UP to 10,000 people a day are expected to attend Cork Week which officially opens tomorrow in Crosshaven.
Among the competitors is the beleaguered CEO of British Petroleum Tony Hayward, who last month received a grilling from a Congressional committee in Washington as the man chiefly responsible for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Two weeks ago Hayward faced fresh criticism for taking time off to go sailing with his son instead of dealing with the oil spill. He caused uproar by participating in a yachting race around the Isle of Wight, entering his 52-foot yacht, Bob, into the JP Morgan-sponsored race. It finished fourth in its class.
He could be sailing into choppy waters again over the next week as his boat is entered in the IRC Super 0 class at Cork Week. While BP has declined to confirm whether he will attend, a spokesperson for Cork Week said yesterday they expected Hayward to be in Cork for the event as he has not indicated otherwise.
“There is no reason to think he is not coming,” said the spokesperson.
A further indication that he will race in Crosshaven is that his duties at the oil giant are being handed over to the company’s managing director by BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg who has decided to sideline Hayward after a series of PR gaffes.
Meanwhile, everything is in place for Cork Week, according to the event chairman Peter Deasy. He, and his committee of volunteers have ensured that all is ship-shape for the biennial event which is hosted by the Royal Cork Yacht Club, founded in 1740 and believed to be the world’s oldest.
While the recessions has ensured that the event will not be as high powered as in previous years, Cork Week has still attracted boats from Australia, Hong Kong, France, Germany, Holland, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
There will be upwards of 250 boats competing on five separate courses throughout the week. Each class will have the opportunity to race on each of the five courses.
The tented village is being set up with 20 retails outlets, from fashion to sailing ear, shoes, sunglasses and even a massage tent for weary sailors. There are a number of stages erected on site with performances most nights.
While bar facilities will be confined to competitors and club members until Monday, the off-shore activities will attract thousands throughout the week.
Tomorrow is Family Day from 2pm to 6pm, followed by the official opening which will be performed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin.
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