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#dlregatta – With the Kinsale ICRA Nats/Sovereigns Trophy 2015 very successfully concluded last weekend, and a classic Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race put stylishly in place before that, the feeling of another sailing summer busily in progress is all-pervasive. But while the image projected may well be one of stately progress by the cruiser-racer fleets along the Irish coast, taking in an offshore race here and a regatta there with much leisurely cruising in between, the reality is usually otherwise. For those boats doing significant segments of the programme, it's a case of fitting chosen events into the usual hectic early summer life of work and family commitments and exams and everything else, with the re-location of boats to the next venue being a hurried task undertaken by delivery crews.

Next week sees the mid-season peak of the sailing summer, with the four day Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015 in Dublin Bay from Thursday July 9th to Sunday July 12th. In a way it is an amalgamation of all that has has already occurred in this year's season, together with new elements to make it a unique sailfest which celebrates the fact that the citizens of Ireland's capital city and their guests can be conveniently sailing and racing within a very short distance of the heart of town. W M Nixon sets the scene

In the dozen or so years since its inception, the biennial Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta has settled itself firmly into the sailing scene as an exceptionally varied event in terms of the boats and classes taking part. There are five regular cruiser-racer classes, plus an offshore division, fourteen one design keelboat classes, and nine dinghy classes. And although there are contenders from Ireland's north coast and from the Cork area and south coast too, together with one gallant entry from Galway, it is essentially an Irish Sea Sailfest, though with a remarkably strong Scottish presence.

However, it was on the coast of Wales at 8.0pm last night that this sailing celebration began, with an ISORA Race starting in Holyhead and heading for Dun Laoghaire to set this large and complex programme into action towards a culmination on Dublin Bay in eight days time with the conclusion of VDLR2015.

2015 marks the Bicentennial of the Royal Dee YC, which was founded in 1815 on the Cheshire shores of the River Dee estuary where northwest England marches with northeast Wales. Originally the Dee Yacht Club (and founded, it's said, a month or two before the Royal Yacht Squadron came into being in the south of England, making the RDYC the second-oldest Royal yacht club in England after the Royal Thames), the Cheshire club became the Royal Dee YC in 1847.

Although the great prosperity of Liverpool in the 19th century saw the club's fleet of substantial yachts gathered in the Dee and then increasingly in the Mersey, by the late 1900s it was looking to the Menai Straits area as the focus of its keelboat events. As well, the completion of Holyhead breakwater in 1873 added a new and important harbour to its list of possible big boat sailing locations, and there was an increase in the number of cross-channel "matches" which the Royal Dee and the Royal Mersey, in conjunction with the Dublin Bay clubs, had already been running for some years.

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A Royal Alfred YC cross-channel match from Dublin Bay to Holyhead gets under way in 1888. Cross-channel links were strong in the latter half of the 19th Century, and with the new breakwater completed at Holyhead in 1873, a new venue was available both for the Irish clubs and those on the other side such as the Royal Dee and the Royal Mersey

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The bicentenary logo of the Royal Dee YC. In 1815, this club on the Cheshire coast was founded shortly before the Royal Yacht Squadron in the souh of England, whose Bicentennial is being celebrated at the end of July.

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Dun Laoghaire saw its first regatta staged in 1828, and participation by yachts from the northwest of England and North Wales was regularly recorded. This is the Royal St George YC regatta of 1871.

So when we say that the Royal Dee has always been a stalwart of offshore racing in the Irish Sea, we're not referring to a story spanning only the 20th and 21st Centuries. On the contrary, it goes well back into the 1800s. And now, with the revival of keelboat sailing in the Mersey with several of Liverpool's myriad docks being given over to recreational use, we have in a sense come full circle with enthusiastic Dublin Bay support of the Bicentennial celebrations reflecting sailing links which go back almost 200 years

The Lyver Trophy is the Royal Dee's premier offshore challenge, and this year it is special, as it's a fully-accredited RORC event counting for points in the annual championship, and a highlight of the ISORA Programme 2015. It's start scheduled for yesterday evening in Holyhead will see the fleet – mostly regular ISORA contenders – sail a course of at least a hundred miles before finishing in Dun Laoghaire. Then as VDLR 2015 gets under way, races in it, combined with the Lyver Trophy results, will count as part of a series towards finding an overall winner of the RDYC Bicentennial Trophy.

