The last Sunday of the Viking Marine sponsored Frostbites arrived with a forecast of contrasting conditions, blustery winds for the morning, followed by winds of between 5 and 7 knots during the projected race time with a 90° swing from West to South during the latter part of the afternoon with the prospect that wind strength would get into double figures.

With the Series prizegiving also scheduled post-racing, there was no desire to have the fleet wallowing around in light winds for the afternoon.

The day started well for the volunteers with a light lunch of sandwiches and pastries courtesy of the DMYC which was a very nice way to start the day – thanks Ally and Ian. The briefing of the race team on the dock set out the plan for the day – sail one substantial race, conditions permitting and then assess the option to have a second.

Given the forecast, Race Officer Cormac Bradley toyed with the idea of setting either a triangular course or an Olympic course on the premise that if the big wind shift came in a gybe mark might be reinvented as a weather mark for a second race. Instead, the supposed westerly with a touch of north was more fickle and the proposed position of the weather mark moved around quite a bit – from the “elbow” of the western breakwater and the West Pier to the Royal Irish Yacht Club before the dye was cast and the mark went in just east of the marina entrance. And given the movement of the breeze, a decision was taken that a Windward-Leeward would be the course of choice with three laps.

Some high-profile members of the PY fleet, made up of Aeros, Fireballs, 2 x Finns, an IDRA, a GP14, a RS200 and nineteen boats in total, led the fleet astray, causing a General Recall. Ashore afterwards, there was more genteel finger pointing as to who the real culprit was! That promoted the much better mannered ILCA 7s (8 boats) to the head of the revised starting order and despite one individual being shepherded over the start line in time for his start, he managed to be over the line when the signal went. He was in company with another ILCA 7 and both came back.

The 16-boat ILCA 6 fleet were not going to be outdone by their PY peers and they too managed to engineer a General Recall at the first time of asking. All this in wind that was at 6 knots and dipping below this threshold rather than gaining strength.

A “U-flag” start put manners on both fleets, but even then, a “PY-er” managed to jump the gun. And in the ILCA 6s there was also another competitor who “jumped the gun”. For the first half of the race, Mother Nature complied with my plan even if the beat wasn’t quite the leg it should have been. Still there was an element of upwind work to be had, but interestingly, the lead Fireballs went to the right-hand side of the run on the basis that the later wind was due to come in from that direction. As the race progressed the wind started to move southwards and by the last lap those who were on the right-hand side of the “run” scored as more wind started to come in from the south as predicted. Those who went left under spinnaker then found their choice at the leeward gate was limited to the port-hand mark. However, the change of direction brought more “oomph” and boats were planing in both directions between the leeward gate and the weather mark.

The Fireball of Alastair Court & Gordon Syme (15167) led the fleet home by two minutes minus two seconds on the Aero of guess who? – Noel Butler, with Sarah Dwyer (Aero) a minute down on Butler and Roy van Maanen (Aero) two seconds down on Dwyer.  The Tingles, Jamie & Katie, were 1:29 behind Court & Syme and 29 seconds ahead of Butler. As per usual however, the corrected time results turned these numbers on their heads with Butler scoring another win and leading home an Aero 1-2-3. The father and son combination, Pierre and Remy Long in the IDRA, secured fourth on corrected time with the Tingles fifth and Court & Syme relegated to 10th overall.

In the ILCA 7s, the finishing order was Niall Cowman, Gary O’Hare and John Marmelstein, proving that honesty is the best policy with at least one if not two of these three being OCS at the start.

In the ILCA 6s,the finishing order was Brendan Hughes, Daniel O’Connor, Shirley Gilmore, David Williams and Hugh Delap.

By now a brisk breeze that got up to fifteen knots was blowing from a southerly direction. Quick action by the layer of the weather mark, DMYC Commodore, Ian Cutliffe (who also provides photographs for this column), to be in the approximate place for a new weather mark, waiting for the imprimatur of the RO to fine tune its position helped to turn the second race around quickly. The balance of the RIB crews had also been prompted to lift marks as soon as the last boat sailed past and with a quick relocation of the committee boat, a second race got underway in a very short time.

The strength of the breeze dropped off a bit but in direction it remained stable giving the fleet a good length beat from just inside the red lighthouse of the West Pier to the dolphins of the Hyspeed Ferry. The gybe mark was set towards the harbour mouth and while the triangle may have been a bit “shallow” its dimension were slightly limited by other activities in the harbour.

For Race 2 all three fleets got away at the first time of asking and numbers were only reduced very nominally in the PY fleet, with two DNCs.

In the PY Fleet, guest helm, Mick Creighton & Hermine O’Keeffe (15016) won on the water, by twenty-five seconds from Frank Miller & Neil Cramer (14990) who had a four-second advantage over the form team of Court & Syme. The Tingles, having swopped positions in the boat from Race 1, came in 1:27 behind the lead Fireball before, in a modest upset, Roy van Maanen led home a 1-2-3-4 in the Aeros of van Maanen, Butler, Paul Phelan and Dwyer. Granted van Maanen only had an eight second advantage over the runaway leader of the PY Series, but it was a change in the normal Aero pecking order on the water.

