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A Difficult Day on the Water at Dun Laoghaire for the DMYC Viking Marine Frostbites

25th January 2022
A drifter finish to DMYC Frostbite racing
A 'drifter' finish to DMYC Frostbite racing. See vid below Credit: courtesy Noel Butler

From as early as Thursday evening, the wind forecast for Sunday afternoon and the Viking Marine sponsored DMYC Frostbites at Dun Laoghaire Harbour was dodgy, 3 knots gusting four was the prediction! By Saturday that had improved slightly to 6knots gusting to 8, but on Sunday afternoon a preliminary trip to the outer harbour to check the scene was required before a decision was made to try and get a race in. At that stage a group of ILCAs, in session in front of the National Yacht Club were moving sufficiently to suggest a race might be possible. And so, we went out!

While these Frostbite reports are inclined to focus on the competitive aspect of the racing, given the day that evolved, it is only right to acknowledge the volunteers that give their time to running the racing. On board the committee boat, “Goose” there is a team of six people, five of whom keep track of where the competitors are and yesterday that wasn’t easy. In order to lay marks for the races, a further nine people were enlisted, that makes 15 people trying to give 65 boats a race or races as the case may be. To all those volunteers, our thanks.

The Viking Marine DMYC Dinghy fleet spread across Dun Laoghaire Harbour in the search for windThe Viking Marine DMYC Dinghy fleet spread across Dun Laoghaire Harbour in the search for wind

When “Goose” came out to the race area, a bit more breeze had filled in and the wind was coming out of the southern sector of the compass. The word sector is used advisedly as there was quite a bit of variation in where it was coming from. With the committee boat sitting inside the end of the West Pier, the variation in wind direction, at its worst, would have had a weather mark to the east of the Carlisle Pier or, alternatively, a weather mark at the entrance to the marina. That huge variance eventually gave way to a much more modest swing, but even so the weather mark ended up being in a compromised position, about 175m west of the Ferry dolphins. The leeward gate was just off the end of the West Pier.

Four laps of a Windward-Leeward course were signalled, the premise being that if it went light or silly, the course could be shortened. And the prospect of a second race wasn’t really being contemplated at that early stage of the afternoon.

In the build-up to the start, it seemed Mother Nature might be willing to give the Race Officer a reprieve as we started recording up to 9knots of breeze……..maybe this would work! The 9knots didn’t hang around!
The 28-boat PY fleet, with 10 Fireballs, 7 Aeros, 3 GP14s, 2 RS400s, the IDRA, the K1, 2 Laser Vagos, a Laser Pico and a Wayfarer struggled with their first start, prompting a General Recall and relegation to the back of the queue. The pin was adjusted and the ILCA 7s and 4s, in a 15-boat fleet got away first time with the majority of the fleet heading to the left hand-side of the beat, which was still a beat at this stage.

Next up were the ILCA 6s, of which there were 22 and they too had problems with the line as the wind and my setting of the pin end came in to play. That demoted them to a second attempt at starting behind the PY fleet who again couldn’t get away. After the ILCA 6s, the PY fleet started under a black flag and while there was an even distribution of boats along the line, Neil Colin & Marjo Moneen (FB14775) came in marginally late around the port quarter of the committee boat and seemed to have stolen a march of the rest of the boats further down the line. However, post-race they admitted that they then sailed into a hole and the guys that went left initially stormed in from that side of the course. Another post-race comment was that a particular Aero had been able to lay the weather mark on one tack almost from the start. I must admit I didn’t spot that myself, but there were other signs that things were going awry!

First the breeze had faded and while the ILCA 7s and 4s were running back from the weather mark as I expected, the boats going upwind weren’t all beating. Another tell-tale sign was that the committee boat was now sitting upwind of the leeward gate, but orientated to a S-Westerly bearing, out to the right-hand side of the course. The committee boat moved in an attempt to get a beat in to the finish, even at an early stage in the race but no sooner had the anchor been dropped than it became apparent that the new position wouldn’t work either. A decision was then taken to finish at what had been the weather mark, though what it was now was open to debate. The problem is that with the size of the course and the overall fleet size, there is no time gap in which to shift the weather mark. And abandonment would undo the efforts of all the competitors who had stayed out on the course. Next task was to identify where the leaders in each of the fleets were. The recording team had their work cut out for them today!

A shortened course was signalled at the committee boat together with a flag declaration that there would be no more racing, because at this stage the wind was at zephyr strength and very, very fickle.

To give all the competitors their dues, nobody made a grumble at the finish, and everyone seemed to appreciate that a race had been completed. It wouldn’t have stood scrutiny as a club championship race, but it did allow people to be out on the water on what was a nice afternoon temperature wise.

Viking Marine Frostbites Day 4

PY Class 28 boats
1. Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella FB 15093
2. Cariosa Power & Marie Barry FB14854
3. Stephen Oram Aero 7 3288
4. David Mulvin & Ronan Beirne GP14 14069
5. Roy Van Maneen Aero 7 3822
6. Paul Phelan Aero 7 2523
7. Frank Miller & Neil Cramer FB14713
8. Ronan Wallace & Crew FB 14840
9. Brendan Foley Aero 7 1321
10. Andrew Irvin & Aisling O’Grady RS400 1044

ILCA 7s 8 boats

1. Conrad Vandlik
2. Gary O’Hare
3. Chris Arrowsmith
ILCA 6s 22 boats
1. Brain Carroll
2. Sean Craig
3. Shirley Gilmore
4. Adam Irvin
5. Conor Clancy
ILCA 4s 7 boats
1. Daniel O’Connor
2. Emma Lynch
3. Ava Ennis

Published in DMYC
Cormac Bradley

About The Author

Cormac Bradley

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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 Afloat.ie

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