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The seven Fireballs who raced in the DBSC Tuesday series last night were treated to near champagne sailing conditions. Boats launched in a good breeze in warm balmy conditions with the first sightings of shortie wetsuits evident. Wind was a very solid NNE reinforced by a sea breeze established over the course of a beautiful sunny day. After a bit of hopping around the race committee set a W-L course with three rounds of the "X3"-course, a teaser course really as that X effectively adds an extra round with a downwind finish. By the time the race was set up the wind had softened somewhat but was still a decent 8knots gusting up to 15. The boats got cleanly away off the line with Butler/Oram, the Clancys and Smyth/Fischer opting to head in initially for a short hitch towards the harbour wall before taking the longer port tackup towards the windward with a filling tide helping them towards the mark. This paid off against those who went out immediately off the start line. The tricky bit out to sea was judging the starboard layline as the tide was pushing boats below the layline ever so slightly. Miller/Donnelly fell victim to this, having to gybe away at the mark behind the chasing boats losing several places. The placings of Butler/Oram, Clancys, Smyth/Fischer didn't appear to change through the legs. On subsequent beats the majority went straight out to sea and although there sometimes appeared to be better wind in towards the harbour those who went out always retained their lead.

Race 2 was set in similar conditions, a bonus of the long summer evenings. In fact if anything the wind improved for the first part of the race. By now the tidal flow was slack or even starting to ebb and there was little difference evident between those who went in our out to see. The Clancys took the former course as did Miller/Donnelly while Butler/Oram and most of the pack went straight out to sea. The three boats were very close together by the windward mark with Butler leading the Clancys and Miller, with the rest of the bunch close enough behind. The order remained the same almost throughout the 2X (ie really three round) race. The main tactical decision was the timing of the gybe on the downwind, not an easy call in the lightening breeze and on a leg with other classes sailing different angles. Several times boats found themselves blushing and sailing by the lee in the slop as they approached the leeward mark, clinging on to the all important inside berth. It was not a soldiers race however as the Clancys managed to punch through Butler's lead on the final beat and held him off to take the race. This was a most pleasant evening's racing.

See DBSC Results

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A touch of cradle-snatching on Saturday at DMYC where Fireballs threw out an open invite to sailors to try out the dinghy. Daniel Hrymak (12) and his friend Mark Henry (12) rocked up and went out for a spin.The light winds and hazy sunshine provided a gentle introduction for the duo whose main experience to date was Toppers and Laser 4.7s.They took to the boat like proverbial ducks and before long had got the hang of trapezing, stretching out into the gusts like experienced crews, hands free.. Both young sailors also got to helm and quickly found their stride.

Off wind spinnakers were set and they got their first taste of trimming gybing and dropping the kite. Meanwhile another participant Micheal Matulka sailing with Stephen Oram was put through his paces.

The regular keelboat sailor was enjoying his second outing in a Fireball and was seen quickly improving his trapezing and crewing techniques. On this occasion he got out on the wire with kite up, surely the most fun phase of sailing for any crew. The only things missing were decent waves and a bit more wind to add extra spice. This fun day was designed to get new sailors out in Fireballs to let them see what an exciting, yet stable and fun boat the Fireball is. The class, who are keen to attract new sailors, intend to run a couple more open sessions during the summer.

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After the champagne conditions enjoyed by the ten Fireballs that contested the Ulsters on Belfast Lough on the weekend just past, a marginally smaller fleet of eight boats had slightly less glamorous conditions on Scotsman’s Bay in Dun Laoghaire last night for the Tuesday DBSC race. The blue skies and accompanying temperatures gave way to slightly overcast conditions and a forecast that suggested we could expect rain from the west. The rain didn’t materialise until much later in the evening and we enjoyed good wind conditions, though it wasn’t coming from the direction that XCWeather had suggested, SSW, but rather from the east.

With a flooding tide, the scheduled start was 3hrs off high tide and everyone would be thinking head inshore. And so they did off a crowded committee boat end. With the tide pushing the fleet behind the line, there was room for a bit of aggression on the start line and the fleet got bunched up with Frank Miller & Cormac Bradley sitting to weather of Noel Butler & Stephen Oram with the Clancy brothers, Conor & James in close proximity. Slightly astern of them could be found the other players, Louis Smyth & Joe O’Reilly, Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe, Cariosa Power & Marie Barry, Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire and Darragh McDonagh & crew.

