Olympian Matt McGovern returned for the final race of part one of the Icebreaker Series on Belfast Lough and showed enough class and speed in the very light winds to show the rest of the Laser fleet the way home. Nearly 40 Lasers fought hard to get away at a compressed start line made worse by a right-hand bias. A black flag on the second attempted start kept them back enough but the wind dropped almost immediately to less than 5 knots.
Series leader Chris Boyd showed his light wind prowess to get a third place and the overall win. Conor Simms tried to make it back through the fleet but finished second overall with Johnathan Henry third. Cavan Fyans had an even better race with a third-place which propelled him to Silver fleet winner in his first series since coming back after children and a PhD. Alex Ward also showed unknown light wind skills to take the Bronze fleet overall prize.
Ollie Haig has a great start in the Laser Radials but was unable to keep Joni Rock and Ellen Barbour behind him. Jess Winton had already won the Laser Radial fleet overall. Special note must go to Sara Sofia Odiso who was sailing her final race at Ballyholme - Sara comes from BYC’s twin club Andora Yacht Club in Italy and has been staying with BYC members for the last 16 weeks but goes home on Boxing Day. She will be missed by the other sailors.
The large dinghy fleet has a mix of boats with RS Aeros’ of varying shapes (including IRO Robin Gray) and sizes, Rs200s, RS400s, 505’s but they have been largely following the Laser 2000 of Dave Fletcher and Ryan Smyth throughout the series. Recent Jacques Fabre sailor Chunky/Michael Gunning with a rare showing from Jeremy Tomalin shot away in their RS400 however followed by Garth Flannigan and Brian Spence who had to retire with equipment failure.
Rob Milligan and Paul Blamphin came second overall in an RS200 with Sandra Halliwell third in an RSAero5.
Richard Swanston and Matt McMurtry were able to break away in their F18 for the win in front of series winners Adrian Allen and Barry Swanston. Special note must go to Pete and Dee McDowell who come second in their Viper before celebrating their Gold Wedding Anniversary today - how many multihull or other crews can claim such a prize.
The Topper fleet was won by Charlie O’Malley with Dan Sheriff and Charlotte Eadie following him home and in similar positions in the series. Ian Moore and his young son Aaron won the small PY class in their Mirror beating the O’Tiarnagh and Harrington teams in their RS Feva’s
The prize-giving was held after racing followed by the infamous Icebreaker dinner which has been held for over 25 years with the usual merriment and a quiz. Over 90 dinghies have raced in this years Icebreaker showing the strength of dinghy racing at Ballyholme. The Laser Radial fleet expect even greater numbers in Part 2 in preparation for the Youth European Championships in July 2020 - the second series starts again on the first Sunday in February. Many thanks were given to Charles Hurst Jaguar Landrover who have sponsored the event for the first time as well as all the volunteers that help to make the series run - on and off their water.