This weekend saw a fantastic turnout of 18 Mermaids for the annual Skerries Regatta hosted by Skerries Sailing Club. The event which took place over Saturday the 23rd and Sunday the 24th of July gave the Dublin Bay Mermaid participants a great taste of what is to come at their upcoming National Championship event in Howth from the 4th – 7th of August. The racing was highly competitive with the leader board constantly changing across the 4, successfully completed races.
Two races were successfully completed on the Saturday, which saw clear starts and light airs. A considerable wind shift after race 1 kept the race committee busy as the windward mark moved 40 degrees west and the increasing flow of tide meant tactics came very heavily into play for the second race of the day. Paddy Dillon on 131, Wild Wind was top of the leader board at the end of day 1 with a 1st and a 3rd but positions were very close and a discard that would come into effect the next day provided 4 races were completed meant it was still all to play for.
Competitors were very pleased to find a good breeze filling in on Sunday morning despite the windguru reading of 0-3 knots. As the day progressed the breeze increased making for excellent racing conditions in time for the 12 o’ clock start. Cruisers and a number of other classes including lasers and optimists made for a busy racing area and efficient 3 minute starts ensured racing got under way quickly. Race 3 made for a very interesting start line with a committee boat end bias and 18 boats all trying to get in! Boats banking middle and right up the beat paid off considerably and ultimately local boat 189 Azeezy, helmed by Sam Shiels took 1st place. Similar to the day before, a big wind shift which was practically identical to the previous day saw the race course marks being moved and again stronger tide had to be taken into account. The sun also decided to come out and with a steady breeze and flat seas the 4th and final race of the regatta gave champagne sailing conditions and excellent racing.
The beats in race 4 pushed even the best tacticians to their limits seeing 90 degree headers and incredibly shifty conditions meaning the lead boat changed at almost every mark. Brian Mc Nally on 186 Gentoo took a deserving first place in the race with Sam Shiels who secured 2nd place hot on his heels. The final two legs of the race also saw the breeze pick up considerably meaning everyone suddenly went from heeling the boat to hiking to their limits! Such close racing showed just how well the Mermaids know their rules, there was lots of shouting, penalty turns and ‘threats’ but thankfully no protests!
With one discard applied, first place overall went to local boat Sam Shiels on 189, Azeezy who had two firsts and a second. Second place went to Brian Mc Nally on 186, Gentoo who had 2 seconds and a first and third place went to Paddy Dillon on 131, Wild Wind with a first and 2 thirds. The Red Island Perpetual Cup which is awarded to the first Skerries boat in the first race of the Regatta went to Frank Browne on 135, Cara II. All in all the regatta gave fantastic practice for the fleet before their National Championship which kicks off at Howth on Thursday the 4th of August.
Important Message: Everyone that is planning on competing in this year’s National Championship event needs to enter online as soon as possible. Online registration is very quick and easy and details can be found here: https://hyc.ie/events/122-dublin-bay-mermaid-national-championships/entries. Simply click ‘enter this event’. We need to stress that there will be no option to register on the day at Howth Yacht Club, all entries must be done online, before the event. We are looking forward to seeing a great turnout and some top class racing to decide who will be crowned our 2016 National Champion!