On corrected time van Maanen and Butler finished ahead of the Tingles who then had the Aeros of Phelan and Dwyer behind them. Creighton & O’Keeffe took 6th with the Longs 7th in the IDRA. On corrected time there was a tie between the GP14 (11111) of Ciara Mulvey & Peter Murphy and the Finn of Des Fortune in 9th place.    

In the ILCA 7s, Gary O’Hare stepped up from 2nd in Race 1 to take the win, followed home by John O’Driscoll and Roy McKay.   

In the 6s, the finishing order was Conor Clancy, up from 6th in Race 1, followed by Darren Griffin, up from 9th in Race 1, Brendan Hughes, Hugh Delap and Shirley Gilmore.

So, after a slightly difficult first race, the second race of the day and the 39th race of the 2023/24 Frostbites Series, sailed in great conditions brought the curtain down on winter sailing, leaving these hardy souls an approximate five-week break before the start of the DBSC Summer Sailing Season. The Series 2 and Overall Series results are as follows;

Series 2.

PY Fleet.

  1. Noel Butler, Aero; 13pts
  2. Roy van Maanen, Aero; 42pts
  3. Sarah Dwyer, Aero; 48pts
  4. Alastair Court & Gordon Syme, Fireball; 58pts
  5. Pierre, Paul & Remy Long, IDRA 14; 65pts.

ILCA 7s.

  1. Gary O’Hare; 39pts
  2. John Marmelstein; 44pts
  3. Conor Byrne; 48pts
  4. Gavan Murphy; 51pts
  5. John O’Driscoll; 66pts.

ILCA 6s.

  1. Darren Griffin; 28pts
  2. Conor Clancy; 31pts
  3. Hugh Delap; 47pts
  4. Shirley Gilmore; 55pts
  5. Michael Norman; 81pts.

Viking Marine Frostbites 2023/24 Overall.

PY Fleet.

  1. Noel Butler, Aero; 19pts
  2. Roy van Maanen, Aero; 67pts
  3. Sarah Dwyer, Aero; 75pts
  4. Pierre, Remy & Paul Long, IDRA; 86pts
  5. Alastair Court & Gordon Syme, Fireball; 91pts.

ILCA 7s.

  1. Gavan Murphy; 54pts
  2. Gary O’Hare; 60pts
  3. Theo Lyttle; 62pts
  4. Conor Byrne; 75pts
  5. John Marmelstein; 91pts.

ILCA 6s.

  1. Conor Clancy; 44pts
  2. Darren Griffin; 51pts
  3. Hugh Delap; 74pts
  4. Shirley Gilmore; 80pts
  5. Michael Norman; 129pts.

Fireball Series Trophy.

  1. Alastair Court & Gordon Syme, 15167; 25pts
  2. Neil Colin & Margaret Casey, 14775/14998; 56pts
  3. Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keeffe, 15016; 71pts


  1. Noel Butler; 19pts
  2. Roy van Maanen; 46pts
  3. Sarah Dwyer; 49pts

At the prize-giving in the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, post racing, Frostbites Organiser Neil Colin (Fireball) welcomed Viking Marine sponsor Ian O’Meara and Club Commodore Ian Cutliffe to the occasion and then proceeded to offer thanks to the various volunteers of the Series;

  • The Race Management Team each of whom had been on duty for a very significant number of the Sundays throughout Series 1 & 2.
  • The RIB crews who doubled up as mark-layers and rescue cover.
  • The two-man results Team, who manage to get the results out so quickly.
  • The DMYC bar and kitchen staff who are on hand every Sunday after the races.

Neil then invited Ian O’Meara to hand out the prizes, vouchers for Viking Marine.

Ian also donated a number of spots prizes which were awarded as follows;

  1. Rooster washbag – awarded to Sarah Dwyer who spent a large part of the previous Sunday in a capsized position.
  2. A Rooster peak – awarded to Shirley Gilmore for 4th place overall in the ILCA 6s.
  3. A Rooster peak – awarded to Michael Norman who sailed all bar one of the races across Series 1 & 2.
  4. A book on knots – awarded to Stephen Oram (Aero) whom had the misfortune of a broken main halyard a few weeks prior.
  5. A hot mug – awarded to the IDRA Long Family – fort sailing in shorts for a large number of the Frostbite races.

Noel Butler proposed a vote of thanks on behalf of the competitors to DMYC and the team of volunteers who all contribute to the success of the racing over the months of November to March. 

Cillian Griffith of Covy Wetsuits, an indigenous Irish company who had visited the Frostbites a couple of years previously to get feedback on the design of locally made wetsuits also donated a wetsuit as a raffle prize for those in attendance. It was fitting therefore that this prize went to the older of the Long brothers.

(If anyone wants details on the wetsuits, Cillian can be contacted at