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This afternoon's DMYC Frostbite Series racing for dinghies at Dun Laoghaire Harbour has been cancelled due to adverse weather with gusts in excess of 30 knots on Dublin Bay.

Gale force winds are predicted for the Irish Sea later today.

See live Dublin Bay webcam here

This morning's first race of the DBSC Spring Chicken Series did go ahead in the comparatively sheltered waters of Seapoint Bay.

A fleet in the mid-fifties braved a chilly Dun Laoghaire harbour today for the third race of Series 2 of the 2019/20 DMYC Frostbites. Wind strength during the morning in advance of racing wasn’t as brisk as forecast but the direction was right – westerly. The team racers were enjoying good conditions to confirm that the stronger winds forecast for the day hadn’t arrived.

However, the dominant weather feature was the chill factor and some preliminary soundings in the DMYC dinghy park suggested that the idea of a single long race to keep everyone active wasn’t a bad call. And so, the dye was cast! A five-lap Olympic course was signalled by Race Officer Cormac Bradley.

The committee boat set up just off the weather station on the East Pier and the 270° wind direction allowed a weather mark to be set just off the leading starboard leading light into the marina. The first reach took the fleet eastwards beyond the HSS gantry to a position off the Carlisle Pier, leaving the leeward mark between the weather station and the Boyd Memorial.

The PY fleet numbered 23 boats and included Wayfarers (2), GP 14s (2), Kona Windsurfers (3), RS Aeros (3), RS 200s (3), RS 400s (2), the Paralympic 2.4 (1), a Solo, and Fireballs (6). They had a General recall to start, one of the Aeros and one of the Fireballs leading an early charge over the line, causing the limit mark to disappear. That relegated them to the back of the queue! When they did get away, the trend seemed to be to go left into the middle of the harbour before picking a port-hand tack to get upwind towards the weather mark. The first rounding of the weather mark by the PY fleet looked busy and it wasn’t a red spinnaker that was first to break. Instead it was the blue of Alistair Court and Gordon Syme (14706) and another couple of reds were seen before Butler & Oram (15061) showed! Following what looked like two good reaches under spinnaker, the pecking order was Court, Frank Miller & Grattan Donnelly (14990), Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (15016) and Ciaran Harken and Michael Keegan (14676) may have been ahead of the aforementioned Butler & Oram. Court/Syme lost their lead with a subsequent capsize on a beat and McKenna/O’Keeffe took on the mantle of leaders though they were hard-pressed by Miller/Donnelly. This latter combination also led the race for a period. However, it seemed that everyone in this race within a race was waiting for the “fat lady to sing”. Rounding the weather mark for the last time, two red spinnakers were well ahead of the fleet, followed by a third red spinnaker. It seems (in the post- race banter) that the first two reds were McKenna and Miller, who it was claimed had a double-digit lead of boat-lengths over Butler. For reasons that weren’t forthcoming, a severe luffing match ensued and there may have been turns taken, which opened a huge door of opportunity for Butler & Oram – which they availed of with both hands to take a win on the finish line. A “squeaky-bum” performance by the pair!!

However, the result on the water wasn’t good enough for them to occupy the podium places on handicap – those places went to the GP14 of Peter & Stephen Boyle (1st), followed by the Solo of Shane McCarthy and the Wayfarer of Dave Mulvin and Ronan O’Beirne. The three RS Aeros (7s) were led home by Kenny Rumball in 5th, followed by Brendan Foley in 6th and Mark Gavin in 7th respectively. Sarah Byrne led the two-person RS contingent home in 4th place while the Fireball of Butler & Oram had to be satisfied with 8th. There was some consternation at the handicap results with the GP 14 finishing 6:25 down on the Fireball but winning by 2:14 on handicap. The Solo was 55 seconds down on the GP14 but 42 seconds ahead of the Wayfarer. The “delta” between the Wayfarers on the water was 1:02, but on handicap, seven boats got in between them.

The three-boat Laser Standard fleet had three starters but only two finishers with Alan Hodgins taking the honours over David Field.

Four 4.7s raced with Kitty Flanagan taking the wing over siblings Luke and Hugh Turvey and Eimear Farrell closed the account in 4th place.
Twenty-six Radials assembled at the start line for racing with a transfer from the 4.7s in the form of Rian Geraghty-McDonnell. This young man has dominated the 4.7s thus far so clearly has decided to up his game for the balance of the series. He started off where he left off with another win on the water, but it was a very close race at the front with the lead boats overlapped every time they cam down past the committee boat on the sausage leg. There were no raised voices throughout any of the manoeuvres to get around the leeward mark and if there had been “fun and games” the senior fleet in this fleet, one Sean Craig would be quick to restore proper order. As it was, he finished in third behind the Geraghty-McDonnell and Kate Fahy. Behind him, in turn, were Judy O’Beirne and Alanna Coakley, leaving the males in the minority of the top five places.
Only one Laser seemed to be disappointed that there wasn’t a second race – everyone else seemed to be happy to go home.

