Triple bonus for Frostbite Fireballers! Racing, outside the harbour AND two races!

Post date: Jan 21, 2014 4:24:42 PM

After a six-week hiatus, due to gale-force winds and the scheduled break of the Sundays either side of Christmas, the 2014 half of the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club’s 2013/14 Frostbite Series finally got underway yesterday, the third Sunday of January. Fourteen Fireballs took to the water and were rewarded by favourable conditions that allowed the Race Team to take the racing outside the harbour. This correspondent viewed the unfolding events with binoculars from the end of the West Pier, a cold enough existence on a day when the wind was modest, but enough to get the crews onto trapeze going upwind, certainly in the first race.

A slightly late arrival at my viewing position saw me miss the start of the first race – 3 laps of a trapezoid course, but the sense was that the fleet simply tacked off the start line onto port tack to make their way to a separate weather mark from the rest of the Frostbite fleet. With the ebb tide only about an hour old, as the boats approached the weather mark on port they would have been broadside on to the tide sweeping from right to left across the course (in very simple terms).

Kenneth Rumball & David Moran (15058) led the fleet around the first weather mark and were never headed thereafter. Behind them there was a tight sequence of rounding boats – Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella (14820), Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (15061), Conor & James Clancy (14807). By Mark 3 of the first trapezoid the Clancy brothers had gone into second place.

At the last mark of the first lap, the leaders took a hitch on starboard before coming across to the weather mark. By the second rounding of the weather mark the sequence was Rumball/Moran, Clancy/Clancy, Butler/Oram, Andy Boyle & Teddy Byrne (14934) and McCartin/Kinsella.

Slightly further back a very tight group of Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775), Luke Malcolm & Shane Divinney (14790), Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691) and Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire (14865) were clearly enjoying their own race.

The opening race of 2014 also saw some debuts:- Ismail Inan, weekending in Ireland from work in London teamed up with Owen Sinnott to race Frank Miller’s boat (14713). Frank is recuperating from knee surgery, but was mobile enough to put in a dry land appearance. Fireball 14330, “Blue Eyes” formerly owned by Conor Byrne (now residing in Australia’s Northern Territory and sailing Tasars) made its debut in the ownership of Darragh McDonogh.

At Mark 4 for the second time, Rumball/Moran kept a watching brief on their pursuers. Butler/Oram tacked immediately at the mark and sailed almost as far as Mark 3 before making their port tack approach to the final weather mark. By the time Rumball/Moran came across to cover them they had put in three tacks to ensure they were to windward and effectively closer to the weather mark relative to the other pair. When this translated to a “cross”, from a binocular assessment there was only a couple of boat-lengths between them. Rumball/Moran crossed ahead and covered the other pair gradually opening up a straight-line lead on the water. Team Clancy and McCartin/Kinsella rounded bow to stern in third and fourth respectively, while Boyle/Byrne closed out the top five. These were the finishing positions as well.

Before the second race, the wind started to drop and there was very little trapezing on the early upwind legs of the second race. Butler/Oram were much too early for the start and were already engaging in corrective action by the time the start signal went. Others were in trouble as well, but from my vantage point, even with binoculars, I couldn’t be certain who had transgressed on the start line. The pin end appeared to be the “holy grail” but given the tide situation that appeared to be an odd choice. Indeed, when the boats that had gone further left came into the weather mark, they were sailing very freely……..too much so!

McCartin/Kinsella were comfortably first at the weather mark, followed by Boyle/Byrne, Chambers/McGuire, Rumball/Moran, and Cariosa Power, sailing with her son, Odhran, in another Frostbite debut performance. Odhran is easily the youngest Fireball debutant we have had this season and is only in his very early teens! (Hope I have got that right!) Another pairing showing good form in this race was Eamon Bourke & Robert Slater (14817) from Howth in 6th place. For round two, the starboard tack hitch offshore was the preferred choice of the majority of the fleet in wind that had increased again. McCartin/Kinsella took on the responsibility of watching the fleet, sailing a course that left them in the classic covering position, to windward of everyone else and between the fleet and the weather mark.

The rounding order at the second weather mark was:- McCartin, Clancy, Boyle, Rumball, Butler, Bourke, Chambers, Power, Sinnott, Alistair Court & Gordon Syme (14706), McKenna/O’Keeffe, Malcolm/Divinney, Colin/Casey and McDonagh.

McCartin held the lead throughout the race but the boats behind him were having a good fight with place changing continuing throughout the race – Rumball closed significantly on Clancy & Boyle and at the last time of rounding Mark 4 appeared to have put Clancy behind him and was taking on Boyle for 2nd place. The angle of the finish line made definite calls on finishing positions from my vantage point difficult, but afterwards in the DMYC I was able to get these finalized. McCartin/Kinsella were deemed to be OCS and thus lost their first place, giving the race win to Boyle & Byrne.

Thus the first Frostbites Mugs for 2014 go to Messrs Butler and Oram for Race 1 and Messrs Boyle and Byrne for Race 2.