Brass Monkeys and Laser Frostbites Bring 2021 to a Close
09 December 2021
After the late start to the 2021 sailing season and a much curtailed one in 2020, it is no surprise that the keen racers, both in keelboats and dinghies, are still hard at it as Christmas approaches. The idyllic weather of the Beshoff Motors Autumn League lulled many into the illusion that sunny weather and a balmy breeze are a new twelve-month reality for sailing in Ireland but no sooner had the last race of the series been sailed than nature decided it had delivered enough of that kind of thing.
The sailors on the 31 keelboats entered in the Bright Motor Group Brass Monkeys and the 28 dinghies racing in the Key Capital Frostibites have seen the opposite side of the weather offering and can testify to the average now having been restored, with Atlantic lows bringing wind in abundance since the two series started in early November. Fortunately, Sunday mornings have seen the best of the weather each week and the two fleets have been able to get out every weekend, albeit with some of the returning sailors, the race management personnel and the RIB crews persuaded that maybe an extended lie-on in bed might have been a better idea on some of the days.
The Brass Monkeys fleet are all racing on HPH and are divided into three Classes, relying on the expertise of the handicapper to ensure close results. With just one race remaining, Arcturus (Declan & Peter McCabe) holds a comfortable but catchable lead in Class 1 with Joe Carton’s Voyager still in with a chance. Class 2 is the largest with the 13 boats including all five of the Club owned J80s, which have all been chartered for the series. However, the top spot is currently held by the bigger sister of the J80s, Simon Knowles’ J109 Indian, which enjoys a three point margin on Mojo, Pat O’Neill’s always competitive J80. The 10 boats in Class 3 are enjoying very close racing with Demelza (Windsor Laudan / Steffi Ennis) in the unusual position - for them - of being tied for the lead with Malahide YC visitor Shenanigans (Lee Douglas / Aidan Keane) while the timeless Bandersnatch of Howth (Kyran O’Grady), entered from Wicklow Sailing Club, is just two points behind the leaders.
In the Dinghies, the ILCAs (formerly Lasers) are this year joined by the RS Aeros, a much newer and lighter single-hander. In the big rig ILCA 7s, Ronan Wallace (Wexford Harbour BTC) has been running away with things, a single second place spoiling a clean sweep of wins over the nine races sailed to date. Charlie Keating (HYC) has built himself a comfortable lead in the ILCA 5s, battling to the finish in some of the most taxing conditions that Howth Sound can throw at sailors – a big cold wind from the north throwing up a rough sea. John Phelan holds the lead in the RS Aeros.
The final race of the Brass Monkey Winter Series will be sailed on Saturday next, December 11th, with a socially distanced prize giving to follow. The dinghies have another two weekends of racing and will conclude their pre-Christmas racing on December 19th.
Both keelboats and dinghies will resume in the New Year and there will be racing for both on New Year’s Day to get 2022 off to a good start while clearing away any excess from the night before.