DMYC Frostbites: Series 2; Round 3

PY Fleet:
1st Peter & Stephen Boyle (GP14), 2nd Shane McCarthy (Solo), 3rd David Mulvin & Ronan O’Beirne (Wayfarer).
Standard Lasers:
1st Alan Hodgins, 2nd David Field.
1st Kitty Flanagan, 2nd Luke Turvey, 3rd Hugh Turvey, 4th Eimear Farrell.
Laser Radials:
1st Rian Geraghty-McDonnell, 2nd Kate Fahy, 3rd Sean Craig, 4th Judy O’Beirne, 5th Alanna Coakley.

A quieter than usual DMYC clubhouse saw Peter & Stephen Boyle pick up a Frostbite Mug for their endeavours. There were other Mugs available for collection, but the rule is that you have to be there to get it!

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With wind speeds of 37 knots being recorded off the end of the East Pier at lunchtime on Saturday (on a handheld anemometer) and Storm Brendan blowing hooligans today, the DMYC Dinghy Frostbites of Sunday 12th January could be said to have been sailed in the (relative) calm between the storms! And the wind behaved in accordance with the forecast, starting off quite strong first thing on Sunday morning (09:00) but dropping off in strength as the morning wore on. At about 11:30 it was down to 10/11 knots and during the race it dropped below ten but came back up again. The sun was out as well, but there was a slight coolness in the air.

Numbers were up again from last week with 27 boats in the PY fleet, 10+ in the Standard & 4.7 start and 28 in the Laser radial start. This Sunday we saw the return of the Kona Windsurfers, with Messrs Gibney and Walker, the regulars, joined by Julio David. The RS400s also added on to their fleet with the arrival of Sean and Conor Cleary and Dara McDonagh (and crew) giving Messrs Phelan & Leddy and Brian O’Hare and crew a four-boat race within the PY fleet. A second GP14, sailed by Peter & Stephen Boyle, joined the Flying Fifteen pairing of Ciara Mulvey and Peter Murphy and there were two boats challenges within the PY fleet for the RS Aeros (Brendan Foley & Mark Gavin) and the Wayfarers (Dave Mulvin & Ronan Beirne and Monica Schaeffer & Miriam McCarthy). The Sailing in Dublin (SID) Laser Vagos had three or four boats and the Fireballs had eleven starters in their fleet within a fleet.

Daniel L and Harry ThompsonFireballers Daniel (L) and Harry Thompson with their Frostbite Mugs for Race 2 in the PY Fleet. Photo: Frank Miller

Given the weather conditions, the decision was taken to give the fleets a long race first to keep them active on the basis that if time and wind allowed a shorter second race could be provided. Speculation ashore, between the Frostbites “Director” and the Race Officer, was that a starboard-hand course might have to be set with the wind direction, but on getting out to the race area, a normal port-hand course was available. With a mean wind direction of 240º, the committee boat set up close to the end of the East Pier and put the weather mark just to the west of the entrance to the marina. The top reach extended across the windward shore of the harbour to a gybe mark that was to the east of the HSS gantry and the leeward mark sat behind and off to the port-hand side of the committee boat. The Wayfarer of Mulvin and Beirne was out early and sailed the two reaches under spinnaker and gave a healthy “thumbs-up” to Race Officer Cormac Bradley. Shane McCarthy in the Solo also tested the beat, by invitation, and declared that it was “good”. By prior arrangement a Fireball also sampled the course and advised that the start line was biased towards the committee boat – they were right, although the length of the start line was a bigger problem for the PY Fleet.

In contrast to last Sunday, all three starts got away at the first time of asking and while the initial approach to the first beat was to go left, the fleet soon spread themselves across the width of the course – always a good sight for the Race Officer. Five laps of an Olympic course were set and at the first weather mark there was a mix of Fireballs and RS400s in the lead bunch, with the Solo of McCarthy making his presence felt as well. The familiar red spinnaker of Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (FB 15061) was first to show, followed by the blue and white of the Thompson brothers, Daniel & Harry (FB 15156). Butler & Oram did their “normal trick” of sailing away from the fleet, but behind them there was lots of contests on the water. The leeward mark rounding also was a busy spot as the various fleets converged on it, from different angles, especially when the Lasers were added to the mix!

The first race lasted a healthy 43:38 and saw Butler & Oram take the win on the water. In Fireball terms, they were followed home by the Thompsons and Alistair Court & Gordon Syme (14706), though there were other boats in between. In the RS400 “race within a race”, debutants Sean and Conor Cleary took a “class” win from Dara McDonagh, Phelan & Leddy and Brian O’Hare.

The Kona finishing order was Robbie Walker, Des Gibney and Julio David, while Mulvin/Beirne took the Wayfarer win, the Boyles the GP 14 win, and Butler & Oram the handicap win, followed by McCarthy (Solo), the Boyle GP14, Sarah Byrne & crew in the RS200 and the Thompsons (FB). The winning margin on the water, Fireball to Solo was 9:25, which reduced to 00:38 after the application of handicaps. The Boyle’s performance won the Frostbite Mug for the PY Fleet.

