Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Ten Fireballs Race in the Sunshine At Dun Laoghaire

7th March 2016
Alistair Court & Gordon Syme take a tack at the Dun Laoghaire Fireball Frostbites Alistair Court & Gordon Syme take a tack at the Dun Laoghaire Fireball Frostbites Photo: Bob Hobby/Facebook

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
Afloat.ie Team

About The Author

Afloat.ie Team

Email The Author

Afloat.ie is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

At A Glance – Fireball Dinghy Specs

Crew 2 (single trapeze)
LOA 16 ft 2 in (4.93 m)
Beam 4 ft 6 in (1.37 m)
Hull weight 175 lb (79 kg)
Mast height 22.3 ft (6.8 m)
Mainsail area 108 sq ft (10.0 m2).
Jib / Genoa area 35 sq ft (3.3 m2).
Spinnaker area 140 sq ft (13 m2).

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

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2020

Wave button for Afloat new dates

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

quantum 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