Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Displaying items by tag: Fireball

As the midweek racing in Dublin Bay Sailing Club gets to its close we had one of the more pleasant evenings of weather this summer with a gentle breeze and sunshine for two races outside the harbour in Scotsman’s Bay. Twenty-four boats answered the Race Officer’s call, Ian Mathews from the Flying Fifteen fleet, and of these, three were Fireballs.

With Stephen Oram unavailable due to work commitments, Noel Butler teamed up with Grattan Donnelly and with Hermine O’Keefe on hockey support duties in Europe, Louise McKenna engaged the services of Cormac Bradley, leaving David and Michael Keegan (14676) as the only regular team out on the water. Holidays and unavailability reduced the fleet to three boats.

There was a slightly eerie feel to the race course area, the tide had already started to ebb and while there was wind on the water there was no real “oomph” to it. While spinnakers were set on the sail down to the start area, there was no real energy to the boat.

For the first start the three Fireballs decided to go for the pin end and to be frank none of us were on the start line when the gun went. Possibly a tactical call, but even Noel was late across the start line as the three boats decided to embrace the flow of the ebbing tide and sail westwards towards the harbour mouth. Noel/Grattan occupied the windward slot, David/Michael the leeward slot and Louise/Cormac were the “meat in the sandwich”. Initially the latter pair seemed to have a bit more boat speed, but this was going to be a night of wind vagaries and soon Noel/Grattan had sailed over the top of the other two. A starboard hail by a Laser Vago caused Louise/Cormac to take a hitch inshore and by the time they rounded the weather mark, Noel/Grattan had a healthy lead which they never relinquished. Two laps of a windward-leeward course was the recipe for Race 1 with a weather mark set in the direction of the East Wall of the harbour. The first downwind leg saw a variety of approaches being taken with more than one gybe being executed on the way to the leeward mark. A snagged spinnaker halyard for Louise resulted in a poor spinnaker drop that allowed the Keegans to close the gap to less than a boat-length but a recovery was fashioned on the next beat to generate a final finishing order of Butler-McKenna-Keegan.

While the wind strength and direction was pretty much the same for the second race, all three boats adopted the opposite approach to the start of the first race. In tandem with the PY start that preceded the Fireballs – everyone went inshore first! Noel/Grattan played a game of “Shut the Door” at the pin end with Louise/Cormac with both boats doing pirouettes in the vicinity of the pin before all three headed off on starboard tack, Noel/Grattan having the windward slot. All three worked their way up to the port lay-line of the weather mark and took a long sail into the mark on port tack. This led to the easing of sheets as they closed in on the mark. On rounding the weather and spreader marks spinnakers were set on a starboard tack as the boats went down-tide with the sequence being Noel/Grattan, Louise/Cormac and David/Michael with a couple of boat-lengths separating each from the other. The leaders gybed first, followed a moment or two later by Louise/Cormac with David/Michael gybing simultaneously with the second pair. This left all three sailing a slightly loose reach to the leeward mark with the committee boat already on the move to relocate at the weather mark for a shortened course. David/Michael got better breeze and sailed away from Louise/Cormac. Rounding the leeward mark, there seemed little sense in Louise/Cormac following the other two out to the right of the course as there was little sense that boat speed alone would effect a place change, so an inshore tack was initiated – after all it had worked on the first beat! For a period of time it looked better, rather than good, and the sense of a possible recovery was heightened when the other two seemed to have to sail a huge distance westwards before they tacked for a starboard approach to what was now the finishing line.

While hope sprang eternal, reality bit and a finishing order of Noel/Grattan, David/Michael and Louise/Cormac closed the evening’s proceedings. David/Michael appeared to close quite a bit on Noel/Grattan but the winners gained a few more boat-lengths at the finish.

With two possible Tuesdays left the current situation in Series 2 is as follows;

DBSC Series 2: Tuesday Nights; 6 races, 2 discards.

15/08

Overall

1

Conor & James Clancy/Teddy Byrne

14807

RStGYC

12

12

12

2

Noel Butler/Phil Lawton &

Stephen Oram/Grattan Donnelly

15061

NYC

1

1

13

3

Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe/Cormac Bradley

14691

RStGYC

2

3

16

3

Frank Miller & Ed Butler/Grattan Donnelly

14713

DMYC

12

12

16

5

David & Michael Keegan

14676

RStGYC

3

2

24


Four Irish Fireballs will be in Lyme Regis for the Europeans next week, with measurement on Saturday and racing starting on Sunday (20th) through to Friday (25th). The entry now stands at 85, with entries from the UK, Australia, France, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Canada, Belgium and Ireland. The defending champions are Ruedi Moser and Claude Mermod (SUI 14799) and as can be expected of a Fireball International event in the UK, the entry list is littered with the “Who’s Who” of the Fireball community. Race Officer is Paul Withers, an IJ and IRO and former Secretary of the Class.

