The Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC) in Crosshaven, Co Cork, which was 300 years old last year, finally managed to celebrate the milestone this weekend with a maritime parade reviewed by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin joined Admiral Colin Morehead to salute 301 years of sailing in Cork with a parade of vessels across Cork Harbour.
Simon Coveney reviewed the spectacle of 100 colourful yachts on board the LÉ Róisín in the harbour.
The naval vessel was anchored alongside the Irish Naval Headquarters at Haulbowline Island, where the original Water Club of the Harbour of Cork (now called the RCYC) was founded in 1720. The RCYC is the longest running club of its type in the world.
The parade was followed by the RCYC's biggest sailing event of the year, the AIB RCYC Tricentenary Regatta, with racing officially started by the Taoiseach. The regatta will continue today (Sunday) and can be viewed across the harbour.
The tricentenary events were originally scheduled to take place in 2020, but had to be postponed because of the pandemic. 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, could not be rescheduled.
Mr Martin said the event was a truly “significant historic milestone for the RCYC”.
“The Royal Cork has positioned Cork Harbour as one of the most desirable locations in the world for sailing events, and hopefully this will help secure Ireland’s bid to host events like the America’s Cup here.”
Admiral Morehead said those involved were delighted to be in a position to put on a weekend of celebratory events to mark the club’s tricentenary, albeit one year on.
“We are of course disappointed not to be joined by our international comrades and thousands of spectators as originally planned, but we hope we have left them with a desire to visit Cork when life returns to normal.”
Also commenting, Mr Coveney said: “It’s a privilege to be here today to celebrate this historic event with the Royal Cork, the Taoiseach and the Naval service.”
In 2019, Prince Charles donated a specially commissioned trophy for a unique race from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, England, to Cork, which was set to take place as part of the the RCYC's celebrations. This was subsequently cancelled.
Prince Albert II of Monaco, president of Yacht Club de Monaco, also hosted a special event to show his support for the RCYC festivities prior to the pandemic hitting.
Yacht Club de Monaco, which is the only club in the world twinned with the RCYC, was also due to promote the Cork300 event series both within Monaco and internationally.