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Operators of the Cork-Swansea route, Fastnet Line regret to announce that tonight's (13 January) sailing from Cork to Swansea is cancelled. The company has cited technical reasons for the cancellation of the sailing. The 10-hour route linking Munster with South Wales is served by the M.V. Julia.

Fastnet Line are contacting all passengers to assist in making re-bookings or refunds. Those wishing to contact the ferry operators' reservation team for further information can contact the details listed below.

The Julia is to go into dry-dock this week in Swansea. The vessel will remain in Swansea while undergoing annual maintenance up to and including Wednesday 9th February. Her first sailing will be at 20.30hrs from Swansea to Cork on Wednesday 9th February 2011.

To contact the Fastnet Line Irish Reservations Office Tel: +353 (0) 21 4378892 (Open Monday – Friday) 9.00 am - 6.00 pm

To contact the UK Reservations Office Tel: 0844 576 8831
(Open Monday – Thursday) 8.00 am - 8.00 pm
(Open Friday) 8.00 am - 7.00 pm
(Open Saturday and Sunday) 9.00 am - 6.00pm

For further information logon to www.fastnetline.com

Published in Ports & Shipping
The Cork-Swansea route service has smashed 2010 targets with over 80,000 passengers using the service, which reopened in March according to a report on NewsWales.co.uk.

The passenger figure represents four-times the capacity of the Liberty Stadium, Swansea which is to host the rugby Heineken Cup clash between Swansea Neath Ospreys and Munster on Saturday 18 December.

The 10-hour ferry service operated by Fastnet Line also carried 31,000 vehicles and statistics suggest a significant boost for the Swansea Bay economy with about 40% of all passengers so far travelling from Cork to the south Wales region. The route is served by the MV Julia which had been sailing in the Baltic. The 1982 built vessel is capable of carrying more than 1,800 passengers and 400 cars.

Fastnet Line will run all-year-round in 2011 and has set a revised target of 120,000 passengers.

On a seasonal note, Christmas gift vouchers are available from Fastnet Line, for more information logon HERE

Published in Ports & Shipping
The operators of the Cork-Swansea route that reopened earlier this year, Fastnet Line, have announced running two special sailings for Munster rugby fans, when the team play against Swansea Neath Ospreys on 18 December. In addition the company are offering a promotional ferry and bus transfer ticket (starting from €99pp) to the Liberty Stadium, the venue of the Heineken Cup pool three game.
An overnight sailing will depart Cork (Ringaskiddy) at 1800hrs on Friday 17 December and arrives in Swansea at 0800hrs. Passengers can remain on board the ferry, the M.V. Julia, for those who wish to have a leisurely breakfast, before a private coach transfer leaves at 1000hrs for the Liberty Stadium.

After the match supporters can take the bus from Swansea city centre to the ferryport, with departures on the hour at 19.00, 20.00 and 21.00hrs. Passengers check-in times at the terminal are from 19.00hrs and up to 2200hrs. The return sailing departs at 2350hrs on Saturday 18 December and arrives into Cork at 1400hrs on Sunday 19 December.

For information on prices contact Fastnet Line Tel: (021) 4378892 or logon to www.fastnetline.com

Published in Ports & Shipping

Cork Week – The World's Top Fun Regatta

Since 1978 Cork Week has been setting the bar for Irish Sailing and Afloat Magazine has documented the growth of the biennial event over the past 30 years to the stage today where it is widely regarded as one of the world's top regattas. For all the latest news and updates on Cork Week click here.

Take a small sleepy fishing village. Add water (well, the Atlantic Ocean) and old-fashioned Irish charm. Stir in seven bars, three restaurants, 50 bands, 400 performers and 180 hours of entertainment. Bake in warm sunshine for one week every two years. Sprinkle with 7,000 high-earning visitors.