The mixed Standard Lasers & Laser 4.7s is the smallest fleet, made up yesterday of three Standards and five or six 4.7s. The Standards finished in a tight sequence with Chris Arrowsmith winning from Alan Hodgins and David Field, Field’s performance good enough to get the Frostbite Mug. Rian Geraghty-McDonnell continued his domination of this Class with another win, followed home by Christian Ennis, a new name in the podium frame, Hugh Turvey and Archie Daly, another new name.

The Radial Fleet is a good mix of adults and Juniors with the adults represented by the likes of Sean Craig, Shirley Gilmore, Judy O’Beirne, Mary Chambers and Owen Laverty. However, in the lighter winds that we have had thus far the Juniors have been very prominent in the podium places and yesterday saw a mix of adults and Juniors in the top five finishers. The racing in this fleet can get very tight at the front and it is encouraging to see clusters of boats sailing “bow to transom” downwind with helms carefully watching those closest to them. Juniors don’t seem to be intimidated at all when Sean Craig, for example, sits on their transoms, hunting them down, waiting for a mistake! Yesterday, in Race 1, two Juniors took the honours with Hugh O’Connor winning and taking a Frostbite Mug, followed by Conor Gorman, Sean Craig, Judy O’Beirne and Shirley Gilmore.

Finishes on the water were offered to the stragglers to allow a second short race to be run. However, the first two marks had to be reset as the wind went southwards. This time the course was two triangles and having learned the lesson from the first time, the start line was lengthened. This time the contest on the line was even tighter, but again the three fleets got away at the first time of asking. The wind dropped below 10 knots but then came back up again and a race of half the duration of the first was completed.

In the PY fleet, class winners were Fireball – Butler & Oram, RS400 – Cleary & Cleary, GP14 – Boyle & Boyle, Wayfarer – Mulvin & Beirne, “by a nose” on the finish line, Kona – Walker, RS Aero – Brendan Foley. In handicap terms, a race time of 21:05 for Butler & Oram and a 00:59 second margin on the water was enough to take the PY win followed by a second Fireball, the Thompsons. On corrected time the handicap order was Butler & Oram (FB), Daniel & Harry Thompson (FB), Cleary & Cleary (RS400), Boyle & Boyle (GP14) and Patrick Hassett (2.4). Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775) were the third Fireball home.

In the Standard Lasers the order was Hodgins, Field and Arrowsmith, while in the 4.7s, there was an “upset” with Rian Geraghty-McDonnell not winning! That honour went to Christian Ennis, from Eimear Farrell and Archie Daly, a performance that gave him the Frostbite Mug.

Hugh O’Connor scored a double with a second race win in the Radials, followed by Sean Craig, Conor Gorman, Adam Leddy and Owen Laverty, the latter taking the Frostbite Mug.

DMYC Frostbites: Series 2; 12th January 2020

PY Fleet; Race 1.

Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (FB), Shane McCarthy (Solo), Peter & Stephen Boyle (GP14), Saran Byrne & crew (RS200), Daniel & Harry Thompson (FB).

PY Fleet; Race 2.

Noel Butler & Stephen Oram, Daniel & Harry Thompson, Sean & Conor Cleary (RS 400), Peter & Stephen Boyle, Patrick Hassett (2.4).

Standard Lasers; Race 1

Chris Arrowsmith, Alan Hodgins, David Field.

Standard Lasers; Race 2

Alan Hodgins, David Field, Chris Arrowsmith.

Laser 4.7s; Race 1

Rian Geraghty-McDonnell, Christian Ennis, Hugh Turvey, Archie Daly.

Laser 4.7s; Race 2

Christian Ennis, Eimear Farrell, Archie Daly.

Laser Radials; Race 1

Hugh O’Connor, Conor Gorman, Sean Craig, Judy O’Beirne, Shirley Gilmore.

Laser Radials; Race 2

Hugh O’Connor, Sean Craig, Conor Gorman, Adam Leddy, Owen Laverty.

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The second half of the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club’s Frostbite Series gut underway yesterday in what were almost balmy conditions for the 5th of January. From the middle of the week, this author’s favourite weather website XCWeather was suggesting that winds would be of the order of 12/13 knots with gusts of 26/27 knots from just west of south, but the flags within the harbour complex didn’t support that theory. Additionally, the readings from the Dublin Bay buoy for the two hours before my arrival at the club suggested that the base wind was correct but the gusts were only one or two knots more.

Temperature-wise it was mild, around the 10º mark and sunny, and though there were ominous black clouds building as the committee boat left the DMYC pontoon, it remained dry.

Fifty-one boats embraced the start of the Series with a 21-boat PY fleet, 5 Standard Lasers, 5 Laser 4.7s and 21 Laser Radials. Within the PY Fleet, the breakdown in boats was Fireball (8), RS 400 (2), RS 200 (2), RS Aero (2), Wayfarer (2), Solo (1) and Laser Vago (4). An early mention should be made of Dublin in Sailing’s support of the Frostbites – they put out multiple Laser Vagos every Sunday and thus enjoy their own internal competition as much as the fleet racing of the PY starters. Among the Fireballs was a new combination returning to the Class after a number of years away, at the start of a campaign that will culminate in participation in the Fireball Worlds to be hosted by Howth Yacht Club in August. Frank Cassidy and Ciaran Hickey are both long-standing members of the fleet that have been less active in recent years and we look forward to the next few months and the wit and repartee they will bring to the fleet – as well as their sailing prowess!

