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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.

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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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Published in W M Nixon

#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.

Published in Mermaid

#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.

Published in Mermaid

#mermaid – As readers know from our coverage of Thumbalina (the voyaging Dublin Bay Mermaid) the Mermaid National Championships “Mermaid Week” is being hosted by Skerries Sailing Club  from August 4th to 10th, 2012. It is a very special class occasion as it coincides with the 80th Anniversary of the boats original design in the 1930s by Mr. John Kearney.

Retaining its classical tradition, Mermaids from all over the country will arrive in Skerries to compete in the annual Dublin Bay Mermaid National Championship. The festivities and celebration commence on Saturday 4th August with a "Parade of Sail" from the south beach in Skerries around to the harbour.

The seaside resort of Skerries is expected to draw a crowd to watch these traditional boats sail in formation around Red Island on Saturday 4th August, before commencing a week of dramatic close combat racing visible to all from the shoreline.

Skerries Sailing Club expects over fifty entries, with hundreds of keen Mermaid sailors seeking championship honours as well as fun on the water. Fully rigged, these beautiful classic wooden boats will look spectacular racing each day in Skerries bay during the week.

Mr. Sam Shields, Commodore of Skerries Sailing Club stated:

"Mermaid Week this year is a very special occasion, not only will the championship be the most competitive in the history of the class, this event has motivated every Dublin Bay Mermaid owner, sailor and crew alike to get their boats, old and new, out on the water for the 80th Anniversary Celebration of this amazing classic wooden boat"

Mermaid Week traces its origins back 1970 when the first Mermaid Week was held in Skerries. Prior to 1970 the Championship was decided on the basis of Regatta results from 1953 to 1969. Each year 30 to 50 Mermaids race against each other in this seven day championship.

With an active fleet of over 60 boats, it remains one of the largest racing fleets in the country and continues to flourish. The construction of three new boats has been completed this year. Nos. 190, 191 & 192 were launched at Rush on 7th July built locally under the management and experience of Enda Weldon.

A number of 'home town boats' and previous championship title holders will also be competing to win the national championship title on the 80th anniversary of the class. As part of the celebrations, 'The Voyage Home', organised by Therese McHugh a former MSA President and local Skerries resident, has seen a Mermaid (no. 26) leave Foynes, on the Shannon estuary and sail via South Coast up the East Coast intending to arrive in Skerries in time for the Championship.

The Championship has had immense support from the local community, with individuals and businesses alike contributing the organisation and success of Mermaid Week 2012.

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#mermaid – As part of the celebrations for the 80th Anniversary of the DBSC Mermaid, the class undertook a voyage from Foynes in Limerick to Skerries in North Co Dublin where the National Championships will be held in early August. The intention was to visit all the locations where Mermaids sail and call in to other traditional cruising haunts along the way.

The boat selected for the trip, Thumbalina no 26, is owned by Patrick Boardman from Rush. The boat was built in 1952 and in the hands of the late Noel O' Hare proved virtually unbeatable in Dun Laoghaire during the late 50s and early 60s.

The trip was undertaken in legs of 20 to 40 miles usually accompanied by local RNLI inshore boats or cruising boats form nearby clubs along the way. 20 different crew sailed Thumbalina with the assistance of over 50 support personnel on accompanying boats.

There are reports of some very exciting sailing, particularly from Derek Joyce and his team who recorded speeds in excess of 12.5 Knots on their journey from Kilmore Quay to Wexford. Pat Mangan also recorded similar speeds over the ground with a huge tidal stream in their favour as they flew through Dursey Sound. Patrick Boardman recorded the longest daily run of over 54 miles from Smerwick Harbour to Derrynane. The most picturesque journey was enjoyed by Roger Bannon and Therese Mc Hugh who brought Thumbalina from Crookhaven to Baltimore travelling on the inside route through all the islands of that famous part of West Cork.

