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The recent Munster Mermaid Championships at Foynes Yacht Club on the Shannon Estuary were filled with intense racing, camaraderie, and some special moments.

Despite a disappointing start on Saturday, as racing had to be abandoned due to a lack of wind, Sunday brought favourable conditions, allowing for three thrilling races.

Race Officers Raymond McGibney and Trevor Browne ensured that the races ran smoothly on the estuary.

The highlight of the championships was the impressive performance of Darrach Dineen and crew, Sean Pecknam and Breda Magner, on 102 Endeavour, who emerged as the well-deserved winners.

Dineen shared, "It couldn't have been a better finish... 123, 102, 188, all finished within about 3 seconds of each other. It was an amazing finish!"

Following closely behind, Jim Carthy and Crew, Muriel and Paula Carthy, on 123 Vee claimed the second position, while Darragh McCormack and crew, Mark McCormack, and Keith Rochford, on 188 Innocence secured the third spot.

FYC Commodore Bev Lowes expressed her gratitude to all the sailors for their participation and also recognised the invaluable contributions of the FYC volunteers, including the race officers, committee members, mark layers, safety personnel, boat launch and retrieval teams, clubhouse volunteers, administration staff, and PRO.

Additionally, amidst the competitive atmosphere, a special celebration took place as Roisin McCormack and Michael Lynch (FYC) tied the knot on Friday and also participated in the championship, adding an extra touch of joy to the event.

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It’s not the first time that the organisers of the National Championships of Champions have found themselves playing footsie with volatile Autumn weather.

Ten days ago, the National Junior Championship at Schull was cancelled due to southerly gales. And last year, the GP 14s’ representative Ger Owens found himself and his crew Mel Morris, retaining the trophy in an extremely intense one-day programme at Sutton Dinghy Club, as it was abundantly clear that any attempt at a second day of racing would be blown clean away.

Thus, meteorological fingers are crossed for this coming weekend (7th – 8th October), when the famously hospitable Foynes Yacht Club on the Shannon Estuary are staging the event in 17ft Mermaids. The Mermaids first appeared in 1932, and have been a significant presence in Irish sailing since 1936, so it isn’t the first time they’ve been used as the championship boat. For we happen to know for certain that in the 1965 Championship at Skerries in Mermaids, the winner was one James Nixon of Dublin University SC, and doubtless other sailing clans can make similar claims.

An immaculately-prepared Mermaid from the Foynes fleet racing in the Shannon Estuary. Photo: Tony QuinlivanAn immaculately-prepared Mermaid from the Foynes fleet racing in the Shannon Estuary. Photo: Tony Quinlivan

But few of them can claim that their man or woman was going at it to make it three in a row, so it will be very interesting indeed to see how Owens shapes up out of his current comfort zone of the GP 14s. Experience suggests that he is multi-talented in the helming front. Meanwhile, those who are concerned about delays while the weather makes its mind up can be consoled by the fact that the sailors can otherwise occupy themselves with the flight simulator at the Foynes Flying Boat Museum near the club. Your correspondent once had a go at it, and managed to crash the Boeing 314 Clipper before he’d got beyond the simulated Loop Head.

Entry List 2023:

ILCA 7              Finn Lynch               National YC                               Paris Olympic qualification place for Ireland

 All Ireland Sailing - 2023 Entry List

Published in All Irelands

A Skerries Sailing Club trio won the Mermaid National Championship 2023 on home waters after a four-race squally championship concluded on Sunday. 

Mark Boylan, Aileen Boylan and Colman Grimes, sailing number 177 'This is it', topped the 28-boat championships with a scoresheet that included two race wins to finish on five points.  

The Skerries Mermaid championships featured all sorts of weather, including heavy downpours Photo: SSCThe Skerries Mermaid championships featured all sorts of weather, including heavy downpours Photo: SSC

In a points tie for second overall between two Rush Sailing Club entries, Paddy Dillon, Mo Dillon and Johnny Dillon sailing Number 131, Wildwind edged out early leaders Alan Ruigrok, Conor Gilligan and Chris Hickman in Number 102, Endeavour.

