Displaying items by tag: RCYC
It has been a golden if sometimes very thin thread running through Irish sailing continuously since 1947. Despite the vagaries of the Irish weather and the increasing complexity of our sailing programme, absolutely every season for sixty-nine years now we’ve managed – occasionally with some difficulty – to create a viable come-all-ye-class-champions national event which rotated the venues and the boat types used. It’s an event which brings together multiple talents from many classes to produce a Champion of Champions after a hectic weekend of racing, and 2016’s edition starts this morning at the Royal Cork Yacht Club at Crosshaven. W M Nixon attempts to grasp the will-of-the wisp which is the ideal that was the Irish Helmsman’s Championship and is now the ISA All Ireland Championship, and finds it’s in a bit of bother.
It’s ironic that while the publicity machine beats the drum ever-faster for the annual Endeavour Trophy, the Helmsmans Championship’s British equivalent which is being staged in England in a week’s time, here in Ireland publicity had seemed almost muted in the run-up to this weekend’s All Ireland until the news broke this week that two GP 14 sailors – including the World Champion – had declined an invitation to enter on the grounds that the event has become too out of line with other dinghy events for participation in terms of entry fee and other costs.
It’s ironic that the British Championship should be on a roll, while ours is getting the kind of publicity any iconic event could well do without, because the Irish event was introduced quite a few years in advance of the British one. And when the Endeavour Trophy was up and running properly, didn’t we send over one of our best Enterprise crews to take part, and didn’t they win it overall when Robin Hennessy and Robert Michael of Malahide won the Endeavour Trophy in 1968?
These days, the organisers of the Endeavour Trophy lay down the red carpet all the way to the RCYC in Burnham-on-Crouch in order to entice the stars of many classes to come and give of their best in the Endeavour Trophy, and said stars are treated well in the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club with an event fee of £130GBP which includes all food and accommodation in addition to entry.
But in Ireland, the RCYC – aka the Royal Cork Yacht Club - has been left out on a limb in staging the ISA All Ireland Championship 2016, so they’ve had to charge the entrants an entry fee of €220 plus an extra €1000 waiver for insurance requirement.
Now admittedly €90 of that entry fee is to cover for three at the All Ireland Dinner in the RCYC tonight, which seems to me a perfectly justifiable way to ensure that everyone is truly involved in the event in its totality. But nevertheless a modest sponsorship package would take disagreeable financial challenges out of the equation at a time of the season when many amateur sailors are just about cleaned out in the resources department. And though as we’ll see in looking down the list of participants, there are some distinctly top-end sailors involved, the essence of the All Irelands is that it should be a celebration of Irish amateur sailing sport at every level of boat expense to include the less affluent.
There was sponsorship of the event until five years ago, but once that had gone with the recession, costs for participation gradually rose. And this summer with Irish sailing attention at every level increasingly focused on the Olympics and the wonder of Annalise’s Silver Medal, it may well be that insufficient attention was being given to the fact that the up-coming All Ireland is an event which offers a very attractive and compact sponsorship package, particularly with the 70th Anniversary coming up next year.
Let’s hope securing this particular sponsorship package is work in progress. Meanwhile, after a long and exhausting season of many events, your columnist found himself energised by the thought that the All Irelands 2016 are going to staged at Crosshaven in the new Ultra National 18s. This is the next stage in a success story which has its heart and soul in Cork Harbour, and the development of this remarkable class with affordable boats is a credit to all involved, not least the Royal Cork which came up with seed money just when it was needed to bring this new Phil Morrison creation to fruition.
We think we’ve become used to the look of the new National 18s, but the other day I came across this photo of Ewen Barry’s boat in light airs, and you see things you hadn’t noticed before. It’s a timely photo to use, as Ewen has been the tops in 2016, leading the charge to the outright win by a clear margin when nine of the new Cork boats went to the big championship at Findhorn in Scotland, so naturally he’s the National 18 representative in this morning’s all-Ireland lineup, sailing for Monkstown Bay SC.
