Mermaid Week 2017 in Skerries Sailing Club

Last week’s event in our club was one of the most successful events undertaken in the past two years. The National Mermaid Championships 2017 went off without a hitch.  10 races were planned and 10 races plus I crews race were executed on time through the week.  The competition in excellent sailing conditions went down to the wire.  We congratulate our own Sam Shiels and his crew Con Bissett and Eoin Boylan in 189 on their retention of the their title as Mermaid Champions and winning the handsome “Lady” trophy.  We also congratulate Paul Browne and his crew of Brendan Dunne and Jennifer Shiels in 146 for winning the Designers Cup and also Conor and Martin O’Toole in 179 for their third place in the Daphne Cup.  Well done to Frankie Brown Jr for winning a very competitive crews race on the Tuesday.  Definitely a very successful week all round for Skerries sailors.

(Photos courtesy of Michael O’Connor)

26 boats from 6 clubs – Foynes YC, National YC, Royal Irish YC, Clontarf Y&BC, Rush SC and Skerries SC – competed making this one of the largest single class sailing events held in Irish waters this year. Competitors were full of praise for the organisation and management of both on and off the water activities.  Hugh organisation and planning in advance was undertaken, combined with excellent execution over the week to make this a successful event.  Thanks also to our main Sponsors – Bacharach and Sail Alarms – and the many Skerries businesses listed in the brochure who sponsored prizes on the various nights.

Special praise must go to Brian McNally, SSC Mermaid class captain, and his team including Susan Roundtree, Valerie Cronin and Ross Galbraith.  Brian and his team were planning this event over a year ago and their hard work paid off – even the weather played its part.  Our experienced Race officers of Liam Dineen, Micheline Shiels and Helen Ryan executed flawlessly producing some great races that enabled the competitions to go right down to the last day.  Well done.  Thanks to our many Rescue/Mark laying support team members throughout the week – Colm Collins,  Jim Boylan, Neil Cramer, Tom Adams, Laurence Breen, Jim Dowling, Paul Hick, David Cooke, Liam O’Callaghan, Richie Ferguson, Eugene Osbourne, Andrew Thornton, Olive Parker, Noel Lappin, and the many Junior drivers, the safety officers Stan Pyke, Ronnie Horan and Liam McMahon and our punt men Conor, Ben and Sean who also helped on shore.  Our thanks to Michael O’Connor for his brilliant photos which even featured in Afloat – see http://afloat.ie/sail/sailing-classes/mermaids/item/36818-two-past-champions. Apologies if I left out others.

Off the water Kathryn Collins and her team with Donal Lynam our Club Manager did a great job on catering both early morning, mid-afternoon and then with the various functions in the evening.  Thanks to Colm Collins for sponsoring the coffee.  Well done to Con Bissett and Maria Browne on securing the many special prizes for the various nights and Carol Maxwell for maintaining our event Facebook page. And also to our race Office team of Graine Mc Grotty, Susan Roundtree, Valerie Cronin, Monica Alcock  and Siobhan Boylan for keeping us in good order.

Apologies if I missed anybody.  It was truly a great undertaking by a great many people resulting in a great event.  Thank you to one and all.

Commodore.

Admiral’s Hat Fits….

Congratulations to Brian McNally and his crew on winning one of our oldest trophy the Admiral’s Hat.  This trophy has been in the club and its exact history is a little cloudy.  If you have any information on this prized possession please let us know.  In the meantime it is in good hands or head…

Seen here below is the presentation by Gerry Byrne to Brian on Sunday morning June 18th last.

Commodore Report – SSC AGM February 23rd 2017

The past season, 2016 and year was a period on which we built on the work done by previous committees and members.  A series of revised and new initiatives supported by members have, I believe, moved the club forward as place for members – new and old – to enjoy their club facilities and their sailing in Skerries.  This was only possible, as always, due to help of many people not least your committee members.

Sailing

While Ross will speak in more detail about our season I should like to thank our Race Officers – Liam Dineen, Micheline Shiels and Helen Ryan for keeping our racing going each weekend.  Our thanks to Stephen Crowley for running of the punts and the great can do manner he exemplifies.  Special thanks to the many volunteers who manned the Safety and Mark laying RIBs during the season.  Without such levels of voluntary contribution, we could not run the level of club and event racing each season, we actually do!

The Membership Program

In late 2015 following a review of operations and costs your committee decided that a revitalised membership drive was urgently required.  It was felt that given the improved economic conditions of recent years, our membership numbers particularly, at full membership, did not reflect that improvement.  A team was set up and Gerry Byrne was invited to lead.  Following a number of meetings in early 2016 and review of a survey of past and present members, Just Sailing was set up.  Based on previous good experience, on every Saturday morning of the 2016 sailing season new adult members were either brought out on the water, depending on weather, or given some instruction on various aspects of sailing.  All spearheaded by Gerry who was very ably assisted by Helen Ryan, who having traveled from Leixlip, provided not only her sailing expertise and support but much appreciated coffee and cake.  Our warmest thanks to both Gerry and Helen.

