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After the Covid enforced hiatus, the first one-day regatta hosted by a Dun Laoghaire harbour yacht club in four years took place last Saturday, with the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club “breaking the ice” for the other three clubs.

Despite a good deal of sunshine on the day, the wind forecast wasn’t so benign and a South-Westerly of 15 knots gusting to 23/24 knots was “on the cards” from early in the week before. Indeed, on the morning of the regatta, the three Race Officers, Susanne McGarry (DBSC Hut), Barry O’Neil (Green Fleet), Cormac Bradley (Dinghy Fleet) and Regatta Co-ordinator, Ben Mulligan, contemplated an hour-long postponement in the hope that the predicted and apparent breeze might ease. It didn’t and the Race Officers and their RIB entourages set out to provide the day’s racing. The dinghies, comprising Fireballs (5), Aeros (4) and ILCA 6s (5) represented about half of the starting roster with Squibs and Mermaids absent and no other ILCAs coming out to play.

The dinghy course was set off Salthill inshore of the Green Fleet and well to the West of the DBSC Hut Fleet who initially set out westwards before peeling off on a spinnaker leg to the East. While a hand-held was recording regular wind speeds of 15 – 17 knots, the numbers went up on a routine basis to record gusts in the low twenties and their arrival was heralded by darker clouds passing overhead. A postponement was flown to allow the dinghy participants more time to get to the race area but even those who did make it decided that there was to much “oomph” on the water and hightailed it home almost as soon as they arrived.

Racing in winds in the high teens/low twenties can be challenging enough, but couple that with multiple gear failures and the day goes from potentially intimidating to downright frustrating. One well-known Fireballer suffered a broken main halyard before the racing started. Having taken some time to resolve that and present himself on the start line he would go on to suffer a broken spinnaker sheet and a shredded mainsheet, proving that even multiple throws of the dice by an experienced hand can still produce ones.

The five-boat Fireball fleet saw both races won by Josh Porter & Cara McDowell (14695), though they did get a slice of luck in the second race when the boat leading into the last leeward mark capsized giving them the win. Adrian Lee (14713) took second place ahead of Frank Miller & Neil Cramer (14915). On a day when staying upright was key, the level of competition within the fleet was modest and exchanging tacks on the course was not a primary activity. However, Porter & McDowell showed what a light crew can do on a heavy-duty day and looked very comfortable, both upwind and downwind. Spinnakers were flown in both races but not on both reaches of either race.

Another to score a pair of aces was Hugh Cahill (216594) in the ILCA6 fleet which also had five boats racing. Hugh was well placed in the first race, but not leading, when the lead boat went for a swim, allowing Hugh to take the first gun. In the second race he didn’t have to rely on others making errors in order to cross the line first. In overall terms he was followed home by Damien Delap (183295), and Michael Norman (219126).

The Aero fleet mustered 3 Aero 7s and an Aero 5, the latter sailed by Roy van Maanen. This added a bit of intrigue to their racing as it meant there was a handicap race going on within their fleet. Stephen Oram indicated that they enjoyed close racing by way of the lighter van Maanen in the smaller rig being competitive relative to the “bigger helms” sailing the Aero 7. Three of the four Aeros enjoyed relatively close racing with the fourth boat being off the pace. Brendan Foley took the regatta win in the Aero 7, followed by Roy van Maanen (Aero 5) and Stephen Oram (Aero 7).

With two races in the bag and a recent gust of 26 knots recorded on the handheld and given that the Green Fleet had shut up shop for the day, the dinghies were dispatched to the harbour where the day’s proceedings were assessed under a blue-sky afternoon.

DMYC Regatta 2022.

1. Josh Porter & Cara McDowell, 14695 (2)
2. Adrian Lee & crew, 14713 (5)
3. Frank Miller & Neil Cramer 14915 (6)

1. Hugh Cahill 216594 (2)
2. Damien Delap 183295 (4)
3. Michael Norman 219126 (7)

1. Brendan Foley Aero 7, 1321 (3)
2. Roy van Maanen Aero 5, 3822 (3)
3. Stephen Oram Aero 7, 3288 (6)

Published in DMYC

Josh Porter and I represented the Irish Fireball Association at the GUL UK National Championships held over the four-day British jubilee holiday weekend writes Frank Miller

The Fireball UK Nationals is one of the most competitive on these islands and 2022 was no exception. Thirty-four Fireballs made the trek to Brightlingsea on the east coast of England. This was a double National championship, shared with the Contender class who had similar boat numbers. As always, the event was extremely well organised with food, entertainment and daily prizes most evenings. A feature of UK Nationals is the daily prize-giving and generous spot prizes were presented by main sponsors GUL, by North Sails, Pinnell and Bax, Allen Brothers and West Systems. The regatta team, led by regatta chair Fiona Brown, made a special arrangement with the local council to use an adjacent field for tents and campers with access to the scouts’ den for kitchen and loos. This, coupled with the cosy atmosphere of the little seaside town meant that sailors were sited close together adding a friendly and intimate feeling to the championship.

Team IRL selfie - Josh Porter (left) and Frank Miller in Brightlingsea Fireball Team IRL selfie - Josh Porter (left) and Frank Miller in Brightlingsea 

With measurement checks out of the way on the Wednesday the event kicked off in earnest on the Thursday. Launching was interesting as the curving slipway leads at low water to a gravel oyster bed. An extremely strong tide runs across the route out so a special nod of admiration must go to those sailors who have fixed rudders and manoeuvred rudderless for first several hundred metres out through the narrow-marked channel. Out in the wider estuary, the first courses were set and the Fireballs got away on mostly two round Olympic Triangle type courses. Day one saw light to moderate winds increasing as the day wore on. We had a reasonable start in race one and a reasonable mid-fleet result. Conditions for the day were choppy but with enough wind to get through the slop. The wild card was the tide. With two rivers flowing into the estuary and an extremely strong tide even the locals admitted they found it difficult to decide a strategy in the wider estuary when these factors combined - or didn't! Certainly, team Ireland were as perplexed as most of the sailors and mainly played shifts upwind while tending to go inshore as this appeared to be the favoured side - except when it wasn’t. Race two saw me make a dog’s dinner of the start and we had to tack multiple times to clear our air. By the time we reached clean wind, it was a game of catch-up and an appropriate result followed.

Josh Porter and Frank Miller (left) sailing in Brightlingsea Photo: William Stacey

Day two was an entirely different kettle of fish as winds far stronger than forecast competed against tide giving a very lively and disturbed sea. The wind increased a couple of notches to 18-25 knots by race four delivering champagne conditions to be enjoyed by those who managed to stay upright. We achieved that critical task and had two fairly decent results posting a 15th and 14th. Special praise here for stand-in crew Josh who normally holds the tiller but donned the trapeze harness for this UK adventure. He stepped into the breach at short notice when regular sailing partner Ed Butler suffered a cycling injury. Josh made nearly all the good calls during the event, especially in careful positioning relative to the fleet for clear lanes, excellent boat tuning and active dynamism on the windier downwind legs which gained us numerous places.

Fireball Team IRL HQFireball Team IRL HQ

Even stronger winds were forecast for day three and sure enough our tents rocked during the night. By morning the winds were such that our PRO, International Race Officer Paul Jackson checked out the “horrible” sea state and made the early call to abandon racing for the day. There were no complaints. This gave us the chance to relax and catch up with friends in the club bar, and to take a gander around the town. Given that the jubilee weekend was in full flight the town was an interesting sight with a plethora of union jacks and window displays of royal memorabilia, some of which would fetch high valuations on the Antiques Roadshow. We were especially taken with the knitted crown atop the Royal Mail post-box outside the local Tesco. To my eyes however the most fascinating sight was the rows of seaside huts, each uniquely decorated and distinctive. Several were festooned with bunting and hosting Jubilee parties. These quirky gems do not come cheap.

Jubilee celebrations at the Beach HutsJubilee celebrations at the Beach Huts

A nose in the windows of local estate agents showed prices between 25 and 35k. Not cheap, especially when you consider that the town doesn't really have a proper beach. And not cheap either when you see that pretty little redbrick houses dating from the late 19th century can be had from about 200k upwards.

Crowned PostboxCrowned Postbox

Saturday night saw the main championship dinner at the club. This was a terrific social evening with lovely food cooked and served entirely by volunteers from Brightlingsea Sailing Club. A highlight of the evening for me was meeting Bob Fisher's daughters Alice and Carolyne. The legendary sailor and columnist was born and raised in Brightlingsea. Fisher, who died in 2021 has his name engraved above the bar marking his Fireball World championship title in the 1960s. The sisters posed with chair of the UK class Derian Scott beside a special cake commissioned for the event marking the 60th anniversary of the Fireball. Before the Jazz band struck up for the evening, I had the opportunity to do a quick presentation for the Fireball World Championships in Lough Derg YC this August. With 19 British entries so far amongst competitors from as far away as Australia and South Africa the UK fleet are strongly supporting the upcoming Irish Worlds. And with an attractive ferry discount thanks to Irish Ferries, we expect that number will increase before the cheaper entry closing date at the end of this month. Currently, there are 55 teams entered and the class now expects boat numbers to top the 60 mark.

