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Fireball European Championships at Bracciano, Italy

By Cormac Bradley on 1 Aug 2012 21-27 July 2012
Photos © Urs Hardi
Fireball European Championships 2012
Fireball European Championships 2012

Cosmopolitan fleet contests the Fireball Europeans...but another British victory is recorded

11 nations and 106 boats contested the 2012 Fireball Europeans, hosted by Yacht Club Bracciano East during the week of 21 – 27 July. The fleet boasted an entry from Namibia, Nikolai & Pascal Allers, whose boat is stored in Switzerland, a single entry from Germany, Joerg Noller & Roger Leeman, 2 Canadian boats, including FI Executive members Joe Jospe (Commodore) and Tom Egli (Technical representative), 3 Belgian boats, 3 Slovenians, 5 French, 9 Irish, 17 Swiss, 18 Czechs, 19 Italians, who also contested their National Championships at the event, and 28 British boats.

As to be expected with an event that was within drivable distance of all the centres of European Fireballing, the means by which the boats arrived was of much interest. And winning the award for the most attention in this category was the Irish entry which brought 9 boats on a single jeep/trailer combination; eight boats stacked either side of the trailer with the ninth on the roof of the jeep. It took a team effort to load and unload the boats, but the trailer was easily loaded.

Measurement for the regatta took place on the Saturday and Sunday and Monday morning saw the first upset of the week!

The prevailing wind in Bracciano at this time of year blows onshore at the club. This morning it was blowing away from the club and was accompanied by grey skies……..this wasn’t in the brochure! In the distance we could see windsurfers scudding across the waves and when we did get the odd glimpse of sun, we could see the white tops of the waves in the distance as they ran away from us. An initial postponement was signalled! When we did set sail for the start area we were to find a committee boat struggling to hold position and a pin boat that was struggling to get upwind. The former was due to depth complications – we were in 150m of water – the latter was due to the wind and sea. A start was eventually attempted but a major wind shift meant that the beat turned into a two-sail fetch, especially for those who started at the pin. The first reach was another two sail fetch in the opposite direction, which meant that spinnakers were only broken out on the third leg! Boats went left and right to avoid sailing a direct line to the leeward mark. Some of us continued our conservative outlook and two-sailed rather gingerly to the downwind turning point. An early abandonment signal was flying from the committee boat as the stragglers sailed upwind again; problem was the leaders were already on their way back to the leeward mark under spinnaker. That left a long slog home! The reaction shore side was one of consternation.

Day 2 and the wind looked as if it had returned to normal service. The fleet went out again and proceeded to have a very long wait for the first start. Race 1 was sailed to full length, but the second start only got underway after 17:30 and was truncated to a triangle, sausage and final beat. The first race was started in good breeze that faded as the day wore on. The arrival of black clouds in the vicinity of the lake meant that the 2nd start was going to be a bit lively…….and so it was until haven’t spent itself out, the breeze faded again to leave us with sunny conditions but a dying breeze. The day was characterised by multiple starts, with initially general recalls being used then the dreaded Black Flag start. Race 2 got away at the second attempt under black flag conditions. It was also a day on which the IJ exercised their muscle, policing Rule 42 infringements. The fleet was back ashore by 19:00, however the IJ were working much later into the evening. Two days gone, two races completed, only one of which went full length.

Day 3: Wind onshore! 13:00 arrives with the postponement flag already in place. Just as well, at the scheduled start time the numbers of boats in the start area could be counted on two hands. The RO is now in a difficult position – starts have not got off on time, so there is less enthusiasm from the fleet to go afloat and wait for a delayed start. The first start of the day is attempted at 14:30. One General Recall and two Black Flags later the fleet is let go under a Z-Flag start. Later 20 boats were listed as being in trouble at the start! Race 2 starts after 17:00 and concludes with the fleet getting shore after 19:00. We have had 6.5 hours on the water for two shortened races.

Day 4: A second Skippers’ Briefing has been arranged for 10:00. It proceeds to be a clearing of the air between the fleet and the RO. The frustration of long hours on the water with less than satisfactory results leads to an agreement that a) the fleet will be kept ashore until the wind has stabilized and a race can be started quickly and b) a request that the start lines are laid square to the wind to try and preclude the need for everyone to start early and c) a request that the race committee get on the water earlier to assess the wind situation.