The impact was to increase new member intake from a net 14 in 2015 to c31 last year!  Over 20 of that new intake can be ascribed directly to this program!

Our thanks also to members who either loaned their boats or who acted as instructors – particularly to Neil Cramer, Cathal Sheridan, Coleman Grimes, Don Cromer, Liam O’Callaghan, Finn Kelleher, Garry Owens, and Bernie Grogan.

This program will be continued in 2017.  Already we are planning 4 introductions to sailing talks (in addition to regular talks) in the April timeframe.  Please see the newsletter for details.  They will be free.  Please invite anybody who you think could be possible candidates for membership.

We used the clubs’ boats (the Topazs, Omega and Wafarer) and member boats for this campaign.  We will expand using a donated Mermaid next season. We request continued support for this important program and if you are available on one or more Saturdays in the coming season please let us know.  Contact Gerry or myself or any committee member.

Finance

Neil will go through the accounts in detail.  But you will have seen that subscriptions rose by 6%, going, as previously stated, in the right direction.  A lot of hard work goes into the financial management of this club and our thanks to Neil Cranmer managing the multitude of operational fiscal matters including revenue in all forms, paying suppliers, wages, etc.  Thanks Neil.  Our thanks also to Siobhan Boylan who manages our membership records – a job that requires great detailed and persistent management.  Thanks Siobhan.  Our thanks also to Donal Lynam who managed the club well in the past year.

Social Affairs

Initiatives on the Social front proved very popular.  In particular, increased use of the club on Fridays by the “Take Away Friday” evenings with reduced bar prices were very popular as were the Scones and Coffee on Sunday mornings, both of which have continued into the winter months.  Other events were:

  • Sunday lunches including Mother’s days,
  • Club BBQs,
  • A well-attended Fun Quiz night,
  • Club picnics to Lambay and Barnagera
  • Several Music nights
  • The Xmas Dinner attended by Santa – thanks to Dell Brennan, a new member
  • And the ever-popular Seafood nights.

Well done to Kathryn Collins, our Vice-Commodore, Paula McNamee, our Social Secretary, and Donal Lynam, our Club Manager, for organising these events.

Events coming up soon include – Cruiser Dinner on March 4th // Goulash and Beer (Slovak) Night on March 10th // Mother’s Day lunch on March 26th.

Your continued support for these events in your club is appreciated.

Engineering

Great work by Tom Adams and Stuart Burns supported by Sam Shiels and Robbie Keys has ensured that our boats were and will be ready for the upcoming season.  These guys quietly do a fantastic job!  We have about €150k worth of RIBs, Punts and Committee boat (the Inish Rua) in simple replacement value.  These volunteers maintain these assets for approximately €4k each year in parts.  3% of the replacement cost.  Our biggest danger is that they will be headhunted by Dublin Bus!  Thanks Guys

Wednesday Evening Member Talks

Since the end of the last sailing season we have had 6 talks covering the history of SSC, Neil Roach’s cruiser trip, the Ava Muller adventure, The club Barometer, Authers Dead story and last night the Monkeys Fist courtesy of Martin O’Tool.  We hope you enjoyed these events – we have 4 more before the start of the new season on such topics as the Irish Coast Guard, the last days of the Asgard II, Tall ships and safety on the water.  Our thanks to all the contributors.  Please continue to support these talks.

Communications

The newsletter, going out weekly and often more frequently, has firmly established itself as our primary means of communications due to the dedicated hard work of Camilla McLoughlin, our Hon Secretary.   Our thanks to her for her great work.  The SSC face page has likewise been re-energised by Gerry Byrne.  Please make sure that you have access to both these communications mediums.

Junior section

A full and successful season was run by our ever active Junior section.  Highlights included

  • Spring and Autumn training which ran for 11 weeks over in March/April/October,
  • The ever popular and well supported Taste of sailing – an introduction to sailing program for youths,
  • Full racing season of Thursday and Saturday events
  • running a successful Topper Leinster’s in June (2 day event) with over 45 boats
  • Ran ISA courses in mid June to end of July and had over 100 sailors participating.

Well done to our Junior Convenor Debbie McInerney and her team of Andrew Frazer, Tom O’Connell, Gavin Callender , Garrett Walsh and Olive Parker.  Thanks Guys.

House Maintenance

This was probably the one area we did not spend sufficient time on during the last season and which will be a priority for the coming year.  However, we did replace the front doors so our entrance is now more secure and looks a lot better – thanks to Paul Browne for assistance in this.  We also purchased and installed a new and more efficient dishwasher in the kitchen which will make for an easier clean up post events.  Our weather station is working well on the website thanks to Michael Johnson.  We have a number of action plans in terms of maintenance and decoration that we expect to advance in the coming season.

Yard

As ever our yard was well managed by our Yard Manager Gerry Boylan.  Nothing escapes this man.  The yard is as tidy as it has been in years,

Conclusion

We completed a successful season and are looking forward to an even more successful 2017.

Thank you.

Kieran Branagan

SSC News and Information