“In the summertime……….when the weather is hot”

Post date: Mar 26, 2018 9:47:13 AM

To paraphrase the words of Mungo Jerry, with the arrival of summertime, the sailing was hot! British and therefore Irish Summertime arrived in Dun Laoghaire with a pleasant blue sky day for what was the last round of the 47th running of the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club hosted Frostbites. While there was still a slight coolness in the air, it was a great day to be out, considering that we were nearly shivering under a couple of inches of snow the previous Sunday. One prominent Laser sailor made her own declaration that summer was here by wearing a prominently pink jacket which was akin to the warmer tones of summer.The debate, in advance of going afloat, was whether there was enough wind to sail inside or whether, given the prevailing conditions, a race should be sailed outside the harbour. There were a number of mitigating factors – a prize-giving would take place later and we didn’t want to be too late, the wind strength wasn’t that significant, XCWeather was predicting 5 – 7 knots from a N-Westerly direction and according to the marine-traffic website the two ships at anchor outside the harbour were only recording 3 knots. An Irish Naval vessel, much further out in the bay was recording something similar. And finally, the Optimists outside the harbour, while moving, weren’t suggesting there a lot of breeze outside.

The decision was taken to race inside and given that it was the last race of the series, a trapezoid course of 5 laps was set. Mark 1 was set in close proximity to the green raft used by the INSS, but would eventually have to be moved further inshore as the breeze went to the left. Mark 2 was set to leeward and just outside the approach to the marina, with Mark 3 just off the HSS berth with Mark 4 off the monument on the upper wall of the east Pier.

Nine Slow PYs opened up proceedings by all going left initially off the start line. They were led away by Shane McCarthy in the Solo, making a return after a few weeks absence, and in close pursuit were the two IDRAs of Pierre Long & John Parker and Frank Hamilton & crew. Absent for the day were the Wayfarer of Schaeffer & McCarthy and the two KONA Windsurfers of Walker & Gibney. The Solo worked the left-hand side of the beat and arrived at the top mark in good shape followed by Long, Aidan Geraghty (Enterprise) and Hamilton. However, at Mark2, instead of sailing to Mark 3, McCarthy led Long and Geraghty towards Mark 4, leaving Hamilton to sail the right course towards Mark 2. It was conservatively ⅔ of the way between Marks 2 and 4 before McCarthy realised his error and make his way back to Mark 3. Their fellow culprits saw their mistake that bit earlier and the rounding order at Mark 3 was turned on its head with Hamilton leading and McCarthy taking up the rear of the first four boats. An expensive game of “follow my leader”! McCarthy worked very hard to get back on even terms on the water and by the end of the fifth lap was only about half a boat length off the winning boat, the IDRA of Pierre Long and John Parker. However, Shane did save his time on handicap.

A 19-boat Laser fleet was split 75:25 in favour of going left and enjoyed a good windward leg to No.1. As they progressed from Mark 1 to Mark 2, the sense was that there was a continuous line of boats spread nineteen long with no significant gaps in the line. Recent “joiner” Chris Arrowsmith was proving to be the man to chase with some new names at the front – Brouder, Munro and Vandlik, with another latecomer to the series, Coakley featuring at the front as well. Less prominent were Flanagan, Murphy, Hodgins and Gilmore, while Conor O’Leary wasn’t on the water at all………more anon! The Lasers finished in the order of Arrowsmith, Brouder, Coakley, Munro and Vandlik. Munro would pick up the Frostbite Mug for his endeavours.

In the Fast PY fleet there was a substantial turnout of Fireballs, Noel Butler, with a crew imported from Howth, Emmett Dalton (15061), Alistair Court & Gordon Syme (14706), Neil Colin & Miriam McCarthy (of Wayfarer fame) (14775), Frank Miller & Ed Butler (14713) and making a Frostbite debut (I think), Joe O’Reilly crewing for Louise McKenna (14691). They were joined by the 470 of Ryan & McAree, the K1 of Tom Murphy, the Finn of Hugh Sheehy and the RS 400 of Neils Warburton & Peter Doherty. Miller & Butler aimed for a pin end start on port tack but had that particular door shut in their faces by the other Butler on the water. Colin & McCarthy seemed to have that idea as well. Miller however ended up skirting the transoms of the whole fleet and going out right, whereas everyone else seemed to be able to get left. Miller never seemed to get back into the hunt as a consequence. Butler & Dalton rounded ahead of Court & Syme and the two stayed close to each other around the first lap. However, Butler did was he has done in every other race in this Frostbite Series and progressively pulled away from the other Fireballs. Court and Colin exchanged places twice on the course before Court held out to take second place on the water by a comfortable margin followed by Colin, Miller and McKenna whose race came to a wet end shortly after rounding the first weather mark. While summertime had arrived a swim in sailing gear is not the type of greeting that is required! While the Fireballs took the first four slots on the water, Tom Murphy in the K1 outdid them all to take first place on handicap, while Hugh Sheehy in the Finn did enough to secure third. Series 2 had nine races and the results are tabled below;

In terms of the overall series, sixteen races were sailed with a total of four discards coming into play;

The Series Prize-giving was managed by DMYC’s Neil Colin in the absence of the Club Commodore. As one can imagine, a series which runs from early November through to the end of March requires a substantial number of volunteers and Neil thanked them all – committee boats teams and rib teams alike. The prizes were handed out by Valerie Kinnear and a member of the winning team from each of the three fleets also said a few word of thanks. Speaking on behalf of the Laser Class, Shirley Gilmore thanked the whole organisational team for the Frostbites and note that the scribe for the Frostbites had either been racing himself or had been Race Officer so could be shown to be capable of “multi-tasking”. In a personal capacity, she also thanked the Monkstown Choir for taking her closest rival for the overall series, Conor O’Leary, off the water today!

Miriam McCarthy, speaking on behalf of herself and her absent skipper, Monica Schaeffer, who was away on business, thanked DMYC and her fellow competitors for the warm welcome, friendly competition and banter and help that had been in evidence throughout the series. She echoed the sentiments of Shirley Gilmore with respect to the efforts and time of the volunteers.

Noel Butler noted that this was his 22nd or 23rd successive, and without interruption, Frostbites and noted that while a survey of those present had been requested to see how the Frostbites might be improved it might be more effective to ask those who weren’t present why they weren’t in attendance.

And in a period in which there is much discussion in providing equality of opportunity and equality of reward/recompense for work and art, it is an interesting statistic that of the three fleet winners in the 2017/18 Frostbites, Noel is conspicuous by being the only male.

Frostbites Director Neil Colin thanked everyone or their participation in the event and noted that while numbers were down this year, a survey of the fleet was being undertaken to determine why the numbers have dropped. Participants in each of the last three Series, this and the previous two, will be contacted by E-mailed for their respective inputs.