Irish Fireball readers of this report are also reminded of our Fireball Nationals which are scheduled for Lough Derg Yacht Club on the weekend of 15 – 17th September, under the race management of National race Officer John Leech. This is a nine-race programme and we will be endeavouring to have a “latish start” to proceedings on Friday to try and accommodate those who might want to go to the office first. Nothing confirmed yet, but this is what we have done before.

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

In a break from the growing trend of setting windward-leeward courses on a Tuesday night for dinghy racing on Dublin Bay, OOD Ben Mulligan (Flying Fifteens) & the DBSC Race Management Team set Olympic courses for the August 1st DBSC Fleet – in partial response to the request from the IDRA Class that these courses be set in advance of their impending Nationals writes Cormac Bradley. It was also a good night for Olympic courses with an offshore breeze of good strength and flat water even if there were large wind shifts.

Six Fireballs were on the start line with a few crew changes in the mix. Stephen Oram (15061) engaged the services of Olympian (470) Phil Lawton to helm while Conor Clancy (14807) had Teddy Byrne on board as crew. Also out were two all-lady combinations – Hermine & Louise (14691) and Cariosa & Marie (14854). Frank Miller (14713) brought in another of his roster of “contracted crews”, Grattan Donnelly whom we haven’t seen for a while and also making a welcome return was David & Michael Keegan (14676).

The forecast was for 10 – 12 knots from a SW direction with a possibility of drizzle which thankfully stayed away. There was some movement of the breeze but it still provided a reasonable beat with the fleets spread across the course.

The first start was reasonably even with the fleet distributed along the line. However, as I was on the committee boat (sound signal) and involved in the subsequent start (Lasers), I wasn’t able to follow the “nitty-gritty” action off the start line. My recall is that the boats that went left initially, even if not for very long came out best at the top end.  Even more confusing in a six boat fleet where there are only two spinnakers that aren’t red, I got the opening sequence of spinnakers wrong at the first weather mark – assuming it was the Olympian helm leading the way round – only to find out afterwards that it was Miller & Donnelly. Clancy/Byrne rounded second, which meant that Lawton/Oram were third followed by Power, McKenna and Keegan. Immediately after the spinnaker hoist Clancy/Byrne (blue spinnaker) went over the top of Miller/ Donnelly (red) and to my mind this was the significant place change of the entire race, because Clancy & Byrne led the rest of the race to finish first.

While Lawton & Oram may have closed on occasion, it became apparent that they had to give as much attention to watching Miller & Donnelly as they were to catching Clancy & Byrne. Clancy & Byrne had the comfort of being able to watch the chasing pack with the comfort of a bit of distance between them.

A tighter race was taking place between the two all-lady teams with McKenna & O’Keeffe chasing the other pair for all of the race and ultimately being unsuccessful! On the downwind leg of the sausage the leading three boats, Clancy, Lawton & Miller went right before Clancy broke left and then gybed back again to cover the other two in the run-in to the leeward mark for the second time. Up the third beat Clancy & Byrne worked the middle and left of the course while Lawton/Oram and Miller/Donnelly worked the right hand side. It didn’t help!

The 4-lap race was shortened to three laps and a second race was set with the marks staying in their original positions. A short single lap race was signalled for the second race due to a combination of time, light and a breeze that was starting to show signs of fading.

For the second start, a wind switch and the scheduled change of the tide saw the fleet playing “chicken” at the pin end of the line, each boat in turn approaching the pin and performing a pirouette to duck out. The last boat to have the door slammed shut on them was McKenna & O’Keeffe, by Clancy & Byrne, who executed a perfectly timed start on port at the pin. McKenna went to the back of the queue and Lawton/Oram followed Clancy & Oram across the line. The latter pair then took a hitch to the left to clear their air. The Keegans were furthest to leeward of the bunch and found themselves out on the right of the beat. The wind was starting to die at this stage of the evening and given the grey skies and the time, the single lap decision appeared to be vindicated.

Clancy & Byrne rounded the weather mark first and led to the finish, followed by Lawton & Oram, Miller & Donnelly, Power & Barry, McKenna & O’Keeffe and Keegan & Keegan.

Again the “race within a race” was between the two all-lady teams with Power & Barry winning by a short distance.

