The first race of the 2009/2010 Howth Frostbites was started with blue skies and an inviting 10kt Northwesterly. This was a welcome relief after the 38kt squall which caused racing to be abandoned on the water the previous week.
40 boats headed out to the race area, split between the larger Standard fleet and a small but competitive Radial fleet.
In the Standard Rig fleet, 49er sailor Alistair Kissane got the jump on the fleet with an excellant pin end start, crossing the whole fleet. He held a significant lead aroud the first mark which he held until the third lap. Stephen Quinn, who also started at the pin end was well placed in second in the early part of the race. Behind these two there was a large gap to the chasing group of Paul McMahon, Darrell Reamsbottom, Daragh Kelleher and David Quinn. With winds ranging from 5-12kts and a very strong flood tide the beats were tricky and so there were many place changes. A very impressive middle lap from McMahon saw him close up on Kissane, with these two clear ahead. On the last lap McMahon took the lead from Kissane. Stephen Quinn dropped back to lead the chasing pack after getting caught on the wrong side of the second run. The final beat saw Darragh Kelleher move into a clear third place after avoiding some of the holes and maintaining good speed. David Quinn overhaulled Darrell Reamsbottom and Stephen Quinn at the last leeward mark to take 4th, all 3 finishing within seconds of each other.
In the Radial Fleet, again the pin end was favoured with Mark Condy established an early lead, heading the fleet around lap one. 7 months out of the laser showed with many rusty manovers in the first round. As the wind eased on the second lap it provided the opportunity to cut into Marks lead and with positions changing many times up the beat. Daragh Peelo managed to get ahead by the weather mark a lead he kept till the finish, under pressure from Mark.
With a number of regular sailors still out due to injury the fleet may pass the 50 boat mark over the coming weeks. Lets hope the weather remains as good as this Sunday!