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Displaying items by tag: Royal Cork Yacht Club

A bumper 2020 Cork Week Regatta planned for July to celebrate Royal Cork Yacht Club's 300th birthday has been cancelled over the Covid-19 emergency.

All events scheduled in July for the Cork300 events series, which were to run across Cork Harbour to celebrate the Royal Cork Yacht Clubs 300th birthday, have been cancelled but RCYC are continuing planning now for August events.

The Club announced today that they took this difficult decision in conjunction with their partners to safeguard the health of sailors, visitors, volunteers and the community at large and to give certainty to those participants and visitors who had scheduled to come to Cork in July.

The celebrations scheduled to take place in July, which have now been cancelled, include Volvo Cork Week 2020 (in partnership with Johnson & Perrott), a Classic Yacht Regatta, a Cruise in Company with the Irish Cruising Club and other leading Cruising Clubs from America and Europe along the Wild Atlantic Way and a Royal Cork Fleet review and National and European yacht racing championships.

Cork Week MoreheadTanaiste Simon Coveney (left) with Royal Cork Admiral Colin Morehead at the launch of Cork Week 2020 last September

The Royal Cork are monitoring the ongoing Covid19 situation closely, but as of now, are continuing to plan for all of the remaining events scheduled from 1st August to end of December 2020.

Founded in 1720, the Royal Cork Yacht Club is the oldest yacht club in the world. As such, their special anniversary events were attracting National and International sailing communities to Cork from as far as Australia, Hong Kong and San Francisco who wanted to see “Where It All Began”.

Commenting, Chair of Cork300 and Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, Colin Morehead said, “It is with considerable regret and sadness that we have to cancel Volvo Cork Week 2020 and all other events throughout July. We are living in very uncertain times and the health of our members, our visitors, our city and country is now the main priority.”

“Over the last number of weeks, we have carefully monitored the developing global situation. We have taken continued guidance from Government Officials, the Health Service Executive, Irish Sailing and other experts in the hope that we would be able to proceed with our exciting schedule of events for July. We are very conscious that this decision will impact many visitors who have already booked to travel and participate and hope that making our decision at this stage will enable them to change their plans accordingly.”

"in the three hundred years since the foundation of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, we have faced many adversities"

“We are also very aware that this will be another blow to our local economy. However, in the three hundred years since the foundation of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, we have faced many adversities and are confident that working together, we will see the club, county, country and global sailing community come through these difficult times. Indeed we look forward to welcoming as many sailors as possible back to Cork Week in July 2022 ”

“I would like to thank our partners for their unwavering support – AIB (premier partner), Volvo Car Ireland (Cork Week title sponsor and Cork300 partner) our Foundation Partners the Port of Cork and Cork County Council and other Cork300 partners, Cork City Council, Heineken, Musto, Dubarry, and Doyle Shipping Group. Their support in recent weeks has been incredible. And to the voluntary committee and staff at the Royal Cork Yacht Club, along with supporting associations and clubs such as ICRA, RORC, Yacht Club de Monaco, Royal Yacht Squadron, Irish Cruising Association, Cruising Club of America and the Royal Cruising Club who have worked tirelessly over the past months and years to plan for the July events – my thanks.”

“Finally can I say that words cannot describe how thankful we all are for the hard work of everyone who is making significant sacrifices to keep us safe in these unprecedented times and to the sailing community, family and friends for your support as we navigate this uncertainty together – we truly value you, our community, more than ever.”

Also commenting, David Thomas, Managing Director Volvo Car Ireland said “Volvo Car Ireland are very proud of our long and successful association with Volvo Cork Week but fully support this difficult decision as being right for Cork, Ireland and the wider international sailing community. We hope that some of the planned events later in the year will still take place and will work closely with the Cork300 team and the Royal Cork Yacht Club around these future plans.”

"The ICRA board are now investigating the possibility of moving the 2020 National Championships"

Richard Colwell, ICRA Commodore commented, “ICRA fully support the RCYC team in their decision to cancel Volvo Cork Week incorporating the ICRA National Championships. It is a real shame that this hotly anticipated sailing event has fallen foul of the Coronavirus outbreak, but we fully understand the need to cancel, and we send our commiserations to the organising committee who have put so much hard work into an event that will not now run. The ICRA board are now investigating the possibility of moving the 2020 National Championships, to form part of an event which may still hopefully be held later in the year, and will announce more on this in the coming week.”

Published in Cork Harbour

Royal Cork's Peter and Robert O'Leary, Ireland's sole entry in the lead the sixty-five boat Star Class fleet have slipped back to sixth overall after scoring 18th in race three at the halfway stage of the 93rd Bacardi Cup in Miami, USA.

The change in wind pressure gave no change in performance from the series leaders Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Bruno Prada (BRA) who racked up another win.

The weather conditions served up an altogether different race track on day 3, with the light and unsettled breeze postponing the start until 1330 hours. An initial wait ashore in the environs of the beautiful Coral Reef Yacht Club was followed by an on-water postponement, before the light and very warm southerly breeze filled in.

The reigning Star Class World Champions, Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Bruno Prada (BRA), repeated and improved on yesterday’s race track domination, this time breaking away to lead the fleet from the first mark to the finish by a solid margin. The partnership dismissed the assault put up by Americans George Szabo and Guy Avellon, who delivered their best race of the series so far but had to be satisfied with a 2nd place finish and a leader board climb of five places to fifth overall.

Robert OlearyRobert O'Leary (second from left) enjoys a Bacardi with competitors at Coral Reef Yacht Club Photo: Martina Orsini
Steadily chipping away through the fleet were Eivind Melleby (NOR) and Josh Revkin (USA), who excel in breezier racecourses but today found their mojo in the tricky breeze and improved their game from 8th at the first mark to 3rd by the finish to hold steady in second overall.

“It’s going alright but we still have a little catch up to do if we want to lead this,” reflected Eivind Melleby after racing. “When the wind comes from the south in Miami it’s quite steady and it’s hard to get it wrong, we are doing our best and are happy to be up there.”

“We are half way through the regatta,” added Josh Revkin, “and we still have three more races to move on up, which we are planning to do by winning as many of these as possible.”

Whilst the pair has the series leaders well in sight, with the series discard kicking in after Thursday’s race 4, there will be numerous other teams who will work their way up the leader board and edge closer to the podium slots.