Thus he must be a favourite. But National 18 favourites can be beaten when the All Ireland is sailed in the class at Crosshaven, as happened back in 1970 when the 17-year-old Robert Dix, crewed in a very positive manner by Richard Burrows, raced a National 18 to such good effect that he became the youngest-ever Helmsmans Champion, besting the likes of Somers Payne and Harold Cudmore to do so.
He’s still the youngest-ever winner, while the first woman winner was Laura Dillon way back in 1996. But in All Ireland Helmsmans Championship terms, 1996 is only the day before yesterday, for in a series going right back to 1947 when Douglas Heard won, the outstanding feature is the longevity of the winners. Senior of all those very happily still with us is Ted Crosbie who won in 1950, while doubly awarded and still playing around in boats is Neville Maguire, winner in 1952 and 1954. Between those two wins was the still active Johnny Hooper, then in 1955 and 1960 the winner was Clayton Love, who just three weeks ago played a starring role in the IDRA 14 Class’s 70th Anniversary.
So the message is clear and simple. If you want to live long and live well, win the All Ireland Helmsman’s Championship. Here’s the lineup for this morning’s start:
Defending Champion: Anthony O’Leary RCYC; National 18: Ewen Barry Monkstown Bay Sailing Club/ RCYC; RS400: Alex Barry MBSC/RCYC; SB20: Stefan Hyde RCYC; Mermaid: Sam Shiels Skerries SC; Laser Standard: Darragh O’Sullivan Kinsale YC; IDRA14: Alan Henry Sutton Dinghy Club; Flying 15: David Gorman National YC; RS200: Neil Spain Howth YC; Shannon One-Design: Mark McCormick Lough Ree YC; ICRA Division 1: Colin Byrne Royal Irish YC; ICRA Division 2: Jonny Swan Howth YC; ICRA Divison 3: Paul Gibbons RCYC; 1720: Peter O’Leary RCYC; Laser Radial: Annalise Murphy NYC; J24: Cillian Dickson HYC.
If the weather predictions prove correct there’ll be an easing northwest to north breeze today after some early morning rain, then a rising southerly tomorrow with generally good weather, with the event ending before the next lot of wet and windy weather comes in tomorrow night. It could be an ideal mixture of conditions for a remarkable mixture of abilities, as the lineup ranges all the way from helms for the Mermaid and Shannon One Design Classes - Sam Shiels of Skerries and Mark McCormick of Lough Ree respectively – through several former winners including of course the defending champion Anthony O’Leary who is trying to make it three in a row, and on up to the exalted heights of Olympic Medaldom with Annalise Murphy.
Frankly, it’s very courageous of Annalise to let her name go forward, as the begrudgers will be looking for any slip–ups. But we know she’s a genuine sportswoman as her relaxation sailing is buzzing about in a foiling Moth which offers endless opportunities for making a holy show of yourself. So taking herself out of her Olympic Laser Radial comfort zone into a bearpit like the All Ireland race in three-person National 18s undoubtedly has class.
But whether her name will be heading for the famous salver on Sunday evening is another matter altogether. You’d be inclined to expect the name O’Leary to feature in the reckoning, but which particular O’Leary is anyone’s guess. Former winner Stefan Hyde is also a force to be reckoned with when he’s on form. In fact there are maybe seven in that list who are in with a real chance. And if it is someone outside our list who becomes the All Ireland Champion 2016, we’ll be happy to let you know and admit we got it wrong.
Two invitees have declined their invitations to this weekend's Irish Sailing Association (ISA) All Ireland sailing competition at Royal Cork Yacht Club over an entry fee that the ISA says it is forced to charge in the absence of an event sponsor.
GP14 World Champion Shane MacCarthy says the 'entry fee is too expensive and not in line with dinghy entry fees'.
Fellow GP14 helmsman Hugh Gill goes further and says the €220 charge is 'an indication of how the ISA is out of touch with how the majority of sailors manage their participation in the sport'.
Neither sailor is attending the Crosshaven event that is to be sailed in National 18 dinghies.
