Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Dublin Bay Boating News and Information

Displaying items by tag: Fireball

For the second year in a row, East Antrim Boat Club top crewman Andy Thompson hit the sailing headlines by winning a major Fireball dinghy title with ace UK helmsman Tom Gillard. 

In 2022, Gillard and Thompson scooped the world title on the home waters of Lough Derg in County Tipperary, and this September, Thompson lifted the European title in Portroz, Slovenia, even after a black flag earlier in the championships.

The pair scored three bullets during the final day of racing in spectacular conditions and is a worthy winner of the Sailor of the Month title for September for a second year in a row.

Published in Sailor of the Month
Tagged under

Current Fireball World and European Champions, Tom Gillard, and Andy Thompson of Larne in Country Antrim will defend their World title in Geelong, Australia, next year.

"We have several Irish competitors entered, and after a strong showing by the Irish teams at the previous Worlds and at the just completed Europeans, it would be great to see a few more make the trip down under," says organiser Chris Payne.

The 2024 Fireball Worlds will be hosted by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC) in Victoria, in February 2024. 

Over 40 Fireballs have registered so far.

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

Tom Gillard and Andy Thompson of Larne in Northern Ireland have won the Fireball European Championship at Portroz, Slovenia.

The pair scored three bullets during the final day of racing in spectacular conditions with winds typically around 18 knots but gusting over twenty knots at times.

Vince Horey & Dave Wade finished 2nd while event leaders Claude Mermod & Ruedi Moser finished 3rd. Racing started early and by 2 pm the race officer had two races in the bag.

Despite the relatively fresh conditions, there were still plenty of shifts and variations in pressure around the course.

Tom Gillard and Andy Thompson of Larne in winning form at the Fireball European Championship in Slovenia. See day five photo gallery belowTom Gillard and Andy Thompson of Larne on the wire in winning form at the Fireball European Championship in Slovenia. See day five photo gallery below Photo: Urs Hardi

The Czech team of Martin Kubovy & Roman Rocek finished 4th while the UK father & son team Graham and William Cook were 5th.

All starts took place under the U flag, and the starts, mainly pin-end biased, got away cleanly.

Best of the Irish were Josh Porter & Cara McDowell, who finished up 12th overall, still a terrific result in a highly competitive 70-boat fleet.

Next Irish were Adrian Lee & Ossian Geraghty, who finished 24th, and Ed Og Butler & Sean Collins, who were 25th. That pair led the final race for a period and finished 4th in the last race.

Frank Miller & Ed Butler Snr were 41st overall.

Results downloadable below as a pdf file

Fireball Europeans Photo Gallery (Day Five) by Urs Hardi

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

After five races sailed at the Fireball European Championships in Portroz, Slovenia – and three sailed today – Vince Horey and Dave Wade UK are on equal points with event leaders Claude and Ruedi (Sui).

Tim Gillard and Andy Thompson (UK) are very much back in the frame, with three bullets from today's races lifting them to third overall.

Download the overall results below as a PDF file

As Afloat reported previously, top-ranked Irish duo, Josh Porter and Cara McDowell are in eighth overall after two 10th places from today's races.

Race one was sailed in champagne conditions - warm winds of 18 knots and gusting. Race two started in medium winds but dropped light, especially on the final run. The last race was sailed in light airs with massive and frequent shifts on the first beat and many very super-light patches.

The race officer did exceptionally well and rightly waited for two weather systems to blow through before attempting the third race of the day.

With the forecast for the final day of racing tomorrow, Friday, promising decent breezes all is still to play for, and Tom Gillard & Andy Thompson will be fighting hard to make it to the top of the podium.

Fireball European Championships 2023 (Day Four) Photo Gallery by Urs Hardi

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

Two Irish boats are lying in the top ten overall in the 70-boat Fireball European Championship at Portroz in Slovenia.

Josh Porter and Cara McDowell are lying 7th overall and Adrian Lee and Ossian Geraghty are in 10th place.

