2008 Fireball European Championships

2008 Fireball European Champions - Tom Jeffcoate and Dave Hynes (GBR)
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Tom Jeffcoate and Dave Hynes of Britain won the 2008 Fireball European Championships from 56 competing teams from nine countries in a windy weeks sailing off the Belgium coast. Second were Alleaume and Perdon of France, with third Hens and Peeters of Belgium.

Sunday's racing began with sun, waves and a steady force four. Race 1 saw Dave Wade and Ben McGrane (GBR) lead comfortably from the windward mark to take victory with Ludovic Alleaume and Etienne Perdon (FRA) 2nd in their only finish of the day due to a broken rudder. Vince Horey and Tim Saunders (GBR) rather ruined any chances they might have had by colliding with the pin end boat.

The wind built for the second race of the day and it was locals and winners of the previous weeks Belgian Trophy, Manu Hens and Jan Peeters (BEL) who went hard right up the first beat to lead by 100 metres at the windward mark. This lead was slowly eroded by Wade and McGrane as the race went on, Kenny Rumball and David Moran's (IRL) capsize at the gybe mark gifting Wade 2nd. Jeffcoate and Hynes took 3rd.

Monday saw the wind reach 40 knots and so racing was abandoned early for the day. Tuesday's forecast was similar to Sunday's and the fleet launched expecting another exicting days racing. Those who got to the end of the river were soon treated to similar conditions to Monday and its wasn't long before the decision to abandon for the day was made. This didn't deter some competitors from taking a spin!

Race 3 finally kicked off on Thursday again in excellent sailing conditions. Jeffcoate and Hynes lead at the first mark but were overhauled by Hens/Peeters who went on to take the gun, only to be disqualified following a protest for an incident with Wade/McGrane whilst hoisting their spinnaker at the 1st windward mark.

Fireball European Championships 2008
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Wade/McGrane were also disqualified for failing to correctly complete their turns after being flagged for pumping approaching the gybe mark. This gave Jeffcoate and Hynes the victory followed by Donald Smith and Matthew Richardson (GBR), Horey/Saunders and Phil Popple/Gavin Tilson (GBR).

Race 4 Hens and Peeters lead again at the top mark on to a very tight first reach which saw much place changing. At the leeward mark Alleaume and Perdon had pullled through to 2nd having gone low on the second reach and they subsequently overhauled Jeffcoate/Hynes on the 2nd beat to take the victory. Hens/Peeters held 3rd with Horey/Saunders 4th.

Race 5 started with the sea state building. Horey and Saunders lead only to be passed by Jeffcoate and Hynes on the 2nd reach and these boats held there positions comfortably on the huge triangle/sausage course. Popple and Tilson had there best placing of a solid week with a 3rd and Alleaume and Perdon kept on the pressure with a 4th. At the end of the days racing the leading four boats all looked to be in contention but Jeffcoate and Hynes looked the most secure with 4th place as their discard.

Friday morning was damp and the wind dropped slightly at the start of the race. Alleaume and Perdon made the best of these conditions and lead from start to finish extending their lead as the race went on. With Hens and Peeters 2nd and Wade/McGrane 3rd, it was set to be a match race between Jeffcoate/Hynes and Alleaume/Perdon. After three attempts at a start and three match races, the time limit was reached.

All looked set for a Jeffcoate/Hynes victory, but they were made to wait as Hens/Peeters asked for their protest earlier in the week to be reopened, a reinstatement would hand them victory.

This request was denied meaning Jeffcoate and Hynes could relax and enjoy packing up in the sunshine, which had finally arrived, at the end of a damp but enjoyable week. The journey back to Chester from Dover for Dave's passport the day before the event suddenly didn't seem quite such a stupid move.

The final results saw five British boats joined in the top ten by teams from France, Czech Republic, Ireland and two from Belgium. First lady helm was Derian Scott in 10th just holding Eva Skorepova who finished 11th.

The Belgian Association were great hosts, in particular putting on an excellent BBQ and live band before Wednesday's lay day which meant some people couldn't make the tour of the Bruges Brewery.

Next years European Championships will be held in La Rochelle as part of a two week European and World Championships.

