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Plas Menai 2015

Fireball Frostbite Series 2 Round 1 at Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club

by Cormac Bradley on 8 Jan 8 January 2017
Pre-race conditions in the first 2017 race in the Dub Laoghaire Frostbites © Cormac Bradley

New Year, new hopes!

Series 2 of the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club's Frostbites started in very hopeful conditions as the first of this report's attached photographs attests. However, within 35 seconds of a self-imposed deadline to call proceedings off, the Race Officer decided that a race could be started. The forecast on XCWeather had been promising 6 – 8 knots from the SSW, but the weather station adjacent to my observation post was recording a wind strength of 3.8knots, a gust of 4.9knots and a wind direction of 119˚ with an air temperature of 10.8˚ and there was nothing to suggest these statistics were being replicated on the water. It took the best part of an hour to get a race underway!

Seven Fireballs initiated the second half of the Frostbites with a debut for accomplished "Flying Fifteener" Dave Gorman who teamed up with Margaret Casey in Neil Colin's absence. Dave got in to his comfort zone quite quickly by executing a port-tack start on the pin while the rest of the fleet lined themselves up on starboard. Gorman & Casey (14775) were challenged by Frank Miller & Grattan Donnelly (14713) as the closest starboard-tacked boat. These two went left with a third boat while the balance of the fleet came right to varying degrees. Initially Louis Smyth & Joe O'Reilly (15007) were the furthest right, but at a later stage Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire (14865) came even further across.

As the zephyrs of breeze alternated left and right so the fortunes of those on either side of the course varies as well, but ultimately, the leaders came from the left hand side of the beat. Louise McKenna & Hermine O'Keefe, the "pink ladies" (14691) led around the first weather mark followed by Noel Butler & Stephen Oram (15061), Miller & Donnelly, Smyth & O'Reilly, Gorman & Casey, Cariosa Power & Marie Barry (14854) and Chambers & McGuire.

Initially, the pink ladies sailed straight to Mark 2, just inside the end of the eastern pier, but they found themselves gybing in towards the centre of the harbour when Butler & Oram executed this manoeuvre half-way down the leg. Miller & Smyth also undertook a gybe-less approach to the leg and this proved to be beneficial to both as they overtook Butler & Oram. At Mark2, the dominant decision was to gybe. However, Smyth & O'Reilly sailed towards the mouth of the harbour and by way of staying in a little more breeze than the others sailed around them and into a lead which they never relinquished. By Mark 4 the new order was Smyth, McKenna, Miller, Butler, Gorman, Power and Chambers.

The lead two boats took a short hitch to the right-hand-side of the course, before taking a long starboard tack to the vicinity of the weather mark. Smyth had a comfortable lead on McKenna who in turn was well ahead of both Butler & Miller who came further right than the lead pair. By the second weather mark, Smyth appeared to have extended his lead, but in the conditions there were no guarantees. Miller & Butler were much closer to each other and would keep in close company all the way to Mark 4 with each in turn taking the lead between them. At Mark 3, Butler seemed to have the advantage, being inside boat but Miller passed them out before they got to Mark 4, before relinquishing his lead again. Butler got ahead at the final mark and held on for third place.

The Frostbite Mugs went to the all-lady combination of Cariosa Power & Marie Barry (14854) who had an interesting race towards the back of the fleet.

Race 1 Results:

PosHelm & CrewSail noClub
1Louis Smyth & Joe O’Reilly15007Coal Harbour
2Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe14691Royal St George Yacht Club
3Noel Butler & Stephen Oram15061National Yacht Club
4Frank Miller & Grattan Donnelly14713Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club
5Dave Gorman & Margaret Casey14775Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club

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