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Defending champion Darragh McCormack won the Mermaid National title three years running at Tralee Bay Sailing Club today after a ten-race championship.

Day 4 of the 2021 Mermaid National Championship sponsored by Volvo came to a close today with the final two scheduled races completed.

The first race got off at 11am bang on time with a full Olympic course completed. One general recall saw the fleet very well behaved under a U flag in the second start sequence and everyone clear away. Conditions were shifty with wind strength overall pretty light but showers passing through bringing short bursts of big breeze. Trying conditions with a short chop but all got around. Results of the first race today (Race 9 of the overall series): 1st place went to 177 This Is It from Skerries Sailing Club helmed by Mark Boylan, with crew Aileen Boylan and Niall Collins. 2nd place went to 76 Azeezy from Skerries Sailing Club helmed by Sam Shiels with crew Eoin Boylan and Doire Shiels. 3rd place went to 187 Zuleika from Wexford Harbour Sailing Club helmed by Derek Joyce and crewed by Cillian Joyce and Brian Fenlon.

The second race started straight away with little delay. Conditions had gotten very shifty making for a difficult race. Nonetheless, a full Olympic course was completed. Results of the final race of the day (Race 10 of the series that brought a 2nd discard into play) were as follows: 1st place went to 102 Endeavour from the Royal Irish Yacht Club helmed by Roger Bannon and crewed by Kate Grimes and Barry Hayes. 2nd place went to 188 Innocence from Foynes Yacht Club helmed by Darragh McCormack and crewed by brothers Mark and Noel and 3rd place went to 187 Zuleika from Wexford Harbour Sailing Club helmed by Derek Joyce and crewed by Cillian Joyce and Brian Fenlon.

Mermaid racing in Fenit

With 10 races and 2 discards, the final top 3 rankings for the event are: 1st place overall (on 13 net points) and the 2021 Mermaid National Champions: 188 Innocence from Foynes Yacht Club helmed by Darragh McCormack and crewed by brothers Mark and Noel.

2nd place overall (on 25 net points) goes to 119 Three Chevrons from Foynes Yacht Club helmed by Vincent McCormack and crewed by Roisin McCormack and Michael Lynch.

And 3rd place overall (on 28 net points) goes to 177 This Is It from Skerries Sailing Club helmed by Mark Boylan, with crew Aileen Boylan and Niall Collins.

The Daphne trophy was won by 119 Three Chevrons from Foynes Yacht Club helmed by Vincent McCormack and crewed by Roisin McCormack and Michael Lynch. 2nd place overall in the Daphne goes to 165 Seafox from Foynes Yacht Club helmed by Oisin Finucane with crew Conor Dillon and Chris McDaid and 3rd place overall in the Daphne goes to 179 Bean Adhmaid helmed by Martin O Toole with crew Shane and Conor O'Toole.

The Designer trophy was won by 190 Mayhem from Rush Sailing Club helmed by Enda Weldon with crew Clare Carthy and Sean Weldon. 2nd place in the designer went to 179 Bean Adhmaid helmed by Martin O Toole with crew Shane and Conor O'Toole and 3rd place overall in the designer goes to 73 Lively Lady from the National Yacht Club helmed by Geraldine O'Neill with crew Mick Hawney and David Cassidy.

A prize-giving outdoor BBQ is taking place at Tralee Bay Sailing Club this evening with formal awards of prizes and speeches.

A huge thanks to all involved at Tralee Bay Sailing Club for organising such a fantastic event and to National Race Officer Scorie Walls and her team for getting 10 great races completed! To all the amazing volunteers on and off the water, competitors, friends, supporters etc. thank you for making our 2021 National Championship such a memorable one. 

The next and final event for the Mermaid fleet for the 2021 season, the Mermaid Munster Championship, is in 2 weeks time on the 4th and 5th of September hosted by Foynes Yacht Club.

Published in Mermaid
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Day 3 of the 2021 Mermaid National Championship got off to another lively start with a steady 12-14 knots gusting 18 filling in nicely as competitors made their way out for the 11 am first gun. Racing got underway bang on time with a slightly shifty breeze making for very tactical beats. A full Olympic course was sailed with close racing. 1st place went to 177 'This Is It' helmed by Mark Boylan with crew Aileen Boylan and Niall Collins. 2nd place went to 119 Three Chevrons helmed by Vincent McCormack and crewed by Roisin McCormack and Michael Lynch and 3rd place went to 188 Innocence helmed by Darragh McCormack with crew Mark and Noel McCormack.

A second race got underway with no delay. The wind had dropped off and continued to do so during the race but a full course sailed again. 1st place went to 188 Innocence, 2nd place to 177 This Is It and 3rd place to 119 Three Chevrons. By the end of race 2 of the day the wind had dropped considerably and a general recall start gave enough time for it to die off completely! The fleet had to kick back and take out the sandwiches again! Almost an hour waiting for the wind to come back thankfully paid off as basically the exact same breeze and direction magically reappeared meaning a 3rd and final race was on the table.

Championships conditions for the Dublin Bay Mermaid class on Tralee By in County KerryChampionships conditions for the Dublin Bay Mermaid class on Tralee By in County Kerry

Similar conditions for the final race saw the fleet get an 8th Nationals race under their belts meaning 2 remaining races scheduled for Saturday to complete the full 10 race schedule. Winners of race 3 of Friday: 1st place to 119 Three Chevrons, 2nd to 188 Innocence and 3rd to 102 Endeavour. A note that this was a first Nationals bullet for Three Chevrons after 19 years!

Results from today mean that 188 Innocence has an unassailable lead. If the 2 races go ahead as scheduled tomorrow a 2nd discard will come into effect which should have an interesting impact on the leader board with 2nd and 3rd place overall still very much to play for!

Results following 8 races can be viewed here

Published in Mermaid
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Day two of the Mermaid National Championship sponsored by Volvo yesterday at Tralee Bay Sailing Club in County Kerry saw sailors awake to a steady 18 knots gusting 22 when what was expected was 10-12 knots by the forecast! A pleasant surprise by all accounts although with everyone a little rusty after the ‘break’ last year it was going to make for an interesting day on the water.

A slight delay on the first start scheduled for 11 o'clock saw the fleet get away in wet and windy conditions with everyone fully hiked and trying not to fall out! A full Olympic course was sailed with pretty physical conditions, especially on the downwind legs. The Mermaids hummed along with heart rates up at the gybe marks!

There were a number of protests lodged after racing so the results link below are the final results taking into account outcomes of protests, according to organisers.

First race results: 1st place went to 188 Innocence from Foynes Yacht Club helmed by Darragh McCormack and crewed by brothers Mark and Noel. 2nd place went to 102 Endeavour from the Royal Irish Yacht Club helmed by Roger Bannon and crewed by Kate Grimes and Barry Hayes. 3rd place went to 187 Zuleika from Wexford Harbour Sailing Club helmed by Derek Joyce and crewed by Cillian Joyce and Brian Fenlon.

A Mermaid race start in Tralee BayA Mermaid race start in Tralee Bay

With wind strength and direction holding steady the second race got off with no delay, hardly time to eat the sandwich! Results of Race 2: 1st place went to 187 Zuleika from Wexford Harbour Sailing Club helmed by Derek Joyce and crewed by Cillian Joyce and Brian Fenlon. 2nd place went to 119 Three Chevrons from Foynes Yacht Club helmed by Vincent McCormack and crewed by Roisin McCormack and Michael Lynch. 3rd place went to 177 This Is It from Skerries Sailing Club helmed by Mark Boylan, with crew Aileen Boylan and Niall Collins.

The 3rd race start sequence was about 3 minutes underway when a 30 degree wind shift called a halt to proceedings. A much appreciated, very quick rejigging of marks saw the fleet getting off a clean line within 10 minutes for a 3rd and final race of the day. The wind had eased slightly but tired bodies meant a big effort from everyone! The sun was out and a relatively flat sea meant for stunning conditions with the mountains and Samphire Rock making for gorgeous backdrops.

Results of Race 3: 1st place went to 177 This Is It from Skerries Sailing Club helmed by Mark Boylan, with crew Aileen Boylan and Niall Collins. 2nd place went to 188 Innocence from Foynes Yacht Club helmed by Darragh McCormack and crewed by brothers Mark and Noel and 3rd place went to 119 Three Chevrons from Foynes Yacht Club helmed by Vincent McCormack and crewed by Roisin McCormack and Michael Lynch.