Sutton Dinghy Club's Gill wrote to Afloat to say he had declined the invitation due to the insistence by the ISA that all entrants, despite being invited to participate, must pay an entry fee of €220. Gill says' Other participants have entered but have sent correspondence expressing their disappointment regarding the entry fee'. He adds: 'The imposition of an entry fee is a recent change, maybe for the past 5 years, to what was always an invitational event attended by various Class National Champions and other sailors who had achieved success on the international stage. To impose any fee on this event let alone a charge of €220 for an event comprising a number of short races over two days for 16 invited sailors is another indication of how the ISA has lost touch with the reality of how the majority of sailors manage their participation in the sport'.
In response, ISA Chief Executive Harry Hermon has described the withdrawal of both GP14 helmsmen as 'most unfortunate'.
In a statement the ISA says: 'the background to the current situation is that up until 2008, the event was sponsored which enabled the host club to run it without an entry fee. Since that date there has been an entry fee paid to the host club, with the average being in the range of €120 - €150. Last year’s event had an entry fee of €130.
Each year, as part of a review following the event, we ask sailors how it can be improved. These questions produce mostly expected answers, namely dinghy sailors prefer the event to be in dinghies, while keelboat sailors prefer keelboats! In recent years the event has been run in J80 Keelboats, and this year we are delighted to be able to return to dinghies using the National 18’s thanks to the generosity of the National 18 Class in loaning their boats.
Last year, the feedback highlighted the fact, that while the on-the-water format was good, the social side was totally lacking, with a very low turnout for the Championship dinner. In fact, many of the sailors indicated in advance that they would be attending, but on the night very few appeared. This left the host club with a lot of uneaten food and a significant loss on the night. This year in response to the feedback received from the competitors, the ISA decided to try to make it a more sociable event and to promote the dinner as something worth attending, hence the cost of the dinner is included in the entry fee. The fee of €220, is made up of three dinners at €30 each and entry fee of €130, the same as last year. As all event organisers will concur, the costs associated with staging an event with only 16 entrants do not differ significantly from staging a larger event with more competitors enabling lower entry fees. It is also worth noting that the ISA sets the entry fee, but does not get any of the funds generated through the staging of the event.
All the other nominees accepted the nomination and the entry fee of €220. The two competitors who were subsequently invited to take up the slots made available by Shane and Hugh were delighted to accept. It is regrettable that two sailors, who should be sailing in the event have declined their invitation, however in the absence of a sponsor, we do not believe it is unreasonable to ask the competitors to pay for the costs associated with staging the event, and buying dinner for the person lending them their boat.
At this late stage it is not possible to change the format or pricing structure for the event, however the ISA will initiate a detailed review of the event following this year’s championship, and in the improving financial environment specific efforts will be made to attract a sponsor for future championships.
In closing I'd like to express our gratitude to Royal Cork Yacht Club for hosting the event and to thank the members of the National 18 class for facilitating this event by lending their boats, their generosity is acknowledged.
We wish all the contestants every success and hope that all the participants have a truly enjoyable event and a sociable evening' – Harry Hermon, ISA.
The CH Marine Autumn Series at Royal Cork Yacht Club is rapidly approaching writes Kieran O'Connell. A highlight of the Cork Harbour sailing season the event attracts large numbers of sailors from a wide variety of clubs from around Ireland. Download the event Notice of Race and entry form below.
This year the CH Marine Autumn Series will commence on Sunday, October 2nd with the first two races and will follow with two races Sunday in October finishing on Sunday October 30th. Racing will commence each day at 1055hrs, and will be followed each day by food, music and daily prize giving. Notice of Race and Entry forms downloadable from CH Marine Autumn Series
Over the last few years there has been a great 1720 fleet building for the CH Marine Autumn Series, with 13 boats competing last year. This year is looking like the 1720 class will not disappoint with a large number of early entries.
On the final day of racing the CH Marine Autumn Series dinner and overall prize giving will be held at the club commencing at 19.30hrs.
Subject to availability, complimentary berthing on swinging moorings or marina berths will be provided to yachts visiting. For berthing arrangements please contact Mark Ring at Royal Cork office +353(0)214831023
The One Ton Cup owned by the Cercle de la Voile de Paris and presented by Hamble Yacht Services is just a few days away.