Two full Olympic courses get sailed today, but with a first start after 15:30, we have another late return to shore, post 19:00. These are the best races of the week, relatively quick and clean starts, good spinnaker legs and breeze that stayed on for the duration of the races. Conditions are very pleasant for sailing – warm wind and warm water – and the trapezing isn’t heavy duty upwind, though the 2nd reach of the triangles are a bit more challenging. During the second race the wind got up a bit but it didn’t last overly long.

As the Championship dinner is scheduled for this evening, the fleet has little time between unwinding after the racing to getting ready for dinner. However, our Italian host put on a great spread – simple but very tasty – antipasto, pasta, spit-roasted pork and ice-cream with lots of wine and water to accompany the meal. The Slovenians also give a presentation on the venue for the 2013 Worlds in Portoroz in September, but the impact of their presentation is partially lost due to us all seating outside and the sheer volume of numbers.

Day 5: While we all have a discard with six races sailed, everyone would like to see more races to improve their position. However, being the last day of the event, there is an early cut-off for the last race start of 16:00. And in a typical application of Murphy’s Law (if it can go wrong it will go wrong), there is no wind when we arrive at the club. Not a good start! The routine postponement flag goes up and the fleet settles in for a shoreside wait! Noon comes and goes; 13:00 comes and goes. We do go afloat around 15:00 which means at best we will only get a single race in. problem is that the wind is moving significantly with huge shifts that are a RO’s nightmare! A start is attempted but we are in default again. Re-jig the line, lift the weather mark, everyone is clock-watching now! We are down to less than 20 minutes before cut-off. The minutes tick by……………..and as 16:00 arrives we are done without a race being started. The leaders will be relieved, though the top boat has a six-point margin! The majority of the fleet will be relieved in a different way, they can start packing!

Most regattas are won on the basis of brilliance and consistency. This regatta required both these attributes in a much more conspicuous way. The ease with which big numbers could be accumulated – even for top ten candidates in a Fireball fleet – was unreal at this event.

On the Tuesday evening, Claude Mermod and Ruedi Moser were sitting atop the pile with a 1,2 and three points. Martin Kubovy & Roman Rocek were equally comfortable in second with a 1, 4 and the Venhodas, Kurt and So (SUI 14987) were in third with 9 points. 24 hours later, the Tuesday evening leaders had acquired a Black Flag and an 11, Kubovy/Rocek scored a 9,8 and the Venhodas had picked up a 30 and a 9. The British challenge manifested itself with Matt Burge & Richard Wagstaff scoring a 1,2 on Wednesday, Christian Birrell and Sam Brearey scoring a 2,4, Sam Mettam & Richard Anderton securing a 3 in Race 4, David Hall & Paul Constable winning Race 3 only to fall foul of the Z-flag at the start and david wade/Bob Gardner getting a 4th (Race 4), but also a Black Flag.

Thus Wednesday saw a change in the order with Burge/Wagstaff tied with Kubovy/Rocek on 22pts, and Birrell/Brearey in third on 26pts. At this stage Kubovy/Rocek were the only combination inside the top ten overall who only had single digit finishes.

On Thursday Kubovy/Rocek’s record of single digit finishes went AWOL as they recorded a 15 and 13, the former becoming their discard. Burge/Wagstaff scored a 1,6, Birrell/Brearey a 9 & 4. Hall/Constable replaced the Z-flag first with the real thing in Race 5 and followed that up with a 6th. Mettam/Anderton also had a good day with a 5,9.

Thus the top ten split is GBR 5, CZE 4 and Switzerland 1 (see results at bottom of page). This reflects the growing strength in numbers and talent level of the Czech fleet, which we are advised is the fastest growing fleet in Fireball. They are a very young group, which would suggest they are going to be around for a while.

Trophy Winners:

Race 1Swiss Cow BellCZE 15019Martin Kubovy & Roman Rocek
Race 2Czech Crystal BowlSUI 14799Claude Mermod & Ruedi Moser
Race 3Slovenian TrophyGBR 15084Matt Burge & Richard Wagstaff
Race 4UK TrophyGBR 15084Matt Burge & Richard Wagstaff
Race 5Italian UVM TrophyGBR 15085David Hall & Paul Constable
Race 6French TrophyGBR 15084Matt Burge & Richard Wagstaff
Overall Fireball EuropeansEuropean TrophyGBR 15084Matt Burge & Richard Wagstaff
Classic BoatClassic Boat TrophyCZE 14056Karel & Matej Smetana (63rd)
Ladies PrizeYCBE TrophyCZE 14809Klara Janderova & Jitka Bidlova (64th)
Under‑25sItalian Fireball Association TrophyGBR 15065Christian Birrell & Sam Brearey

The regatta was generously sponsored by Carige Assicurazioni, an Italian insurance company, who were the main sponsor, Sperry Topsider, who provided a pair of their shoes to every competitor, Dicofarm who specialize in the development of early childhood products and, technical sponsors Aires Tech, a mechanical engineering company and Aliacom, a mass communications agency.

The hospitality of our Italian hosts was exceptional. Bottled water was free and available on each day of the regatta. A small team of Italian ladies produced enormous amounts of food from a very small kitchen on a daily basis – pasta was served to the fleet when it came ashore every day. The Championship dinner was simple but excellent fare and the shore teams enthusiastically helped boats off the small beach into the dinghy park at the end of each day’s racing.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelm & CrewR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1GBR 15084Burge Matt, Wagstaff Richard, Poole Y C8‑11216118,0
2GBR 15065Christian Birrell, Sam Brearey, WPNSA‑155429424,0
3CZE 15019Kubovy Martin, Rocek Roman, Jachtklub Lazne Tousen1498‑151335,0
4GBR 15083David Wade, Bob Gardner, Northampton412(bfd )413235,0
5CZE 15059Cap Milan, Prochazka Filip, YC Neratovice121435‑32337,0
6GBR 15085Hall David, Constable Paul, Thorpe Bay YC119‑1181645,0
7CZE 15079Verner Jaroslav, Winkler Pavel, Jacht klub Lazne Tousen(dnf )2147111246,0
8GBR 15081Sam Mettam, Richard Anderton, Rotherham SC‑26152035952,0
9CZE 14979Skorepova Eva, Napravnik Jakub, Spoje Praha71011‑29101553,0
10SUI 14799Mermod Claude, Moser Ruedi, RCO21(bfd )16211454,0
11CZE 15040Hajek Milan, Pavliek Zdenk, YCLP9135623‑2556,0
12SUI 14897Venhoda‑Zaugg Kurt, Zaugg Venhoda So, SVM6330926‑4174,0
13IRL 15058Kenneth Rumball, Conor Kinsella, INSC‑3771311192474,0
14GBR 14941Scott Derian, Scott Andy, Chew Valley Lake SC17281615‑44581,0
15GBR 15017Alex Taylor, Geoff Edwards228(bfd )3671083,0
16GBR 15073Priest Becky, Saunders Tim, Staunton Harold Sailing Club34‑5181920788,0
17IRL 14981McGrotty Simon, Grimes Ruairi, Skerries SC24‑332314171189,0
18GBR 15020Vince. Horey, Ben Rayner, King George S.C.2119241714(dnf)95,0
19GBR 14892Gibbs Penny, Gibbs Ian, Brightlingsea SC1335626‑411898,0
20FRA 15005Allain Jerome, Allain Christine1621‑5527434102,0
21CZE 14827Koran Petr, Kvasnik Milan, YC Neratovice202722‑34332104,0