Claude Mermod & Ruedi Moser (Sui) lead the field after racing earlier today when one race was achieved in light and tricky airs. The fleet headed out to the race area in an excellent breeze but it faded steadily and by the start was averaging about eight knots. A decent start was crucial for clear air as was the ability to keep boats moving through flat patches.

There is an unpredictable weather forecast for the rest of the week at the Fireball European Championships in Slovenia Photo: Frank MillerThere is an unpredictable weather forecast for the rest of the week at the Fireball European Championships in Slovenia Photo: Frank Miller

There were quite big shifts and changes in angles both upwind and offwind and differences in pressure around the course.

Lying second overall are Aussies Heather Macfarlane and Chris Payne just two points behind the Swiss team.

Third overall are Alois Verkest & Bernard Biscay of France. Vince Horey and Dave Wade are 4th on 11 points.

A general meeting in the hangar at Jk Pirat SC to discuss ideas to develop and grow the Fireball class worldwideA general meeting in the hangar at Jk Pirat SC to discuss ideas to develop and grow the Fireball class worldwide

The team who would have initially been considered event favourites Tom Gillard & Andy Thompson were 13th in today's race and their black flag from the first race hangs over them with a 36th place total. A discard kicks in after five races, but the forecast for the rest of the week is unpredictable - marginally better than breezes to date but by no means assured.

So far only two races have been achieved in the series after three days. There have been compensations however with hot sunshine, great hospitality and a warm friendly atmosphere at Sailing Club JK Pirat.

The Irish team enjoy the Fireball Europeans crew dinner in SloveniaThe Irish team enjoy the Fireball Europeans crew dinner in Slovenia

The traditional crews dinner took place last night.

This was a very high-class event generously hosted by Fireball Slovenia. Today Wednesday is the lay day and there wasn't enough optimism about the forecast to abandon that in favour of racing. So it's all to play for on Thursday and Friday when the race officer will likely attempt 3 races per day, conditions permitting.

Meanwhile, team Ireland is delighted to have two boats in the top ten of a very competitive European fleet.

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

As boats rigged for the first day of the joint Fireball and 420 National Championships at WHSC Dunmore East a weather system was approaching faster than most forecasts predicted.

At a briefing with race officer Michael Conway the Fireball and 420 classes learned of the rapidly accelerating conditions offshore, and all agreed that the best opportunity was to attempt one, or maximum two, windward-leeward races while conditions allowed. Outside the immediate harbour, sailors were greeted with winds averaging about sixteen knots but with well-disturbed seas. After a short postponement racing got underway. It was the very lumpy waves which provided most of the challenges. Upwind it was a case of keeping the boats driving through the waves, downwind it was a case of not sending the bow under the waves.

Big waves at at Dunmore East for the 2023 Irish Fireball National Championships Photo: Andre FassbergerBig waves at at Dunmore East for the 2023 Irish Fireball National Championships Photo: Andre Fassberger

For the first beat the boats which went left towards the estuary which came out ahead. Straight out of the blocks it was clear that one of the main contests would be between Ed Óg Butler, sailing with Sean Collins, and Noel Butler, sailing with regular crew Stephen Oram. Around the course, the two sailed in close company, with Butler Óg edging ahead from fairly early on. Others near the front end included the Thompson brothers Daniel and Harry, Josh Porter and Cara McDowell, Ethel Bateman with her brother Chris crewing, Frank Miller with Ed Butler Snr, and Niall McGrotty with Neil Cramer.

Storm Betty had an impact at the 2023 Irish Fireball National Championships at Dunmore East Photo: Andre FassbergerStorm Betty had an impact at the 2023 Irish Fireball National Championships at Dunmore East Photo: Andre Fassberger

On days like these there is a big premium on the set-up and bear-away around the windward mark and spreader. Thus, the top teams increased their leads through smooth turns and very fast hoists. There were noisy inter-crew communications downwind to prevent boats going down under big waves. Another consideration was the angle downwind and the timing of the gybe over to the leeward gate, with gusts and big waves foremost on the mind. Ultimately Ed Óg Butler & Sean Collins took the win with a good lead. Noel Butler & Stephen Oram took a short break after round two when they thought they had finished but resumed when they realised it was a three-round race. They recovered to third with the Thompsons taking second place. Fifteen-year-old Ethel Bateman, with brother Chris on the wire, took fourth position - a fantastic achievement in those conditions in the relatively older class loan boat.

