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By any reasonble logic it should not have been possible to sail in Dun Laoghaire today Sunday for the final race in part one of the Frostbite Series. Wind Guru was predicting gusts of forty knots and there was nothing in the morning conditions to suggest that they were wrong. It was a beautiful fresh morning but the gusts were indeed savage, the kind capable of upending dinghies in the boat park, never mind afloat. By midday however all had changed and it was looking not just very sailable but warm and pleasant too.

There was a scramble in several quarters for sailing bags and a rush to the clubs but many regular racers had read the earlier predictions and taken on Pre-Christmas duties instead. So it was that four Fireballs lined up in the harbour for the final dance. It was still very gusty however and the conditions were tricky with a capsize to windward the greater danger as pressure was liable to vanish as quickly as it arrived. This saw Frank Miller and Grattan Donnelly take a pre-start swim and was enough to persuade Cariosa Power/Marie Barry head for shore. Two of the three boats which started headed left up the first beat but Miller/Donnelly having won the start at the favoured pin end tacked clear of the other two and took a hitch in. This turned out to be a big mistake as the lift to the mark across the breakwater entrance was not enough to make up for the reduced pressure in that corner of the harbour. By the windward Noel Butler/Stephen Oram had a commanding lead on Miller/Donnelly who were just ahead of Louise McKenna/Hermine O’Keeffe. There followed a chasing game around the frostbite version of a trapezoid course. Miller/Donnelly gained marginally on Butler/Oram on the second beat and McKenna/O'Keeffe closed to within a boat length of Miller/Donnelly but over the course of the 5 laps the leaders pulled away again and the middle boat pulled well clear of the pursuit team thanks mainly to one very windy reach under kite. At the DMYC prize-giving event organiser Oliver Prouvier reminded sailors that with the harbour sheltered from the South West sailing was often possible even in extreme conditions.

Winners of part one of the series were Butler/Oram, with the Clancy Brothers taking second and Neil Colin/Margaret Casey third. McKenna/O'Keeffe took the mug for the day's racing. The main prizes were very attractive bespoke calendars featuring photography of the event by Bob Hobby, our heroic double - jobber who acts as rescue driver and official photographer. The series resumes for more adventures on Sunday 10th of January. With at least one extra Fireball threatening to join the fray the new year is already looking very positive for the fleet.


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Eleven Fireballs lined up on a dank light air day afternoon today to contest the penultimate race in the first DMYC series in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Sadly the wind did not live up to the billing suggested on Wind Guru – the pressure was patchy and shifty to say the least, with crews frequently sitting fully out to leeward. Neil Colin/Margaret Casey probably pulled off the best start at the committee end but the conditions were so flat that the first beat could arguably be anyone’s. In the event the Clancy Brothers sailed a cool steady beat to edge ahead at the windward followed by Noel Butler/Stephen Oram, Louis Smyth/Ed Butler and a posse of chasing drifters. The off-wind legs proved especially tricky in the flat stuff and several boats sailed extremely high angles just to keep things moving, notably on the first reach of the now almost standard Frostbite version of a trapezoid.

The squarish course maximises the available space in the harbour and spreads the mixed fleets as well apart as could be hoped for. On the first off-wind a couple of boats sailed almost directly away from the mark towards the harbour wall where a phantom breeze appeared to beckon. Although that wind never really materialised the diversion made little difference to the positions. On the next reach however Butler/Oram and the Clancy’s decided to play a luffing game and this allowed Alistair Court/Gordon Symes to slip ahead at least for a while. Frank Miller/Grattan Donnelly snuck in at the next mark to take up third place behind the Clancys but ahead of Butler/Oram. Then the predicted shift from ESE to S kicked in and spinnakers came down quickly. Miller/Donnelly tacked too eagerly at the next mark and fell victim to the windage of a Laser 2, allowing both Butler/Oram and Neil Colin/Margaret Casey catch up. In the distance could be heard the sensible sound of a shortened course signal and all realised they were on the final leg of a tricky journey. Miller/Donnelly tacked left to clear their air and kept going while the Clancy Bros leaders took a hitch right towards the shifted wind, along with most of the opposition.

