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Displaying items by tag: Fireball

As Zoom is the lingua franca of our online communications these days, twenty-odd Fireballers congregated on the online platform on Thursday night past, 29th October, for the Class AGM.

A 40-minute session certainly concentrated the mind for a prompt meeting, managed by Secretary Frank Miller. Class Chairman, Neil Cramer (Skerries) presented his report that opened the meeting by stating that 19 boats had sailed events in 2019 so rumours of our demise were well off the mark. Events in 2019 included the Ulsters, hosted by Newtownards, with 9 boats, won by Noel Butler & Ismail Inan; the Munsters, hosted by Killaloe, with 13 boats, won by Noel & Stephen Oram and a Howth-hosted Nationals with an entry of 13 boats, again won by Noel & Stephen. A training day was provided by Barry McCartin with 18 people in attendance.

The onset of Covid curtailed regatta fixtures in 2020 but we still managed to get two regattas sailed, our Nationals, won by Stephen & Noel and our Leinsters, won by the same combination. Both events were hosted by DMYC, the latter being sailed with the National Yacht Club's one-day event to celebrate their 150th. A very successful and enjoyable training session was provided by Olympian Phil Lawton in July. Other proposed regattas included Skerries, Newtownards, Killaloe and a Nationals doubling up as a Pre-Worlds ahead of the World Championships in Howth – all of which had to be abandoned.

We had regular meetings with Howth to plan the 2020 Worlds until Covid forced their postponement. Sponsorship from Gul and Fingal County Council to the tune of £5k and €5k respectively for the event had been secured. Fireball International have sanctioned the event being sailed in 2023 and at this stage, Howth is keen to host again – subject to planned dredging works being completed.

The triennial election of office bearers of Fireball International had taken place and Ireland proposed Cormac Bradley for the position of Rear Commodore Western Europe, supported by the UK, France and Belgium. Ireland had also supported the nomination of Christine Haerdi-Landerer as Commodore for a second term. The outcome of the election process should be announced shortly.
Secretary Frank Miller (Dun Laoghaire) presented a short report highlighting the meetings with Howth and the positive working relationship that developed, the multiple meeting of the committee and the fact that members had not been charged membership fees due to a parallel gesture by FI to National Class Associations around the globe.

Marie Oram (Dun Laoghaire) presented the Treasurer's Report highlighting the reduced level of financial transactions due to the reduced level of sailing/racing activities. Class subscriptions had been paid to Irish Sailing. A financial contribution had also been made to Afloat. The financial status of the Class is healthy.

Election of Fireball Class Officers

The Election of Officers saw little change, but Hermine O'Keeffe stood down as DL Class Captain and was acknowledged with a vote of thanks. Paul ter Horst (SID) comes on board as Silver Fleet Captain and Owen Sinnott (DMYC) replaces Hermine.

Officers: Chairman – Neil Cramer, Secretary – Frank Miller, Treasurer – Marie Barry/Oram, DL Class Captain – Owen Sinnott, Silver Fleet Captain – Paul ter Horst, Committee Members – Neil Colin, Margaret Casey, Louise McKenna, Jim Ryan and Cormac Bradley.

Potential Regattas 2021 (subject to Covid situation). Preliminary plans, pencilled in, are for Skerries, Newtownards, DMYC, DL Regatta & Killaloe. Other regattas that are on the radar are the UK Nationals in Abersoch, Wales, and the Europeans in Tuscany in September. All venues are in principle only until there is a sense of the lie of the land in early 2021.

Series 1 of the Frostbites has been cancelled. Series 2 is scheduled for a 3rd January start but a later decision will be required on its chances of proceeding. Neil Colin advised that the entry system is live, but monies will only be taken if Series 2 gets the go-ahead.

Any Other Business.

Cormac Bradley gave an update on FI matters.

Glenn Fisher raised the prospect of more regular training as per the Laser model. Stephen Oram said the Laser & Aero training had been very good and wasn't expensive. Neil Colin offered the resources of the DMYC to support training initiatives.

