Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: JIm Dempsey

The recent death of Skerries SC stalwart and longtime Mermaid Class ace Jim Dempsey has evoked fond memories throughout Irish sailing, and Galway Bay SC's Pierce Purcell speaks for many with his insights into Jim's special qualities of encouragement and enthusiasm, which contributed so much to today's Mermaid Class being made very welcome when they seek out a fresh venue for their annual championship.

"As a member of Galway Bay Sailing Club, I have very fond memories of first meeting Jim Dempsey" writes Pierce. "Having raced in two Mermaid Weeks with club member John Buckley on Kirkie May in Wexford – the first in 1972 - we were really impressed with the sailing standards and camaraderie of the Mermaid Class. So much so, in fact, that the late Larry Swan and I soon thought that running Mermaid Week would be a great idea to promote our new GBSC clubhouse and facilities at Renville near Oranmore.

This would be a major event for us, a real challenge, but the die was cast for 1982, and we soon realized the standards expected. The then Mermaid President, Michael Lysaght, would put terror into us with a fortnightly phone call to ensure the plans and particularly moorings were being made up and ready for one of the major events of the Irish sailing calendar.

Galway Bay Sailing Club as it is today. In 1982 it was still in its original smaller form when the Mermaid Class descended upon Renville for their annual championship, and turned the GBSC compound into a self-sufficient and highly sociable sailing villageGalway Bay Sailing Club as it is today. In 1982 it was still in its original smaller form when the Mermaid Class descended upon Renville for their annual championship and turned the GBSC compound into a self-sufficient and highly sociable sailing village

Little did the President realise just how green we were about mounting an event of this standard, but it all came together with hard work from many volunteers. The visitors arrived to a great welcome, with some fourteen caravans hired and placed around the club grounds to accommodate those of our new friends who hadn't rooms elsewhere. Jim Wiseman had the bar fully stocked, while David Whitehead had come home from his mining job in Chile to run the on-water management with such skill that it provided superb racing which was now of an even higher standard than we had remembered from competing (and coming last) in Wexford

It was in the bar in the evenings after sailing that I got to know Jim Dempsey, waiting for results from the protest room. Being from Skerries and a smaller club like ours, he would reassure us that we were running a good event, and not to get uptight about the image competition that he knew of so well on the East Coast from the North and South sides of the Liffey.

The weather of 1982 was incredible, and the Mermaid sailors raced all day and partied all night as the week went on, very seldom straying from the club compound - if at all. Many of the crews stayed on for a second week, and we all made numerous friends from clubs around the country.

Mermaid Week 2019 at the Royal Cork YC at Crosshaven, when Darragh McCormack of Foynes YC retained the national title. Photo: Robert Bateman Mermaid Week 2019 at the Royal Cork YC at Crosshaven, when Darragh McCormack of Foynes YC retained the national title. Photo: Robert Bateman

Jim and Pam had a ball that year, boosted by Jim becoming champion, and they told us of the superb holiday it was in every way. Subsequently, some of us were at other Mermaid Weeks for years to come, and Jim and Pam, in particular, would always make the Galway people welcome, and chat about the "old days".

With the sad passing of Jim Dempsey, I am poignantly reminded of the joys of dinghy sailing among friends in cherished boats, whether competing away from your club, or volunteering with your clubmates to take on the challenge of staging an event, and then meeting lovely people like the Dempsey crew who soon become friends, all of it adding to the shared anticipation of the seasons to come.

Alas, Jim Dempsey is no longer among us in this shared anticipation of events to come, and in our joy in the boats we sail in them. On behalf of Galway Bay Sailing Club, I extend our heartfelt condolences to Jim's wife Pam and their family, as well as the Mermaid Class who have lost a Champion and friend."

Summertime. Derek Joyce of Wexford racing his Mermaid No 187 at Mermaid Week 2019 in Crosshaven. It was experience of Mermaid Week 1972 in Wexford which first started Galway Bay SC on the high road to hosting this major event in 1982 at their new clubhouse at Renville near Oranmore Photo: Robert BatemanSummertime. Derek Joyce of Wexford racing his Mermaid No 187 at Mermaid Week 2019 in Crosshaven. It was experience of Mermaid Week 1972 in Wexford which first started Galway Bay SC on the high road to hosting this major event in 1982 at their new clubhouse at Renville near Oranmore Photo: Robert Bateman

Published in Galway Harbour
Tagged under

Jim Dempsey, one of the sailing greats from Skerries passed away last night. He had been unwell for the last few years but he did not allow his illness to adversely impact on his good humour and his ability to engage with his friends. A Chartered Accountant by profession and a respected businessman, Jim had his heart in sporting activities, proving to be a high-quality scrum-half for many years with Skerries Rugby Club and subsequently, as one of the finest sailors in Skerries Sailing Club.

He learned his racing skills crewing for Harry Grimes, another of the outstanding sailors produced by this North County Dublin club.

Jim initially sailed Enterprises but his true love was the Mermaid Class in which he successfully campaigned his beloved Elisabeth No 36, winning several National Championships, including one in a borrowed boat, the mark of a true Champion.

He was a canny sailor with a lovely touch hardly ever seeming to move the tiller. No matter the boat or the crew, for many years, Jim always managed to finish at the top end of, what was then, an extremely competitive and talented large fleet.

As a former Commodore of Skerries Sailing Club and a previous President of the Mermaid Sailing Association Jim was actively involved in ensuring the constant healthy development of sailing in novel and adventurous ways. He was a gently persuasive person who never had an unkind word to say about anyone. If advice or help was needed, Jim could always be relied upon to help generously.

We shall all miss his company as his reputation, as a polished raconteur and occasional rabble-rousing singer, ensured that there would always be the best of craic to be enjoyed in his company.

Our heartfelt sympathies go to his wife Pam and his children. He will be sorely missed by the entire Irish Sailing Community, not the least by the extensive Mermaid network, nearly all of whom will have great stories to tell about their friend, an absolute gentleman.

RB

Published in Mermaid
Tagged under

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating