With just over five weeks remaining to the start of Volvo Cork Week, organisers at the Royal Cork Yacht Club have called on south coast crews not to delay entry and support the event that aims be a highlight of the 2018 sailing season.
Volvo Cork Week 2018 will run from July 16 to 21. Entries have already surpassed the 2016 turnout and are heading for a post-recession record level.
The second staging of the Beaufort Cup for military and emergency services crews is also on course to double its turnout on the inaugural event including an American team.
Seventeen teams are confirmed with a Galway entry expected this week and a Garda team as well. Five UK service teams are entered.
And in further evidence of an upturn in the economy, most of the major social occasions for the week are sold out with waiting lists for the formal events.
However, the bulk of the entries received to date are mostly from visiting crews with more 27 clubs from around Ireland and Britain represented in the fleet.
Around 90% of the regular weekday racing crews from Cork Harbour are also entered but a sizeable portion of the boats based along the south coasts have yet to enter.
“While many people wait until last minute to enter, it makes planning for the event easier when we know who to expect,” said Kieran O’Connell, RCYC Rear Admiral keelboats.
The event had been hoping to reach 150 boats – a 50% increase on 2016 – but organisers now expect the overall entry to be around 120-130 boats for this year.
“The options are there to do one, two three and up to six days so there’s something for everyone,” he said.
“We would know of around 72 active racing boats that might be expected to turn up to an event. To date, about half that number have entered.
O’Connell cites the example of last weekend’s Wave Regatta at Howth where all the local boat entered early and underpinned what turned out to be an overall entry of more than 150 boats.
Ironically, plans for celebrating the club’s tricentenary as the oldest yacht club in the world in 2020 is having an impact on the turnout for 2018’s Cork Week from overseas entries.
Boat owners from around the world have already stated their intention to turn up in 2020 but as a result haven’t committed to this year.
The declared ambition of “300 for the 300th” has been set with entries to be capped at this number.
“We’ve done a lot of legwork for (getting entries) for this year and many of the ‘no’s’ for this year are ‘yes’ for 2020,” said O’Connell.
“It seems to be a big draw for people, both national and international. Things are looking very positive.”
Other measures to encourage entries include the Under 25s programme for young adults that has attracted more than 30 participants this year alone.
The initiative is proving to be a crucial supply for owners unable to find regular and committed crew.
“We have two teams going to Foynes this weekend for the J24 national championships plus a further two teams lined up for Cork Week,” said O’Connell.
“We’re putting it out there that we’re a club getting behind cruiser racing and that there’s a body of crew out there.
“If you give young adults a feeling of being wanted on the keelboats, it can only but filter through to the other boats as well.”
Volvo Cork Week 2018 will run from 16th to 21st July 2018.
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