Afterwards, competitors exchanged many stories of blocks, cleats, uphauls, downhauls etc. breaking off and lots of improvising going on!

Final results following 5 races can be viewed here

Mixed forecasts again for tomorrow and given how far off today’s was everyone is just waiting to see what the new day will bring...

Published in Mermaid

The Dublin Bay Mermaid fleet makes a long-awaited return to Fenit, Co. Kerry this week for their annual National Championships. The event, which was originally due to be hosted last year by Tralee Bay Sailing Club but cancelled due to COVID, looks forward to going ahead with four days of Championship racing scheduled from Wednesday the 18th of August to Saturday the 21st.

Tuesday the 17th will see boat measurement, inspection and weight-check from 2 pm onwards as well as a sail measurement facility in place for new sails. There will also be an optional practice race at 7 pm on Tuesday the 17th. Registration will be open from 0900 - 1000 on Wednesday morning with a briefing at 1000 before the boats head out for their first race at 1200.

Ten races in total are scheduled across the four days with the famous ‘crews race’ also planned to follow Championship racing on Thursday the 19th. The crew's race sees the boats have one of their crew swap with the usual helm and is always an interesting one! Principal Race Officer is Scorie Walls with support and mark boats from TBSC as well as Foynes Yacht Club.

There are already 20 pre-entered online with boats coming from Rush Sailing Club, Skerries Sailing Club, Wexford Boat Club, Foynes Yacht Club, the Royal Irish Yacht Club and The National Yacht Club so a strong turnout is expected. 

Fenit is a popular venue for the fleet with historical links going right back to the beginning of the class. This event will mark 10 years since a Mermaid event was last held in beautiful Tralee Bay with the Nationals hosted there in 2011 and before that in 2007.

This year's event hosted by Tralee Bay Sailing Club is fortunate to have main sponsor Volvo behind them and a strong team of volunteers ready to put on a great event on and off the water.

An outdoor Championship BBQ dinner is planned for Saturday the 21st to crown the new National Champion with local caterers ‘The Rustic Pantry’ set to serve up a feast and outdoor live music followed by speeches and prize giving. Wishing all competitors the very best of luck and an enjoyable event.

Published in Mermaid

Tributes to Mermaid stalwart Jerry O'Neill, who has died, have been led by National Yacht Club Commodore Martin McCarthy.

Jerry, who died on March 12, was a former Mermaid champion, but he also raced in the Flying Fifteen, Shipman 28s and Ruffian 23 fleets out of Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

"He was a fine sailor and his family, especially his daughter Geraldine, are immersed in the Club. A gentleman who was always a pleasure to meet. We send our sincerest condolences to his family and friends," McCarthy told members. 

"He was much loved by the membership in the National and throughout the fleets in which he sailed"

The sentiments were echoed by clubmate and fellow Mermaid Champion, Roger Bannon. "He was an understated, absolute gentleman who overcame severe arthritis to continue sailing into his early 70s. He was much loved by the membership in National and throughout the the National fleets in which he sailed."

The Mermaid Sailing Association also expressed its deepest sympathy.

Skerries Mermaid sailor Ross Galbraith related an anecdote on social media. "In the bar after a race in which conditions had changed and I had lost places and a sense of perspective I had a chat with Jerry. He explained that on his boat they carried a tuning sheet. There was nothing special about this sheet; the settings were culled from various sailing books. When things started to go wrong they would get out “the sheet” and make some adjustments. The purpose here was more to provide a distraction, the alternative being a row over who was to blame for the poor performance, than to speed the boat up. I subsequently made one (we call it "the magic sheet") and whatever about boat speed, the psychology certainly works. Thanks, Jerry" 

A private family funeral took place due to Government restrictions. Details here

Published in Mermaid

The recent death of Skerries SC stalwart and longtime Mermaid Class ace Jim Dempsey has evoked fond memories throughout Irish sailing, and Galway Bay SC's Pierce Purcell speaks for many with his insights into Jim's special qualities of encouragement and enthusiasm, which contributed so much to today's Mermaid Class being made very welcome when they seek out a fresh venue for their annual championship.

