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Day 3 of the Fireball Worlds in Mossel Bay, South Africa, saw the competitors treated to a more genteel 10 knots southerly that built during the day to 17 to 20 knots for the third race. Sea conditions were reported as being flat initially but building to 2m swells by the end of the day. Results downloadable below.

Team GBR, Gillard & Anderton (GBR 15127), were in a class of their own winning all three races very comfortably. The Swiss pairing of Mermod and Moser (SUI 14799) made a clean sweep of the second places and Schulz & Lidgett (AUS 15113) taking two of the three third places. While the leaders were in a class of their own, the regatta Facebook site reports that there was competition in a number of groups throughout the fleet. While the fleet was tired by the time they got ashore, at least they had three races completed without the “survival instinct” being the dominant sentiment of the day.

Today, Wednesday, see the fleet enjoy a well-deserved rest day and judging by some of the individual Facebook posts, some of them are only too glad to see a day of no sailing……….and not necessarily due to on the water exhaustion.

Australian – Franco international relations have been put to the test at this regatta with the very late pairing of Jean-Francois Nouel and Scott Lidgett. Jean-Francois’ crew had to pull out of the event at very short notice due to a horse-riding accident and Scott flew in from Australia to team up with the Frenchman. They have had a challenging time in the big seas with capsizes and gear failure. But in his latest comment he says “I don’t know why everytime Scott K Lidgett pulls a rope it breaks down! Is he a monster man? It could not be a lack of maintenance on the French boat obviously.”

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The big breeze of Day 1 was still around for the second day of the Fireball Worlds in Mossel Bay, South Africa. The Facebook site for the regatta reports that the fleet launched into a stiff south-westerly accompanied by a swell from the east. The Swiss combination of Mermod & Moser (SUI 14799) led at the first weather mark, followed closely by the British combination of Gillard & Anderton (GBR15127), Schulz and Lidgett (AUS 15113) and the South African combination of Yogi Divaris & Ferdinand Holm (RSA 14910).

By the next rounding of the weather mark normal order had been restored with Gillard & Anderton leading and Schulz & Lidgett up to second. After this first race the fleet were taken ashore as the wind was showing no sign of abating though there was a more favourable forecast for the afternoon. At 16:00 the fleet was called out again for a second race in 10 – 14 knots. This time Gillard & Anderton led from start to finish, with Yogi Divaris & Ferdinand Holm second, Mermod & Moser third and Schulz & Lidgett fourth. The leading crews were able to fly spinnakers on the top reach but the chasing pack either sailed high initially and then set bag or two-sailed the reach.

From Ben Schulz:- Day 2 was wilder than yesterday. Sailed the runs flat on the wire with no kite for a second place finish! They gave us a two-hour break then sent us out again in 20 knots to reach the start area in zero knots. Finally sailed in a building breeze in with way too upright a rake; struggling in for fourth. The programme is for three races tomorrow.

Yogi Divaris has the privilege of being the youngest helm at the Worlds at the tender age of just 16 years.

2016 Fireball Worlds, Mossel Bay, South Africa

Sunday 11th – Friday 16th December.

R1 R2 R3 Tot.
1 Tom Gillard & Richard Anderton GB5 15127 1 1 1 3
2 Claude Mermod & Ruedi Moser SUI 14977 2 3 3 8
3 Ben Schulz & Jack Lidgett AUS 15113 3 2 4 9
4 Yogi Divaris & Ferdinand Holm RSA 14910 6 4 2 12
5 Alistair Bush & David Carroll KEN 14535 4 8 6 18


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The penultimate Sunday of Series 1 of the DMYC’s Frostbite Series 2016/17 saw a mirror-like appearance on the inner reaches of Dun Laoghaire harbour and the light air nature of the day was confirmed as the” keelers”, sailing their Turkey Shoot race were only just moving outside the harbour.

Despite this scenario, the principal organiser of the racing was heard to say that a single race would be sailed, of five laps, but that a shortened course signal would be close at hand. This correspondent, sailing with Alistair Court, was towed out to the race area by RIB and other Fireballs paddled & sailed in order to get to the start area. Given that the principal organiser, Olivier Proveur, is French, it seemed appropriate to say “Nous somme ici, mais pourquoi”, which I hoped translated to “We are here now, but why” as we drew alongside the committee boat. There was no apparent wind on the water and the Race Officer & Olivier were on the bow with a burgee, seeking some form of indication as to where a weather mark might go!

Eventually a few zephyrs made their presence felt and a weather mark was put in place just to the north of the approach to the marina, suggesting that what little wind there was was coming from a westerly direction. Mark No. 2 was located just off the HSS gantry with Marks 3 & 4 down towards the East Pier Wall, with 4 about 50-60m inside the end of the East Pier.

No-one was straying too far from the start line in the fickle winds that were blowing and our assessment was to pick a spot to start and see how the wind gods treated us. Clearly, we got this wrong as minutes after the start, we were stone last. Three boats hogged the pin-end on port tack, Frank Miller & Grattan Donnelly (14713), Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775) and Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (15061). Slightly behind them, also on port were the Clancy brothers, Conor & James, (14807), and between the pin and the committee boat end were Louis Smyth & Glenn Fisher (15007) and the “pink-ladies”, Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691), so called because of their matching pink woolly hats.

