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#corkharbour –  Camden Fort Meagher commemorated the 75th anniversary of the handover of the fort from British Crown Forces to The Irish Defence Forces writes Claire Bateman. Scroll down for photos of last night's ceremony.

Camden Fort Meagher, situated in Crosshaven, Cork Harbour, Co. Cork, was one of several Treaty Port forts transferred to the Irish Government in 1938. It is recognised as being one of the finest remaining examples of a classical Coastal Artillery Fort in the world.

Paul Brierley, Project Coordinator at Camden Fort Meagher, emphasised the significance of the event. "We are delighted to commemorate this historic occasion which marks a pivotal point, not only in the fort's history, but also in our National history." The fort was officially renamed Camden Fort Meagher on the histrical evening, highlighting two significant figures in Britsh and Irish military history, the Earl of Camden and Thomas Francis Meagher.

The ceremony for the occasion last evening was hugely historical, and was filled with emotion, poignancy, happiness and pride. The fort was filled to capacity, the sun shone on everyone and every place. The Cork designed and built L.E. Eithne was moored off the fort. She was designed by Patrick Martin, Chief Naval Architect at Verolme Cork Dockyard where she was built. As Flaghip of the Irish Naval Service, Eithne led by firing the first salute, and this was returned by an Army salute with two 25 pounder canon.

The scene with the crowds, excitement, blazing sun, the presence of the British Ambassador, His Excellency Dominic Chilcott CMG, complete with elegant panama hat – could have been reminiscent of an Indian setting though we knew it was our own beautiful country! Other distinguished guests for the official renaming of the Fort included the Mayor of Cork County, Councillor Noel O'Connor, Cork County Manager, Martin Riordan and a very distinguished guest in the person of Mr. Michael Kelly a 97–year–old veteran who had seen service at the Fort when it was under British Command.

cork harbour british ambassador

LE Eithne passes by Fort Meagher during last night's commemoration. Photo: Bob Bateman. Scroll down for more photos.

The Irish Army, Irish Navy and retired units from reserve forces that have trained at the fort were also represented on the evening.

The natural setting was made all the more splendid by the yachts taking part in the Royal Cork Yacht Club Thursday night racing and made a lovely sight passing the L.E. Eithne on their way back to Crosshaven.

All in all, a most magical evening that will provide lasting memories for all that were privileged to be present and no memory more poignant than that of the Army figure silhouetted in the evening sunlight raising the Tricolour to the haunting sound of the lone Bugle.

The evening concluded with the official flypast of the Irish Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter from Waterford.

Published in Cork Harbour
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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