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The biggest Irish Fireball fleet of the year, seventeen boats had a mixed bag of weather over the weekend just past for their Munster Championships at Lough Derg Yacht Club. On Saturday we had healthy winds, rain squalls that upped the strength of the breeze but fortunately didn’t give us too much rain, followed by sunshine. On Sunday we had much lighter breezes and drizzle that turned to heavy rain as the racing concluded.

With two of the more successful skippers missing this weekend, there was going to be change to the podium places at this regatta and so it proved. Another combination who have had a lean time of it in terms of regatta wins recently got back to winning ways in a dominant style and there was a healthy turnout of boats for the Classis Trophy. In addition to the Dun Laoghaire cohort we had participants from nearby Killaloe, Youghal and Skerries. The event was shared with the 420s who were sailing a Connaught Championships and the Wayfarers who were enjoying the latter stages of a cruising event that had started the previous weekend.

As Afloat reported earlier, at the skippers’ briefing on Saturday morning, Race Officer John Leech, and Vice Commodore of LDYC, postponed the start of proceedings as rain squalls over the race area were producing a white water scape and given the amount of time we had, discretion was deemed to be the better part of valour.

A more subdued race area met competitors when proceedings did get underway and a trapezoid course was set – a compromise position to accommodate both Classes. However, the physical size of the course proved to be much too small as stronger breeze came in to render the race a 20-minute session – an unusual error for the Race Officer to be caught out on his home waters.

The balance of the day’s racing was in this stronger breeze and more than one of the top combinations took a swim for their pains. After the first race aberration, Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (15061) dominated proceedings to record five race wins, allowing them to throw away the 3rd place of the first “sprint” race. On Saturday evening in the racing post-mortem they admitted to capsizing on one of the downwind legs, but they were sufficiently far ahead that it didn’t cost them any places.

The first and second placed boats in the first race “sprint” also built on their success to secure podium finishes overall and their success was warmly applauded by their peers at the prize-giving. Niall McGrotty & Neil Cramer (14938) finished second overall, tied with Jon Evans and Aidan Caulfield (14748) on eighteen points but taking second place on the basis of a third in the final race versus a seventh for the latter boat.

The Clancy brothers, Conor & James, secured yet another fourth place overall – a habit that most of us would envy, but one I’m sure they would prefer to break.  Fifth place went to Mike Murphy & Alex Voye.

At the close of racing on Saturday evening the first three boats in the Classic Trophy were separated by a point. However an excellent fifth race for the “Youghal youngsters” Adrian Lee and Edward Coyne (14044), finishing ninth, combined with a conversely poor race for the division leaders, saw a major swing in the points in favour of the younger combination. John Bolger & Jay Dalton of Killaloe (14150) also scored well on Sunday to secure second overall in the Classics.

fireball youth

Adrian Lee (L) & Edward Coyne (R) – Classic Trophy winners

In the Silver Fleet, the victors were the Class Chairman, Marie Barry and Cariosa Power (14854), who finished in 9th place and they were also the first ladies, followed immediately by Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691).

LDYC were excellent hosts with a superb meal served in the clubhouse on the Saturday night and a late bar. Race Officer John Leech and his team turned races around very quickly and set good courses which was quite a challenge in Sunday’s lighter airs circumstances.  At the prize-giving he complimented the Class on their racing prowess and indicated that LDYC would be keen to host the Fireballs again. The hosting of three classes at the one venue over a single weekend worked well – though in reality the Wayfarers were doing a distance race on the Saturday so the rest of us only saw them onshore.

Irish Fireball Munster Championships – Lough Derg Yacht Club, Sept: 12th & 13th.
  Gold Fleet  
1 Noel Butler & Stephen Oram 15061 National YC 3 1 1 1 1 1 5pts
2 Niall McGrotty & Neil Cramer 14938 Skerries SC 1 2 5 7 7 3 18pts
3 Jon Evans & Aidan Caulfield 14748 National YC 2 5 4 4 3 7 18pts
4 Conor & James Clancy 14807 RStGYC 6 4 3 3 4 20 20pts
5 Mike Murphy & Alex Voye 14908 National YC 5 20 7 2 6 2 22pts
  Silver Fleet  
9 Cariosa Power & Marie Barry 14854 DMYC/NYC 11 9 8 8 11 9 45pts
11 Adrian Lee & Edward Coyne 14044 Youghal SC 10 10 12 13 9 11 52pts
12 John Bolger & Jay Dalton 14150 Killaloe SC 13 12 10 10 12 10 54pts
  Classic Trophy  
11 Adrian Lee & Edward Coyne 14044 Youghal SC 10 10 12 13 9 11 52pts