Lumpy waves provided most of the challenges at the at the 2023 Irish Fireball National Championships at Dunmore East Photo: Andre FassbergerLumpy waves provided most of the challenges at the at the 2023 Irish Fireball National Championships at Dunmore East Photo: Andre Fassberger

As boats went through the finish line winds were increasing and they were signalled to return ashore. After derigging and showering the word was that the increasing wind now had a name - Storm Betty. An advisory went out on the event app for boats to lower masts for what was expected to be a very stormy evening. Most Fireballers took other precautions dragging boats into the lee of tall sheds, tying them down to shores and bollards and in at least one case removing trolley wheels to lower the profile for the approaching winds. Despite all the precautions during the night there were indeed full storm conditions and two Fireball capsizes on the quayside. Only a few yards away two trawlers sank in the harbour. Overnight the race team signalled a postponement for Saturday racing to assess conditions and to nobody's surprise by 10.30am Saturday a decision was made to cancel sailboat racing for the day. But racing wasn't over for everyone and a group of sailors headed off to go go-cart racing instead while others body-surfed at Ladies Cove nearby. Saturday evening saw a great social gathering at the club barbeque organised by a dedicated team of WHSC club volunteers.

Daniel and Harry Thompson of Wexford Harbour Tennis and Boat Club competing in the 2023 Irish Fireball National Championships at Dunmore East Photo: Andre FassbergerDaniel and Harry Thompson of Wexford Harbour Tennis and Boat Club competing in the 2023 Irish Fireball National Championships at Dunmore East Photo: Andre Fassberger

Sunday saw conditions not entirely dissimilar to Friday which led to a side conference by race officials and the rescue team. While the fleets rigged in anticipation the race officer went afloat to check out the wind and sea state. In time the thumb went up and sailors collected their tallies and launched. While winds may have been a tad stronger and the waves were still dramatic the wave pattern was slightly more benign over most of the course with longer rolling fetches. It was those waves which provided most of the drama during the three Olympic Course races which ensued. The wind was in the order of sixteen knots gusting into the low and mid-twenties and while the wave pattern was generally smoother there were much bigger unpredictable waves on the left side of the course, especially around the gybe mark area. In all three starts there was a modest pin bias leading some of the main contenders to fight for that end of the line. The Thompson brothers went one further and tried a port start but the door closed at least once leading to a dipping in one race and an OCS in another. In race two of the event Ed Óg Butler & Sean Collins continued as they started and took the gun but Noel Butler & Stephen Oram appeared more settled and were a close second. The latter pair went on to win the next two races, with Butler Óg capsizing in one race and suffering a ripped mainsail clew in another, the latter misfortune unusual in a relatively new mainsail. The Thompsons also had their misfortunes with a capsize in one race and a retirement in the last race with a broken spreader, most likely a result of damage inflicted during a capsize on the hard during Storm Betty. Josh Porter & Cara McDowell were sailing extremely consistently despite being one of the lighter combinations but their plans came unstuck along with their deck strut fitting. Niall McGrotty & Neil Cramer were sailing steadily and remained upright to have a third place almost in the bag but were knocked out by a gust on the approach to the finish. Frank Miller & Ed Butler were looking good in the conditions and at one point leading a race but a capsize on the gybe took them out. So, to some extent these Nationals amounted to a war of attrition in the face of really exciting but challenging conditions. Inevitably however the cream rose to the top and Butler & Oram took the win through consistency with Butler Óg & Sean Collins second. Arguably though team Butler/Oram weren’t the real stars of the day. The performance of Ethel Bateman with her brother Chris crewing was astonishing. The pair revelled in the conditions and their results – 4, (6), 4, 2 - catapulted the fifteen-year-old helm and brother Chris out of the silver fleet and into third place overall.

