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Displaying items by tag: Mermaid

#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.

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#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

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#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.

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#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

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#mermaid – Galway Bay Sailing Club is hosting its second major National Championships within weeks. The SB20's sailing from Galway harbour experienced unusually light conditions with very tight racing but struggled to complete 6 races of a planned 9 race series.

This week the Mermaids are in Oranmore where the first 2 races were completed on Sunday in similarly frustrating and untypical light winds. The 26 entries, a significant drop from the attendance in Skerries last year when 40 boats participated, enjoyed brisker conditions today for the 3rd race and the big shock was the surprising 14th finishing position for the joint overnight leader. Jonathan O Rourke in Tiller Girl from the National YC., last year's winner, which dropped him to 5th overall.

Meanwhile Jill skippered by Paul Smith from the Royal Irish lies 1st overall with 2 former Champions nipping at his heels, Jim Carthy in "Vee" from Rush S.C. and Sam Shiels in "Azeezy" from Skerries S.C. Mark Boylan also from Skerries S.C. in "This is it", a top 3 finisher in his first championships last year follows closely behind the leading pack. Light conditions are expected for the next 2 days with the breeze increasing for the final races towards the end of the week.

Anthony Carthy's Innocence, the recent winner of the Mermaid Munster title at Foynes lies sixth. 

The mixed conditions should ensure the battle will not be resolved until the last race next Friday morning as consistency in the variable conditions looks likely to prove crucial to the ultimate outcome.

Results here

Published in Mermaid

The Munster Mermaid Championships sponsored by Ocean Crest Marine were hosted by Foynes Yacht Club on the Shannon estuary and a spectacular two days racing took place writes Gerry Ryan.
The officer of the day, Alan McEneff had a considerable job in setting the course on Saturday east of Foynes Island, because of the weather conditions that prevailed, with a north-westerly wind and gusting force 4 to 5 with wind shifts, of course this made the task harder.
After a postponement of a brief period the race went ahead. Stiff competition was the order of the day with four boats from Skerries and Rush Sailing Clubs competing. Anthony Carthy, RSC., on Innocence kept up the pace right through the race with Cara II shading it on a few occasions, but in the end Carthy got to the finish line first.
In the second race it was much the same picture with Innocence winning again and FYC boat Three Chevrons comin second, and Frankie Browne Cara II coming in third.
On Sunday, the weather conditions were a little calmer with a force 2-3 breeze, which the competitors did not need to worry about breakages to any of the boats fittings.
In the only race of the day Vincent McCormack won on Three Chevrons with Luke and Roisin McCormack; second was Anthony Carthy on Innocence and third was Enda Weldon on Mayhem.
The overall winner of the Munster Mermaid trophy after three races was Anthony Carthy on Innocence, his crew were Eoin and Alan Butterly. Three Chevrons came second and Cara II third. Claire Lowes, from FYC on Zest finished fourth, which was an excellent result for the Foynes boats.
Saturday, Race 1: 1st Innocence, 188, Anthony Carthy; 2nd Cara II, 135, Frankie Browne; 3rd Three Chevrons, 119, Vincent McCormack.
Saturday, Race 2: 1st Innocence, 188, Anthony Carthy; 2nd Three Chevrons, 119, Vincent McCormack; 3rd place: Cara II, Frankie Browne.
Sunday, Race 1: 1st Three Chevrons, 119, Vincent McCormack; 2nd Innocence, 188, Anthony Carthy; 3rd Mayhem, 190, Enda Weldon.
Overall results: 1st Innocence, 188, Anthony Carthy; 2nd Three Chevrons, 119, Vincent McCormack; 3rd Cara II, 135, Frankie Browne.
The skippers and the crews were happy with the courses set and the hospitality which the club afforded them at Cooleen Point, hopefully, they will return next year for good and fair sailing.
At the presentation of prizes on Sunday, Commodore Tom Murray thanked the Officer of the Day, Alan McEneff in his handling of the championships, and also thanked James McCormack as his assistant, and the rest of the members of the club who assisted in any way with the championships.

