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Frostbite Dinghy Racing Returns to Dun Laoghaire Harbour

5th February 2018
Dinghy racing at the DMYC Dinghy racing at the DMYC

After two Sundays of excessive wind, the wind gods looked more favourably on the Frostbites in Dun Laoghaire Harbour and allowed two races to be sailed. However, the waterscape at the DMYC end of the harbour did not lend itself to the idea that racing would be possible – on arrival it was mirror flat. Fortunately, the Race Officer for the day, Cormac Bradley, had checked the main body of the harbour and was able to see two 1720s sailing well in the vicinity of the Carlisle Pier, before he got to the DMYC. That allowed him to speculate as to the possibility of having two races, a view endorsed by Frostbites Director, Neil Colin.

The race team departed the shore with a view to seeing what was possible and were greeted with a light wind coming out of the eastern quadrant of the compass. From a position in the roads of the marina approach, the wind was initially coming off the Boyd Memorial on the East Pier, and then went further left to the weather station on the upper walkway of the pier. A median position between the two seemed to be the safe bet!  The balance of the triangular course was set leaving the ribs free to help get the fleet out to the start area. While this was underway the wind went right to the extent that the weather mark had to be re-set.

Thirty-one boats came under starter’s order for the first race, 3 laps of a triangular course with a weather mark set beyond and outside the ferry gantry, a gybe mark in the middle of the harbour and a leeward mark just outside the entrance to the marina.

In Slow PY, eleven boats took part with the early action on the water being between the Wayfarer, the IDRA of Pierre Long and John Parker and the KONA of Robbie Walker.  Frank Hamilton & Jenny in the second IDRA and Aidan Geraghty & Eilis O’Driscoll had a separate race. While both off-wind legs were spinnaker legs, the wind strength wasn’t overly strong and the KONAs struggled in the lighter stuff. As the race progressed the Wayfarer of Monica Schaeffer & Miriam McCarthy eked out a comfortable lead having a 1:43 lead at the finish with the IDRA of Pierre Long coming home second. The second IDRA came home six seconds under three minutes behind Long with the Enterprise and the first KONA of Walker separating the two IDRAS.  On corrected time, the wayfarer took the wind by 29 seconds with the IDRAS second and third.

In the Lasers, Shirley Gilmore (Rad) set the early pace and led the fleet round the first lap, however, by the finish she had been overhauled by debutant Mark Coakley (Full, 201888) who took the win by thirty-four seconds. In third was the full rig of Justin Geoghegan (Full, 165512), just thirty-five seconds behind Gilmore and only ten seconds ahead of Alan Hodgins (Full, 175809). On handicap, Gilmore took the win, followed by Coakley, Geoghegan, Hodgins and Sean Flanagan (Full, 177854).  The Lasers had a close race with nobody breaking significantly away.

The seven-boat Fast PY fleet saw a Frostbite debut for Fireball 15007, sailed by Dave Coleman and Glen Fisher as part of the 5-boat Fireball contribution to this fleet, the odd-ones-out being the Finn of Hugh Sheehy and the RS 400 of Neils Warburton. Frank Miller & Grattan Donnelly (14713) led the fleet around the first lap but with the exception of the debutants the Fireballs kept close company around the course.  Thus, while Miller led, Noel Butler & Marie Barry (15061) and Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775) were in very close company and Alistair Court & Gordon Syme (14706) were probably of the order of a boat length and a half off them.   At the end of the first lap, my recall is that Miller and Butler went left almost immediately while Colin went right. And while Butler would claim afterwards that he gained whether he went left or right, at different times, and I don’t dispute that, the consequence of going right was that Colin & Casey came out on top at the second weather mark. However, they had no sense of comfort as Miller and Butler were breathing down their necks. Court couldn’t quite close the gap on the boats ahead of him. Butler & Barry were shut out of leading the fleet until the very end of the race when the Enterprise of the Slow PY fleet entered the fray of rounding the leeward mark. There is no suggestion that the Enterprise shouldn’t have been there or did anything wrong, but as the second Fireball on the water, behind Colin and the Enterprise, Butler was able to execute a more efficient rounding and with a short hitch to the finish was able to take the lead of the race when it mattered most – just before the finish line. He beat Colin home by 18 seconds with only 1½ minutes need to finish the first four Fireballs. Despite the fact that the Finn came in five seconds short of three minutes behind the first Fireball his corrected time gave him a win by 19 seconds over Butler, Colin and Court with Miller in fifth.

As an additional feature of the results, the team gave the list of fastest elapsed times on the water, corrected to reflect the three different start times.

In Race 1 the order of fastest corrected race times is as follows;

Crew

Class

Elapsed time

Corrected Time

Monica Schaeffer & Miriam McCarthy

Wayfarer

38:47

35:12

Pierre Long & John Parker

IDRA 14

40:30

35:41

Shirley Gilmore

Laser Radial

41:00

36:00

Mark Coakley

Laser

40:26

36:51

Hugh Sheehy

Finn

39:10

37:29

Noel Butler & Marie Barry

Fireball

36:15

37:48

Given that the last two Sundays were blown out and as there was still enough wind, and sunshine, to have a second race, a windward-leeward course was signalled. Again, there was some fickleness to the breeze in terms of direction, but just before the Race Officer resigned himself from having to move station, the wind settled in to a changed windward mark position.

Again three laps were signalled. In the PY fleet the greyhounds again were the Wayfarer of Schaeffer & McCarthy, the IDRA of Long & Parker, the KONA of Walker and the IDRA of Hamilton & Jenny. Schaeffer & McCarthy and Long & Parker worked their way clear of the fleet and Long stayed ahead for the latter half of the race.  However, despite having a good lead on the water as he sailed down the last leeward leg, he sailed through the finish line with the committee boat flying its blue flag to indicate that it was on station for a finish. Moments later, as Schaeffer passed outside the committee boat, she made it clear that she would be protesting Long for his transgression……….he subsequently retired.

The Lasers meantime decided they would have their indiscretions on the start line with an X-flag being flown at their start. Not all the transgressors returned which meant that they were met with silence when they crossed the finish line. Despite the light airs and her handicap win of the first race, Shirley Gilmore struggled with this one and left the winning on the water to the full rigs of Luke Dillon (166676), Mark Coakley (201888), Conor O’Leary (190745) with Ella Hemeryck in another Laser Radial (210312) the first lady home in fourth. This was enough to elevate her to the class win by a margin of five seconds.

In the fast PY it was all about gybing angles for the Fireballs on the downwind legs and trying to get into perceived wind veins across the course. In truth I saw little of the intimate action as a consequence of my Race Officer duties so all I can report is that Court and Syme nearly transgressed the rule to not sail through the finish line when the blue flag is flying but avoided the scenario with a crash hardening up around the pin end of the finish line.  Butler & Barry took the race win on the water by 1:37 over Court who had forty seconds on Miller who had eleven seconds on Court. But they were all gazumped by Sheehy who finished among the Fireballs and took the handicap win. 

Sheehy also took the fastest corrected time for Race 2, 33:22, followed by Hemeryck, 33:38, Dillon, 33:43 and Butler/Barry 34:19.

Mug Winners on the day included Dave Coleman and Glen Fisher (R1/Fast PY Fleet), Mark Coakley (R1/Laser) and Ella Hemeryck (R2/Laser Radial)

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