As Afloat.ie previously reported, the Cup is considered to be one of the most prestigious trophies in yacht racing. The One Ton Cup dates back to 1899 and was last competed for in 2002. The golden era of the One Ton Cup was when IOR Racing dominated the world of yachting, countries from all over the world competed for the One Ton Cup, where reputations were made and lost. The last winner of the One Ton Cup in the IOR era was Justine, owned by Frank Woods and skippered by Harold Cudmore. Justine won the cup for the Royal Cork Yacht Club in 1981, racing in home waters, the team were unbeaten in every race. The only time that the feat has been achieved before or since.
Anthony O'Leary will be racing Ker 40 Antix, this September, flying the burgee of the Royal Cork Yacht Club. “The One Ton Cup is part of yacht racing history and the Royal Cork was immensely proud to host the competition and to have a home win” commented O'Leary. “As always, Antix will be coming to win, we are up against a magnificent fleet of well-sailed boats, and the winners will have to be at the very top of their game. I can't see anyone running away with it.”
Peter Morton's Carkeek 40+ Girls on Film leads the FAST40+ Series, having won the the first three rounds. However, the One Ton Cup counts for double points towards the series, adding even more importance in deciding the season champion. For Peter Morton, winning the One Ton Cup is still a personal ambition.
“So far, we have had good results in most races this season, consistency has been the key.” commented Peter Morton. “ We have a really good team and they all work together well, the communication and the moding of the boat works well and gives everybody confidence. The fleet is definitely compressing, we are all very close, even during long races we are often overlapped after hours of racing. Over the last 30 years I have won the Quarter Ton Cup, the Half Ton Cup and the Three Quarter Ton Cup, on various boats. I have only come second in the One Ton Cup. It is something that is a bit of unfinished business for me, so yes, I would love to win it".
Joining the FAST40+ fleet for the first time at the One Ton Cup, will be Heinz Peter Schmidt's GP42 Silva Neo. The young German team won the German National ORC title four times and won the ORC Euros in 2011, and made the podium for the ORC Worlds in 2014.
The One Ton Cup owned by the Cercle de la Voile de Paris, presented by Hamble Yacht Services and organised by the Royal Southern Yacht Club, will take place between 16-18th September in the Solent, UK. Nine races are scheduled with a mixture of windward-leeward and weighted points factor longer races.
The ISA All Ireland Junior Sailing Championships on September 24th – 25th at Fastnet Marine & Outdoor Education Centre, Schull, Co. Cork. The event will be sailed in FMOEC TR 4.2 class two person dinghies.
The ISA All Ireland Sailing Championship on October 1st – 2nd at Royal Cork Yacht Club, Crosshaven, Co. Cork. The event will be sailed in National 18 three person dinghies.
The ISA is seeking three nominations from each of the senior classes. The junior and youth classes will be advised on the number of places allocated for that class as per notice of race. Nominations will be only accepted from classes whose affiliation fee is paid for 2016.
Class associations are also invited to suggest candidates for a wild card place; these would be members who have excelled at an International competition in the class during the year.
The age limit for the Junior Sailing Championships is under 19 years on December 31, 2016. If a class holds a junior/youth national championship for eligible sailors they may nominate to the Junior championship in the same way and enclosing a copy of the relevant Notice of Race. Please see the Notice of Race for both events below.
The ISA says its policy of a National Race Officer managing racing at a class’s national championship will be strictly applied.
The deadline for nominations is: ISA All Ireland Junior Sailing Championship is 1500hrs on the 12th of September, 2016 and 1500hrs on the 19th of September for the ISA All Ireland Sailing Championships
Conor Phelan’s Ker 37 Jump Juice defended her 2015 Abersoch Keelboat Week title in some style on Friday winning both the penultimate and the final races.
The Royal Cork yacht finished the regatta a whopping 11–points clear.
As Afloat.ie previously reported, despite the margin of victory, “Jump Juice” was pushed all the way by regular ISORA competitor Peter Dunlop and Vicki Cox’ J109 “Mojito” and John Batson’s Dehler 36 “Wombat”.