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#irishmaritimehistory –  It was a life which would have been remarkable by any standards, in any place, at any time. But in the Dublin of its era, this was a life of astonishing achievement against all the odds, in a rigidly structured society made even more conservative by a time of global unrest and national upheaval.

John Breslin Kearney (1879-1967) was born of a longshore family in the heart of Ringsend in Dublin, the eldest of four sons in a small house in Thorncastle Street. The crowded old houses backed onto the foreshore along the River Dodder in a relationship with the muddy inlet which was so intimate that at times of exceptional tidal surges, any ground floor rooms were at risk of flooding.

But at four of the houses, it enabled the back yards to be extended to become the boatyards of Foley, Murphy, Kearney and Smith. Other houses on Thorncastle Street provided space for riverside sail lofts, marine blacksmith workshops, traditional ropeworks, and all the other long-established specialist trades which served the needs of fishing boats, and the small vessels - rowed and sailed - with which the hobblers raced out into Dublin Bay and beyond to provide pilotage services for incoming ships. And increasingly, as Dublin acquired a growing middle class with the burgeoning wealth of the long Victorian era, the little boatyards along the Dodder also looked after the needs of the boats of the new breed of recreational summer sailors.

The young John Kearney was particularly interested in this aspect of activity at his father's boatyard, where he worked during time away from school. From an early age, he developed a natural ability as a boat and yacht designer, absorbing correspondence courses and testing his skills from 1897 onwards, when he designed and built his first 15ft sailing dinghy, aged just 18.

He was apprenticed in boat-building to Dublin Port & Docks across the river, qualifying as a master shipwright. But his talents were such that he rose to the top in all the areas of the port which required the designing and making of specialised structures, some of them very large. So in addition to building workboats of all sizes, he played a key role in projects like the new pile lighthouse at the North Bull, for which he developed support legs threaded like giant corkscrews, and rotated into the seabed like monster coachbolts.

murphysboatyard

Murphy's Boatyard on the Dodder in Ringsend in the rare old times is perfectly captured in this woodcut by Harry Kernoff RHA. It was all disappeared in 1954, when the old houses of Thorncastle Street were replaced by a complex of Corporation flats of such good quality that they have recently had a major refurbishment.

He also pioneered the use of reinforced concrete for pre-fabricated harbour constructions, and when the Great War broke out in 1914, his special talents and experience were called upon to advise on quick-build ferrocement structures of all kinds. Although Ireland remained neutral as World War II broke out in 1939, the Dublin engineering firm of Smith and Pearson established a yard in Warrenpoint just across the border to build concrete barges and small ships for war work, and John Kearney was their consultant.

So far-reaching was his input into developing the infrastructure of Dublin port that when he retired in 1944, while his official title was as Superintendent of Construction Works, he was de facto the Harbour Engineer. But he couldn't be properly acknowledged as such, because he had never qualified from a third level college - it was far from universities that the Kearneys of Ringsend were reared.

However, this lack of an official title left him unfazed, for his retirement at the age of 65 meant he could concentrate full-time on his parallel career as a yacht designer, something that was so important to him that when his gravestone was erected in Glasnevin in 1967, it simply stated: John Kearney, Yacht Designer.

He had developed his skills in this area ever since his first boat in 1897. In 1901, when he was still 21, a 17ft clinker-built canoe yawl, the Satanella which Kearney designed and built for noted Dublin Bay sailor Pat Walsh, was praised in the London yachting press. Her owner camping-cruised this little boat successfully along the great rivers of Europe before World War 1, getting there simply by sailing his canoe from Dun Laoghaire into Dublin Docks, and striking a shipping deal with whichever ship's captain was heading for a port on the desired river.

Kearney had been busy for the ensuing nine years with his growing responsibilities in Dublin Port. But in 1910 he reserved a corner of Murphy's Yard, and in the next eighteen months, working in his spare time entirely by hand with the light of oil lamps, he built his first personal dreamship, the 36ft gaff yawl Ainmara, to his own design. In this his first proper yacht, he immediately achieved the Kearney hallmark of a handsome hull which looks good from any angle, a seakindly boat which was gentle with her crew yet had that priceless ability of the good cruising yacht – she could effortlessly maintain a respectable average speed over many miles while sailing the high seas in comfort.