Ed Og Butler - second with Sean Collins (not in pic) at the Irish  Fireball Nationals at Dunmore East Ed Og Butler - second with Sean Collins (not in pic) at the Irish  Fireball Nationals at Dunmore East 

Ethel Bateman (helm) with brother Chris third overall at the Irish  Fireball NationalsEthel Bateman (helm) with brother Chris third overall at the Irish  Fireball Nationals

In the silver fleet, new entrants Niall MacAllister and son Oisin took third place during their first competitive outing in their newly acquired boat. Second silver went to Jack McNaughton & Damian Dion, while David Evans & Mike Murphy took the top silver trophy. So, despite the rude interruptions of Storm Betty, this was an extremely successful Nationals. Eighteen Fireballs, many crewed by young teams, and a similar number of 420s joining forces to race in warm weather, big breezes, and huge seas - the kind of outstanding conditions that Dunmore East can provide. The next major Fireball event is the Europeans in Slovenia in mid-September, with four Irish boats planning to make the trek. While theoretically the Fireball summer calendar is now complete the class are looking for a suitable venue for one last hurrah, possibly in October, before frostbite season kicks in.

David Evans silver fleet winner with Barry McConnell, commodore of WHSC Dunmore East David Evans Fireball Nationals silver fleet winner with Barry McConnell, commodore of WHSC Dunmore East

Second in the Silver fleet, Jack McNaughten with crew Damian Dion at the Irish  Fireball NationalsSecond in the Silver fleet, Jack McNaughten with crew Damian Dion at the Irish Fireball Nationals

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

On a weekend when all DBSC races were cancelled due to lack of wind and Fastnet Race yachts were pummelled by gales and strong winds, Killaloe Sailing Club managed to run an extremely successful Fireball Munsters in tandem with the 420 class. Despite a few regulars missing from both fleets, the turnouts were excellent, with fifteen Fireballs and fourteen 420s lining up for the competition over Saturday and Sunday. The newly refurbished KSC hosted not just the sailors and boats but a plethora of tents and camper vans, adding hugely to the sociability of the weekend.

The forecast for the entire weekend was a concern, with light winds and heavy rain on the agenda. Saturday started with a decent if modest breeze and drizzle, but by the time the fleets mustered for the start, the AP was flying, and the light wind was swinging 180 degrees. After about an hour, however, the wind settled into a Southerly direction of around five to eight knots. Fireballs got off the line cleanly for an Olympic Triangle course with only one recall which saw the Wexford brothers Daniel and Harry Thompson return to restart. Although the pin was favoured, there was a slightly better breeze on the starboard side of the course, and those boats got a slight head-start on the fleet.

Waiting for the wind to fill at Fireball Munsters joint event with 420s at Killaloe Sailing Club on Lough DergWaiting for the wind to fill at Fireball Munsters joint event with 420s at Killaloe Sailing Club on Lough Derg

Boats to the fore in judging the shifts and patches of better wind included Ed Óg Butler & Maeve Leonard, Louise McKenna & Hermine O'Keeffe, Chris Bateman & Cara McDowell and Tiarnan Brown & Peter Hayes. Between the jigs, reels and shifts McKenna and O'Keeffe managed to get in front of Butler & Leonard, only for the latter to benefit from a patch of breeze and sneak ahead to take the gun near the finish. Race officer Liam Moloney wisely shortened the course after two laps and the racers who followed the leaders home had an agonising final few yards to cover to the line. Several finished just seconds apart with boats on the left side of the approach benefiting from slightly more pressure. One of those on the left were the Thompsons, who clawed their way back to a 5th place.

Following that race the wind reverted to its swirling game and the two fleets floated around waiting for a breeze to settle. There were quite funny scenes which included boat gymnastics, raft games, and swimming competitions amongst the younger competitors in both fleets, all it in the fairly miserable drizzle. Eventually, it was clear that no decent breeze was coming and the race team called it a day. Socially the day was still young and an excellent sit-down meal was served up by club volunteers giving everyone a chance to mix and catch up.

