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Tributes to Mermaid Champion Sailor Jerry O'Neill of the National Yacht Club

18th March 2021
Mermaid Champion Sailor Jerry O'Neill
Mermaid Champion Sailor, the late Jerry O'Neill of the National Yacht Club

Tributes to Mermaid stalwart Jerry O'Neill, who has died, have been led by National Yacht Club Commodore Martin McCarthy.

Jerry, who died on March 12, was a former Mermaid champion, but he also raced in the Flying Fifteen, Shipman 28s and Ruffian 23 fleets out of Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

"He was a fine sailor and his family, especially his daughter Geraldine, are immersed in the Club. A gentleman who was always a pleasure to meet. We send our sincerest condolences to his family and friends," McCarthy told members. 

"He was much loved by the membership in the National and throughout the fleets in which he sailed"

The sentiments were echoed by clubmate and fellow Mermaid Champion, Roger Bannon. "He was an understated, absolute gentleman who overcame severe arthritis to continue sailing into his early 70s. He was much loved by the membership in National and throughout the the National fleets in which he sailed."

The Mermaid Sailing Association also expressed its deepest sympathy.

Skerries Mermaid sailor Ross Galbraith related an anecdote on social media. "In the bar after a race in which conditions had changed and I had lost places and a sense of perspective I had a chat with Jerry. He explained that on his boat they carried a tuning sheet. There was nothing special about this sheet; the settings were culled from various sailing books. When things started to go wrong they would get out “the sheet” and make some adjustments. The purpose here was more to provide a distraction, the alternative being a row over who was to blame for the poor performance, than to speed the boat up. I subsequently made one (we call it "the magic sheet") and whatever about boat speed, the psychology certainly works. Thanks, Jerry" 

A private family funeral took place due to Government restrictions. Details here

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