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2021 Gul Fireball Inland Championship at Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club

by Debbie Gibson & Simon Forbes 9 Nov 2021 16:18 GMT 6-7 November 2021
2021 Gul Fireball Inlands at Chew Valley Lake © Jon Cawthorne

19 brave Fireballs descended upon Chew Valley Sailing Club despite the rain showers and breezy forecast for the 2021 Gul Fireball Inland National Championship. Following the necessary bacon sandwiches and homemade scotch eggs, the fleet launched into 15-20 knots, with a few punchy gusts thrown in for good measure.

Race 1, triangle-sausage - Breeze on, racing got underway at the second time of asking. The racing was close, with plenty of place swapping. Following 3 fast laps race 1 was won on the water by Simon Forbes and Paul Cullen (better known as Spanner), with DJ Edwards/Vyv Townsend and Dave Hall/Paul Constable not far behind. But DJ/Vyv and Dave/Paul joined the OCS club with a few others, giving 2nd place to the last minute pairing of David Sayce and Ben Raynor and 3rd to Christine Slater and Jo Line.

Race 2, triangle-sausage – The race was dominated by Spanner and Simon, who decided to put on a show for the spectating 420 parents, leading from start to finish (Simon is adamant he recorded 20+ knots on his Garmin!). Close racing unfolded behind, with DJ/Vyv 2nd, Dave/Paul 3rd and Chris Gill and Adam Broughton in 4th.

Race 3, windward-leeward - The 3rd and final race for Saturday afternoon proved a close one with Derian and Andy Scott joining the mix, showing it’s not all about reaching downwind. Following some concentration issues, DJ/Vyv had a rare capsize on a gybe. Not to be out done, Dave/Paul decided to capsize on the following lap. It looked like Spanner/Simon and Derian/Andy were in the clear, but the split leeward gate proved a tough decision for some, and DJ/Vyv and Dave/Paul soon found themselves back in the race. Dave and Paul took line honours.

Saturday night provided excellent food at the club for dinner, birthday celebrations and a civilised curry supper in the village for those with hobbit-like eating tendencies.

Sunday was a completely different day, on the shore anyway, with clear skies and a shift in the wind direction. With the club now nicely in the lee, the spectators moved outside into the sun to get a better view of the action for 3 triangle-sausage races.

Race 4 - Spanner and Simon started strong again, leading for the majority of the race despite some extremely tight reaches and strong defensive sailing from DJ/Vyv. DJ/Vyv finished second, and Dave/Paul fought through the fleet to take 3rd.

Race 5 - Race 5 was another close one right down to the finish line where DJ/Vyv took 1st, Spanner/Simon 2nd, and Dave/Paul finishing in 3rd.

Race 6 - The final race of the weekend got underway with the Irish boys (Barry McCartin and Conor Kinsella) joining the fight. Rounding the windward mark in first, they proved that a long trip from Ireland, via Nottingham (to pick up their new boat) hadn’t been for nothing. The breeze felt like it was building again, or were the crews just getting tired? Lots of place swapping happened throughout, with the lead changing hands on a regular basis between the top 4. In the end Dave/Paul won the race, too far ahead for Spanner/Simon to catch, despite a valiant effort on the last run, going from 4th to 2nd. DJ/Vyv took 3rd, with Barry/Conor in 4th.

An excellent weekend's racing for all, but Spanner and Simon got their hands on the silverware in the end.

The Silver and Bronze fleets were also strongly contested, with Alex Piggot and Andy Stewart taking the silver fleet in 7th (did Christine and Jo have too much birthday Fireball whiskey on Saturday night?) and Kath and Thomas Broatch taking the bronze fleet in 10th.

We are again hugely grateful to Gul for their continued sponsorship of the fleet, providing vouchers for the top 3 in the gold, silver and bronze fleets and merit awards, as well as spot prizes of 2 Evorobes. UK Global also provided a spot prize of a money-off annual boat Insurance voucher.

The final event of the season is a Gul Golden Dolphin event next weekend at Draycote Water (13/14 November).

Overall Results:

PosDivisionSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1stGold15147Paul CullenSimon ForbesSHSC11‑31227
2ndGold15144DJ EdwardsVyv TownendBough Beech SC(OCS)2221310
3rdGold15155David HallPaul ConstableBlackwater sC(OCS)3133111
4thGold15112David SayceBen RaynorHayling Island267(OCS)4524
5thGold14941Derian ScottAndy ScottCVLSC4‑8456827
6thGold14928Anthony WillcocksJames WillcocksPortishead Yacht and Sailing Club5‑9677732
7thSilver14836Alex PiggottAndy StewartNotts County77865(DNF)33
8thGold15114Barry McCartinConor KinsellaRSGYC(DNS)554DNF438
9thSilver14391Christine SlaterJo LinePortishead Yacht and Sailing Club31211811‑1345
10thBronze14844Kath BroatchThomas BroatchPort Dinorwic6‑15101010945
11thGold15083Chris GillAdam BroughtonPYSC / CVLSC(OCS)49OCS8647
12thBronze14761Mark DinwoodieHelen DinwoodieCVLSC1010‑1511131458
13thSilver14889Barry SmithRicky SpringThornbury SC111114‑15121159
14thSilver15075Andy WillcocksAndrea WillcocksPortishead Y&SC8161312(DNF)1261
15thSilver14940Georgia BoothMark ThomasHISC(OCS)14DNF991062
16thSilver14893Mike PartridgeClaire DavisHISC9131216(DNF)DNC70
17thBronze15045Elaine SlaterGrahamSlaterPaignton S C(DNF)DNCDNC14141583
18thBronze14656Matt ScottDoug ByatCVLSC(DNC)DNCDNC13151684
19thSilver15133Chris ThorneRussell ThorneLyme Regis SC(OCS)DNCDNCOCSDNFDNC100

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