Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Displaying items by tag: Fireball

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]

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

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…

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

Ian Dobson and Richard Wagstaff of the UK are the new Fireball World Champions after 10 races in Pointe Claire YC Montreal.

Racing took place on Lac St-Louis over 5 days with a wide variety of conditions ranging from 4 knots to 27. The early days of the event were especially tricky and shifty favouring Swiss team of Claude Mermod and Ruedi Moser who led for the first part of the event. Right up there at the top all the time were Aussie husband and wife team of Heather MacFarlane and Chris Payne. The pair sailed extremely consistently over the 5 days in all conditions. They led the event for 2 days and were ultimately were rewarded with a well deserved 2nd place.

Third overall were French team Ludovic Collin and Remy Thuillier who were extremely fast in their composite boat built using the Duvoisin mould. Dobson/Wagstaff were probably favourites from the start of the event but it was only in the final windier 2 days of sailing that they really dominated, ultimately leading the Aussies by 4 points. In the penultimate race the UK pair lost part of their rudder but still managed a 2nd place. They sailed ashore and returned in time for the final race with a new rudder. In the last race the wind got up to about 27/28 knots and the duo admitted considering tacking around the gybe mark such were the conditions. Ultimately dignity dictated a gybe which they managed perfectly to go on to win the race.

Interestingly three of the top seven helms in the Worlds 2019 were women and there is now talk of scrapping the "Ladies" prizes as the myth of the class being a male preserve has been well and truly put to rest.

Fireball Frank MillerIrish representatives Frank Miller (right) and Ed Butler

Irish representatives at the event Frank Miller and Ed Butler (DMYC/RSTGYC) finished 26th overall in the 42 boat fleet.  Struggling somewhat on the light and choppy days the pair lifted their game when the breeze was up, scoring an 11th in the final race and scoring a 2nd in a breezy race during the prequel North American Championships. Overall the event was a massive success with solid race management in tricky conditions and superb facilities and hospitality ashore. The apres-sail atmosphere was such that the fleet partied together ashore in the club for the entire 10 days. Next August the festivities move the Howth Yacht Club and a presentation to promote #Howth2020 was made in Montreal supported by Irish IRO David Lovegrove and HYC organisers Judith and Ian Malcolm.

Suffice to say there is huge International interest in coming to Howth for what promises to be a highlight of next year's racing calendar. With the local class growing again and new blood entering the fray there is demand at home and abroad for competitive boats to buy, borrow or charter. This winter's DMYC Frostbites promises to be a lively and busy testing ground for competitors getting regular racing practice and maintaining match fitness for Howth2020. Before that Fireballs gather in Killaloe SC for their final regional event on September 28th/29th. To use the #Howth2020 motto - See You There...

Published in Howth YC
Tagged under

Five hours behind us time-wise, the forty-two crews at the 2019 Fireball World Championships hosted by Pointe Claire Yacht Club are still sleeping after a lay-day and what has been a light-wind regatta thus far writes Cormac Bradley.

Facebook reports suggest that Pointe Claire have been excellent hosts, but Mother Nature has been less generous in bestowing wind on the regatta, though by all accounts that is about to change for the last two days of the event, today, Thursday and tomorrow.

The event has attracted a good international attendance with American, Australian, Belgian, British, Czech Republic, French, Irish (1), South African and Swiss visitors as well as a host of Canadians.

Race wins have been shared equally between Heather McFarlane & Chris Payne (AUS 15152) [Race 4 & 6], Ian Dobson & Richard Wagstaff (GBR 15161) [Race 1 & 5] and the Swiss combination of Claude Mermod & Ruedi Moser (SUI 14799) [Race 2 & 3].

The nett effect of these race wins and additional scores is that the Aussies lead the regatta with six races completed by a single point from the Brits with the Swiss a further five points adrift. However, in terms of international détente, the United Nations would be delighted to see a single boat from each of five different countries occupying the top spots in the regatta as France occupied fourth place with Ludovic Collin & Remy Theuillier (FRA 14917), counting two seconds as their best scores, and the Czech Republic taking fifth overall, in the form of Martin Kubovy & Roman Rocek (CZE 15019) with best race finishes of third and fourth and a clatter of seventh places.

Our own Frank Miller and Ed Butler are not finding the light stuff to their liking and a BFD in the first race was not an ideal start. However, they are showing (slightly unwelcome) consistency as their finishes are in a tight range of three places, 27th to 29th. They will enjoy the forecasted stronger breezes of the last two days.

