Summertime boost!

Post date: Apr 01, 2019 3:42:59 PM

The last Sunday of the 2018/19 Frostbites coincided with the first day of BST – British (and Irish) Summer Time and the race management team and contestants were treated to a good day on the water to close out the event.

Race Officer Cormac Bradley, having discharged his Mother’s Day responsibilities the evening before in Warrenpoint, travelled down from the north in what looked like favourable conditions, only to find that Frostbites Coordinator Neil Colin was suggesting that what wind we had was dropping rapidly in strength! On getting out to the race area, a host of Lasers were already afloat – seemingly having a Royal St George Yacht Club facilitated coaching session in advance of the days racing proceedings.

At this stage the wind was from due East - 90º putting the weather mark somewhere between the weather station and the Boyd Memorial on the upper level of the East Pier. Bob Hobby was despatched to the area with instructions not to lay immediately as the wind was flicking a bit. Ultimately, it settled, and the weather mark went in closer to the Boyd memorial. Early participants in practice beat were able to report that the beat was fair but there were holes at the upwind end of the leg. The leeward gate was set up just north of the entrance to the marine and the fleet of over 60 boats were set a three-lap Windward-Leeward to get the day’s proceedings underway.

A substantial PY Fleet of 20-boats was dominated by an 11-boat Fireball entry with the regulars being joined by David Turner, sailing with his daughter (14362), the Keegans (Owen and Michael) (14676), the SID Team and the all-girl team of Cariosa Power and Marie Barry (14854) who in the recent heavier Sundays have stayed ashore. Also getting their new boat wet for the first time were Louise McKenna and Hermine O’Keeffe (15116), though they disguised the fact by dressing her in Louise’s former sails (14691). After a couple of weeks’ absence, Shane McCarthy (Solo) was back out again as was the IDRA of Frank Hamilton and Jenny Byrne and the Wayfarer of Monica Shaefer and Miriam McCarthy (11152) had the company of a couple more. The two Kona Windsurfers were also in attendance.

A shorter than usual start line saw boats along its full length with a concentration at the pin. One Fireball was adjudged to be too early, was signalled accordingly but sailed on. In getting the next starts away, I was able to glance upwind and see that the leading Fireballs were tightly clustered after the spreader mark – a good sign that the beat was one-sided. At this stage, Neil Colin and Margaret Casey (14775) were well up but Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (15061) were in close contact and despite the lighter airs Frank Miller & Ed Butler (14713) were well to the fore. Also having a good session was Louise and Hermine. The favoured approach to the downwind leg was to go to the right-hand side of the downwind leg and leave the gybe in to the gate late.

The Lasers adopted a more direct route and it was great to see the total fleet (of 60-odd boats) spread across the full width of the course. The Laser starts also had a single OCS, neither of which went back but the errant competitor in the Laser start took his silent crossing of the finish line in extremely good humour by admitting that al least it was evidence of his trying to get a great start. The full Laser rigs had a modest entry of 6 boats, but the other Laser number were very healthy.

Reports from the top of the course suggested that the wind was light, and on the committee boat the wind dropped to a low of about 5 knots, but at our end of the course the boats were moving well.

For the second race of the day, adjustment was necessary! At the start of the afternoon the wind had been showing a tendency to flick right, but at the latter stages of the race the suggestion was that it was itching to go left – northwards. In the process of finishing the fleets, the course was re-jigged to set up a four-lap Olympic configuration to accommodate a 30º shift in the wind direction to 60º. This allowed the weather mark to be placed just inside the end of the East Pier, with a top reach across the harbour mouth to a mark that was laid in the approximate location of the blockhouse on the West Pier and a gybe mark that sat in the entrance to the marine. The breeze also increased giving us a steady 10 knots plus for the last race of the series.