Sunday dawned again with a decent enough breeze but when the competitors got to the starting area that had vaporised. What little wind existed was from the south, while the forecast was for breeze to fill from the North. After about an hour the weather decided to play ball and a very decent northerly wind of between twelve and seventeen knots kicked in. With the pressure on to get races completed the race team wisely decided on Windward-Leeward courses, giving them the flexibility to move marks quickly if conditions changed. Three excellent races ensued.

Chris & Cara dominated the first two races, chased mainly by Frank Miller & Ed Butler Snr, the Thompsons, and Tiernan & Peter. Frank & Ed Snr got a second in race two, but a fouled spinnaker drop in race three cost them a place as the Thompson brothers nipped in at the final leeward to take that second place. The Thompsons proved that they were back in action and on form in the final race of the day as they judged the shifts and pressure right to take that race from Chris and Cara. Ed Óg & Maeve had a lost spinnaker halyard issue just before the first race of day two which when combined with a riveted fitting knocked them out for the day. This was especially unfortunate as they would surely have given Chris & Cara a good run for the overall.

When the sums were done Chris & Cara won the event on four points to the Thompsons' seven. Despite an entertaining capsize on the finish line in the final race Frank & Ed Snr managed to get 3rd overall on nine points. First silver fleet sailors were Tiarnan & Peter from Glandore. Deserving winners of the classic trophy were young Olin Bateman and Saoirse O’Connor Buckley in the class loan boat.

Fireball classic trophy winners at Killaloe were Saoirse O'Connor Buckley and Olin BatemanFireball classic trophy winners at Killaloe were Saoirse O'Connor Buckley and Olin Bateman

Second in the silver fleet were James Anglim & Hugo Micka, 3rd Silver were Jack McNaughten & Michael Keegan. Many others deserve special mention – Jim Ryan, event organiser, sailing for the first time with Aoise Carroll, put in a very solid performance. Jakub Ozarek & Lara Killen made the very long trek from East Down and came 9th despite having very little competitive Fireball experience under their belts. Two father-son combinations gave it their all, Colm & Cormac Breen and Paul & Morris Ter Horst. And an exemplary match of youth and experience was the team of Jack McNaughten and veteran Michael Keegan.

Commodore of Killaloe SC John Callanan with Peter Hayes and Tiarnan Brown, Glandore SC, silver fleet winnersCommodore of Killaloe SC John Callanan with Peter Hayes and Tiarnan Brown, Glandore SC, silver fleet winners

Arguably however, the biggest winner of the event was Killaloe SC itself. The club put on a fantastic event in trying conditions, with great food, camping and hospitality driven by a small army of volunteers. As commodore John Callanan said at the presentation the family-centred club can only manage one or two events like this a year but combining the 420s and the Fireballs absolutely worked perfectly for everyone. In her short speech at the presentation, Cara pointed to the fact that the latest generation of Fireballers mostly came from a 420 background. Having coached many of them, she looked forward to seeing more 420 sailors making the transition as they get older.

Next up for Fireballs and 420s is their joint National Championships at Waterford Harbour Sailing Club on the 18th, 19th & 20th of August. Both fleets are looking forward to another great combined event in that often exciting location.

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

An inaugural joint event will see the Fireball Munster Championship and International 420 Leinster Championships 2023 come together on the waters of lower Lough Derg.

Over 30 double-handed performance dinghies, including Fireballs and International 420s, are expected from July 22 to 23.

Jim Ryan, the Commodore of Killaloe Sailing Club, emphasised the significance of this occasion, saying, "We're excited to witness the Fireball and 420 fleets together on the same waters and warmly welcome sailors to this scenic part of Co Clare for a great weekend of sailing. Plenty of space for camping and motor homes which makes Killaloe sailing club a low-cost venue for regattas. Wishing everyone all the best of luck on the water.”

Fireball Class Association chairman Neil Cramer warmly welcomed the joint hosting event by Killaloe SC in its new club premises on Lough Derg. "This is a perfect match of classes, representing a win-win for all involved. For clubs it makes perfect sense to host compatible classes together for logistical and economic reasons and is the way forward for sustainable regattas in Ireland. Fireballers are delighted once again to visit Killaloe SC for their penultimate regional event of the year and of particular interest this weekend is the large crop of younger sailors competing in Fireballs."

