COMMODORE REPORT 2017 The CAI had a very busy year in 2017 with all scheduled events taking place as per the calendar and with two added events. Membership continues to grow (122 members) and there are greater numbers attending our events both at sea and ashore. Our expansion to other regions of Ireland stalled in 2017 with no activity taking place outside of the east coast. The committee worked very hard throughout the year to ensure the activities ran smoothly and I thank the committee for their work which is done in a voluntary capacity. One of our founding members, Eamon Markey, died in 2017 and Betty Dunne, sister of Fr Derek, also died. The CAI sent condolences to the families and toasted these members at functions held in the year.
Kish Muster The year commenced in April with the Kish Muster and despite the cold and windy weather, 5 boats tied up at the Royal Saint George YC for an excellent dinner. There were over 60 diners and it got the season off to a good start.
AGM The AGM took place in May in Howth Yacht Club and the event was well attended. Despite the strong southerly wind, five boats sailed to HYC. There were 44 diners after the AGM and the rear - commodore of HYC attended the dinner. The Fitzpatrick Salver was presented to Mike Medcalf in recognition of his cruises around Ireland in 2015 and then England, Scotland and Wales in 2016.
Greystones 10 boats sailed to Greystones Marina in June and had dinner in The Beach House Bar and Restaurant. There was very enjoyable sailing to be had for those travelling North after the event with strong southerly winds.
Belfast Lough Summer Cruise The cruise started on the 3rd of July in Bangor and the first "in company" phase finished 9 July. Fourteen boats comprising over forty sailors of varying ages gathered in Bangor Marina County Down and were welcomed there by David Meeke and Betty Armstrong from the Royal Ulster YC, who acted as local organizers and publicists of events for the cruise. The marina manager, Kevin Baird, provided a barbecue for the participating sailors and supplied wine and beer for the evening. The following day the sailors visited the Walled Gardens in Bangor and afterwards met the Ards and North Down Mayor, Councillor Robert Adair, who welcomed us to Bangor and explained his duties as Mayor and the functioning of the town council. Afterwards we were treated to lunch and were given a guided tour of the town hall. The sailors were invited to the Royal Ulster Yacht Club for a splendid buffet that evening. The Vice Commodore Nigel Hamilton and Honorary Treasurer Phil Davis welcomed us to the magnificent clubhouse and the excellent dinner was enjoyed by all. One of our young sailors, Caoimhe McCormick, addressed the group to explain her fundraising for the Rapunzel Organization. This group supports cancer patients with hair loss due to their treatment. Caoimhe explained that she would have her long hair cut short and that her tresses would be used to make a hair replacement wig for a victim of cancer. She raised a large sum of money in donations from our sailors.
The fleet proceeded the next morning to the Belfast Harbour Marina located in the Abercorn Basin. On the afternoon of our arrival we had a guided tour of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners Offices. The next day many sailors visited the local attractions in the Titanic quarter. HMS Caroline is the only surviving vessel from the Battle of Jutland and this new attraction is now open to the public – it is an amazing ship and well worth the effort. Titanic Belfast also proved popular and the Nomadic tender vessel has been refurbished which adds to the visitor experience. In the afternoon there was a civic reception with the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister. She welcomed us to Belfast City Hall and the commodore of the CAI, Clifford Brown, presented her with a CAI burgee. In his address to the Lord Mayor he stressed the importance of maintaining open sailing waters between the North and South of Ireland so that sailors can enjoy the many amenities in Irish coastal waters. The sailors then enjoyed a guided tour of the magnificent Belfast City Hall.
After two days in Belfast the fleet proceeded to Carrickfergus Marina. We were welcomed there by the Harbourmaster, Nigel Thompson, and the Commodore of Carrickfergus Sailing Club, Trevor McCaig, and the members of the sailing club. An evening of traditional music was enjoyed in the clubhouse and some of our sailors participated in the entertainment. The next morning was the deciding match in the Lions rugby Tour of New Zealand. A large group of sailors watched the match in Ownies Bar and enjoyed an Ulster fry for breakfast. That evening the proprietor of the bar, Jack, hosted a barbecue for the group in the beer garden. A musician was in attendance to entertain us as we ate and a sing- song developed as the evening progressed. Many talented sailors regaled the group with renditions of popular and less known songs.
The next morning the fleet of boats departed Carrickfergus with some continuing to cruise further north, some going to Scotland and the Isle of Man and some returning home. The cruise was a great success and everyone was made very welcome in the places we visited. New friendships were established and the CAI is very indebted to David and Betty who did so much to facilitate the visit. Belfast Lough is a very beautiful place with many amenities to be enjoyed and the facilities in the marinas are excellent. Sailors will be sure of a friendly welcome and the CAI will definitely return in the future.
Malahide 12 boats sailed to Malahide Marina in August and we had over 70 diners in Malahide Yacht Club for a barbeque. An evening of great music ensued and the weekend was very successful. We are very grateful to the Commodore of MSC, Deirdre Moore Summers, for the great hospitality shown by the club to us.
Three Bridges Cruise to the Liffey. In September the annual cruise to the Liffey took place. Apart from the weather it was a great turn out with nearly forty boats and over 110 for dinner aboard Cillairne. The weather was ok until around 16.00 and then - well, the less said the better but nobody seemed too upset and the evening went really well. The next day was very kind to us and some boats had a mini cruise such as out to the Kish or just drifted home in pleasant sunshine. Our thanks to all those who made this possible - Lisa on Cillairne, Seamus Storan of Dublin City Council, Tristan Murphy of Dublin Port and others such as Negley Groom at the Poolbeg SC who really did their best to facilitate the event.
Conferences and Other Activities.
ISA Cruising Conference The committee continues to work to increase its profile and we co-sponsored the Irish Sailing Cruising Conference which took place in Cork in February. We are very grateful to Gail McAllister of Irish Sailing who is a great advocate and supporter for CAI. This was a very informative conference with many presentations including one from John Leahy on Weather Forecasting. The commodore and Hon.Secretary attended the conference. CAI will continue to co-sponsor the conference which will take place again in February 2018.
CAI Autumn Lunch and Presentation The CAI held an autumn lunch in November in the Royal Irish YC as a final get together of the season. One of our committee members, Charlie Kavanagh, who sailed on the Belfast Lough cruise, continued on to circumnavigate Ireland anti-clockwise. This voyage took him until October to complete. As an avid photographer, Charlie had many great photographs of this cruise and he was invited to be our guest speaker and to give a presentation to our members. Charlie regaled us with his exploits in the Royal Irish YC and everyone was very enthused by his presentation. We had 80 attendees and we had guests attend from The Royal Ulster YC in Bangor who had helped organise the summer cruise. The presentation was followed by an excellent lunch.
Conclusion As we commence 2018, I wish you all a very enjoyable sailing season and I’m sure the CAI will continue to offer our members a varied and fun filled calendar of events where I hope to meet many of you throughout the year.