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Displaying items by tag: Cork Harbour

Kieran Collins Coracle IV of the host club leads the IRC Spinnaker 0/1 Division after the first race of Royal Cork Yacht Club's AIB Autumn League in Cork Harbour.

The Olson 30 made the most of the big seas and strong winds to take the first gun ahead of Brian Jones' J/109 Jelly Baby.

Third in the combined Zero and One eight boat fleet was the Grand Soleil 40, Nieulargo (Denis and Annamarie Murphy).

Fiona Young's Albin Express North Star tops an eight boat IRC 2 Spinnaker division. Dave Lane's J24 lies second with Sean Hanley's HB 31 Luas lying third.

Royal Cork's club J/24 Jumbalaya surfs a wave in the first race of the Autumn LeagueRoyal Cork's club J/24 Jumbalaya surfs a wave in the first race of the Autumn League

Royal Cork's Autumn League Race One Photo Gallery By Bob Bateman

Full results across all divisions are here 

Published in Royal Cork YC

Let's face it, Ireland bidding to host the 37th America's Cup in 2024 – or more accurately, Cork's campaigning to stage it – has all the makings of a handy TV drama. As it has to be a national investment, yet with its focus at a tightly regional level, it bears out the old cliché that all politics is ultimately local, and local in Ireland always has its own special dynamic. Other requirements for consideration for streaming success include:

  • Seemingly unimaginable sums of money involved? You got it.
  • An ultra-advanced and highly specialized version of a sport developing technically in such as way that, like Formula 1, it is already light years away from the sport as enjoyed by most of its adherents? Check.
  • Confusion of national identity in that we may be "providing the use of the hall", but there probably won't be an Irish team involved? Almost certainly true.
  • Continuing battle between comfortably settled residents who quite like the harbour as it is, versus brash incomers with plans for CHANGE, CHANGE, CHANGE in the name of progress? Right on target.
  • Larger-than-life characters who could easily be imagined wearing an oversize stetson if they're not doing so already? For sure. Organise those exclusive luxury suites immediately.

All that is of course only one angle. A very valid case can be made with equal or even greater strength for the investment of between €150 and €200 million in the necessary waterfront infrastructure. For let's face it, we may have referred to "unimaginable sums of money" above, but two hundred million snots is only a blip by comparison with the billions of euros the nation had to pour down the pipe from 2009 onwards to keep the banks afloat.

But on the other hand, if the money goes into giving the Rushbrooke shipyard an attractive recreational, marine services and hospitality aspect, it will still have other applications available to it after the America's Cup fandango has moved on.

A sail-training tall ship heads seaward past the Verolme Cork dockyard at Rushbrooke west of Cobh in the yard's final year of operation. Photo: Robert BatemanA sail-training tall ship heads seaward past the Verolme Cork dockyard at Rushbrooke west of Cobh in the yard's final year of operation. Photo: Robert Bateman

Admittedly at mid-week the prospects looked utterly dead. But Thursday night's announcement that Kiwi petro-magnate Mark Dunphy had hurled himself into the boiling pot with an offer to organise the funding to keep the show in Auckland has now brought up to four the number of supposedly interested parties that are considering the hosting in an ongoing drama in which our friends in Cork find themselves being pushed towards being the Preferred Bidder, with the alleged "lifeline" of an extra six weeks being provided to prolong the negotiating agony.

The Irish diaspora is at it again…..New Zealand business magnate Mark Dunphy reckons he can raise the funds to keep the America's Cup racing in Auckland. At one stage in his career, he worked with Michael Fay, another "Kiwi-Irish" business whizz who was much involved in America's Cup campaigning.The Irish diaspora is at it again…..New Zealand business magnate Mark Dunphy reckons he can raise the funds to keep the America's Cup racing in Auckland. At one stage in his career, he worked with Michael Fay, another "Kiwi-Irish" business whizz who was much involved in America's Cup campaigning.