Built in straightforward style of pitchpine planking on oak, Ainmara was highly regarded, and though the world was at war for four of the ten years John Kearney owned her, when he could sail his preferred cruising ground was Scotland. She was no slouch on the race course either. Her skipper became a member of Howth Sailing Club in 1920, and HSC's annual Lambay Race became a Kearney speciality, his first recorded overall win being in 1921 when, in a breezy race, Ainmara won the cruisers by one-and-a-half minutes.

Despite the turmoils of Ireland's War of Independence and Civil War, in the early 1920s John Kearney's position with the Port & Docks had become so secure that in 1923 he felt sufficiently confident to sell Ainmara in order to clear the way to build himself a new boat, the superb 38ft yawl Mavis, which was launched in July 1925. He was to own, cruise and race her with great success for nearly thirty years, by which time he was a pillar of the Dun Laoghaire sailing establishment – he'd a house in Monkstown, and had become Rear Commodore of the National Yacht Club, a position he held until his death in 1967.

Even with the demands of his work, and the continuing attention needed to run a yacht of the calibre of Mavis, he had found the time to design and sometimes also build other yachts of many types. What he didn't seem to have time for was simple domesticity. In later years his presence was enough to command respect, but in his vigorous younger days he could be waspish, to say the least, and a brief attempt at marriage was not a success.

Sibling relationships were also sometimes tense. Two of his brothers were boatbuilders and one of them, Jem, was almost always daggers-drawn with John. And Jem Kearney had regular battles with others, too. He was a classic Dublin character, and no stranger to salmon netting on the Liffey in circumstances of questionable legality. If one of these expeditions had been spectacularly successful, he would erupt triumphantly back into his family's little house on the East Wall Road and announce: "Pack you bags, Mrs Kearney, we're off to stay in the Gresham!" And he meant it, too. Mr & Mrs Jem Kearney of the East Wall Road became resident in the Gresham Hotel until the salmon money ran out.

So when he was building Mavis, John Kearney would only work with his brother Tom, and they were a fantastic team. But even that didn't last. One November night, working away at planking the hull, they took a break for a mug of tea at 9.30pm, and couldn't find the sugar. Each blamed the other for its absence. The row was seismic. The following night, each turned up with his own personal supply of tea, milk and sugar. And the work continued as smoothly as ever. But not one single word was exchanged between the two brothers for the remaining eight months of the project. It was years before they spoke again.

Quite what this meant when Mavis launched herself on St Stephens Day 1924 we can only guess. Like Ainmara eleven years earlier, Mavis could only be accommodated in Murphy's shed by being built in a large trench, and an exceptional Spring tide on December 26th 1924 saw her unplanned flotation. There was no damage done, but history doesn't record whether it was John and Tom who sorted the problem together despite not saying a word.

The immaculate Mavis made an immediate and successful impact, and Skipper Kearney and his beloved gaff yawl were honoured guests at regattas all along the east coast. While continuing to work full time for the Port & Docks, he kept up the spare-time yacht-building, but after the experiences with Mavis, when a regular Kearney crewmember, Billy Blood-Smyth, commissisoned a new 35ft gaff yawl from the skipper, it was client and designer who had to work together in the familiar corner of Murphy's yard to build the boat which became Sonia, launched in 1929.

Irish sailing was in a very quiet phase through the 1930s. Just about the only expanding organization was the Irish Cruising Club, and naturally John B Kearney and Mavis were on the first membership list in 1930, with Mavis a regular competitor in its offshore races, with a notable victory in the stormy 1935 race to the Isle of Man, a performance which won special praise from another participant, Humphrey Barton who was to found the Ocean Cruising Club 19 years later.

mavisclyde

Mavis coming into port after winning the Clyde Cruising Club's annual Tobermory Race in 1938. Club rules at the time stipulated that as proper cruising yachts, the competing boats should tow their tenders throughout this race. Much effort went into designing sweet-lined dinghies.