Again, OCSs were a feature of the second set of starts with individuals identified but not returning and some admitting afterwards that they had benefitted form being hidden by those identified. From a RO perspective, it was great to see that the verbal warning to unfurl the Black Flag in advance of the key starting signals was acted on by the normally (over) enthusiastic 4.7 Laser fleet, who all kept their noses clean for the last Sunday of the Series.

In the PY fleet, Neil Colin and Margaret Casey stole a march on everyone and enjoyed a start to finish lead on the entire fleet. It was very fitting that they should enjoy this success given the work that Neil has put into the Frostbites and their finishing signal was enhanced by a cheer from the team on the committee boat.

In order to try and speed up the results processing to accommodate the Series prize-giving, the day’s racing had started 30 minutes earlier at 13:30 and the results of the first race were processed on the water by Brian Mulkeen.

Race day Frostbite Mugs went to Maeve Rafferty (RS 200) and Lucy Nicol in the Laser Radials in Race 1. In Race 2, the PY Frostbite Mug went to Dave Turner & his daughter Deirdre in the Fireball.

And so! Onto the overall prizegiving! The DMYC Clubhouse was well filled for the Series Prizegiving and Frostbites Coordinator, Neil Colin and DMYC Commodore, Frank Guilfoyle welcomed the competitors to the prize-giving. Neil opened the proceedings by thanking all the participants and acknowledging the huge entry for this version of the Frostbites – 115 boats. In particular, he acknowledged the efforts of the Dun Laoghaire Laser Fleet in encouraging the Junior fleets to get involved. This has manifested itself in a very big 4.7 fleet. Frank Guilfoyle said he was delighted to see so many people in the club and assured them that they would be most welcome all year round, not just on the occasion of the Frostbite prize-giving. Neil then went on to highlight some future events in Dublin Bay – the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta – for which early bird entries were about to close – and the Flying Fifteen Worlds scheduled for September under the burgee of the National Yacht Club. He also referenced the Wayfarer Worlds scheduled for Greystones and put no pressure whatsoever on Monica and Miriam by wishing them every success in that event.

Thanks were recorded to the Race Management Team, the RIB drivers and assistants, the Results Team and the DMYC staff and volunteers who provide the food every Sunday. Without these dedicated volunteers, it was stated that the Frostbites simply couldn’t happen. Tokens of appreciation were handed over to all these individuals.

Neil Colin highlighted the fact that the format of the Frostbites had been subjected to a rigorous review over the past “post season” which had resulted in changes which he felt has benefitted the running of the 2018-19 event. However, he assured the fleet that if more changes were felt to be necessary, he was quite happy to receive a justification for these by text or E-mail or, indeed by general conversation. One thing he intended to change was the number of discards that would be applicable as these had already been exhausted before we got to the end of the scheduled racing.

Series 2 Overall places were announced but prizes were only awarded to those who had not been placed inside the top 1-2-3 in the Frostbites overall, i.e. the combination of Series 1 & 2.

The results for the 2018-19 Frostbites were initially posted and were then subjected to a stewards’ enquiry when it turned out that the start time for the last race of the series had not been properly inserted into the handicap results for the PY fleet. This had the effect of creating a one-point swing in the final overall results.

Winners in the four classes complimented the various on-the-water volunteers and the frostbites management team who had contributed to what they believed was one of the best Frostbite Series that they had ever participated in – and there are some individuals with very substantial records of participation. They noted the willingness to change courses, to use different course types on the same day, the speed with which races were reset and the commitment to maximise the opportunity to facilitate racing even when the weather forecast suggested otherwise. Early calls to abandon racing in severe conditions were just as welcome as late calls when the weather was marginal. The support of the families of the younger participants was also acknowledged – the likes of the Gormans, the Fahys, the Flanagans, and others and, in the Fireballs, the Thompsons (editor’s addition) is very welcome and critically important. The point was made that while training in the Bay is essential, race exposure in a series such as the Frostbites is equally valuable in the development of our young sailors.

The prize-giving the concluded by noting that the 2019/20 Series gets underway on 3rd November 2019.