The picturesque coastal village of Baltimore will be the centre of attention in June when the world’s biggest and fastest powerboat race zips through the harbour, writes Siobhán Cronin
THE Venture Cup, the world’s most exciting festival of powerboat racing, is coming to Baltimore.
The Cup, which will take place in Ireland in June, will visit West Cork on Monday June 13th, bringing with it a huge influx of spectators, supporters and powerboat fans.
Participants will race around the harbour in Baltimore and then over to Turk Head, before heading for the Fastnet Rock and then off to Dingle, in the first stage of the week-long race.
The harbour will be closed and ferry times will be changed to cater for the race, which will take about two hours to pass through, as it makes its way to Kerry.
The race will feature 25 of the world’s best powerboat teams, including celebrity participants Bruno Senna (Ayrton’s nephew), model David Gandy and adventurer Bear Grylls.
They will battle it out over seven days of incredible action on the water in a spectacle only matched by the party in each of the ports en route.
Billed as the world’s longest, toughest and most prestigious powerboat race, ‘Venture World Cup’ features the biggest and fastest powerboats in the world.
Baltimore harbour master Diarmuid Minihane, who will water-marshall the local event, said the boats will enter Baltimore and race around the Wallis buoy in the centre of the harbour.
They will then exit the harbour between Spanish Island and Sherkin, pass Turk Head, with Heir Island on their right, and head west for the Fastnet.
‘There will be great vantage points for views of the race in Baltimore,’ he said.
‘From the Beacon to the North pier, and over on Sherkin, there will be places to watch the action.’
He added that Cork County Council will have a traffic management plan in place, as there are expected to be large crowds visiting the village, which lies at the end of a peninsula with just one main road accessing it.
In order to marshall the event effectively, there will be about 20 RIBs on the water on the day. ‘We have about 12 already and we will have no trouble getting 20,’ said Diarmuid, adding that Con Minihane’s yacht Inishbeg will be moored in the harbour as the ‘committee boat’ – a marker for the racers.
‘We will be closing the harbour early on Monday morning and the ferries will be cancelled – probably the 10.30 to Sherkin and the 11am to Cape Clear – but they will be back running again once we get the all-clear that the last boat has passed through,’ Diarmuid explained.
The harbour master said there was little concern regarding damage to other boats in the harbour, due to the speed of the racers. ‘To be honest, there is very little wash off these boats, and in Baltimore they won’t be going at their normal 115-120kph speeds anyway, as they will have to reduce speeds to make the turns. These type of boats don’t create a lot of wake.’
Diarmuid has been busy making all the fishermen and other harbour users in the area aware, so they can plan ahead. ‘We have been meeting with all the relevant groups on this so we are pretty sure that everybody knows about it at this stage,’ he said. ‘And the RNLI will also be on board, marshalling the Turk Head area,’ he said.
Baltimore is the only location between Cork and Dingle that will host a ‘mini’ race, so the village is expecting a lot of visitors, powerboat and photography enthustiasts on the day. Diarmuid said the organisers of the race have visited the course in Baltimore and are very happy with it. ‘It is the first time we have had anything like this in Baltimore,’ he said.
The epic adventure begins in Cork on June 10th, and will take in many of Ireland’s coastal towns along the journey to the finish line in Dublin.
The organisers said they chose Ireland, and it’s Wild Atlantic Way, as the venue for the race as it offers some of the most challenging and demanding racing in the world. Racing for 200 miles a day, the event will stop in Dingle, Galway, Killybegs and Belfast.
According to Venture Racing director, and multiple world powerboat racing champion, Peter Dredge, the route will push teams and their raceboats to the absolute limit. ‘The wild Atlantic coast of Ireland is no place for the faint-hearted, and only the bravest and best prepared will succeed.’
Fáilte Ireland said that international events such as this are not only an important draw for overseas visitors, they also provide an incredible opportunity to attract future visitors to Ireland as scenes from the race are broadcast across the globe.
‘This year, as the teams navigate their way through the breath-taking Wild Atlantic Way before arriving in Dublin’s action-packed coast, we have no doubt that visitors and viewers alike will see that Ireland has something to offer that is unlike any other destination. We look forward to welcoming the teams, their crews, families and friends in June,’ a spokesperson said.
Acting Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine, Simon Coveney, himself a regular visitor to Baltimore, said the event would link up so many of the coastal towns of Ireland.
‘This will be one of the biggest events the country will witness this summer, and it will capture both the imaginations of Irish people and those wishing to visit the country,’ he said.
‘It’s not only a high end offshore power boating race, but a major international spectacle which will put Ireland on the map for big marine-based events.’
The seven days of racing will finish in Dublin, where over 500,000 spectators are expected to fill Dublin’s docklands and Dublin Bay for daytime racing, and evening parties, from June 17th-19th.