Tuesday, July 8, 2014

CORK Week Preview

J/109 sailboat- sailing on Irish Sea (Cork, Ireland)- The first Cork Week took place off Cork Harbour in 1978. From small beginnings with just over 50 boats, the event prospered through the enthusiastic endeavors of volunteer club members.  It was during 1985 that John McWilliam, Grattan Roberts, Joxer O’Brien and Donald McClement (the “Gang of Four”) who each had vast experience of Offshore Racing and World Championship Events realized that sailing was being taken over by the so-called “Rock Stars.” Owners were beginning to complain that they could no longer compete against their friends as the “Arms Race” had well and truly begun.  Cork’s “Gang of Four” came up with an idea that became the basis of what is now the ISAF Amateur/ Pro classification system today; resulting in classes that were “Corinthian” in nature and other’s that were “open”.  As a result, the Cork Sailing Week has grown ever since; this year’s event takes place from July 5th to 11th.

In keeping with tradition, the J’s are out in force for this year’s regatta with 15 of 92 boats participating- about 16.0% of the fleet, the largest brand by far in Ireland’s tour’de’force in offshore handicap racing. Topping the fleet is Richard Fawcett’s J/120 JAMEERAH sailing in IRC 2 Division.

There is a powerful group of 105s and 109s in IRC 3 Division, many of whom are familiar faces in the Irish offshore community. Some of the more prominent J/109 crews sailing are Peter Donlop’s MOJITO, Paul Barrington’s JALAPENO, Ian Nagle & Paul O’Malley’s JELLY BABY, David Lean’s JEEPSTER, John Maybury’s JOKER 2, John Collins’s JET STREAM, Pat Kelly’s STORM, Liam Shanahan’s RUTH and Chris Moore’s POWDER MONKEY.  The lone stranger in this tribe is Phil Bourke’s J/105 JET DREAM.

Topping out IRC 4 Division is Ronan Fenton’s J/35c SKY HUNTER, followed by Pat Beckett’s J/92 JOSTLER and the J/24s ANT’OILEANACH (Dave Lane) and JELIGNITE (Ryan Finbarr).  For more Cork Week sailing information