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Five Fireballs took part in a lively outing during the Viking Marine Frostbites DMYC Frostbites series yesterday (Sunday). For a time there was a doubt about whether racing would go ahead with winds gusting around 25 knots in the harbour at lunchtime but when the race team led by Cormac Bradley went out to take readings there were signs that the gusts were easing and racing got underway shortly after 2 pm.

For race one a windward/leeward course was set across the width of the harbour to suit the westerly winds. Frank Miller sailing with Neil Cramer got off the start line cleanly and led to the windward with Louise McKenna/Joe O'Reilly and Kieran Harkin/Michael Keegan close behind. The leading pair held their position for the three rounds to the finish but the opposition were never far behind. On PY handicap Roy Van Maanen took the gun in his Aero 5 with mostly Aeros dominating the top positions on handicap.

For race two a triangular course was set and again Miller/Cramer got away cleanly but this time were chased down by Harkin/Keegan who remained a threat right to the finish. With the gusts still in play clean gybing was crucial as was staying upright.

The leading pair almost crashed out near the finish when their spinnaker sheet caught a mooring buoy during the drop but they managed to clear it in time and retain their position. McKenna/O'Reilly had a capsize at the leeward during a tricky gybe to keep clear of a thicket of Lasers on starboard. The swim took them out of the game and Harkin/Keegan were second Fireball across the line.

On PY handicap, Noel Butler in an Aero 7 took the gun and again a sprinkling of Aeros dominated on handicap. Special mention should go to young Morris ter Horst who persuaded his father Paul to launch despite the gusty conditions and the pair had two good races getting around the course cleanly and upright. Also seen afloat for the first time was newcomer Jack McMahon finding his feet in his newly acquired boat and top sailor and coach Barry McCartin getting some practice in.The first series continues through until Christmas when sailors get a two week break.

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Seven Fireballs started amongst a good-sized PY turnout at the second Sunday of the Viking Marine DMYC Frostbites series on Sunday.

Although the winds were light and often frustrating sailors were glad to get out at all in the face of forecasts offering little hope of wind. In the event race officer Cormac Bradley and his team set a windward - leeward course across the width of the harbour with southeasterly winds between three and six knots. Several Fireballs got away from the start cleanly and most headed left seeking better airs towards the harbour mouth.

Neil Colin/Marjo Moonen found themselves on the wrong side of the line at the gun and took a quick detour back around the ends. Louise McKenna sailing with Michael Keegan played the shifts and showed superior boat speed to lead the way around the windward mark closely followed by Alistair Court/Gordon Syme, Colin/ Moonen and Frank Miller sailing with Neil Cramer.

The offwind legs were especially tricky with some very light patches and those who kept their eyes out of the boat and found the better pressure was well rewarded. The leeward gate was especially challenging tucked in under the breakwater in an area of little wind.

On the second beat, Colin/Moonen banged the harbour mouth layline and came out ahead, a lead they preserved to the finish. Otherwise, the top bunch retained their order though Miller/Cramer closed the gap considerably on the final run and beat to the finish by picking the right-hand mark at the gate.

On handicap Jemima Owens with crew Henry Start sailing an RS 200 won the overall PY with a mixture of classes, including a Wayfarer and IDRA 14 filling out the top five positions.

With daylight and wind both fading the race team hoisted the very welcome N over A and the sailors headed home happy to get a race under their belts in such light airs.

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The Fireball winter season got underway with a bang at the Viking Marine DMYC Frostbite series which kicked off in Dun Laoghaire on Sunday.

Seven Fireballs jostled for position on the mixed PY start-line in some 12 knots of breeze occasionally gusting to twenty. While the pin end was favoured the danger of getting pinned under the fleet deterred Alistair Court/ Gordon Syme from that approach and he tacked off right into the stronger breeze, albeit with waves, and arrived at the windward mark just ahead of Neil Colin sailing with Marjo Moonen and Frank Miller/Ed Butler. Chasing down the first downwind leg Miller/Butler managed to overtake Colin/Moonen and closed the gap on Court/Syme. Close behind were Owen Sinnott/Grattan Donnelly and a little further back Paul ter Horst and son Morris, and Nick Miller/Cearbhall Daly.

