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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon

There were jubilant scenes at Royal Cork Yacht Club on Sunday evening when Paul Smith, President of the Mermaid Sailing Association presented the Foynes Yacht Club triplets Darragh, Noel and Mark McCormack with the National Championship trophy writes Bob Bateman.

The trio successfully defended their title on the last day of the Championships coming from third overall with two races left to sail in the ten race series, as Afloat reported here.

It was the first time the Mermaid Class has raced for National Honours in Cork Harbour.

Oisin Finucane Chris McDaid Sean FinucaneThe Under 25 winners trophy was presented by Patrick Finucane to Oisin Finucane, Chris McDaid and Sean Finucane. They were also winners of the Designer Trophy (below) for the biggest improvement in the fleet

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 DSC8691Daphne Trophy Winner (Jill134) Roisin McCormack presents to Paul Smith and crew Anne Smith and Pat Mangan

See all Bob Bateman's reports and photos on the 2019 Mermaid Championships in one handy link here

The Championship prizegiving in the RCYC dining room also included day prize presentations by RCYC Rear Admiral Dinghies, Brian Jones and MSA President Paul Smith. See selection of photos below

Mermaid Prizes Royal Cork1MSA President Paul Smith...

Mermaid Prizes Royal Cork1...with Race Officer Scorie Walls

Mermaid Prizes Royal Cork1RCYC Rear Admiral Dinghies, Brian Jones addresses the Mermaid fleet

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Published in Mermaid

Mermaid National Champion Darragh McCormack of Foynes Yacht Club has successfully defended his national title at Royal Cork Yacht Club moving from third place and into the overall lead in today's final races of the ten race championships. 

McCormack eeked out a 2.25 winning margin and overtook the overnight leader Paddy Dillon to retain the title. Third overall was Wexford's Derek Joyce. 

Overall results are downloadable below. Scroll down for photo gallery. Prizegiving photos here

Mermaid 131 Patrick DilllonSecond - Patrick Dillon in Mermaid 131

Mermaid 187 Derek JoyceThird - Derek Joyce in Mermaid 187

Mermaid 177 Mark BoylanFourth - Mark Boylan in Mermaid 177

Day 4 Mermaid Nationals Gallery below:

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After eight races sailed Patrick Dillon in Sail Number 131 leads the Dublin Bay Mermaid National Championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club this weekend.

Dillon leads Derek Joyce (Sail number 187) by three points going into the final day of competition in the Clinker class.

Overall, defending champion Darragh McCormack of Foynes lies in third place in the 22-boat fleet.

Download results below. Racing continues tomorrow.

Scroll down for photos by Bob Bateman below

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There were perfect sailing conditions for the first-ever Mermaid National Championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club this afternoon.

After an upsetting start to the championships this morning, three races were completed in flat water and great Cork Harbour breezes.

Overall, defending champion Darragh McCormack of Foynes leads on 7 points from Mark Boylan by .5 of a point. In third place is Patrick Dillon on 11 points in the 22-boat fleet.

Download results below. Racing continues tomorrow.  

Scroll down for photos by Bob Bateman below

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The eagerly-awaited national Mermaid Championship getting underway today in Crosshaven with the Royal Cork YC has experienced two shoreside setbacks which have served to underline what a close-knit community is to be found this very special class. Senior skipper and former ISA President Roger Bannon of Dun Laoghaire’s return to the class is now ruled out for the time being, as he was taken ill yesterday but has happily recovered – though not enough for active sailing competition – after hospital treatment.

But noted class stars Jonathan and Carol O’Rourke of the National YC have not been so fortunate. While nearing the end of their road trail with their famous boat Tiller Girl to Crosshaven, a truck collided with them, and Jonathan, Carol and his son Alan all sustained serious injuries which saw their emergency treatment in hospital for broken bones, concussion and shock.

This morning, all are reported to be doing well, and as for Tilller Girll, while there has been damage it is by no means terminal. As racing gets under way, the thoughts of the Mermaid community and indeed all Irish sailing are with Roger Bannon, Jonathan & Carol O’Rourke, and Alan O’Rourke.

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For the first time, The DBSC Mermaids are holding their annual Championship in Crosshaven over 4 days from 1st - 4th August hosted by the Royal Cork Yacht Club. The fleet has enjoyed numbers in excess of 25 to 30 boats at its most recent championships but this year’s event is shaping up to be something special with a fistful of former champions deciding to rejoin the fray and relive old memories and try to put the current crop of recent younger winners under a little pressure.

Current form would have to recognise Daragh Mc Cormack, last year’s champion on home waters, in his exceptional boat Innocence no 188, as the firm favourite. He won the Munster’s earlier this year and dominated the Skerries regatta last weekend. In the hands his club mate Vincent Mc Cormack Innocence was also a clear winner in a competitive fleet at the Leinster’s during the Volvo Regatta earlier this month.