DBSC: Tuesday Nights: Series 3 (4 races, 1 discard)

Pts

1

Conor & James Clancy/Teddy Byrne

14807

RStGYC

3

2

Frank Miller & Ed Butler/Grattan Donnelly

14713

DMYC

6

3

Noel Butler/Phil Lawton & Stephen Oram

15061

NYC

11

Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe

14691

RStGYC

11

4

Cariosa Power & Marie Barry

14854

NYC

15

 

With next Tuesday following a Bank Holiday in Ireland (Monday 7th), there will be no racing which means there is only one Tuesday night session before the Fireball Europeans in Lyme Regis, Devon, UK starting Saturday 18th August and running through to the following Friday. Facebook posts from Fireball UK, hosting in tandem with Lyme Regis Sailing Club, this morning (02/08) state that the entry currently stands at 81 boats with entries from nine countries. Ireland will have three representatives at the regatta.

In other news, Lough Derg Yacht Club has confirmed the hosting of the Irish Fireball Nationals over the weekend of 15- 17 September. All Irish Fireballers are encouraged to attend this event in this very hospitable club. Regatta documentation will be prepared shortly.

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

A variety of headlines could be given to this regatta report: “A regatta of two halves”, “Consistency pays”, “Minimal mistakes pays dividends”, Fireballs survive Mother Nature”, “Happy return to Skerries” “17 tired bodies enjoy Fireball sailing at its best”.

The Irish Fireball Leinster Championships were sailed in Skerries just north of Dublin on the East Coast this past weekend. As one of the spiritual homes of Fireball sailing in Ireland it is a club that we always enjoy returning to – the welcome is warm, the hospitality is great and it is a club that always acknowledges the Fireball fleet. As befits our current numbers we sailed the Championships as part of the Skerries Sailing Club Regatta that had a very healthy turnout of Mermaids (18), a small keelboat class (E-Boats and a Ruffian), a large keelboat class and a PY Class made up of Wayfarers, GP 14s, Lasers, Laser Radials and 2 RS600s.

Even though we were not the largest class, at eight boats, we were afforded the first start under Race Officer Liam Dineen. The forecast for the Saturday had been for offshore winds in the 16-18 knots category with gusts going up to 25 knots. While the strength would be a challenge in the gusts, the advantage of the direction was that it would mean flat water. Despite being a small fleet the starts were competitive and the first one warranted an individual recall which was responded to but by the wrong boat. Every start thereafter was clean.

The forecast was accurate and in the three Saturday races Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (15061) gave a master class in how it should be done – except they were so comfortably ahead of the rest of us that we couldn’t benefit from seeing it at close hand! At the end of the day, their score was 3 x 1st places and “half a capsize”. The host club’s team of Niall McGrotty & Neil Cramer (14938) scored two second places but a complicated capsize in the last race of the day caused them to retire and were scored with nine points – good enough to lie third overall on Saturday evening. Second place overall was held by Mick Creighton & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691) with a 3, 3, 4 score. Mick made his seasonal debut at the previous weekend’s Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta sailing with Hermine and their time on the water there stood them in good stead! In joint fourth were Michael Ennis & Marie Barry (14854) and Stephen Campion & Cormac Bradley (14934) who each carried a 9-point scored from one race – a retired for the first two and the aforementioned OCS in the case of the latter two. A capsize in the middle race of the day was expensive but they still managed to get back to 6th. Stephen is another Fireballer we haven’t seen for a while – occupying his sailing time away from the fleet with some catamaran sailing with his daughters and club sailing. Jon Evans & Aidan Caulfield scored an impressive 4th in the first race but then broke their boom and carried two 9-point scores for Saturday. It was great to see them back on the water! Frank Miller & Ed Butler also had to carry a 9-point score for the last race, while Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire decided that discretion was the better part of valour and sat out the last two races of the day. As did the rest of the regatta fleet for the last race of the day!

The wind was gradually building in strength and the gusts were getting fiercer. I didn’t know that Mermaids could capsize until a howler of a regatta down in Wexford last season – now I have seen the feat for a second time. At least two capsizes in their fleet plus two smashed masts was a heavy toll for the fleet and one of the capsizes may have been upgraded to a write off of one of these classic wooden boats – due to a loose steel centre board thrashing around during the capsize!

For the third race of the day the committee boat ended up very close to the leeward mark which I interpreted as a shortened course. However, on coming ashore it transpired that the committee boat had been hit by a 37-knot gust (which means all the Fireballs endured that!) and dragged a fixed mooring a tenth of a mile!

The post-mortem of the racing was held in a sun-filled clubhouse as the clouds gave way to a glorious evening and the tired bodies were resuscitated with a fabulous barbeque that gave people a choice of steak, chicken or prawns with a feat of different salads. Given the day that was in in the Fireballers broke up very early to make their way homewards to rest and recover.
Sunday was a completely different day! The wind had swung more northerly and reduced in strength but was still healthy. A rejuvenated Fireball family gathered to rig dinghies in sunshine. Noel Butler had brought in a substitute crew as Stephen had flown out of the country for work reasons. Current World GP 14 Champion helm, Shane McCarthy has sailed Fireballs very successfully in the recent past so his substitution for Stephen didn’t really offer the rest of us the hope that Noel would be closer to the fleet while he “settled “Shane in! Except that in a number of the day’s races he did have to come from behind to win. McGrotty, Campion and Chambers each led the fleet to the first weather mark in individual races only to be caught by Butler/McCarthy who went on to win all three races of the day. The fleet also compacted so that there was a lot more close quarter sailing on the downwind legs. However, the odd trip up in individual races caused everyone, bar the leaders, to carry a high score. McGrotty paired two seconds with a sixth, Ennis & Barry paired a 2, 3 with a sixth, Campion & Bradley had a windward capsize while in a good position on the first beat of the middle race to score an eighth to go with a 3 & 5 and Creighton and O’Keeffe started an upward climb with a 5, 4, 3 on the last day. Thus we all knew that we were fighting for two places on the podium and while consistency had paid for Butler & Oram/McCarthy, for everyone else the inconsistency was what would determine the final pecking order.

Fireball leinsters 2Neil Cramer Skerries SC Treasurer (left), Hermine O’Keeffe, 3rd placed crew (centre) and Mick Creighton, 3rd placed helm

Fireball leinsters 2Neil Cramer, 2nd placed crew (left), Skerries Club Commodore Kieran Brannagan (centre) and Niall McGrotty, 2nd placed helm (right)

At the prize-giving Club Commodore Kieran Brannagan was very warm in his welcome to the Fireball Class making particular reference to the fact that they were able to sail and complete the third race on Saturday when everyone else was sent ashore. Generous vouchers for helm and crew for 1st, 2nd and 3rdwere the prizes for the day.
The domestic regatta circuit for Fireballs now takes a break to accommodate those who are going to Lyme Regis for the Europeans – Niall McGrotty & Neil Cramer (14938), Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691) and Frank Miller & Ed Butler (14713). Our next domestic regatta fixture is the Nationals at Lough Derg Yacht Club over the Friday/Saturday/Sunday of 15 – 17 September.

Irish Fireball Leinster Championships

Skerries sailing Club – 15/16 July 2017. R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Tot.
1 Noel Butler & Stephen Oram/Shane McCarthy 15061 NYC 1 1 1 1 1 1 5
2 Niall McGrotty & Neil Cramer 14938 SSC 2 2 9 2 2 6 14
3 Mick Creighton & Hermine O’Keeffe 14691 RStGYC 3 3 4 5 4 3 17
4 Michael Ennis & Marie Barry 14854 NYC 9 5 3 6 3 2 19
5 Frank Miller & Ed Butler 14713 DMYC 5 4 9 4 6 4 23
6 Stephen Campion & Cormac Bradley 14934 SSC 9 6 2 3 8 5 24
7 Jon Evans & Aidan Caulfield 14748 Sligo YC 4 9 9 7 5 7 32
8 Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire 14865 DMYC 6 9 9 8 7 8 38

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

As Hermine O’Keeffe took up line duty on behalf of one boat and others were away on holidays just three Fireballs made the DBSC start line on Tuesday night. Happily it was yet another very balmy and pleasant Tuesday evening’s racing. Once again Noel Butler/Stephen Oram went into match racing mode and danced with Frank Miller/Ed Butler on the start line, ultimately allowing the third boat Cariosa Power and Marie Barry get cleanly off the start line, though Miller suffered most, gybing around to start late behind Butler. While Miller went inshore hoping for a lee-bow effect from the incoming tide Butler went right and ultimately this paid off, with Butler/Oram taking the gun. Miller/Butler were second and Power/Barry third. While the lighter all-woman team closed the gap downwind Miller/Butler were faster upwind in the 3 round w-l course. Conditions were blustery at times but extremely pleasant and warm.

Race two was groundhog day, this time the prestart dance led Miller/Butler to an OCS position and they and Power both restarted with Butler/Oram showing them a clean pair of heels. Once again the heavier pair stayed ahead of the ladies though the downwind legs saw them looking over their shoulders. While there was a degree of predictability about the outcome of racing this was as pleasant a sail as anyone could hope for on a July evening.