Other well-known Fireball characters at the regatta are; International FI Commodore, Christina Haerdi (SUI 14859) sitting in 8th overall, Derian and Andy Scott (GBR 14941) in 7th, Debbie Kirkby (CAN14766) in 12th, Ben Schulz (AUS 15113) in 15th “Monsieur Cantona” (FRA 14959) in 16th and hosts Joe Jospe and Tom Egli (CAN 15113) in 17th. Stronger winds over the last two days will suit many of these individuals and their respective crews.

2019 Fireball Worlds

Pointe Claire Yacht Club, Montreal, Canada

R1

R2

R3

R4

R5

R6

Nett

1

Heather McFarlane & Chris Payne

AUS 15152

4

3

3

1

4

1

12

2

Ian Dobson & Richard Wagstaff

GBR 15161

1

5

5

3

1

3

13

3

Claude Mermod & Ruedi Moser

SUI 14799

5

1

1

10

9

2

18

4

Ludovic Collin & Remy Theullier

FRA 14917

6

4

2

2

5

5

28

5

Martin Kubovy & Roman Rocek

CZE 15019

3

9

7

4

7

7

28

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

Noel Butler and Stephen Oram (NYC) have retained their Fireball National Champions title after nine races at Howth Yacht Club.

The pair scored seven first places discarding a third and a fourth to take the title in style in a three-day event which featured a good variety of sailing conditions. The event started with light and patchy winds on Friday progressing to decent if shifty breezes on Saturday and to full on wind by Sunday.

Second place was won by Niall McGrotty and Neil Cramer (SSC) who sailed consistently well and counted a string of second and third places in their scores to consolidate their second overall.

Butler OramNoel Butler and Stephen Oram (NYC) Photo: Frank Miller

Third were the up and coming youth team brothers Daniel and Harry Thompson from Wexford who were noticeably fast on the water. Just one point behind veteran Mick Creighton with crew Hermine O’Keeffe showed he hadn’t forgotten any tricks. Winners of the silver fleet prize were Cariosa Power and Marie Barry and the Classic Boat Trophy was taken home by Nick Miller and Cearball Daly of SID in the class loan boat.

Fireball McGrottyHowth Vice Commodore Paddy Judge (left) with Niall McGrotty (right) and Neil Cramer (SSC) Photo: Frank Miller

The theme of youth and experience was a feature of the event, with veterans and new teams both jumping into the fray in the run up to the #Howth2020 World Championships in August next year. Thus we had Robin Nash (15) helming with her father Glen on the wire, the youthful Thompsons (17 and 14 respectively), and young bloods Josh Porter and helm Conor Twohig from Newtownards.

Fireball thirdDaniel and Harry Thompson from Wexford

Besides Mick Creighton Eddie Ferris made a welcome return to action with another veteran Francis Rowan on the wire.

Also returning was Owen Sinnott with Paul Horst crewing.

International Race Officer for next year’s Worlds David Lovegrove agreed to take on PRO duties for this Nationals and he and his team ran things like clockwork, seamlessly getting in three races on a difficult and patchy first day and moving marks quickly and efficiently to keep courses square throughout the weekend. David is actually a veteran Fireballer himself and his name crops up on several key trophies including the National Championships of 1967.

Friday’s painful memories of patchy shifty airs were wiped away with perfect conditions on Saturday in breezes between 10 and 18 knots and Sunday presented the most exciting conditions with full-on 20-knot breezes at times and very exciting planing conditions both upwind and down. Another feature of the event was a coaching day on Saturday run by Barry McCartin. After helping people with optimum rig set up for the conditions Barry videoed the racing, gave tips between races and gave a debrief after racing which provided much food for thought for the Irish teams competing in these same waters for next year’s Worlds.

Among the challenges on the Saturday was judging which side to take on the beat, how far to go towards shore to pick up sometimes better offshore winds and the odd wind bend and even a slightly hooked tide in the sweep of the bay.

Although everyone had their ups and downs there was no disputing Noel and Stephen’s dominance over the nine races. With a little more speed and height on the beats and carving high angles down the runs the pair remained in control for most races with just the odd breakthrough by Niall and Neil and Mick and Hermine snatching the top spots.