Innocence MermaidMermaid National Champions 188 – Innocence helmed by Darragh McCormack and crew Mark McCormack and Johnny Dillon Photo: Ted Kelly

Regular winner Jonathan O'Rourke in Tiller Girl 77 will be certain to be in the hunt as will Mark Boylan, the youngest ever winner a few years ago in a very windy Galway Bay.

Sam Shields, twice winner, has bought the famous Helen 76 and completely rebuilt her and would have high expectations of being in the frame with his experienced crew.

Also returning is the noted Rush sailor Paddy Dillon, another former winner, in Wild Wind 131 who will be anxious to build on his experience with the outstandingly successful J 109 Storm Team over the last couple of years. A solid 2nd in Skerries as his first outing in years consolidates his credentials for consideration as a serious contender.

Mermaid Clinker 100 and 119 2Mermaid racing comes to Cork Harbour in August Photo: Afloat

Long-time Mermaid stalwart, Derek Joyce has refurbished his unbeatable steed from the 2000s, Zeila 187 and he will be attempting to match Roger Bannon’s record of six wins over the years. It is also expected that Roger Bannon might be there with rumours circulating that Kate Grimes is returning from Dubai especially for the event to crew for him.

News is also circulating of several rebuilding projects around the country with the hope that some may make it to the starting line in Crosshaven, including Nichapando 114 and Perhaps 111.

Exciting times for this iconic class!

Published in Mermaid

Paul Smith and Pat Mangan sailing 'Jill' from the Royal Irish Yacht Club lead the 15-boat Dublin Bay Mermaid clinker class after two races of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta that incorporates the Clinker class Leinster Championships. 

The RIYC duo lead former multi-class champion Roger Bannon from the National Yacht Club sailing Endeavour. 

Third is Francis Browne's Cara 2 from Skerries Sailing Club.

In a busy month for the traditional class, Skerries Regatta 2019 is next weekend 20th & 21st July. The National Championships are being staged at Royal Cork Yacht Club from 1st – 4th August.

Mermaids 1039Zest Anna Lowes from Foynes Yacht Club (100) to weather of clubmate Vincent Mc Cormack in Three Chevrons

Published in Mermaid

The 2018 Dublin Bay Mermaid National Championship came to a close today following four great days of racing at Foynes Yacht Club on the Shannon Estuary. With 22 boats competing in what proved to be an extremely competitive fleet, Race Officer for the event, Scorie Walls perfectly executed the scheduled racing with 10 races and 1 crew race all in the bag as planned.

The leaderboard changed daily with local Foynes boat 188, Innocence helmed by Darragh Mc Cormack and crew Mark Mc Cormack and Johnny Dillon coming out of day 1 with an 8-point lead. Day 2 saw National Yacht Club boat, number 77 Tiller Girl helmed by Jonathan O’Rourke with crew Carol O’Rourke and Dermot O’Neill moving into the top spot. The lead moved back again to Darragh after day 3 of racing and 9 Championship races in the bag.

Mermaid Clinker dinghyMermaid Clinker dinghies racing for national honours at Foynes Photo: Ted Kelly

Going into the final day of racing today, Darragh Mc Cormack had a 4-point lead on 77 Tiller Girl. The day started with a very shifty breeze that kept clocking left and right, tough work for the mark boat and patience required from the Race Committee! Eventually, the course was laid and a clear start saw the fleet underway. The first windward mark saw 77 out in the lead, and this extended as the race went on securing them a perfect bullet for the last race of the Championship. The pressure was on for 188 Innocence who needed to finish 4th or better to claim the title. With Jonathan out in the lead, Darragh rounded the first weather mark in 7th place and work to do! He kept his cool working his way up and secured a comfortable 4th on the 2nd last leg of the race. On the final tack to the finish line, he did one better just pipping 189, reigning National Champion Sam Shiels on the line to secure 3rd place and the National title.

"The club is now setting up for a huge prizegiving dinner this evening with over 100 people"

This is the first time since the Dublin Bay Mermaid National Championship event started in 1953 that a Foynes boat has claimed the title. Needless to say, the onshore welcome party didn’t hold back with hooters, champagne and friends and family coming to greet the new Champions as Innocence came back into the slip! The club is now setting up for a huge prizegiving dinner this evening with over 100 people booked in and a lot more expected to join afterwards for the brilliant live ‘Comic Book Heroes’ band who are no strangers to the Mermaid fleet.

