As Sonia O’Sullivan paved the way for female athletes, with Katie Taylor scooping Olympic gold, the Cobh native's namesake vessel is also retiring. The Port of Cork officially named a new pilot boat yesterday. The Fáilte will replace Sonia, which was named after the runner 14 years ago. The new model was so christened because an Irish welcome is synonymous with the Port. “It reflects our attitude to all vessels that call to our harbour so it is fitting that we are christening our new pilot boat Fáilte,” said chairman of the Port of Cork, Dermot O’Mahoney.
Harbour master, Captain Pat Farnan, added that the Port’s pilots and launch crew provide a service that is second to none. “Their skill and seamanship has seen some of the world's largest vessels such as the Queen Mary II and the Independence of the Sea navigated safely in and out of our Port,” he said, adding that launches are required to operate in all weather conditions and built to a high standard.