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Fireball class at the Weymouth Dinghy Regatta 2018

by Allan Tyler 12 Jul 16:30 BST 7-8 July 2018
Fireball class at the Weymouth Dinghy Regatta © Richard White

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 some of the more recent Regattas at Weymouth, the event was blessed this year with light winds and Mediterranean weather which suited the lightweight husband and wife pairing of Allan & Chris Tyler from Lyme Regis.

The weather on both days was very similar – with the south-westerly sea breeze gradually increasing from 4 knots during the late morning up to 7 mph during the afternoon. Class Racing was provided within the confines of Portland Harbour for Ospreys, Fireballs, Phantoms, Enterprises, and Scorpions together with a slow and fast handicap fleet using a number of courses with start sequences every three minutes.

Soon after the start of Race 1 it became clear that there was a clear advantage to have a lightweight crew as the heavier crews were left crouched up on the wire, whilst Chris Tyler sailing with husband Allan and Wendy Smyth (crewing 15031) were fully extended and going fast upwind. Allan & Chris (15086) took and maintained their lead to the finish whilst the 'wily' Kevin Hope/Russell Thorne (15133) and Sam Mettam/Tim Saunders (15073) managed to get back into second and third respectively.

The second race saw a big turnaround with Charlie Sansom/Zoe Bazen (14592) and Keith MacDonald/Andy Brittain (15132) out in front with Sam/Tim in hot pursuit. After completion of the full triangle/sausage/final beat course it was Sam/Tim who took the gun with Keith/Andy second and Charlie/Zoe in third. The remainder of the fleet (including Barry Grant from the home club) followed some way behind following a navigation error.

The remaining races followed a similar pattern of race 1 except for the introduction on Sunday of Dave Hall crewed by Mari Sheppard (15122) into the mix.

The race officer and race committee did an amazing job in the planning and execution of multiple starts and course designs/lengths to minimise turn-around times between races. From a Fireball perspective, the tactics seemed to be: #1 Get a clean start and find clear air (avoiding Phantoms who were sharing our start line), #2 monitor the Ospreys (who started 3 mins earlier) to find the location of the Windward mark, #3 sail fast around the first triangle and then once around the leeward mark try to pick a path back to the windward mark in clear wind whilst avoiding all the other boats crossing the racetrack.

Fireball Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubRRRRRRNet
115086Allan TYLERChristina TYLERLyme Regis1-411115
215133Kevin HOPERussell THORNENotts County SC2-6222210
315073Sam METTAMTim SAUNDERSPapercourt SC31-543415
415031Steven CROSSLEYWendy SMYTHECarsington SC553-65523
514592Charlie SANSOMZoe BAZENBowmoor SC-73757729
614101Barry GrantPhil TysoeCastle Cove SC6-7476629
715122David HALLPaul CONSTABLEBlackwater SC(DNC)DNCDNC34330
815132Keith McDonaldAndy BrittainSmall Heath YC426(DNC)DNCDNC32

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