Big turnout rewarded with best breeze of the Series!

Post date: Dec 01, 2016 8:13:48 AM

Ten Fireballs answered the starter’s call on Sunday afternoon with none of them showing any adverse signs from the season’s prize-giving at the National yacht Club on the preceding Friday night. However, one individual did say that he wasn’t at his best having been at a family function till late on Saturday night. The forecast was for an easterly, which duly arrived but there were varying forecasts as to what strength it would be. In the end we had our best racing for the Series thus far, proper trapezing upwind and off-wind on the short top reach.

In a break with recent practice we had a single race, a 5-lap trapezoid course with the start area just outside the entrance channel to the marina, a weather mark in the vicinity of the Boyd Memorial – an obelisk built into the upper Pier wall, Mark No.2 just inside the end of the East Pier, No. 3 just to the north of the Marina West Breakwater and No. 4 about ⅓ of the way between the end of the Marina West Breakwater and the HSS berth.

In assessing the course before the start, we had watched a Finn from the PY starts get into a very favourable angle relative to the weather mark by going to the right-hand side of the beat but the majority of Fireballs decided to go left initially, on starboard tack towards the harbour mouth. Two specific exceptions to this were Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775) and Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691) who went right from the start and were both rewarded by rounding in 2nd and 3rd respectively a short distance behind perennial leaders Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (15061). Alistair Court & Gordon Syme (14706) were also well up as were the other all-lady team of Cariosa Power & Marie Barry (14854). Frank Miller & Cormac Bradley (14713) were a bit further back despite being favourably disposed, weight-wise, to the stronger, though not excessive, breeze. Season-debutant Darragh McDonagh was close on Miller’s tail, too close from 1 to 3! The top reach was a three-sailer and for the first lap it was quite comfortable. The question was whether to gybe immediately at Mark 2 or to sail on towards the end of the west pier before gybing onto a long leg towards Mark 3. For the early stages of the race the immediate gybe was the preferred option. The advantage of having Noel & Stephen lead is that it gives the rest of us an indication of what is possible on the next leg. It was clear that 3 to 4 was not going to be a spinnaker leg for anyone.

Up the second beat the early pecking order didn’t change much except that miller managed to shake off McDonagh and closed the gap on the boats ahead to the extent that from 2 to 3 on the second lap, Colin, Court, McKenna and Miller were in a tight grouping with McKenna exerting aggressive but legal influence on the outside of the bunch as Mark 3 came into play. As inside boat Miller got squeezed by Court who rounded ahead of Miller but Miller had managed to get ahead of both Colin and McKenna. The leg from 3 to 4 was now tighter as the immediacy of boats caused them all to go high. Halfway across the leg the angle of attack was eased and it became a short rach to bear down on the mark.

Having gone right on the second beat and closed the gap, Miller & Bradley stayed right again, this time taking Court and Syme before they reached the weather mark, but Court wasn’t giving up that easily and kept company with Miller all the way to Mark 3. However, at 3, Miller opened a gap that he extended across to 4 leaving him in a position to watch Court with some comfort. The priority was to stay ahead of Court rather than trying to catch Butler & Oram.

Further back, some of the other boats were struggling a little; Smyth & Fisher (15007) were not showing the same form as the previous Sunday and eventually retired with a broken main halyard and possible a bit of swimming. Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire (14865) also had their fair share of trouble with a capsize on the beat in the fluky approach to the weather mark and getting blown over on the top reach which had become decidedly tighter. They too retired. McDonagh, after his early pace, fell back through the fleet and the Keegans, Peter & Michael (14676) were also off the pace.

Having got past Court on the off-wind legs, Miller extended his lead on the subsequent two beats to finish a comfortable 2nd behind Butler & Oram who ploughed a solitary furrow as race leaders from start to finish.

Court & Syme continued their form of last week as Race 2 Mug Winners to finish 3rd, with McKenna & O’Keeffe 4th and Colin & Casey 5th. Miller & Bradley’s 2nd place on the water was enough to win the day’s Frostbite Mugs.

The Class had its season prize-giving on Friday night at the National Yacht Club. New Class Chairman/President/Commodore gave a report back on the season just past, including in his opening comments a tribute to his immediate predecessor, Marie Barry, who has put in sterling work looking after the Class over the past few years. A glutton for punishment, Marie has stepped down from the Chair to take up the role of Secretary!!

While the Travellers Trophy determines the competitive prizes, there are also a number of trophies that are awarded by the Class.

1. The Asterix Trophy, awarded by committee consensus to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the Class.

Awarded to the retiring Class Chairman, Marie Barry

2. The India Trophy, awarded by committee consensus to the most improved Fireballer(s).

Awarded to Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691) for their Pwhelli Worlds performance which they followed up with 3rd place overall at the2016 Irish Fireball Nationals in Howth

3. The Captain’s Prize, awarded at the discretion of the Dun Laoghaire Class Captain, who in 2016 was Hermine O’Keefe.

Awarded to Cormac Bradley for his “Irish Fireball journalism” – writing regatta reports, Tuesday night and Frostbite racing

4. The Liam Bradley Trophy, memorial trophy awarded by Cormac Bradley in memory of his father.

Awarded to Hermine O’Keeffe for her development as a crew and her subsequent contribution to the 14691 Fireball Team as evidenced in Pwhelli at the Worlds and the subsequent 3rd place overall at the Irish Nationals

5. Silver Fleet Trophy – awarded to the top placed Silver Fleet entry over the Travellers Series (5 regattas).

Awarded to Cariosa Power and Marie Barry (14854)

6. The Lady’s Helm – Awarded to the best placed Lady Helm in the Travellers Series.

Awarded to Louise McKenna (14691)

7. Travellers Series

3rd Place – Niall McGrotty & Neil Cramer, 14938, Skerries Sailing Club.

2nd Place – Conor & James Clancy, 14807, Royal St George Yacht Club.