Perfect day on the trail of the sail

WHEN the going gets tough, the tough get going, but even the hardiest sailors think twice before venturing out in a gale. That’s why the competitors at Cork Week in Crosshaven were relieved yesterday when the weather prophets of doom proved to be too pessimistic.

The forecast was for ‘dirty’ weather, with strong winds and squalls and a hard time for those on the water. In fact, it turned out to be an ideal day for racing as the competitive sailing at Cork Week got under way in earnest.

“In the morning it was challenging out there, with a nasty chop,” said Mark Ring, marina and racing coordinator, “but, although there were one or two competitors not feeling too well at the start, it was still wonderful sailing weather.”

His job is to see that competitors don’t trip over one another and to ensure every competition class goes off without a hitch.

So far, so good.

“We have in the region of 250 boats and everyone was on the water today.

“It can be strenuous at times to ensure that everything goes according to plan but, so far, it is all going brilliantly.”

The same could be said for the activities on shore. Run by sailors for sailors, Cork Week combines hardcore racing with what can only be described as a professional level of socialising.

The racing is varied and challenging, with four courses raced over five days.

Cork Week is a well-organised event which attracts hundreds of racers, lured by its reputation of being one of the most enjoyable sailing regattas in the world.

With boats from 10 countries here, and most costing a multiple of tens of thousands, the assembled flotilla is reckoned to be worth over €50 million in total and it is a majestic sight indeed to view them in full sail from the heights of Camden.

Among the celebrity sailors are Irish rugby internationals David, Richard and Paul Wallace, sailing with their father, Michael who is skippering Felix.

The Co Cork village has to accommodate more than 1,000 sailors for the week — and as many socialites each night — not to mention the hundreds of spectators who watch the racing from the shore.

In fact, one of the problems for Cork Week organisers is that there are often as many participants as spectators and that makes it one of the largest sporting events in the country.

And while the Royal Cork has an ideal riverside location for hosting such an event, virtually none of the shore-side facilities exist long before the regatta starts, so they have to build it — tent by tent.

On shore, the chattering classes were all talk about Drumbru, Setmaker, Devil’s Bit and Jerry Fish. These sound like a line-up of boats waiting for the starting gun. But, no, they are very much land-based bands playing in the canvas bars that provide entertainment and sustenance for seafarers and party-goers alike.

Last night, sailors and landlubbers alike were engaging in a shades ‘n shorts BBQ, proving that , while most of the excitement is at sea, there is plenty to do for landlubbers whose only connection with boats is sitting in the sunshine with a cool beer, watching the world sail by.


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