The Class-owned boat has been transferred to Sailing in Dublin (SID). The relationship between the Class and SID had been very positive leading to the boat being introduced to a wider audience.

Colin Thompson raised the question of having one-day regattas a la 420s. Neil Cramer stated that Greystones host a one-day event and stated that we had been told we would be welcomed back again.

A virtual prize-giving is pencilled in for late November.

We offer our condolences to Marie Barry and Grattan Donnelly who lost family members during the last year.

Published in Fireball
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It was a lively day of racing for Fireballs during the NYC 150th Race Day today at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. While the class was dismayed to hear that racing would be confined to the harbour the wind gods smiled on the fleet and sailors enjoyed westerly winds between 12 and 24 knots.

In race one, Frank Miller/Ed Butler led to the weather mark but a sudden vacuum of air at the mark caused a significant teabagging ceremony which allowed Noel Butler with crew Neil Cramer fly past into a lead which they never relinquished. Miller/Butler shook themselves down and gave chase, with Louise McKenna/Hermine O'Keeffe hot on their heels. The latter overtook downwind but were reeled in again when Miller/Butler gybed and regained inside overlap before the leeward mark. In race two, Butler/Cramer got clean away at the start and were never challenged. Miller/Butler had a disastrous start and spent the entire race recovering. Owen Sinnott and Grattan Donnelly sailed an excellent race, especially upwind where they perfectly judged the shifts and variations in pressure to stretch their lead on the chasing pack and were rewarded with a second place. In race three Butler/Cramer again got away from the pack with Miller/Butler closest behind. With the wind up a notch that pair pulled away from the followers to score 2nd, followed by McKenna/O'Keeffe, Sinnott/Donnelly.

Three wins (one to discard) gave Butler/Cramer the overall event with Miller/Butler second and Sinnott/Donnelly 3rd. Mention should be made of those relatively new to Fireballs who took part in fresh and exciting conditions and lived to tell the tale including Paul Ter Host and Colm Breen from SID and young Clodagh Fischer with her father Glen on the wire.

As the class had designated this event as it's Leinsters Butler got to keep the trophy which carried along in his sailing bag. All in all a great day's racing and thanks are due to the NYC, the organisers, race committee and rescue volunteers who made it possible.

Published in Fireball

At a time when the Irish Fireball fleet should have been in Howth, welcoming Fireballers from all over the World to the 2020 Fireball World Championships, a 13-boat fleet was contesting what we think is the first National Championship to be hosted in a Covid-ravaged summer calendar. When the Worlds and Nationals in Howth were cancelled due to COVID, Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club offered to host the event and principal regatta organiser, Neil Colin, secured sponsorship from Helly-Hansen.

The headline for this report could have come from any number of sources, “Fireball women to the fore” with reference to the three race wins achieved by our all-lady crews, “Tight racing for Fireball Nationals” despite the points tally on the final score, “Challenging conditions for race management and competitors” reflecting the dearth of healthy wind, or “DMYC step up to the plate to host Fireball Nationals”.

Second Overall  Louise McKenna & Hermine O'KeeffeSecond Overall Louise McKenna & Hermine O'Keeffe

What is most important, however, is that I am able to bring to you a report on a regatta that a few short weeks ago might have been deemed impossible such is the impact of the health crisis. Instead, due to the specific efforts of DMYC and the Irish Fireball Class Association in our case and Irish Sailing who have engaged with the relevant bodies in this crisis to get people back out on the water across the country, there is a regatta report to be written.

Third Overall - Daniel & Harry ThompsonThird Overall - Daniel & Harry Thompson

Six different clubs were represented in the fleet, with DMYC claiming the biggest representation at 5, the National Yacht Club, the Royal St George Yacht Club and Sailing in Dublin 2 each and Wexford Harbour Boat and Tennis Club and Lough Ree Yacht Club one each.

Irish Fireball Championships - Silver Fleet Winners, Clodagh Nash & Glen FisherSilver Fleet Winners, Clodagh Nash & Glen Fisher

That’s who were present and at a dinner on Saturday night we worked out that there could have been at least another five boats sailing which weren’t due to a series of personal circumstances.

