The St Patrick’s Day Frostbites saw the lowest turnout of boats in Series 2 thus far, twenty-nine, due probably to a combination of factors – the day that was in it when family activity might be a priority, the day after the big match syndrome, when a 6 Nations Rugby title was achieved, or maybe just the weather forecast for the day which showed the early part of the afternoon to be manageable, but getting heavier later on.

Race Officer Ian Cutliffe set out with the intention of having two races but cautioned his RIB teams that his decision would be finalised on reviewing conditions in the man part of the harbour. A triangular course was declared as being the first course of the day.

In the race area, the base wind strength was more than manageable but the gust that came blasting through the entrance to the marine, even at an early stage of the afternoon were quite vicious. The weather mark was set in this approximate location but there was a delay in getting the gybe mark into the mark as the Irish Lights Vessel Granuaile, indicated her intention to leave her berth on the Carlisle Pier. The gybe mark was then put in the water off the dolphins for the HySpeed Ferry. The leeward mark and the committee boat were situated just inside the end of the East Pier. Given the forecast, a fifth RIB was on the water and it and the other RIBs would spend time attending to capsized boats and boats with systems issues – dropped main and a broken mast. 

The increase in wind strength is reflected in the attrition rate among the classes; in the PY fleet there were 8 starters of whom five finished; in the ILCA 6s there were twelve starters of whom six finished, but the recognition for persistence goes to the ILCA 7s who had nine boats on the start line and all nine finished.

Some boats came out to the start and decided that there was too much breeze and returned ashore, others retired during the course of the race.

For the PY fleet, Fireballs took first and second on the water with Alastair Court and Gordon Syme (15167) scorching home in 21:48 with Pat McGoldrick and Paul ter Horst (14790) 1:24 astern. This latter combination have been sailing very well in Series 2, getting to the first weather mark first in some races and staying at the front end of the fleet in most races. Four seconds after they finished, Noel Butler crossed the finish line comfortably ahead of the other Aero to finish, Roy van Maanen. Fifth place on the water was taken by Pierre & Remy Long (father and son) in the IDRA 14.

On corrected time Butler won by 1:51 over Court & Syme, with van Maanen third, the second Fireball fourth and the IDRA fifth.  

Only half the ILCA 6s finished with regular international competitor Sean Craig leading the fleet home with a finishing order behind him of Hugh Delap, Daniel O’Connor, Darren Griffin, Justin Geoghegan and Hugh Cahill. Craig must have had a good second half of the race because my last recall of his position on the water, he wasn’t in the top three.

The ILCA 7 fleet remained intact for the duration of the race with Conor Byrne notching up another first place ahead of Theo Lyttle, Chris Arrowsmith, Roy McKay and John O’Driscoll.

As the race progressed the gap between gusts decreased leading to an overall increase in the base wind strength. This prompted the Race Officer to send the fleet homewards – a decision that I don’t think anyone would have had a problem with.

With only a single Sunday left in Series 2, a quick assessment of the overall situation is warranted to see who will be watching their backs on the final day with the prospect of maybe two races.

In the thirty-entry PY fleet, in Series 2 and the Overall Series (1 & 2) combined, Noel Butler is untouchable in 1st Overall. However, there is only a 2pt gap between his fellow Aero sailors Roy van Maanen and Sarah Dwyer and a further 2pt gap to the Fireball of Alastair Court & Gordon Syme in Series 2. Team Long in the IDRA are fifth in Series 2. In the overall Series the same players are in the top five, but in a different order and with bigger gaps between the boats. van Maanen holds a 4pt advantage over Dwyer who has seven points on Team Long with Court & Syme only one point down on Team Long in fifth overall.

In the ILCA 6s Darren Griffin leads Conor Clancy by four points in Series 2 but Clancy has the upper hand in the Overall Series by six points. Hugh Delap and Shirley Gilmore occupy third and fourth respectively in both Series 2 and Overall, with Delap ahead by 16pts in Series 2 and by 11pts Overall. Michael Norman occupies fifth place in both Series 2 and Overall. The entry for the Series from the ILCA 6s was thirty-three boats.

The ILCA 7s however, as befits a smaller and very competitive fleet, are keeping it even tighter than their smaller rigged contemporaries. In Series 2, Conor Byrne leads Gavan Murphy by 2pts, 37 versus 39, while John Marmelstein and Gary O’Hare are tied on 44pts apiece and Theo Lyttle is in fifth place on 57. However, in terms of the Overall Series, Lyttle jumps up to 1st Overall (50pts) with Gavan Murphy on 52, Gary O’Hare on 63, Conor Byrne on 64 and Chris Arrowsmith on 89. In this fleet, there is lots to play for still.


In the Fireball fleet of ten boats, the combination of Court & Syme are comfortably first in the Overall Series with Neil Colin & Margaret Casey second overall ahead of Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe, though the latter combination could be overtaken next Sunday by Pat McGoldrick & Paul ter Horst who only have a three-point gap to close to jump a place overall.

In the Aero fleet of ten boats, the opportunity for final Sunday change lies with Roy van Maanen and Sarah Dwyer who are only separated by a solitary point in the Overall Series (Aeros only) as Noel Butler is over the horizon in points terms.

There were no Frostbite Mugs awarded on St Patrick’s Day as all those who were eligible had either won their Mug or spurned their chance (twice) to win a Mug earlier in the series.

The prize-giving with take place after racing next Sunday and competitors are warmly encouraged to be in attendance. It is an opportunity to recognise your peers who have been successful and adds to the end of regatta ambience. Additionally, a locally based start-up company making wetsuits have offered a wet suit to the Frostbites organisation. Tickets can be acquired by making a purchase in the DMYC bar (soup & bread, tea/coffee, beer, etc), but that requires attendance at the prize-giving.

See you there!