Sunday's wind eventually complied for Frostbite racing

06 January 2020
Sunday's wind eventually complied for Frostbite racing
The first race in the HYC Laser Frostbite Spring Series 2020 saw 5 knots from the south as the 18 competitors took to the water.  Some of the usual suspects were missing due to ski-ing and other holiday related distractions but new faces from Dun Laoghaire and Swords added to the fun and bodes well for the competition between today and the Round The Island Race on March 7th.
With a low tide at 1300, current was not as much a factor as usual.  After a course and starting-line reset by the Race Committee, conveniently facilitating the two ‘Just-in-Timers’ Messrs. Kelleher and Wallace, the fleet got away on first ask on an Olympic course from a line with a slight pin-end bias.  The left side of the course had more pressure and the leading bunch at the weather mark all stamped their tickets out there.  On the second beat a right-hand shift and a slight increase in pressure on that side saw Dave Kirwan, who had gone hard left after the leeward mark, lose out the most.  With the race wisely shortened after the run, Darach Dinneen continued his winning ways from his New Year’s Day race victory.  William Chouquet of Swords SBC (welcome William) was a close second, the one-two only having been resolved by who got the inside berth at the last leeward mark, a matter discussed by the two contenders with sufficient volume to both entertain and encourage the fleet behind.  Ronan Wallace pipped his fellow WHBTC'er, J. Murphy, on the last beat to take third.
The breeze picked up a few knots and veered twenty degrees for the start of the second race, for which the Race Committee chose a Windward Leeward format.  The fleet got away cleanly from a square line - belated presents from Santa for both competitors and race management respectively.  As the breeze picked up from its initial 7 knots, the shifts became more pronounced – right in the gusts and easing back in the lulls to put a premium on staying in pressure on the lifted tack.  At the top mark first time around, Ronan Wallace, Dan O'Connell and Darragh Kelleher were leading the bunch.  Downwind on Howth Sound in a southerly coming over Howth Head can be tricky and today was no different. There were lines of higher pressure across the course and the fleet compressed on each of the runs. 
By the start of the third and final beat, the wind was over 16 knots, requiring full-on hiking plus dumping the sheet.  Dan O'Connell was just ahead at the top mark but Ronan Wallace took best advantage of a beauty of a gust down the last quarter of the run, navigated to the reset leeward mark, avoided the threatening death rolls and took the bullet.  Darragh Kelleher was able to measure ‘3 boat lengths to the millimetre’ at the last leeward to ensure a second while Daragh Sheridan took third place and thereby clinched the ‘joint award’ for perseverance and best come-back of the day.  Having arrived at the start area for Race 1, a twenty-five minute sail from the Club, the joint on his tiller extension broke.  While the fleet sailed Race 1, he returned to the Harbour, replaced his tiller and sailed back out, only to arrive ninety seconds late for the start of Race 2.  He then stormed through the fleet to finish only twenty seconds behind the winner, securing a moral if not a scoring victory.
In the Radials, Peter Kilmartin and Dylan McEvoy each took a first and a second place.  In the 4.7s, Sophie Kilmartin won both races from second placed Abby Kinsella.