The critical aspect of last Sunday’s Frostbites, sponsored by Viking Marine, was the air temperature rather than the wind strength. True, there had been a severe wind warning as late at 13:00 on the Saturday, with Severe Gale Force winds predicted for the northern coasts of the island and the northern portion of the Irish Sea, but these were due to blow themselves out and a more sublime Sunday was predicted.
Temperature on the other hand, was an issue and an oft-used anatomical expression of the coldness, which in actual fact has a naval sea-fighting connotation, was appropriate for the day. Fifty-five boats were on the water for the day with the ILCA 6s having the biggest fleet with 22 boats. They were closely followed by the PY fleet, made up of Fireballs, Aeros, an IDRA, a GP 14, a Wayfarer, a Laser Vago, a RS 400, a RS Quest and the 2.4m of Patrick Hassett.
Given the conditions it was decided beforehand to try and get a short race in first and then review the conditions for a second race. With a wind that initially fluctuated around due west, a weather mark was set up just to the north of the marina entrance, a gybe mark to the east of the dolphins of the Hy-speed ferry terminal and a leeward mark set off the weather station on the upper level of the East Pier. Two triangles were set for Race 1.
A generous length of line and a pin end bias had the desired effect of spreading the fleet along the start line and all three fleets had a clean start, though the bias made for tight calls at the pin end. Still, halfway up the first beat for the PY Class, it was pleasing (as a RO) to see that the fleet was spread across the course rather than hogging one side.
First to show at the weather mark was the father and son combination of Ed and Ed Butler (14915), with young Ed helming in lieu of the regular helm Frank Miller who was off on leave. They scorched around the course taking advantage of good three-sail reaching on the top reach and more genteel three sailing on the second reach. Other Fireballs to feature prominently were Alastair Court & Gordon Syme (15167) and Neil Colin & Margaret Casey (14775) with Glen Fisher and Michael Keegan (14676) not far behind. Also doing well was another father/son combination of Frank and Hugh Cassidy (14934). Hugh has only been introduced to Fireball sailing in this season’s Frostbites and is making a very good go of it thus far. Mixing it with the Fireballs were the Aeros of Noel Butler (3289) and Stephen Oram (3288) and in handicap terms in this race that would be reflected in the results. Three Fireballs finished ahead of the Aeros on the water, Butler/Butler (18:26), Court/Syme (19:11) and Colin/Casey (19:25), with Butler (20:29) beating Oram (20:55) Yet on handicap terms, the Aeros took 1st and 3rd – Butler (18:43), Butler/Butler (19:22), Oram (19:38), Court/Syme (20:09) and Colin/Casey (20:24).
The ILCA 7s and 4s share one start and the start line conditions also meant they had plenty of room to manoeuvre themselves into favourable positions. For the 7s, of which there were eight, the race was run in close company with a finishing order of Conor Byrne, Chris Arrowsmith and Roy McKay. And in the 4s, the finishing order was Grace Gavin, Zita Tempany and Sam Legge.
The 20-boat 6s’ start was busy at the pin end and while it got very close, they did have a clean start. In the first race, a new name was at the head of the fleet, Peter Williams, who was followed home by Conor Clancy, Brendan Hughes, Darren Griffin and Pascal Boret. A high-profile member of this fleet was recorded as a DNF and that, combined with a polite comment on the “earliness” of the blue flag would suggest that he may have gone through the finish line when said blue flag was up. If that is the case, then his actions are commendable and more people should follow his example!
For the latter stages of the first race, the wind was moving northwards and that prompted a review of and an amendment to the course, pushing the weather mark to starboard relative to the committee boat. On that basis the three-start sequence got away again, but then the wind started to move backwards towards its original direction. It didn’t turn the beat into a soldier’s course, fortunately and the downwind leg of the three-lap Olympic course didn’t turn into a reach.
In the PY fleet the Butler² team in the Fireball repeated their feat of the first race, romping home by a 1:09 margin over Colin & Casey in the second Fireball and by 4:00 on the first Aero of “the other Butler”. However, in a race of just less than half an hour, this wasn’t enough for the Fireball to hold off the Aero on handicap and Butler (Aero) took another individual race win by a margin of 0:04, FOUR SECONDS! In handicap terms the Butlers, singular and plural were followed home by another father and son combination, Pierre & Remy Long in the IDRA, Colin & Casey and Oram.
In the ILCA 7s, Theo Lyttle took the race win followed by Conor Byrne and Gavan Murphy. In the 6s, a more familiar line-up was evident in the finishing order as Sean Craig won comfortably, followed by Darren Griffin, Pascal Boret, Conor Clancy and John O’Driscoll. And in the 4s, Patrick Foley led home Grace Gavin and Zita Tempany.
By 15:30, the fleet was on its way home to thaw out in its respective clubhouses!
In overall terms, the PY fleet is well spread from a points perspective. Noel Butler (6) has eleven points on the Fireball of Frank Miller/Ed Butler and substitute crews and helms (17) with another Aero, Stuart Harris, and another Fireball, Alastair Court & Gordon Syme tied on 27 pts. Stephen Oram holds fifth place on 29pts.
Likewise, in the ILCA 7s there is a points gap between all the boats at the top end with eight between Conor Byrne (6) and Chris Arrowsmith (14) in 1st and 2nd. Niall Cowman and Gavan Murphy are separated by a single point, six and seven points behind Arrowsmith respectively.
In the ILCA 6s, a single point separates Conor Clancy (12) and Sean Craig (13), but they have a comfortable margin, at present, on John O’Driscoll (23). O’Driscoll will need to keep an eye over his shoulder on Darren Griffin (25) with Judy O’Beirne (29) not too far away.
In the ILCA 4s a 4-point spread covers 1st to 3rd with the top two, Patrick Foley and Zita Tempany both on 9 points and Sam Legge on 13.
Frostbite Mug winners on the day were Frank and Hugh Cassidy (R1 PY Fleet), Cariosa Power & Marie Barry (FB/R2 PY Fleet) and Roy McKay (ILCA 7). Mug winners have to be in attendance to get their Frostbite Mugs and get two chances to claim their Mugs.