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Displaying items by tag: Mermaid

Jim Dempsey from Skerries with crew Scott Flanagan and Cian O'Regan won Mermaid week in Paul Winters' No. 183 Wannago (based on provisional results).  Dempsey was 2nd in Thursday's Race 5, sailed in shifty 7-10 knot westerly breeze at Foynes on the lower Shannon.  This was enough to secure him an unassailable first place and he didn't even have to the final Race 6 today. Four times winner Jim Carthy in 123 Vee was 2nd overall and  Paddy Dillon in 131 Wild Wind was 3rd on equal points with Carthy.

The new champion has previously won Mermaid Week in 1987 and again in 2000, sailing his own boat No. 36 Elizabeth.  Paul Winter's boat, No. 183 Wannago has won Mermaid Week once before, in Fenit in 2002, helmed by her builder and former owner Sam Shiels.

The winner of the Daphne (Silver fleet, 12 boats) was Geraldine O'Neill in 73 Lively Lady crewed by her husband Mick Hanney (President of Mermaid Sailing Association) and Ailbhe Smith.  O'Neill, like Dempsey didn't have to sail on the last day to secure the trophy.


The Mermaid Start for Race 6 today in a 22 knot breeze on the Shannon Estuary

The Designer (Bronze fleet, 23 boats), unlike the others was down to the bitter end with Mark McCormack (54 Hycilla) and Paddy Archer (18 Clare) being the main contenders. But retirements of 54 and 18 due to gear failure in squalls allowed Mark Boylan of Skerries (177 This is It) sailing a boat built by his grandfather Joe to achieve overall victory.

Overall results:
1st 183 Wannago Owner Paul Winters, Helm Jim Dempsey, Crew Cian O'Regan and Scott Flanagan of Skerries - 8 points
2nd 123 Vee Owner & Helm, Jim Carthy, Crew Paula & Muriel Carthy of Rush - 13 points
3rd 131 Wild Wind Owner & Helm, Paddy Dillon, Crew Johnny Dillon & Rory Grimes of Rush- 13 points
4th 188 Innocence Owner & Helm, Anthony Carthy, Crew Marguerite Carthy and Eoin Butterly of Rush - 24 points
5th 187 Zuleika Owner & Helm, Derek Joyce, Crew Cillian Joyce and Darragh Hassey of Wexford - 29 points
6th 135 Cara II Owner & Helm, Frankie Browne, Crew Marina & Frankie Browne Jnr of Skerries - 30 points

Daphne -  73  Lively Lady Owner & Helm Geraldine O'Neill, Crew Mick Hanney, Ailbe Smith of National Yacht Club
Designer -  177 This is It Owner Joe Boylan, Helm Mark Boylan, Crew Niall Collins & Graham Daly of Skerries

Published in Shannon Estuary
Jim Dempsey from Skerries with crew Scott Flanagan and Cian O'Regan won Mermaid week in Paul Winters' No. 183 Wannago (based on provisional results).  Dempsey was 2nd in today's Race 5, sailed in shifty 7-10 knot westerly breeze at Foynes on the lower Shannon.  This was enough to secure him an unassailable first place and he doesn't even have to sail Race 6 tomorrow. Contender and last year's champion Paddy Dillon in 131 Wild Wind was 6th today, and is this is now his discard, he cannot make up the gap on points with Dempsey.  Similarly four times winner Jim Carthy in 123 Vee's 4th didn't do the job either.

Jonathan O'Rourke's No.77 Tiller Girl won today, leading the fleet the for the first half and then tussling with No 187 Zuleika for the 2nd half, eventually winning out on the last beat.  There was considerable place swapping further down in the fleet.  Of particular interest is the four McCormack boats competing for the Munster trophy.  Brothers James and Vincent, and James' sons Darragh and Mark are competing in their four Mermaids and all in the running for the Munster trophy (9 boats eligible).  They went around the 2nd leeward mark in a raft today, though without troubling the protest committee. It looks like it will be down to the last beat on the last day (tomorrow, Race 6).

