The village of Baltimore in West Cork was en fête on Sunday (20th July 2014) with the opening of the newly-rebuilt clubhouse for Baltimore Sailing Club by Simon Coveney TD,
Minister for Agriculture, Food, the Marine & Defence.
The scenic fishing village played host to hundreds of local and national sailors, visitors to the region and the local community, who were hugely supportive of the development of new Clubhouse and its facilities, which embraces all levels of sailing and encourages activity in the waters of the Carbery’s 100 isles surrounding Baltimore. St. Fachtna’s Silver Band from Skibbereen added to the carnival atmosphere, performing in the open air, with the stunning backdrop of Baltimore and the islands behind and boats of all shapes and sizes rafted up to complete the picture.
Minister Coveney stated: ‘Baltimore is a very special place in West Cork, and the vibrancy is palpable from the moment one arrives here. There is an obvious high level of co-operation between the various groups in the village and its hinterland, culminating in the re-building of this impressive structure, offering outstanding facilities for locals and visitors. The Government and its agencies including West Cork Development Partnership, and Cork County Council, are delighted to lend support to the project, in the knowledge that it is significantly improving marine infrastructure in Baltimore. The Government has also supported the building of the new pier and service buildings in Baltimore, and I feel sure that, in the future, this harbour will see many new developments for the better in this wonderful part of west Cork’.
This project is a testament to a fantastic volunteer effort by our members, supported by the people of Baltimore, and supporters and friends from many walks of life. In particular I’d like to pay tribute to Tony O’Driscoll, my predecessor as Commodore of the Club, whose relentless enthusiasm and hard work saw this project cross the line in jig time.’ said Joan Collins, Commodore of the Baltimore Sailing Club.
Joan added: ‘Baltimore has retained its friendly village atmosphere and this new clubhouse adds to the offering, with year round activity to encourage people to get on the water and enjoy the freedom of the waters of West Cork. The re-furbishment will be a great boost for our sailing fraternity, and we now have an option to host our events with style, while encouraging additional events which can only be of definite benefit to the Baltimore and greater West Cork area.
‘The Club is a vibrant and active summer club and has, and will, host several prestigious sailing events. With sailing every weekend throughout the summer and additional events out of season including at Easter (Laser Munsters), the National 18s class over June bank holiday weekend this year, and the Optimist Coaching week in February, we will hold many other great events later this year.’
Designed by architect John McCarthy and built by local builder, Michael Joe Leonard, the new Clubhouse space incorporates enhanced facilities for members and visiting sailors, including a new shower block (15 showers) and spaces facilitating events, training, seminars and storage and improved dingy parking. Totally transformed, and re-built at a cost of €400,000, the Club was supported by Cork County Council and West Cork Development Partnership, with match funding provided by the Club itself and by donations from members and the general public. Founded in 1952, Baltimore Sailing Club has over 600 members drawn from the locality and other regions, including several overseas members.
Baltimore is renowned for its sailing courses for children of all levels (85 children availing of this currently), and the Rambler Team Racing for junior club members is very popular again this year. Junior sailors from Crookhaven, Schull, Glandore and Baltimore are also involved in the inter-club Marconi Cup team racing event bringing communities closer together in the region. There is a course for adults in train this year also, and it is hoped to build on this offering into the future.
Sailing events in Baltimore include Baltimore Sailing Club Regatta will take place over the August bank holiday weekend, as will the 1720 Class. The inaugural WOMEN ON THE WATER (WOW) event on August 12th in aid of Breakthrough Cancer Research (part of Cork Cancer Research Centre) will see craft of all shapes and sizes on the water, with onshore fun for all the family. Sponsorship cards are available at the clubhouse and Commodore Collins is confident this event will raise a substantial amount for cancer research.
The Club will also participate in Bart’s Bash, one of the first clubs in Ireland to register for this massive world-wide charity event. The clubhouse will also be used by local organisations such as the Baltimore Bridge Club, RNLI, local festival groups and defibrillator personnel, truly embracing all strands of society in the area.