Fireball Worlds and International Week 2011 is hosted by Sligo Yacht Club between Saturday 11th June to Friday 24th June 2011.
After a lead in period of two years for the Irish Fireball Class Association, the Fireball Worlds and International Week got underway on Ireland's west coast with glorious sunshine conditions and winds of between 15 and 20 knots with gusts up to 22 knots.
Nineteen boats got International Week underway with representation from Australia, Canada, Great Britain and Ireland. The expectation is that more boats will join in as the week goes on but those who weren't here today missed excellent sailing conditions.
Two races were sailed today and visitors took the gun on both occasions. Australia's Ben Schulz and Phillip Bowley took the first race from an initial group of five boats that included Canadians Joe Jospe and Tom Egli, Derian and Andy Scott, Noel Butler and Stephen Oram and Louis Smyth and Cormac Bradley.
Screaming reaches opened the gaps as the race progressed but at the end of the day the Aussies were comfortable winners followed home by the Scotts, Butler and Oram, Jospe and Egli and Ireland's Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella, who came from behind having initially missed the start.
Race two saw the wind ramp up a notch, but the author of this piece was only able to watch from the shore - victim of a windward roll at the second gybe mark of the first race.
The Scotts appeared to make it look very easy on the water such was the length of their lead by race end. Behind them came the Canadians, Jospe and Egli and the Irish trio of McCartin and Kinsella, Butler and Oram and Grant and Butler. Schulz and Bowley didn't race the second race - a plan they declared in advance of going out on the water - but after today's session they must surely be regarded as one of the favoured combinations. Early days yes, but they will have the advantage of a week's exposure to the racing environment before the other 'big guns' arrive.
For Sligo, there must be enormous pleasure that the regatta is underway and the first day is completed without hiccup!
The Fireball World Championships and International Week is sponsored by Dubarry, Malin Waters, Interreg, Failte Ireland, The Clarion Hotel (Sligo), The Glass House (Hotel, Sligo), Sligo County Council and the ISA (Ireland's National Sailing Authority). Standings
1. Derian and Andy Scott (GBR) 2-1 3pts
2. Joe Jospe and Tom Egli (CAN) 4-2 6pts
3. Noel Butler and Stephen Oram (IRL) 3-4 7pts
4. Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella (IRL) 5-3 8pts
5. Graeme Grant and Hugh Butler (IRL) 6-5 11pts. Fireball Worlds website