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America Cup Fever Strikes Fireballs in DBSC Tuesday Race

28th June 2017
Noel Butler/Stephen Oram – DBSC 'America's Cup' winners in the Fireball class Noel Butler/Stephen Oram – DBSC 'America's Cup' winners in the Fireball class Photo: Afloat.ie

Tuesday saw another DBSC outing for Fireballs in the Dun Laoghaire summer series. The wind was a blustery warm southerly with gusts reaching high teens at times. This may have prompted the race committee to set the conservative W-L course inside the harbour. While making it easier for any rescue operations needed it did present the various fleets with a shifty and patchy set of conditions reminiscent of the DMYC Frostbites. In the event three Fireballs sailed out to the start area, with several boats not set up since the previous weekends exhilarating but exhausting fray at their Open in Greystones SC. Unfortunately, Louise McKenna and Cormac Bradley had to return to shore to sort out a rigging problem and this left just Noel Butler/Stephen Oram and Frank Miller/Joe O’Reilly sharing the start line.

Inspired perhaps by the recent America's Cup coverage and the fact that it was now a two boat race Butler immediately went into dial-up mode and the two danced up and down the line in a game of chase and dodge. Ultimately Butler sailed under Miller on the line and pinned him high to get the better start, sailing away in clear air never to be caught. In race two again Butler attacked in match racing fashion but a fast series of tacks and gybes by Miller gave him the start at the favoured pin in clear air. Miller had a tiny lead on Butler and when he tacked after creating the necessary safe gap Butler tacked also but Miller managed to sail higher while maintaining speed and forced Butler to tack away. Miller/O’Reilly then led for two rounds but ultimately Butler found better boat speed and broke through, extending their lead by sailing higher angles on the run while Miller favoured a more straight line approach.

All this excitement however went to the heads of the two boats. Led by Butler they managed to sail an extra round, giving late starters McKenna/Bradley the second place although they were almost lapped on the water.

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At A Glance – Fireball Dinghy Specs

Crew 2 (single trapeze)
LOA 16 ft 2 in (4.93 m)
Beam 4 ft 6 in (1.37 m)
Hull weight 175 lb (79 kg)
Mast height 22.3 ft (6.8 m)
Mainsail area 108 sq ft (10.0 m2).
Jib / Genoa area 35 sq ft (3.3 m2).
Spinnaker area 140 sq ft (13 m2).

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