Classic Fireball Winners Colm Breen (left) & Cormac Power Breen with DMYC Commodore Frank GuilfoyleClassic Fireball Winners Colm Breen (left) & Cormac Power Breen with DMYC Commodore Frank Guilfoyle

In addition to the Fireball stalwarts, we had Ben Graf and Alexander Farrell representing Lough Ree Yacht Club in Frank Miller’s “Blind Squirrel” 14713. These two young men have been campaigning a 420 and showed us that the step up to Fireballs isn’t that severe in the conditions that we “enjoyed” over the weekend. The two SID boats were Colm Breen & Cormac Power Breen and Nick Miller & Cearbhall Daly, respectively while Paul Ter Horst and Pavlo Tishkin made their Fireball regatta debut in the recently acquired 14790. And carrying on from last year, Clodagh Nash had Glen Fisher crewing in 14691.

Irish Fireball Championships 2020 Prizegiving MC Neil Colin with Margaret CaseyIrish Fireball Championships 2020 Prizegiving MC Neil Colin with Margaret Casey

Proceedings got under late on Friday afternoon in pleasant conditions even if the wind was a little on the sparse side – a subsequent feature of the entire weekend. Defending champions Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (15061) stamped their mark on proceedings with a comfortable win in Race 1 but a tighter win in Race 2. An early indication that this wasn’t going to be a fun regatta for the “420 boys” was confirmed when they took two second places with the third places being shared by Neil Colin & Cormac Bradley (14775) and Alistair Court & Gordon Syme (14706). However, a bit like the first round of the USPGA the day before, there was a log jam of boats in third place after two races all counting 9 points – included in the cluster were Colin & Bradley, Court & Syme, Daniel & Harry Thompson (15156, 5&4), Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (15016, 4&5). At the other end of the fleet, Nash, Ter Horst & Breen were covered by 2 pts.

Regatta organiser, Neil Colin arranged for socially-distanced refreshments to be available after racing where post-mortems were undertaken – but all in good spirit – no pun intended.

The fleet reconvened at 09:30 on Saturday in glorious sunshine but again the wind was conspicuous by its absence. With DBSC racing scheduled and the SB20s also racing in Dublin Bay, Race Officer Suzanne McGarry and her team took the fleet off towards the west to make sure that all of the fleets on the Bay had their “own turf”. Butler & Oram took another win in Race 3, followed home by Graf & Farrell – Was this going to be the pattern for the rest of the regatta? The Thompsons clearly decided that it wasn’t because they started their assault on the title with a third place, followed home by Frank Miller & Ed Butler (14990). McKenna & O’Keeffe counted a 5th place.

However, in Race 4, the applecart was overturned and shortly after the start the leading two boats appeared to be in very close company at the back end of the fleet – surely the “fun and games” wasn’t going to start this early! Butler later conceded that he had had a poor start and it was just coincidence that Graf was in the same vicinity. In persistently light and challenging conditions, the finishing order was; the Thompson brothers, McKenna & O’Keeffe, Court & Syme, with Graf & Farrell 4th, Miller & Butler 5th and Butler & Oram back in 6th, a most unusual result for them – it would become one of their two discards. An early halt to the racing saw the fleet ashore by 16:00 as the fickle wind was getting just too fickle!
With five races down the situation was unusually tight at the top of the leader-board, Butler & Oram (7.0) led by 1 from Graf & Farrell, with the Thompsons a further 3pts adrift but only one ahead of McKenna & O’Keeffe who had a six-point cushion on Court & Syme. Nash & Fisher led the Silver fleet by a one-point margin over Breen & Power-Breen who had a point less than Ter Horst & Tishkin.

Post-mortems followed in glorious sunshine (suitably distanced) and a significant number of the fleet then relocated to dinner in the National Yacht Club.

