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Displaying items by tag: Cork Harbour

While other clubs have found it a big enough challenge simply resuming sailing in a regulation-compliant way, the 101-year-old Cove Sailing Club in Cork Harbour has also been bringing its new marina on stream, and in addition to resuming club sailing, it staged the first open event of the delayed 2020 season, the Squib Southerns, on July 25th-26th. It has been a superb team effort, but all teams need effective leadership, and CSC Commodore Kieran Dorgan has been providing it in a family tradition - his father Barry was in the same role, while on the water Kieran himself is no stranger to the front of the fleet with his First 36.7 Altair.

Published in Sailor of the Month

A win for Michael McCann in tonight's fifth and final race of the Union Chandlery July League at Royal Cork Yacht Club gives him the overall win of the IRC Spinnaker Division. McCann sailing the Etchells, Don't Dilly Dally had a single point lead over Annamarie and Denis Murphy's Grand Soliel 40, Nieulargo in a 14-boat fleet.

In a 12-boat White Sail division, the Grand Soliel 37 Prince of Tides (Frank Caul and John Molloy) wins by two points overall from the Sun Light 30 Expression.

Full results are here. Bob Bateman's Photo slideshow is below

Published in Royal Cork YC

Irish boats come, Irish boats go. And while some will always be remembered, others leave barely a twirl of wake in the communal memory. The best-remembered has to be Conor O’Brien’s world-girdling Saoirse. Yet it could reasonably be claimed that Harry Donegan’s Gull was the boat that made the difference, for she was there in Ireland when it mattered, whereas Saoirse was away, performing on the global stage.

The 50ft ketch Betty Alan at Mullaghmore Regatta 2019 Gull’s ghost? The 50ft ketch Betty Alan – built more than a hundred years after Gull – at Mullaghmore Regatta 2019. Photo: Brian Mathews

In 1921, the Donegan family of Cork bought Gull, an 1896 Charles E Nicholson-designed and Camper & Nicholson-built 18-ton gaff cutter, with a notably large jackyard topsail. The patriarch of the family, solicitor Harry Donegan (1870-1940) sailed her until his death on St Patrick’s Day of 1940, which came after a sublime 1939 end-of-season sail from Schull back to Cork Harbour, the perfect final passage for a great sailor.

During his time with the well-loved boat, he was soon busy with Gull in the final stages of the Civil War in 1922, carrying a messenger (Michael Collins’ sister, as it happens) with dispatches for the Pro-Treaty Government from Cork for eventual delivery to Commander-in-Chief Collins in Dublin, a task made necessary by the Anti-Treaty rebels destroying all other means of communication – road, rail, whatever - between the two cities.

Harry Donegan aboard his beloved GullThe extraordinary Harry Donegan aboard his beloved Gull. During their 19 years together, he and Gull’s achievements were many and various

After peace of sorts had broken out in 1923, in addition to a programme of cruiser-racing in and from Cork Harbour, Harry Donegan was soon back to his hobby of surveying popular cruising anchorages for his privately-circulated cruising guide to southwest Ireland. And then when the call came for entries for the novel Fastnet Race of 1925, despite the fact that Ireland’s Fastnet Rock was only a mark of the course with the start eastward out of the Solent from Ryde, and the finish at Plymouth in Devon, he willingly entered Gull to be one of the seven starters. She was in the lead overall at one stage, and at the finish she placed third.

Thus Gull was present at the foundation of the Ocean Racing Club - soon to be the RORC – in Plymouth in 1925, and four years later she was present at the foundation in Glengarriff in 1929 of the Irish Cruising Club, a project which had long been dear to Harry Donegan’s heart.

During the eleven years he had with the ICC (of which he was Vice Commodore), Harry Donegan was one of the club’s keenest active members, regularly bringing his demanding cutter round to the Irish Sea for ICC East Coast events, while at the same time playing the leading role in Cork Harbour, and somehow finding space for the occasional RORC racing foray as well.

Poole Harbour in Dorset, where Gull ended her days Poole Harbour in Dorset, where Gull ended her days, and Betty Alan was born 102 years after Gull had been built

In his latter days, his son Harry Jnr was an active partner on the boat, but after Old Harry died, things weren’t quite the same, Young Harry was interested in trying other boat types, and as soon as World War II was over, Gull was sold – now considered quite old by the standards of the time – to the south of England. The word is that she ended her days in the 1950s in a mud berth in Poole Harbour, gradually mouldering away into the bottomless sludge.

