With “Frostbites Director” Neil Colin off on a sporting holiday, the decision on whether to race yesterday fell squarely on the shoulders of the day’s Race Officer, Cormac Bradley, and while I had been monitoring the weather as early as Wednesday night and at a “black-tie” on Friday night, the decision on whether to race or not was still unresolved by the time Sunday morning came round.
An early departure for the club allowed me to view the flags and activity levels in the harbour – a fleet of Optimists were rigging in the Royal St George, the team racing fraternity were out, under what looked like single-reefed mains in the Fireflies and the flags across the waterfront weren’t flying like “stiff boards”. That all seemed positive until I arrived at the DMYC and had to reason with my RIB and Committee Boat teams as to what I thought we could/should do.
Thankfully, they supported the idea that we should try and get a race in and keep a weather eye on what the wind was doing as the afternoon progressed. And so, the ninth race of Series 2 of the Viking Marine sponsored Frostbites went ahead.
In hindsight we were lucky to get a race in! On arriving in the race area there was a brisk westerly blowing at around 16/17 knots. However, in the squalls the anemometer was getting into the low twenties and by the time the start sequence was initiated the wind was into the low twenties. The partial saving grace was that the air temperature was a relatively balmy (for January) 9° and the sun was out.
Thirty-seven boats answered the call with the ILCA 6s taking the numbers “honours” with 21 boats. The PY fleet was down to twelve boats with one absentee on holiday and another off the water due to health issues from the Fireballs. However, there was a good collection of Aeros, with all the usual suspects out – Noel Butler, Stephen Oram, Roy van Maanen, Sarah Dwyer, Stuart Harris and Damien Dion. Pierre Long had more “avoir dupois” on board with an adult crew rather than his son, Remy. The RS 400 came out to play as well, and ultimately retired, but the GP14 and the Wayfarer were absent. The ILCA 7s had a four-boat fleet and the 4s drew a complete blank.
A three-lap Olympic course was set with the weather mark in the entrance to the marina, the gybe mark just to the east of the dolphins of the Hy-speed ferry and the leeward mark off the weather station on the upper wall of the East Pier. Direction-wise the wind fluctuated between 260 and 275° degrees, but early sampling of the beat by one Fireball and an ILCA 6 indicated that the course was fair.
The PYs and the ILCA 7s had clear starts with boats heading towards the left-hand side of the beat before working the middle and left of the beat. In the PY fleet, the Fireball of Alastair Court & Gordon Syme (15167) revelled in the robust conditions and led the fleet all the way round. Behind them, the Aeros were led by Noel Butler with Stephen Oram giving chase.
The ILCA 7s sailed off the start line in a tight formation but ultimately one of the fleet dropped behind and subsequently retired.
The ILCA 6s, by way of having 21 boats had a more hectic start particularly when some of them capsized as they approached the start line from the non-course side. Given the conditions at the time, it did seem odd that some of the capsizes were to windward.
No spinnakers were evident on the top reach of the triangle from the PY fleet, though my Fireball “guinea-pig” had already advised that the top end of the beat and reach were very gusty. In the increasing wind conditions the absence of coloured sails was completely understood.
The ILCA 6s saw a tight race at the front of their fleet between Barry McCartin (Fireballs and RS classes) and Sean Craig. Despite the wind level, or maybe even because of it they had a great duel around the course.
In the PY fleet, the Fireball of Court & Syme (23:25) won on the water by just over two minutes on the Aero 6 of Noel Butler (25:27) but on corrected time the Aero (23:16) took the honours (again) by a margin of 1:20, with Stephen Oram’s Aero 7 taking third on corrected time (26:51).
In the ILCA 7s, Conor Byrne led home Theo Lyttle and Gavan Murphy, while in the 6s, Barry McCartin took the win by a short distance, with the pecking order behind him being Sean Craig, Stephen Farrell, Owen Laverty and Conor Clancy.
As Court & Syme came through the finish line they advised that they were going home, a decision vindicated by the fact that the “A” flag to signal “no more racing” was already flying from the committee boat. Nobody appeared to be aggrieved or disheartened by that signal.
On the way in as the committee boat motored into the wind a wind strength of 34 knots was recorded.
At a sparsely populated DMYC afterwards, those who had finished indicated that they had enjoyed the race. Those who hadn’t or retired early, for completely understandable reasons, were absent.
A set of Frostbite Mugs was awarded to Colin Breen and Rory Power Breen (FB 14683) from the PY Class. The ILCA 6 Mug winner wasn’t in attendance to collect his Mug.
An extensive gallery of photographs (52 No.) of the proceedings, by Frank Miller (FB 14915), are posted elsewhere on the website.
- Noel Butler (8pts)
- Stephen Oram (20pts)
- Stuart Harris (36pts)
- Frank Miller & Ed Butler (38pts)
- Roy Van Maanen (46pts)
First Lady – Sarah Dwyer (7th Overall)
- Conor Byrne (9pts)
- Chris Arrowsmith (24pts)
- Niall Cowman (28pts)
- Sean Craig (16pts)
- Conor Clancy (18pts)
- Darren Griffin (32pts)
- John O’Driscoll (38pts)
- Pascal Boret (46pts)
We offer best wishes to two Aero campaigners who are off to the sunny state of Florida next weekend for a major regatta, possibly the North American Championships.