"As a member of Galway Bay Sailing Club, I have very fond memories of first meeting Jim Dempsey" writes Pierce. "Having raced in two Mermaid Weeks with club member John Buckley on Kirkie May in Wexford – the first in 1972 - we were really impressed with the sailing standards and camaraderie of the Mermaid Class. So much so, in fact, that the late Larry Swan and I soon thought that running Mermaid Week would be a great idea to promote our new GBSC clubhouse and facilities at Renville near Oranmore.

This would be a major event for us, a real challenge, but the die was cast for 1982, and we soon realized the standards expected. The then Mermaid President, Michael Lysaght, would put terror into us with a fortnightly phone call to ensure the plans and particularly moorings were being made up and ready for one of the major events of the Irish sailing calendar.

Galway Bay Sailing Club as it is today. In 1982 it was still in its original smaller form when the Mermaid Class descended upon Renville for their annual championship, and turned the GBSC compound into a self-sufficient and highly sociable sailing villageGalway Bay Sailing Club as it is today. In 1982 it was still in its original smaller form when the Mermaid Class descended upon Renville for their annual championship and turned the GBSC compound into a self-sufficient and highly sociable sailing village

Little did the President realise just how green we were about mounting an event of this standard, but it all came together with hard work from many volunteers. The visitors arrived to a great welcome, with some fourteen caravans hired and placed around the club grounds to accommodate those of our new friends who hadn't rooms elsewhere. Jim Wiseman had the bar fully stocked, while David Whitehead had come home from his mining job in Chile to run the on-water management with such skill that it provided superb racing which was now of an even higher standard than we had remembered from competing (and coming last) in Wexford

It was in the bar in the evenings after sailing that I got to know Jim Dempsey, waiting for results from the protest room. Being from Skerries and a smaller club like ours, he would reassure us that we were running a good event, and not to get uptight about the image competition that he knew of so well on the East Coast from the North and South sides of the Liffey.

The weather of 1982 was incredible, and the Mermaid sailors raced all day and partied all night as the week went on, very seldom straying from the club compound - if at all. Many of the crews stayed on for a second week, and we all made numerous friends from clubs around the country.

Mermaid Week 2019 at the Royal Cork YC at Crosshaven, when Darragh McCormack of Foynes YC retained the national title. Photo: Robert Bateman Mermaid Week 2019 at the Royal Cork YC at Crosshaven, when Darragh McCormack of Foynes YC retained the national title. Photo: Robert Bateman

Jim and Pam had a ball that year, boosted by Jim becoming champion, and they told us of the superb holiday it was in every way. Subsequently, some of us were at other Mermaid Weeks for years to come, and Jim and Pam, in particular, would always make the Galway people welcome, and chat about the "old days".

With the sad passing of Jim Dempsey, I am poignantly reminded of the joys of dinghy sailing among friends in cherished boats, whether competing away from your club, or volunteering with your clubmates to take on the challenge of staging an event, and then meeting lovely people like the Dempsey crew who soon become friends, all of it adding to the shared anticipation of the seasons to come.

Alas, Jim Dempsey is no longer among us in this shared anticipation of events to come, and in our joy in the boats we sail in them. On behalf of Galway Bay Sailing Club, I extend our heartfelt condolences to Jim's wife Pam and their family, as well as the Mermaid Class who have lost a Champion and friend."

Summertime. Derek Joyce of Wexford racing his Mermaid No 187 at Mermaid Week 2019 in Crosshaven. It was experience of Mermaid Week 1972 in Wexford which first started Galway Bay SC on the high road to hosting this major event in 1982 at their new clubhouse at Renville near Oranmore Photo: Robert BatemanSummertime. Derek Joyce of Wexford racing his Mermaid No 187 at Mermaid Week 2019 in Crosshaven. It was experience of Mermaid Week 1972 in Wexford which first started Galway Bay SC on the high road to hosting this major event in 1982 at their new clubhouse at Renville near Oranmore Photo: Robert Bateman

Published in Galway Harbour
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Jim Dempsey, one of the sailing greats from Skerries passed away last night. He had been unwell for the last few years but he did not allow his illness to adversely impact on his good humour and his ability to engage with his friends. A Chartered Accountant by profession and a respected businessman, Jim had his heart in sporting activities, proving to be a high-quality scrum-half for many years with Skerries Rugby Club and subsequently, as one of the finest sailors in Skerries Sailing Club.

He learned his racing skills crewing for Harry Grimes, another of the outstanding sailors produced by this North County Dublin club.

Jim initially sailed Enterprises but his true love was the Mermaid Class in which he successfully campaigned his beloved Elisabeth No 36, winning several National Championships, including one in a borrowed boat, the mark of a true Champion.

He was a canny sailor with a lovely touch hardly ever seeming to move the tiller. No matter the boat or the crew, for many years, Jim always managed to finish at the top end of, what was then, an extremely competitive and talented large fleet.

As a former Commodore of Skerries Sailing Club and a previous President of the Mermaid Sailing Association Jim was actively involved in ensuring the constant healthy development of sailing in novel and adventurous ways. He was a gently persuasive person who never had an unkind word to say about anyone. If advice or help was needed, Jim could always be relied upon to help generously.

We shall all miss his company as his reputation, as a polished raconteur and occasional rabble-rousing singer, ensured that there would always be the best of craic to be enjoyed in his company.

Our heartfelt sympathies go to his wife Pam and his children. He will be sorely missed by the entire Irish Sailing Community, not the least by the extensive Mermaid network, nearly all of whom will have great stories to tell about their friend, an absolute gentleman.

RB

Published in Mermaid
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Last weekend, the 8th and 9th of August, saw Rush Sailing Club host their annual regatta event. 13 Mermaids competed in a total of five races in sunshine and breeze along with Lasers and Toppers. First place overall in the Mermaid fleet went to Brian Mc Nally on 186, Gentoo from Skerries Sailing Club with his crew Valerie Cronin and Ross Galbraith. Second place was Paddy Dillon on 131 Wild Wind from Rush Sailing Club with his crew Johnny and Mo Dillon and third place overall went the Darragh McCormack on 188 Innocence from Foynes Yacht Club with his crew Tadhg O’Loingsigh and Brian Fox. It was very close and competitive racing with everyone in great form and happy to be out on the water, there seemed to be less shouting than usual (for the most part!) and more smiles, waving and joking!

Mermaid Winner of Rush Regatta 2020 - 186 Gentoo, Brian McNally Skerries Sailing ClubMermaid Winner of Rush Regatta 2020 - 186 Gentoo, Brian McNally Skerries Sailing Club

Due to COVID the first three scheduled events for the Mermaid fleet this year were cancelled (Munster Championship, Leinster Championship & Skerries Regatta) as well as the 2020 National Championship due to be held in Fenit this August. The only remaining fixture was Rush Regatta so it was a huge boost to get the event in and see such a strong turnout with 13 boats. With strict social distancing and safety measures in place at the newly refurbished and extended clubhouse there were many comments on how well the event was run with crews staying to their boats and ‘pods’. Huge credit must be given to all the team and volunteers at Rush Sailing Club who put in phenomenal effort to get the refurbishment and safety measures in place and make the event happen.

Third place went to Darragh Mc Cormack on 188 Innocence from Foynes Yacht Club with crew Tadhg O'Loinsigh and Brian FoxThird place went to Darragh Mc Cormack on 188 Innocence from Foynes Yacht Club with crew Tadhg O'Loinsigh and Brian Fox

Second place went to Paddy Dillon on 131 Wild Wind from Rush SC with crew Johnny and Mo Dillon.Second place went to Paddy Dillon on 131 Wild Wind from Rush SC with crew Johnny and Mo Dillon

Overall winner Brian McNally from Skerries SC with the winning Mermaid 186 Gentoo and crew Valerie Cronin and Ross Galbraith.Overall winner Brian McNally from Skerries SC with the winning Mermaid 186 Gentoo and crew Valerie Cronin and Ross Galbraith 

Credit due to Race Officer Liam Dinneen and his team who ran 5 excellent races in difficult conditions with a strong tide, and a dropping breeze at times, a number of races were shortened to ensure all races were completed. After racing on the Saturday a BBQ was held with plenty of outdoor seating. Following on from the success of this event, Skerries Sailing Club have now rescheduled their own Regatta, originally due to take place in June, the new dates for Skerries Regatta 2020 have now been set as the 22nd and 23rd of August and, while open to a number of classes, it is hoped to see a strong turn out from the Mermaid fleet again for what will be their last event of 2020.