“Jump Juice” team for the week was:-
Bow: Ewan O’Keefe
Mast: James Coulson / Fergal McGrath / Tom Soar
Pit: Mary Barrett
Pit Assist: Selina Thomas
Trim 1: Dave Rowland
Trim 2: John Sisk / Jerry Ibberson
Trim 3: Adam Hyland
Float: Noirin Phelan
Mainsheet / crew boss: Maurice “Prof” O’Connell
Helm / Skipper: Conor Phelan
Tactician: Mike Budd
The ‘Real Admiral’ of The RCYC Has Died – The description in the announcement sent to Royal Cork Yacht Club members said it all. Enda O’Riordan was known to everyone who crossed the threshold of the RCYC in Crosshaven, from members to visitors from around Ireland and overseas. Her father, Ned, worked in the club bar in the 1960s and Enda continued the family tradition in the early 1970s, helping her mother who also worked in the club.
Described as ‘the ‘font of all knowledge’ about the club, curator and seller of club merchandise, provider of the legendary ‘Tripe-and-Drisheen’ for the Stag night supper of which her recipe was a secret known to few, she made her mark on every aspect of club life. When reporting on RCYC activities, I was sold a club jumper to suit the purpose. It was at least one size too large, but “wash it and it might shrink to fit.” I wasn’t sure what the manufacturers would think of that exhortation but, like all club members, I knew that Enda knew what was good for me!
Kindness to young sailors, looking after visiting sailors, “so many stories can be told and the void she has left can never be filled,” the RCYC says, “She will be remembered with the greatest affection by colleagues past and present - and Flag Officers that she controlled, whether they knew it or not.”
Rear Admiral and Chairman of Volvo Cork Week, Kieran O’Connell, described her death as “a day of sadness as we remember a true club friend and a member in more ways than we could imagine.”
Enda died in Marymount Hospice in Cork after a short illness.
The oldest boat competing in this year's Race is almost certain to be Thalia (Sail #11). Built in 1888, she was one of the last yachts by George Wanhill of Poole who was boatbuilding from the 1850s onwards.
In the 1890s Thalia was raced from the Royal Cork Yacht Club, returning to the south coast of England in 1918. After a more recent stint in the Caribbean, she was bought by David Aisher in 2010, and returned to England for a refit at the Elephant Boatyard in Hamble where a new mast was fitted with new standing and running rigging and sails. She was also re ballasted, rewired and replumbed.
David's Thalia won't easily be mistaken for another Thalia racing again this year; a Hanse 385 built in 2012. She is owned by Andrew Banks and there are five members of the family on board ranging from his 91 year-old father Ken down to his two sons aged 21 and 19.
A veritable powerhouse of racing experience and RTI know-how is the seemingly invincible Jock Wishart who describes himself as "Adventurer/America's Cup/Past Holder Round the World Powered Record/Rowed to North Pole/Winner Queens Cup Thames A- Raters". His 2015 JPK 10.80 boat Shaitan is entered for the Commodores Cup as part of the Celtic Team as well as for this year's RTI.
Jock has recruited some serious sailing talent including Thomas Lundquist as Helmsman, a Finn Gold Cup Winner & Olympic Gold Medallist, plus Julian Smith, co-Helm and the 2014 National Finn Champion; Andy Sinclair, Trimmer and Red Bull Youth America's Cup helmsman; Jamie Joel, rigger, instructor etcetera and then these three musketeers, Ruaridh Wright, Peter Cameron and Angus Grey Stephens, all three of whom are Scottish Student Sailing Champions.
Girls for Sail have entered two boats this year with all-female crews, many of whom have never raced before - and in some cases, have never even sailed before. Hot Stuff, a Beneteau 40.7 and Diamonds are Forever, an Elan 37 are competing. Celebrating their 16th Round the Island Race this year and with two all-female boat crews entered, Girls for Sail are hoping to encourage even more women to get involved with this wonderful Race.
Their youngest crew member is 18 and they will be joined by ladies of all ages and levels of experience. The most recent apprentice, Georgi, is training towards her RYA Yachtmaster Offshore ahead of starting a career in the sailing industry.