Bob Fisher’s daughters with UK chair Derian Scott (centre) – from left Carolyne Archer, Derian Scott and Alice Davies, commodore BSC.Photo: William StaceyBob Fisher’s daughters with UK chair Derian Scott (centre) – from left Carolyne Archer, Derian Scott and Alice Davies, commodore BSC.Photo: William Stacey

Rested after our day off as tourists and our championship dinner we launched next morning for the final day of racing with three races planned. The forecast promised medium winds, declining to light and clocking left as the day progressed. And so it proved. We had a fairly decent start for race five, lining up well for the gun only to have event leader and multiple world champion Tom Gillard, with crew Andy Thompson, shoot out over us like a rocket. We bore off for clear wind and for a few minutes at least had a good view of Tom's technique - hiking aggressively and dynamically in any puffs to power past adjacent boats before settling into loose covering control of the main competition. Gillard is a multiple world champion and arguably a favourite for this year’s Worlds although the Swiss and Czech teams could well prevail due to their lake sailing experience. This race gave us our best result, keeping left on the first beat put us in good position at the top mark and we held our place for the race to finish 7th. Race six was for us a bit of a disaster. To keep manners on the fleet a U flag was flying for the off. I opted to start somewhat down the line where there was more room but a classic situation emerged whereby a single boat to weather of us seemed to me well forward of the line so I held back to avoid an OCS at all costs. This was a fatal mistake as they had judged the line perfectly and were away in the clear at the gun. We were overrun and found ourselves in poor air and chopped up sea for the entire beat. We fought hard and tried various options but never really got back into any kind of decent position. With the clock running down to the 3.30 pm cut-off the race officer took the pragmatic decision to get a last race in despite a slightly skewed course favouring a long port tack to the weather mark. This saw us line up for a pin end start only for the breeze to head further preventing us and those around us from crossing the line. Luckily, we managed to tack onto port and slip through a gap into clear air. We settled into the long and favoured port tack and concentrated on boat speed, helped by a lee-bow tide effect. We arrived at the weather mark in good shape and managed to hold onto most of our advantage around the course to finish in 14th.

Tom Gillard with crew Andy ThompsonTom Gillard with crew Andy Thompson Photo: William Stacey

When the dust settled and the scores were counted, we finished 16th overall in the 34-boat fleet and managed to get the 2nd silver fleet prize for the event so no complaints from this North-South Fireball team sailing together for the first time. The team of Russell and Ali Cormack who took the top silver prize on equal points to us deserved every bit of their prize as they managed to pull off a second in the same race which was our worst. We salute them! Unsurprisingly North Sails' Tom Gillard with Andy Thompson won the event but they didn't have things entirely their own way as Peter Gray and Simon Foskett posted some great results including two wins on the last day to come second overall. The young and fast-improving P&B team of Isaac Marsh and Ollie Davenport posted a win, a second and two thirds to come third overall. In summary, the UK Nationals is always a brilliant event and this was no exception, worth every bit of the long trek across the UK to take part.

The Brightlingsea Fireball fleet on a tight reach Photo: William StaceyThe Brightlingsea Fireball fleet on a tight reach Photo: William Stacey

DMYC regatta

Next up on the Irish Fireball circuit is the DMYC regatta this coming weekend and the Ulster Championship the following weekend. This year's Ulsters is being staged just North of the Liffey as the class looks forward to returning to Sutton Dinghy Club for the first time in many years. The Fireball class loan boat is now booked for the Sutton event but available to a responsible team for the Leinster Championship in Blessington SC in July. Interested teams should contact class chairman Neil Cramer or secretary Frank Miller.

Fireball Worlds on Lough Derg

The International Fireball World Championship takes place from August 21st - 27th at Lough Derg YC in Dromineer with Con Murphy as PRO. The event is supported by Tipperary County Council and also by Carrickcraft, who are offering sailors special rates for cruiser hire during and after the championship. The Worlds are preceded by the Irish National Championships on August 18th and 19th which doubles as the warm-up event. Currently, 55 boats are signed up for the worlds and with a cheap entry cut-off of the end of June, that number is expected to reach 60 plus. The class are encouraging inactive Fireball sailors to pass on their boats to new teams and the class website has seen many boats change hands in recent weeks. The countdown to the Worlds in Dromineer is ticking but it's not yet too late to get hold of a Fireball and join the fray…

Link to final results here

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Sixteen Fireballs travelled to Dromineer last weekend to take advantage of a special pre-worlds coaching session at Lough Derg Yacht Club. The programme, organised by the Irish Fireball Association was delivered by top dinghy coach Thomas Chaix.

Many travelled down on the Friday and the weekend kicked off in the local Whiskey Still bar where sailors enjoyed the best catch-up since the start of the pandemic. Saturday saw a beautiful sunny day on the lake but alas very light winds.

pre-worlds coaching session at Lough Derg Yacht Club

The morning was far from wasted however as multiple rigging advice sessions took place around the dinghy park with generous advice and help given by the more experienced Fireballers to the several new members of the class. With a World Championship at LDYC this August the class is enjoying a boost as sailors from around the island seek out Fireballs to enter the fray.

New faces in the dinghy park included Adrian Lee and Ossian Geraghty, Immy Hauer and Hugo Mikka, youth team Ella O’Callaghan and Oscar George from LDYC, Andrés Gonzalez and Ana Grande from Killaloe, and flying in from the Netherlands Jane Butler with her “old” 420 crew Jenny Andreasson. Hugo’s renovation work on his newly acquired Duvoisin was especially admired by all.

Fireball pre-worlds coaching session at Lough Derg Yacht Club

When a light breeze showed signs of filling in coach Thomas Chaix briefed the sailors on light air techniques, especially boat handling with minimal use of the rudder and maximum use of sails and body weight within the rules around the start-line.

Once afloat the sailors went through multiple starting practice followed by a few short windward-leeward races. Helping out in a second RIB were ex-Fireball volunteers from Killaloe Philip Despard and Stefany Gorski. The debrief ashore analysed the issues and opportunities in the light airs, in particular anticipating where the next shift was coming from – it was relatively easy to see the breeze pattern approaches on the flat water. Thomas talked too about the “runway” position on the line and putting yourself into a position to accelerate to the gun. The discussion also around the legal niceties of establishing an overlap, and defending your space from “robbers”!

Fireball pre-worlds coaching session at Lough Derg Yacht Club

With no useful breeze filling in after late afternoon the fleet returned to boat tweaking and prepping before a terrific barbeque organised by class treasurer Marie Barry with much help from BBQ prepper Stephen Oram and very many others.

If the light airs of the day were somewhat frustrating on the water the stunning setting of the lake views from the club balcony made up for a lot on Saturday evening with great food and great company.

Sunday dawned with the promise of better wind and sure enough by the time of the briefing a very decent breeze had set in across the lake. Out on the water more starting practice took place on variously biased lines. Another exercise with downwind starts was very interesting – a running start led to the entire fleet arriving in a bunch at the leeward mark, creating a very realistic big-fleet scenario where multiple gains and losses occur at leeward marks. The bottom line – no pun intended – is that a boat which anticipates a bunched-up mess ahead and slows down for a clean rounding often comes out ahead.

Fireball pre-worlds coaching session at Lough Derg Yacht Club

The message being that it’s the exit from the mark which counts and sailors need to think ahead and anticipate how they will position to exit the mark cleanly inside the opposition. After many of these exercises the fleet returned ashore for a debrief and lunch before re-launching for a three-race series to finish off the weekend.

Heading out into the building breeze in the stunning setting of the lake it was easy to appreciate what a fantastic setting Dromineer is for sailing. By now the winds were 12-15 knots with occasional sharper gusts.

Thomas set Olympic-triangle type courses and three terrific races were had in champagne sailing conditions. Race one was won by Noel Butler and Stephen Oram, with Josh Porter/Cara McDowell, and Jane Butler and Jenny on their heels, followed by Ed Og Butler sailing with Ismail Inan. In race two Frank Miller/Ed Butler snr led to the windward but on the second reach got into a luffing match with Butler/Oram which took them both well off the lead and allowed Ed Og to ultimately take the win. Race three was won by Ed Og, followed home by his sister Jane with Butler/Oram in third. By winning two races Ed Og took the series on tiebreaker from Butler/Oram.

Fireball pre-worlds coaching session at Lough Derg Yacht Club

Fun prizes were presented in the dinghy park afterwards as the fleet packed up for home. An interesting and very useful technique used by Thomas at the event was to post multiple videos of the various exercises, positions and sail shapes on the class WhatsApp group along with running commentary. This supplemented or took the place of debriefs and allow participants to analyse their performance and handling at their leisure.

Asking participants afterwards about their key takeaways from the weekend was interesting. “Closing out the Robber Boats on the start-line”; “Land of Opportunity – slow down and get a good leeward mark rounding”; “importance of risk management in unstable wind”; “starting transits, getting an idea how the land looks against the pin instead of a single object transit; “On the lake find pressure first, then figure out shifts”.

Newcomers really appreciated the help with boat set-up and advice in the dinghy park which was a hive of cooperative activity. Overall this was an absolutely fantastic coaching weekend. It was a mark of Thomas’s professionalism that he got so much done on the light air day and the class really appreciated his quite advanced advice on some tricky topics. The stunning setting of the club never fails to impress and the class and club are really looking forward to hosting the Worlds in August sponsored by Carrickcraft and Tipperary County Council. With 52 boats already registered and a closing date in June this is now looking like a great 60 boat plus World Championship.

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Things are hotting up for the Fireball class in Ireland. As their World Championship in Lough Derg YC this August 21st-26th draws nearer entries have already broken the 50 boat barrier and indications are that this will be a 60 boat plus fleet.

The local class has been very busy all winter with organisation and has welcomed sponsorship from Carrickcraft and Tipperary County Council.