Only entrants in the Lyver Trophy race are eligible, and for that race itself – which can be followed on the Averycrest Yellowbrick Tracker - the favourite has to be the Shanahan family's J/109 Ruth, still buoyed up by her great victory in the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race three weeks ago.

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Back in The Bay – the Shanahan family's J/109 Ruth will be back in her home waters of Dublin Bay after winning the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race and completing the Lyver Trophy Race from Holyhead which started last night. Photo: David O'Brien

At the other end of the size scale, the VDLR2015 Dublin Bay programme includes several dinghy classes, and the biggest fleet will be mustered by the International GP 14s, who have designated the racing in Dublin Bay as their Leinster Championship. In an interview with Sailing on Saturday in March, VDLR Chairman Tim Goodbody emphasised that, overall, the event should be seen as a regatta rather than a championship, and for most boats that's just what it will be. But the GP 14s with their great esprit de corps have always done things their own way, and with their compact boat size – albeit comprising a large fleet of dinghies – they reckon they can get in a proper championship while sharing in the fun of the event.

v6.jpgThe brothers John and Donal McGuinness of Moville Sailing Club in Donegal are expected to be among the pace-setters in the GP 14 class with their superb Alistair Duffin-built boat. Photo: W M Nixon

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The GP 14 Ulsters 2015 were recently won on Lough Erne by Shane MacCarthy & Damian Bracken of Greystones

As to who is favourite, the McGuinness brothers – Donal and John - from Moville in Donegal, with their top-of-the-line Duffin boat built in Northern Ireland, have to be in the reckoning after being top Irish at last year's Worlds on Strangford Lough, but there's fresh blood in the fleet with the newest class developing at Youghal, while this year's recent Ulster Championship on Lough Erne was won by the Greystones duo of Shane MacCarthy and Damian Bracken.

The dozen and more boats coming south from Scotland, most of them substantial cruiser-racers, are testimony to a growing trend in sailing on Europe's Atlantic seaboard. Given a choice of venues, your average yachtie on this long coastline will incline to head south if at all possible. Other things being equal, it's reckoned the further south you go the warmer it is likely to be. And from the upper reaches of the Firth of Clyde, there are times when Dublin Bay might seem like the distant and sunny Mediterranean.

Maybe so, but we'd caution that much depends on the moods and location of that all-powerful weather determinant, the northern Polar Jetstream. In July, so long as it's well clear of Ireland -whether to the north or the south - we will have glorious high summer, and that occurred for the previous VDLR back in 2013, where the photos speak for themselves.

So we hope for the best in looking forward to welcoming a fleet of around 415 boats to Dun Laoghaire between July 9th and 12th, with all four of our in-harbour yacht clubs extending the hand of hospitality in a regatta tradition that goes right back to 1828. But while heritage and ceremonial are all very well in their place, it's the prospect of good sport which energises the participants and their sailing, and with several major contests already logged in 2015, what can we expect on the leaderboards next week?

At the top of the tree, Class 0 has formidable competition, including former Scottish champion Jonathan Anderson racing his XP38i Roxstar against the Royal Cork's Conor Phelan with the Ker 37 Jump Juice, which was one of the best performers in last year's ICRA Nationals at the same venue, and this year again became a force to be reckoned with as the breeze sharpened in the four day Kinsale ICRA Nats 2015/Sovereigns Cup a week ago.

v8.jpgFreshly squeezed – her storming finish to last weekend's final race of the ICRA Nats/Sovereigns Cup at Kinsale makes Conor Phelan's Ker 37 Jump Juice one of the top contenders in the VDLR2015. Photo: David O'Brien

With a win in the final race, Jump Juice came in second to seasoned campaigner George Sisk's class overall winning Farr 42 WOW (RIYC), the pair of them in turn displacing the early leader, lightweight flyer Mills 36 Crazy Horse (ICRA Commodore Nobby Reilly & Alan Chambers, HYC) down to third in the final day's racing, so Crazy Horse will be hoping for a return of lighter breezes when racing starts next Thursday on Dublin Bay.