For a change, Butler & Oram were not the leading boat; that went to Colin & Casey, who also lead the fleet round the first weather mark in the second race last Sunday, but weren’t credited for the achievement in the corresponding report. Next came Miller & Donnelly followed by Butler & Oram, but as the wind switched off, the tail-enders caught up with the leaders and all seven boats rounded in a relatively short window. No-one bar Smyth & Fisher tried to fly spinnakers and Miller, taking a hitch to windward was rewarded when he overtook Colin to lead around Mark 2.

In the lightest of winds, places changed quite regularly between Marks 1 & 3 with a wide variety of approaches being taken to Mark 3. Colin for example gybed immediately at Mark 2 to sail a course inside the trapezoid. Court went out wide with Clancy, towards the East Pier, while Smyth and McKenna sailed more of a straight line course to Mark 3. By 3, Clancy had gone ahead of Court who then found that both Smyth and McKenna had water on him at the mark so he took a slow rounding for his pain. Colin had dropped further back.

The passage from 3 to 4 was “trying”. Miller & Donnelly led past 3 and onto 4 where, assuming a beat to 1, they dropped spinnaker. Butler & Oram decided that bag could be flown thus giving the hint to everyone else. The Clancys, sailing higher than the rest of the fleet, carried it the furthest, but no-one managed to hold it all the way. Smyth & Fisher having sailed a positive 2 to 3 to 4 were now in third place, without really closing on the front two where Miller was still the rabbit to Butler’s greyhound. The top leg of the trapezoid was a “two-sailer” again and had more of a beat to it as more than one boat took a hitch to try and get into clear wind. Miller was still leading at 2 and held that until very late on when Butler was able to make a faster manoeuvre at Mark 4 when a shortened course was signalled.

Smyth & Fisher took third, Clancys fourth and Court & Bradley and Colin & Casey were overlapped going over the line with Court getting the nod.

2016/17 DMYC Frostbites – Series1: After 2nd Discard. R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 Nett
Noel Butler/Phil Lawton & Stephen Oram/Ger Owens 15061 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 7
Conor Clancy/Owen Laverty & James Clancy 14807 2 4 2 4 3 13 1 1 4 17
Neil Colin & Margaret Casey 14775 13 2 4 2 2 5 3 3 6 21
Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe/Cormac Bradley 14691 3 3 7 7 5 4 4 4 7 30
Frank Miller & Ed Butler/Cormac Bradley/Grattan Donnelly 14713 13 5 6 8 6 2 6 5 2 32
Alistair Court & Gordon Syme/Cormac Bradley 14706 13 13 13 5 4 3 5 9 5 44
Louis Smyth & Joe O’Reilly/Glenn Fisher 15007 13 7 3 3 7 11 13 13 3 47
Cariosa Power & Marie Barry 14854 13 6 8 6 8 7 13 13 13 61
Peter & Michael Keegan 14676 13 8 5 13 13 8 8 7 13 62
Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire 14865 13 13 13 9 9 11 7 6 13 68
Darragh McDonagh & Crew 15058 13 13 13 13 13 6 13 13 13 84
David Turner & Peter Doherty 14362 13 13 13 10 10 13 13 13 13 85


Next Sunday, 18th, sees the last race of Series 1. 

Meanwhile in sunny South Africa, the Fireball Worlds got underway in strong wind, big seas and sunshine in Mossel Bay on the country’s Garden Route.

At the Pre-Worlds last week, which doubled up as the South African Class Nationals, the Swiss pair of Claude Mermod & Ruedi Moser, current European Champions, (SUI 14799) had a perfect week winning all bar one of the races, the last, which they didn’t need to sail. The last race win went to Ben Schulz and Jack Lidgett (AUS 15113), allowing them to finish second overall, ten points adrift of the Swiss. Third overall were Johana Koranva Napravnikova & Jakub Napravnik (CZE 15109) who scored two seconds in a nett score of 17 points. The early part of the Pre-Worlds was heavy winded with Day 1 seeing no racing. However, it seems that by the end of the week a lack of wind was the bigger problem.

After a flag-raising ceremony yesterday morning, the Worlds fleet went out in big winds and even bigger seas. The Swiss paid “second fiddle” to reigning World Champions, Tom Gillard & Richard Anderton (GBR 15127), with Schulz & Lidgett, third. Facebook posts show huge seas, high speed Fireballing and Fireballs cresting waves with half their hulls out of the water. The matching reports suggest an exhilarating day but tired bodies as a consequence.

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While the forecast on XCWeather had looked good from the late part of Friday afternoon through to Sunday morning, the reality on the water was that it didn’t deliver. Instead of a healthy 14 – 19 knots of South-Easterly, we got less writes Cormac Bradley. While the bulk of the first race offered trapezing conditions upwind and off-wind in the harder puffs, the second race was characterised by a breeze that started to fade.