The new unofficial champion has previously won Mermaid Week in 1987 and again in 2000, sailing his own boat No. 36 Elizabeth.  Paul Winter's boat, No. 183 Wannago has won Mermaid Week once before, in Fenit in 2002, helmed by her builder and former owner Sam Shiels.

The unofficial winner of the Daphne (Silver fleet, 12 boats) was Geraldine O'Neill in 73 Lively Lady crewed by her husband Mick Hanney (President of Mermaid Sailing Association) and Ailbhe Smith.  O'Neill, like Dempsey doesn't have to sail tomorrow to secure the trophy.

The Designer (Bronze fleet, 23 boats), unlike the others will be down to the bitter end with Mark McCormack (54 Hycilla) and Paddy Archer (18 Clare)being the main contenders.

All of the above is provisional information as Protest Time is still open for Race 5 until 20:41 this evening and overall championship results will not be confirmed officially until after 17:00 on Friday 6th August.

For the first time this year, the Mermaid Sailing Association and Foynes Yacht Club have been running a live blog during racing with updates every few minutes from the committee boat, supported by analysis from the race office.  Live photos are also posted on the blog, including contentious start lines and boat on boat action.  In today's racing over there were over 700 views of the blog and more than 100 on line at <>  simultaneously.

Mermaid Week concludes tomorrow with Race 6.  33 boats are competing. Follow the Live Commentary at for news of any protest this evening and during racing tomorrow from 13:00.

Published in Shannon Estuary
Skerries sailor Jim Dempsey, sailing his clubmate Paul Winters' Wannago, totally dominated today's Race 4 at Mermaid Week in Foynes.  He led the 30 boat fleet the whole way around, with a constant battle and place swapping for 2nd place between last year's winner Paddy Dillon (Wild Wind) and his former skipper Jim Carthy (Vee), both from Rush.  There were battles further down the fleet as well, with uncle and nephew James and Mark McCormack of Foynes constantly swapping places.
Conditions were lively, with 22 knots of breeze from the NNW at times.  Spinnaker handling skills were tested and a number of crews went for a swim as the spinnakers took the boats over in
the gusts.  One of those was Frankie Browne in his recently restored Cara II.  He recovered well, bailed the boat and fought his way back up the fleet, picking off two boats on the finish line.
Race 5 tomorrow is at 16:00, after which the discard applies.  33 boats are competing and racing concludes on Friday.
You can follow all the action live on the Live Commentary blog, with real time photos from the Committee Boat and Race Office:
Race 4: 1st Wannago, 2nd Vee, 3rd Wild Wind, 4th Innocence, 5th Zuleika, 6th Tiller Girl, 7th The Message, 8th Thumbalina, 9th Helen and 10th Fugitive. 3 boats DNS, 3 boats RTD.

Overall after Race 4: 1st Wannago, 2nd Wild Wind, 3rd Vee, 4th Innocence, 5th Dolphin, 6th Jill, 7th Lively Lady, 8th Cara II, 9th Fugitive, 10th Zuleika.

Daphne Fleet Overall after Race 4: 1st Lively Lady, 2nd Thumbalina, 3rd Swallow
Designer Fleet Overall after Race 4: 1st Hycilla, 2nd Clare, 3rd Syrena
Munster Fleet Overall after Race 4: 1st Hycilla, 2nd Argo, 3rd Three Chevrons

Published in Shannon Estuary

Race 3 of the National Mermaid Championship starts today at 15:00, followed by the annual 'crew' race.  Five times champion Derek Joyce in 187 Zuleika has a major challenge to stay in the running and really needs a win to stay in contention.  The stiffer breezes foretasted today should suit him.  Another boat with some work to do is 131 Wild Wind, sailed by last year's champion Paddy Dillon; as he is lying third overall at seven points, he needs to stay in the top three today.