There were signs however that the young pairings, in particular, were improving rapidly and may present a challenge by the time the Worlds land in Howth next year. After an exciting and brilliantly run event it’s championships everyone is relishing.

Published in Howth YC
Tagged under

With a Worlds coming up in Montreal Canada in August 2019 and Ireland hosting the Worlds in August 2020 in Howth, as part of their 125th Anniversary celebrations, the Irish Fireball Family had their first outing of the regatta season with a trip to Newtownards on the Ards peninsula, at the top end of Strangford Lough.

We last visited the venue in 2006 and since then the club has had a major extension added on to give them a substantial two-storey building with an upstairs bar and view from Scrabo Tower to the right all the way to the Mournes and the lower reaches of Strangford Lough on the left. At ground floor, there is a substantial function room, an office, two kitchens and roomy changing rooms. And in a nod to sustainability, they have solar panels on the roof to provide hot water with excess electricity sold off to the grid! Well, sustainability is in vogue! In 2006, we were blown out with only one race on the Saturday and five on the Sunday – an abiding memory!

Fireball NewtownardsFireball sailing on the Ards Peninsula – Butler/Inan (red spinnaker) and McGrotty/Cramer (blue spinnaker)

A small number of Fireballers made the trip up on the Friday night and were rewarded with a relaxed start to the Saturday morning. The balance of the nine-boat fleet arrived on the Saturday. The host club provided two boats in Conor Twohig (Sutton) and regatta organiser Josh Porter (14695) and Michael Cox and John McArthur (14721). This is a former Clontarf boat campaigned by the Clarke brothers that has been un-sailed in N Ireland for a few years.

Noel Butler, “fresh” from the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race teamed up with well-known globetrotter Ismail Inan in 15061, and other Dun Laoghaire Fireballs were Frank Miller & Ed Butler (14990), Louise McKenna & Grattan Donnelly, in Louise’s new boat 15016 and Glen Fisher & 16-year old daughter Clodagh (14691). From Skerries we had Niall McGrotty & Neil Cramer (14938), from Wexford we had the Thompson Brothers, Daniel & Harry in Louis Smyth’s former boat, re-numbered as 15156, having made their UK Fireball Nationals debut in Torquay a few weeks previously, finishing 27th in a 42-boat fleet. And all the way from Sligo, on the west coast we had Jon Evans, crewed by Dublin’s Aidan Caulfield in 14748. Another debut was made with former Class Chairman, Cormac Bradley, being invited to be the Race Officer – his first regatta in Ireland outside Dun Laoghaire Harbour and the 2018/19 DMYC-hosted Frostbites.

The forecast for the weekend had changed throughout the days preceding the regatta and by Saturday morning the forecast was for a maximum of 13 knots out of a variety of southerly directions.

Race 1 started in a light breeze from the SE that allowed the weather mark to be what is was designated to be – a weather mark. Even the gybe mark got to play its role! But after the leading boat went around the gybe mark, the wind went skewwhiff with the chasing boats beating to the gybe mark and the lead boat reaching under spinnaker back towards the gybe mark. Shortly thereafter, the wind disappeared, and three signals were sounded to abandon the race.

Harry L and Daniel R ThompsonHarry (L) and Daniel (R) Thompson – 2nd place

Three Olympic course races were then sailed in a breeze that developed from the East after a short interlude to let it establish itself. The local knowledge was that the wind would be reasonably stable direction-wise and so it proved. In the middle race the strength got up to about 16/17 knots but the first and third races were sailed in slightly more benign conditions. Race wins were shared between McGrotty/Cramer (R1), Butler/Inan (R2) and the Thompson brothers (R3). A general recall was required in the second race to get the fleet away and in the first race the Thompson brothers were very close to being OCS. In the last race of the day Miller/Butler had a pearl of a port-tack start on the pin to steal a march on the whole fleet. Regrettably, they were also a significant distance over the line at the start.

Neil Cramer L Niall McGrottyNeil Cramer (L) & Niall McGrotty (R) – 3rd Place

On Saturday evening there was a two-way tie at the top of the fleet between Butler/Inan (3,1,3) and the Thompsons (2,4,1). And in second place (or third) there was another tie between McGrotty/Cramer (1,3,8) and McKenna/Donnelly (4,6,2). McGrotty’s eighth was due to an errant spinnaker halyard that would allow the spinnaker to go fully up or be brought down.

