A modest fleet of 20 boats sailed the Viking Marine sponsored, DMYC hosted, Christmas Cracker yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 27th) made up of a mix of Aeros, ILCA 7s, 6s and 4s, Fireballs, an RS400 and a 49er that joined in on the water but in reality, sailed a very modest part of the race. It is quite possible that the forecast had put others off, given that from mid-week the race looked unlikely, but we got a very pleasant December day for the last “organised” outing of 2022 10°, winds of 12 knots that faded as the afternoon went on, a few gusts that caused some fun and games and a pleasant après-race in the DMYC clubhouse.

There was a bit of drizzle as the fleet assembled in the start area, close to the East Pier in the vicinity of the monument on the upper wall. The intention of the Christmas Cracker is to generate a bit a of a spectacle and generate some funds for the RNLI, so marks were laid in paces they wouldn’t normally be – adjacent to the site of the Ice House (now demolished) (A), between the end of the Carlisle Pier and the East Pier (B), off the monument on the East Pier (C) and close to the INSS raft (D).

Given the wind direction, just east of south, the weather mark was B and the fleet sailed in an anti-clockwise direction giving a mark sequence of B, C, D & A. The plan was to sail a race of approximately 75 minutes duration and that converted into a 4-lap race around the extremes of the harbour.

The course to mark B gave the fleet a good beat and in a bit of a surprise (to this observer) an ILCA 7 led the fleet around the to mark. Conor Byrne would, in actual fact lead the fleet over the finish line, but he didn’t quite lead the fleet all the way round. The Aeros have dominated the handicap result in Series 1 of the Frostbites this season, much to the discomfort of the Fireballs in particular, but in this race, they found themselves mixing it on the water with two ILCA 7s, Conor Byrne & Gavan Murphy, two Fireballs, Neil Colin and Margaret Casey (14775) and Alastair Court & Fireball debutant Conor O’Leary (Lasers and Flying Fifteens) (15167) and the ILCA 6 of Sean Craig. The leg from B to C was a definite spinnaker leg but the red and blue spinnakers of Colin and Court respectively were being flown from behind the two lLCA 7s with Noel Butler’s Aero 6 also ahead and Craig and the other Aero flagbearer Stephen Oram in the Aero 7.  

C to D was set up to try and promote the use of spinnakers and that’s how it worked out for the first lap with Colin & Casey leading into D. D to A also produced a beat, at least to the mouth of the marina when it became a two-sail fetch into the mark. However, exiting the marina and trying to determine a course along the inshore side of the harbour proved to be a bit testing in gauging the extent of the wind-shadow off the breakwater. Colin seemed to gain some advantage here and was starting to pull away. However, Butler was hanging in on the water as were the two ILCA 7s and more significantly, the ILCA 6 of Craig. Oram too had closed to the extent that he could be considered as part of the lead bunch which now consisted of two Fireballs, two Aeros, two ILCA 7s and the ILCA 6.

The balance of the fleet was getting strung out even at this early stage and the 49-er was giving more attention to capsize drills and subsequently left the race area. By A the second time, Colin’s Fireball was in a more respectable position on the water and a good reach along the bottom of the course allowed him to stretch his legs until a snagged spinnaker halyard led to a capsize and all their good work evaporated. That allowed Court to take on the role of lead Fireball, but the ILCAs and the Aeros also sailed past the beleaguered Colin & Casey. The RS 400 also had some fun and games on this leg but they managed to stay upright all the way to D.

At this stage the wind was starting to fade slightly and was moving westwards. Colin & Casey recovered over the second half of the race to get back into the frame on the water.

The committee boat relocated to a position much closer to the marina entrance and Flag F was flown at Mark D to signify that competitors should sail directly to the finish. What should have been a beat from D to the finish turned into a two-sail fetch as the wind began to swing even more westwards, but 4 laps of the course had been sailed and a 77-minute race (for the winner) was achieved.

Christmas Cracker 2022
Pos. Contestant Class Elapsed Time Corrected Time
1st Sean Craig ILCA 6 1:19:13 1:09:21
2nd Conor Byrne ILCA 7 1:17:15 1:10:14
3rd Noel Butler Aero 6 1:18:17 1:11:33
4th Gavan Murphy ILCA 7 1:19:07 1:11:55
5th Brendan Hughes ILCA 6 1:23:20 1:12:39
7th Alison Pigot ILCA 6 1:25:32 1:14:26
11th Neil Colin & Margaret Casey



1:18:40 1:22:38
12th Alastair Court & Conor O’Leary Fireball


1:18:56 1:22:55


In Class terms the ILCA 6s took the bulk of the top ten places, claiming 1st, 5th, 7th, 8th and 9th on handicap, the ILCA 7s claimed 2nd and 4th, the ILCA 4s took 10th and the Aeros 3rd and 6th (Oram), leaving the Fireballs in 11th and 12th even though they finished 3rd and 4th on the water.

Prizes were awarded in the DMYC clubhouse and, as the winner, Sean Craig offered a few words of thanks to Viking Marine, DMYC and the volunteers for the afternoon’s sailing.

Frostbite racing, Series 2 starts on Sunday 1st January 2023.

Happy New Year!