The world’s oldest yacht club has unveiled a huge programme of events in and around Cork Harbour to mark its 300th anniversary next year.
Sailing communities from all over the world have been invited to take part in some of the Cork300 events organised by Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC), which was founded in 1720 by a group of just 25 people.
The celebrations will be preceded by a number of taster events including European Maritime Day and Seafest in May.
However, they will build into three main events next summer, including The Great Gathering of cruising yachtsmen and yachts from around the world in July, the Three Championship Weeks of competitive dinghy sailing in August, and The Club At Home Regatta for all fleets, also in August.
Other highlights will include the Classic Yacht Regatta; the historic Kingstown/Queenstown feeder race from Dún Laoghaire to Cobh; the world-famous annual Volvo Cork Week Regatta, an international powerboat championship; a Wild Atlantic Way sailing ‘cruise in company’ for visiting yacht clubs; the Royal Cork fleet review, a parade of sailing craft in Cobh, and a gathering of naval ships in the city.
The prestigious Morgan Cup race, awarded by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, will also come to Ireland for the first time as part of Cork300, and the Prince of Wales has donated a specially-commissioned trophy for the race.
Communities from across the harbour will also host a vast array of sailing, racing, food, and entertainment events, along with a number of talks.
Colin Morehead, chairman of Cork300, described the RCYC tri-centenary as probably the most significant historic milestone that the club and the sailing community worldwide will see in their lifetime.
“Everyone, everywhere around the world, is invited to join in the celebrations and be part of the Cork300 crew,” he said.
“We are especially delighted to hear of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales’ support. This truly is an honour. We want to inspire and motivate future generations to sail and we hope to leave a legacy for sailing and Cork harbour, Ireland’s maritime haven, into the future.”
Tánaiste Simon Coveney said of the event: “Cork300 is already attracting significant international interest and will firmly position Cork as a maritime haven and must-visit destination for anyone involved in sailing worldwide.”
Cork300 is supported by AIB, the premier partner, Volvo, the Port of Cork, Cork County Council, Cork City Council and Heineken.