#hyc – Although the general forecast was for meteorological mayhem throughout Ireland on Sunday, Howth Yacht Club's Laser Frostbite Race Officer Liam Dineen reckoned that an expected but brief mid-morning patch of softer winds, coupled with the fact that it was low water to maximise shelter in the Sound inside Ireland's Eye, provided a small window of opportunity for some much-needed sport.
Admittedly, of the 43 regular entries in the Howth winter series (which has been a hardy annual since 1974), only eleven came to the line to challenge a shifty southerly which was 21 knots gusting 26, though it felt much stronger owing to the exceptional density of the mid-February air.
In fact, at one stage the breeze was recording as low as 16 knots. But most of the time it was a morning for screaming reaches, hairy gybes, and a couple of spectacular capsizes. At the front of the fleet, veteran Lasermen Mike Evans and Stephen Quinn had a head to head throughout the one race sailed before conditions closed down again, and at the finish it was Quinn in the lead with Evans still hounding him.
All agreed that with the weather we've had this winter, an hour of superb sailing in February sets you up every bit as well as a whole day of sunshine sport in high summer. The Howth fleet are looking forward to their final two weekends with this popular series, which attracts Laser frostbite enthusiasts from all along the east coast of Ireland.
They're anticipating a big turnout for their traditional concluding race round Ireland's Eye on Saturday March 15th, a highlight of the St Patrick's Weekend. It's an open event, and not restricted solely to those who have completed the Frostbite Series. The entry fee includes the legendary Laser Lunch which morphs seamlessly into the afternoon's rugby match. Details later this week on hyc.ie