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

Tuesday saw another DBSC outing for Fireballs in the Dun Laoghaire summer series. The wind was a blustery warm southerly with gusts reaching high teens at times. This may have prompted the race committee to set the conservative W-L course inside the harbour. While making it easier for any rescue operations needed it did present the various fleets with a shifty and patchy set of conditions reminiscent of the DMYC Frostbites. In the event three Fireballs sailed out to the start area, with several boats not set up since the previous weekends exhilarating but exhausting fray at their Open in Greystones SC. Unfortunately, Louise McKenna and Cormac Bradley had to return to shore to sort out a rigging problem and this left just Noel Butler/Stephen Oram and Frank Miller/Joe O’Reilly sharing the start line.

Inspired perhaps by the recent America's Cup coverage and the fact that it was now a two boat race Butler immediately went into dial-up mode and the two danced up and down the line in a game of chase and dodge. Ultimately Butler sailed under Miller on the line and pinned him high to get the better start, sailing away in clear air never to be caught. In race two again Butler attacked in match racing fashion but a fast series of tacks and gybes by Miller gave him the start at the favoured pin in clear air. Miller had a tiny lead on Butler and when he tacked after creating the necessary safe gap Butler tacked also but Miller managed to sail higher while maintaining speed and forced Butler to tack away. Miller/O’Reilly then led for two rounds but ultimately Butler found better boat speed and broke through, extending their lead by sailing higher angles on the run while Miller favoured a more straight line approach.

All this excitement however went to the heads of the two boats. Led by Butler they managed to sail an extra round, giving late starters McKenna/Bradley the second place although they were almost lapped on the water.

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

For their 2017 Open Championship, the Irish Fireball Class Association departed from their normal two-day, six-race format for provincial championships and held a single day Championship with a target of four races.

Additionally, they negotiated a new venue, Greystones Sailing Club, a short distance south of Dun Laoghaire, the current centre of Fireball sailing in Ireland. Greystones’ fortunes have changed significantly after an extensive upgrade to the harbour. They now boast a new clubhouse in the corner of the harbour complex with changing rooms at ground floor level and an upper floor function room with bar and balcony areas that give members and visitors an uninterrupted sea view in one direction and a view of the town and hills in the background in the other direction. They have a secure dinghy park about 60m away from the clubhouse and access to two slipways that go directly to water and a third that allows beach launching. On the other side of the harbour complex, Greystones Marina provides sheltered conditions for larger boats and is home to the rescue craft operated by the club.

The Fireball Open Championships were sailed as part of Greystones’ Dinghy Regatta and we joined a fleet that consisted of Wayfarers (3), GP 14s (4), Enterprises (2), RS 200s and 400s, Lasers (2) and Fevas.

Due to Trojan work by Frank Miller, the Fireball fleet numbered eight boats including Ed Butler’s 14990 which has not seen any competitive action for a couple of years. Ed brought the boat back from Kerry and he and Frank got it into racing order in the week before the event. He then organised for it to be sailed by Teddy Byrne and Grattan Donnelly. Frank himself was crewed by Brenda McGuire, normally seen in 14865 with Mary Chambers. Also making a comeback of sorts, albeit from the close of the Frostbites in March, were Margaret Casey and Neil Colin in 14775 who have been campaigning Flying Fifteens with great success.

Race Officer Mark Usher had a challenging day with offshore westerlies setting the tone for the day. Due to the terrain behind the town – the Wicklow Hills – I can only assume that the conditions were influenced by the wind bending around one hill or the other creating huge lifts and headers and blasts of stronger breeze on occasions. From a sunshine perspective we were well served, but although it wasn’t a blue sky day, the clouds moving through at a decent “clip” meant that the Factor 20/30 or higher still had work to do.

Four full Olympic races were sailed with Fireballs enjoying the third start of the day as a single start, preceded by the PY Class and the RS classes. This should have given some insight as to which way to go up the beat, but the conditions were changing so frequently that this foresight wasn’t quite enough.

On the water, Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (15061) dominated the results with four wins. However, they were pushed on occasions by the Clancy brothers, Conor & James (14807) who scored four seconds. Note that it says they dominated the results, not the racing because they weren’t always the lead boat. There were some interactions with the Clancys on the off-wind legs where there was a sense that Noel & Steve were doing a bit of experimentation in their approaches to the gybe and leeward marks. The variability of the wind on the first reach of the triangle, parallel to the shoreline, made this a possibility and on some of the sausage legs they were seen to be very wide of the rhumb line between the weather mark and the leeward mark. Indeed there was some two-sail reaching on the top reaces on the day.

