Local know-how rules the waves
THE 650-strong armada taking part in Ford Cork Week is an awesome sight from a helicopter flying 800ft overhead.On a morning that Clayton Love described as ``a five-star day for sailing'', the Irish entry demonstrated that local knowledge is an important factor in yacht racing. Local rivals Mark Mansfield and Anthony O'Leary dominated the ultra-competitive 1720 Class in Union Chandlery and Ford Racing.
Other Irish competitors who had a great day included Maxol boss Max McMullan whose Mustang Sally powered up to second in Class 1, the same place Harold Cudmore occupies in the bigger Class Zero.
Among VIP visitors to Crosshaven yesterday was the chairman of the Irish Sports Council, John Treacy. After a couple of hours watching the speedy 1720s racing, the 1984 Olympic hero came ashore deeply impressed.
``It's the first time I've seen a yacht race up close, despite the fact that when I was in America I lived in Rhode Island about 20 minutes from the centre of American yachting, Newport. It's very exciting.''
He went on to describe Ford Cork Week as an outstanding event. ``We tend to concentrate on the higher performance end of sport, but this is a family-orientated sport and very much to be encouraged.''
Last night, newly-elected Mayor of Cork Joe O'Flynn paid his first visit to Ford Week '98.
It has now become a tradition that the new mayor sets out in a boat to enact the ancient ceremony of Throwing the Dart which dates back to medieval times. The dart or spear represents Neptune's trident and indicates the mayor's jurisdiction over the waters around Cork.
The event brought back memories of the late Hugh Coveney, a former mayor, whose boat Golden Apple had been used to ferry the mayor. The Coveney family is represented at the RCYC every day by eldest son Simon, who is manning the Sail Chernobyl fundraising stand.
After their father's funeral, Simon stayed home to look after the family farm but his brothers Rory, Anthony and Tony and sister Rebecca flew back to the Pacific to continue their global voyage which hopes to raise £1m for the children of Chernobyl.
They sent an e-mail yesterday from their position in the Coral Sea, 400 miles off Australia, wishing Ford Cork Week well.