Sunday, July 22, 2018

Volvo Cork Week Reports

Cork Week- Round Fastnet Rock Race (Cork, Ireland)- 120 teams from eight different nations will compete at Volvo Cork Week, enjoying up to six days of racing in the Celtic Sea and Cork Harbour on a variety of courses. This year, the biennial regatta organized by the Royal Cork Yacht Club is celebrating 40 years and Volvo Cork Week continues to provide fantastic racing, superb award wining facilities and great fun ashore.

Volvo Cork Week provides racing for yachts racing under IRC, including the highly popular non-spinnaker and coastal classes. Once again, Volvo Cork Week will include an offshore element to the Beaufort Cup with a race around the iconic Fastnet Rock. All competitors will take part in the scenic yet tactically challenging Cork Harbour Race.

“There have been big changes for the format of this year's regatta, splitting up into a number of different series. This was done to ensure that we were catering for everyone's needs,” commented Volvo Cork Week Chairman, Kieran O'Connell. “We have teams from 32 yacht clubs and entries are up 30% on 2016, which shows that the new format is working for people.”

Full podcast with Tom MacSweeney here.

J/109s sailing Cork WeekThe Beaufort Cup starts with the challenging Fastnet Race on Monday 16th July followed by three days of short course racing to test the all round ability of the teams. Beaufort Cup entries feature 50% of the crew coming from active personnel in the Armed Forces and Emergency Services. 17 teams will be racing from Ireland, Great Britain and the United States of America. The inaugural Beaufort Cup was held as part of the 2016 edition of Volvo Cork Week, Commandant Barry Byrne skippered the Irish Defence Forces to victory, and the team is back to defend their title. The winner will once again nominate a charity to win €10,000.

“The Beaufort Cup is fully part of Volvo Cork Week, and any team competing is eligible for the boat of the week,” commented Barry Byrne. “The Beaufort Cup is challenging, and a test in a real environment of leadership, team work and resilience, which are all values of the services we represent. The inter-services rivalry is very exciting; something special that raises the level of the competition, whilst still keeping the friendly rivalry and banter, which is brilliant. The field has really toughened up this year; everyone competing has done their best to raise their game. It is a great fleet and the fastest growing element of Volvo Cork Week.”

J/109 sailing Cork WeekDay One- Monday
“If you don't like the weather at Volvo Cork Week – wait a minute,” is the common refrain you here around the Cork waterfront.

A mixture of clear blue skies and blankets of clouds made for highly changeable conditions for the first day of Volvo Cork Week. Thankfully, the warm sunshine won the day, providing light air racing in beautiful Cork Harbour and the Celtic Sea. The teams returned to the dock with color in their cheeks, a glint in the eye, and a thirst for the refreshments at the Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Racing kicked off with an early start for the 17 teams racing in The Beaufort Cup, which set off on a 150-mile offshore race from Cork Harbour, bound for the Fastnet Rock and back to the finish. After a fly-by from the Irish Air Force, the Baltimore RNLI team, skippered by Andrew Algeo, and the Irish Defence Force team, led by Barry Byrne, got away to a great start with the duo leading the fleet past the iconic town of Cobh. However, it was Simon Coveney's Irish Defence Force team that led out of Cork Harbour and away along the south coast of Ireland. The fleet will be on the wind for the first night, and expected to make the Fastnet Rock in the early hours of Tuesday 17th July.

J/boats fleet sailing Cork WeekDay Two- Tuesday
The wind gods smiled on the second day with a 15-knot southwesterly piping up, giving the international fleet a day to remember in the Celtic Sea. Barry Byrne's J/109 Irish Defence Forces team came from behind to win the double points scoring Fastnet Race for the Beaufort Cup. During the 130-mile race, four teams swapped the lead in an intense battle around the Fastnet Lighthouse. Meanwhile 100 teams were competing inshore for the second day of Volvo Cork Week. A long coastal race, in good breeze along the wild South Coast of Ireland produced fantastic racing.

The Irish Defence Force team, racing J/109 JOKER 2, skippered by Barry Byrne, opened their defence of the Beaufort Cup with a win in the 150 mile Fastnet Race. After digging in for trench warfare, with a beat all the way to the Fastnet Rock, JOKER 2 was fourth around the iconic lighthouse, and picked off the leaders to take the gun by just over four minutes from the Baltimore Lifeboat team skippered by Youen Jacob. The Baltimore Lifeboat team, with Olympian Peter O'Leary calling tactics staged their own comeback, sailing offshore into extra breeze to move up the ranks and threaten the leaders. Tánaiste Simon Coveney (Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland) racing J/109 JEDI, with an Irish Defence Force Team, led the fleet for much of the race, but lost out in the last few hours to come third.

The Fastnet Race is a double scoring race for the Beaufort Cup, three days of inshore racing will decide the overall winner, who will also nominate a donation of 10,000 Euros to the charity of their choice.

“Incredible,” commented Barry Byrne as JOKER 2 crossed the finish line of the Fastnet Race for the Beaufort Cup. “The offshore race was a great battle, we were fourth at the Fastnet, but I knew that we were still in it, and we were confident of our downwind speed. We know the job is not done yet. We have three more days of racing with no discard and the last race will be weighted 1.5. The level of competition is very high, probably the highest at Volvo Cork Week.”

Barry Byrne- skipper of Irish Defence Force J/109 Joker IIFull Audio Interview with Irish Defence Forces Commandant Barry Byrne:

In IRC One, Jonathan Anderson's J/122 EL GRAN SENOR (Clyde Cruising Club) was today's winner. “I have been coming here for year's, because it is always a good regatta,” commented Jonathan. “We were competing with the same team in Bangor a few weeks ago, and we have a great crew. We have managed to beat Conor Phelan's Jump Juice in two races, which is a rarity, and there are plenty of well sailed boats in the class.”

In IRC Two, Ronan Harris' J/109 JIGAMAREE (Royal Irish YC) corrected out to win by under a minute from yesterday's winner, Dunlop & Cox's J/109 MOJITO (Pwllheli SC). “I am a Cork Week virgin,” admitted Ronan Harris. “I have a home in Baltimore and love to come and sail in West Cork. We are having a cracking battle with MOJITO. We chose to duck them near the end of today's race, and it worked out for us, plus the crew did a good job getting us through the light airs patch near the finish.”

J/122 sailing Cork WeekDay 3- Wednesday
85 yachts formed an impressive single starting line for Volvo Cork Week's signature race in the beautiful surroundings of Cork Harbour. After a General Recall, the fleet readied themselves for a Black Flag restart, which was far from conservative, many of the massive starting line up hitting the line on the B of the Bang! A kaleidoscope of spinnakers made for an amazing sight as the fleet entered Cork Harbour for close quarters racing past Spike Island and Cobh. Race Officers Jack Roy and Rob Lamb were roundly applauded at the daily prize giving for their team’s efforts in producing a great day of racing.

The Beaufort Cup switched to inshore mode for the Harbour Race. Barry Byrne's Irish Defence Force team, racing JOKER 2, pulled off a Harry Houdini Act to win the race by just seven seconds from Simon Coveney's Irish Defence Forces Team, racing JEDI. JOKER 2 was deep down in the class rounding in front of Cobh, but came back with some tenacity. The two J/109s were overlapped going through the finish line, JEDI took the gun by one second but JOKER 2 was the victor after time correction. Youen Jacob's Baltimore RNLI team, racing J/109 JUGGERKNOT was third. JOKER 2 now has a three-point lead in their defence of the Beaufort Cup. JEDI and JUGGERKNOT are tied for second place.

In IRC Two, Brian & Mary Jones' J/109 JELLY BABY (Royal Cork YC) put in a strong performance to win the Harbour Race and in doing so lead the class for the series after three races but only on countback from Dunlop & Cox's J/109 MOJITO (Pwllheli SC).

J/109s sailing offfshore- Cork WeekDay 4- Thursday
After a delayed start, a warm sea breeze blew into Volvo Cork Week to give over a thousand sailors champagne conditions in the Celtic Sea outside Cork Harbour. Leaders in all classes are emerging but many of them will be going to the wire.

For the Beaufort Cup, Barry Byrne’s Irish Defence Forces team, racing J/109 Joker 2, still lead the series but their lead has been cut down to just three points after two races today. Youen Jacob’s Baltimore RNLI team, racing J/109 Juggerknot, moved up to second place, and could have gone into the lead, but for a headsail problem in the first race.

In IRC Two, Ronan Harris’ J/109 JIGAMAREE (Royal Irish YC) was in sparkling form, winning both of today’s races to go top of the class after five races. Brian & Mary Jones J/109 JELLY BABY (Royal Cork YC) scored two podium results, but dropped to second, just two points off the lead. Dunlop & Cox’s J/109 MOJITO (Pwllheli SC) now sits in third.

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