Upwind however they kept a loose eye of the Clancys – never straying too far away from their chasers. Behind these two, Teddy Byrne & Grattan Donnelly (14990) had a consistent day on the water with two thirds and two fourths to take 3rd overall. Teddy had taken the helm of Conor Clancy’s 14807 on the preceding Tuesday night in Dun Laoghaire and won the second race that night, so we shouldn’t have been surprised to see them at the front end of the fleet.

With one exception all the other boats had at least one good race – Frank Miller & Brenda McGuire (14713) had a fourth, Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775) had a third, Louise McKenna & Cormac Bradley (14691) had a third, Niall McGrotty & Neil Cramer (14938) had a good last race, but the ladies in 14854, Cariosa Power & Marie Barry didn’t have their best day.

Two boats each claimed two capsizes – McKenna & Bradley - Bradley caught on the wrong side of an obvious tack on the first beat of the second race and a blow-over on the “first second reach” of the last race with the spinnaker filling with water. In the third race however, they redeemed themselves by leading the fleet around the first weather mark and finishing 3rd in the race. McGrotty & Cramer also had one capsize off-wind, that I saw, but don’t have the details on the other.

Unfortunately, the results fell victim to a gremlin that started awarding “half-points” to certain finishing positions, as in 1.5pts for Butler & Oram’s fourth race win and the same score to McGrotty & Cramer in the same race and 6.5pts for 3rd in McKenna & Bradley’s third race. Even after a stewards’ enquiry, the gremlins persisted!

This caused a delay in the prize-giving but Commodore Darragh Cafferky was very generous in his welcome to the Fireball Class and commended them for the standard of their sailing as observed from the balcony of the club. He insisted that the Class would be most welcome to return to the club. Due thanks were also given to Monica Schaefer, Sailing Secretary, and her “on-the water” team for making the regatta a success and to the Usher family for the donation of their boat as Committee Boat for the regatta.

Irish Fireball Class Association – Open Championships 2017

Greystones Sailing Club, 24th June 2017.

Pts

1

Noel Butler & Stephen Oram

National Yacht Club

15061

3

2

Conor & James Clancy

Royal St George Yacht Club

14807

6

3

Teddy Byrne & Grattan Donnelly

Wicklow Sailing Club

14990

10

4

Niall McGrotty & Neil Cramer

Skerries Sailing Club

14938

 

5

Neil Colin & Margaret Casey

Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club

14775

 

6

Frank Miller & Brenda McGuire

Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club

14713

 

7

Louise McKenna & Cormac Bradley

Royal St George yacht Club

14691

 

8

Cariosa Power & Marie Barry

Dun Laoghaire Motor & National Yachts Clubs

14854

 

Entry to the event included a post-racing barbeque which gave the Fireballs a chance to conduct a post-mortem on the racing and the challenging physical conditions.

Race activity in Dun Laoghaire continues on Tuesday night and our next event is the Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta over the weekend July 7th – 9th, with the Leinsters the following weekend in Skerries. Note that the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta is not part of our Traveller Series, but is an event we are supporting as a Class.

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

It didn’t really look like Fireball racing would be possible yesterday evening! Having enjoyed another sunny day in Dun Laoghaire, though it was not as “blue sky” as the previous three days, the expectation of a reasonable sea breeze was not met! Instead the seascape was a very flat Dublin Bay and an even flatter harbour seascape. Consequently we launched in hope rather than expectation and the trip from the Royal St George to the start area at the West Pier was as slow as the weather suggested it would be. The race management team initially postponed the start and then set a mark that was in line with the end of the East Pier, about 60m inside the harbour mouth. Course X1 was indicated giving us two roundings of the weather mark and a downwind finish.

In the PY start, Pierre Long in his IDRA started on the pin, on port and gained a huge early advantage over the rest of his fleet – he went on to win, as well. This was the prompt for the five Fireballs to gather at the pin, each attempting to do something similar. Though neither was on the pin, Noel Butler and Stephen Oram (15061) and Teddy Byrne & Conor Clancy (14807) started on port, while Cariosa Power & Marie Barry (14854) and Frank Miller & Ed Butler (14713) started on starboard and went left initially. Louise McKenna & Cormac Bradley (14691) started on starboard, tacked immediately onto port and found themselves chasing the other four.

The “better” wind was on the outside of the course and Power and Miller benefitted from being on that side. Byrne & Clancy, with Byrne helming, were sailing in close company with Butler & Oram. Subject to correction, my recall of the order of rounding was Power, Miller, Byrne, Butler and McKenna. For the downwind leg, the standard route seemed to be to sail straight on starboard after the spreader mark and then put in a gybe to get to the leeward mark. Of course, the challenge was when to gybe.

On the second upwind leg, the fleet worked the left hand side to varying degrees and Miller found himself in second place rounding the top weather mark. Staying high on the next downwind leg Miller was able to sail around the fleet and take a well-deserved win. Behind him the order was Butler, Byrne, Power and McKenna.

For the second race the weather mark was moved a significant distance to the right and again course X1 was signalled. Again, the pin end was favoured but the jockeying to get to it was a little less intense, with intense being an exaggeration given the wind strength. Four of the boats were on one side of the course, while McKenna ploughed a solitary furrow on the right hand side. For the early stages of the beat, this looked as though it might pay, but as she put in a starboard hitch to get to the weather mark, three of the four “lefties” went ahead of her. Butler led, followed by Byrne and Miller. The fleet stayed on the right hand-side of the run, leaving the gybe to the leeward mark late.

At the next weather mark Miller and Clancy found themselves in the reverse situation to last Tuesday night. Miller was the starboard tacked boat, Clancy was in the port tacked boat trying to get round the mark.........and this time by way of my proximity to the two boats.........turns were required which Byrne duly did! In the wind conditions, this might have signalled “game over”, but forced into a different downwind strategy by way of the penalty turns, Byrne & Clancy went over the line first. Miller meanwhile had got ahead of Butler but to my mind was in a position where Butler controlled his destiny – Miller couldn’t gybe across until Butler went! The gybes were triggered with Butler going first, but Miller managed to wriggle his way over the line before him by the tightest of margins.

DBSC Tuesday Nights: Series 2 (4 sailed, 1 discard)

R1

R2

R3

R4

Tot.

Conor Clancy/Teddy Byrne & James Clancy

14807

RStGYC

1

2

3

1

4

Frank Miller & Ed Butler

14713

DMYC

2

3

1

2

5

Cariosa Power & Marie Barry

14854

NYC

3

1

4

5

8

Louise McKenna & Cormac Bradley

14691

RStGYC

4

4

5

4

12

Noel Butler & Stephen Oram

15061

NYC

8

8

2

3

13

The regatta scene returns for the Fireballs with an event at Greystones this weekend. In a departure from our normal format, this year’s Open Championship will be sailed as a one-day event, Saturday, with Greystones also being a debutant venue for the Fireballs. Frank Miller has been “banging the drums” to generate numbers for this weekend and it looks as though we will have a bigger number than we had in Ballyholme. Frank and Ed Butler have put the latter 14990 back into commission to sail this weekend and I believe our “Fireballers in Flying Fifteens”, Margaret Casey & Neil Colin will also be in Greystones. The class is also reminded that we are entering the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta as a class, but we will only get a separate start if we have sufficient numbers.

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

While Tuesday was a warm blustery day by the time Fireballers descended on the waterfront clubs the breeze was fading. Early birds Frank Miller and Ed Butler sailed to the harbour mouth to be greeted by 180 degree shifts and finally zero air.

The DBSC committee boat and ribs made a brief foray outside but faced with almost no wind and a strong incoming tide signalled the gathering sailors to remain in the harbour. Miraculously a reasonable breeze returned from the same SW direction as earlier and a W-L course was set up with the X1 board signalling (in the unique language of DBSC Sis) two windward-leeward rounds with a downwind finish. So it was that five Fireballs took off in the second start following the slow PY fleet, with Miller/Butler favouring a pin end start and the rest distributed along the line.

The pair went further left than the rest and picked up a slightly better breeze and after a shift managed to edge ahead of the Clancy Brothers and Noel Butler/Stephen Oram. They held that lead over the course though as they approached the finish noticed that Butler/Oram had carved a sharper angled approach towards the committee boat end and the leeward mark. The pair crossed to line to silence and saw to their horror that Butler/Oram had rounded the leeward and were cheerfully chewing their way back up the beat for another round. Only Miller/Butler and the Clancy’s gave chase but the game was over and the just rewards went to those who took a closer look at the number of rounds to be sailed in the 3 minutes before their start was signalled.

Race two took place in similar conditions, this time Butler/Oram stamped their authority on the race early and although the Clancy’s and Miller/Butler stayed close the pair won race two, with Louise McKenna/Hermine O’Keeffe in 4rd and Cariosa Power/Marie Barry in 5th. Despite some frustrations this was a very pleasant evening’s racing in warm pleasant conditions.

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

When Ger Owens’ 'Loopies' replace Adam Bower’s 'Woompatah' you know it must be Fireball Training Weekend writes Neil Cramer.

With generous sponsorship from the ISA Class Training Scheme and hosting by the DMYC, the Fireball Class assembled in Dun Laoghaire on Saturday for the first day of its annual training camp under the coaching of Ger Owens, the renowned 470 Olympic and GP14 sailor.

Under bright, clear skies with only the odd passing shower to dampen the mood, the weather was perfect for a full-on day of training. The group of 12 sailors started the day in classroom mode where Owens managed to condense the entire world of race-winning strategy into five concise pointers designed to instill a belief in one’s ability to hit the front of the fleet without wondering how one got there and how long one could hang on before being passed out by ‘better’ sailors!

Once, these topics had been unravelled, the fleet took to the water to undergo Ger’s infamous ‘Loopies’, created to induce ‘muscle memory’ for all points of sailing. Maybe, Ger thought the fleet was suffering from mild dementia because they were certainly dizzy and sweaty when they came out of ‘loopie’ mode and moved on to point-to-point circuit sprints.

Following a brief lunch ashore combined with detailed de-briefing, the fleet proceeded to the end of the harbour where a testing sequence of ultra-short races had everyone’s stress levels reach limits not seen in even the most difficult of event conditions. What is it about the sound of a whistle or hoot that gets Fireball crews all wound-up & ready to take no prisoners? Extremely short races, with no respite in between gave the participants a thorough workout & tested that ‘muscle memory’ to the limit.

As a result of the session the participants now understand why:

* the Kicker could sometimes become a liability,
* why the most important piece of equipment on the boat is a €10 piece flimsy material &
* why what goes on under the boom is a vital source of information.
* The way up is not necessarily the way back down

Want to know these secrets too? Why not acquire a Fireball and join the fray ? For as little as little £2k you can be the new owner for an “all white” Winder foam sandwich boat or as little as £800 for a restored timber boat. Then come along to our 2nd Fireball Training date later on this summer & learn why you too belong at the top of the fleet looking back...

Published in Fireball
Tagged under

Four Fireballs came under the starter’s orders for the third Tuesday night of the DBSC Summer Series. Given the warm conditions during the day and the strong tide outside, the decision was made to keep the dinghy fleets inside – presumably on the basis that the sea breeze would fade as the evening wore on, leaving the fleets exposed to a flooding tide. While it may not have made immediate sense on sailing out to the start area, it was the right thing to do.

The four boats were in a close bunch at the pin end of the line when the start signal went and three of the boats stayed on a starboard tack to the extreme left of the course, adjacent to the harbour mouth. Messrs Butler(N) and Clancy (C) with regular crews Oram (S) and Clancy (J) respectively gave all the indications that they were going to stick close to each other and while Butler had the upper hand initially, Clancy took it off him and was never headed thereafter. The ladies, in the form of Cariosa Power and Marie Barry, also went left but having fallen behind the other three off the start, the fourth boat, which went up the middle of the course, Miller (F) and Bradley (C) had hopes that they might slot into 3rd. No such luck and continuing their form of the weekend, this pair found themselves in splendid isolation, ploughing a furrow up the middle. It didn’t get any better for them as the race progressed! During the race the girls closed on Butler & Oram, to within a boat-length at the second windward mark, but on the downwind leg to the finish Butler & Oram sailed away to take a comfortable second to the Clancys.

The Race Officer moved the weather mark to port (northwards) before re-instating it in its original position to get the second race of the evening away. Again the four boats bunched together off the start and this time Miller and Bradley stayed with them. It paid dividends because they rounded the first weather mark in third and that sense of security was enhanced when the recently crowned Ulster Champions, Butler & Oram took a penalty turn on the water, presumably for a mark infringement.

The girls were enjoying the easing wind as they sailed into second but the Clancys were not threatened at all. Up the second and last beat, Clancy took a hitch left to ensure he stayed to weather of the chasing boats. Miller and Power sailed up the middle of the beat and while Power appeared to be going marginally faster, she was also slipping to leeward as well. Butler went left but was initially unable to close the gap. Miller rounded second but his discomfort level was doubled as Power went one way and Butler the other on the downwind leg to the finish. Butler closed initially and then gybed to go into the middle of the course while Miller and Power stayed out towards the harbour mouth. Miller gybed late for the finish and despite being on a converging course with Butler was able to comfortably cross him as Miller finished second at the committee boat end. Power, too, finished ahead of Butler.

DBSC Tuesday Nights: Series 1 – 9th May 2017.

R1

R2

Nett

1

Conor & James Clancy

14807

RStGYC

1

1

2

2

Frank Miller & Cormac Bradley

14713

DMYC

4

2

6

3

Cariosa Power & Marie Barry

14854

NYC

3

3

6

4

Noel Butler & Stephen Oram

15061

NYC

2

4

6

 

Published in Fireball
Tagged under
Page 4 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.

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

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
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2020

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails 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