Yet up above in Dublin, the powers-that-be (or at least the powers that would like to be, but sometimes you'd wonder) are indicating the need for a six month assessment period, and a marked reluctance to get involved at all in a glitter show for which the political optics are seriously foggy in every constituency in the country except perhaps South Cork, and we can't even be too sure about that.

For the man in the street in Carrigaline might have different views from those on the marinas downriver at Crosshaven. But regardless of their location, each one has a vote when an election comes around. And as those advocating a sail training ship for Ireland ever since Noah decommissioned The Ark have very painfully discovered in trying to persuade local coastal politicians round to their point of view, there are few if any votes in sail training, even in port towns. Thus we only acquired the brigantine Asgard II because there were two decidedly colourful pro-sailing autocrats – Paddy Donegan and Charlie Haughey – in power during the time of her building.

So in the current febrile political mood (is it ever anything else?), most TDs will be looking over their shoulders and wondering how many votes might be found in an America's Cup spectacle in and off Cork Harbour. It won't take the latest product from one of those Cork computer factories to come up with the answer, for the occasional think-pieces on the subject in national newspapers have revealed such a total ignorance of the America's Cup among the Irish general public, and the opinion makers who serve them, that it might do no harm to do a little scene setting.

A-yachting we will go… was serial challenger Thomas Lipton who coined the phrase "The Auld Mug" for the America's Cup as he developed its commercial attraction.A-yachting we will go… was serial challenger Thomas Lipton who coined the phrase "The Auld Mug" for the America's Cup as he developed its commercial attraction.

First raced for on the Friday of Cowes Week 1851 in a challenge round the Isle of Wight - a race which was something of an afterthought to the two main sailing events of the week - the trophy is a quintessentially Victorian silver ewer worth a relatively modest £100 at the time. The additional race for this new trophy was laid on to provide a fleet contest for the New York schooner America, which had sailed across the Atlantic as a sort of associate item for the Great Exhibition in London that year, but was then found to be ineligible under various club rules for the main races of Cowes Week.

But that one race - unfashionably sailed on the Friday when the cream of English society would already have departed Cowes to be on one of their vast estates for the weekend - was enough for the stylish America to prove her worth, and the silver ewer returned to New York, becoming in time the America's Cup, the world's oldest international sporting trophy.

It didn't take too long for its publicity value to become clear in an era when popular stadium and arena sports were still at an early stage of development, and this was most evident in the attitude of a serial challenger, mega-grocer Thomas Lipton of Glasgow, who proudly displayed his Irish ancestry from Monaghan by using the name Shamrock for his five challengers through the Royal Ulster Yacht Club between 1899 and 1930.

All of his challenges against the Americans with Shamrock I, II, III, IV and V were unsuccessful. But Lipton found that provided he could be a sporting and gallant loser, it generated friendly publicity to boost the growth of his business empire's American offshoot, so he became the very embodiment of geniality, and made millions.

That said, another aspect of Lipton was revealed in 1908, when he had his own private racing yacht, the 23 Metre known just as plain Shamrock, and built for racing in British regattas during a hiatus in America's Cup challenges. It's said that if this private Shamrock performed conspicuously badly in a race, the persona of the genial Glasgow grocer was quickly replaced – albeit briefly – by one very grumpy owner.

America's Cup contenders come to Dublin Bay in 1901? This is a mystery photo, origins unknown. According to a note with it, this is Lipton's Fife-designed Shamrock I – his challenger of 1899 – on left, being used as training-horse for his Watson-designed Shamrock II (challenger in 1901) at a regatta in Dublin Bay. Informed comments welcome……America's Cup contenders come to Dublin Bay in 1901? This is a mystery photo, origins unknown. According to a note with it, this is Lipton's Fife-designed Shamrock I – his challenger of 1899 – on left, being used as training-horse for his Watson-designed Shamrock II (challenger in 1901) at a regatta in Dublin Bay. Informed comments welcome……

But when the America's Cup campaigning was resumed in 1914 with the advanced-design Shamrock IV, but then postponed to 1920 because of World War I delaying yet another ultimately unsuccessful campaign, the sporting loser persona reasserted its profitable self, though Lipton was also heard sadly wondering if he would ever win "The Auld Mug".

For many, it has been The Auld Mug ever since. But in the present kerfuffle over whether or not Ireland should continue to go hammer and tongs in pursuit of an opportunity to host the modern America's Cup racing spectacle in Cork in 2024, it's difficult to resist thinking that in some ways we have been making Auld Mugs of ourselves over the whole business for the last six months or so.

Personally, I don't remotely agree with the assertion that this is the third biggest sporting event on the planet, but it's a pretty big deal nevertheless. And as a country with a longer sailing history than most – including direct connections with eight America's Cup challenges out of the 36 made it surely behoved us to be interested as the contest was floated as a business proposition on the more-or-less open market by a New Zealand entity.

But the America's Cup in the 21st Century has become one very potentially explosive combination involving - so we're told - at least €200 million in initial Government investment in infrastructure in the greater Cork Harbour area, though it might be all for an anticipated return of maybe €500 million if the promised four teams (and preferably more) turn up and the world then watches.

In doing so we'd be trying to follow an impressive New Zealand organisational performance which transformed parts of the Auckland waterfront. But then the Auckland area is one of the greatest sailing locations in the world, and while Cork Harbour is impressive by European standards, it doesn't offer the multiple sailing options which can be found in Auckland.

It took the staging of the America's Cup at Auckland to make the world fully aware the unrivalled range of sailing options available at The City of SailsIt took the staging of the America's Cup at Auckland to make the world fully aware the unrivalled range of sailing options available at The City of Sails

Then too, as a new city, Auckland presents an impressive high rise front to the sea – or at least it's impressive if high rise and acres of glass is your thing. But Cork is just so very much older than Auckland, and its main 19th-century harbour waterfront at Cobh is so deeply ingrained in the national consciousness – and indeed, in the global consciousness thanks to its links with the Titanic– that any attempt to update it would be regarded as sacrilege, while a modern waterfront mini-city of glass towers just around the corner at the proposed America's Cup centre in the former Verolme Cork dockyard might be a very challenging proposition to get past local opinion.

However, the modern America's Cup series is a much more complex affair than the straightforward match racing which Lipton's crews would have experienced. By the time the best series of all took place in 1987 off Perth in Western Australia, with Dennis Conner in his prime taking the trophy back from the Australians in truly magnificent sport in 12 Metres as glimpsed below (***k your foils, THIS is yacht racing) 

the "associated events" aspect was developing, and if Cork do secure it, just one staging of the series might be as much as a two-year largely Cork-based project for the teams involved.

History lives – Cobh's characterful waterfrontHistory lives – Cobh's characterful waterfront.

With a time-span like that, there'll be all sorts of junior and open-to-the-public happenings, and doubtless that beloved phrase "Fun For All The Family" will get one of its many airings. But with this new involvement of Mark Dunphy (Irish of course, will the diaspora ever leave us alone?) the paranoid might well think that the Irish are just the auld mugs being used to up the ante in a higher-stakes game.

We shall see. And were it any sport other than our beloved sailing, it would be hugely entertaining. But either way, when it's a game of big business, national and international politics, huge sums of money, and utterly ruthless "sporting" competition, not everyone can hope to be a winner in whatever capacity they may be involved. So all those putting their heads above the parapet would do well to remember the cynics' version of the great sportswriter Grantland Rice's originally idealistic bit of verse:

For when the one Great Scorer comes,
To write against your name;
He writes not that you won or lost.
But how you spread the blame.

Published in W M Nixon

A magnificent silver-gilt bowl presented by King William IV to the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) is back in England thanks to a maritime antique dealer.