Yesterday's winner, Shay O'Toole (182 Dolphin) is lying 6th overall and another win today could put him in contention for the Championship.  Current overall leader Jim Dempsey (183 Wannago), with two seconds under his belt, needs to maintain consistency as four times champion Jim Carthy (123 Vee) is hot on his heels just one point behind.

Of the 186 Mermaids built since 1932, some have been built by professionals and some by amateurs.  Amateur is, perhaps not the best word as many Mermaid sailors are carpenters, furniture makers and woodwork teachers by profession and have build fast boats to exacting standards.  The most prolific builders over the years have been John Brennan of Dun Laoghaire (16 boats), James Kearney (15 boats) and Skee Gray (10 boats).

Of the thirty three boats competing this week, Brennan built three, Harry & Tom Grieves built three and Des Tyrell built three.  Four sailors are on board boats they built themselves: Frankie Browne (135 Cara II), Martin O'Toole (179 Bean Adhmaid), Shay O'Toole (182 Dolphin) and Ross Galbraith (185 The Message).  Former champion Joe Boylan built the boats being sailed by his son Aidan (138 Zeila) and grandson Mark (177 This Is It).

If there was a Formula 1 style 'Constructor's Championship', the top three builders since 1953 would be: Harry & Tom Grieves, 9 wins; John Brennan, 8 wins and Des Tyrell, 7 wins.  This year the Grieves boats are 73 Lively Lady, 76 Helen and 77 Tiller Girl.  The Brennan boats are 131 Wild Wind, 143 Jill and 146 Fugitive, while the Tyrell boats are 186 MyDi, 187 Zuleika and 188 Innocence.  It's all to play for.

Live updates will be blogged from the race area today at

Published in Shannon Estuary

Yesterday (Monday), Foynes lived up to it's reputation as being a tricky place in which to sail.  A strong ebbing tide and shifty 8-10 knot breeze dominated racing in the 33 strong Mermaid fleet in Race 2 of the National Championship.

Race Officer, Liam Dineen, conscious of the effect of the tide sweeping across the start line opted to fly flag I instead of P at 4 minutes before start.  This meant that any boats over the line in the last minute, had to go around either end of the start line before starting.  The tide swept some boats over, and an individual recall was sounded, but no boats came back to restart.

Five times champion Derek Joyce in 187 Zuleika totally dominated the race, leading all the way and crossing the finish line in first place, to the sound of silence – he scored OCS as he was one of six boats over the line. Shay O'Toole's 182 Dolphin crossed one minute later and scored a first place, with Jim Dempsey in 183 Wannago in third place.  Next to cross the line was Ross Galbraith in 185 The Message, but he also scored OCS.  Wild Wind 131 (Paddy Dillon) was third, Vee 123 (Jim Carthy) was fourth.  Enda Weldon in 186 MyDi crossed next but scored OCS, giving fifth place to Anthony Carthy  in 188 Innocence.  In the beats today it generally paid to go right, thus getting into the channel and riding the 1.9knot ebbing tide. There was a lot of place swapping on the last beat as the wind shifted NW, punishing those on the lay line.

This now leaves the championship wide open.  One discard will apply once five races have been sailed and this leaves Championship contender Joyce with a hill to climb.

Overall placing after two races: 1st 183 Wannago (Dempsey) 4 points, 2nd 123 Vee (J Carthy) 5 points, 3rd 131 Wild Wind (Dillon), 7 points, 4th 188 Innocence (A Carthy) 10 points, 5th 135 Cara II (F Browne) 11 points.  Today's winner, 182 Dolphin (S O'Toole) is 6th overall on equal points with 7th place 134 Jill (Smith). The remainder of the top 10 are 177 This is It, 73 Lively Lady and 77 Tiller Girl.  Joyce is 18th with 40 points and is waiting for that discard to apply.

