Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Peter Crowley Honoured at Royal Cork Yacht Club AGM

17th January 2023
Peter Crowley (centre) was honoured at  Royal Cork Yacht Club's AGM with Admiral Kieran O'Connell and former Admiral David O'Brien
Peter Crowley (centre) was honoured at Royal Cork Yacht Club's AGM. Crowley is pictured with Admiral Kieran O'Connell and former Admiral David O'Brien Credit: Bob Bateman

A former Admiral and President paid tribute to a former Admiral and President at the 302nd annual general meeting of the oldest yacht club in the world.

It was rather unique as David O’Brien, former President of the Irish Sailing Association and a former Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven, proposed Peter Crowley, former Admiral of the club and former President of the ISA for Honorary Membership in recognition of his service to the club and to the sport of sailing.

The proposal was approved unanimously, with a standing ovation given by the members present as Peter Crowley accepted the honour.

Afloat nominated Peter as Sailor of the Month for November for sailing services, commenting: “Affable Race Officer and former Royal Cork YC Admiral Peter Crowley brings comprehensive experience of participation and organisation to any major championship with which he becomes involved.”

Peter Crowley is well known and respected throughout sailing circles for the length and breadth of Ireland and also for his commitment and work with the RNLI.

Peter Crowley's  proposal for Honorary Membership by David O'Brien

Admiral, Flag Officers, Members

My introduction to boats with sails was as a young teenager in Ardmore watching my school friend Peter Crowley, his siblings, and acquaintances sailing around an almost empty bay in one of the half dozen single sail, one design, dinghies built by his father, Finbarr. In those days, only the odd real hardy seafarers cruised the coastline and then rarely called into Ardmore, so these intrepid young sailors had the open bay to themselves with only some local salmon fishermen and their nets to contend with, though I’m sure these sailboats were much more of a nuisance to those striving to make a hard-earned living, than the other way round.

There were no formal sail training courses 50 years ago, so all the experience Peter gained was achieved on the water the hard way, in various boat types and sizes. And I may add without lifejackets or rescue boats in many cases.

In his late teens/early twenties, Peter was competitively involved in rowing on the Lee, and campaigned seriously on the windsurfing circuit, both of which required a high level of fitness, which he worked hard to achieve and maintain.


Here in the Royal Cork, Peter for many years was an active member of the National 18ft class sailing regularly with, amongst others, Tom Dwyer inCobblerod, before acquiring their own boat, Dynosore in 1998. (I’ll leave you to work out where both these names originated from).

As the family grew Peter joined with friends as part owner of that well-known floating playpen, Blue Shark, which regularly became a mothership for events, a safe nursery for younger children, and a practical resource to entertain families and friends for a day on the water. Blue Shark knew every nook and cranny around the harbour and over the 12 years in that ownership, undoubtedly found some new ones.

Peter owned or shared in a number of racing/cruising boats, from the Corby 25 named Hi-Time to the current Beneteau Trawler named Spare-Time, which has been a familiar sight around the harbour since 2007 – more of this anon.

But while that’s an incomplete snapshot of Peter’s sailing curriculum – what about his contribution to the sport?

Like many before and after him, as Kevin & Sam became involved in the Oppy fleet, so too did Peter and Marie get involved in the many events associated with the class, travelling around the country to other venues for championships and competitions. Not happy staying ashore in such circumstances Peter's natural instinct was to get involved in the event, assisting on the water as rescue, mark laying and hence to the committee boat itself, where his knowledge, skills and willingness to be part of the team became obvious, and sought after.

Soon Peter was in demand as Principal Race Officer, PRO, for Club and local regattas. By then, the Irish Sailing Association, ISA, had adopted standard criteria for the certification of race officers, and Peter soon ascended that ladder to National Race officer status qualifying him to take control for all local, regional and national championships.

However, this left a gap for the Club when canvassing for European and World events whichrequired an International Race Officer to be the principal race official. Royal Cork and Crosshaven, especially through the Cork Week events was being recognised as a suitable venue by a variety of classes and was awarded the 2001 Laser Class Worlds.

Peter assisted the UK International Race Officer, Jeff Martin, brought over for that event and he got the bug! Following up on the qualification procedure, including attending training in Finland, he achievedInternational status in 2002.

