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Henry Tops Lasers at Ballyholme’s Icebreaker Series

9th December 2021
The Icebreaker winter series is a big draw for dinghies on Belfast Lough
The Icebreaker winter series is a big draw for dinghies on Belfast Lough

With the end of the first half of Ballyholme’s Icebreaker Sunday series in Belfast Lough finishing on 19th December it would be nearly impossible to forecast winners when the discards come into play.

The Icebreaker winter series has always been a big draw for dinghies from the home club and farther afield since its inception in the mid-seventies when the Laser class was introduced by Ron Hutchieson. Before that, sailors would never have considered racing after Closing Day in early September but now with top-class clothing and infectious enthusiasm winter racing is nothing out of the ordinary at lots of clubs.

Many of the sailors are big boat crew in the summer but enjoy the competition provided by a large fleet in the winter. This season’s entry is more than 100 and while not all race every week a substantial fleet does often fill the Bay. Classes racing are Large Dinghy, Laser, Laser Radial, Multihulls and Small Dinghies.

This season’s Ballyholme Icebreaker entry is more than 100This season’s Ballyholme Icebreaker entry is more than 100

So far only one race has been cancelled and ironically it wasn’t because of Storm Arwen but strong onshore winds and big seas making launching tricky. So, the current standings are interesting in that in most classes very few points separate the front runners.

In the Large Dinghy division which has RS 200s and 400s, Aeros, Laser 2000s, and a solitary GP14, the leaders with two races to go are Dave Fletcher and crew Ryan Smith in a Laser 2000 on 9 points with Ruan and Rebeka O’Tiarnaigh’s GP 14 second on 14. Tied in third are Martin and Vikki Dews (RS 200) and Aileen and Dave Smith in a Laser 2000, both with 26 points.

In the biggest section, Jonny Henry tops the Lasers counting three firsts to sit on 14 points with Mike Kimber having a lot to make up on 25 points. In the Radial Jess Winton is three points ahead of her Mum Charlie, and in the Multihulls, mostly F18s, Adrian Allen and Barry Swanston are just one point ahead of Matt McNicholl and Peter McDowell. The Small Dinghy fleet (Laser 4.7s and Toppers) is led by Bobby Driscoll by a comfortable margin over Anneka Hunter.

So, the faithful have two more races before the break and can look forward to the Icebreaker Dinner in the club on the evening of the final race – 19th December. The series will resume on Sunday 6th February next year and run till Sunday 10th April.

Published in Belfast Lough, Laser
Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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