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31
Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella, representing Cushendall sailing Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club and UCD Sailing Club are the 2011 Irish National Fireball Champions after another commanding performance on the water. However, this time their talent wasn’t directed at getting small numbers on their score card but rather making sure that having gone into the overall lead that they didn’t lose it. 

At the end of Day 2 McCartin & Kinsella were tied on 11pts with Simon McGrotty & Ruairi Grimes of Skerries Sailing Club, with the latter combination on top of the pile and they had a twelve point cushion on the next two boats who were both tied on 23pts – Mike Murphy & Alex Voye & Noel Butler & Stephen Oram.

The forecast, which has been the subject of much debate at this regatta (and many others no doubt) was mixed. XC Weather had been predicting 9knots with gusts of 12 – 14. The Sea Area forecast from Met Eireann had talked about Force 4 to 5, but at least they were agreed on direction – WNW! While both had the direction right, the Race Management Team of Neil Murphy, Richard Kissane, Stuart Kinnear and others had enough material to work with to set two exceptionally good Olympic courses to exploit the breeze and relatively flat waters in the inner reaches of Dublin Bay. While there was more than 9knots of the water, there wasn’t the Force 4 to 5 either, though some of the breeze brought in with the rain squalls were providing a handful and the top reach of the last triangle of the 2nd Olympic was sailed two-sailed by most.

In Race 7 of the series, McCartin/Kinsella scored a 3 to McGrotty/Grimes’s 5th – fifteen – love to McCartin/Kinsella. The race was won by Kenny Rumball & Seamus Moore who were not having their best regatta, followed by Clancy/Rowan. In 4th was Butler/Oram, with Creighton/Bradley in 6th – the stronger breeze being to the latter’s advantage.

In Race 8, McGrotty/Grimes fell back to 6th, a position that most combinations would envy, but not helpful in the penultimate race of a series that was getting very tight at the top. McCartin/Kinsella scored a 4th – thirty –love to the series’ leaders! Rumball/Moore won again, but their charge to the front of the fleet was going to be a case of too little, too late. Butler/Oram took 2nd, Kissane/Bradley 3rd, Creighton/Bradley 5th. 

The leading pack at the front of the third race, a windward/leeward was made up of the usual suspects with two notable absentees – McCartin/Kinsella & McGrotty/Grimes. The former decided that they were going to be ultraconservative and sail their opposition down the fleet to make doubly sure of their win – a bit like Nadal serving an ace on Championship Point – just to put a final “classy” nail in the coffin. 

While the Championship leaders played around at the back of the fleet, scoring an 18th and 13th respectively, Butler/Oram, Kissane/Bradley, Clancy/Rowan, Rumball/Moore and Creighton/Bradley hared around the course. All of these got a finish, except for Rumball/Moore who were ruled OCS, thus finishing off their event in much the same way as it had started – in disappointment.

The consequence of Butler/Oram’s late charge on Day 3 is that they closed the overnight gap to a single point. Rumball/Moore’s two wins propelled them from 10th to 7th, Clancy/Rowan’s 2, 8, 3, saw them jump from 6th to 4th, while Creighton/Bradley, with a 6, 5, 4 went from 12th to 9th at the expense of Miller/Donnelly, Bracken/O’Hara & McGrotty/Cramer.  

The Silver fleet, of course has a competition within the competition and on Saturday evening Ben Malone & Matthew Bennion held a 10pt advantage over Ian O’Gorman & Glen Fisher. While both had been timed out of Friday’s third race, Malone/Bennion produced a “tight” set of results of 13, 14, 16 and two 17ths to O’Gorman/Fisher’s 15, two 16ths, 17 and 23rd.  In third was Peter Armstrong and Peter Collins of Sligo Yacht Club sailed the wooden Fireball that made its debut at the Sligo Worlds (15060). 

Malone/Bennion more than doubled their lead over O’Gorman/Fisher in Sunday’s racing to score a comfortable win. Armstrong/Collins were comfortably third.