While everyone decided to go inshore for the windward/leeward course, the initial decision on how far out to go to the left before the right hand turn was the only variable off the line. Once inshore, the next decision was how far in to go, relative to the starboard layline. Team Clancy, Butler/Oram and Miller/Bradley opened a marginal gap on the balance of the fleet with Butler/Oram leading the charge to the weather mark. Team Clancy and Miller/Bradley crossed each other with Team Clancy tacking to occupy a weather slot on the layline approach relative to Miller. Miller bailed out and conceded the 2nd place rounding to Team Clancy to give a rounding order of Butler, Clancy, Miller, Smyth, McKenna and Chambers.

The fleet headed offshore to benefit from the flooding tide and the lead two boats got into close company as they headed off to the leeward mark. Unusually, Team Clancy gained the upper hand on this downwind leg to round the leeward mark in the lead. Thereafter, the running order was unchanged. There was some confusion on our boat as to how many laps we were sailing and in the bar afterwards it turned out we weren’t the only ones confused. 

A triangle-sausage-triangle course was set for the 2nd race of the evening. With slightly less tide, the fleet were a little less cramped at the committee boat end but an individual recall was signalled at the start and Messrs Butler and Oram went back and restarted. Chambers/McGuire were well placed at the start but in her enthusiasm to tell her helm what signals were flying – after the two sound signals – Brenda went swimming and that inhibited their progress up the beat. Even though conventional wisdom would suggest otherwise, Power/Barry went hard left, against the tide and didn’t seem to suffer any consequence of theoretically fighting the tide. We surmised later that there may have been better breeze further out. Team Clancy powered away and were never seen again. By this stage an Irish Naval vessel had taken up station to windward of the course so the first reach of the triangle might have been a little more subdued than the RC might have preferred. Behind the Clancys the ladies were in the driving seats, with McKenna and Power leading the chasing pack, Smyth and Butler were next, followed by Miller, being pressed by Chambers with McDonagh only marginally further astern.

The second reach was a lot tighter and this allowed the heavier male crews to close up on the ladies in front. Smyth and Butler were still in close company but Miller was able to sail through Power wind to gain a place. Rounding astern of Butler and Oram, Miller was persuaded by his crew to head out to sea, buoyed by the success of Power on the first beat. However, while no distance was lost, no places were gained either. The running order at the second windward mark was Clancy, McKenna, Smyth, Butler, Miller, Power, Chambers, McDonagh and everyone gybed onto port reflecting a shoreward shift in the wind.

Butler and Smyth were both getting “hot and bothered” as they sailed down the sausage with a robust exchange of who was where and what the other should be doing! Within a short distance, McKenna, Smyth, Butler and Miller were sharing a modest piece of water with the leeward mark approaching rapidly. Miller’s crew intervened again to suggest an early spinnaker drop and gybe which was rewarded when a gap big enough for 1½ Fireball widths (at least) to round the mark unmolested. This time there would be no hitch to sea. As Butler, Smyth and Miller headed inshore, Smyth was the meat in a very tight sandwich.  Having gone out the back, Smyth was then able to tack first – onto starboard. Butler and Miller hung on a bit longer before tacking and sailing in parallel up the right hand side of the beat though neither were in a position to round the weather mark.  

Having sailed to a position to leeward of the weather mark both had to put in a tack to get back to the starboard layline – only to be met by a single-hander of the PY fleet approaching the weather mark on starboard.  Miller bore off to round the transom of the single-hander and tacked outside him to round. It seems this was not to Butler’s satisfaction, we were to learn later (in the bar) as the manoeuvre led to shouting which we assumed to be directed at the single-hander, incorrectly.  The two Fireballs rounded in close company and Miller edged ahead on the first reach keeping a wary eye on both Butler and Smyth who was hovering should either of the other two get it wrong. Overlapped for a large part of the leg, Miller eked ahead in time to push Butler outside him at the gybe mark and gybed ahead. On the second reach a gap of a couple of boat-lengths developed in Miller’s favour as the pair headed to the last leeward mark of the evening.

The expectation was of a short hitch to windward for the finish after the leeward mark, but though the committee boat was flying a blue flag – on station – it was sitting to leeward of the leeward mark. Team Clancy were long gone so they weren’t of any help in deciding how to finish. So after an anxious exchange of views, Miller & Bradley decided to drop and round the leeward mark conventionally. To their relief, there was a finishing sound signal and the first glimpse of an “S for shorten” flag.  Thus the finishing order was Clancy, Miller, Butler, and Smyth.

