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