Yacht club is at heart of town life

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - KINSALE - John Daly Kin­sale Yacht Club

At the cen­tre of the town’s leisure and sport­ing life, the Kin­sale Yacht Club is home away from home for its 850 mem­bers.

With the open sail­ing waters to the East of the Old Head and the lower es­tu­ary of the Ban­don River cou­pled with the pre­vail­ing South Westerly winds and the Gulf Stream, sailors en­joy some of the best ti­dal, rough and smooth wa­ter rac­ing any­where in the world.

The club’s 400-berth ma­rina and the Ban­don River’s moor­ings are home to Cruis­ers, One De­sign Keel­boats Cata­ma­rans and Dinghies — all of which com­pete in off­shore and in­shore races, an ac­tive cruis­ing scene, a nascent power­boat sec­tion, and a dy­namic ju­nior train­ing pro­gramme.

“Most of our mem­bers are lo­cal,” says Yacht Club man­ager Brian Hunt. “It is a nat­u­ral har­bour, one of the pret­ti­est in Ire­land, and, for those rea­sons alone, has seen this club be­come an es­tab­lished part of the town’s sport­ing fab­ric.

“The club is not just for the mem­bers, of course, as dur­ing any given year we will have thou­sands of vis­it­ing boats who tie up on the ma­rina for var­i­ous amounts of time. We even have a de­vel­op­ing sec­tor of boats that win­ter here over the past few years,” he adds. “While that is a small part of the club’s over­all rev­enue, it is an im­por­tant stream and one we are happy to hope­fully grow larger over com­ing years.”

KYC was awarded the pres­ti­gious ISA Club of the Year Award in 2014, fol­low­ing a mo­men­tous 2013 dur­ing which an ex­ten­sive ren­o­va­tion of the club­house was com­pleted.

Even al­low­ing for the com­plex­i­ties of ren­o­vat­ing a listed build­ing, the fin­ished de­sign and look con­tin­ues to de­liver a ‘Wow!’ fac­tor to lo­cals and vis­i­tors alike — un­der­lined with ma­jor ma­rina works to com­pli­ment the over­all project.

The high­light of the year was the host­ing of the World Cham­pi­onship of the In­ter- na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of Dis­abled Sail­ing, an event made pos­si­ble by a will­ing army of 120 vol­un­teers drawn from the mem­ber­ship who gave freely of their time to make the event a huge suc­cess.

Pres­i­dent of the IFDS, and for­mer KYC Com­modore, John Twomey, played a ma­jor role in bring­ing this event to his home town.

Sov­er­eign’s Cup 2017

The bi-an­nual Sov­er­eign’s Cup, tak­ing place this year June 21 to 24, is one the club’s big­gest events.

Dat­ing from the early 1990s, it be­gan as many things do, as a ‘small idea’ to host a re­gatta in the off year to Cork Week. As the idea took hold and de­vel­oped, it was dis­cov­ered that the ‘Sov­er­eign of Kin­sale’ used to put up a tro­phy for a sail­ing race in the late 1700s and early 1800s — and thus deemed ap­pro­pri­ate that the pro­posed event would be named Sov­er­eigns’s Cup.

A spe­cial Water­ford Glass tro­phy was de­signed for the in­au­gu­ral event in 1995, with an­other tro­phy called the ‘Portcullis’ also in­cluded based on the tra­di­tion of us­ing a portcullis sym­bol as part of the KYC burgee — to cel­e­brate the area’s his­tory.

At its in­cep­tion it was de­cided that the event should be lim­ited to 100 yachts — then re­garded as be­ing the limit of what KYC could rea­son­ably cater for, and also not want­ing to com­pete with Cork Week, which had 150 en­tries at the time. If the 2015 event is any­thing to go by, this year’s Sov­er­eign’s Cup is def­i­nitely a date for the di­ary.

Mu­sic gigs by King K, SG’s and the Mag­net­ics, plus res­i­dent DJ Mark Wil­son. It also in­cluded the Sov­er­eign’s Cup Ladies Lunch and a Bar­racuda BBQ to fa­cil­i­tate the prize-giv­ing.

“It re­ally has be­come an event com­pa­ra­ble to Cork Week at the Royal Cork in Crosshaven, with more or less the same num­ber of boats,” says Brian.

“We sup­port them ev­ery other year, and they do the same for us. We get huge numbers of vis­it­ing boats, not to men­tion the in­jec­tion of busi­ness for the whole town. It is one of the big high­lights in our calendar, and cer­tainly this year’s event look like be­ing as suc­cess­ful as all the oth­ers.”

As with so many events in the club, the Sov­er­eign’s Cup is or­gan­ised through a small army of vol­un­teers — all ded­i­cated to main­tain­ing the club in the best pos­si­ble light.

“They re­ally outdo them­selves ev­ery Sov­er­eign’s Cup, and I’ve no doubt this year will be no dif­fer­ent. There’s a tremen­dous spirit in the club, all mem­bers pulling to­gether to make not just the big events, but all the small ones through­out the year, just as im­por­tant as each other.”

Cara O’Sul­li­van and Me­abh Ah­erne at Sail­abil­ity 2016 at Kin­sale Yacht Club, pro­mot­ing sail­ing for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties.

Seán Mur­phy and his son Jack par­tic­i­pat­ing in Sail­abil­ity 2016 at Kin­sale Yacht Club, a pop­u­lar event which pro­motes sail­ing for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties through­out Ire­land. Pic­ture: Dan Line­han

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