2016 DBSC Tuesday Nights

Races 5 & 6

R5 R6
1 Conor & James Clancy RStGYC 14807 1 1
2 Frank Miller & Cormac Bradley DMYC 14713 3 2
3 Noel Butler & Stephen Oram NYC 15061 2 3


After 6 races completed, Noel Butler & Stephan Oram lead with 8pts, followed by Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe with 15pts and Louis Smyth & Joe O’Reilly with 17pts.

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Just before the presentation of prizes got underway yesterday at the Fireball Ulster Championships in the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club at Cultra the race officer Alistair Hunter asked to say a few words. It was one of those odd moments, nobody knew what was coming.. In the event he paid the fleet a huge compliment by declaring the Fireball racing at the Ulsters amongst the most competitive he had ever seen. He went on to say that he was astonished that there wasn’t a one recall over the six race event and yet about half the fleet shot through the start line at full speed bang on the gun every time.
The level of competition was remarkable given that a relatively small ten boat fleet made it up to the Ulsters. The event was dominated by Noel Butler/Stephen Oram who won five of the six races, and by Conor and James Clancy snapping at their heels with one bullet and a string of seconds. But the rest of the fleet immediately behind enjoyed extremely close racing. It was nip and tuck throughout the event with places changing on each leg of the courses and several finishes with a second or two between a string of finishers.
After a shaky start on Saturday the weather gods looked kindly upon the fleet – the first race took place in a very light westerly in an odd breeze which had all the hallmarks of a light thermal fighting a light gradient wind. It was snakes and ladders all the way up the beat until suddenly a Northerly kicked in. Spinnakers were hoisted and as the fleet converged on the mark from all directions a rib came charging down to declare the race abandoned. Quickly the PRO reset the course and the fleet got three decent races in, with enough pressure to allow trapezing on the beats. With a filling tide on Saturday most boats headed inshore to the shallows but the usual play-off between pressure, wind-shifts and tide applied so there was plenty to think about.
On Sunday with an earlier kick-off three races were sailed in a strong Northerly and an ebbing tide, and getting out into deeper water and a better tide was the way to go, except of course when it wasn’t! Again there were options, the chop in the middle of the course was hard work and by the second race in particular the breeze in the middle had gone patchy while there was a decent vein of wind to be harvested on the southern shore. By race three the tide was flat but pressure had improved again in the middle, proved by Louise McKenna/Hermine O’Keeffe who took out three boats by a foray to the left, and bagging a fourth place finish into the bargain.
Second overall in the event were the Clancy brothers with Niall McGrotty/Neil Cramer a deserving third with consistent third and fourth place finishes in most races. Behind them Michael Ennis/Marie Barry had a very good event at 4th overall in Ennis’s old home waters, and Alan Henry/Simon Revill on equal points showed that though relatively new to the fleet they are very quickly working their way up through the ranks. Frank Miller/Grattan Donnelly showed early promise with a 3rd place finish in the first race but had a mixed second day which left them in 6th overall. Neil Colin/Margaret Casey were 7th, Louise McKenna/Hermine O’Keeffe 8th and Dara McDonagh/Neil Duke took the silver trophy over Ulster sailors Brian O’Neill/Craig Ossler, both sailing classic Fireballs.
Overall this was a superb event – the race officer delivered the fastest race turnarounds the class has ever seen, and his proactive management of the marks for wind variation between rounds and his time management was superb. One race came in at exactly the suggested 60 minutes, another at 57! The club itself delivered warm and efficient hospitality under event director Fenton Parsons. On the Saturday night the class sat down to a fine curry in the private dining dining room followed by entertainment by the Pikestone Preachers , with Fenton double-jobbing as drummer with his band. The next regional event is the Open event in Wexford on July 3rd/4th, but club racing continues in DBSC and in Killaloe and a scattering of Fireballs are expected out in the Dun Laoghaire regattas.


(above) Race officer Alistair Hunter gets his just reward from class chairman Marie Barry; and (below) second and third overall with event director Fenton Parsons. Photos: Frank Miller




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Last weekend saw ten boats and some 25 Fireball participants join the ISA supported training session with former Olympic 470 sailor Ger Owens at the DMYC. Ger had a hard act to follow as previous Fireball training sessions had been led by Fireball World champions including Adam Bowers, Simon Potts and Richard Wagstaff. That said he rose magnificently to the occasion and his brilliantly self-depreciating and quite funny delivery charmed and informed the fleet. Ger’s main message to the sailors was that while boat and crew techniques were certainly important and worth perfecting through training the biggest gains were to be had through intelligent tactics and strategy. Something as simple as always keeping the main opposition in a large fleet under your boom would ensure high average results, offer occasional race wins and improve the chances of a very good result over a series. While that advice might seem blindingly obvious how many of us sail off to the corner of a course seeking miracles, time after time, only to find ourselves well down the fleet at the finish?