Josh Porter L Conor Twohig RJosh Porter (L) & Conor Twohig (R) – Silver Fleet Winners

Newtownards provided supper and entertainment for all on Saturday night with a meal in the downstairs function room that had a main course that catered for all tastes, meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans, followed by apple pie and ice-cream. Music after dinner was provided by two of the NSC Fireballers – Josh and Michael – with a wide repertoire of songs.

On Sunday morning we were greeted with sunshine and a southerly breeze that started at about 6 knots and built to a high of 17knots during the racing. Again, the local knowledge was that this was a direction that could be relied on!

A sounding of the fleet suggested that windward/leeward courses would be acceptable, and the first two races of the day were of that type. The first was too short, prompting the RO to extend the beat by a further 150 meters. Despite the modest size of the fleet, there was competition for places at the front and while Butler/Inan swept the board in terms of finishing positions, they had to come from behind on at least two of those occasions to take the gun. The Thompson brothers had a good day with a 2,3, 7 and the fresher breeze also suited Miller & Butler who scored a 5,2,3. Indeed they led one of the races for a period, before they were passed out by Butler & Inan. Twohig & Porter also improved from the first day, ultimately being rewarded with a second place in the last race. The last race was led initially (and convincingly) by the Thompson brothers until spinnaker complications relegated them to a seventh place.

While Butler & Inan’s winning margin was 5 points, Noel was quick to point out in his acceptance speech that the Thompsons were a lot closer to him that the points suggested and that it took him until the fifth race to secure his win. He also commended 16-year old Clodagh for her efforts over the weekend – a first time session in the Fireball with her father on the trapeze. We were all agreed that she had fared exceptionally well.

It was great to be back in Newtownards Sailing Club where we enjoyed fantastic hospitality and a warm welcome. We would strongly recommend it to other classes.

Our next event is the Nationals in Howth – a precursor to the Worlds at the same venue next year! See you there 19 – 21 July.

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

Between sailors and volunteers, some 18 Fireballers took part in a coaching day with Barry McCartin at the DMYC on Saturday writes Frank Miller. The group ranged from class veterans to adult sailors from SID to young sailors taking a break from 420s with an eye to the #Howth2020 World Championships.

McCartin is an experienced coach and also the top Irish Fireballer having notched up a top ten place in the most recent 100 boat world championships in Carnac.

Participants benefited from an initial briefing by Barry on the finer intricacies of boat tuning to maximise boat speed. In particular subtle adjustments with strut or chocks to optimise pre-bend and sail shape for a range of conditions were explored. Sailors were reminded yet again of the infinite tuning capacity of the modern Fireball to match an extremely wide variety of conditions. On a day which featured very light airs, individual boats were examined ashore and tweaked a-la-Barry to remove any excuse for slower than optimum speed. After a short lunch break and a better breeze, the 7 boats plus RIBS took to the water for a range of exercises focussing mainly on boat handling and crew /boat balance with the emphasis on avoiding unnecessary rudder movements. Once ashore the debrief examined and analysed video of the day's activities. Yet again we are reminded that sailing is a life long sport and that there is always more to learn.

The class hopes to lure Barry back for further coaching sessions and reminds young sailors that cheap second-hand Fireballs are available for purchase for #Howth2020 just around the corner! Thanks are due to the DMYC and Irish Sailing for ongoing support.

Published in DMYC
Tagged under

The Irish Fireball Class Association marked the close of the summer season with their annual prize-giving dinner at the National Yacht Club on Friday 30th November. There was a good turnout for the dinner with a combination of young and not-so-young, active and retired Fireballers, at least one of whom has been based outside of the country for the recent past. A party of Fireballers from north of the Liffey got through passport control to spend the evening in Dun Laoghaire and were rewarded by taking away the biggest prize of the evening – the Travellers’ Trophy.

Class Chairman Neil Cramer of Skerries Sailing Club opened the proceedings with a review of the season and started that review by noting the passing earlier in the year of the international and domestic stalwart of the class Louis Smyth. Neil noted that Louis had raced his Fireball “Licence to Thrill” into his eightieth year and Neil intimated that this gave the rest of us “no excuse” not to continue racing into our senior years!

He further noted that Louis’ presence in the fleet was being carried on by way of his family’s donation of the boat to a Youth combination to campaign over the 2018/19 Frostbites and towards the Worlds in Howth in 2020. Eight combinations had applied to get the use of Louis’ boat but it had been allocated to the Thompson brothers Daniel & Harry and Neil advised that their commitment to the cause was mirrored by a typical weekend in winter with Saturday and Sunday sailing in Malahide and Dun Laoghaire, from a home base in Wexford.