 

The concluding regatta of the season was intended to be over the first weekend of October in Dun Laoghaire. However, the combination of date and venue is not confirmed so Irish Fireballers should watch for a communication on when and where the Leinsters will be sailed. It is expected that this will be within the next few days.

 

Published in Fireball

The penultimate regatta of the Irish Fireball regatta season has seen the best turnout of boats this year–16 writes Cormac Bradley.

Sailing with the 420s (15 boats) on Lough Derg and hosted by Lough Derg Yacht Club, the fleet took advantage of favourable conditions to have four races today. The first race was an abnormally short trapezoid – abnormal because Race Officer John Leech, Vice–Commodore of LDYC, doesn't normally make mistakes like that.

Niall McGrotty & Neil Cramer (Skerries/ 14938) were the beneficiaries with Jon Evans & Aidan Caulfield (National YC/14748) second and Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (National YC/15061) third.

Thereafter normal service was resumed with Butler/Oram taking three wins over a second trapezoid and two Windward/Leeward courses. 2nd places were shared between McGrotty/Cramer, Mick Creighton & Joe O'Reilly (RStGYC/1506) and Mike Murphy & Alex Voye (National YC/14908).

Conor & James Clancy (RStGYC/14807) claimed two thirds in these races with the other third going to Frank Miller & Grattan Donnelly (DMYC/14713).

The nett effect is to give Butler/Oram a five point cushion on McGrotty/Cramer who have two points on Evans/Caulfield.

Competition for the Classic Trophy is much tighter with this correspondent of the view that this is being led by Owen Sinnott & Cormac Bradley (31pts) followed by John Bolger & Jay Dalton (32pts) and Adrian Lee & Edward Coyne (32pts). These three occupy 10th, 11th and 12th.

Leading ladies are Class Chairman Marie Barry crewing for Cariosa Power.

Two races are scheduled for tomorrow

Published in Fireball

#fireball – The Clancy's aka Conor and James were deserved winners of the Fireball main prize in the four day biennial Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

The brothers sailed consistently well through the lively and varied winds of the regatta. In second and giving the Clancys a good run for their money were Tedz (Brian Byrne) sailing with Stephen Campion. This marriage of convenience (due to Kenny Rumball's temporary departure to a larger vessel) proved to be very compatible with Tedz jumping from the role of crew to helm and Stephen, a former Laser 2 world champion, using his excellent crewing skills to maximum advantage.

Third place went to Louis Smyth with Joe O'Reilly returning to the crewing position. This duo were up and down the placings during racing but consistently managed to come back from difficult positions to post high average scores. In fact one of the features of the regatta was the amount of place changing throughout the fleet, especially in the Salthill course where a shifting offshore wind and tidal changes provided many puzzles to be solved. At different times the race lead by the overall winners were shared by those further back.

This was a most successful regatta with lively, varied and challenging winds which tested the brain and the body. The eight Fireballs who competed shared starts with the smaller RS 400 turnout, a mix that worked quite well despite the different downwind optimum angles needed by each. Wind strengths ranged from about 8 knots to well over 20 with dinghies racing in the harbour one day. Courses varied but PRO Harry Gallagher and his team provided excellent race management and fleet separation on their inner/outer trapezoid courses. What Fireballs may have missed in exciting close reaches was compensated for with the tactical challenges of longer beats and runs. The final day was lighter and shifty leading to even more place changing but the Clancys did enough to maintain their very credible lead and take first place.

Overall this event has been a huge success, full marks to all those whose hard work created another great Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta..

Published in Fireball

#fireball – 'I see no flags' – To paraphrase Nelson, I saw no flags last night flying from the DMYC to signify that racing in the DBSC Tuesday Series was cancelled writes Cormac Bradley. This is intended only as an observational statement not as a commentary on flag protocol.