At the bottom of the second run of the three lap windward-leeward course, Miller/Butler and Court/Symes chose alternative sides of the gate, with Miller/Butler finding better pressure on the harbour mouth side of the course. This allowed the pair to take the lead which they held to the finish. While they won the moral victory of the Fireball race Brendan Foley in his Aero won the PY race on corrected time of some twenty seconds.

Race two got underway in softer conditions with fewer gusts and flatter water throughout the course. The Fireballs were joined by Ciaran Hickey/Ismail Inan who missed the first start due to confusion over timings. Colin/Moonen led the Fireball charge off the line near the pin end but tacked out at the first opportunity and found better breeze on the right side of the course. The pair led from start to finish, sailing their own race in clear air and even banging the right corner near the west pier wall confident of their reading of the wind conditions. Those who chose the left side of the course in race two found themselves distinctly underpowered at times. The race for the rest of the fleet wasn’t entirely without drama. At the approach to the final leeward mark Sinnott/Donnelly reached across to ensure their overlap on Miller/Butler, leaving the two teams sailing by the lee to make the mark. A sudden sharp gust gybed both boats leaving Sinnott/Donnelly swimming and Miller nursing a sore ear. Second fireball in race two was Court/Syme. On handicap Brendan Foley again won the PY and in the lighter breeze several Aeros featured in the top five.

All in all, this was a great start to the DMYC winter series and with sponsorship from Viking Marine and with some 14 Fireballs entered and a very full total entry of 120 boats it promises yet again to be one of the best series of the year.

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As a promotion for the Fireball Worlds 2022 in Lough Derg YC Dromineer, the Irish Fireball Association has mobilised two loan boats to give young teams a chance to assess the high-performance two-hander.

One boat has already been loaned to a youth team based in Lough Derg who will be using the winter to get up to speed before taking on the challenge of the worlds at the club next August.

A second boat, a top condition “white” Winder, is now available to a responsible youth team who may wish to take on the DMYC Frostbites challenge.

As the sailing season moves into Autumn/Winter mode dinghy sailors in Leinster are turning their attention to the DMYC Frostbite series.

The famous series, running since 1969, starts on the first Sunday in November and runs right through to the end of March, with a Christmas/New Year break. This is one of the great events of the year, short sharp Sunday racing in Fireballs and Lasers and other assorted PY dinghies and it presents an ideal opportunity to try out a Fireball in lively but controllable conditions as racing is frequently inside Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Interested sailors need to move quickly as parking space will rapidly be taken up in all the waterfront clubs and in the Coal Harbour.

For frostbites entry go direct to dmyc.ie and to enquire about the loan Fireball contact class secretary Frank Miller at [email protected]

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wJosh Porter and Cara McDowell are the new Fireball Munster Champions after seven races at Lough Derg Yacht Club over the weekend. The pair showed outstanding consistency and speed over the races in a wide variety of conditions.

Their achievement is all the more impressive because they beat the rest of the 15-boat fleet in a relatively older Fireball which was totally refurbished by Porter over the last two winters. Going by the premise that Winder built FRP Fireballs remain stiff and light right throughout their lives he removed all the original gel coat and recoated the boat in two-pack acrylic paint.

The result is a twenty-something aged boat that actually looks, and obviously performs, like a brand-new boat.

The two-day event saw sailors challenged by a massive range of conditions, from quite light in the early race on the Saturday to impressive squalls on the Sunday. Race officer John Leech and his team gave the fleet a variety of courses from plain triangles to Olympic Triangles. Turnarounds were extremely impressive, especially considering that the racecourse was shared with the Mirror class competing in their Southern Championships. Sailing conditions throughout the two days of racing were as varied as you might expect from a lake famous for its decent winds, but a lake nonetheless.

For most of the races, crews were in trapezing mode and at times some of the lighter teams struggled with the conditions, especially on tight spinnaker reaches. In race one, a short triangular course in light airs, Louise McKenna and Hermine O’Keeffe got away cleanly off the line and sped away from the competition finding wind on the right side of the course and proved uncatchable by the chasing fleet. They were followed across the finish line by Ed Og Butler sailing with Ismail Inan and Josh Porter/Cara McDowell.

