Race 3 of the National Mermaid Championship starts today at 15:00, followed by the annual 'crew' race. Five times champion Derek Joyce in 187 Zuleika has a major challenge to stay in the running and really needs a win to stay in contention. The stiffer breezes foretasted today should suit him. Another boat with some work to do is 131 Wild Wind, sailed by last year's champion Paddy Dillon; as he is lying third overall at seven points, he needs to stay in the top three today.
Yesterday's winner, Shay O'Toole (182 Dolphin) is lying 6th overall and another win today could put him in contention for the Championship. Current overall leader Jim Dempsey (183 Wannago), with two seconds under his belt, needs to maintain consistency as four times champion Jim Carthy (123 Vee) is hot on his heels just one point behind.
Of the 186 Mermaids built since 1932, some have been built by professionals and some by amateurs. Amateur is, perhaps not the best word as many Mermaid sailors are carpenters, furniture makers and woodwork teachers by profession and have build fast boats to exacting standards. The most prolific builders over the years have been John Brennan of Dun Laoghaire (16 boats), James Kearney (15 boats) and Skee Gray (10 boats).
Of the thirty three boats competing this week, Brennan built three, Harry & Tom Grieves built three and Des Tyrell built three. Four sailors are on board boats they built themselves: Frankie Browne (135 Cara II), Martin O'Toole (179 Bean Adhmaid), Shay O'Toole (182 Dolphin) and Ross Galbraith (185 The Message). Former champion Joe Boylan built the boats being sailed by his son Aidan (138 Zeila) and grandson Mark (177 This Is It).
If there was a Formula 1 style 'Constructor's Championship', the top three builders since 1953 would be: Harry & Tom Grieves, 9 wins; John Brennan, 8 wins and Des Tyrell, 7 wins. This year the Grieves boats are 73 Lively Lady, 76 Helen and 77 Tiller Girl. The Brennan boats are 131 Wild Wind, 143 Jill and 146 Fugitive, while the Tyrell boats are 186 MyDi, 187 Zuleika and 188 Innocence. It's all to play for.
Live updates will be blogged from the race area today at http://www.dublinbaymermaid.org/foynes2010/index_files/Commentary.htm.