In the early years of the nineteenth-century, yachting in Cork harbour was the exclusive privilege of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, which raced the yachts of the former J Class: Valkeirie, White Heather, Britannia, Kaisarine, Shamrock, etc. All raced in Cobh and many of the visiting yachts picked up their crews from the natives of the town. The need for a smaller type of yacht being felt, it was decided by some to build a class peculiar to local requirements and conditions.
The class was designed by Fife (FYFE) of Scotland and was known as 'Cork Harbour One Design'. Those boats where built in Carraigaloe (eight in number), Passage West (three) and one was built in Baltimore in west Cork. The emergence of this class brought about the idea for a club for those whose social rating and financial resources could not measure up to the Royal Cork Yacht Club membership and/or class racing. Almost everyone in Cobh owned or could come by some sort of boat, which could sail. Fishing yawls and Hookers were common. In 1904, some stalwarts formed a club and sporadic racing was held. This club was simply known as 'The Sailing Club' as distinct from RCYC
The names of the following: Harry Hoare, Rubin Robinson, Tom Dick Carmody, Jack Aherne, Alex Telford, Tom Farnell, Jack Victury, took to the sea. But the outbreak of World War I (1914–1918) finished or nearly finished racing by the J Class in Cobh and only the one design were left to carry on. Some time in early 1919 the above mentioned men, now joined by Jack Pluck, Bill Horgan, Atwell Allen (Jnr) – all sailing nondescript types of boats – founded Cove Sailing Club. The name Cove came from the old name of the town: 'Cove of Cork' which in turn was called Queenstown after the visit of Queen Victoria in the year 1849. Other members in those early years included Walter Steptoe, Will Cull and Thomas Farrell.
In the 1930s the East Beach Corinthians Sailing Club was formed by Frank O'Regan, Jim Denar, etc., and catered for those small boys who could rise to a new boat, with a window blind or a 'Players please' shop window cover for a sail as well as the more affluent who had sails.
Some of the CSC members: notably Tom 'Dick' Carmody took a keen interest in the kids; and a character called Smith used to hold regattas for them. Those where the days, when every person in Cobh had the same ambition to sail his own boat, and it didn't matter what sort of boat it was.
The East Beach Corinthians Sailing Club went from strength to strength and in the late 1940s, a number of lads built the T class (a do-it-yourself job about 12 feet LOWL). Those who where fortunate enough to own one of these boats felt they were now a cut above the ones who only had punts. The outbreak of World War II (1939–1945) again depleted the members of ESBC. To save it from complete collapse ESBC was incorporated into Cove Sailing Club in 1948.
(The above information and image courtesy of Cobh Sailing Club)
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