Although talk that sailing numbers are down is a persistent theme in 2010, Cork Week has always attracted the big boats and Crosshaven organisers say this year is no exception. The Super Zero Class is expected to be a competition between seven magnificent hi-tech flyers. The turboed TP52, Pace was at Cork Week 2008 and since Johnny Vincent took charge, the British based crew has been in cracking form; impressing at the RORC Easter Challenge and the Vice Admiral's Cup. From the East Coast of the USA, Austin Fragomen has brought over Interlodge, the ultra-modern TP52 designed by Judel Vrojlik has been optimized for IRC and should match Pace, for pace. Several other TP52s are racing including Silver Surfer, debuting and Cork Week with an international line-up.
Richard Matthews Humphreys 42, Oystercatcher XXVI scooped up the class trophy for IRC Zero in 2008 and was a contender for boat of the week. Matthews has shipped the boat over from the Caribbean after a very competitive season. Amongst the well drilled crew is Crosshaven's own, Eddie English. Anthony O'Leary's Ker 39, Antix is in great form, winning class at the ICRA Nationals in May. However, IRC Zero is brimming with talent. Piet Vroon's Ker 46Tonnerre de Breskens is Crosshaven bound. Dave Dwyer's Mills 39, Marinerscove.ie is a proven winning race boat and Bernard Gouy's Ker 39, Inis Mor is over from France along with Jac Pelletier's Landmark 43, Qualiconsult. To be honest, this is probably the most competitive class at Cork Week and the bookies would have this one going to the wire.
Heart of the action: The Crosshaven venue for next month's Cork Week. Photo: Bob Bateman
Cork Week plays host to the J/109 Europeans and 17 one designs are entered with many from the UK. Racing is bound to be tight and expect some raised voices with crews hiking hard, jostling for position, especially at mark roundings. In a no discard series, consistency is at an optimum and it is almost impossible to pick out the favourites but of the UK boats, Robin Taunt's Jibe has a wealth of experience and Brian Morton's Juke Box was well placed in 2008. Of the Irish entries, Ian Nagle and Paul O'Malley's Jelly Baby had an excellent ICRA Nationals in Dublin and John Maybury's Joker II was the top Irish J/109 at Cork Week 2008.
Paul Kirwan's Sigma 38, Errislannan was one of the early entries. In 2008 they won the Sigma 38 Europeans at Cork Week and they are back to defend their title. From bow to stern, Errislannan is very much a family boat and they are up against some top opposition from the UK. The Sigma 38 Europeans is once again staged at Cork Week 2010.
A host of Corby Yachts are entered prompting Cowes designer, John Corby to put up some champagne prizes. Corby designed yachts competing include; Robert Davies, brand new Corby 36, Roxy 6 which will be representing Ireland in the forthcoming Rolex Commodores' Cup. In all over a dozen boats are expected to be racing at Cork Week, tuning up for the country versus country, pro-am event in August.
Cork Week attracts a huge variety of boats from all over the world and whilst the Gentleman's Class may not have the high tech gear and elite sailors competing. The seamanship in the class is very apparent. National Yacht Club member, Philip Dilworth, will be racing Grand Soleil 42, Orna. A previous class winner of the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race, 2008 Cork Week winner and class winner at the recent ICRA Nationals, Orna is obviously well sailed.
Of course sailors go to Cork Week to compete but also they come from far and wide to have fun and enjoy the occasion. Like a great party, taking a spin on the dance floor is an excellent way to end the evening!
Crosshaven throws on quite a pageant and the local community really gets involved which gives the regatta a great atmosphere, the 'tented village' is buzzing with life. Many other regattas do not have the evening activities all in one place, Cork Week does and the 'session' to be had is more memorable by the fact that everybody is there; you keep bumping into people and having just one more.
There are a variety of tents to suit but one of the great concepts for Cork Week is the abundance of music, something that visitors really enjoy. Screaming your head off to Bon Jovi or sing along to a ballad with your mates or loved one, are truly memorable moments.