Low rains drifter!

Post date: Feb 19, 2018 11:8:11 AM

All the weather forecasts were suggesting that there should have been wind for yesterday’s Frostbites in Dun Laoghaire Harbour! XCWeather was projecting 7 – 12 knots of SSW, the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Weather station was showing 6.6 – 10 knots from 163˚ and even worse, the Dublin Bay buoy was showing 13 – 16 knots with a wind direction of 167˚. However, in the inner reaches of the harbour it was a lot less exciting. The “low rains” reference is to describe a drizzly afternoon where it was damp but it never actually rained while we were on the water. A declaration to the rib crews and committee boat team by Race Officer Cormac Bradley that we would try for two races, given last week’s postponement, seemed optimistic but everyone agreed that it was the thing to do.

On arrival at the start area, the wind was blowing a healthy 4 knots and was reasonably steady in direction. With the committee boat situated off the block house towards the end of the West Pier, the windward leg initially looked like it could extent the full length of the harbour with the weather mark in the location of the bandstand on the East Pier. With the light wind, which was to get lighter, a triangular course of 3 laps was set with the intention of shortening if the wind didn’t play ball. A late alteration to the weather mark saw it go northwards and a short postponement was flown to allow the stragglers a bit more time to get to the start area.

Twenty-six boats were registered as starters, with ten each in the Slow PY and Laser Classes and six in the Fast PY Class. Notable absentees were the two KONA Windsurfers, maybe deciding that there wasn’t enough wind to warrant getting their feet wet and the Solo of Shane McCarthy, though he was spotted afterwards from a distance with his boat in the carpark at the Coal Harbour, either returning from or packing up to go to a regatta.

In the Slow PY Class, the performance of the day went to Pierre Long & John Parker in the IDRA who got into “breeze” off the start line and waltzed away with the race. By the time they rounded the leeward mark, the chasing pack in Slow PY were in the vicinity of the gybe mark, or just past it. Round the weather mark the sequence in Slow PY was the Enterprise of Aidan Geraghty & Eilis O’Donnell, the Wayfarer of Monica Schaeffer & Miriam McCarthy and the second IDRA of Frank Hamilton & crew. The Laser Vagos were also well up the pecking order. However, the leading Fireball in Fast PY was already in the company of the Wayfarer and the Enterprise.

In the Lasers, a 2018 Frostbite debutant led the way off a cluttered start with one boat being “pinged” for an OCS. While he returned to the right side of the course, he did so by dipping the line rather than going round the ends, so would sail the balance of the race in vain. Having established that he could retrospectively pay an entry fee, Chris Arrowsmith found that the premium for a retrospective entry grew as he crossed the line first and then qualified for the Frostbite Mug for the Laser Class.

Three Fireballs, a Finn a 470, a RS400 and a K1 made up the Fast PY fleet. Frank Miller & Ed Butler (14713) started at the pin end on port and headed to the right hand side of the course. Noel Butler & Marie Barry (15061) and the “pink ladies” Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691) both started on starboard close to the committee boat but Butler went right initially. His final approach saw him coming into the weather mark on the port lay-line and he appeared to be enjoying a healthy lead. By now the conditions had gone light with wind strength down to 2.2 – 2.5 knots. The top reach “held its shape” by allowing the spinnaker boats to fly bags, but the second reach saw a much more varied approach to getting to the leeward mark. For example, Butler & Barry were tight reaching into the middle of the course on port tack before they gybed to get down to the leeward mark.

With Long & Parker (IDRA) just rounded the leeward mark and with the wind Gods deciding we weren’t going to get anything more, the decision was taken to shorten course at the weather mark. The committee boat upped anchor and relocated itself in time to allow Long & Parker (IDRA) a very VERY comfortable win on the water. The second boat home was the Fireball of Butler & Barry (15061) with Chris Arrowsmith the first Laser.

The ambition to have a second race evaporated in the millpond like environment of the harbour and the consensus afterwards appeared to be that the right call had been made – a race had been achieved. The fastest race time on corrected time went to the IDRA of Pierre Long and John Parker.

The Fast PY Mug went to Tom Murphy in the K1 but the Mug for the Slow PY was withheld pending the provision of a PY Number for a single-handed Laser Vago. The Vagos of “Sailing in Dublin” are a stalwart element of the Frostbite Series and in recent weeks a number have been sailed single-handed. Another competitor brought this to the attention of the race committee yesterday so the class has been asked to provide the relevant PY Number so that the results can be reviewed.

Given the number of postponements we have had this year, yesterday was a bonus. It wasn’t a thriller, but everyone who wanted a race got a race………..with the exception of one retiree who obviously had too much excitement for the day!