Dublin Racing

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Mediterranean Sailing in Dun Laoghaire

It was the day after the equinox and Spring landed with a bang. Air temperatures were chilly in the morning, but my mid-afternoon the light to moderate breezes were desperately needed to keep the sailors cool in their winter suits and the blazing sunshine.

Today the two main things were a focus on understanding the different trim of the P&B sail compared to the old North, and on pointing the GoPro upwards a little more to see if we could understand trim a little better.

Both worked pretty well.

The P&B reacts quite differently to outhaul than the North, much more continuously rather than the North’s apparent “on/off” setting. But we’re getting there.  After some slow legs pacing the Finns during their first race of the day the trim was improved during the second race and the Finns weren’t gaining much ground upwind at all.

Now we just need to figure out where to sit on light to moderate breeze broad reaches, when an OK Dinghy seems a little lost. Not enough power to plane and no angles to work. But keeping the boat still, level and with the right trim fore-and-aft does make a difference! The full bow on the Hoare shape makes movement fore and aft particularly important when the emphasis moves from low wetted surface to low wave-making drag.




Testing testing – plus a new old sail

After a couple of weekends sailing Finns it was time to get back into an OK Dinghy. Time to try out an alternate (P&B) sail since MBK’s long serving North seems to be really on its last legs and time to try the new GoPro mounting position.

With the wind AGAIN forecast at levels that made Beastie’s return to service inadvisable, MBK headed out alone while the Frostbites went on around. The wind was up and down during the day, as low as Force 2 and as high as 25 knots.  Once the races get going the easiest way to stay out of the fleets’ way is to sail around the course too, easing out of the way if faster boats come through. It’s not the best practice session, but it’ll have to do.

The day was interesting on a couple of levels.

First, the P&B – acquired with Beastie – actually fits the Ceilidh mast on MBK pretty well and feels quite like the North to use. The other alternate, an older Gale & Rimington, feels completely different with a much “softer” feel. Probably a more open leech.  The P&B may  be familiar to some of the UK fleet, and it still carries GBR 2144.

Second, after two trips in a Finn it was interesting to sit back in the OK. Just tricky to remember where to step during tacks and gybes. Really amazing how quickly the moves get mixed up!

Third, the new GoPro mount gives a hugely better view of the boat, the surrounding water and the rig. Probably worth tilting it upwards to get a better view of the mainsail, but it’s pretty good.  And it shows that I still need to shorten the footstraps a little so that I don’t droop hike.  And that I need to put Rain-X on the GoPro lens.

New GoPro mounting position gives better view.

New GoPro mounting position gives better view.

Finally, we met another OK Dinghy sailor and must get in touch.

Here’s the vid of the day – again too long. We need to get more practice at editing out the superfluous moments.



Force 7, Force 1, Force 9. Not a winter for practice!

Again, the plan had been to get in some good practice this weekend. Again, it wasn’t to be. Sunday dawned with the previous evening’s ominous forecast still looking accurate, and all racing was cancelled early. While kitesurfers headed for the beach with their smaller kites the idea of dinghy sailing seemed off the menu.

But then the wind died off and tempted one of the OK Dinghies and a local Solo out onto the water. Where they were becalmed in the middle of Dun Laoghaire Harbor. No wind. Force 1, max.

For a while.

The front wasn’t long in passing. The southerly was first confused, then calm, then gusty, then gusty with hints of a westerly, then an increasingly wild westerly with abrupt southerly lulls (or vice versa), before finally settling in to a strong westerly with Force 10 gusts by the time darkness fell.

The OK Dinghy and Solo did each manage to pull off some high wind gybes and fast reaches before retreating.

So, another lovely weekend in Dublin, but not much sailing to show for it.


Go, no-go, go, no-go, go, go home.

Once again the Dublin weather wasn’t kind to OK Dinghy sailors. With a forecast of wind rising later in the day the plan was to get out early and get Beastie back on the water. But the wind got there first. 28 knot gusts and 6 Deg water temperatures made it an inadvisable moment to return to action. This must be the third or 4th time we’ve gotten “Beastie” ready to go before changing conditions forced a re-think!