Claiming a 3rd place finish and moving up one place to third in the overall standings were the 2019 Star World silver medallists Augie Diaz (USA) and Henry Boening (BRA). The partnership executed yet another immaculate race, always holding their position in the leading pack to be one of only three teams carrying a scorecard of top 10 finishes. Diaz knows Biscayne Bay and its winds and currents better than anyone else in the fleet, and is mission focused to lift not only the Grand Master title but the iconic Bacardi Cup Trophy come Saturday 7 March.

The 2018 Bacardi Cup winner Diego Negri (ITA) racing with 2014 Star World Champion crew Frithjof Kleen (GER), secured another solid finish, staking a 6th place to sit in fourth overall. Six points behind are the winners of the first race, the Irish brothers Peter and Robert O’Leary, with the legendary Paul Cayard (USA) and his 2018 Star Sailors League Finals winner Pedro Trouche (BRA) in seventh.

From Thursday 5 March to Saturday 7 March the Star Class will be joined by the full line-up of classes at the Bacardi Invitational Regatta with the J70, Melges 24, Viper 640, VXOne sports boat and the foiling AV8 and Windfoil sailors joining the event. Tonight their regatta kicks off with the welcome party at Shake a Leg Miami, host of the Bacardi Invitational Regatta village.


Provisional Top 10 – After 3 Races

1. Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada (POL 8548) - 4 pts

2. Eivind Melleby/Joshua Revkin (NOR 8234) - 10 pts

3. Augie Diaz/Henry Boening (USA 8509) - 14 pts

4. Diego Negri/Frithjof Kleen (ITA 8533) - 17 pts

5. George Szabo/Guy Avellon (USA 8129) - 20 pts

6. Peter O'Leary/Robert O'Leary (IRL 8458) - 26 pts

7. Paul Cayard/Pedro Trouch (USA 8466) - 29 pts

8. Jørgen Schönherr/Markus Koy (DEN 8532) - 31 pts

9. Brian Ledbetter/Magnus Liljedahl (USA 8203) - 32 pts

10. Manu Hens/Joost Houweling (BEL 8379) - 38 pts

Published in Star

Royal Cork Yacht Club's Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo is the latest entry into this June's SSE Renewables Round Ireland Yacht Race from Wicklow that gets underway in just over 15 weeks time.

Denis and Annamarie Murphy's well-proven Italian marque has been a force to be reckoned with on the south coast (especially in a breeze) and was the winner of RCYC's Yacht of the Year in 2018

And it's not the first foray offshore for the Murphy family's most successful all-rounders as they were entrants in last year's Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race too.

Nieulargo brings to 34 the number of entries so far for the Round Ireland that is attracting considerable international interest this year. Wicklow organisers are aiming for a 60-boat fleet and with 15 weeks to go, and entries running typically very late there is still every chance this will be met for its 21st edition.

One of those skippers yet to declare is the weekend Class One winner of the RORC Caribbean Race. Royal Irish skipper Michael Boyd leads the race for a Volvo Car prize in this year's Race but only three points separate the top four skippers overall and the RIYC man has yet to reveal his boat of choice for the 700-miler.

Published in Round Ireland

The Royal Cork Yacht Club, the oldest yacht club in the world, has officially launched its prestigious Volvo Cork Week 2020 regatta, which will see hundreds of boats and thousands of yachtsmen and women from around the globe compete on the waters around Cork Harbour from July 13th – 17th.

This year’s Volvo Cork Week has extra special significance as it forms a key part of the Royal Cork Yacht Club’s historic ‘Cork300’ celebrations, marking what is the oldest yacht club in the world’s tricentenary.

The world-renowned biennial regatta is already attracting a bumper fleet of entries from all over the world including Monaco, Australia, Hong Kong and San Francisco. Famous boats already registered include the elegant 60ft gaff cutter 'Thalia'*, the competitive racing boat ‘Ran’* and the beautiful modern racing yacht ‘Tala'. The regatta is expected to book out quickly as many participants are travelling to Ireland for the tricentenary celebrations.

This year Volvo Cork Week will also incorporate The Irish Cruiser Racing Association National Championships, the IRC European Championship, the 1720 European Championships, the Beaufort Cup, a Classic Yacht regatta and the southern championships for the International Dragon Class.

ThaliaThalia - classic yacht is coming to Cork Week

All qualifying boats entered in Volvo Cork Week 2020 will automatically be entered into the ICRA National Championships, the pinnacle of the Irish inshore cruiser racing calendar which will see the Irish National Champion declared.

Volvo Cork Week has historically been regarded as a ‘must-do’ regatta on the international sailing calendar due to its unparalleled reputation for exhilarating competitive racing over a variety of race courses in fair sailing waters and its incredible line-up of post-racing off the water entertainment and social activity. As always, the atmosphere in Crosshaven, home of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, will be second to none both during and ahead of Volvo Cork Week 2020.

Volvo Cork Week Director of Racing, Rosscoe Deasy said: “I look forward to welcoming sailors from around the world to Cork Harbour in 2020 in celebration of the Royal Cork Yacht Club’s tri-centennial year. We have a packed schedule and the season’s centrepiece will be the renowned Volvo Cork Week in July. Notably, the 2020 regatta will also include championship events such as the IRC Europeans, the ICRA Nationals, the 1720 Europeans and the Beaufort Cup.

“Since 1978, every Cork Week has delivered a unique mix of top-notch competition afloat & top-class entertainment ashore, and next year will be no different. In fact, judging by the interest received and the stories of glory days already being retold, Volvo Cork Week 2020 will set a new standard on both counts. This event has been 300 years in the making, no sailor should miss it.”

Richard Colwell, Commodore of the Irish Cruising Racing Association said, “The ICRA is delighted to be partnering with the Royal Cork Yacht Club to hold the Irish Cruiser Racing National Championships as an integral part of Volvo Cork Week 2020. We encourage all of the cruiser racing fraternity in Ireland to travel and take part in what promises to be an exciting and competitive event, as part of Royal Cork’s broader Tricentenary celebrations. With visitors from countries all over Europe, it is important that Irish Cruiser Racing shows the strength that we have across all classes from White Sails to Cruiser 0 at the National Championships and so contribute to the competitive racing expected.”

1720 Sports Boat European Championships

A bumper fleet of more than 40 yachts from Ireland, UK, Netherlands, Spain and elsewhere around Europe is expected to compete in the 1720 Sports Boat European Championships as part of Volvo Cork Week 2020. The race committee is particularly pleased to host this European Championship event due in part to the fact that the original idea for the 1720 was conceived by a group of committed racing members of the Royal Cork Yacht Club. This distinctive class of boat also took its name from the year in which the club was founded.

