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Dempsey Declared Mermaid Champion with Race to Spare

6th August 2010
Dempsey Declared Mermaid Champion with Race to Spare
Jim Dempsey from Skerries with crew Scott Flanagan and Cian O'Regan won Mermaid week in Paul Winters' No. 183 Wannago (based on provisional results).  Dempsey was 2nd in today's Race 5, sailed in shifty 7-10 knot westerly breeze at Foynes on the lower Shannon.  This was enough to secure him an unassailable first place and he doesn't even have to sail Race 6 tomorrow. Contender and last year's champion Paddy Dillon in 131 Wild Wind was 6th today, and is this is now his discard, he cannot make up the gap on points with Dempsey.  Similarly four times winner Jim Carthy in 123 Vee's 4th didn't do the job either.

Jonathan O'Rourke's No.77 Tiller Girl won today, leading the fleet the for the first half and then tussling with No 187 Zuleika for the 2nd half, eventually winning out on the last beat.  There was considerable place swapping further down in the fleet.  Of particular interest is the four McCormack boats competing for the Munster trophy.  Brothers James and Vincent, and James' sons Darragh and Mark are competing in their four Mermaids and all in the running for the Munster trophy (9 boats eligible).  They went around the 2nd leeward mark in a raft today, though without troubling the protest committee. It looks like it will be down to the last beat on the last day (tomorrow, Race 6).

The new unofficial champion has previously won Mermaid Week in 1987 and again in 2000, sailing his own boat No. 36 Elizabeth.  Paul Winter's boat, No. 183 Wannago has won Mermaid Week once before, in Fenit in 2002, helmed by her builder and former owner Sam Shiels.

The unofficial winner of the Daphne (Silver fleet, 12 boats) was Geraldine O'Neill in 73 Lively Lady crewed by her husband Mick Hanney (President of Mermaid Sailing Association) and Ailbhe Smith.  O'Neill, like Dempsey doesn't have to sail tomorrow to secure the trophy.

The Designer (Bronze fleet, 23 boats), unlike the others will be down to the bitter end with Mark McCormack (54 Hycilla) and Paddy Archer (18 Clare)being the main contenders.

All of the above is provisional information as Protest Time is still open for Race 5 until 20:41 this evening and overall championship results will not be confirmed officially until after 17:00 on Friday 6th August.

For the first time this year, the Mermaid Sailing Association and Foynes Yacht Club have been running a live blog during racing with updates every few minutes from the committee boat, supported by analysis from the race office.  Live photos are also posted on the blog, including contentious start lines and boat on boat action.  In today's racing over there were over 700 views of the blog and more than 100 on line at www.dublinbaymermaid.org/foynes2010 <http://www.dublinbaymermaid.org/foynes2010>  simultaneously.

Mermaid Week concludes tomorrow with Race 6.  33 boats are competing. Follow the Live Commentary at for news of any protest this evening and during racing tomorrow from 13:00.

Published in Shannon Estuary
Afloat.ie Team

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