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Viking Marine Frostbite Series 2 at Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club - Day 8

by Cormac Bradley 21 Feb 11:45 GMT 19 February 2023
An empty Dun Laoghaire harbour © Cormac Bradley

To use footballing parlance, yesterday's Viking Marine sponsored Frostbite session was "a game of two halves." In the first half we had a blustery race with winds building in the lead-up to the first warning signal, up to 17/18 knots with a further blast, above 20 knots coming through just as that signal sounded. These stiffer breezes lasted for the duration of the starting sequence for all three fleets before easing slightly as the race progressed. For the second race we started in 10 knots and the start sequence was a lot more controlled.

At the conclusion of the day's proceedings, Brian Sweeney, sailing Finn 1620, had joined an elite group of only three boats that has managed to wrest away a handicap win from the all-conquering Aero fleet. He now joins the two Fireballs who have managed that feat, Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (x 2) and Alastair Court & Gordon Syme. In twenty Frostbite races to date, across Series 1, (6) and Series 2, (14), the Class has only dropped four races.

Sweeney had a good day! In R1 he finished 7th on handicap behind four Aeros, the IDRA of father and son Pierre & Remy Long and the Fireball of Frank Miller & Ed Butler. Given the conditions, this was a good performance, with the Finn not being a particularly easy boat to sail in heavy conditions. Pierre & Remy also sailed well when on considers that Remy is of a modest size. He gives his all when he is out on trapeze but in yesterday's early conditions, their spinnaker wasn't quite as prominent. Indeed, even the seasoned Fireballs weren't able to fly spinnaker along the top reach, one assumes because of a combination of wind strength and gustiness in the westerly breeze coming off the Dun Laoghaire shore. It was only on the second reach that the coloured sails came out of their bags.

Frank Cassidy has been rolling back the years in the Fireball in this second Series, initially sailing with his son and last week sailing with Pat "Cas" Keirsey. This Sunday past, he delved further back into his history by bring back a regular crew of his own, John Hudson. In the strong stuff of the first race, they were the third Fireball (14934) home, behind Miller & Butler (14915) who won by a comfortable margin on the water, with recent newcomer to the class, Jack McNaughton, sailing with Michael Keegan in 14676, second home. The Aeros were led home by Noel Butler with Roy Van Maanen second and Stephen Oram third.

An Olympic course was the first course of the day, with a weather mark west of the marina entrance and a gybe mark just short of the HySpeed ferry dolphins. The leeward mark and committee boat were just inside the end of the East Pier. The wind direction wasn't quite as expected but settled in a westerly direction. From the committee boat the weather mark looked good, but competitors would later report it was very shifty in the final approach to the mark. The blast of breeze saw everyone lining up for an early tack onto port - only Miller & Butler actually committed to that cause in advance of the start signal. That left the fleet going hard right first, but there was a good spread of boats across the course halfway up the beat.

Having hit a season high of nine boats last week, the ILCA 7s only mustered five boats this week but they enjoyed a "tight bunch" start and for the early part of the 3-lap Olympic course they were in close company. As the race progressed there was a bit of stretch in the fleet, before Conor Byrne led them home followed by Theo Lyttle, Conor O'Leary, Sean Bowden and Gary O'Hare.

After losing a race due to over-enthusiasm in their starting, the ILCA 6s were much more co-operative this week and that saw them rewarded with two races. Again, the "hairy" conditions right at the start saw some "fun and games" but in the immediate aftermath, as things settled down a bit, the regulars appeared at the front of the fleet. Barry McCartin has joined in for Series 2 and he and Sean Craig invariably find themselves in each other's company on the water. In the first race they were separated by maybe three boat lengths as they came to the attention of the RO on each of the approaches to the leeward mark. Craig held the advantage at the critical stage to take the race win with McCartin second, Darren Griffin third, Stephen Farrell fourth and late Series 2 joiner, Owen Laverty, fifth. Shirley Gilmore finished 6th in the breeze!

