THE coastal communities of Baltimore and Schull enjoyed an added tourism boost at the weekend as sailing enthusiasts revelled in Calves Week and the rounding of the Fastnet Rock as part of the Rolex Fastnet Race 2021.
Both events traditionally attract huge crowds, but there was a difference this year in that anyone who could take to the water and socially-distance did so.
The fact that the weather was good was an added bonus and the wind made for perfect sailing conditions.
There was interest, too, in Schull, in a blessing of the boats ceremony which went ahead even though this year’s Schull Regatta was cancelled.
A local woman described how the season in the coastal community of Schull has been fantastic.
‘Everyone has worked so hard to make Schull beautiful and welcoming,’ she said.
There were, however, a few incidents over the weekend, such as the trashing of a car in Schull. Quite literally, trash was thrown all over it, which must have been distressing for the owner. Meanwhile, a tender left at Church Strand in Baltimore was badly slashed on Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.
Fergus O’Connell, who has a boat moored in Baltimore for the last 22 years, said he previously had an engine stolen before but this was ‘sheer and utter vandalism.’
He said three straight cuts were put on the boat making it irreparable.
Fergus, from Ballineen, is a disabled boat user. He has cerebral palsy and had put a plywood floor into the tender for additional stability.
‘When I found it on Wednesday morning, it was completely flat on one side,’ said Fergus, who reported the matter to gardaí in Skibbereen.
Fergus said there was, however, some good news in that CH Marine in Skibbereen has offered to part-fund a replacement tender and he hopes to have that in the water soon.
The weekend before, it was the playground in Baltimore that fell victim to vandals. But Baltimore, like Schull, continues to enjoy the clean-up support of Cork County Council and its crew.
‘A large percent has no idea what the village is like at 6am because by 8am it is all tidied up,’ said the Schull resident, who confirmed that in addition to the terrific support offered by Cork County Council, the local tidy towns committee numbers have grown from six to 26 members over the summer months.
‘Everyone is committed to doing their bit to show their pride in their local community. We are all looking after our lovely village,’ she said.