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Fireball Worlds 2011

by Cormac Bradley on 21 Jun 2011
Fireball Worlds 2011 FotoSail.com http://www.fotosail.com
Fireball Worlds 2011 are currently underway. For the second day, the dawn was sunny but, there were discussions regarding the forecast for the next few days.

XCW predicted five to eight knots ESE and that is in stark contrast to a forecast that had been obtained by others that suggested as little as one knot the previous evening. However, as the morning progressed the wind disappeared prompting the flying of the postponement flag.

The Race Management Team went afloat but permission for the fleet to do the same was withheld. They positioned themselves outside the lighthouse, probably in deference to the concerns expressed by many about the random shallow spots in yesterday’s race area.

Permission to go afloat was given at around 12 noon, but the postponement was continued on the water. The day got greyer before a start was initiated at around 14:20 and aborted under General Recall. The Black Flag came out for the second start. The Jury, on the water, also identified people transgressing Rule 42 on the start.

The left hand side of the beat appeared to be the preferred side, but a substantial queue of boats was coming in the starboard layline for the first mark. Out of the chaos came the usual suspects – Gillard/Brearey, McGovern/Capener and Wade/Potts who opened a gap on the balance of the fleet, who then provided a continuous stream of boats down the first reach.

As the fleet worked their way round the course the wind initially dropped and then filled in from the left leaving a lopsided beat for round two. Of greater concern though must have been the fact that after the initial burst of energy the wind petered out. The downwind leg of the sausage was reduced to a crawl before three guns and blue and white coloured flags signaled a close to proceedings. Just as the call was made a slight breeze filled in from the East to provide everyone with an easy two-sail trip home!

For four combinations though, there was a final throw of the dice when they came ashore – as there had been a Black Flag start, there were transgressors; Ben Scallan and Dave Fitzgerald (IRL 14754), Diane Kissane and Finnbarr Bradley (IRL 14790), Claude Mermod and Ruedi Moser (SUI 14799) and Martyn Lewis and Richard Byrne (GBR 15056). They miss the start of the next race. With two races lost today, the provisional programme is to race three tomorrow with a 12 noon start – an hour ahead of the original programme.

Tonight’s entertainment includes a presentation by Marine Archaeologist Auriel Robinson on the wrecks of the Spanish Armada in this part of Ireland’s west coast. Who says sailing can’t be cultural?

Day One

The saying goes that a difficult day on the race course still beats a great day at the office and on a day when the sun shone and the wind provided everyone with a challenge, it was infinitely easier to be racing Fireballs than contemplating work in the morning.

57 boats launched from Sligo Yacht Club’s slipway this morning en route to a 13:00 start. It was a great sight to see and must have provided the organisers of this event a hugh sense of relief. The sleepless nights, the speculation as to how many entries there would be evaporated in the sunshine of Ireland’s west coast.

Round one went to the Race Officer who, after two aborted starts, signaled by General Recall, brought out the Black Flag. Four boats went over the finish line to silence and for Tom Gillard and Sam Brearey (GBR 15041) it must have been particular disappointing as they led for most, if not all, of the race.

The front three of Gillard/Brearey, Jonny McGovern and Max Capener (GBR 14801) and Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff (GBR 15036) seemed to have their own race such was their lead on the rest of the fleet. Behind them the chasing pack consisted of Tim Rush and Richard Pepperdine (GBR 15065), Noel Butler and Stephen Oram (IRL 15061) and Andy Boyle and Brian Flahive (IRL 14934) among others. An ebbing tide made course selection very important and right side of the beat seemed to pay in that respect.

Others to fall foul of the Black Flag were Martin Peculier and Jean-Francois Nouel (FRA 15015), Alex Taylor and Richard Anderton (GBR 15031) and Vince Horey and Andy Thompson. Winners from last week, Ben Schulz and Phillip Bowley had a horror first race eventually retiring to reset their rigging and sails.

Race one was thus claimed by Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff, followed by McGovern/Capener, Butler/Oram, Boyle/Flahive, Rush/Pepperdine, Hannah Showell and Barry Smith (GBR14430), Remy Thuillier/Loic Berthelot (FRA14917), David Wade and Simon Potts (GBR15045), Guy Tipton and Matt King (CAN 14907) and Jaroslav Werner and Jakob Napravnik (CZE14809).

Race two saw the committee boat relocated to a more westerly location for two reasons – a wind switch and too much shallow water in the vicinity of the race track. The wind was also in decline, from an early morning high of nine knots, it would eventually drop to five knots – in accordance it must be said with the website forecast that this scribe looked at this morning!

There was a 60/40 split between the right and left hand sides of the beat with those on the left being lifted around the outside of the course to their detriment and the advantage of those who had gone right. The leading bunch were the same as Race one – Gillard, McGovern and Burge – but others who were well up included the French (FRA15015), Taylor/Anderton, the Scotts, Andy and Derian, the No.1 Czech Team, Tipton and King, Rush and Pepperdine, Phil Popple and Doug Shore (GBR15070). The right side continued to be the favoured side of the beat. Due to the dying breeze, the significant switch in its direction and probably the lateness of the proceedings saw the Race Management Team shorten course to the third weather mark.

Burge/Wagstaff took line honours, followed by McGovern/Capener and Gillard/Brearey. Alan Krailing and Tim Saunders (GBR14954) claimed fourth, the French fifth, and Rush/Pepperdine sixth. First of the Irish boats was Kenny Rumball and Seamus Moore in 12th place, followed by Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella and Boyle/Flahive.

Thus with two races down, the top ten reads as follows:

For the home fleet, the pecking order in Boyle/Flahive, Rumball/Moore, Butler/Oram, McCartin/KInsella and Simon McGrotty and Tony Fitzgerald (IRL 14981)

Among the ladies, Derian Scott (Helm/ninth) leads, followed by Hannah Showell (Helm/16th) and Diane Kissane (Helm/26th).



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