In the previous Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in 2013, the most successful boat in was Nigel Biggs' much-modified Humphreys Half Tonner Checkmate XV, but this year the Biggs team is racing as Checkmate Sailing with the newest boat in the fleet, the Mark Mills-designed American-built C & C 30 OD Checkmate XVI. She may be only 30ft LOA, but she's such a hot piece of work with so many go-fast bells and whistles that she has a rating of 1.140 to put her in Class 0.

The oldest boat in the cruiser-racer fleets will be found in Class 3, where the 44ft Huff of Arklow is making an historic return to Dublin Bay racing. Originally built in 1951 by Jack Tyrrell of Arklow to a design by dinghy genius Uffa Fox, Huff is so-called because her concept is reckoned three-quarters Uffa Fox and one quarter Douglas Heard. The latter was the founding President of the Irish Dinghy Racing Association in 1946, and he later went onto to become Commodore of the Royal St George YC and a noted cruising and offshore racing enthusiast with this unusual boat, which is like a very enlarged Fying Fifteen with a lid – in fact, with her 30ft-plus waterline, she was described as a Flying Thirty. In recent years she has undergone a total restoration with Cremyll Keelboats near Plymouth in Devon, and Dominic Bridgeman of the Cremyll group will be racing her with trainee crews in her old home waters of Dublin Bay.

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The Flying Thirty Huff of Arklow racing off Dublin Bay while under Douglas Heard's ownership in the 1950s. Built by Tyrrell's of Arklow in 1951, the hugely innovative Huff has recently had a major restoration, and will be making her return to Dublin Bay to take part in VDLR2015.

Among the newer boats on the bay, the 2013 champion Checkmate XV is still very much in the picture, but now she's owned by Howth's Dave Cullen, and took second overall in class in the Kinsale series a week ago. In Dun Laoghaire next week, she's with other Half Tonners at the lower end of the Class 2 rating band on 0.944, almost 200 rating points below the new Biggs boat. Class 2 also includes the Division 3 winner at Kinsale, Richard Colwell & Ronan Cobbe's Corby 25 Fusion (HYC) which bested VDLR 205 Chairman's Sigma 33 White Mischief in a real duel after they went into the final day's racing equal on points, while another Kinsale success story in the Class 2 lineup is Paddy Kyne's X302 Maximus from Howth, overall winner of the Portcullis Trophy for top ECHO boat.

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Dave Cullen's modified Half Tonner Checkmate XV will be looking to take the top slot on Dublin Bay after being runner-up in Kinsale. Photo: David O'Brien

In between the two Checkmates on ratings, we find most of the cruiser-racer fleet, with Class 1 shaping up some interesting competition between the likes of Paul O'Higgins Corby 33 Rockabill (RIYC), Kenneth Rumball skippering the Irish National Sailing School's Reflex 38 Lynx, and two very sharp First 35s, Prima Luce (Burke, Lemass & Flynn, NYC & RIYC) and another former Scottish Series champion, John Corson (Clyde Cr C) with Salamander XXI.

This year's Scottish Series Champion and the Afloat.ie "Sailor of the Month" for May, Rob McConnell of Dunmore East, will certainly be racing in the VDLR 2015, but whether or not it's with his all-conquering A35 Fool's Gold (second in class at Kinsale) or aboard another boat (a Flying Fifteen) remains to be seen. And the Top Sailor Count doesn't end there, as there'll be at least four Olympic sailors involved in four different classes, with Robin Hennessy racing in what has all the marks of a quality International Dragon fleet against the likes of former Edinburgh Cup winner Martin Byrne, Annalise Murphy racing in the Moths which will surely be a change from the Water Wag which she raced with her mother Cathy MacAleavy (also another ex-Olympian) last time round, and Mark Mansfield helming John Maybury's J/109 Joker 2. After Joker 2's class overall win in Kinsale, we can expect a battle royal in the J/109s with boats of the calibre of Ruth for the National title fight.

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The Shipman 28s find that the sport and socializing which the VDLR guarantees will provide some of their best racing of the year. Photo: VDLR

The J/109s are the queens of an impressive array of One Design keelboats which includes Sigma 33s (where VDLR 2015 Chairman Tim Goodbody's White Mischief is racing under the command of Paul McCarthy), Beneteau First 31.7s, Shipman 28s having one of their best gatherings of the year, Ruffian 23s with a good turnout, the attractive First 21s which are steadily gaining traction as a Dublin Bay class, and best OD keelboat turnout of all is by the Flying Fifteens, nearly all of them under the NYC flag.