Frank MillerFrank Miller (L) and Ed Butler pick up the Frostbite Mugs for race 1 in the PY Fleet.

On getting out to the main body of the harbour, the wind was not quite what the Race Officer, Cormac Bradley, expected and rather than sitting off the end of the East Pier, the committee boat was just inside the end of the West Pier operating off a median wind direction of 210º. From the RO’s perspective, the wind direction looked reasonable stable, but competitors suggested otherwise afterwards. This left the weather mark about a third of the distance from the entrance to the marina to the HSS gantry, a gybe mark beyond the gantry and to leeward of it and a leeward mark just inside the entrance to the harbour and in the middle of the entrance. A three-lap Olympic was set for the first race of 2020 and the PY fleet got off to a clean start with the fleet distributed along the line with the majority going left initially. At the first showing of spinnakers, it was the red duster of Noel Butler & Stephen Oram, FB 15061 at the head of the fleet with possibly Frank Miller & Ed Butler FB14990 well up and the RS400 of Phelan & Leddy mixing it with the Fireballs. The Solo of Shane McCarthy was also well placed on the water, within the top ten at the first weather mark. As the race progressed, and is their wont, Butler & Oram pulled further and further away from the fleet.

Adam LeddyAdam Leddy collects his Frostbite Mug for the Laser Radials in Race 2 Photo: Frank MIller

The two Laser starts were almost clear as well. The first start for the Standards and 4.7s was easy with only ten boats contesting what was a generous length of line. This fleet too went leftwards initially.

In the busier Radial start (of 21 boats), it was a much more contested line and one-high profile individual was OCS. He has championed the Laser participation in the Frostbites for the past two seasons and took his silent reaction to crossing the finish line in good spirit. This fleet also saw a 2nd half debut for Marco Sorgassi.
Due to the wind conditions, the first race had been fast, so the RO decided that in the prevailing conditions of 10 – 16 knots with one gust recorded at twenty, more of the same was the order of the day. However, the course needed to be pushed eastwards to accommodate a leftwards moving wind direction that couldn’t be accommodated by keeping things as is!

Judy ObeirneJudy O’Beirne takes the Frostbite Mug for the Laser Radials in Race 1 Photo: Frank MIller

The five-lap ambition for the second race started to evaporate almost as soon as the countdown to the first start was initiated. The wind started to drop and what had been an almost immaculately behaved fleet for Race 1 became subject to multiple general recalls and ultimately the use of the black flag to get two of the fleets away. The only fleet to get away cleanly at the first time of asking was the Standard Lasers and the 4.7s, the other fleets required two bites at it, despite moving the limit mark twice! Throughout this process the wind continued to drop and at one stage we were down to as low as 4.4knots. While there was enough wind to get the fleet round the course, the leftward twitching wind made the legs something other than was intended and given that the committee boat was at the entrance to the harbour, a decision was made to relocate to the weather mark so that a less ambiguous shortened course signal could be flown.

For the PY Fleet, the lighter wind seemed to favour the Fireballs who took the first three places on handicap; Butler/Oram taking the win by 27 seconds from Josh Porter & Michael Ennis, 14695, both of whom had travelled down from N. Ireland to race. In third place by only 3 seconds were the “seasoned campaigners” Cassidy & Hickey 14713. Brian O’Hare and crew in the RS 400 were fourth, followed by Monica Schaeffer & Miriam McCarthy in their Wayfarer, squaring up the day series in the Class as David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne had won the first race between them. The RS Aeros of Brendan Foley and Mark Gavin were separated by 18 seconds in 7th and 8th respectively. The Solo fell afoul of the start procedure, with one other, so wasn’t in a position to challenge the top pecking order.

In the Standard Lasers, the finishing order was Alan Hodgins, Marc Coakley and Chris Arrowsmith, while in the 4.7s the ever consistent Rian Geraghty-McDonnell took first followed by Hugh Turvey and Archie Daly.
In the Laser Radials, Conor Gorman stepped up a gear to win, from his second in race 1, followed by Judy O’Beirne, Adam Leddy, Sean Craig and Adam Walsh.

A special commendation is given to the Thompsons, Harry, Daniel and father Colin who arrived as the club with the Fireball on the tow-hitch at 13:00, just as the committee boat left for the race course. With assistance from Oliver Proveur & Cariosa Power, both Frostbite stalwarts, they managed get fully rigged, changed and launched to make the first start on time.

The Race Management would like to thank all the competitors for the start practice they provided yesterday. The (generous) view, expressed in the DMYC afterwards was that the flooding tide and a very twitchy wind on the line may have been contributory factors in the need for multiple starts.

Frostbites: Series 2.