He provided some report back from the Carnac Worlds (France) where there had been a very positive reaction to the Worlds in Howth in 2020. Possibly influenced by a very generous donation of whiskey from the primary organisers of the event in Howth for the competitors in France, there were lots of undertakings to be in Ireland for this regatta.

fireball 1Hermine O’Keeffe collects the Lady Helm Trophy for Louise McKenna.

Fireball 2Niall McGrotty (L) and Neil Cramer (Skerries) with the Travellers’ Trophy

Fireball 3John Evans (L) & Aidan Caulfield (Sligo) get theior bronze medals for the Travellers’ Trophy from Class Chairman Neil Cramer.

Fireball 4Daniel (L) and Harry Thompson collect the Travellers’ Trophy for the Silver fleet (Daniel) and the India Trophy (Harry) from Class Chairman Neil Cramer.

Winners on the night:

Travellers’ Trophy

1. Niall McGrotty & Neil Cramer; IRL 14938, Skerries Sailing Club
2. Frank Miller & Ed Butler; IRL 14713, Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club
3. Jon Evans & Aidan Caulfield; IRL 14718, Sligo Yacht Club

Travellers’ Trophy Silver Fleet

Daniel & Harry Thompson, Wexford Boat & Tennis Club

India Trophy (Most Improved)

Daniel & Harry Thompson (3rd at Fireball Nationals, Skerries)

Asterix Trophy (Significant Contribution)

Frank Miller – for general promotion of the class and his coaching in Killaloe

Lady Helm

Louise McKenna – for her performance (with crew Hermine O’Keeffe) at the Worlds in Carnac, France

Liam Bradley Trophy

Awarded to Neil Colin for his volunteer efforts on behalf of the Irish Fireball fleet – organising events (Leinsters), hosting training events, organising the Frostbites, enjoying success in the Flying Fifteen fleet (winner Thursday Series overall in 2017) and qualifying for the 2019 Worlds and for recently taking on a fleet role with the Dun Laoghaire FF fleet.

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

As a tribute to the memory of the late veteran dinghy racer Louis Smyth his family have announced that they will support a young team who are interested in trying a high-performance Fireball dinghy.

While full details of the scheme for the next summer season are being finalised as an initial gesture the family, supported by the Irish Fireball Association, will make available a highly competitive top spec modern Fireball to a suitable young team who wish to race in the upcoming DMYC Winter Frostbite Series in Dun Laoghaire.

In addition to providing the boat, the entry fee and dinghy parking for the event will be looked after by Louis’ family. The offer may be of particular interest to young teams who are considering a campaign for the Fireball Worlds 2020 which take place in Howth in August 2020. The qualifying age range for the team is from 13-26 and obviously, they would need to have good sailing ability and racing experience. Realistically the team would need to be of suitable weight (ideally between 120kg-170kg) and strength/fitness to take up the offer. The Fireball is a high performance yet stable centreboard dinghy with trapeze and spinnaker. Every year a healthy number participate in the Frostbite series so good racing is guaranteed with hot competition on the water and friendly support off the water.

The successful team will write a short CV or pitch for the boat for the Frostbite series and the final choice of team will be made by the Irish Fireball Association executive in conjunction with Louis’ family. Expressions of interest should be sent to Frank Miller, hon sec, Irish Fireball Association at [email protected] telephone 087 2584016.

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

The renamed or rescheduled Fireball Munsters, cancelled earlier in the year at Killaloe Sailing Club, were reconvened this past weekend at one of the Irish fleet’s favourite locations, Lough Derg Yacht Club. This was our second visit in as many years and as ever the hospitality was at its best with scones and tea/coffee available on the Saturday morning, an excellent meal on the Saturday night, with commensurate bar service and a Race Management Team led by Commodore John Leech that had a relatively easy day on Saturday but a much more stressful one on the Sunday.