Four times defending champion Darragh McCormack from Foynes Yacht Club finished fifth overall.

 Mermaid National Champions2023 - Mark Boylan, Aileen Boylan and Colman Grimes, sailing number 177 'This is it' Photo: SSC Mermaid National Champions 2023 - Mark Boylan, Aileen Boylan and Colman Grimes, sailing number 177 'This is it' Photo: SSC

Results here

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After two races sailed, it's tight at the top of the leaderboard at the Mermaid National Championships at Skerries Sailing Club.

First race winner Alan Ruigrok of Rush Sailing Club leads the 25-boat clinker fleet but is on the same five points as defending champion Darragh McCormack of Foynes Yacht Club. 

Ruigrok's clubmate Paddy Dillon is one point off the lead in third place.

Under Race Officer Liam Dinneen, racing is scheduled to continue this weekend with First Gun on Saturday at 13.00hrs.

Results are here

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After a somewhat disappointing turnout at last year's National Championships in Foynes, where Darragh McCormack completed his four in a row in his stunning boat Innocence, the Mermaid Class is bracing itself for a resurgence of competitive sailing in Skerries this year.

The National Championship will be held from 3-6th August at Skerries Sailing Club.

With past champions' return and new contenders' emergence, the stage is set for a memorable showdown on the water. Additionally, the current committee is spearheading initiatives to further invigorate the class, particularly among its younger members. 

Mermaid racing in Foynes on the Shannon EstuaryMermaid racing in Foynes on the Shannon Estuary

Strong Field

The anticipated return of several former champions, including Derek Joyce, Mark Boylan, Jim Carthy, Sam Shiels, Frankie Browne Snr, and Paddy Dillon, is sure to raise the level of competition. 

Mermaid 189 AzeezyMermaid 189 Azeezy

However, there will be an absence of Roger Bannon and Johnathan O'Rourke, both esteemed former champions. While O'Rourke's boat, Tiller Girl, is still undergoing repairs from a serious road accident, Bannon has decided to retire from active Mermaid sailing due to back surgeries. Nevertheless, Bannon's boat, Endeavour, will be sailed by Alan Ruigrok, a talented young sailor from Rush who has returned from Dubai to take up the challenge.

The Dublin Bay Mermaid Class National Championship trophyThe Dublin Bay Mermaid Class National Championship trophy

Boat Choices

Some notable sailors have opted for exciting boat choices in the quest for victory. Derek Joyce, renowned for his restoration projects, has undertaken the monumental task of reviving Brennan-built boats once again. The question remains whether he will sail his latest project, Maid Marion 125, or stick to his proven champion, Zuleika, which has secured him five championships. Similarly, Sam Shiels has restored a former multiple winner, Helen no 76, leading to speculation about whether he will race his championship-winning Azeezy or let Helen re-enter.

Third overall in the Dublin Bay Mermaid class of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta were Dermot O'Neill's Aideen (21), with crew John and Andrew Redmond racing against Royal Irish's Jill (134) sailed by Paul Smith, Patrick Mangan and Ailbhe SmithThird overall in the Dublin Bay Mermaid class of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta were Dermot O'Neill's Aideen (21), with crew John and Andrew Redmond racing against Royal Irish's Jill (134) sailed by Paul Smith, Patrick Mangan and Ailbhe Smith Photo: Michael Chester

Leadership

The revival of the Mermaid Class owes much to the enthusiasm and dedication of the vibrant young committee led by President Paul Browne. Browne himself recently triumphed at the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in Cara 2, showcasing his skill in challenging conditions. Alongside him, steadfast individuals like Paul Smith and Pat Mangan from Dun Laoghaire, Darach Dinneen from Skerries, Enda Weldon from Rush, and the McCormack clan from Foynes will contribute to the competitive environment and lively camaraderie that define the Mermaid Class.