"Plenty of space for camping and motor homes which makes Killaloe sailing club a low-cost venue for regattas"

The 420 class has been a stepping stone for many young sailors, with several transitioning to compete in the Fireball category during their college years and beyond. Notably, Cara McDowell, Daniel Thompson, Henry Thompson and Hugo Mika, all 420 class coaches, will be participating in the Fireball races this weekend, a testament to the symbiotic relationship between the two classes.

The 420 class - a stepping stone for the FireballsThe 420 class - a stepping stone for the Fireballs

Martina Whyte, the President of the Irish 420 Association, expressed her gratitude towards Killaloe Sailing Club and Race Officer Liam Maloney (LDYC) for hosting this event. She shared her excitement, looking forward to thrilling tactical racing and the opportunity to renew sailing acquaintances with their Fireball counterparts. Alongside the sailors familiar with the Shannon waters from Lough Ree Yacht Club, a fleet of sailors from 420 strongholds in Galway, Spiddal, Malahide, Kinsale, and Waterford are expected to compete. This event also serves as a warm-up for the upcoming 420 and Fireball National Championships, again to be jointly hosted in Waterford Harbour, scheduled for August.

The regatta will kick off on Saturday, July 22, with the first gun firing just after noon. Commodore Jim Ryan extended a warm invitation to all sailing enthusiasts and spectators to come and watch the racing.

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

Fireballs enjoyed spectacular sailing at the Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta over the last three days. Sixteen Fireballs entered the event, and only injury and family commitments prevented a full turnout.

Especially impressive was the number of youth teams competing, and especially rewarding was to watch these teams manage very well in sometimes hair-raising conditions. With winds occasionally reaching 30 knots, the high-performance dinghy lived up to its pedigree as racers zoomed around the courses over the long weekend.

In the days before the event, it is fair to say sailors from all fleets were watching the rather ominous forecasts and were concerned the whole event could be in jeopardy, but by the Thursday the more worrying forecasts had softened, and confidence grew that a few days of great racing was on the agenda. On Thursday itself, racing was cancelled for the vast majority of classes as extreme gusts swept in.

A handful of Flying Fifteens managed to get one race in, but even those keelboats suffered several dinghy-style capsizes, which saw crews standing on keels. Friday dawned breezy but very sailable and Fireballers sped out to the start to be greeted by an AP as the race committee settled a fairly complicated trapezoid course into position. When racing got underway, the Fireballs screamed off the line in winds of around twenty knots. Jon Evans & Aidan Caulfield got to the weather mark first followed closely by Frank Miller & Ed Butler. As they roared down the run in big winds seeking the leeward marks, both made the error of heading to the inner rather than the outer trapezoid gate, and although they finished first and second they took a retirement giving Stephen Oram and Neil Cramer the race win.

The youngest team of David Evans & William Draper, took 2nd place in that race, a fantastic achievement given that they were probably also the lightest team at the event.

The youngest Fireball team of David Evans and crew William Draper at the Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta Photo: Michael ChesterThe youngest Fireball team of David Evans and crew William Draper at the Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta Photo: Michael Chester

Josh Porter and Cara McDowell were 3rd. This was to be their worst result of the regatta which they went on to discard. There was a wind shift after this race which led the race team to abandon the trapezoid course with it’s total of eight marks and two committee boats in favour of a windward—leeward course which is much more manageable in a shifting breeze. Given that the dinghy racing area for the event was Salthill and offshore winds were forecast for the entire event the race team set windward-leeward courses for the rest of the regatta. Having settled in Josh & Cara went on to win the next two races in similar breezes, taking the overnight lead for the event. Saturday dawned with good breezes but distinctly more shifty conditions. While it was breezy, it was a tad less windy than the Friday and warmer, and possibly there might have been an element of a thermal breeze playing with the offshore gradient.

