by Nick Hurst
With no racing on day five of the Zhik Fireball Nationals, results from Thursday stand: James and Dan Ellis are the 2012 National Champions.
Following a welcome lay day and a raging storm to go with it, the Fireball fleet got underway in Mounts Bay again yesterday, on day four. The competitors were delighted to get back on the water with plenty of wind and a big swell running. The gate start flag was out early, and after a short delay, while the race officer waited for the fleet to assemble, the first race got underway with a steady'ish 20 knots blowing in from the South.
Tom Gillard and Bernie Gammon had a flyer, and led round the first mark, with Sam Mettam and Richard Anderton right behind them. Most spinnakers were kept safely in bags on the first reach, with plenty of speed to be taken from two sails and some massive rollers. Mettam/Anderton went for it though, and a few others did eventually pop up, but not until very late. There was at least one Aussie Drop employed in order to lay the gybe mark.
Gillard/Gammon went for their spinnaker on the second leg and a good battle ensued, with Mettam/Anderton finally getting past them at the last, to lead at the leeward mark. Gillard/Gammon went hard right on the second beat to pass Mettam/Anderton and retake the lead. The lead changed for the final time on the run, with Mettam/Anderton taking the favoured left side and maintaining their lead throughout, to take the gun from Gillard/Gammon with Tim Rush and Sam Pascoe coming in third.
After the inevitable repositioning of the committee boat, the second race got underway with the wind building gradually. It was now blowing a steady 25 knots, with some breaking swell to go with it and some big gusts. A few of the fleet fairly decided to call it a day. For the brave few who remained, another gate start got things underway.
After a great start, Rush/Pascoe led at the windward mark, followed by Gillard/Gammon and Mettam/Anderton. The reaches again proved plenty with two sails, but halfway down the second reach Mettam/Anderton popped their kite to good effect, driving underneath Gillard/Gammon, and pushing up right behind the leaders, Rush/Pascoe. By the second windward mark the positions remained unchanged. But Mettam/Anderton hit a large wave on the run, and were sent swimming, allowing the leaders to tramp on and the chasing Gillard/Gammon through. Rush/Pascoe went on to take their first race win of the week with Gillard/Gammon taking second and the Ellis Brothers coming in third, delivering enough to retain their overall lead.
The weary competitors retired to the warmth of the clubhouse, to enjoy another pleasant social evening with an indoor BBQ, a prize giving and the feckwit of the fleet (aka 'Dork of the Day') presented to a new worthy winner.
Going into the final day, with strong wind accompanied with driving rain, poor visibility and the prospect of ever growing swell as the tide ebbed, the Race Officer erred on the side of caution and decided early that there would be no more racing. In the fleet there was a mixture of disappointment and relief. The news meant that the Ellis Brothers take the title in the fleet boat, well done boys!
Following a reclassification of some of the provisional fleet allocations, prizes awarded were:
Perseverance trophy: Peter Verner and Bruno Valeri - 14388 - ' Beyond Belief' Parkstone YC
Classic Fireball Trophy:
3rd Geoff and Sophie Holden - 14229 'Pink Panther'
2nd Colin Stephens and Tom Klisky - 13779 - 35th place
1st Chris Turner and Rupert Smith -14242- 'Comfortably Numb' - 33rd place
1st Novice Crew - Amy Giles 13697 - 'Albert' Paignton SC
1st Novice Helm - Dale Giles 14514 - 'Ultraviolet' Paignton
3rd Andy Robinson and Tim Morgan - 14991- 'Two Fat Laddies' - Datchet SC
2nd Sarah Everitt and James Wallace - 14685 - 'White Flag' - Portishead Y and SC
1st Stewart Scarff and David Warner - 15038 - 'Rock n Rolla' - Shoreham SC
3rd Christine and Graham Slater - 15045 - 'Norbert' - Paignton SC
2nd Pete Badham and John Rhode - 14994 - 'Licken on Both Sides' - Draycote Water SC
1st Frederic Mouches and J_Francois Nouel - FR14793 'Desmond' - SNO/APCC
1st Lady Helm: Derian Scott - 14941 - 'Southpaws' - Chew Valley Lake SC
1st Lady Crew: Lesley Foskett - 14935 - 'On the Edge' - Staunton Harold SC
1st under 21 Helm - Matt Foskett - 14935 - 'On the Edge' - Staunton Harold SC
1st under 21 Crew - Nick Hydon - 14976 - 'Tonka Too' - Shustoke SC
1st over 50 helm 'Wheelchair Trophy'- Tim Rush - 15065 - 'Allez Wiggo' - Nottingham SC
1st over 50 Crew - Russell Thorne - 15050 - Notts County SC
Brixham Trophy: - awarded for the first boat that has never finished in the top 10 of any nationals: Wilcox Twins - Anthony and James
10th Kevin Hope and Russel Thorn - 15050 - Notts County SC
9th Becky Priest and Tim Saunders - 15073 'Bossy three' - Staunton Harold SC
8th Derian and Andy Scott - 14941 - 'Southpaws' - Chew Valley Lake SC
7th David Hall and Paul Constable - 15085 'Simples II' - Thorpe Bay SC
6th Alan Krailing and Tim Linsell - 15036 - Waldringfield SC
5th Vince Horey and Vyv Townend - 15013 - Bewl Valley SC
4th Tom Gillard and Bernie Gammon - 15083 - Zhik/P&B Race Team - Sheffield Viking SC
3rd Sam Mettam and Richard Anderton - 15081 - Rotherham SC -20 points
2nd Tim Rush and Sam Pascoe -15065 'Allez Wiggo' - Nottingham/Castle Cove SC - 13 points
1st James and Dan Ellis -15080 'Klass Fireball' - Royal Plymouth YC - 11 points