Ultimately this proved the correct course and the Clancy’s took the bullet, followed by Butler/Oram. Colin/Casey edged in ahead of Court/Symes, both of whom nipped in at the boat end just ahead of Miller/Donnelly at the pin. The pecking order after that was Mary Chambers/Brenda McGuire, Louise McKenna/Hermine O’Keeffe, Dara McDonagh and guest crew, Dave Coleman/Miley, Smyth/Butler, and Shergar/Michael Keegan. All in all a slightly frustrating but nonetheless interesting afternoon on the water, boosted by a great turnout of the fleet. Next Sunday sees the final race of series one with prize-giving planned immediately after sailing but at the earlier time of 3pm if the Weather Gods are misbehaving..

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The weather gods looked kindly upon the DMYC frostbite series today Sunday and a good sized mixed fleet of dinghies slipped out during the very welcome weather window for a single race inside the harbour. Eight Fireballs lined up for the start at the heavily favoured starboard end, but at least two were OCS under the one minute rule in force for the series and rounded the ends to restart. One of these was the Clancy brothers, forced over by Noel Butler/Stephen Oram in pre-start manoeuvers in a successful bid to put paid early to the main opposition.Thus Butler/Oram led off the line at the favoured end and had a good lead by the windward mark, playing the quite big shifts and managing to stay in the better patches of wind.

The wind was a light WNW but as the race wore on it slowly clocked left and became even more patchy and shifty keeping crews on their toes.

The course was trapezoid and inevitably there was an element of follow the leader although some place changing did occur both on the beats and on the broader legs where a key decision was the timing of a gybe for better wind and inside berth at the next mark. The Clancy's slowly closed the gap on Butler/Oram but not enough to become a real threat. Behind them Louise McKenna & Hermine O'Keefe chased down Louise Smyth/Ed Butler for third place and did in fact catch them only to be pipped on the line by Smyth/Butler who took home the mug. Not far behind Neil Colin/Mary McGuinness were in the mix but on balance found more snakes than ladders. Further back Frank Miller sailing with new Fireballer Tim Crowe diced with Cariosa Power/Marie Barry but lost out when a starboard boat forced them into a wide gybe at a mark allowing the ladies inside berth. Behind them Mary Chambers/Brenda McGuire held back Dave Coleman/Glen Fischer who enjoyed a damp boat thanks to missing transom flaps.

Race officer Stuart Kinnear wisely shortened the race from four rounds to three allowing all boats to finish and most enjoyed a tow back to the various clubs for a welcome cuppa or pint. All in all this was a very pleasant oasis of light air in the wake of the serious storms of the early weekend.

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While Storm Clodgah produced the wind conditions she promised, meaning that sailing was impossible in the last weekend of November, the Irish Fireball family weren’t completely inactive as they had gathered at the National Yacht Club to celebrate the 2015 regatta season.

45 were in attendance including most of those who had raced over the past season, though there were a number of absentees. The class were joined by a significant number of Fireballers who haven’t got their feet wet in competition this year but remain stalwart supporters of the class.

The end of season party is a chance to award the Travellers Trophy medals and prizes and to recognise those who have stood out by way of contribution, excellence, consistency, performance and support to the class.

The National Yacht Club put on a very good meal and when this was concluded, Class Chairman, Marie Barry (14854) opened the prize-giving proceedings. After a short precis of the season just past, Marie started the awards handover;

Marie Barry Mary Chambers

 Marie Barry (L) and Mary Chambers (14865) – Winning helm of the Travellers Trophy Silver Fleet

Marie Barry (L) and Mary Chambers (14865) – Winning helm of the Travellers Trophy Silver Fleet.Marie Barry (L) and Mary Chambers (14865) – Winning helm of the Travellers Trophy Silver Fleet.

Significant Contribution to the Class, the Asterix Trophy

In a year when the hull weight of the Fireball was reduced by 3kg, which translated to the potential removal of 3kg of lead from the weight correctors, a day-long session of lead removal, weighing, re-cutting and re-insertion was undertaken involving 14 boats.  Stephen Oram (15061) organised premises for the weigh-in, making it available for the drying out of the boats for a week in advance, organised to get suitably sized scales to the venue and co-ordinated with the two class measurers who were required to supervise the weighing operations for each boat.  For this effort, Stephen was awarded the Asterix Trophy.

Most Improved – the India Trophy

The India Trophy went to a combination that, according to Marie’s award speech, is the longest active partnership in the current fleet, being a helm/crew relationship that goes back to 2002. For the past couple of years they have not been the most active as one of them is now resident on the west coast, but they are committed Fireballers and stalwarts of the Irish fleet. They had dropped from the Gold fleet to the Silver fleet but worked their way back up the pecking order. This year, their first outing was the Worlds in Pwllheli where they acquitted themselves very well, given their lack of racing activity this season. Two weeks after Pwllheli, Jon Evans and Aidan Caulfield (14748) were on the podium at the Munsters in Lough Derg.

