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All systems go for the Fireball World Championship in Ireland this August

by Frank Miller 16 Jan 00:49 PST 21-26 August 2022
Fireball Munster Championships at Lough Derg © Joe St Leger

With the publication of the Notice of Race and the opening of the online entry system it's all systems go for the Fireball World Championship at Lough Derg Yacht Club, Dromineer in August.

This will be the first Fireball World Championship since Montreal in 2019 so there is significant interest around the globe with international teams already booking their accommodation and making travel arrangements. At the time of writing teams are expected from Australia, Canada, the US, France, Switzerland, Italy, the Czech Republic and South Africa, along with a large contingent from the UK and a rapidly growing local fleet.

With special Irish Ferries rates for competitors the 'Trip to Tipp', is an attractive option for sailors from mainland Europe and the UK. Another great attraction at LDYC is the amount of space available for camping and for camper vans so much of the Worlds fleet is expected to live on-site for the event helping to keep the event both affordable and extremely social. With Carrickcraft cruiser hire as one of the sponsors discounted cruiser hire is available to competitors and their families, providing an attractive accommodation alternative which would allow families to view the racing from their floating holiday homes based on the marina beside the sailing club. The booking system for campsite space is also live from today.

International race officer Con Murphy will be PRO for the event. The World Championships take place from August 21st-26th with a warm-up event on 18th & 19th August which doubles as the Irish National Championship. Measurement checking is expected to take place mainly on Saturday 20th August with the racing programme of two races per day running from Sunday through Friday and Wednesday as the lay day. With Omicron hopefully a distant memory by summer, sailors are anxious to get stuck back into high level international competition and a fleet of between 50 and 80 boats is expected to assemble at Lough Derg. With some fifty square miles of open lake the venue is likely to challenge sailors with a good mixture of conditions over the week. While not at all as shifty or light as smaller lakes it will be interesting to see if the venue suits the Swiss and Czech competitors who predominantly sail on lakes.

The stunning lakelands area, a lesser-known gem of the Irish tourism offering, is likely to surprise domestic and international sailors alike with its beauty. The event will include an activity programme for families and non-sailors with many and diverse regional attractions. The lead-up to the event, with the delay caused by the pandemic, has given the domestic Fireball fleet a great boost and the last couple of years have seen a big increase in local numbers.

More than 25 Irish boats have committed to the event, the first on local waters in 11 years and this number is expected to grow as the date nears. Sailors are asked to register now via the club website at www.ldyc.ie and for those who register early and pay the remainder of the entry fee by the due date a raffle is being held for free entry. Youth sailors are welcome and can enter at a discount of 20% and the class is encouraging sailors from other classes to get hold of a Fireball and to join the fray. The last couple of years has seen an increase in interest in Fireballs in Ireland and sailors have joined from the 420s and from the 49er amongst other classes.

Welcoming the event LDYC commodore Joe Gilmartin said, "We at LDYC are really looking forward to hosting the International Fireball community at this major event. It is definitely lining up to be one of the highlights of our 2022 season. You are assured of an excellent event with some great sailing, lots of fun and generous hospitality."

Speaking from her home in Switzerland Fireball International Commodore Christina Haerdi commented, "It feels like a first breath after a long stay underwater! We will celebrate the Fireball Worlds in Ireland. The organisers did not give up after the frustrating cancellation of the 2020 Worlds but restarted with full energy to make it happen in Dromineer, in the heart of the Green Island. Let's make the dream come true and register now!" Irish Fireball Association Chairman Neil Cramer chairman said "We are super-excited to finally get to show off Ireland & Tipperary to the International Fleet after such a long hiatus due to Covid. We hope to attract not only individual competitors but their entire families as well, promising to provide attractive off-the-water activities and some excellent lay-day options."

Notice of Race, online registration and registration for event camping are now live and can be found at www.ldyc.ie/Fireball-Worlds-2022

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