Fireball Munsters Photo Gallery by Joe St. Leger

Race two was another triangular race in much better breeze and this was won by Porter/McDowell, with Butler Og/Inan closely behind. Race three was won by the Thompson brothers Daniel and Harry, though this fast pairing struggled somewhat to find their usual speed and consistency throughout the event.

A forensic overnight rigging analysis on the Saturday identified a couple of issues that kept them off their usual pace. Porter/McDowell won the final race on the Saturday and went into a solid overnight lead, with Butler Og/Inan lying second and Frank Miller/Ed Butler Snr lying third, just a point ahead of McKenna/O’Keeffe.

Sunday morning racing was due to start at 9.55 am and race officer John Leech’s early call proved correct as the fleet awoke to bright sunshine and a snappy breeze. In the autumn sunshine, Lough Derg provided a stunning backdrop to the day’s activities.

Courses for the day were of the Olympic Triangle and races longer than the previous day in the improved breeze. Porter/McDowell won race five in good breeze but with significant shifts and light patches, with Butler Og/Inan again close behind. Before the start of race six the sky darkened and with signs of a squall approaching rigs were altered. The squall arrived in time for the first reach forcing lighter crews to drop their kites while the heavier teams revelled in the conditions. By the time the second reach was over the squall had passed and the more skilled sailors found the best routes around the course in the somewhat shifty conditions which followed. Once again Porter/McDowell emerged on top, this time with the Thompsons in second.

The final race was especially challenging with the fleet dealing with a gentler squall and uneven wind over the course. As the breeze appeared to be softening the race was shortened to the finish line after the second leeward mark rounding at the end of the run. On that run, however, places changed with those opting early for the gybe to the inside winning out. Thus, Butler Og/Inan and Miller/Butler Snr winning out over previous leaders. Butler Og took that win with the Thompson brothers second and Miller/Butler Snr in third. McKenna/O’Keeffe were particularly unlucky as they had led for much of the race and their 5th place in that race effectively lost them third overall in the series. When the scores were added up Porter/McDowell were the absolutely deserving winners on ten points with Butler Og/Inan a reasonably close second on 13 points. Miller/Butler Snr were 3rd overall of 20 points due to relatively a consistent Ent performance and four third place scores.

The silver fleet trophy was won by Killaloe sailors Andrew Mullaly and David Tanner, with Mick O’Callaghan/Neil Cramer second and Paul and Moris Ter Horst third. Clodagh Nash and Moris Ter Horst won the Under-21 prizes. Special mention should be made of transition year youth team Oscar George and Ella O’Callaghan who sailed one of the two Fireball class loan boats.

The lightweight pair showed gumption and promise and did extremely well for a first outing in a Fireball which they saw for the first time three days before the event. They were awarded the Classic Prize for their efforts and the class have awarded them a loan boat to practice throughout the winter with a view to competing in the World Championships at the club from 21st to 26th August next year. The 2021 Munster Championships proved to be a fantastic challenging event for all sailors, with a variety of conditions to test sailors of all abilities and weights. The event gave competitors a taste of what to expect for the worlds next August when some 80 Fireballs from around the world are expected to enjoy sailing in one of Ireland’s most beautiful sailing destinations.

Fireball Munster Championships scoresheetFireball Munster Championships scoresheet

Prizegiving photographs by Joe St Leger

Fireball Trophies prior to presentation  at Lough Derg Yacht clubFireball Trophies prior to presentation at Lough Derg Yacht Club

Overall winners - Cara McDowell and Josh Porter Overall winners - Cara McDowell and Josh Porter

Second overall - Ed Og Butler with Ismail Inan and Commodore of LDYC Joe GilmartinSecond overall - Ed Og Butler with Ismail Inan and Commodore of LDYC Joe Gilmartin

Third overall - Ed Butler Snr and Frank Miller with Commodore Joe GilmartinThird overall - Ed Butler Snr and Frank Miller with Commodore Joe Gilmartin