Mavis also was overall winner of the Clyde Cruising Club's Tobermory Race in 1938. But while his own sailing was going splendidly, John Kearney was concerned at the sluggish state of sailing development in Ireland. In order to give younger people an opportunity to own their own boat, in 1932 he created the design for the 17ft Mermaid, a large clinker-built sailing dinghy which was designed to be constructed for around £180 - roughly the same price as a motorbike. The Mermaid was adopted by Dublin Bay SC, but it took a long time to gain momentum, and it wasn't until the late 1940s and early 1950s that it became the most popular class in the greater Dublin area. It is still active today with nearly 200 boats built, and more than 40 took part in its 80th Anniversary championship last summer in Skerries, the winner being Jonathan O'Rourke from the National YC,while the furthest travelled was Patrick Boardman's Thumbalina from Rush, which had started from Foynes on the Shannon Estuary, home to the most distant Mermaid fleet, and had – most impressively - sailed all the way round the south coast to Skerries to mark the 80th birthday.

mermaid

The Mermaid was designed in 1932 to be built at the same price as the average motor-bike

With his retirement in 1944, John Kearney's design work came centre stage, and he was busy to the end, creating more than 20 cruising yachts in all. And life in Monkstown was pleasant. Over the door of the room where he did his design work, he'd a little motto on a brass plate: "God gives us our relatives. Thank God we can choose our friends". His close friends were all from sailing, and it was a crew member who had joined Mavis in 1946, the formidable Miss Douglas, who became his friend and housekeeper and looked after him to the end of his long and remarkable life.

jbkearney

John Kearney, aged 83, working at the drawings of his last design, the 54ft yawl Helen of Howth Photo: Tom Hudson

sonia

Sonia, built 1929, cruising in British Columbia, her home waters since 1958 Photo: Jeff Graham

John Kearney's entire life is in its way a great legacy, and his fine boats are his tangible memorials. They've ventured to the far corners of the world. For instance, the 30ft Evora, a lovely Bermudan yawl which he designed for building by Skinner's of Baltimore in 1936, was last reported from Darwin in Australia. The pretty Sonia of 1929 is well at home these days in British Columbia. And as for Mavis, the crème de la crème, she is currently undergoing a painstaking restoration in Maine by shipwright Ron Hawkins, who is very encouraged by the amount of original material he is able to retain.

mavis2

Ron Hawkins in Mavis at an early stage of his restoration project Photo: Hal Sisk

mavis3

Ron Hawkins has been much encouraged by the amount of original material he has been able to retain in restoring Mavis Photo: Denise Pukas

John Kearney's first proper yacht, the 9-tonner Ainmara from 1912, has been owned for 47 years by former Round Ireland record holder Dickie Gomes of Strangford Lough. Last year, she celebrated her Centenary with a cruise to the Outer Hebrides. This year - next week in fact - she hopes to be in Dublin Bay for the Old Gaffers Association Golden Jubilee. And as it will be at Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club, Ainmara will be back home in Ringsend for the first time in 90 years, and John Breslin Kearney will be well remembered, and celebrated too.

ainmara

Still going strong. Dickie Gomes is the happy owner aboard Ainmara, which will be returning to Ringsend next week 101 years after she was built there to his own designs by John B Kearney Photo: W M Nixon

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#mermaid – The National Yacht Club's Jonathan O'Rourke with Carol Cronin and Alan O'Rourke in Mermaid No. 77 Tiller Girl have sailed to victory at the 2012 Mermaid National Championships in Skerries Sailing Club at the weekend. Last week's 40 boat regatta was sailed in a varitey of conditions and marked a special 80th anniversary for the clinker dinghy class. Full results available below as a pdf for download.

