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Cove Sailing Club Has Survived More Than One Break Up

26th April 2022
Dinghy sailing off Cobh in Cork Harbour during Cove Sailing Club's Peoples Regatta
Dinghy sailing off Cobh in Cork Harbour during Cove Sailing Club's Peoples Regatta Credit: Mary Kidney

There are not many sailing clubs which have experienced the vicissitudes of misfortune to the extent that Cove Sailing Club has in recent years.

Back in March of 2018, Afloat reported that “Cork Harbour will have a new name in sailing this season - the Great Island Sailing Club, formed to ensure the continuance of sailing at Cobh, following difficulties which arose in Cove Sailing Club as it attempted to build a marina at Whitepoint.”

That did not stop the Cove SC from celebrating its centenary in February of 2019 and, just over a year later, in March 2020 I reported on Afloat that: “As the marina project is being progressed satisfactorily and now installation is underway, negotiations between the clubs have been going on. With a positive outcome, Great Island Sailing Club held an EGM to discuss re-joining Cove Sailing Club and a motion to do so was passed unanimously.”

So, Cork Harbour lost a club, but it was all for the better of sailing in the community.

However, Cove SC faced more problems a few months later when, in August, Storm Ellen did a lot of damage to the marina at Whitepoint.

However, the strength of the club and the determination of its members overcame those difficulties again, which was brought home to me this month when Commodore Niall Hawes, showed me the impressive progress made at the Whitepoint marina.

A marina in Cobh has been very much needed, but there have been years of frustration. Commercial proposals were defeated by planning difficulties. For the club itself, the marina means that club boats no longer have to be kept several miles away from Cobh at East Ferry, but can now be berthed right outside the clubhouse. Evening racing can also be started from the marina.

Cove SC Commodore Niall Hawes presenting the traditional class prize to club member Anne Noonan of Deja Vu at Cobh Regatta 2021Cove SC Commodore Niall Hawes presenting the traditional class prize to club member Anne Noonan of Deja Vu at Cobh Regatta 2021


A busy schedule has been set for this season which will include cruiser and dinghy racing. The marina has added interest to sailing in the area and the successful revival of the traditional Cobh Rankin dinghies added an impetus, particularly to younger and family sailing. The club’s ‘Festival of Sailing’ which has evolved from the regatta, will also be developed. Bringing more cohesiveness together between dinghy and cruiser sailing has been a positive factor.


This year Cove Sailing Club will be offering visitor berths at the marina. Club members have availed of all the berths available to them. The club wants to encourage visitors to the harbourside town and this will be its commitment to helping boost the local tourist economy, the Club Commodore told me when we met in the clubhouse, with its attached dinghy park, on the quayside adjacent to the marina.

• Listen to the Podcast here with Cove SC Commodore Niall Hawes, in which we discuss the challenges the club overcame and its plans for the future.

Tom MacSweeney

About The Author

Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for He presents the monthly programme Maritime Ireland on Podcast services and Irish radio stations.

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