The class has literally got the lead out to make this event work as nine Irish boats took the opportunity last weekend to get their boats officially re-weighed to make sure that they are down to the minimum hull weight of 76.4kg. The international class in 2015 agreed that the overall hull weight could be reduced by 3kg. This decision was based on the fact that modern building techniques allow the Fireball to be lighter and stiffer than ever.

Fireballs on Lough Derg

Most boats built in the last 25 years in FRP have had lead added to bring the overall hull weight up to 79.4kg. The re-weighing event took place after a two-week drying out process in a giant shed in Kildare, overseen by Irish measurers Owen Sinnott and Eddie Ferris. At the World Championship, the measurement process will be overseen by International Measurer Chris Henderson from the UK.

Encouraging youth sailors

As well as supporting the event measurement process Fireball International has initiated a grant scheme to encourage youth sailors to take part in the Worlds.

The Irish class has also organised a professional coaching weekend at LDYC on May 7th and 8th with top dinghy coach Thomas Chaix.

This event is open to all Fireballers and the idea is to get everyone up to speed and to allow competitors test the conditions at the Worlds venue. And in recent weeks the buy and sell section of the Irish Fireball website has been busy with affordable boats selling almost as soon as they go on the market. The big advantage of older boats made from FRP (foam reinforced plastic) is that they remain fully competitive for very many years, probably up to thirty years in fact, once they are maintained.

A fully competitive older FRP Fireball typically sells for around 2.5k with boats needing a bit of TLC selling for less. With the Worlds on the horizon, a number of sailors from other classes have acquired Fireballs, in particular sailors wishing to graduate from 420s and GP14s. Advice of what to look out for when buying a Fireball is on the Irish Fireball Association website which has had a major redesign by webmaster Stephen Oram. The class also has two loan boats and one of these is available now to a responsible team for events leading up to, but not including the Worlds. For details contact the class hon. secretary at [email protected].

Internationally there is big interest in the upcoming World Championship with sailors so far coming from Australia, South Africa, Canada, the Czech Republic, France and Switzerland, as well as a big contingent from the UK and from the local fleet. Special fares for the event are available from Irish Ferries. Amongst the entrants are at least two former World Champions, Tom Gillard from the UK and Swiss sailor Rudi Moser.

There are other top level sailors entered well capable of pulling off a win at the event, not least Heather and Chris McFarlane of Australia and local top dogs Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella. Noel Butler and Stephen Oram have dominated the domestic fleet for several years and will be working to get back to top form after a pandemic diversion into RS Aeros. Dinghy coach Thomas Chaix has himself acquired a Fireball and signed up for the event with Chris Bateman and that team are expected to hit the ground running. Josh Porter and Cara McDowell will be real contenders in their completely refurbished Winder Fireball.

And nobody could rule out the newbies coming from a 420 background, especially if conditions are light, given that the set-up and technique for both boats is so similar.

Besides the May coaching weekend, the class has regional events lined up at Sutton, Blessington and Killaloe and plans to compete in the main Dun Laoghaire club regattas throughout the summer. On the back of a promised return to racing out in Dublin Bay eight Fireballs have so far have signed up for the DBSC summer series. All in all, this is going to be a busy summer for Fireballs.

For more information on the class go to and for Worlds information go to

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With the publication today of the Notice of Race (downloadable below) and the opening of the online entry system it’s all systems go for the Fireball World Championship in Lough Derg Yacht Club, Dromineer in August. This will be the first Fireball World Championship since Montreal in 2019 so there is significant interest around the globe with international teams already booking their accommodation and making travel arrangements. At the time of writing, teams are expected from Australia, Canada, the US, France, Switzerland, Italy, the Czech Republic and South Africa, along with a large contingent from the UK and a rapidly growing local fleet. With special Irish Ferries rates for competitors the ‘Trip to Tipp’, is an attractive option for sailors from mainland Europe and the UK. Another great attraction at LDYC is the amount of space available for camping and for camper vans so much of the Worlds fleet is expected to live on-site for the event helping to keep the event both affordable and extremely social. With Carrickcraft cruiser hire as one of the sponsors discounted cruiser hire is available to competitors and their families, providing an attractive accommodation alternative which would allow families to view the racing from their floating holiday homes based on the marina beside the sailing club. The booking system for campsite space is also live from today.

International race officer Con Murphy will be PRO for the event. The World Championships take place from August 21st-26th with a warm-up event on 18th & 19th August which doubles as the Irish National Championship. Measurement checking is expected to take place mainly on Saturday 20th August with the racing programme of two races per day running from Sunday through Friday and Wednesday as the lay day. With Omicron hopefully a distant memory by summer, sailors are anxious to get stuck back into high level international competition and a fleet of between 50 and 80 boats is expected to assemble at Lough Derg. With some fifty square miles of open lake the venue is likely to challenge sailors with a good mixture of conditions over the week. While not at all as shifty or light as smaller lakes it will be interesting to see if the venue suits the Swiss and Czech competitors who predominantly sail on lakes.

