Please select your home edition
Edition
Gul 2018 CodeZero Evo 728x90

Fireball Gul Golden Dolphin Series Round 4 at Hayling Island Sailing Club

by Russ Clark 20 Jun 06:37 BST 16-17 June 2018
Gul Fireball Golden Dolphin Series at Hayling Island © Rob O'Neill

If ever there was a weekend to own and sail a Fireball, then last weekend was it. As our first Fireball open meeting Penny and I joined 22 other Fireballs at Hayling Island SC for an epic weekend of racing in company with the Merlin Rockets and Scorpions.

Saturday morning was grey and blustery and as boats were rigged and halyards rattled against masts the dinghy park chat revolved around one subject, will we race in the shelter of the harbour, or head out to sea to face a strengthening forecast and wind over tide conditions. With Sunday's forecast looking good for a windy but manageable day in the bay the race officer made the uncontested decision to stay in the harbour, using the favorable time of high water and run three triangle, sausage, triangle races.

Saturday (races 1-3)

The wind on Saturday peaked at 27kts in the harbour although most of the time we had a solid force 5. With flat water the conditions were set for a real blast. Ian Dobson and Richard Wagstaff set the pace, winning race 1 from Tom Gillard and Geoff Edwards. The front five boats stayed as a well-formed pack and positions swapped regularly, an indication of how close the racing was to be. Clearly this was the first strong wind event for a while as several boats found new ways of clearing weed from foils and unexpectedly rinsing their sails, the gusts were particularly unforgiving and a miss-timed gybe or a dipped boom meant an early swim on the downwind legs. It appears we were not alone in conducting running repairs to kite sheets between races. There is clearly significant load on the guy and the knot that looked perfectly fine when the kite sheets were made in the lounge at home, merrily popped through the bobble causing a few missed heartbeats when flat out on the bottom reach. The breeze eased a bit for race 2 and the fleet hardly separated arriving at the first leeward mark six abreast. Our late start (caused by the above mention re-rig) gave us the determination drive the boat hard, working our way through the fleet, using the shifts to make gains and pushing harder than ever downwind.

Race 2 honours went to DJ and Vyv with Tom and Geoff close behind. A wind increase and a left shift prior to the start of race 3 spread the fleet down the start line. After the first general recall of the weekend the black flag came straight out. Despite this, the fleet pushed the line hard at the restart and 3 boats were BFD, shooed off the race course by the RIBs waving a white board, I suppose this is sailings equivalent of a red card. We had a clean start and flew upwind to lead at mark 1. Looking back at a fleet of Fireballs tearing downwind is a spectacular sight. This was made even better once DJ and Vyv, who were right on our transom, were shown the OCS red card from the RIB leaving us free to play the shifts and extend to take race 3 from the extremely consistent Tom and Geoff with their third 2nd place of the day.

The fleet retired ashore for a well earned drink and sharing tales of adventure. Nick Hurst proved that if an outhaul snaps once, the same rope will snap again if it is just shortened. Dave Hall generously gave up first placed to check for weed (the slow way) and Nick Copsey and Dan Vincent broke their pole end fitting in a spectacular death roll at the gybe mark (their first of two repeat pole failures in the weekend).

Sunday (races 4-6)

At last, the day of days arrived with big breeze in the bay. For some another hour or two in bed would have been welcome after a superb HISC social, however the 1100 start time beckoned and the fleet headed offshore into a 3-4 foot swell and 20kts of breeze. With a strong current running, the race team set a great course allowing the fleet to stretch its legs downwind with tight reaches with boats leaping of the wave tops and kites straining. Despite the conditions the racing was as tight as ever, positions were traded throughout the fleet and for many the adventures began. David Sayce was reportedly seen capsized and swimming for the first time since 1987 (David, for a debrief on your breaststroke style see Chris Turner next time you're at the club) and remarkably, Chris Thorne and Andy Stewart managed to lose a complete spinnaker bag over the side, how is that possible?

At the front of the fleet, Ian Dobson and Richard Wagstaff were superb, winning races 4 and 5. Everyone thought they'd gone ashore for the last race after winning the event with a race to spare... however, rumour has it they hadn't practised changing spreader settings in those conditions and the combination of a crew up the mast, a big wave and gravity took charge. The result was significantly more pre-bend than anticipated care of the Hayling sand resulting in an early sail home.

For the rest of us we had a ball. Upwind, jumping off waves into the air so far that daylight was visible behind the centreboard and screaming downwind (we recorded 18 kts). The racing was intense; at the end of the day with second to fourth place separated by just one point the final race was hotly contested. Small shifts allowed for tactical gains and losses upwind and a battle for the podium positions continued to the final reach of the final race. We led DJ and Vyv at the first mark until we proved that a Fireball makes a poor submarine and a water over the thwart on the run made us a bit slow allowing them past, not to be caught. We managed to fend off a determined Tom Gillard in 3rd place. The fast reach back home in champagne conditions and surfing on the swell didn't take long at all.

In summary, the Fireball fleet had a fantastic weekend of racing. Everyone at HISC made us all feel very welcome; the race team did a great job as did the rescue boat crews, thank you all. Many congratulations to Ian and Richard for an excellent win, we finished 2nd on count back from Tom and Geoff who took 3rd. Special congratulations go to Barry Smith and Richard Spring for winning the merit award as the highest scoring finisher of all six races with thanks to the title sponsors Gul for the prizes.