The forecast for Sunday didn’t promise any more wind and a lot less sunshine. And just as the horse-racing fraternity have a “Ladies Day” at the big meetings, so the Fireball fleet had their own version of a Ladies Day when first Louise & Hermine and then Cariosa Power & Marie Barry (14854) scored race wins. Louise and Hermine won their race in pressured circumstances as the racing at the front of the fleet was tight, but Power & Barry romped home with a “Butler-esque” lead – they got further away from the fleet the longer the race went on! It was a fantastic fillip for the four women and the regatta in general even if Butler, Thompson and Graf might not have shared their joy on the water (in regatta terms).

Butler & Oram scored a second place behind McKenna & O’Keeffe in Race 6 but they were unable to drop their spinnaker completely at the last leeward mark of the Windward-Leeward course. Further investigation, on the water, found that the spinnaker halyard had shredded within the mast, but some very clever manipulation of the main halyard allowed them to get back into racing format with an operational spinnaker halyard. It was a close call! The Thompsons took third in Race 6 and followed up with a 4th in Race 7. Graf & Farrell had a bigger problem in Race 6, scoring a DSQ for going through the start/finish line while the blue flag was flying. They then scored a 6th in the seventh race and these two scores were to be their discards. McKenna added a fifth place to her first place from Race 6 in Race 7 and impressively, considering the pre-race drama, Butler & Oram scored a third in Race 7. Court & Syme had a “purple patch” race in Race 7 to finish 2nd, their regatta high point.

In Race 8, Butler & Oram closed their account in the same way they had opened it – with a win. Behind them the finishing order was the Thompsons, McKenna & O’Keeffe, Owen Sinnott & Grattan Donnelly (14865) – a great result for them – and Graf & Alexander.

As I hope this report confirms, the winners didn’t have the regatta all their own way, even if they had a 7pt margin at the end. Noel Butler acknowledged as much at the prize-giving and the fact that we had four different race winners is a testimony to the competitiveness of the regatta. For the two all-women crews to take three race wins was very encouraging and livened up the competition for everyone. Racing in the Gold Fleet was tighter than the numbers will reflect and some well established Fireballers struggled to keep big numbers off their score cards – no names, no pack drills. The fact that the younger combinations of Daniel & Harry Thompson and Ben Graf & Alexander Farrell enjoyed individual race successes, if not race wins, then certainly podium places, was also good for the regatta.

In the Silver fleet, the final finishing order was Nash & Fisher, Breen & Power Breen, Ter Horst & Tishkin and Miller & Daly.

In addition to the perpetual prizes for 1,2,3 Overall, 1st Silver and 1st Classic, Helly-Hansen provided sponsor prizes which were the subject of a raffle open to the competitors and Race Management team alike. The prize-giving was conducted by DMYC Vice Commodore Neil Colin with assistance from Margaret Casey.

Irish Fireball Championships 2020 Race Officer Suzanne McGarry with her present from the Irish Fireball Class AssociationIrish Fireball Championships 2020 Race Officer Suzanne McGarry with her present from the Irish Fireball Class Association

Irish Fireball Championships 2020 Race Officer Suzanne McGarry with her present from the Irish Fireball Class Association

A special word goes to Suzanne McGarry and her race management team who worked very hard to provide eight of the nine scheduled races. While the sun-gods might have shone on them, particularly on Saturday, the wind gods were less generous. At the prize-giving, due thanks were recorded to Suzanne, her team and the organising team of DMYC. Club Commodore Frank Guilfoyle presented the prizes and closed out the proceedings by thanking the competitors, the race management team and his own DMYC team for their collective efforts in making the regatta happen. Frank Miller, representing the Irish Fireball Class, thanked the club and Suzanne McGarry was presented with a variation on the usual gift from the Class Association.

HELLY-HANSEN IRISH FIREBALL NATIONALS

DUN LAOGHAIRE MOTOR YACHT CLUB; 7 – 9 AUGUST 2020

 

Sail No.

