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Fireball Gul Golden Dolphin Open at Blackwater Sailing Club

by Emilie Hood 19 May 11:03 BST 14-15 May 2022
Blackwater Gul Golden Dolphin Open © Zoe Nelson

The weekend of the 14th-15th May saw the Blackwater Sailing Club host the 2022 Fireball open. Our fleet of seven Blackwater boats were lucky enough to be joined by a very strong group of six visiting boats, so straight from the off it was set to be a very interesting weekend!

The forecast for day one predicted what I would describe as "pina colada" sailing conditions (lovely sunshine, but very little wind) and to our disappointment, it was accurate. After some bacon rolls, a little fighting talk in the boat yard and a gruelling hour-long trip to the start line, we were ready to start. The first race was a very sedentary round, with minor decisions making or breaking the race. After 45minutes the committee boat called the final circuit, resulting in the win for Dave Hall and Paul Constable, followed closely by Charlie Stewart and Sue Gibson.

Due to the lack of wind, the decision was made to run only two races on Saturday. The second race resulted in an equally frustrating set of events for many of our pairings. On calling the final circuit, many of the boats ended up in a complete dead zone which completely changed the placings on the finish line. Among said boats were Dave and Paul, and Charlie and Sue, both of whom were looking like strong contenders for the win. After this cruel twist, the win was taken by Brightlingsea's Peter and Tom Kyne, followed by Steve and Tom Jarred with Maria Richards and Graham Hoy in third.

Day two promised to be a higher octane set of conditions, with gusts of 18mph. With a newfound sense of excitement and possibility, the contenders for the second day's racing set out. Having shaved 50 minutes off the time taken to get to the committee boat, the first race commenced. A new set of conditions proved to be a surprise for some of our fleet, with Charlie and Sue succumbing to a capsize caused by a large, barge-shaped wind shadow early on, opening the competition at the top of the fleet.

The routes across the tide, spinnaker decisions and a few penalties turned separated the group, and led to another win for Dave and Paul, followed by Peter and Tom and Kevin Hope and Russell Thorne. Race two followed in a similar fashion, with the third-place position being nabbed by Mark Maskell and Nigel Shepard.

Before we knew it, it was the final race of the Fireball open. Coming into the final race, it was still all to play for with several boats vying for the second and third place positions. The first half of the race went smoothly for a lot of the fleet, with the top 5 boats busting for podium positions.

However, in the second half of the race in a turn of events that even the meteorological professionals couldn't (and didn't) predict, the wind completely dropped. In a scene reminiscent of day one, boats were cast all over the river trying to get in prime position for the home stretch.

In a radical move (which I was later informed was a result of attempting to bail out) Derian and Andy Scott gybed, leaving them in the prime position earning them the win. They were followed by Dave and Paul and Peter and Tom, following their average positions for the other races.

After eventually reaching the shore again (some of us requiring towing), we all celebrated the great weekend and the results at the prize-giving. In first place were Dave Hall and Paul Constable of Blackwater SC, in second were Peter and Tom Kyne of Brightlingsea SC and in third Derian and Andy Scott of Chew Valley SC. It was a pleasure to see such a strong fleet on the water at BSC, and we look forward to being able to host you all again very soon!

A big thanks goes to Gul once again for their support and prize vouchers through the fleet.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st15155Dave HallPaul ConstableBlackwater SC1(7)1125
2nd15124Peter KyneTom KyneBrightlingsea SC(4)12238
3rd14941Derian ScottAndy ScottChew Valley Lake SC7(10)44116
4th14905Charlie StewartSue GibsonBlackwater SC24(10)7417
5th15066Mark MaskellNigel SheppardBlackwater SC56(7)3519
6th15041Maria RichardsGraham HoyBlackwater Sailing Club(OCS)356620
7th14860Peter BettlesRichard BettlesFishers Green10885(OCS)31
8th15133Kevin PopeRussell ThorneNotts County SC3133(DNF)DNC33
9th15013Tony GodwinCharlie PlowsRutland SC(11)998834
10th15115Steve JarredTom JarredBlackwater SC62(DNC)DNCDNC36
11th14805Hatty NormanEmilie HoodBlackwater SC(12)12119739
12th15148Bryan SargeantWilliam SargeantDabchicks SC9116(DNF)DNC40
13th15102Martin ScarthBen PhippsBlackwater SC85(DNC)DNCDNC41

Silver Fleet
1st Charlie Stewart & Sue Gibson
2nd Maria & Graham

Bronze Fleet
1st Peter & Richard Bettles
2nd Tony Godwin & Charlie Plows

Merit
Hatty & Emilie

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