PY Fleet; Race 1
Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (Fireball 15061), Shane McCarthy (Solo), Paul Phelan & Alan Leddy (RS 400), Frank Miller & Ed Butler (Fireball 14990), Daniel & Harry Thompson (Fireball 15156).

PY Fleet; Race 2
Noel Butler & Stephen Oram, Michael Ennis & Josh Porter (Fireball 14695), Frank Cassidy & Ciaran Hickey (Fireball 14713), Brian O’Hare & Crew (RS400), Monica Schaeffer & Miriam McCarthy (Wayfarer).

Standard Lasers; Race 1
Chris Arrowsmith, Gavan Murphy, Conor O’Leary.

Standard Lasers; Race 2
Alan Hodgins, Marc Coakley, Chris Arrowsmith.

Laser 4.7s; Race 1
Rian Geraghty-McDonnell, Christian Ennis, Archie Daly.

Laser 4.7s; Race 2
Rian Geraghty-McDonnell, Hugh Turvey, Archie Daly.

Laser Radials; Race 1
Adam Walsh, Conor Gorman, Judy O’Beirne, David Dwyer, Marco Sorgassi.

Laser Radials; Race2
Conor Gorman, Judy O’Beirne, Adam Leddy, Sean Craig, Adam Walsh

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Laser Radials competing in the DMYC Frostbites are now the largest club Laser fleet in Ireland and look likely to surpass last winter’s 37 boat entry, with weekly turnouts in the mid-20s.

Not bad, given there were just one or two Radials a couple of years ago and it’s a great accolade for the versatility of the mid-sized Laser rig. Series Two kicks off this Sunday, January 5th and sailors can enter here at effectively half price. New arrivals for the second series include Marco Sorgassi (who took a short break after an excellent 5th overall in the 50-boat Italian Masters in October) and John O’Driscoll, SOD and SB20 supremo, who will return after a nasty skiing injury twelve months ago.

With our sibling 4.7 and Standard rigs also out in healthy numbers, total Dun Laoghaire Laser numbers on the water each Winter Sunday are in the 40-50 range.

"Total Dun Laoghaire Laser numbers on the water each Winter Sunday are in the 40-50 range"

Somewhat accidentally, the Radials are also very on-point in terms of the buzzy catchphrases and promotions you hear bandied about. “Women on the Water” ? Box ticked, with ten female entries so far! “Sport for Life” and “Sport for All”? Well, yes indeed, with sailors aged 15-60 + and weights from 50 to (at least) 85 kgs.

Finally, we can rightfully claim some of that much sought-after “Youth Retention”, with graduates from 4.7s, some more experienced Radial Youths practising for the Europeans in Ballyholme in July and also some twenty-somethings getting back in after a few years out.

So….Retirees, Boomers, Generations X to Z, Millennials and even Frostbiting Snowflakes (sorry, couldn’t resist)….we’ve got them all ! The fleet breaks down into 80% adults and 20% youths.

Gavin Murphy LaserGavin Murphy of the RStGYC Photo: Bob Hobby

Anyway, regardless of how we all arrive on the starting line together, it’s certainly been super racing before Christmas, great fun and as competitive back in the twenties as it is in the top ten. Alas for the older guard, the young ‘uns have won the day so far. These guys are in fact anything but “Flaky Snowflakes”! They train hard on Sunday mornings before joining in for the Frostbites, seemingly oblivious to low temperatures. Under the stewardship of rotating DMYC Race Officers, Cormac Bradley and Ben Mulligan, race-management has been top-notch. At the sharp end of the fleet, Conor Gorman and Alana Coakley have taken most race wins. Ex-Topper star Hugh O’Connor has a bullet too, but a “Master” (over 35) has won one race only. Other young guns showing really well are Adam Walsh and Adam Leddy.

Conor Gorman1Conor Gorman of the National Yacht Club Photo: Frank Miller

Overall, it was Conor Gorman (NYC) who took Series 1 with a very commanding points lead, discarding a 2nd place! Judy O’Beirne (RStGYC) was the first lady in 6th overall. Other Master sailors have had their moments and here there’s plenty of newcomers in the more mature category. DBSC Laser Class captain Gav Murphy has been trying out the Radial and plenty of other new Masters have appeared, but are well known in other classes, including Owen Laverty, Pierre Long and Hugh Cahill. Some may be long-term Radial converts, while others will just be staying fit and sharp for Summer campaigns in other fleets.

With mainly light winds so far, the bigger grislier sailors will surely feature when the Sundays turn squally and nasty. Or at least that’s what they’ve been saying in the bar after sailing!

Series 1 Results here

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Series 1 of the DMYC-hosted Frostbites closed with a marathon race, in relative terms, yesterday with a modest turnout of 44 boats, a wind that fluctuated between 170 and 180º with a high of just over 10 knots and some sunshine, though there was a distinct coolness in the air. Indeed, there was a light covering of white on the hills behind Dun Laoghaire.