Yet it seems that while the corporeal Gull may have disappeared into Poole Harbour’s primaeval ooze, her friendly ghost was soon haunting the place, quietly looking for an opportunity to resume sailing the sea with the gift of fresh youth. But it wasn’t until 1998, when the noted local boatbuilder Ken Latham was commissioned to build the hull of a classically proportioned 50-footer, that Gull’s necessary opportunity presented itself, and somehow her spirit became successfully enmeshed in the style and appearance of a dreamship which was supposed to represent a miniaturised version of the very Scottish Alfred Mylne-designed 120ft gaff ketch Thendara from the 1930s.

The Mylne-designed ThendaraThe Mylne-designed Thendara. Betty Alan was originally conceived as a miniature of this Scottish classic.

Certainly, this had been the design brief for the late Jeremy Lines, who was a startling example of nominative determinism, for what could somebody called Lines possibly be, other than the in-house yacht designer for Camper & Nicholsons in their final glory days?

It was after his retirement that he was given the commission in his own right as a yacht designer for this meticulously-detailed 50-footer. And while he may have conscientiously tried to re-create Alfred Mylne as asked, the shadow of the genius of Charles E Nicholson was at his shoulder, and Gull emerged again – fresh and new and exquisitely built - beside Poole Harbour.

Not that anybody noticed at the time. In fact, it was upwards of twenty years later, at Mullaghmore on the Sligo coast, that a photo taken by Race Officer Brian Mathews at Mullaghmore Regatta 2019 rang a bell. And it wasn’t until a week or so ago, when were assembling a few photos to back up the Mullaghmore Regatta 2020 poster, that the mysterious ketch re-appeared, when it immediately clicked that regardless of the rig - which is indeed a quirky miniature of Thendara’s sail-plan – we were looking at the sweet sheerline and restrained stem of Gull all over again, even if they’re set in a beamy shoal-draft centreboard-carrying hull, whereas Gull was slim and deep.

When seen from more directly ahead, Betty Alan’s extra beam is much in evidenceWhen seen from more directly ahead, Betty Alan’s extra beam is much in evidence

Betty Alan’s commodious accommodationBetty Alan’s commodious accommodation makes for a refreshing change from extreme racing-programmed boats

Be that as it may, now we hear that not only is this cleverly-disguised Ghost of Gull haunting the Irish coast, but she has found herself a long-term mooring in Glengarriff, where Harry Donegan’s most-cherished dream of an Irish Cruising Club became reality ninety-one years ago.

It’s all a bit too much, but then a state of things being just a bit too much seems to be normality when you get into the orbit around Ed Maggs, who has owned this “genuine fake” (his own words) with his wife Frances since 2011. The ketch is now called Betty Alan after his parents, and somehow he finds the time to use her as she should be used, despite the attention-consuming occupation of being a Maggs brother in the almost absurdly blue chip antiquarian booksellers Maggs Brothers in the fashionable part of London. There, they’ve been selling rare or very rare or indeed invisibly rare books at splendid prices since 1853, while additionally purveying some extremely odd items of exceptional historic interest which, alas, we cannot specify in a website with a family readership.

Be that as it may, Ed’s talents and endeavours as an antiquarian bookseller are no more than a displacement activity. For his real calling – would he but allow it - is as a sailing writer, and more specifically a cruising writer. It may be a good old reliable cliché, but his quirky take on the things that happen in and on and around the Betty Alan to himself and Frances and their friends (a credibility-stretching lineup of characters in themselves) is what Myles might have called that familiar inhalation of clear oxygen and nitrogen and some spots of hydrogen and other gases, best known as a breath of fresh air if that’s what you’re having yourself.

Man among the merchandise – Ed Maggs at work Man among the merchandise – Ed Maggs at work. Photo: Maggs Bros

But as the very special bookshop is there to keep the show on the road, Ed has no need to turn himself into some sort of internet star or performance artist, which is the only way a modern cruising writer could afford a boat like Betty Alan. So instead, his fans can enjoy his works in semi-private club and association publications with words and thoughts to be savoured in leisurely style, instead of having your head blown off and your mind melted by electronic overload.

