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Viking Marine DMYC Dinghy Frostbites Returns to Dun Laoghaire Harbour After Three Week Hiatus

13th February 2024
Roy McKay leads a group of ILCA 7s around the weather mark at the Viking Marine DMYC Dinghy Frostbites at Dun Laoghaire Harbour
Roy McKay leads a group of ILCA 7s around the weather mark at the Viking Marine DMYC Dinghy Frostbites at Dun Laoghaire Harbour Credit: Ian Cutliffe

After an adverse weather-enforced hiatus of three Sundays without sailing, a reduced Frostbite fleet took to the waters of Dun Laoghaire Harbour to resume activity in the Viking Marine-sponsored Frostbites hosted by Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club. While the forecast from the middle of the week on XCWeather and as broadcast by Met Eireann – 15 – 17 knots, gusting 2 – 24 knots Westerly wasn’t the most conducive, the fact that we hadn’t sailed for three Sundays persuaded the Race Officer, in consultation with other key members of the regatta team, to leave a “Go/No Go” decision as late as possible.

The DBSC Spring Chicken Fleet apparently had blustery, gusty conditions for their Sunday morning session, but a quick drive past along the harbour road suggested that conditions weren’t maybe as severe as the forecast was proposing. The flags on the Royal St George weren’t being flogged, nor were the flags at the marina, and what I thought was a Melges 15 was comfortable as it sailed away from the shore into the body of the harbour.

Noel Butler chasing the two Fireballs (white/blue spinnaker 14676) and FB 14790Noel Butler chasing the two Fireballs (white/blue spinnaker 14676) and FB 14790

At the DMYC, there was still some reticence about the viability of sailing, but the overall sentiment was that we needed to try, and so we went afloat on the basis that we would get one race in and review the situation on the water. There was an exceptionally high tide at 12:26, which meant there would be nominal protection from the harbour wall in the westerly that was blowing. However, initially, the 15-17 that had been forecast was down to a high of 15 knots with gusts that went a bit higher. In the pre-race period, gusts of 19 and 20 knots were recorded, but conversely, we also had wind readings of 8 – 9 knots. The sun was out and the westerly meant that a long beat could be set across the longer E-W axis of the harbour. An extra RIB was on the water……….just in case.

It seemed the Frostbite fleet may not have had the same intent as the organisers to go racing as we had a modest fleet of 32 boats for the first race with the ILCA 7s and the 6s each boasting 11 boats while the PY fleet had 10 boats on the water. Of course, there was an onshore distraction in that there was a 6 Nations game on at the Aviva Stadium with Ireland hosting Italy which may have cost us attendees at the game or armchair watchers at home.

Either way the three fleets enjoyed two 3-lap Olympic races that allowed those who were on the water to catch most of the 2nd half of the rugby in real-time. The wind strength varied from 9 – 15 knots with some robust gusts coming through but these disappeared as the afternoon wore on.

The wind direction flicked marginally either side of due west from the committee boat’s perspective for the majority of the afternoon before shifting leftwards for the second half of the second race. Still, most competitors seemed to enjoy the day on the water and there were only a handful of boats that went ashore after the first race.

The ILCA 7s may not have the biggest entry in the Frostbites, but they consistently turn out a high percentage of their numbers. They had eleven of a possible thirteen boats on the water and enjoyed tight racing in both races. The “rabbit” of Series 1, Theo Lyttle was in a group of 6 boats that were in tight company for the duration of the first race. Included in this group were Gary O’Hare, Gavan Murphy and John O’Driscoll. However, the winner of Race 1 for the 7s, was Conor Byrne who at an early stage in the race was much further back in the fleet. Indeed, if memory serves, he was second last with a sail issue as he approached the leeward mark for the first time. Theo Lyttle finished second, with Murphy, O’Hare and John O’Driscoll filling positions 3 to 5.

In Race 2 Conor Byrne repeated the trick of winning without going to the back of the fleet first. Lyttle went ashore and the finishing order behind Byrne was Gary O’Hare, John Marmelstein, Gavan Murphy and Sean Flanagan.

In overall terms, Lyttle leads Series 2 on 7pts, with O’Hare on 10pts and Marmelstein on 11pts.