"More than 25 Irish boats have committed to the event, the first on local waters in 11 years"

The stunning lakelands area, a lesser-known gem of the Irish tourism offering, is likely to surprise domestic and international sailors alike with its beauty. The event will include an activity programme for families and non-sailors with many and diverse regional attractions. The lead-up to the event, with the delay caused by the pandemic, has given the domestic Fireball fleet a great boost and the last couple of years have seen a big increase in local numbers. More than 25 Irish boats have committed to the event, the first on local waters in 11 years and this number is expected to grow as the date nears. Sailors are asked to register now via the club website at and for those who register early and pay the remainder of the entry fee by the due date a raffle is being held for free entry. Youth sailors are welcome and can enter at a discount of 20% and the class is encouraging sailors from other classes to get hold of a Fireball and to join the fray. The last couple of years has seen an increase in interest in Fireballs in Ireland and sailors have joined from the 420s and from the 49er amongst other classes.

Welcoming the event LDYC commodore Joe Gilmartin said “We at LDYC are really looking forward to hosting the International Fireball community at this major event. It is definitely lining up to be one of the highlights of our 2022 season. You are assured of an excellent event with some great sailing, lots of fun and generous hospitality”. Speaking from her home in Switzerland Fireball International Commodore Christina Haerdi commented – “It feels like a first breath after a long stay underwater! We will celebrate the Fireball Worlds in Ireland. The organisers did not give up after the frustrating cancellation of the 2020 Worlds but restarted with full energy to make it happen in Dromineer, in the heart of the Green Island. Let’s make the dream come true and register now!” Irish Fireball Association Chairman Neil Cramer chairman said “We are super-excited to finally get to show off Ireland & Tipperary to the International Fleet after such a long hiatus due to Covid. We hope to attract not only individual competitors but their entire families as well, promising to provide attractive off-the-water activities and some excellent lay-day options”.

Notice of Race is downloadable below. Online registration and registration for event camping are now live and can be found at

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Five Fireballs took part in a lively outing during the Viking Marine Frostbites DMYC Frostbites series yesterday (Sunday). For a time there was a doubt about whether racing would go ahead with winds gusting around 25 knots in the harbour at lunchtime but when the race team led by Cormac Bradley went out to take readings there were signs that the gusts were easing and racing got underway shortly after 2 pm.

For race one a windward/leeward course was set across the width of the harbour to suit the westerly winds. Frank Miller sailing with Neil Cramer got off the start line cleanly and led to the windward with Louise McKenna/Joe O'Reilly and Kieran Harkin/Michael Keegan close behind. The leading pair held their position for the three rounds to the finish but the opposition were never far behind. On PY handicap Roy Van Maanen took the gun in his Aero 5 with mostly Aeros dominating the top positions on handicap.

For race two a triangular course was set and again Miller/Cramer got away cleanly but this time were chased down by Harkin/Keegan who remained a threat right to the finish. With the gusts still in play clean gybing was crucial as was staying upright.

The leading pair almost crashed out near the finish when their spinnaker sheet caught a mooring buoy during the drop but they managed to clear it in time and retain their position. McKenna/O'Reilly had a capsize at the leeward during a tricky gybe to keep clear of a thicket of Lasers on starboard. The swim took them out of the game and Harkin/Keegan were second Fireball across the line.

On PY handicap, Noel Butler in an Aero 7 took the gun and again a sprinkling of Aeros dominated on handicap. Special mention should go to young Morris ter Horst who persuaded his father Paul to launch despite the gusty conditions and the pair had two good races getting around the course cleanly and upright. Also seen afloat for the first time was newcomer Jack McMahon finding his feet in his newly acquired boat and top sailor and coach Barry McCartin getting some practice in.The first series continues through until Christmas when sailors get a two week break.

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Seven Fireballs started amongst a good-sized PY turnout at the second Sunday of the Viking Marine DMYC Frostbites series on Sunday.

Although the winds were light and often frustrating sailors were glad to get out at all in the face of forecasts offering little hope of wind. In the event race officer Cormac Bradley and his team set a windward - leeward course across the width of the harbour with southeasterly winds between three and six knots. Several Fireballs got away from the start cleanly and most headed left seeking better airs towards the harbour mouth.

Neil Colin/Marjo Moonen found themselves on the wrong side of the line at the gun and took a quick detour back around the ends. Louise McKenna sailing with Michael Keegan played the shifts and showed superior boat speed to lead the way around the windward mark closely followed by Alistair Court/Gordon Syme, Colin/ Moonen and Frank Miller sailing with Neil Cramer.

The offwind legs were especially tricky with some very light patches and those who kept their eyes out of the boat and found the better pressure was well rewarded. The leeward gate was especially challenging tucked in under the breakwater in an area of little wind.