22SLO 14989Kocjancic Marko, Jadek Aljaz, Y.C. Olimpic3251037‑3833108,0
23GER 14508Nolle Joerg, Leemann Roger336(bfd )253016110,0
24ITA 14842Brescia Paolo, Strobino Aribert, YCI32221723‑3322116,0
25CZE 14949Mudra Martin, Sedivak Krystof, YCLP‑462025101845118,0
26CZE 14551Paruzek Jiri, Huk Vaclav, Jachtklub Lazne Tousen530‑21322826121,0
27IRL 15061Butler Noel, Oram Stephen1424(bfd )33849128,0
28CZE 14818Stranska Lucie, Mika Radek, VS Duchcov191673849(ocs)129,0
29GBR 14928Willcocks Anthony, Ballard Benjami, Portishead Sailing Club23‑5418402721129,0
30GBR 14977Carter Jonathan, Wilkinson Gareth, Chelmarsh sailing club302326‑462430133,0
31SUI 14724Huber Adrian, Mauchle Brigitte, Yachtclub Romanshorn5626(bfd )28231143,0
32GBR 15066Maskell Mark, Sheppard Nigel, Blackwater SC3843(bfd )312219153,0
33GBR 14982Scarth Martin, King Tony, Blackwater SC54383420‑638154,0
34CZE 14853Ladislav Vomacko, Jiri Gemperle3129194831‑53158,0
35SUI 14859Haerdi Christina, Landerer Cedric, DSSC184512(dsq )5237164,0
36SUI 14960Lederer Melanie, Schaefer Michael, YCRo(bfd )1738632527170,0
37FRA 15014Guidel Estelle, Perdon Pierre, NDCV Angers‑423135423728173,0
38GBR 15070Popple Philip, Hurst Andren, Shoreham Sailing Club25‑5227454038175,0
39ITA 14833Colapietro Dani, Tonelli Angelo4918‑57244744182,0
40CAN 15024Jospe Joe, Egli Tom, pointe claire yacht club27‑7851216420183,0
41BEL 15039Meynendonckx Bart, De Roeck Francis, Hofstade Zeilclub29412952‑6143194,0
42GBR 14867falat Veronica, Falat Ben, Great Yarmouth + Gorleston433753‑774823204,0
43GBR 14887Sargeant Bryan, Sargeant William584437‑601256207,0
44SUI 14975Duescher Urs, Duscher Monika, DSSC36321547‑8282212,0
45IRL 14938Mc Grotty Niall, Cramer Neil, Skerries Sailing Club48493344‑5842216,0
46CZE 14931Cechura jiri, Will Jan, YCLP(1401)1063(bfd )413669219,0
47IRL 14790Malcolm Luke, Shane Diiviney, Howth Yacht Club3556721343(dnf)219,0
48SUI 14802Giovanoli Gian‑Andre, Giovanoli Susann, DSSC6468312239‑72224,0
49SUI 15028Liechti Kurt, Ernst Gabriela, SCH5947‑65355435230,0
50GBR 15045Slater Elaine, Slater Graham, Paignton SC39‑6139613557231,0
51SLO 14987Hrvatin Mitja, Planinsi Zeljko47‑8228734539232,0
52ITA 15054palermi fabio, capizzi antonio, ycbe‑674640554255238,0
53IRL 14990Butler Ed, Butler Ed, RsGYC(bfd )3649566929239,0
54IRL 15007Smyth Louis, Bradley Cormac, COAL HARBOUR44‑7564433454239,0
55GBR 14565Slater Christine, Willcocks James, Paignton SC453954‑625051239,0
56CZE 14956Snajdr Milan, Snajdr Matej, YCLPlzen28‑8052395670245,0
57CZE 15078Jenista Milan, Lambl Vojtich, Sokol Dobrichovice5742(bfd )1229ocs247,0
58FRA 15012Fouassier Bruno, Fouassier Domini, CVSAE4034615460‑63249,0
59GBR 14919Lippolis Georgia Sol, Cocuzza Umberto, CVMO65553653‑6852261,0
60NAM 15047Allers Nikolai, Allers Pascal7270(bfd )515317263,0
61CZE 14588Jedlicka Jan, Spurny Krystof, YC Neratovice(dns)dns56501640269,0
62GBR 14889Showell Hannah, Smith Barry, Teign Corinthian Yacht club41‑7348497061269,0
63CZE 14056Smetana Karel, Smetana Matej, YCLP53674359‑7950272,0
64CZE 14809Janderova Klara, Bidlova Jitka, SaS50594268‑7558277,0
