup team in August. The ICRA boat of the year award will be awarded on November 13th at the Cruiser Racer conference in Carrigaline. You can vote by using the poll on the left hand side of Afloat's home page.

 

Published in ICRA

Bob Bateman's latest photos from yesterday's Royal Cork's October League are over the fold. Having sailed six races in the O'Flynn Exhams Autumn League and, with a discard applied, a trend is emerging writes Claire Bateman. The exception to this is White Sail 1 and 2 who have had four races and at the wish of the classes have reverted to two races each day. It was another light day with yachts waiting patiently for the breeze to fill and when it did it was a light breeze from the west going further into the south as the day went on. Richard Leonard's Green Fleet were on a laid course outside the harbour and having postponed the first race during the start sequence, he eventually got the fleet going when the west breeze settled. Class Three and White Sail 1 were started together followed by Class Four and White Sail 2. The mixing of classes made for interesting racing as it kept the boats in close proximity to one another and a second race was sailed successfully thereafter.

On David O'Brien's harbour course with the Red Fleet the breeze was slower to fill in. However, when it did Class 2 and the 1720s were sent on a course to Ringabella against the flood tide. The Class Zero and Class One fleets were over eager and suffered a general recall so they started last. Again they were over anxious and were bunched at the pin end of the line but after some manoeuvering a clear start was called and they too set off for Ringabella, the boats heading for the western shore to avoid the tide faring best. First to reach Ringabella was Jump Juice but she obviously didn't feel like leaving as she clung to the mark having to suffer the fate of watching many of the class rounding before she eventually got free. In Class One IRC Donal O'Leary's D-Tox is on 7 points but David Scott's EOS is on 20 points with Michael Wallace just one point adrift on Felix.

The position in Class Three IRC appears to be the most obvious with the prowling Kenefick/O'Brien Tiger leading with five first places followed by Ian Traver's Bandit on 9 points and in Class Zero IRC the same equally obvious situation pertains with Kieran Twomey's Gloves Off on 5 points and Conor Phelan's Jump Juice on 9 points. In Class Four IRC Mike Sexton's Granny Knot and Alan Mulcahy's Sundancer are tied on 7 points each.

This league is also counting for the SCORA 2010 League as is the April league from Kinsale a total of fifteen races overall with three discards so this also adding spice and competition to the event.

To-day's day prizes were presented by Eamonn Muldoon of O'Flynn Exham's and racing will continue next Sunday with first gun at 10.55 am.

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Published in Royal Cork YC
Page 11 of 14

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