On the second beat, Colin/Moonen banged the harbour mouth layline and came out ahead, a lead they preserved to the finish. Otherwise, the top bunch retained their order though Miller/Cramer closed the gap considerably on the final run and beat to the finish by picking the right-hand mark at the gate.

On handicap Jemima Owens with crew Henry Start sailing an RS 200 won the overall PY with a mixture of classes, including a Wayfarer and IDRA 14 filling out the top five positions.

With daylight and wind both fading the race team hoisted the very welcome N over A and the sailors headed home happy to get a race under their belts in such light airs.

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The Fireball winter season got underway with a bang at the Viking Marine DMYC Frostbite series which kicked off in Dun Laoghaire on Sunday.

Seven Fireballs jostled for position on the mixed PY start-line in some 12 knots of breeze occasionally gusting to twenty. While the pin end was favoured the danger of getting pinned under the fleet deterred Alistair Court/ Gordon Syme from that approach and he tacked off right into the stronger breeze, albeit with waves, and arrived at the windward mark just ahead of Neil Colin sailing with Marjo Moonen and Frank Miller/Ed Butler. Chasing down the first downwind leg Miller/Butler managed to overtake Colin/Moonen and closed the gap on Court/Syme. Close behind were Owen Sinnott/Grattan Donnelly and a little further back Paul ter Horst and son Morris, and Nick Miller/Cearbhall Daly.

At the bottom of the second run of the three lap windward-leeward course, Miller/Butler and Court/Symes chose alternative sides of the gate, with Miller/Butler finding better pressure on the harbour mouth side of the course. This allowed the pair to take the lead which they held to the finish. While they won the moral victory of the Fireball race Brendan Foley in his Aero won the PY race on corrected time of some twenty seconds.

Race two got underway in softer conditions with fewer gusts and flatter water throughout the course. The Fireballs were joined by Ciaran Hickey/Ismail Inan who missed the first start due to confusion over timings. Colin/Moonen led the Fireball charge off the line near the pin end but tacked out at the first opportunity and found better breeze on the right side of the course. The pair led from start to finish, sailing their own race in clear air and even banging the right corner near the west pier wall confident of their reading of the wind conditions. Those who chose the left side of the course in race two found themselves distinctly underpowered at times. The race for the rest of the fleet wasn’t entirely without drama. At the approach to the final leeward mark Sinnott/Donnelly reached across to ensure their overlap on Miller/Butler, leaving the two teams sailing by the lee to make the mark. A sudden sharp gust gybed both boats leaving Sinnott/Donnelly swimming and Miller nursing a sore ear. Second fireball in race two was Court/Syme. On handicap Brendan Foley again won the PY and in the lighter breeze several Aeros featured in the top five.

All in all, this was a great start to the DMYC winter series and with sponsorship from Viking Marine and with some 14 Fireballs entered and a very full total entry of 120 boats it promises yet again to be one of the best series of the year.

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As a promotion for the Fireball Worlds 2022 in Lough Derg YC Dromineer, the Irish Fireball Association has mobilised two loan boats to give young teams a chance to assess the high-performance two-hander.

One boat has already been loaned to a youth team based in Lough Derg who will be using the winter to get up to speed before taking on the challenge of the worlds at the club next August.

A second boat, a top condition “white” Winder, is now available to a responsible youth team who may wish to take on the DMYC Frostbites challenge.

As the sailing season moves into Autumn/Winter mode dinghy sailors in Leinster are turning their attention to the DMYC Frostbite series.

The famous series, running since 1969, starts on the first Sunday in November and runs right through to the end of March, with a Christmas/New Year break. This is one of the great events of the year, short sharp Sunday racing in Fireballs and Lasers and other assorted PY dinghies and it presents an ideal opportunity to try out a Fireball in lively but controllable conditions as racing is frequently inside Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Interested sailors need to move quickly as parking space will rapidly be taken up in all the waterfront clubs and in the Coal Harbour.

For frostbites entry go direct to and to enquire about the loan Fireball contact class secretary Frank Miller at [email protected].

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wJosh Porter and Cara McDowell are the new Fireball Munster Champions after seven races at Lough Derg Yacht Club over the weekend. The pair showed outstanding consistency and speed over the races in a wide variety of conditions.

Their achievement is all the more impressive because they beat the rest of the 15-boat fleet in a relatively older Fireball which was totally refurbished by Porter over the last two winters. Going by the premise that Winder built FRP Fireballs remain stiff and light right throughout their lives he removed all the original gel coat and recoated the boat in two-pack acrylic paint.

The result is a twenty-something aged boat that actually looks, and obviously performs, like a brand-new boat.

The two-day event saw sailors challenged by a massive range of conditions, from quite light in the early race on the Saturday to impressive squalls on the Sunday. Race officer John Leech and his team gave the fleet a variety of courses from plain triangles to Olympic Triangles. Turnarounds were extremely impressive, especially considering that the racecourse was shared with the Mirror class competing in their Southern Championships. Sailing conditions throughout the two days of racing were as varied as you might expect from a lake famous for its decent winds, but a lake nonetheless.

