Monitoring the forecast from the Thursday beforehand the weather prognosis for the Frostbites of Sunday 9th December wasn’t good, with the base wind strength in the low twenties but gusts going above 30 knots. Indeed, had the Frostbites been scheduled for the Saturday evening, competitors wouldn’t have taken their covers off their boats, the wind was whistling through the rigging and it was very wet.
Sunday dawned bright but cold and there was a sense that the wind wasn’t quite as vicious as had been forecast! XCWeather was still sticking to its projection of a wind range of 21 – 28-30 knots and indeed at 11:17 the Dublin Bay weather buoy was recording 21 knots with a gust of 28 knots. However, an early walk around the eastern end of the harbour (National & Royal St George end) revealed relatively flat water and three Toppers sailing inside the harbour without too much strife. Walking back towards the DMYC, a group of Optimists were sailing outside the harbour and again didn’t seem to be struggling too much. Finally the steam trail at the Poolbeg Incinerator while blowing horizontally most of the time occasionally had an element of upwards movement.
All of this persuaded the Race Team to go out into the main body of the harbour to get a feel of what might be possible. At that stage the wind was blowing from 280⁰ at between 12 and 18 knots and just as we made our back to the DMYC a top wind speed of just over 21 knots was recorded.
Further discussion ashore with the Frostbites coordinator, Neil Colin, prompted the decision that a single race would be sailed but that if the conditions got worse, even with a course in place, the race committee could abandon proceedings.
Maybe not all the competitors were as enthused as the race team, for a number arrived late and one high profile combination only managed to sail out from their home club in the eastern reaches of the harbour to the pin end of the start line as the gun went. Afterwards there was a “tongue in cheek” reference to the efficiency of their approach, minimising the time spend on the water in advance of the gun. This combination were forced to the right hand side of the course as a consequence of their late arrival at the start line but the absence of choice didn’t seem to impact on their arrival at the top mark. However, they weren’t the first boat there!
Race Officer Cormac Bradley set an Olympic course with three laps. The weather mark was set in the vicinity of the western bight, just north of the entrance to the marina with a gybe mark deliberately set low so that in the squally conditions there was more wriggle-room for those who chose to fly spinnaker. So while the breeze fluctuated in strength, it was relatively steady in direction. Yes, there was movement, but my checking of the wind direction during the pre-start and early stages suggested that the weather mark was in a good compromise position and the sailors who made their way to the DMYC clubhouse afterwards seemed to be happy with the fare that had been served.
The Fireballs led the PY fleet home with Messrs Butler & Oram (FB 15061) taking the win on the water followed home by Phil Lawton & Owen Laverty (FB 14990) a short distance behind. Shortly thereafter the Solo of Shane McCarthy came home and he had enough time to go top of the rankings on handicap. The Frostbite Mug for the PY fleet went to the Keegans (FB 146766), with dad Mick crewing for son David. A number of the Fireballs were unusually late for the start, Messrs Butler & Oram arrived “on the starting signal”. But the Thompson brothers Daniel & Harry (15007), and unusually, Frank Miller & Ed Butler (14713) were more significantly disadvantaged by their late arrival, but to give them their due they did sail the whole race.
The Laser fleets also enjoyed a fast circuit of the harbour and finished in quite a tight order. Conor O’Leary from the Royal St George won the Frostbite Mug in the Radial fleet and I recall that Sean Craig was well up the pecking order on the water. Regrettably, my photos of the results sheet in the DMYC are illegible and as I write this report the results are not yet up on the DMYC website. So my apologies for this slightly tardy report!
However, the photos below by Neil Colin should make up for the dearth of “blow by blow details of what happened on the water.
“Frostbiters” are advised that next Sunday’s solitary race will count for DOUBLE points and that the prize-giving for Series 1, November/December will take place in the DMYC Clubhouse after racing. This will close out the Frostbites for 2018.