After the five-lapper of last Sunday (27th), the Race Committee reverted to type – based on an online poll – and gave us two three-lap trapezoid races. The South-Easterly part of the forecast was “about right” and saw the committee boat just outside the approach to the marina, a weather mark up towards the East Pier wall, No.2 just inside the end of the East Pier, No.3 inside the end of the West Pier and No.4 about 50/60m astern of the committee boat. Fireball numbers were down marginally from last week’s high, with a number of notable absentees, but at least one of those loaned out his boat to two of our Olympians. Phil Lawton and Ger Owens (470) sailed 15061 in the absence of Noel Butler and Stephen Oram, but with Phil helming.
The early starts of the PY and Laser fleets suggested that the tactic would be to go left initially off the line and then tack onto port to take a long hitch up the middle of the harbour. The Clancys (14807) didn’t appear to fancy that as they were the first to go off on port and it paid dividends as they rounded the weather mark first and like Butler & Oram do on most Sundays, they sailed in their own wind until quite late on in the race. Behind them Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691) backed up all the recent talk of their regular season accomplishments by rounding in second place in close company with Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775), followed by Frank Miller & Grattan Donnelly (14713), Lawton & Owens, Alistair Court & Cormac Bradley (14706), Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire (14865) and Peter & Michael Keegan (14676).

While the beats would prove to be “tricky” all afternoon, the legs between 1 and 2 and 2 and 3 were similar. Possibly as a consequence of being parallel to the pier wall, the wind was playing fun and games with those trying to fly spinnakers – ranging from almost too tight to fly, to powering off in the gusts. Contrary to Adam Bower’s best advice, spinnaker poles were tight against the forestay in many instances. At Mark 3 the decision was whether to gybe or not. And there were no clear indicators! On the second and third lap of the first race, this correspondent and Alistair Court lost places by gybing immediately, only to see those outside them go past. Yet, in the first lap of the second race, the reverse happened when an early gybe allowed Court & Bradley to ghost past the first and second boats who had gone wide. 3 to 4 was an easier spinnaker leg.

On the second beat McKenna was reeled back in by the chasing pack which now consisted of Lawton, Colin and Court and while Court had closed the gap on the two boats ahead of him on the beat, he scored again on the top reach when he caught up to McKenna as well. Colin got further ahead by gybing to go “inside the trapezoid”, Court held a straight line course to Mark 3, but Lawton and McKenna went wide to the harbour mouth and sailed around Court to have the sequence at the bottom Mark as Clancy, Colin, Lawton, McKenna, Court, Miller, Chambers, Keegan. Lawton then stepped up a gear on the last lap to dispense with the chasing pack and to close significantly on the Clancys who hadn’t seen a Fireball at close quarters since the start. While the Olympian got closer, he didn’t get quite close enough.

The Race Committee swung the course northwards for the second race and the hope was that the varied conditions at the top of the course might improve. However, with hindsight, it appeared that 2 – 3 was still being influenced by its proximity to the wall and that leg didn’t evolve into a more comfortable 3-sailer.

The start was a scramble at the pin with Clancys trying to command the pin but being over the line in their attempt. There may have been at least one other OCS at that end but the principle culprit was Court and Bradley who broke the line in the minute before the start signal and didn’t comply with the consequent “round the end” penalty. They sailed off with the X flag flying convinced that the debacle was at the pin. Team Clancy did go back and found themselves in the polar opposite to the first race – fighting their way back through the fleet. The “rabbit status” thus fell to the ladies, Louise & Hermine who rounded ahead of the Olympians and Court & Bradley who felt that at last they had got a beat right. Their situation improved further when having gybed immediately at 2, they went into the lead when McKenna and Lawton went off towards the harbour mouth. However, by the approach to 3, the latter two had gybed back, set a course inside Court & Bradley and all three rounded 3 overlapped with Court on the outside. That was as good as it got for Court and Bradley who eventually found themselves fighting off the Keegans for 2nd last place after Chambers & McGuire had passed them out. Chambers & McGuire then went behind when someone illegally slammed the door shut on a mark rounding with Chambers adamant that she had an inside overlap.

Team Clancy progressively worked their way through the fleet and Lawton & Owens were also in the groove until late on I saw them taking turns. Colin usually revels in the more fickle conditions that were manifesting themselves as the race progressed. There didn’t seem to be any tell-tale signs on the water as to which way to go up the beat, but Neil managed to get himself into third by about the half-way stage of the race. McKenna & O’Keeffe were also enjoying the lighter conditions and showing their transom to the heavier all-male combinations. Miller & Donnelly had one fouled spinnaker hoist which didn’t do them any favours but they were nipping at those ahead of them all the same. Team Clancy went into the lead on the last lap and my recall is that they were closely followed over the finish line by the Olympians. A good day for them!

