XCWeather was promising 8/9 knots of breeze for the critical part of Sunday afternoon and at 09:00 the breeze looked good as the keelboats went out for their DBSC Turkey Shoot! Three hours later as I came back down to Dun Laoghaire for the DMYC Frostbites the latter finishers from the morning's racing were struggling to get over the finish line in very light conditions. Inside the harbour, it had gone very flat and in the inner harbour, there was mirror-like conditions. Sailing Manager of the National Yacht Club, Olivier Prouveur, however, assured me that there would be wind for the Frostbites, coming out of the south! By 13:15 when a decision to go afloat was necessary, the die was cast, we could see the weather-mark laying boat in a probable location from the slipway at the National Yacht Club. It turned out to be another pleasant afternoon of racing albeit without the sunshine of the previous Sunday.
Rather than doing Race Officer, today I had a Fireball berth with Louise McKenna,15016, and there was a good turnout from the class with seven boats on the water. The PY fleet had another good turn-out of 22 boats with the Kona Windsurfers making their seasonal debut and all the other players from the previous Sunday were in attendance. The first start got away under an individual recall and one Fireball went back. By the time the finish came around, it became obvious others should have gone back with them. And, having called out people who were OCS/black-flagged last Sunday, in this column, I have to admit that I was on one of the boats that should have gone back. The other "errant starter" was another Fireball, Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775). This decision caused consternation on the water, and even more discussion in the DMYC post-mortem after racing. However, given that it is difficult to dissuade a Race Officer that he is wrong on these calls, due to his relatively fixed position at the start, we just had to swallow our medicine. Race Officer, Ben Mulligan (Flying Fifteens) was clear on the water - we had transgressed!!
"This decision caused consternation on the water, and even more discussion in the DMYC post-mortem after racing"
For the first start there was cluster of boats at the committee boat end - Frank Miller & Grattan Donnelly (14713) in the Fireball and the RS clan of 200s and 400s. In "our view" we were hidden by this cluster of boats and ultimately Miller & Donnelly answered the call of the individual recall. Noel Butler & Stephen Oram, meantime, were at the outer end of the line and they led the charge to the left-hand side of the course taking the majority of the Fireballs with them. It proved to be a good call as the leading boats around the first weather mark of the 2-lap Windward-Leeward course came in from that side. The Fireballs dominated the lead bunch but the RSs were mixing it with them! Butler/Oram led the fleet around the weather mark but were closely followed by Colin/Casey, Alistair Court & Gordon Syme (14706), Josh Porter, down from N. Ireland and crewed by Cara McDowell (14695), Cariosa Power & Marie Barry (14854), Team Keegan, Michael crewing with his daughter helming (14676) and your correspondent. On the downwind leg, the Aero 7 of Brendan Foley was also keeping company with the Fireballs as was the RS 400 of Phelan & Leddy. McKenna/Bradley sailed a straighter line to the leeward gate and caught up some of the Fireball places ahead of them to round in fourth. They then went left and found themselves up to second place and within a respectable distance of Butler/Oram going up the port lay-line. They held onto this position ahead of Court/Syme only to cross the finish line in silence. This short race may have been influenced by the progressive pre-race shift of the wind in a southerly direction leaving the Race Officer with a beat across the shorter dimension of the harbour with a weather mark close to the ferry dolphins and the gate in the vicinity of the harbour mouth. In handicap terms, the RS200 of Jemima Owens & Henry Start came second, a mere 9 seconds behind the Fireball and 34 seconds ahead of Patrick Hassett in the 2.4. The Owens/Start result gave them the Frostbite Mug.
In the standard Lasers, in an eight-boat fleet, Chris Arrowsmith took the honours with Mark Coakley and David Field taking the other podium finishes. That gave the day's Frostbite Mug to Coakley. In the 4.7s (5 boats) Jacques Murphy ramped up his game to finish first, after his third last week, and was followed home by Rian Geraghty-McDonnell and Kitty Flanagan. While in the Radials, Alana Coakley carried on where she left off last Sunday with another first, chased by Conor Gorman and Adam Walsh.
For Race 2 an "X" course was signalled - Olympic configuration with three laps. Having "blown" the first race there was some conservatism applied to the second start by the correspondent's helm and the trick was to sail along the line and tack on the starting signal. A hail of "All Clear" generated some relief!! The committee boat end was "cluttered" while Butler/Oram were to tell everyone afterwards that the pin-end was like a deserted town - there was nobody there!! These two walked away with this race, beating the next Fireball, Porter/McDowell, by two minutes. Behind them the balance of the Fireball fleet fought it out with the two RS 400s and the two RS 200s. Team Keegan fell away with a broken jib car while Power/Barry had a spinnaker problem on the last lap of the course. The top reach of this course was "touch and go" for flying spinnakers. On the first lap the early part of the reach was tight but it eased a bit towards the gybe mark. Butler/Oram flew it, the 2nd placed Colin/Casey held back until the latter part of the leg. By the time the second triangle came around, it was even tighter and fewer Fireballs flew bags.
In handicap terms the 1-2 was unchanged from Race 1, the RS 200 of Owens/Start taking second place but nearly a minute behind the Butler/Oram Fireball. Brendan Foley in the Aero 7 took third, 37 seconds behind the RS 200, a Frostbite Mug-winning performance. Patrick Hassett in the 2.4 finished fourth on handicap. This represents a considerable improvement in Patrick's Frostbite record this season. In the four races he has sailed he has scored two fourth places and a third. This is surely evidence of the benefits of practice and regatta sailing! One place down the pecking order we find Monica Schaeffer & Miriam McCarthy in their Wayfarer and making his seasonal debut with a new crew, Brian O'Hare finished 10th in his RS 400.
In the standard Lasers, the win went to Mark Coakley which resulted in second-placed David Field taking the Frostbite Mug, with John Marmelstein third. In the 4.7s, Geraghty-McDonnell took the win, upping his game from Week 1, with Kitty Flanagan and Evan Dargan-Hayes third. In the Radials, Sean Craig got to grips with the lighter conditions to take his first race win of the series and the Frostbite Mug. Behind him came the younger generation in Conor Gorman and Hugh O'Connor.
Entries to the Frostbites stand at 87 boats as of this second weekend so there are still places available to enter. On the water, there were 58 boats.
Race 1 PY Class:
Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (FB),
Jemima Owen & Henry Start (RS 200)
Patrick Hassett (2.4)
Race 1 Standard Lasers
Race 1 Laser 4.7s
Race 1 Laser Radials
Race 2 PY Class
Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (FB)
Jemima Owens & Henry Start (RS 200)
Brendan Foley (Aero 7)
Race 2 Standard Lasers
Race 2 Laser 4.7s
Race 2 Laser Radials