For most of the races, crews were in trapezing mode and at times some of the lighter teams struggled with the conditions, especially on tight spinnaker reaches. In race one, a short triangular course in light airs, Louise McKenna and Hermine O’Keeffe got away cleanly off the line and sped away from the competition finding wind on the right side of the course and proved uncatchable by the chasing fleet. They were followed across the finish line by Ed Og Butler sailing with Ismail Inan and Josh Porter/Cara McDowell.

Fireball Munsters Photo Gallery by Joe St. Leger

Race two was another triangular race in much better breeze and this was won by Porter/McDowell, with Butler Og/Inan closely behind. Race three was won by the Thompson brothers Daniel and Harry, though this fast pairing struggled somewhat to find their usual speed and consistency throughout the event.

A forensic overnight rigging analysis on the Saturday identified a couple of issues that kept them off their usual pace. Porter/McDowell won the final race on the Saturday and went into a solid overnight lead, with Butler Og/Inan lying second and Frank Miller/Ed Butler Snr lying third, just a point ahead of McKenna/O’Keeffe.

Sunday morning racing was due to start at 9.55 am and race officer John Leech’s early call proved correct as the fleet awoke to bright sunshine and a snappy breeze. In the autumn sunshine, Lough Derg provided a stunning backdrop to the day’s activities.

Courses for the day were of the Olympic Triangle and races longer than the previous day in the improved breeze. Porter/McDowell won race five in good breeze but with significant shifts and light patches, with Butler Og/Inan again close behind. Before the start of race six the sky darkened and with signs of a squall approaching rigs were altered. The squall arrived in time for the first reach forcing lighter crews to drop their kites while the heavier teams revelled in the conditions. By the time the second reach was over the squall had passed and the more skilled sailors found the best routes around the course in the somewhat shifty conditions which followed. Once again Porter/McDowell emerged on top, this time with the Thompsons in second.

The final race was especially challenging with the fleet dealing with a gentler squall and uneven wind over the course. As the breeze appeared to be softening the race was shortened to the finish line after the second leeward mark rounding at the end of the run. On that run, however, places changed with those opting early for the gybe to the inside winning out. Thus, Butler Og/Inan and Miller/Butler Snr winning out over previous leaders. Butler Og took that win with the Thompson brothers second and Miller/Butler Snr in third. McKenna/O’Keeffe were particularly unlucky as they had led for much of the race and their 5th place in that race effectively lost them third overall in the series. When the scores were added up Porter/McDowell were the absolutely deserving winners on ten points with Butler Og/Inan a reasonably close second on 13 points. Miller/Butler Snr were 3rd overall of 20 points due to relatively a consistent Ent performance and four third place scores.

The silver fleet trophy was won by Killaloe sailors Andrew Mullaly and David Tanner, with Mick O’Callaghan/Neil Cramer second and Paul and Moris Ter Horst third. Clodagh Nash and Moris Ter Horst won the Under-21 prizes. Special mention should be made of transition year youth team Oscar George and Ella O’Callaghan who sailed one of the two Fireball class loan boats.

The lightweight pair showed gumption and promise and did extremely well for a first outing in a Fireball which they saw for the first time three days before the event. They were awarded the Classic Prize for their efforts and the class have awarded them a loan boat to practice throughout the winter with a view to competing in the World Championships at the club from 21st to 26th August next year. The 2021 Munster Championships proved to be a fantastic challenging event for all sailors, with a variety of conditions to test sailors of all abilities and weights. The event gave competitors a taste of what to expect for the worlds next August when some 80 Fireballs from around the world are expected to enjoy sailing in one of Ireland’s most beautiful sailing destinations.

Fireball Munster Championships scoresheetFireball Munster Championships scoresheet

Prizegiving photographs by Joe St Leger

Fireball Trophies prior to presentation  at Lough Derg Yacht clubFireball Trophies prior to presentation at Lough Derg Yacht Club

Overall winners - Cara McDowell and Josh Porter Overall winners - Cara McDowell and Josh Porter

Second overall - Ed Og Butler with Ismail Inan and Commodore of LDYC Joe GilmartinSecond overall - Ed Og Butler with Ismail Inan and Commodore of LDYC Joe Gilmartin

Third overall - Ed Butler Snr and Frank Miller with Commodore Joe GilmartinThird overall - Ed Butler Snr and Frank Miller with Commodore Joe Gilmartin

Silver fleet winners -David Tanner and Andrew MullalySilver fleet winners -David Tanner and Andrew Mullaly

Classic prize - Youth sailors Oscar George and Ella O'Callaghan with Commodore Classic prize - Youth sailors Oscar George and Ella O'Callaghan with Commodore

Race officer John LeechRace officer John Leech

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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!