HYC Dinghy Frostbite completes full programme of 18 races
The Spring Frostbite series was concluded on Sunday when the final day of the series achieved delivery of 100% of the planned races. Aisling Kelly (Rush SC), Marco Sorgassi (RStGYC) and Ronan Wallace (Wexford HB&TC) took the overall victories in the ILCA 4, 6 and 7 Classes while Daragh Sheridan (HYC) won the PY Class in his RS Aero 7.
The westerly wind was a relatively modest 10 – 12kn but the air temperature was the main topic of conversation. The sunshine of recent weeks was repeated, but nature’s link to the thermometer appears to have disconnected and the chill gave another reminder of why the event has justified its ‘Frostbites’ title since it started back in the 1970s.
Race Officer Jim Lambkin decided on Windward-Leeward courses for the two races and, despite the anxiety of some of the ILCA sailors to get racing a little before the start guns for both, only one general recall was needed with the individual recall signal sorting the rest. With the wind oscillating through 20 degrees and a strong ebb tide running more strongly down one side of the course, the good strategists (and the fortunate) were able to capitalise on getting to the right place at the right time but there was plenty of place changing in both races. The strong tide setting the boats down on the starboard tack approach to the windward mark caused some a lot of grief and judging the right amount to overstand what would normally have been the correct layline made a big difference to how long and how many extra tacks were needed to get around it.
Tristan Nelson and Peter Freyne, who normally sail single-handed RS600s, brought out their International 14 to get some practice in for the upcoming Round the Island Race. It added considerably to the Sunday morning spectacle on the Sound, not alone when the boat was vertical and travelling very fast but also while it was transitioning to horizontal mode. Given the complexity and performance of these thoroughbreds of the dinghy racing world, an occasional lie down is a difficult fate to avoid. Having clocked up 12kn+ on Sunday in a breeze of around the same velocity, their boat speed should make them a favourite for line honours in the Round the Island...but their opposition will be taking inspiration from the tortoise and hare fable!
Most of the ILCA 4 fleet were afloat early for a pre-race coaching session with Aoife Hopkins. The initial six boats enjoyed great racing, but Cillian Twomey (HYC) was a model of consistency and took the winning gun in both races. Glenda Gallagher (MYC) and Aisling Kelly took the other podium places in the first race, while Thea Daly (HYC) came out for the second race and added to the fun, finishing third behind Ciara McMahon (HYC) in second. Aisling Kelly’s consistency over the series brought her to first overall with Viktor Samoilovs (MYC) taking second.
In the ILCA 6s, Marco Sorgassi (RStGYC) added to his tally of race wins in the first race of the day, his 12th victory out of the eighteen races, and it secured his overall win for the series. In the second race, Fiachra Farrelly (HYC) sailed exceptionally well to grab the final race win of the event, while Marco had to be content with third. Darragh Peelo (MYC) rounded out the podium in both races with a third and then a second, which was enough to secure him second place overall.
The ILCA 7s had a lower turnout than usual for the last day with both Dan O’Connell (Cove SC) and Conor Murphy (HYC), two of the usual front runners, not racing. In race 1, Oisin Hughes (RStGYC) sailed a great race to fend off second-placed Ronan Wallace, with Rory Lynch (Baltimore SC) taking third. Ronan was back in front in race 2 with Rory as runner-up, while Dave Kirwan (MYC) added to his very consistent results over the series with a good third place. Dave has the distinction of having won races in both the ILCA 6 and ILCA 7 Classes during the event, choosing the rig size that best suited him on each day to secure 11 ‘top 3’ finishes, including 4 wins, out of the 18 races completed. The top three finishers for the overall series in the ILCA 7s were Ronan Wallace, Dan O’Connell and Rory Lynch, with only two points separating Conor Murphy in fourth from fifth placed Oisin Hughes.
The PY Class completed their first Frostbite Series after 40+ years of the event being restricted to Lasers and then ILCAs. The 13 entries enjoyed close racing as the numbers built over the series and the results proved that the PY ratings are a fair reflection of how boats from the various Classes should perform. Daragh Sheridan (HYC) opened a comfortable lead during the first part of the Spring Series in his RS Aero, which allowed him enough of a cushion to secure first overall despite not racing on the last day. The wide range of boat types competing included two RS 600s, a B14, Fireball, three RS Aeros, an RS 800 and five GP 14s. The GP14s proved themselves well able to sail to their handicap and, once their crews became familiar with the intricacies of racing on Howth Sound, proved a match for the RS Aeros. Daragh’s tally of eleven race wins stood to him in the end but the GP14s took first on corrected time in seven of the last nine races, albeit with Alan Blay (SDC) taking six of them and Denis Cully (Blessington SC) the seventh. Alan and Denis each took a win on the last day to confirm Alan as runner-up to Daragh Sheridan, while Conor Twohig (SDC), also in a GP14, took third overall to finish just ahead of Jeremy Beshoff’s B14.
The Round the Island Race will take place on Saturday next, March 11th, and all those not entered are reminded that entries close at midnight on Wednesday, March 8th. There is already a great entry of ILCAs and a wide variety of PY Class boats, so come and join the fun and work out your solution to the eternal quandary of this race – clockwise or anti-clockwise!!
---Report by Neil Murphy