This was a day when those keeping their speed up and their heads out of the boat were rewarded, and once again Josh & Cara prevailed with two wins and a second while Adrian Lee & Ossian Geraghty took the win in race 5. There were several close finishes on the Friday, with a surprise shortened course at a gate catching several sailors out while providing an opening to those paying closest attention. By Saturday night it was clear that after six races and with two to go Josh & Cara had a fairly unassailable lead. Next were Adrian & Ossian, with Frank & Ed Snr lying third and Jon & Aidan fourth on equal points. Two points adrift were Stephen & Neil in 5th.

Frank Miller and Ed Butler lead a group of Fireballs downwind at the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Photo: AfloatFrank Miller and Ed Butler lead a group of Fireballs downwind at the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta Photo: Afloat

Sunday dawned with initially light winds but a slightly ominous forecast showing possible thunderstorms and lightning. Sure enough, while sailors rigged, the wind picked up considerably, and the race office decided to postpone by an hour, allowing a squall to blow through. By the time competitors were sailing out the wind was softening, and a few were caught out as race seven started bang on time and in quite light winds. The start line was strongly pin biased, but the sensible ones started at the committee boat where there was more pressure. Most headed inshore to escape the incoming tide but this approach wasn’t always rewarded as there were big variations in pressure around the course. Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe led to the weather mark by taking the inshore course but on round two, lost their lead by the same approach and fell to fourth, managing to get back to 2nd on the final run. Unsurprisingly at this stage, Josh & Cara triumphed in boat races. In the final race the wind had picked up somewhat, and most sailors changed settings to medium. With Adrian & Ossian fairly secure in 2nd place, the main battle was for the 3rd prize. Frank & Ed had a good battle with Jon & Aidan on the run, and with Stephen & Neil on the beat but ultimately made the fatal decision of losing contact with their main rivals and going offshore into what looked like better breeze only for it to fade and for the breeze inside to fill. When the final sums were done Josh & Cara took the overall, Adrian & Ossian were 2nd with Jon & Aidan 3rd. Stephen and Neil were 4th on equal points with Frank and Ed who fell to 5th overall.

It would be fair to say that for Fireballs this was one of the most successful Volvo DL Regattas in recent memory. The conditions were spectacular, providing the class with an opportunity to showcase its brilliant design and especially its fantastic and fearless young competitors.

From left overall winners Cara McDowell and Josh Porter, 2nd Ossian Geraghty and Adrian Lee and 3rd Jon Evans and Aidan Caulfield Photo: Frank MillerFrom left overall winners Cara McDowell and Josh Porter, 2nd Ossian Geraghty and Adrian Lee and 3rd Jon Evans and Aidan Caulfield Photo: Frank Miller

The next event for Fireballs is the Munster Championship at Killaloe SC on the weekend of 22nd & 23rd July, shared with the 420 class. Sailors are really looking forward to a different kind of racing, most likely in more gentle breezes, at a very welcoming host club with a spanking new clubhouse and locally available food and camping.

Published in Volvo Regatta

With four wins from six races sailed, Josh Porter and Cara McDowell lead the Fireball class by six clear points into the final two races of the 2023 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta on Sunday.

Second place in the 13-boat fleet is held by Sligo Yacht Club's Adrian Lee and Ossian Geraghty, who earned his first race win in Saturday afternoon's Race Five on the sheltered Salthill Course in the northwest Dublin Bay area.

Lying third is the DMYC's Frank Miller on 17 points.

Racing was postponed for one hour on the penultimate day to allow strong winds to abate, a decision that proved correct as Dublin Bay yielded perfect summer sailing conditions in the afternoon.

The breeze was south westerly at 15 knots, with some strong gusts and big wind shifts off the Blackrock shoreline to make for some exciting racing for the dinghy course.

Results are provisional and subject to protest.

The 2023 regatta, the ninth edition of Ireland's largest regatta, concludes on Sunday with two final races for most classes and a great festival of sailing across the waterfront and Dun Laoghaire town as four sailing clubs come together for the biennial event; Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club and National Yacht Club.

Published in Volvo Regatta
Page 2 of 44

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