Please select your home edition
Edition
Rooster 2020 - Impact BA - LEADERBOARD

Fireball Leinster Championship at Skerries Sailing Club

by Frank Miller 10 Jul 06:47 BST 3-4 July 2021
Daniel Thompson (right) and Ronan Wallace win Fireball Leinster Championship at Skerries © Frank Miller

Thirteen Fireballs rocked up to the start line for the Fireball Leinster Championships at Skerries SC last weekend. Daniel Thompson (Wexford SC) sailing with Barry McCartin (Sat) and Ronan Wallace (Sun) won the event after 6 races over two days in thrilling conditions.

On the Saturday the wind was a solid 10-14 knots and the race team of PRO Liam Dinneen assisted by Helen Ryan and Micheline Shiels managed to get four Olympic Triangle type races under the belt by the day's end. While team McCartin/Thompson were pre-eminent they did not have things all their own way and had to fight for every inch on the course. Unusually Daniel Thompson took on the crew role and that unusual mix caused a couple of hiccups including a capsize. While they won three of the races Frank Miller and Ed Butler were always close behind and managed to win one of the races placing them in second place overnight Saturday. Just behind them by one point were Ed Butler Jnr sailing very fast with his old 420 shipmate Sean Collins in a Fireball borrowed from Miller.

There were plenty of other contenders around the course - Alistair Court and Gordon Syme were sailing Court's brand-new Fireball on its maiden voyage and were extremely fast, though held back by a couple of minor rigging problems. Also, up there in every race were locals Niall McGrotty and Neil Cramer. The pair were extremely consistent and never far from the front though perhaps surprisingly didn't seem to gain any advantage from local knowledge of tides and wind bends.

On the Saturday the start time was close to low water and the tide in the early races didn't appear to play a huge part. While the better wind was frequently offshore this wasn't always the case and some careful playing of shifts while staying in the best breeze is probably what kept McCartin/Thompson at the top. Also hot were Sligo duo Jon Evans and Aidan Caulfield. That team showed good speed and coordination to remain contenders throughout the event. Veteran Kieran Harkin, sailing with Ismail Inan, appeared after a long absence in the borrowed rocket called Let's Get Messy. After a slightly rocky first day they found their full speed by the Sunday. A very welcome feature of the event was the number of newer younger sailors who have bought modern Fireballs over the last 18 months. Sailing in the Silver Fleet Paul Ter Horst and his son Morris reveled in the conditions and ultimately took the top Silver Prize. Second Silver were Brenda Nash and Glen Fischer (with Dave Coleman guesting on Sunday) and third Silver were another father-son combination of Colm and Rory Breen.

Special mention should be made of team SID. The Sailing in Dublin organization has a Fireball in its armory and were ably represented by Pat McGoldrick and Pavlo Tishkin. One of the reasons race officer opted to punch in a 4th race was that Sunday's forecast was relatively light. When this writer checked the Windy forecast at 8am Sunday some 8-10 knots were promised. However, another competitor checked at 9am and everything had changed. The strong south easterlies which were to remain offshore were now set to move in. And thus, it turned out.

Before the start of the first race on Sunday teams scrambled to change their rig settings from light to medium and in the case of the lighter crews to heavy. Two cracking races in 12-16 knots with 20 knot gusts ensued, both Olympic Triangle, which tested teams to the limit. The reaches were spectacular as crews flew downwind on impressive waves. There was a change in the pecking order in these conditions as Ed Butler Jnr and Sean Collins really found their pace. The pair started well in both races and sailed quite free with plenty of board up to achieve maximum speed and led both races by a very respectable margin. Daniel Thompson helming with another 420 ace Ronan Wallace punched in two seconds while Miller/Butler Snr. scored a 3rd and a 5th which was to be their discard.

When the spray cleared, and the sums were done team Thompson/McCartin/Wallace were the clear overall winners with Butler Jnr/Collins second and Miller/Butler Snr third. All in all, this was one of the best Fireball events in some time, made all the sweeter after the long interregnum of the pandemic. The fleet gathers at the DMYC in three weeks' time for the National Championships which is expected to see a return of Noel Butler/Stephen Oram to defend their title against some increasingly youthful and talented competition. With a World Championships in Lough Derg YC next year the fleet is in resurgent mode and all around the country the search is on to free dormant boats from captivity for the current season but also for the forthcoming Worlds. The class is keen to encourage young teams to take up the Fireball challenge and will assist them in any way they can to take up the Fireball challenge.

Related Articles

Hall & Constable's Fireball lights up the Tiger
Popular winners of the John Merricks Tiger Trophy at Rutland Dave Hall and Paul Constable were popular winners of the John Merricks Tiger Trophy, sailing their Fireball to victory at Rutland Sailing Club last weekend. Hall and Constable have been racing side by side for more than 30 years. Posted on 1 Sep
Fireballs at Chichester Harbour Race Week
Dave Hall and Paul Constable win event with two days to spare! This year's Chichester Harbour Race Week experienced the usual extremes of wind that have come to be expected and which meant competitors in the 13-strong Fireball fleet all had days that played to their respective strengths. Posted on 18 Aug
Gul Fireball Nationals registration now open
Hayling Island to host at the end of September The long-awaited Fireball Nationals is taking place at Hayling Island Sailing Club, from 30th September to 3rd October 2021. Posted on 14 Aug
Fireballs at the Weymouth Dinghy Regatta
Some great racing over the weekend in the Bay and Portland Harbour Five Fireballs took part in the 2021 Weymouth Dinghy Regatta on 3rd & 4th July. The Fireballs were based out of WPNSA and were part of the fast handicap fleet, which sailed a trapezoid course. Posted on 7 Jul
Fireball Worlds to return to Ireland in 2022
Lough Derg Yacht Club to host the event So, as the sun rises hopefully on a welcome return to international regattas, the Irish Fireball Class, in tandem with Fireball International and Lough Derg Yacht Club are delighted to announce that the Worlds with be hosted at Lough Derg in August 2022. Posted on 17 Jun
Fireballs at Blackwater
The first Gul Golden Dolphin event of the year 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. Posted on 15 Jun
Fireball Open Meeting Season starts this weekend!
Back on the water at Brightlingsea after a year full of disruption After a year full of disruption, the easing of Covid restrictions means the 2021 Fireball Open season is finally about to kick off. Posted on 18 May
Camperdown Mitre 10 Bullen Merri Easter Weekend
Fireballs revel in the conditions on Lake Bullen Merri Wow - what a weekend! With warm weather and wind predicted the entrants to the 2021 Bullen Merri Easter regatta all arrived early and the camp ground was almost full for Thursday night. Posted on 10 Apr
Seven Dinghies for Seven Decades
Watch Dougal Henshall's RYA Dinghy Show talk! Join sailing historian David Henshall as he travels back in time to the very first show in 1952 and examines one boat per decade that helped define the time. Posted on 2 Mar
2021 Fireball UK Nationals: New date, new venue!
Set for Hayling Island Sailing Club at the end of September We're so pleased to let you know that the 2021 Nationals is now scheduled for 30th September to 3rd October at Hayling Island Sailing Club. Posted on 24 Feb