Fireball International Week 2011 has had an early halt called because Mother Nature was not able to provide adequate wind power to let the fleet go afloat. Ultimately, there was a tide of about four knots going one way and wind of two knots going the other.
Friday morning had dawned bright and sunny with only a few wisps of cloud. At 10:00 the postponement was signaled as there was so little wind in parts of the race area it was mirror-like. The experience this past week has been that the wind in Sligo seems to declare its hand at around 11am. Yesterday at 11am there was no wind – thus in that respect it was to be consistent because by 12 noon the signal to close the regatta was given and thoughts then turned to measurement and preparation of boats for scrutiny.
The regatta measuring team were assembled and a further ten boats were measured in for the regatta in a two hour period. As this scribe was part of that team, this report was postponed!
Thus the podium had a distinctly international appeal to it: In first place were Ben Schulz and Phillip Bowley (AUS 15062) who counted four race wins and a second place for their regatta total. In second place were Andy and Derian Scott (GBR 14941) with a 1,2,2,3,3 score line to trail the Aussies by five points. In third place, from Canada, were Joe Jospe and Tom Egli (CAN 15024) with a score line of 2,2,4,4,5.
Thereafter there were four Irish boats led home by Noel Butler and Stephen Oram (IRL 15061), Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella (IRL 14820), Graeme Grant and Hugh Butler (IRL 14807) and Frank Miller and Susie Mulligan (IRL 14713).
A variety of wind conditions had been enjoyed by the fleet over the week with Thursday’s racing being the most physically challenging. The later arrivals in Sligo must have been disappointed at not getting out on the water yesterday but 'that’s the way the cookie crumbles!'
The assembled fleet was then treated in the evening to a spit roast and a variety of traditional musical groups as part of the coincident Sea Shanty Festival, hosted by the Irish Fireball Class Association as part of the regatta social programme.
Next week will see presentations by the Australians for the Mandurah Worlds in December/January and the Italians for the 2012 Europeans. The evening was a great opportunity for friends to catch up as Fireballers from the Shetland Islands, the Czech Republic, France and Germany and the UK arrived at this west coast location on the edge of Europe – Cead Mille Failte (Gaelic for a hundred thousand welcomes)! Fireball Worlds website