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Irish Fireball News - Domestic and International

by Cormac Bradley 24 Dec 2020 01:41 PST
Ian Dobson and crew Richard Wagstaff winning the 2019 Worlds in Canada © Urs Hardi

With the triennial elections for Fireball International now completed and all the places on the Executive now filled, FI is once more ready to chart a way forward for the class.

This year's elections saw a number of stalwarts of the Class stand down after protracted periods of service. Ben Schulz retired as Rear Commodore Australia to lend his expertise to the organisation of the Geelong Worlds, scheduled for February 2022. In North America, Debbie Kirkby has also stood down and in South Africa, David Laing has stood down as Rear-Commodore Africa. They have been succeeded by Heather McFarlane, Evelyn Chisholm and Alistair Bush (Kenya) respectively.

Other specific offices have been filled by Linus Eberle (SUI), Secretary, Guy Newsom (GBR), Treasurer, David Hall (GBR), Chairman Technical Committee and Mianne Erne (SUI), Minutes Secretary. In the case of the David Hall appointment, a Technical Committee has been formed to share the load and it consists of David Hall, Tom Egli (CAN) and Metja Nemec (SLO). Further support to the Executive and the overall administration of the Class is provided by Reudi Moser as Webmaster and Hanseuli Bacher as Financial Reviewer.

The elected Fireball International Executive is as follows:

  • Commodore: Christina Haerdi Landerer (SUI) [Second Term]
  • Rear Commodore Africa: Alistair Bush (Kenya)
  • Rear Commodore North America: Evelyn Chisholm (USA)
  • Rear Commodore Asia: Hiroshi Kato (Japan)
  • Rear Commodore Australia: Heather McFarlane (AUS)
  • Rear Commodore Central Europe: Jakub Napravnik (CZE)
  • Rear Commodore Western Europe: Cormac Bradley (IRL)
More locally, the Irish Class Association held its AGM a few weeks back and we had one individual who chose to take a break from the committee but compensated for that with the addition of a number of new members. Hermine O'Keeffe has previously served as DL Class Captain but has stood down from the committee after a number of years. She is replaced as DL Class Captain by Owen Sinnott, a new committee member and Paul Ter Horst has taken on the mantle of Silver Fleet Class Captain.

Like most classes, Fireball spent more time in 2020 cancelling events than promoting them as the COVID crisis decimated the sailing calendar from April onwards. Even when the Dublin Bay Sailing Club made the decision to extend the season to compensate for the late start to the year, Level 5 restrictions snuffed out the opportunity to race into October.

However, hope springs eternal and a new calendar for 2021 has been formulated to try and get back to a full suite of regattas.

The 2021 calendar still has a small element of flux to it in that not all the dates are completely tied down. As things currently stand, the regatta schedule is as follows:

April 17/18 - Coaching weekend hosted by DMYC
May 15/16 - Ulster Championships, Newtownards Sailing Club (Strangford Lough)
June/July* - Open Championships, Skerries Sailing Club
2/3/4 July - Leinster Championships, Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta
23 - 25 July - National Championships, DMYC
25/26 September - Munster Championships, Killaloe Sailing Club
31 July - 6 August - UK Nationals in Abersoch
11 - 17 September - Europeans, Piombino, Marina di Salivoli, Tuscany
7- 18 February 2022 - Fireball Worlds, Royal Geelong, Australia

* Dates to be confirmed/negotiated

This represents a return to a domestic five-regatta schedule which given the health circumstances we are living in might be deemed ambitious. However, I think the policy has to be to plan on a full regatta schedule now, if it has to change as time passes, it is less hassle to cancel than to re-schedule at short notice.

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