Over the last 20 years, Peter’s portfolio of events includes:

  • Numerous Club, regional, and national organised events for dinghies and keelboats annually both here in Crosshaven and throughout Ireland
  • Many Cork Weeks both on the water for a specific fleet, and as Race Director over all fleets
  • Sovereign Weeks in Kinsale
  • 1720 European and national Championships
  • 505 Worlds in Crosshaven in 2022
  • ICRA Championships
  • Irish Sailing senior and junior Champions Cups –formally call the Helmsmen trophy
  • Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regattas
  • Mirror Europeans
  • And many more significant events which I’m sure I have left out.

It’s well known that if a club is lucky enough to find Peter available for any event, not only do they benefit from the experience of Peter himself; but receive a fully equipped, and often fully staffed, committee boat; his on-board accommodation; and excellent support and hospitality provided by Marie. He has also been known to bring along his own experienced mark layers/rescue to complete the team.

I mentioned Spare Time above which was purchased in 2007. One of its shake-down cruises was to Wales in May 2008, transporting a motley crew to the Heineken Cup final in Cardiff when Munster lifted the trophy. Unfortunately, the weather that weekend was rather inclement and whilst the boat got a thorough testing, so too did the crew!

Administrative Experiences

You might think from the above that Peter’s involvement with our sport was all water based – far from it.

  • President of IODAI – late 90’s
  • RCYC Admiral 2004-2005
  • President of Irish Sailing 2008-2011
  • Former Council member and now Vice President of RNLI

505 Worlds & Winkie Nixon

The 505 Worlds 2022 from 3rd to 13th August at the Royal Cork, came laden with historic associations. It was the fourth time the class had come to Crosshaven for its world championships, and I am reliably informed that Peter was involved in some way with all four. For the first in 1959 he caught boats and moved trollies whilst in short pants, to PRO in 2022. We’ll let him tell us what his role was in 1964 and1982

Winkie Nixon recently wrote in Afloat of the 505’s that “though this attractive class may still look as modern as tomorrow, it goes way back, and around 70 years ago Cork Harbour was the hotbed of a busy fleet that was part of a worldwide movement. But now – like former superstar classes such as the Finn, the Star and the Dragon – the 505 class is an elite international travelling circus, making the highest demands on any venue that it selects for its Worlds”.

In announcing Peter Crowley as a nominee for the month of November Afloat Sailor of the month for services to sailing, Winkie wrote that the “Affable Race Officer and former Royal Cork YC Admiral Peter Crowley brings the comprehensive experience of participation and organisation to any major championship with which he becomes involved”.

Praise indeed!

Admiral, it gives me great pleasure, and it is an honour to propose Peter Crowley as an Honorary Member of the RCYC.

David O’Brien

16 January 2023.

Published in Royal Cork YC, ISA
Tom MacSweeney

About The Author

Tom MacSweeney

Email The Author

Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for He presents the monthly programme Maritime Ireland on Podcast services and Irish radio stations.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open. is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Royal Cork Yacht Club

Royal Cork Yacht Club lays claim to the title of the world's oldest yacht club, founded in 1720. 

It is currently located in Crosshaven, Co. Cork, Ireland and is Cork Harbour’s largest yacht club and the biggest sailing club on the south coast of Ireland.

The club has an international reputation for the staging of sailing events most notable the biennial world famous Cork Week Regatta.

In 2020 RCYC celebrated its tricentenary under its Admiral Colin Morehead.

Royal Cork Yacht Club FAQs

The Royal Cork Yacht Club is the oldest yacht club in the world, and celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2020. It is one of the World’s leading yacht clubs, and is in the forefront of all branches of sailing activity. It is the organiser of the biennial Cork Week, widely regarded as Europe’s premier sailing event. It has hosted many National, European and World Championships. Its members compete at the highest level in all branches of sailing, and the club has a number of World, Olympic, continental and national sailors among its membership.

The Royal Cork Yacht club is in Crosshaven, Co Cork, a village on lower Cork Harbour some 20km south-east of Cork city centre and on the Owenabue river that flows into Cork Harbour.