Beaufort Cup

The third edition of the Beaufort Cup, the prestigious international inter-services sailing regatta, will also be hosted by the Royal Cork Yacht Club with the support of the Irish Defence Forces, during Volvo Cork Week. A specially commissioned perpetual trophy in honour of Sir Francis Beaufort, creator of the Beaufort Scale, will be presented to the overall winner of the regatta which will entail a mix of challenging offshore and tactical inshore racing, including an overnight race around the iconic Fastnet Rock and back to Cork. International teams from their associated national emergency services are invited to compete in this prestigious competition, with the proviso that 50% of each team must be active in the service they represent.

Classic Yacht Regatta

Volvo Cork Week will also host a dedicated Classic Yacht Regatta for the first time in 2020. Classic Yachts from around the globe will sail to Cork to celebrate ‘Where It All Began’ and partake in three days of racing in and outside Cork Harbour. This event will also provide a fantastic viewing spectacle for shoreline onlookers.

International Dragon Class

In addition to this, the International Dragon Class will return to Volvo Cork Week in 2020 following their very successful outing in 2018, to hold their Southern Championships in Cork.
Races to Cork:

A series of national and international races to Cork will take place in the run-up to the five-day regatta.

Morgan Cup: (Cowes England to Cork)

These include the highly prestigious Morgan Cup race – organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club since 1958 – which will cross the Celtic Sea to Cork for the first time ever with the support of the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Royal Cork Yacht Club. This 324nm race will carry an attractive points-weighting for the 2020 RORC Season Points Championship and is expected to attract a substantial fleet. The line honours winner for this race will be the first recipient of a specially commissioned perpetual trophy graciously donated to the Royal Cork Yacht Club by His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, to honour the club’s tricentenary and the close relationship between the United Kingdom, Ireland and its sailing communities.

Kingstown to Queenstown Race (Dublin to Cork)

Meanwhile, the historic Kingstown to Queenstown race from Dun Laoghaire to Cobh will take place on July 9th, enhancing the build up to Volvo Cork Week 2020 with a re-enactment of what is acknowledged as the first-ever offshore race to take place in the British Isles, in 1860.

Robbe and Berking German Offshore Trophy (Heligoland Germany to Cork)

A competitive fleet will also set sail on an 800nm race from Heligoland, Germany, to Cork, Ireland, on July 4th competing for the Robbe and Berking German Offshore Trophy, arriving ahead in Ireland of the historic Volvo Cork Week 2020.

Vice-Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club and Cork300 Chairman, Colin Morehead, said: “The biennial Cork Week regatta has seen many friendships and memories created since it was first held in 1978. I would encourage everyone to return to Cork Harbour next year and join us in celebrating Where It All Began by participating in Volvo Cork Week 2020 and help restore its status as Europe’s largest fun regatta.

Published in Cork Harbour

Captain Pat Farnan’s retirement as Admiral of the Royal Cork YC on January 20th - after a two-year tour of duty in this top role - marked the completion of another chapter in an outstanding maritime career that took him straight from school to take up a Cadetship in Irish Shipping. After rising to the rank of Captain with wide-ranging sea service, he was recruited in 1980 into the frontline staff of the Port of Cork as Assistant Harbour Master, where his 33-year career saw a period of very extensive facilities re-location and expansion. He became for many years Harbour Master and then additionally Deputy Chief Executive, serving also as President of the European Harbour Masters Association from 1996-1998.

Pat FarnanPat Farnan who has retired as RCYC Admiral

By the time he retired from working in the Port of Cork, his many skills and capable and reassuring presence had been called on for voluntary work in running the Royal Cork YC, for the sea was both his work and his leisure. He thus became Admiral for the demanding two year period in the countdown to the RCYC’s Tricentenary in 2020. Far from being overshadowed by the approaching celebrations, 2018 and 2019 were such busy and successful years in RCYC sailing that the Royal Cork saw 2020 being ushered in with the announcement that they were the new Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year on the strength of outstanding achievements in 2018 and ’19.

Pat Farnan may now have more time to enjoy sailing his own cruiser. But we feel sure that his many talents could well be called on again to serve in some new capacity in the maritime world. Meanwhile, we’re honoured to confirm him as Sailor of the Month for January 2020.

Published in Cork Harbour

Colin Morehead has been elected as Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club succeeding the outgoing Pat Farnan as the club celebrates its 300th year as the oldest yacht club in the world writes Bob Bateman. At the 299th AGM,  Morehead was elected the 42nd Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club. In his acceptance speech, he thanked Farnan for the manner in which he executed his role over the past two years and steered the club into its Tricentenary Year.

Morehead has been part of the Royal Cork all his life, following in the footsteps of generations of his family before him. He spoke briefly about plans for events due to take place in this tricentenary year calling out the St Patrick’s Day parade, Seafest, World Championship power racing, a classic regatta, Volvo Cork Week and no less than ten Cork300 dinghy events which will see European, National and Regional titles decided.

"Morehead has been part of the Royal Cork all his life"

The incoming Admiral also outlined his wish to develop a five-year plan for the club which he would like to see approved at the 300th AGM next year along with the development of a new sustainability plan for the club which underpins all of the club’s activities. He also set out an ambition to secure an additional European or World Championship event to be run at the club by 2023 (Recently the club announced that the 2021 World Topper Championships would take place at the Crosshaven based club).

In his closing remarks, he set out the fact that nothing could be achieved without the support and dedication of its staff and its incredible committee’s and volunteers. He reminded everyone that volunteers give of their time and services freely and they should be treated with respect and courtesy at all times by all members. He continued by saying “we should value and recognise our volunteers as a significant resource who enable us to achieve our objectives”.

He concluded by calling on all members to use the magnificent harbour we have on our doorstep to showcase the role which the Royal Cork plays in the promotion of sailing. He called on everyone to use the wonderful facilities which the clubhouse affords its members and in doing so offers us all the opportunity to rekindle existing friendships and the creation of new ones.

Published in Royal Cork YC
Tagged under

The number of racing yachts increased last year at the Royal Cork Yacht Club, which is being described as a sign of “the rise once more of Irish keelboat sailing.”

The members of the club will be told about encouraging developments in cruiser racing at their annual general meeting on Monday night.

This will be the 299th AGM of the club, leading into its Tricentennial Year.

The Under 25 Academy which was started at the club has proved successful and is being followed by a Junior Sailing Academy.

The incoming Admiral, Colin Morehead, who will be elected at the meeting says that the future is bright for sailing.

