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Skerries Sailing Club Programme Tells Us When The Tidy Towns 2016 Win Was Assessed

28th September 2016
Skerries Sailing Club looking very trim, as befits the new SuperValu TidyTown status, with GP 14s preparing to go out to the race area Skerries Sailing Club looking very trim, as befits the new SuperValu TidyTown status, with GP 14s preparing to go out to the race area Photo: courtesy SSC

Anyone involved in assessing national sailing contests such as the Mitsubishi Motors “Club of the Year” or the Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Month” awards will be able to tell you it’s much better to do such work by stealth if at all possible, because ideally the adjudicators should be able to get a realistic overview of the contenders in a totally independent frame of mind writes W M Nixon.

Nevertheless when somewhere you know very well and have a great liking for receives the popular SuperValu TidyTowns National Award, as Skerries had done this week after 30 years of serious trying and 57 years after first entering the contest, it’s fascinating to tease out the machinations of the judging process.

For sailors, Skerries is a real fresh air sort of place which is ideal for dinghy championships, and Skerries Sailing Club is well able for events large and small, while at the same time being sacred territory for the Mermaid Class – Skerries sailor Sam Shiels is the current Mermaid National Champion. But even though its harbour dries, it is popular with cruising keelboats too, although the crowded if somewhat exposed anchorage can be distinctly rolly in certain conditions.

skerries tidy2As place unto itself….with its attractive mixture of islands and the harbour on a peninsula, Skerries is unique
But while it is hoped that in due course Fingal County Council will lead the way in providing Skerries with a proper harbour, for now Skerries is as it is. And as far as the judging committee in the National Tidy Towns is concerned, Skerries is just fine. In fact, it is so “just fine” that it’s the tops, Ireland’s pace-setter in civic pride and a totally litter-free approach, SuperValu TidyTowns Supreme Champion 2016.

Certainly we’ve been aware of the steady up-grade in recent years, whether visiting by land or sea, and have been particularly impressed with the work done in improving Skerries’ interesting selection of thatched cottages – the “hairy houses” as our kids used to describe them. But whereas in times past the hairy houses sometimes let things run free, in recent years they’ve been becoming very trim, while the town generally seems to have used up about half of Ireland’s annual consumption of fresh paint.

It’s all good news. And the final cherry on the cake is that the Judging Committee made their crucial visit to Skerries when a sailing event was in full swing. According to their report, the adjudicators were in Skerries “during a boating event when there were thousands of visitors about”, yet still the place was being kept blessedly tidy and litter-free.

Looking back over the year and knowing when Skerries is at its humdinger best, we’d say that this was during the Bacharach-sponsored GP14 Irish & Masters Championship from August 27th to 29th, when Tim Corcoran & Brendan Brogan from Sligo won overall, while Hugh Gill from Sutton was runner-up and Masters winner with Conor Twohig as crew, racing in a truly all-Ireland fleet.

As this Drone footage courtesy of the GP 14 Association shows, when it’s summer time in Skerries at its best, then it’s no contest for other contenders in the SuperValue TidyTowns competition.

 

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