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Olympians all – in VDLR2013, Olympic sailors Cathy MacAleavey (1988) and her daughter Annalise Murphy (2012) raced the family Water Wag Mollie. But while Cathy will be sailing Mollie again this year, Annalise will be on her own racing a foiling International Moth.

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Newest of the oldest – Adam Winkelmann and Doug Smith's new French built Water Wag No.46, Madameoiselle, has been launched in time for the regatta. Photo: Owen McNally

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The Howth 17s of 1898 vintage will be the oldest class racing. Photo: David Branigan

Veteran classes include the IDRA 14s from 1946, the Glens from 1945, the Howth 17s of 1898 which pre-date the 1902 Water Wags, and the 1932 Mermaids, the latter being in the interesting position of no longer having an official division in Dun Laoghaire, yet it's a Dun Laoghaire skipper, Jonathan O'Rourke of the National, who continues to dominate the class both at home and away.

With large fleet numbers afloat guaranteed, the shoreside programme is appropriately busy, with the official side of each day's racing concluded by the evening's daily prize-giving at one of the four waterfront clubs. But with so many sailors involved, there'll be action in all the clubs – and at other establishments in Dun Laoghaire - throughout the week. The scene is set, let the party begin at a venue which has been staging regattas since 1828.

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When the summer comes, the après sailing at the VDLR is world class. Photo: VDLR

Further reading:

Download the full entry list for Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015 class by class below

Download the Sailing Instrcutions for Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015 HERE

 

Published in W M Nixon

#foynesyachtclub – After a late start getting the boats launched, the members of Foynes Yacht Club made the most of the month of May on the water, despite the mixed conditions. 
The sailing season kicked off with the annual Cruise to Limerick for the Limerick Riverfest on the May Bank Holiday weekend where 9 cruisers headed off to spend the weekend in the city. The oppie fleet travelled by road to meet them and the young sailors, aged 8 - 14yrs, braved the cold, rain & wind to go for a sail in the city. The cruise in company spent two nights in Limerick docks and had their annual catch up and a few drinks with the Inland Waterways Cruising Club and took in many of the activities going on for the Riverfest.
Commodore's Day was a family affair as Darragh McCormack took 1st place in IRC on his J24 Maximus, while his sister Mary won the dinghy race in the morning and followed that up with a win in the cruiser race in White Sails on their Dufour 35, Alpara. No nepotism involved, honestly! The Competent Crew Course run by Alan McEniff which started with a dry sailing evening in April with 16 participants continued throughout the month during the May Series on Wednesday evenings. Darragh kept the trophy cabinet full by also taking 1st place in IRC for the May Series while Tom Murray, who was relishing the heavy winds, was 1st in White Sails on his Kerry Sloop, Kerry Dream.
The Estuary Rugby Club had their end of year prize giving ceremony in the clubhouse early in the month. The young rugby players also got a taste of sailing as many of the cruiser fleet turned up to take them out in what started out a pleasant enough 15kts westerly before a squall bringing 35kt winds and lashing rain passed through. Luckily enough all the visiting crews were safely ashore by then. After a BBQ (& the rain), the point outside the clubhouse was turned into a rugby pitch for a game of tag rugby. The rugby club extended an invitation to the members for a follow up game at their club.... but I think I'de rather be out in the 35kt winds!!! The local St Senan's Youth Club also concluded their season by bringing about 70 youngsters down to the club for a sail around Foynes Island. For a change the sun peaked its head out & we had a lovely 12-15kts NW, just right for a nice leisurely sail & it was back to the clubhouse after that for another BBQ. Again, many thanks to all the boat owners who made their boats available and gave up their time to take our visitors out. These were two particularly enjoyable evenings in the club and it's great to see so much integration amongst the different clubs in the community.
The dinghy fleet returned to the club after participating in an April Series in Tralee Bay Sailing Club and the TBSC Spring Regatta in early May. FYC held its own Open Dinghy Event on the 3rd weekend in May in 15-18kts WNW breeze with 27 entries. 1st place for Adults in the Open Dinghy Fleet went to Tadgh O'Loinsigh from TBSC while Paddy Cunnane from DSC took 1st in the Junior fleet. 1st in the Oppies went to David McDaid from FYC.
The month concluded with the Munster Mermaid Championships. FYC will host the Mermaid National Championships in August so this was an opportunity for visiting boats to get some practice in local waters before the main event. There were 19 entries with three races scheduled over two days and as anyone who ventured out on the June Bank Holiday weekend knows, conditions were very challenging! Day one brought cold & very blustery 20-25kts winds gusting over 30kts and so the fleet was much depleted by day two which brought saw even stronger winds and even more nasty squalls! 1st place went to Paddy Dillon on Wild Wind (couldn't have been more aptly named!), Darragh McCormack (another trophy!) was 2nd on Innocence and Jim Carthy was 3rd on Vee.
Sailing will continue every Wednesday in June. First gun 1925. Let's hope for better and more consistent weather!

Published in Shannon Estuary

#mermaid – After falling victim to squally conditions at Rogerstown and with only part of the scheduled sailed to date the pressure is on to complete the Mermaid championship at Rush Sailing Club today.

The championships finally got off to a start on Tuesday with Race one and two being held in what eventually became almost light conditions. Earlier squalls had at times looked ominous but No. 26 Thumbelina and No. 188 Innocence mastered the conditions and each picked up a first. Defending champion Mark Boylan in 177 kept his name in the reckoning with a 3 and a 4. Results to date are downloadable below.

Further racing was scheduled yesterday (no results posted) with the championships concluding today.

Published in Mermaid
Tagged under

#mermaid – Strong winds gusting to 35–knots forced the cancellation of the first race of the Mermaid Sailing Association National Championships 2014 at Rush Sailing Club yesterday.
The annual event for the three man dinghy class, which typically starts with the Rockabill Trophy as a first race prize was scrubbed as strong winds hit the north Dublin venue. Racing continues this morning (more strong winds are forecast) and runs until 15th August.

Published in Mermaid

#foynes – At Foynes Yacht Club on the Shannon Estuary this coming bank holiday weekend the Munster Mermaid championships will take place writes Gerry Ryan of Foynes Yacht Club

This event will be run over two days, Saturday and Sunday, and Officer-of-the-day, Liam Madden has two days of spectacular racing planned on the Shannon estuary.

On Saturday two races will take place east of Foynes Island in an Olympic triangular course, and on Sunday one race is scheduled in Foynes harbour, so that the public can view this spectacular sport.

A total of twelve boats will be competing over the two days, with seven coming from the east coast and the remainder from FYC.

Class captain, Darragh McCormack is hoping for magnificent weather and competitive racing for the event.

This year the Mermaid's will be joined by our friend's from Kildysart, will be sailing currachs to Cooleen Point for the festivities. They will also be racing in the harbour as part of the Foynes Irish Coffee festival.

 

Fixtures for the month of June at Foynes: On all Wednesday's in June the summer league will take place. Saturday 14, Foynes to Fenit race. Saturday 21 cruise and Bar-b-que. Saturday 28 Foynes to Cappa.

Published in Mermaid
14th February 2014

Charlie McGibney 1928 – 2014

#rip – The sea, once it casts its spell, will hold you in the net of its wonder forever. A thought that left Dublin native Charlie McGibney spellbound for his 85 years. From a very young age and through all his journeys taken over sea and land throughout his long, distinguished and caring life, Charlie took his final journey this week after he peacefully passed away at his home in Tieraclea, Tarbert, County Kerry on February 13 last.

Born in 1928 and originally from Inchicore, Mr McGibney developed and harnessed his interest and love for the sea over many years culminating in stewardship roles with many of the countries national sailing classes and associations.

Through sailing and the his maritime links and bonds, Mr McGibney is fondly remembered throughout the community, both far and wide with the esteem his presence would hold.

A founder member and former Commodore of Tarbert Island Maritime Club, Mr McGibney held a position of governor of RNLI together with a secretariat role for the Topper International Class Association.

A regional race officer with the Irish Sailing Association, Mr McGibney was very much involved with the Mermaid Class Association. A former commodore and member of Foynes Yacht Club as well as Tralee Bay Sailing Club, the avid boat builder was never far from the sea, even in his later years at his Tarbert home.