Pos

Crew

R1

R2

R3

R4

R5

R6

R7

R8

R9

Pts

1

Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella

1

3

3

3

1

3

3

4

18

17

2

Simon McGrotty & Ruairi Grimes

3

2

4

1

5

1

5

6

13

21

3

Noel Butler & Stephen Oram

5

8

27

4

4

2

4

2

1

22

4

Conor Clancy & Francis Rowan

27

10

1

10

8

5

2

8

3

37

5

Diana Kissane & Finbarr Bradley

8

1

27

7

9

8

9

3

2

38

6

Mike Murphy & Alex Voye

2

5

27

2

2

12

8

7

14

38

7

Kenneth Rumball & Seamus Moore

27

6

27

5

6

7

1

1

22

48

8

Andy Boyle & Brian Flahive

13

4

27

12

3

4

7

9

10

49

9

Michael Creighton & Cormac Bradley

27

9

27

6

14

6

6

5

4

50

10

Niall McGrotty & Neil Cramer

9

11

2

9

11

11

13

14

8

61

11

Frank Miller & Grattan Donnelly

7

16

27

11

12

10

15

10

6

71

12

Louise McKenna & Hermine O’Keefe

6

13

27

27

10

14

17

16

11

87

13

Gavin Doyle & Richard Franck

15

14

27

13

13

9

16

15

9

88

14

Damien Bracken & Brian O’Hara

27

7

5

8

7

18

27

27

27

99

15

Ben Malone & Matthew Bennion

17

17

27

14

16

13

10

18

15

102

16

Louis Smyth & Joe O’Reilly

4

15

27

27

27

27

14

12

5

104

17

Jon & Una Evans/Aidan Caulfield

11

19

27

15

14

16

11

19

17

104

18

Neil Colin & Margaret Casey

14

18

27

27

27

27

12

17

7

122

19

Ian O’Gorman/Dave Coleman & Glen Fisher

16

23

27

16

17

15

20

21

19

124

20

Emmet Dalton/Ciaran Hickey & Marie Barry

10

12

27

27

27

27

27

13

16

132

21

Garrett Connelly/Ciaran Harkin & Hugh Johnson

19

21

27

27

27

27

18

11

12

135

22

Cearbhall Daly & Mark Browne

20

25

27

17

19

27

21

24

27

153

23

Peter Armstrong & Peter Collins

27

26

27

27

27

27

19

20

20

166

24

Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire

12

20

27

27

27

27

27

27

27

167

25

Catherine Hilliard & Michael Dowd

27

22

27

27

27

27

22

24

27

176

26

Freddie Stevens & Huw Rees.

18

24

27

27

27

27

27

27

27

177


At the closing prize-giving, thanks were offered to Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club for hosting the event and in particular to Neil Colin and Margaret Casey who in addition to being members of the Fireball Class committee are members of DMYC and were principally involved in organizing the event. They also sacrificed their Saturday sailing to provide rescue cover when there was a problem with resources. Thanks were also afforded to the Race Management Team of Neil Murphy, Stuart Kinnear and Richard Kissane and to Valerie Kinnear who processed the results.

Prizes in the form of “part-vouchers” from P&B, towards a jib, and from North, towards a spinnaker, were awarded to the mid-fleet boat in the Gold and Silver fleets respectively and won by Niall McGrotty & Neil Cramer (jib) and Cearbhall Daly & Mark Browne (spinnaker).

*** *** ***

After two days and 6 races the 26-boat Irish Fireball Nationals are set up for a very interesting last day. At the top of the scoreboard, tied on 11pts are Simon McGrotty & Ruairi Grimes and Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella. In joint third on 23pts are Mike Murphy & Alex Voye and Noel Butler & Stephen Oram. In fifth place, and first lady is Diana Kissane crewed by Finbarr Bradley with 33pts and a point astern of them are Conor Clancy & Francis Rowan.

Friday saw a day of inconsistent breeze which led to much frustration for both the the Race Management Team and the competitors. Despite an XC Weather forecast of 9knots on the web, there was nothing like that when the fleet left Dun Laoghaire harbour for an 11:55 first warning signal. Indeed many boats had to paddle their way out to the outer reaches of the harbour before any worthwhile breeze could be had. This trend was to be repeated on the race course! A windward leeward opened the proceedings for the day and was won by McCartin/Kinsella, with Murphy/Voye, McGrotty/Grimes, Smyth/O’Reilly and Butler/Oram in the top 5 places. It says much for the snakes and ladders aspect of the race that on rounding the first weather mark, Smyth/O’Reilly were probably closer to 5th from the back.

Race 2 saw a second windward/leeward course set in what initially looked like steadier breeze. However, the wind went light again and the finishing order saw Diana Kissane & Finbarr Bradley win followed by McGrotty/Grimes, McCartin/Kinsella, Boyle/Flahive and Murphy/Voye.

Race 3 was an Olympic course and was started in what looked like the best breeze of the day. Light again but it had a healthier look about it. A tight bunch of 4 boats contested the front end of the race with Clancy/Rowan building a very significant lead which ultimately was to play havoc with the rest of the fleet. Niall McGrotty & Neil Cramer were among those to throw a 6 at the right time as they finished 2nd, McCartin/Kinsella took third to show remarkable consistency, while McGrotty/Grimes were 4th, with Murphy/Voye 5th. The remainder of the fleet were “timed out” such was a) the length of Clancy/Rowan’s lead and the fickleness of the wind which saw beats become runs and vice-versa. One competitor was heard to remark that in 37 years of competitive sailing he couldn’t ever remember being timed out of a race.

There was much discontent and many long faces in the DMYC clubhouse yesterday evening and two protests were lodged with the Race Committee challenging the fairness of the racing.   We had sailed in contrasting conditions starting in sunshine but enduring torrential rain, thunder and lightning, fickle winds and varying fortunes before the day was out.

Saturday morning was in stark contrast to the day before. Overnight a W/NW had established itself and the Sea Area Forecast for the Irish Sea was for Force 4/5 winds. The Committee Boat for the Dublin Bay Cruiser Challenge had recorded gust of 32 knots on the water so the decision was taken to postpone racing for an hour. 

When the fleet did go to sea many people had decided that discretion was the better part of valour and only 18 boats made their way to the start line. Having applied for relaxation of Rule 42 for this event, the wind conditions warranted the flying of the flag to signal that pumping was permitted.

