One of our main destinations in Ireland was Crosshaven in Cork. We just had to visit the harbour of the oldest yacht club in the world. Royal Cork Yacht Club has reached a respectable age as it is established in 1720.
We motored 67 miles from Waterford to Crosshaven. The light western wind was just on our nose as the beautiful coastal scenery was gliding past us. The inviting river inlets, greenery and coastal cliffs were following each other. It would have been a nice area to spend some time and jump from one anchorage to another in different rivers.
After arriving to the sea from the River Suir, there was a huge cruise ship anchored at the river entrance. Celebrity Silhouette is 315 metres long. It took some time for Andrus to spot the anchor ball with binoculars. Yes, the ball was raised to the bow of the ship but what is the point? Daytime she is as tall as a skyscraper and at night she is lit like a stadium on the Olympic games. But the rules are rules and anchor ball must be raised regardless of the size of the ship, be it a over 1000 feet long ship or a small boat on Schlei in Germany.
There are several marinas on the river Owenabue and Andrus looked carefully examined charts for making sure that we entered the right marina. We were also lucky for getting a berth in the marina that was very full.
Their clubhouse is gorgeous. There are a stylish bar and a restaurant, spacious meeting cabinet and well-equipped service area. Last year Royal Cork Yacht Club was awarded as the best sailing school in Ireland. The club was also very active. Boats were departing and arriving continuously while those in the harbour were preparing for the summer cruise. It seemed that Brittany, Northern Spain and Scotland were the top destinations for most of them. Everybody was also very social. A lot of chatting on the pontoons and we were feeling like being part of the crowd.
There is a story about club’s history on their web page. Sometime in the early 1600s, the idea of sailing for private pleasure started to take root in the Netherlands. Later that century King Charles II of England was in exile in the Netherlands and while there he became aware of this new and exciting pastime. In 1660 after his restoration to the English crown and return from exile, Charles was presented with a yacht called Mary by the Dutch, which he sailed enthusiastically on the Thames.
Soon several of his courtiers followed his example and we feel pretty certain that one of them was Murrough O’Brien, the 6th Lord Inchiquin. They also know that private sailing started to become popular in Cork Harbour shortly after his return. In any case, by 1720, interest in the sport had progressed so much that his great-grandson, the 26 year old William O’Brien, the 9th Lord Inchiquin, and five of his friends got together to formalise their activities and in so doing established ” The Water Club of the Harbour of Cork “. This club is known today as the Royal Cork Yacht Club and it is the oldest yacht club in the world.
Here is still one more interesting detail from the past sailors. In the early years the majority of club sailing activity took the form of sailing in various formations, copying the manoeuvres of the navies of the day. They communicated with each other by means of flying different flags and firing cannons. Each display and sequence of flags or guns meant something and every yacht owner carried a common signal book on board.
Last year when we installed the davits we bought the new dinghy before installing the davits. It was funny that there was a big sister of our Ribeye dinghy on the other side of the pontoon in Crosshaven. When looking for a new dinghy last year we were debating that should we get a Ribeye 3.1 m or 2.6 m long. Finally, when the 2.6 metre long new tender was lifted to new davits the lifting strops were chafing against the dinghy tube from the bow and transom from the stern. It is the age-old problem of yachtsman: the boat is always a little too small 🙂 when comparing the dinghies the grass was definitely greener on other side. We admired their larger 3,1 m dinghy and they kept an eye on our factory installed dinghy wheels that are almost unnoticeable when turned away. In any case both crews are happy with their aluminium bottom dinghies.
Crosshaven is the commuter town of Cork and it is only 25 km to the city. We stayed in Crosshaven, had nice walks on nearby hills and enjoyed the idyllic atmosphere in the village.
On Sunday afternoon we were in the right place as there was a Soul and Seafood Street Feast in the popular Cronins Pub & Mad Fish Restaurant. Local families were enjoying the sunshine while the band was playing well known covers from all genres. Delicious seafood barbecue were available while the pub was busy serving the drinks. Those who did not fancy standing in the crowds had picnic on the nearby grass. Everybody was enjoying themselves with good food and cold drinks. Btw, this was the restaurant which Ida and Colin from X-posure crew recommended to us in Arklow. What a coincidence.
We would have loved to sail upriver and spend a few days in Cork. However we were waiting for a battery shipment to Kinsale. Also Andrus had got some cold and he did not feel well. Thus it was time to continue the journey to west.