Thus we’ve been catching up in recent weeks through various sources on the great adventure, which was meant to be a two years (or thereabouts) circuit cruise round Britain and Ireland from Betty Alan’s home port of Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex, which is about as different a place from Glengarriff as you’ll find on this planet.

On this planet, misplaced or displaced intentions often produce the best cruise yarns. Betty Alan got as far as southwest Ireland, and then began significantly slowing down. When she got as far as Donegal, she came to a stop with a stay-for-a-while mooring at Teelin, and then laid up for the winter with the excellent services of Mooney Boats at Killybegs. And when she launched again, it was irresistible to revisit places back south, which may explain that star turn at Mullaghmore. But what with one thing and another, she now has a fulltime mooring in Glengarriff, and Ed and Frances have found themselves spending the Lockdown in the latest bright idea.

A distinct change of style from Burnham-n-Crouch in Essex – Betty Alan’s current base in Glengarriff at the head of Bantry BayA distinct change of style from Burnham-n-Crouch in Essex – Betty Alan’s current base in Glengarriff at the head of Bantry Bay

It’s a little old farmhouse that they’ve bought, with a bit of land - most of it heavily wooded - hidden away in the Roughty Valley midway between Kenmare and Kilgarvan. Thus they’ve the remarkable yet smooth life force of the Brennan brothers at Kenmare and Drumquinna to the southwest, and the forces of nature in the raw in the rugged frontier village of Kilgarvan, Kilgarvan of the Riding Clans, to the northeast, where ordinary folk run the danger of becoming the hyphen in Healy-Rae.

It is in the little farmhouse during this Lockdown that Ed Maggs has been writing for a select few of the woodlands and oddities of this place called Kilgortaree, and he does it with the same lively and totally frank frame of mind that he brought to describing the joys and hazards of cruising the coasts of Kerry and Connemara in detail.

And it all seems part of a perfectly natural and sensible process, when set in the story of how the Ghost of Gull has come to be happily haunting Glengarriff in recent weeks.

Published in Historic Boats
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Kinsale overnight leader Colm Dunne at the helm of Allegro held off a strong Northern Ireland Challenge to win the Squib Southern Championships at Cove Sailing Club this afternoon.

As reported earlier, 13 boats contested the championships in Cork Harbour but no one was able to overhaul Dunne who counted three race wins on the windward-leeward courses.

Second place after five races sailed in the one-design keelboat competition went to Royal North of Ireland's Gordon Patterson. Third place went to Patterson's Belfast Lough club-mate Peter Wallace, skipper of Toy for the Boys.

Results are here

Bob Bateman's Day Two Photo Gallery below

Published in Squib

The volunteers of Crosshaven RNLI lifeboat were paged at 5.51 pm this evening (Saturday 19 July) to go to the aid of a broken-down vessel, East of Power Head at the entrance to Cork Harbour.

The lifeboat with Ian Venner in command and with Claire Morgan, Derek Moynan and Jonathan Birmingham on board made best speed towards the Casualty in good conditions and a slight sea.

First reports were that the 23' powerboat with two persons on board had broken down and was at anchor awaiting help.

Enroute, the lifeboat crew was informed by the Coast Guard that the casualty had managed to restart their engine and was slowly making for Ballycotton and would be obliged for the lifeboat to escort the vessel into the harbour.

The lifeboat crew were happy to oblige and saw the vessel safely moored in the harbour at Ballycotton.

Commenting on the incident, helm, Ian Venner said the vessels owner had 'done everything by the book and called the problem into the Coast Guard immediately and then anchored the vessel.'

Launch crew on this call out were Sandra Farrell, Susanne Deane, Richie Leonard and Caomhe Foster. The lifeboat returned to station at 8 pm.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The National 18 crew of Colin Chapman, Owen O'Keefe and Eddie Rice were yesterday's winners of the AIB sponsored PY 1000 cash Prize at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Cork Harbour.

With only the lightest harbour breeze available Race Officer John Crotty set the mixed dinghy fleet off on a course that involved all points of sailing from a beat,a run and reaches before heading home for refreshments on the RCYC lawn at Crosshaven.

