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Fireball DMYC Frostbite Series Closes in Dun Laoghaire

21st March 2016
Noel Butler Overall winner of 2015/16 Frostbites with Stephen Oram (absent) Noel Butler Overall winner of 2015/16 Frostbites with Stephen Oram (absent) Photo: Frank Miller

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.

Published in Fireball
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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).

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