Captain’s Prize – Awarded at the discretion of the Dun Laoghaire Class Captain

Suzie Mulligan Hermine O’Keeffe

Suzie Mulligan (L) and Hermine O’Keeffe (DL Class Captain) – Suzie won the Captain’s prize

In her nominating speech, Dun Laoghaire Class Captain 2015, Hermine O’ Keeffe advised the party that her award recipient had made the magnanimous gesture of donating her refurbished Fireball, a brand new mast and sail to the Schull Community School as the Fireball was sitting in her driveway doing nothing.  The point was made that there are lots of Fireballs that are not being used that sit in gardens or driveways when better use could be made of them in terms of onward sale or loaning them out so that we can rebuild the Class. Suzie Mulligan has gone a considerable step further by donating a boat that will be sued and may even provide a youthful entry to the class in years to come.

Ladies Trophy – Awarded to the leading lady helm in the Travellers Trophy

This is a results based award that goes to the highest placed lady helm on the season long Travellers Trophy competition. This incorporates the five regattas organised by the Class – the Ulsters, the Munsters, the Leinsters, the Open Championship and the Nationals.

In 2015, this trophy goes to Louise McKenna (14691), 7th Overall 33pts

Louise and her crew Hermine O’Keeffe (14691) were also recognised for their achievements at the Pwllheli Worlds particularly on the breezy last day when they stayed out for all the racing when it might have been easier to retire and come ashore as a significant number of others did.

Marie Barry  Louise McKenna

Marie Barry (L) and Louise McKenna – Leading Lady Helm, Travellers Trophy

Liam Bradley Trophy – Awarded at the discretion of Cormac Bradley

Cormac Bradley Kenny Rumball

Cormac Bradley (L) and Kenny Rumball – Liam Bradley Trophy winner

Sometimes we have to concede that sailing Fireballs does get overshadowed by other sailing accomplishments and achievements and in recent years one of our number has significantly broadened his racing horizons beyond our two-man dinghy. However, this is not limited to local waters but to two different blue water racing challenges, one a classic and the other than even in its relative infancy may become a classic. Racing the Sydney to Hobart race couldn’t be further removed one imagines from sailing a Fireball in the northern hemisphere. Likewise racing the RORC Rolex Middle Sea Race in the Mediterranean, but for Kenny Rumball (15058), who has sailed at least two editions of the former and possibly the same number of the latter, racing these epics, with some significant success, is almost the norm. For this he takes home this trophy. 

Travellers Trophy Overall

As previously advised, the Travellers Trophy is a season-long event that incorporates the five regattas that the Fireball Class in Ireland organises itself. Our participating numbers started off modestly but built as the season went on, culminating in a fleet of nearly twenty boats at the last two events in Lough Derg and Clontarf.  From my own recall of participation and event reports, I don’t think we lost any races to weather which, if correct means that we sailed 33 races in total (4x 6 at each of the provincials and a nine-race Nationals).

1st: Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella, IRL 15114, Royal St. George Yacht Club – 4pts.

2nd: Noel Butler & Stephen Oram, IRL 15061, National Yacht Club – 7pts.

3rd: Conor & James Clancy, IRL 14807, Royal St. George Yacht Club – 14pts.

This year the Travellers Trophy had a total of 27 entries. In the introduction of the winners Barry & Conor (in absentia), Marie pointed out that it was the first time since our results were recorded on the web that the same helm/crew combination had successfully defended a Nationals and a Travellers Trophy. She also referred to their 11th place overall at the Pwllheli Worlds, losing 10th overall on countback to Australia’s Ben Schulz and Doug Sheppard.

Barry McCartin

Marie Barry (L) and Barry McCartin (15114) – Winning helm of the Travellers Trophy

Barry closed the formal proceedings thanking the committee for their efforts on behalf of the class during the year and thanking the competitors for the competition they had provided over the five regattas. He acknowledged the hospitality of the fleet since he had become involved and said that racing the boat had given himself and Conor enormous fun and enjoyment.

