Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney – who will also skipper a yacht in this week's regatta – has officially launched Volvo Cork Week 2018 at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven this afternoon.
The biennial sailing event based around the coast of County Cork and inside Cork Harbour, runs this year from today to next Saturday 21st July.
The festival of sailing has been billed as an 'Aquatic Tourism Highlight for Cork Harbour' and has attracted a fleet of over 100 boats from eight different countries. It follows a change to its format as RCYC's Kieran O'Connell describes to Afloat.ie's Tom MacSweeney here.
On the water, the July regatta has attracted one of the largest big boat regattas for Class Zero/One boats of the season with up to ten 40-foot boats competing as mentioned by Afloat.ie here.
120 teams from eight different nations will compete at Volvo Cork Week, enjoying up to six days of racing in the Celtic Sea and Cork Harbour on a variety of courses. This year, the biennial regatta organised by the Royal Cork Yacht Club is celebrating 40 years and Volvo Cork Week continues to provide fantastic racing, superb award-winning facilities and great fun ashore.
Volvo Cork Week provides racing for yachts racing under IRC, including the highly popular non-spinnaker and coastal classes. Once again Volvo Cork Week will include an offshore element to the Beaufort Cup with a race around the iconic Fastnet Rock. All competitors will take part in the scenic yet tactically challenging Cork Harbour Race. For 2018, Volvo Cork Week will also feature Southern Championships for One Design Classes: 1720 Class, the International Dragon Class, and the SB20 Class.
“There have been big changes for the format of this year's regatta, splitting up into a number of different series. This was done to ensure that we were catering for everyone's needs.” commented Volvo Cork Week Chairman, Kieran O'Connell. “We have teams from 32 yacht clubs and entries are up 30% on 2016, which shows that the new format is working for people.”
The Beaufort Cup starts with the challenging Fastnet Race on Monday 16th July followed by three days of short course racing to test the all round ability of the teams. Beaufort Cup entries feature 50% of the crew coming from active personnel in the Armed Forces and Emergency Services. 17 teams will be racing from Ireland, Great Britain and the United States of America. The inaugural Beaufort Cup was held as part of the 2016 edition of Volvo Cork Week, Commandant Barry Byrne skippered the Irish Defence Forces to victory, and the team is back to defend their title. The winner will once again nominate a charity to win €10,000.
“The Beaufort Cup is fully part of Volvo Cork Week, and any team competing is eligible for the boat of the week.” commented Barry Byrne. “The Beaufort Cup is challenging, and a test in a real environment of leadership, team work and resilience, which are all values of the services we represent. The inter-services rivalry is very exciting, something special that raises the level of the competition, whilst still keeping the friendly rivalry and banter, which is brilliant. The field has really toughened up this year, everyone competing has done their best to raise their game. It is a great fleet and the fastest growing element of Volvo Cork Week.”
Many of the teams racing at Volvo Cork Week have come from overseas. Tony Ackland's Swansea YC team racing Dark Angel will be defending their IRC One title. In IRC Two, Samantha Hickey's team racing Beneteau 36.7 Altair are from the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. James Angus' will be racing in the 1720 Class with a team from the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club. For Volvo Cork Week, Performance Yacht Racing's Andy Middleton, will skipper British Grand Soleil 43 Jua Kali, with an international crew from England, Wales, Scotland, Holland and Poland. The team delivered the boat from the Isle of Wight to Crosshaven, and enjoyed a pint at the Royal Cork Yacht Club upon arrival.
“All of the crew bar one have sailed with Performance Yacht Racing in the past at various events but for all of them this is the first time they have been to Volvo Cork Week. “The delivery was very easy and we have a few days to get Jua Khali into race mode for the regatta.” commented Andy Middleton. “This will be my first regatta ever.” smiled Margriet van Lidth, who comes from Amsterdam. “I love sailing and decided that this should be my first regatta experience.”
The event village at the Royal Cork Yacht Club was the centre for fun and laughter for the regatta. On Sunday 15th July with a Family Fun Day with the Royal Cork Yacht Club open to the public to enjoy the superb facilities at the clubhouse in Crosshaven.
There will be a variety of live music every night with a spectacular fireworks display on Friday 20th July with one of Cork's finest Indie Pop Funk Bands; Gerald Ahern & The Midnight Sons.