High winds halt race but ladies turn up the heat

HIGH winds and high rollers dominated the fifth day of Cork Week 2010 at Crosshaven yesterday, with as much excitement on land as offshore.

Event chairman Peter Deasy said that while high winds forced the cancellation in the morning of a white sail race, every competitor was assured of getting out on the water.

“That’s the beauty of holding this event in the harbour of Cork. It means no-one loses out.”

He, and his committee of volunteers, have worked hard to ensure the success of the biennial event which is hosted by the Royal Cork Yacht Club. Founded in 1720, the club is the world’s oldest. While blustery conditions affected race competitors, they had little effect onshore.

There was frenzied activity and lots of chatter in the main marquee which hosted a ladies lunch to raise funds for Cork Simon community.

“It’s ladies day at Killarney races but all the Cork ladies are here,” declared socialite Frances Lynch, as she joined a group of LWLTLs — or Ladies Who Like To Lunch, as they call themselves.

The organiser of the event, Patti O’Flynn declared the Simon lunch a “huge success.”

Such was the style on offer that celebrity judges Celia Holman-Lee and Lisa Murphy didn’t know which way to turn to find the best dressed lady.

“It’s almost too much to take in. The ladies here are so gorgeous,” said Lisa, who is engaged to prominent solicitor Gerald Kean. Celia agreed: “They all look wonderful,” she said.

Some of the ladies did, indeed, look amazing.

One LWLTL sported a split-knee length dress and heels so high she risked nose bleeds.

More chose formal attire. Enjoying the lunch in the company of Patricia O’Neill from Crosshaven, was Angie Benhaffaf, mother of the twins Hassan and Hussein, who were separated last April in London by Cork surgeon Edward Kiely.

“This is actually my first day off and away from any of my children in six-and-a-half years,” said Angie, who also has two other daughters.

Elsewhere, along the tented village erected for Cork Week, there was plenty of business being done in the retail tents.

The village is set up with 20 retails outlets, from fashion to sailing gear, shoes, sunglasses and even a massage tent for weary sailors. There are a number of stages erected on site with performances most nights.

Manning the Dubarry stand was Peter Burke who reported brisk trade. “There might be fewer boats here this year, but it is definitely an improvement in the village.

“There is a better flow of traffic and people who come in are buying, not just gawking. They also seem to be in better form and more cheerful than other years. Even the Germans are smiling and laughing.”

His colleague, Paul Corson of Dubarry Ireland, proudly showed off the company’s latest product, a sailing boot designed for serious offshore racing.

“We had a boot designed for the Green Dragon team in the Volvo ocean race and this is an improvement on that. We were inspired by Cork Week so we are calling it The Crosshaven.”

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