Published in Mermaid
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The largest yacht in the Dublin Bay Sailing Club fleet, Mermaid IV from the Royal Irish Yacht Club leads after three races of the club's Citroen South sponsored Spring Chicken Series.

The Beneteau First 50-footer leads by 2.5 points from the Royal St. George Yacht Club J/97 Windjammer.

Third overall in the worst weather hit series in 20 years of Spring Chicken Series racing is the 1720 sportsboat Ricochet.

A reduced fleet sailed in bright and breezy conditions last Sunday as could be seen on the live Dublin Bay webcam

Download the full results below.

Published in DBSC
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It is with great honour and privilege that after seven years of volunteering on the committee of the Mermaid Sailing Association (MSA), I now move into my two-year term as President.
The Mermaids are a class very close to my heart, first getting involved at the age of 15 when my father brought 119 Three Chevrons into our lives. I was instantly hooked and we have been at every championship since then. It has been a fantastic experience; I now look at the Mermaid class as my extended family and every year it is the Mermaid events that I most look forward to.

As sailors, I’m sure you all echo my own personal love for our oceans and waterways. In recent years, however, the damage that has been caused from pollution of plastics and other harmful waste materials has become too serious to ignore. Now, more than ever, we need to play our part to safeguard our seas and ensure future generations get to experience what we have been so lucky to.

"values embedded in the Mermaid class are refreshingly sustainable"

This is something I am very passionate about and am trying my best in my own life to make positive changes. The reason I am highlighting it here is that I feel many of the values embedded in the Mermaid class are refreshingly sustainable. For example, appreciating and upholding skills and craftsmanship, something that many other classes have lost.
The Dublin Bay Mermaid, being a wooden boat steeped in history holds on to a lot of tradition and values otherwise dying out. Guess what? You can’t order a mermaid online, or “just throw it away” if something breaks. These boats are special and demand the effort, something incredibly rewarding for those willing to do so. We mend, we repair, we sustain, we cherish our boats and give them new life… perhaps we should look at applying for some kind of sustainability award to recognise this dedication that is so rare to come across in our modern age!

As a result of the hours and elbow grease you have to put in, often in sheds with friends, making memories, picking up the phone and actually talking to people, learning skills and spending quality time with family, you will see that most Mermaiders get unusually attached to their boats, with many refusing to part with them even after they stop sailing them. They become more than just boats, they become a part of our lives, our families and memories. Every Mermaid, each one special with its own story to tell, and all the people who dedicate themselves to upholding these values, make this class the most special one I have ever encountered.

I am really excited for the next 2 years where I will contribute as much value as I can to the class especially through my own personal skills and experience in Sales and Marketing.

"I want to get a controlled revision history process in place"

Following on from our most recent AGM, the MSA association already has a number of clear goals to tackle over the next two years. In addition to these, for myself personally in my role as President, I want to get a fully up-to-date, digital version of the ‘Blue Book’, with a controlled revision history process in place. I want to get all class documentation and processes online (as much as is possible). I want to reinvigorate club racing by working with the class captains and generating some buzz and momentum around the class in their local clubs (watch this space!).

roisin McCormackNew Mermaid Association President Roisin McCormack

Building on the success of a fantastic National Championship in Cork in 2019, I want to replicate this by bringing the fleet to more new venues. This gets people excited to go somewhere new, spreads awareness of our fantastic fleet getting us in front of new potential Mermaiders and, recognising that these 4-6 days are also a holiday for participants, means we get to travel to new places and experience new things. This year’s upcoming National Championship is going to be one not to be missed and we will push hard for 30 entries. Lots of new and fun incentives are currently in development so keep an eye out for updates and mark it in your diary.

The MSA is run entirely by volunteered efforts so I want to thank everyone in advance who will help to make 2020 a great year for the class. I look forward to meeting you all on the water and please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any ideas, feedback or questions.

Yours in Sailing,
Roisin Mc Cormack
MSA President

Published in Mermaid
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