Single race……before the snow started falling!

Post date: Mar 04, 2019 12:22:4 PM

Last week’s report opened with a few lines from Keats’ “Ode to Autumn” so the weather gods may have been amused by that because yesterday, after racing was completed it started snowing!! We know that Winter follows Autumn, but it is slightly at odds with the time of year – early March! The wind forecast suggested that while the morning would be quiet there would be a healthy wind for the 14:00 start of proceedings and that as the afternoon wore on the wind would build. Rain was also in the forecast, but it was not due to arrive until later. By 12:00 the rain was with us and the wind was building, and Frostbites Co-ordinator Neil Colin advised that his car thermometer was only reading 4º on his way to the club. On that basis, and given the forecast, the Race Officer’s plans for two races were changed in favour of a single race afternoon.

A phone call to the club asking if racing was going ahead served as a tell-tale sign that not everyone was convinced that racing would go ahead.

Forty-seven entries were recorded across the four fleets with the Fireballs achieving a series high entry of ten boats on the water. The wind direction across the harbour wasn’t as favourable as the previous Sunday, but a reasonable length of beat was achieved with the committee boat just west of the HSS gantry and the weather mark off the weather station on the upper level of the East Pier but outside the lee of the wall as the wind had a dominant direction of 60º - ENE. That left the gybe mark about 60 – 70m inside the end of the West Pier and a similar distance in from the wall and a leeward mark just off the entrance to the marina.

A pre-race check of the course by a volunteer Fireball crew allowed for some tweaking of the gybe mark position though a missing spinnaker pole didn’t allow them to sample the top reach under three sails.

The preferred start was to go to the left-hand side of the course on starboard tack and then work up that side of the course. At the top mark, the Fireball of Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (15061) took a lead that was never challenged. The wind was already starting to flick left so this made the top reach a challenge for the spinnakers and several the Fireballs either stalled on their hoist or found themselves sailing at a very steep angle in the process of getting the kite set. One of these, from a distance, appeared to be Phil Lawton & Owen Laverty (14990). The Fireball racing behind Butler & Oram was competitive with a number of boats sailing the course in very close company – Alistair Court & Gordon Syme (14706) sailed the entire race without a spinnaker and still managed to be the fourth Fireball home and the Thompson brothers, Daniel & Harry (1500X), managed to fly spinnaker across the top reach of the second triangle of the four lap Olympic course, when others chose not to. It was a bit hairy getting to the gybe mark, but they were ultimately rewarded with the second Fireball across the finish line position. The two all-lady combinations Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691) and Cariosa Power & Marie Barry (14854) also enjoyed positions well up the pecking order and indeed the former combination rounded the first leeward mark in second position. The latter combination had a very difficult session on the water the previous Sunday; so, it was good to seem them up and running for the entire race today. The perfect sequence of Fireball finishers was interrupted in handicap terms by the 420 of Morgan Lyttle and Patrick Whyte who finished in second place on corrected time.

In the full-rig Laser fleet of nine boats, the running order was bit different than usual. Kenny Rumball was the boat to chase for a large part of the course and the normal “rabbit”, Peter Fagan was further down the pecking order, certainly at the finish at least. DL Class Captain, Gavan Murphy, was also having a better day and another to the fore was Gary O’Hare.

The full rigs were joined by only three 4.7s but it was the leading protagonists who were on the water – Conor Gorman, Adam Walsh and Haemish Munro who finished in that order.

Thirteen Laser Radials enjoyed good racing and while Sean Craig seemed to lead for the vast majority of the race, the chasing pack were never too far behind. Marco Sorgassi and Conor Clancy best took up the challenge of chasing Craig, followed by Sean Flanagan, while two ladies, Judy O’Bierne and Shirley Gilmore made sure that everyone ahead of them was kept on their toes. Craig must really have enjoyed the conditions as he was still sailing practice beats and runs after his competitors had gone home!

In advance of the start, boats were advised that there would only be a single race, and nobody had an objection to that prospect at that stage. Again, there were no objections when the blue flag at the finish was flying in tandem with the “A” flag to indicate that the day’s proceedings were concluded.

In terms of the Frostbite Mugs, the PY award went to Patrick Hassett in his 2.4m, while in the Laser Radials, the host club’s Dave Coleman picked up the award. After the day’s prize-giving and with the day’s post-mortem well underway, the snow started falling!

Frostbiters are reminded that there will be no sailing on 17th March and the series will conclude with a single race on March 31st.

Special mention should be made of today’s volunteers who were a bit short-handed, but still manged to get the course set up and rendered assistance when required – Bob & Michael (weather mark), Gerry (gybe mark), Brian (leeward mark) with an assistant, Declan (pin-end), Frank, Trish, Avril & Brian (committee boat, driver & recorders) and Kevin (results).