Mayo Sailing Club- The Cork Week Regatta


By Seamas Moneley


Picture courtesy Liam Lyons

The great Cork Week Regatta finished on Friday 24/06/2000 and we decided to leave on Saturday. After a week in close quarters in Crosshaven, we decided to take short hops initially. We ran west along the Cork Harbour shore and soon reached the Sovereign Islands off Oysterhaven and from there were soon running up to Kinsale. We passed the impressive forts and lovely villages, and were soon at my favourite haunt.

Kinsale is a beautiful old town, with narrow streets and narrow pubs, and we finished the night in a fabulous Italian Fish and chip shop. Lovely.

I had two of my regular crew with me Aisling and Donagh. Aisling was the counselor and driver, Donagh kept the modern technology running and managed all the bells and whistles.

Our next hop was around the Old Head of Kinsale to Courtmacsherry. It was fascinating to see the golfers and golf club right out at the end of the Old Head. Talk about Location.

Courtmacsherry is a beautiful seaside village with old and new areas but both well separated. We decided that this was enough short hops and that we would now have to get a move on-

Our next leg brought us around Galley head inside the Staggs and the Kowloon Bridge Wreck. Past seven heads, we counted them, then on past Baltimore through the Cape Clear Sound into Roaring water bay. Mizen Head was our next waypoint with the possibility of Crookhaven if required. The ubiquitous Fastnet Rock was on our left.

We passed Mizen with its lovely lighthouse, with the large staircase to the mainland, at 6.p.m. and at last turned north across Dunmanus Bay and then Bantry Bay. Ahead lay Bear Island. Due North at last!

Straight ahead was Piper Sound to Castletownbearhaven Bay and the lovely new marina run by the Harringtons at "Lawrence Cove" on Bear Island. We tied up at 10p.m. We were still in County Cork.

Next morning we headed west again down the Beara Peninsula past Shot head down to Crow head. Leaving the Kitten Rocks to starboard we turned north into Dursey Sound. I would love to know more about this area it must be one of our best kept secrets.

There was a flood tide with us as we went through the sound under the cable car to the uninhabited Dursey Island. We met a lot of boats here as we all congregated to go north. They were gone as quickly when we got through. Outside us now we had the three Rocks, The Bull with a lighthouse, The Cow and the Calf. We were leaving Cork at last.


Picture courtesy Liam Lyons

We next crossed Kenmare Bay and on our right was Derrynane with images of Daniel O'Connell, smugglers etc., and on our left the magnificent Skellig Rocks. Great Cruising country.

Past Ballinskelligs, Puffin Island, yes we saw some puffins, Bray head, Valencia Island, and hurray for Dingle Bay. Out comes all the gear as we navigate across the Bay to Dingle. Where is it? Avoid Crow Rocks, Pass the lighthouse to starboard the Tooren to port and we are in. "Hello Fungi!".

Dingle is a favourite with the youngsters. I regard it as a good modern marina but having been stuck there in bad weather too often I was glad to be on the move again the next day. We waved goodbye to Fungi and ran down Dingle Penninsula past Ventry and opened up the Blasket Islands, Innishvicillaune, Innish Bro and the Great Blasket. "Peig"

With Clogher Head and Sybil Head in line we turn north up the boisterous Blasket Sound. Inish Tearaght and Inish Tuascairt to port. Soon we can see the Three sisters and Ballydavid Head over Sybil head and then we turn east around Sybill Head and head for the Mount Brandon shore.

Here for the first and only time we meet the infamous nets. These are a mile long and the fishermen expect you to see them. If you run into them they will snag your rudder and propeller and the fishermen experience sea-rage. They won't warn you so as to conceal their position, they used to in the past.

Well, on down past the nets and Mount Brandon and we see the Magheree Islands. They are called the seven Hoggs on the Chart. We pass inside these remote Islands into Tralee Bay. There are some Summer houses there. One on an island even. They have a great tradition of Currach Racing.

We turned South now towards Fenit harbour and arrived about 9 p.m. A nice meal in a new Restaurant, a drink in the Club house and off to our berth for the night. You should see the "Jenny Johnston" Famine ship, she is Ginormous.

Our next run was straight north for the Aran Islands first pass Kerry Head then Loop head and then Kilkee and the Coast of Clare. Don't get into trouble here, no bolt holes.

Here we met two large groups of Dolphins, about 40 in each group and they stayed with us for 15 minutes each. They were a treat to watch!

The Aran Islands are very low and you are always on top of them before you see them. Donagh had us under strict technological control (Satellite Navigator) and any wandering off course was not tolerated, He bullied me. When we were going through Gregory Sound we could hear him groaning as the depth rapidly shrank.

Despite all that, we passed Straw Island, Hung a left and a right and were soon in Kilronan. Ten French boats taking all the moorings."Firme la Foc" we roared and tied up at the pier to a fishing boat. Aisling's phone went bananas when she turned it on. It was her birthday. We bought her a pint and a sandwich didn't we, we're not mean you know.

Donagh met some friends who were engineering on the Island and was late back. A period of amnesia exists concerning how he got back on the boat but he did announce his safe arrival.

Tying on to a trawler assures an early departure so at 07.30 the engine of the fishing boat fires so up some of us got up and greeted the good man in our pyjamas, untied our lines and headed out to sea still in the pyjos. It was a sight for sore eyes. Well we managed in shifts to get dressed and slightly fed and the sails up when it was obvious that the younger members of the crew needed more recovery time. As it was a lovely morning the skipper was delighted to oblige. Aisling arose at Skerd Rocks, Donagh shouts "can you turn right for a while till I flush the loo?" His request was temporarily denied until we passed the rocks.

Donagh appeared at Slyne Head, well the back of his head did, while he took a photo, We were now leaving Co.Galway.

Slyne Head was well behaved for once and we were soon heading for High Island Sound, Then Inishboffin, Davillaun, Inishdalla, Caher, Ballybeg and Turk all to port and after Clare Island we were progressing up Clew Bay under Spinnaker. Helen's John took a photo of us.

We arrived at Rosmoney at 07.30 p.m. 12 hours after leaving Kilronan and 6 days after leaving Cork. It was a glorious trip thanks to Donagh, Aisling and the weather.

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