The weather forecast for the evening wasn't that attractive – winds in the high teens with gusts of 33 knots. The seascape was grey and there was a dampness in the air, all in stark contrast to the evening we had enjoyed last week.

At 18:15, viewed from my office window, there was some activity in the DMYC dinghy park but not a great deal. There was wind but not what had been forecast!

However, there were no flags flying to suggest that at this early stage that racing was in jeopardy. I left for home slightly thereafter and when I returned neither the harbour nor Scotsman's Bay had any dinghy activity. Coming across one of the Fireball crews, I established that racing had been cancelled.

Tomorrow, Thursday, sees the biennial Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta start and eight Fireballs are entered for the event. They will enjoy racing over the Thursday afternoon, Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning.

Published in Fireball
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#fireball – Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella (15114) put together an almost flawless defence of their 2014 Irish Fireball Nationals title in Dunmore East over this past weekend writes Cormac Bradley. Almost flawless? They dropped one race in the nine-race event, finishing second in Race 7, but winning all other races.
International Race Officer Con Murphy (Dun Laoghaire) was given a set of challenging conditions to work with over the weekend. Due to the wind direction we had three days of big seas and waves, prompting a 2hr postponement on the Saturday morning when we were joined on the race course by Flying Fifteens and 420s. As he stated at the Saturday morning briefing, the wind strength (+ 20 knots) and sea conditions warranted holding back the fleet for safety reasons. As he admitted, tongue in cheek afterwards, the race committee team on board the 36-foot committee boat wanted some respite from the rolling seas as well.
McCartin & Kinsella made a clean sweep of Days 1 & 2, winning each of three Windward/Leeward races on both days. Kenny Rumball & Brian Byrne (15058) and the Clancy Brothers, Conor and James (15113) shared out the seconds and thirds between themselves, with the exception of Race 4 when Mick Creighton & Hugh Johnson (1506X) took third place. As my interim reports tried to convey, the first three boats were comfortable in their positions and one has to admit the racing among them was a bit processional.
Behind them there was a different story! Frank Miller & Ed Butler (14713), Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775) and Creighton & Johnson, were sharing the next raft of places on the water. Mike Murphy & Alex Voye (14908) had a poor first day when their centreboard gasket parted from the hull. This cost them two races on Day 1, but they finished with a flourish taking 4th place in the last race of the day. Louise McKenna & Hermine O'Keeffe (14691) had their best day on Friday counting a 6th and 2 x 8th, while Mary Chambers & Cormac Bradley (14865) after missing the first race due to a work commitment, entered the fray with a 7th and a retirement. The youngest combination on the water, Edward Coyne and Adrian Lee (14044) from Youghal, not Kinsale as previously reported, took eighth place in the first race.
On each of the first two days the wind was at its strongest early in the morning and eased as the day wore on. But the sea conditions made it a very physical sail and on the Friday evening some crews admitted to taking an early nap in order to sustain themselves for the rest of the evening.
On Sunday morning the fleet was greeted with a rain shower as they rigged up but this soon passed to give way to sunshine conditions again. Rather than wait for the Flying Fifteens to launch first, the Fireballs were encouraged to launch with them in order to get racing underway on time (10:30). For a change the wind was modest, but the seas were still there. This was reflected by the fact that the fleet rounded the first weather mark of the day in a bunch. Gybing immediately at the spreader mark paid dividends and as the fleet approached the leeward gate they were still in good company. A gust came through as the leeward gate loomed and this caused a number of capsizes under spinnaker, leading to two retirements – this correspondent being one of them. That means I can't tell you how Rumball & Byrne took the race win.
After the gust disappeared the wind stayed up but sunshine returned and order was restored with McCartin & Kinsella taking the last two races. Team Clancy fell off the pace a little, recording a 4th and a 5th in these last races but they were never in danger of losing their overall spot in the pecking order.

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Brian Byrne, Kenneth Rumball

20150705_151608.jpg

Conor Clancy, James Clancy

20150705_151531.jpg

Adrian Lee, Edward Coyne

Mike Murphy, now with son James on board took full advantage of the conditions to record a 4, 3, 3, on Sunday, while Miller & Butler scored two fifths and a fourth.
Colin & Casey's regatta came to a premature end when the hook attaching the kicker to the base of the mast broke and McKenna & O'Keeffe's regatta was cut short by a loose gudgeon on the rudder.
The prize-giving was held in fantastic sunshine on the deck of the clubhouse and due thanks were given to all those who had contributed to a great weekend of racing. The hosting of three classes at a single venue over the same weekend is the only way that these events are viable for clubs. Our current fleet size does allow us to secure a venue by ourselves so we have to partner with other classes if we are to put a calendar together.
Another concern for the Irish Fireball Class must be the low numbers we are experiencing at present. Ten boats is a very poor turnout and means we have to really consider why the numbers are what they are? All events suffer from occasional absences but we no longer have the depth of numbers to accommodate occasional absences when our core fleet is so small.
The club distribution of the Nationals reads as follows:- Royal St George Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire, 3, Irish National Sailing Club, Dun Laoghaire, 1, Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, 3, Dun Laoghaire/Clontarf composite, 1, Waterford Harbour Sailing Club (hosts), 1 and Youghal Sailing Club, 1. Of these clubs, three had their full turn-out of known Fireballs at the club, INSC, WHSC and Youghal. Another Dun Laoghaire Fireballer stood at the top of the slipway on the one morning in Dunmore East curious as to why there were so few Fireballs racing.
We don't have an exhaustive calendar with a plethora of events – 5 regattas spread over six months – Open in May, Ulsters in June, Nationals in July, Munsters in September and Leinsters in October. We had a training event in April and the Worlds, organised by others, are in August in Wales.
Of the other clubs where we know there are Fireballs – Skerries (1), Killaloe (4/5), Clontarf (4/5), East Down Yacht Club (2/3) – none were available. On Tuesday of last week, six boats contested the Tuesday race of Dublin Bay Sailing Club and this forthcoming weekend (9th – 12th July), eight Fireballs are registered to contest the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, even with other Fireball commitments to big boat racing.
The Fireball Worlds take place in Pwllheli, Wales, in the second half of August and it would appear at this stage as if our involvement there will be disproportionately high relative to the size of our domestic fleet size. It is an interesting contrast!
Dunmore East were exceptional hosts again – fresh scones with jam and cream available every morning in the clubhouse, at no charge, an excellent BBQ on the Saturday night and bar staff who kept the drinks flowing until a good hour. Volunteer members cooked and served the meal on Saturday night. Two parties of Fireballers ended up in the same post-mortem venue on the Friday evening – The Spinnaker Bar & Restaurant – before adjourning back to the clubhouse.
Con Murphy espoused punctuality on the race course, starting races on time, turning them around very quickly and starting Fireball races while the "Fifteens" and 420s were still racing.

2015 Irish Fireball Nationals, Waterford Harbour Sailing Club, Overall Results.
1 Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella 15114 RStGYC 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 7pts
2 Kenneth Rumball & Brian Byrne 15058 INSC 2 2 3 5 2 2 1 2 2 13pts
3 Conor & James Clancy 15113 RStGYC 3 3 2 2 3 3 3 4 5 19pts
4 Mike Murphy & Alex Voye/James Murphy 14908 WHSC 11 11 4 11 4 4 4 3 3 33pts
5 Mick Creighton & Hugh Johnson 1506X GBC 5 6 7 3 5 5 8 6 6 36pts

The Classic Trophy and the Silver Fleet Prize were won by Edward Coyne and Adrian Lee of Youghal Sailing Club.The regatta prizes and the event overall enjoyed support from sponsors Ernest & Young and the Club Commodore presented the prizes to the three fleets.

For some Irish Fireballers, their next event is across the pond in Wales. For the balance, there is a hiatus until we reconvene at Lough Derg Sailing Club in September for the Munsters. This again will be a shared venue with Wayfarers and 420s.

