Martin Scarth and Simon Maskell won the Fireball Open Meeting at the Blackwater SC after a series that went into the final race with any one of four boats still in contention. In the final race Scarth and Maskell got to the front and finally managed to retain their lead to the finish for the first time over the weekend and also win the open.
Saturday dawned grey but with a F2-3 and the 13 boat fleet got away to a clean start. Places were fiercely contested throughout the fleet with numerous place changes. Ian Priest/Mike Stoddart won after a close battle from Mark Maskell/Jon Watkins with Martin Scarth/Simon Maskell in third.
Race two got under way with a fading breeze. Again there were plenty of place changes with Scarth/Maskell leading for much of the race only to be overhauled by Steve Kuhl/Judy Kuhl and George Whitchurch & Crew both making excellent tactical decisions to cross the tide early and clear the fleet approaching the final mark. Kuhl/Kuhl went on to win with Scarth/Maskell recovering to second with Whitchurch & Crew third. Sunday provided sparkling conditions and a north westerly breeze providing trapezing conditions but with a few holes to make for a challenging day.
Race three was again closely fought with several boats taking the lead with Maskell/Watkins and Scarth/Maskell fighting for honours on the final beat, however Steve Jarred/Nick Collins had other ideas and sailed to good pressure on the starboard side of the course to overhaul the fleet and went on to win. Scarth/Maskell managed to squeeze past Maskell/Watkins to finish second and third respectively.
Going into the final race any one of four boats could win. Jarred/Collins made a great start, however once again the racing was close with only a few boat lengths between the leading pack. Scarth/Maskell got to the front and finally managed to retain their lead to the finish and also win the open. Maskell/Watkins managed to get inside of Jarred/Collins at the gybe mark and then close covered them to the finish line to take second with Jarred/Collins in third.
Many thanks must go to Blackwater Sailing Club for running an excellent open meeting, with particular mention to Nigel (broken shoulder) Sheppard and his team for their superb organisation and course setting. Also the club again excelled in providing refreshments and a fish and chip supper for all competitors free of charge. Fireball – Leading Overall Results:
1st Martin Scarth & Simon Maskell, 5pts
2nd Mark Maskell & Jon Watkins (Dr Krill), 7pts
3rd Steve Jarred & Nick Collins, 8pts
4th Ian Priest & Mike Stoddart, 9pts
5th Steve Kuhl & Judy Kuhl, 11pts