In the Daphne fleet (equivalent of Silver fleet), Geraldine O'Neill in 73 Lively Lady leads at 4 points, Paddy Boardman in 26 Thumbalina and Martin O'Toole in 179 Bean Adhmaid are next with 7 points each.  In the Designer fleet (equivalent of Bronze), the leader is Mark Boylan in 177 This Is It with two wins, followed by Mark McCormack in 54 Hycilla  and Paddy Archer in 18 Clare.

The first Mermaid was built in 1932 and new boats are currently under construction this year.  The average age of the thirty three boats racing this week is 42.2 years.

Racing continues today, Tuesday, at 15:00, followed by the Crew Race at approximately 17:30.  A Live Commentary is streamed on the web at  (click on Commentary), and yesterday's commentary was viewed 435 by Mermaiders, retired sailors, family and friends all over the world.  Today's Live Commentary will start at 14:30 and will continue till the end of the Crew Race at about 19:15.

Published in Shannon Estuary
Anthony Carthy was flying today in the practice race at Mermaid Week at Foynes. The race started at 14:30 in a brisk westerly breeze and squalls up to 22 knots. Anthony and his crew Margeurite Carthy and Eoin Butterly from Rush Sailing Club were on board No. 189 Innocence. For much of the race five times championship winer Derek Joyce, sailing 187 Zuleika was hot on their heels until Derek decided to retire towards the end of the race. Also going fast were 124 Jill (Paul Smith, Pat Mangan, Anne Smith of NYC) and 26 Thumbalina (Patrick Boardman, Vincent Coleman and Darren Kane of RSC).

Local boat 46 Argo sailed by Darragh McCormack, Donal Moroney and Luke Murray were a convincing fourth and are showing a turn of speed, rewarding their practice in the past few months and work on the boat last winter. The 2009 champion 131 Wild Wind sailed by Paddy Dillon of Rush, retired early in the race.

There were three capsizes and some minor gear damage as the squalls came through past Foynes Island. Principal Race Officer Liam Dineen of Skerries set up a balanced course, with boats going up both sides of the beat, a slightly tight first reach and a square run.

The real racing starts tomorrow with Race 1 at 14:00.

Catch up with the latest Mermaid Week news and live updates during racing at

Published in Racing
23rd September 2009

Mermaid Sailing Association

The Dublin Bay Mermaid class was designed by JB Kearney in 1932 and still going strong today. From the oldest Amy (No. 1) to the youngest Azeezy (No. 189), this 17ft clinker built wooden dinghy provides challenging and exciting sailing for three person crews in all weathers. Click here for the latest Mermaid news and updates.

Mermaids can be found in Dun Laoghaire, Clontarf, Skerries, Rush, Wexford, Foynes and Sligo.

Mermaid Sailing Association, c/o Paddy Archer, President, Sandy Lane, Rush, Co Dublin. Tel: 01 843 7089


R. Galbraith, Hon. Sec., email: [email protected]

or, if you have any photos or other material for the Mermaid website, contact Peter Scallan at [email protected]

(Above details courtesy of Mermaid Sailing Association)


Graham Smith, in Afloat's March 2009 issue, wrote: "Not too many new Mermaids are built these days but while the class might be categorised under the heading ‘static’, with 189 boats on the register, it’s a very healthy static!

Although turnouts at regional events only manage the mid-teens, the National Championships generally sees a big effort from all the Mermaid clubs. Last year even saw an increase on 2007, possibly because Rush in north county Dublin is more convenient for more sailors than Tralee the previous year. Niall McGrotty of Skerries, who won that championship for the first time, retained his title from 33 other Mermaid crews.

On the regional front, Jonathan O’Rourke of NYC won the Southerns in Foynes and Wexford’s Derek Joyce took the Easterns at Skerries. National Champion: Niall McGrotty, Skerries SC." 

There is a space for Irish boating clubs and racing classes to use as their own bulletin board and forum for announcements and discussion. If you want to see a dedicated forum slot for your club or class, click here

Published in Classes & Assoc
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