More on the podcast below.

Published in Tom MacSweeney

The Royal Cork Yacht Club is the new Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year, both in honour of its Tricentenary in 2020, and in celebration of a busy and successful season in 2019. The hospitable club faces this unprecedented new year with an inspiring serenity, strengthened in awareness of experience gained and achievements attained in the many years of its existence and supported by the global sailing community in its outstanding world status.

Yet even as the special events for the season of 2020 were being planned during 2019 and earlier, 2019 itself has seen some notable sailing achievements by Royal Cork members of all age groups, both at home and abroad. But when a club is operating in the unique timeframe which is the story of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, perhaps we should think in terms of measurable decades of successful club activity to get a more accurate picture of RCYC life afloat and ashore.

yacht club conference cork Paying their respects to seniority. Delegates to the World Forum of the International Council of Yacht Clubs in September 2019 at the Royal Cork YC. Photo: Robert Bateman

And in a longer view, the Royal Cork Yacht Club now tops the leaderboard in the number of times it has been Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year. This informal contest to honour those clubs which best fulfilled the objectives of effectively meeting the needs – afloat and ashore – of members who in turn were active in voluntarism in club activity, while at the same time relating positively to the community in which they were located yet also achieving sailing success at all levels at home and abroad, began modestly in 1979 by being limited to the clubs of Leinster.

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But in 1986 - when Mitsubishi Motors Ireland took over what is now the longest-running sponsorship in Irish sailing - the competition was extended to all Ireland, and the Royal Cork became pace-setters, a benchmark of multiple sailing and sports social activities against which other clubs are inevitably measured.

oleary lyons keane3 The sixth time the Royal Cork became “Club of the Year” was in 2015. At the awards ceremony in the Crosshaven clubhouse were (left to right) Anthony O’Leary (Afloat.ie Sailor of the Year 2014 for his successful captaining of the Irish Commodore’s Cup team), RCYC Admiral Pat Lyons, and Frank Keane of Mitsubishi Motors. Photo: Robert Bateman

Royal Cork Yacht Club has been Mitsubishi Motors Club of Year in 1987, 1992, 1997, 2000, 2006, 2015, and now 2020. With successive Admirals at the awards ceremonies in the clubhouse giving thoughtful acceptance speeches which have helped to define what continues to make a sailing club successful in a rapidly changing modern Ireland in an increasing complex global sailing environment, the RCYC has contributed greatly to the general awareness of what makes a successful club thrive.

Thus it was appropriate that in September 2019, one of the gatherings which recognised and benefitted from the Royal Cork’s unique experience was when Admiral Pat Farnan and the RCYC at Crosshaven welcomed the delegates to the World Forum of the International Council of Yacht Clubs, staged in Cork in honour of the approaching RCYC Tricentenary.

RCYC New Years Eve Ball27 The calming presence…..RCYC Admiral Pat Farnan and his wife Carmel at this week’s New Year’s Eve Tricentenary Gala Ball. After two years of guiding the club through successful seasons and the build-up to the Tricentenary, Admiral Farnan stands down at the AGM on January 20th. His extensive maritime and administrative experience, which has included being Harbour Master of the Port of Cork, has been invaluable for the club at this special time Photo: Robert Bateman

Today, the Royal Cork may have its very effective clubhouse/marina home base at Crosshaven, but over the 300 years and more of recreational sailing, its focus has been at different centres on the magnificent natural amenity which is Cork Harbour, while the founding members kept their boats at the anchorage or quayside which was most convenient to their often-waterside homes.

Thus the original title of The Water Club of the Harbour of Cork was the more accurate description of the club’s nature, and there’s a certain irony in that today, it probably once again describes the club with more precision. Convenient berthing facilities all round Cork Harbour have improved significantly in recent years, the most recent being the construction of a marina at the 101-year-old Cobh Sailing Club on the other side of the harbour. So although Royal Cork YC at Crosshaven has had Ireland’s longest-established coastal clubhouse marina since 1974, marinas and local clubs have since expanded all round the harbour at places as diverse as East Ferry, Cobh, Monkstown and in Cork city itself.

crosshaven aerial5 High summer in Crosshaven, where the Royal Cork’s marina – a pioneering project when it first opened in 1974 – has become an award-winning amenity. While there are now other marinas and developing clubs dotted around the superb natural harbour, the Royal Cork at Crosshaven is thought of as “The Mother Club”. Photo: Robert Bateman

Yet although these neighbourhood clubs have their own active local scene, the fact is they still look to the Royal Cork YC as the Mother Club. And thanks to the diligence of RCYC archivists such as the dedicated Dermot Burns, it is the Royal Cork which is the repository of priceless records and memorabilia, historic trophies, important maritime works of art, and significant portraits, all of which are eloquent testimony to the extraordinary and unrivalled history of recreational sailing in Cork Harbour.

This unique collection enabled the far-sighted publication in 2005 of an impressive and weighty book, the award-winning History of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, written by historian Alicia St Leger using the material so tirelessly organised by Dermot Burns. It was far-sighted to publish this valuable record back in 2005, as that provided plenty of time for the story of the club to fully enter world sailing’s consciousness, such that now that we are in the Tricentenary Year - which was ushered in this week by a Tricentenary New Year’s Eve Gala Ball at the clubhouse - the world sailing community is fully aware of the Royal Cork’s special status, and is giving every fair wind to the celebration of Cork300.

rcyc book6 The History of the Royal Cork, published in 2005, is a massive, detailed and informative work which set the stage and context for the approaching Tricentenary. In addition to its valuable contents, the book’s exceptionally high production values also won specialist awards.

The committee putting it all together for 2020 has been chaired by Colin Morehead, whose dedication to making newcomers welcome in sailing is such that in 2017 he was presented with the Irish Sailing President’s Award as “Volunteer of the Year”. In a bewildering era when much of the world sees a decline in voluntarism and the sense of belonging in clubs and other like-minded groups, the amount of social capital which Irish sailing clubs have in their strong voluntary ethos is incalculable in value, and is something to be encouraged and cherished in every way possible.

coveney morehead7Tanaiste Simon Coveney TD – whose family has long been connected with the RCYC – with Vice Admiral Colin Morehead, who is chair of the Cork300 Committee. Photo: Robert Bateman

Here again, the Royal Cork is a leader, for the voluntary willingness of the members - in what is not a large club numerically speaking - enables it to punch well above its weight and keep its historical traditions alive, while at the same time being in the forefront of national and international sailing development.

Thus although the RCYC has - like other clubs – seen its fleet grow with the introduction of series or mass-produced boats made in remote and anonymous factories, it is the only club in Ireland –and one of the very few in the world – which has initiated new classes in modern times.

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Back in the 1890s and early 1900s, many clubs were in on this sort of project, and the Royal Cork led the way with the introduction of the Fife-designed, locally built Cork Harbour One Designs in 1895. Some of them still sail in beautifully restored form. But since then, Cork sailors have not been content to take in boats created elsewhere, for in 1994 they commissioned the completely new Cork 1720 Sportsboat to designs by the then locally-based Tony Castro (there’ll be maybe as 50 of them racing during the Tricentenary celebrations) and then in 2014 when a completely new Phil Morrison design for the National 18 appeared on Cork Harbour, it emerged that it was the Royal Cork YC which had released vital funds to make the Ultimate’s introduction possible.

chod elsie8The Cork Harbour One Design Elsie, restored by Mark Bushe. The Fife-designed class originated in 1895, and all were built at locations around Cork Harbour. Photo Robert Bateman
1720 sportsboat9The Cork 1720 Sportsboats originated through the RCYC in 1994 to designs by Tony Castro. It is expected that there will be as many as fifty of these now-classic Sportsboats taking part in the Tricentenary Regatta. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’Brien
national 18s ultimate10Another new design which has originated in modern times with support from the RCYC is the Phil Morrison-designed National 18 Ultimate, which appeared on Cork Harbour in 2014. Photo: Robert Bateman

With this sort of energetic innovation going on with projects which won’t be completed overnight, it’s clear that we should be considering the achievements of at least the past decade in making the Royal Cork the Mitsubishi Motors Club of the Year for 2020, but in truth perhaps we should really be taking a much longer view, and one indicator of the RCYC’s continuing and growing vitality is the number of winners of the All-Ireland Helmsman’s Championship which they have provided over the years since its introduction in 1947, the most senior – Teddie Crosbie of 1950 – very happily still being with us. It’s an impressive list of many talents who have proven their worth in a wide variety of boats and sailing;

  • 1950: Ted Crosbie
  • 1955 & 1960: Clayton Love Jnr.
  • 1956 & 1957: Somers Payne
  • 1972: Harold Cudmore
  • 1990 & 1999: Mark Mansfield
  • 2003: Neil Hegarty
  • 2006 & 2012: Peter O’Leary
  • 2007: Stefan Hyde
  • 2008, 2009 & 2010: Nicholas O’Leary
  • 2011 George Kenefick
  • 2014 & 2015: Anthony O’Leary
  • 2016: Alex Barry

The All-Ireland Junior Championship was only established as recently as 1975, but Cork sailors have been in on it from the get-go:

  • 1975: Joe English
  • 1986: Tom McWilliam
  • 1986: Jamie McWilliam
  • 1988: Nicholas O’Leary
  • 2000: Peter O’Leary
  • 2002: Robert Collins
  • 2003: Erica Tate
  • 2004: Katie Tingle
  • 2006: George Kenefick
  • 2013: Seafra Guilfoyle
  • 2014: Harry Durcan
  • 2015: Peter McCann
  • 2016: Johnny Durcan
  • 2018: Atlee Kohl
  • 2019: Chris Bateman

chris and olin bateman 11Chris & Olin Bateman on their way to winning the All-Ireland Junior Championship at Schull in the last weekend of September 2019. Photo INPHO/Bryan Keane
james dwyer matthews12 RCYC’s James Dwyer Matthews, winner in the International Optimist Class of the big-fleet British Spring Opens and the 185-boat Irish Opens. Photo: IODAI

Cork Harbour’s exceptional strength in the Junior Division has never been greater than it is at present, a situation which surely augurs well for the continuing good health of the area’s sailing scene for years to come. In 2019 in addition to Chris & Olin Bateman’s victory in the Junior Championship in September, young Cork sailors had been making their mark ever since March, when Optimist Champion James Dwyer Matthews of RCYC swept the board in the big-fleet British Spring Opens at Lymington, and then in August he went on to become the Irish Open Champion in an even bigger fleet at Howth.

harry durcan13Sailor of many successes. RCYC’s Harry Durcan won the All-Ireland Junior Title in 2014, and he is currently the top Irish Intervarsity Keelboat Helm, seen here with the medal he won in the California Invitationals in March 2019
cit team california14 The CIT Team – many of whom are RCYC – in action in California

Meanwhile in University keelboat racing. it was Cork all the way, with CIT Sailing Club’s team headed by RCYC’s Harry Durcan and Grattan Roberts winning out from University College Cork in a close-fought Irish championship in J/80s, and in a very long-distance challenge to the Invitationals in California for the Port of Los Angeles Trophy, they returned home with the Bronze Medals.

Taking on the special challenge of racing keelboats in America which are of a completely new marque was something which Cork’s adult sailors also took on with enthusiasm, with the Royal Cork team led by Anthony O’Leary (whose contribution to Cork sailing’s international success over many decades is incalculable) throwing themselves into the maelstrom of the 20-team New York YC Invitationals in Newport RI in September.

ic37 asymmetric action15 Corinthian competition to professional standards – Ireland represented by RCYC and captained by Anthony O’Leary milling their way towards a Bronze Medal in the 20-team New York YC Invitationals at Newport RI in September

This was sailed in the new IR37s from Irish-based designer Mark Mills, and though it was a Corinthian event, it emerged that many crews had spent as much time as possible familiarising themselves with these attractive new boats as more of them became available through the summer, whereas the Cork crew arrived in Newport as IR37 virgins.

They put that right very quickly indeed, with their skipper observing that anyone who could make a good fist of racing a Cork 1720 would have a head start in getting to know an IR37, and their learning curve was so successfully upwards that at the final stages a silver medal was a remote possibility, but as it is they came home with the Bronze and a very high level of regard among the opposition.

Meanwhile, at home the RCYC had opened its main 2019 season on a high note by hosting the Irish Sailing Youth Pathway multiple classes event in April. The club’s extremely active Junior Section provides racing for Optimists, Mirrors, Lasers and RS Fevas, while other classes catered for include Nationals 18s, SB20s and Multihulls. Then in August they hosted the first-ever Crosshaven staging of the Mermaid Nationals (won by Darragh McCormack of Foynes) and in September the annual DinghyFest showcased the impressive variety of classes the club caters for.