The club was founded as The Water Club of the Harbour of Cork in 1720, in recognition of the growing popularity of private sailing following the Restoration of King Charles II. The monarch had been known to sail a yacht on the Thames for pleasure, and his interest is said to have inspired Murrough O’Brien, the 6th Lord Inchiquin — who attended his court in the 1660s and whose grandson, William O’Brien, the 9th Lord Inchiquin, founded the club with five friends.Originally based on Haulbowline Island in inner Cork Harbour, the club moved to nearby Cobh (then Cove) in 1806, and took on its current name in 1831. In 1966 the club merged with the Royal Munster Yacht Club and moved to its current premises in Crosshaven.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club today encompasses a wide variety of sailing activities, from young kids in their Optimist dinghies sailing right through the winter months to the not-so-young kids racing National 18s and 1720s during the remaining nine months. There is also enthusiastic sailing in Toppers, Lasers, RS Fevas and other dinghies. The larger keelboats race on various courses set in and around the Cork Harbour area for club competitions. They also take part in events such as the Round Ireland Race, Cowes Week and the Fastnet Race. In many far off waters, right across the globe, overseas club members proudly sail under the Royal Cork burger. The club has a significant number of cruising members, many of whom are content to sail our magnificent south and west coasts. Others head north for the Scottish islands and Scandinavia. Some go south to France, Spain, Portugal and the Mediterranean. The more adventurous have crossed the Atlantic, explored little known places in the Pacific and Indian Oceans while others have circumnavigated the globe.

As of November 2020, the Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club is Colin Morehead, with Kieran O’Connell as Vice-Admiral. The club has three Rear-Admirals: Annamarie Fegan for Dinghies, Daragh Connolly for Keelboats and Mark Rider for Cruising.

As of November 2020, the Royal Cork Yacht Club has approximately 1,800 members.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club’s burgee is a red pennant with the heraldic badge of Ireland (a stylised harp topped with a crown) at its centre. The club’s ensign has a navy blue field with the Irish tricolour in its top left corner and the heraldic badge centred on its right half.

Yes, the Royal Cork Yacht Club organises and runs sailing events and courses for members and visitors all throughout the year and has very active keelboat and dinghy racing fleets. The club also hosts many National, European and World Championships, as well as its biennial Cork Week regatta — widely regarded as Europe’s premier sailing event.

Yes, the Royal Cork Yacht Club has an active junior section with sailing in Optimists, Toppers and other dinghies.

Charles Yes, the Royal Cork Yacht Club regularly runs junior sailing courses covering basic skills, certified by Irish Sailing.


The Royal Cork hosts both keelboats and dinghies, with the 1720 Sportsboat — the club’s own design — and National 18 among its most popular. Optimists and Toppers are sailed by juniors, and the club regularly sees action in Lasers, RS Fevas, 29ers and other dinghy classes.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club has a small fleet of 1720 Sportsboats available for ordinary members to charter.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club’s Club House office can provide phone, fax, email, internet and mail holding facilities for a small charge. Club merchandise and postcards may be purchased. Showers and toilet facilities are available 24 hours a day, free of charge. Parking is plentiful and free of charge. Diesel and petrol are available on site. Marina berths are generally available for a fee payable in advance; arrangements must be made before arrival.

Yes, the Royal Cork Yacht Club’s Club House has all of the usual facilities, including bars and restaurant, which are open during normal licensing hours. The restaurant provides a full range of meals, and sandwiches, snacks etc, are available on request.

Normal working hours during the sailing season at the Royal Cork Yacht Club are 9am to 9pm daily. For enquiries contact the RCYC office on 021 483 1023 or email [email protected]

Yes, the Royal Cork Yacht Club caters for all types of events rom weddings, anniversaries, christenings and birthday celebrations to corporate meetings, breakfast meetings, luncheons, private dinners and more. For enquiries contact the Royal Cork Yacht Club office on 021 483 1023 or email [email protected]

New members are invited to apply for membership of the Royal Cork Yacht Club by completing the Nomination Form (available from and returning it to The Secretary, Royal Cork Yacht Club, Crosshaven Co Cork. Nominations are first approved by the Executive Committee at its next meeting, and following a period on display for the members, and are reviewed again at the following meeting at which any objections are considered.

No; while ordinary members of the Royal Cork Yacht Club are usually boat owners, there is no requirement to own a boat when submitting an application for membership.

The annual feel for ordinary members (aged 30+) of the Royal Cork Yacht Club is €645. Family membership (two full members and all children aged 29 and under) is €975, while individuals youth (ages 19-29) and cadet (18 and under) memberships are €205. Other rates are available for seniors, associates and more. All fees quoted are as of the 2020 annual subscription rates.

Memberships of the Royal Cork Yacht Club are renewed annually, usually within 60 days of the club’s Annual General Meeting.
For enquiries contact the Royal Cork Yacht Club office on 021 483 1023 or email [email protected]

©Afloat 2020