Royal Cork Race Officer John Crotty had to contend with some fickle winds for the 2020 PY RaceRoyal Cork Race Officer John Crotty had to contend with some fickle winds for the 2020 PY Race Photo: Bob Bateman

The PY1000 2020 dinghy course set in Cork Harbour covered all the angles Photo: Bob BatemanThe PY1000 2020 dinghy course set in Cork Harbour covered all the angles Photo: Bob Bateman

Other cash prizes went to second overall to Tom, Cloe and Patrick Crosbie. Third place went to Andrew Crosbie, all sailing National 18s.

AIB PY 1000 Winners AIB PY 1000 Winners - Colin Chapman, Owen O'Keefe and Eddie Rice Photo: Bob Bateman

Chris Bateman won the Lasers and Shane Collins, the Topper division.

Knox Kohl was the youngest sailor and first female home was Sophie Crosbie.

The youngest crewed boat was sailed by Ethel and Olin Bateman and the oldest combined Crew was Tommy Dwyer and Willy Healy

RCYC AIB PY1000 Photos

See the full slideshow of images from the event below by Bob Bateman

Published in Royal Cork YC

The first major Class championships this season and the first in Cork Harbour will go ahead at Cove Sailing Club next weekend. The Squib Southerns will be based at the new Cove SC clubhouse and marina at Whitepoint.

The event and the marina are a big boost for the harbour town. Cobh has long-needed facilities for visiting boats. Several previous attempts to build a marina there failed. Cove Sailing Club, which celebrated its centenary last year, undertook its own project. It was not without difficulties and financial pressures which did create some internal club difficulties. At one stage another club, the Great Island Sailing Club, was formed and organised cruiser racing while remaining club members devoted their attention to getting the marina built. They succeeded, the new marina is now in operation, the clubs have re-united, with Great Island ceasing activities and members back in Cove Sailing Club which is a busy place at present.

Race Officers get the first race away from Cove Island Sailing Club's new marina pontoonsRace Officers get the first race away from Cove Island Sailing Club's new marina pontoons Photo: Bob Bateman

There is also a new clubhouse and dinghy sailing is resuming, with training courses also going ahead.

Kieran Dorgan is Cove Sailing Club’s Commodore and is my Podcast guest this week, discussing the developments and the economic boost which the marina will provide to the town of Cobh. I started by asking him about the Squibs Southern Championships next weekend, with racing on Saturday and Sunday, July 25 and 26:

Cove Sailing Club’S first evening league of the season was won by Commodore Dorgan’s Altair, a First 36.7 David Doyle’s Sigma 33, Musketeer, was second and Norman Allen’s Impala, Nadia, third. Twelve yachts raced.

Published in Tom MacSweeney

The new public recreation area at Paddy's Point in Cork Harbour now has a new floating pontoon added to the existing marine leisure facilities at Ringaskiddy.

The pier and slipway, that opened in May 2019 is located adjacent to the Beaufort Building in Ringaskiddy and is managed and maintained by the Port of Cork.

The substantial new facilities replace the existing Ringaskiddy slipway and pier and were completed as part of the Cork container terminal development.

This new marine leisure facility is free for the public to use and includes a pontoon to launch leisure craft and a secure trailer park along with picnic benches in a landscaped area for all to enjoy.

Paddy's Point new Marine Leisure facilties in Cork Harbour at Ringaskiddy Photo: Bob BatemanPaddy's Point new Marine Leisure facilties in Cork Harbour at Ringaskiddy Photo: Bob Bateman

Published in Cork Harbour

Cork harbour could become central to Ireland’s development as an international centre for hydrogen energy technology, a new offshore wind blueprint by the Eirwind consortium forecasts.

As The Irish Examiner reports today, Ireland could be exporting bulk hydrogen as part of an offshore renewable expansion.

The Eirwind strategy to 2050 identifies a number of challenges, and calls for Government commitment to specific incentives, marine planning legislation and “transparent” decision-making.

Eirwind is an industry-led, collaborative research project involving University College Cork (UCC) which has been working on a 30-year strategy for harnessing offshore wind energy.

It describes floating offshore wind technology as a “game changer,” and the period 2020 to 2030 as a “defining decade” for investing in green hydrogen and grid reinforcement.

The new Programme for Government has raised a target of 3.5 gigawatt (GW) energy production from offshore wind to five GW by 2030, and specifies the Irish Sea and Celtic Sea for development. It also signals that 30 GW could be derived from the Atlantic coast.

