Strong growth in entries, a reformatting of the event, and new emphasis on the environment are all part of Volvo Cork Week, launched in Haulbowline yesterday.
Entries currently stand at 60 boats with a target of another 60 expected before the series gets under way in mid-July.
The Beaufort Cup for military and rescue service teams, which was first sailed in 2016, is a major element of the event again and close to double the entries are anticipated for this part of the regatta, won by the Irish Defence Forces two years ago.
There was confirmation yesterday of six international teams, comprising the PSNI and Welsh police forces, four crews from the Royal Navy, Army, and RAF, while there is strong interest from a Maltese team.
Cork Week itself is offering a new format for 2018 with potential teams being offered several options ranging from a full week of events to more selective events within the overall series depending on crew availability, racing styles, and interests.
The new-look event is one of the mainstays of the 300th anniversary celebrations of the Royal Cork Yacht Club in 2020 as the world’s oldest yacht club and a varied programme of events is in planning.
“One of our biggest steps is the reformatting of the event leading to a 20%-25% growth for 2018 with a further 25% growth leading to hopefully about 180 boats for the 300th anniversary regatta in 2020,” said Kieran O’Connell, rear admiral for Keelboa Racing at the RCYC.
“The feedback from clubs all over the world is very positive.”
Another feature of the week-long regatta is the environment and the event has signed-up to the Volvo Clean Seas programme that is being highlighted by the current Ocean Race.
A range of initiatives to reduce use of plastics is planned including providing biodegradable drinks containers, paper straws, and drinking-water fountains to replenish reusable bottles instead of single-use plastic bottles.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney officiated at the launch at the Naval Service headquarters yesterday and signalled the Government’s intention to ban the use of microbeads in products.
Meanwhile, entries for the event, which runs from July 16 to 21 at Crosshaven, are open online. The next announcement of entries is expected to be a small fleet of Class Zero-type boats as well as increased interest from white-sail only type racers.
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