Crew

Club

R1

R2

R3

R4

R5

R6

R7

R8

Nett

1

15061

Noel Butler & Stephen Oram

NYC

1

1

1

6

4

2

3

1

9

2

15016

Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe

RStGYC

4

5

5

2

1

1

5

3

16

3

15156

Daniel & Harry Thompson

WHBTC

5

4

3

1

3

3

4

2

16

4

14713

Ben Graf & Alexander Farrell

LRYC

2

2

2

4

2

14

6

5

17

5

14706

Alistair Court & Gordon Syme

DMYC

6

3

8

3

6

7

2

9

27

10

14691

Clodagh Nash & Glen Fisher

RStGYC

9

12

10

10

13

9

10

10

58

11

15058*

Colm Breen & Cormac Power Breen

SID

11

10

13

11

10

11

11

11

64

Published in DMYC
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A decent south-easterly breeze averaging about 12 knots greeted the three Fireballs competing in last night's DBSC racing in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. With another giant fleet of Lasers participating the start line was very long. Miller/Cramer opted for the slightly favoured pin end which took them towards the harbour mouth before tacking back under the layline to the weather mark Cariosa Power with Marie Barry had taken the exact opposite approach going inshore and their route proved the better one as they rounded the mark a few boat lengths ahead. Owen Sinnott and Grattan Donnelly seemed to take a middle course which left them a close third for the entire race. Power/Barry stayed ahead for the run and the subsequent beat but on the second run Miller/Cramer found a couple of gusts which helped them get an inside overlap before the gybe to the mark, leaving them ahead for the remainder of the race.

Cariosa Power with Marie Barry to windward in IRL 14854 and Frank Miller and Neil Cramer in IRL 14990Cariosa Power with Marie Barry to windward in IRL 14854 and Frank Miller and Neil Cramer in IRL 14990

For race two Miller/Cramer again started at the pin and this time led to the weather with Sinnott/Donnelly close behind. They maintained their lead for most of the 5 lap race but a problematic gybe-set during lap four gave the chasing Sinnott/Donnelly team their opportunity and they slipped into the lead. On the final downwind leg to the finish Miller/Cramer gybed a little early and attempted to reel in the leaders but the attempt failed miserably in a thicket of Lasers as the finish line drew near. Sinnott/Donnelly were the deserving winners with Power/Barry a close third.

Full results here.

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Nine Fireballs took part in specialist coaching sessions at DMYC this weekend led by former Olympic sailor Phil Lawton. The event, supported by Irish Sailing, was geared towards optimizing crew work in a fast two-hander dinghy. Phil spent a solid year with Ger Owens practising and perfecting their techniques in the 470 for the Beijing Olympics so it was a real bonus for the Fireball class to pick his brains. Amongst the regular Fireballers were some younger teams relatively new to Fireballs including Harry Thompson with Jack McDowell as helm, Ben Graf and Alexander Farrell from Lough Ree, and young Clodagh Fischer sailing with her father Glen. The opening message to the sailors was simple - there are two crews in a two- handed boat, what each does is very different but they have the same goal. While the emphasis throughout the sessions was on the (front!) crew's role the importance of communications and mutual support was emphasised throughout. This philosophy underlined Phil’s approach through the many exercise sessions.

When a spinnaker drop is sticky for example the helm should be looking for the source of the problem at the back of the boat, which is frequently the location, rather than waiting for the crew to find the problem alone. And similarly, if at the leeward mark the kite drop is slow the helm should steer hard around the mark to get up on the new course, albeit with jib flapping and spinnaker tubed, rather than give distance away downwind. Throughout the many exercises, short windward leeward courses and rapid triangles the emphasis was on controlled aggression, smooth movements designed to keep the boat flat and driving. Smooth but firm crew movements were emphasised throughout. Phil suggested that the crew(s) actually write out each process on paper (starts, beats, reaches, runs, hoists, drops, mark rounding etc). When the process is fully recorded, assign tasks to each person in the boat. Analyse each action afterwards and see what are the problem areas, how can these be sorted out. Ask if tasks need reassignment - is one person overloaded, consider what happens to these processes in each of the different wind strengths – light, medium, heavy.

