Blustery close to Frostbites!

Post date: Dec 18, 2017 1:40:29 PM

The forecast was for wind! The Frostbite organisers were expecting wind as they posted on Facebook that although the wind in the earlier part of the day was strong, it was due to moderate by the start of the afternoon. In the dinghy park, as we rigged, there was a sense that the gusts were strong as they whistled through the rigging and on looking out on the seascape of the harbour; it was obvious there was wind on the water. Wind direction was WNW in the range of 280 - 295˚. In the warmth of the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, post-racing, a review of the wind records for the dlharbour website showed that the base wind strength was in the range of 18 – 20 knots with gusts getting into the high twenties; 27 – 30knots. So much for the moderation!

The Fast PY fleet was made up of five Fireballs, the 470 and the single-handed K1. In the Slow PY fleet the “usual suspects” were present; the Solo of Shame McCarthy, the Wayfarer of Monica Schaeffer and Miriam McCarthy, the RS Feva XL of Conor Galligan, the two KONA Windsurfers of Robbie Walker and Des Gibney and the Hartley 12.2 of Odhran Prouveur & Helen Sheehy. The Lasers had a reasonable turnout as well.

A five lap trapezoid was set as the order of the day and the favoured route up the first beat was a starboard tack exit from the start line, across to the left hand-side of the course before a decision to tack onto port and make one’s way to the weather mark which was again located in the area of the “knee” of the West Pier. On a windward to leeward basis, Noel Butler & Marie Barry (15061) were closest to the committee boat at the gun and thus occupied the windward slot, below them were Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775), David & Michael Keegan (14676), Louise McKenna & Cormac Bradley (14691) and Frank Miller & Ed Butler (14713). While Miller was furthest to lee, it also meant that h was the first to reach a theoretical port lay-line and thus he had the comfort of being able to tack and clear the fleet. Butler had gone earlier, favouring a middle of the beat approach and these two led the fleet around the first weather, with Miller leading. Behind them the order was McKenna, Colin and Keegan.

In the blustery conditions, particularly around the weather mark, the top reach was too tight to fly spinnaker until the last 50m so most people two-sailed the majority of the leg and started the hoist procedure just before reaching Mark 2 which was situated just outside the approach to the marina. This left the leg from 2 to 3 as a broad spinnaker leg and indeed as the afternoon progressed the gybe into Mark 3 was taking place earlier and earlier up the leg. At Mark 3, most people decided that “flying the bag” was not the way to go………but as the leader, Miller had to set an example so he and Ed flew it to great effect until it came to getting it down when they were forced to fall off to leeward. That gave Butler and Barry the opportunity to power over the top, into the lead. For the balance of the race, Butler stayed well ahead and as usual his race on the water was determined by how many of the earlier starting boats he could pass. Miller too had a comfortable remainder of the race – no-one got close to him. Colin and Casey and McKenna & Bradley were in close company for the first lap but Colin’s race came unstuck when he had the first of two capsizes at the bottom end of the course. However, he got back into the race and indeed caught McKenna on the next beat until a second capsize in the vicinity of the weather mark brought his race to a premature close.

The Keegans set an example for all of us by flying the spinnaker across the bottom reach on all bar one of the laps. However, upwind they lost ground to McKenna & Bradley so that for each lap the gap opened and then closed. However, up the last beat the distance between them closed dramatically and in the final approach to the weather mark, with Keegans charging up the port lay-line and McKenna closing in on the mark on the starboard lay-line, McKenna got blown over, allowing the Keegans to slip into a well-deserved third place on the water and the daily Frostbite Mug.

At the daily prize-giving afterwards, Principal Organiser, Neil Colin, made the comment that all the starters had finished the race with the conspicuous exception of two Fireballs – a most unusual occurrence.

(Scores have changed in accordance with final entries – thus a DNC now counts as 14 points whereas in earlier tables this was a lesser score.)

Thus Noel Butler almost made a clean sweep of the Fast PY Fleet and the banter in the club afterwards was to the effect that the only race he managed to lose on the water was when he had the World Champion GP14 helm as his crew. You just can’t rely on reputation!

On the water the only boat that Butler & Barry didn’t pass was the KONA Windsurfer of Robbie Walker which went round the 5 laps in 41 minutes. Noel was next at 46 minutes, followed by the second KONA of Des Gibney and the Fireball of Miller & Butler at 47 minutes while Shane McCarthy took 49 minutes.

This concludes the pre-Christmas Frostbites with racing due to resume on January 7th when the prize-giving for Series 1 is also due to take place – it had to be postponed from yesterday. Accordingly therefore, this correspondent signs off by wishing everyone a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful & Prosperous New Year.