The PY fleet had the best turnout of the day with nineteen boats - Fireballs, Wayfarers, RS200s, Aero 7s, Laser Vagos, an RS400 and the Solo of Shane McCarthy. This fleet got off to an almost clean start with only one OCS, a Fireball that didn’t come back, though another Fireball DID come back. Initially, the fleet went left on their way to a weather mark that was located just to the west of the HSS gantry, making the beat one of the shorter legs across the harbour. The first four or five boats around the weather mark were all Fireballs, not quite bow to transom but close enough! Of these, the last in the group was Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775) who had returned to the start in response to the flying of the individual recall even though they weren’t the transgressors. In contrast to everyone else they took to the right-hand side of the beat and were only just off the leaders at the first mark.

Noel ButlerStephen Oram & Noel Butler (Fireball) – Series 1 PY Fleet Winners (Overall) Photo: Frank Miller/Irish Fireball Class

Having had the top reach “sail-tested” by a Fireball before the start, the wind “played ball” in keeping it a challenging “three-sailer” and the Fireballs, in particular, seemed to enjoy stretching themselves with the crews on the trapeze. Inevitably, Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (15061) were first to show, but the chasing bunch was close behind them – Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (15016), Alistair Court & Gordon Syme (14706), Josh Porter & Cara McDowell (14695) and Frank Miller & Ed Butler (14713). McKenna and Court had their own race within a race all the way round the five-lap Olympic configuration course and at the finish, they were overlapped with McKenna getting the result by one second. Butler & Oram simply sailed away from the rest of the fleet and were never troubled on the water.

"The PY fleet had the best turnout of the day with nineteen boats"

On corrected time, however, it was a different story. Despite being 1:32 ahead of the 2nd and third-placed Fireballs on the water and 7:28 ahead of the Solo, Butler & Oram were relegated to third place on corrected time behind the Solo and the 2nd Aero 7, sailed by a Frostbite debutant. There were only 45 seconds between 1st and 3rd on corrected time.

Brendan Foley Aero 7Brendan Foley (Aero 7) – PY Fleet Series 1 Overall – 2nd Place.Photo: Frank Miller/Irish Fireball Class

Yet again the two Wayfarers had a great race between themselves. Monica Schaeffer & Miriam McCarthy (Greystones) ultimately won out but not by a huge margin and indeed their class competition, David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne (National Yacht Club and Flying Fifteens) led them at different stages within the race and at one stage gave up a lead due to a mix-up of the lap they were on! Their performance was significantly enhanced by a fresher set of sails – brand new, but never used from at least fifteen years ago – saved from an ignominious landfill fate!

Monica LeeMiriam McCarthy (L) and Monica Schaeffer (Greystones) – winners of the Best Dressed Boat. Photo: Frank Miller/Irish Fireball Class

The Standard Lasers and 4.7s had a small turnout of four and three boats respectively. In the larger rigs, the finishing order was Marc Coakley, John Marmelstein, Hal Fitzgerald and Conor O’Leary, the latter helming by way of a rope tied to his tiller when his tiller extension broke off. In the 4.7s, the finishing order was Rian Geraghty-McDonnell, Evan Dargan-Hayes and Jacques Murphy.

Eighteen Radials contested the last day of Series 1 where Sean Craig continues to represent the more mature Laser sailor with aplomb in a fleet of much younger competitors. Yet again, he was pipped at the post by the much younger Conor Gorman with Alana Coakley flying the flag for the girls in 3rd place, ahead of Adam Leddy and Haemish Munro.

Conor GormanConor Gorman – Laser Radials, Series 1 Winner (Overall) Photo: Frank Miller/Irish Fireball Class

The weather forecast was suggesting a much more robust day on the water than actually materialised, with winds of the order of 14 knots, gusting to the low twenties predicted as late as Saturday night/early Sunday morning. This didn’t materialise and the decision to have a single long race was prompted by the fact that an early prize-giving was deemed to be the order of the day!

As to be expected with the completion of the Series a larger than normal crowd congregated at the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club for the prize-giving, where in addition to the racing prizes, a number of bottles of whiskey were raffled off, courtesy of Ian and Judith Malcolm who are very involved in Howth’s hosting of the Fireball Worlds in August 2020. There was a raffle for the volunteers and a raffle for the Fireball competitors on the day. DMYC’s Vice Commodore, Frostbites Coordinator and Fireball Sailor, Neil Colin, officiated at the prize-giving where daily Frostbite Mugs and Series 1 prizes (calendars) were awarded.

Josh Porter Newtownards SC Cara McDowell DL Josh Porter (Newtownards SC) & Cara McDowell (DL) win the Fireball competitors’ raffle Photo: Frank Miller/Irish Fireball Class

Yet again, the subject of going through the finish line with the blue flag flying was a topic of conversation in the clubhouse port-mortems – the ruling is that when the blue flag is flying you may not cross the finish line unless you are finishing. Policing of the rule is down to the competitors.

Frostbites; Day 6.

PY Fleet
1. Shane McCarthy (Solo)
2. A. N. Other (Aero 7)
3. Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (Fireball)
4. Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (Fireball)
5. Alistair Court & Gordon Syme (Fireball).

