(Cork, Ireland)- Thrilling conditions welcomed the international fleet of yachts from all over Europe and the United States to Volvo Cork Week. 100 yachts racing in Cork Harbour produced a magnificent spectacle. Cork Harbour is one of the largest natural harbours in the world and provides stunning scenery and tricky wind and tidal conditions. The gusty northeasterly breeze tested the boat handling skills of the international fleet, with several yachts reporting boatspeeds of up to 20 knots on the surf.
The first race of Volvo Cork Week started just outside Roches Point, the wind speed piped up to 17 knots with a short sea state. The beat into Cork Harbour had the fleet swapping tacks past Spike Island, before negotiating close tight reaching legs along the picturesque town of Cobh. For many it was a race of over three hours, before returning to the Royal Cork Yacht Club to enjoy the full facilities of the exclusive race village. Victory in IRC Three went to Pat Kelly’s J/109, Storm (Rush YC). It was a long day on the water in IRC Five, but Dave Lane & Sinead Enright’s J/24, YaGottaWanna took second.
The second day saw more fresh wind conditions for the fleet. Fleet B, consisting of IRC 3, IRC 4, and IRC 5 Classes enjoyed three races on the Windward-Leeward Course, three miles south east of Roches Point. Warm sunshine and stable conditions prevailed, with blue skies and fresh breeze coming off the land to provide a classic racetrack. “Champagne sailing,” described one sailor. “12 knots of breeze, a great course and really competitive racing. I just love Cork Week and today was a very special day to be out on the water.” In IRC Three, Pat Kelly’s J/109, Storm (Rush YC) was in impressive form scoring a win and a second in today’s races to open up an 8.5 point lead at the top of the class.
Unsettled weather provided changeable conditions for the third day of racing at Volvo Cork Week. The day started with bright sunshine and balmy conditions causing a short postponement for many classes and light rain (honestly!) and a stiffer breeze was encountered during the day. With many classes now completing six races, the discard has kicked in and front-runners have become more apparent. What is plainly obvious from the results is races and places are being contested by mere seconds.
Fleet B, consisting of IRC 3, IRC 4, and IRC 5 Classes enjoyed three races on the Olympic Course, near Roches Point with over 40 yachts racing on a tight triangular course. In IRC Three, Pat Kelly’s J/109, Storm (Rush YC) still leads the class after an intense battle. Last year’s class champion, Ian Nagle & Paul O’Malley’s J/109, Jelly Baby (Royal Cork YC) was the winner of Race 6 by just 23 seconds from Storm. However, the Kelly family racing Storm, finished the day on top by winning the last race of the day.
“The Olympic Course is a real test, especially the gybe mark, where yachts are converging for a maneuver all at the same time. Just a few seconds can make the difference between first and fifth.” Explained Joss Walsh, trimmer on the J/109 Storm. “The overall game plan was to keep with the yachts around us and try and compete with them for speed and avoid errors, which would be very costly. Pat Kelly has four sons on board, Storm is a real family boat but we are quite a heavy crew, which has made racing difficult in light conditions. We are all here to enjoy very competitive racing and a few pints at the club afterwards. We are here to win but having fun is just as important.”
Storm leads IRC Three by 10.5 points points from Paul O’Higgins Corby 33, Rockabill V, (Royal Irish YC). Jelly Baby is just half a point behind Rockabill V in third. In IRC Four, Ronan Fenton’s J/35, Sky Hunter (Blackwater SC) finished the day in style, taking their first win of the regatta in Race 7.
The fourth day started out ashore under harbor postponement. Marvin Gaye’s song “Let’s get it on” and The Stranglers “Something better change” rang out over the air waves as the Volvo Cork Week fleet waited for the breeze to set in for the final day of racing. However, the wind was sufficient to allow for a full racing programme to decide the winners for the regatta.
In IRC Three, Pat Kelly’s J/109, Storm (Rush YC) had a shaky start to racing on the final day, placing 12th but a 2nd place in the last race secured the all Irish team the class win. Ian Nagle’s J/109, Jelly Baby (Royal Cork YC) was third. Liam Shanahan’s J/109 RUTH took 7th and another 109 took 9th- Chris Moore’s POWDER MONKEY. The J/88 JONGLEUR sailed by Andrew Creighton and James Davis claimed the 10th spot, making for 5 J/teams in the top 10!
In IRC Four, the J/35c SKY HUNTER sailed by Ronan Fenton took 6th place and fellow J sailor Patrick Beckett placed 7th on his J/92 JOSTLER.
In IRC Five, the J/24 YAGOTTAWANNA skippered by the duo of Dave Lane and Sinead Enright sailed a great last half of the series with all scores posted in the top five to claim 4th overall!
Volvo Cork Week Racing Chairman, Anthony O’Leary was quick to praise both the race management team and the staff of the Royal Cork Yacht Club. “To conduct such magnificent races in difficult conditions was highly commendable, congratulations should go to the Race Officers, Jack Roy, Robert Lamb and Peter Crowley and all of the management team out on the water. The Royal Cork Yacht Club has welcomed competitors to the club with open arms and Gavin Deane, all of the staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly to make sure the competitors have had a memorable time. That result is ably assisted by good race management, sailors coming off the water happy are much easier to please at the bar!”
The Volvo Cork Week Prize Giving was well attended, the music and the drinks were flowing long into the night. “Souldriven” playing live at the Volvo Cork Week Marquee followed by DJ – Bar with a bar extension until 2.00am! The legendary Craic of Cork Week went on long into the night. Thanks for the contribution from Louay Habit/ RORC. Sailing photo credits- Tim Wright/ Photoaction.com For more CORK Week sailing information