Of the six races O'Rourke and crew had four wins, a ninth and an eleventh place. The Dun Laoghaire trio also won a haul of class cups to boot inlcuding the Master's Trophy for helms older than a certain age! Celia No.5 Trophy for boats older than 40 years, the North Bull Cup for winning Race 3, Doreen Cup for Race 4, Rush Cup for Race 5 and Bailey Cup for Race 6.

Runner up was Skerries sailing Club's Mark Boylan with Niall Collins and Andrew Sexton sailing No. 177. Of the six races Mark and crew had three seconds, a third and two sixths.

O'Rourke's club mate Roger Bannon sailing with Kate Grimes and Robert Bannon in No. 102 Endeavour. Of the six races Bannon and crew had a win, a second, a third, a fourth, an eleventh and a disqualification.

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#mermaid – Saturday 7th July last was an historic day at Rush Sailing Club with the launch of three new Dublin Bay Mermaids. Three members built the boats over the past two years: brothers Enda and Anthony (Ants) Weldon and Paddy Archer. Mermaids have been at the heart of Rush Sailing Club since members built four of them together in the 1950s. The prime mover of this project was Enda Weldon, who had built a Mermaid before. In fact Mermaids are in the Weldon blood, they still have their father's boat built in the 1960s, which along with the new ones, brings the family fleet to six!

Nationally, the active Mermaid fleet numbers around fifty boats, with around ten boats regularly competing in Rush. Designed by J. B. Kearney in 1932, these 17ft, clinker built dinghies are one of the oldest one-design classes, celebrating their eightieth birthday this year. The building of the three new boats, numbers 190, 191 and 192, created quite a 'buzz', with many turning up in the Weldon's farm shed to lend a hand throughout the long winter evenings.

In spite of the forecast for more grey weather on Saturday, the boats glistened in the sunshine of a glorious afternoon as they arrived in procession to a welcoming crowd on launch day (God must be a Mermaid sailor!). They were a splendid sight. The creamy Sitka spruce planking contrasts with rich mahogany sheer strakes, decks and transoms, trimmed with pale ash rubbing strakes and combings. The spruce was sourced through a boat builder in the South of England, whose father is in the timber business in Canada, and selects special logs for him. Timber of such quality is hard to find, there was hardly a knot or a shake to be found in the entire lot.

Naming the boats was left to the last minute, with Enda, choosing Mayhem for no. 190, followed by a more cautious Maybe for 191 by Paddy Archer. Anthony Weldon chose the more romantic Ariel for no. 192, inspired by many hours of reading stories to his daughter Ciara.

After a brief sail around the bay, the three skippers declared themselves contented with very well balanced boats. As to how competitive they prove to be, only time will tell – no two hand built wooden boats are exactly the same, and Mermaids are notoriously 'tweeky', with tiny adjustments to rig tension and mast positions proving crucial. What is certain is that they are a credit to the men that built them, and a proof that the skills of traditional boat building are not dead yet.

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#mermaid – One of the biggest Irish one design dinghy fleets of the 2012 season has gathered in North Dublin this week to celebrate an important birthday both for the class and Irish sailing. The 80th Anniversary Mermaid Championships in Skerries has attracted 41 entries who have enjoyed very close racing in light winds, strong tides and coped with yesterday's poor visibility with dense fog rolling in from the Irish Sea. Full results to date are available for download below.

Most of the usual names are to be seen at the top of the leader board but a number of new young helms are making their impression, not the least being the consistent performance from 20 year old Mark Boylan and his young crew from Skerries sailing a boat built by his grandfather no177 "This Is It"

After 4 races Mark Boylan leads from a group of former winners including Paddy Dillon in Wild Wind no131 and Roger Bannon in Endeavour no102.

Jonathan O Rourke in Tiller Girl no 77 has recorded 2 back to back emphatic wins but a slow start in earlier races currently holds him in 5th place just behind another multiple championship winner Jim Carthy from Rush in the famous Vee no 123.

The top 3 boats are within 3 points of each other and the race on Thursday when the discard clicks in will undoubtedly have a dramatic impact on the outcome with Tiller Girl hoping to claw back ground lost earlier in the week and go into Friday with a real prospect of success in conditions she normally dominates.

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