Over 3 days and no less than 42 races it was all down to the last match between the Dutch and their great rivals from Royal Cork. It was one of those starts that one wants to forget, but the Dutch clearly down, gambled on banging the corners to great effect. Back in the action at the windward mark the four boats were all within a boat length then it all started to unravel for Cork.
2K Team Racing is two on two team racing, in keelboats, without spinnakers.
Twin penalties for Smit (NED) and Kingston(IRL) saw the game balanced. then Cudmore(IRL) collected a penalty for tacking too close... the Dutch are in the lead... a final Irish penalty and it is all over...as the Dutch move into their tried and tested tight defence mode for the final run to the finish.
Host team Rome had had a hard regatta, losing to a rookie British team from the Royal Thames and to the young Italians from 3CV sailing as Banana 2....but the final honours were to go to them as then outplayed the Dutch to the closest of finishes in the final match....but all too late for the podium.
1st Dutch Match and Team Race Association (NED)
2nd Royal Cork Yacht Club (IRL)
3rd Royal Thames Yacht Club (GBR)
The 2K Tour now moves to another Italian Yachting paradise in Gaeta.
The Rome 2K was hosted by the Platu 25 Class and the Reale Circolo Canottiere Tevere Remo at the club's Anzio base.
In a well-lived life in Cork in which he was exuberantly involved in several sports and long active in a pioneering role in business, he was known to everyone as Archie O’Leary. Yet properly speaking he was Arthur O’Leary, sharing his name with the historic and heroic figure of Art O’Leary (1746-1773). But this modern Arthur O’Leary, who has now gone from among us at the age of 86, was of more than enough significance to merit his own distinctive name.
It was as Archie O’Leary that he played rugby for Ireland, rising through the ranks of Cork Con (where he was Captain) and Munster, to win three caps in the national side in 1952. It was Mr & Mrs Archie O’Leary who became well known in racing circles, their most famous and successful horse being Florida Pearl. And it was as Archie O’Leary that he served as Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club from 1977 to 1980, crowning a very long sailing career which was to continue until the1990s, when he changed his perspective afloat by moving into a Nelson 42 powercruiser, the kind of motoryacht which was designed with senior sailing people in mind.
His energies afloat and on the sports field were matched by his energy in business – in 1961 he founded the O’Leary Insurance Group which today, under the Chairmanship of his son Anthony, has expanded to become an all-Ireland force in the industry. The strength of family values within the O’Leary clan is also reflected by the fact that Anthony took on the demanding role of Admiral RCYC at a young age in 2000, just twenty years after his father had headed the club. And Anthony has of course carved his own distinctive and successful career in sailing (he’s currently the Irish Champion Helmsman), while his own sons in turn – Archie’s grandsons – include Olympic sailor Peter, Student World Sailing Champion Nicholas, and Irish Student Champion Robert.
Archie O’Leary, Admiral RCYC 1977 to 1980
Today, we honour the memory of the Patriarch of this remarkable family of sailing high achievers, for Archie O’Leary was an extremely successful owner-skipper in his own right. Like many of Cork sailing’s racing aristocracy, his first proper taste of the sport was with the National 18s. But by the early 1970s he found that offshore racers best suited his tastes, and he campaigned an S&S 34 for a couple of seasons, starting to build up friendships at home and abroad which well withstood the test of time.
By late 1973, the new blossoming of Cork sailing was becoming very apparent, and while the most active campaigner Hugh Coveney went for the peak challenge of the International One Ton Cup with the state-of-the-art one-off Ron Holland-designed, George & Killian Bushe-built 36ft Golden Apple, Archie O’Leary took a different tack by commissioning a new though standard Carter 37 from the board of Dick Carter. Carter had burst upon the scene in 1965 when his innovative 34-footer Rabbit won the Fastnet Race overall, and had subsequently won the One Ton Worlds with the Dutch-American owned Tina in 1966, Optimist of Germany in 1967 and 1968, and the Italian entry Ydra in 1973.
