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Sunshine For Christmas Countdown In December’s First DMYC Frostbite Sunday

3rd December 2019
Phelan & Leddy (RS 400) chase down the Fireballs Phelan & Leddy (RS 400) chase down the Fireballs Photo: Cormac Bradley

Fifty-eight boats took to the water for the first Frostbite Sunday of December, which for a lot of people is the trigger for the countdown to Christmas, writes Cormac Bradley.

From Friday afternoon this column’s favoured web-based weather forecasting site was predicting northerly winds up to 10 knots for the afternoon but at 9.30 on the morning the direction wasn’t correct, although the grey skies were as predicted.

The larger keelboats left the harbour with breeze outside but by the time I returned to the waterfront area at noon, the omens for vigorous racing in the afternoon weren’t good. A walk of the east pier to just beyond the bandstand revealed a very flat outer area of the harbour wind-wise and outside, the latter half of the Turkey Shoot fleet were struggling to get their morning race finished.

On repairing to the DMYC clubhouse, the wind conditions there were not healthy, either, and the final nail in the scene was the upward movement of the steam from the incinerator. All in all, not a good projection for racing.

But, by 12.30 there was a distinct movement of air around the DMYC clubhouse; the smoke from the incinerator was being blown from the top of the chimneys at an angle and in the distance, over the inner walls of the harbour, the tops of Laser sails could be seen moving quite healthily. Racing was on!

Noel Butler & Stephen Oram execute a gybe en route to the leeward mark in Race 2 | Photo: Cormac BradleyNoel Butler & Stephen Oram execute a gybe en route to the leeward mark in Race 2 | Photo: Cormac Bradley

The PY fleet had a healthy turnout of 27 boats with a full complement of 11 Fireballs, excuse the bias! On the Frostbite director’s orders, a long line had been set and the fleet availed of the increased length to generate a fairly even distribution of boats. They all headed to the left-hand side before breaking off to take a hitch to the right.

However, by the upper end of the beat to the weather mark on a two-lap triangular course, the fleet was spread across the width of the course – always a good sign for any race officer.

While there was a cluster of Fireballs at the first weather mark, the first boat to break out a third sail was the RS 400 of Phelan & Leddy. This would trigger a race within a race as the Fireballs chased the RS down but ultimately the Greystones boat with the asymmetric spinnaker would hold out to record an eight-second winning margin, which was overturned on handicap to give the Fireball of Butler & Oram (15061) an eight-second win on handicap.

The RS reps were enjoying a good day as Sarah Byrne and crew, in an RS 200, finished third on handicap, only 51 seconds behind the RS400. Another Fireball took fourth on corrected time, Daniel Thompson & Cara McDowell, sailing Josh Porter’s 14695, while fifth went to the Wayfarer of Monica Schaeffer & Miriam McCarthy.

And speaking of McCarthys, the Solo of Shane McCarthy made its seasonal debut. Special mention should be made of a seventh-place finish of Sailing in Dublin’s Laser Vago, helmed by Rose-Marie Daly and crewed by Pat McGrath. The Fireballs also enjoyed good racing within the fleet.

The subsequent starts for Lasers and 4.7s and the Radials saw a similar approach to the start, an even distribution of boats along the line, an initial hitch out to the left and then varying degrees of bail-out to go right towards the weather mark that was situated close to the outer elbow of the West Pier.

The westerly winds gave a gybe mark position downwind of the entrance to the marina, while the leeward mark was situated off the East Pier between the weather station and the Boyd Memorial.

Five standard Lasers were led home by Vasily Shramkov, Alan Hodgins and John Marmelstein, while the four 4.7s had a finishing order of Rian Geraghty-McDonnell, Jacques Murphy and Evan Dorgan-Hayes. In the 22-boat Laser Radial fleet, the youth sailors led the way with a first and second for Conor Gorman and Alana Coakley respectively, before the more seasoned campaigner of Sean Craig closed out the podium places, with Adam Walsh putting himself between Craig and the next adult member of the fleet, Shirley Gilmore in fifth.