Standard Laser
1. Marc Coakley
2. John Marmelstein
3. Hal Fitzgerald
4. Conor O’Leary

Laser 4.7
1. Rian Geraghty-McDonnell
2. Evan Dargan-Hayes
3. Jacques Murphy

Laser Radials
1. Conor Gorman
2. Sean Craig
3. Alan Coakley
4. Adam Leddy
5. Haemish Munro

2019 – 2020 Frostbites Series 1 Overall

PY Fleet
1. Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (Fireball) 17pts
2. Brendan Foley (Aero 7) 40pts
3. Sarah Byrne & Crew (RS 200) 49pts
4. Jemima Owens & Henry Start (RS 200) 56pts
5. Monica Schaeffer & Miriam McCarthy (Wayfarer) 58pts.

Standard Laser
1. Chris Arrowsmith 26pts
2. John Marmelstein 26pts
3. Alan Hodgins 28pts
4. Marc Coakley 30pts
5. Conor O’Leary 48pts

Laser 4.7
1. Rian Geraghty-McDonnell 9pts
2. Jacques Murphy 25pts
3. Evan Dargan-Hayes 30pts
4. Kitty Flanagan 31pts
5. Eimear Farrell 42pts

Laser Radials
1. Conor Gorman 13pts
2. Sean Craig 29pts
3. Adam Walsh 35pts
4. Alan Coakley 59pts
5. Adam Leddy 60pts.

As this is the last Frostbite Report for 2019, I close by wishing you all a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year! See you on January 5th!

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Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club (DMYC) has made an early decision to cancel its Sunday afternoon dinghy frostbite series in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Met Eireann say South to southwest winds will reach gale force later today on all Irish coasts and on the Irish Sea.

Southwest to west winds will further increase strong gale to storm force on Irish coasts from Roche's Point to Slyne Head to Fair Head Sunday morning and afternoon.

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A misty, almost windless start to the day left frostbiters wondering if they would get afloat all at the DMYC Dinghy Frostbites. Earlier DBSC Turkey Shoot Keelboat racing was cancelled on Sunday morning with north-westerly zephyrs peaking at two knots. However, by about 12.30 the ghostly air had started to swing in the forecast direction so dinghy racers gathered at the waterfront clubs and optimistically pulled off covers and prepared their boats in almost zero wind. Their positivity was rewarded as the air settled into the predicted southeasterly and reached five or six knots. So it was that racing got away with only the slightest delay.

The mixed PY fleet included nine of the eleven Fireballs entered in the series, along with an assortment of Wayfarers, RS 400s, 200s and single-handers. The start line was frankly messy with a favoured pin end and anyone who got away cleanly counted their blessings!

Amongst those were Fireballers Neil Colin and Alistair Court who led the mixed fleet most of the way around the course. Ultimately Neil Colin sailing with John McAree prevailed on the water but on handicap Monica Schaefer won the Windward-Leeward race in the light airs by impressively steady and fast sailing in patchy conditions.

"Special mention for the volunteer race team for getting two races under the belt in challenging conditions"

For race two the pin end bias on the start line was even more pronounced and again the trick was to get off the line in good shape, with an individual recall flag flying to nag those with a guilty conscience. In this race, Newtownards sailor and heroic commuter Josh Porter crewed by Cara McDowell got clean away and led around the course. Followed by series leaders Noel Butler/Stephen Oram they held their lead to the finish. Again in the light airs, they were denied the mug which went to Des Fortune in his Finn who maintained a steady, fast and trouble-free path around the windward-leeward course.

Amongst the three laser fleet divisions the races were won in race one by John Marmelstein, Conor Gorman and Rian Geraghty McDonnell; and in race two by Vasily Shamkov, Hugh O'Connor and Rian Geraghty McDonnell.

Special mention for the volunteer race team led by PRO Ben Mulligan for getting two races under the belt in challenging conditions. The popular series continues until the end of March. Entries at present remain open with more sailors welcome to join the fray.

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The opening round of the 2019/2020 Frostbites, hosted by the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club was sailed in sunshine and air temperatures that were around the 9 - 11º mark in a westerly wind that fluctuated a little during the first race and necessitated a shift of the weather mark for the second race writes Cormac Bradley.

Sixty-one boats took to the water with the fleets split as follows; PY – 21 boats, Laser Full Rig – 8 boats, Laser 4.7s – 10 boats and Laser Radials – 22 boats. In the PY fleet there was a very healthy turnout for the Fireballs with eight boats, including one helmsman that we haven’t see for a while – Dr Kieran Harkin sailing with Michael Keegan in 14676. Given that the Fireballs will be having their Worlds hosted by Howth Yacht Club in August 2020, maybe this is the start of a new injection of enthusiasm for the class in the build-up to the Worlds. Also included in the PY fleet were two Wayfarers, sailed by Frostbite regulars Monica Schaeffer & Miriam McCarthy and newcomers from the Dun Laoghaire Flying Fifteen fleet, David Mulvin and Ronan Beirne. Another combination with Flying Fifteen connections raced the solitary GP14, Ciara Mulvey and Peter Murphy. Sailing in Dublin (SID) had four Laser Vagos on the water, one sailing single-handed, and the RS fraternity were represented by the RS 200s of Sarah Byrne and Jemima Owens/Henry Start and a RS400 from Greystones in the form of Paul Phelan & Alan Leddy. We also had a RS Aero 7 sailed by Brendan Foley. Conspicuous absentees on Day 1 were the Kona Windsurfers, the Solo of Shane McCarthy and the K1 of Tom Murphy – maybe they are affording the others a chance to get warmed up. Also conspicuous by their complete absence were the IDRA fleet without a single representative.