Silver fleet winners -David Tanner and Andrew MullalySilver fleet winners -David Tanner and Andrew Mullaly

Classic prize - Youth sailors Oscar George and Ella O'Callaghan with Commodore Classic prize - Youth sailors Oscar George and Ella O'Callaghan with Commodore

Race officer John LeechRace officer John Leech

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Noel Butler and Stephen Oram retained their Fireball Ulster champions title after five races at Newtownards SC at the weekend. The event took place under something of a weather cloud – the forecast for the weekend was not good – but as it turned out the forecast for the top corner of Strangford Lough greatly underestimated the wind for the event. Certainly, when sailors arrived on Friday evening everything was agreeing with the forecasters' plan – enough drizzle and then rain to make the sailors glad they had opted for camper vans and B&B’s rather than tents. But things brightened up on Saturday morning and by the time the fleet was afloat a very respectable eight to ten knots of breeze was becoming established. Race officer Ruan O’Tiarnaigh wasted no time in getting things started with a windward-leeward course and race one was won by Butler/Oram with Josh Porter/Neil Cramer in second and brothers Daniel and Harry Thompson third.

Race two was an Olympic Triangle started in more breeze and the appearance of a distinct chop. Again Butler/Oram prevailed, stretching their lead on the fleet with exceptional speed and coordination around the course, chased by the Thompson brothers and Ed Butler Jnr sailing with Sean Collins. Race three was another Olympic Triangle and the breeze was up a notch or two just before the start. With the exemplary turn-arounds, not everyone raked their rigs and Frank Miller/Ed Butler prioritized their sandwich lunch over rig adjustment, a decision they came to regret. Yet again Butler/Oram sped away from the opposition in a cloud of spray, as the wind increased with gusts of around 18 knots, this time with Butler Jnr/Collins in hot pursuit and Porter/Cramer behind them. Miller and Butler Snr came to a sudden halt on a windy run when they ran into a thicket of seaweed, and capsized while trying to clear the raised and departing rudder. The pair recovered from a turtle to finish the race within the time limit.

Leo Hickey sailing with his father Ciaran Leo Hickey sailing with his father Ciaran

Sunday morning was bright and lovely but with initially no sign of wind. A patient race team went out to test the waters and discovered some breeze offshore and the fleet were summoned. Two windward-leeward races took place in light airs. The first in semi-trapezing conditions at times but the second in very light airs. While Butler/Oram again led the fleet home in race one they were reeled in during race two by Porter/Cramer who made better sense of the tricky and shifty conditions. The downwind legs were especially tricky with the boats split in several directions seeking the best patches of breeze and the optimum angles to keep the kites full. All in all this was another great weekend’s sailing with excellent close competition in a wide range of conditions. Several aspects of the weekend deserve special mention – the generous hospitality of Newtownards SC and its team of volunteers on and off the water; Merideth Grieve who sailed with Michael Cox on the windy day, her first time in a Fireball and her first time on trapeze; the sight of Josh Porter’s stunning restoration of a twenty-something Winder Fireball to like-new perfection in mid-grey with bright orange foils; the food; the selection of craft beers at the bar; the lightning-fast turnarounds of races by Ruan and his team and last and not least the fact that you can never completely trust a forecast.

Josh Porter’s stunning restoration of a twenty-something Winder Fireball to like-new perfection in mid-greyJosh Porter’s stunning restoration of a twenty-something Winder Fireball to like-new perfection in mid-grey

Final results – first overall Butler/Oram; second Porter/Cramer who beat the equal points Thompson brothers into third by winning race five.

Some of the fleet picking their optimum angles on a very light downwind leg...Some of the fleet picking their optimum angles on a very light downwind leg...

The latter were victims to the black flag in race four when they pulled the trigger on the start line a second early. The silver fleet prize was won by Ciaran Hickey and his son Leo. Next up for Fireballs is an ideal opportunity to test the waters at Lough Derg YC, Dromineer, on 18th and 19th September. There will be particular interest in this event, and a scramble to beg, borrow or steal a Fireball, as LDYC host the Fireball Worlds next August.