While the wind was fluctuating between 280 and 300º and had built to just under 10 knots, there was no real reason to ‘tweak’ the course, so course X3 was signalled for the second race. This three-lap Olympic configuration was sailed in better sunshine until later on the sun dipped behind a bank of cloud, making the single-digit temperature that bit cooler.

Frank Miller and Grattan Donnelly (14713) stole a march on the whole PY fleet with a port-tacked start at the pin end and led all the way round until the last weather mark when they lost out to Butler & Oram. This latter pair could not save their time on handicap, losing out to the RS Aero 7 of Brendan Foley by 18 seconds. Sarah Byrne and crew had a good second race, grabbing another third-place finish on handicap.

But while the Fireballs also enjoyed good racing by way of their numbers, the best race of the day was between the two Wayfarers of David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne and Monica Schaeffer & Miriam McCarthy. The latter pair had a healthy lead on the water by the first leeward mark but the former pair worked their way closer and closer to their prey, eventually finishing behind the Greystones pair by seven seconds on the finish line. In their race within a race, their efforts were rewarded with fourth and fifth on handicap.

Conor O’Leary in his Laser | Photo: Cormac BradleyConor O’Leary in his Laser | Photo: Cormac Bradley

Having complained of the cold at the conclusion of the first race, just succeeded ex-captain of the Dun Laoghaire Flying Fifteen fleet and Laser sailor, Conor O’Leary, upped his body heat and the competition in the second race by taking second place behind Shramkov, with Hodgins in third. In the 4.7s, Geraghty won again while Dargan-Hayes and Murphy swopped places from the first race.

In the Radials, Craig again had to be satisfied with third place behind Coakley and Gorman respectively, while Walsh and Jack Fahy took the next two places. And from a Flying Fifteen perspective, as the day’s race officer has been campaigning these boats for the past three seasons, there is a growing participation level in the Frostbites with David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne sailing a Wayfarer, Ciara Mulvey & Peter Murphy sailing a GP 14, Conor O’Leary sailing a Standard Laser and Hugh Cahill (Flying Fifteen 3606) making a Frostbite debut in the Laser Radial.

With ten races completed and a second discard kicking in, the overall situation(s) are as follows:

PY Fleet Overall (Total entries 29 boats)

  1. Noel Butler & Stephen Oram, Fireball, 13pts
  2. Brendan Foley, RS Aero 7, 33pts
  3. Sarah Byrne & crew(s), RS 200, 38pts
  4. Monica Schaeffer & Miriam McCarthy, Wayfarer, 44pts
  5. Jemima Owen & Henry Start, RS200, 48pts

Laser Standard (Total entries 13 boats)

  1. Chris Arrowsmith, 21pts
  2. Alan Hodgins, 23pts
  3. John Marmelstein, 24pts
  4. Marc Coakley, 29pts
  5. David Field, 42pts

Laser 4.7s (Total entries 11 boats)

  1. Rian Geraghty – McDonnell, 9pts.
  2. Jacques Murphy, 23pts
  3. Kitty Flanagan, 26pts
  4. Evan Dargan-Hayes, 32pts

Laser Radials (Total entries 33 boats)

  1. Conor Gorman, 12pts
  2. Sean Craig, 27pts
  3. Adam Walsh, 29pts
  4. Alana Coakley, 56pts
  5. Adam Leddy, 56pts.

And in a blatant case of bias, the pecking order in the Fireballs is;

Fireballs (Total entries 11 boats)

  1. Noel Butler & Stephen Oram, 10pts
  2. Alistair Court & Gordon Syme, 31pts
  3. Frank Miller & Ed Butler, 32pts
  4. Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe, 35pts
  5. Neil Colin & Margaret Casey, 38pts
Published in DMYC
Cormac Bradley

About The Author

Cormac Bradley

Email The Author

Dublin Bay Fireballer Cormac Bradley was appointed Rear Commodore of the International Fireball Class in 2017. He is a regular dinghy and one design correspondent on

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