Mermaid FoynesA race start for the Mermaids Photo: Ted Kelly

Overall it was a very enjoyable Championship with great, close racing. A number of new boats, in particular, young helms did an excellent job. A brand new uUnder–25 trophy was also won by a local Foynes boat, 165 Sea Fox helmed by Oisin Finucane with crew Sean Finucane and Chris McDaid. The overall Daphne went to 185 The Message, helmed by Ross Galbraith with crew Mary Whitty and Conor Magner. Well done to 2nd place Daphne finishers 179 Bean Adhmaid and 3rd place 190 Mayhem. The overall Designer goes to 121 Red Seal helmed by Darrach Dineen with 2nd place going to 90 Deirdre and 3rd to 191 Maybe. In the overall Championship, 2nd place went very deservedly to 77 Tiller Girl with only 2 points in the difference between them and first. Third overall went to 177 This Is It, Mark Boylan who sailed a great championship getting the most bullets (3). A special mention to Race Officer Scorie Walls who everyone complemented throughout the event for her excellent race management and fantastic attitude and support of the class. Congratulations to all competitors on a highly successful event and host club Foynes Yacht Club who pulled out all the stops on and off the water.

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Last weekend, the 16th and 17th of June, saw the Dublin Bay Mermaid fleet making a very welcome return to Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club for their 2018 Leinster Championship event. In what were undoubtedly testing conditions for the fleet with challenging high winds gusting 30+ knots, the host club pulled off a very successful event with 4 races completed as scheduled, great food and entertainment and an overall very well run event both on and off the water.

Download overall results below

The morning of the 16th saw 14 Mermaids registering for the event with a mix of boats travelling by trailer, sailing ‘around the corner’ from Dun Laoghaire and 5 boats making the longer journey up from Foynes. The conditions called for more safety and care being paid to launch which delayed the start by approx. 30 minutes. Once all boats were out, there was no waiting around and the race committee got Race 1 underway immediately.

The first beat saw a very close fleet with the top half getting to the windward mark within seconds of each other. Foynes boat Three Chevrons 119 was first around the mark but with Darragh McCormack 188 right on their transom. The boys on 188 proved they had the edge getting their kite under control and beating 119 to the gybe mark. It was at this first gybe mark that all hell broke loose… 119 was first to capsize shortly followed by 135 Frankie Browne, the 2 boats now trying not to crash into each other with lots of crew and sandwiches in the water. A few other broaches and capsizes kept the rescue team very busy and for a finish 4 boats had to retire from the race. Darragh Mc Cormack kept a cool head and sailed an excellent race getting him his first bullet of the Championship. Rush boat 191 Paddy Archer also had a great race finishing 5th in what was extremely challenging conditions and fair play to Frankie Browne on 135 who after capsizing still managed to secure a 10th place for himself.

Dublin Bay Mermaid racing at Clontarf Yacht & Boat ClubDublin Bay Mermaid racing at Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club for Leinster Championship honours

Race 2 and Vincent Mc Cormack on 119 was out for revenge, getting a good lead right off the start line and lengthening it throughout the race to secure them first place. Skerries boat, 177 This Is It helmed by Mark Boylan gave them a good race finishing a close 2nd with 188, Darragh Mc Cormack coming 3rd. The wind had picked up for this 2nd race with 6 boats not finishing due to the conditions. Very unfortunately for Frankie Browne on 135 having already come back from a capsize, it seemed luck was not on their side and they broke their mast in this 2nd race taking them out of the remainder of the Championship. New young helms such as Oisin Finucane and Anna Lowes proved very consistent throughout the entire Championship and should be commended for getting strong results in conditions that even the most experienced of boats struggled with.

Race 3 and the wind was showing no signs of letting up. The competitors were dropping like flies as a total of 7 boats did not finish the final and most trying race of the day! Darragh Mc Cormack locked in his lead as the main contender for the title getting another bullet with Skerries boat and reigning National Champion Sam Shiels finishing 2nd with a very good race. Mark Boylan kept himself consistently in the top 3 securing 3rd place and the first day of the Championship racing came to a close. Masts were broken, sandwiches were lost, and the battered fleet headed in for a hard-earned pint in the sunshine.

That evening Clontarf put on an excellent BBQ followed by great entertainment from their local Ukelele choir and a packed clubhouse socialised with top-class banter after what was a very eventful day. The next morning saw a fantastic spread of freshly baked scones, tea and coffee greeting the competitors as they arrived for the last race of the Championship. No delays this time and the fleet were underway bang on time at 1:45pm. A very close race between Darragh Mc Cormack and Mark Boylan ultimately saw Darragh take the lead by going left on the beat. The newcomer to the fleet, Darrach Dineen on 121 from the Royal Irish Yacht Club had an excellent race, holding 3rd place for a large majority of the course only to be caught by Sam Shiels and knocked back to 4th, an excellent result and the fleet now crowning 121 as ‘one to watch’. Another new, young helm Ross O’Shea who recently became the proud owner of 114, Nichapando had a great race finishing 6th under the guidance of Mermaid guru Enda Weldon. 4 races now in the bag as planned and the undisputable new Leinster Champion was crowned, Darragh Mc Cormack on 188 Innocence from Foynes Yacht Club claimed the title with 3 bullets (1 race discarded). With thanks to his crew Mark Mc Cormack and Johnny Dillon (plus Frankie Browne Jnr who crewed on the 17th in place of Johnny).

