After a Sunday of too much breeze, followed by a Sunday of variable breeze, the Viking Marine Frostbites fleet had a Sunday where the wind was much more manageable in terms of consistency and strength. We also had a debutant Race Officer in the form of Brendan Duffy from the Ruffian Class in Dun Laoghaire.
This correspondent had a much more genteel afternoon laying the gybe mark for the two-race programme of the day.
Fifty-eight boats answered the starters orders with the ILCA 6s having the biggest fleet of 29 boats. The ILCA 7s also had a good turnout, their biggest of Series 2, with 9 boats, while the PY fleet mustered 20 boats including seven Fireballs. No ILCA 4s got wet!
For the first race, a three-lap Olympic course, a weather mark was set in the approximate location of the bandstand on the East Pier, the gybe mark was in the mouth of the harbour and the leeward mark was in the “elbow” of the western breakwater and the West Pier, with the INSS green raft in close proximity. Wind strength for the day was between 5 and 12 knots from an approximate SE direction.
The first two starts got away at the first time of asking and in the PY Fleet the choice appeared to be to use the left-hand side of the beat initially, before trying to work across the width of the harbour to the starboard layline. The seven Fireballs started in a tightish bunch with Aeros hovering around the fringes and the first spinnaker to show at the weather mark was from Irish Class Association Secretary and Chairman Frank Miller & Neil Cramer respectively (14915). They had a healthy lead on their classmates for the first lap but as the race progressed, they were put under pressure by the “pink ladies” Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe (15016) and Alastair Court & Gordon Syme (15167). Different approaches to the downwind sausage in particular seemed to make the difference. Court & Syme having closed on Miller & Cramer worked the left-hand side of the run while Miller and McKenna sailed to the right-hand side. That appeared to cost Court, leaving McKenna and Miller dicing it out for first place on the water. Miller took the win by 22 seconds from Mc Kenna but both lost out to the Aeros of Stuart Harris and Stephen Oram who finished 4:20 and 3:31 minutes astern of Miller respectively but took the handicap win and second place by 54 and 43 seconds, respectively. A new combination in Fireballs, Jack McNaughton & Jamie Malcolm (GBR 14101) were sailing very well in the conditions and finished a creditable 10th on handicap. Given that this is a boat that they put on the water for the first time in Series 2, this was a commendable performance.
On handicap the finishing order was Stuart Harris, Stephen Oram, Miller & Cramer, McKenna & O’Keeffe, Sarah Dwyer (Aero 6).
The nine ILCA 7s also seemed to enjoy some close racing and shared the same view as the PY fleet on how the first beat should be sailed. In tandem with the PY fleet, they worked the right-hand side of the beat for subsequent laps. The finishing order was Theo Lyttle, Gavan Murphy, Sean Bowden, Niall Cowman and Gary O’Hare.
Both these fleets then found themselves having to sail through an ILCA 6 fleet that was still in the starting area, due to a number of failed attempts to get started in accordance with the RO’s requirements. By the time they did get away, their course had been reduced to two laps of the course. Up front there was a close battle going on between Barry McCartin (FBs, RSs) and class stalwart Sean Craig which McCartin won, but only after a one-on-one that lasted the whole course. Behind Craig, the order was David Williams, David Cahill and Darren Griffin.
The RO kept the course as was but signalled T2 for the second race – two triangles. Again, the PY fleet and the ILCA 7s got away at the first time of asking and this time there was an earlier choice to use the right-hand side of the beat. This was due to a shift which saw the fleet sailing the first half of the top reach on starboard tack, before gybing long before the gybe mark onto port and closing out with a tight second reach to the leeward mark. The wind had also eased as the afternoon progressed and while the Fireballs were to the fore on the water, they had neither distance nor time to preserve that advantage over the Aeros when it came to the computed results. So, while Miller & Cramer had a “minute and four” advantage over Oram in the Aero, Oram was able to turn the tables on the spreadsheet of results gaining a 1:40 advantage on handicap. Indeed, Miller & Cramer would only claim 8th place on corrected time. Oram (Aero) led home (on paper) Pierre & Remy Long (IDRA 14), Sarah Dwyer (Aero), Monica Schaeffer & Charlie Dunn (Wayfarer) and Patrick Hassett (2.4m).
In the ILCA 7s, Theo Lyttle scored a second win and Roy McKay beat Gavan Murphy into second, with Chris Arrowsmith and Gary O’Hare closing out the top five.
Meanwhile the ILCA 6s had even more “fun and games” though many may not share that sentiment, for their second race start. Despite four attempts to get the fleet away, the effort was ultimately abandoned and they lost their second race, sent home early for a hot shower. Off the water, the RO’s observation was that even at 30 seconds to go, the vast majority of the fleet was invariably over the line. And positioning a rib just on the course side of the line did not act as the desired deterrent.
Series 2 Overall; After 14 races and two discards.
Noel Butler (36.5), Stephen Oram (40), Stuart Harris (54), Frank Miller & Ed Butler/Neil Cramer (61), Sarah Dwyer (64).
Conor Byrne (31), Gavan Murphy (38), Theo Lyttle (39), Niall Cowman (40), Chris Arrowsmith (41).
Sean Craig (19), Conor Clancy (31), Darren Griffin (48), John O’Driscoll (52), David Cahill (59)