The exercises were fast and furious, designed to put teams under pressure and show up any deficiencies in technique or coordination. For example, at one point the course was changed without warning so that a gybe set was required at the top mark. The tiny start line had a strong starboard bias forcing sailors to compete for any available room and oxygen at that side. And to add further pressure on Saturday afternoon the wind kept shifting, shifting, shifting, keeping everyone on their toes. Courses set were deliberately set too short which made forced each leg and required co-ordinated action between crews if the boat was to successfully negotiate the course. During each 5 minute ‘race’ the emphasis was more on technique practice than on winners/losers although the fleet didn’t appreciate that too much and fought tooth and nail to be 1st over the line each time with several ‘liberal’ interpretations of the starting gun.

Amongst the tips from Phil were to break down and list all the duties/actions of crew and helm around the race course. Discuss and work out a breakdown of tasks, i.e. who does what and when and make this the standard routine. This is especially useful for spinnaker work; preparation, hoists, sets, gybes, drops. When it comes to spinnaker drops the crew should use the full height of their body and arms to get the kite down in a couple of pulls rather than “squirrelling”. Build body or muscle memory for these and other set pieces. Another exercise was to talk continually between each other about what you are doing and are about to do. The take-away suggestion was to get out on the water as a single boat and copy the practice sessions which we undertook at the weekend i.e. ultra-short mark rounding with either 1 or 2 buoys or other useful marks in the water at the time. This will build muscle memory. Without muscle memory established for each action, it is not possible to work on boat speed. Boat speed only comes after all the tasks required to sail the boat are innate.

Overall, this event was a great success and sets the stage nicely for the Fireball National Championships at the DMYC on the 7th, 8th and 9th of August. Competitors are invited to enter online now at dmyc.ie

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Four Fireballs raced in the third of the Tuesday DBSC series in Dun Laoghaire last night.

Once again the harbour was the setting due to Covid19 restrictions on rescue personnel.

Any fears that the enclosed waters may have resulted in dull racing were blown away by the weather conditions. What initially looked like a quiet night proved to be anything but with 11 knot westerly winds gusting up to 20 knots and beyond during the two windward-leeward races. For the Fireballs, starting alongside the mixed PY fleet which included a sprinkling of Aeros, Finns and IDRA 14s it was an effective 5 lap burn around the harbour with a downwind finish.

For both races, the committee led by Suzanne McGarry set a slight pin end bias though with big wind shifts that could change as the clock counted down. Frank Miller sailing with Neil Cramer chose the pin with Owen Sinnott and Grattan Donnelly starting nearby while Cariosa Power/Marie Barry and Peter ter Horst sailing Nick Miller's boat started near the committee boat. Sinnott/Donnelly found very good speed and height to edge just ahead of Miller/Cramer at the weather mark. The latter had a marginally faster hoist and harassed the leaders down the run but despite a minor gybing match Sinnott/Donnelly led around the leeward. On the beat, with steadily increasing winds, Miller/Cramer got into the lead, a position they held to the finish, albeit with Sinnott/Donnelly hot on their heels, and at times Power/Barry chasing that pair down.

For race two the winds increased a notch but so efficiently did the race team turn things around that the Fireballers had to sail with their original lighter settings. This made for another hectic spin around the harbour, led by Miller/Cramer with several near capsizes for the Fireballs and baths for some of the surrounding Lasers. Power/Barry and Peter ter Horst both sat this one out and Miller/Cramer prevailed again, with Sinnott/Donnelly not far behind.

Once again there was a huge Laser fleet of 49 boats with various rigs, adding to the challenge of getting around the course cleanly. With two Tuesday nights of successful racing so far under the belt this curtailed season is proving a lot more interesting than many imagined it could.

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Four Fireballs made it to the start line of the long-awaited first Tuesday DBSC races since lockdown. The forecast was not promising much more than 2 knots but actually sailors were greeted with a very decent force 2-3 southerly. On this auspicious occasion, Dun Laoghaire Harbour was dominated by a huge fleet of Lasers, unsurprisingly given that it appeared for many weeks that singlehanded boats might be the only dinghies allowed to race this season.

