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Gul Fireball Golden Dolphin Series Final Round at Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club

by Derian Scott 15 Oct 10:49 BST 12-13 October 2019

Chew Valley SC hosted the final event of the 2019 Golden Dolphin series sponsored by Gul. Despite the gloomy forecast, sailors travelled from Essex, the Midlands and the south coast to join the local fleets from Chew, Portishead and Thornbury.

Race 1 started promptly in 6 knots from the forecast SSW. Dave Hall & Paul Constable took an early lead on the trapezoid course, followed by Derian Scott & Graham Slater. Shifts and pressure (sufficient for most crews to get out on the wire) were key, and while Dave & Paul extended their lead to take the 1st race, last year’s Golden Dolphin winners Kev Hope & Russell Thorne closed the gap up to second up the 2nd beat. Their inside rounding on the penultimate mark secured them 2nd place with Derian & Graham 3rd.

The RO extended the length of the course for race 2. The fleet set off in 7 knots, which rapidly dropped to 5. Boats were tacking frequently on the shifts and it was Anthony & James Willcocks who played their cards right to lead round the windward mark. The wind direction had shifted, making the first reach very tight. Everyone who hoisted their kites soon dropped them. Unfortunately, Dan Johnson & Ben Latham held theirs a tad too long and lost their 2nd place while dropping the kite and climbing back up to mark 2. Dave & Paul took the advantage, moving up to 2nd, with Derian & Graham 3rd. The second beat had turned into a fetch, removing opportunities for place changing and the top 3 stayed the same to the finish.

By the time race 3 started, the wind was looking patchier than ever. Kev & Russell danced between the dark patches on the water and took an unassailable lead. The rest of the boats flipped between joy and despair as they rolled the dice and climbed the ladder or slid down the snake. The reach turned into a fetch, the run a reach, and depending where one was on the lake any point of sailing. But Kev and Russell held the lead winning by a mile, while Dave & Paul drifted in to take 2nd with Dan & Ben 3rd.

Sunday came and it looked like more of the same in spite of the forecast. The fleet were held on shore until there was a hint of the promised south westerly. The fleet got away as the wind arrived, it was a shifty and patchy wind off the start line. Dave and Paul took the lead and in spite of pressure from Kevin and Russell held on to the finish. The second race started in an increasing wind and boy did it increase! Kevin and Russell took an early lead with Dave and Paul following plus Isaac Marsh and Ollly finally finding some form in the breeze. Kevin and Russell took the line just holding off Dave and Paul after they both had to drop their spinnakers to make the finish.

So, it was down to the last race. The wind had increased substantially with massive gusts. It became an eventful race, Kevin and Russel took the lead followed by Isaac and Olly. Dave and Paul got flattened up the first beat but by the first reach had worked into second. Kevin and Russell had a navigation error allowing Dave and Paul though to the lead. The race became a matter of survival. Dave and Paul kept the lead and in doing so won the event, they were followed in to the line by Anthony and James and then Dan and Ben .

Thanks to Chew for hosting us, feeding us and laying on portaloos due to the main sewage pipe collapsing just days before the event. Thanks also go to R.O. Rob Mitchell and the race team for getting in the full series of races in tricky conditions.

The next and final event for the Fireballs is the Gul Inland Nationals at Draycote Water on 2nd and 3rd of November.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st15155David HallPaul ConstableRYA1‑221217
2nd15133Kevin HopeRussell ThorneNotts County2‑4121410
3rd13944Dan JohnsonBen LathamWeston4‑5344318
4th14928Anthony WillcocksJames WillcocksPortishead51‑885221
5th15045Derian ScottGraham SlaterChew Valley Lake3365‑7724
6th15162Isaac MarshAlmost OllyBurton YC‑77563627
7th15075Andy WillcocksA WillcocksPortishead664‑76527
8th14761Mark DinwoodieHelen DinwoodieChew Valley Lake89938(DNC)37
9th14889Jenny CantBarry SmithChew Valley Lake9879(DNC)DNC44
10th14656Matt ScottDoug ByattChew Valley Lake101010109(DNC)49

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