Fireball Frostbite Finale – Frantic Five-lapper!

Post date: Mar 24, 2014 3:14:2 PM

The finale to the 42nd Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club Frostbite Series was embraced by one of the largest turnouts of Fireballs in the series when 13 boats took to the water. In addition to the regulars there was a late return to racing by Class Chairman Marie Barry (14854) who has been out for the whole of Series 2 with a shoulder problem. Also making an appearance was Andy Boyle (14934), of whom we have seen very little this winter, sailing with Teddy Byrne. Barry McCartin sailing 14820 but registered as 14990 (Don’t ask!) also made a cameo appearance with Conor Kinsella on the wire. Stephen Oram (15061) was back in harness with Noel Butler and Alexander Rumball jumped ship and crewed with Luke Malcolm (14790). Conor Clancy (14807) also made a start with Gavin Doyle on the trapeze.The forecast for the day didn’t bode well for racing but the wind strength was predicted to drop as the day wore on and this is in fact what happened, the difference being that although it was blustery initially, the base strength was such that racing was possible…….and consequently, very exciting. Our measure of the wind direction in 15007 was 300º - WNW – which gave a weather mark off the West Pier and a No.2 just to the west of the gantry for the HSS ferry.

The start for the Fireballs was clean with 11 boats going one way and two boats going the other. Despite a pre-start plan to the contrary, Smyth and Bradley (15007) found themselves on the left hand side of the beat with Neil Colin and Margaret Casey (14775). Colin and Casey did better than their company on the port hand side of the beat rounding Mk 1 in third place behind Messrs Butler, Oram, Rumball and Moran in 15061 and 15058 respectively who were among the early boats to peel off the line and go up the right hand side of the beat. A combination of breeze and a tight line to Mk 2 persuaded most combinations to two-sail the top reach. Butler/Oram led around the first two marks but dropped to 2nd at Mks 3 & 4 when they went left after Mk 2 while their opponents went right. These two exchanged the lead a couple of times during the race before Butler & Oram took the lead at Mk 4 for the third time and covered Rumball & Moran to finish off the series with their third consecutive win.

For the rest of us there was a long game of snakes and ladders. Colin and Casey were going very well during the first half of the race but a capsize under spinnaker put paid to their charge and saw them end up at the wrong end of the fleet. Smyth and Bradley spent a large period of the race in the company of Alistair Court & Gordon Syme (14706) until the third beat when the latter pair managed to put a boat between them. That boat was Clancy & Devlin who this correspondent had thought were “long gone” until they appeared within striking distance on the third beat. Clancy got his place back again to finish the race in 5th place. McCartin & Kinsella (14820) and Boyle and Byrne (14934) seemed to have a comfortable race – not threatening the front two but not really being threatened from behind either. Frank Miller & Grattan Donnelly (14713) put pressure on Smyth & Bradley as well but faded away with spinnaker halyard trouble – this brought Malcolm and Rumball (14790) onto the horizon, but age ultimately won out over youth!

As the race progressed, and it lasted for approximately 49 minutes, the wind eased and by the time the fleet was safely ashore, the inner reaches of the harbour were becoming glassy. While there were only a couple of capsizes in the Fireball fleet, the other fleets provide plenty of work for the rescue boats.

At a busy prize-giving in the DMYC after racing the curtain was brought down on this 42nd version of the Frostbites. In total eighteen (18) races were sailed between the Sunday after Halloween and 23rd March, with the exception of the Sunday’s either side of Christmas. While we lost quite a few Sundays to heavy weather, there were multiple Sundays where we sailed two races to make up for lost time. And even after 18 races there was a candidate for a daily Frostbite Mug in one of the other classes.

Due thanks need to be recorded in print to Olivier Prouveur and his substantial team of volunteers – Committee Boat crew, Race Officers and Rescue/Mark/RIB personnel - who give of their time so readily. We should also acknowledge the hospitality of the DMYC and their staff who provide a bar and hot soup after racing every Sunday.

For the Fireball Class there is now a short hiatus before we take to the water again on the weekend of 11/12 April when we have an Irish Sailing Association/Class co-funded training weekend running out of the premises of the INSC with a World Championship winning crew and one of our own providing the tuition.

We have also finalized the regatta schedule for the summer and this will be posted to the various websites that I use as a separate article imminently.