The single-handers also included at least four Aeros, two of which were sailed by Fireball National Champions Noel Butler and Stephen Oram. So it was that the Fireballs got away in the first PY start in a five-lap windward-leeward race - Frank Miller with crew Grattan Donnelly got their bow in front about 2/3 the way down the pin favoured line and maintained their lead over the course, finishing well ahead of Cariosa Power/Marie Barry and Owen Sinnott/Andrea, with Nick Miller/Paul Ter Horst a little further behind in their newly acquired ship. While racing the windward-leeward course was straightforward enough the interventions around the course of more than 30 Lasers added a layer of excitement to proceedings.

Race two got underway with a 2 lap challenge in slightly lighter air which had swung between ten and twenty degrees further south. Again the pin was slightly favoured but this time Power/Barry timed a perfect pin start with Miller/Donnelly just to windward. In the event Miller/Donnelly edged out in front with marginally better speed and height. Both tacked at the port layline with Miller/Donnelly managing to hold off the challengers to round in the lead. While Power/Barry closed the gap on several occasions they never quite threatened the leaders who took the gun again. In third were Sinnott/Andrea while Nick Miller /Ter Horst took a break.

All in all a terrific night's sailing with solid race management led by Suzanne McGarry and her team.

Results are here

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In response to the global Coronavirus outbreak the Irish Fireball Association, Howth Yacht Club and Fireball International have been carefully evaluating plans for the Gul International sponsored Fireball Worlds in Howth in August 2020 and in a statement issued this evening, the organisers say "Given the severity of the current crisis and ongoing uncertainty around travel, social distancing, club functionality, and the impossibility of getting any fix on the timing of a return to normality we must, with great regret, now cancel our event in August".

The organisers say they will be engaging together and liaising with Fireball fleets worldwide to see if suitable dates can be found in 2021 or further into the future to welcome Fireballers to Ireland for a World Championships.

For those who have already registered and paid HYC will refund the entry fee on the next working day.

The Fireball class says it " would like to express our thanks to the many volunteers who have been working away in the background and most especially to those who have offered sponsorship and financial support, in particular Gull International, Fingal County Council, the Irish Sports Council, Irish Sailing and Irish Ferries".

The statement concludes: "we make this announcement with great regret but in the hope and expectation that we will hoist sails and raise a glass together in healthier and happier times in the not too distant future".

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Fireball sailors are passionate about their boats to the point of not being able to "let go" when due to work, family or life distractions they park their dinghy boots. This passion is both a blessing and a curse for the class, resulting in a slew of competitive boats parked in garages, sheds and gardens around the country. The underlying reason for holding onto Fireballs is that the sailor believes in their heart of hearts that they will someday return to the fray.

Meanwhile, the boats sitting in the garages and gardens of Ireland depreciate in value while remaining unavailable to young sailors looking for good affordable competitive boats to join in the fun.

"Boats sitting in the garages and gardens of Ireland depreciate in value while remaining unavailable to young sailors"

The forthcoming #Howth2020 World Championships next August provides the perfect opportunity to free the "captive" boats into the hands of the next generation of sailors. For those holding dormant boats it is the watershed moment to examine their ability to return to competitive racing. It is time also to be realistic about the value of their boat, perhaps sitting idle for a number of years. While the hull, spars and sails are likely to be in perfect condition a refresh of cordage, control lines and possibly some blocks and cleats may be in order. It's a perfect time to sell or charter with local and international demand for boats for the #Howth2020 Worlds next August.

For those planning to travel from Australia, South Africa, Canada, USA and further afield it will be more cost-effective to charter a boat than to transport it by container to Ireland. By releasing dormant boats now owners will be doing themselves and the class a favour.

For information on how to sell or charter out your Fireball contact the class hon sec at [email protected]

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Thirteen Fireballs gathered at Killaloe SC for the Fireball Munster Championships at the weekend. Initial indications were for a very wet and windy weekend but happily the fleet was rewarded with excellent sailing conditions on both days. While extremely wet most of the rain fell during the evenings and local hostel accommodation meant that nobody got too wet over the weekend. There was the small issue of a rugby match on the Saturday morning and commodore Sue Concannon hosted the entire fleet to breakfast at her home to watch the game.

