Last Sunday the dominant weather feature in the week leading up to the opening Sunday of the Viking Marine sponsored Frostbites had been Storm Ciaran. For Sunday past, the weather forecast was dominated by the prospect of Storm Debi, which in the Met Eireann forecasts of Saturday evening and night and Sunday morning, was predicting the prospect of Storm Force 10 winds in certain parts of the country and surrounding waters. Granted the onset of the worst of it was the early hours of Monday morning and at 10:00 on Monday morning the Dublin Bay buoy was recording gusts of 52 knots.
Sunday morning was a mixed bag, with the Turkey Shoot cancelled due to big winds with heavy rain, but by 11:00, the rain had gone to be replaced by substantially blue skies and the inner harbour in Dun Laoghaire was glass-like.
In this genteel environment a further two races were sailed in the Frostbite series with Olympic courses of three laps set for each race. The wind was initially at about 14/15 knots from a bearing of 270° and for the first race it managed to stay that way, at least from the committee boat’s perspective. Competitors would advise that it was much shiftier as they approached the weather mark which was situated to the east of the marina entrance.
Numbers were marginally down from last weekend with 43 boats on the water with the lion’s share of those in the PY Fleet.
The ILCA7s mustered six boats for their two races and Theo Lyttle put a further marker down of his intentions by winning both races. The fleet enjoyed a clean start each time and Lyttle led both races with the next four boats in a tight enough bunch behind him. Podium places in the individual races were shared by Lyttle (1,1), Gavan Murphy (3,2), Gary O’Hare (2,4) and Niall Cowman (5,3). In overall terms this gives Lyttle (8) a 2pt cushion over Gavan Murphy (10) with Gary O’Hare (17) and Niall Cowman (18) closing out the top four spots in this fleet.
It took a U-flag start and a tweaking of the pin end to get the ILCA6s away after a P-flag start resulted in a General Recall for the first race. The Pied Piper’s hat (and tin whistle) was passed on from those who starred in that role last Sunday, but an “encore performance” wasn’t needed for the second race which got away at the first time of asking.
Across the two races, the star performer was Hugh Delap with a 2,1 for the day followed by Conor Clancy with a 3,3, David Cahill with 2 x 4s, Shirley Gilmore with 8,2, Brendan Hughes with 1,10 and Justin Geoghegan with 10,5.
Having allowed “one to get away” last weekend, the Aero fleet shut the door to further donations of race wins this past Sunday by claiming races three and four of the series, with both going to Noel Butler on handicap. In this regard, he was aided and abetted by his co-conspirators Roy van Maanen and Sarah Dwyer who took second and third in Race 3, giving the 6s a clean sweep of the handicap podium. In Race 4 however, the embargo on other classes occupying the top steps on handicap, crashed when the Fireball of Alastair Court & Gordon Syme and the RS200 of Jamie & Katie Tingle finished second and third, respectively.
In Race 3, Court and Syme were 4:58 ahead of Butler on the water and another three Fireballs, Neil Colin & Margaret Casey, Cariosa Power & Marie Barry and Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe also got home ahead of the single hander, but on paper, the calculations gave a 1:25 advantage to the Aero with Van Maanen and Dwyer 0:59 and 0:38 ahead of the Fireball as well. The Finn of Brian Sweeney was just 0:09 ahead of the Fireball.
In Race 4, Court’s advantage on the water over the Aero was 3:59, but that became a deficit of 1:40 on paper. The RS200 of the Tingles was 3:51 astern of the Fireball on the water but they closed to fifteen seconds on corrected time, giving them the third place on the handicap podium. This is one of the best RS200 performances in the Frostbites that I can recall in recent years. Fourth and fifth in Race 4 went to the second Fireball of McKenna & O’Keeffe and the IDRA 14 of the Long family, dad Pierre and sons Paul and Remy, as alternating Sunday crews. The two Finns kept close company in Race 4 with only 15 seconds separating them on the water at the finish.
With three bullets, Butler leads the series thus far on 7pts with Dwyer second on 16, Sweeney on 18, the Longs on 19 and Court & Syme on 23pts.
For the second race the weather mark was relocated from close to the mouth of the marina to a location closer to the Royal Irish Yacht Club, but as the race progressed, the wind started to go more left from the committee boat’s perspective. It didn’t quite turn into a soldier’s course upwind but the wind had started to fade from the finish of the first race.
Still racing under blue skies in mild temperatures in mid-November can’t give too much reason to complain.
Post-racing in the DMYC, after two stewards’ enquiries over the provisional results, with appeals upheld, Frostbite Mugs were presented to Roy van Maanen (Aero 6/Race 3), Brendan Hughes (ILCA6/Race 3) and Hugh Delap (ILCA6/Race 4). Absentees at the prize-giving came from the PY Fleet (Race 4) and the ILCA7s (both races).