The ILCA 6s also enjoyed a close company race at the head of their fleet of eleven boats. Race wins were shared between Daniel O’Connor (R1) and Conor Clancy (R2).  While Darren Griffin took second in both races, Clancy’s win in Race two combined with a third in Race 1 means he takes the day’s honours. Hugh Delap scored a 4,5 in the two races, while Shirley Gilmore went the other way round with a 5,4. Clancy, Griffin, Delap and Gilmore were the only ones to feature in the top five in both races with the other top five spot going to Owen Laverty, third in Race 2.

ILCA 6s at the weather mark. Photo: Ian CutliffeILCA 6s at the weather mark. Photo: Ian Cutliffe

In overall terms, Darren Griffin leads on 8pts, Conor Clancy is second on 10pts, Owen Laverty is third on 16pts, with Delap, Gilmore and Hugh Cahill occupying the next three places on 17, 19 and 28pts, respectively.

On the water, the race for the PY fleet had a new joiner with the RS 200 of Jamie and Katie Tingle. Rounding the first weather mark in Race 1, initially, I thought the pink downwind sail was the Fireball spinnaker of Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (15016), but on closer inspection, it was the gennaker of the RS 200 of the Tingles, who proceeded to maintain their lead around the triangle of the Olympic course. They were followed by the blue spinnaker of Alastair Court & Gordon Syme (15156), the blue and white spinner of Michael Keegan and in new downwind livery, the red and whiter spinnaker of McKenna & O’Keeffe. However, the Aeros were also well up with Noel Butler leading a quartet of boats around the course – Sarah Dwyer, Stephen Oran and Paul Phelan. On the downwind leg of the sausage, the different modes of sailing, an asymmetric rig versus a symmetric rig, meant that the Fireball could sail a more direct route to the leeward mark, and this allowed the Fireball to take the lead on the water. It was a lead that was relinquished!

The Fireball led the way home with an elapsed time of 27:56. A minute and a half later, Butler crossed the finish line, and a further 2:09 on the clock saw finishes by the RS200, Tingle and Tingle (+0:06) and the Aeros of Paul Phelan (+0:59), Stephen Oram (+1:27) and Sarah Dwyer (+2:09).

Noel Butler (Aero 3289) leads Jamie & Katie Tingle (RS200 1297) and Michael Keegan & helm (FB 14676) around the weather mark. Photo: Ian CutliffeNoel Butler (Aero 3289) leads Jamie & Katie Tingle (RS200 1297) and Michael Keegan & helm (FB 14676) around the weather mark. Photo: Ian Cutliffe

On corrected time, (almost) needless to say, Butler’s Aero 6 took the win by 1:36 over the Tingle’s RS200 with two second separating Dwyer and Phelan in that order. Oram got fifth, 26 seconds down on Phelan but 18 seconds ahead of the Fireball.

In Race 2, there was a similar story,  the Fireball of Court & Syme led the fleet home on the water by a margin of 1:07 on the Tingle’s RS200 and 1:56 on the leading Aero, Butler’s 6. 2:37 on the water allowed another two Aeros to get home, Oram’s 7 and Dwyer’s 6 in that order. But on corrected time the inevitable happened, Butler, third across the finish line was elevated to first with the Tingles holding on to second on corrected time, 0:42 down on the Aero. Court & Syme swapped places with Butler, finishing third on corrected time with Oram and Dwyer behind the Fireball by 5 seconds and 19 seconds, respectively.

Reference must be made of two Fireballs who capsized within metres of the finish line in good positions overall. One of these had broken a main halyard, gone ashore to repair it, and returned for the second race. The other capsize was caused by the bane of trapeze crews on a tack – getting the hook off before tacking. Both capsizes were of the slow-motion variety!!

In overall terms, a quartet of Aeros occupy the first four places: Butler (4), Oram (16), Dwyer (16), and van Maanen (22), before the Tingles break the run (24). Thereafter the sequence is the Longs, Pierre (Father) and sons Paul & Remy (IDRA) (27) and the Fireball of Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (31) with three more fireballs following behind them – McKenna & O’Keeffe, Court & Syme and Paul ter Horst & crews/helms.

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

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