Sunday saw a fleet of 88 boats turn out for the first race of the 2008 Matthews Autumn League at the Royal Cork Yacht Club.
The morning started with a very informative briefing from Capt. Pat Farnan (Harbourmaster) and two of the Cork Harbour Pilots that focused on the difficulties faced by them in coordinating commercial and leisure sailing vessel movements in the harbour. Most graphic were shots taken from the bridge of several vessels which showed clearly the danger that some leisure vessels face due to their proximity to commercial vessels in the main shipping channel. Following some recent incidents it was a salutary reminder of the need to keep clear of commercial vessels at all times. Principal Race Officer, Richard Leonard, set a windward / leeward course for the six spinnaker fleets and gave Whitesail classes a more leisurely reaching course from Trabolgan to Ringabella. With all the meteorological websites forecasting only a few knots of breeze it was with some satisfaction that a cold front passed overhead around midday and with it around 10 kt. of northerly wind. In their excitement Class 0/1 were over the start line prompting a general recall. Though better behaved on their second start with only a few seconds left a massive wind shift cause the RO to postpone the start and adjust the windward mark. It was third time lucky and the wind held for all of the other starts. With so many boats on the same course the mark rounding proved “interesting” with a few vocal exchanges between competitors. Fortunately there were no major incidents though one or two minor ones. As the afternoon wore on the winds began to fade and the fleet returned to the bar to enjoy the last of the summer sun … let’s hope it lasts! Report by Peter Webster.