2016/17 DMYC Frostbites – Series1: After 1st Discard. R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 Nett
Noel Butler/Phil Lawton & Stephen Oram/Ger Owens 15061 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 8
Conor Clancy/Owen Laverty & James Clancy 14807 2 4 2 4 3 13 1 1 17
Neil Colin & Margaret Casey 14775 13 2 4 2 2 5 3 3 21
Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe/Cormac Bradley 14691 3 3 7 7 5 4 4 4 30
Frank Miller & Ed Butler/Cormac Bradley/Grattan Donnelly 14713 13 5 6 8 6 2 6 5 38
Alistair Court & Gordon Syme/Cormac Bradley 14706 13 13 13 5 4 3 5 9 52
Louis Smyth & Joe O’Reilly/Glenn Fisher 15007 13 7 3 3 7 11 13 13 57
Cariosa Power & Marie Barry 14854 13 6 8 6 8 7 13 13 61
Peter & Michael Keegan 14676 13 8 5 13 13 8 8 7 62
Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire 14865 13 13 13 9 9 11 7 6 68
Darragh McDonagh & Crew 15058 13 13 13 13 13 6 13 13 84
David Turner & Peter Doherty 14362 13 13 13 10 10 13 13 13 98


The two all-lady combinations won the Frostbite Mugs, Louise & Hermine for the first race and Mary & Brenda for the second.

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Ten Fireballs answered the starter’s call on Sunday afternoon with none of them showing any adverse signs from the season’s prize-giving at the National Yacht Club on the preceding Friday night. However, one individual did say that he wasn’t at his best having been at a family function till late on Saturday night.

The forecast was for an easterly, which duly arrived but there were varying forecasts as to what strength it would be. In the end we had our best racing for the Series thus far, proper trapezing upwind and off-wind on the short top reach.

In a break with recent practice we had a single race, a 5-lap trapezoid course with the start area just outside the entrance channel to the marina, a weather mark in the vicinity of the Boyd Memorial – an obelisk built into the upper Pier wall, Mark No.2 just inside the end of the East Pier, No. 3 just to the north of the Marina West Breakwater and No. 4 about ⅓ of the way between the end of the Marina West Breakwater and the HSS berth.

In assessing the course before the start, we had watched a Finn from the PY starts get into a very favourable angle relative to the weather mark by going to the right-hand side of the beat but the majority of Fireballs decided to go left initially, on starboard tack towards the harbour mouth. Two specific exceptions to this were Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775) and Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691) who went right from the start and were both rewarded by rounding in 2nd and 3rd respectively a short distance behind perennial leaders Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (15061). Alistair Court & Gordon Syme (14706) were also well up as were the other all-lady team of Cariosa Power & Marie Barry (14854). Frank Miller & Cormac Bradley (14713) were a bit further back despite being favourably disposed, weight-wise, to the stronger, though not excessive, breeze. Season-debutant Darragh McDonagh was close on Miller’s tail, too close from 1 to 3! The top reach was a three-sailer and for the first lap it was quite comfortable. The question was whether to gybe immediately at Mark 2 or to sail on towards the end of the west pier before gybing onto a long leg towards Mark 3. For the early stages of the race the immediate gybe was the preferred option. The advantage of having Noel & Stephen lead is that it gives the rest of us an indication of what is possible on the next leg. It was clear that 3 to 4 was not going to be a spinnaker leg for anyone.

Up the second beat the early pecking order didn’t change much except that miller managed to shake off McDonagh and closed the gap on the boats ahead to the extent that from 2 to 3 on the second lap, Colin, Court, McKenna and Miller were in a tight grouping with McKenna exerting aggressive but legal influence on the outside of the bunch as Mark 3 came into play. As inside boat Miller got squeezed by Court who rounded ahead of Miller but Miller had managed to get ahead of both Colin and McKenna. The leg from 3 to 4 was now tighter as the immediacy of boats caused them all to go high. Halfway across the leg the angle of attack was eased and it became a short reach to bear down on the mark.

Having gone right on the second beat and closed the gap, Miller & Bradley stayed right again, this time taking Court and Syme before they reached the weather mark, but Court wasn’t giving up that easily and kept company with Miller all the way to Mark 3. However, at 3, Miller opened a gap that he extended across to 4 leaving him in a position to watch Court with some comfort. The priority was to stay ahead of Court rather than trying to catch Butler & Oram.

Further back, some of the other boats were struggling a little; Smyth & Fisher (15007) were not showing the same form as the previous Sunday and eventually retired with a broken main halyard and possible a bit of swimming. Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire (14865) also had their fair share of trouble with a capsize on the beat in the fluky approach to the weather mark and getting blown over on the top reach which had become decidedly tighter. They too retired. McDonagh, after his early pace, fell back through the fleet and the Keegans, Peter & Michael (14676) were also off the pace.

Having got past Court on the off-wind legs, Miller extended his lead on the subsequent two beats to finish a comfortable 2nd behind Butler & Oram who ploughed a solitary furrow as race leaders from start to finish.

Court & Syme continued their form of last week as Race 2 Mug Winners to finish 3rd, with McKenna & O’Keeffe 4th and Colin & Casey 5th. Miller & Bradley’s 2nd place on the water was enough to win the day’s Frostbite Mugs.