Marie Barry thanked everyone for their attendance and reminded them that a party to celebrate the Fireball Class’ 50th Anniversary in Ireland was being organised for 6th February 2016. The current Class committee are not the organisers of this auspicious occasion, but we are lending our support to the promotion of the event.

Photos by Frank Miller

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Noel Butler and Stephen Oram (15061) tightened their grip on Series 1 of the 2015/16 Fireball Frostbites by winning both races in Dun Laoghaire harbour yesterday writes Cormac Bradley. Despite the suggestion that the weather of the weekend would have a more Nordic character to it, nine Fireballs started the first race and while I managed to miss the early part of that (getting tardy) by the time I got to the harbour, Noel and Stephen were comfortably in control. Behind them Neil Colin and Margaret Casey were also well ahead of Owen Laverty and James Clancy (14807). Four laps of a trapezoid course had been set with a weather mark just inside the west pier and the committee boat and start/finish line just off the gantry for the HSS. On the beats the modus operandi was to take a short hitch to the right hand side of the course after Mark No.4 and then take a long starboard tack to get onto the port lay-line.

Behind the first three boats, Alistair Court & Gordon Syme (14706), Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (143691), Cariosa Power & Marie Barry (14854) and Louis Smyth & Peter Doherty (15007) fought their own race. Smyth & Doherty conspicuously didn’t fly spinnaker on the off-wind legs and frankly didn’t seem to lose out very much as a consequence. Colin and Casey’s second place was good enough to win the Frostbite Mug for this race.

The weather station in the harbour closest to my observation position was showing a wind strength of 11.8 knots with a highest gust of 17.2 knots fluctuating around due north, with an air temperature of 8.9˚ and the racing was under substantially blue skies. There was cloud around but it was not the dominant feature of the weather.

Watching the two starts before the second Fireball start of the day, it was obvious that the tactic was to start on port at the pin end and get across to the RHS of the course as soon as possible. I watched two GP14s go in diametrically opposite ways up their first beat and the boat which started on port at the pin was able to watch his opponent chase him for the rest of the race. Ditto the Laser who also secured the pin position at the start and tacked onto port at the start gun.

Owen Laverty and James Clancy tried to do just this on the Fireball start but were a few seconds out. That left them dipping Noel Butler and Stephen Oram who were the next boat up from the pin who were able to tack as the gun went. Ashore after the race, there was a suggestion that Owen and James were lucky to have a boat in one piece after their manoeuvres at the start caused a severe avoidance of a collision to be undertaken by Neil Colin and Margaret Casey. Colin and Court would both go left initially while the others went right. Laverty’s early tack on the start line didn’t seem to affect him too badly because when he and Butler crossed for the first time on the far side of the course, he was ahead. But his starboard tacked approach to the weather mark fell short and he was obliged to take a hitch and tack back to round Mark 1. This of course allowed Butler to close the gap and they rounded overlapped with Butler on the inside. Each got ahead relative to the other as they rounded and hoisted before Butler got out from underneath Laverty and into the lead. Colin and

Court’s initial hitch to the left didn’t seem to have had an adverse effect as Court rounded third and Colin fifth with Smyth sandwiched in between them. Smyth didn’t hoist spinnaker again and that allowed Colin into fourth. As with the first race, the fleet were able to sail past Mark 2 for approximately 50 – 60m before they needed to gybe. The leg from mark 3 to Mark 4 was also tight and would provide some fun and games later on – Aussie drops, capsizes and a crew detached from her boat with a broken trapeze wire.

On the second beat, the leaders stayed left for a longer period of time but as they followed each other in working this side the order of places didn’t change – Butler, Clancy, followed by Court and Colin. Smyth dropped out by way of a capsize after Mark 4, so Cariosa Power and Marie Barry moved At the final weather mark, (3rd lap), Butler looked to be comfortably ahead but he was chased down by Laverty over the next two legs and it looked as though he might break through at Mark 3.

However, Butler held out and Laverty suffered what looked like an accidental Aussie drop. That should have been curtains but the leg was very tight and Laverty was not that badly disadvantaged.He nearly got through at the mark with Butler being forced a bit high, but in the end rounded on Butler’s transom. Colin was safely in third and Court in fourth……….but Court was to capsize, for the second time today and while it seems he was not at fault, a Laser tacked onto him, this was to be expensive in terms of claiming a Frostbite Mug. Instead that went to Cariosa Power and Marie Barry!

Frostbites 2015/16 – Race Day 4, Races 4 & 5.