Meantime, the skipper of the Mikly Bar Kid was again asked to step in and sail a Finn. With the wind now going from 10 knots up to 28 knots in the gusts and the harbor walls making the wind direction very unstable even the experienced Laser sailors were looking with some apprehension at the conditions.

But…on we went. Conservatism was the order of the day but despite hanging back at the start the borrowed Finn was leading the PY fleet within about 45 seconds and was well ahead at the windward mark.  Although trimmed for the gusts down the runs, none actually passed until just around the leeward mark. At that point the skipper noticed that the luff panel above the cunningham was separating under load. So followed a retirement rather than bring a damaged boat back.

Retiring was a pity, but Richard Tate in the other Finn won the racing, which was good and well earned in the conditions. Learning of the day? A Finn may actually be easier to sail than an OK Dinghy – as long as you can handle the sheet loads. Heavier, slower to react, less unstable.  But we still haven’t sailed one in a sustained 25 knots. That’s gotta be a different story.



Finning instead of OKing for a day

A rather mixed up day had Dublin Bay’s OK Dinghy sailors making it up as they went along on Sunday.

The weather forecast was highly uncertain, showing gusts up to 32 knots, while the day itself looked very pleasant. Since neither boat is entered in the racing yet we planned to do some training. Tacking in particular.

Then it all got mixed up. With Beastie’s skipper in demand as an RS200 crew and the MBK’s skipper offered a Finn for the day our plans all changed. In the end the RS200 didn’t sail, but the Finn did.

MBL's skipper in one Finn

MBK’s skipper in one Finn

Eoin in the other Finn

Eoin in the other Finn

Experience in an OK Dinghy transfers pretty well into a Finn, but it was a nice surprise to win the first PY race of the day and be 2nd in the last race. A flukey day on the water too, so best not to read too much into a victory.

The comparison between a Finn and an OK Dinghy is interesting too. The Finn is quicker through the water but everything feels slower. Sedate almost.  Heavier. Like sailing a single-handed Flying Fifteen. But the wind maxed out at about 15 knots on the day…and that’s probably not the same as a Finn in 25 knots.

A nice days sailing, but back to the OK Dinghies for us next week!

Images from the DMYC Frostbite Facebook Page. All rights theirs. 



It’s been WINDY

While a select few OK Dinghy sailors were down in Australia having light winds and warm weather, the pattern in Dublin Bay has been different. We have had temperatures as high as 16DecC, which isn’t bad for January, but also winds up to Force11 gusts.


The forecast for this weekend’s racing time is gusts of 42knots, peaking at 50+knots later and overnight. We suspect there’ll be no racing.

Sunday Forcast

Sunday Forcast

So, time to dust off the Rooster Upwind DVDs and imagine getting fit.



It’s Xmas Time

Down in the Southern Hemisphere it’s championship season. Here in Ireland the Frostbite sailing in Dublin has been blown out a couple of weeks in a row.

But it’s Xmas time. If you’re stuck for gifts, we made up a few things that might appeal to the OK Dinghy sailor. Which means, of course, that anyone visiting this site is exactly the wrong audience.


An example of the silly OK Dinghy gifts

You wouldn’t buy an Xmas present for yourself, would you?

Anyway, have a look here.  We thought they were funny.



Practice practice

Back out on the water with “Beastie”, while the Milky Bar Kid’s skipper tried out a Finn for the afternoon. The photographer on the harbor wall thought Beastie was the most photogenic.

They’re probably right.

Photo Credit is to user scorta on Flikr. All rights remain theirs.


All at sea

It’s that time of year again and the Frostbites are back. With the OK Dinghies returning late to the dinghy park after their third enforced exile this year there was no time to get the boats entered, but they at least made it onto the water.

Unable to participate in the racing, the OKs lined up to leeward of the other dingle handed dinghies to test tune and leg fitness. And to make sure they stayed out of the way!

The Frostbite series mostly takes place inside the walls of Dun Laoghaire harbor, but on this occasion the good weather tempted the fleets outside and the committee set up a large 5-lap trapezoidal course.

There were probably 70 boats on the water fighting a big chop and initially limp breeze. But the day came good and saw Fireballs, OK Dinghies, Finns, RS400s all planing on the reaches. A good show.

Boats returning to the slipways at the George saw more adventure as an strengthening onshore breeze and that swell made landing on the slip quite a task.



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