Noel Butler and Stephen Oram, overall winners Noel Butler and Stephen Oram, overall winners

Josh (2nd) with Silver Fleet winners Ciaran Hickey and son Leo.Josh (2nd) with Silver Fleet winners Ciaran Hickey and son Leo.

The Thomson Bros Daniel and HarryThe Thomson Bros Daniel and Harry

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Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella are the new Fireball National Championships after eight races in Dublin Bay over the weekend. Second-placed at the event, hosted by the DMYC, were Noel Butler and Stephen Oram while the Thompson brothers Daniel and Harry took third. The event was compressed into two days of racing when Friday was lost to zero breeze.

Saturday proved the best day in terms of wind with a solid North-Easterly providing decent pressure and full trapezing conditions. Principal race officer Suzanne McGarry and her team did a brilliant job in getting four solid races under the belt by mid-afternoon when the sea breeze showed signs of weakening. Two windward-leeward courses were followed by two Olympic Triangular courses with exemplary turnarounds.

McCartin/Kinsella dominated the 13 boat fleet on Saturday though they didn't have things entirely their own way with the Thompsons posting a win in race two. The pair showed great coordination and teamwork around the race track. While they squeezed the optimum VMG out of the boat upwind they were exceptionally fast offwind, especially on the triangular courses.

On the Sunday morning a different set of conditions greeted sailors who initially roasted ashore in high temperatures but zero breeze. After a postponement of an hour, however, the sea-breeze started to fill and racing got underway in lightish but very sailable conditions. Again race officer Suzanne McGarry started with windward-leeward courses and followed up with two Olympic Triangles. McCartin/Kinsella again led the fleet for the first two bullets but the third race was led by Butler/Oram while the series leaders headed ashore to fulfil a work commitment.

Noel Butler and Stephen Oram were secondNoel Butler (right) and Stephen Oram were second

Daniel and Harry Thompson who were third overallDaniel and Harry Thompson who were third overall

Race 8 took place without the event leaders and Butler/Oram posted another win. However, McCartin/Kinsella had done enough with five races wins and a second to discard the last two races and still win the overall by a margin of 5 points. Further back in the fleet there was great close racing all the way through. Lizzy McDowell sailing with her cousin Chara in a borrowed boat were right on the pace and came in into their own on day two. They were unfortunate to be U-flagged in the final race but they were in good company as the Thompsons and Louise McKenna/ McKenna/Hermine O'Keeffe suffered the same fate. Frank Miller/Ed Butler had a better first day than second but managed to hold onto 4th overall.

The McDowell cousins placed 5th and took the silver prize while second silver was Colm Breen with his son Cormac and third were Dave Coleman sailing with Aidan Caulfield.

Colm Breen and son Cormac (2nd silver)Colm Breen and son Cormac (2nd silver)

Aidan Caulfield (3rd silver) (left) with DMYC Commodore Dermot ReidyAidan Caulfield (3rd silver) (left) with DMYC Commodore Dermot Reidy

There were notable new faces at the event with youngsters Daniel Hrymac crew Harvey, young Robin Nash sailing with her father Glen and veteran Ciaran Hickey returning to the fray. All in all a great event in semi-tropical conditions and all credit to the race team who managed to squeeze 8 races in to complete the series.

Next up for the Fireballers is the Ulsters in Newtownards on August 21/22 and on September 18/19 the fleet head to Dromineer to sample the conditions at Lough Derg YC, the venue of the Fireball World Championships next year.

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Royal St.George's Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella head into the last day of racing at the Fireball National Championships with one hand on the trophy.

The championships are being hosted by the DMYC at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. 

As regular Afloat readers know the McCartin and Kinsella pairing are past Irish champions and also international performers finishing in the top five of the British National Championships with similar top ten results at European and World levels too.

 

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Thirteen Fireballs rocked up to the start line for the Fireball Leinster Championships at Skerries SC at the weekend. Daniel Thompson (Wexford SC) sailing with Barry McCartin (Sat) and Ronan Wallace (Sun) won the event after 6 races over two days in thrilling conditions.