The distance sailed until arrival in the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire on Sunday 15th July is 480 miles with 32 miles remaining to be covered by visiting Clontarf and Rush before concluding in Skerries.

Clontarf will be hosting the Leinster Championships on 21st and 22nd July.

The voyage onwards will visit Rush to celebrate the launching of 3 new boats, Mayhem, Ariel and Maybe.

The final leg to Skerries will be sailed in company with as many as 20 boats in advance of Skerries Regatta on 28th and 29th July.

The arrival of Thumbalina in the National coincided with the ISAF Junior World Championships and this provided a wondrous contrast between the classic and rugged attributes of the Mermaid compared with the modern alternatives that these talented future young Olympians were sailing.

The National Mermaid Championships will be held in Skerries from 4th to the 10th August and over 45 entries are anticipated which compares with 60 entries in 1983 when the 50th Anniversary was also celebrated at this Mermaid sailing stronghold of over 60 years.

For the first time it is expected that 9 former winners of the coveted Mermaid Trophy will participate; Frankie Brown (3), Jim Dempsey(2) and Roger Bannon(6) all of whom sailed in the event in 1983 with Jim Carthy(4), Derek Joyce(5), Paddy Dillon(1), Niall Mc Grotty(2), Sam Shiels(1) and Johnny O' Rourke (1).

New blood featuring Ruari Grimes and Anthony Carthy in established quick boats together with the trio of new boats from Rush will also add new possibilities to the usual excitement of Mermaid Week in 2012.

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#mermaid – Thumbelina Mermaid no 26, completed the passage from Balycotton to Dungarvan, a distance of almost 30 miles in a little over 4 hours! a pace with which many 40 foot cruisers would be delighted. The crew skippered by Eugene Burke arrived over an hour ahead of the support boat accompanying them on the trip.

Dungarvan hosts it first Mermaid event over the weekend with several boats attending from all around the country to support the embryonic fleet in Dungarvan.

Long time Mermaid stalwart, Derek Joyce is expected to undertake the next stage and bring Thumbelina to Kilmore Quay and if the weather is kind, onwards to Wexford next week.

It is anticipated as Thumbelina starts the homeward stages up the East coast she will be joined by other Mermaids on some of the legs, culminating in a sizable fleet of mermaids doing the last leg to Skerries from Dun Laoghaire via Rush during the final weekend in July. The entire trip is estimated to be 520 miles from its commencement from Foynes on the Shannon just under a month ago. Thumbelina is being sailed in stages by different Mermaid sailors who bring their own sails and regular crew from all around the country.

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#regattas – After a week of rain and gales there was a full programme of yachting round the coast at the weekend with one of the biggest fleets racing for RAYC Bloomsday regatta honours at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. From the same club the clinker Waterwags celebrated 125 years of racing on Dublin Bay with a 20–boat fleet and a Victorian high tea yesterday afternoon. There were celebrations too further up the east coast for K. Halliwell's 'She of the North' who won the fiftieth round Ailsa Craig race from the Royal Ulster Yacht Club.

Antrim sailor Chris Penney won the Laser Leinsters at Howth and in a possible sign of good things to come ISAF Youth Rep Finn Lynch of the National YC won the radial division. The Ruffian 23s raced for national honours on Dublin Bay and 20 Fireballs turned up to race for Ulster honours at East Down Yacht Club.

In Cowes, Royal Cork's Anthony O'Leary, who finished second last weekend in the 1720 Nationals on home waters, was second overall again yesterday in IRC one class at a windy British National Cruiser Championships. Great onboard action video from Cowes here.

And finally, if you are on the south coast this week and see a small half decked Mermaid dinghy take the time to say hello. She is currently in Crookhaven, West Cork heading east so expect to see her in Cork harbour this week or next! The clinker built Thumbalina is cruising round the coast from Foynes on the Shannon Estuary to Skerries in North Dublin as part of the eightieth celebrations of the traditional Dublin Bay class.

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