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Fireball Open at Shoreham Sailing Club

by Andy Robinson 24 Jun 2014 21:28 BST 21-22 June 2014
Fireball open at Shoreham © Warwick Baker /

A glorious forecast did not disappoint. Sun, wind and [fairly] warm water helped make a wonderful weekend of highly competitive Fireball racing at the ever hospitable Shoreham Sailing Club.

Although predominantly light winds on Saturday, crews had ample opportunity to stretch their legs with the wind peaking at around 12knts. Race one saw an overly ambitious, and possibly unintentional, port tack start from one excited Fireball sailor resulting in a brief pile up at the Port End. Both Burge/Wagstaff and Dobson/Ainsworth escaped only slightly bruised to lead the fleet onto the long port tack. Horey/Hartley were possibly less fortunate and began their pursuit from the back of the fleet.

At the first mark, Burge/Wagstaff led from Dobson/Ainsworth and Rush/Townend which remained comfortable for the remainder of the race.

Race 2 began in a fading breeze with Burge/Wagstaff demonstrating their light wind pace to take a commanding lead. Sayce/Rees sailed a great first beat to take 2nd at the first mark, which they defended effectively to the end from Dobson/Ainsworth and Rush/Townend.

A superb BBQ in the long sunny evening with the odd fine summer ale left many campers more than happy and partially refreshed for continued racing on Sunday.

Whilst the forecast was not the best, the rare South-easterly sea breeze built and made for a flawless day's sailing. Dobson/Ainsworth fired off the Starboard end of the line in race 3 to take a crucial two boat length lead up the first beat. Sayce/Rees having another fine beat were being chased by Rush/Townend and Burge/Wagstaff. The breeze slowly built to a perfect flat wiring day which gave the chasers the ability to attack leaving Sayce/Rees slipping to a very respectable 4th. With the win going to Dobson/Ainsworth the potential for a final race showdown was high.

After a recall and under a black flag start a similar start allowed Dobson/Ainsworth to take advantage of a slightly line-shy fleet by winning the Starboard End of the Start. Other early front runners were Rush/Townend, Hope/Thorne and Burge/Wagstaff. Unfortunately gear failure prevented Burge/Wagstaff from chasing down the victory and took an early retirement. Dobson/Ainsworth led from the first mark with Hope/Thorne sailing a steady race to hold 2nd place. The real fight took place between 3rd and 8th, with Horey/Hartley overturning Hall/Constable to take 3rd and 4th respectively. Boreham/Anderton finished the weekend off well with a 5th.

And so Dobson/Ainsworth (not to be confused with more feminine Dobson/Ainsworth 49FX combination) took the event from Burge/Wagstaff and Rush/Townend. A great venue and a must do event in 2015.

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