2016/17 DMYC Frostbites – Series1: After 1st Discard. R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Nett
Noel Butler & Stephen Oram 15061 1 1 1 1 1 1 5
Conor Clancy/Owen Laverty & James Clancy 14807 2 4 2 4 3 13 15
Neil Colin & Margaret Casey 14775 13 2 4 2 2 5 15
Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe/Cormac Bradley 14691 3 3 7 7 5 4 22
Frank Miller & Ed Butler/Cormac Bradley 14713 13 5 6 8 6 2 27
Louis Smyth & Joe O’Reilly/Glenn Fisher 15007 13 7 3 3 7 11 31
Cariosa Power & Marie Barry 14854 13 6 8 6 8 7 35
Alistair Court & Gordon Syme 14706 13 13 13 5 4 3 38
Peter & Michael Keegan 14676 13 8 5 13 13 8 47
Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire 14865 13 13 13 9 9 11 55
Darragh McDonagh & Crew 15058 13 13 13 13 13 6 58
David Turner & Peter Doherty 14362 13 13 13 10 10 13 59


The Class had its season prize-giving on Friday night at the National Yacht Club. New Class Chairman/President/Commodore gave a report back on the season just past, including in his opening comments a tribute to his immediate predecessor, Marie Barry, who has put in sterling work looking after the Class over the past few years. A glutton for punishment, Marie has stepped down from the Chair to take up the role of Secretary!!

While the Travellers Trophy determines the competitive prizes, there are also a number of trophies that are awarded by the Class.

The Asterix Trophy, awarded by committee consensus to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the Class.

Awarded to the retiring Class Chairman, Marie Barry

The India Trophy, awarded by committee consensus to the most improved Fireballer(s).

Awarded to Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691) for their Pwhelli Worlds performance which they followed up with 3rd place overall at the2016 Irish Fireball Nationals in Howth

The Captain’s Prize, awarded at the discretion of the Dun Laoghaire Class Captain, who in 2016 was Hermine O’Keefe.

Awarded to Cormac Bradley for his “Irish Fireball journalism” – writing regatta reports, Tuesday night and Frostbite racing

The Liam Bradley Trophy, memorial trophy awarded by Cormac Bradley in memory of his father.

Awarded to Hermine O’Keeffe for her development as a crew and her subsequent contribution to the 14691 Fireball Team as evidenced in Pwhelli at the Worlds and the subsequent 3rd place overall at the Irish Nationals

Silver Fleet Trophy – awarded to the top placed Silver Fleet entry over the Travellers Series (5 regattas).

Awarded to Cariosa Power and Marie Barry (14854)

The Lady’s Helm – Awarded to the best placed Lady Helm in the Travellers Series.

Awarded to Louise McKenna (14691)

Travellers Series

3rd Place – Niall McGrotty & Neil Cramer, 14938, Skerries Sailing Club.

2nd Place – Conor & James Clancy, 14807, Royal St George Yacht Club.


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After the third Sunday of the 2016/17 Fireball Frostbite Series, hosted by Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, the points table is as shown below writes Cormac Bradley. As the numbers show, there is one shining example of consistency – Noel Butler and Stephen Oram have yet to lose a race and while these numbers might suggest they are having it all their own way, at one stage yesterday, after the first beat of the second race, they were second last.

2016/17 Frostbites, Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 Tot.
1 Noel Butler & Stephen Oram 15061 1 1 1 1 1 5
2 Conor Clancy/Owen Laverty & James Clancy 14807 2 4 2 4 3 15
3 Neil Colin & Margaret Casey 14775 12 2 4 2 2 22
4 Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe/Cormac Bradley 14691 3 3 7 7 5 25
5 Louis Smyth & Joe O’Reilly/Glenn Fisher 15007 12 7 3 3 7 32
6 Frank Miller & Ed Butler/Cormac Bradley 14713 12 5 6 8 6 37
7 Cariosa Power & Marie Barry 14854 12 6 8 6 8 40
8 Alistair Court & Gordon Syme 14706 12 12 12 5 4 45
9 Peter & Michael Keegan 14676 12 8 5 12 12 49
10 Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire 14865 12 12 12 9 9 54
11 David Turner & Peter Doherty 14362 12 12 12 10 10 56


If you were to ask me where they got ahead, I couldn’t tell you, because I don’t recall any engagement with them on the remainder of the race, but they did win it, despite the best efforts of both the Clancys and Neil Colin & Margaret Casey in the latter stages of the race. This performance was in stark contrast to the first race when they rounded the first weather mark first and proceeded to extend their lead throughout the race winning by a very comfortable margin.

Wind conditions were at their best on this third Sunday, following very strong winds on Day 1 and variable winds last Sunday, yesterday provided more consistent breeze in terms of strength even if there was quite a bit of diversity to the execution of the beats. The breeze was out of the western quarter and with a start area just inside the end of the East Pier, the weather mark was set to the left of the pier protecting the entrance to the marina. As has been the trend this season, the top and bottom reaches were quite short in length and with this wind direction the leg from Mark 2 to mark 3 was a good length.