Race 1,  Race 2

1 Noel Butler & Stephen Oram Noel Butler & Stephen Oram

2 Neil Colin & Margaret Casey Owen Laverty & James

3 Owen Laverty & James Clancy Neil Colin & Margaret Casey

4 Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe

5 Cariosa Power & Marie Barry Alistair Court & Gordon Syme

After five races the situation is as follows, assuming no discards;

Frostbites 2015/16 – Series 1 (after five races without discard)

1 Noel Butler & Stephen Oram/Luke Malcolm 1506

2 Neil Colin & Margaret Casey 1477

3 Conor Clancy/Owen Laverty & James

4 Cariosa Power & Marie Barry 1485

5 Frank Miller & Cormac Bradley 1471

Friday coming (27th) will see the fleet gather for their prize-giving dinner in the National Yacht Club where the season long Travellers’ Trophy prizes will be awarded in addition to Class Prizes recognising “Most Improved”, “Significant Contribution to Class”, Ladies Trophy, Captain’s Prize and the Liam Bradley Trophy. Over the past few years this has proved a great occasion for less active Fireballers and current Fireballers to get together to share our love of the boat and the camaraderie that goes with sailing the boat.

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Yet again, the race management team of Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club were able to defy the weather forecast and get a race completed in the Frostbite Series in Dun Laoghaire harbour writes Cormac Bradley. From the middle of last week the forecast for the weekend had been bleak as Abigail worked her way eastwards across the Atlantic. The projected wind strengths on XCWeather were in the mid-twenties with gusts in the range of high thirties to mid-forties. And yet a window opened to allow a solitary race to be completed.

I missed the action on the water – being taxi for members of the family – but caught up with race winners Noel Butler & Stephen Oram derigging in the National Yacht Club afterwards.

Only three Fireballs raced with Conor and James Clancy making their Frostbite debut along with team Keegan. Noel Butler had his regular crew back at the front end but it appears that the Clancys set the pace for the four-lap trapezoid course until Mark 3 on the last lap. It seems that the Clancys chose to gybe at this mark whereas Butler & Oram sailed on and overtook them. The Clancys’ disappointment at losing the race will be offset by the fact that they have secured their Frostbite Mugs early, on the second day of racing!

It was a blustery day on the water with huge wind shifts and an “on-off” supply of wind causing a number of windward rolls – one minute on full trapeze, the next no wind at all. While blustery winds are not unusual for November, the temperature was very unusual. Driving to the harbour my car thermometer was reading 17˚ - very unseasonal.

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The end of the Irish Fireball Regatta Season came to a rather damp end when a reduced fleet took to the water after today's rugby and the dry weather of recent days gave way to drizzle and then rain writes Cormac Bradley.

Defending champions and ovetnight leaders didn't have to sail the last race and they didn't! The host club's two entries didn't make it either nor did two other visitors - from Killaloe and further west. McCartin & Kinsella couldn't lose so they were literally "in the pound seats".

This opened the door for Butler & Oram to close the gap, but they left it late to secure the race win. Niall McGrotty & Neil Cramer initially led the final race quite comfortably but they were progressively reeled in by Butler & Oram before yielding the lead just before the last winward mark. These two had a significant lead over the rest of the fleet who were led home by Creighton & O'Reilly. Team Clancy, Conor & James have acquired more fourth places than anyone and so another one appeared on the last race of the year.

Grattan Donnelly & Ed Butler (14713) kept the range of their results tight - an eighth their best, two tenths their worst. This would be enough to give them the Silver Fleet prize.

Fireball Leinsters.
1. McCartin & Kinsella (15114) - 5pts
2. Butler & Oram (15061) - 7pts
3. Clancy & Clancy (14807) - 11pts
4. Creighton & O'Reilly (1506X) - 16pts
5. Henry & Reville (14645) - 20pts
10. Donnelly & Butler (14713) - 36pts

Contarf Yacht & Boat Club hosted the event at short notice and did a very good job of it, working the racing around the rugby today and getting four races in yesterday.

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15 Irish Fireballs enjoyed sunshine and moderate breezes for the opening day of the last regatta of the season at Clontarf writes Cormac Bradley. With boats from N Ireland, Skerries, the host club and Dun Laoghaire, it was the most representative fleet we have had this season.

Due to the tidal constraints of the venue a five-race programme was scheduled and four races were sailed today. The race area was inside the confines of the harbour with Olympic courses used for each race.