Fireball Europeans - Final overall positions

1 GBR 14948 Tom Jeffcoate David Hynes -4 3 1 2 1 4 15 4 11
2 FRA 14959 Ludovic Alleaume Etienne Perdo 2 (57S) 6 1 4 1 71 57 14
3 BEL 14992 Manu Hens Jan Peeters 3 1 (57Q) 3 6 2 72 57 15
4 GBR 14993 Wade David Ben Migrane 1 2 (57Q) 5 5 3 73 57 16
5 GBR 14977 Philip Popple Gavin Tillson 7 7 4 6 3 -15 42 15 27
6 GBR 14682 Donald Smith M Richardson 6 6 2 -21 7 8 50 21 29
7 IRL 14962 Kenneth Rumball David Moran 5 4 7 7 -11 7 41 11 30
8 CZE 14552 Martin Kubovy Milan Cap 9 9 11 14 9 -21 73 21 52
9 BEL 14609 B Van Antwerpen W Debacker -29 17 8 16 8 6 84 29 55
10 GBR 14941 Derian Scott Andy Scott 8 5 19 -25 13 11 81 25 56
11 CZE 14979 Eva Skorepova Pavel Winkler 12 -23 14 11 16 5 81 23 58
12 GBR 14973 Peter Gray Simon Forbes (57F) 8 5 23 15 9 117 57 60
13 IRL 14981 Simon Mc Grotty Doire Shiels 10 15 9 18 14 -22 88 22 66
14 CZE 14827 Petr Koran Milan Kvasnik 20 12 15 10 12 -23 92 23 69
15 GBR 14873 Andy Pearce Gary Henwood Fox 11 35 10 30 10 14 110 0 75
16 GBR 14909 Ian Priest Richard Pepperdine 18 11 -26 19 17 10 101 26 75
17 GBR 14920 Vince Horey Tim Suanders (57F) 57S 3 4 2 12 135 57 78
18 CZE 14853 Jaroslav Verner Ladislav Vom 16 10 20 20 -21 13 100 21 79
19 SUI 14897 Kurt Venhoda Zaugg Sonja 19 13 13 17 18 (57S) 137 57 80
20 BEL 14589 Kristof Woutters Chris Neuman -35 14 23 12 19 19 122 35 87
21 FRA 14631 Martin P?culier Thomas Le Seac 14 24 17 13 -25 20 113 25 88
22 GBR 14628 Simon Lomas-Clarke John Piatt 22 19 12 8 30 -52 143 52 91
23 GBR 14754 Colin Ladd Keith Stewart 15 26 16 26 -33 17 133 33 100
24 FRA 14803 Jean-Yves Renon Nicolas Lechen 13 31 18 29 -34 16 141 34 107
25 SUI 14960 Melanie Lederer Michael Sch?fe 21 18 25 22 24 -27 137 27 110
26 IRL 14934 Alan Boyle Brian Flayhive 17 16 31 -33 26 24 147 33 114
27 GBR 14665 Elspeth George Alan Fraser 26 25 24 15 -41 39 170 41 129
28 CZE 14553 Jiri Svoboda Michel Sara -28 21 28 28 28 25 158 28 130
29 FRA 14926 Philippe Barbier Thibault Barb 32 20 32 -36 22 28 170 36 134
30 GBR 14797 John Deacon Bob Yeamans 33 22 41 9 32 -51 188 51 137
31 IRL 14983 Conor O?Toole Chris Clayton 25 30 22 27 -49 41 194 49 145
32 FRA 14502 Frederic Le Bas Ludovic Collin 57 27 57O 24 23 18 206 0 149
33 BEL 14861 B Meynendonckx Francis De R 23 29 -47 45 20 36 200 47 153
34 CZE 14577 Milan Jenista Jakub Napravnik 27 36 29 -41 31 31 195 41 154
35 GER 14472 Beate Rennecke Joerg Rennecke 36 32 37 -50 27 26 208 50 158
36 CZE 14931 Jiri Cechura Jan Will 37 37 21 35 -40 29 199 40 159
37 GBR 14831 Thomas Williamson Rob Watson 30 34 33 31 36 -46 210 46 164
38 BEL 14661 Koenraad Lasure Maarten Geerts 31 -40 35 32 29 40 207 40 167
39 CZE 14316 Petr Hostinsky Michel Suppe 38 33 39 -42 38 33 223 42 181
40 SUI 14739 Theo Ganz Lucas Schaub 24 28 40 38 (57S) 57S 244 57 187
41 GBR 14635 Paul Howey Douglas Lang 34 39 38 37 44 -49 241 49 192
42 CZE 14046 Radek Mika Adam Sotona 43 38 42 -48 43 30 244 48 196
43 FRA 14372 Denis Lucet Fran?oise Lucet -47 41 36 43 45 37 249 47 202
44 SUI 14896 Richard Scheller Linus Eberle 41 43 34 47 -51 38 254 51 203
45 ITA 14998 Luca Manzi Alfonso Annese 45 (57S) 27 57S 37 43 266 57 209
46 SUI 14890 Gery Sauer Urs Fischer 39 45 44 -52 46 35 261 52 209
47 BEL 14365 Philip Rosseel Lucien Carnoy 40 47 46 53 (57S) 34 277 57 220
48 SUI 14602 Fritz Widmer Silva Bendix 44 (57S) 45 39 48 44 277 57 220
49 CZE 14314 Barbora N?pravn?kov Michaela 46 42 43 44 -47 45 267 47 220
50 NED 14241 Morgan-Owen Simon Johns 42 44 (57O) 51 35 50 27
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