It is with great honour and privilege that after 7 years volunteering on the committee of the Mermaid Sailing Association (MSA), I now move into my 2-year term as President.
The Mermaids are a class very close to my heart, first getting involved at the age of 15 when my father brought 119 Three Chevrons into our lives. I was instantly hooked and we have been at every championship since then. It has been a fantastic experience; I now look at the Mermaid class as my extended family and every year it is the Mermaid events that I most look forward to.
As sailors, I’m sure you all echo my own personal love for our oceans and waterways. In recent years however, the damage that has been caused from pollution of plastics and other harmful waste materials has become too serious to ignore. Now, more than ever, we need to play our part to safeguard our seas and ensure future generations get to experience what we have been so lucky to.
This is something I am very passionate about and am trying my best in my own life to make positive changes. The reason I am highlighting it here is that I feel many of the values embedded in the Mermaid class are refreshingly sustainable. For example, appreciating and upholding skills and craftsmanship, something that many other classes have lost.
The Dublin Bay Mermaid, being a wooden boat steeped in history holds on to a lot of tradition and values otherwise dying out. Guess what? You can’t order a mermaid online, or “just throw it away” if something breaks. These boats are special and demand effort, something incredibly rewarding for those willing to do so. We mend, we repair, we sustain, we cherish our boats and give them new life, and when the sailing season comes around and you’re in that boat, humming along on a perfect reach in champagne sailing conditions, we reap the rewards! Perhaps we should look at applying for some kind of sustainability award to recognise this dedication that is so rare to come across in our modern age!
As a result of the hours and elbow grease you have to put in, often in sheds with friends, making memories, picking up the phone and actually talking to people, learning skills and spending quality time with family, you will see that most Mermaiders get unusually attached to their boats, with many refusing to part with them even after they stop sailing them. They become more than just boats, they become a part of our lives, our families and memories. Every Mermaid, each one special with its own story to tell, and all the people who dedicate themselves to upholding these values, make this class the most special one I have ever encountered.
The racing is second to none with something for everyone and a social scene to match at all our events. I am really excited for the next 2 years where I will contribute as much value as I can to the class especially through my own personal skills and experience in Sales and Marketing. Following on from our most recent AGM, the MSA association already has a number of clear goals to tackle over the next 2 years. In addition to these, for myself personally in my role as President I want to get a fully up-to-date, digital version of the ‘Blue Book’, with a controlled revision history process in place. I would like to see all class documentation and processes online (as much as is possible). I want to reinvigorate club racing by working with the class captains and generating some buzz and momentum around the class in their local clubs (watch this space!).
To follow on from the success of a fantastic National Championship hosted by the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven in 2019, I want to build on this positive momentum by bringing the fleet to more new venues. This gets people excited to go somewhere new and spreads awareness of our fantastic fleet getting us in front of new potential members. This year’s upcoming National Championship in Fenit Co. Kerry hosted by Tralee Bay Sailing Club from the 19th – 22nd August is going to be one not to be missed and we will be pushing hard for 30 entries. Lots of new, fun and exciting incentives are currently in development so keep an eye out for updates on our class website www.dublinbaymermaids.com.
The MSA is run entirely by volunteered efforts so I want to thank everyone in advance who will help to make 2020 a great year for the class. I look forward to meeting you all on the water and please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any ideas, feedback or questions.
Yours in Sailing,
Roisin Mc Cormack