Published in Fireball

#fireballl – After a 2hr postponement due to the sea condition, Race Officer Con Murphy got three Fireball races completed in Dunmore East today writes Cormac Bradley. In wind conditions that peaked at just over 20 knots and receded to 15 knots at the end of racing, we enjoyed sparkling conditions with sunshine, moderate water temperatures and breeze for three Windward/Leeward courses of 3,3 and 2 laps respectively.

Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella continued their march to the title with another 3 first places. Kenny Rumball & Teddy Byrne remain in second place despite a 5th in the first race of the day. The "blip" was eradicated with two seconds. Conor & James Clancy took the first race and two thirds. Race 1 saw some of the front runners go swimming and a sub-par performance by Rumball resulted in a third place for Mick Creighton and a fourth for Mary Chambers & Cormac Bradley.

Races three and four returned to standard running order.

With 6 races complete and a discard in force the overall result is as follows;

1. McCartin & Kinsella (6), 5.
2. Rumball & Byrne (16), 11.
3. Clancy & Clancy (16), 13.
4. Creighton & Johnson (31), 24.
5. Miller & Butler (40), 29.

The deck of WHSC is bathed in sunshine and the BBQ is on the go.

Published in Fireball

#fireball – Racing has been postponed for two hours this morning at Dunmore East in County Waterford for a combined fleet of Fireballs, Flying Fifteens and 420s. Race Officer Con Murphy says big seas running outside the harbour suggests competitior safety may be an issue. Wind is in the high teens. 

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#fireball – A disappointing turnout of only ten Fireballs have made the first day of the Irish Fireball Nationals in Dunmore East writes Cormac Bradley. With the exception of young Edward Coyne out of Kinsale the home club's Mike Murphy and a composite Clontarf/Dun Laoghaire crew the fleet is made up completely of Dun Laoghaire boats. That means that Skerries, Clontarf, Killaloe and East Down fleets are conspicuous by their absence. A sad demise from the heady days of multi-club representation at the Nationals and grest socialising at the host club.

With a Worlds a ferry trip and 45 minutes drive away in approximately 6 weeks time in Pwllheli, N Wales and bragging of a 99-boat entry, the fortunes of our nearest Fireball neighbour and our own are in stark contrast.

As predicted Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella made it look very easy on the water with three race wins. In each race their margin of victory was very comfortable. Behind them the three second places were shared 2:1in favour of Kenny Rumball & Teddy Byrne. Team Clancy claimed a single second place and two thirds.

Thus the overall situation reads;
McCartin & Kinsella 3pts.
Rumball & Byrne 7pts
Clancy & Clancy 8pts.

In fourth overall is Neil Colin & Margaret Casey, counting a 4,5,6 and a point behind them is Frank Miller & Ed Butler.

Notable absentees are Noel Butler with a joyful family occasion tomorrow - a wedding in the family and Stephen Oram, returning from overseas.

Race Officer Con Murphy gave the fleet two Olympic courses and a closing Windward/Leeward course. Wind conditions were healthy for the first race and eased as the day wore on.

The Flying Fifteens are putting their boats together to join us on the race course tomorrow.

A small fleet of 420s appeared to be enjying on the water coaching today and they too go into race mode tomorrow.

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#fireball – On the last Tuesday night before the Nationals (Waterford Harbour Sailing Club, Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th July, with Flying Fifteens and 420s), six Fireballs were in action in DBSC racing last night.

Yet again the Race Committee was able to get two races completed in a breeze that started in an Easterly quarter and moved round to the North. This was in contrast to the XCWeather projection for 19:00 of 13 knots with gusts to 20 knots from a southerly direction. Sea-breeze maybe! It faded a bit as the evening wore on but there was still enough "oomph" in the breeze to get a good second race in.

This correspondent was afloat for the first time since last year and our assessment was that the pin was the place to be from a wind perspective. However, with a strong flooding tide, going out to sea was not that sensible. Consequently, the pin got ignored as the fleet stacked up on the Committee Boat end of the line. As a correspondent for another class has already written, the "modus operandi" was to head inshore on port as soon as one could after the start, sail sufficiently inshore to be able to clear the weather mark and tack accordingly.