Co owner of the class winning Dehler Optima 101 yacht 'Disaray' on Ireland's west coast, Mr McGibney was also a member of the West of Ireland Off Shore Racing Association (WIORA) of which his son Simon is Commodore. He was also involved with and a member of the historic Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland.

Most notably in 2005, aged 77, the able seaman and mariner was the leader of the assault to the Scottish Sailing Series - Tarbert to Tarbert with three generations involved.

At 85 and the beloved husband of the late Ita, Charlie McGibney peacefully passed away leaving behind a wide circle of family and friends. He is survived by daughter Carol; sons, Thomas, George, Gerard, John Raymond, Damien, Rory and Simon, inlaews, grand children and great children.

It is to the land he may lay, but it is to the sea he will look as Mr McGibney's final resting place is at St Mary's New Cemetery following requiem mass at the adjoining church in Tarbert.

Donations, if desired to the RNLI.

Ar dheis de go raibh an anam.

Published in News Update

#mermaid – After a dramatic day when robust conditions proved challenging for everyone, a new name appears on the coveted Mermaid Trophy. Mark Boylan, ably crewed by Niall Collins and Aileen Boylan in "This Is It" from Skerries Sailing Club, completely dominated proceedings today with two race wins.

Lurking in 5th position last night, Mark revelled in the boisterous conditions and sailed superbly displaying outstanding boat handling skills, often flying the spinnaker downwind when others elected not to emulate him.

The first race today experienced very strong squalls and the underlying big swell accentuated by a strong tide, meant that boat handling skills were at a premium.

There were several capsizes and retirements but all the contenders managed to remain unscathed. Jim Carthy, the overnight leader, in Vee posted a 6th and 4th to finish 2nd overall and Paul Smith in "Jill" maintained their outstanding consistency to finish up 3rd overall after his best Championship performance in over 30 years of sailing Mermaids.

Jonathan O Rourke in Tiller Girl finished a strong 2nd in the first race to reassert his interest in the podium positions but a disappointing 6th in the 2nd race dropped him down the standings to 4th overall.

Sam Shiels in Azeezy had a poor day by his standards posting a 7th and a 5th which nonetheless helped him to 5th overall.

Anthony Carthy in Innocence made a last day charge to finish with a 3rd and a 2nd which brought him up to 6th overall and winner of the Daphne Trophy. Brian Mc Nally in his recently acquired 186 was 9th overall and the winner of the Designer Trophy.

Mark Boylan's family is steeped in Mermaid history as his grandfather Joe was a multiple winner of the Mermaid Championships during the 70's and 80's and built many famous quick boats of which Mark's current boat is one. Aileen Boylan is another member of this famous Northside sailing family with a pedigree acquired in the competitive Mirror class. Niall Collins, who sailed with Mark last year in his first Mermaid championships, is a son of Colm Collins who has won this event several times crewing with a variety of Skippers.

Mark is the youngest winner of the Mermaid Championships and as he is in only in his early 20's it looks like he is poised to reproduce the family tradition of becoming a multiple winner of this prestigious trophy for years to come.

Overall results here

Final Overall
1st "This Is it" 177, Mark Boylan, Aileen Boylan and Niall Collins
2nd "Vee" 123, Jim Carthy, Muriel Carthy and Ruari Grimes.
3rd "Jill" 134, Paul Smith, Pat Mangan and Anne Smith
4th "Tiller Girl" 77 Jonathan O Rourke, Alan O Rourke and Dermot O Neill.
5th "Azeezy" 189 Sam Shiels, Con Bisset and Caragh Shiels.

Winner Daphne Trophy "Innocence" 189, Anthony Carthy, Eoin Butterly and Ciaran Hand.
Winner Designer Trophy 186, Brian Mc Nally, Valerie Cronin and Mike Palmer
Winner Crew's race Frankie Browne Jnr.

Published in Mermaid
Tagged under

#mermaid – The fifth race of the Mermaid Championships in Oranmore did not disappoint in turning the leaderboard on its head.The stronger breezes had the anticipated effect of bringing the usual heavy air suspects to the fore. Jim Carthy and his team in Vee played a stormer today, winning comfortably in the demanding conditions and established a 2.25 points cushion at the top of the table.

