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.
Winners on the night:
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
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.