The consequence of such a simple approach was that on the 4-laps of the short Windward-Leeward course, I only witnessed two place changes in the race. Team Clancy, Conor & James (15113) led from the start. They were followed by Noel Butler & Crew (15061) and Frank Miller & Ed Butler (14713). Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775) and Louis Smyth & Joe O'Reilly (15007) swopped fourth place and fifth place during the race, with Smyth/O'Reilly taking the bigger scoring place at the finish. Mary Chambers & Cormac Bradley (14865) shepherded the fleet from behind!

For the second race, a triangular course was set with three laps. In accordance with the changing wind, the weather mark was relocated and the beat was made a bit longer. However, the first reach was quite broad, giving a tighter second reach.

For the first beat, Neil Colin & Margaret Casey went out to sea at an early stage and paid the price by rounding in the lower order of the fleet. At the head of the fleet, Noel Butler & Crew appeared to steal a march on everyone else, certainly in terms of distance at the weather mark, but the overall impression of the first beat was that the fleet was much closer together. In second place at an early stage was Team Clancy, a position they never relinquished! In contrast, the next three boats, Messrs Miller, Smyth & Colin mixed it up with each other both upwind and downwind so that they had a race within a race. Chambers & Bradley in their first outing were closer to the fleet and on the off-wind legs of the first lap were mixing it with Colin and Miller.

Having seen Colin's temporary demise on the first beat by going to sea, the fleet reverted to type by going inshore for the remaining two beats. The proximity of Colin, Smyth & Miller to each other meant that none of them strayed too far from the other two. The only boat that could afford to experiment was Chambers & Bradley, but while they didn't encounter any snakes, they didn't find any ladders either.

After their poor first beat, Colin & Casey recovered to third place at the finish and Miller & Butler took the next place.

On a night when the sun shone, the breeze was good and two races were completed, there was lots to be pleased about. Everyone got a chance to have a session on the water before the Nationals, there was some close quarter racing and for the last Tuesday of June, there was a sense that at last summer was here.

DBSC Series 2 – Tuesday Nights, 30th June 2015

Race 1

1

Conor & James Clancy

15113

RStGYC

2

Noel Butler & Crew

15061

NYC

3

Frank Miller & Ed Butler

14713

DMYC

Race 2

1

Noel Butler & Crew

15061

NYC

2

Conor & James Clancy

15113

RStGYC

3

Neil Colin & Margaret Casey

14775

DMYC

DBSC Tuesday Nights – Series 2

7 Races sailed, 2 discards taken.

1

Noel Butler & Stephen Oram

15061

NYC

6pts

2

Conor & James Clancy

15113

RStGYC

9pts

3

Louis Smyth & Crews

15007

Coal Harb.

16pts

The racing scene now relocates to Dunmore East for the 3-day Nationals and a nine-race programme. Dunmore East has been a popular venue for the Fireball Class but our recent numbers have not allowed us to go there by ourselves. This year we will share the venue with the Flying Fifteens who are enjoying very good numbers in DBSC racing (high teens) and the 420s.

On current form, it may be a case of who can push Messrs McCartin & Kinsella off the top ledge of the winner's rostrum. Last year they made a clean sweep of our domestic regattas, won the Shetland Nationals, finished fourth at the Europeans in Shetland and, if memory serves, finished well inside the top ten at the UK Nationals. They have won both domestic regattas of our 2015 calendar, the Open Championship (Skerries) and the Ulster Championships in McCartin's home club of Cushendall. The obvious candidates are Noel Butler & Kenny Rumball who have also occupied the rostrum this year. Team Clancy will also be knocking on the respective doors of the front three to mix up the pecking order. XCWeather is suggesting that there will be no shortage of wind – base wind strengths in the mid-teens with gusts being a few knots higher.

In other Fireball news, with an Irish connection, Will Moody who graced the Irish Fireball circuit for a number of years has been appointed as the Marketing Officer of Fireball International. After leaving Ireland for warmer climes, Will has relocated back to the UK where he has been for the past couple of years.

The new Class Secretary is Jackie Barker, wife to Andy who is a Fireballer with an enviable regatta reputation at the highest level.

These are recent appointments by the FI Executive after a very protracted post- election (2014) process of consultation and discussion initiated by new FI Commodore Steve Chesney.

