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The fourth running of the Horizon Energy PY 1000 at Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven today saw James McCann and Harry Whitaker sailing a 420 dinghy win €700 first prize writes Bob Bateman.

Racing on the Owenabue river opposite the RCYC clubhouse, there was a perfect ENE wind about 16 knots for the river race but there were plenty of capsizes too.

The PY1000 Race Officer was John Crotty assisted by David Barry.

McCann and Whitaker got a great start and led at the first mark in the mixed fleet of dinghies. 

Nigel Young Day BoatNigel Young and his youngest son James, aged 11, were second in the RCYC PY Horizon 100 in a boat built by Nigel’s father, Don Young. The Young Family have a long association with the YWDB Class, as Don built his first boat back in the 60’s and since that time has built about six more boats. The UK based class are all cold molded smooth skin boats and all varnished, no painting allowed! Nigel’s current boat PaPa 2 has now won the YW Dayboat Championships three times Photo: Bob Bateman. See full photo gallery below

Second place (and a prize of €200 went to father and son combo of Nigel (of North Sails Ireland) and James Young racing the family's vintage Yachting World Day Boat (above).

Darragh O SullivanKinsale Yacht Club's Darragh O Sullivan sailing a Laser was third. Photo Bob Bateman. See full photo gallery below

Third (€100) went to Kinsale Yacht Club's Darragh O Sullivan sailing a Laser (full rig), a previous winner of the event in 2016.  On form O'Sullivan recently won Monkstown Bay's Laser Yard of Ale Winter League, also saield in Cork Harbour

With a prize fund at stake, locally based International Judge Michael O'Connor was drafted in to police the Racing Rules of Sailing but there were no incidents to report.

The largest competing fleet was the 4.7 Lasers. The Mirror dinghy class made a determined effort to attend as their were none last year. Eoghan Duffy of Lough Ree Yacht Club (LRYC) and Cathal Langan Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club (CYBC) sailed as did Ben Graf and Hannagh Smyth of LRYC. And from Cove Sailing Club father and son Kieran and Sam Dorgan competed.

Again this year, return visitors Simon and Evie Crowe from Villiarstown on the River Blackwater in a GP14 competed.

Horizon Energy PY 1000 Race Photo gallery below by Bob Bateman

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Published in Royal Cork YC

An Tánaiste, Simon Coveney, TD, launched, Volvo Cork Week, today on Haulbowline Island in Cork Harbour, following the cancellation of the original launch last Friday due to the arrival of Storm Emma.

Royal Cork Yacht Club has reconfigured its biennial regatta with a number of novel new features. The event takes place this year in Crosshaven from July 16th to July 21st.

Speaking at the launch Minister Coveney said: “It is always a pleasure to be asked to officially launch an event like Volvo Cork Week. Events like this are very important for Ireland, showcasing, as they do, the beautiful marine resource we have, particularly here in Cork Harbour, the second biggest natural harbour in the world. Competition for The Beaufort Cup will see teams from many different national and international defence forces, RNLI, Coast Guard, Welsh and Northern Ireland Police, and other service teams, competing against each other and this year it again includes an overnight race around the famous Fastnet Rock. It is great to see Volvo Cork Week being the first Irish Regatta to take an active approach on the fight against plastics. It is a subject that is very close to my heart and I will do all I can to assist them in their effort this year. Cork is truly at the forefront of sustainability and renewable energy, with MaREI (Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy) located here in Cork Harbour.”

