Window of Opportunity opens!

Post date: Feb 05, 2014 2:13:0 PM

Despite some of the most adverse weather forecasts I have heard for quite a while during Saturday, the Frostbites were sailed yesterday in almost balmy (for February) conditions, with sunshine, and a temperature of around 7 - 8º. The projected gale to strong gale to storm force (Beaufort 10) winds seemed to have evaporated! The severe gales forecast for Sunday did not materialize and we were left with squally but very manageable conditions. As to be expected the rugby match taking place a few miles away took its toll on numbers but the DMYC offered to put up a recording of the game on their big screen to accommodate the racers.

Young Edward Coyne obviously had faith in the weather being favourable! He travelled up from Youghal with his mother to make not just his Frostbite debut but his Fireball Race debut, crewing for Alistair Court (14706) and was rewarded for his endeavours when they took the Frostbite Mug for the 2nd race of the day! Edward was one of the people who took part in our Open day on November 30th.

Two races were sailed yesterday and provided two formats for the fleet! Noel Butler and Kenny Rumball, crewed by Conor Kinsella and David Moran respectively matched-raced each other around both race courses to eventually share the spoils for the day, each having a win and a second place. Noel and Conor (15061) took the first race of the day, Kenny and David (15058) the second one. These two combinations only engaged with the fleet at the start lines and at the first weather marks, for the remainder of the races they were in their own world, quite separate from the rest of us.

Ten Fireballs started the first race and in the squally conditions it was quite difficult to work out which way to go. With the weather mark almost directly underneath the gantry for the HSS, in the wind shadow of the weather shore, the trapezing conditions of the bottom ⅔ of the beat were turned into a roll-tacking challenge to get to the mark. The trapezoid course could alternatively be described as a) a very shallow trapezoid or b) a four cornered triangle as Mark 2 was almost directly in transit between Marks 1 and 3. A slow start to the first spinnaker leg, under the lee of the gantry gave way to a much more exciting leg when the true wind was encountered.

In the first race, behind the lead two boats, the action was initially between Court/Coyne, Mick Creighton & Grattan Donnelly (14713), Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775) and Louis Smyth & Cormac Bradley (15007). As a late starter Team Clancy had to work their way up from the back of the fleet, but by the time the race ended they had got to third place. Creighton/Donnelly were having spinnaker problems from an early stage and retired, possibly prompted by the additional prospect of live TV rugby. Court & Coyne also dropped out of this group in the 2nd half of the 4-lap course to give a finishing order of;

1. Noel Butler & Conor Kinsella 15061 DMYC.

2. Kenny Rumball & David Moran 15058 INSC

3. Conor & James Clancy 14807 RStGYC

4. Neil Colin & Margaret Casey 14775 DMYC

5. Louis Smyth & Cormac Bradley 15007 Coal Harbour.

This gave Colin & Casey the first Frostbite Mug of the day!

The wind eased again for the second race, prompting this correspondent and his helm to go to light settings. Again there was a diversity of thought as to which side of the beat to work, the course having been unchanged form the first race. Butler and Rumball favoured the left hand side which is the direction most of the fleet took initially. However, the vagaries of the wind created an interesting situation at the top mark with Butler, Rumball, Smyth, Clancy and Colin all rounding almost bow to transom. They were quickly followed by Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (14691) and the aforementioned Court & Coyne (14706). Rumball and Butler sped off to resume their match-racing from the first session. Team Clancy also got away from the bunch to effectively sail a comfortable race, distance-wise at least, never threatened from behind but never really closing on the lead pair.

Colin and Casey stayed ahead of the next three boats leaving Court, Smyth & McKenna fighting it out for the next place. Up the 2nd beat, Smyth went right initially having rounded behind the other two at Mark 4. This ultimately allowed him to get ahead of McKenna and close on Court but not enough to take Court on. In the fading breeze, the lighter crews were able to accelerate quicker than Smyth/Bradley when the gusts came through which meant that the latter combination had to work that bit harder to stay in touch………which is exactly what Louise and Hermine were doing.

Up the last beat Smyth & Bradley went left but again couldn’t break the lead that Court & Coyne had over them. McKenna & O’Keeffe were also staying close. Court & Coyne held their lead over Smyth & Bradley to take the second Frostbite Mug of the day, with McKenna & O’Keeffe finishing behind them in turn.

1. Kenny Rumball & David Moran 15058 INSC

2. Noel Butler & Conor Kinsella 15061 DMYC

3. Conor & James Clancy 14807 RStGYC

4. Neil Colin & Margaret Casey 14775 DMYC

5. Alistair Court & Edward Coyne 14706 DMYC.