Mermaid 131 at speed in big breezeMermaid 131 at speed in big breeze

Looking Ahead

Exciting times lie ahead for the Mermaid Class, with the current committee planning significant initiatives and changes starting in 2024. These efforts aim to build upon the existing momentum within the class, especially among its younger members. With a vision for growth and inclusivity, the committee intends to ensure that the Mermaid Class remains a vibrant and dynamic sailing community for years to come.

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The Dublin Bay Mermaids only sailed two races at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, with Skerries visitors Paul, Frank and Chloe Browne in Cara II coming out on top in the eight-boat fleet. 

The Royal Irish's Jill, sailed by Paul Smith, Patrick Mangan, and Ailbhe Smith, was second, scoring 2, 3. Dermot O'Neill's Aideen with crew John and Andrew Redmond from the National Yacht Club was third. 

Mermaid VDLR winner - Paul, Frank and Chloe Browne in Cara II Photo: AfloatMermaid VDLR winner - Paul, Frank and Chloe Browne in Cara II Photo: Afloat

Skerries visitors Paul, Frank and Chloe Browne in Cara II were the Dublin Bay Mermaid class winners at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Photo: Michael ChesterSkerries visitors Paul, Frank and Chloe Browne in Cara II were the Dublin Bay Mermaid class winners at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Photo: Michael Chester

The 2023 regatta, the ninth edition of Ireland's largest regatta, concluded on Sunday with final races for most classes and a great festival of sailing across the waterfront and Dun Laoghaire town as four sailing clubs come together for the biennial event; Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club and National Yacht Club.

Published in Volvo Regatta

As Afloat previously reported, the Dublin Bay Mermaid National Championships were held on the 2nd to 6th of August on the Shannon Estuary at Foynes.

16 boats took to the start line with many favourites of old competing for the lady trophy, including Jim Carthy, Derek Joyce, Paddy Dillon, and Franky Browne but to name a few and not to leave out Darragh McCormack coming into these championships looking to equal Jim Carthy’s record of 4 in a row, a record which has been held for many years this was sure to be a belter.

Day 1
Racing this year started off later than usual, launching just after low tide racing kicked off on Wednesday 03 August 15:00 which allowed late comers to arrive on the day and some helms to get their heads together after arriving on the Monday and enjoying the famous Foynes welcome.

Race 1 was a steady 12-15Kn taken by Darragh McCormack in Innocence (188) followed closely by Enda Weldon in Myhem (190) and Vincent McCormack in Three Chevrons (119) respectively.

Race 2 was taken by Derek Joyce in Zuleika (187) reminding us all that he was here to fight and was not about to be out raced on the first day, second went to D. McCormack on innocence and 3rd to Darach Dinneen in Red Seal (121).

Overall: Innocence lies in 1st Zuleika in 2nd and Wild Wind in 3rd overall
Daphne: 1st Mayhem E.Weldon, 2nd Red Seal D.Dinneen, 3rd Sea Fox O.Finucane
Designer: 1st Maybee P. Archer, 2nd Pearl A.Lowes, 3rd Ariel A.Weldon

Day 2
Thursday proved to be a howler with 20kn steady for the day, racing kicked off at 15:30 with much of the fleet opting to not fly spinnaker upon rounding the weather mark some, gained and some lost out.

The Top 3 boats showing how to get a Mermaid to maximum speed.

In an exhilarating show of boat handling Zuleika came out in podium for the 3 race of the competition with Innocence and Three Chevrons crossing the line at exactly the same time in joint 2nd earning them 2.5 points each closely followed by Wild Wind in 4th.

Rush Sailing Club's Maybee (P Archer) under spinnaker on the Shannon EstuaryRush Sailing Club's Maybee (P Archer) under spinnaker on the Shannon Estuary

Race 4 was much of the same with more boats building courage and opting to fly spinnakers. Wild Wind ran away with this one with Innocence in 2nd and Zuleika in 3rd a pattern was quickly forming on the results sheet with the odd discrepancy.

All ashore with big smiles and sore legs we were entertained with a magic show and the alternative prizegiving traditionally hosted by the amazing Shay O’Toole but with Packer Thorne taking the helm this year with many thanks to Shay. Many spot prizes we given out including “Legs 11 Isabell O’Shea”, a rubber ring for Franky Browne who capsized racing today and the youngest sailor in the fleet Chloe Grogan Browne aged 13. 

Overall: Innocence lies in 1st Zuleika in 2nd and Wild Wind in 3rd overall
Daphne: 1st Mayhem E.Weldon, 2nd Red Seal D.Dinneen, 3rd Sea Fox O.Finucane
Designer: 1st Maybee P. Archer, 2nd Pearl A.Lowes, 3rd Ariel A.Weldon

Day 3
Friday was a calmer day with but an earlier start at 11:00 with the option of three races as the final day was giving little to no wind races kicked off with a 1st and 2nd from Innocence and Zuleika respectively and Mayhem taking third with a fantastic start and holding to the end. 4th and 5th came down to almost a photo finish with Cara II and Red Seal with the latter taking 4th after a long wait ashore and plenty of hand/salt & pepper movement to illustrate angles.

Race 6 saw former champions Frankie Brown in Cara II 135 and Jim Carthy Vee 123 showing the now younger that they are by no means done winning races, coming in 1st and 2nd respectively closely followed by Wild Wind in 3rd.

Race 7 was where the U flag came out and the pointy end of the fleet clashed seeing both Innocence and Zuleika DSQ’d through protests. Although neither of which saw the top three in this race it opened the championship up to two other boats. With Wild Wind coming in first and Cara II coming in second and Red Seal coming in third it meant that the championship was open to the top 4 boats: Innocence, Zuleika, Wild Wind & Cara II.

Overall: Innocence lies in 1st Zuleika in 2nd and Wild Wind in 3rd overall
Daphne: 1st Red Seal D.Dinneen, 2nd Sea Fox O.Finucane, 3rd Mayhem E.Weldon
Designer: 1st Maybee P. Archer, 2nd Joy M.McCormack, 3rd Pearl A.Lowes

Day 4
Light Winds and building tide saw the last race of the championship unfold in slow but spectacular fashion, the decision this time was to stay as much out of the tide as possible, staying on starboard was the call for the day as much as possible with Zuleika staying in 1st for much of the race only to be pipped by Wild Wind at the final weather mark. Innocence and Red Seal competed for 3rd swapping places a few times only for both boats to settle on the last reach and finish with Innocence in 3rd and Red Seal in 4th.
The results of this race meant that Innocence helmed by Darragh McCormack has won their fourth concoctive championships with Zuleika taking second and Wild Wind taking third although they are on equal points. Cara II in fourth and Red Seal in fifth.

Oisin Finucan also retains the U25 trophy for the fourth year in a row but with Mary McCormack, Anna Lowes and a few other boats looking at competing next year in the under 25 category he will have a great battle ahead of him in 2023

Overall: 1. Innocence 2. Zuleika 3. Wild Wind 4. Cara II 5. Red Seal
Daphne: 1. Red Seal 2. Sea Fox 3. Mayhem 4. Dolphin 5. Bean Adhmaid
Designer: 1. Maybee 2. Joy 3. Pearl 4. Ariel 5. Fugative

The week's racing was finished off with the Crew’s race which took a bit of a twist in that there was one triangle then a long beat back to the club where the finish line was set just outside the club which provided great entertainment for those ashore.

Number 121 Darach Dineen of Skerries Sailing ClubNumber 121 Darach Dineen of Skerries Sailing Club

With plenty of screaming and shouting from family and friends ashore, Laser hotshot Daniel O’Hare helming Vee crossed the line with a convincing lead to take the bullet in his first attempt helming his grandfather’s famous Mermaid.

Chloe Grogan Browne (ages 13) took the helm of Cara II with Father Frankie Jr and Grandfather Frankie Sr crewing, just pipped Zuleika helmed by Cillian Joyce to take second place and now probably put a challenge in as next year’s helm

Overall, a fantastic event held by Foynes Yacht Club, Many thanks to Commodore John Paul and his huge, amazing volunteer force and all involved in the club and special thanks to Scorie Walls and team who got every race off on time and with beautiful angles.

Published in Mermaid
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Commodore John Paul Buckley welcomed all competitors and their families to Foynes for the Dublin Bay Mermaid championship, Paul Browne, President of the Mermaid Sailing Association, said a few words on their behalf, and Scorie Walls, OOD, did the briefing.

Conditions were perfect for the Championships held at Foynes Yacht Club. Sixteen boats took part.

Competitors were greeted by fresh and lively conditions on day one of the Nationals, these conditions persisted for the first three days of the event which gave rise to some fantastic racing, with some capsizes as well as lots of planing down the reaches.

Four time Mermaid national champions - The 188 Innocence crew Darragh and Mark McCormack, and Cathal McMahon of Foynes Yacht ClubFour time Mermaid national champions - The 188 Innocence crew Darragh and Mark McCormack, and Cathal McMahon of Foynes Yacht Club

On the final day of the event, competitors were met with some lighter conditions, which was welcomed by many sailors after such a physically demanding first three days.

The racing throughout the week was absolutely fantastic, with many people remarking it was some of the best mermaid racing they had in years.

The championship wrapped up on Saturday with the eighth and final championship race, then a crews race that finished at the Clubhouse, putting on a show for the spectators onshore. A prizegiving dinner, followed by music late into the night was held.

There were huge congratulations to Darragh and Mark McCormack, and Cathal McMahon, Foynes Yacht Club, on 188 Innocence, who took the title for the fourth year in a row, a feat only achieved once before by the legendary Jim Carthy of Rush Sailing Club.

It goes without saying that Dublin Bay Mermaids are a unique and competitive class that need to be preserved. Darragh McCormack, champion of the last four years, touched on this subject in his winner's speech.

He spoke of how when he first entered the class, he was one of the last boats in the fleet for some time but credited much of his improvement and success to people within the Mermaid class giving him a helping hand. He encourages young sailors to join the Mermaid Class as he labels it one of the most competitive and fun fleets he has ever been part of!

Taking second place was Derek Joyce and crew, from Wexford Sailing Club, third place went to Paddy Dillon & Crew from Rush Sailing Club. Oisin Finucane, Foynes Yacht Club, won the best U25 Helm in the U25 category. The Designer was won by Paddy Archer & Crew, the Daphne was won by Darach Dineen & Crew, and the Crews race was won by Daniel O'Hare.

Commodore John Paul Buckley thanked Scorie Walls and her team, mark laying boats, safety boats, FYC Class Captain, all volunteers both on and off the water. 

Published in Mermaid
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When the weather patterns conspire to provide wet or rugged sailing on Ireland’s sea coasts, the shrewd mariner heads for the inland sea that is Lough Ree, which has been geographically measured with some elegant 19th Century science as being plumb in the very middle of the Emerald isle. For in such a location, no matter what the conditions are like on the coast, on Lough Ree you’ll have the entire province of either Leinster or Connacht or both to provide you with a lee. And additionally, by some happy freak during the past weekend of strong winds and much rain elsewhere, somehow Lough Ree experienced so little in the way of precipitaton that most sailors in the Clinkerfest barely noticed it at all, with the final evening provide a serene yet colourful sunset to round out a unique event in considerable style.

 Mermaid Magic – we may think of the Mermaids as originating in Dublin Bay, but some of the first boats were built by Walter Levinge beside Lough Ree. Photo: John Malone Mermaid Magic – we may think of the Mermaids as originating in Dublin Bay, but some of the first boats were built by Walter Levinge beside Lough Ree. Photo: John Malone

Former LRYC Commodore Garret Leech was still in the senior role when he set the notion of Clinkerfest in motion to celebrate LRYC’s 250th Anniversary back in 2020. And though the pandemic has caused a two year delay and a certain creakiness in some would-be participants, the idea was not allowed to die - not least because it had engendered one of the best event logos anyone has ever created in Ireland, a logo appropriate to the fact that clinker boat-building is now recognised as a World Heritage Activity.

The Clinkerfest Logo stylishly honours what is now a international culturally-recognised method of boat construction The Clinkerfest Logo stylishly honours what is now a international culturally-recognised method of boat construction 

Nevertheless while some participants might have preferred a bit more time for leisurely consideration of all the clinker-built boat types involved, and the different techniques used in their design and construction, others from the more race-oriented classes were bursting with competitive energy after virtually two seasons of constraint. And with a race team headed by Garret Leech with Owen Delany and the support of Alan Algeo and Eileen Brown (almost all former LRYC Commodores) the administrative talent was there to keep sailors busy afloat.

SODA Chairman Philip Mayne finished 14th overall in No 83 after nine hard-fought races. Photo: John MaloneSODA Chairman Philip Mayne finished 14th overall in No 83 after nine hard-fought races. Photo: John Malone

SHANNON ODs BIGGEST FLEET

While LRYC may be celebrating their Quadrimillennial in a two year retrospect, the Shannon One Designs are fully immersed in the throes of the increasing pace of their current Centenary Year. And though the class is traditionally at its greatest numerical strength in the time-honoured regattas of August, fleet numbers are already up with every weekend as that final coat of varnish finally gets applied, and boats turn out to race – and race hard.

 A different world of sailing for Garrett O’Neill and his crew. If any spray dares to come aboard, you can simply swallow it….Photo: John Malone A different world of sailing for Garrett O’Neill and his crew. If any spray dares to come aboard, you can simply swallow it….Photo: John Malone

Thus they’d an entry of 29 for Clinkerfest, and while not all were fully race ready, at the sharp end of the fleet for a demanding total of nine races, the top six helms were Mark McCormick, David Dickson, Andrew Mannion, Cillian Dickson, Frank Guy and Cathal Breen.

INTERNATIONAL 12s

The International 12s – which originated in 1912 – continue to be hugely popular in The Netherlands, Belgium and Italy, but they’re gradually reviving in Ireland in both their una-riggged and sloop-rigged form. And while travel difficulties meant that not all of a significant contingent from the Continent could make it in the end, a couple of gallant Dutch boats managed to get to Ree, while the fleet was also enlarged by the inclusion of a brace of Rankin 12s from Cork Harbour. Here too they’d nine challenging races, and Bert Bos won while Gernt Kiughist was second, with Mark Delany best of the home division in third.

 By making the journey to Lough Ree, the crew of this Dutch International Twelve found much better weather than they’d have had at home. Photo: John Malone By making the journey to Lough Ree, the crew of this Dutch International Twelve found much better weather than they’d have had at home. Photo: John Malone

MERMAIDS

We may think of the 17ft Mermaids as very much a class of Dublin Bay origins through their designer J B Kearney, but in fact the first boats were built in 1932 by the great Walter Levinge of Lough Ree. So there was a sense of home-coming in their participation, Jim Carthy winning in Vee from Paul Smith & Pat Mangan in Jill, with Darach Dinneen taking third in Red Seal.

Proper summertime sailing for Mermaids at Clinkerfest. Photo: John MaloneProper summertime sailing for Mermaids at Clinkerfest. Photo: John Malone

WATER WAGS

The Dublin Bay Water Wags of 1887 and 1900 vintage had many sailors racing in Clinkerfest, but as there’s extensive cross-pollination with the Shannon One Designs, there were more of them racing in the SODs than in the Wags, which managed to get just four boats down to Lough Ree from Dun Laoghaire. That said, they had the distinction of being the most senior class, with David Kelly in Eva winning after the nine races from Mike Magowan in Mary Kate, with third place going to Dermot Bremner in Alfa.

A celebration of Ireland’s leading clinker-built classes in the display of models by Reggie Goodbody of Lough Derg YC. Photo: John MaloneA celebration of Ireland’s leading clinker-built classes in the display of models by Reggie Goodbody of Lough Derg YC. Photo: John Malone

IDRA 14s

Though the 1946-vintage IDRA 14s have held many famous championships with LRYC, few would think of them as a Lough Ree class. Thus there was special satisfaction when Billy Henshaw – who lives on he shores of the lake – emerged as overall winner, with Pierre Long getting second and Pat O’Kelly third.

