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2022 Gul Fireball National Championship at Brightlingsea Sailing Club - Days 2 & 3

by Isaac March & Ollie Davenport 4 Jun 07:46 PDT 1-5 June 2022
Gul Fireball Nationals at Brightlingsea day 2 © William Stacey

Day 2 saw much hustle and bustle in the dinghy park as sailors prepared for what looked like another glorious day's sailing. The fleet launched on time and headed downwind to the sailing area in 18 knots from the east.

Race 3 saw the starboard end of the line being favoured by most teams. Punching out from the pack were Gilly and Shandy, Peter Gray and Simon Foskett, and Jeremy Atkins and Richard Botting. The fleet made their way to the windward mark through the Blackwater chop and onto the 3-sail reach.

At the front Gilly and Shandy extended as the group behind battled it out. Round the bottom mark teams quickly tacked off to get across to the left hand side of the course which had been favoured on the first beat. This was again the case, but a right shift came in at the top of the beat providing passing opportunities to those able to seize them. Down the run it was still close racing throughout the fleet and everyone powered downwind. At the finish it was Gilly and Shandy from Isaac Marsh and Ollie Davenport, with Dave Hall and Paul Constable in 3rd.

By Race 4 the wind had picked up slightly, and sea state had become "interesting" with a confused and very lumpy wave pattern. Again it was a starboard favoured line, but the fleet were too eager to start causing the first general recall of the event. At the second attempt under the U flag, the fleet behaved and got away cleanly. By the top of a bumpy first beat it was Gray and Foskett that narrowly lead from Marsh and Davenport followed by Hall and Constable. After a fruity top reach and some battling between the front 3, Hall and Constable took the lead. As the fleet spread out it was looking safe for Hall and Constable. However, a sketchy gybe going into the bottom mark just metres short of the finish line, resulted in an uncharacteristic swim from Hall & Constable, letting Marsh and Davenport through to take the win, followed by Spanner and Simon Forbes then Grey and Foskett.

The fleet were greeted ashore by a beach BBQ hosted by Brightlingsea SC with prizes from P&B as the daily sponsor and Gul as the event sponsor.

Day 3 dawned with an increased wind forecast from day 2, and after a foray out to the race area, Race Officer Paul Jackson reported a 21 knot average wind speed with gusts of over 26 knots and a "horrible" sea state, with the wind forecast to build. So no racing on day 3.

We go into the final day with Gilly & Shandy leading the Gold Fleet, Steve Jarred & Tom Jarred leading the Silver Fleet, and Peter & Richard Bettles leading the Bronze Fleet.

This evening it's the Fireball AGM followed by the Championship dinner, with a special 60th Anniversary themed dessert organised by Brightlingsea SC. Today' spot prizes are sponsored by Gul and West Systems.

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