From today’s perspective, it is difficult to grasp the scale and enthusiasm of the One Ton Worlds at Torquay in 1974. Here were more than forty red hot boats around the 36ft mark from all over the world, and all competing absolutely level, sailed in many instances by Olympic-standard crews. Many were expensive purpose-built one-offs, yet there was also a small but significant group of production boats, tuned to the One Ton rating, which were expected to be little more than cannon fodder in a field of this standard.
The first Irish Mist of 1974 was a standard Carter 37, and she was clear winner of the Production Boat prize at the One Ton Worlds that year
But Archie O’Leary’s standard Carter 37 Irish Mist was definitely not cannon fodder. With the young Anthony O’Leary now very much an active member of his father’s crew, Irish Mist was at the races, and then some. She won the Production Boat prize by a very clear margin, and placed tenth overall with an entire host of extremely hot one-offs astern of her.
As his sailing career progressed and developed, Archie O’Leary was to win many other major prizes, both offshore and on the championship circuit. But in later life there was no trophy he cherished more than the fine cup he’d been given in perpetuity for that Production Boat win at Torquay, for he reckoned that was purer sport than the competition he was soon to experience at the very sharpest end of international sailing.
Yet the pace was now inevitably set, and for 1975 the O’Learys commissioned a one-off Ron Holland Two Tonner, the 40ft Irish Mist II, built at Rochestown by George and Killian Bushe. This superboat really did have all the bells and whistles, complete with a Bergstrom Ridder hyper-light mast. She lived up to all her billings, winning the 1975 RORC Channel Race as a member of the Irish Admirals Cup team, in addition to many other podium places, while the following year she was overall winner of the RORC Irish Sea Race and was also top boat in the biggest regatta in Ireland that year, ISORA Week 1976 at Cork.
In the mid-1970s, the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association was at its most numerous, and if they brought their Race Week to some venue, it guaranteed big turnouts. But ISORA had at least half a dozen and more locations to choose between – they mightn’t be back for another ten years. However, by this stage Archie O’Leary was rising through the officer ranks in the Royal Cork, and by the time he became Admiral in 1977, he’d realized that a more regular regatta week was essential for the good health of Crosshaven, and he’d plans in shape for what would become Cork Week, run on a biennial basis with the first one in 1978.
To make it all happen, he drew on firm friendships made through his years of active campaigning on the RORC and Celtic Sea programmes, and thus people like Chris Dunning from the Solent and Rob Davies from South Wales could be relied on to beat the drum for their friend Archie and his regatta in Cork, and this was to be the start of something big.
But in the best Cork traditions, while working busily in the administration of the rapidly-expanding Royal Cork YC, Admiral O’Leary continued as a very active sailor, moving on from the timber-built Irish Mist II to the glassfibre Swan 39 Irish Mist III, the production version of the fabulously successful Ron Holland-designed Regardless, and from there he went on to a Lightwave 395.
Although he was best noted for his national and international achievements, Archie O’Leary was never happier than when involved in the notably high standard of club racing against old friends at Crosshaven, when the finest traditions of the world’s oldest yacht club are given a contemporary twist.
In fact for decades – with his actively sailing family spreading onto three generations – Archie O’Leary was the very expression of the Cork sailing spirit. And even when he’d reduced the pace by changing to the Nelson powercruiser, his taste for a spot of sport afloat was undiminished. My most abiding recent memory of Archie O’Leary was of a time one Spring some years ago when his beloved Cork Constitution Rugby Club (of which he was President in 1973-74) had won through to the Irish club final, to be played at Lansdowne Road in Dublin. Archie noted that the weather pattern was settling down nicely, so he suggested to his regular shipmates that they should go in style to Dublin with the powercruiser, and use her as a houseboat for the weekend of the match.
Then as the weekend approached, a wondrous and unseasonal calm settled over all Ireland. So what did the O’Leary crew do? They came to Dublin from the north. Bound for the rugby match, they left Cork heading west, streaked up the Atlantic seaboard, roared along the north coast, zoomed down the Irish Sea to take in the match, and then went on home by sea as though this was all part of a normal weekend away for rugby fans. That was how Archie O’Leary approached life. Our heartfelt condolences go to his family and very many friends.