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Gul Fireball National Championship at Penzance Sailing Club - Day 4

by Russ Clarke 27 Jul 2018 09:00 BST 22-27 July 2018

Aussies dominate day 4 in Penzance to shake up the leaderboard with a day to go.

With two days to go at the Gul Fireball National Championships it looked like Ian Dobson and Richard Wagstaff were running away with the event, however after three hot and very light wind races in 5-6kts the leader board has closed right up. Starting an hour earlier to make up for races lost on Tuesday the fleet headed out into Mounts Bay under a blazing sun. The gentle gradient wind had settled with a steady F2 across the bay allowing the race officer to set a course for sausage, triangle, sausage to encourage more interactive racing downwind.

Race 5 started under black flag and it quickly became apparent this was a day for the lighter weight crews to make hay. With the wind shifting only 5-10 degrees and with almost no change in strength across the course the start was crucial to success. As the fleet split up the first beat the visiting Australian pair of Heather Macfarlane and Chris Payne showed the fleet a clean pair of heels leading into the first mark from the right-hand side. They never looked back (although I'm sure they did...) and despite attacks from Penny and Russ Clark they led from start to finish. Ian and Richard resigned to third.

Race 6 followed a similar pattern. However, the light wind ninjas of Anthony and James Willcocks crossed the fleet to challenge the Aussies for the lead and the two boats duelled the whole way around the racetrack. Clearly buoyed by their earlier success the Aussies held off the fleet finish to claim a second trophy in as many races.

Race 7 belonged to the Willcocks lads. With a total combined crew weight of 110kgs (yes, you read that right) and as the breeze decreased, they were the only ones left trapezing. Not only were they quick, they raced smart and led the fleet from start to finish. As the heat of the day reached its peak the pair kept their cool to take their first ever win at a National Championships and were followed home by Heather and Chris in second and the consistent Penny and Russ in third.

Throughout the fleet, sailors suffered cramped necks and sore eyes from staring at wandering telltales and curling spinnaker luffs, sunburn and unusually for the Fireball fleet, a hydration challenge. To the amusement of all some over-enthusiastic roll tacking saw one boat take an unexpected cooling dip, a remarkable achievement in so little wind that nearly won them 'the' special prize for the day, but that winner's tale is another story (and you had to be there)!

So, after three difficult, hot and mentally draining races Friday's racing to decide the 2018 Fireball National Champions is now a four-boat race. With a discard now in play and another beckoning it is going to go to the wire...

On the social side, Thursday evening was the Grand Draw. Generous prizes from Hyde Sails and Gul including drysuits and a spinnaker were up for grabs if your sail number was pulled out and you were there to collect.

Results after day 4:

PosFleetSail NoClubHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
1stGold15141RTYCIan DobsonRichard Wagstaff111135‑612
2ndGold15096Stokes Bay SCPenny ClarkRuss Clark323‑423316
3rdGoldAUS 15152AUS Black Rock SC/SYCHeather MacfarlaneChris Payne436‑1411217
4thGold14928Portishead Yacht & SCAnthony WillocksJames Willcocks245‑842118
5thGoldCZE14551CZE JL Tousen/LS BrnoJiri ParuzekJakub Kosvica5(DSQ)2386731
6thGold15122Blackwater/ Ardleigh SCDavid HallPaul Constable7(DSQ)4568434
7thGold14941Chew Valley SCDerian ScottAndy Scott‑887274836
8thGold15145HISC/LTSCSteve GoacherTom Goacher9686‑107541
9thSilver15038Penzance Sailing ClubColin StephensTom Kliskey1459175‑201262
10thSilverCZE14864CZE ALT FireballMartin VeitFilip Krejza10101111‑1514965
11thSilver13944Errwood SCDan JohnsonBen Latham6141671113‑2067
12thSilver15045Paignton SCElaine SlaterGraham Slater11131213‑14121172
13thSilver15070Northampton/South Shields SCIsaac MarshKieran Graham1515159911‑1774
14thSilver14991Datchet Water/Chew Valley SCAndy RobinsonTim Morgan13111016‑19181381
15thSilver14950Lyme Regis SCChris ThorneRussell Thorne1218141013‑191481
16thBronze15046Shoreham SCPhilip PoppleJames Popple21(DNF)21201291093
17thSilver15149Hayling Island SCChris TurnerJono Loe161218151815‑2294
18thSilver14860Broxbourne SCPeter BettlesRichard Bettles1872019‑22171596
19thBronze14388Newhaven & Seaford SCJames CuxsonJames Neil Arnott20922‑23201021102
20thSilver14821Hayling Island SCNick HurstJake Elsbury1917131817‑2218102
21stBronze14887Hayling Island/Warsash SCThomas PayneAlice Powell‑24221912211616106
22ndBronze14889Thornbury SCBarry SmithRick Spring171617‑21162119106
23rdBronze14284Bartley SCJason CahillKerry Webb2219232225‑2625136
24thBronze15121HISC/Bough Beech SCBryan ThompsonSarah House Barklie2320‑2524242523139
25thBronze14622Draycote Water SCJane CollisonPatrick Collison‑25232425232324142
26thBronze14656Hayling Island SCSimon BensonSophia Benson‑26212626262426149
27th 15144Bough Beech S.c.D J EdwardsVyv Townend(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC168

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