The bowl's history is an appropriate reminder of the depth of the sailing history of Cork Harbour with the 2021 rediscovery of the trophy coming as it does in Royal Cork Yacht Club's tricentenary year

Charles Wallrock of Wick Antiques in Lymington, Hants, who is a keen yachtsman, believes it is the missing trophy from the squadron's annual race in 1835; the King's Cup.

That year the winner was Irishman John Barry-Smith in his 90-ton yacht Columbine.

An account from the time stated how 'his gracious majesty's beautiful cup will for the first time find its way to the sister isle, and grace the sideboard of the hospitable and liberal proprietor of Cove Island in Cork Harbour'.

The bowl includes the royal coat of arms and has the inscription 'The Gift of His Most Gracious Majesty William the Fourth to the Royal Yacht Squadron, 1835'.

The annual race was the precursor of the world-famous Cowes Week held on the Isle of Wight and the bowl will now be offered at the Chelsea Antiques Fair with a price tag of £78,000.

The Royal Yacht Squadron was founded in 1815 – two weeks before the Battle of Waterloo – and it remains the most prestigious and exclusive yacht club in the world.

It is based at Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight and members have included some of the most famous and privileged people in the world.

The Queen remains patron and the late Prince Philip was an Admiral and active participant.

William IV, the so-called 'Sailor King', a friend of Admiral Lord Nelson, was a member and from 1830 until his death seven years later presented a trophy.

How and when the 1935 trophy ended up in America remains uncertain, but there is huge excitement that it has returned home and is up for sale.

The King's Cup - has an Irish winnerThe King's Cup - has an Irish winner

Charles Wallrock, a member of the Royal Thames Yacht Club, said: "This is a superb and outstanding silver-gilt bowl presented by the king to the Royal Yacht Squadron.

"For me, it does not get any better and I am very proud to have brought it back home. It is an important part of our nautical heritage.

"Although his younger brother had been a member, King William IV can be considered the squadron's first Admiral because it was he who changed its name from the Royal Yacht Club to the Royal Yacht Squadron in 1833.

"He had served in the Royal Navy in his youth and 1827 he was appointed as Lord High Admiral, three years before he inherited the throne and presented the first of his cups.

"Research strongly suggests this is the bowl won in 1835 by John Smith-Barry of Fota House, a stunning regency mansion situated on an island in Cork Harbour.

"We know he was a keen sailor and a member of the Royal Cork Yacht Club.

"The mansion was sold by the family to University College, Cork, in 1975 and has since been restored and is open to the public.

"How and when the trophy ended up in the US is unclear but when I saw it for sale I realised its importance.

"Yachts of the RYS fly the Royal Ensign and it has always had a close relationship with the Royal Navy.

"Its first Commodore, Lord Yarborough, assured King Willian IV that 'it will ever be our most earnest wish and desire to promote, in every way in our power, naval science and architecture'.

"The squadron is also responsible for the America's Cup after inviting the New York Yacht Club to a race in 1851.

"The bowl has two handles in the form of a ship's prow, one with a crowned lion and the other with a unicorn wearing a chain of office.

"It was made by the top silversmith William Bateman II and is of supreme quality.

"There are many collectors and institutions who would love to add this to collections."

An account from just before the race in August 1835 said: "His Majesty has presented the RYS with his customary splendid Silver Gilt Bowl, value 100gs, manufactured by Messrs. Rundell, Bridge and Co., with great taste, which will be contested for on his

Majesty's Birthday, the 21st inst., and is expected to be a very interesting race, from the well-known qualities of the Yachts that have entered."

The bowl, as well as having the maker's mark of William Bateman, includes the inscription 'Rundell Bridge et Co, Aurifices Regis Londoni.'

The Chelsea Antiques Fair – now owned by the online antique selling portal 2Covet – will be held at the magnificent Chelsea Old Town Hall, from September 21 to 26.

Published in Cork Harbour
Tagged under

With speculation mounting that Ireland increasingly looks like the venue for the 37th America's Cup in Cork Harbour, boosted by some positive Irish Government cost analysis this week, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) and Defender Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) along with the Royal Yacht Squadron Ltd (RYSL) and Challenger of Record INEOS Team UK have announced exciting initiatives to be included as part of the Protocol for the 37th America’s Cup due to be published November 17th.