Jim Dempsey who has languished in mid fleet in the lighter winds, finally showed his class by finishing 2nd and Mark Boylan made his expected impact by getting a solid 3rd. However the overnight leader, the consistent Paul Smith in "Jill" managed to finish 4th, still leaving him in 2nd overall and very much in contention after the discards took effect.

Sam Shiels in "Azeezy" remains in the hunt with a 4th today which places him in 3rd place overall. Jonathan O'Rourke in Tiller Girl, unsurprisingly struggled in the heavier conditions but still managed a 9th which allows him to discard his horrendous 14th in race 3 but nonetheless, drops him to back to 4th overall, 5.25 points behind the leader. With decent breeze forecast for tommorow the smart money will be on Vee to do the business for the 5th time but Sam Shiels and Mark Boylan would like to think they still have a say in the outcome.

The dark horse has to be Paul Smith in Jill, who with his remarkable consistency in all conditions, may upset these predictions if any of the current fancied big breeze players have a mishap. As usual, the Championships will go down to the final race.

Overall results after race 5 here

1st "Vee" Jim Carthy 9.50

2nd "Jill" Paul Smith 11.75

3rd "Azeezy" Sam Shiels 14.00

4th "Tiller Girl" Jonathan O Rourke 14.75

5th "This Is It" Mark Boylan 16.00

Published in Mermaid
Tagged under

#mermaidMermaids in Galway were frustrated by the complete absence of any wind whatsoever resulting cancellation of the eagerly anticipated fifth race yesterday. The decision taken was to postpone and make up the lost race on Friday as the forecast for today is for very strong breeze which may mean another lost day.

Galway Bay is a venue where there is normally no shortage of reliable wind but for the last 3 weeks untypically light conditions have prevailed which also impacted on the SB20 national championships held 10 days previously.

The expected fresher winds will undoubtedly have an impact on the standings as there are several heavy air specialists lurking within striking distance.

The stage is set for the Mermaid class to serve up quite a finale, a regular feature in this competitive class.

Published in Mermaid
Tagged under

#mermaid – The fouth race of the Mermaid Championship being held in Oranmore in Galway, has extended the list of potential contenders with fresh faces making their mark at the top of the fleet. Paul Smith in "Jill" ever the model of consistency with a 6th today, has extended his lead at the top of the leader board to 4.25 points but with the discard clicking in tomorrow, things are looking like they will get very much tighter. The conditions today were very light and variable and together with a strong tide led to dramatic place changing throughout the race.

The early leader, Geraldine O' Neill in "Lively Lady" lost a huge lead on the 2nd beat and fell back to 13th whilst Anthony Carthy who was in the mid teens after the first round made a big move with a race win and was followed home in 2nd by Brain Mc Nally in 186 with Jonathan O Rourke in "Tiller Girl" in his preferred conditions, re-establishing his form with a solid and much needed 3rd to keep his challenge on course. Jim Carthy in Vee had an untypical race which he probably wants to forget finishing a disappointing 11th after being well in the hunt during the initial stages.Sam Shiels got a hard earned 7th while Mark Boylan in "This is it "maintains his interest in the final outcome with a tidy 4th in the tricky conditions. An indication of the closeness of the racing can be discerned by the fact that 2 former regular winners, Jim Dempsey and Frankie Brown are struggling to stay in the top10 overall.

The race tomorrow will be crucial in determining prospects for the leading players and Jonathan O Rourke in particular will be hoping for another top result so he can discard his expensive 14th in the windier 3rd race. Conditions are expected to remain light to moderate tomorrow and freshen over the following 2 days with plans for racing on Thursday potentially threatened by forecasted strong winds.

These fresher conditions may prove a decisive influence as noted performers in more breeze such as Jim Carthy, Sam Shiels and Mark Boylan will have a chance to play a big part in the outcome. Despite the smaller fleet than normal, this Championships is shaping up to be one of the most open and competitive in many years when any one of 8 boats are still in with a credible shot at success.

The top 5 boats after 4 races (with no discard yet) currently are;

1st Paul Smith 12.75
2nd Sam Shiels 17.00
3rd Jonathan O Rourke 19.75
4th Jim Carthy 19.75
5th Mark Boylan 20.00

Full results here

Published in Mermaid
Tagged under
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W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
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