Pictures: A look back at the Royal Cork Yacht Club

Pictures: A look back at the Royal Cork Yacht Club

Competitors from England, France and several parts of Ireland prepare their craft for the Irish Dinghy Racing Association Championships, 1957.

DESPITE Covid-19 causing major disruptions to the June and July events of Cork300, the Royal Cork Yacht Club remains on course to aptly celebrate the momentous tricentenary of the club.

Back in March, Chairman of the RCYC, Admiral Colin Morehead, stated that due to the pandemic a number of "difficult decisions regarding Cork300 events scheduled for June and July" had to be made.

The club had planned a phenomenal series of events across Cork Harbour this summer to celebrate its 300th anniversary. 

RCYC supper, Cobh, 1950.
RCYC supper, Cobh, 1950.

Many of the larger high profile international events, such as The Great Gathering, the Powerboat Festival, and Volvo Cork Week, which were set to attract thousands of sailors and competitors from around the globe, had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, with the easing of restrictions, the club has recently announced that a select number of events will take place over the course of this month and into the autumn. 

The celebratory and competition events include a Tricentenary Regatta, a Maritime Parade in Cork Harbour, a Royal Cork Exhibition at the Sirius Arts Centre, a Family Race to and from Cork City, and several National Championship races.

Group of young sailors who received their Irish Yachting Association Badges from the President, Mr Clayton Love at the RCYC, Crosshaven, in 1971.
Group of young sailors who received their Irish Yachting Association Badges from the President, Mr Clayton Love at the RCYC, Crosshaven, in 1971.

Admiral and Chairman of Cork300 Colin Morehead said the club was disappointed to have to cancel the March to July events during "an incredibly historic year" for the club, however he acknowledged that public health had to be the priority. 

Speaking about the revised schedule of the Cork300 events he said:

"We are especially pleased to be able to host several prestigious National Championship sailing competitions as part of the new Cork300 schedule. 

Mary Robinson visiting the RCYC in 1995.
Mary Robinson visiting the RCYC in 1995.

"All competitors and attendees will be required to comply with public health safety guidelines and we are communicating clear information on how to participate and use our facilities in a safe and enjoyable manner on our website.

"As sailors and members of the oldest yacht club in the world, we’re thrilled to be able to get back out on the water and mark this historic anniversary for the Royal Cork Yacht Club and for sailing clubs globally. 

"We will continue to monitor the evolving situation around Covid-19."

Greasy pole walk at the RCYC in Crosshaven, 1987.
Greasy pole walk at the RCYC in Crosshaven, 1987.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club has its roots in 1720 when William O'Brien the 9th Lord Inchiquin, along with several of his peers, established 'The Water Club of the Harbour of Cork'.

The nascent club was originally based in a castle on Haulbowline Island, the lease of which Lord Inchiquin held.

Shortly before 1806 the club moved to the nearby town of Cove.

RCYC Cobh damaged by M.V. Stream Fisher, 1959.
RCYC Cobh damaged by M.V. Stream Fisher, 1959.

A significant name change occurred in 1831 when King William IV granted the club the privilege of using the prefix 'Royal' and it became known as the Royal Cork Yacht Club.

It was not until 1966 that the RCYC moved to its present day location in Crosshaven.

Members of the Maritime Inscription on board Sybl in the early 1940s. Several Royal Munster Yacht Club members joined the Maritime Inscription which assisted with port defence during World War II. On board Sibyl were Tom Crosbie, Harry Donegan and (centre, seated by mast) Joe Fitzgerald. 
Members of the Maritime Inscription on board Sybl in the early 1940s. Several Royal Munster Yacht Club members joined the Maritime Inscription which assisted with port defence during World War II. On board Sibyl were Tom Crosbie, Harry Donegan and (centre, seated by mast) Joe Fitzgerald. 

Dermot Burns, Royal Cork Yacht Club Archivist, explains that at this time the RCYC joined forces with the Royal Munster Yacht Club.

"By the 1960s changing economic and social patterns made Cobh less and less attractive as a base for the club. 

"In 1966 the Royal Cork and the Royal Munster Yacht Clubs agreed to merge and the Royal Cork moved to its present premises in Crosshaven assuming the title 'The Royal Cork Yacht Club, incorporating the Royal Munster Yacht Club'," he states.

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