Final Frostbite Sunday 2018

Post date: Dec 17, 2018 10:36:29 AM

With howling gales on Saturday, courtesy of Storm Deirdre, the weather forecast for today was a lot more benign with a base wind of 9 knots with gusts up to 15 knots from a WSW direction. Or at least that’s what XCWeather was saying during the morning. Arriving at the office to get a piece of work done before racing, the view from the 3rd Floor of my office location suggested that the Tukey Shoot participants were having a good race but there was nothing excessive about the wind. They had a fleet in excess of 50 bots.With a solitary double points scoring race on the Agenda for today, there was a debate as to whether we should go outside, but with hindsight, staying in was the better call. Race Officer Cormac Bradley and Frostbites co-ordinator Neil Colin decided that a long race would fit the bill and we would stick with triangles. Thus a five lap course was set with the weather mark initially set about two hundred metres west of the former HSS berth. By 13:40 the full course was set and while there was some fluctuation in the breeze, the location of the weather mark held true for quite a while. A well-known Laser Radial sailor advised me that he could almost fetch the mark on port tack and no sooner had that been acknowledged than a substantial shift to the left happened. This in turn prompted a call to the mark layer to drag the weather mark eastwards.

Three clean starts were managed today but there were OCSs in the PY fleet, with one of the Kona Windsurfers called back and at least one Fireball going back with him. Somehow or other the K1 (Tom Murphy, NYC) sneaked a star that neither the recorders nor the RO saw and he was not amused to find himself recorded as an OCS at the clubhouse afterwards.

While the race sequences had started in about 9 knots of breeze, it became apparent that the wind was fading rather than strengthening and there was certainly no sign of the 15 knots that had been promised. The RS Aero was well up the pecking order at the first weather mark in the company of two Fireballs – Noel Butler and Stephen Oram (15061) and the ladies, Cariosa Power & Marie Barry (14854), who after the racing told me of their position at the first weather mark. The tendency to flick left made the first reach tighter than originally intended and Messrs Butler & Oram didn’t gybe at Mark 2 but sailed on for quite some distance before adjusting course to get to Mark 3. Behind these two the remaining Fireballs were in close proximity to each other. Power & Barry had a systems failure with putting up and taking down their spinnaker and while it cost them places and distance on the water, and one imagine huge frustration, it was not the sort of day where it could have been much more catastrophic! The Aero stuck with the Fireballs for the first lap but then more of them caught and passed him. Butler and Oram were racing against the clock, with Shane McCarthy being their principal opposition on the water for the overall Series 1 lead. They “streaked away”, figuratively, not physically, from their own fleet and took a 16:14 winning margin over McCarthy into the results machinations, which converted into a 7:25 win. The next three Fireballs were overlapped on the finish line and in a very tight call the Thompson brothers, Daniel & Harry (1500) got the nod ahead of Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691) who sneaked in ahead of Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775).

By this stage the wind was down to a measly 3 knots so with Butler & Oram having such a big lead on the water a belated decision was taken to relocate the finish boat at the weather mark. We made it just before the Fireball pair!! At least it meant that the fleet had a much shorter sail home in wind that was rapidly disappearing.

I am not sufficiently familiar with enough of the Laser fleets to know “Who’s who” so a blow by blow account is not as forthcoming. However, Adam Walsh did lead the 4.7 fleet from start to finish as did Chris Arrowsmith in the Standard Rig. While in the Radials, I can confirm that the leading three boats throughout the race were Conrad Vandlik, Conor Clancy (ex-Fireball) and Sean Craig.

Given that this was the last Sunday of Series 1 the prize-giving for the Series was held in the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club after racing with snacks and soup provided for our sustenance. Thus the tables that follow will detail the day’s winners, followed by the Series results of the same Class.

*Provisional – subject to the K1 being reinstated.

Frostbites Co-ordinator Neil Colin MC-ed the prize-giving and in addition to the 1-2-3 overall prizes in each fleet, there was recognition for the Laser Radials and 4.7s who have managed to swell the numbers of entrants to the Frostbites to over 100 boats this year. The “junior” Laser sailors were invited to take a small token prize from the “top table” to acknowledge their participation.

Given the onset on the festive season, there was also a prize today for “Best-dressed boat”. Two of the Junior Lasers were given special mention by way of using festive bows and suitably coloured tinsel, but the easy winner of the “concours d’elegance” in a festive theme was the Wayfarer of Monica Schaeffer & Miriam McCarthy.

The Fireball Worlds in 2020 are coming to Howth Yacht Club and part of the sponsorship package for the event involves Tyrconnell Whiskey. A donation of three bottles of this gold elixir was made by Judith Malcolm and her husband for a draw with all Fireball crews eligible and a draw for all the volunteers. Marie Barry and Cariosa Power picked up the competitor prize, while the volunteer prize went to Liam O’Brien.

This concludes the Frostbites for 2018. Racing resumes in January, so from this correspondent, “Happy Christmas and a Peaceful & Prosperous New Year”!