The fleet all decided that sailing along the start line on starboard tack was the way to go but even with a pin-end bias, there was some “argy-bargy” as the gun went and two boats returned to restart – Team Clancy & Miller & Bradley. Just ahead of them, along the line, on the pin, was Butler & Oram and this was about as close as anyone got to them in this race. The majority of the fleet went left initially with only two boats going right. Team Clancy & Miller worked a middle of the course route and as the weather mark came into play it was apparent that their start-line “mis-deeds” had cost them places.

Behind the “hare” the greyhounds were being led by Colin & Casey, Court & Syme, and Smyth & Fisher. Miller & Bradley rounded with only two boats behind them, Frostbite debutantes David Turner & Peter Doherty and Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire. However, the reality was that with the exception of the hares, the balance of the fleet was quite closely grouped. The top reach was tight-ish and would get tighter as the afternoon wore on, so spinnaker handling was at a premium. Between 2 and 3 the decision was how late to leave the gybe after Mark 2 and in most cases it was left quite late. 3 to 4 was another tight reach but invariably those that were fighting for places went higher than they needed to, relative to the mark.

Miller & Bradley redeemed themselves on the next beat by going hard left and working their way up the port lay-line – an exercise that got them into third or fourth place, but on the leg between 3 and 4 they were passed out to windward and leeward to go back down the pecking order. By this stage Smyth & Fisher were snapping at the transom of Colin & Casey who were still second but Team Clancy were also chasing a podium place. Eventually, Smyth & Fisher were able to get sufficiently ahead to control Team Clancy’s ambitions on the short hitch to the finish. Miller & Bradley had a fight for the finish when they didn’t communicate to each other that it was a finish as they were distracted with an errant spinnaker halyard. They only just held off Chambers & McGuire for 8th place.

The breeze appeared to go a little bit further south for the second start of the day which was a clean one with everyone repeating the intent of the first start, sail off the line on starboard and work the left hand-side. For some reason that I didn’t see, Butler & Oram were not part of that set, so it was with some surprise that as the majority of the fleet sailed up the port lay-line, they had the sight of the Series Leaders coming in from the right-hand side to occupy a very unusual spot in the pecking order.

Up front, Colin & Casey were setting the pace with Team Clancy and McKenna & O’Keeffe in close proximity and Court & Syme well placed. Another tight group included Miller, Smyth and Power & Barry and the newcomers Turner & Doherty were showing some signs of getting to grips with proceedings. Like silent assassins, Butler & Oram picked off the fleet to leave themselves snapping at the leaders as the race progressed. Miller then got back into the company of Court and McKenna but at a rounding of Mark 4, McKenna pushed her nose in, to Court’s indignation and Miller was forced wide as a consequence. There was no contact but McKenna took turns and dropped off the pace as a consequence. By the next weather mark, McKenna had undone the damage of turns and Court had got further away from Miller so his recovery died.

Butler & Oram took their fifth gun of the Series ahead of Colin & Casey and Team Clancy.

The Frostbite Mugs went to Louis Smyth and a delighted Glen Fisher for the first race of the day and to Alistair Court and Gordon Syme for the second. Fisher was delighted to get a Mug so soon in the Series, because he claimed he normally has to wait until March. Thus, a Mug on Day 3 and before December was a double bonus!

Friday evening, 25th November sees the Class having its end of year dinner and prize-giving in the National Yacht Club. The evening is always well supported by the active and only recently inactive members and the committee would love to see as many of you as possible at the event. In addition to the Travellers’ Trophy prizes, there are Class Awards to be handed out and in recent years we have been very well looked after by the National Yacht Club’s hospitality team.

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The 2016 Fireball World Championships are now only three weeks away. They will be hosted by the Mossel Bay Yacht Club in South Africa from the 4th to the 16th December 2016. Unfortunately, there will be no Irish representation.

With its exceptional weather, picturesque location and exceptional ocean conditions, Mossel Bay is rated as one of South Africa’s best sailing venues. There should be a full range of conditions, but rumour has it this will be a regatta for the big boys.

It has been 22 years since the Fireball Worlds were last held in South Africa and 13 years since they were on the African continent. Many of the sailors from the 1994 event still brag about surviving the high winds and big waves with most rating South Africa as the best place that they have ever sailed.

The two week event commences with an eight race Pre-worlds which is also the South African Nationals. After a day’s rest and recovery it is back out on the water for the 10 race world championships.
In terms of a likely winner it is hard to go past current world champions Tom Gillard and Richard Anderton from the UK. Tom has won the last three Fireball Worlds he has sailed in and together with Richard they also hold the British title and have a European title to their name.

The Swiss pairing of Claude Mermod and Ruedi Moser will be aiming to dethrone Tom and Richard. They have been in fine form this season having won the European Championships with a day to spare in Italy in July. The Swiss are hard to beat in the lakes. The question will be can they step up to racing in the ocean swell.

Other likely contenders include Ben Schulz and Jack Lidgett from Australia. The Aussies traditionally love the big winds so South Africa may well suit their style. From Czech Republic, Olympic hopeful Johana Napravnikova Koranva has teamed up with Jakub Napravni and should be extremely fast. Then there are a number of teams from Canada, France, Kenya and Namibia who will all be near the front of the fleet at some stage during the regatta.

