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Gul Fireball Inlands at Draycote Water Sailing Club

by UKFA 7 Nov 2019 05:27 GMT 2-3 November 2019
Gul Fireball Inlands at Draycote Water © Malcolm Lewin /

Draycote Water hosted the Fireball 2019 Gul Inland Championships over the weekend of 2nd and 3rd November. Most of the fleet arrived early to watch the Rugby World Cup final, which didn't quite deliver the result that everyone was hoping for. However, once the game was over attention was drawn to what was going on out on the water. Fruity is properly the best word to describe it.

The fleet was kept ashore as a massive storm front came through with gusts hitting 45 knots, but eventually launched after an hour's delay. By the time the first race started the wind had dropped dramatically to around 12 knots.

Dave Hall was to have a pretty successful day leading both races of the day from start to finish to be overnight leader, with Isaac Marsh and Oliver Davenport lying second and Chips Howarth, making a cameo appearance after a four year sabbatical from sailing, lying third with his erstwhile crew, Vyv Townend.

Sunday dawned with very different conditions. With a shifty and patchy 5-8 knot South Westerly breeze, it was to be a day of snakes and ladders, with the trick being to avoid the biggest snakes rather than necessarily finding the longest ladders.

In the first race of the day, it was Hall who was to land on the biggest snake to find himself buried in the pack and unable to find a suitable ladder to get him out of trouble. The second beat, however, brought a major re-shuffle of the fleet as boats took their respective snakes and ladders. David Sayce and Nick Rees and Paul Cullen and Simon Forbes had great beats to round the windward mark in first and second respectively. In their excitement, however, they missed out the spacer mark at the top of the run and by the time they realised their mistake they had to beat some way back to the mark. Their loss was Howarth's gain and he took the race win with Dave Wade and Richard Pepperdine second and Dan Johnson and Ben Latham third.

Hall's bad luck was to continue in the second race of the day when he was pulled on the black flag start meaning he was going to have to count his 13th from the previous race. Marsh was the boat to find the biggest ladders and took the race win from Howarth and Sayce, remembering to sail the full course, taking third.

In the third race, Cullen led for much of the race but was to remind everyone why his nickname is Spanner by inexplicably gybing off on the last run into a lovely hole, thus snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and gifting the win to Wade. John Haynes and Joel James, who were slotting in some solid results after missing the first day took second, with Cullen/Spanner managing to hold onto third.

Going into the last race only Howarth and Wade could win the meeting, but both had appalling first beats and found themselves buried. Hall meanwhile had rediscovered his mojo from Saturday and rounded the first mark in the lead. On the second lap, Howarth once again found a lovely shift and breeze to pull himself up to fifth at the second windward mark, and then had a storming run to get himself up to third by the leeward mark. Wade, meanwhile, was finding a ladder of his own to be elusive. At the finish it was Hall who took the winner's gun, the Willcocks twins second and Howarth third and with it the meeting.

A big thank you to DWSC and especially the race officer and his race team for setting some excellent courses in some testing conditions and providing a terrific weekend's racing.

A further thank you goes to Gul and P&B for generously donating some excellent prizes.

Overall Results:

PosFleetSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1stGold15144Chips HowarthVyv TownendBough Berch Sailing Club5212‑6313
2ndGold15143Dave WadeRichard PepperdineDraycote Water Sailing Club27241‑1016
3rdGold15155David HallPaul ConstableBlackwater SC1113(BFD)4120
4thGold15147Paul CullenSimon ForbesWeirwood‑94483625
5thGold15162Isaac MarshOliver DavenportNorthampton Sailing Club3315112‑1634
6thGold14928Anthony WillcocksJames WillcocksPortishead yacht and sailing club10126(BFD)5235
7thGold15151Martyn LewisDaniel LewisRYA45‑10910836
8thGold15133kevin HopeRussell Thornenotts county sailing club695108‑1138
9thSilver15130Dan JohnsonBen LathamBlithfield/Errwood SC78311‑131241
10thGold15124Peter KyneTom KyneBrightlingsea Sailing Club869(BFD)71343
11thSilver15114John HayesJoel JamesSouthport SC(DNC)DNC862445
12thGold15112David SayceNick ReesHISC12101139‑1745
13thSilver15042Peter WoodPaul RoeDraycote Water Sailing Club11137‑1511951
14thSilver14565Christine SlaterJo LinePortishead Yacht & Sailing Club14141213‑19558
15thSilver14778Mike DeaneRich NurseDraycote Water Sailing Club1311175‑181460
16thSilver15045Elaine SlaterGraham SlaterPaignton S C(DNC)16161217768
17thBronze14994Damian AbbattQuentin HayesDraycote Water Sailing Club1920147‑212080
18thBronze15056Colin SnowdonKaren HilesDraycote Water Sailing Club(RET)181814151580
19thBronze14388James CuxsonJames Neil ArnottNewhaven & Seaford SC1715201716‑2185
20thBronze15127Jeremy AtkinsRichard BottingDraycote Water Sailing Club16(DNC)19BFD141993
21stBronze14656Chris ThorneDoug ByattChew Valley Lake SC151723(BFD)201893
22ndBronze14622Jane CollisonPatrick CollisonDraycote Water Sailing Club20212116‑2322100
23rdBronze14843Paul AnthonyBryan UnderdownDraycote Water Sailing Club181922(RET)2223104
24thBronze14874Lester MerridaleTracey RoderHaversham SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC125

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