Another two windward/leewards were sailed in exhilarating conditions before the Race Committee decided that the wind had abated enough to set an Olympic course. It was a good call on both counts.  Post the racing the Race Management Team were able to advise that the wind had got up to about 26 knots for short bursts but that in general the wind strength was in the high teens touching the twenties until the final triangle of the last race when the flag to stop pumping was flown (< 12 knots). 

By that stage race wins had been shared between McGrotty/Grimes (2) and McCartin/Kinsella. Murphy/Voye also had a very good day scoring two 2nds, while Butler/Oram also had a better day with a 2nd and two 4th. Creighton/Bradley should have had an even better day but a crash tack on the finish of the last race saw them drop 3 places when a capsize evolved and a broken kicker fitting at the base of the mast saw them drop back in the middle race after a storming charge off the start line.

Crew

R1

R2

R3

R4

R5

R6

Total

1 Discard

Place

Simon McGrotty & Ruairi Grimes

3

2

4

1

5

1

11

1st 

Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella

1

3

3

3

1

3

11

2nd

Mike Murphy & Alex Voye

2

5

27

2

2

12

23

3rd

Noel Butler & Stephen Oram

5

8

27

4

4

2

23

4th

Diana Kissane & Finbarr Bradley

8

1

27

7

9

8

33

5th

Conor Clancy & Francis Rowan

27

10

1

10

8

5

34

6th

Andy Boyle & Brian Flahive

13

4

27

12

3

4

36

7th

Niall McGrotty & Neil Cramer

9

11

2

9

11

11

42

8th

Damien Bracken & Brian O’Hara

27

7

5

8

7

18

45

9th

Kenneth Rumball & Seamus Moore

27

6

27

5

6

7

51

10th


The two protests lodged with respect to the fairness of the races have been heard and were dismissed (hence this report), but a third protest has been lodged concerning an incident between two boats on the water. 

Tomorrow will be interesting and XC Weather is currently (18:53 Saturday 27th) predicting an average wind strength of 9knots WNW with gust of between 12 and 14 knots from 10:00  to 16:00 for Dun Laoghaire.

*** *** ***

An initial review of the commitments and promises to contest the Irish Fireball Nationals, hosted by Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club in Dublin Bay, over the weekend of 26 – 28 August, conducted last Tuesday night suggests that a fleet in the mid-thirties is possible.
 
In a year when our sailing programme has had to accommodate a two-week Worlds in Sligo, the prospect of a 30+ fleet is very exciting.

Nine races are programmed for the 3 days and Neil Colin, who is wearing two hats – DMYC representative and Fireball Committee member – appears to have all the organizational boxes ticked. The Dun Laoghaire keelboat fraternity also has an event over the same weekend in Dublin Bay – the Cruiser Challenge, so this is an opportunity to show off the strength of our fleet. All it requires is your participation!

In the Gold fleet there will as always be a queue of teams looking for the podium places. The three regattas sailed thus far this season have each had different winners – Graeme Grant & Francis Rowan in Carlingford, Noel Butler & Stephen Oram in Dun Laoghaire and Simon McGrotty & Ruari Grimes in Ballyholme. However, there are other combinations who have also featured in the 1-2-3 with Barry McCartin/Conor Kinsella getting onto the podium in two of these regattas, Kenny Rumball & Seamus Moore coming good in Belfast Lough, Francis Rowan & Conor taking the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, Diana Kissane taking a podium place in Dun Laoghaire as well as Andy Boyle. 

In Belfast Lough Messrs Bracken & O’Hara were starting to show a return to the sort of form that made them regular occupiers of podium places in the recent past. Louis Smyth has also been showing a good turn of form as well. Frank Miller/Grattan Donnelly took a race win in Belfast Lough and have shown on Tuesday nights in DBSC racing that when they get the “bit between their teeth” they can be just as competitive as anyone.   

The Silver fleet racing has also been very good this year and with new combinations coming into the Class as a consequence of the Worlds, there should be good competition in Dun Laoghaire for these combinations. The two Bens – Malone and Scallan showed their mettle in Sligo with the former also taking the Silver fleet prize in Carlingford. Cearbhall Daly & Martina Michels took over that mantle at the Dun Laoghaire event, while Hannah Showell & Margaret Casey won in Ballyholme. Marie Barry has featured strongly in this year’s Silver fleet and will be breaking in a new helm for the Nationals! Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire have upped their game considerably since they embarked on the Silver Fleet training in Killaloe and Dun Laoghaire in 2010, even going so far as to upgrade their boat to make themselves even more competitive. We have also seen some new talent coming into this fleet since the Worlds – new owners of Kenny Rumball’s 14962 - who have confirmed their intention to sail the Nationals. 

The challenge to those we have been missing this year is to see how they match up to these new combinations. For a variety of reasons, personal and work-related a number of people have been conspicuous by their absence from the circuit this year and that is understandable. The idea behind a Dublin Bay Nationals this year was to improve the accessibility and cost of the Nationals in a year when most people were expected to spend time in Sligo.
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