65ITA 14715Leone Giorgio, Roselli Vincenzo, YCBE7040475871‑83286,0
66SUI 14896Scheller Richard, Eberle Linus, Segelclub Hallwil5565466966‑71301,0
67FRA 14995Legland arnaud, Enouf Maxime, Us. Ris Orangis68‑6958646746303,0
68SUI 14921Suter Maja, Boehm Thomas, Yachtclub Bielersee716244‑875177305,0
69CZE 14314Napravnikova Barbora, Burdova Michaela, SaS51535082(ocs )80316,0
70GBR 15016Slack Peter, Slack David, Royal Thames YC88‑8945676260322,0
71ITA 14998Manzi Luca, Annese Alfredo, YCI78488074‑9047327,0
72SUI 14602Widmer Fritz, Leonards Sven, YCK61646266‑8875328,0
73IRL 14691McKenna Louise, O'Keeffe Hermine, Royal St George Yacht Club60‑7970707359332,0
74ITA 14491Monosilio Maria Leti, Ganimede Frances, YCBE82774171‑8666337,0
75SUI 14890Patte Caroline, Sauer Gery, RVS63‑9478854668340,0
76GBR 14991Robinson Andy, Morgan Tim, Datchet6676(bfd )886548343,0
77FRA 14702Lewandowski Eric, Lewandowski Anne, CNPVA527171‑937279345,0
78GBR 14885Gray Fiona, Winward Helen, Waldringfield Sailing Club8560(bfd )725773347,0
79CZE 14609Vit Jaroslav, Vit Ladislav, J. K .Plzen79576878‑8765347,0
80SUI 14824Gautschi Thomas, Gautschi Gertrud, YCB627463‑767474347,0
81GBR 15038Scarff, Warner7772(bfd)dnf5936351,0
82CAN 15043Levy Robert, Waldie Stephen, Pt. Claire Yacht Club(dnf)dns323055dnf352,0
83ITA 14382Zorzi Carlo, Maero Marco73‑9667658167353,0
84SUI 15063Erne Mianne, Poulson Clay, SCH69‑8866807676367,0
85ITA 15057Minoni Andrea, Filzi Daniele, YCBE7450(bfd )5785ocs373,0
86SLO 14861Flis Anze, Juric Benjamin, KVŠ Velenje80837989‑9364395,0
87BEL 14829Lernout Bert, Lernour Kurt7585(bfd)dnf7762406,0
88IRL 14865Chambers Mary, McGuire Brenda, DMYC8758(bfd )909181407,0
89GBR 14922Winship Barrie, Winship Rosemar, Brightlingsea Sailing Club(dns)dns60848078409,0
90SUI 14880Hausammann, Hofmann, SCH76936981‑9791410,0
91SUI 15008Schneibel Ernst, Fluck Beni, SCSG‑939273758486410,0
92BEL 14445Peerlinck Roel, Peerlinck Sofie, Hofstade Sailing Club898174‑918385412,0
93GBR 14872Newson Barbara, Newson Guy, PFYC908481‑947888421,0
94ITA 13469Bertini Enrica, Pannoncini Rober816682‑999896423,0
95ITA 13472Maero Alberto, Messineo Alberto, Circolo Nautico Torino84907686‑9490426,0
96GBR 14789Lankester Rhys, Jasper Dawn, Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club86995979(dnf)dnf430,0
97ITA 12754zanone giuseppe, Bordon Mattia, avno91‑9877839584430,0
98ITA 13468Aprato Luca, Bisacca Valenti, CIRCOLO NAUTICO TORINO838675‑969295431,0
99ITA 12520Locanto Claudio, Guglielmo Vittor969186‑988987449,0
100SUI 14863Wospi Ines, Wospi Steven, SC St. Moritz928788100‑10189456,0
101ITA 13763Pregliasco Claudio, Belluco Antonio, Lega Navale Italiana94978592‑9993461,0
102ITA 14010Maggi Davide, Limardo David, YACHT CLUB CHIAVARI‑979584979692464,0
103ITA 13765Rossi Paolo, Lorenzo Rondelli, YCBE9510083‑10110094472,0
104ITA 14497Spinelli Giulia, Conti Claudia, circolo velico La Spezia(dnf)1018795103dnf493,0
105ITA 14764Idolo Claudia, Compiani Stefano, R.C.C.TEVERE REMO(dnc)dns8910210297497,0
106ITA 14965Puissa Paolo, Milia Maurizio, YCBE(dnf)dncdncdncdncdnc535,0

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