The wind tracked northwards as the day progressed causing the RO to move the weather mark progressively leftwards.

On the water, proceedings returned to a sense of normality with the return of Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella who were to have a successful day on the water, scoring three race wins and dropping a second place.

Noel Butler & Stephen Oram weren't always where they would have preferred to be at the first weather mark but it's the finish that counts and a scorecard of 3,3,2,1 sees them in second place overall.

Team Clancy, Conor & James, kept their favourite number, 4, off their scorecard using a 2,2,6,3, sequence to take third overall.

Mick Creighton & Joe O'Reilly are fourth overall, with two fourths and two fifths.

Alan Henry & Simon Reville had a very good day by their short Fireball career standards to lie fifth with a 4,7,10,4 run of results.

McCartin & Clancy had very good speed on the water and won the first race very comfortably, but thereafter the margins became tighter. Butler & Oram seemed to have the reverse problem, below par first beats, but recovering as the race progressed.

With a very important rugby game due to be played tomorrow at 13:00 racing will start after Ireland's game against Argentina.

After 4 races;

1. McCartin & Kinsella (15114) - 3pts
2. Butler & Oram (15061) - 6pts
3. Clancy & Clancy (14807) - 7pts
4. Creighton & O'Reilly (1506X) - 13pts
5. Henry & Reville (14645) - 15pts

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The last regatta of the Irish Fireball Class’ 2015 Regatta circuit, the Leinsters, takes place this weekend at Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and according to the Class’ Facebook site, an entry of 18 boats is on the cards writes Cormac Bradley. Thus for the second regatta is a row, the pattern of participating numbers has been reversed and given that the Class will have a number of its members in the warmer climes of the Mediterranean, contesting the Royal Malta Yacht Club’s Rolex Middle Sea Race, an eighteen-boat entry is excellent. With one regular podium finisher overseas for that race, there is a slot available on the Leinsters podium and as was evidenced at Lough Derg Yacht Club last month at the Munsters, there will be a number of candidates vying to occupy that slot.
Contarf has long been a bastion of Fireball activity and accordingly a popular venue for provincial regattas. In recent years like many fleets, their activity levels have been a little on the low side, but it is hoped that taking the event to the north-side will provide the locals with a bit of a fillip. Our hosts have indicated that rugby will be showing on both days and food will be available as well, though not as part of the regatta entry fee which stands at €60, with an early bird offer (which expires today, Wednesday at midnight) of €50. Refer to the CYBC website for details.
Due to tide constraints, a five race programme is proposed with a Regatta Briefing on Saturday morning at 11:15 followed by a Warning Signal at 12:30. On Sunday, the Warning Signal will be at 13:00. Due to the accessibility of Clontarf, the cut-off for race starts on Sunday will be 16:00.
Being the last Saturday of the regatta season, the Class will also have its AGM after racing on the Saturday. A number of committee members have already indicated their willingness to continue in office but as with all committees, especially in sailing, further offers of help and time would be gratefully received.
And as one season comes to a close, so another season beckons from the horizon! The 2015/16 Frostbite Series is heralded by the lift-in at the various Dun Laoghaire waterfront clubs. Last weekend saw the lift in at DMYC, host to the Frostbites, the definitive sign that autumn is upon us – as we can’t rely on the weather – and the preparatory signal that Sunday racing inside the harbour will soon be the norm. With all the speculation about developments inside the harbour, this may be a very powerful way of showing the “powers that be” that the harbour has a significant recreational value to a wide range of people and should not be seen solely as a commercial entity.
To close, best wishes to Kenny, Andy and Barry on XP-Act for the Rolex Middle Sea Race – we envy you the warm weather and wish you success. There’s no pressure relative to the boat’s success in the 2014 version of the race!

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The third Fireball Fun Day took place today at the DMYC in Dun Laoghaire under the direction of class captain Marie Barry. The idea, says Barry, is to show what an 'exciting, stable, affordable boat the Fireball is to sail'.

Top Fireball helmsman Conor Clancy took new crew, Tim Crowe out for a sail as part of the weekend class effort that as well as supporting newer members of the fleet also lets complete novices try out Fireball sailing.

Barry says the class will have more opportunities for new sailors to participate in the Spring, and for experienced sailors there will be slots available in the Fireball Leinsters at Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club on October 17 and 18 and of course during the DMYC Frostbites from November through to late March.

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Page 11 of 37

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.


The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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