All photos by Bob Bateman

untitled 08032016 Beaufort Cup winner, Commandant Barry Byrne, Commander Brian Matthews and Pat Harte, Hon Secretary of Royal Corkuntitled 0803Irish Sailing President Jack Roy with Captain William Roberts and David Thomas of Volvo untitled 0803Captain William Roberts, Jack Roy,, Pat Farnan and Darragh Connollyuntitled 0803Captain William Roberts, Mayor of Cork County Cllr Declan Hurley, Deputy Mayor Kieran McCarthy and David Thomasuntitled 0803Pat Farnan, David Thomas and Captain William Roberts in front of the Irish Navy Ship, LE William Butler Yeatsuntitled 0803RCYC Admiral Pat Farnan addresses the gathering on Haulbowline Islanduntitled 0803Jack Roy of Irish Sailinguntitled 0803David Thomas of Volvountitled 0803An Tánaiste Simon Coveneyuntitled 0803A great turnout at Haulbowlineuntitled 0803Cork Week Chairman Kieran O'Connell, with Jack Roy (who will be the event's Chief Race Officer) Admiral Pat Farnan and Cove Sailing Club's Joannna Murphyuntitled 0803Volvo's David Thomas, Mayor of Cork County Cllr Declan Hurley, An Tanaiste Simon Coveney, Deputy Mayor Kieran McCarthy and Royal Cork CEO Gavin Deaneuntitled 0803Royal Cork's Ross Deasy with Commander Brian Matthews and Royal Cork's Darragh Connollyuntitled 0803(From right) Cork Week Chairman Kieran O'Connell, with Volvo's David Thomas and An Tanaiste Simon Coveney

David Thomas, MD Volvo Car Ireland, said that Volvo Car Ireland, in partnership with Johnson & Perrott, are proud to sponsor Volvo Cork Week for the third time: "since coming to Ireland, I have seen and appreciate the importance of the water as an island nation. The Volvo brand is synonymous with sailing across the world and we believe in the importance of supporting, and partnering, with sports and communities where our customers live, work, and play." 

Kieran O’Connell, Chair of Volvo Cork Week, welcomes the growing awareness of the plastics issue amongst the public and particularly amongst sailors. He intends to put an emphasis on reducing Volvo Cork Week’s impact on the environment. Amongst the initiatives being proposed is that all competitors will be asked to use reusable drink containers and there will be water coolers/fountains available. Suppliers will be asked to reduce their use of plastic and use compostable materials. “Each year, 8 million tonnes of plastic enters our seas and if no action is taken there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050, every bit of plastic ever made still exists somewhere. Care to the environment is a core value at Volvo Car Ireland and we intend to play our part during Volvo Cork Week 2018. Education and outreach activities will be facilitated by MaREI during the event."

The first of a series of beach clean ups took place during the launch. Schoolchildren from Crosshaven took part in an initial clean up of the beach on Haulbowline Island. This is the first in a series of nationwide beach clean ups Volvo have planned to help raise awareness of the #TurnTheTideOnPlastics initiative.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club is the NMU Marina of the Year and is a Gold Anchor Awardee from the Yacht Harbour Association. It is committed to minimising the impact of its activities on the environment and has created a Green Events Policy which will be applied during Volvo Cork Week 2018.

While retaining many of the successful elements of previous events Volvo Cork Week 2018 has a completely redesigned format which gives competitiors various options to choose whilst still enjoying the world class racing that is on offer. Entries have already been received from Ireland, England, France, Dubai and Australia and this year. The SB20 sportsboat class will host its Southern Championships on the two days before Cork Week (14/15 July) and the Dragon Class will host their championships at Volvo Cork Week for the first time.

Published in Cork Week

The loss of young sailors to the sport is an issue that has been identified by many clubs around the country and at national level.

Other sports can be more attractive to younger age groups, particularly it seems as teenagers enter the early 20s and there are increasingly more all-year-round possibilities for young people, male and female - and without the rigours of an uneven playing field, as the water is described, compared to land-based sports.

This was discussed at a ‘think-in’ at the Royal Cork in Crosshaven late last year when the cruiser racing section reviewed the past season.

Now the club has announced the setting-up of an Under 25s Keelboat Academy.

The intention is to try to get more young people interested in cruiser racing from the age of 16 years onwards and it’s an attractive alternative to losing them from the sport altogether

An invitation has been sent out through the club’s system to those between the ages of 16 and 25 to join the Keelboat Academy….. the age limits are 16 by the age of May 1 this year and not over 25 by the same date.

The club's 1720s boats will be used for training, learning boat maintenance and tuning keelboats and there will also be opportunities to go to events around the country representing the Club on other boats such as J24s and J80s.

The RCYC is entering a team for the Irish Cruiser Racing Association Nationals in Galway from August 15 to 18 to race against six other U25 teams from clubs around the country and the Crosshaven establishment says it will also be looking at putting teams in for some match racing events at the Wave Regatta in Howth Yacht Club in Dublin, at Volvo Cork Week, in the Youth Regatta and the 1720 National and European Championships.

Within a short time of announcing the Academy, fourteen younger sailors had signed up. It’s a good initiative. RCYC Keelboats Rear Admiral, Kieran O’Connell, who is also Commodore of the South Coast Offshore Racing Association, says the plan is to get the Academy “up and running as soon as possible.”

• Podcast here

Published in Tom MacSweeney

With only ten weeks to go to the start of the 2018 sailing Season, Royal Cork Rear Admiral Kieran O'Connell has announced some new and exciting changes to the Keelboat committee structure that has well–known keelboat expert Mel Collins serving as a dedicated Sailing Secretary for the Cork Harbour club.

'We have decided that the current committee structure does not lend itself to properly supporting all aspects of the Keelboat community', O'Connell writes on the club website.

'We are no longer using the class captains rolls to form the structure of the committee, instead we will have one Keelboat Sailing Secretary, who will in turn have a sub committee of Class reps.

The rest of the committee will then be formed by people to oversee areas of activity like, communications, social and prizegivings, race officer roster, club 1720s, results, and epecial events. Each committee member will then form a small sub committee to assist in their roll.

This new structure should see a much more focused commitment to the continued development of keelboat racing and all the associated elements within in our club, it also will involve a lot more volunteers which will hopefully in turn drive involvement in Keelboat Racing.

The new Keelboat Committee is: 

1. Keelboat Sailing Secretary Mel Collins

2. Results officer Wendy McElligott

3. Communications and social media Daragh Connolly

4. Race officer Roster Sean Hanley

5. Social and prize givings Mary Jones

6. Special events, things like Ballycotton race coastal league and Sunday mornings. Clem McElligott

7. Oversight of Club 1720 Fleet Brian Twomey

Published in Royal Cork YC

Last night in Crosshaven in Cork Harbour, Royal Cork Yacht Club elected its new Admiral and flag officers writes Bob Bateman 

As previously reported by, Pat Farnan was elected Admiral of the club to lead it in to its tricentenary in 2020.

Former Cork Port Harbour Master Pat Farnan, who had previously served as Vice-Admiral, takes over from John Roche. Farnan's term will take him to January 2020, the year of RCYC's 300th anniversary.

Other members of Farnan's committee are: Pat Harte Treasurer/Secretary, Colin Morehead, Vice Admiral. Back Row. Simon Brewitt, Chairman of the Marina and Facilities Committee, Mike Rider Rear Admiral Cruising, Kieran O'Connell Rear Admiral Keelboats, Brian Jones Rear Admiral Dinghies and Annamarie Fegan Bar Catering House and Communications.

Plans have been drawn up for refurbishment of the RCYC club premises which members partially approved last night.

Work is underway on refurbishing and improving dressing rooms areas at present.

Published in Royal Cork YC

Royal Cork Yacht Club Marina has won International Marina of the Year 2018 at the London Boat Show.

The Yacht Harbour Association (TYHA) announced the winners of their prestigious NMU Marina of the Year Awards on Thursday evening (11 January) at the new five-day London Boat Show 2018.

Gavin Deane, General Manager at the Royal Cork Yacht Club, commented upon receiving the award for International Marina of the Year: “We are delighted to receive such a significant award from TYHA, having been runner up in this category last year it spurred us on to improve our standards even further over the last 12 months.

“The receipt of this award is as a result of the hard work of the Executive Committee and Club Staff since the Royal Cork attained the Five Gold Anchor Status in late 2011.

This award means so much to everyone at the Club as it is voted for by our berth holders and visiting boats.” 

corkweekaerialRoyal Cork Yacht Club's marina (foreground) full to capacity during the staging of its biennial Cork Week Regatta. Photo:Bob Bateman

Now in their fifth year, the Awards, sponsored in 2018 by specialist insurer, NMU, are special because they are voted for by berth holders. They recognise the best of over 160 Gold Anchor accredited marinas from across the globe.

The NMU Marina of the Year 2018 winners and runners up were:

International Marina of the Year 2018

Winner – Royal Cork Yacht Club, Ireland
Runner up – Marina de Vilamoura, Portugal

UK Coastal Marina of the Year 2018 (over 250 berths)

Winner – St Helier Marina, Jersey
Runner up – Royal Quays Marina, England

UK Coastal Marina of the Year 2018 (under 250 berths)

Winner – Inverness Marina, Scotland
Runner up – Poole Quay Boat Haven, England

UK Inland Marina of the Year 2018

Winner – Church Minshull Aqueduct Marina, England
Runner up – Overwater Marina, England

Superyacht Marina of the year 2018

Winner – The Pavilion Marina at Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Runner up – Palmarina Bodrum, Turkey

Simon Haigh, Chairman of The Yacht Harbour Association, a group association within British Marine, gave his praise to all the marinas involved: “Many congratulations to all the winners and runners up in the NMU Marina of the Year Awards 2018. These awards have built huge momentum since they were introduced and really mean something because it is marina customers who are voting for their marinas, recognising the excellence of facilities provided and the level of service which they receive.

“The winners have been endorsed by their customers in the best possible way, to become Marina of the Year in their respective categories, which must be a hugely motivating and satisfying achievement. I would like to commend everyone involved and pass on our best wishes for the 2018 boating season.”

Commenting on their UK Coastal Marina (over 250 berths) category award, Mike Tait, Group Leisure Manager for Jersey Marinas said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have won this award, especially as it is voted for by our customers. Although we are small in number each and every one of the team takes an enormous pride and pleasure in looking after our marina guests.

“To receive such recognition from the prestigious The Yacht Harbour Association is a true reflection of the dedication, enthusiasm and professionalism consistently demonstrated by the Jersey Marinas Team and we would like to thank everyone who voted for us”.

David Findlay, Marina Manager at Inverness Marina responded to their award for UK Coastal Marina of the Year (under 250 berths): “We were all very surprised and pleased to hear that we had won the award. We would like to thank all our customers that took the time to vote for us and we look forward to providing the same friendly service and welcome to all those who choose to berth their boats at Inverness Marina, and to all the ever increasing numbers of visiting yachts passing through in the summer months 

“This is the icing on the cake on top of our four gold anchors, and with further developments planned we hope to improve our facilities even more to become a five gold anchor marina.”

Robert Parton, Managing Director at Church Minshull Aqueduct Marina, this year’s winner of the inland marina category commented: “We are delighted to have won the Inland Marina of the Year 2018 award. In an increasingly competitive market where customers have plenty of choice of marinas and moorings around the inland network, it is particularly rewarding to win an award that is a result of boat owners’ votes. Our thanks go to all those who voted for Aqueduct Marina, The Yacht Harbour Association for organising the award and to NMU for sponsoring the competition.” 

Liyanage Kithsiri, Marina Manager, Jumeirah Beach Hotel Marina, on receiving the Superyacht Marina Award said: “We are delighted to win this prestigious award, which demonstrates our commitment to providing the highest standards of customer service and safety. We would like to thank all of our loyal marina members for their ongoing support as well as Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Dubai Holding for their commitment to quality.”

Joe McCarthy, Marine Trade Underwriting Manager at awards sponsor NMU commented on the awards and NMU’s involvement: “To be recognised by their berth holders for consistently delivering a first class service is testament to each marina and their staff. All the winners and runners up today should be rightly proud of these awards.

“As multiple winners of insurance industry service awards ourselves, NMU really value the achievement of winning an award which is voted for entirely by your own customers.

“NMU are specialist insurers to the marine industry and we are proud sponsors of the NMU Marina Of The Year awards.”

To commemorate their achievement, winners and runners up of the Awards were presented with etched glass trophies and framed certificates by NMU company director, Nick Limb.

Jon White, General Manager of The Yacht Harbour Association, summed up the awards for 2018: “Yet again the competition for these much coveted awards was fierce. The winners, runners up and all the marinas voted for in this year’s NMU Marina of the Year competition deserve a huge round of applause. Right across the UK and around the world we are seeing marinas rise to the challenge of meeting the modern berth holder’s needs, ensuring they receive both excellent facilities and services.”

Published in Royal Cork YC

Former Cork Port Harbour Master Pat Farnan will take over as the next Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club Crosshaven at its annual general meeting on Monday, January 22. He has been Vice-Admiral, writes Tom MacSweeney.

John Roche, who has served 10 years on the club’s Executive Committee, will tell members at the meeting that plans are taking shape for the 2020 three-hundredth anniversary of the club.

Plans have been drawn up for refurbishment of the club premises with an investment of €100,000 which the members will be asked to approve. Work is underway on refurbishing and improving dressing rooms areas at present.

“We have had a good year,” Roche says in a message to members. “There is a positive buzz around the club and all the signs are that this is set to continue. Growing membership numbers and greater participation in both dinghy and cruiser racing augurs well for the future.”

Published in Royal Cork YC

Santa Claus was out sailing for the final day of the O’Leary Insurances Winter League on Sunday, 10th December writes Class 1 Captain Ria Lyden. He travelled All the way from Schull HSC and was crewing aboard Shelly D with Michael Murphy. His elves had also been given the day off to go sailing and their red and white bobble hats were much in evidence in the fleet.

It was just as well that Santa was wearing his red merino wool waterproof suit. Bracing might be a good word to describe the weather. It was overcast, but with the sun breaking through occasionally and the odd drop of rain in a very cool, squally wind of 15 to 20 knots. The wind was in the west south west for most of the race, but it veered to slightly north of west before the race finished. It was a neap tide and the ebb was augmented by the ‘fresh’ in the River after Saturday night’s very heavy rain.

As previously reported, going into Sunday’s race Coracle IV (Kieran Collins) and No Excuse (Ted Crosbie) were level on points, leading the series, and T-Bone (Tom Durcan/Clive O’Shea) was lying third, but the day’s results could change all of that. It was all to play for.

With Santa watching, and checking his list, everyone was on their best behaviour at the start at Corkbeg and the fleet got away cleanly on the first attempt, making life easier for Race Officers Clem and Wendy McElligott. T-Bone got a good start and got to No 8 first, closely followed by Nieulargo (Denis Murphy), Coracle IV, Dark Side (Robin O’Mahony) and Heroes and Villains (Gary Rhodes). Jelly Baby (Brian Jones) and No Excuse were next. The fleet was starting to spread out on the run to No 9 and the leg to No 20. In spite of the strong ebb, most boats got to No 20 without a tack by sailing across the Spit Bank and ballast stones. This had skippers watching their echo sounders and thinking ‘if there is enough water for Nieulargo, there is enough for us’.

Nieulargo rounded first and set a spinnaker. T-Bone (Tom Durkan/Clive O’Shea) followed her around and then had some sort of spinnaker misshap because, the next time we looked, they were heading back towards No 20. Coracle IV and Dark Side took the opportunity to overtake. T-Bone had ground to make up on the fetch to Corkbeg and beat Cage. The wind had shifted a little north of west as the leaders were broad reaching out to No 3. It was Coracle IV’s turn to experience a problem - a slow spinnaker drop and head sail set, which gave the chasing boats a chance to close the gap.

There was a short beat back to Cage. Nieulargo finished first. T-Bone was second with Coracle IV only six seconds behind. Only seconds separated the next group of boats also - Dark Side, Alpaca, Heroes and Villians and Jelly Baby. Crucially, No Excuse finished only 3 minutes and 20 seconds behind Coracle IV.
As we warmed up in the bar after the race, eating the mince pies which Anne Lordan was handing round, and sipping hot drinks, we checked the results web page but it had not been updated. Kieran O’Connell kept up the suspense until the prize-giving.

The beautiful turned wood, Irish Mist trophy, presented in memory of Archie O’Leary for first place in the All-In series on IRC handicap, had been won by No Excuse. They really had a superb series with a win and four second places. Coracle IV was a close second and T-Bone were third. Coracle IV was first in All-In ECHO handicap, with No Excuse second and Sea Dragon third.

Published in Royal Cork YC

There was a ding dong battle for overall prizes at Royal Cork Yacht Club's O'Leary Insurances Winter League in Cork Harbour on Sunday won out by Ted and Tom Crosbie in the X-302, No Excuse writes Bob Bateman.

A festive spirit and 20–knot north–westerly winds brought the league to a buoyant close that followed an equally upbeat SCORA agm at RCYC at the weekend. More details and a podcast with Kieran O'Connell here.

No Excuse won the all–in 29–boat IRC division by one point having finished second in the final race to Coracle IV's (Kieran Collins) third place.

Coracle IV won the Echo division by a bigger margin.

Results are here

A cold but dry race started at seven degrees but by the finish had dropped to a chilly two degrees. 

Race officers Clem and Wendy Mc Elligott Started from a Comitee boat at Cork beg with a Beat to No.8 buoy from there up to Cobh and then out of the harbour to No.3 buoy. Two rounds were sailed.

Published in Royal Cork YC

After a few negative years, resulting in some despondency about the future of cruiser racing, the annual meeting of SCORA, the South Coast Offshore Racing Association, had a more positive atmosphere, with a good attendance of skippers, boat owners and club representatives and quite a few practical suggestions about driving the racing scene forward.

SCORA Commodore Kieran O’Connell, who is also Rear Commodore for Keelboats at the Royal Cork YC in Crosshaven, has been talking up the levels of participation in the racing scene, so I was interested to find out if this was the case at the meeting.

In fact, it seemed to be so and was reflected with a wide-ranging debate, from developing Class 4 for the smallest boats, to bring more people into racing, to the length of races, a desire for more racing amongst Cork Harbour sailors outside of the harbour confines, developing more inter-club racing and how to bridge the gap where young sailors are lost to the sport, between dinghy racing and cruisers.

scora winners2017 Scora winners at RCYC Photo Bob Bateman

This practicality was reflected in a debate about the often contentious issue of boat handicaps. There was general agreement that the concentration on handicapping should primarily be at club level, where it could best be used to stimulate more participation locally and strengthen the clubs. Where boats wanted a national handicap to race in other locations, that would have to take account of and dealt with, but the emphasis should be in the clubs.

There was also a desire expressed for longer duration races, because shorter races discouraged participation.

Encouraging young people to move on from dinghies to cruiser racing was debated. “We are not getting enough young people from dinghies into cruiser racing,” was a generally agreed view. There is no obvious solution to this, but it was agreed that to encourage younger sailors into cruisers they had to be given specific roles aboard boats, not just brought onto a boat “to sit on the rail.”

Some things don’t change, but this meeting indicated that there is a lot of positive change and a better future ahead, it seems, for cruiser racing, which SCORA Commodore Kieran O’Connell says is on the increase, with more boats racing in the past season than previously.

Listen to Kieran O’Connell on my weekly Podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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