Download results below

Screams and moans permeated the stunning landscape overlooking the lake. Once racing got underway Noel Butler and Stephen Oram dominated proceedings with three race wins from four races.

The top Fireballer pair didn't have things entirely their own way however and frequently had to fight their way to the front in the shifty conditions, with others often making it to the top mark ahead. Winds were decent with full trapezing unwind but with big variations in pressure and direction over the course. On day one the right side of the course was frequently paying dividends with better pressure and a useful wind bend. Those challenging the leaders were mainly the young Thompson brothers Daniel and Harry who continue to improve their pace, Frank Miller and Ed Butler recently returned from the Canadian Worlds, Josh Porter with new crew Cara McDowell, and Louise McKenna with Hermine O'Keeffe in their new boat who were always fast and consistent. Miller and Butler seemed to find good speed and often managed to judge the shifts and pressure zones well to stay near the front.

The pair put in a good start in race four, port tacked the fleet and took the gun. An unfortunate capsize in race three gave them an early discard, an over-reaction to a last-minute mark challenge attempt by the Thompsons. Canny veterans Neil Colin and Margaret Casey didn't find their usual pace at the event, despite a very good result in the recent FF15 Worlds, this being their first Fireball outing since the DMYC Frostbites. By close of business on day one saw Butler/Oram leading, the young Thompsons in a solid 2nd position overall with three seconds and a fourth, and Miller/Butler in third.

Saturday night was busy socially with grazing centred around superb sourdough bread and spreads at the hostel thanks to sponsorship from the Brezel Bakery whose ceo William Despard was sailing with his brother Philip in the event.

The agm took place immediately after snacking and then racers repaired to the local Pipers hostelry for an excellent dinner. Post dinner entertainment and drinks continued at the hostel well past midnight. Day two dawned with sodden conditions which happily dried up in time for racing. While winds were lighter North-Westerly they were a little more consistent and steadier than day one. Miller and Butler put their stamp on race five and took another gun, leaving overall places somewhat open. They led to the charge to the first mark in the final race also but were overtaken on the first reach when the lighter Thompsons made the best of a following gust to break through.

The young pair held onto their lead, extending it in the clear air and now somewhat lighter conditions. Noel Butler with Stephen Oram continued snapping at the heels of Miller/Butler and finally got through them on a shift near the top mark. The Thompsons took the final gun of the day, consolidating their second place overall and beating Miller/Butler into third position overall by three points. Butler/Oram won the event on seven points with three race wins and three second places before discards. The silver fleet was won by Owen Sinnott, a veteran Fireballer returning to the fray in the run up to the #Howth2020 Worlds, with SID sailor Paul Ter Horst on the wire. Second in silver were Dave Coleman and Glen Fischer. Local top dogs Jim Ryan and David Tanner won #Howth2020 hats as best local team and the classic trophy was won by Brian Keane with Ivan Coughlan.

PRO was Geoff O’Donoghue who with his team of volunteers ran everything smoothly with exemplary race turnarounds. At the AGM much talk surrounded the forthcoming World Championships at Howth YC in August 2020. With the upcoming worlds there is much excitement and signs of the fleet growing again – a combination of young sailors and veterans re-joining the fray.

One issue discussed was the shortage of boats for sale or for charter. The fleet is blessed and cursed with devotees who have “temporarily” hung up their dinghy boots but held onto their boats. Now is the time to see these boats put back into action and the fleet have plans to mobilise the many excellent “dormant” boats around the country. Anyone wishing to “free a Fireball” for sale, charter or loan should contact class secretary Frank Miller at [email protected] Next business for the fleet is the extremely popular DMYC Frostbite series which kicks off on the first Sunday in November. The class expects to grow last year’s entry of eleven boats in the fast and furious winter series – all are welcome. To use the #Howth2020 motto, see you there…

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Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

© Afloat 2020