The Eirwind blueprint identifies three “production zones” - the Irish Sea, Celtic Sea and Atlantic Coast- and is expected to recommend master plans for ports from Rosslare, Co Wexford round to Killybegs, Co Donegal,to support offshore wind and wave development.

The report identifies the fishing industry as “the primary stakeholder”,and is expected to recommend that a joint forum between the fishing and offshore wind sectors be established .

It says the recently completed Marine Planning and Development Management Bill, along with the related Maritime Jurisdiction Bill, need to be prioritised.

Eirwind, based at the MaREI centre in UCC is supported by Science Foundation Ireland, and companies include Brookfield, DP Energy, ESB, Equinor, Engie, EDPR, Enerco, Simply Blue, SSE and Statkraft.

More from the Examiner here

Published in Power From the Sea

July 12, 1903 was also a Sunday, but it was not the sound of Orange bands marching that dominated the River Lee from Cobh to Cork City, but that of powerboat engines competing for what had been envisaged as the “America’s Cup” of motorboating.

Irish-born newspaper mogul Alfred Charles Harmsworth, Viscount Northcliffe, had organised what is known as “the first motorboat race.”

The trophy was the Harmsworth Cup, envisioned by Northcliffe as “a contest between nations rather than between boats and individuals.”

The course was from Cobh (then Queenstown) to Cork City. It was officiated by the Automobile Club of Great Britain and the Royal Cork Yacht Club for boats, as the rule of the race declared “designed and built entirely by residents of the country they represented.”

Photos from Vincent Delany's new book on the history of motoboating in IrelandPhotos from Vincent Delany's new book on the history of motoboating in Ireland

As reported by Cork newspapers: “A large number of spectators viewed the first mile from the promenade of the yacht club at Queenstown and several thousand people were at both sides of the river at Cork City to see the finish.”

The race was won by a woman – Dorothy Levitt, travelling at nineteen-and-a-half-miles an hour, regarded as an “extraordinary speed for motorboats” in those days.

She was described as “a remarkable sportswoman who had the first proper motorboat designed for high speed, to the specifications of an Australia, Selywn Edge” In later years she would set the world’s first water speed record at 19.3 miles per hour (31.1km/h).

This fascinating story is told by yachting historian Vincent Delany in his book about ‘”The Motor Yacht Club of Ireland, founded four years after the Harmsworth Cup race, in 1907. Dedicated to “the memory of those men in their floating machines,” in 44 pages it details, with historic photographs, the progress of motorboating in Irish waters.

It had been intended to stage an International Power Boat Festival in Cork Harbour this past weekend (July 11/12) as part of the RCYC Cork 300 celebrations but that was prevented by the Covid 19 pandemic.

For this week’s Podcast I’ve been talking to author Vincent Delany, starting by asking him why Cork was the location for the first motorboat race:

This week’s Podcast here

Published in Tom MacSweeney
Page 7 of 83

The Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) Information

The creation of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) began in a very low key way in the autumn of 2002 with an exploratory meeting between Denis Kiely, Jim Donegan and Fintan Cairns in the Granville Hotel in Waterford, and the first conference was held in February 2003 in Kilkenny.

While numbers of cruiser-racers were large, their specific locations were widespread, but there was simply no denying the numerical strength and majority power of the Cork-Dublin axis. To get what was then a very novel concept up and running, this strength of numbers had to be acknowledged, and the first National Championship in 2003 reflected this, as it was staged in Howth.

ICRA was run by a dedicated group of volunteers each of whom brought their special talents to the organisation. Jim Donegan, the elder statesman, was so much more interested in the wellbeing of the new organisation than in personal advancement that he insisted on Fintan Cairns being the first Commodore, while the distinguished Cork sailor was more than content to be Vice Commodore.

ICRA National Championships

Initially, the highlight of the ICRA season was the National Championship, which is essentially self-limiting, as it is restricted to boats which have or would be eligible for an IRC Rating. Boats not actually rated but eligible were catered for by ICRA’s ace number-cruncher Denis Kiely, who took Ireland’s long-established native rating system ECHO to new heights, thereby providing for extra entries which brought fleet numbers at most annual national championships to comfortably above the hundred mark, particularly at the height of the boom years. 

ICRA Boat of the Year (Winners 2004-2019)


ICRA Nationals 2021

The date for the 2021 edition of the ICRA National Championships is 3-5 September at the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay.

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