Having delivered some big truths, in a very steady and digestible patter of advice, Ger sent the fleet afloat for a fitness test with 50 “loopies” round a fixed mark, in both directions, whilst swapping hands throughout. This was followed by short circuit training with a single mark, beats, bear-aways, hoist on reach, drop downwind, gybe, reach, drop, beat again, all in the shortest possible distance. Ger then set quick short upwind races to put the “under the boom” principle into practice, and downwind legs to test kite hoist, gybes and drops under pressure. These exercises are designed like gym sessions to improve fitness, technique and ultimately train the right “muscle memory” to kick in under pressure while racing. Emphasis is placed on going out for short, sharp training sessions for just one hour, a bit like a gym session.

Many other topics followed over the two day session, too many to list here, with a constant stream of tips and advice. This allowed all participants to get something out of the sessions, from the most experienced and seasoned campaigners to new Fireballers. Commenting on the sessions one of the top helms Noel Butler felt there was plenty to learn from an Olympic sailor who had campaigned a boat with similar performance to the Fireball, with useful and simple drills to perfect techniques. He enjoyed the affable, positive, and engaging presentation style. New Fireballer Tim Crowe thought Saturday in particular (when the winds were a brisk north westerly) was a great day on the water with engaging exercises. Sunday saw lighter winds for a time and for the hour or so when the wind died completely the combined ingenuity of trainer and class saw the group invent a device comprising a pole, mobile phone and go-pro camera to trawl the harbour at low tide in a search for a spinnaker pole lost overboard on Saturday. While that exercise was unsuccessful the weekend overall was a huge success and whetted the appetite for events on the horizon. The first regional event of the season sees the class visit RNIYC for their Ulster championships in just 4 weeks. And for anyone interested in getting involved in one of Ireland’s most exciting dinghies the class is keen to attract more newcomers and will be running introductory sessions in the boats over some weekends in May and June at the DMYC.

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The traditional summer season opener for the Irish Fireball Class, the Training Weekend, takes place the weekend after next, 16th & 17th April and will be hosted by the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club. In a departure from previous years, the training this weekend will be provided by one of Ireland’s Olympians, Ger Owens, from the 470s, but also, more recently on the domestic circuit, the GP14 Class where he has notched up an enviable run of provincial and National successes with Mel Morris.

Proceeding for the two days, Saturday and Sunday, are scheduled to get underway at 09:30 on the Saturday morning. Fireball members who are not taking part in the coaching will lend support to Ger in the form of rib drivers and general support on and off the water. The Classroom sessions will take place in the DMYC and participants are requested to bring their own food and sustenance for the weekend.

At this stage, we are expecting ten boats, but if you want to make a late plan to join in you would be most welcome.

The “lift-in” for the keel boats at the DMYC takes place this weekend (9/10 April), in common with the other DL Clubs, we believe, which means that the dinghy park at the DM should be free to accept Fireballs from the Thursday evening onwards.


Two days after the training weekend, there is an early opportunity to put Ger’s coaching to good use with the opening race of the DBSC Summer Series and a further five days later, the first Sunday afternoon race of DBSC takes place for dinghies. While we understand that Tuesdays will continue in their normal format (time and location), prospective weekend “DBSC-ers” should note that dinghy racing will now take place on a Sunday at 14:00. However, Fireballers should double check with DBSC race notices and documents for changes rather than rely exclusively on this notification.

Fireball Ulsters – Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

The first provincial regatta of the season will be the Ulsters, to be raced in conjunction with the Irish 5o5 Nationals on Belfast Lough (southern shore), hosted by RNIYC. This is a repeat arrangement of a few years back which worked out very well for all concerned. My recall is that the racing area is very accessible and I also remember “Team Bracken” getting some very classy accommodation in the area late on the Saturday night at a very competitive price. Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club is a classic “red-brick” establishment which was founded in the heydays of industrial Belfast by the amalgamation of the Ulster sailing Club and the Cultra Yacht Club in 1899. In 1902, by command of King Edward VII, it became known as the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club.

Regatta documentation will be available for this event shortly.


Our National Championships are scheduled for Howth Yacht Club over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of August 12 – 14. This is our premier event of the summer and needs to be a showcase for the Class. Regrettably this hasn’t been the case for the last two years so consequently the committee will be asking you to make a commitment to be at this regatta with this very early notice the first step to putting the event on your radar. We had hoped to share the venue with another class, with Howth’s blessing, but those plans have changed due to circumstances beyond our control. However, we, and Howth, are still open to sharing the venue over these three days so if there is a class or event that needs a home over these dates, please feel free to contact us or Howth.

DL Waterfront Club Regattas

As it is an even numbered year, there will be no 4-day Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in July which means that the four Dun Laoghaire waterfront clubs will each host their own club regatta. We will be supporting these events as a Class and are aware of some radical plans to make these regattas very much more interesting this year. Details will be advised as soon as we are made aware of them.

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The 45th hosting of the Frostbite Series in the 51 years of the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club came to a close yesterday in sunshine and light wind conditions and a turnout of seven Fireballs in a very busy Dun Laoghaire harbour which also had Oppie training on the go and the ISA’s J80s racing inside the harbour. 

A four-lap course of a modest trapezoid was set for the last race of the series and of the seven boats starting, four were OCS – Butler, Miller, Court and Colin. The remaining three boats which were closest to the committee boat then had the luxury of picking whichever way they wanted to go on the course. Louis Smyth and Joe O’Reilly (15007) made the most of this opportunity and went right in the company of the “ladies in pink”, Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691) and Dara McDonagh and Neil Duke (14340). These three went round the first weather mark, situated just inside the harbour mouth, in this order, with the miscreants following behind – Butler, with a substitute crew in the absence of Stephen Oram (15061), Alistair Court & Gordon Syme (14706), Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775) and Frank Miller & Cormac Bradley (14713). 

Smyth led to the bottom mark and again went right along with McKenna, who according to the post-mortem after the race “strayed” onto the adjacent race-course of the J22s in order to out-manoeuvre Smyth and take over the lead of the race, a position she and Hermine declined to relinquish. Butler in the meantime “got the bit between his teeth” and started working through the top order. In the light conditions, Colin & Casey were able to do the same and while Miller & Bradley passed Court & Syme, on the next beat, the tables were turned and Court regained his position ahead of Miller. McDonagh got caught by boats as the race progressed. The conditions were lighter than had been forecast resulting in no upwind trapezing that I saw.

It was a slightly subdued finish to the Series but nevertheless a pleasant way to close out the 45th Frostbites.  The finishing order was McKenna, Butler, Smyth, Colin, Court, McDonagh, and Miller. This is the longest run of absence from the 1st place that Noel suffered throughout the entire series – 3 consecutive races!

At the prize-giving in the DMYC clubhouse afterwards, proceedings were started with a welcome from the Commodore of DMYC who then handed over to Olivier Proveur who has had a 20-year association with the Frostbites and is their principal organiser. Olivier paid tributes to the teams of people who make the Frostbites possible – Race Officers, Mark-layers, Recorders, the maintenance team who ensure that the committee boats and ribs are kept in working order, the volunteers who provide hot soup every afternoon after racing and the bar and club staff who keep the club ticking over for the Frostbites.

Series II (Post Christmas – March 20th) Pts
1 Noel Butler & Stephen Oram 15061 NYC 15
2 Frank Miller & Cormac Bradley/Grattan Donnelly/Ed Butler 14713 DMYC 36
3 Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe 14691 RStGYC 39
4 Alistair Court & Gordon Syme 14706 DMYC 43
5 Neil Colin & Margaret Casey 14713 DMYC 60
45th Frostbite Series 2015/16 – Overall (Series I & II) 22 races. Pts
1 Noel Butler & Stephen Oram 15061 NYC 21
2 Frank Miller & Cormac Bradley/Grattan Donnelly/Ed Butler 14713 DMYC 61
3 Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe 14691 RStGYC 72
4 Alistair Court & Gordon Syme 14706 DMYC 74
5 Neil Colin & Margaret Casey 14713 DMYC 83

Despite a heavy weather session over the early part of January, a total of 22 races were sailed, achieved by doubling up on Sundays when racing was possible to make up for lost races. Also of significance was the fact that no protests were lodged over the entire series.

2016 03 20 17.24.29

Frank Miller & Cormac Bradley (second Overall) above and “the ladies in pink”, Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (third Overall) below.

fireball sailors DMYC2

Of the 22 races sailed, Noel and Stephen only missed a solitary race, due to a family bereavement on Noel’s side whereas their rivals in the top five each missed or retired from five races. This shows the consistency of performance of Noel and Stephen over the Series with their worst result, probably discarded, being a third place.

Representatives of Dublin Bay Sailing Club advised the prize-giving that summer racing for the dinghy fleets will be on Tuesday evenings and Sunday afternoons with the Sunday racing scheduled for 14:00. The first Tuesday of DBSC will be April 26th, with Sundays starting the following Sunday, 1st May.

For the Fireballs, there is a short break before the summer season kicks in with a training session to be run by Irish Olympian Ger Owens starting off the sunshine months of Irish Fireball sailing. Details of this event will be posted shortly.

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With the normal Fireball scribes for the Frostbite racing in Northern Ireland for the day and in the Caribbean for at least a week, the reporting of the penultimate Sunday of the 2015/16 Frostbite Series fell on Neil Colin.

Neil reports thus;

The ladies in pink stole the show with two wins on a beautiful spring day, in gentle 5 - 8 knot breezes, racing inside the harbour.

The ladies started the first beat of race one with a hard turn to the right hand corner and took a healthy 10 boat lead at mark one, to a rousing cheer from their favourite mark layer, and even a photo opportunity, but by the time they had reached mark 4, the pack were upon them and Noel had stolen their crown. But not so fast, another hard right side put them back in the game and they led for the next 3 laps to take the gun. Meantime the rest of the fleet played snakes and ladders, with only Noel and Stephen maintaining a consistent place.

Between races the fleet encouraged the pink ladies to repeat the performance, adding the pressure……..  and they duly delivered a second race win around a smaller course, with fewer rounds in a dying breeze.  Well done!

The “ladies in pink” are Louise McKenna and Hermine O’Keeffe who during the winter months, at least, can be distinguished by distinctive pink woolly hats. We have yet to establish if the ownership and wearing of a pink hat is a prerequisite for sailing in 14691, Goodness  Gracious, but as Neil’s words above suggest they has a superb day on Sunday past.

There was a great symmetry about the results on this second-last Sunday of the winter season with Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (15061) scoring two seconds, Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775) scoring two thirds and Mary Chambers and Brenda McGuire (14865) scoring two fourths.

Seven boats contested the first race of the day and the fleet was reduced to four boats for the second.

With the final Sunday of racing being March 20th, the overall situation is as follows;

DMYC Frostbites 2015/2016; 21 Races sailed, 5 Discards. Total Pts Nett Pts
1 Noel Butler & Stephen Oram NYC 15061 43 19
2 Frank Miller & Cormac Bradley/Grattan Donnelly DMYC 14713 119 54
3 Alastair Court & Gordon Syme DMYC 14706 134 69
4 Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe RStGYC 14691 136 71
5 Neil Colin & Margaret Casey DMYC 14775 144 79
6 Conor & James Clancy RStGYC 14807 153 88
7 Cariosa Power & Marie Barry NYC 14854 159 94


The prize-giving on Sunday will be at 17:00 if there is racing and at 15:00 if there is no racing.

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There was almost a full turnout of the Fireballs registered for the 2015/16 Frostbites in Dun Laoghaire yesterday when 10 boats assembled on the start line for the first of two trapezoid-course races in sunshine but cool temperatures writes Cormac Bradley. The forecasts for the afternoon were a bit mixed with one site suggesting the N-Westerly would go Northerly and fade while another suggested it would go Southerly and build a little. In the end it was the former forecast that won out.

Two early practice rounds of the course revealed conditions that required trapezing upwind and tight spinnaker legs across the top and bottom of the trapezoid but as the afternoon progressed, the need for trapezing faded though the reaches were still lively.

In Race 1 the fleet had various ideas on how to work the first beat, the Clancy brothers, Conor and James, making a first appearance after a few weeks absence, decided that hitting the East Pier was the way to go with a weather mark just inside the end of the West Pier. The rest of the fleet demurred to varying degrees, preferring to work the middle and left of the course. The majority view was vindicated at the first weather mark with a rounding order of Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (15061), Alistair Court & Gordon Syme (14706), Darragh McDonagh & Neil Duke (14434), Neil Colin & John (14775), Frank Miller & Cormac Bradley (14713). Team Clancy were down in 7th in close proximity to Cariosa Power & Marie Barry (14854), Louise McKenna & Tim (14691), Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire (14865) and Peter & Michael Keegan (14676).

By the time the first half of the fleet got to Mark 2, Butler & Oram had pulled out a short lead. At the gybe, Miller gained two places by getting inside McDonagh and Colin and with a faster spinnaker set was able to pull away and to windward of them – time to hunt down Court!

On the second beat, Miller worked the right hand side of the course while Butler and Court worked the middle. By the time they reached the 2nd weather mark, Miller had closed dramatically on Court and they rounded with Miller only just ahead. Butler of course was doing his normal thing of putting distance between himself and the rest of the fleet.  Halfway down the top leg of the trapezoid Miller was able to break the overlap with Court and put a few boat-lengths between the boats. This position was retained to the rounding of Mark 4. Behind them, Chambers had dropped out, Colin too had dropped out after an incident on the water and the chasing boats were now Power/Barry and the Clancy brothers.

Third beat and Butler and Court both go left immediately! As piggy in the middle, Miller goes right – a potentially dangerous ploy, leaving the opposition to do their own thing. As they entered the last stages of the beat Court crosses ahead but a few minutes later when they cross again, Miller has sneaked in front. Miller gets to the weather mark first and holds Court off to Mark 4. On the final beat, Miller is much more circumspect, only taking a short hitch to the right to see what Court will do on rounding 4. When Court tacks, so does Miller and the pair sail in close company up the left hand side of the course, with Miller to windward. Butler is “long gone” sailing his own comfortable race. Behind Court and Miller, both Clancy and Power close but not enough to give the “heebie-jeebies” just yet! Miller tacks first for the port lay-line and gets to the weather mark first ahead of Court who is in a slightly more windward slot.  

The last lap is now a race between the Clancys and Power & Barry with the lighter ladies more than holding their own.  They exchange the lead a few times on the top leg, but on the longer leg between 2 and 3 the ladies get into a more secure position and hold off the brothers to the finish.

The fading and northerly shifting breeze now necessitates a change of course but due to the logistics of the harbour, it is not enough to move the weather mark, the committee boat has to move as well, moving inshore towards the gantry for the HSS.  The weather mark, meantime, is now closer to the end of the East Pier. Three laps are set for this second race and at the start the fleet decides that the pin is the place to be. Miller gets his approach wrong, finds he is too early and gybes out from underneath the fleet and works the right hand side of the course. After a single race, the Clancys are back in the groove and they lead the charge to the weather mark followed by Power & Barry, Neil Colin & John, Butler & Oram and Court & Syme. By the time the fleet clear the weather mark, we are treated to the sight of Butler & Oram doing two sets of turns – one set to absolve themselves from an incident with the Clancys and the second for hitting the mark.

Five boats manage to break away from the fleet – Clancys, Power & Barry, Neil & John, Miller and Bradley and Court & Syme.  Behind this bunch, Chambers & McGuire are well placed and of course everyone was aware that Butler & Oram wouldn’t be hanging around the back for any longer than was necessary! Despite the fact that the wind has gone northwards, the right hand side was not paying as much as one would have thought and the fleet consistently worked the middle and left of the course. Clancy and Power were never threatened though their lead did get shortened as the race progressed. Miller gained places off wind to move into third but upwind he lost out to Butler & Oram who worked their way through the fleet.  These places stay as is until the finish with Court & Syme taking the fifth place on the water.

DMYC Frostbites 2015/16: Series 2; Day 6, 6th March R1 R2
Noel Butler & Stephen Oram NYC 15061 1 3
Conor & James Clancy RStGYC 14807 5 1
Cariosa Power & Marie Barry NYC 14854 4 2
Frank Miller & Cormac Bradley DMYC 14713 2 4
Alistair Court & Gordon Syme DMYC 14706 5 5

After nineteen races and five discards, the overall situation is as follows;

DMYC Frostbites 2015/16
1 Noel Butler & Stephen Oram NYC 15061 15pts
2 Frank Miller & Cormac Bradley/Grattan Donnelly DMYC 14713 38pts
3 Alistair Court & Gordon Syme DMYC 14706 59pts
Published in Fireball

In a winter where we have lost races to howling gales, yesterday offered the Frostbite Fireballs an easier day on the water with a modest 4 – 7 knots of breeze on according to the weather station inside the harbour writes Cormac Bradley. Air temperature was recorded at 6.7˚ with a wind direction of 88˚. However, for all the brightness of the early part of the afternoon, there was a chill in the air and as the afternoon wore on, a grey sky came in from the south to confirm the time of year. Four laps of a trapezoid course were set by the Race Committee for the first race with the weather mark close to the harbour mouth and towards the end of the East Pier. No.2 was just off the block house on the West Pier, No.3 just off the end of the inner pier to windward of the marina and No.4 close to the entrance to the marina itself. As the start gun for the first race approached, Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (15061) were closest to the pin but it seemed they were slightly early as they gybed out, sailed underneath the fleet in bow to transom formation on the line and went right. This left Frank Miller & Grattan Donnelly (14713) on the pin and they led the fleet off to the left hand side of the beat. Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire (14865) were the first to peel off to follow Butler/Oram and they were then followed by the Keegans (14656), Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691), Cariosa Power & Marie Barry (14854) and Alistair Court & Gordon Syme (14706). Miller/Donnelly hogged the left hand side until they were about two-thirds of the way up the beat and then tacked to go across the course. Butler did the reverse and having crossed ahead of Miller tacked onto a parallel course to Miller but to windward.

The boats that had gone left initially seemed to be in better shape but as the leaders approached the weather mark, the boats that were now on the starboard lay-line seemed to be enjoying marginally better breeze. Within this eight-boat fleet, only three were not flying red spinnakers, the aforementioned Court and Syme, all blue, Louis Smyth (15007), white with a blue band and the Keegans, all white. Thus, with the weather mark furthest away from my location, my sense of “Who’s Who” at the weather mark and subsequent reach is subject to correction as it was based on colours of crews’ clothes and hat colours, confirmed only when the boats were halfway down the leg between Marks 2 & 3.

Thus, my assessment of the rounding sequence at the first mark was Butler & Oram (all black Gill gear), McKenna & O’Keeffe (distinctive pink hats), Chambers & McGuire (red & black tops), Power & Barry (blue sleeves, white trapeze belt & white hat), Court & Syme, Smyth, Miller & Donnelly (red hat, red top, grey top) and Keegans. Places didn’t change on the next three legs, a three sail reach from 1 to 2, a broader three-sailer from 2 to 3 and another tight but manageable reach from 3 to 4. On the second beat the leading boats took a short hitch to the right of the course and then went left. Power, Court and Smyth went significant distances to the right hand side before they worked that side of the beat to get to the weather mark. At the second rounding of this mark Butler & Oram had increased their lead by a significant margin and second placed McKenna & O’Keeffe had done the same to the rest of the fleet. Power rounded third but seemed to have a problem, allowing Court to close up on her. At Mark 2, Court gybed immediately and got ahead of the girls and behind him Miller & Donnelly did the same thing to pass out Smyth and Chambers. A lap later both Court and Miller would execute the same gybe, but would lose out to Power & Barry. Miller & Donnelly then lost another place to Smyth. Up the last beat, Butler and McKenna were very comfortably ahead and could effectively sail their own race. Butler wasn’t under threat from McKenna who was well ahead of the chasing pack. Power & Barry, now in third place went hard right on the final beat and it seemed to do them no harm as they rounded in this position at the last weather mark. However, Court and Smyth were not that far behind them.

At Mark 2 Court got inside Power and eked out a short lead over the two ladies. At the rounding of the third and fourth marks the boats were bow to transom with Court just ahead. At Mark 4 Court tacked immediately while Power sailed a short distance on. Problem was, from my vantage point, the committee boat was a lot closer to Mark 4 than the pin was and by virtue of finishing at the committee boat, I think that Power sneaked 3rd place. A stopwatch on the finish showed that Butler/Oram won by 2:05 to McKenna/O’Keefe who had 2:25 on Power/Barry who had seconds on Court/Syme. Smyth took 5th, Chambers 6th, Miller 7th and Keegans 8th. For the second race of the day, the weather mark was moved eastwards so that it was now inside the end of the east pier. Mark 2 was also moved, but 3 and 4 stayed as was. For the start the fleet was congregated from the pin back towards the committee boat. With seconds to go Smyth, slightly to leeward of the rest of the fleet, approached the pin on port tack. With a hail from Court who was leading the on-line procession to the pin on starboard, Smyth was able to tack and squeeze past the pin to go left. Shortly after the start, Butler, McKenna, and Power went right while the balance went left with Smyth to leeward of this group.

At the first weather mark, Court led followed (after closer confirmation of sail numbers) by Miller, McKenna, Butler, Power, Smyth and Chambers. The first three boats were very close and Court was initially caught by the two boats behind him. As the fleet approached Mark 4, the running order was Miller, McKenna, Court, Butler, Chambers, Smyth and Power. Butler and McKenna worked the left hand side of the course on the second beat but Court went right and when they crossed, Court was ahead. McKenna was ahead of Miller and Butler had yet to engage in a crossing to allow me to see where he was. At the second weather mark, the lead had changed hands and the blue spinnaker told me that Court was “Numero Uno”. Butler rounded second followed by McKenna, Miller and Chambers. On the third beat Butler went right, Court went left and Butler led at the first crossing, but at the weather mark it was again a blue spinnaker that broke out first. Butler was in second ahead of McKenna, Miller and Chambers and these places were held until the finish.

Published in Fireball
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