There was special cheer for the IDRA 14s with Billy Henshaw providing a local winner. Photo: John MaloneThere was special cheer for the IDRA 14s with Billy Henshaw providing a local winner. Photo: John Malone

The complete results are here

FUTURE CLINKERFESTS

Clinkerfest deserves to be a major feature of the national programme in the future, and Lough Ree’s indisputably central location in Ireland surely gives it the first claim to be its permanent home. The problem is that as our sailing gets back up to pre-pandemic speeds, several events will re-emerge claiming equal rights to the coveted Bank Holiday weekend at the beginning of June.

 Getting stuck in….The Shannon One Designs launch themselves into a programme of nine races in two days. Number 50 (Mark McCormick) was to emerge as overall winner. Photo: John Malone Getting stuck in….The Shannon One Designs launch themselves into a programme of nine races in two days. Number 50 (Mark McCormick) was to emerge as overall winner. Photo: John Malone

But that’s a discussion for another day. Right now, there’s a feeling of wonder that in a weekend when several coastal events were either cancelled or gave their participants quite a drubbing, a secret inland sea in the middle of Ireland was able to provide a fascinating and varied fleet of true classics with the chance to contest no less than nine very competitive races in eminently sailable and often strongly sunny conditions, while at the same allowing their dedicated owners and crews to revel in a shared enthusiasm for a boat construction method whose inherent functional beauty is now a globally-recognized art and craft.

Evocative conclusion to a great regatta – final Clinkerfest sunset at Lough Ree YC marina. Photo: Clodagh FlanneryEvocative conclusion to a great regatta – final Clinkerfest sunset at Lough Ree YC marina. Photo: Clodagh Flannery

Published in Historic Boats

Having sailed in combined races with Squibs in the 2021 season, the DBSC Mermaid Class had its prizegiving with the Squib class in the National Yacht Club last Friday, 25th February.

The 17ft clinker-built dinghy designed by J. B. Kearney for Dublin Bay Sailing Club ninety years ago expects an increase in the fleet for 2022.

The class sends its best wishes to Dan Brennan skipper of Mermaid 'Aideen' who was knocked off his bike and seriously injured in January.

A lifeboat pennant for a combined Mermaid / Squib handicap race in aid of the RNLI was won by Squib Periquin, Noel Colclough and Rupert Westrup.

Squib Periquin, Noel Colclough an Rupert Westrup.Noel Colclough and Rupert Westrup (Squib “Periquin”) who won the Lifeboat Pennant with Mermaid Class Captain Paul Smith

St. John Bannon and Class Captain Paul Smith with The Intrepid TrophySt. John Bannon and Class Captain Paul Smith with The Intrepid Trophy

Lynn Kerin accepts the Loving Cup on behalf of her children Tom and Eva, husband Andrew and father Jonathan O’RourkeLynn Kerin accepts the Loving Cup on behalf of her children Tom and Eva, husband Andrew and father Jonathan O’Rourke
Geraldine O’Neill accepts the Captain’s Prize from Captain Paul SmithGeraldine O’Neill accepts the Captain’s Prize from Captain Paul Smith

Pat Mangan and Paul Smtih with the Mermaid PennantPat Mangan and Paul Smtih with the Mermaid Pennant

2021 Mermaid Prizewinners:

  • Intrepid Trophy (single handed race) Endeavour, St. John Bannon
  • Meg Mug (round Dalkey Island) Endeavour, Roger Bannon
  • Loving Cup (crew all from one family) Aideen, Jonathan O’Rourke with, Tom Eva and Andrew Kerin
  • Alanna Cup (combined handicap races) Jill, Pat Mangan and Paul Smith
  • May Cup Aideen, Dan Brennan and Brendan Martin
  • September Cup Lively Lady, Geraldine O’Neill and Mick Hanney
  • Mermaid Pennant Jill, Pat Mangan and Paul Smith
  • Captain’s Prize Lively Lady, Geraldine O’Neill and Mick Hanney
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Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.