The local South African fleet is looking forward to the opportunity and privilege of competing against some of the best Fireball sailors from around the world and we are hoping that some home water advantage will give us a slight edge to make an impression on the competitive fleet.

Local, young and up-coming sailor Georgou Davaris, who already has a World title behind his name, has teamed up with experienced Ferdinand Holm to sail at the event. They have been training hard and judging by the current performances, they definitely have the talent to perform well and challenge the fleet.

There are rumours that our South African Olympic 470 team - Asanathi Jim and Roger Hudson might be getting on a boat for the event. 

Also included in the fleet are two other Southern Cape teams - David Laing and Chris du Toit, and Anthony and Diane Parker. Both David and Anthony have plenty of experience in the Fireball fleet having competed at world championships in Wales, Barbados and Thailand.

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The Irish Fireball “Frostbiters” were almost at full strength for the second Sunday of the 2016/17 Series and were rewarded with a mild day, temperature-wise and a very shifty day wind-wise. In stark contrast to the opening session of the previous Sunday, the fleet launched in mirror conditions with the zephyrs of wind barely rippling the water. This was contrary to the XCWeather forecast which had been projecting winds of 9 – 13 knots from the SW.

The committee boat was located just inside the mouth of the harbour, in readiness for wind from that direction and eventually it came. Not in any huge amount, but certainly enough to get racing underway and a small amount of trapezing was required as the afternoon wore on.

In terms of race winners, you could have put all eight sail-numbers in a bag and drawn a winner out such were the vagaries of wind on the course. That is being a tad disrespectful to Noel Butler & Stephen Oram who won both races but there were times in both races when they found themselves in odd-positions with more boats ahead of them than they might have preferred.

The consensus view of the start was committee boat end so that the option of going right was available. However, not everyone took that option and at the first weather mark of the first race, Owen Laverty and James Clancy (14807), having gone all the way up the left, took the early lead by sailing in to the mark on the port lay-line. They were followed by Butler & Oram (15061) who came in from the right, Louise McKenna & Cormac Bradley (14691) who also worked the right hand side and Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775) who worked middle and right. The top reach was short again and at the second mark of the trapezoid, the leading three boats sailed straight on. Colin & Casey gybed and were rewarded by passing out McKenna & Bradley into third. The two lead boats gybed halfway down the leg and retained their positions.

On the second beat, Colin went hard left and picked up stronger breeze to have Casey full out on the wire. This allowed them to get into second place while Laverty/Clancy dropped back to keep company with McKenna/Bradley. However, behind them in turn, Frank Miller & Ed Butler (14713) and Louis Smyth & Joe O’Reilly (15007) had closed the gap with Cariosa Power & Marie Barry (14854) also on their radar. At Mark 3, the first three of this group were sufficiently close for water to be called from various boats going round together.

By Mark 4 of the second lap, Colin had closed on Butler and Laverty, Smyth and Miller had got ahead of McKenna. Smyth lee-bowed Laverty as the latter hailed starboard and these two and Miller went left. McKenna stayed on the right had side of the course and was rewarded by regaining the three places and distance on all of them. On the downwind legs of the last lap, McKenna was keeping an eye on her pursuers but she was able to hold them off to finish third. Colin & Casey picked up the Frostbite Mugs for their second place.

The wind eased for the second race – another three-lapper of the trapezoid course. This time Miller & Butler (14713) were the greyhounds off the start line where this time the fleet was split 50:50 in terms of going right or left. The leaders went left and were followed round the weather mark by Laverty & Clancy, Butler & Oram and Smyth & O’Reilly. Yet again, decisions had to be made at Mark 2 and Butler & Oram went well beyond the boundaries of the trapezoid on starboard tack to stay in breeze. It didn’t seem to do them any harm because they came back into the confines of the course in second place. Power & Barry were having a better race, mixing it in a busy middle section of the fleet, while the father and son combination of Michael & Peter Keegan (14676) were also mixing it with the middle. The fleet became a bit more stretched as Butler & Oram shook off the shackles to go into the lead and while Laverty & Clancy dropped into second, they were comfortably ahead of Smyth & O’Reilly. Miller & Butler must have found every snake on the course as their first place at the first weather mark became a distant memory while McKenna & Bradley found themselves having to fight off last place with Power & Barry, eventually succeeding in a slow approach to Mark 4 and the short hitch to the finish. Laverty & Clancy picked up the Frostbite Mugs for Race 3.

Given the conditions, the committee boat team did a great job in getting two races in. There was a healthy turnout of boats across the whole fleet with eight Fireballs, twenty-five Lasers and a twenty-four boat PY Fleet.
Fireball readers of this article are again reminded that the Class Dinner and Prize-giving takes place in the National Yacht Club on Friday 25th November. Please let Marie know if you are attending.

