Foynes Yacht Club on the Shannon Estuary is hosting the National Mermaid Championships, which will commence on Saturday, July 31, and which will be taking place for a full week at Cooleen Point.
Quite an amount of preparation and organisation is taking place to ensure that it will be one of the most successful championships to date.
Entries are expected to exceed 40 boats that will compete in the championship's. These boats are a classic 1932 design from all corners of Ireland, which will be racing daily for seven days on the majestic Shannon Estuary waters to the picturesque and historic port village of Foynes.
The competition brings with it a festival atmosphere, as over 150 sailors with their families and friends settle in for a week packed, competitive and social activities by day and night.
An action-packed programme of events will take place during the championships 'off the water', and this will commence on Saturday, July 31 with Karaoke; on Sunday, August 1 music will be provided by 'Motive'.
On Monday, August 2 a 'Family Fun Day' in Cooleen Point will take place, and this will feature a fundraising family fun, and games in aid of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
Besides such activities as a Bouncy Castle, Bar-B-Que, Karaoke and many more events, and the first ever sponsored Mud Splat Obstacle Course race, which will make very entertaining viewing.
And an added spectacle on Monday an air display from the Coastguard Helicopter based in Shannon, Co. Clare will take place.
A quiz night will take place on Tuesday, August 3, and on Wednesday, August 4, a Traditional music session will take place; on Thursday, August 5 a Comedy night is organised.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution has saved more than 139,000 lives since its foundation in 1824. Through the years, there have been countless stories of courage against a background of technological developments and social change.
The charity was founded as the national institution for the preservation of life from shipwreck after an appeal was made by Sir William Hillary. Hillary lived in Douglas on the Isle of Man, and had witnessed the wrecking of dozens of ships from his home.
The name was changed to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in 1854, and cork lifejackets were first issued to crew members in the same year.
In 1891, the first RNLI street collection was held in Manchester, and the 20th century saw the RNLI continue to save lives through two world wars.
The lifeboats moved from sail and oar power to petrol and diesel, and the first women joined their crews.
Recent years have seen major develpments with the introduction of RNLI lifeguards in 2001, and the first lifeboat station on an inland water in the same year.
There are 43 RNLI lifeboat stations in Ireland, where the nearest to Foynes is in Kilrush. The money raised from Mermaid week for the RNLI will be put to good use by RNLI personnel, where it will fund new equipment including lifeboats, seafaring wear, lifejackets and much more.
Foynes Yacht Club, Commodore Tom Murray is making a special appeal to all Mermaid sailors, club members and friends to come to the club and support this very worthy cause. 'The RNLI relies on the support of all the sailing and yacht clubs in the country for donations to keep this very important sea rescue operation running', he said.
Crew and assistance for crash boats will be wanted for the championships, so any member, who is interested in sailing or would like to help in the running of the championships are asked to please contact Commodore Tom Murray on 087 2563515; Mermaid Class Captain, Conor Roche on 086 8030343 or Cruiser Class Captain, Alan McEneff on 086 2568280 immediately.
The club website is www.foynesyachtclub.com