As a final note, we bought our Fireball because we'd heard the racing was high class. The reality definitely matches the reputation. Not only that, the class is a friendly, competitive and social group of people. If you ever had a thought that maybe I should get a Fireball then just do it, you won't be disappointed. See you all in Penzance for the Nationals in July and Carnac for the World Championships in August.

P.S. The fleet is so welcoming they invite you to write the report after your first event!

Overall Results:

PosFleetSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1stGold15141Ian DobsonRichard WagstaffBurnain SC13411(DNC)10
2ndGold15096Penny ClarkRuss ClarkStokes Bay SC-74132212
3rdGold15127Tom GillardGeoff EdwardsSheffield Viking SC222-43312
4thGold15144D EdwardsVyv TownsendTata51(BFD)24113
5thGold15133Kevin HopeRussell ThorneNotts County SC3-8656525
6thGold15147P CullanS Forbes 473-88729
7thGold15122David HallPaul ConstableBlackwater SC-95569429
8thSilver15070Isaac MarshOliver DavenportNorthampton8-9775633
9thGold15112David SayceNick ReesHISC1110(DNC)97845
10thGold15130David WinderBen RaynerHollingworth Lake10118-1210948
11thBronze15149Chris TurnerJono LoeHISC14129-15141160
12thBronze14889Barry SmithRich SpringThornbury SC-18161313131065
13thSilver14821Nick HurstJake ElsburyHISC12(DNC)DNC10111269
14thSilver14950Chris ThorneAndy StewartLyme Regis17131016(DNC)DNC80
15thSilver15111Nick CopseyDan VincentStokes Bay SC(DNC)DNC111112DNC82
16thGold15143Vince HoreyRichSHSC66(BFD)DNCDNFDNC84
17thBronze14860Peter BettlesRichard BettlesBroxbourne151912(DNC)DNCDNC94
18thBronze15087Chris PowlesThomas ReesHISC2017(DNC)14DNCDNC99
19thBronze14328Rupert SmithChris TurnerNSSC1315(DNC)DNCDNCDNC100
20thSilver15099Simon KingsSimon WeatherillHISC1914(DNC)DNCDNCDNC105
21stBronze14388James CuxonJames ArnottNewhaven & Seaford1618(DNC)DNCDNCDNC106
22ndBronze15121Bryan ThompsonJohn PiattHISC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC15DNC111
23rdBronze15042Peter WoodPaul RoeDraycote Water(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC120

Related Articles

Fireballs at the Weymouth Dinghy Regatta
A clear advantage to having a lightweight crew Seven visiting Fireballs joined the one local boat from Castle Cove to battle it out at the Weymouth Regatta held over the weekend 7th/8th July. In complete contrast to the past, the event was blessed this year with light winds. Posted on 12 Jul
Heather Macfarlane eyeing up 2022 Fireball Worlds
Interview with the Australian Sailing - Victoria Female Sailor of the Year The Fireball World Championship is coming back to Victoria, Australia for the first time since January 1998. The event has been scheduled for February 2022 at Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC). Posted on 30 Jun
Louis Smyth passes away
Inspirational figure in Irish dinghy racing Louis Smyth, who has died at the age of 81, was an inspirational figure in Irish dinghy racing. Posted on 27 Jun
Irish Fireball Open Championship
Sunshine and sea breeze in Greystones The Irish Fireball fleet raced their Open Championships by joining Greystones for their 50th Dinghy Regatta with a schedule of four races for the Saturday. Posted on 26 Jun
2020 Fireball Worlds coming to Ireland
Awarded to Howth Yacht Club in Dublin The 2020 Fireball World Championships have been awarded to Howth Yacht Club in Dublin, Ireland. The club, established in 1895, is one of the largest yacht clubs in both Ireland and the UK offering exceptional facilities for dinghy and keelboat sailors. Posted on 17 Jun
Irish Fireball Nationals at Skerries
Stunning conditions for those seeking a sun tan Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella are the newly crowned Fireball National Champions after nine races at Skerries Sailing Club over three days. Posted on 11 Jun
PODD 2018 at Paignton SC
50,000 lightning strikes and 6 Fireballs PODD 2018, the only sailing event in the south west for solely for double handed dinghies, took place over the bank holiday weekend and attracted an eclectic mixed fleet of Albacores, 4000s, RS200s, RS800s, B14s, Ospreys, Merlin Rockets & Fireballs. Posted on 31 May
PODD 2018 Preview
7th year of Paignton Sailing Club's flagship event for double-handed dinghies 2018 will be the 7th year of Paignton Sailing Club's flagship event for double-handed dinghies: PODD. This is the only BIG event in the south-west for all double-handed monohull dinghies with a PY of 1200 or lower. Posted on 16 May
Fireballs at Blackwater
Winter returns for Gul Golden Dolphin Series Round 2 Blackwater SC hosted the second Round of the Gul Golden Dolphin series over what turned out to be a weekend when winter had returned. Posted on 1 May
Equipment to create a performance edge
For sailors at all levels of competition Today, customers all but take for granted that they will be given a high level of choice and customer service. Posted on 17 Apr