With the AC75 remaining as the centrepiece of dramatic America’s Cup racing for at least the next two editions, a new class of boat, the one-design AC40 foiling monohull, is being introduced as a new multipurpose class which will help expand pathways into the main event.

The AC40 will be a dynamic, powerful, and super-fast scaled-down version of the AC75 that will see it reach similar speeds to its big sister at times. The intention is for the new class to be the catalyst to accelerate participation in the America’s Cup from the global talent pool of female and youth foiling sailors via separate AC37 Women’s and Youth America’s Cup regattas as part of the overall 37th America’s Cup event schedule at the Host Venue.

RNZYS Commodore Aaron Young said, “Creating pathways and increasing participation for women, youth and emerging nations is something that has been a priority since winning in 2017. In fact, universally it is seen as something that will only benefit everyone in the sport of sailing and was illustrated in the 20 entries, we received to our mixed crew Youth AC that was initially planned for 2021, prior to COVID19.

To now be announcing the AC40’s as the exciting class that will be used by AC teams for their scale testing and development, Match Race training, Preliminary Regattas and then for the Women’s and Youth events makes complete sense.”

Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton explains the detail behind the class and the regattas, “All of the competing teams must purchase at least one AC40 which will be used in the Preliminary Regattas, and then made available for the respective and independent Women’s and Youth regattas to be held at the venue of the AC37 Match.”

“The yacht clubs of competing AC teams must enter both the Women’s and Youth events, however entries will also be open to other countries and yacht clubs.

We would certainly anticipate an entry from the Host country if in fact they do not have an America’s Cup team”.

Furthermore, once the teams AC40’s are delivered by the end of 2022 and early 2023 our hope is that private owners will purchase their own AC40’s as we start to build an exciting and accessible class for the future.”

INEOS Team UK Team Principal Sir Ben Ainslie said, “The America’s Cup has an important role to play in expanding access and inclusion for all athletes into sailing. The Women’s and Youth America’s Cup regattas are an important move forward and a much-needed platform that enables all nations to improve diversity and inclusion in our sport.

We look forward to creating a pathway in Britain that will support both programmes on and off the water, giving our athletes opportunities for success in competition, whilst also helping to bridge the gap into professional sailing."

Over recent months The Defender and Challenger of Record have been working to agree the Protocol for the next America’s Cup which is due to be published on November 17th. The detailed document takes mutual agreement between both parties in creating the rules and parameters of the next event that all teams must accept as a condition of their entry into AC37. Both parties can confirm the next event will be a multi challenger event and not be a one on one event that has been speculated.

Published in America's Cup

The final sixth race of Royal Cork Yacht Club's August and September Thursday League 2021 was a light air affair in Cork Harbour that saw Ria Lyden's X332 Ellida emerge as the overall winner in both IRC Spinnaker and ECHO divisions.

In second overall on IRC rating was the Sunfast 32 Bad Company (Desmond/Ivers/Keane) and in third place, the Bolero Bandit (Richard Leonard).

Overall results are here.

A photo gallery of the light air last race where Cork Harbour dolphins joined the yachts is below. 

Published in Royal Cork YC

Remedial and strengthening works to the steel piles and concrete deck are underway at the Spencer Jetty at the Haulbowline Naval Base in Cork Harbour.

As Afloat reported last October, the upgrade at the Haulbowline Naval Base includes the construction of a raised turning area/parking zone and access ramp to the jetty.

The project provides for an investment of some €1.4m (excl VAT) to provide for the berthage needs at Haulbowline.

The plan is to stabilise the currently unusable Jetty structure and protect the sea entrance to the Naval Service Dockyard and Basin. The upgraded facility will also provide the Naval Service with an additional short term berth.