2019 dinghyfest16RCYC’s DinghyFest 2019 in September attracted an impressive variety of new and long-established classes. Photo: Robert Bateman

But numerically speaking, the great strength of the RCYC is its thriving fleet of cruisers and cruiser-racing, often in a family setting. This past year or two we’ve seen the pace being set by the Murphy family with their Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo, while the J/109 Jelly Baby and the Jones family keep up a family sailing tradition which is bred into Cork’s maritime genes.

jelly baby sailing17The Jones family’s J/109 Jelly Baby in action in typical Crosshaven sailing style. Photo: Robert Bateman

After all, it was Cork’s own Harry Donegan who flew the flag for Ireland in the inaugural Fastnet Race of 1925 with his cutter Gull, a boat which was regarded as an integral part of the family. So much so, in fact, that the late great Denis Doyle, who was to take up the Cork offshore racing standard with Moonduster, could remember as a child going to Sunday lunch in the winter at the Donegan household (for all the Cork sailing families seem to be inter-related) and after lunch as the adults settled down to chat, the many children were put to work sand-papering the dozens of varnished wooden blocks which were essential to Gull’s complex rig. But as Denis wistfully recalled: “We children were never ever allowed to do the actual varnishing - Old Harry did that himself after we’d gone”.

gull1Harry Donegan’s Gull sailing under her decidedly labour-intensive rig. While the Royal Cork’s first offshore race of 1860 will be re-enacted with the ISORA Dun Laoghaire to Cobh Race in July 2020, it was Gull’s participation and third place overall in the inaugural Fastnet Race of 1925 which placed Cork sailing in the heart of 20th Century offshore racing development. Photo courtesy RCYC

This is the way it is with Cork sailing – it is one of the few places in Ireland where going sailing really is regarded as a totally normal and very important part of everyday life. For that alone, the Royal Cork YC deserves to be “Club of the Year” for this year and maybe every year. But this seemingly natural state of affairs is only guaranteed by the continual recruiting of officers, committee and volunteers who quietly keep in place the structures in which sailing is kept as such an integral part of day-to-day life.

It has produced a sailing scene which naturally brought forward sailors of such talent that they moved on into successful professional careers in yacht racing, though it seemed a very big move when Harold Cudmore Jnr took it for the first time in 1974. But since then specialists like Olympian Mark Mansfield and Maurice Prof O’Connell and others have shown that Cork Harbour is a very effective nursery for sailing talent of international quality.

mark and prof18 The Royal Cork’s output of top-class sailors spreads far beyond Crosshaven – Mark Mansfield and Maurice Prof O'Connell are seen here getting the J/109 EuroCarParks up to speed early in the 2016 Round Ireland Race. They were the only Irish boat to win their class that time round. Photo Afloat.ie/David O’Brien

It was only 53 years ago that Clayton Love Jnr, through quiet persuasion and diplomacy, brought about the merger between the Royal Cork YC in its stately but out-dated 19th Century clubhouse in Cobh, and the Royal Munster YC in its developing 20th century base in Crosshaven. Crosshaven much more conveniently provided the facilities to be the main centre for contemporary Cork Harbour sailing, but it took patience and skill those fifty and more years ago to bring about the change which ensured there was an active Royal Cork YC ready to celebrate its Quarter Millennium in 1969-70. Since then it has remained as the focal point of a growing sailing scene which has now filtered back to every corner of the harbour, yet still looks to the Royal Cork YC in Crosshaven as the Mother Club.

It is kept in thriving health by constant attention, skilled management, and sailing success afloat. While the increasing pace of the 2020 planning by Colin Morehead’s Cork300 committee has inevitably drawn growing attention during 2019, it has been doubly important that club life should continue with its own busy programme during this past year.

The calm and frequent presence of Admiral Pat Farnan ensured this, supported by his team of Colin Morehead in his additional role as Vice Admiral, and three Rear Admirals: Brian Jones (Dinghies), Kieran O’Connell (Keelboats) and Mike Rider (Cruising), while Secretary/Treasurer Pat Harte, Membership & Events Sub Committee Chair Annamarie Fegan, and Marina & Facilities Chair Simon Brewitt kept their sections on the chosen path.

Nevertheless, an operation the size and complexity of the Royal Cork’s headquarters ashore and afloat at Crosshaven will need skilled professional input, and the club could have spent vast sums of money-drawing up and implementing the recruitment profile of the ideal person to fill the multi-tasking post of General Manager of the world’s senior yacht club. But fortunately, the perfect candidate was right there so ideally in their midst that an extensive search wasn’t required, such that now it is impossible to imagine today’s Royal Cork Yacht Club without Gavin Deane’s reassuring performance as General Manager.

albert and gavin19Gavin Deane (right) with Prince Albert of Monaco at the ceremony which twinned the Yacht Club de Monaco with the Royal Cork YC in honour of the latter’s Tricentenary. Photo courtesy RCYC
But all these talented and dedicated people would find that much of the beneficial effects their good work might go completely unseen were it not for the ubiquitous presence of photographer Robert Bateman. In some ways the astonishing survival of the Royal Cork Yacht Club for 300 years has at times been a matter of luck. And for many years, the club has never been so lucky as in its enthusiastic photographer. If a good picture says a thousand words, then Bob Bateman has said millions of eloquent words in telling us what a remarkable and continuing story there is at Crosshaven and on Cork Harbour, and everyone is in his debt for his exceptional dedication in recording all sailing, and in particular in recording the sailing and shore life of this unique club.

We congratulate the Royal Cork Yacht Club, very deservedly the Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year for the seventh time in 2020

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Royal Cork Yacht Club celebrated the new year's arrival in style at Crosshaven, Cork Harbour last night in anticipation of a bumper Cork300. 2020 is an important anniversary year in which the oldest yacht club in the world will celebrate its tricentenary writes Bob Bateman.

On a still night on the Owenabue river, over 100 attended the gala dinner with a champagne reception.

At the appointed time, RCYC Admiral Pat Farnan welcomed the new year in with a canon on the club lawn.

Photo gallery below by Bob Bateman

RCYC New Years Eve Ball5

RCYC New Years Eve Ball5

RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5RCYC New Years Eve Ball5

Published in Royal Cork YC

The well attended Royal Cork Yacht Club Laying Up Supper last weekend featured some important club annual awards presentations by Admiral Pat Farnan witnessed this year by special guests from the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes writes Bob Bateman.