On Saturday the wind was a solid 10-14 knots and the race team of PRO Liam Dinneen assisted by Helen Ryan and Micheline Shiels managed to get four Olympic Triangle type races under the belt by the day’s end. While team McCartin/Thompson were pre-eminent they did not have things all their own way and had to fight for every inch on the course. Unusually Daniel Thompson took on the crew role and that unusual mix caused a couple of hiccups including a capsize. While they won three of the races Frank Miller and Ed Butler were always close behind and managed to win one of the races placing them in second place overnight Saturday. Just behind them by one point were Ed Butler Jnr sailing very fast with his old 420 shipmate Sean Collins in a Fireball borrowed from Miller. There were plenty of other contenders around the course – Alistair Court and Gordon Syme were sailing Court’s brand-new Fireball on its maiden voyage and were extremely fast, though held back by a couple of minor rigging problems. Also up there in every race were locals Niall McGrotty and Neil Cramer. The pair were extremely consistent and never far from the front though perhaps surprisingly didn’t seem to gain any advantage from local knowledge of tides and wind bends.

Second overall Ed Butler Jnr (left) and Sean CollinsSecond overall Ed Butler Jnr (left) and Sean Collins

Third overall - Frank Miller and Ed Butler SnrThird overall - Frank Miller and Ed Butler Snr

On Saturday the start time was close to low water and the tide in the early races didn’t appear to play a huge part. While the better wind was frequently offshore this wasn’t always the case and some careful playing of shifts while staying in the best breeze is probably what kept McCartin/Thompson at the top. Also hot were Sligo duo Jon Evans and Aidan Caulfield. That team showed good speed and coordination to remain contenders throughout the event. Veteran Kieran Harkin, sailing with Ismail Inan, appeared after a long absence in the borrowed rocket called Let’s Get Messy. After a slightly rocky first day, they found their full speed by the Sunday. A very welcome feature of the event was the number of newer younger sailors who have bought modern Fireballs over the last 18 months.

Silver Fleet winners Paul Ter Horst and his son MorrisSilver Fleet winners Paul Ter Horst and his son Morris

Sailing in the Silver Fleet Paul Ter Horst and his son Morris revelled in the conditions and ultimately took the top Silver Prize. Second Silver were Brenda Nash and Glen Fischer (with Dave Coleman guesting on Sunday) and third Silver were another father-son combination of Colm and Rory Breen. Special mention should be made of team SID. The Sailing in Dublin organisation has a Fireball in its armoury and were ably represented by Pat McGoldrick and Pavlo Tishkin. One of the reasons the race officer opted to punch in a 4th race was that Sunday’s forecast was relatively light. When this writer checked the Windy forecast at 8 am Sunday some 8-10 knots were promised. However, another competitor checked at 9am and everything had changed. The strong south easterlies which were to remain offshore were now set to move in. And thus, it turned out.

Second in the Silver fleet Brenda Nash and Glen Fischer Second in the Silver fleet Brenda Nash and Glen Fischer

Before the start of the first race on Sunday teams scrambled to change their rig settings from light to medium and in the case of the lighter crews to heavy. Two cracking races in 12-16 knots with 20-knot gusts ensued both Olympic Triangle, which tested teams to the limit. The reaches were spectacular as crews flew downwind on impressive waves. There was a change in the pecking order in these conditions as Ed Butler Jnr and Sean Collins really found their pace.

The pair started well in both races and sailed quite free with plenty of board up to achieve maximum speed and led both races by a very respectable margin. Daniel Thompson helming with another 420 ace Ronan Wallace punched in two seconds while Miller/Butler snr scored a 3rd and a 5th which was to be their discard.

When the spray cleared and the sums were done team Thompson/McCartin/Wallace were the clear overall winners with Butler Jnr/Collins second and Miller/Butler Snr third.

All in all, this was one of the best Fireball events in some time, made all the sweeter after the long interregnum of the pandemic. The fleet gathers at the DMYC in three weeks’ time for the National Championships which is expected to see a return of Noel Butler/Stephen Oram to defend their title against some increasingly youthful and talented competition. With a World Championships in Lough Derg YC next year the fleet is in resurgent mode and all around the country, the search is on to free dormant boats from captivity for the current season but also for the forthcoming Worlds. The class is keen to encourage young teams to take up the Fireball challenge and will assist them in any way they can to take up the Fireball challenge.