The project is part of the Plan to increase berthing capacity for the current fleet in three distinct standalone infrastructural projects, with the Spencer Jetty Upgrade delivered as Phase 1. All of these projects are included in the 5-year Infrastructure Development Plan.

When announced in October 2020, it was expected construction would take one year to complete.

Published in Cork Harbour

The massive North Sea Giant ship that berthed at Marino Point in the Port of Cork at the weekend is among the largest and most advanced subsea construction vessels ever built.

The Norwegian flagged offshore supply ship docked over the weekend and at 153 metres long and a sight to behold. 

Today, the North Sea Giant is heading north up the Irish Sea to perform demanding roles in a wide variety of marine operations in deep and ultradeep waters.

Its carrying capacity is 12705 t DWT and her current draught is reported to be 7.2 metres. Her length overall (LOA) is 153.6 meters and her width is 30.6 metres.

Published in Cork Harbour
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Celebrations of 75 years of the Irish Navy continued in Cork Harbour this afternoon with the annual Naval Race run under the burgee of the Royal Cork Yacht Club

It followed yesterday's successful Cobh to Blackrock race organised by Cove Sailing Club as Afloat reported here.

The Naval Race was started at Weavers Point on a line between the RCYC starting hut and the LE William Butler Yeats that stood off Roches Point to provide a transit.

The Race Officer was RCYC's Rear Admiral Keelboats Daragh Connolly who set the competing yachts a course that took in Ringabella, the Harp mark and a spinnaker run.

The patrol vessel's horn was used as a starting sound signal.

In the IRC spinnaker division, Denis and Annamarie Murphy's Nieulargo was first and Tom and Cormac MacSweeney's Scribbler II second. Full results are here

Commodore Michael Malone Flag Officer commanding the Naval Service presents the winning Trophy to Denis Murphy of "Nieulargo"  watched by Colin Morehead  Admiral Royal Cork Yacht ClubCommodore Michael Malone Flag Officer commanding the Naval Service presents the winning Trophy to Denis Murphy of "Nieulargo" watched by Colin Morehead Admiral Royal Cork Yacht Club Photo: Bob Bateman

Published in Cork Harbour
Tagged under

It’s arguably the oldest surviving inter-provincial sailing contest in Ireland. For although once upon a time there was an annual race for the Elwood Salver between Trinity College Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast which reputedly dated back to the 1930s or even the 1920s, it seems to have long since faded in the face of larger inter-varsity competitions. But the annual race between teams from Royal Cork (and Royal Munster before that) and Sutton Dinghy Club dates back to 1944, and it survives and thrives for the very good reason that the prize is The Book, a proper volume of vellum in which the winning team is obliged to record the outcome of each year’s series.

There are only two years in which it hasn’t been sailed. One was 1957 when the vigorous remains of a hurricane moving across Ireland caused two days of continuous storm at Sutton. And the other was 2020, when it was to be staged at Crosshaven as an historic highlight of the Royal Cork Tricentenary, but we all know only too painfully well what happened to that and other long-plannned 2020 events.

All things considered, wipeouts only by either a hurricane or a plague is surely an honourable state of affairs. And now, in a symbol of returning normality, The Book will be raced for at Crosshaven on Saturday September 4th, with both junior and senior teams.

The Book has been reposing at Sutton Dinghy Club through the plague years, but it will be in Crosshaven tomorrow (Saturday), and a day’s team racing will decide whether it stays there.The Book has been reposing at Sutton Dinghy Club through the plague years, but it will be in Crosshaven tomorrow (Saturday), and a day’s team racing will decide whether it stays there. 

Published in Royal Cork YC

The sailing communities in Cork and in Ireland generally are assessing and modifying their responses towards Cork Harbour’s developing and very active proposal to stage the America’s Cup.

It is a hugely complex subject and a massive and costly project, which nevertheless could have many significant beneficial side-effects - both immediate and long-term - for the area.

Sail World, the international network of sailing news and opinion, has published this comprehensive view of the Cork bid to give us an informed international perspective here

Published in America's Cup
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