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#fireball – It would appear that the price the racing fleet pay for a day of sunshine, like yesterday, is a fickle evening of breeze. Not unexpected really! Yesterday was warm enough to warrant the generation of a sea-breeze but as the warmth fades so too does the strength of the breeze. And so it was to prove last night!

Five Fireballs answered the starter's call and were rewarded with two races.........well one race and a dramatically shortened second race.

Race 1 was a Windward/Leeward and by the time I got to my observation post on the seafront at Scotsman's Bay, the lead was being disputed by Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775) and Noel Butler & Crew (15061), Stephen being away. Noel led around the weather mark but Neil wasn't that far behind him. The sequence behind these two was Team Clancy, Conor and James, (15113), Cariosa Power & Marie Barry (14854) and Louis Smyth & Crew (15007). At this stage the race was at the second windward rounding. Noel eked out a short lead by the time they reached the leeward mark. Neil took a short hitch out to sea after rounding the leeward mark before reverting to a port tack approach to the weather mark. This modest deviation from the others paid dividends as he and Margaret rounded the last weather mark in first place. However, Noel & Crew weren't too far behind and both boats took a more seaward approach to the downwind finish. Initially Butler passed out Colin to weather but when they approached each other again, Butler having gybed that bit earlier but outside Colin, Colin had regained the lead. In the meantime, Team Clancy had taken a more direct approach to the downwind finish and as the lead pair worked their way back inshore, it was apparent that the direct line taken by Team Clancy had allowed them to close the gap significantly. All three boats crossed the finish line overlapped with the finishing order being Butler, Clancy and Colin.

The weather forecast had suggested SSW winds of 8 – 11 knots for 19:00, and at 19:30 at the end of the first race, the Race Team were obviously encouraged by what they saw on the water as they indicated a second race would be started with three triangles on the menu! At this stage the surface of the racing area had a distinctly different appearance to further out to sea. On a line drawn between the harbour mouth and Sandycove, the outer area had a darker appearance, suggesting wind on the water, whereas inshore wind seemed to be less evident.

For the second start Team Clancy won the pin with Smyth & Crew astern of them and Colin & Casey to leeward. Power & Barry and Butler & Crew were further inshore and Butler was the first to peel away to pursue an inshore course. That proved to be a fatal error! The other four boats worked the left-hand side of the course with Colin, Clancy & Power each taking little nibbles to sea every so often to clear wind. At one stage an over-sized blanket would have covered all four boats. Smyth & Crew were steadfast in their singular approach to the weather mark, taking a long port tack hitch for which they were rewarded with first place at the weather mark. Power & Barry rounded second, followed by Team Clancy. One hitch to sea too many cooked Colin & Casey's goose and they rounded in a poor fourth. Butler was wallowing inshore of the weather mark at this stage. Rather than bear off towards the gybe mark, Colin went high, possibly trying to get into the breeze that was outside the line of harbour to Sandycove. It didn't materialise and he ended up having to gybe back to set a course to the gybe mark.

Meanwhile Smyth and Power played pass the parcel with the lead in what were now very light conditions – spinnakers were "hanging" rather than filling! However, the lead two were "hanging" better than Team Clancy as they both sailed away from the brothers. Power led into the gybe mark, and as she rounded the shortened course signal was flown. Smyth & Crew sailing a line outside that of Power & Barry, seemed to get into better "wind" and eased away to a comfortable win.

DMYC Tuesday Nights: Series 2; 23rd June 2015.

Race 1.

1

Noel Butler & Crew

15061

NYC

2

Conor & James Clancy

15113

RStGYC

3

Neil Colin & Margaret Casey

14775

DMYC

Race 2.

1

Louis Smyth & Crew

15007

Coal Harb.

2

Cariosa Power & Marie Barry

14854

NYC

3

Conor & James Clancy

15113

RStGYC

 

DBSC Tuesday Nights

Series 2: Overall (with 1 Discard)

1

Noel Butler & Stephen Oram

15061

NYC

5pts

2

Louis Smyth & Crew

15007

Coal Harbour

11pts

3

Conor & James Clancy

15113

RStGYC

12pts

 

 

 

 

DBSC results here

 

 

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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.

Competitions

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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