Held in tandem with the Mirror Southerns, the event attracted an entry of 14 boats made up principally of the fleet from Killaloe. This was the primary objective of the Irish Class Association – to encourage the KSC fleet to get themselves to another venue in order that they could sample an “away regatta” that their enthusiasm level at KSC warranted. In this regard a huge thank-you and acknowledgement has to go to Stefany Gorski and Philip Despard who delivered on promises made to get the Killaloe fleet to Dromineer. Jim Ryan also helped significantly with getting boats derigged for the road trip and re-rigged at the Lough Derg end. Eight boats made the trip with one of these claiming KSC and LDYC duality and with Skerries, Sligo, Wexford and Dun Laoghaire entries a 14-boat entry was assembled.

fireball secondAidan Caulfiedl (left) and Jon Evans of Sligo Yacht Club were second Photo: Frank Miller

The Wexford Harbour Boat & Tennis Club took the form of Daniel & Harry Thompson sailing Ed Butler’s 14990. Daniel sailed the Fireball Nationals in Skerries earlier in the season so obviously enjoyed himself enough to come back with his brother. While many of the KSC entries are new to Fireballs, it was great to see one of their more senior combinations, Jim Ryan and David Tanner (14584) back in the competitive saddle!

Racing on Saturday was on an Olympic course with the Mirrors having a triangle set up inside an outer triangle for the Fireballs. Thus each fleet had their own windward, gybe and leeward marks which minimised even further the interaction of the two fleets. The Fireballs had first start in a breeze that oscillated to a significant degree in strength on a race area immediately in front of and slightly to the left looking out from the clubhouse.

fireball thirdConall Holohan, Grattan Donnelly and Frank Miller of the DMYC were third with Lough Derg's John Leech (right)

First blood went to Niall McGrotty & Neil Cramer (14938), sailing out of Skerries and fresh back for the Fireball Worlds in Carnac, France. Frank Miller & Grattan Donnelly (14713) finished second, with the young men from Wexford third. KSC took a well-deserved 4th place with Jim & David, while behind them the pecking order was Jon Evans & Aidan Caulfield (14748). This was to be their worst results as they were never outside the top three thereafter. Indeed after winning the second race, they led the third until the Skerries combination stepped up a gear to take the final race of the day. The KSC fleet competed manfully with seven of their number finishing the first race and 6 finishing each of the latter two. Another KSC crew, Brian Keana, sailing with Neil Colin (14775) enjoyed a third place in the middle race.

Fireball youthDaniel & Harry Thompson, Wexford Harbour Boat & Tennis Club, were Silver Fleet winners Photo: Frank Miller

While the conditions weren’t extreme, the halt to sailing was welcomed by all. A definite 1-2-3 was in place with McGrotty & Cramer on 4pts, Evans & Caulfield on 8pts and Miller & Donnelly on 11pts. Thereafter the scores were the Thompsons on 12pts, the all-lady team of Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691) on 15pts and Colin & Keana on 17pts. Philip Despard & Stefany Groski led the KSC contingent in 7th place.

Sunday morning saw a changed “lake-scape” with white horses in the area in the middle of the race area in front of the clubhouse and flags flying as stiff as boards. After taking some individual soundings, Race Officer John Leech conducted a short briefing to advise the assembled fleet of his synopsis of the weather and the likely conditions crews would encounter in the new race area that the wind direction warranted. His recommendation being that those who had struggled the day before might want to consider their options. Consequently, a reduced fleet took to the water (from both fleets), but those who did go out enjoyed exhilarating conditions, even under white-sail reaching.

The “Skerries Scorchers” consolidated their lead at the front of the fleet with another two race wins while Miller & Donnelly and Evans & Caulfield shared the seconds and thirds. Despard & Gorski really acquitted themselves well by scoring a fifth in the final race, while Louise & Hermine also sailed well in the prevailing conditions to score two race finishes with a 5th and a 6th. Race Officer had problems with anchoring marks in very substantial depths of water which combined with the strong breeze made for some interesting interpretations of the course by the fleets. Still, everyone who came ashore attested to the exciting conditions.

The Thompson brothers also acquitted themselves well on both days in the very contrasting conditions.

The Classic Trophy was won by Jack Pinson & Anne Gleeson, while the Silver Fleet was won by the Thompson brothers.

All in all this was a very enjoyable weekend which achieved its dual purpose of completing a Munsters and getting the KSC fleet to a new venue. Thanks are due to all those KSC Fireballers who “put their toes in the water” at an away venue. We hope you enjoyed the weekend (the smiles suggested they had).

Published in Fireball
Tagged under
Page 1 of 37

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

Featured Webcams

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

tokyo sidebutton
sovscup sidebutton
vdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating