Sea Echoes: Our Naval Service should have a Sail Training programme

Sea Echoes: Our Naval Service should have a Sail Training programme
Jack Petchey at Monkstown Marina.

I was aboard a vessel at Monkstown Marina in Cork Harbour talking to the British Naval Officer commanding it when I began to wonder why our Naval Service is not involved in sail training in the way the Royal Navy is.

I had an interesting chat with Royal Navy Lt. Tom Forster in command of the TS Jack Petchey, which I was aboard, a training vessel operated by the Sea Cadets, the UK sail training organisation. 

James O’Brien who runs Monkstown Marina introduced me, the vessel is on a return visit there, where it made a crew and trainee change-over.

What intrigued me was to learn that the Sea Cadet Corps is a national youth organisation sponsored by the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence and the Royal Navy. It is the UK’s largest naval cadet force, with over 19,500 cadets and adult volunteers. 

It was founded back in 1856 and runs the Royalist; Vigilant; City Liveryman; John Jerwood and the Jack Petchey, which I was aboard.

Now, why does our Department of Defence and the Naval Service not have a similar involvement with sail training? Wouldn’t a sea cadet corps, with a focus on the Navy be a valuable potential recruiting source? 

When Asgard II operated sail training under the Department of Defence, there wasn’t such an arrangement or involvement with the Navy.

An example of no joined-up thinking where the maritime sphere is concerned?


A more positive and welcome development where the Naval Service is concerned is the naming of its current recruitment class after ‘Edward Bransfield’ the explorer from Ballinacurra, credited with being the first man to identify Antarctica. 

There is a lack of public knowledge about him. This development will boost efforts by the group set up to honour him. As I already reported, arrangements are being made for a memorial in Ballinacurra.

Commodore Hugh Tully, in command of the Naval Base at Haulbowline told me: “Our policy and tradition in recent years has been to name each new recruit class after an individual who has made a contribution to our maritime history at home or abroad, e.g., Shackleton, Crean, Barry, Browne, Beaufort etc. We also invite a surviving relative, of the individual, where possible, to attend the graduation of the class. While acknowledging that individual’s contribution it also instils in the class the importance of our maritime heritage.”


Not so welcome in Cork Harbour is the attitude of Bord Pleanala towards public objection to Indaver’s proposed incinerator at Ringaskiddy. It has told objectors “additional information supplied by Indaver contains significant additional data in relation to the effects on the environment.” 

Anyone objecting now has to do so again, before July 21. 

CHASE – Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment - says “Bord Pleanala has exploited the Strategic Infrastructure Act for its own convenience and to the intended or unintended benefit of Indaver. This is of great concern.” 


I learned a new fact about the Titanic tragedy when launching a book in Killarney Library. Margaret O’Donoghue Sullivan, who grew up on the shores of Loughquittane, near Killarney, has written “In the Light of Other Days,” which records that “one of the ships to contact the Titanic was the S.S.Baltic.” 

That ship had the Kerry football team on board. They were going on a tour of America.

Email: EVENING ECHO SPORT TOMORROW: Sailing Nationals in Cork.

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Called Droid, our next story is about a boy who designs a robot at UCC and chaos ensues. It was written by Margaret Gillies, from the MA in Creative Writing Programme at UCC.

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