The word on the week...
We put our ear to the ground – online, in print and elsewhere – to hear what the hordes had to say about sailing in this Year's Cork Week...
Kawalski – Sailing Anarchy – If you don’t want to spend your entire paycheck, it’s a good idea to revisit your student days and stockpile drinks on your boat and make timely trips back and forth to the marina.
Anne Hogan – manlydaily.com.au – We are definitely coming back in two years. The quality of the racing, the variety of the courses and, of course, the partying is unparalleled.
Mayo Advertiser – The one constant was dry, warm weather; a true sailor’s delight.
Jen – I didn’t like ‘98/2000 so much because that was around the peak number of boats (the Bigger, Better, Faster, More period). Since then there have been fewer boats and hence fewer people, and it’s been a lot more pleasant not having to fight your way through hoards of pissed sailors to get anywhere on the site.
Thiepval – Sailing Anarchy – After 2000, I vowed I’d never do another. It’s just too big, too drink centered, too much of a scrum... the Scottish Series is much better fun... Even Cowes week is more fun than Cork now, as long as you do it in the right way.
Wrapping it up
Cork Week has come and gone, but already the shape of the 2010 event is coming together. RCYC Admiral Mike McCarthy gives us his view on a few key points
On the week in general – “It was a tremendous event from a competitor’s point of view and a club point of view. We’re absolutely delighted. On the last day we had a going away present for all the boats, maybe 250 of them, and I shook hands with everyone – and got positive feedback from every last one.”
On the pricing issue – “It is an expensive event, but then we believe we give good value to the competitor at the end of the day. The quality of the racing is superb, and that costs a lot to run. And also the quality of the social activities on site are tremendous – unfortunately that costs a lot of money to set up. To be fair, one or two of them did comment on prices, but any holiday is expensive. They’re here for a full seven days, there’s no way that’s going to be cheap. But positive reactions from everyone, we are delighted.”
On Cork Week 2010 – “We’re already planning the 2010 event. There were comments positive and negative and we have to try to constantly address all of those issues. The most important thing is to continue to make the event as professionally run as possible. We’re considering tweaks to the race course, and trying to make life a bit more fun on site during the week of the event itself.
“There are a number of things that we are considering and if price is one of those things, then so be it. The important thing is to make sure that it’s fun on the site for the club sailor – that’s the goal of the event.”
On the ‘professional problem’ – “There is no problem, to be honest with you. The rules are quite clear. The competitors do not want professionals in their club racing in Cork Week. What Cork Week did was create two classes, Super Zero and Zero, also a corporate class, and grade two and grade three sailors can race in those fleets.
“The problem is that’s not a Cork Week issue or a club issue, that’s ISAF grading. Most competitors will have received an email by now asking them for their feedback on the 2008 event, and it is quite surprising the number who have come back saying ‘Make sure you keep a ‘grade one only’ event, and that’s what the competitors come back looking for.
“Nonetheless there is a demand for grade twos and that’s why we’ve gone out of our way to create a corporate class.”
Hot site in Harbour
As the Cork Week fleet crossed tacks along the Cobh shoreline, passing the naval dockyard at Haulbowline, few would have realised they were cruising past one of Ireland’s environmental hot potatoes.
Haulbowline island, at the time, was making headlines because of cancer-causing residue, left over from the Irish Steel plant that once occupied the land. It was recently confirmed that a cache of 500,000 tonnes of slag and toxic waste material were buried at the former steelworks.
The report, compiled in 2005 but, like the toxins, only seeping out later, shows high levels of several heavy metals at the plant, both in soil samples and water samples.
Chromium six, which causes cancer both by inhalation and by infecting groundwater, was revealed to be present in massive quantities at Haulbowline. The mineral is a highly toxic anti-corrosion agent used in the steel-making process, but which is gradually being phased out due to its toxicity.
The site is a blight on one of the finest natural harbours in the world, and home to one of the best regattas in the world. How can sailors make their views known on this subject? We’d like to hear your thoughts – [email protected]
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