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Gul Fireball World Championship at Lough Derg Yacht Club - Day 4

by Cormac Bradley 25 Aug 2022 23:45 PDT 18-26 August 2022

Tom Gillard of Sheffield Vikings and Shandy from East Antrim Boat Club in N. Ireland dominated Thursday's racing at the GUL Fireball Worlds in Lough Derg Ireland.

Another two races were sailed today and Gillard and Shandy won both comfortably, to give themselves a 17pt cushion going into the last day. Race Officer, Con Murphy, had his hands full today with a wind that fluctuated left and right but was reasonably steady in strength. In both races he had to move the weather mark in order to keep the race a fair contest. In Race 1 he set the fleet a 1.1mile beat on a bearing of 230 degrees but was being constantly fed information on wind strength and direction from his weather mark layer and the pin end boat some 450m away. In Race 2 he stretched the beat by another 0.1 of a mile and with a weather mark that was slightly left of the mark used for the first race.

Even from a distance, we could see that a Dacron-sail Fireball was first around the mark in Race 1 This was IRL 14378. The significance of this achievement is that the boat in question is a wooden boat and in 1995 this won the Fireball Worlds in the hands of John Lavery & David O'Brien, sailed out of the National Yacht Club. For this regatta it is being sailed by Ben Graf and Alexander Farrell out of Lough Ree Sailing Club.

As for the business end of the race, Gillard and Shandy took the lead on the first reach and never really looked back. In this race they were chased by the Aussies, Heather & Chris and by the Swiss, Claude and Ruedi.

At the leeward mark of the triangle, the chasing group, behind Gillard & Shandy was Claude & Ruedi, Ben & Alexander, Xavier Broise & Trystan Robin (FRA 14779), Jiri Paruzek & Jakub Kosvica (CZE 15141) Brenda & Oscar Hoult (GBR 14977), David Hall & Paul Constable (GBR 15155), Heather & Chris (AUS 15152), the Italians, Fabio & Adriana (ITA 15054) and Chris Bateman & Thomas Chaix (IRL 14750) The fleet adjusted to the changing wind but the winners led the fleet home for their fourth win of the series. Behind them, the finishing order was Heather & Chris, Mermod & Moser, Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsella (IRL 15093), who staged a magnificent recovery because they were well back at the leeward mark, Bateman & Chaix, Broise & Robin, Hall & Constable, Daniel & Harry Thompson (IRL 15156), Derian & Andy Scott (GBR 14941) with David Sayce & Gareth Edwards (GBR 15112) closing out the top ten.

Mermod & Moser's result is particularly commendable as they were pinged by the Jury on the approach to the first leeward mark and apparently capsized later in the race as well.

After another adjustment for the breeze, which was creeping up above the 10knot mark, the fleet got away to another clean start, although there was some bunching at the committee boat end. One or two boats pushed the envelope, one with an Irish number, but even these corrected themselves.

For Race 2 of the day, a 1.2mile beat was set on a bearing of 235 degrees and the fleet reached the weather mark in eighteen and a half minutes. Again, the white spinnaker of Gillard & Shandy was the first to show and again, they pulled away from the fleet. Sixteen and a half minutes later, they were leading the fleet around the leeward mark with the chasing pack in the following order; Mermod & Moser, Anthony & James Wilcocks (GBR 14928), McCartin & Kinsella, Martyn Lewis & Daniel Lewis (GBR 15151), Sayce & Edwards, Kevin Hope & Russell Thorne (GBR 15133), MacFarlane & Payne, Katie Byne & Lia Horne (GBR 14833), Josh Porter & Cara McDowell (IRL 14695) and Chris Owen & Andy Service (HKG 14754).

The majority of the fleet initially took a hitch to the right-hand side of the beat and then took a long starboard tack to work their way up the middle and left of the course. At 14:36 the leaders went around the weather mark for the second and last time with a lead that was insurmountable, thus recording a fifth win of the series and the third in a row.

Behind them came Mermod & Moser, Lewis & Lewis, Sayce & Edwards, McCartin & Kinsella, Hope & Thorne, Wilcocks & Wilcocks, MacFarlane & Payne, Broise & Robin and Bateman & Chaix.

Thus, the situation tonight (Thursday) is that Gillard & Shandy are sitting on 13pts with a 17pt cushion to second place which is occupied by MacFarlane & Payne (30pts), with Mermod & Moser a further 2pts astern. McCartin & Kinsella are the leading Irish in 4th place overall (36pts), with the first of the Czechs, Jiri Paruzek & Jakub Kosvica (CZE 15141) 5th with 47pts. Three points separates the Lewis father and son combination and David Hall & Paul Constable in 6th and 7th respectively, with Derian & Andy Scott (GBR 14941) in 8th, (73pts), Isaac Marsh & Oliver Davenport (GBR 15162) (82pts), 9th and Christina Haerdi & Cedric Landerer (SUI 14859) closing out the top ten on 89pts.

Other places:

11. Steve & Tom Goacher, GBR 15145, 93pts
12. Josh Porter & Cara McDowell, IRL 14695, 95pts
13. Chris Bateman & Thomas Chaix, IRL 14750, 98pts
14. Kevin Hope & Russell Thorne, GBR 15133, 99pts
15. Martin Kubovy & Roman Rocek, CZE 15019, 108pts
19. Xavier Broise & Trystan Robin, FRA 14799, 121pts
26. Mianne Erne & Clay Poulson, SUI 15063, 189pts
30. Chris Owen & Andy Service, HKG 14754, 209pts
33. Fabio Palermi & Adriana Curcio, ITA 15054, 215pts
46. Richard & Liam Quinlan, CAN 14547, 299pts
70. David Laing & Clarissa Dee, RSA 14877, 448pts
79. Andres Gonzalez & Ana Maria Grande Martin, ESP 14244, 550pts

Friday's forecast is suggesting a new wind direction altogether, a NNW going NW. Will that trigger a change in the running order. It doesn't seem likely, but we wish fair winds to all those sailing tomorrow.

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