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Kinsale Marina Will Become 'Unusable' Unless Silting Issue is Addressed

19th May 2022
Kinsale Yacht club Marina in West Cork with a moored visiting superyacht at the facility
Kinsale Yacht Club's 200-berth Marina in West Cork with a visiting superyacht at the facility Credit: David Forsythe

One of the country’s leading marinas will become unusable for keelboats unless urgent action is taken to address increasing silting in the harbour area writes David Forsythe in West Cork

Kinsale-based Fine Gael councillor Kevin Murphy told the recent meeting of Cork County Council’s Western Division that the issue was among the most serious he had ever had to bring to the attention of the council.

“The story is that Kinsale Harbour itself has severe silting at the yacht marina and around pier head itself. A substantial number of the keelboats are bottoming out now. This is a very serious issue and a very expensive one to sort out because there is a substantial dredging to be done,” he said.

Matthias Hellstern, Commodore of the Kinsale Yacht Club said that the issue had become much more serious in the last few years and the rate of silting in Kinsale Harbour seemed to be increasing.
“During Covid there was obviously a lot less activity at the marina and in the harbour in general because of the restrictions. It has been happening over a number of years but seems to be getting much worse now. It is something that we really need to address urgently,” he said.

Matthias Hellstern, Commodore of the Kinsale Yacht ClubMatthias Hellstern, Commodore of the Kinsale Yacht Club Photo: Bob Bateman

The 200 berth marina brings in some 3,500 visiting boat nights to the town every year contributing an estimated €525,000 to the local economy according to the yacht club’s own estimates. A non-profit organisation run by volunteers, it is one of only three yacht clubs in the country that owns its own marina, the others being Howth Yacht Club and the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven.
“We have visitors coming from France, the UK, Spain, Germany, the USA and all around Ireland,” said Matthias Hellstern, “and we run also run national and international sailing championships which we could not do without the marina facility.”

The KYC is due to host the upcoming Squib UK National Championships, Dragon Gold Cup and also hosts the biennial Sovereign’s Cup, but silting is already causing problems for events in Kinsale.
“We hosted the April Spring series recently and we were having yachts running aground at low tide,” said Matthias, “they simply couldn’t get out of the marina and obviously that’s a serious problem.”
Mr Hellstern said that already about 25% of the marina was not useable for keelboats at low tide.

Marina pontoons at Kinsale Harbour A KYC Marina pontoon at Kinsale Harbour Photo: David Forsythe

“At the moment we can move things around a bit. The berths furthest from the channel are most affected so we can put power boats, boats without keels in there for the time being but as the silting gets worse more and more of the marina will be affected.”

Cllr Kevin Murphy said that silting was affecting other users of the harbour as well across leisure, fishing and commercial sectors.

“We have to at all times ensure Kinsale continues being useable for leisure and also commercial and fishing, it’s all three. The Kinsale Yacht Club will help out with a survey that needs to be done on the silting and I would expect that the county council will also chip in if we can to help out in their endeavours to get that done as soon as possible.”

The 200 berth Kinsale Yacht Club marina(Above and below) The 200 berth Kinsale Yacht Club marina brings in some 3,500 visiting boat nights to the town every year contributing an estimated €525,000 to the local economy Photos: Bob Bateman

The 200 berth Kinsale Yacht Club marina

Cllr Murphy said that he would put down a notice of motion at the next municipal district meeting to have all of the stakeholders attend a meeting at Kinsale Yacht Club, “to make sure this is addressed as soon as possible”.

Responding to Cllr Murphy, Kevin Morey, Director of Water Services at Cork County Council said, “We will engage just to take stock and see what is the issue there. From your description, it sounds like it might be quite a significant one and we are aware from other locations that that could bring us into quite complex and protracted processes. Let’s start looking first and take stock so we’ll get back to you on that and arrange some kind of assessment on site.”

Afloat.ie Team

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Kinsale Yacht Club located in Kinsale, County Cork lies just 120 nautical miles from Wales, 240 from North West France and only 500 from the Galician Coast of North Spain.

Kinsale Yacht Club is only a few minutes walk from every shop, hotel, pub and restaurant in Ireland’s gourmet capital but most significantly it is only 30 km by road from Cork, Ireland’s second city, and between the two lies one the region’s main assets - Cork International Airport - with its daily links to many European capitals.

Club members, of which there are more than 600, race Cruisers, One Design Keelboats and Dinghies.

The club runs inshore and offshore races, has an active cruising scene, a powerboat section and most significantly for any real club, a strong and dynamic junior training programme.

Beyond the club’s own marina is the club house itself and the dinghy park. Within the clubhouse are changing rooms, bar and restaurant all with full wheelchair access. The club’s full-time secretariat, steward and marina manager are there to look after sailing visitors and members alike in a relaxed, informal and fun environment.

The club welcomes new members and has always got room on its members’ yachts for new comers to the sport.

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