All posts by kieran branagan

New Commodore

Congratulations to Kathryn Collins on her elevation to Commodore at last nights AGM.  A great way to celebrate International Woman’s Day.   Kathryn is the second female Commodore in the history of the club.  Kay Davis was the first in 2002.

Seen here being presented with her burgee by outgoing Commodore Kieran Branagan.

Commodore Report – SSC AGM March 8th 2018

The past season, 2017, was a period in which we continued to build on the work done by previous committees and members.  Our programs for increasing membership and greater use of the club continued unabated.  I believe that these initiatives, despite a poor sailing year in terms of the impact of the weather, moved the club forward as the premier water activity centre in Skerries.  This was only possible, as always, due to the help of many volunteers not least your committee members.


While Ross will speak in more detail about our sailing 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 our punt men – Stephen, Conor and Ben for the successful running of the punt service.  Special thanks to the many volunteers who manned the Safety and Mark laying RIBs during the season.  Thanks to Brian McNally, Ross and the Mermaid Championship organising team for their diligent work in producing a very successful event.  Without such levels of voluntary contribution, we could not run the level of club and event racing each season that we actually do!

At this time, I should like to confirm that we have been awarded the 2020 World GP14 Championship event. Already an organising committee has been established under the chairmanship of David Cooke.  Initial long-term actions are being addressed.  Some of you will remember that SSC ran this same event with 140 competitors back in 1997, very successfully.  While seeming to be a long time away such an event takes a lot of organising and preparation.  Lets all make sure that David and his team have our full support.

The Membership Program

In late 2015 following a review of operations and costs your then 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 subscription, 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.  This involved, on every Saturday morning of the 2016 and the 2017 sailing season, taking new adult members out on the water just sailing, and when the weather did not allow, giving instruction on various aspects of sailing in the club house.  All spearheaded by Gerry who was very ably assisted by Helen Ryan, who having travelled 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 by 46 persons over the two years.  Separately and just as importantly many existing members have got involved and are using this facility to expand their sailing capabilities.

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 2018.  Already 4 free “introductions to sailing” talks (in addition to regular talks) in the March timeframe have started.  Much local advertising has been done including displaying the club Wayfarer in the Community Hall at a clubs show event before Christmas, which took some effort to transport to and from and of course to rig in the hall! We advertised via our webpage, facebook page, The Skerries Community Association newsflash and numerous WhatApps and of course last week in the Skerries News where Gerry was interviewed.  The impact of this was to attract 26 adults with 4 apologies at the first talk held last Tuesday night (March 6th)!

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.  As Gerry will be away, unfortunately for most of this summer please contact Neil or myself or any committee member for details.


Neil will go through the accounts in detail.  Despite the impact of the cancellation of several sailing days you will see that we are in good health with overall assets of the club raising by 7.5%.  More importantly subscriptions (including racing and parking fees) rose by 8% having previously risen by 6% last year, continuing a strong pattern in the right direction.  A lot of hard work goes into the financial management of this club and our thanks to Neil Cramer for managing the multitude of operational fiscal matters in all forms.  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 and Andrew Pollock for his assistance in providing bar account reports.

Social Affairs

Initiatives on the Social front proved very popular.  The “Take Away Friday” evenings with reduced bar prices and the Scones and Coffee on Sunday mornings continued to be well supported and continued into the winter months.  Other events included Mother’s Day dinner, Club BBQs, A well-attended Fun Quiz night, Several Music nights with Genepool, a Spanish night paella on the balcony, an Italian night, the Xmas Dinner attended by Santa – thanks to Dell Brennan, and of course the ever-popular Seafood nights.

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

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


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 €155k 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.  That is a great job in any terms. Thanks Guys

Wednesday Evening Member Talks

Since the end of the 2017 sailing season we have had 7 talks covering a wide variety of topics. 3 more remain before the start of the new season (including the rescheduled History of Skerries RNLI Station by Sam Shiels).  These talks were all well attended and our thanks to the club members who gave some of these talks including Martin O’Toole, Brian Lennon, Gerry Byrne, Liam Dinneen, Helen Ryan, Sam Shiels and Paul Synnott, and Paul Hick. We hope you enjoyed these events.


The newsletter, going out weekly and often more frequently during the sailing season, 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 pages and website are fully active.  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

  • In early part of the year running their familiar Spring Training with coaching for 30 kids followed by their annual popular Taste of Sailing over 3 weeks with the support of many club boat owners.
  • The summer ISA courses had over 52 participants. The annual Junior Regatta was held in September and attracted 35 sailors. The challenge of poor weather that day was met with all races being run and the whole thing wrapped up shortly after lunchtime. It has been dubbed the ‘Express Regatta’.  Well done guys.
  • The Autumn Training was completed in September and October again despite some challenging weather conditions.
  • Throughout the sailing season while regular races were held on Thursdays and Saturdays the continuing weather challenge and low turnouts meant that this was not that successful. A challenge for next season will be to ensure that appropriate sailing activities are organised to encourage the kids out onto the water regularly to practice the skills learnt during training.
  • An additional Topper and Mirror boats for use by members was acquired. And through a Sports Capital Grant a new storage container was installed in the yard and is being fitted out and when completed will give us appropriate storage for all the junior gear, freeing up space in the club basement.


Well done to our Junior Convenor Will Hinsley and his team of Andrew Frazer, Tom Connell, Gavin Callender, Debbie McInerney, George O’Connor and Olive Parker.  Thanks Guys.

House Maintenance

An area that did not always get the full attention it deserved but that we need to continue focusing on.  We have started a program of rewiring the old house as requested by our insurers – thanks to Paul Browne for assistance in managing this program.  Our weather station is working well on the website thanks to Michael Johnson.  We have several action plans in terms of maintenance and decoration that we expect to advance in the coming season.


