Who we are
The Seaview Mermaid fleet of one-design racing keelboats is well-known in the Solent having raced in these waters for over 100 years. The boats are owned collectively by the yacht clubs members, who race regularly from April through October, and are hugely popular with visiting charterers, who bring an important income to the Club. The class also has its own start in Cowes Week every August.
These distinctive club assets continue to exist thanks to some far-sighted members and flag officers who have kept the class alive during trickier times. To this day, the fleet continues to flourish, forming an essential part of the clubs training, racing and commercial activity. You can read about the Mermaid Class history here.
The Class Today
There are currently 13 Club-owned boats, raced almost daily throughout the season from April to September. They are maintained to a high order and strictly within tightly controlled measurements, ensuring Mermaid racing is highly competitive in evenly matched boats. The boats continue to offer Club members very good value-for-money racing and sailing.
Each boat has a name drawn from the Club's long history and a unique sail-number - the Mermaid class flag is 'Number 9'. However, with each having unique hull and spinnaker colour, members tend to fondly refer to them as the pink boat or light-green.
Racing and General Sailing
The SVYC annual sailing programme includes Mermaid races for up to 40 trophies, many of which have been competed for over decades with the first cup presented over a hundred years ago. Additionally, there are weekend, summer, evening points and a development series, plus match and team-racing events, some against other clubs.
Members who have demonstrated boat-skippering competence and have received their 'helm certificate' may book a boat for an event for a nominal fee and race with us in Seaview's waters. Boats are allocated to helms for each event by means of a draw. When not in use for racing or chartering, Mermaids are also available to members for private charter locally - for cruising or for tuition. You can book a Mermaid by emailing the club.
Every year, the thirteen SVYC-owned Seaview Mermaids, and usually two or three other privately-owned Mermaids, are entered in Cowes Week. Members enter a ballot for the allocation of the Club-owned boats - which are always fully subscribed - for this week of high-quality racing.
Have a go
There are several training courses offered in the Mermaids, including those designed for younger members. Adult Week, held in late July, is the classs centrepiece, offering a week of Mermaid training for all levels of experience.
We have Robb Races that happen throughout the season. Robb Races tend to be during a weekend (afternoon) and are designed to encourage 'developing helms' out onto the racetrack. We do a bit of shore based coaching (wind strength, tide strength, etc) followed by a practice start, then a shortish (45-60 minute) race. We then finish with an 'observations from the deck' and a 'Q&A debrief' once sailors are back ashore where we discuss rules that came into play during the race, the best course, general feedback, etc. The intention is that each race becomes an opportunity to learn.
The idea is that the races serve as a 'feeder' series where, as people gain in confidence they progress through to the main fleet. This progression can take as long or as little time as individuals feel they need. We have Thomas Races on a Friday evening. Not too serious racing for people who, in our increased work-from-home world, would rather spend their Friday evening on the Solent as opposed to on the A3 or a train. There are also over 45 Trophy races every year, generally from May through to September. All are on the SVYC calendar (see here for the Mermaid programme).
Finally (but by no means any less important or any less fun) there is the Midweek Series that runs for the majority of the May-Sept period (incorporating a break in the high season).
WhatsApp Groups for more up-to-date Information
There are a number of Mermaid-centric WhasApp groups to keep members informed of class activities, please click here or navigate to the Club Class WhatsApp page once logged in as a member to find links to the relevant groups.
For a dozen weeks of the year, the Mermaids are available for commercial and corporate charter. The Club is almost unique in being able to offer a fleet of identical highly competitive racing keelboats, on-the-water services and challenging race courses with the action viewable from the comfort and welcoming environment of the Clubhouse. You can find out more about chartering here.