The maritime heritage of Cork was celebrated yesterday when two majestic yachts sailed into view, one a sleek silhouette of modern motor cruising, the other an ode to a bygone era when ships had masts and rigging and relied on wind for speed.
Combining Italian shipbuilding know-how with French flair, the motor yacht L’Austral seemed almost to touch the ramparts of Blackrock Castle as she made her elegant way to the city’s north Custom House Quay.
Exhibiting the height of 21st-century sophistication and comfort, L’Austral is a cruise ship operated by the Marseille-based cruise line company Compagnie du Ponant and is named after an island group off the west coast of France.
Although impressive at close quarters — it is positively petite compared to some gargantuan cruise ships — it makes up for in luxury what it lacks in size.
At around the same time, another nautical wonder was making its way into harbour. Known as the Goddess of the Seas and sporting a €150m price tag, the world’s largest privately owned yacht sailed into Cork harbour yesterday for a two-day layover.
The majestic Eos, named after the ancient Greek goddess, glided upriver towards its berth at Deepwater Quay, with the Port of Cork pilot boat showing the way.
Built to amaze and owned by American media and television executive Barry Diller, the Eos has hosted some of the world’s most powerful people and top celebrities, including Madonna. She dined aboard Eos while attending the 2008 Cannes Film Festival for a screening of her documentary about children in Malawi.
The Eos is is a three-masted Bermuda rigged schooner. It is 93 metres long, weighs 1,500 tonnes and its three masts rise to 61m, not quite high enough to eclipse Cobh Cathedral’s 100m spire, but impressive nonetheless.
It even features a figurehead said to be modelled on the billionaire’s wife, fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg.
Little is known about the yacht’s interior, kept a secret by Mr Diller, but it is believed to boast a glass staircase and can accommodate up to 12 guests with a 20-member crew and cruises at a gentle 12 to 14 knots.
Eddie English of Sail Cork saw its arrival in Cobh yesterday and was impressed. “She just completed a transatlantic crossing having come from Antigua via the Azores to Cobh. Amazingly enough, I saw her exiting Antigua a few weeks ago before she went on her transatlantic voyage. She was one of two massive three-masted schooners.
“She is the biggest yacht in the world although Maltese Falcon has a longer water line length. This one has a longer actual length. She is some sight when she is under sail. Top-end luxury. An amazing looking vessel.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved