#FIREBALL– Nineteen Fireballs made the trip to Killaloe for the season opening Munster Championships of the 2012 Irish Fireball regatta season. As one of the few locations outside the greater Dublin area to have a resident Fireball fleet, the venue has been a permanent fixture on the Fireball circuit for quite some time. In addition to their easy access to the racing area, the host Fireballers always make their visitors very welcome and the attraction of the area with its scenery and the immediacy of Killaloe and its eating and drinking locations normally means there is a good turn-out.
This year, in an effort to promote the older Fireballs, the Munsters were chosen to host a Classic Fireball Regatta. In the rules for the event, a Classic was deemed to be a boat with a sail number lower than 14600. Four of these appeared with Neil Colin & Margaret Casey foregoing their Winder to add to the numbers.
On Saturday, four races were sailed in dull misty conditions with winds around the 8 – 10kts range. It had started slightly breezier but dropped off as the day wore on. This introduced some significant shifts.
Noel Butler & Stephen Oram dominated Day 1 winning the first three races while behind them the other podium places were being shared out between Barry McCartin & Finbar Bradley, Neil Spain & Hugh Butler, Louis Smyth & Joe O'Reilly and Niall McGrotty & Neil Kramer. McCartin/Bradley took the fourth win of the day, followed home by Spain/Butler with Andy Boyle & Barry Hurley pushing Butler/Oram into an uncharacteristic 4th.
Thus after a four race programme, the overnight situation was as follows;
1st Noel Butler & Stephen Oram 3pts
2nd Barry McCartin & Finbarr Bradley 6pts
3rd Neil Spain & Hugh Butler 8pts
In the Classic Challenge, Neil Colin & Margaret Casey were comfortably ahead of Jim Ryan & David Tanner, while Cariosa Power and Marie Barry were in control of the Silver fleet.
On Day 2, the wind had eased off again with marginal trapezing being the order of the day. McCartin/Bradley continued where they had left off the evening before by taking Race 5, followed by Colin/Casey and Spain/Butler. Regatta leaders Butler/Oram slumped to a seventh, most unusual territory for them in an Irish context! However, in Race 6, order was restored when Butler/Oram won comfortably from McCartin/Bradley, Spain/Butler, McGrotty/Kramer & Laverty/Butler. This left a finishing order of;
1st Noel Butler Stephen Oram 15061 Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club 8pts
2nd Barry McCartin Finbar Bradley 14820 University College Dublin SC 9pts
3rd Neil Spain Hugh Butler 150** Howth Yacht Club 14pts
4th Niall McGrotty Neil Kramer 14938 Skerries Sailing Club 23pts
5th Louis Smyth Joe O'Reilly 15007 Coal Harbour 26pts
Classic Neil Colin Margaret Casey 14330 Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club 40pts
Silver Cariosa Power Marie Barry 14854 Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club 51pts
Class Chairman Neil Colin, in his report to this correspondent advised that the event was a great success and was run very well. In particular, he noted that Race Officer, Geoff O'Donoghue, from neighbouring club, Lough Derg Yacht Club, ran an exceptional regatta with races started promptly and all under the regime of the "Blue Peter".
Three boats from Killaloe contested the regatta while the event also saw Michael Murphy from Waterford contest the event with his UL-based crew Alex Voye make their seasonal debut.