Tuesday night order restored!

Post date: Jul 09, 2014 11:4:12 AM

Tuesday night order was restored for the Fireballs racing under the burgee of the Dublin Bay Sailing Club when Noel Butler, “fresh” from a 16th place overall in the Round Ireland Race and Stephen Oram, recently returned from holiday, won the Tuesday night race in Scotsman’s Bay by a 3 min 30 sec margin.Due to a work commitment, this correspondent was not out on the water, so I can’t offer you an account of the first lap of the three lap triangular course. By the time I got into my observation position, onshore, with binoculars, Messrs Butler and Oram had a comfortable lead as they sailed up to the second weather mark. Later, in the DMYC clubhouse I established that their position was due to a pin end start that benefitted for the wind going left, giving them a substantial lift and allowing them to break free from the five boat fleet. Again, conditions were light with a wind that started in the NE and a flooding tide that had two hours to run. By the time I got to watch proceedings, the wind had gone northwards and crews were sitting to leeward on the upwind legs.

At the second weather mark, Butler (15061) led with the rounding order thereafter, Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775), Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691), Cariosa Power & Marie Barry (14854) and Frank Miller & Francis Rowan (14713). At the weather mark the distances between the boats were such that none of them would have been anxiously looking over their shoulders, but they couldn’t afford to ignore what was going on behind them……….with the exception of Butler & Oram.

These two headed inshore on starboard tack whereas the next three boats went offshore on port tack. Miller replicated Butler’s approach. McKenna & O’Keeffe were the first ones to bail out of the offshore approach and this left them the furthest out on the right hand side of the downwind sausage. There was better breeze on this side (or just less where Colin/Casey were) because McKenna/O’Keeffe sailed round Colin & Casey to reach the leeward mark in 2nd place with a 20 sec advantage over Colin & Casey who also found their rearward horizon shortened by Power & Barry who had also crept up on them.

The approach to the final beat was to take a hitch to sea – the right hand side of the course – tack and sail across the course on starboard tack and wait for the header on the left hand side that prompted another tack to approach the last weather mark on port. This was executed to varying degrees by all five boats with Power & Barry seeming to close again on Colin & Casey.

The first reach of the 2nd triangle was tight, so much so that Colin & Casey didn’t fly spinnaker and didn’t seem to suffer distance-wise as a consequence. This leg was pretty straightforward. The second reach produced a very wide diversity of execution plans. Butler gybed and headed upwind in a direction that took him away from the shortest distance to the leeward mark. He would eventually end up to windward and to the east of the committee boat, necessitating a second gybe to approach the leeward mark on a tight reach on starboard. Still, he had the comfort of a big lead! McKenna, Colin and Power all gybed at the gybe mark and sailed low toward the shoreline – with McKenna covering/shepherding Colin so that she stayed between him and the leeward mark. This of course opened the door for Power to do her own thing but she was unable to upset the order. Miller, meantime was even more radical than Butler, seeming to take a line on port tack that would have delivered him to the position of the weather mark had it still been in position. As with Butler, he too ended up putting in another gybe to approach the leeward mark on starboard, but his game was long over by that stage. Butler’s margin of victory was very comfortable and McKenna ended up being a minute ahead of Colin. Seven minutes spanned first to last in what was a seasonal race – evening sunshine under blue skies with a gentle breeze. Grey clouds were incoming from the west, but the showers that had populated the day stayed away for the race and one could believe that it was an Irish July!

With the Round Ireland, holidays, line duty and work commitments, the overall situation for Series 2 has an interesting look to it, and the three combinations that have been least upset in their Tuesday routine lead the series in overall terms.

This past Saturday saw the conclusion of the four one-day regattas of the Dun Laoghaire Waterfront Clubs with the Royal St George Yacht Club hosting their event which attracted close to 200 entries from Cruisers 1 all the way down to the dinghy classes. Five Fireballs contested the event on a dinghy course that was closer to the mouth of the River Liffey than Dun Laoghaire. In very difficult conditions that prompted a lot of “snakes and ladders” racing, Louis Smyth and Cormac Bradley “threw a six” at the right time to take the two race wins and a hat-trick of DL Club Regatta wins – Royal Irish Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club and Royal St George Yacht Club. Louise McKenna and Hermine O’Keeffe won the National Yacht Club Regatta. Two of the regattas were decided by virtue of the winners of the second race and Conor Clancy lost two of those.

The weekend of 19/20th July sees the fleet re-visiting an old venue – Wexford Harbour Boat & Tennis Club. With ten days to go there is a “decent commitment” to boats for the event, but we would like to see even more boats make the trip. From Dublin the venue is about 1.5hours drive, (driveable on Saturday morning) there is free camping and camper-vanning at the club and they are very excited at our return. Discounted entry is available until 17:00 this Friday (11th July). We know that the south coast will be represented, we know that the west will be represented, there will be the usual Dublin contingent, but we would love to have some northern commitment and while the midlands might think it is a long haul, the more boats we have the better the event.

Cormac.