Autumn Series at the Royal Cork
- On 15 10 2010
When I was in school all the boats were "laid up" during September and October with very few exceptions. The river in Crosshaven was empty for the autumn, winter and most of the spring. In the winter months sailing stopped - some of us went trawling and I was lucky enough to get afloat on a regular basis during the winter. In my last year in school and first year at UCC Clayton Love Senior kept his lovely ketch the "Galcador" (now the Creidne) afloat in Crosshaven and a bunch of us got out every weekend and had a great time sailing to famous hotspots such as "Dirty Murphs" and more. This set the seeds for the formation of a sailing club in UCC - but we were not the only ones thinking about autumn sailing! The late Christy Gibbons (the "Hungry Plumber") got together with some buddies and put a proposal to the RCYC for an "October League" - this was back in 1973. It is rumoured that Christy and his buddies in "Dad's Army" came up with this ingenious idea in order to extend the season in Crosshaven!
During the winter of 1972 the UCC/RCYC gang who sailed aboard "Galcador" watched in awe is the 47 foot Sparkman and Stephens blue "Moonduster" took shape in Denis Doyle's Crosshaven Boaryard. Imagine my joy when Clayton Love Minor and I were asked to crew aboard "Duster" - Ireland's biggest racing yacht - in the October League! The inventor otf the League, Christy Gibbons, sailed aboard his converted Cork Harbour One Design "Sibyl" . Unfortunately "Sibyl" now lies at the bottom of Kinsale Harbour protected by a giant conger eel! Sadly too - the great S+S "Moonduster" met her demise on a Pacific reef last year. Here she is below in happier times two years ago in French Polynesia.
In the late 1960's and early 1970's there had been an upsurge in interest in cruiser racing at the RCYC. The late Hugh Coveney led a number of consortiums which owned boats like "Echo" , "Allouette" and "Dalcassian" Archie O' Leary moved from National 18s to an S+S 34 "Gay Gannett" and subsequently to a Carter 37 in 1974. This boat "Irish Mist" has raced in many October Leagues and is currently looking great and sailing well under owner Arthur Baker. With so many skippers and crews interested in racing the first October League was a great success and this has continued to the present day.
Among the boats to compete in the early days was George Kenefick's "Hy Brasil"- his son Neil sailed aboard and this year competed on his smart looking quarter tonner "Tiger".When October racing started Cork Harbour was the only place in Ireland where racing took place. Boats travelled from all over Ireland to participate and the combined fleets reached over 125 boats at its peak. We still have visitors to Crosshaven from all over Cork Harbour, Kinsale, Baltimore, Schull, Tralee and Waterford. Last year (2009) a new format was launched where every fleet had two races each day - this met with approval from all the fleets.
The weather so far in 2010 has been stunning but we are suffering from a lack of breeze. On the first day race officers Dave O' Brien and Richard Leonard did very well to get racing in --- last weekend the breeze obliged and both fleets had fantastic racing in an easterly providing an amazing spectacle off Cobh. We had the usual breaking of parking bye -laws with a number of boats spending some time on the Spit Bank!
For more years that he probably cares to remember Bob Bateman has been taking amazing pictures of racing in Cork Harbour. I certainly enjoyed several seasons out htere afloat with Bob taking the pics in the past! Racing continues this weekend (Sun 17 Oct) with both fleets starting at 11:00. Looks like we will have a nice breeze from the west before the wind slots into the north again next week and brings some autumn cold with it. Racing also on Sun 24 Oct The final pair of races will be run on Saturday October 30th.
The SailCork cruiser "Holy Grounder" is not racing this year - cruiser course on Oct 15-17 and cruiser day sailing on Sat 23 and Sun 24 Oct - the Cork Jazz Weekend. Holy Grounder will be the perfect place to get a grandstand view of the racing at the RCYC durning October.
More coming later!!!!!!!!!!................