Five Fireballs come out to play!

Post date: Feb 16, 2015 8:58:55 AM

Only five Fireballs sailed the single race in today’s offering from the DMYC’s Frostbite organisers. Messrs, McCartin, Butler, Rumball, Clancy, their respective crews and Louise McKenna and crew made up the starters. The weather station adjacent the HSS Terminal and the Windfinder App were in agreement about some of the conditions – the weather station was recording a wind direction of 172˚, a base wind strength of 10.8 knots and a recorded gust of 21.7 knots, air temperature was a balmy (for February) 8.9˚. Windfinder predicted the direction as southerly, with a wind strength that would vary from 18 – 20 knots with gusts of 22 – 26 knots between 12 noon and 15:00.

The gusts were certainly there giving the fleet some interesting spinnaker legs, particularly on the top and bottom legs of the trapezoid course which was set in the middle and western half of Dun Laoghaire harbour – a weather mark just of the end of the HSS Ferry Gantry, No. 2 just inside the end of the East Pier, No. 3 in the middle of the harbour mouth and No. 4 off what I would refer to as the “blockhouse” on the West Pier.

“Cats paws” of harder wind were blowing across the course all afternoon and these provided some fun on the off-wind legs.

The fight at the start was to secure the slot beside the committee boat – four boats went for this as Louise was slightly delayed on her way out to the start. Ultimately, it was won by Rumball and Byrne (15058), but not before McCartin and Kinsella came in too early (from my position) and had to “bale out”. The previous starts (PY Class, Lasers, RS 200 & 400s) suggested that the way to go was left, but McCartin & Kinsella, taking an early hitch to the right, subsequently crossed the other three on starboard tack and never looked back, leading from this initial crossing all the way to the finish. Butler & Oram (15061), Clancy & Clancy (15113) and Rumball & Byrne (15058) were in close company, until Rumball/Byrne capsized in a tack and fell out the back of the train. This “snookered” their race for though they got close enough to Clancy/Clancy to have the latter watching them carefully, they never recovered, place-wise, from their swim.

After the first weather mark there were no place changes but the relative fortunes of the boats did seem to change. At the end of the first lap McCartin & Kinsella looked very comfortable. Butler & Oram tried different things to close the gap but at each subsequent weather mark, bar the last, McCartin’s lead was between 20 and 30 seconds. Only on the last beat was there a sense that Butler & Oram had dramatically closed on the leaders but at this stage McCartin & Kinsella were keeping a loose cover on them anyway. And Butler & Oram got caught up in traffic at this last weather mark to allow McCartin & Kinsella away again.

Earlier in the race it had seemed that Butler & Oram were resigned to not catching the leaders (and I realise how disrespectful that might seem) but one almost got the sense that they were covering the rest of the fleet, rather than trying to catch McCartin.

Though the weather station was recording a wind direction of 174˚, as I left my observation position, a two-degree variation from when I arrived, on the water the vagaries of the wind translated to tight reaches becoming broader reaches on the top leg of the trapezoid and decisions about two sailing or three sailing the bottom leg of the trapezoid.

*Assumes that a single discard is in play!

Today’s race was Race 6 in Series 2 and the above table is my interpretation of where the leaders sit relative to each other.