"Darragh McCormack on 188 Innocence from Foynes Yacht Club claimed the title with 3 bullets"

The prizegiving quickly got underway with Vice-Commodore Aidan Cronin leading the proceedings. Prizes were awarded to: 1st overall Darragh McCormack on 188 Innocence, 2nd overall Mark Boylan on 177 This Is It and 3rd overall Sam Shiels on 189 Azzezy. Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club also very generously awarded a bottle of wine to every competing boat, they even got a choice between red and white! Roisin Mc Cormack, Captain of the Mermaid Sailing Association had the following words to share at the prize-giving event on behalf of the MSA: “This has been a very important and special event for us. The Mermaids have such a long history and association with this club and seeing Peter Reilly’s Dublin Bay Mermaid number 4, Ferga return to the fleet last year was a significant milestone that reminded us that we need to keep building on this renewed interest. The Mermaid class is on the up with 5 new boats joining the fleet last year and already another 4 this year. With 27 boats entered in our 2017 Nationals we are incredibly proud of our growing fleet and are delighted to see a number of new young helms joining. We commend Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club on hosting an incredibly enjoyable and successful event, the welcome could not have been warmer and you have done your club extremely proud, the Mermaids are already looking forward to their next visit!”.

Mermaid sailors clontarfOverall winners, from left to right: Darragh Mc Cormack (helm), Vice Commodore Aidan Cronin, Mark Mc Cormack and Frankie Browne Jnr.

Mermaid sailors clontarfA group photo of all the Foynes participants taking part in the event. There has already been 2 new Mermaids to Foynes so far this year

Mermaid sailors clontarfThird place overall, 189 Azzezy, from left to right, Doire Sheils, Sam Shiels (helm), Con Bissett and Vice Commodore Aidan Cronin.

Mermaid sailors clontarf2nd place overall, 177 This Is It, from left to right Graham Burns, Andy Sexton, Vice Commodore Aidan Cronin and helm Mark Boylan

Congratulations to all the competitors who made the event so enjoyable. The next event for the Dublin Bay Mermaids is Skerries Regatta hosted by Skerries Sailing Club, the 28th and 29th of July.

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The well-attended 66th AGM of the Mermaid Sailing Association was held on 1st December 2017 in Skerries Sailing Club and among the highlights discussed was the Cork Harbour National Championships in 2019.

A proposal to amend the rule regarding maximum rudder length was passed which now means rudders can be 2 inches longer than previously allowed. The final events calendar for the 2018 Mermaid season was also confirmed seeing a 4 day National Championship taking place in Foynes as opposed to the usual week-long Mermaid event. Most notably, the class were delighted to welcome more new members and boat owners including Daireach Dineen, no 121 Red Seal and Oisin Finucane, no 165 Sea Fox.

Royal Cork Yacht Club at Crosshaven emerged as the preferred venue for the 2019 Championships and there will be further discussions with RCYC in preparation for this event. It will be a new venue for the class who are looking forward to venturing to Cork!

A new year means a new committee and the Class was fortunate in welcoming a number of new members to it’s voluntary team who will bring 2018's events to reality!

The Mermaid Sailing Association would like to say a sincere thanks to the following committee members who stepped down from their roles in 2017: Des Deane (President, now Rush Class Captain), Paul Smith (Secretary, now President), Alan Butterly (Boat Measurer), Brian McNally (Skerries Class Captain), Kevin Bartley (Foynes Class Captain), Anthony Weldon (Rush Class Captain) and Dan Brennan (Dun Laoghaire Class Captain). The class would not be going from strength to strength without the hard work and effort of these fantastic volunteers! The new committee for 2018 elected at the AGM can now be seen on the contact page of the Dublin Bay Mermaid website.

The first event for the Class in 2018 is fast approaching as the Dublin Bay Mermaid annual Prize-giving dinner is scheduled for Saturday the 3rd of March at Rush Sailing Club starting at 7:30pm. This event will see the winners of the 2017 season acknowledged and presented with their trophies as well as the top 3 National winners receiving their ISA medals. The event has been extremely popular, being fully booked for the past 3 years and this year is expected to be no different. Mermaid members past, present and future are all very welcome so please feel free to get in touch with the class if you would like to attend.

Mermaid Sailing Fixtures 2018

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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