Mixed signals on the weather front!

Post date: May 21, 2014 2:8:8 PM

Six Fireballs came under starter’s orders for the Tuesday Night Series last night, under the burgee of the Dublin Bay Sailing Club. They encountered a different weather scenario than was predicted. The website providing weather details for Dun Laoghaire Harbour was suggesting that winds of 10 knots were the order of the evening with gusts up to 15.7, from a southerly direction (171˚), in a temperature of 13˚. XCWeather was offering a forecast at 19:00 of SSE 11 knots, with gusts of 17 knots and an air temperature of 14˚.This correspondent was sitting shore-side again, courtesy of a broken mast from the previous Saturday, and from my perspective the temperature was nothing like the 13 - 14˚ that was being suggested. At the post-mortem in the DMYC afterwards, contestants said there was quite a bit of wind on the course together with a rather confused sea.

Making their 2014 debut were Dave Coleman and Glenn Fisher (14740) who made a late arrival at the start area where the Race Committee had set a 3-lap Windward- Leeward course, with a spreader mark at the top of the course and the weather mark located off the rocks at the 40-foot bathing spot. The other participants were the “usual suspects” – Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (15061), Cariosa Power & Marie Barry (14854), Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775), Frank Miller & Joe O’Reilly (14713), Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691).

Dave & Glenn were too early for the start signal at the pin end of the line which left that position to the devices of Butler and Colin respectively. The balance of the fleet was distributed along the line and the fleet all headed out to sea to avail of the ebbing tide. In truth, the race was won in this initial phase of the “half-beat” between the start line and the weather mark, because when Noel & Stephen made the first tack to go inshore towards the weather mark they had a comfortable distance between themselves and the chasing pack.

The rounding sequence thereafter was Miller & O’Reilly, Colin & Casey, Louise & Hermine, Dave & Glenn and Cariosa & Marie. Initially the fleet stayed on the RHS of the run to the leeward mark before Butler & Oram gybed inshore and then gybed back again to leave them sailing a parallel course to their pursuers but on an inshore line. This double gybe tactic seemed to allow Miller & O’Reilly to close the gap in terms of straight line distance. McKenna actually took the most inshore route to the leeward mark.

From a place changing perspective there is little more to be reported on – the fleet followed a simple and similar approach to the beats – sail the leeward half of the beat inshore before taking a tack out to sea and tailor-making their approach to the windward mark.

However, a partial systems failure for Miller & O’Reilly – a slipping main halyard – rendered the profile of their main to a partially reefed main and allowed Colin & Casey to pass them on the final run to secure second position on the night.

At the start of the DBSC season an amendment to the Sailing Instructions was issued that stated that boats could not pass through the start/finish line during the race. From my shore-side observance, this rule amendment didn’t appear to have effect last night……….which makes the declared results on the website all the more interesting.

In overall terms, after four Tuesdays, Messrs Butler & Oram enjoy a four-point lead over Neil Colin & Margaret Casey who, in turn, are a point ahead of Cariosa Power & Marie Barry.