Was it luck or destiny that the weather finally, finally provided a break and the sun shone on the Mayo Sailing Club’s recent Open Day at Rosmoney near Westport? Members arrived early to mount flags and banners, stoke up the barbie, and rig the boats for demonstrations. McHale Marine set up a chandlery on site and offered discounts on marine supplies. The RNLI arrived in the Achill lifeboat, and the Coast Guard came by land, towing their rescue RIB.
Several yachts were berthed at the pontoon with owners offering a chance to come aboard for a tour, while the MSC Junior Sailing Instructors and Committee members greeted guests are they arrived throughout the afternoon. Starting at 1 pm, the Chefs of the Day began grilling hamburgers and sausages which guests scooped up for a €1 donation to the RNLI.
MSC Commodore Duncan Sclare welcomed all the visitors to the Club and explained how Mayo Sailing Club works and what activities are on offer. He explained that getting involved doesn’t require owning a boat. The Club has a fleet of dinghies that are available for Adult and Junior members to use.
Commodore Sclare noted: “The junior training programme is one of the best in the country. It is a great way to get into sailing. The Try Sailing introductory course for adults is a great way to test the waters. In includes full membership at a reduced cost. Thursday night club racing provides an opportunity to sail on club members’ yachts, and the owners are always on the look-out for enthusiastic crew.”
Writing Competition Awards Announcement and Prize Giving
This year, the MSC Open Day was not just about sailing. Together with [email protected], an independent Community Bookshop located far to the west in Louisburgh, Co. Mayo, and co-ordinating with the Mayo News, the Sailing Club had initiated a Children’s Writing Competition, for kids aged 9-12.
The theme was Clew Bay, and whether it was prose, poetry or a picture story was up to the author, with the prize giving scheduled to coincide with the Open Day. When a large group had assembled in the clubhouse, the award ceremony was introduced by Alex Blackwell:
“Clew Bay is so much a part of our lives here. It inspires creativity wherever we look. We thought that getting the children to express some of that creativity would be a great way to get them interested in water-borne activities, something that they might not have otherwise considered.”
Tricia Hudson of [email protected] provided details of the judging process. Adjudication was independently organized by staff, volunteers and local authors involved with the bookshop, whose primary focus is children in the community. Tricia explained, “More than 200 entries were received from all around Mayo. It was so difficult to select winners from among so many very creative and well written or graphic stories and poems.”
Tricia explained that all judges read all the entries. Over the course of three weeks, they selected their top choices. These were then read by all the judges. In a session in which they all met, ten were identified as stand-outs. Of those, the top five were then voted to receive prizes.
The winners were announced by MSC member Daria Blackwell, a blue water sailor and author, who encouraged the children to dream and write. “The Imagination is a wonderful place. Thank you to everyone who submitted their brilliant stories, and congratulations to all on your inspiring creativity,” said Daria as she proceeded to read out the names and hand out their well-deserved certificates.
The top ten stories and the names of the authors are being published in The Mayo News, a partner in the Competition. The top 50 will be published in an anthology in book form which will be printed at [email protected] in Louisburgh, one at a time on their Espresso Book Machine, for anyone who wishes to have a copy which will be available later this summer.