The SSE Renewables Round Ireland Yacht Race from Wicklow on June 20th 2020 will attract some of the hottest new offshore racers to be seen in Irish and European waters. But there will be some more senior and even classic craft in the fleet, and in the 2018 race, Darryl Hughes’ immaculately-restored 1937 43ft Tyrrell gaff ketch Maybird became both the oldest and the first gaff-rigged boat to complete the race.
It was quite a moment when Maybird crossed the finish line in the sunshine, and rumours abound as to how long her post-race party went on both in Wicklow and her birthplace of Arklow, which had provided some of her crew. We do know it was deservedly quite a celebration, and the whole experience has left Darryl with such fond memories that he got to wondering if some trophy honouring Maybird might be accepted for future Round Irelands to celebrate the oldest boat to complete the course each time the biennial race is sailed.
Wicklow Sailing Club – where master thatcher Kyran O’Grady is now Commodore, and which led the way in welcoming Maybird home – are very taken with the idea. So in the workshop at his recently-acquired house in Crosshaven, Darryl has been crafting the Maybird Mast Trophy from timber salvaged from some of the ketch’s original spars. The resulting trophy will have added meaning in several ways, not least in that it will be a piece of high-quality woodwork which - in its original form - will have been handled by the great Jack Tyrrell himself, a world-renowned shipwright who gave real meaning to the term “hands-on management”.