Here Paul Tingle relates the fun times of the Enterprise class, the mid performance dinghy that was highly active in the harbour from the ’60s to the early ’90s.
It was not just a Royal Cork class, it was big in Monkstown for a period and by dint of two clubs the class thrived in the harbour for over thirty years.
At the bottom of this post we make a further linkage between these clubs through burgees in what is a significant year not just for us.
Way Back When – No. 23 – By Paul Tingle
The Enterprise is long gone with all the modern-day skiffs and moths and all sorts grabbing the interest of the young folk today, but it is a boat that has had a long association with the club.
Easily recognised by its distinctive blue sails the Enterprise dinghy (aka ‘The Enty’) was designed by Jack Holt in 1955 and had its first outing in January 1956 when the ‘News Chronicle’ Enterprise was launched, well actually there were two boats launched on the 9th January and as a publicity stunt they sailed from Dover to Calais. The first Enterprise World Championships were held in Antibes in 1966. All told there were just over 24,000 boats built (mainly of wood with the more recent ones being GRP).
The Enty arrived in the harbour about 1960 with the club hosting the National Championship for the first time in 1961. It was the fleet to be involved with at that time with many future olympians cutting their cloth in these boats and at the various southern and national dinghy championships held throughout Ireland. There were Enterprise fleets in Sligo, Fenit, Bantry, Kinsale, Cork, Dunmore East as well as in Dublin and the North.
The Cork fleet at that time included sailors like Tony and Greg O’Gorman, Hugh and Dick Gibson, Adrian O’Donovan, Dougie Deane, John and Michael Ryan, Kevin Dunne, Harold Cudmore, Fred Cudmore to name but a few. A number of these sailors ventured to the UK for British and World Championships.
With the rise in popularity of keelboat racing (Admirals cup) and the arrival of families etc the fleet faded out in Crosshaven but were kept going in the harbour by the newly founded Monkstown Bay sailing club.
The first worlds in Ireland were held in 1975 at Dunmore East (WHSC).
In 1979 there was a revival of the fleet in Crosshaven. The committee of that time decided that a two-handed dinghy for the older sailors graduating from Mirrors and Cadets was required. A number of boats were sourced by the club and these boats were subsequently purchased by members. Training was organised for all and by 1979 there was a fleet of Enterprises racing on Wednesday nights and Saturday afternoons. Various outings across the harbour to Monkstown, Aghada, East Ferry and further shores of Kinsale and Dunmore East followed.
There were a few ventured as far as Sligo for the Enterprise world championships in mid- August 1979 (it was the week after the Fastnet ‘79 race). Sailors of that time included Johnny and Judy Moynihan, Tom and Elizabeth Crosbie, Brian Hickey and Anne O’Mahony, Dan Cahill and John MacSweeney, Peter Morehead and Mike Sullivan. The national championship returned to the club in 1980.
Between 1984 and 1986 there was an influx of ex Mirror sailors as well as a number of older sailors that took a break from the keelboat scene. The input brought on sailors like Tom and Jamie McWilliam (their Dad ‘Johnny’ was instrumental in getting a lot of the younger sailors to buy and sail the boats locally at that time) and the Coveney brothers.
The fleet gathered pace with Eddie Tingle, Deirdre Collins, Myles Hassett, Alys Morrissey, Karen Horgan, Frank Murphy, Neil Kenefick, Grattan Roberts, Denis Cudmore, Stuart Nairn, John Crotty and Joe O Mahony all buying boats. There was a lot of racing, team racing and socialising.
Stuart Nairn, a long term club member who is fondly remembered, at that time worked in near Shannon Airport and got a fleet of Ents going in Cullaun, a tiny lake in the middle of Co. Clare with an island to race around. Those outings, along with trips to places like Bray, Greystones, Malahide, Dunmore East, Wexford, Louth Neagh, Ballyholme, Royal North in Cultra etc were all great fun.
The highlight of that time had to be the Royal Cork hosting the Enterprise World championships in July 1987. The World championships had been held previously in Ireland on two other occasions, namely Dunmore East in 1975 and Sligo in 1979. It was a windy week of racing in Cork for the 80 boats. Ted Crosbie was the OOD. The first race highlight was the pathfinder (gate starts) being holed by an oncoming starter. The local boat had to scamper to Myrtleville beach as they were sinking (no RIBs around back then!). They beached the boat and then walked back to the club to get the car and trailer to recover the boat and get it repaired in time for the next day’s racing.
Again, when you look at the list of sailors at that event there was lot of future olympians and medalists racing in that regatta. It was a ‘red-hot’ fleet at the time.
As always when a large regatta is held at the club the vacuum afterwards reduces the fleet numbers. The fleet held together until circa 1993. Other sailors reckoned the Enty wasn’t the boat to sail anymore as it didn’t have a spinnaker!
There was another Enterprise Worlds held in the club in 2004. Peter Hassett, who by then was sailing Ents in Bray persuaded the class to return while Tom Crosbie was the event chairperson.
“…If you can sail an Enterprise downwind in a blow then you can manage to sail most other boats too”….. What a great boat to have sailed. Thank you, Jack Holt, again!
Note: Monkstown Bay Sailing Club has it’s own significant birthday this year having been founded in 1970 – and we are delighted to mark it….
The Munster Model Yacht Club was founded in Monkstown in 1872 and became the Royal Munster when it received it’s charter twenty years later. The move of the Royal Munster from Monkstown to Crosshaven in 1923, as related by club architect Jim Buchan, is covered in the WbW#12 post. The burgee above is from page 388 of “A History of the Royal Cork Yacht Club” by Dr. Alicia St. Leger, published in 2005.
Our harbour has a fabulous shared history and it is appropriate that we mark and congratulate MBSC, its officers and members, on their 50th anniversary. Happy Birthday!
WayBackWhen is being published as a regular series as part of the Club’s 300th anniversary celebrations. Each post looks as some aspect of club and harbour life in the living memory of the current membership, and continues to be published twice a week for now. While the June and July elements of the Club’s celebrations have been cancelled (apart from the Fleet Review which it is hoped to have later this summer), it is important to note that the programme for August and September is unchanged at this time.
Nice piece, I sailed an Enterprise for a couple of years and won the Irish Nationals which were held in conjunction with the Worlds in Sligo in 1979.
Further information added by Brian Cudmore.
Enterprise Fleet early 60s…Tony O Gorman, Adrian O Donavan, John Ryan, Harold Cudmore, Conor Doyle, Brian Cudmore, David Gay, Kevin Dunne, Hal Sisk, John Sisk, Sean Dumphy, Robert McClement.
In those days there was also a very active class in Kinsale and over the June weekend the RMYC boats used to go down to Kinsale for three days of racing. This was always a fun event and often had a combined fleet of over Twenty five Enterprises racing.
Names sailing in Kinsale at the time included; David Nicholson, Jonh Petch, Eddy Sheehy, Courtney Good, David Tucker, Adrian Stokes, Ian Heaslip, Ronnie Smith, Peter Johnson, Robin Mathews, Bruce Mathews.