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Fireball Gul Golden Dolphin Open at Blackwater Sailing Club

by Dave Hall 15 Jun 21:48 BST 12-13 June 2021

The first Gul Golden Dolphin event of the year was held over the hottest weekend of the year so far on the sparkling Blackwater Estuary. Saturday brought predominantly light winds with some interesting shifts and downdrafts.

The first race kicked off as the breeze started to build. Mark Maskell & Nigel Sheppard took an early lead which they held for a lap, but a big lift left them stranded on the right allowing Isaac Mash & Olly Davenport to slip through. Place changing continued through the race with Dave Hall & Paul Constable getting close to Isaac & Olly but had to settle for second in the first race.

The second race of the day brought a lighter breeze. Isaac & Olly took an early lead followed by Steve Jarred & Lloyd Taylor. Dave & Paul were close behind and a close battle between the three boats continued throughout the race. Dave & Paul managed to sneak through to take the lead on the final run to take the gun.

A small increase in the wind for the last race of the day - along with some big shifts. Dave & Paul won the start and were first round the top mark, they continued to stretch their lead to the finish. Isaac & Olly came in second with Steve Kuhl & Angela Doherty a close third.

For the evening the fleet were treated to Fish & Chips outside the club house on a glorious summer evening - who would have though we were in dry-suits 2 weeks ago!

Sunday dawned with a flat calm, fleet captain Charlie Stewart was confidant the sea breeze would fill in and we were set adrift down the river. After an hour's wait the race team were able to set a course and true to Charlie's word the breeze came in - a good 10 - 12 knots! It was all a bit up and down but still a lot of fun. Dave & Paul took the lead up the first beat picking the shifts and getting away fast down the first reach - a position they carried to the finish. Charlie Stewart & Sue Gibson swapped places around the course with Isaac & Olly but in the end, they had to settle for a third place.

With the wind building it promised to be a great final sail and race. Both Dave & Paul and Isaac & Olly were over the line and had to go along way back against the tide to the line and around the ends. Bryan & Will Sargeant took the lead and were able to keep it to the gun. Maria Richards & Graham Hoy continued their steady consistent run with another fourth giving them third overall. Isaac & Olly ended up second with a string of seconds and the local boat of Dave & Paul winning overall with three firsts and a second.

Gul very generously provided high value vouchers, which were awarded to the top placed boats in the Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets; in these modern (and Covid!) times they get sent virtually rather than being handed out. However, Gul did provide three dry robes to be raffled using sail numbers. These went down extremely well and were a very much appreciated surprise for Steve Kuhl, Joey Taylor and Charlie Plows!

So a big thank you to the Blackwater race team and of course our fantastic sponsors, Gul. The Fireball fleet will welcome teams to Blackwater week 22nd - 27th August.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st15155Dave HallPaulConstableBlackwater SC2111‑35
2nd15162Isaac MarshOliver DavenportNorthampton SC1‑22227
3rd15041MariaRichardsGraham HoyBlackwater SC446‑8418
4th14905CharlieStewartSue GibsonBlackwater SC5843‑1020
5th15066MarkMaskellNigelSheppardBlackwater SC3755‑1120
6th15148BryanSargeantWilliamSargeantBlackwater SC8‑1187124
7th15129Steve KuhlAngelaDochertyBlackwater SC(DNF)1034724
8th15115Steve JarredLloyd TaylorBlackwater SC73‑99625
9th14882Joey TaylorAndy TaylorBlackwater SC105‑116526
10th15013Tony GodwinCharlie PlowsRutland SC6610‑11931
11th15102MartinScarthBen PhippsBlackwater SC997‑10833

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