Neighbouring Cork clubs were well represented too with Kinsale Yacht Club's Commodore Dave O'Sullivan, Commodore Kieran Dorgan from Cove Sailing Club, Johanna Murphy, Commodore of SCORA and the Naval Squadron's Brian Matthews all attending.

Special guests at this year's supper were Bruce Mauleverer and Trish Lewington, Secretary, of the Royal Yacht Squadron from Cowes. 

Anthony O'LearyAnthony O'Leary was named RCYC Sailor of the Year

RCYC's Sailor of the Year was awarded to Anthony O'Leary who was presented with the Doyle Family Trophy for his outstanding performance in the United States in September. O'Leary and an RCYC crew took Bronze at the New York Invitational Cup as Afloat reported here

This year’s Cruising Boat of the Year Trophy was awarded to Split Point Skippered by Maeve McDonagh and Seamus Gilroy. The cruising duo embarked on a cruise of 890 nautical miles, on their Dufour 34 taking in the Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, Devon and Brittany. The cruise visited over 12 different ports, all of which had their own unique navigational and pilotage and returning to Crosshaven in Cork Harbour some 24 days later.

 DSC3504Bruce Mauleverer Royal Yacht Squadron, Gavin Deane Gen Mng. Royal Cork, Trish Lewington, Secretary Royal Yacht Squadron, Admiral Pat Farnan, Royal Cork and Colin Morehead Vice Admiral Royal Cork

Michael Murphy, from RCYC and Schull Harbour Sailing Club who owns and sails the Moody 30 “Shelly D” was awarded a special prize for supporting the Autumn Leagues for 40 years in the same boat, as reported by Afloat here. Afloat Correspondent Tom MacSweeney also featured Murphy in a recent podcast here.

 DSC3504 Michael Murphy, from RCYC and Schull Harbour Sailing Club “Shelly D” was awarded a special prize for supporting the Autumn Leagues for 40 years in the same boat

Rebecca O’Shaughnessy was awarded Under 25 Sailor of the Year, one of her achievements was being a member of Andrew Crosbie's crew onboard a National 18 that won the Royal Cork PY1000 Race back in March.

 DSC3504Rebecca O’Shaughnessy - Under 25 Sailor of the Year

Celine McGrath was awarded RCYC Volunteer of the Year.

 DSC3504Celine McGrath - Volunteer of the Year

For competing in away events, the Jones Family were awarded (National) Boat of the Year for their competitive J109 entry Jelly Baby that was unfortunately involved in a collision at the of the season in the Winter League. 

 DSC3504The Jones Family were awarded (National) Boat of the Year for their competitive J109 entry Jelly Baby

Published in Cruising
Page 6 of 46

The Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's fourth 'Blue Light' service (along with An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service). It provides a nationwide maritime emergency organisation as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

The purpose of the Irish Coast Guard is to promote safety and security standards, and by doing so, prevent as far as possible, the loss of life at sea, and on inland waters, mountains and caves, and to provide effective emergency response services and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The Irish Coast Guard has responsibility for Ireland's system of marine communications, surveillance and emergency management in Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and certain inland waterways.

It is responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue and counter-pollution and ship casualty operations. It also has responsibility for vessel traffic monitoring.

Operations in respect of maritime security, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration and fisheries enforcement are co-ordinated by other bodies within the Irish Government.

On average, each year, the Irish Coast Guard is expected to:

  • handle 3,000 marine emergencies
  • assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives
  • task Coast Guard helicopters on missions

The Coast Guard has been around in some form in Ireland since 1908.

Coast Guard helicopters

The Irish Coast Guard has contracted five medium-lift Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopters deployed at bases in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo.

The helicopters are designated wheels up from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours and 45 minutes at night. One aircraft is fitted and its crew trained for under slung cargo operations up to 3000kgs and is available on short notice based at Waterford.

These aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains of Ireland (32 counties).

They can also be used for assistance in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and aerial surveillance during daylight hours, lifting and passenger operations and other operations as authorised by the Coast Guard within appropriate regulations.

Irish Coastguard FAQs

The Irish Coast Guard provides nationwide maritime emergency response, while also promoting safety and security standards. It aims to prevent the loss of life at sea, on inland waters, on mountains and in caves; and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The main role of the Irish Coast Guard is to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction. It has three marine rescue centres in Dublin, Malin Head, Co Donegal, and Valentia Island, Co Kerry. The Dublin National Maritime Operations centre provides marine search and rescue responses and coordinates the response to marine casualty incidents with the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Yes, effectively, it is the fourth "blue light" service. The Marine Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for the coastal area between Ballycotton, Co Cork and Clifden, Co Galway. At the same time, the MRSC Malin Head covers the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle. Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) Dublin covers Carlingford Lough, Co Louth to Ballycotton, Co Cork. Each MRCC/MRSC also broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and MF radio, including navigational and gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings.

The Irish Coast Guard handles about 3,000 marine emergencies annually, and assists 4,500 people - saving an estimated 200 lives, according to the Department of Transport. In 2016, Irish Coast Guard helicopters completed 1,000 missions in a single year for the first time.

Yes, Irish Coast Guard helicopters evacuate medical patients from offshore islands to hospital on average about 100 times a year. In September 2017, the Department of Health announced that search and rescue pilots who work 24-hour duties would not be expected to perform any inter-hospital patient transfers. The Air Corps flies the Emergency Aeromedical Service, established in 2012 and using an AW139 twin-engine helicopter. Known by its call sign "Air Corps 112", it airlifted its 3,000th patient in autumn 2020.

The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which is responsible for the Northern Irish coast.

The Irish Coast Guard is a State-funded service, with both paid management personnel and volunteers, and is under the auspices of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. It is allocated approximately 74 million euro annually in funding, some 85 per cent of which pays for a helicopter contract that costs 60 million euro annually. The overall funding figure is "variable", an Oireachtas committee was told in 2019. Other significant expenditure items include volunteer training exercises, equipment, maintenance, renewal, and information technology.

The Irish Coast Guard has four search and rescue helicopter bases at Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo, run on a contract worth 50 million euro annually with an additional 10 million euro in costs by CHC Ireland. It provides five medium-lift Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and trained crew. The 44 Irish Coast Guard coastal units with 1,000 volunteers are classed as onshore search units, with 23 of the 44 units having rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and 17 units having cliff rescue capability. The Irish Coast Guard has 60 buildings in total around the coast, and units have search vehicles fitted with blue lights, all-terrain vehicles or quads, first aid equipment, generators and area lighting, search equipment, marine radios, pyrotechnics and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Community Rescue Boats Ireland also provide lifeboats and crews to assist in search and rescue. The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the Garda Siochána, National Ambulance Service, Naval Service and Air Corps, Civil Defence, while fishing vessels, ships and other craft at sea offer assistance in search operations.

