With the Irish Universities having a 70th team racing event in Dun Laoghaire Harbour over the weekend, with 71 races completed on Saturday and various training initiatives taking place inside (and outside) the harbour, Race Officer Neil Colin (Fireball) was challenged to get his DMYC Frostbites race course in yesterday for the third round of the 2018/19 Frostbites, with an easterly of 10 – 16 knots forecast for the day. Earlier in the morning the keelboats’ Turkey Shoot had attracted a record entry of 75 boats (a statistic gleaned from another article on a popular website) but not to be outdone, the dinghy fraternity mounted a robust attendance for the first race of the day with 55 entries across the three starts. The start area was in the outer western corner of the harbour, between the mouth and the western bight with the committee boat no more than 50 – 60m upwind of the inner wall. Given a heavy swell that was washing up on the rocks, it was a slightly unnerving feeling to have so many boats sailing up and down in such a confined area.
Race 1 of the day was a two-lap Windward – Leeward and the bulk of the fleet went off on starboard tack towards the end of the West Pier. As to be expected, Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (FB 15061) were quick out of the blocks, but your correspondent, crewing for Alistair Court (FB 14706), also got away cleanly pulling away from Frank Miller & Grattan Donnelly (FB 14713). The longer tack was the port tack up the length of the harbour towards the East Pier with the weather mark in the approximate vicinity of the Boyd Memorial. With that bit more weight on the wire, Court was able to sail a higher line and had closed to a distance that necessitated a call of starboard when Butler & Oram came across on what they thought was an approach to the weather mark. Except, they chose the wrong mark, going for what was a sizeable spreader mark and on rounding it, launched their kite. Court and Bradley went round the weather mark and found that they were in company with Miller & Donnelly. The initial part of the downwind leg was a broad reach to the western end of the harbour mouth, followed by a gybe to get towards the leeward gate. Except that was like getting through the rush of a train platform as the Lasers were making their way upwind and going through the start line was taboo……….though some may have done this.
Court rounded in the lead and up the next upwind leg was able to stretch his advantage again with Bradley’s bigger weight on the wire, though he is lighter than this time last year! However, Miller & Donnelly were not to be outdone and came back at them on the off-wind leg. A poor drop by Bradley going through the gate allowed Miller to close even more but Court squeezed the win on the water by a margin of 4 seconds over Miller, with the Thompson brothers, sailing Louis Smyth’s boat, 14007, next 16 seconds later and the unusually errant Butler & Oram next home in 15:27 minutes only 40 seconds behind the winners. The question was did Court’s Fireball have enough on Shane McCarthy’s Solo to take the win and maybe a Frostbite Mug. The answer was No on both counts, despite being just short of two minutes down on Court’s finishing time, McCarthy won by 1:14 on handicap and the Kona Windsurfer of Des Gibney took second and the Mug by a four-second margin on the Fireball.
In the Laser Full Rig Class the race win and Mug went to the Dun Laoghaire Laser Class Captain Gavan Murphy followed home by Chris Arrowsmith and Conor O’Leary, the latter having sailed 6 one-lap Flying Fifteen Frostbite races the day before in the last round of 2018 racing for the DL Flying Fifteen fleet.
In the Radials, the race win and Mug went to Sean Craig, ahead of Marco Sorgassi and Conor Clancy, formerly of the Fireball Class. In the 4.7s, the race win and Mug went to Adam Walsh, followed by Alana Coakley and Conor Gorman.
For the second race of the day a four-lap Olympic configuration was set and the attrition rate started to kick in as the combined entry for this race was down to 44 boats. The weather mark stayed pretty much where it was and the spreader mark was converted to a gybe mark and located just inside the end of the West Pier. Again the consensus was to get off the start line on starboard and head towards the West Pier. The Thompson brothers and Butler & Oram had the best starts of the second race while others were adversely affected by the presence of a Laser 4.7 who was in the wrong place at the wrong time…….in irons. We were all genteel in our language in advising him what he should be doing. Having broken free of the melee, Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (FB 14691), Miller and Court found themselves in VERY close company but Court was able to power out between the two. Butler & Oram were never headed off the start line and the race for second, on the water featured Court, Miller and the Thompsons. Upwind, Court held the upper hand being able to sail much closer to the wind without losing boat speed whereas Miller and Thompson sailed that bit further off the breeze. It invariably meant a coming together in the vicinity of tacking for the starboard lay-line, with Court being “Starboard- hailed” on more than one occasion on the beat. But over the first three beats, Court eked out a lead going upwind which Miller and the Thompsons reduced on the downwind legs. It had been blustery all day, not wipe-out strength, but there were upturned boats on the course as gybes and windward rolls took their toll. On the last beat Court and Bradley were knocked over and filled the cockpit with water, enough to cause their good work earlier to evaporate.
Butler & Oram won by 1:35 on the water over Miller & Donnelly in a race that lasted 24:12, with the Thompsons next home in 26:30, 43 seconds behind Miller and just nine seconds ahead of Court & Bradley who had a second on McKenna & O’Keeffe. McCarthy was 2 seconds short of being five minutes behind Butler & Oram on the water, but on corrected time closed that gap to just seven seconds. With Des Gibney third, Miller & Donnelly picked up the PY Mug for the second race.
In the Lasers, the win and Mug in the Standard Rig went to Ian Simington, followed by Peter Fagan and Gavan Murphy. Adam Walsh took the Laser 4.7s on the water, followed home by Alana Coakley and Conor Gorman. That was good enough to give Conor the Race Mug and considering he has recently come out of Optimists, on the basis of age, this is a great result. His sister is a previous Mug winner in this Series (Day 1 Radials) so Dad Dave, the current Flying Fifteen National Champion, must be “chuffed” at their success. In the Radials, the one-two was repeated by Craig and Sorgassi but this gave Marco Sorgassi the Race Mug, with Jack Hall in third place.