World’s oldest yacht club cancels 300th birthday celebrations
Royal Cork Yacht Club forced to cancel numerous events due to coronavirus crisis
Volvo Cork Week 2020, part of the Cork300 series, has been cancelled due to the coronavirus. Photograph: Volvo Cork Week
The oldest yacht club in the world has cancelled celebrations to mark its tricentenary this summer in order to the safeguard the health of thousands of sailors, local participants and visitors who were due to arrive in Cork from as far away as Hong Kong and Australia.
Celebrations cancelled at the Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC) include Volvo Cork Week, a Classic Yacht Regatta, a cruise along the Wild Atlantic Way, a Royal Cork Fleet review and National and European yacht racing championships.
Last year Prince Charles donated a specially commissioned trophy for a unique race from Cowes in the UK to Cork which was set to take place as part of the the RCYC’s celebrations.
Prince Albert II of Monaco, President of Yacht Club de Monaco, also hosted a special event to show his support for the RCYC festivities.
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.
There was set to be a strong representation from Monaco for the celebrations and Prince Albert stated that he hoped to attend.
The RCYC special three hundred year anniversary events was set to attract national and international sailing communities to Cork from Europe, the States and Asia.
Chair of Cork300 and Admiral of the RCYC, Colin Morehead said that the health of their members and visitors to Ireland was the ‘priority’ as the world continues to battle a pandemic.
“Over the last number of weeks, we have carefully monitored the developing global situation. We have taken continued guidance from Government Officials, the Health Service Executive, Irish Sailing and other experts in the hope that we would be able to proceed with our exciting schedule of events for July.
"We are very conscious that this decision will impact many visitors who have already booked to travel and participate and hope that making our decision at this stage will enable them to change their plans accordingly.”
He said that unfortunately the cancellation was a major blow to the local economy.
“However, in the three hundred years since the foundation of the Royal Cork Yacht Club we have faced many adversities and are confident that working together, we will see the club, county, country and global sailing community come through these difficult times. “
Meanwhile, David Thomas, Managing Director Volvo Car Ireland said they were very proud of their long and successful association with Volvo Cork Week.
“But we fully support this difficult decision as being right for Cork, Ireland and the wider international sailing community. We hope that some of the planned events later in the year will still take place and will work closely with the Cork300 team and the Royal Cork Yacht Club around these future plans.”
The RCYC was founded in 1720 by a group of 25 pioneering individuals.
As part of the celebrations, communities across Cork harbour were set host a vast array of sailing, racing, food, and entertainment events.
The celebrations were due to centre on three lead events: The Great Gathering of cruising yachtsmen and yachts from around the world in July, three Championship Weeks of competitive dinghy sailing in August, and The Club At Home Regatta for all fleets, also in August.