The helicopters are designated as airborne from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours, and 45 minutes at night. The aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, on inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains and cover the 32 counties. They can also assist in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and can transport offshore firefighters and ambulance teams. The Irish Coast Guard volunteers units are expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time of departing from the station house in ten minutes from notification during daylight and 20 minutes at night. They are also expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time to the scene of the incident in less than 60 minutes from notification by day and 75 minutes at night, subject to geographical limitations.

Units are managed by an officer-in-charge (three stripes on the uniform) and a deputy officer in charge (two stripes). Each team is trained in search skills, first aid, setting up helicopter landing sites and a range of maritime skills, while certain units are also trained in cliff rescue.

Volunteers receive an allowance for time spent on exercises and call-outs. What is the difference between the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI? The RNLI is a registered charity which has been saving lives at sea since 1824, and runs a 24/7 volunteer lifeboat service around the British and Irish coasts. It is a declared asset of the British Maritime and Coast Guard Agency and the Irish Coast Guard. Community Rescue Boats Ireland is a community rescue network of volunteers under the auspices of Water Safety Ireland.

No, it does not charge for rescue and nor do the RNLI or Community Rescue Boats Ireland.

The marine rescue centres maintain 19 VHF voice and DSC radio sites around the Irish coastline and a digital paging system. There are two VHF repeater test sites, four MF radio sites and two NAVTEX transmitter sites. Does Ireland have a national search and rescue plan? The first national search and rescue plan was published in July, 2019. It establishes the national framework for the overall development, deployment and improvement of search and rescue services within the Irish Search and Rescue Region and to meet domestic and international commitments. The purpose of the national search and rescue plan is to promote a planned and nationally coordinated search and rescue response to persons in distress at sea, in the air or on land.

Yes, the Irish Coast Guard is responsible for responding to spills of oil and other hazardous substances with the Irish pollution responsibility zone, along with providing an effective response to marine casualties and monitoring or intervening in marine salvage operations. It provides and maintains a 24-hour marine pollution notification at the three marine rescue centres. It coordinates exercises and tests of national and local pollution response plans.

The first Irish Coast Guard volunteer to die on duty was Caitriona Lucas, a highly trained member of the Doolin Coast Guard unit, while assisting in a search for a missing man by the Kilkee unit in September 2016. Six months later, four Irish Coast Guard helicopter crew – Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith -died when their Sikorsky S-92 struck Blackrock island off the Mayo coast on March 14, 2017. The Dublin-based Rescue 116 crew were providing "top cover" or communications for a medical emergency off the west coast and had been approaching Blacksod to refuel. Up until the five fatalities, the Irish Coast Guard recorded that more than a million "man hours" had been spent on more than 30,000 rescue missions since 1991.

Several investigations were initiated into each incident. The Marine Casualty Investigation Board was critical of the Irish Coast Guard in its final report into the death of Caitriona Lucas, while a separate Health and Safety Authority investigation has been completed, but not published. The Air Accident Investigation Unit final report into the Rescue 116 helicopter crash has not yet been published.

The Irish Coast Guard in its present form dates back to 1991, when the Irish Marine Emergency Service was formed after a campaign initiated by Dr Joan McGinley to improve air/sea rescue services on the west Irish coast. Before Irish independence, the British Admiralty was responsible for a Coast Guard (formerly the Water Guard or Preventative Boat Service) dating back to 1809. The West Coast Search and Rescue Action Committee was initiated with a public meeting in Killybegs, Co Donegal, in 1988 and the group was so effective that a Government report was commissioned, which recommended setting up a new division of the Department of the Marine to run the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC), then based at Shannon, along with the existing coast radio service, and coast and cliff rescue. A medium-range helicopter base was established at Shannon within two years. Initially, the base was served by the Air Corps.

The first director of what was then IMES was Capt Liam Kirwan, who had spent 20 years at sea and latterly worked with the Marine Survey Office. Capt Kirwan transformed a poorly funded voluntary coast and cliff rescue service into a trained network of cliff and sea rescue units – largely voluntary, but with paid management. The MRCC was relocated from Shannon to an IMES headquarters at the then Department of the Marine (now Department of Transport) in Leeson Lane, Dublin. The coast radio stations at Valentia, Co Kerry, and Malin Head, Co Donegal, became marine rescue-sub-centres.

The current director is Chris Reynolds, who has been in place since August 2007 and was formerly with the Naval Service. He has been seconded to the head of mission with the EUCAP Somalia - which has a mandate to enhance Somalia's maritime civilian law enforcement capacity – since January 2019.

  • Achill, Co. Mayo
  • Ardmore, Co. Waterford
  • Arklow, Co. Wicklow
  • Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
  • Ballycotton, Co. Cork
  • Ballyglass, Co. Mayo
  • Bonmahon, Co. Waterford
  • Bunbeg, Co. Donegal
  • Carnsore, Co. Wexford
  • Castlefreake, Co. Cork
  • Castletownbere, Co. Cork
  • Cleggan, Co. Galway
  • Clogherhead, Co. Louth
  • Costelloe Bay, Co. Galway
  • Courtown, Co. Wexford
  • Crosshaven, Co. Cork
  • Curracloe, Co. Wexford
  • Dingle, Co. Kerry
  • Doolin, Co. Clare
  • Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
  • Fethard, Co. Wexford
  • Glandore, Co. Cork
  • Glenderry, Co. Kerry
  • Goleen, Co. Cork
  • Greencastle, Co. Donegal
  • Greenore, Co. Louth
  • Greystones, Co. Wicklow
  • Guileen, Co. Cork
  • Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Kilkee, Co. Clare
  • Killala, Co. Mayo
  • Killybegs, Co. Donegal
  • Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford
  • Knightstown, Co. Kerry
  • Mulroy, Co. Donegal
  • North Aran, Co. Galway
  • Old Head Of Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • Oysterhaven, Co. Cork
  • Rosslare, Co. Wexford
  • Seven Heads, Co. Cork
  • Skerries, Co. Dublin Summercove, Co. Cork
  • Toe Head, Co. Cork
  • Tory Island, Co. Donegal
  • Tramore, Co. Waterford
  • Waterville, Co. Kerry
  • Westport, Co. Mayo
  • Wicklow
  • Youghal, Co. Cork

Sources: Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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