This is the recipe for success at Cork Week regatta – an icon of Ireland's summer sport that has a bigger reputation overseas than it has at home. 

corkweek_drakespool.jpg

Above: Looking south towards Crosshaven. Photo: Bob Bateman 

Competitors come from as far away as the US, Hong Kong, Australia, France, Germany and Belgium. 2006's regatta attracted first time entries from the Philippines, South Africa, Italy and Sweden but the mainstay of the biennial event is a huge representation from England, Scotland and Wales.

Cork Week, of course is not the only regatta of its kind in the world and many copycat events have sprung up across Europe. But Cork continues to have a special mix that lives up to its billing as the number one fun regatta in the world.

For a typical 450 entries, 80% of them would come from overseas, and they are heading here to race but also for the fun.

In many respects Cork Week, when it first started in 1986, took its inspiration from the success of Cowes Week on the Solent but from the beginning Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC) organisers wanted to do more than ape a British event.

They saw a gap in the regatta market and took a bold decision to do away with convention and rewrite the rules for sailing regattas. It sounds cliched some 23 years later but they wanted to produce a regatta that was run by sailors for sailors.

What this actually meant was they set about banning professional sailors from attending Cork at a time when regattas across Europe were suffering from the invasion of paid-to-sail crews. It was a situation that left amateur skippers and crews, representing the majority of the sailing community, tired of heading home without any silverware.

The plan was risky, of course, because pros were an influential bunch required to establish the regatta as a credible venue. Banning them was especially problematic for a remote venue on the outskirts of Europe where the high costs of transporting crew and equipment could have kept many away.

But the crews didn’t stay away and the ‘no-pro’ rule, as it became known, has worked in Cork’s favour. Amateur sailors embraced the idea and owners return to Crosshaven year after year to race against each other for a week of Corinthian fun.

Cork went one better by going back out to the professional circuit and inviting pros to a special restricted class within the week where they could race with each other.

In 2004, for example, it attracted some real professional glamour. American Roy Disney came to town, as did the German billionaire Hasso Plattner, both racing massive Z-86 racing machines around Cork harbour. It was a show stopper and put the glitz into Cork.

It hasn't all been plain sailing however. The Cork week organisation has had its difficulties. Four years ago the host club, the RCYC was so intent on having a good time that it lost money on the enterprise. Thankfully it’s now on a firm financial footing again and the event looks stronger than ever.

Around the same time, many Irish sailors began to think that Cork Week had become just the ‘The Solent on tour’.

They were turned off by the high prices of local accommodation for the week. Dublin sailors complained that the successful Crosshaven formula had been over cooked. They resented paying up to 500 Euro to share a bedroom for the week.

Thankfully that too has been ironed out with a bigger range of accommodation now on offer.

But perhaps in the crush most Irish sailors forgot to appreciate just what they have on their own doorstep. Nowhere was this point more clearly made than in early June when the world’s top offshore sailors called in unexpectedly to our south coast.

They came principally in search of wind in leg eight of the Volvo Round the World race. They found little wind, unusually, but before they left they wrote prose worthy of a Failte Ireland copywriter.

In his log, navigator Simon Fisher wrote: “Our day started sailing in and out of the mist rolling down off the hills and, as the sun rose and the mist burnt off, it gave way to spectacular views of rolling green hills and a weather-beaten rocky coastline. With castles and towers stationed on each headland, it gives you the feeling of sailing through a scene out of Lord of the Rings.”

With endorsements like that, it’s easy to see why Crosshaven will teem again with sailors and supporters for a festival of sailing that’s more like Galway Races on water than a regular Irish sailing regatta.

Although Cork Week's not all about rubbing shoulders with serious money, it is hard to ignore the economic value of the event.

Putting a figure on it can be difficult but Cork Week chairman Ian Venner reckons it is worth 10 million Euro to the local economy. It's like Ireland –v– England at Lansdowne road in an otherwise sleepy fishing village.

You can read Cork Week's own history of the event here.

Published in Cork Week

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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