2016/17 Frostbites, Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club   R1 R2 R3 Tot.
1 Noel Butler & Stephen Oram 15061 1 1 1 3
2 Conor Clancy/Owen Laverty & James Clancy 14807 2 4 2 8
3 Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe/Cormac Bradley 14691 3 3 7 13
4 Neil Colin & Margaret Casey 14775 12 2 4 18
5 Louis Smyth & Joe O’Reilly 15007 12 7 3 22
6 Frank Miller & Ed Butler 14713 12 5 6 23
7 Peter & Michael Keegan 14676 12 8 5 25
8 Cariosa Power & Marie Barry 14854 12 6 8 26


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The 2016/17 Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club Frostbites got off to a blustery start this afternoon in Dun Laoghaire. The weather station adjacent to my observation point had the various weather parameters as follows; Wind Direction - 345˚, Wind 19.6 knots, Gust 28.5 knots and Air Temperature 9˚. In truth it didn’t appear to be as cold as the Saturday when this correspondent sailed three races in a Flying Fifteen wind while there was more sunshine for that session, the weather today was cloudy but seemed to be a little warmer – but it wasn’t “shirt sleeve weather” by any means.

Three Fireballs graced the opening day of the Series – Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (15061), Conor & James Clancy (14807) and Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691). The overnight Met Eireann forecast didn’t hold out much hope of racing with a projected Force 5 – 8 for all parts of the Irish Seas and indeed by Sunday morning a Facebook post to the fleet suggested that some consideration had been taken as to whether racing would be possible.

Noel & Stephen comfortably won the race from Conor & James with the ladies finishing third. In truth I missed most of the action on the water as I was delayed getting to the harbour. It was a day of discretion being the better part of valour with respect to spinnaker flying.

The start area was in the vicinity of the dormant berth for the HSS with a weather mark towards the end of the West Pier. The top and bottom reaches of the trapezoid course were moderately short in comparison to the beat and run. Given the news of the revised planning permission for a cruise liner berth in the harbour this past week, it will be interesting to see how this impacts on the Frostbite and other sailing activity inside the harbour.

In other Fireball news the Class had its AGM on the Saturday night of the last regatta of the year. As had been signposted there was a change of Chairman with Marie Barry standing down after a three-year stint. In terms of falling numbers at events, Marie has not had it easy, but she has put a lot of effort into the Class and is due our collective thanks. Marie is replaced as Class Chairman by Neil Cramer of Skerries Sailing Club. Regatta participants would know Neil as the crew to Niall McGrotty. Margaret Casey had also indicated her intention to retire as Class Secretary. By my reckoning Margaret has been Secretary to at least three Chairmen, Marie, Neil Colin and I, and this period alone accounts for 9 years of service. Marie Barry has taken on the mantle of Secretary. Conor Clancy will continue as Treasurer.

Since the AGM there has been a committee meeting and individual activity in getting the calendar fixed for next year. In addition to our normal roster of events, with 2017 being an odd-numbered year, there will be a three day Volvo Dun Laoghaire event over the first weekend of July. Next year’s Fireball Europeans are scheduled for August in Lyme Regis on the English South Coast. Given their proximity, there is an expectation of Irish participation.

Finally, the end of year prize-giving will take place in the National Yacht Club on Friday 25th November.

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Royal St. George Yacht Club Pair Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella counted five straight race wins to be winners of the 11-boat Fireball Leinster Championships at the National Yacht Club today. The host club's Noel Butler and Stephen Oram were second. Niall McCrotty and Neil Cramer of Skerries Sailing Club were third overall. Full results are downloadable below. 

The event was hosted by the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire in tandem with the Flying Fifteen East Coast Championships and the SB20 Combined Southern event.

Any concerns sailors may have had about mixing somewhat disparate fleets were banished by excellent race management.

On the Saturday the forecast moderate Northerly winds turned out (for once) to be overly modest - sailors faced an increasing breeze which according to the DLH site at times touched 30 knots. On Saturday windward- leeward courses were set for all races, and in the strong breeze this was generally welcomed, with good surfing conditions downwind in waves not often seen in the bay. The first race was won by Noel Butler & Stephen Oram but after an initial wobble McCartin/Kinsella established their dominance. Behind them Niall McGrotty and Neil Cramer sailed consistently well and were ultimately rewarded with third place overall. Also sailing extremely well despite a bug and a shoulder injury veteran Louis Smyth, with Joe O’Reilly on the wire punched in solid results. Phil Lawton, sailing a borrowed boat with Neil O’Toole, returned to the fleet but struggled to make top placings. Visitors to Dublin included John Bolger & James Dalton from Killaloe who enjoyed the experience of the waves and took home the silver trophy as a bonus. Brian O’Neill from East Down make the trek south to team up with Michael Keegan. Sunday saw a totally different type of day, starting cool crisp and sunny but without a zephyr.

fireball leinster winnersThe Fireball fleet at the NYC. Photo: Joe Fallon

Noel Butler Stehpen Oram Fireball Dinghy SailingThe host club's Noel Butler and Stephen Oram were second

The fleet were wisely kept ashore until an easterly filled in and again excellent race management achieved three races within a tight time frame in a building breeze. Overall kudos must go to the National Yacht Club and organiser Olivier Prouvier for putting together a brave combined event that may well point the way forward for our sport and proving that combination events with good management can work extremely well for everyone.

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Page 9 of 39

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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