For further information contact the class secretary at [email protected]

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So, as the sun rises hopefully on a welcome return to international regattas, the Irish Fireball Class, in tandem with Fireball International and the Lough Derg Yacht Club are delighted to announce that the World Championships of the Class with be hosted at the Lough Derg venue in August 2022.

The Covid pandemic has decimated the sailing calendar worldwide for the past 15 months, and the Fireball Class has not been immune to the inability to host regattas due to a plethora of reasons, including health issues, quarantining and the absence of international travel. Countries around the globe have had to endure different regimes of quarantining and rates of recovery from the initial and subsequent surges of the virus, and this has played havoc with the original schedule of international regattas for the Fireball Class.

However, a combination of circumstances allows us to make this announcement now, and a number of parties need to be acknowledged as being fundamental to the return of the Fireball Worlds to Ireland.

Host to the 2022 Fireball Worlds – Lough Derg Yacht Club, Ireland. Host to the 2022 Fireball Worlds – Lough Derg Yacht Club, Ireland.

Howth Yacht Club initially sowed the seed of bringing the event back to Ireland to mark their 125th Anniversary in 2020. However, the onset of Covid caused that event to be abandoned and subsequently, Howth's commitment to another international regatta in 2022 and the lack of certainty to the timetable for dredging works to Howth harbour in 2022/23 precluded them from hosting in 2022 or 2023. We thank them for their support of the Irish Fireball Class in promoting the 2020 event, which included their Principal Race Officer and Regatta Organisers attending the 2019 Worlds in Canada.

The Australian Fireball Association were due to host the Worlds after Howth in 2022, but their domestic situation with respect to Covid led them to request Fireball International to defer this regatta. Fireball International was persuaded that with the time-lapse since Canada in 2019, a European-based Worlds was more likely to attract a bigger fleet of boats. On that basis, Fireball International consented to the Irish Fireball Association seeking a venue for 2022, and we are delighted that Lough Derg Yacht Club have stepped up to the plate to host the event. Within the past few days, we have had confirmation from Fireball International's Executive Committee that the event can go ahead.

Established in 1835, Lough Derg Yacht Club (LDYC) is based in Dromineer on the shores of Ireland's third largest lake with a surface area of 118km². Their most recent international regatta was the Mirror Worlds which was a very successful event, and they have a long pedigree of hosting National, Provincial, and domestic regattas and the Fireball Class have been regular visitors to their club. The club is ideally situated with easy access to a multitude of racing areas, has ample space for mobile homes, caravans and tents and has additional "roof and four walls" accommodation within easy access of the club. While it is an inland venue, travelling to the club from Ireland's major airports and ferry terminals is relatively simple with good roads, and the journey will afford competitors a chance to see more of Ireland and its "forty shades of green"!

For the Irish Class Association, this regatta provides an opportunity for a re-building of the domestic fleet with the incentive of a locally based Worlds. It also affords the Race Management Team, which will be led by a well-recognised International Race Officer the chance to run a Worlds on "their own doorstep".

All parties to the regatta are excited by the return of international sailing with the regatta scheduled for August 2022 between the 18th and 26th consisting of a two-day Pre-Worlds, a day for measuring and the normal Sunday to Friday race timetable with a Wednesday lay-day.

We look forward to a great event and invite more Irish sailors to consider our high-performance two-person dinghy for their next international challenge!

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Shannon Foynes Port Information

Shannon Foynes Port (SFPC) are investing in an unprecedented expansion at its general cargo terminal, Foynes, adding over two-thirds the size of its existing area. In the latest phase of a €64 million investment programme, SFPC is investing over €20 million in enabling works alone to convert 83 acres on the east side of the existing port into a landbank for marine-related industry, port-centric logistics and associated infrastructure. The project, which will be developed on a phased basis over the next five years, will require the biggest infrastructure works programme ever undertaken at the port, with the entire 83 acre landbank having to be raised by 4.4 metres. The programme will also require the provision of new internal roads and multiple bridge access as well as roundabout access.

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