Wednesday 24th August saw a very large contingent of our Junior sailors (approximately 83!) take off on club and members motorboats and RIBs on a bright warm sunny day to see the National Maritime College and then off to Spike Island for a tour and walk around.
This Royal Cork initiative was conceived late in the day with a survey going out a couple of days previously and obtained an almost overwhelming response. It was midweek, school yet to start, great weather and no sailing distractions! The Admiral, Gavin, Mark and all the staff were very supportive and had their boats ready. A roll call on the slip, a minor amount of schoolmaster type input and we set off at 11am – little wind warm day and sandwiches packed –all there with lifejackets thank God!
Our first port of call was the pontoon at the NMC where Cormac, Peter and Sinead were ready for us. We were greeted with a big splash from the orange sea-survival launch which was spectacularly dropped from 10m – we thought it was for our benefit but we had arrived in the middle of a training course! We split into 3 groups of 30 (including adults) and had a tour of the facilities with a demonstration of a storm at night time in the sea survival pool then a hilarious go in the simulators. I think the adults get sick quicker than the juniors!
Off then to Spike Island where we were made most welcome and very well looked after by Mr Tom O’Neill and all the Spike Island staff. We decanted all our crew and rafted up the boats inside the pontoon (enough water at low tide for Harmony, Adrielle and Nemo –just) and split into 2 groups with a guide each.
We learnt about the long and varied history of the island and inspected ‘Corks Alcatraz’, with its military museum, prisoners accommodation and the lads got a football kickabout on the lawn to boot! Return in convoy was 4.30 and we think we didn’t leave anyone behind!
My thanks to the parents who helped especially Kieran and Ruth who supplied their boats but also to Sandie, Ed, Gerry, Paul, Val, Rae and Jason who ensured there was enough cover in case of emergencies. A most enjoyable day out and our sincere thanks, on behalf of the Royal Cork to the NMC and Cork County Council and God for the weather!