No ILCA 4s were in attendance but there were fourteen ILCAs outside the harbour, so maybe that's where they were.

A number of people suggested that the weather mark could be "tweaked" for the second race, a thought already registered by the RO himself. It was pulled about 100m southwards to sit off the mouth of the marina entrance with the other two marks staying as is. Another three-lap Olympic course was signalled and all three fleets got away first time. By this stage, the wind had dropped to just less that 10knots at start time which meant that the starts were much more controlled. However, while the base wind strength was down, there were still gusts on the water.

In the PY fleet, the race was led from start to finish by "the pink ladies," Louise McKenna and Hermine O'Keeffe in Fireball 15016, sporting a blue spinnaker - the "pink" reference is in recognition of their pink woollen hats. Miller & Butler (14915) chased them all the way round and looked to have an advantage at the 2nd gybe mark, but the best laid plans of the chasers were partially undone by an ILCA between them and ultimately the ladies held on to the lead and won by a margin of 13 seconds on the water. The "silent assassin" in this race though was not one of these new light singlehanded skiffs, but rather a stalwart of the Olympic sailing regatta, a class that brought the likes of Paul Elvstrom and Sir Ben Ainslie to the fore - the Finn. Designated as the "heavyweight dinghy class" at Olympic level to accommodate those too big for what is now known as the ILCA, this boat was sailed best by men who were broad of chest and tall of height. And in yesterday's second race, in the lightest winds of the day, Brian Sweeney brought his boat home 1 minute and 22 seconds behind the Fireball and 1:41 ahead of the Aero of Noel Butler. That translated into a 26 second advantage over the Aero and 1:20 over the Fireball to claim the handicap win. And the Fireballs were able to fly spinnaker on all reaches!

Sweeney was followed in handicap terms by a quartet of Aeros; Butler, Sarah Dwyer, Roy Van Maanen and Stuart Harris, with McKenna claiming sixth.

The ILCA 7s kept their racing tight over the first half of the second race before Series 2 leader Conor Byrne brought them home. Gary O'Hare finished second in this race with Theo Lyttle third, Sean Bowden fourth and Conor O'Leary fifth. Conor was enjoying himself so much he was ready to do another lap rather than finish!!

In the ILCA 6s, the first two from the first race again set the pace and watched each other closely. Aside from sail numbers being different, McCartin was wearing red which made it easier to distinguish who was leading - McCartin - but not by much, it was another "cat and mouse" game for these two! Behind them the order was Darren Griffin, and the two Davids, Cahill and Williams, followed by Hugh Delap.

Total fleet size was forty-seven boats. Frostbite Mugs would have gone to the PY Fleet and the ILCA 6 fleet yesterday but none of the recipients were there to receive them! Unfortunate guys, you only get two chances to claim your Mugs.

Viking Marine Frostbites - Series 2 Overall Results

PY Fleet:
1. Noel Butler - Aero
2. Stephen Oram - Aero
3. Stuart Harris - Aero
4. Frank Miller & Ed Butler/Neil Cramer - Fireball
5. Sarah Dwyer - Aero


1. Conor Byrne
2. Theo Lyttle
3. Gavan Murphy
4. Niall Cowman
5. Chris Arrowsmith


1. Sean Craig
2. Darren Griffin
3. Conor Clancy
4. David Cahill
5. John O'Driscoll


1. Kate Flood
2. Zita Tempany
3. Sergei Vasilev
4. Grace Gavin
5. Sam Legge

RS Aero:

1. Noel Butler
2. Stephen Oram
3. Sarah Dwyer
4. Stuart Harris
5. Roy Van Maanen


1. Frank Miller & Ed Butler
2. Louise McKenna & Hermine O'Keefe
3. Alastair Court & Gordon Syme
4. Neil Colin & Margaret Casey
5. Paul ter Horst & Morris ter Horst

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