As ever our yard was well managed by our Yard Manager Gerry Boylan.  Nothing escapes this man.  The yard continues to be as tidy as it has been in years. Well done Gerry.


We completed a successful season and are looking forward to an even more successful 2018.

Finally, it has been a great privilege for me to be Commodore of our club.  I very much enjoyed my time as your Commodore.

As I step down as Commodore I say thanks to my committee and members for the honour bestowed on me and wish Kathryn every success in her coming tenure.

Thank you.

Kieran Branagan

Commodore 2016/17

Just Sailing 2019 recommences on May 11th next.

Free Sailing Theory Course at SSC is now complete.  Just Sailing commences 10.00hrs on Saturday May 11th.  Looking forward to seeing you all there!

On this course, with the aid of film, slides and diagrams, you will learn the parts of a sailboat, boating safety, wind awareness, rigging a boat and steering and tacking and gybing (turning) a boat.

(If weather permits some of the above, including hoisting sails, will take place outside).

We will demonstrate how the wind drives a boat upwind, as well as downwind and show you how to sail a triangular course.

You will also learn how the weather affects sailing, what drives the tides and currents and how they affect sailing.

We will also cover safety, launching a boat and leaving a slipway or beach, as well as making a competent return. How to anchor and moor a boat will also be covered.

We will explain a bit about racing and, for those who prefer more leisurely boating, there will be an introduction to the wonderful world of cruising. There will also be a short module on basic pilotage and navigation.

Participation is free and also open to non-members.

This course will cover similar topics up to the Irish Yachting Association’s Level 3 curriculum although ISA exams will not be held as part of this course.

It will provide an ideal background for taking part in Skerries Sailing Club’s Just Sailing programme where new members can join the club at a reduced (50%) rate and go sailing every Saturday morning.

(For more details see our Facebook Page:

The course takes place each Tuesday night in April (2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd) commencing at 8.00 PM. There will be a 10 minutes break for free tea, coffee and cake each evening).

To reserve a place email:

Notice of Annual General Meeting

Notice of Annual General Meeting of

Skerries Sailing Club

Thursday, 8th March, 2018 at 8.30 pm

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of Skerries Sailing Club will take place in the Club House on Thursday, 8th March, 2018 at 8.30 p.m. to transact the following business:

  1. Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on Thursday, 23rd February, 2017.
  2. Matters arising from the minutes.
  3. Resolutions
  4. Commodores Address
  5. Honorary Treasurer’s Report.
  6. Election of Auditors.
  7. Honorary Sailing Secretary’s Report
  8. Election of Officers:
  • Commodore
  • Vice Commodore
  • Honorary Secretary
  • Honorary Treasurer
  • Honorary Sailing Secretary
  • Social Secretary
  • Assistant Honorary Sailing Secretary
  • Assistant Honorary Treasurer
  • Chair of the Cadet Sailing Section
  • Committee.
  1. Any Other Business

Click here for ==>   AGM Notice Agenda and Nomination Form 2018

SSC Laying Up Supper 1967

Over 50 years ago – thanks to Davadine Grimes for submitting this photo.  It’s the prize winners from the Laying Up Supper held in the now gone Holmptrick Hotel in 1967.  It contains 6 past Commodores and the present Commodore (aged 16 at the time!).  Can you name them…. Back row from the left (Commodores in Blue)

  1. Hugh Cahill
  2. Jim Dempsey Snr (father of Jim Dempsey jnr)
  3. Sean Ryan
  4. Harry Grimes
  5. Davadine Grimes
  6. Joe Boylan
  7. Pat McNally (father of Brian McNally)
  8. Kieran Branagan
  9. Kit Fox

Front row from left

  1. Tony Grimes
  2. Jim Hegarty
  3. Milo Ready
  4. Eileen Rooney (mother of Siobhan Boylan)
  5. Paddy Hand (much revered RO)
  6. Murragh McMahon
  7. Michael Lynam (Donal’s father)
  8. George  Dempsey (son of Jim snr)
  9. Sean Rooney.

At the 2017 Laying Up supper, 50 years later, I had the honour, as Commodore,  of presenting the same trophies to new winners.  (For the record I had won the Fireball Crews prize!)

If you have an interesting photograph from your archives for sharing please send them to me at  Kieran



Post Christmas Talks

Our fortnightly talks continued last Wednesday (Jan 17th) with an well attended presentation by Liam Dinneen and Helen Ryan on Race Management.  Lots of lively discussion on the how’s of conducting races in Skerries bay under many adverse conditions that can occur.  The Talks continue as scheduled below.

Look forward to seeing you there.  Talks start at 8.30pm in the club. Bring a friend.

Winter 2017/18 Talks Programme

SSC are please to invite both members and non members to our winter talks.    Next talk tells the story of Harry Callan’s incarceration during WWII and his experiences. Come along and learn more.  See the newsletter for updates. The remaining three talks before Christmas at detailed below.  They are on every second Wednesday evening starting at 8.30pm.  Please come along and bring a friend or two.  There is no charge!  click on image below.

New Members Trip to Rush Saling Club

On Saturday 30th September last 4 wayfarers left SSC lead by Gerry Byrne and sailed to a great welcome in Rush SC.  This was just another expedition arranged by Gerry for our new members group.   We were very received by Rush who provided a very welcome mid day meal prepared by Jonathan Mason and his team.  Thanks to RSC Commodore Brenda McGuinness for a warm welcome which we hope to reciprocate nest season.

This is a higher definition version of the Rush Just Sailing trip posted earlier. For the technically minded it's a MPEG4 using HD1080p presets although what it has become after being recoded by Facebook is anybody's guess.

Posted by Just Sailing at Skerries Sailing Club on Tuesday, 3 October 2017


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 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.