In the Laser fleets my knowledge of the names isn’t as good but regular “Frostbiters” in the form of Shirley Gilmore, Sean Craig, Gavan Murphy, Chris Arrowsmith, Kenny Rumball, fresh from a line honours win in the big-boat Turkey shoot that morning, Conor Kinsella, defending Frostbite overall champion Conor Gorman, Alana Coakley, Mary Chambers and a number of others were in attendance.

With the wind direction being around the 290º mark, the committee boat set up close to the weather station on the East Pier and set a triangular course with the weather-mark close to the INSS’ green raft, the gybe mark, about 150m downwind of the entrance to the marina and the leeward mark down by the East Pier. As per the race management team briefing in advance of the racing, the committee boat was offset from the line between the leeward and windward marks to afford the recorders a better chance to get sail numbers.

General Recalls were the order of the day for the first starts of the new Frostbites season with both the PY fleet, led by the Wayfarer of Schaeffer/McCarthy and closely followed by Court & Syme in their Fireball and the other Fireballs breaking the line early to the extent that the limit mark completely disappeared with the Laser/4.7 fleet following suit. That left the Radials as the only fleet to get away cleanly and based on last year’s experience, that was a turn-up for the books.

In the restart of the PY fleet, under black flag, there were only two transgressors a Fireball and a RS. It might be argued that the use of the black flag was premature but given the day’s ambition for two races and the time of year, there is pressure to get races away promptly.

The trend appeared to be for the fleet to go left off the start line and my sense was that the leaders stayed left for the majority of the beat before making their way left to right to get around the weather mark.

In the PY Class Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (Fireball 15061) led both races from start to finish to get the business of securing a Frostbite Mug out of the way early. They had an easy opening win on the water relative to the second-placed boat on handicap, the RS 200 of Sarah Byrne, but the 2:25 margin on the water was whittled down to 25 seconds on corrected time. But even from within the Fireball Class itself, the challenge to this pair was modest, with the RS400 of Phelan/Leddy leading the chase. In Fireball-only terms the finishing order was Butler/Oram, Alistair Court/Gordon Syme (14706) and Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775). In the second race, it was more competitive but Butler/Oram still got home by 1:05 relative to Kieran Harkin/Michael Keegan with Frank Miller & Ed Butler (14713) completing the podium. Of note in Race 1 was the fourth-place finish on handicap of Patrick Hassett in the 2.4.

In the Lasers, two competitors each took a podium place in each race. While Alan Hodgins took the first race win of the new series, Chris Arrowsmith scored a 3,1 to take the second Frostbite Mug of the day and Kenny Rumball scored a 2,3 for the day. In the second race, John Marmelstein finished between Arrowsmith and Rumball.

In the first race of the 4.7s it was a family affair with Kitty Flanagan taking the win with her sister (assumed) taking third place. Rian McGeraghty – McDonnell Rian separated the sisters and repeated his second place in the second race, finishing behind the other sister, Katie and ahead of Jacques Murphy, with Kitty fourth.

Juniors dominate the Radial entry list and Alana Coakley gave them all something to aim for by taking the first two races wins of the 2019/2020 season. Hugh O’Connor and Conor Gorman trailed her home in Race 1 while in Race 2 Gorman went up a place to second while one of the “more-seasoned” Radials, Sean Craig, took third.

As stated, the races were sailed in sunshine and wind that started out at about 10 knots and dropped to as low as six knots as recorded on the committee boat. An adjustment to the weather mark was needed for the second race as the wind went northwards, resulting in a placement that might have been a “smidgeon” too close to the West Pier. It was either that or move the committee boat and re-jig the course. Fortunately for me, only one person whispered in my shell-like ear to point this out. I’ll put it down to a first-day default!

Results are here

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After a Bumper DMYC Dinghy Frostbite on Dublin Bay last year with approximately 70 Lasers spread over three rig sizes and approximately 40 various Portsmouth Yardsticks  (PY) taking part, the DMYC has set its stall out again to replicate the format and success of last year’s series, with a few “lessons learnt” adjustments writes series organiser Neil Colin.

Starting on Sunday 3rd November, series 1 runs to Sunday 15th December, and Series 2 from Jan 5th to March 29th.

The option is there to enter either the series before Christmas, after Christmas, or both on a reduced entry fee.

While we hope to race inside and outside the harbour, the emphasis will be on shorter multiple races on each day, with the objective of at least two races per afternoon.

Subject to numbers we hope to run the same start order as last year, with the Radials having a dedicated start.

Entries are online here where we can also view the entries to date. The entry list currently stands at 33 of which 12 are Radials.

Entries will be capped at 120, almost reached last year!

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Page 3 of 17

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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