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Fascinating Story of 1978 Irish Commodores’ Cup Win comes to light

While we all revelled in and took huge delight in the enormous success of our Commodores’ Cup Team team win in August of this year,  little did we realise the  delightful story that was going to unfold  before our eyes in recent days.

Unbeknownst to a lot of us, and forgotten by those who did know in the excitement of the 2010 event, it transpires that in 1978 an Irish Team did win the first Commodores’ Cup competition sailed in Cowes  that was sponsored  by John Haig Scotch Whiskey.    England and Ireland entered a team each and there was to be a third entry from France and one boat did arrive and we don’t know the reason why they remained tied up at the marina but we assume they couldn’t get another two boats to enter and so the event evolved into a match racing competition between the old rivals. The teams comprised three boats each in the rating bands of a One Tonner, a Three Quarter Tonner and a Half Tonner.  In recent days stories have been written about this event and here we have to add the Royal Cork Yacht Club side of the story.

Harold Cudmore’s Silver Shamrock from the Royal Cork Yacht Club was the Half Ton entry and he had as his crew (in no particular order and all RCYC members!) Neil Kenefick, Killian Bushe, Stuart Brownlow and Butch Dalrymple Smith. The prizes were wonderful, a gallon bottle of whiskey for the winner of each class for each race, and your scribe is happy to report that Silver Shamrock won each of their races receiving five gallons of whiskey for their efforts.  Three other Royal Cork members were in the crew of Poppy a Contention 33. They were John and Des McWilliam and Dick Gibson.  The third Irish boat was Sheer Magic from Carrigfergus.  It has been suggested in recent days that the cup the Irish team received may not be the same cup as was recently brought home by the Royal Cork Team but this has been found to be incorrect and it has been established that it is the same cup.  This cup was offered for competition by a group of four Club Commodores in 1978  hence the title of the Commodores’ Cup. After 1978 there was a lull of ten years before the competition was resumed again and the story can be easily followed from there on.

Butch Dalrymple Smith sailed as a crew member in Sayula in the first Whitbread Round the World Race in 1974 and Crosshaven’s own Killian Bushe is of course famed as the builder of the winners of the last three round the world yacht races.

Barry Rose, Commodore of The Irish Cruiser Racing Association is delighted to acknowledge this wonderful win by the Irish in 1978 and offers his heartiest congratulations to all those who competed and triumphed so magnificently and thereby ends the tale of the Royal Cork Yacht Club involvement in the 1978 Commodores’ Cup.

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